From sunshine golden beets to deep purple eggplants, August wins for the most colorful array of CSA goodness. And even more than that, something I loved about this month was how cooking with the season started to feel so much more natural. I noticed this shift happen when I looked into my box of eggplants and red peppers and instantly saw a vision of baba ghanog, muhammara and chicken shawarma. Developing a comfort with vegetables that didn't typically make an appearance in my shopping cart (hey, dandelion greens!) is something I've found endlessly gratifying. Take a peek below to see what else was keeping me inspired and busy in the kitchen this month!
i am a creature of habit in all aspects of life. nowhere is this more pronounced than in my morning routine. alarm sounds at 5 a.m., out of bed eight minutes later, brush my teeth, toss my hair up and head straight to the gym. bike for 40 minutes or run for 40 minutes. shower, make-up, hair x repeat every morning.
now, that's an early morning. but, what grounds me each and every day is coffee, more coffee, podcasts and morning news round-ups. each day it's a steady rotation of bon appétit foodcast, radio cherry bombe, this american life or stuff you missed in history class. (ps - the latest TAL podcast "act v" is hands down one of the best). i love the act of starting every day picking up new tidbits of stories or things i quite literally did miss in history class.
once i settle into my office, then begins the morning e-mail round-up. it's the same three e-mails that greet me every weekday morning - nyt daily briefing, politico playbook and the skimm. politico gives me all the wonky, insider-y baseball dc news. skimm makes me lol and feel like i'm chatting with my friends. nyt is the most straightforward and i love seeing what photo they pick each morning.
but the real nyt e-mail gem rolls in around 10 a.m. each morning - nyt cooking. there is nothing more calming in the morning than reading sam sifton's very pointed view on exactly what i should be cooking that day and why. i am obsessed with his writing style and cannot think of a better crew of recipe developers than those at nyt (hi, melissa clark!). the inspiration for the dish included in this post came from a nyt cooking recipe, "amazingly sweet slow roasted tomatoes."
the slow roasted tomatoes here are nestled on top of a bed of warm, rich polenta, creamy burrata and fresh pesto. it's a multi-step process - make the polenta, roast the tomatoes, whip up the pesto, but oh my is it worth it. perfect for a lovely summer outdoor dinner, and let's be real, i'll take any excuse to eat burrata.
due to the fact that i was making a big batch of pesto for our weekly friend potluck dinner and i have a best friend with a nut allergy, this pesto is nut-free. it delivers all the freshness of your classic pesto, but strips it down to just five ingredients and one simple recipe instruction.
slow roasted tomatoes, burrata and pesto on a bed of polenta
what you'll need:
amazingly sweet slow roasted tomatoes
1 pound small plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
kosher salt, to taste
a tiny amount of sugar
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cups fresh basil
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 clove garlic
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp kosher salt
classic italian polenta
3 cups water
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup corn grits (polenta)
1 1/2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup parmesan, finely grated
12 oz burrata
black pepper and kosher salt, to taste
fresh basil leaves (optional, for garnish)
what you'll do:
- preheat the oven to 300 degrees. line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. put the halved tomatoes in a bowl and toss with the olive oil. place the tomatoes, cut side up, on the baking sheet. sprinkle with salt and a tiny amount of sugar. place in the oven and roast for 2 hours. remove from the heat and allow to cool for about 30 minutes.
- while tomatoes are roasting, prepare pesto. place all pesto ingredients in food processor and blend until thoroughly combined (about 2 minutes). set aside.
- to make the polenta, in a large, deep pan over high heat bring water and salt to a boil; gradually stir in polenta. reduce heat and simmer gently, stirring frequently to prevent sticking until mixture is very thick (about 20 minutes); use a long-handled spoon because mixture pops and bubbles and can burn. stir in butter and more salt if you'd like. transfer to serving bowls and top with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
- top each bowl of polenta by arranging roasted tomatoes, a spoonful of pesto and burrata, finish with black pepper and kosher salt, and a pinch of fresh basil leaves, if you'd like.
this recipe is exactly that - minimal ingredients (and ALL recognizable), fresh and favorable. it's protein-heavy, so you'll feel fuller longer, and brininess of the feta pairs perfectly with all the veggies. at first, i thought i'd top this salad with my standard tahini dressing, but when i realized i'd have extra cucumber to spare, i was inspired to whip together a very simple, four ingredient tzatziki dressing.Read More
this salad was initially inspired by tabbouleh, a fresh, vibrant lebanese dish packed with parsley, lemon, bulgur and mint. it's a side dish my family has typically served with roasted lamb, hummus and pita. in this case, however, i used the salad for my standard work-day lunch as it made for easy sunday meal prep, but it would also make a bright dish at a dinner party. this salad was initially inspired by tabbouleh, a fresh, vibrant lebanese dish packed with parsley, lemon, bulgur and mint. it's a side dish my family has typically served with roasted lamb, hummus and pita. in this case, however, i used the salad for my standard work-day lunch as it made for easy sunday meal prep, but it would also make a bright dish at a dinner party.Read More