Late summer white lasagna

I started out thinking that I would make an easy pasta dinner. But then I realized that I had a jar of sungold tomato sauce, made the week before, that I needed to use. And some cherry tomatoes that needed roasted, and a big handful of collard greens, and a log of goat cheese and a hung of pecorino. AND half a box of lasagna noodles that wanted banishing from my cupboard.

And so I made this late-summer white lasagna. The filling is a mixtures of an easy rice milk bachemel combined with 6 oz. of goat cheese. Sun gold tomatoes lie between the layers, along with a fried collards, garlic, onion and baby portabello mushrooms. Another two onces of goat cheese dot the top, some sliced sundried tomatoes to give a little kick to the mellow sweetness of the dish, fresh basil leaves and a healthy sprinkle of pecorino. And there you go. Not fast, but certainly delicious.

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Cold Summer Zucchini Salad

I know that I’ve been slacking -its true. A trip to Toronto, a visit from my aunts, a visit from some other special someone, and now the flu and the past three weeks have been a whirlwind. But I’m back. I promise. Above, an easy easy salad that makes use of all the zucchini that has been appearing in my CSA, plus the tomatoes that are finally starting to roll in. I’ve long made a version of this salad, but I decided to use the recipe from this month’s Bon Appetit, and found the addition of lemon juice especially addictive. What this salad really needs, though, is perfectly ripe tomatoes, so add your own. And make sure to use a high-quality pecorino for the brightest flavor. In the last week, I’ve had this salad for lunch three times. That’s how much I like it. Give it a try!

Green Pea and Pecorino Custard

Green Pea and Pecorino Custard
Green Pea and Pecorino Custard

What to do early on a Saturday morning with a house full of guests and a wedding (not your own) to attend later in the day? Get up at 8AM (the bay window in my bedroom lets in a lot of early morning light, and I just can’t bring myself to shut the curtains), do a few loads of laundry, and quietly, so not to awake the people sleeping on the couch, begin cooking.

I know it sounds crazy, but besides the sticky-roll muffins I wanted to make my houseguests, I had a deadline for an upcoming recipe in GRID magazine, and had been scheming all night about how to use some beautiful fresh peas and a lovely pecorino from DiBruno Brothers.

The recipe is loosely based on one by Mark Bittman in How To Cook Everything Vegetarian, but lighter. It has a touch of fresh mint for brightness, a creamy consistency (with a few little pea chunks for texture) and would work perfectly as a first course. You can find the recipe here.

Rainbow Chard with butter, pecorino

Chard with butter, parmesan
Chard with butter, parmesan

Dear Alice Waters, thank you for your amazing simple recipes. I’ve been in love with chard lately, especially the beautiful, rainbow-stemmed gems that have been appearing in Philadelphia farmers markets this spring. I’ve also been a little in love with The Art of Simple Food, Waters’ new cookbook/ode to simple and delicious seasonal eating. Waters taught me that chard stems are delicious (Rainbow Chard Frittata) and also how to cook chard in this very simple way.

Remove the stems from leaves (I saved them for later, chopped them up, cooked them with a little olive oil, and ate them with quinoa). Drop the leaves in boiling water, and remove in about 3 minutes, when they have soften but are still bright green. Throw them in a pan with a dab of good melted butter (I used Earth Balance). Salt just a bit. Shave some good pecorino or parmesan on top, toss in the pan and heat through, and then eat, marveling at how simple and wonderful and just what you wanted it turns out to be.