Sweetiekins

During my recent trip to Scottsdale, AZ, for work which included a day trip to Sedona and enjoy the ridiculously amazing weather and the gorgeous red rock landscape with my very sweet Filipino aunty of a cubicle mate, Lourdes. If you’re following my gastrogasmic adventures on the accompanying Facebook page you’ll have seen some of the incredible meals from that trip.

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My lunch at SaltRock Southwest Kitchen in Sedona, AZ

 

One of those meals followed me home when, a few weeks ago, Lourdes showed me that she had attempted to make these roasted sweet peppers we had ordered for lunch at a small resort in Sedona. She shared one with me and regardless of what they say about food always tasting better on vacation it’s very difficult to mess up oven-roasted mini sweet peppers.  The one thing she hadn’t been able to get was the aioli. I was so inspired that I decided to stop by the Aldi that just opened up down the road (bringing back some fun memories).

Goat Cheese Stuffed Mini Peppers

Goat Cheese Stuffed Mini Peppers, from Foodfanatic

My own method for cooking up these little babies is to

  1. Toss with (very little) avocado oil or olive oil,
  2. sprinkle with some coarse salt and fresh ground pepper,
  3. You can also add a sprinkle of garlic powder if you want a little extra something,
  4. Roast on a baking tray at 400 F for 20-30 minutes turning about halfway through (fair warning I like them lightly charred so adjust the time as desire).

Simple right? And unlike some other roasted vegetables these taste really good on their own with very little help. But if you’re looking for something to go with them you can mix this aioli up:

  1. Crush 1 large clove of garlic into a small bowl,
  2. Add about a teaspoon of lime juice and a teaspoon of harissa,
  3. Mix in a heaping spoonful of mayonnaise (or I use vegenaise) and an equal amount of sour cream.

Alternatively, and I’ve done this a couple of times, you can just use a butter knife to cut through one side of the pepper and put about a 1-2 teaspoons worth of goat cheese and just consume that heck out of those babies!

Crashing the Veggie’s Masquerade Ball

Most of us have done it. We promise we’re going to have more vegetables and then end up eating one of this post’s featured featured items. Avocados, eggplant, bell peppers, okra…. oops. Guess I should go back and ammend that earlier post about okra…

I’m gonna go with the saying about if three people agree on a defninition it is one. If you agree with me that we’ll call these guys vegetables and Jesus knows what I mean in my prayers when I refer to them as vegetables that should count, right?

So to round up this *POW!* of veggies we’ll end with the fruit that dreamed of being a vegetable (and one I just happened to have way to many of this summer): The Tomato.

 

Avocado and Heirloom Tomato Toast with Balsamic Drizzle

Avocado and Heirloom Tomato Toast with Balsamic Drizzle

Tomato Pie

Tomato Pie

Caprese-Style Stuffed Tomatoes with Balsamic Reduction

Caprese-Style Stuffed Tomatoes with Balsamic Reduction

Roasted Tomato Soup with Broiled Cheddar

Roasted Tomato Soup with Broiled Cheddar

Roasted Tomato Salsa

Roasted Tomato Salsa

Tomato Cobbler with Cornmeal-Cheddar Biscuits

Tomato Cobbler with Cornmeal-Cheddar Biscuits

Burrata with White Wine and Garlic Sauteed Tomatoes

Burrata with White Wine and Garlic Sauteed Tomatoes

Summer Tomato Jam

Summer Tomato Jam

I Hope That’s a Zucchini In Your Pocket

I’m pretty sure that the title of this post is one of the early sentences I translated into French because I felt like it was relevant to my future success. Such a sexy veggie that zucchini. I don’t suggest keeping them in your pocket (if you do, indeed, have one there) but I do recommend trying one of the following recipes (and giving me feedback for my own experimentation).

Salt and Pepper Zucchini Chips

Salt and Pepper Zucchini Chips

Garden Zucchini Parmesan Biscuits

Garden Zucchini Parmesan Biscuits

 

Baked Parmesan Zucchini Sticks

Baked Parmesan Zucchini Sticks

Garlicky and Cheesy Quinoa Zucchini Fritters

Garlicky and Cheesy Quinoa Zucchini Fritters

Zucchini Parmesan

Zucchini Parmesan

Eggplant and Zucchini Gratin

Eggplant and Zucchini Gratin

Lemon-Garlic Zucchini

Lemon-Garlic Zucchini

Zucchini Frittata with Mozzarella, Feta, and Parmesan

Zucchini Frittata with Mozzarella, Feta, and Parmesan

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

A Favorite of the Underworld

I can’t remember which retelling of the classic Persephone being dragged down by Hades to his underground kingdom but it was probably some seedy romance that tried to fill in the gaps of the storyline while enforcing the somewhat lingering fad of the whole dominating man being too proud for his own good but actually having a cuddly center that just needed to be loved by some “headstrong” woman with amazing hair and the ability to forget how headstrong she is when in the presence of the sulty dark god of the underworld. But enough about my bedtime reading for now. Whichever book it was talking about he ghostly gardens of the underworld. Of plants that mimic those above ground but requiring no sunlight to grow. When I look at steamed cauliflower I always think that it looks like the ghost of broccoli. Or maybe the vegetable garden fairies just spilled some bleach and human are all like “Ooooo!”.

Either way (because these are both valid option as to why cauliflower is the way it is), cauliflower is an interesting vegetable that has recently taken on new heights. It has the unique personality of being rather bland in the flavor department but being able to take on a rariety of textures depending on how it’s prepared. While some of the attempts at making cauliflower cool clearly fall short of the goal I’m impressed with the way that it manages to take on new flavors easily and holds up to some experimental treatment. So far one of my absolutely favorite dishes is from Woodlands, a vegetarian Indian restaurant with a buffet on the weekends that could make a lover of deliciousness die with happiness. Not sure what it is but something like battered and fried florets then mixed with other sauteed vegetables in a sauce. I really do need to find out what it’s called.

But in the meantime here are some other forms of this ghostly source of nutrients that I thoroughly approve of.

 

Balsamic Galazed Cauliflower "Wings"

Balsamic Galazed Cauliflower “Wings”

Cauliflower Au Gratin

Cauliflower Au Gratin

Parmesan Cauliflower Bites

Parmesan Cauliflower Bites

Cauliflower Tots (with a How-To video!)

Cauliflower Tots (with a How-To video!)

Spicy Cauliflower Sitr-Fry

Spicy Cauliflower Sitr-Fry

Creamy Cauliflower Garlic Rice

Creamy Cauliflower Garlic Rice

Curried Cauliflower Soup

Curried Cauliflower Soup

Lemon Garlic Roasted Cauliflower

Lemon Garlic Roasted Cauliflower

Cauliflower Chowder

Cauliflower Chowder

Cauliflower Mac & Cheese

Cauliflower Mac & Cheese

Crispy Orange Cauliflower

Crispy Orange Cauliflower

Half A Salad with a Full Garden

Last summer I was getting all fancy with the gardening and the fresh stuff and piles and piles of lettuce to show for all my hard work. Thanks to my appaent inability to withold memories I went and planted flowers and herbs on top of where the end of last year’s crop went to seed. So what happened? Rogue lettuce. EVERYWHERE. It was growing out of the drainpipe hole at the end of the garden bed. It was springing up from between the cracks in the sidewalk. It was sort of grow up and through a rock?? And that’s not even the worst part. The worst part is that even with all that crazy ninja lettuce popping up everywhere and messing up my carefully planned out herb garden I’ve gotten about 10 good leaves from the lot of them.

On the bright side (in the back where we get more sun) I’ve had so many tomatoes that the only thing I could think of after a while was to cut them in hlf and throw them in the oven so I could at least have something that still tasted like tomato and would turn to black goo on the countertop. I really hate it when tomatoes go bad. It’s super gross.

But all those poor tomatoes I just didn’t rescue in time aside, I was left with only half a salad since I was strangely without any other ingredients to help make any salad I made be more than just chopped tomatoes with salt. It takes a special tomato to be delicious without some sort of additional lubricant with taste.

Here is a picture of tomatoes.

Here is a picture of tomatoes.

But between work and more work and my entire fammily deserting me for the island homelands I have had very little to eat except vegetables for the last month. It all happened because my dear mother finished her radiation treatments (yay!) and it ended with a really really big last minute party where I tried to grill outside. Thinking I’d try something new for a big crowd I attempted making burgers. Like real burgers. The kind with meat cooked on an open flame. Well over charcoal.

For those of you who don’t know: I was raised vegetarian. At some point the family became pescatarian but even fish is a rare occurence at Chez Tobing. I have left behind those meatless way for almost a decade now but even today I don’t cook meat. So me deciding to try cooking burgers for a party was probably the worst idea. They didn’t turn out awful. Just not great. The black bean burgers I mixed up, however, turned out amazing and I’ve even made this receipe since. I usually make my own aioli with vegenaise, fresh crushed garlic, lime, and sriracha. I had also posted the burger recipe last year in “Keeping it Veggie“:

Black Bean Burgers with a Smoky Red Pepper Spread

Black Bean Burgers with a Smoky Red Pepper Spread

But alongside the semi-successful burger project I grilled about 5 billion pounds of fresh stuff: Eggplane, zucchini, yellow squash, onions, OKRA!, bell peppers, asparagus, baby bell peppers, portabello mushrooms, sweet potatoes, corn… You put the grilled veggies on a toasted bun with the aioli and a still cripsy-on-the-outside black bean burger (or a marinated and grilled portabellow mushroom if you prefer) and that makes for a good party! In the future, though, I think I’ll leave the regular burgers to a professional. The afterparty of this whole affair was me sitting on the sofa eating nothing but roasted vegetable sandwiches for the next week while watching “Chuck” and drinking the remains of my homemade “Make Your Own Juice Bar”. My favorite was the sparkling  Persian Lime with an extra shot of sweetness from the ginger simple syrup.

In honor of the vegetables (and “fruit”. That’s right, I’m looking at you tomatoes!) that kept me alive while living alone for the last month I’m dedicating the next series of posts with all the wonderful ways to eat them!

Grilled Portobello Mushroom Burgers (from SkinnyTaste)

Grilled Portobello Mushroom Burgers

Why Watching Gastroporn Before Bed is a BAD Idea

Laundry, done. Room, clean enough. Plants, not dead (yet). Parents, all tucked into bed….

It’s almost my bed time and I’m ready for bed but not quite there yet. And that’s why I head down the rabbit hole. This image flashes across my computer screen:

Pan-Seared Butternut Squash with Balsamic & Parmigiano Shards

Pan-Seared Butternut Squash with Balsamic & Parmigiano Shards (Links to original recipe on The Kitchn)

Gastroporn… never a god idea if you’re almost ready for bed and you want to go to bed in the near future. Because it starts with the Pan-Seared Butternut Squash and leads to the struggle not to pull out your credit card to buy this book:

"Modernist Cuisine At Home"

“Modernist Cuisine At Home”

To imagining the ability to trot into town and find a cozy place next to a fire with good friends having a Raclette Party. Then you’re thinking about Raclette and you start looking up videos…

And then it’s several hours later and it’s like you’ve just come out the other end of a black hole. So you slam your laptop shut and scramble into bed to calm down with a good erotica novel. You know, to take your mind off the fact that you just realized you haven’t eaten since breakfast.

Good night Foodie Nation!