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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Sri Lankan Cod Curry + Charred Green Beans

Eat Well Edibles Recipe

Earlier this week dark clouds nipped swiftly across the state — a soggy cold front that left the ground strewn with fallen leaves. How superbly autumn, I found myself thinking.

The days since are warm and bright, but I seize every opportunity, no matter how brief, to savor seasonal, Wisconsin-like temperatures. That includes loading up a menu with cold-weather meals. Welcome back (for now), comfort food.

For you today I have flaky, buttery cod in a creamy, warmly spiced curry sauce + deeply charred green beans dry-fried with lots of onion, ginger and more spices.

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Smoky Ethiopian Lentils

Eat Well

When the temperatures are low and the winds are biting I crave all things warm and exotic from the kitchen. Consistently better weather, minus spring tornado season, is just moments away, but while we wait, bring on the spicy complexity of North African and Middle Eastern flavors and foods.

Smoked paprika and Ethiopian berbere — a mix of spices that includes dried red chiles de árbol and a slew of aromatics — steal the show here, with red onion, garlic, spicy fresh ginger and rich sun-dried tomatoes rounding out the earthy black lentils. A splash of balsamic vinegar swirled in at the end as a subtle but bright touch bringing everything together.

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North Indian Rajma (Punjab-Style Kidney Bean Masala Stew)

Eat Well Edibles Recipe

The cuisine of the Northern Indian region of Punjab is often rich and hearty, always bold in every sense: taste, texture, colors, aromas. Rustic yet lavish dishes are cooked in ways that incorporate strong ingredients like onion, ginger and garlic with generous, but precise, amounts of spices to enhance and perfectly balance the flavors.

Among the best-known Punjabi dishes are channa masala, various veg + non-veg versions of tikka korma, and my favoritebaigan bharta. It’s also believed that tandoor cooking, and thus, tandoori chicken, originated here.

Digging deeper, I made a surprisingly excellent discovery — a darkhorse in the vast Indian menu that quickly won our hearts and minds. And stomachs.

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Spicy Calamari Stew with Garlicky Croutons

Eat Well Edibles Recipe

Our first taste of the autumn chill has arrived. The days break foggy and crisp, and though the afternoon sun is still quite warm, bracing morning and evening winds prompt yearnings for warm, soul-satisfying foods.

This recipe for a tomato-based calamari stew with chillies and herbs more than satisfies. Sometimes ladled over a small mound of grains, I served these bowls with cubes of homemade ciabatta bread tossed with olive oil and garlic and baked briefly until crisp and golden.

A simple yet elegant meal that feels like one foot in summer, one foot in autumn, and an arm in winter.

Spicy seafood chowder Continue reading