A Simple Basic Tomato Sauce

Eat Well Edibles Grow Well Recipe

In an ideal world, my kitchen counters would overflow in late summer with vine-ripened tomatoes of all shapes and sizes and colors, picked that morning and still warm from the sun.

Though my thumb is arguably quite green, I am, at present, keeper of a garden routinely ravaged by an impressive array of creatures and forces of nature. Each season my tomato plants are the most spectacular failures. Plans to preserve the tastes of long-faded summer sunshine with jars stacked upon jars of whole tomatoes, tomato chutneys, fiery salsa and a killer homemade tomato sauce are shelved for ‘someday.’

For tomato sauce there is, thankfully, another way. Maybe even a better way.

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Whole Wheat-ish Ciabatta Bread

Eat Well Edibles Recipe

Ciabatta — the light and airy “slipper bread” of Italy — used to be reserved as a special treat if we visited an Italian market.

My first taste of homemade was actually during a trip to see my husband, then boyfriend, as a new dating couple. He pulled out all the culinary stops for me, including homemade ciabatta, brioche, bagels and baguette, among many other delicious, memorable foods and meals. His willingness to try new ingredients and experiment in the kitchen are two of the things that sold me. I mean, a guy who bakes his own bread? Well done, Sir.

A few weekends ago I relived those times and gave ciabatta another whirl, baking two loaves plus a handful of rolls. (I think his were prettier…)

Ciabatta loaves + rolls

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Golden (Milk) Bites

Eat Well Edibles Recipe

Early this week we felt the first hint of autumn. Moody grey skies gave way to intense winds and ominous storm clouds. Behind those a dramatic chill, seeing 30s at sunrise, afternoons barely doubling. Suffice it to say, the extra blankets came out and slippers went on. Nevermind that it’s 70 now — as soon as the nights lengthen, rainy grey days are on heavy rotation and the air changes from crisp to cool, even once, warm drinks make their delicious return to my kitchen.

There is nothing like a mug of something hot and creamy to comfort and calm. Golden milk, a new staple for me, is particularly welcome of late. The combination of turmeric, cardamom, ginger and coconut offers a richly warming quality that wards off the nip and lifts my spirits. It gave me an idea to make it a hand-held nibble, adding a few nutrient bonuses, for maximum enjoyment on the hoof.

With a vibrant autumnal hue flecked with those same grounding spices, these tote-able beauties are fresh and bright, and taste just like the drink that inspired them. Kids and adults, golden milk newbies and aficionados alike are sure to approve. (And they give a nod to new flickering faces on neighborhood doorsteps.)

Golden (milk) bites in teapot_HGN

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Plantain Tortillas

Eat Well

We lived a hop, skip and a jump from the Texas-Mexico border on and off for several years, absorbing the super-heated sun’s rays, the colorful surroundings, the local culture and cuisine — the extraordinary tortillas, in particular. Whether at a sit-down restaurant or a run-down truck in the long-closed tire shop parking lot, they were as close to perfection as you could find without traveling further south. Tender and pliable, yet sturdy enough to withstand soupier fillings. Not too thick, not too thin. Always warm and fresher than fresh, pressed only minutes before landing in front of us.

As soon as possible I learned the time-tested methods for both corn and flour, purchased the requisite ingredients and tools, and haven’t looked back since. The origin story of a tortilla snob, perhaps, but nothing compares to handmade.

A recent addition to our routine line-up: plantain tortillas. Yes, they’re unconventional, but they’re also worthy of your experimentation. And if you’re new to plantains, this recipe is a good starter. Made from a handful of basic ingredients, these tortillas are surprisingly simple with flavor and good looks that speak for themselves.

Plantain tortillas_HGN

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