Tag Archives: cheese

Summer Winner Dinner

This is one of those dishes that pops into my brain every once in a while, and then I can’t stop thinking about it until we make it for dinner. If you ignore the fact that it requires the oven, it’s the perfect summer recipe. It’s very simple, and does a great job featuring the flavors of fresh garden tomatoes, basil, and zucchini.

All you do is roast sliced tomatoes and zucchini…


And layer them with a mixture of ricotta, egg, basil, garlic, and Parmesan.




Then bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
Easy as crustless ricotta summer vegetable pie.
Actually it’s more like a lasagna without the noods.
(That’s noodles, for those of you who didn’t go to college with me… As featured in the self-explanatory dorm-friendly meals of buttery noods and saucy noods.)

Here’s the recipe.
It’s a Washington Post recipe from 2 summers ago. The recipe says to sprinkle the garlic on top, but we mix it in with the cheese mixture. I’m sure both are good. Or double the garlic and do both. That’s probably good too. It’s one of those recipes that’s hard to ruin. If you do manage to
ruin it you can always call on the backup dinner of buttery noods… : )



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Winter has returned, but it’s bright and sunny and crisp ands I’m totally okay with it.

Usually when I work the lunch shift I either run in the afternoon or don’t run, but this morning I went out for a 5 mile run in the sun. I’m so glad I did- it may be cliche, but I haven’t felt so much joy at being alive in a while.

Now I’m eating an egg and cheese sandwich on Onion Dill Rye from Spring Mill, accompanied by a banana/blueberry/OJ/yogurt smoothie.


Look how different it looks depending on where I position myself in relation to the sun…



Hopefully I’ll stay full for a while, since I’m going to be staring at food all afternoon!

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My apologies for the unfortunate title. And for being a slacker blogger again…

Here’s a really quick lunch I made yesterday.

Squash some squash on half a tortilla.  (Okay, I guess it’s only quick if you have some squash already cooked…)

Sprinkle on some feta.

Then add some sauteed spinach and onion.  (Oh.  First saute some spinach and onions.)

Fold and heat in a skillet until squash is warmed and feta is melty-ish (feta doesn’t really melt..).

I could not get a good photo of this.  I decided to stop trying and eat, so here’s a terrible photo.  I promise the quality of the picture does not reflect the quality of the flavor.

Flying quesadilla?

No, just the worst of the pictures…


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It’s the final countdown!  A week til the marathon…and it could be a pretty busy one.  Thanksgiving is a crazy time at the bakery, so I’ll be working an extra shift this week to help out.  I’m only working at Growlers once, though, so that means only one double, and I think I should have plenty of down time from Wednesday on.  Including Thanksgiving, which also happens to be the day I should really start increasing my carbohydrate consumption.  Convenient.  Gotta make sure I’m storing away some glycogen!

I have a recipe for you.  But, as of yet, no picture.  My parents went to a wedding and took my camera… so I used my brother’s to take pictures.  But then he went to St. Mary’s and I don’t know where the camera went.  So you’ll have to wait for a picture.  Or, just look at one of my green smoothie pictures, because the resemblance is quite striking.  But this time the recipe is for a more commonly accepted green-sludge-in-appearance food.  Soup!

We had spinach that needed cooking.  It was a tired, chilly Friday evening.  And I hadn’t cooked anything beyond an egg in quite some time.  Here is the result:

Loosely based on a Spinach and Pea soup from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone (one of the cookbooks I use most; her recipes often feature genius combinations of flavors).  I didn’t have green onions so I used shallot, and she didn’t call for garlic, but I added it, because why not?  At the end I wanted a little more warmth in the flavor so I added cayenne.

Savory Spinach Soup

  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 3 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 10 stalks of parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried basil (or 1 tbsp fresh)
  • salt and pepper
  • a lot of spinach (I used maybe… 8 cups?  loosely packed?)
  • 1 cup peas (frozen works)
  • lemon juice
  • cayenne

Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a large soup pot.  Add the onion, garlic, shallot, carrots, herbs, and 1/2 tsp salt.  Sautee for 5 minutes or so, then add 6 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes until carrots are soft.  Add spinach and peas and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, until spinach has wilted.  Remove from heat and blend soup in two batches using a food processor, or using an immersion blender, which is about 4 million times easier.  Season with salt and pepper, lemon juice, and cayenne, all to taste.  Salt and pepper bring out the vegetable flavors, lemon juice makes the soup brighter and have a little more presence, and cayenne rounds out the flavors and gives the soup extra warmth.

False alarm!  I found my brother’s camera.

Could be a green smoothie in a pot.  Am I right?

Green soups are not very photogenic…

I’m about to go for my last “long” run of my training, which is 8 miles.  But first, let me show you my lunch.  I made a sort of pizza on a tortilla.  A tortizza…???

I started with a tiny smear of hummus (because that’s all we had left), Trader Joe’s Red Pepper Spread (a staple in our household), and feta cheese.

I added some sauteed onions…

And some collards that had been sauteed with garlic.  Then I put it in the oven for about 5 minutes at 400 degrees, just to heat everything through.

All done, topped with chopped cured black olives.

SO good.  The tortilla didn’t get very crispy, but I just cut it up in slices and folded them around the toppings.  What made this was especially good was the collards, which we got at the farmer’s market.  They are so sweet.  I sauteed the whole bunch and could easily eat it all right now, but I want to share some with my parents.

Okay, time to run!


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Pizza Take Two

The crust wasn’t such a smashing success this time.  It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t as crispy delicious as last time.  I think it’s because I used all white whole wheat flour (still made from the whole wheat berry, but it’s a different variety that is much lighter) instead of the half white whole wheat, half all-purpose I used last time.  So the results of this cooking experiment are: pizza crust is better with some white flour in the mix.  It also didn’t rise very well… though that could have been because it was kind of chilly in the kitchen.  After an hour and a half I got impatient and started rolling it anyway; it definitely wasn’t as workable as last time.  Oh well, live cook and learn.

Other than that it was pretttty good.

Pizza #1: Roasted Red Peppers, Red Onion, Sauteed Spinach, Artichoke Hearts, Black Olives, Feta, Mozzarella


Ready (well, minus cheese)...


Pizza #2: Caramelized Onions, Blue Cheese (Gorgonzola Dolce and Blue Brie), Pear, and Mozzarella

Toppings (sans onion)



The only change I would have made was a little less olive on pizza #1.  The saltiness of the olives + the feta was a little over-powering.


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In It For The Long Run

Today will be a literal long run, followed by a celebration of two friends who are beginning the proverbial long run.  15 miles, then Katie and Scott’s wedding!  It’s a beautiful day, and it will not go to waste 🙂

I ran 16 miles last weekend, and felt pretty good.  The last 4 were kind of tough- possibly due to the wind I was running into, and maybe my lack of fuel.  I only took one granola bar along for the ride, but I don’t think that was enough to compensate for my efforts.  I’ll probably take two this time.

Speaking of fuel, here’s another omelette for you.  Eggs and salad are my go-to lunch when I’m home.  Yumyum.

This one featured gorgonzola dolce, roasted red peppers, olives, sauteed onions, and arugula.  It was very delicious.  And in case you’re curious, the background is a little salad and some baked sweet potato & apple.


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Oats De Novo

Yesterday at Growlers our newest beer went on tap: Thai One On.  It’s a beer inspired by the five flavors of Thai cuisine: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and hot.  The brewmasters used chili, palm sugar, lemongrass, tamarind, and ginger in this beer, and it’s amazingly innovative and delicious.  It’s interesting to observe customers’ reactions.  Some of them love it, some find it intriguing but aren’t interested in a glass of it, and some taste it, say “interesting,” and leave it at that.  When it first went on tap, I took a sample to two of my customers, who ended up being “interested” by it and getting something else.  I told them that I really liked it, but I like weird things.  I couldn’t really think of another way to express my taste in food.

I suppose weird is relative, but with some of the things I want to post I find myself wondering whether people will just be weirded out, wonder what strange mutation of the human species I am, and go look at something else.  It probably stems from the same instinct that had me sneaking mouthfuls of green beans in Elementary school when none of my tablemates were watching, and hiding my egg salad sandwich in my lunch bag in between bites.

So I am going to make this an exercise in self-expression, and take a “don’t knock it til you’ve tried it” attitude.  I’m sharing what I like, and people who don’t like it can go (to another) home (page).

The following are two variations on oats that I have used to fortify before my waitressing shifts.  One is sweet and the other is savory.  Have you tried savory oatmeal?  Oats are like any other grain: very versatile.  Just like serving corn grits (or polenta) with cheese or maple syrup, oatmeal can be a palate for any flavor you’re in the mood for.

Savory Greens Oatmeal

I cooked about 1/2 cup oats, then stirred in spinach to wilt and added salt and pepper .  You can adjust amounts and ratios to whatever your heart desires.

That’s the base, and the toppings are up to you.  I fried an egg and chopped some cheese.

Two of my favorites!

Then topped it all with some fresh arugula and a drizzle of olive oil.

It was a perfect mid-morning brunch before the lunch shift.

Sweet Peaches and Cream Oatmeal

This is more of your basic oatmeal with some fun mix-ins.

Cook 1/2 cup oats with chopped peaches, then mix in about 1/4 cup of cottage cheese, a splash of maple syrup or honey (a teaspoon or two) and a few shakes of cinnamon.

I topped it with ground almonds and plain yogurt sweetened with maple syrup, plus a few more chopped peaches. 

A fun way to make oats more satisfying with protein from the cottage cheese.

So, at this point I’ve either scared you away to a blog where oatmeal appears in more familiar guises, or inspired you to expand your oaty repertoire.  Or, you eat this kind of thing all the time and it’s no news to you… in which case, go ahead and share your favorite unconventional combo with me!


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