Bear with me. I promise, you want to make these, you just might not know it yet. Bison is maybe a little unusual for people who are not living in rural areas where people regularly shoot and kill and eat everything from snow geese to antelope.
That’s not to say that there are actually wandering bison where I am, but when you live in a place where people regularly throw game dinners and eat moose, elk, venison and doves, you get to be more open-minded. The standard beef, pork and chicken triumvirate is demolished. Continue reading
I was spoiled for my first few years in the professional world. Though I was perpetually broke, I worked in the middle of a small town where cheap and delicious food with real ingredients abounded. Fresh wraps, salads, even Thai food were easily accessible, and when I was feeling desperate, there was always a full grocery store within walking distance, if I cared to walk. When I ate lunch, I usually ate out.
Then, I started working further away from the downtown core (such as it was), and started bringing my lunch less and less. This week, I start another job in an industrial area with almost no options, and certainly none within walking distance. And, as you know, with a new job comes uncertainty — how do other people do it? Do they bring lunches? Do they make the 10-minute drive into the next town? What are the expectations?
It’s summertime. We all know that all you want to eat is a giant bowl of vegetables, and those vegetables better not have touched a heat source at any point (apart from maybe a grill). They should be in season, full of flavor and taste basically like sunshine.
In other words, the standards are high. Luckily, I have just the salad for you.
Are you ready for a confession?
This was not going to be a blog post. Originally, this was something I just made with leftovers from the fridge. I had tomatoes. I had a microwaved ear of corn, half an avocado and basil. And, best of all, I had a brand-new ball of smoked mozzarella that I picked up for another recipe that I was suddenly to hot and tired to make.
Nothing says summer like a Caprese salad. I know, I have talked about my love of the tomato-mozzarella-basil combo a number of times already on this blog, once with my Caprese stuffed mushrooms and once with my risotto Caprese. But now that tomatoes are in season and I’m getting heirlooms from the grocery store, it’s time to revisit this classic.
Here’s the thing: if you try to make a Caprese a meal, you might end up unsatisfied. It’s delicious, but there’s not a whole lot of protein there. Thankfully, adding a little prosciutto to the mix alleviates that, making a yummy summer salad with some staying power.
It’s not a secret that men and women can have very different tastes when it comes to food. A co-worker of mine and I were recently talking about food one eats when one’s significant other is away — not things like cereal and peanut butter and jelly on Ritz crackers, but all of the things our guys don’t like.
Don’t get me wrong; I am not the 300 Sandwiches lady. I cook what I want. But if I want to feed my significant other something he actually enjoys, it cannot involve pesto and should avoid peas, except in rare circumstances when the peas are pureed and served with cheese, as in this recipe. Dishes made up entirely of vegetables, as a general rule, are not favorites.
This Greek “pasta” salad was not a meal I expected him to like.
It’s not the season for Caprese salad. There are no good tomatoes out, I am pretty sure basil’s not in season, and who even knows about mushrooms. In Idaho, the local greens are just starting to come out in the stores, thanks to our geothermal greenhouses, but everything else is kind of…well. The tomatoes are still a little faded.
My body didn’t care this week, though. It was craving Caprese salad. Well, actually, it was craving pizza, and while I sometimes indulge, I was not going to this week. Instead, I heavily modified Foodie Crush’s recipe for Pizza-Stuffed Mushrooms and called it a day. Continue reading
D Magazine made a bold claim about a year ago on its cover. The reporter, a food writer and restaurant reviewer, claimed to have found the “Best Quinoa Salad in the History of Ever.”
Interesting, I thought. Hyperbolic, certainly, especially since I was pretty sure the best quinoa salad ever was one I had made for Thanksgiving, with cranberries, sausage and almonds. But I was determined to give it a go.
I have a really hard time using my slow cooker. Typically I leave work, run to the grocery store, get what I need, cook like mad for an hour, snap some photos, and then eat before frantically cleaning up the dishes and finally collapsing onto the couch for about 15 minutes before the dog goes for a walk and I go to bed.
So you can see how my eyes glaze over when a recipe calls for cooking something over low heat for eight to 10 hours. While in theory, this “set it and forget it” option should work for busy people, I am not about to let a crock pot sit at home alone and possibly start some sort of electrical fire. I also can barely find coffee in the morning, let alone chop vegetables, brown meat, or do whatever it is that the recipe calls for.
But on the weekends, when I typically have a lot of other around-the-house projects going on, the slow cooker can make its way out of storage.
Reporters talk about stories that fight them; stories that don’t want to come together, no matter how easy the subject matter is or how many sources have been consulted. A story that should take half an hour to write will take two hours, and for no apparent reason.
Recipes can be this way, too. I had this experience over the weekend, when a relatively simple gumbo recipe went rogue on me. I burned the roux and had to remake it — twice — and when I went to pour the broth into all of the other ingredients, I heard a distinct and disgusting plop.
Suffice to say, the broth had spoiled in a spectacular way, despite the fact that it had been freshly purchased from the grocery store that morning. Two turkey thighs, half a bag of frozen okra, an onion, a bell pepper and four links of chorizo made their way to the trash.
When I went Paleo, I assumed that meant I would never have a tomato-basil salad again. We all know tomato-basil salads require mozzarella cheese, or at the very least, a sprinkle of parmesan. It’s so awesome, it has a name — even my 10-year-old neighbor knows what a Caprese salad is.
I was wrong. You can make a simple, fast, tomato salad without cheese. And you know what? It’s awesome. My tomato plants are going crazy right now (they have pulled over two heavy-duty tomato cages already), so I grab about a pint of those, a few giant leaves of basil, some oregano and a tiny bit of red pepper flakes. You don’t even miss the cheese. Continue reading