Fruit butters are a fall staple as far as I’m concerned. I usually make them with pumpkin or apple but rarely think of them in other seasons despite the variety of fruit available. This time I started a little early. Melon butter turned out fragrant and delicious. It is a great way to make a favorite summer flavor last a little longer.
There have been too many recipes on my mind lately that I almost forgot I promised you this wouldn’t be the last eggplant recipe I post this summer. Luckily some beautiful eggplants in the market reminded me, and I sprang right into action for fear that I would forget again. Eggplants lend themselves well to stuffing so I decided to stuff them once more. But this recipe is quite different; the eggplants are sliced, grilled and filled with a creamy mixture of goat cheese, roasted red bell peppers and walnuts. It also happens to taste more summery or perhaps simply more appetizer like, but it can be made more substantial if served with fresh crusty bread.
I love beans. I cook them all the time regardless of it being summer or winter. These past few months I’ve been in a bean-indulgent mood. I’ve cooked stews with beans of all kinds of shapes and colors almost on a weekly basis and still haven’t tired of them. This week I made a pot of red beans just for myself so I can have a warm, uplifting bowl for lunch every day. But beans make exciting dinners too, especially if you make a big pot and have plenty of leftovers.
I use dried beans. I soak them in the morning before I leave for work. Hours later I come back to find them nicely engorged and ready to be cooked. I dump them into a pot with my favorite seasonings and some good stock. I turn on the stove and bring the liquid to a boil, then I simmer the beans until they’re perfectly soft and creamy.
Next time you’re caught up with a bunch of spinach (or leftover mashed potatoes) you don’t know what to do with, make some spinach cakes. They’re tasty and nutritious. We love them topped with smoked salmon or a fried egg!
Getting hungry just writing this…
I love it when I can whip up a dinner with pantry staples that are neither planned for nor fancy. Okay, to be honest, I like fancypants ingredients but most of the time I like to simply open the pantry, grab what I find and cook it into something palatable. That’s what I do almost everyday and things haven’t been turning too shabby.
Take for example this casserole. I already had onions, garlic, rice and leftover kale. I made a short trip to the store and bought some chicken. Things came about quite naturally as I sauteed the onion, garlic, kale and chicken, combined them with rice and broth, and popped the pan into a hot oven! It was (almost) effortless and our hearty dinner may well become a weeknight go-to quickie.
Chebbakia is a delicious Moroccan treat made with toasted sesame seeds and flavored with saffron, orange blossom water, olive oil and cinnamon. It’s a cookie so fragrant it fills your kitchen with a most heavenly smell as it cooks and tastes even better when ready! Chebbakia is traditionally fried but I do love this baked version, and I think you will like it too. When the chebbakias are cooked, they’re bathed in a pot of warm honey for a little while until they’re shiny and sticky, then they’re sprinkled with sesame seeds. A true delicacy!
Of all summer vegetables, I get super excited about eggplants. Like tomatoes, they are botanically a fruit (although in my world I consider them a vegetable, use them as a vegetable, and refuse to call them anything but a vegetable). The eggplant was called mala insana, “bad/mad apple” when first discovered. The Italians were the first to adopt it, giving it the name melanzana. Thankfully, the rest of the world followed. We have certainly come a long way in our appreciation of that once unpalatable edible. It may taste insanely hideous when raw but cooked, it becomes silky and simply succulent.
Hello, dear friends. I’ve been away and I’ve missed you. I’ve taken a couple of back-to-back trips, and haven’t really had a chance to say hello. The longest of my trips was to Morocco to see my mom, and the truth is I wanted to spend time with her, talk to her, give her all my attention without having to divide it among a million things. I’m hoping I got to do that. I’m hoping I was able to make up a bit for breaking her heart when I left twelve years ago .
It’s hard to believe it’s already June. The days and months go by fast when you’re caring for a baby. Even more amazing is when that baby is already sitting up, eating fruits and vegetables, babbling, squealing, laughing out loud, and starting to look more like a little boy than a baby. Astounding what nature can do in six months.
This year seems to me like it has transitioned from November directly to June. The months in between were swallowed up somehow, and time came to a halt as I lived, really lived, slowly, quietly, contentedly, for the first time in many years.
I simply can’t get enough of oranges when they’re at their peak. When I was a child, my father used to drive us to his friend’s orange grove and we would come back with large crates filled with the best navels, clementines and mandarins I’ve had in my life. Moroccan citrus is among the best; if you ever get a chance to visit, you ought to taste some.