Friday, December 21, 2012

Crispy Fried Chickpeas

It seems the holidays have snuck up on me!  With everything to do, between wrapping up projects for year-end at the office, to shopping for gifts and planning Christmas dinner, these fried chickpeas make a handy snack that's easy to throw in your car or purse.

I'm not big on resolutions, but I'm going to try my best to post more often in 2013.  I'm aiming for an average of one post every two weeks.  Wish me luck!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Campstove Breakfast Hash

We live in Vermont.  It's GORGEOUS.  In the summer, it's lush and verdant; in the winter, a blanket of snow (usually) blankets the ground, making the world seem so much quieter.  And I'm pretty sure God's just showing off in the fall.  Then there's spring, a.k.a. mud season.  Let's not talk about mud season.

In any case, my husband and I were inspired by a collection of events and people to start making those most of what we have at our fingertips.  I've always enjoyed the culinary bounty that Vermont has to offer - bread, cheese, beer, the freshest eggs I've ever laid eyes on, cheese, pastured meats, did I mention cheese? - but we realized that it was time to expand our horizons.  We began kayaking (in a tandem inflatable, which fits quite nicely in our apartment), and camping; and culminated in spending a long weekend at Green River Reservoir, where campsites are reached solely by boat and amenities include a fire ring, and not much else.  It was perfect.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Gazpacho Andaluz

I love this time of year - the days are warm, but the mornings are cool and crisp; the days begin to get shorter and the hub-bub of summer gives way to the rhythms of autumn.  But yet summer persists for a few more weeks, continuing to bring forth tomatoes, zucchini, and late summer raspberries.

This gazpacho andaluz is a great way to make use of tomatoes that have hit their peak, or are even slightly overripe.  The simplicity of this recipe lets the clean, bright flavors of the cucumber and tomato shine, but can also lend itself to a cook's whim - to Saveur magazine's recipe, I added 1/4 teaspoon of sweet smoked spanish paprika to add just a bit of depth.  To serve, I dice a bit of English cucumber (I like the color that the thin peel adds to the soup) and cherry tomatoes.  A drizzle of fruity spanish olive oil is a lovely finish.

See the recipe here:

Happy Labor Day!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Mediterranean-Inspired Tuna Salad

Have you ever thrown something together based on a-little-of-this, and a-little-of-that, and whatever-else-I-have-on-hand?  That's where this recipe came from... it's got some of the flavors of a Ni├žoise salad (olives, lemony vinaigrette, and tuna of course), but feels generally Mediterranean in flavor.  I've made it several times in the past few months, and serve it tucked into a pita, served open-faced on crusty bread, or with a plateful of crostini for scooping.

Also, this is fantastic made a day in advance, so that the flavors can mellow and meld, making it an ideal brown-bag lunch idea.  I like serving it in my small Ball jars for easy transportation, and just because it looks pretty.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Gingery Soup with Shaved Vegetables

I blame it on my local supermarket, but I've been making a lot of stocks and broths lately (a bit out of season, but they freeze wonderfully!).  Lately I've found a bounty of turkey neck and backs, all remarkably cheap, and I have a hard time letting them go to waste.  Once I've made up a batch, I can easily make either hot or chilled soups at a moment's notice.

This soup uses a ginger-infused stock as a base for shaved vegetables, which stand in for noodles.  This soup is great either hot or lightly warmed and topped with a squeeze of key limes and a drizzle of sriracha.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Independence Day!!

Happy Independence Day, America!  After watching the fireworks over Lake Champlain last night, my husband and I have thoroughly enjoyed a restful day feeling lucky for everything we have as Americans.  Regardless of political views or opinions, July 4th seems to be one of the few days we have can all get together and enjoy what we have:  food, family, friends... and a day off of work!

I'll keep this post short and sweet, but I wanted to share this little gem of a recipe.  This dinner came together in a flash and was a light yet satisfying mid-week dinner:  Parsley, mint, and pistachios form the base of a pesto, which is tossed over strands of fettucini, summer's first zucchini, and sweet onion.  Topped with a few super sweet cherry tomatoes, and you've got yourself dinner in about 20 minutes.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Nanny's Potato Salad

All work and no play makes The Lunchbox Tree a dull blog.  All work and no play makes The Lunchbox Tree a dull blog.  All work and no play -- sorry, where was I?  Among so many other things, in the 4 months that have passed since my last post, I've spent copious hours in front of a computer screen at work, leaving me with little desire to post the recipes I've been making.  "Another 45 minutes in front of the computer screen?" I'd think.  "Oh, it can wait another week."  And another week, before I knew it, turned into 4 months.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Ham-Flecked Potato Pancakes

After making an old-school, southern inspired recipe of ham, cream cheese, and red pepper jelly canapes for a midweek potluck (I used phyllo shells instead of water crackers), I had a considerable amount of chopped ham left over.  I would usually default to making a big batch of ham salad, but I wasn't in the mood.  Not wanting to be wasteful, I devised these tasty little latke-like potato pancakes for breakfast that weekend.

These came together in a flash, and were a nice addition to a batch of scrambled eggs - although in all honesty I wish I would have cooked the eggs over-medium, so I could run forkfuls of potato-ey goodness through the runny yolk.  Guess I'll know better for next time!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Jambalaya Risotto

Mardi Gras is upon us!  For me, it's mainly an excuse to make gumbo, king cake, or another New Orleans specialty  This year, I thought I'd try making a jambalaya-flavored risotto.  Fragrant with bell peppers, celery, and onion (the cajun variation on mirepoix), spices, chicken, and smoky sausage, it's a satisfying one-skillet meal.  A side note:  A lot of recipes also call for shrimp or crawfish, but I kept this recipe simple.

Happy Mardi Gras!!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Date Pinwheel Cookies

I know a lot of you are still sticking to New Year's resolutions.  But if you feel like cheating on health-minded goals, let me convince you that these cookies are a good way to go.  Chewy, slightly spiced, with a date-and-pecan ribbon spiraling through each cookie, it's vaguely reminiscent of a Fig Newton, but so much better.

The benefits of these cookies?  It's been suggested that cinnamon may help lower LDL cholesterol, and fasting blood glucose.  Dates have a fair amount of fiber.  And seriously, they're delicious.

This recipe is one I have from Nanny, my paternal grandmother - if memory serves me correctly, she likes to serve these still warm out of the oven (either that, or I was impatient and didn't wait for them to make it to the platter).  These tend to make an appearance around Christmastime, but the dough also freezes well for a few weeks, so it's great to make up over a weekend and bake during the week.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Turkey Bratwurst Burgers

Pardon my nearly two-month long absence.  My "day job" in Human Resources (No, I will not hire you.  I don't work in staffing; I deal with reporting and number crunching.) is always maddeningly busy as one year ends and another begins.  Using dual monitors and living with my eyes glued to databases, oftentimes the last thing I want to do when I come home is turn on another screen.  Things will change when spring rolls around the year-end projects aren't needed, like, yesterday - but for now, I might be blogging a bit less frequently.