Orange Bell Pepper and Basil Bruschetta

Today was harvest day at the Cremona house.  With my handy shears, I plopped tomatoes, cucumbers, jalapenos, serranos, green beans, and an orange pepper into my basket.  When I was done, I looked like I raided a farmer’s market.

I am so proud of my orange bell pepper.  Last year only my green peppers grew so I was thrilled when this year turned out to be different.  I didn’t want my miracle pepper to go to waste.  This pepper needed to be used in a truly fun recipe.  Something unique where the flavors of the pepper stood out.

my orange pepper in its natural habitat.
Matt arrange them like this, claiming they were on a cucumber sled.

This twist on the traditional, tomato-based bruschetta was excellent.  The orange pepper makes the bruschetta sweeter and crunchier.  Next time I make this I think I’ll use different color bell peppers to see how that mixes up the taste.

 

Continue Reading

Beet Chips

My friend Krystal is a member of this vegetable co-op where every Thursday she gets a box full of fresh veggies from a local farm.  I am the lucky person who gets extra veggies when her crisper is already filled from the week before.  In her box this week were some beets which she gifted to me.

 

I’ve honestly never had beets before.   I certainly had no idea how to prepare them.  In fact, my only interaction with the vegetable was through the cartoon Doug.  Matt has been craving snack foods a lot lately.  Every night he is rummaging through the kitchen looking for something to nibble on.  He has always been a fan of chips, and his stash of ketchup chips is running thin.

And that’s how beet chips were born.  The creation in this dish caused possibly the most “damage” my hands have ever had to go through in the kitchen.  My hands were stained red, and I cut my fingers on the slicer 4 times.  There was a real labor of love.  While the recipe I followed recommend slicing the beets as thin as possible, Matt and I both liked the thicker pieces.  So try some thicker and thinner slices to see where your taste buds land.

Continue Reading

Spicy Cucumber and Red Onion Salad

Our garden has really started to take off. My orange peppers are slowly turning colors, tomatoes are becoming plump, and I have more hot peppers than I know what to do with! As expected, the cucumbers have taken the lead as the highest producer. And that is ok with me.

apparently growing at massive speeds isn’t enough for my plants. they now are showing off their contortionist skills.

Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE cucumbers.  I can thank my father for this obsession.  Growing up, my father had a small vegetable garden.  Every summer, he harvested his cucumbers to make a dill cucumber salad.  It has always been one of my favorite dishes.  This year, we have so many cucumbers that we’d be eating this salad every day for every meal if we wanted to use up all our cuc’s.  So I’ve been making modifications to his salad to spice up our veggie side dishes.

freshly picked cucumber from the garden.

The spicy peppers rival the cucumbers in multiplicity so I added a pepper to our salad.  It was a bit too spicy for poor Matt (he’s a bit of a wimp when it comes to heat) so I added less red pepper flakes.  I recommend opting for less heat at first and add more to taste.

Continue Reading

Crock Pot Chicken Cacciatore

The dreaded bar exam is lurking around the corner.  In 16 days, I’ll be sitting down in a crowded, stuffy classroom, surrounded by over-stressed, nerve-ridden students waiting to take a two day-12 hour exam that will decide whether or not we are fit to practice law in Minnesota.  Sounds great huh?  Bring on the fun!

While I wait in anticipation of this joyous event, I have been cramming every single piece of law I can into my over-sized head.  It’s gotten to the point that when I have conversations, they consist of me telling someone about a certain area of law.  “Hey! So you’re never gonna believe this crazy piece of information! You can use prior inconsistent statements to impeach a witness. AND it can come in as substantive evidence.” Yeah, I know. Crazy. But it’s true!!

So since I can only speak in legal jargon, I’ve decided to stick to crock pot recipes for the next two weeks.  Anything that takes more than 20 minutes to cook makes me feel guilty for reading something that isn’t cluttered with italic, Latin phrases. My poor summer fun reading list has been set aside (sorry Jessi Witkins!) And this recipe only calls for ingredients that most people have on hand at all times.  No need for a grocery run.

The heat index in Minneapolis has started to decline (we live in house without air conditioning. the last couple days were less than pleasant) so using the crock pot isn’t completely unreasonable.   Plus, after a full day of studying, a warm meal sure feels great! And hell, who doesn’t love chicky catch with some long ass rice (much love to my boy Tom Haverford).

Continue Reading

Greek Avocado Quinoa

I bought quinoa almost a two years ago. I tried to make it and completely failed.  Either I cooked it too long, not long enough, or I did it right and couldn’t even recognize it. Either way, I gave up.  Put the bag in my cupboard and forgot that I even had it at all.  Until earlier this month.  People kept pinning all these recipes with quinoa as the staple.  It was time to bring my cupboard quinoa out of retirement and try to make something.  So I picked some herbs from my garden, threw all the veggies we had in the crisper together, and tossed a dressing.  It was delicious.  Now I can see what all the fuss was about.

Continue Reading

Feta Crumble Chicken Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

Hot summer afternoons means gardening.  My garden has doubled from last season.  I have a special herb garden filled with cilantro, basil, mint, orange mint, rosemary, hot and spicy oregano, chives, and parsley.  Plus two huge planter boxes my husband made me stuffed with red, yellow, orange, and green peppers, serrano peppers, jalapeno peppers, green beans, carrots, several types of tomatoes, garden salsa peppers, okra, sugar peas, potatoes, and cucumbers.  I know—it’s a lot of plants!  (I have 15 basil plants! My backyard smells heavenly). But my goal is to be self-sufficient this summer and autumn, and I think I’m right on track.  With all these fresh vegetables and herbs, salads are a must!

One of the planter boxes my husband made for all my pepper plants

 

my patio and porch are filled with potted plants. my favorite.

Two of my friends started CrunchTime Fitness, a website focused on helping individuals attain their physical fitness and nutritional goals.  Thanks to them, I started and finished one round of p90x (next round to be started soon) and rejuvenated the way I look at food.  This salad has been modified from their recipe box.  The dressing was delicious! I plan to mix up this dressing with different salad variations throughout the summer.  It’s the perfect way to meet your veggie requirements on a hot, sunny day.

Continue Reading

Spinach Lasagna Rolls

Today was rainy.  On my way home from my bar class, hail the size of golf balls started to impale my car.  Cars huddled under the closest bridge seeking refuge.  I was lucky enough to have Sally (my car) completely under the bridge.  But the whole experience was mildly scary.  When the hail first started, it sounded like my car was being shot at.  I was honestly worried that they were going to break my windshield.  While I am far more susceptible to being frightened, I knew I wasn’t the only person concerned when all the cars under the bridge created a barricade, stopping all traffic.  But by the time the song on the radio was over, the storm had lifted and so did the barricade.

This cold, rainy weather meant a warm dinner was in order.  One thing I often have trouble with is portion control when it comes to those warm casseroles.  And while the weather outside mirrors autumn more than summer, next week (or maybe even tomorrow) will be swimsuit weather again.  Thankfully these spinach lasagna rolls realize this and come with built-in portion control.  Instead of having to eyeball how many inches your slice should be, you roll the lasagna–making each roll a serving size.  Much easier to stay on track and still enjoy a warm slice of lasagna.

Continue Reading

Chicken Tikka Masala

I never knew my love for Indian food until I moved to the Twin Cites.  My friend Leslie was coming to visit and wanted Indian food.  She did some online research and found The Dancing Ganesha.  The food was amazing! It quickly became my favorite restaurant, and I have celebrated many occasions there.  Since starting to cook, it has been a goal of mine to make Indian food at home.  It took a while for me to track down garam masala, but once I found it, I couldn’t wait to make this.  And it was definitely worth the extra effort.

Continue Reading

Turkey and Black Bean Enchiladas

 

The weather here has been going from scorching hot to rather chilly.  Quintessential Minnesota.  Today was more on the chilly side so I decided to make a warmer dish.  Chances are it will be too hot for anything warm for the next couple of months.  I LOVE Mexican food. No surprise to anyone who knows me.  I’ve worked at two different Mexican restaurants and my go-to drinks are mojitos and margaritas.  I am always on the hunt for healthy, Mexican recipes.  This recipe is filling, full of protein, and a healthy alternative to greasy restaurant enchiladas.  We were out of black beans today so I substituted chili beans, but I originally made these enchiladas with black beans.  Both are good!

Continue Reading

Pale Ale Braised Greens with Sausage

It’s been a while.  The last few weeks have been busy.  First, I graduated from law school.  Yep.  I have a doctorate in law.  Feel free to call me Lindsay Cremona, J.D.  or Dr. Cremona.  Or Lindsay Cremona, Esquire. Your choice.

 

I have wanted to be a lawyer for most of my life.  When most kids were dreaming of becoming movie stars or astronauts, I just wanted to be Atticus Finch.  It was a relatively simple life choice for me.  When I graduated from undergrad, I started an internship at the Wisconsin Public Defenders.  My job was simple: I interviewed.  Every morning I walked to jail and interviewed individuals who were arrested the night before to find out if they were eligible for our services.  My afternoons were spent interviewing victims or witnesses in their homes to get their perspective.  Most interactions with witnesses and victims were the same.  Either the door was slammed in my face or the interview lasted no more than 15 minutes.  Announcing that you represented the defendant didn’t make you many friends–especially when it came to the victim.

But then one day I was assigned with interviewing an alleged victim of a domestic assault charge.  It started out typical.  She answered my questions about the events that transpired to our client’s arrest, and after 15 minutes, I had gotten all the information needed and was about to leave.  But she got up and came back with a box of photo albums.  And for the next couple of hours, I looked through her photo albums with her.  Saw pictures of her child, her family, her dogs, her childhood.  And that’s when I knew I wanted to be a lawyer.

Everyone has a story to tell.  I want to help tell that story.  I want to do more than just write an article about it–I want to do something to enrich the story-help someone’s situation.  Give them an opportunity to be heard while giving them an opportunity for change.  And that’s what I do all day now.  Provide an outlet for people to tell their stories and get some resolution.  Yeah, I’ve heard my fair share of lawyer jokes.  And to be honest (and not at all bias), they are misdirected.  There are gonna be those that give the profession a bad name, but at the end of the day, I see my job as giving the voiceless a voice.  I like that.

So last weekend I graduated from law school and immediately went on vacation.  After three years of minimum sleep and stress and cold calls, it was time for a break.  So I went with my husband, my parents, and in-laws to Savannah, Georgia.

Outside our Bed and Breakfast ready to explore the city!

Matt and I went to Savannah on our honeymoon and fell in love with the city.  I love the old mansions, city squares, and slower place of life.  Matt loves the southern comfort food.  Since I try to make healthier food at home, Matt took full advantage of the fried chicken, collard greens, and sweet potatoes.  When we got home, I promised Matt I’d try out a Southern-style recipe for him.  Lucky for him, my friend Kelsey had gone to a beer festival and had collected several recipes that included beer for me to make and one of them had Paula Deen written all over it.  So here is a not so healthy but insanely delicious meal that is worth the indulgence.

Continue Reading