PROJECT RECIPE: Swedish Meatballs

I love Ikea. Really love it. Smart coffee tables that cost less than your monthly cable bill. Delicious Swedish food. What’s not to love?

The very first time I went to an Ikea, I went there specifically to eat. And I got the meatballs. Because what else do you get at Ikea for dinner?

I’ve been looking for a meatball that measures up to the convenient ones they sell right beside mocked up kitchens and bedrooms. I think I might have found it.

I found this recipe on Pinterest, of course, but it’s from Damn Delicious. I’m not 100% sure, but I think I met her at Mixed one of the times I went. At any rate, this meatball recipe really is damn delicious.

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Swedish meatballs are perfect cold weather comfort food. What makes them Swedish, and not just regular meatballs is the sour cream in the sauce. It gives it a nice little unexpected tang.

PROJECT RECIPE verdict: Keeper. I have a pretty good meatball recipe that is no-fail, and pretty basic. But these are something special. The meatball recipe you get out when you want to impress people. The ingredients are pretty straight forward. Nothing fancy, but that means you can taste all the nuances of the pork and ground beef and spices. I definitely could taste all these things in every bite. Sometimes with meatballs you don’t really get that. But they were delicious. Sometimes the most delicious things are simple.

How I changed the recipe: When most people see browned bits of meat stuck to the bottom of a skillet, most people might be annoyed that the meat was sticking a little. I get excited because that means I can pour a little white wine in the skillet and make awesome sauce. Literally, that’s what people mean when they say “awesome sauce.” Bits of browned meat, white wine and some oil. But, if you’re going to make gravy with a roux, resist the urge to deglaze your pan. Just make your gravy with your flour and butter, and scrape up the bits when you’re whisking in the stock. I did not resist this urge, and my gravy didn’t get as think as it should have been. Also, I was too lazy to chop some fresh parsley, so I used (gasp!) dried. The dish still turned out fine. I didn’t use panko either, I used the bread crumbs I keep in my freezer that I make from old bread. I didn’t notice any difference.

These weren’t hard to make either. I did them in two batches in the skillet. I usually make them in the oven, but you do get a nice brown crust on them in the skillet. The worst part about making meatballs is rolling them out. I hate that, but at least eating these for dinner makes that worth it.

PROJECT RECIPE: Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas

I notoriously hate Buffalo wings. I hate Buffalo sauce. It’s weird, I know. But there’s just something about it that grosses me out. The Hubs, on the other hand, I think could eat Buffalo wings every single day.

So, I either lost my mind, or I am the best wife ever, when I decided to make Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas after I saw a recipe on Pinterest.

I had a feeling that drowned out with enough other ingredients, these enchiladas would be pretty bangin’. I was right.

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PROJECT RECIPE verdict: Keeper. These were so yummy and gooey from the cream cheese and hot sauce. I used Crystal, by the way, because it’s not too hot, since I’m a Buffalo sauce hater. I definitely wanted a second serving, but one filled me up.

How I changed the recipe: I only had 5 whole wheat flour tortillas (leftovers from who knows what), so I just filled them a little extra. I definitely recommend doing this because they were just right. I put them in a 9 X 9 pan instead of the 9 X 13 pan, so they’d be nice and snug. I also didn’t have the tomato sauce, so I subbed a couple splashes of white wine and some salt and pepper when I was cooking the tomato and pepper mixture.

Perfect with a cold beer and hockey on TV. Just like if you'd gone out for wings to watch the game... Almost.
Perfect with a cold beer and hockey on TV. Just like if you’d gone out for wings to watch the game… Almost.

If you like Buffalo-y dishes (or even if you don’t) this is definitely your game. Trust me. If I am reaching for seconds of anything resembling Buffalo sauce, that’s a true testament to how good they are. Click the embedded link above to get the recipe yourself.

That time I made laundry detergent.

I love Pinterest. I like to think it brings out the best in me. Like I’m super creative and crafty and all that. It’s the worst to look at it right before lunch. So. Many. Delicious. Dishes.

At any rate, I found a pin about making your own laundry detergent, and I was intrigued. I love trying this kind of stuff, and I’m trying to be all green and stuff, so I decided to give it a try.

Turns out it was EXTREMELY easy. Like way easier than I thought it would be. And, ounce for ounce, it costs a fraction of the store bought stuff. Pinterest success.

Here’s how I did it.

You need:

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1/3 bar Fels Naptha

1/2 cup 20 Mule Team Borax

1/2 cup  Washing Soda (not baking soda)

A bucket (I used an empty and rinsed cat litter bucket)

A container like an old detergent jug for your finished detergent (optional, but makes easier use)

Grate the Fels Naptha soap on a cheese grater. Heat about two quarts (or so… measurements don’t need to be exact) in a medium sauce pan and add the shredded soap. Don’t let the mixture boil, just stir until the soap is melted. Add the borax and washing soda and stir well. Remove from heat. Pour a quart of hot water into your bucket, then add the soap mixture and stir well. Now add another 5 quarts of hot water and stir it up again. Let it sit for several hours (or overnight). When you check your detergent the next morning (or whenever) it will be all gloppy and gelatinous, but it is pretty much done. Stir it pretty vigorously again to break it up and make it relatively smooth and even. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Now you’re ready to use it. Fill up your old detergent jug if you have one to make it easier to pour and use. Pouring or dipping from the bucket each time you use it is a little unwieldy. Use 1/2 cup per large load of laundry.

Put the rest of your soap away for the next time.
Put the rest of your soap away for the next time.
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Heat until the soap is just melted and blended.
The finished product!
The finished product!

While I’m at it, if you want to be a totally green DIY’er, you don’t need to buy expensive fabric softener either. You can totally use white vinegar. No, your clothes won’t smell like a pickle. You won’t even notice a difference. I have a Downey ball, so I just fill that up with cleaning vinegar (6% acidity, as opposed to 5% acidity of regular vinegar). I bought two gallons of it when it was marked down a few months back. Regular vinegar works just fine, too. Just don’t use cider vinegar. If you don’t have a Downey ball, simply add about 1/2 of vinegar to the rinse cycle. Supposedly it makes your whites whiter, but I’ve only used it a couple times on whites, and I haven’t noticed a difference yet.

The cost for this DIY detergent is pennies on the dollar compared to store-bought. My calculations are pretty rough, but here goes. I can do about 100 loads of laundry with the batch I made. The Fels Naptha was 1.99. One third of that is about 66 cents. The Borax was 8.99. A half a cup is about 1/16 of the box. That’s about 56 cents per batch. The washing soda was 9.00. Half a cup is 1/4 of the box, so that comes out to 64 cents per batch. This comes out to a whopping 1.8 cents per load. Two cents if you round up. That’s about 1/20th of what the store-bought stuff costs if it’s not on sale. One tenth of the cost if it is on sale. With buying one box of Borax and one box of washing soda, I’m pretty much stocked up for about five years with detergent. Hard to argue with that.

Caramelized Fennel Mac and Cheese + a Dreamfields pasta GIVEAWAY

I partnered with Dreamfields pasta and several other fabulous food bloggers to celebrate National Pasta Month. The post and giveaway are sponsored by Dreamfields. Below you can win a variety pack of Dreamfields pasta and a $25 gift card. Also, check out #Iheartdreamfields on Twitter for other Dreamfields pasta recipes throughout the month of October.

The Hubs and I try to do a “date night” once a week. Sometimes we go out, but we really enjoy staying in and “cheffing it up” together on date night. It can be anything from a couple steaks on the grill and a nice bottle of wine, to trying our hand at ethnic food we both love eating. Now that the weather is getting cooler and fall has officially set in, date nights in call for something warm and hearty for dinner, and being being curled up on the couch with a movie.

Enter caramelized fennel mac and cheese. It’s elegant and fancy enough for a date night dinner, but still an old favorite, mac and cheese.

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This recipe happened by accident, really. A while back, I had bought some fennel to make another pasta dish that had long pasta. I can’t even remember what it was, but it definitely called for fennel and linguine or something. When I finally got around to making it, I realized I didn’t even have any long pasta, but I did have elbow macaroni. I totally improvised, and threw the fennel in the skillet to saute while I boiled some macaroni for mac and cheese. I figured I’d just throw it all together and see what happened. Turns out, it was amazing.

Don’t be turned off by the fennel in this recipe. When it is raw, it does have an a bracingly strong taste that some people don’t like. But when you cook it down a bit with some butter, the taste turns mellow and soft, and compliments melty cheese sauce and pasta perfectly.

Fennel shaped like hearts. So romantic, right?
Fennel shaped like hearts. So romantic, right?

Date Night Caramelized Fennel Mac and Cheese (serves 2)

  • 1 Tb extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tb unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups of chopped fennel, bulb and stalks (this was about half of a bulb and stalks)
  • 1 cup Dreamfields elbow macaroni, dry
  • 1 1/2 Tb extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 Tb all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of 2% milk
  • pinch of black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 4 oz. fontina, shredded
  • 2 Tb of shredded parmesan (divided)
  • 3 Tb bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp unsalted butter

Bring about 2 quarts of water to a boil in a medium-sized pot. When the water reaches a boil, cook the macaroni according to the package directions. Meanwhile, heat the 1 Tb olive oil and 1 Tb butter in a skillet until melted on low heat. Add the chopped fennel, and turn the heat up to medium high. Stir the fennel constantly to keep it from burning until it begins to turn golden brown and soft. This takes about 10 minutes. Set aside. Add the 1 1/2 Tb of oil and flour to another pot, and turn heat on low. Blend together into a paste and cook for a minute or two. Slowly whisk in the milk, until all the lumps are gone. Season with black pepper and the nutmeg. Turn the heat up to medium and whisk slowly to keep from scorching until the mixture thickens. Add the fontina cheese and 1 Tb of the parmesan to the milk mixture and stir well to melt the cheese, so the sauce is smooth. Add the caramelized fennel to the cheese sauce. Once the macaroni is al dente, remove from heat and drain the water. Mix the cheese and fennel with the noodles and stir well to completely coat the noodles. Add the 1 tsp of butter to a skillet (can be the same one you used for the fennel) and turn on low heat. When the butter is melted, add the bread crumbs, 1 Tb shredded parmesan and paprika, and stir well. Brown on low heat for a few minutes, stirring often until the bread crumbs turn a deep brown and crisp up a bit. Divide the mac and cheese between two dishes and sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture on top of each.

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Browned and crunchy breadcrumb topping.
Browned and crunchy breadcrumb topping.

Because mac and cheese is so rich and decadent, it’s nice to get a little help in this dish in the good-for-you department from Dreamfields pasta. You guys know I don’t usually subscribe to health claims, but here’s why Dreamfields pasta gets a gold star, and you should be choosing it when you buy pasta. Dreamfields pasta has more fiber and fewer calories and sugar per serving that other types of pastas. It’s because Dreamfields has formulated their pasta with inulin, a form of vegetable fiber. Everyone knows that fiber is good for you, but the reason is that it helps slow your digestion so you feel fuller and you don’t have a carb crash later like we sometimes do when we heat carb-heavy dishes. I also like it because it cooks perfectly al dente in only a few minutes, and doesn’t get mushy easily.

Voila! Date night dinner.

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Now for the fun part… The GIVEAWAY!

Dreamfields will send one lucky reader a variety (seven kinds!) of pastas and a $25 gift card. All you have to do to get in on the action, is simply leave a comment below telling me what kind of pasta is your favorite. You can get more chances to win by “liking” or “following” Dreamfields on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Just leave a separate comment for each one with your respective Twitter or Instagram username. So, if you do all three of those things, you can have a total of four entries for the giveaway. Just remember to leave a separate comment for each one that you do.

The winner will be selected randomly and notified by email. The contest is open until Monday, October 27th at 11:59 pm. The contest is open to U.S. addresses only.

Good luck!

The legal jargon: This post was sponsored by Dreamfields Pasta. As always, opinions are 100% mine. I received some shwag in the form of pasta from Dreamfields for writing it, and you can receive some too, if you enter the giveaway.

PROJECT RECIPE: Spicy Tofu Hotpot

I found this recipe for Spicy Tofu Hotpot on Pinterest, and because I love slurpy Asian noodles of any kind, I decided to make it.

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It was worth it.

PROJECT RECIPE verdict: Keeper. I was skeptical because it doesn’t have any fancy exotic ingredients, but it was soooo tasty. It hit all those umami notes. And it was super easy and on the table in no time. Perfect for weeknights. Like perhaps Meatless Monday. And it was pretty healthy, to boot.

How I changed the recipe: I didn’t have lo mein. All I had was linguini, so that’s what I had to use. Also, I used chicken stock because I was making some in the slow cooker from the carcass left from the coq au vin I made earlier in the week. That added lots of flavor, but I’m sure it would have been good with vegetable stock. Also, I didn’t have any fresh ginger–had to use the powder. All these things apparently didn’t take away from the dish a bit, as it was delicious. For the chili garlic sauce, I used Sriracha.

If you are new to Asian cooking, this would be a great recipe to start with. It didn’t take any hard-to-find ingredients. Bok choy is found in the the produce section pretty regularly, and if you can’t find it, you could use any bitter green like kale, which is easy to find.

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Actually, the bok choy was from one of the Hubs’s coworkers who grew bok choy in his garden this summer. He was sick of eating so much of it, so he brought him two bunches. I gladly accepted it. Homegrown free bok choy? That’s a no-brainer.

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The recipe says it serves six, but I’d say it’s more like four for a meal. Nonetheless, I cannot wait to have the leftovers. It’s a glowing endorsement anytime you are looking forward to leftovers, in my book. Click the link at the beginning of the post to get the link to the recipe and try this one yourself.

Coq Au Vin (4)

Coq Au Vin Blanc

The title sounds fancy, right? It’s French and all. But the truth is, this dinner couldn’t be simpler.

Coq Au Vin (4)

Want to impress a dinner guest by making a fancy dish that tastes like you slaved over the stove all day, without all the fuss? This is your game.

Almost all the recipes you see call for red wine, but I like it better with white. It’s a visual thing. I’m sure red wine makes a fine coq au vin, but purple chicken doesn’t look that appetizing. Cooking chicken low and slow in some wine in the oven with some aromatic vegetables and herbs makes it absolutely heavenly. The meat stays juicy when you braise it, and the juices that do run out of it mix with the wine and make a velvety rich sauce. (Don’t worry, heat cooks the alcohol out of the wine.) You’ll seriously be amazed how easy it is to get this dinner on the table. And now that weather is turning cool, this is the perfect weekend dinner.

Coq Au Vin Blanc (serves 4 generously)

  • 1 four-pound whole chicken (or 1 whole chicken already cut up, about 4 pounds)
  • 2 Tb extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tb bacon fat (or sub olive oil)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • about a handful of parsley, chopped fine
  • 2 cups of decent white wine, not too sweet (I used Riesling)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp dried thyme

Pre-heat oven to 325. Cut up the chicken if it’s whole. Pat dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil and bacon fat in a large dutch oven on medium heat. Put the pieces of chicken in the pot, skin side down. If you cannot fit it all in the pot at one time in one layer, work in batches. Brown the skin in the hot oil until it’s golden brown. Turn the pieces over and brown the other side. Once the chicken is all browned, remove to a plate. Turn up the heat to medium high. Pour 1 cup of the wine in the pot and scrape up the bits of chicken and skin stuck to the bottom of the pot with a spoon. Cook for a minute or so. Add the vegetables, parsley, thyme and adjust salt and pepper if needed. Add the chicken pieces back to the pot and the remaining cup of wine. Bring the pot back to a boil. Remove from the stove top and place in the oven with a lid. Braise an hour and half to two hours. Remove from the oven when the chicken is tender and cooked through. Let rest on the stove top with the lid on for ten minutes before serving to allow sauce to thicken a bit.

Coq Au Vin

It’s important to pat the chicken skin dry to get the golden brown skin. Make sure your chicken is in a single layer.

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Add the wine and bring back up to a boil before putting it in the oven. Your house will smell amazing and your stomach will be growling. I guarantee it.

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Finally, it’s done and you can put it on the table and look all smug while your dining companion raves about how amazing it is. Or, if you’re all by yourself, pat yourself on the back at this fancy French dinner you just made and fantasize about the leftovers in your lunch the next day.

Making this dish really takes about 25 minutes or less of active cooking time, the oven does all the heavy lifting for you. The wine gives it such a rich and decadent element that makes it seem way fancier than it really is. It’s hard to mess up braising. You’d be remiss not to try this on a lazy Sunday for dinner. Makes me wonder why I don’t do it more often.

Scenes from the farmers market

I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I hadn’t been to the local farmers market, The Capitol Market, all season long.

It’s just that I have had lots of veggies come my way from my father-in-law’s garden, and I sometimes order from the Monroe Farm Market, which delivers to Charleston.

I think late summer and early fall are the absolute best times to visit the Capitol Market, though. The market is absolutely bursting with vegetables from the peak of the season, plants, flowers and farm products. I stopped by on my way home from work to check the selection and price a few things I plan on getting in the next few weeks–winter squash for storing, a box of apples to make into apple sauce and can, and some plants.

I found a true feast for the eyes. Beautiful late day light, so many colors and textures, and some really great people to talk to.

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Garlic from one of my favorite producers. I’ve never bought their garlic before, but they have fabulous hydroponic tomatoes that are available before any other fresh tomatoes–key when you are longing for that first ripe tomato in May, and the field tomatoes won’t be ready until the end of June.

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The booths were all fully stocked with fall farm products; Indian corn, winter squash and pumpkins. A lot of people seem to buy this stuff to decorate their porches with it. I buy the winter squash and pumpkins to store. Last year, I had a Long Island Cheese squash in my garage until February. They are supposedly some of the best for storing.

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I chuckled because I knew a lot of these varieties. I think it’s because I’m a seed catalog nerd. I pour over those in January and February when the snow is flying. Guatemalan Banana squash, blue hubbard, cushaw, turk’s turban (not in this pic). But there was one I didn’t recognize.

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This big bright orange boy in the middle. It was like the color was fake or something it was so bright. Gorgeous!

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Of course, fall produce and products aren’t the only things left. There were still tons of tomatoes, peppers, beets, zucchini, green beans, eggplants and the like. August and September are prime months for the full summer bounty.

Look at these beautiful October beans! So pretty!

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I walked back to my car through the inside. It’s open year-round. There are so many neat things for sale inside. There are permanent booths selling a variety of things; a meat shop, a seafood supplier, a wine and cheese shop, a local choclatier, and a produce supplier that carries lots of neat dried beans, pastas, olive oils, dried goods and other goodies.

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It’s hard not to be in love with this place. At the end of October, the produce booths outside will clear out to make way for Christmas tree farms to bring in Christmas trees and other evergreen products. Then, the outside booths will be empty until spring flowers are ready about April. I’ll be back next week to pick up a box of apples to can and probably a rosemary plant to put in the ground.

It’s Greens Season.

One of the many things I love about this time of year is that greens are back. A lot of greens don’t like hot weather, so shorter cooler days mean greens are growing again. Kale is my favorite, but I’ve gotten some interesting varieties from the Monroe Farm Market that I would not have picked up otherwise. A couple years ago, I bought kohlrabi greens from the market, and I didn’t even know people ate them. They turned out fantastic in a stir-fry.

Recently, the market had broccoli greens. Again, I didn’t realize you could eat those, but I love that these farmers are using everything from the plant. Nothing gets wasted. If I was the person growing the broccoli, of course, I’d compost the roots and use the tough stalks in vegetable stock, too.

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I had a big bunch of broccoli greens, and I wasn’t really sure what to do with them. I added about half to some pasta with ricotta cheese , caramelized onions and white wine.

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They have a little bit of the bitter bite like broccoli, but mellowed out some when I wilted them down with the white wine. The ricotta and caramelized onions were a nice sweet note against the broccoli greens’ bite.

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I think I’ll use the other half of the bunch for a stir fry. Bitter is great for Asian flavors. You get that umami thing going.

Now that it’s fall (technically today), you’ll start seeing some of these cool weather veggies. Don’t be afraid to try the broccoli greens. You won’t be sorry!

Slow Cooker Ratatouille

Two super amazing things mashed up are really just one big super awesome amazing thing, right? Yessir!

Take the slow cooker, which is pretty much a must-have no matter if you cook or not. Like, even if you live in the tiniest New York City apartment and can’t even cook a peanut butter sandwich, you MUST have a slow cooker. I don’t use mine as much as I could. As a matter of fact, every time I have it out, I say to myself “I need to make more things in my slow cooker.” It takes like a nanokilowatt or something to run it all day long. And, seriously, you throw some stuff in it and turn it on, and a mere few hours later, it’s hot, ready and smells amazing.

That’s what I did with this ratatouille. Ratatouille is another amazing thing in my book. It’s old-timey French peasant food. Peasants in every culture have had the best kept secrets in the kitchen. It’s probably because they had to be creative and industrious and make every morsel of food count to feed large families on a few scraps. Ratatouille is a stew-ish dish with a ton of veggies and some herbs. That’s pretty much it. It’s amazing how something can be so fabulously simple and delicious. Actually, I find that sometimes the most simple dishes are the sleepers–the one’s that knock your socks off. This is no exception.

So, I did not cook this in the classic manner. And that pains me for a hot second because Joel Robuchon is quoted right there on the wikipedia page saying that the secret to a good ratatouille is to cook the vegetables separately. But only for a hot second, because this ratatouille, while not cooked in the classical manner is delicious AND easy. If you’re looking for the traditional preparation of the dish, you’re on the wrong page. If you’re looking for a hearty vegetable-based stew recipe that makes a ton, is really delicious, and that you could practically make blindfolded, look no further.

One time I was watching The Next Foodnetwork Star, I believe, and one of the contestants said the way she remembered how to make ratatouille is “EZ POT.” Eggplants, zucchini, peppers, onions and tomatoes. That’s apparently the order you add the vegetables, but it’s also great to remember what goes in it. That always has stuck with me. This is definitely an “easy pot” of lunch or dinner. Or both.

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Slow Cooker Ratatouille

  • 3 cups diced eggplant
  • 2 cups sliced zucchini (you can sub yellow squash–I did)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large sweet peppers, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 8 large tomatoes
  • 3 or 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp of dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 cup dry red wine

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the eggplant and zucchini in a baking dish. Pour about 4 tablespoons of olive oil over them, season with salt and pepper and the oregano. Stir well. Bake about 30 minutes until soft, stirring once in the middle of the baking. Once softened, add the eggplant and zucchini to your slow cooker. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and prepare an ice bath. Core the tomatoes and cut an X in the bottom of each. In batches, drop them into the boiling water and leave for 30 seconds or a minute–until you see the skins crack along the cuts. Remove and put into the ice bath for a few minutes. The skins should slip right off. Add the skinned tomatoes whole to the slow cooker. Add everything else to the slow cooker and stir well. Cook on low for 8 hours. You may need to break up the tomatoes with a spoon once the cooking is done, but they will probably just fall right apart. Makes 6 large servings (or 8 probably normal servings). Serve with warm crusty bread and a little shredded parmesan cheese over the top.

The first time I ever made ratatouille (or even heard of it, really) was when I moved into my first apartment after I finished school. I subscribed to Martha Stewart Living, and a recipe for it was in the first issue I received. The vegetable-appreciator that I am exclaimed “where has this been all my life?!?” Since then, I make it about once or twice a year when I end up with a pile of vegetables I need to get out of the fridge. This time, it was eggplant that had some bad spots in it. I just cut around it, and you’d never know. I’ve been enjoying this for lunch all week. What a great way to end summer!

Duck Eggs!

Last week, the Hubs came home from work with a surprise for me. He was helping a landowner who had chickens and ducks. They got to chatting about fresh eggs, and she gave him six duck eggs to try. We’ve never had duck eggs, and I couldn’t wait to try them.

One was cracked, so I figured it would be best to scramble it. That is what I love about this time of year. Putting fresh veggies in scrambled eggs. I just used what I had in the fridge. I had some poblano peppers, goat cheese, onions, garlic and cilantro. Throw in some potatoes, and you’ve got a pretty fancy hash, if I do say so myself.

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These suckers are huge. I thought the yolks would be more yellow than store-bought chicken eggs, but it depends on what they eat, I think. At least that’s the case with chickens. Chickens that are free range lay eggs with deep yellow yolks because they eat lots of bugs and grubs rather than only feed. I don’t know what these ducks had been eating. The yolks weren’t super rich, but they were double the size of a chicken egg yolk.

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Honestly, I couldn’t tell much difference in taste with chicken eggs. The good thing is that two eggs go a lot farther when it’s duck eggs. This hash is super easy and full of flavor. You can use chicken eggs just like I did with duck eggs.

Poblano and Cheese Breakfast Scramble (serves 2)

  • 1 tb extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 and onion, diced
  • 2 poblano peppers, seeded and diced
  • 3 medium potatoes, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 large (chicken) eggs
  • pinch of baking powder
  • 2 tb whole milk
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (I changed my mind once I started cooking)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • sour cream and cilantro for serving

In a large skillet, heat olive oil until hot. Add potatoes, season with salt and pepper, and stir well. Turn heat to medium and put a tight fitting lid on the skillet. Check every few minutes to make sure they aren’t sticking, and stir. When the potatoes are tender and have a bit of brown crust on them (about 10 minutes), add the onion and pepper. You might have to add a little more oil. Stir well, and cook for a few minutes until the onion and peppers begin to soften. Add the garlic and cumin. Crack the eggs into a small bowl and whisk a few times to break the yolks. Add the baking powder and whisk vigorously until it’s completely incorporated. Add the milk and whisk to mix thoroughly. Add the eggs to the potato mixture. Wait a few seconds, then move the potato mixture around with a spatula. You’ll have to keep turning it over and over to get it browned and done. When it looks like the eggs are set, add the cheese and stir well. Serve hot with a scoop of sour cream and chopped cilantro.

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This is so yummy. It’s just the right amount of heat and bite from the peppers–not too overpowering. The eggs and cheese make it rich, and the potatoes have a bit of crunchy bits on some of them. If you’re not a fan of sweet stuff for breakfast, this is right in your wheelhouse. And actually, I wouldn’t have even realized I was eating duck eggs if I didn’t know.

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You could use what ever veggies you have on hand to make this. It would be great with sweet peppers, tomatoes, even throw in some spinach if you have some. I might even go as far as kale. Hmm, I might need to try that with the goat cheese next weekend. I have four more duck eggs after all.