Roasted delicata squash boats bear delicious cargo

Delicata squash with garlicky kale, goat cheese and a baked egg.

Delicata squash with garlicky kale, goat cheese and a baked egg.

Conversations at my job vary among a few recurring themes: crazy customers, how much we hate chicken, how we’d kill for a glass of wine, and food. While the first three conversations could practically be played on repeat, the fourth is constantly changing.

We talk about what we’re eating, what restaurants we’ve been to lately, what we ate for dinner the night before and what we’re going to eat as soon as we get home. Food talk starts when we open and continues until the office is closed and is often accompanied by photos and/or shared samples.

The two most obsessed eaters seem to be me and my co-worker Breezy. We both used to work in kitchens around town and we spend a lot of time between phone calls chatting about recipes, techniques and ingredients. This is pretty handy because it’s nice to have someone to bounce food ideas off of when I’m in need of inspiration.

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Farro & Edamame: A new adventure with an ancient grain

Farro Pasta with Edamame, Almond and Mint Pesto

Farro Pasta with Edamame, Almond and Mint Pesto

I am an out-and-proud farro devotee. For the past few years I’ve been borderline obsessed with the ancient grain — utilizing it in as many applications as possible and encouraging other people to give it a try. So I was pretty excited when my husband recently brought me home a pound of farro pasta (which was especially sweet as he is not as enamoured with farro as I am).

Farro Pasta

Farro pasta — love its pretty color!

The pasta had been sitting in my cupboard, patiently waiting, while I investigated online looking for a perfect debut recipe. Finally I decided on a winner, this recipe for Farro Pasta with Edamame Pesto from The Kitchn. Given how well-known this web magazine is, I felt comfortable trusting their opinion and excited to try something new.

And I’m happy I did because this a recipe I’ll be utilizing again and again. I love different forms of pesto — broccoli pesto in particular, yum! — but hadn’t tried this combination before.

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Branching out with Frascatelli

Frascatelli with Mustard Greens and Pecorino

Frascatelli with Mustard Greens and Pecorino

The title of this post contains a pun, though you’ll only catch it if you actually know what frascatelli is — which up until a few months ago, I sure didn’t. But when I saw this recipe for Frascatelli with Mustard Greens and Pecorino in the November issue of Bon Appetit, I was intrigued enough to do some research. Frasca is Italian for branch, which refers to the original method for making these semolina dumplings.

This is quite possibly the easiest pasta to make at home. There is no special equipment needed and only two ingredients are required, semolina flour and water. You pour about two cups of semolina flour in an 8×8 baking dish and then slowly flick it with water from your fingertips until the top of the dish is ragged with water droplets. These droplets absorb the flour and within ten seconds, become small little dumplings which are sifted out and set aside. Once you have gone through all the flour, you cook the dumplings in boiling water and that’s it — fresh pasta in minutes.

Or that should be the case anyways.

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Tales from the Garden: Fresh Tomato Sauce

Considering that over the course of the summer I’ve mentioned my inaptitude in gardening (well, at least gardening for edible things, I can grow some pretty flowers!), I think you can guess that these tomatoes did not come my garden. This, again, is why it’s good to have friends who seem to have a natural green thumb.

So thanks to my friend DB, I spent last weekend surrounded by the final remains of Portland’s Indian summer as we cooked up a batch of fresh tomato sauce.

Look at these beauties!

Once we had picked all the ripe fruit, we debated for a while about whether to take the skins off. We had enough tomatoes that the task did seem daunting. Finally I managed to convince DB it would be worth it in the end — swearing (with little confidence) that it wouldn’t take forever.

Surprisingly I was right — I love it when that happens! A quick “X” at the bottom of each tomato, plus a dunking in boiling water, and the skins slid right off. Within 45 minutes or so, we had every last one peeled and ready to go. We decided not to seed them because they were almost all flesh, perfect for stewing.

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