Papa al pomodoro

“There’s a lot of stale bread,” my sister told me over coffee this morning “we should make Papa al Pomodoro.” She also kindly pointed out that I could find the recipe on my blog.

Well that’s convenient, isn’t it?

Papa al Pomodoro, or Bread and Tomato soup, is a warm, easy, delicious, economical and belly-filling meal that conveniently uses up a whole loaf of stale bread.

You can find the recipe here, be sure not to use sourdough, ciabatta or a plain baguette is best.

Oh Shakshuka

We really love Shakshuka around here, ever since we finally decided to try it.

Since the sauce is really the only time-consuming part of the recipe—the onions cook for an hour—my mom had the brilliant idea to cook up a few batches and freeze them so that we can whip up a quick Shakshuka whenever we want.

We use the recipe from Dash & Bella with a few modifications. We cut down on the spice for the kids and I’m pretty sure my mom just roasts the garlic in the oven for the confit. (I’m not sure if it’s still considered a confit that way but it works.) Here it is, gooey yolk and all.


Tortilla Soup

Sid started daycare a couple of weeks ago. What this means is that—in addition to hearing him say “I don’t yike it day care” several times a day—he almost immediately contracted every virus in the book.

Now the various viruses are making their way through the rest of us. Nothing like a hearty bowl of Tortilla Soup to soothe a sore throat.

A new kind of “free night”

You probably remember my free night posts (and if you don’t you can see them here, here, here & here). Generally, free night consists of beans, tortillas, avocado, salsa, cheese, shrimp, lettuce, quesadillas or any combination of those.

The point being that you assemble it yourself, using whichever of the available ingredients floats your particular boat.

We tried a new variety of free night tonight. No beans, no salsa, just stuff we had in the fridge. It was pretty great with a red pesto, bruschetta topping, tomatoes, avocado, goat cheese, two kinds of sausage from Pace (not pictured) and a nice arugula salad with corn, zucchini, cilantro and lemon.We’re thinking we’ll do more free night around here, more often from now on. And if we do, you’ll get to see it because I have my new light.

The light!

Pasta_2_revI finally received and assembled (and tried) my new food photography light and it’s amazing. It’s like—yes it’s true—it’s like night and day.

Just look at the lovely image above of Penne with 5 Cheeses. Looks great, right? Like I took it in daylight, which is impossible because we’ve just suffered through daylight savings time and now it gets dark at 2pm (or whatever).

Take a look at the image below, it was taken at the same time of day (9:30pm), under our perfectly nice but horrible for food photography overhead lighting. Ick, right?

Well yay Lowel Ego light (and check out the yummy pasta recipe above too).Pasta-1

African peanut soup with sriracha – vegan!

PeanutSoupOne of the reasons I hardly post anymore—aside from the full time job, long commute and second kid—is that the lighting around here stinks for food photography. It’s perfectly nice overhead lighting but makes our meals look all orangey and gross.

I thought maybe my mad Photoshop skills were somehow lacking in the one area needed to get our meals not to look awful, and then I read this article and was vindicated. It’s not me, it’s the lighting!

Long story short, I’m working on the lighting. In the mean time, here’s a this totally amazing vegan peanut soup that my sister made for everyone on Thursday, which I took a picture of in glorious daylight, when I ate the leftovers for lunch.

Did I tell you my sister and brother in law moved in with us? We now have 6 adults, 2 kids and 5 cats living together in my parents’ house. It’s awesome, really.

Back to the soup. It’s thick, delicious, hearty and vegan. Full of creamy tomatoey goodness, collard greens, peanuts, served over rice and topped with Sriracha. How can you go wrong?

Anna served it with a rotisserie chicken (for Rose and the lads) and a nice cool cucumber salad. We all agreed it would be a great make-ahead.

• West African Peanut Soup •
from Cookie and Kate

6 cups vegetable broth
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 bunch collard greens (or kale), ribs removed and leaves chopped into 1-inch strips
¾ cup natural peanut butter*
½ cup tomato paste*
¼ cup roughly chopped peanuts, for garnish

In a medium Dutch oven or stock pot, bring the broth to a boil. Add the onion, ginger, garlic and salt. Cook on medium-low heat for 20 minutes.

In a medium-sized, heat-safe mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter and tomato paste, then transfer 1 to 2 cups of the hot stock to the bowl. Whisk the mixture together until smooth, then pour the peanut mixture back into the soup and mix well. Stir in the collard greens and season the soup with hot sauce to taste. Simmer for about 15 more minutes on medium-low heat, stirring often. Serve over rice if you’d like, and top with a sprinkle of chopped peanuts.

* Add more peanut butter and tomato paste if you want it thicker

Just another Cape birthday (not)

My little sister turned the big four-oh a few weeks ago. In a way, it was just another Cape birthday. We had a Mexican feast, we had Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake, we had a shitload of people.

The big difference this year—besides this being the end of her 30’s—is that my sister is married now! We all agree that it was worth the wait. Happy next decade little sis.

Golden anniversary

I have to tell you about my sister’s birthday dinner. But before that, I have to tell you about my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary.

We had a small celebration on Cape Cod—the big one will be in a couple of months—to mark 50 years of wedded bliss. Kidding. This is the real world! But seriously, they’re a pretty awesome couple, we should all be so lucky.

Shane pretty much commandeered dinner, my mom did the decoration, and I made the cake (natch).

We ate homemade pizza, meatballs, roasted cubanelles and salad, on the beach by the fire pit at dusk. So not-bad. So very not-bad at all.

The meatballs were lamb and pistachio from the Polpo cookbook, and the cake was a Lemon Pound Cake with Poppyseed Icing from Joy the Baker. See photo captions for more details.

Happy 50 M&D xoxo

Melissa Clark’s shrimp scampi

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“We used to like Mark Bittman, but then he became a vegetarian so now we like Melissa. Melissa Clark. She’s a nice Jewish girl from New York
and her recipes are just wonderful.” – My dad, on Monday night

On Monday evening, our dinner guests cancelled at the last minute. We called around, trying to find someone who was available to help us eat 3 pounds of Melissa Clark’s shrimp scampi at a moment’s notice, but were not successful. And that’s why we had shrimp scampi again on Wednesday.

This is the recipe my dad makes. I’m pretty sure he uses a lot more than half a cup of wine. There’s also this recipe which I modified specifically to be served with bread.