Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Homemade Tortilla Chips

Seriously... these tortilla chips are so incredibly easy, you'll wonder why you haven't made your own before.  These crunchy little morsels come straight from your home deep fryer/dutch oven, get seasoned to taste, and go straight to your table (or in this case, our wide window sill where our friends hang out and watch the sun set over Lake Champlain) while they're still warm.  I guess that technically, real homemade tortilla chips would start with homemade tortillas - but I cheated just a little and used store-bought 6" corn tortillas.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Bad Computer Kharma

Readers: Work computer was infected w/ virus (IT claims Tastespotting installed malicious software? There goes my fave lunchtime activity!   **UPDATE 9/2/10:  Work PC back up and running.  IT says they now believe the attack was more widespread and didn't have anything to do with TS.  Thank goodness!**) Home computer has a bad keyboard - unfortunate tea spill. Hope to be back up and running in no time. In the meantime; enjoy the thyme!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Herbed Corn Chowder

Summer brings to mind a lot of things: green grass, summer vacations, warm weather - or in the case of this summer, HOT, HUMID weather - and corn.  Maybe it's just that I spent most of my teenage years growing up in the mid-west, but summer sweet corn holds a special place in my heart.  (I have a very different mindset on all that corn syrup masquerading as a filler in so many of our commercial foods, but that's another story.)

 So, what to do with all that sweet corn?  It's absolutely phenomenal cooked right on the ear, brushed with butter, and sprinkled with a little S&P (I like to wrap mine in foil and roast it until tender).  But after a few dozen ears, it's nice to do something different.  That's where this herb-flecked corn chowder comes into play.  It's my adaptation of several recipes I've seen over the years, and it's deliciously simple - it can easily be on the table in less than 1/2 hour if you've already cooked up a few ears of corn.  Or, if you'd like to really speed up the process, you can use frozen corn - the recipe will still taste great.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Pasta Bolognese for a Blustery Day

The wind was certainly blowing in Burlington this weekend!  What better to serve than a slow cooking bolognese when the weather takes a turn?  This recipe may not be 100% absolutely true to a traditional pasta bolognese, but it's definitely tasty.  The slow simmering of the sauce allows the flavors to blend and concentrate and creates a deeply hued tomato sauce that's brightened with a touch of dairy.  Bolognese is named after the northern italian town of Bologna, where butter, milk, and cream tend to be much more prevalent than in the dishes of southern Italy.  It may seem odd if you've never seen this type of preparation before, but the dairy really does make a delicious addition and a great counterpoint to the tomatoes in the sauce.

Monday, August 9, 2010

White Bean & Tuna Salad

For a quick, protein packed lunch, nothing beats this white bean and tuna salad.  Alone or served over crunchy romaine or tender mesclun greens, this dish is a snap to create.  And I should probably note that this isn't so much a recipe as it is a method.  You can easily substitute or add your favorite vegetables to the base of tuna, white beans, and vinaigrette; or add a flourish of freshly grated parmesan on top; or add fresh herbs from your garden/market... it's really up to you.  In particular, I think a little thinly sliced fennel would be a nice substitution for the celery - the next time I make this, I will probably give that a try.