Zucchini Tomato Ricotta Pizza

Zucchini Tomato Ricotta Pizza

Since moving to New York, Dad calls to brag about his homemade pizza with vegetables from his garden every summer. I always beg him to freeze a pie and overnight it on dry ice. He laughs. I naively wait.

While waiting, I’ve tried various restaurant-style regional pizzas. My favorite style is Chicago’s thick cornmeal crust. Each slice is the equivalent to one meal. As for New York’s thin-crust pizza, I initially didn’t like it. New Yorkers brag about it being the best, and they often take out-of-town guests to their favorite pizza place. It’s definitely a ‘place’, because it’s really a fast food version of hamburgers. The ingredients are canned tomato sauce, dry cheese and flavorless dough. It’s doesn’t taste special. A New York restaurant-style pizza specializing in fresh ingredients, especially with homemade mozzarella cheese, is a true delight. However, one slice is a snack compared to Chicago’s hearty version. In recent years, as the food movement as spread, more New York restaurants are making pizza with fresh ingredients. Read more

Make Friends with this Garden Tomato Sauce with Pappardelle Pasta

Summer Tomato Sauce

Why become friends with the neighbor who has a large vegetable garden? You want to make this tomato sauce. It’s a simple recipe, but it requires the best ingredients. The best ingredients are garden fresh–minutes from being picked off the vine. At this time of year, gardens are overflowing with an abundance of overripe tomatoes, zucchini, eggplants, tender herbs, summer squash, and bell peppers. They’re the classic ingredients for making a simple, summer tomato sauce. Read more

Coleslaw Needs Another Chance

Zucchini Fennel Coleslaw
Zucchini Fennel Coleslaw

While my mother is visiting relatives in California, I tried calling her cell phone, but she didn’t answer. The second attempt was successful by calling my grandmother’s house directly. It was my aunt who picked up the phone. She’s made for hilarious conversations. She brought dinner from a Chinese restaurant, in which my mother claimed she wasn’t going to eat. I know that type of response, because I’m her daughter. We both don’t crave Chinese take-out meals. However, eventual hunger wins as we scoop whatever fried, high-fructose corn derivative and artificial flavoring concoction that is only served outside of Asia, onto our plates.

Mom asked what I was making for dinner, in which I told her coleslaw and seared scallops. Like most mothers who know their daughters, curiously she questioned my dislike for coleslaw. It’s true, I don’t like it. Neither does the boyfriend. When I served it for dinner, he hesitated for a millimeter of a second. That quick moment of hesitation is a rare occurrence, because instant memories of eating coleslaw from a popular fast-food, fried chicken business serving their gooey, bland version flashed in his head. My coleslaw memory was of my father’s traditional mayonnaise-based version. It’s tasty, but I didn’t crave it. Our memories of coleslaw are of bad taste. Read more

Peanut Sauce with Udon Wheat Noodles, Vegetables and Shrimp

Udon Noodles with Vegetables and Peanut Sauce
Udon Noodles with Vegetables and Peanut Sauce

Depending on how many Spring Shrimp Rolls are made, the amount of peanut sauce prepared could initially seem excessive. It was to me, and that sauce is too delicious to forget and let spoil in the back of the refrigerator. Taking a mental inventory of what’s in the kitchen, I remembered the wheat noodles left over from an incredible Asian soup made a few months ago. In the freezer, was a bag of frozen, precooked shrimp. The CSA share provided plenty of squash and carrots. However, broccoli, carrots, bok choy, bell peppers, water spinach, napa cabbage, baby corn, mushrooms (dried and/or fresh), daikon, snow peas, sugar snap peas, peas, cauliflower, celery, onions, scallions, garlic, ginger, parsnips, radishes, broccoli rabe, edamame, leeks, asparagus, bamboo shoots, and sweet potato all are delicious options to include. Was there a vegetable left out? Let me know, especially if it’s a vegetable not commonly sold in the United States. Read more

Summertime and the Living is Easy Salad

A Summer Salad
A Summer Salad

Summertime, summertime, summertime
and the living is, living is easy
Fish are, I know the fish are jumping
and cotton is so high
Your daddy is so, so rich and your mama good-
she had to be good-looking
so hush, little baby, don’t you cry
don’t you cry, no no, don’t cry
no need to cry, don’t cry, don’t cry
summertime, summertime…
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