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September 2012

Dijon Herb Salmon

“There’s a worm in this kale,” I say rather nonchalantly as I prepare to plate myself a healthy portion from the pan. When dining in the early fall at my parents house, don’t be surprised to find a dead worm in the steamer basket. “Oh, it’s that time of year. Just pick it out, it won’t hurt you,” my dad likes to tell me. Just another natural part of living from the garden, I suppose.

But then I find another worm.

And another.

And another.

I don’t know why I even continued to take the prongs and move the leaves around in the pan because by the third worm, there was no way I’d be putting any kale onto my plate. My parents on the other hand, they went right on munching on the leafy greens. A little “protein” they like to say, just in case one slips into their stomach.

Luckily, I prepared the rest of the meal for the last family dinner occasion we had. And I made certain there were no insects anywhere near the ingredient vicinity. I like bugs in my photography, not my food.

Below, a simple, standby salmon dish that I use time and time again. This can easily be doubled, tripled or quadrupled for a larger crowd.

Click here for recipe…

Pumpkin Pie Muffins

The first wave of pumpkin in the culinary arena did not make me happy. Pumpkin spice lattes at the outset of September? Come on Starbucks, I’m still enjoying summer, thank you very much. Then, my friend had me traversing with him through the city to pick up his new favorite beer, a pumpkin variety of course. The sweaty bike ride to get there made me feel a bit wrong about sipping on the brew, no matter how cold and tasty it was. (Though, if you like pumpkin beer, you should likely try this. I’m not even generally the biggest fan, but this one had such an amazing depth of flavor.)

I admit, however, I’m a pumpkin lover, not hater. Once my love of boots and sweaters finally pulls me to let go of summer, the orange puree quickly starts creeping into my own culinary world. From soup to oatmeal to cookies, my tastebuds welcome pumpkin in all forms. Luckily, the it’s packed with a bunch of healthy stuff, so my body can welcome it, too. Yes please to the fiber, beta-carotene, vitamin C and potassium.

My latest and first pumpkin recipe of the season is this muffin one. These are super moist, reminiscent of everyone’s favorite Thanksgiving pie, but with all the best qualities of a portable cake.

The muffins will hit the sweet spot, but aren’t overpowering in this way. This enables them to serve as a nice breakfast option, too. If you’re ready for fall, then I’m betting your tastebuds are ready for these.

Click here for recipe…

Kofta Balls with Indian Tomato Sauce

Indian cuisine was far more usual in my childhood diet than Italian. Of course, this quickly changed once I hit college, but prior to my noodle years, Indian feasts on Sunday afternoons weren’t entirely uncommon. My mom had a thing for curry, rice, and nutrition, and fortunately, all could easily be combined within many vegetarian Indian dishes.

This meal right here was by far one of my favorites that she’d make. As for this sauce, huge batches were always a summer tradition.  This left a never-ending supply in the freezer to use over rice all the way through the winter. My high school boyfriend, on the other hand, was always begging me to load him up on tomatoes so that his Italian momma could make her version of sauce. I presume he had a never-ending supply to spoon over spaghetti through the winter. Regardless, the tomatoes in my garden made us both happy kids.

This sauce is incredibly flavorful for how simple it is to make. It’s the perfect topping for the kofta balls, which when cooked, obtain a perfectly crisped, golden shell to hold their soft interior. I could easily see this combination on a bun for a unique, vegetarian take on a meatball sub. Though, in my household, my mom will never stray from her beloved brown rice. Go for brown basmati if you can. Its nuttiness completes the meal.

Click here for recipe…

Slow-cook Tomato Basil Marinara Sauce

If you have tomatoes still ripening away in your garden (or magical access to a bucket full of fresh ones nearby) you should make this. Make THIS. MAKE THIS.

I can’t reiterate it enough, but truly, when winter comes around, you won’t be sorry you took away one summer Sunday afternoon of your life to cook sauce. If you’re into the whole canning process—which sadly, even after writing about it in last year’s marinara post, I have yet to learn—now’s the time to put those wonderful skills to use. Otherwise, make some room in the freezer. Which is what I did, after cutting up a solar system full of tomatoes and doubling my original recipe.

I froze sauce last year, and every time I pulled a batch out, my life became instantly and magically brighter. Even in the darkness of early winter evenings. Seriously. Warm summer sauce on a fork full of linguine when there’s snow outside your window—well, I’ll let you describe that experience for yourself once you pop your own taste of September out of the freezer…in January.

Below, you’ll find the same recipe I posted last summer. However, I doubles the amounts simply to make it more convenient for those with the intentions of freezing/canning. If you’re interested in just making a dinner portion for six, refer to my original post.

Click here for recipe…

Summer Salad



Sometimes nothing beats a salad in the late days of summer.

Simply dressed with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper.

Naturally beautiful, too. Just like this butterfly.

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