Megan B has a good rule of thumb: If you can get a large amount of a certain fruit or vegetable for cheap, snap it up; that means it’s in season (read: delicious). She encouraged us to try some blood oranges, and we liked them so much we ended up going straight to Trader Joe’s, where we picked up four pounds of them! They’re sweet and luscious as a snack and look gorgeous as a garnish. And they only cost us $1.99/lb. Learn more about blood oranges and find some great recipes at Simply Recipes. –Mary T.
Dear readers, can you believe it’s been almost a year since Isadora was born? These days she’s giggling, crawling, dancing, standing, clapping and babbling with gusto. Every day is more fun. We’re having a small party to celebrate her — and our — monumental first year. Just a small one, mostly for us. But we are planning on giving Iz her first taste of a sweet treat — I’m thinking cupcakes. But what kind to bake? These carrot ones with cream cheese icing from Martha Stewart are the current front runners. I’m also wondering if I can take this chocolate and zucchini cake recipe and use it in a cupcake pan? Is there a difference between cake batter and cupcake batter? I imagine you would cook cupcakes for a shorter time. Any other suggestions? Remember she doesn’t have many teeth, so anything with nuts is out! Thanks for your help! — Angela M.
It’s been my experience that the butternut squash sold at my local grocery stores are huge. When I look to purchase the squash for a given recipe, I without a doubt end up with at least twice as much as I need. Since hacking up a 5lb. squash is no easy task, I don’t want any of my hard work to go to waste. I’ll roast the entire thing with a coating of olive oil and some simple seasonings, then use up the tasty bites in recipes throughout the week. Here are a couple of ideas I’ve used in the past. I still have a bunch left from my last roasting and could use some more simple recipe ideas. Any suggestions? –Erica P.
1. Calzones. Stuff a simple pizza dough with the roasted squash, caramelized onions, crumbled goat cheese, bits of veggie sausage and some toasted pine nuts. Just 12 minutes in a hot oven and you’ve got a gourmet take on a pizza parlor favorite.
2. Pasta. Cook up your favorite pasta shape. Drain, reserving some of the pasta water. Quickly saute some greens (spinach, kale, chard, etc.) with a healthy dose of minced garlic and a sprinkling of red pepper flakes. Toss everything together, adding some of the pasta water to moisten, if necessary. Finish the dish with shavings of good Parmesan cheese and a light drizzle of olive oil.
We’re not really having a party but we’re definitely celebrating tonight in our own little way. I made some Rachael Ray Tex Mex chili — not as a tribute to Bush but more of a supremely happy good-bye, farewell, back-to-the Lone Star State ya go toast. We’ve got our shredded cheese and cilantro and — oh yes — Fritos handy. A few beers and a night of tv. I know I’ll be weeping now and then, mostly from joy and hope. If you need a dish for tonight, this one is amazingly easy.
Are you celebrating this historic day? Please share so I can live vicariously through you all. Cheers! — Angela M.
KATHLEEN wrote in with this question the other day: If my bowls are marked dishwasher and microwave safe are they also safe to put under the broiler? (I want to use them to make French Onion Soup!)
First off, Thanks Kathleen. Now we are totally craving French onion soup! We think it’s this image from ilmungo that is doing it to us (luckily, she shares a recipe on her flickr page). In response to your question — the answer is no. The broiler will heat your bowls to a a higher degree than both the microwave and dishwasher. There may be a paint or a glaze or something on there that cannot stand high temperatures. Our recommendation is just to find a very simple ceramic or porcelain bowl, that will keep your soup nice warm.
Any other suggestions for Kathleen? Let us know if you agree with our advice!