No-sweat Cooking, Day 20

White Bean & Avocado Wraps

31 dishes, 31 days – I’m cooking my way through Melissa Clark‘s “No-Sweat Cooking” from the August issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray. And to those of you who made your way over here via rachaelraymag.com, welcome!

Okay, I’ve gone rogue.

I didn’t actually mash the beans and avocados together, because our avocados were still a little firm, and… well… I’m still feeling a little twitchy around the avocados after my recent knife-versus-pit mishap.

I’ve also got a not-so-secret thing for salt and acid flavors, so I ended up using quick-pickled shallots in place of raw onion in this dish, and Mike and I both liked the extra oomph. I will say I used a bit of a light hand on the cheese – Microplane graters are awesome for giving you soft, airy mounds of cheese, but with the rich creaminess of the beans and avocado, and the peppery radicchio, we found ourselves wanting more cheddar flavor. Next time, I’l definitely add more.

Dinner: August 16, 2010

Overall, this was a great combination of flavors, and a surprisingly filling meal with a few wedges of perfectly ripe heirloom tomato alongside.

Get the Recipe: White Bean & Avocado Wraps

No-sweat Cooking, Day 13

Prosciutto-Radish Sandwiches

31 dishes, 31 days – I’m cooking my way through Melissa Clark‘s “No-Sweat Cooking” from the August issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray. And to those of you who made your way over here via rachaelraymag.com, welcome!

I’ve been a fan of the combo of radishes, butter, and salt since I first tried them together at at NYC’s Prune forever ago, so this sandwich seemed like a sure thing. The sandwich is also just about the easiest thing in the world to put together, so it seemed to be a good way to get back on the No-sweat Cooking wagon after losing a weekend to illness (mine and our Kali girl’s) and a few pressing projects.

prosciutto, butter, radishes

As with any dish that contains so few ingredients, quality is super important. I started with a great fresh baguette from Seven Stars Bakery, sweet and porky La Quercia Prosciutto Americano from Farmstead, farm fresh radishes, softened Kate’s butter and good coarse sea salt. The peppery snap of the radishes was really nice against the silky prosciutto – as Mike said, “this one’s a keeper,” and I expect we’ll be enjoying these Prosciutto-Radish Sandwiches often.

Get the recipe: Prosciutto-Radish Sandwiches

No-sweat Cooking, Day 6

Arcadian Fields heirlooms

31 dishes, 31 days – I’m cooking my way through Melissa Clark‘s “No-Sweat Cooking” from the August issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray. And to those of you who made your way over here via rachaelraymag.com, welcome!

To me, the most important part of a BLT is the tomato – you just can’t have a great sandwich without slices of perfectly ripe summer tomato, fragrant and juicy.

L + T

I’m particularly fond of these “ox heart” tomatoes from our friends at Arcadian Fields, a dense-fleshed heirloom variety with unbelievable flavor.

B

Sure, the bacon’s important too, but half the fun of eating a BLT is getting a little messy, leaning over your plate as you eat, rivulets of tomato juice mingled with mayo running down your fingers with each bite.

Sundried Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Jam

Melissa Clark’s Sweet & Spicy BLT adds another element to that luscious liquor, calling for a swipe of pepper jelly to add a little heat and sweetness. I opted to use a bit of our food52 friend Mrs. Larkin‘s Sundried Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Jam instead, since we had the last of a jar in the fridge, and it was a delicious addition.

Sweet & Spicy BLT

As summer lunches go, it doesn’t get much better, or easier, than this.

Get the recipe: Sweet & Spicy BLT

The Great Unknown

Dinner:  December 3, 2009

This week has been a struggle. Just last week we celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday and expressed our gratitude for, among other things, how well our Kali has done with her treatment for anemia, but that same night when she stretched out on the table for scritches, we discovered something troubling – a lump. Mike pointed it out to the vet at Kali’s Monday appointment, a cell sample was taken for testing, and we waited. I’ve been distracted and out of sorts all week as a result, fretting about the unknown and fighting to stay healthy myself while seemingly everyone around me battles one bug or another.

little sammiches

I’ve also been fighting exhaustion – mental, pysical, and emotional. So much has happened during this whirlwind year, and while there are some potentially great things for us to look forward to in 2010, they are all still very much up in the air, and the weight of all the uncertainty we are facing has been difficult to bear. It has been hard to find inspiration, hard to find words to put down on a page, hard to just keep going day after day.

pressed

And while I planned and planned for our Thanksgiving meal, I never really got around to sketching out meals for this week. I brought home a mishmash of produce from last Saturday’s farmers’ market, but without any advance plans it has been difficult to get interesting meals to take shape this week. So there was pasta. And pizza. Soup and more soup. By last night soup was all that I wanted, a big bowl of cream-laced tomato, with tiny grilled cheese sandwiches alongside. Comfort in a bowl, a variant of one of my oldest “recipes“, something simple and warm to help chase my blues away.

The call from the vet came this morning, the results, “inconclusive.” We’ll keep waiting, and watching, forging ahead through the uncertainty until answers start to appear. I see a lot more soup in my future.