polenta with slow-roasted cherry tomatoes and pesto

Polenta with Slow-Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Pesto

I love when my garden dictates what I am going to cook. This past week, both the red cherry and yellow pear tomato plants were loaded with fruit, and when that happens simultaneously, we just can’t eat them fast enough. To extend their shelf life, I slow roasted them with a little garlic and some fresh herbs from the garden. At the same time, the basil plant was lush and green, with enough fragrant leaves to make a batch of pesto sauce. Continue reading

About these ads

greek orzo salad with mustard-dill vinaigrette

Greek Orzo Salad with Mustard-Dill Vinaigrette
This pasta is ideal for a potluck or picnic.  It will feed a large group and can sit out a bit at the buffet table.  But that’s not the only reason to make this Greek orzo salad.  It is easy to make and packs well for light, yet filling work day lunches.  It also makes a wonderful summer evening supper to be enjoyed outdoors, perhaps, with some crusty bread and a glass of wine.  Like many pasta salads, this one tastes better the next day, when all of the flavors have had a change to meld. Continue reading

andalusian gazpacho

Andalusian Gazpacho

Gazpacho is a cold soup from Andalucía, in southern Spain. Many food historians believe that it is derived from a Roman dish made with bread and water flavored with olive oil and salt. The name gazpacho may come from the Latin word, caspa, meaning “fragments” or “little pieces”, which refers to the bread crumbs, an essential ingredient in the Andalusian version. The bread not only thickens the soup, but also makes it more filling. Tomatoes, considered today as classic ingredient in gazpacho, was not added to the soup until the discovery of the New World.

Continue reading

pizza carbonara

PIzza Carbonara

One of the things my husband, Chris, and I like to cook together at home is pizza (recipe here and here). It’s quick and easy to make and allows us to customize and be creative with the toppings. When we have time, we like to make our own pizza dough, but when we’re on-the-go, like this weekend, pre-made dough from Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods does the trick just fine.  Just roll the dough and add toppings and it’s ready to go in the oven.

Continue reading

strawberries and cream muffins

Strawberries and Cream Muffins

Strawberries and cream. They make a great pair, don’t they? In their simplest forms, they are spectacular, but they’re even better when baked together, like in these muffins. As soon as I stumbled upon this recipe, I knew I had to make it. Fortunately for me, strawberries are available year-round in Southern California.

Continue reading

raw: italian yellowtail crudo with basil-orange vinaigrette

Italian Yellowtail Crudo

Over the last couple of posts, I’ve taken you to Hawaii for salmon poke and to Tahiti for poisson cru.  Today, I’m taking you halfway around the world to Italy for pesce crudo, which literally translates to “raw fish.” It is similar to the Japanese sashimi, but instead of wasabi, soy sauce, and pickled ginger, Italians traditionally dress the fish with extra-virgin olive oil, lemon, and sea salt. As with the other raw fish dishes I’ve shared with you, the key to crudo is to use the freshest quality ingredients and let their flavors shine.

Continue reading

shrimp and avocado salad with pancetta, lemon, and mache

Shrimp and Avocado Salad

I love lazy mornings like the one I had this morning, with no alarm clocks and no long commutes.  I didn’t have to fuss with my hair, and stayed in my pajamas a little longer.  I slept in, groggily waking up just in time for Chris to hand me my morning latté and to kiss him goodbye, as he scurried off to work.  I spent the early morning wandering about my garden, lamenting my tardiness in planting the zucchini, carrots, and peas, which I promised myself I would do tomorrow.  I halfheartedly leafed through a couple of cookbooks, while watching The Today Show, looking for inspiration for what to make for lunch. I finally got dressed and headed out the door to run some errands. Once I arrived at Whole Foods, I took my time wandering around the pristine aisles, where the produce guy caught me doing a happy dance after spotting some fresh rhubarb, hidden behind some carrots and turnips. Continue reading

olive oil muffins

These muffins, courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis, sounded so good and unique that I just had to make them. The recipe called for both olive oil and balsamic vinegar, ingredients not commonly found in muffins. Don’t worry, these two flavors are subtle, not overpowering at all. The balsamic vinegar complements the sweetness of the muffins, and the olive oil imparts a fruity flavor. While vegetable or canola oil are not unusual in baking, olive oil is not often used because of its distinct flavor, but in this recipe, however, the olive oil is a great addition.
Continue reading

Slow Roasted Tomatoes


Over the last week, I harvested over a pound of beautiful tomatoes, and I want to preserve  some of them for use later in the week.  Ignoring the stifling summer heat, I turned on my oven and roasted my tomatoes for close to 2 hours.  I was rewarded for my long, hot and sweaty wait with the sweetest, and arguably, the most intense tomato flavor I have ever tasted.  The slow roasting method really brought out the sweetness of the tomatoes, giving them a slightly caramelized, candy-like flavor.  Imagine how good it would be to squeeze the roasted garlic on a piece of crusty bread with a spoonful of roasted tomatoes garnished with sprigs of thyme.  Yummy!

Continue reading