Yes, I have super slacked this summer on my blog. While writing this post I can’t even come up with a good title. I am stumped or something. Maybe the lazy days of summer have got me, maybe our hectic schedule lately has tripped me. But one thing is certain, I have just plain not wanted to cook much. The heat has made me not want to be around any household appliance that produces heat. Yes, severely lacking motivation has not helped. Whatever this “down” period is, it can just go back to where it came from, from under a rock somewhere. I suppose everyone goes through periods where they are unmotivated, and the summer is probably the biggest killer for cooking activities. Hot weather and it seems your daily activities get longer with the daylight so by the time you get home, you’re extra worn out. With this post I am trying to kick it in gear and get back on track. I might be moving soon (again, yes) and my daughter is starting Kindergarten, so there are lots of big events ahead. Lots of exciting events on the horizon. Instead of being emotional about my baby beginning school, I am actually really excited. Spending time helping out in her classroom, doing homework, hearing about her days making new friends and learning new things and making lunches—fun stuff. I’m that nerd who loved school – organizing my binders and pencils, excited for what I was going to learn the next year. And is it just me or did everyone love elementary school? The signs of summer coming to an end are bittersweet. Meaning the start of my favorite cooking season – autumn/fall, meaning I can break out my beautiful Le Creuset to stew and braise, and bake warm comforting foods. Those traditional fall flavors for baking, such as: apple—cinnamon, cinnamon—pecan, cranberry—orange, pumpkin, and maple, make my eyes sparkle. Don’t get me wrong I love summer and it did start late this year, but by the end of summer I am ready for the fall. The transitional seasons are really my favorite. It is like we get a fresh start on a new journey.
This past weekend I had a little party (one of those hosted candle parties—let me know if you want to order anything…ha ha ha) and I made some Spanish Tapas to go along. Here are a few of my favorite things!
Feta Stuffed Mushrooms
Clean Mushrooms and remove stems. Toss with garlic and olive oil. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven add Feta (there will be some liquid in the caps just dump it) Sprinkle some crumbled feta. Cook for another 10-minutes.
Remove from oven and drizzle with olive oil
Shrimp Pil Pil
In a sauté pan over medium heat, add 1T olive oil and 1tsp. red pepper flakes. Once the oil is hot add 1 T minced garlic stirring fast add 1lb raw peeled shrimp and 1/4 cup white wine. Stir shrimp until they are opaque – not completely cooked through (they will cook while they sit). You don’t want rubbery shrimp!
Roasted Tomato Tapenade
(Adapted from Emeril Lagasse…Farm to Fork)
1 1/2 lbs Roma tomatoes (I used heirlooms fresh from the Farmer’s Market)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 springs thyme
3 springs fresh marjoram
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1/4 cup kalamata olives
1 tablespoon capers
Preheat 450 degrees
Slice tomatoes in half. Mix the tomatoes, olive oil, minced garlic, and oil in a bowl. Lay cut side of tomatoes down on a nonreactive sheet pan with the herb sprigs. Roast for 20 minutes. Set aside until tomatoes are cool enough to handle.
Place tomatoes with garlic and any juice in a food processor or blender. (discard the whole herb sprigs). Add vinegar, olives, and capers and blend, but leave it a bit chunky. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. (Will keep for up to one week).
This tapenade was the hit of all of it. It is really good with a sliced roasted pepper or some marinated olives and a little soft ripened cheese! Yum!