Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash SoupIf you are anything like us, when autumn comes along, we start thinking of soups.   This soup is one of our all-time favorite comfort foods for this time of year.  We have made it many times, and after several variations, we think we have perfected this classic recipe.  It is very easy to make and can be done within about an hour, plus it scales easily and reheats well.

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Sesame Tempeh with Mushrooms

tempehThis post is the result of an exciting new experiment.  Having tasted tempeh at a restaurant, we decided that we had to attempt something with it.   For those who do not know what it is, tempeh is a soy product which originated in Indonesia.   Unlike its cousin tofu, it is not highly processed, but is grainier, consisting of soy beans held together by a fermentation process.  It is extremely tasty, has a crunchy nutty characteristic, and is also quite healthy, and is a vegetarian dish that would satisfy many meat-eaters.    It can be found in the vegetable section of many supermarkets, near the tofu.   Despite never having cooked it before, we decided to create a brand new recipe, which while using some techniques we found in other recipes, is wholly our own.    It came out extremely good.  We can’t wait to cook with tempeh again.

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Rosemary & Dill Salmon

dill_rosemary_salmonHot summer day, time to grill outside again.  There’s something about a backyard party with friends that inspires creation.  We love salmon, and decided to try something new, with a few tried and true elements, with the addition of fresh dill.   The results were a resounding success;  salmon grills exceptionally well.      Continue reading

Grilled Sesame Salmon and Vegetables

salmon_veggiesIt was another warm spring day, and it is grilling time again.  We don’t make fish enough, but I love salmon.  It looked particularly appealing in the supermarket, so this was thrown together based on what else looked good in the produce section.   The sesame oil is a piece of experimentation, which turned out successfully, especially on the vegetables.   The pasta side is simply some rice noodles with a Thai peanut sauce (found on the international foods aisle). Continue reading

Shrimp Pasta Primavera Extravaganza

pastaprimavera2This time of year, this type of dish comes to mind;  fresh vegetables always remind us of spring.    We like to toss together a combination of vegetables and mix it together with some pasta and wine and have a light meal.   Shrimp is a nice touch as well.   However, this time we went a little berserk in the vegetable aisle of the supermarket and decided to add pretty much everything that came to mind.  At one point during the cooking we felt some concern that there were too many  vegetables as they seemed to be piling over the edge of the pot and the pasta had yet to be added (thus the “extravaganza” in the name, and it was no longer what one would call “light”), but this proved to be not an issue at all.   The dish turned out to be a resounding success and all of the flavors worked really well together.  We couldn’t stop piling extra helpings onto our plates and still have plenty of leftovers, which will make the next few days that much better.   Here’s how we did it:

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Vegetable Pasta Salad

As the weather starts to get nicer, it’s hard to stay in the kitchen cooking, which is why we sometimes make a few cold dishes which can last for a few days, and don’t need heating to eat.  This one is an old favorite, and is a variation on an old Mollie Katzen recipe (it has varied quite a bit over the years).   The key flavor which ties it all together is the fresh basil.  It can serve a lot of people;  goes well at potlucks, or is easily refrigerated for eating over several days (though it may go quickly; it’s hard not to go for more)  Here is our version.

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Chicken and rice pilaf

This is a recipe that I have been making for years.  I am uncertain to its source, but this is how I make it.  It works well as a good meal in one pot, and great for serving a many people as it is easily scalable to create more.    I have tried a number of variations but almost always go back to this basic recipe.     It is very easy and people usually go back for seconds (or more). Continue reading

Steak and vegetable skewers with couscous

IMG_20140412_163807On the first sunny Saturday of spring, the urge to grill was too great to resist.  In the area of safe experimentation, I used a similar recipe that I had used in the past for swordfish.   A good marinade seems to be something that can transfer from one medium to another, so I’ll probably use it again, maybe with some other sort of meat, or maybe with none.  However, for the sake of simplicity I will describe how I made it this time.  The meat and vegetables are served as one dish together, either on or beside the couscous.

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Panzanella

panzanellaPanzanella is another wonderful traditional Tuscan dish, made from items in the garden and stale or dry bread. We discovered it in the beautiful city of Montalcino.   After viewing some absolutely stunning views from atop the castle, we wandered and found a nice little café for a glass of the city’s specialty wine, Brunello. On a whim we ordered this dish and it was perfect, and refreshing.  We had to learn how to make it as soon as we returned home.   It is served at room temperature.  Below is a rough recipe.  I have added a few things that may not be traditional (e.g, the mustard) but it can be modified to taste. Continue reading

Beef with Wine and Mushrooms

This is a simple recipe, the genesis of which was created on a cold New Year’s day.  All the stores were closed, so looking through the cabinets and the freezer produced enough for a delicious meal.  It has since been slightly modified to add more ingredients.  Choosing which wine to add depends on your taste, following the rule that if it is good enough to drink, it is good enough to add to a meal.  The updated version is here. Continue reading