Yesterday’s post about wild herbs and foraging got me thinking about mushrooms. Sure you can find mushrooms year-round in the supermarket, but I was craving something tastier than your usual Portobello, Shitake and White Button mushrooms. It’s hard to find the good ones in the shops like Chanterelles, Hen of the Woods, Hedgehog, and Porcini (my favorite). Autumn is mushroom season! Some foraging knowledge would definitely come in handy right about now. 🙂 I bet there are blankets of wild mushrooms out in the nearby forests waiting to be picked. However, It’s not very likely that I will be foraging this season (I’d probably pick all the poisonous ones HAHA). So I did the next best thing. I went out to the Baltimore’s Farmers Market this morning under the JFX bridge and picked up some delicious funghi from the mushroom stall. (more…)
I’ve been feeling a little homesick for Ireland these past few days. Am I allowed to use the word ‘homesick’ if I’ve never actually lived there? I’ve visited there so many times, it’s like I’ve lived there. Seriously, nearly every page of my passport has green ink on it! I should really just get an Irish passport already, I hate waiting in the Non-EU line at customs! I tried going through with Kevin before, but nope, they accepted him and I was told to go back into the Non-EU line. So I waited and waited and when I finally reached the Customs official, he asked me where my husband was. Next time Kevin, you’re waiting with me! I don’t know where this sudden longing to be back in Ireland is coming from. Maybe it’s because we’ve been drinking loads of Barry’s Tea and we don’t have proper biscuits and snacks to have with it. HAHA. Maybe it’s because we know we won’t be traveling much this year and that makes me miss my in-laws a bit more than usual. But anyways, this desire to be in Ireland has inspired me to cook Irish dishes all week. Sometimes, I feel bad for only making Korean or Italian dishes at home. Meat and potatoes have turned into kimchi and rice or pasta and salads in this house. So I dedicate this week to you my dear. I’ll cook all your favorite dishes, save for Steak and Kidney Pie. I still haven’t a clue how to make that. (more…)
Do you know what these beautiful flowers are? They’re squash/zucchini blossoms and boy are they delicious! I remember buying them a few summers ago at the Roots Market in Clarksville, MD. They showcase seasonal produce from local farms at various times throughout the year. They might get in a few dozen zucchini blossoms, a handful of garlic scapes, a few dozen patty pan squash and so on. And when they’re gone, they’re gone for the season. We don’t live so close to Clarksville anymore so we aren’t able to frequent Roots as often. We probably missed out on the blossoms delivery this summer. If you’ve been following the blog, you will know that I’ve been shopping at the local farmers markets a lot this year. I should really join a CSA. I had been searching for them all summer without much success. Every week I’d pick up a few zucchini or yellow squash and then it came to me. Surely these farms must have loads of blossoms growing out on the fields. I decided to write to a few local farmers to see if they could help me out. (more…)
One thing I look forward to every week is making lunch for my mom at our house. I think she loves it too! 😉 She’s a pretty busy lady, so in the short time we have together I make sure to prepare a lovely 3 course meal – starter, main and dessert. This way, I know she’ll leave with a full and happy belly. Oh and I always send her off with a hot cappuccino to-go. I literally buy those disposable coffee cups with lids from Costco, just for her cappuccinos.
Two weeks ago, I made my mom a fresh zucchini salad, pasta all norma (eggplant spaghetti) and fruit salad of peaches, nectarines and plums. (All made from seasonal produce from the farmers market.) She liked the zucchini salad so much I made it again when the whole family was over for lunch. Although the eggplant spaghetti was tasty and looked pretty, I wasn’t completely satisfied with it. I was short on time and skipped 2 important steps in the recipe and well, while the eggplant should’ve broken apart and become creamy in texture, it remained intact and was quite watery. She didn’t seem to mind, but I told myself I’d have to make it properly for her the next time. (more…)
Now that you’ve made the ciabatta from yesterday, all you need are juicy sweet tomatoes. These are the tomatoes I picked up after lunch at the Love Dove Farm stall at the Howard County Farmers Market. Aren’t they just gorgeous? I grabbed a pint of Sun Gold tomatoes and a pint of Black Cherry tomatoes. I could snack on them all day.
Farm stalls are overflowing with all different tomato heirlooms and varieties during the summer. Once you’ve tried fresh picked tomatoes off the vine, the ones you find year round in the supermarkets won’t do. It’s hard for me not to pick up a pint or two when I’m out at the farmers market. When using such delicious produce like farm fresh tomatoes, it’s best to keep whatever dish you’re making as simple as possible. You want the natural sweetness and bright flavors to shine. A great dish to show off summer tomatoes is Bruschetta. Here are a few different ways I dress my tomatoes. (more…)
Have you noticed that I love to cook in themes? I’ve been making lots of Korean/Asian and Italian dishes lately, I thought I’d try something different and go outside of my comfort zone. So I invited some friends over for a Caribbean themed – Jerk Chicken dinner. We even had Red Stripe Jamaican style lager! I slow cooked the chicken in the oven and then broiled the chicken pieces skin-side up just before serving to get that charred taste. Delicious!
Jerk Chicken. Try making this dish with scotch bonnet peppers. You can find them at your local Caribbean or Asian market. If you can’t, you can always substitute them with habanero peppers. I’ve made jerk with both, but I prefer the heat the scotch bonnet brings to the dish. It’s great!
Mango Salsa. This fruity salsa goes great with jerk. It adds a bit of sweet to the savory and helps cools down the heat from the peppers. I season all my salsas with the same 3 ingredients – lime juice, salt and pepper. You can make salsa with all sorts of fun fruits like pineapple, green papaya and watermelon.
Coleslaw. Coleslaw adds a crispy texture and a fresh taste to any meal.
Here’s the spread. Look at all the colors and textures! What cuisine should I try next? Irish? Greek? Spanish? I have a paella pan that I haven’t used yet. Maybe I’ll make some pintxos or tapas and seafood paella. Dinner party anyone?
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Over the weekend my brother invited us over to Ocean City to spend the day with his family – swimming, eating and taking in the … rain! The weather wasn’t the best, but when you’re with good company, it doesn’t really matter. We got in some waves, lounged by the pool, walked the boardwalk, ate loads of crabs and made new memories, especially with my nephews. Those cute little guys are growing up so fast! The other day I thought to myself ‘how weird would it be when they’re old enough to drink.’ Can you imagine? ‘Wanna grab a beer uncle Kevin?’ WHAT?!?! 😉 I’m getting carried away, they’re only in elementary school!!! HAHA.
To thank them for their hospitality, we invited them over for lunch. I had originally planned to make 3 pasta dishes, but Kevin suggested we do some meats, salad and pasta instead. Good call Kevin, but I couldn’t let him have the last word. So to compromise, I made a meat plate, a salad, and TWO pastas! We opened a really nice bottle of Amarone wine and enjoyed a lovely Italian themed lunch. Good food, great company and fabulous wine. That’s how we do it! 😀 (more…)
What a beautiful day! Today as soon as my alarm went off I jumped out of bed, went downstairs, opened all the windows then put on the kettle. Kevin asked ‘Who are you and what did you do with my wife?’ HAHA. Maybe I’ll even go for a light jog around the neighborhood…that’ll give Kevin an even bigger shock! Most of you will be reading this thinking…isn’t it normal to wake up when the alarm goes off? Of course it is! I just like to set my alarm a half hour early and hit snooze a few times, that’s all 😉
We’ve been eating pretty heavy lately, thought I’d make something light for lunch today (and the fabulous weather makes me crave a summery pasta). I should really learn to balance my meals. I doubt a light herby pasta will negate the 8 plates of Chinese food, jerk chicken and Korean braised short ribs we had over the past few days! But maybe if I keep telling myself it does…it actually will! 😉
I usually make light herby pastas to accompany fish, but it’s just as delicious served on its own. Like spaghetti aglio olio peperoncino, when I can’t decide what to eat, I make spring onion spaghetti. It’s easy peasy and really hits the spot. We also had some leftover baguette so I whizzed it up in the food processor and made ‘pan grattato’ or breadcrumbs. (more…)
I’ve always had a difficult time waking up in the mornings. But tell me to meet you at a farmers’ market and you’ll find me getting ready before the sun’s up. Okay, I’m exaggerating, I won’t be up that early. Let’s just say it’s one of the rare occasions I don’t hit snooze. This morning we went to the Baltimore’s Farmers’ Market and Bazaar on Saratoga St. just under the Jones Falls Expressway. The market, as always, was bustling. Whenever my husband, Kevin, and I go out to a market, we make a beeline for the coffee vendor and grab a pastry or two before we begin. However, instead of our usual cuppa from Zeke’s Coffee, I decided to try something new and got my morning fix from a Thai street food stall. It was a half and half of sorts, not the traditional Baltimore half-n-half of sweet tea and lemonade, but a Thai Iced Coffee and Thai Iced Tea mix. So refreshing! We walked the market a few times before finally deciding on which produce to buy.