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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I have made a conscious decision. This is going to be the best summer ever. See, I am unemployed and studying for the Minnesota bar. In short, I go to 3 hours of class a day and spend the rest of the day doing whatever I want. Sure, I gotta get some studying done. But it’s completely self-scheduled studying. No meetings. No office I have to be at. No uncomfortable suit jacket to wear. No recording every 6 minutes of my time. Instead, I get to sit on my porch, drink a beer, crack open my Barbri books and relearn everything I learned my first year of law school. It’s not too bad. In fact, I love it. Because I have complete control over my schedule. If I want to work-out at 3 in the afternoon, I can. If I want to run to Target, I can. If I want to study in my swimsuit and get a tan, I can. This is far better than sitting in an office all day. And chances are, I will not get the opportunity to have such freedom with my afternoon schedule ever again.
Still, with watching Criminal Minds and falling deeper in love with Matthew Gray Gubler studying for the bar, I haven’t had as much time to make full meals. Rather, I have resorted to snacking. And of course, when I think of great snacks, anything that can go on chips sounds like the perfect study aid. This black bean salad is excellent on chips–its a great garnish for tacos and is even tasty all by itself. Even better, all you gotta do is throw all the ingredients into a bowl and mix. Even a brain mushed from too much studying of property law can manage that!
Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner, and I couldn’t be more excited. While I do not need a holiday to enjoy a margarita or delicious Mexican food, I can definitely get behind the idea to have a day devoted to it. Unfortunately, people have the tendency to associate great Mexican food with deep fried options. But that doesn’t have to be the case! I am in the middle of law school finals (last time EVER!) and to a lot of people that means gorging on unhealthy snack food and injecting coffee straight to the veins. I do not want to become victim to this habit, but it’s really hard. Sitting at your computer for hours at a time, pouring over case books, statutes, and outlines, it is tempting to run down to the vending machine and stock up. But don’t worry that you’ll find yourself hiding in a study carrel shoving Cheetos in your face (it’s hard to hide the evidence when your fingers are stained orange). This refreshing side salad is a great study snack that will keep the less healthy snacks at bay. It pairs well with baked tortilla chip and has a little bit of sweet and salty.
In college, I worked at Manny’s, an upscale Mexican restaurant. The food is amazing there! I’ve worked at a lot of restaurants (waitress from the age of 14), and Manny’s was my favorite–from the excellent food, clean kitchen, and use of fresh ingredients to the most amazing people to work with–I definitely miss working there when the long hours of law school start to wear on me.
One of the best appetizers on the menu is the ceviche. Always fresh, it compliments a Perfecta Margarita wonderfully. The anniversary of the opening of the Eau Claire location of Manny’s is this Friday. So it seemed fitting to try out my own ceviche recipe. Since I’m working on a budget, I didn’t use scallops or red snapper like Manny’s ceviche, but it is a good substitute to hold me over til I make my way back to La Crosse and can enjoy the original. Serve with chips, over lettuce or on a tostada. This is only 5 Weight Watcher Plus Points for a little less than a cup.
Hi Everyone! I am Nicole, Lindsay’s sister-in-law, and this is my first guest post for Cremona’s Kitchen. Easter has always been one of my favorite holidays. What’s better than chocolate, dying eggs and spending time with family? This Easter, however, I decided to bring something home to share with everyone. And I must say, this fun twist on traditional deviled eggs is quite adorable.
Guacamole is my favorite food. When my dinners consisted of dry cereals and I refused to learn to cook, I still experimented until I found the perfect guacamole recipe. And as a guacamole connoisseur, I can boldly say this is the best guacamole recipe around.