Tomato Lobster Pasta

_MG_6657Though autumn in New York City is reportedly the best time of the year, I can't exactly say that I'm happy about summer ending. Beachgoing, sipping cold rosé, picnics outside, bonfires, all the peaches I can manage to eat...summer is my favorite. So I'm soaking up the last few weeks of warm days as much as possible, and when I saw this recipe I knew I had to try it. It  helped that lobster was on sale (and I only needed one lobster for four very large servings). But it did mean that I had to kill it–but I'm happy to say, there was minimal screaming and Ari only helped a little bit._MG_6654 _MG_6652

That said, if you aren't so inclined to kill a lobster of your own, you can easily use shrimp instead–just peel and devein, and throw in the pan with tomatoes to quickly cook._MG_6665

In any case, hope you are all enjoying the last week of summer to the fullest, and have a wonderful long weekend! Any big plans for Labor Day?_MG_6663

Tomato Lobster Pasta (adapted from Bon Appétit)

12 ounces spaghetti

Kosher salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 large shallot, finely chopped

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 pound cherry and/or Sun Gold 
 tomatoes, halved

1  lobster, boiled (approximately 12 minutes), shelled, and picked through 
(or 1 lb. cooked large shrimp)

Freshly ground black pepper

Zest from 1 lemon

2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus additional lemon wedges (for serving)

Cook spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.

 

Meanwhile, heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook shallot and red pepper flakes, stirring often, until shallot is softened, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring often, until tomatoes are soft and juicy, 5–8 minutes.

 

Add lobster meat to skillet and toss to coat. Add pasta and ½ cup reserved pasta cooking liquid; season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing constantly and adding more reserved pasta cooking liquid as needed, until sauce thickens and coats pasta, about 2 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and top with zest.

 

Serve pasta with lemon wedges alongside for squeezing over (and plenty of crusty bread for soaking up the sauce).

Corn Pancakes with Corn and Tomato Salad

_MG_6506Summer is the best time to do the as little as possible to produce. My favorite way to eat peaches is just washed, juice dripping down your chin as you bite into them. Sliced tomatoes need nothing more than a hint of sea salt to be perfect. Roasted corn needs no butter or salt at this time of year. But if you do feel like cooking (and thanks to unseasonably lovely weather in New York, it hasn't been too hot to cook the past few weeks), I suggest you give these pancakes a try. Light but substantial, they stay fresh thanks to a quick corn and tomato salad piled on top, and are just begging for a poached or fried egg to be added on top._MG_6501 This is my favorite time of year for cooking, and here are a few other great recipes that use summer produce, should you be so inclined: tomato-basil bruschetta, zucchini carpaccio, and peach cornmeal shortcakes. _MG_6500

Corn Pancakes with Tomato-Corn Salad (adapted from Food52)

2 cups corn kernels, divided in half (from about 3 ears)

2 tablespoons butter, plus more for cooking

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup red onion, finely diced

1/2 cup basil chiffonade, plus more for garnish

3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cornmeal

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Pinch of salt and pepper

For the topping:

1 pint cherry tomatoes,  halved

1 cup corn kernels

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper

Eggs, poached or fried or left off if you're lazy

  1. In a blender, purée half the corn kernels, butter, and buttermilk until mostly smooth. Transfer to a bowl. Mix in remaining corn kernels, onion, and basil.
  2. In a separate bowl, thoroughly combine all of the dry ingredients.
  3. Add wet ingredients to the dry, and mix until just combined.
  4. In a skillet, melt some butter over medium heat and about add 2 heaping tablespoons of batter for each pancake. (You can customize this based on how big you'd like your cakes to be, of course.) Cook about 2 minutes per side or until cooked through. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  5. For the topping, combine tomato and corn with olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Spoon mixture over the corn cakes.
  6. Top each cake with an egg, salt, and pepper, and garnish with basil.

4th of July Recipes

Mention Independence Day, and I automatically think of barbecues, beach, and best of all, fireworks (not to mention the Will Smith movie). Growing up, we always spent the 4th of July at my grandparents' cabin in northern Minnesota, and the days were full of swimming in the lake, four-wheeling, card-playing, and, of course eating -- as I always think they should be. Living on the east coast makes it hard to get home for this celebratory holiday, but I'll be lying on the beach in Connecticut and hopefully eating some great seafood, which should be almost as good. I rounded up a few recipes that would make great options for a 4th of July barbecue:

_MG_3663Ricotta & Roasted Cherry Tomato Crostini

_MG_4165Guacamole _MG_3090Corn & Tomato Salad

_MG_2829Greek Salad

_MG_4748Blue Cheese & Bacon Potato Salad

_MG_4715Pulled Pork Sandwiches

_MG_2988Rhubarb Pie

_MG_1739Peach Cornmeal Shortcakes

What are your plans for the 4th of July? Do you have any long-standing traditions? I'd love to hear!

Summer Panzanella

_MG_4771In my old apartment, I had a basil plant on the kitchen window -- here in New York, we have to try pretty hard to bring the outdoors in, with few windows and outdoor space at a premium making it difficult. There wasn't a ton of sunlight, but somehow that plant survived the winter and when I brought it to my new apartment (which somehow gets even less light, being on the first floor), I was hopeful. Unfortunately, I don't seem to have inherited my parents' green thumbs and it lasted less than a month. Basil is one of my favorite herbs, a smell that means all sorts of wonderful things -- like Italy, and pesto, and summer. I'm very excited to see it back at the farmer's market, along with the season's first greenhouse tomatoes. This salad makes an excellent main course when you don't feel like doing too much cooking, or is a perfect accompaniment to roast chicken or rack of lamb (as we had it)._MG_4770 _MG_4766

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To make this salad even easier, you could skip roasting the red peppers and just chop them up raw, but I love the smoky layer of flavor they add.

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Also, my second post is up on Wine & Bowties! See my family's recipe for classic tomato-basil bruschetta here.

Summer Panzanella (adapted from Eat This Book)

1 baguette or loaf of French bread, torn into bite-size pieces

Olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

Salt and pepper, to taste

Juice of 1/2 lemon

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons capers

2 red peppers, roasted over an open flame, then diced

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 red onion, chopped

1 cucumber, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 cup basil leaves, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss bread pieces with 1/4 cup olive oil and spread on a baking sheet. Toast until bread is golden-brown, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk garlic, lemon juice, 3 tablespoons olive oil, and red wine vinegar in a large mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the rest of the ingredients, toss, and season as needed. Lastly, add toasted croutons and stir.  Serve immediately.

Spaghetti & Meatballs

It would seem that fall has officially arrived. I am always reluctant to let go of summer, but something about the crisp air brings on wishes for apple cider doughnuts (of which I had some last weekend), warm soup, and sitting by a fire. Lately, I have had a particular craving for classic spaghetti and meatballs. Of course, growing up in my family, the classic meatballs were Swedish, not Italian (but just as delicious). However, having studied abroad in Italy, I came to love Italian food and culture -- and in fact, one of my uncles is convinced we are part Italian, so you never know. In any case, these meatballs make an excellent and hearty dinner, and even better leftovers for lunch the next day. I modified the recipe to make it slightly healthier by using mostly ground turkey instead of pork, but you could also use pork only. I also love how the ricotta makes the meatballs surprisingly light. Spaghetti and Meatballs (adapted from Food & Wine, serves 6-8)

1/2 pound sliced white bread, crusts removed and bread cut into 1/2-inch dice (4 cups) 1 pound lean ground turkey
1/2 pound lean ground pork 3 ounces thickly sliced pancetta or bacon, minced 3 large eggs, lightly beaten 2/3 cup ricotta cheese (5 ounces) 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley 1 teaspoon dried thyme 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, chopped 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper Kosher salt Two 28-ounce cans peeled Italian tomatoes, crushed Freshly ground pepper 2 tablespoons shredded basil 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
16 oz spaghetti or fettuccine (I used whole-wheat)
Preheat the oven to 400°. In a food processor, pulse the bread to coarse crumbs. Transfer the crumbs to a large bowl and add the turkey, pork, pancetta, eggs, ricotta, parsley, thyme, fennel seeds, crushed red pepper and 1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt. Mix well. Shape into 20 meatballs, using about 3-4 rounded tablespoons of the mixture for each. Transfer the meatballs to a medium roasting pan.
Roast the meatballs in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until firm and just beginning to brown. Meanwhile, puree the canned tomatoes in a food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds. Using a spatula, loosen the meatballs from the bottom of the pan. Add the tomato sauce to the pan and season well with salt and pepper. Lower the oven temperature to 325° and cook uncovered for about 2 hours, or until the sauce is very thick and the meatballs are very tender; turn the meatballs once or twice during cooking.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add spaghetti or fettuccine and boil until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and add 1-2 tablespoons olive oil so the noodles don't stick.
To serve, place 3-4 oz. pasta in a bowl. Spoon sauce and 2 or 3 meatballs over pasta. Garnish with basil and Parmigiano Reggiano and serve hot.

Farmer's Market Quinoa Sauté

I actually can't take any credit for this recipe, and have to give it all to the lovely Kristin of Iowa Girl Eats -- a really great and healthy blog that my dear friend Greta introduced me to. It's always nice to find some new and interesting ways to use quinoa, and the lemon-honey dressing on this recipe is wonderful. The only changes I made to Kristin's recipe were using carrots in place of zucchini and goat cheese instead of feta (my personal preference). It made an excellent dinner (and lunch the next day), and is incredibly healthy to boot. You can find the recipe here

Tomato-Feta Open-Faced Sandwiches

To me, the end of summer means lazy afternoons spent in the park, swimming, candlelit dinners al fresco, and more than anything -- tomatoes. Or at least, the first three are what I dream during the summer (mostly I've been in an air-conditioned office and sweating on the subway). But tomatoes, those I can have. My mom made these simple sandwiches for me when I was home a few weeks ago (why is everything always better when Mom makes it?) with tomatoes from their garden, and I couldn't resist re-creating it once I got back to the city -- especially since she sent a few of those tomatoes back with me as well. This makes an excellent appetizer or a simple lunch -- but be careful, you'll eat a whole baguette before you know it.Tomato-Feta Open-Faced Sandwiches

1 baguette, cut into 4-inch long halves

2-3 tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch slices

2 oz feta cheese, thinly sliced

8-10 basil leaves, julienned

Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Toast bread until golden-brown. Layer tomatoes and feta on top, then sprinkle with basil leaves and a dash of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Recently

As I am figuring out what exactly I want to do with this blog, I think I would like to do some smaller posts. Not necessarily restaurants, or recipes, or even posts with too many words. I have been trying to take more pictures on my phone since I don't always have my camera with me, so here are a few pictures from recent weeks (using Instagram, of course):

Greek Salad

I think it's the fact that summer is SO CLOSE so being here (as I sit writing this with raindrops pounding the windows), but I have been dreaming of tomatoes. Big, juicy, bright red tomatoes that only need a sprinkle of salt to accompany them. (Or a sprinkle of sugar, if you are my grandpa!) But for those I will have to wait for a few months (and don't even get me started on peaches), so for now I will be content with cherry tomatoes, which you can find pretty much all year at the grocery store. My current favorite way to dress them up is in a fresh Greek salad, which is great with chicken kebabs or pita bread and hummus, but also makes an excellent (and healthy) lunch on its own. This isn't the most classic of versions, as I have adapted it to my preferences (I don't like olives, ok?? I know, it's weird) and changed the ratios a bit. Feel free to adapt as you would like. Greek Salad (adapted from Bon Appétit)

10 oz cherry tomatoes, halved

1/3 red onion, chopped

1 large cucumber, seeded and chopped

1/3 cup capers

1/2 cup parsley, chopped

1 teaspoon thyme or oregano

1 1/2 tabelspoons red wine vinegar

3 tablespoons olive oil

4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled

Mix tomatoes, onion, cucumbers and capers in a large bowl. Add parsley, thyme, vinegar, and olive oil and season well with salt and pepper and mix. Crumble feta cheese over, then let sit for 2-3 hours at room temperature before serving.

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