Taco Pasta Salad

A few weeks ago the family joined together because my sister and her family were visiting from Ohio.  It was the oldest nephew’s birthday — he turned 5 years old — and he picked the menu for much of the weekend.

One of the items we ate was from my mom’s recipe collection.  I didn’t quite get where the recipe came from, but it was this great Taco Pasta Salad.  The recipe seems great for a potluck, picnic, or as a side during these hot summer months.

Taco Pasta Salad.jpg

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Blueberry and Blackberry Galette with Cornmeal Crust

My birthday buddy came to visit a few weeks ago with his partner.  We got together with my roommate-status friend here in Iowa and after dinner, I invited the crew back to my place for a little dessert.

You may have noticed a trend of berries and/or cornmeal-related item lately.  Berries have been on sale like crazy and after making the biscuits I mentioned in a post a week or so ago, I couldn’t help but look for some more of these recipes which put berries and cornmeal together.

I had never made a galette before.  But, I had eaten one over the holidays at a gathering I was invited to following my dissertation defense.  I figured it was time I put one together.  This recipe came from Cooking Light.  I’m sure it’s in an annual cookbook, but I found it on their web site and recommend you consider making it as well.

Blueberry and Blackberry Galette with Cornmeal Crust

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Garden Medley

Some days I feel surrounded by family.  This fall marks five years since two of my dad’s siblings passed away, within a couple weeks of each other.  I’ve found myself looking to be connected to members of my family, immediate and extended, over the past few weeks.  While having people over and cooking for them, sharing food, I am reminded of family gatherings, where we would often all come together.  We don’t gather as often in the years since my grandparents have passed away, cousins have gotten married, and the number of family members has increased significantly as younger and younger kids have been added.

In this quest for family, I pulled out a cookbook that our family put together in 1995 and was looking to add something to the Grilled Honey Lime Chicken Sandwiches when the director of residence life and his family.  I found this recipe that was submitted to the Anderson Hand-Me-Downs cookbook by my Aunt Kathy.  She was an amazing woman, and she loved all of her nieces and nephews a bunch.

In one of those stories/things of note that  sticks with me as a truth, but could have been a one-off experience, Kathy brought deviled eggs to the only Easter celebration I remember celebrating at my grandparents’ house before my grandfather passed away.  That holiday is the only memory I have of my grandfather that isn’t a story about his stoicism and matter-of-factness passed down from other relatives.  Therefore, in my mind, Kathy always used to bring deviled eggs for Easter.  She doesn’t have a recipe for these eggs in our family cookbook, but I do think of her every time I make or eat deviled eggs.

This salad is even better than I remember those eggs being.  And, better yet, throughout the week I kept adding more vegetables to it until the dressing was gone.  Anything that was fresh in the garden was added and the salad made for a delicious, and slightly sweet, accompaniment to the other items I was eating throughout the week.Garden Medley.jpg

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Cucumber with Mint and Pomegranate Seeds

It has been a bountiful cucumber harvest at my place.  I’m always afraid there are not going to be enough cucumbers, so I over plan, and then the harvest comes and I am searching for the recipes that will help me to enjoy them in the best way possible.

This recipe from Art Smith’s Healthy Comfort Cookbook turned out to be a great recipe.  I was able to use my new favorite kitchen gadget — the mandoline — and put together a yummy and unique salad for lunch one day. Cucumber with Mint and Pomegranate Seeds.jpg

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Olive Oil and Cornmeal Cake with Blackberries

I woke up the other morning wanting to make a cake.  I knew I wanted something quick and easy and that could be made with ingredients I (mostly) had on hand.  Luckily, I love my grocery store at 6:00 in the morning when no one else is there.

I served this cake alongside the Sausage Burgers with Sriracha Honey Mustard.  The original recipe came from the Good Neighbor Cookbook.  It didn’t call for the blackberries, but I decided to add them and help give a little more oomph to the cake.

I was talking about it the next day at work and I don’t think my coworker could believe cornmeal and olive oil were in it, so I ran home over lunch and grabbed the cake.  I served it all around the building.  One of the folks with whom I work shared he loves both cornbread and olive oil and gave the cake a positive grade, so I am guessing the recipe is probably a keeper.

Olive Oil and Cornmeal Cake with Blackberries

Olive Oil and Cornmeal Cake with Blackberries

1 c flour
1/2 c cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 large eggs
1 c sugar
8 oz container creme fraiche (or sour cream)
3/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
1 package blackberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly oil and flour a 9-inch cake pan, tapping out the excess flour, and line the bottom with parchment paper, or oil and flour a 9-inch springform pan.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and creme fraiche.  While whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil.  Add the flour mixture and whisk until just combined (do not overmix).  Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes.  Let cool for at least 30 minutes on a wire rack before unmolding.

If using a cake pan, invert the cake onto a plate, remove the parchment and invert again to serve the cake top side up.  For the springform pan, remove the ring and use a spatula to slide the cake onto a plate.

Sausage Burgers with Honey-Sriracha Mustard

The humidity finally broke in the Midwest last week and it became a time when we could go outside without having our breath taken away and without needing to immediately shower afterwards, I knew it was time to use the grill again.

I had found this recipe over the 4th of July and thought about making it then, but we ended up going out to eat instead.  So, when an opportunity to make the burgers came up for one of my colleagues, her husband, and 2-year old daughter, I knew I should take advantage of the moment.  This is part of the Food and Wine Annual Cookbook 2014.  These are definitely a quick, easy meal to put together, and  it was a nice change from every day burgers.

Sausage Burgers with Sriracha Honey Mustard

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