Thursday, September 9, 2010

summer selections

Summer was in full swing by week 19 of our food project.  Cherry tomatoes and summer squash were starting to make an appearance at the farmers markets by Steve's work, so he started bringing some home.  Luckily, he had also found an interesting recipe to make good use of those things.
summertime lasagna
The idea behind this Summertime Lasagna was to have a lasagna-type dish that didn't involve heating the oven or baking the whole thing.  In fact, the dish is really good kind of lukewarm.  I imagine that would be a fabulous thing if we lived somewhere with a normal crazy-hot summer, but San Francisco only gets into the upper 80s a few days a year.  The summers here are kind of cold and foggy, especially this year.

Nevertheless, this is a wonderful summery dish, and we've made it several times since the end of June.  Like the penne with summer squash and ricotta that we had made several weeks prior, this one pairs pasta with zucchini and parmesan-spiked ricotta cheese.  However, the lasagna also throws in cherry tomatoes that have been cooked down with garlic.  Really, the only thing I can find wrong with the whole thing is that the layers slide around a little as you try to cut through it and eat it.  Well... that and the temptation to eat way too much of it.
The next weekend for the Fourth of July, we invited Dan and Carmen up to eat with us, and Steve made Pork Arista from the Ad Hoc Cookbook.  To go with it, he did polenta with parmesan and the recommended tomato marmalade.  It was pretty good, but not my favorite.  The tomato marmalade was a little intense from the vinegar, and I've had better versions of pork.
pork arista

The picture was also my least favorite that I've taken in a while.  The pork took longer than Steve expected, and the daylight was nearly gone by the time it was ready for its close up.  I did what I could to save it in Lightroom, but the colors and light still don't look right to me.

Moving on...  When we ate at Delancey during the Seattle trip in early June, Brandon generously wrote out his pizza dough recipe for Steve.  We finally got around to trying it for week 21.  Steve used Brandon's recommendation for tomato sauce as well—simple and uncooked, since it cooks on the pizza.  And I suggested that we top it with padron peppers, since I had seen pictures on the internet of Delancey's padron pizzas from the year before.  They weren't on the menu yet when we were there, so we couldn't order one.
padron pizza

The pizza came out rather creatively shaped, since Steve was figuring out how to roll out this dough and how much flour he needed on the pizza peel to get the dough off it and onto the pizza stone in the oven.  It ended up kind of oblong in places, but it was delicious anyway.

Of course, my curse with padron peppers continued with this pizza.  The little peppers aren't supposed to be very hot, but occasionally you'll get a hot one.  And by "you," I mean "I."  For some reason, I always end up with the insanely spicy ones, not Steve.  Despite that, it was a pizza that was worth doing again.  And we did.
We got week 22 out of the way relatively early the next week.  Steve had picked up some squash blossoms at the farmers market on Tuesday, and we wanted to use them before they got sad this time.  (The last ones sat in the fridge for too long.)  He happened to buy them around closing time at the market, so the vendor loaded up the container with a whole bunch of extra blossoms.  We decided to have a squash blossom feast to eat them all on Wednesday.

Steve stuffed some of them with a goat cheese and fontina mixture and fried them, similar to ones we had had at Chez Papa Resto the week before.  The rest were served raw in a salad: Shaved Summer Squash with Squash Blossoms from the all-yellow summer menu in A Platter of Figs.  It used yellow summer squash, squash blossoms, feta, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper.
yellow salad
Since it was pretty and I had taken a photo, we counted it as our new thing of the week.  It turned out to be pretty tasty.  The flavors were fresh, and the squash and blossoms were well complemented by the cheese and the lemon/olive oil dressing.

The next week's recipe was for a savory tart that I had found on Cannelle et Vanille.  Since that blog is mostly gluten-free and we are not, Steve used his own gluten-filled recipe for the tart crust.  The filling had arborio rice and parmesan, and it was topped with heirloom tomato slices and bread crumbs.  Steve forgot to put the oil in the bread crumb mixture, so it didn't brown much.  A drizzle on top toward the end of cooking helped a tiny bit, but it still didn't get much color.

heirloom tomato tart
I liked the tart.  It needed a little more salt and perhaps more tomatoes, but the combination was good.  I ate the leftovers the next couple days after work and was happy.

Week 24 was another blog recipe from 101 Cookbooks: Broccoli Cheddar Soup.
broccoli cheddar soup
Steve made it using an aged raw milk goat cheddar, so there was a bit of extra goaty tang in the soup.  I think it was more concentrated with broccoli flavor than the average broccoli cheddar soup.  It was also a pretty green color from the broccoli and had a smoother texture from blending, unlike the usual bright orange soup with token pieces of broccoli in it.  My favorite part, however, was the croutons.  They had some mustard in them, which I don't normally like, but that wasn't very noticeable with everything else.  They did a good job of breaking up the sameness of the soup.  To garnish we used the croutons, some cheese, paprika, and a few drops of olive oil for prettiness.
And that takes us through the end of July!  More coming soon, once I catch up on posting the most recent pictures to Flickr.

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