Naptime Everyday: Recipes for Everyday Cooking and Baking
I know, I know, here I go with the rhubarb again. What can I say, I am addicted. I have a problem with stewed, sweetened rhubarb. This decadent breakfast treat came about last weekend when I was eating my strawberry rhubarb skillet jam out of the jar with a spoon. I wanted to eat it for breakfast on toast, but my daughter wanted french toast, so I decided to combine my ideas into one dish and make Strawberry Rhubarb Stuffed French Toast. Yes, sometimes I even amaze myself at my 7am culinary capabilities.
My friend Phoebe inspired me last month. We share a mutual take-it-or-leave-it attitude to the amazingly popular smoothie trend. Sometimes I make them, most of the time I don’t. But last month Phoebz made an inspired smoothie using my favorite breakfast drink: chai tea! Genius! I decided to take a page out of her book and make one of my favorite summer drinks, a cool silky horchata, with some warm and nutty chai spices.
In cooler weather I am a big fan of cheesy mushroom pizzas, hot mushroom crepes, and thick mushroom soups. But what to do when the thermometer reads 90 degrees F+? When faced with this question last week I decided to take a cue from Rick Bayless and run for the border. Since margaritas have been my drink of choice in this heat wave it only seemed natural to pair them with some spicy tacos, chips, and guac! As part of my year exploring the use of mushrooms in a variety of foods I decided to give basic tacos a vegetarian twist and make them with fresh mushrooms straight from the farmer’s market.
The trifecta of tomato, basil, and mozzarella might be one of the best (or possibly the best) flavor combinations of all time. Add in a splash of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt and I’m done. It is the only thing I want to eat all summer long. A few years ago I made this delicious Caprese Pasta Salad and it is still one of my favorites. However, recently I decided to change it up and use some spaghetti and give the tomatoes a little heat to make them more tender and sauce-like.
I have a new summer salad. I say that every year, and I try to share them with you whenever I can. This year my salad is inspired by Melia Marden’s new book. It is one of those “this is so simple I can’t believe I didn’t think of it myself” salads. It has just two main ingredients but is packed with flavor and texture, and every bite tastes like summer. It is also healthy to boot, a welcome side note, but I don’t even eat it because of that! Honest. I just pick the tomatoes from our plant on the porch and whip it up whenever I have the chance.
Merrill always comes up with the best recipes. It’s not that I don’t love all the recipes on Food52, I just always seem to gravitate toward Merrill’s, or her mother’s, every time I am browsing the site. The two of them know so many little secrets to improving some of my favorite foods. In the years of cooking experience between them they have figured out that little touches like pressing sugar designs into cookies, adding a touch of cream to bolognese, or stirring butter into strawberry jam will make an already excellent dish so much better.
We’ve made some new friends here in suburbia and the other day I wanted to bake them a seasonal treat to thank them for a kind gesture they recently did for us. (More on that good gesture soon, I hope!) This week we were going strawberry picking but I’ve also been able to get local berries at our local green grocer. Needless to say, they are AMAZING! I can’t get enough of the ripe fruit that is glistening red straight to the core. Since I had a quart in hand already I decided to pick up some rhubarb and make our friends a simple season strawberry rhubarb crisp.
It is pretty rare these days that I get time to myself. With two kids and a busy household the four of us are always running to and fro to activities and commitments. However, on rare occasions, I find myself at home with both the kids in bed and a little extra time on my hands. This typically happens when my husband is traveling for work or at the office late into the night. When this happens the first thing I do is make myself a nice meal. It is not about cooking anything fancy or involved, just something easy and nutritious to finish the day off right.
I am psyched to be participating in the Whole Foods Berry Bash this month. It is berry season here in Connecticut and our local Whole Foods is stocking all kinds of organic berries from near and far. This means it is finally the time of year when I can get my hands on all the berries I can stand! It also means I can start making the favorite Strawberry Vanilla Jam recipe from my book. For the berry bash I went to the store and picked up a fresh container of strawberries to make some rich, buttery breakfast muffins.
When my mother came to visit a couple of weeks ago she brought some lightened up breakfast muffins. She knows I am working on getting the old bod back in shape but also understands I need to indulge in a touch of sweetness now and then. She came up with this recipe when she accidentally picked up a giant container of chocolate Greek yogurt during a hasty grocery shopping trip and needed to use it up.
Every week I get a whole bunch of cool newsletters from my favorite cooking site. I love reading them to see what everyone is up to and getting their recommendations and ideas for new dishes and crafts. Last week I was perusing the Food52 newsletter and came across their genius recipe for a fresh spring pasta. With a bunch of fresh asparagus in refrigerator I knew it was just the thing to make for a quick weeknight meal.
In keeping with the fiesta theme this week, today we are talking tacos. I have never made it a secret that tacos are one of my favorite foods. And I am not talking about the ground beef mixing with a package of seasonings – though, those are perfectly delicious – I am talking about the homemade kind with great toppings. Over the weekend while I whipped up some chorizo tacos while we were enjoying our sangria.