How-to Corn 🌽

Sweet corn stands on back highways are the epitome of summertime in Wisconsin. Ears and ears stuffed in a brown paper bag for $6. You’d be silly not to get some, cook, and freeze it for January when the mere thought of wearing shorts gives ya chills.

Woodman’s has three-for-$1 right now, so we’ve been enjoying the treat each Sunday night with chicken on the grill.

Put all three ears (why are they called ‘ears‘ anyway?) in the microwave and set it for six minutes. When it beeps, grab the ears with a hot pad and lay on a cutting board with the business end ready to cut.

The “business end” is opposite the strands at the top.

More about those strands, or “hairs”: there’s one strand for every kernel on the cob, so that’s a bit of an indication of how many healthy kernels there are, hiding in there.

After you slice the end off, grab the other end (with a hot pad), and slowly squeeze the ear out of the husk.

Squeeeeeeeze.
Keep on keepin’ on!

Pushing the cob out keeps the hairs from sticking around, which makes it so much easier to eat.

Mostly strand-free.

Butter and salt (if you’re like the fella), plate. Crunch.

Easy-Peasy Cheesy-Quichey


We’d been having migas each weekend day for breakfast for a while, so I thought we could mix it up for the long weekend (also, I had only thought to buy two poblanos instead of three).

I scoured the blueprint of the fridge in my brain to come up with suitable ingredients, wishing there was a button with which to dispense asparagus. Alas, this is not Star Trek, so I landed on a simple tomato-basil mix as the featured stars.

I whipped up a quick crust and pressed it into a Pyrex pie pan.

Don’t worry! If it looks rough, I call it ‘rustic’.

Chop up the tomatoes (these are from Costco) and sprinkle with basil (I threw in some Italian seasoning, too) and salt. Right about now is when I would remember that I should have turned the oven on to 400°.

Tomatoes and basil smell so good.

Place the tomatoes on the crust and crack four eggs into the bowl (don’t bother rinsing it out, it’s all going to end up in the same place) and whisk with a fork or, the fella’s favorite, a French whisk.

Pretty little tomatoes.
Eggs and cheese.

Mix the shredded Asiago into the eggs and pour over the tomatoes in the pie pan. Top with a few sliced tomatoes to make it look nice.

It even looks good raw!
Into the oven.

Throw it in the oven for 30 minutes. When the timer beeps, grab a wooden toothpick and poke it into the middle of the egg. If it comes out clean(ish), it’s done enough to take out (it will keep cooking a little while it rests). Leave it on the counter for five minutes and then slice and serve!

Easy, cheesy, quichey.

Mary Berry would have been proud that there was no soggy bottom, but I didn’t press it into the pan evenly enough, so it was thicker in the corners. It will come out and taste just as well without the crust if you want to skip that part. That would qualify this as a one-eggplant recipe, then.

Tomato-Basil-Asiago Quiche

This is a quick, throw-together for breakfast or lunch. It takes mere minutes to prepare and you can use any compatible ingredients that you have hanging out in the fridge.
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Rest Time5 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Servings: 2

Ingredients

Quick Crust

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup ice water

Yummy Quiche

  • 1 1/2 cups tomatoes cherry or grape, sliced
  • 2 tsp basil dried or chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 eggs beaten
  • 1/2 cup Asiago cheese shredded

Instructions

For the crust:

  • Mix dry ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Whisk together oil and water to thicken a bit and pour into dry ingredients.
  • Mix with a fork until well combined, use your fingers to spread the crust into an ungreased 9" pie plate.

For the quiche:

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Clean out the bowl from making the crust and put the chopped tomatoes in there. Mix well with basil and salt. Spread them as evenly as you can over the crust.
  • Beat the eggs in the same bowl. When sufficiently mixed up, add the cheese and pour gently over the tomatoes and crust. Top with some halved tomatoes for looks.
  • Bake for 30 minutes. Test the middle with a wooden toothpick, and if it comes out mostly clean, it's ready. Let rest for about 5 minutes, slice and serve.

Adult Mac ‘n’ Cheese


I guess the only thing that makes this “adult” is that it’s not made with cheese powder. And it doesn’t come from a pre-packaged box. And it uses mascarpone. Okay, so many things make this adult, especially the bread crumbs on top. And pats of butter.

The infatuation I have with Gwennie (one of my pet names for Gwenyth Paltrow, the matriarch of GOOP—her “lifestyle” brand) is not the same as that which I have for Gina Homolka. That is to say, it’s describable. I find Gwennie’s jade eggs, “scientific concepts“, $3k dresses, the “conscious uncoupling” from the father of her children, amusing. I find her cookbooks, however, really neat and I own three of them (I also just learned there is a fourth, which has promptly earned a spot on my Amazon wishlist).

This recipe is from My Father’s Daughter and it’s amazing. Do I use that adjective too much? I’m only asking, it doesn’t mean I’m going to stop.

This recipe starts out like most mac n cheeses, by boiling a pound of pasta two minutes fewer than the instructions suggest for al dente. This is because it gets baked for 15 minutes, so you don’t want the noodles squishy.

It also calls for a whole bunch of shredded Parmesan (please, do yourself a favor and have bricks of parm, asiago, and romano in your fridge—it keeps forever—and stop buying those plastic jars of pre-crumbled parmesan, which is mostly not even cheese anyway), a small container of mascarpone, a little nutmeg, and some milk.

Cheesy goo and pasta, too!

Once the pasta is done, drain and put back into the pot and pour in the cheesy mixture.

Mix it all up so the nooks of the noodles get coated.

In the book, Gwennie suggests some variations on the theme. One of which is to put a layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of the pan that you’re baking in. We thought this was a grand idea, so we used marinara from Costco.

Pour the noodlecheese into the pan and cover with seasoned breadcrumbs (we used panko the first time and it turned out well, but homemade breadcrumbs the second time were a bigger hit).

I thought it looked a little boring and had some grape tomatoes to use up, so I sliced a few and put ’em on top.

Bake, rest, serve, moan with enjoyment. And go buy the book.

How-to Mango 🥭

I mentioned in my avocado post that I wished someone would have told me how to mango much earlier in life. If you’re in the same boat, please keep on reading.

The first tip I learned was to locate the dimple. This tells you where the pit lays inside, in relation to the rest of the fruit.

Pit-dimple.

After you locate the pit, make two parallel cuts on either side, removing the “cheeks” to which they’re so fondly referred.

This is where it starts to get frustrating… because you just spent $2 on a mango and all you get are two little cheeks of meat! It’s true. Which is why I try to enjoy them when they’re in season.

Take a cheek in your hand and make four slices down the length of the inside, not cutting through the skin. Turn it 90° and repeat.

Flip the cheek inside out and enjoy some cubes of yum.

Mango!

How-to Avo 🥑

I remember the first time I figured out how to deal with a mango. It wasn’t that long ago, and I wish that I’d had read someone’s post much earlier in life. This is my version of that non-existent post but in avocado form.

You start by cupping the aguacate with your non-dominant hand and, with a reasonably sharp knife, slowly slice through the thick, outer skin from the top until you hit the pit.

The initial cut.

Then spin the fruit around in whichever direction is more sensible to you and keep the knife against the pit while you slice the fruit in half around the longer edge (I’m pretty sure I roll mine away from me).

After you have a clean slice all around, set down the knife and grab ahold each half of the fruit and twist it “open”.

Keeping the pitted half in your non-dominant hand, grab the knife again and give the pit a good smack with the blade, cutting far enough into the it to get some leverage.

Pit extraction.

You should now be able to twist the pit using the knife to turn. Oddly, I think I do this counter-clockwise. Pop the pit out and into the composter.

Take a spoon and make horizontal cuts across the meat. This will help scoop it out in edible pieces.

Now slide the spoon between the skin and the meat and shimmy it around the circumference in order to get the yummy avo goodness onto a plate.

It may not be pretty, but it was delicious.

There. Now you can avocado.

Baked Orzo with Mozz


I started this blog with the intention of sharing recipes that I really like from cookbooks that I have but there are rules about sharing methods since they belong to the author of said recipe.

You can find the ingredients and instructions on a bunch of other people’s sites or in Yotam Ottolenghi’s book Plenty More.

I’ll share with you my experience and pictures and hope that you want to make this yourself.

THIS DISH IS AMAZING, relatively easy, and pretty.

Firstly, Ottolenghi doesn’t tell you to salt the diced eggplant and I have the secret as to why. Female eggplants have more seeds, so the fruit is more bitter (more seeds means a higher likelihood of creating more fruit babies). Salting it draws out the bitterness but it also makes it squishy. If you learn how to select the right eggplant, you can save yourself time and have a tastier dish. It’s also fun to stand in the produce section looking at the bottom of each eggplant while others gaze on, wondering what the heck you’re doing.

The eggplant takes about eight minutes to cook up, use this time to dice the carrots and celery.

Not bitter, male eggplant.

Take the eggplant out of the pan and swap in the celery and carrots.

Did I mention that my new pan is amazing?

Gold carrots and celery.

In a little bit, you’ll look at the list of ingredients and, if you’re anything like me, you’ll say, “Who uses ONE teaspoon of tomato paste?!”

Here’s a trick I employ when tomato paste is involved since I have never come across a recipe that uses an entire 6 oz. can.

Freeze it!

Get yourself some silicone trays and fill ’em up! Pop them in the freezer and, when you remember, put them in a freezer baggie for the next time you need one more teaspoon.

After the broth and paste are mixed in with the onion, garlic, veggies, and orzo, stir in the cheeses. The recipe calls for cubed mozzarella to be placed throughout the mixture, but we’ve found that this doesn’t distribute well, so we recommend shredding the cheese and mixing it in.

Fill up your favorite casserole dish and top with the sliced tomatoes.

Pre-bake.
Post-bake.

The end result was so delicious that I only remembered to grab a picture of my second helping.

For the full recipe, use The Googles, or buy/borrow/lease Ottolenghi’s book Plenty More.