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thyme

Summer Quiche

Summer QuicheEarly evening sunsets. Cool-breezed nights. Tapering tomato harvests. Weddings on weddings on weddings. September.

Can you believe it? Yeah, I can’t really either, especially as I sit here in a slightly steamy and sunny room writing about zucchini quiche. The deliciousness of late summer days. I love it.

Summer Quiche

This is actually the first quiche I’ve ever made, seasoned with the loving help of my roommate who has a rich history of it in her repertoire. (Thanks Amelia!)

It was inspired by some farm fresh eggs delivered from a friend and a large bounty of zucchini awaiting usage in the refrigerator. Those two ingredients go together quite well, especially when tomatoes are in the picture, too.

Farm Eggs

I chose to go crustless with this quiche in the name of keeping it a little lighter as we ride out these last few weeks of hot weather. However, if you want to make this a little richer, feel free to flake on the crust. You could also add some extra cheese if you wish too. If you do so, I’d recommend medium hunks of goat cheese.

The main focus here though is the veggies. Zucchini gives this some texture, while tomatoes add a sweet, acidic flavor that bursts across the surface. Perfecto.

Summer Quiche

Enjoy for breakfast or lunch, warm or at room temp. Continue Reading…

Spring Salad with Hard Boiled Egg and Feta

Spring Salad with Hard Boiled Egg and Feta

We’re about to touchdown into my favorite half of the year –  that magical time of spring and summer! According to the calendar, we’ve already made landing there, but Philly seems to be dragging its feet a little. Today, I awoke to a balmy 39 degrees. Only a little short of paradise…

As the shining sun spreads its rays into my window, screaming, “patience grasshopper”, I’ve quickly begun moving my kitchen into spring mode. Late March has launched a revival that fills me with happy anticipation and my fork full of salad greens. Pretty soon, roasted asparagus spears will join us, and I’m ready for it all.

Colorful Eggs

As April nears, young lettuces and tender baby greens will be the first to fill the garden as well as local farmer’s markets. They’ll be paired with spring onions, and soon followed by radishes. All of these early ingredients are what inspired this simple recipe I unfold today. That, and those beautiful eggs you see pictured above, given to me by a new coworker who shares in my love of all things food.

When warm weather hits, I like to lighten up a bit on my plate. Salads like these frequently grace my diet, and leave me feeling every bit as fresh and lively as the produce that fills them. Quick and simple, they also leave me time to go wander around outside. Feel free to add nuts or toasted seeds to this for a little extra crunch, and perhaps pair it with a side of buttered toast, which will compliment both the eggs and greens.

Note, for hard boiling the egg, I use the Martha Stewart method. It works perfectly everytime. You may wish to also hard boil some additional eggs while you’re going through the process for the one in this salad. Keep them on hand for a quick, protein-packed snack. Continue Reading…

Creamy Polenta with Spring Greens and Shiitakes

Creamy Polenta with Spring Greens and Shiitakes

Oh man. A whirlwind of travel mayhems transported me to my mom’s garden this past weekend.

I was out in San Diego last week for work (consider me sunshine-swooned), and my layover flight home ended up terminated due to poor weather. My choices were: 1) Struggle to keep my eyes open till 4a.m. at the airport and achieve automatic world-class traveler status; or 2) Switch my flight destination from Philly to Baltimore and persuade my mom to come pick me up, just before the strike of midnight. Family for the win. I chose to forgo the world-class traveler award as soon as my mom gave me the go-ahead. That accolade can wait, especially in circumstances where a spring garden awaits. Oh, and let’s not forget that a ton more places are waiting for me to visit, too.

Spring greens

Naturally as soon as my jet lag wore off, I was outside inspecting the garden, and cooking up lunch with my findings. It happened to serve as a good thank you to my mom, and a pre-Mother’s Day gift. That deserves an accolade in itself, right? Just kidding.

Creamy Polenta with Spring Greens and Shiitakes

I dream of days where I have my own garden. Or even just a yard. But for now, my mom’s will likely have to do until I migrate away from Philly. Luckily, it holds its own with an uplifting plethora of baby greens and herbs, all of which gave inspiration to this meal.

At their youngest, kale and collards simply can’t be beat. And now is the time to find them.

Spring greens

It’s been said life hardens you, and apparently this goes for greens too. You see, babies are inherently soft-skinned and sweet in nature. Apply this to greens, and you get leaves that are far more tender than when they grow older, and generally less bitter, too. (And since this seems to apply to humans as well, I’m keeping a “big kid” status forever.)

The soft and sweet characteristics make early spring greens perfect for raw preparations and for quick 2-minute sautes in recipes like this. From kale to spinach to swiss chard, any green that might be sprouting up in your garden or making its way to your local farmer’s market will work here. If available, go for a mix. That may just mean throwing in a few red lettuce leaves, too, and turning your mushrooms a strange shade of magenta. Es la vida.

Creamy Polenta with Spring Greens and Shiitakes

Pile those greens and mushrooms on top of St. Andres cheese, already working to melt its way into creamy polenta, and you’ve got a spring meal that’s memorable, to say the least.

My best description for St. Andres is “a more heavenly version of butter”. However, if for some reason you can’t find it, opt for a soft cheese, one that’s ideally slightly stronger in flavor than brie. If baby greens aren’t at your disposal, feel free to use the big guys. Just add a few extra minutes to your saute time. Then tell those big babies to stop growing up so fast!

Continue Reading…

Beans and Rice Italian Minestrone Soup

Beans and Rice Minestrone Soup

Yesterday, I put sweatpants over my tights, stuffed my hat inside my helmet, and zipped my coat up above my upper lip. Boots on, I braved the 20 degree weather that waited for me on my 2-wheel ride to work. Morning wake-up call at its best.

This was not, however, before tackling a stubborn frozen bike lock. Running late, I waddled my layered self back up to my apartment to grab a cup of hot water. Luckily, I discovered, that would do the trick. Anyone else ever have this problem with their lock in the winter?

Thyme

Ten frozen fingers later, I successfully made it to work. Good thing I forgot a change of shoes. I love rocking winter boots with tights and a dress, and all the funny looks that elicits. One of those days.

black rice

I’ve expressed before, winter’s not my favorite. But making soup is. There’s something about mindlessly throwing a bunch of ingredients in a pan, and knowing that meddling their flavors will produce guaranteed results.  Soup-making is pure simplicity. And brings the warmth that I crave after bike rides home from work.

This, I tell you, is one warming bowl of soup. Beans, rice and a kick of spice, it’s like bringing a thermal to the dinner table. Serve with a slice of crusty bread and a glass of wine, and you’ll be good to go.

Continue Reading…

Creamy Roasted Carrot Soup

Carrot Soup

Transportation problems. Life problems. January problems. This is the story of my winter every year. I must be destined to have two homes. I promise I’m not a lavish girl, but an escape for the winter, I could truly use.

These stretches of 20-degree weather aren’t doing me much good. Driving to work is not my favorite way to wake up. And biking to work is also no fun when your breath is fogging up your morning commute. Especially when this experience is made wearing tights. (Though, I’m not sure I ever love hopping on two wheels in a pencil skirt.)

If I could plan ahead to assemble an outfit warm enough for a walk to the car, or an even warmer set of layers for a ride on my bike, maybe I’d be better at embracing the eye-opening air. But that’s something I haven’t ever really mastered.

I do love, however, the excuse to spend Saturday afternoons curled up in my kitchen, tunes blaring, soup jamming on my stove. These are the months suitable for a new soup every week, and that I truly love. (Hence why I’m bringing you another creamy creation just a one post after my last one.)

The beauty of a good soup is that you need only a few steps for it to turn out tasty. Often, you’ll also only need one pan, though this soup requires a step in the oven that will call for two. Roasting the carrots here really draws out their flavor, which gives this orange bowl of butter a sweet, earthy flavor. A touch of thyme draws back memories of Thanksgiving all over again, while ginger spices things up to keep your body extra warm.

Just talking about this recipe is making me appreciate winter. I suppose everything has its bright side.

 

Click here for recipe…

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