Friday, December 28, 2012

For the Love of Roast Chicken

I think I must have been bad this year or something, because Santa is out to get me. His new version of coal in your stocking is to give you tons of great gifts that you can't use. I've had to exchange 4 gifts that were broken or weren't the right size. And I lost a card with a check in it…for the second year in a row. No wonder Santa has me on his naughty list! Regardless, I had an amazing Christmas with my family. A white Christmas! We woke up Christmas morning to about 4 inches of snow that had fallen over night, and it continued to snow throughout the day. We ate a ton of good food (our go-to Christmas Eve crab legs and Christmas day prime rib), lounged around all day every day, filled up on cookies and pie, and had a great time. 

But enough about that, I'm sure if you're anything like me, the last thing you want to think about right now is holiday baking. So today I want to talk about something totally simple and un-Christmassy: roasted chicken. A friend recently told me that in the (American) Deep South, they call chickens yard birds*. I like it, I get it. My parents’ chickens flee the coop and mill about the yard all day. They’re totally yard birds. 

As you may recall, I was late to the chicken roasting game. But alas, since that fateful day, guided by the words of Thomas Keller, I’ve become a chicken roasting fiend. I just can’t get enough. It’s easy! And cheap! And boy is it ever delicious. Every chicken I roast—whether I butter it or oil it (or follow Keller’s lead and simply salt & pepper it), add special herbs and spices, use lemons, put it over vegetables, use a recipe, or just wing it (get it, wing it!?)—it turns out amazing.

Want a roast chicken tip? The pan juices, people! The pan juices! Either pour that delicious goodness over your carved bird before serving, or serve alongside your chicken for dipping. Sometimes Evan and I just use our hands, and dip every tasty bite into that amazing pan juice, licking our fingers along the way. It's barbaric. And its the best possible way to do it. We ate an entire chicken by ourselves the other night. It was just so good we couldn’t stop. Don’t judge… I have a few more days until resolution time!

My new favorite roast chicken recipe is from Lottie and Doof. Great site, great chicken. I've made a variation of this bird twice now. Smoky paprika, garlic, yukon gold potatoes. It smells so amazing while it's cooking that I can hardly stand it. I also just received a hilarious cookbook for Christmas that I can't wait to try—Fifty Shades of Chicken—which is full of mouthwatering chicken recipes and photos. Food porn, literally! The book is a parody on the 50 Shades of Grey series, but if you want my opinion, skip Mr. Grey, go straight to the chicken. 

Sorry… I hope we can still be friends, but I happen to hate 50 Shades of Grey. When the books came out, I heard a lot of hype… was I curious? Sure. Did I buy all 3 books on my Kindle? Absolutely. Did I like it? It was mildly entertaining, and yeah, that first “adult” scene caught me off guard, made me blush a little. But, first of all, the area near Pike Place Market is NOT called the “Pike Market District.” No one says that. Ever.  And the “inner goddess” thing? Cute the 1st time. Mildly annoying the 10th time. I WANT TO PUNCH YOUR INNER GODDESS IN THE EFFING FACE the 500th time. 

Oh.. sorry, where were we? Oh yes, chicken. Wait until after New Years—it's bad luck to ring in the new year with chicken, because the bird scratches backwards (rather than moving forward)—and then go for it. I plan on working a roast bird into my weekly winter/spring rotation, and I suggest you do the same! 

Here are a couple of goodies to get you started. Follow them exactly, or use them as a guide... trust me, a great roast chicken is hard to screw up! 

Happy New Year… I'll see you in 2013!

*In writing this post, I also learned that yard bird is slang for prisoner, which is not my intended use, and I mean absolutely no offense. However, this is a good time to plug an amazing non-profit organization that Amanda has been volunteering at: Books to Prisoners. Based here in Seattle, BTP’s volunteers send donated books to prisoners around the US, in hopes to foster a love of reading and encourage the pursuit of knowledge and self-improvement. Check it out! 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

San Francisco

On Friday morning, Evan and I got off the plane in San Francisco (my first time there!), hopped on the BART, and plugged ourselves back in to Facebook, Twitter, and email. That's when we discovered that during the short time we were up in the air, something horrible, so so terrible, had happened. It seems silly to write about holiday cookies or post stories about eggnog so shortly after such a tragedy. Some of my favorite food bloggers and writers have expressed their feelings so amazingly—I think we all feel a little unsure about whether or not it's ok to move on, to write new blog posts or retweet recipes. A lot of people don't get to just move on. So, maybe it's too soon for a rum ball post, and it's definitely too soon for this country to stop mourning, but it's exactly the right time to grab everyone you love and hold them closer than ever. To celebrate life and the people around us—parents, friends, sisters, brothers,  teachers, little ones. 

That's what Evan and I did all weekend. We visited with old friends, shared delicious food, and spent every spare moment with our little nephew, that baby we're both so in love with and obsessed with, even after only 7 short months and 2 quick visits. 


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2012: Waffle Cookies

It’s holiday cookie swap time! This year, I decided to participate in THE BEST COOKIE SWAP EVER: The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap! How could you not love an event that combines some of the best things ever: baking and eating cookies, supporting a good cause, receiving fun mail, exchanging recipes, and meeting new friends. Here’s how the creators, Lindsay and Julie, describe the swap:
"The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap brings together food bloggers from around the world in celebration of all things scrumptious. The premise is this: sign up. Receive the addresses of three other food bloggers. Send each of them one dozen delicious homemade cookies. Receive three different boxes of scrumptious cookies from other bloggers. Eat them all yourself (or, you know, share. If you want. No judgement either way.) Post your cookie recipe on your blog. See everyone else’s cookie recipes. Salivate. Get lots of great ideas for next year's cookie swap. Rinse and repeat."

To impress my three lucky matches, I wanted to make a cookie that I love, and that other people may not have tried before. I immediately thought of my mom’s waffle cookies with maple glaze. While my dad was always the baker and sweet tooth in my house (not to mention the waffle fanatic), it was Mel who always made the waffle cookies.

Growing up, Amanda and I were obsessed with waffle cookies. Along with Mel’s smoky salmon dip, Oma’s poppy seed struedel, and whole pomegranates from Grandpa’s tree, waffle cookies were one of those things that the other kids (in rural Washington in the late 80s/early 90s) didn’t have in their lunch box. Imagine the cafeteria trading power we could have had! But alas, we hung on to our waffle cookies for dear life, they were far too delicious to part with!

Mel’s cookies have shortening, but I went with full on butter for a cookie that’s buttery, dense, salty, sweet, and just downright delicious. And top that with sweet maple-cinnamon glaze….need I say more?
Waffle Cookies with Maple Glaze
1.5 cups unsalted butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1.5 cups brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
4.5 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
For glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
a pinch of cinnamon
Cream butter, both sugars, and vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour and salt, and mix into butter mixture until stiff dough is formed. You'll need to chill your dough before cooking, but you have a few options. You can either roll dough into walnut sized balls, spread out on a cookie sheet, and pop in the freezer for 30-60 minutes, or you can roll into logs, freeze for 30-60 minutes, and slice off half-inch thick slices to cook. Cook in a hot waffle iron until golden brown. 
Whisk together glaze ingredients, and drizzle over cooled cookies. 
These hold up really well in shipping, and also stay fresh quite away. To package for shipping, I filled 2 little treat bags with 6 cookie each, and put those side by side in a plastic container filled with tissue paper, which went into a shipping box filled with packing paper. 

Wait, there's more!
Looking for more recipes from the cookie swap? Check out the blogs of my random matches: the gals I sent these bad boys to, as well as the gals who sent cookies to me!
Heed the Feed: 
My Kitchen is Open:
The Right Recipe:
a periodic table:


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Winter Bourbon Cocktails

My dad and I have a darker skin tone than Mel and Amanda, we have dark hair, and both have a penchant for dark drinks. The two of us go crazy for super dark, heavy beers—porters and stouts—and dark booze. When I was a little kid, and no one was looking, I would sneak a taste of John's whiskey and cokes, dipping in my finger in for a quick taste. It was the 80s, that kinda stuff happened.

Have I ever mentioned how much I love whiskey? Well, I love it. Quite a bit. Especially this time of year. Cold, dark winter days just beg for a warm, spicy whiskey drink. By the way, have you ever wondered what the difference is between different kinds of whiskey (bourbon, rye, etc)? Well, wonder no more. As usual, Wikipedia has us covered

You can shake together a ton of combos of tasty fall flavors for a delicious whiskey cocktail. Apple, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, lemon, rosemary—all go great with whiskey. Just start throwing stuff in a shaker. If all else fails, add more sweet stuff. Or more whiskey. 

Snappy Bourbon & Cider Cocktail 
Makes 2 small or one large drink

1/2 cup fresh apple cider
2 ounces good bourbon
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
splash of bitters
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
juice from 1/4 of a lemon
pinch of fresh nutmeg
3-4 smashed cardamom pods
cinnamon sticks and apple slices for garnish

Add all ingredients (except garnish) to a shaker with ice, and shake everything is incorporated and shaker feels chilly to the touch. Strain into glasses, and serve with a cinnamon stick and apple slice. 


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Slow Cooker Rootbeer Pulled Pork

December! How did that happen!? I guess I've been a little distracted lately, considering…I started a new job! I was at my old job for 5 years, and leaving felt a bit like a breakup. But I assured them it wasn't them. It was me. And it was an awesome opportunity to put the last 5 years of knowledge and skills to the test, and step out of my comfort zone. Taking a leap is always a bit scary, but I highly recommend it. I can't even tell you how much this change reinvigorated me. I cleaned out my closet and updated my wardrobe. Joined a gym and started working out. My new office, though only a few blocks from the old one, is introducing me to a new part of town, so I'm even seeing my city in a whole new light. I feel ten pounds lighter. If only I really was ten pounds lighter… 

Speaking of losing weight… good thing I joined that gym, because winter cooking and holiday baking are ramping up. And I love winter cooking and holiday baking… like, a lot! Who wants to eat a salad on a cold, stormy day? Not this girl! I want something warm and hearty, the kind of dish you can imagine yourself tucking into while sitting around a fire after a day on the slopes. Ok, so I don't actually do winter sports. But you know what I mean. I'm talkin' soups, stews, saucy slow cooked meats. Slow cooked anything, really! 

This slow cooker pulled pork has become one of my faves. I usually do pork shoulder in the oven, and I make a mean pork shoulder.  But this one, this one in the slow cooker with rootbeer, it's something special. It smells unbelievable while it's cooking, so it's probably best for you to be out of the house for a few hours, so you don't go crazy while it' simmering away all day. I served it with coleslaw (this is my favorite basic slaw recipe), buns, and a tangy hot mustard BBQ sauce, but it's so good you could skip the extras all together (though I would really recommend that mustard sauce…on everything!). Try a spoonful of pork atop a baked sweet potato, mixed with pasta or rice, or even just in a dish on its own. 

Slow Cooker Rootbeer Pulled Pork

3 lbs. pork shoulder, cut into 3-4 large chunks
canola oil
1 onion, diced
1 bottle root beer 
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon chili paste (or more, depending on your spice preference)
1 tablespoon tomato paste 
salt and pepper

Whisk together onion through tomato paste, salt and pepper to taste, set aside. 

Pat the pork chunks dry, and season liberally with salt and pepper. Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat, and add enough oil to coat the bottom. Starting with one chunk at a time, brown pork on all sides. Add pork to slow cooker, top with marinade, and cook on high for around six hours. 

The pork should be tender enough to easily shred with a fork. I like to just do it right there in the slow cooker, then stir it up in the sauce, and serve a big, saucy heaping scoop…into my mouth. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Beef Okazu

It's only 3 days until the most anticipated food holiday of the year. Yet here i am. Giving you a Japanese ground beef dish.

So, why no tips on brining your turkey, top ten recipes for yams, or creative ways to re-use leftovers? Well, I decided that I hate pre-Thanksgiving dinners. Don't get me wrong, I love Thanksgiving dinner. All year I look forward to a big plateful of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, stuffing, sweet potatoes, and cranberry sauce, followed by days and days of turkey & cran sandwiches, pulled BBQ turkey with coleslaw, and all kinds of pies. And that's exactly why I'm not making and testing and eating and blogging Thanksgiving dishes before the big day—I don't want to ruin it! That moment each year when the first forkful of turkey dipped in potatoes and gravy (a little smear of cranberry from where they touched on the plate) reaches my mouth... that's what the anticipation is all about. I mean sure, thanksgiving is also about family and friends (and boozing and Black Friday), but it's those things combined with the meal that make Thanksgiving food taste so great. Mom getting up at the crack of dawn to put the turkey in the oven, Amanda trying to sneak extra mustard in the deviled eggs, Dad stealing little bites of pecan pie when no one's looking. The food just wouldn't be as special or taste as good without that whole package.

So, no early-November pumpkin pie in this house… today you get okazu. Which is actually a great pre-Thanks recipe: quick and fuss-free, perfect for a busy weeknight, great for pre-holiday company. My friend Ben told me about okazu about a year ago, and I've been thinking about it ever since. Ground beef cooked in sweet soy sauce with green beans, served over rice. So easy, and so good. What's not easy is finding recipes for okazu. After scouring the internet, I really only found a couple recipes or mentions of this version of the dish (turns out that okazu means "side dish"). Luckily, Ben gave me a pretty good visual of how his okazu turns out (literally, he texted me a picture last time he made it). I went ahead and added some extra goodies to mine—mushrooms, onions, ginger—so I'm not sure if this is what okazu is supposed to taste like. But…I don't care, because this, my friends, is delicious. 

Do you have an okazu recipe? Let me know!

Beef Okazu with Green Beans and Mushrooms

Olive oil (enough to coat bottom of pan)
1/2 onion, diced
2 cups sliced mushrooms
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1.5 lbs ground beef
2 cups green beans, trimmed and halved
1/3 cup soy sauce
1.5 tablespoons sugar (everything I saw called for white granulated sugar, I used brown)
Pinch of ground ginger 
salt and pepper to taste
Green onion, sriracha, and brown rice, to serve

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium. Add onion and cook several minutes, until translucent and just starting to brown. Add mushrooms, and continue cooking, until mushrooms are soft and desired stage of sautéed (I like mine near caramelized, but it's up to you). Add garlic, cook for a minute or so, and add ground beef. Stir to break up mean, and cook until browned. Add green beans and about a cup of water, cover, and cook about 10-15 minutes. Add soy sauce, sugar, and ginger, and cook uncovered until it thickens up a bit. Final product should be saucy, but not super watery. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve over brown rice, with green onion and sriracha to garnish. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Shameless Plug

Awhile ago I told you I was working on a little project… and now I'm ready to share it with you! I've been photographing a bunch of healthy, delicious recipes for Can Can Cleanse, a fabulous juice cleanse operation in San Fran. I'm stoked to share with you, not only because of my photos, but also because Evan's sister, Teresa, is the woman behind Can Can Cleanse! If you're in the bay area, you should check it out. What's not to love about fresh made juices, soups, nutty milks, and teas, served in cute reusable mason jars? 

And now Can Can has a ton of healthy recipes for cleansers to eat before or after doing a juice cleanse…or really any time, because they're delicious! Seriously… I prepared the recipes Teresa sent over, took photos of them...and then devoured them! My favorites? Purple Kale Smoothie, Sweet Corn Salad, Squash Carpaccio, and the Escarole Salad with a Farm Egg and Tarragon Dressing (confession: until I made this recipe, I hated tarragon. Like, it would make me nauseous just smelling it. But, I wanted to try this, so I started slow, ate a little tarragon leaf on its on, then went for it. And this dressing is SO good, it made me a believer! Evan and I snuck a little leftover roasted chicken in our salads!). Also… sparkling water with a splash of fresh squeezed grapefruit juice. So simple and why-didn't-I-think-of-that!?

So anyway, shameless plugs all around. Visit Can Can Cleanse for tasty recipes (um, and beautiful photos), healthy tips, and if you're in SF, an awesome juice cleanse. Also, check back there regularly for updated, seasonal recipes! 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Granola

Last year Amanda and I really screwed up. We skipped Halloween…and we've regretted it ever since. We're really good at Halloween, and we really love Halloween, so it was a big miss. This year we started our costume planning pretty early, just to make sure we'll be prepared. 

I've also been on a major pumpkin kick this year. I've made pumpkin pancakes and pumpkin chili, ordered pumpkin waffles, pumpkin bread, and pumpkiny drinks, and finally, after weeks of obsessing over various pictures of it on Pinterest, made pumpkin granola. When I first saw recipes for pumpkin granola, I figured it had pumpkin pie spices, but not actual pumpkin… but alas, I was wrong! Turns out your average pumpkin granola does have pumpkin in it. And my pumpkin granola is full of not only pumpkin, but tons of other good stuff: maple syrup, millet, flax seeds, almonds, oats, pecans, and coconut. Deliciousness. Throw some of this deliciousness in with a bowl of greek yogurt and chopped apples or pears. Or, if you're really looking for a treat, stir a little bit of extra pumpkin puree and maple syrup into your yogurt, then top with the granola. Seriously, it's like eating pumpkin cheesecake. For breakfast. 

Up next on my all Halloween, all the time agenda: pumpkin patch, Amanda's BFF Becky's family Halloween chili recipe (Ps. Happy due-date day, Becky!!), scary movies,  and The Biggest 80s Party of the Year (ahem, Billy Idol show!). 

Pumpkin Pie Granola

1/4 cup millet
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup whole flaxseeds
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup desiccated coconut 
1/4 cup plus a spoonful real maple syrup
1/4 cup plus a spoonful pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons coconut oil (melted, if needed)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch salt

Preheat oven to 300. Add millet, oats, seeds, nuts, and coconut to a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, combine rest of ingredients. Taste, and add more spices as desired. Pour pumpkin mixture over oats and stir together with a spatula. Spread onto a baking sheet and bake 25-35 minutes, or until golden and crispy (longer will make it crispier). 


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Spiced Streusel Brown Butter Pear Cake

It's October! And it's sunny still! And warm! I love it so much. I'm a big fan of October…especially when the weather is insanely amazing like it has been in Seattle. The trees are all red and orange, the air is a bit crisp, and fall flavors are all over the place. I love summer produce, and while saying goodbye to Mel's bright red tomatoes for a whole year makes me a bit sad, it means that its time for hearty fall and winter produce. Butternut squash, sweet potatoes, parsnips, kale. Right now my Pinterest feed is full of pumpkin everything, warm spices, football snacks, and slow cooker favorites. Oh, and pears. 

When I visited the folks a few weeks ago, a friend gave Amanda and I huge box of pears that she picked from a local orchard. There are tons of orchards around my hometown, and by the end of September, a lot them had signs saying to pick as much as you want, for free. So obviously I needed to make an autumny pear dessert. When I think of fall desserts, I think of warm, homey flavors like brown butter and cinnamon. Like spiced brown butter pear cake with streusel topping. 

PS. Here are some things I'm digging this fall:
  • Check out this awesome seasonal food map on Epicurious (latest version of Flash required)
  • I'm dying to try Midnight Moon moonshine, aged with fresh fruit (um…apple pie flavor, yes please!)
  • Pumpkin pancakes! I made these ones this morning…so good! 
  • Listen, to my friend Kimber's band, Della Mae (check out the 2nd video, Jamie'll die)! I mean, I'm always digging them, but just imagine a sunny crisp fall day, a slice of pear cake (or a lil' apple pie moonshine) and the best bluegrass music ever. 


Brown Butter Pear Cake with Spiced Streusel Topping
Adapted from this recipe

1/2 cup butter
2 medium-large pears, chopped small 
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Streusel Topping:
1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

pinch salt

2 tablespoons butter

Step 1: Prep the Pears
Heat oven to 350°, and grease a 9 inch spring form pan. Mix pears and sugar in a large bowl and let stand for 10 minutes (while butter browns) to get all juicy.

Step 2: Brown the Butter
In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, and cook, stirring & scraping bottom occasionally, while butter darkens to a light caramel color and smells nutty (and amazing). Be sure to watch it closely so that it doesn't burn. When browned, remove from heat and pour butter into a separate container to cool slightly. 

Add streusel butter to the sauce pan, and let melt completely (this will gather the remaining brown butter bits and get all nutty and good for the topping).

Step 3: Mix the Batter
Stir the rest of the cake ingredients, including the 1/2 cup brown butter, into the pear mixture. Pour into pan.

Step 4: Make the Topping
With a fork, stir together streusel ingredients, including the melted, slightly browned 2 T of butter. Crumble the topping evenly over the cake batter.

Step 5: Bake!
Bake for 30-45 minutes until center isn't jiggly. The toothpick doesn't really work with this one, since the pears will be moist regardless of how done the cake is. Just try gently poking the center of the cake (without burning yourself) to see if it feels set. Let cool slightly before removing springform ring and slicing. 


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Savory Summer Squash & Tomato Tart

My family is sentimental. We like to hang on to things. I think my dad's parents—my oma and opa—instilled that in him. They came from Europe with nothing. All their keepsakes and things from childhood, pictures, even the country they were from (Yugoslavia): gone. So, I'm sure he grew up with that hang-on-to-everything you have mentality. My mom's parents, on the other hand, were children of the great depression. I remember a story about my grandma Carol's house burning down when she was a girl in Oklahoma, taking all her toys, clothes, and belongings with it. I'm sure that has something to do with my Mel's predilection for keeping things. Then Mel and John left the rural Southern California town they were from to come to Washington, and because of kids and finances and life, they don't make it back there as often as they'd like. I think this makes them sentimental for the places, people, and memories from their past. 

They passed this on to me. Every time I go home, I pour over old pictures, old things from my childhood. I take Evan around the property that he's seen a million times, pointing out spots where I used to play, the tree that I used to think I'd get married under, the place where I killed the spider that Amanda never forgave me for. 

My parents still have a lot of my childhood toys. Barbies in one bin, treasure trolls in another. And books. My RL Stine collection lives on—Fear Street from my middle school days, Goosebumps from elementary school. I had a lot of RL Stine books. And the picture books from when Amanda and I were little. I love looking through the books. 

Whenever I'm thinking of what to make with summer squash, I get a fleeting glimpse of a book from childhood—Squash Pie. So, when I went home last weekend, I dug out the book Squash Pie… to go along with the bounty of zucchini Mel was sending back to Seattle with me. The book (which is from the 70s and was passed down from my cousin Barb…and has Barbie, Room 8, written inside) is about an old farmer who plants summer squash because he's so stoked for squash pie. But every time the squash is just about ready to pick, someone steals it. The book doesn't actually pin it on her, but the farmer's wife is obviously the culprit. The night-thief's shadow is wearing a dress just like hers, and she's always trying to convince him to eat other kinds of pies—apple, cherry, etc—but he only wants squash pie. My favorite part is when she throws a bunch of ripe peaches on the ground, bakes them into a pie, and yells "there's your squash pie!". A real fiery lady, that farmer's wife. Anyway, I think she eventually gets fed up with his squash pie obsession, and they finally have a squash pie…which she admits is way better than all the other pies. Even the last squash pie, which just tasted like a peach pie. 

I always wondered what the squash pie they had tasted like. What it looked like. I was a weird kid that way. So I brought the book back to Seattle with me, and looked up squash pie. Apparently there's a sweet pie made with summer squash—that must be what the farmer was after. I, however, was after something a little different, something savory. Mel's been trying to get me to make this rustic summer squash tart for like five years now (it's one of my dad's faves), but I was never really interested. She photocopies and sends me the recipe every summer, and every summer, it gets deleted. I guess I'm kind of like that farmer's wife, because I finally made the damn squash tart, and whadaya know, it was delicious. I changed it up quite a bit—added caramelized onions and pine nuts, used oregano instead of thyme (simply because I'm out of thyme), omitted the roasted pepper, sprinkled parm on top. 

Even Evan, who claims to hate zucchini and was appalled by the idea of squash pie, loved it. 

PS: I know you're all in fall-mode now: butternut squash and pumpkins and what not, but you surely have a basket of late-summer squash and tomatoes still hanging out, begging to be used before you switch over completely. And this tart, while using up the last of summer's produce, taste a bit like fall with the blue cheese and pie crust. Just make it, already.

Summer Squash & Tomato Tart
Adapted from this recipe

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
2 cups-ish sliced (in rounds) mixed summer squash (zucchini, yellow squash, pattypan)
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon(s) chopped garlic
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
slat & pepper
Your favorite pie crust, chilled and rolled into 2 8-inch rounds
1 cup crumbled blue cheese
2 medium tomatos, sliced
1 large egg, beaten
Handful of parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 400°F. 

Add olive oil and butter to heavy-bottomed skillet, and heat over medium. Add onions and cooked until caramelized (here's a good how-to for caramelized onions). Add squash and shallots and cook, for a few minutes. Remove from heat and stir in oregano, garlic, salt, and pepper to taste.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and lay out the 2 dough rounds (you may need to bake in two batches, or just make 1 big tart). Sprinkle the blue cheese evenly over the two rounds, within 2 inches of the edge. Top with onion and squash mixture, and then with sliced tomato. Fold edge of the crust over and brush crust with beaten egg.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes until crust is golden. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Let cool slightly before eating (so the juices have time to settle). 
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