Today’s recipe is exactly as it is described in its title, simple. In browsing through pinterest months ago I had caught a photo of someone “smashing” their baked potatoes. I loved how they looked and the thought of a little extra crisp to my traditional baked potatoes sounded fantastic. I started to play around with doing this smashed approach to baby potatoes and they came out great. This side dish pairs perfectly with a nice weekend steak and wine duo.
I recently had a craving for a dish that I can probably count on less than one hand how many times I have ate it. I thought that was the weirdest thing to get a craving for something you haven’t consumed any time in recent history (honestly I cannot remember when I even last had this meal). But, I guess that’s how hankerings work, they come when you don’t expect it. The dish I am talking about is cold sesame noodles. From my memory I remember them having a distinct bitter yet creamy flavor from the sesame and peanuts. Because I had all the ingredients in my house to make these, I decided to fulfill my craving without calling for take-out delivery.
For those of you who follow along on Instagram you saw the spectrum of bright red tomatoes that are currently filling the local farmer’s market tables. New Jersey is officially in tomato season, and I could not be happier. There is truly nothing like their juicy, sweet and acidic taste. During the winter I will often avoid tomatoes all together in efforts to not have to be subjected to the flavorless, grainy out of season taste. But in the summer, I find myself looking for endless ways to incorporate them into my meals. In my opinion the best way to enjoy these savory fruits are when they are the main highlight. Good tomatoes need very little help (in fact I love them with just a little salt and nothing else!). However; this recipe takes it up a small notch.
Every week the brightly colored bags of baby bell peppers call my name while at the grocery store but, I so rarely would actually purchase for fear of waste. My assumption was that a 2 lb bag would be too much for my party of 2 household. Of course after thinking about it more I realized that I could probably incorporate them into so many different recipes that it would be a money saving purchase that could be spread across meals. I personally accepted my own challenge to make a large batch and use throughout a week of meals.
A few weeks ago I went to a restaurant in Red Bank, NJ called Dish. It’s a great little BYOB that serves up inspired meals with an Italian influence. One of the specials on the evening we dined there was a watermelon salad with ricotta salate. Our table was intrigued with the combination and ordered one salad to share. It was a sweet and salty delight. I knew it would be an easy dish to recreate and I bookmarked the idea to take home to the kitchen.
Happy Monday everyone! My Paleo challenge has officially ended. You better believe that my first few days of freedom included some carb overloading and dairy indulging. However; all of the “celebratory” meals quickly caught up to me and I honestly missed feeling healthy. That’s not to say I was ready to go back to full time Paleo however; it encouraged me get back to some lighter cooking.
I like quinoa however; my use of this grain was feeling very tired lately. I was convinced there was a way to make it more exciting and flavorful but, I just had not discovered it yet. The thing about quinoa its cooked just by itself it is pretty bland. This very flaw of quinoa is also it’s positive characteristic. Quinoa takes on the flavor(s) of whatever you cook it in or with. It’s a blank canvas that you can get creative with.
Everyone has their own opinion on cranberry sauce. Whether or not it be sweet or tart, whole berry or jellied, homemade or canned is all up for debate. Some would argue its presence on the holiday table at all. I for one have always loved cranberry sauce. It’s the bright flavor that compliments all the carb loaded, mild flavors of other Thanksgiving dishes. I truly enjoy adding a small bite of the zesty sauce along with turkey, stuffing, potatoes, and even those classic root vegetables.
When I think about Thanksgiving produce I envision squash and root vegetables. They tend to be bright with autumn color, savory and comforting. There are a hundred and one ways to prepare an essential vegetable side dish for the holiday table. But, this recipe is my new favorite!