Monday, May 31, 2010

Oven Free Dinner

Steve and I live on the second floor of a very old building, situated in such a way that we get no air flow through our apartment.  Come summertime, we live in a sauna.  The minute we turn the oven on it's like we've moved into the center of a volcano.  So this summer we've decided to get smart about it and stop roasting giant pieces of meat when it's 90 degrees outside, and start eating things that are fresh, easy, and require zero use of the oven.

So last night we decided to make some things we've been wanting to make for a  very long time: hummus and pesto.  In fact last year when we bought a food processor, the main reason was so that we could make these two things; we hadn't yet.  We also whipped up a tabbouleh salad which is something we've been making a lot lately cause it's sooo tasty.

We had also picked up a delicious loaf of bread at the farmers market on Saturday so we used that to dip into our hummus and pesto.  Preparation was easy, no heat was created, and the results were spectacular.  When it's really hot out and you just want something light and refreshing, this would be a meal I would highly recommend.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Rhubarb Pie

This past Saturday marked the beginning of the farmers market here in Syracuse...kind of.  Our farmers market is actually open year round, and Steve and I do try to go every Saturday, but during the winter it's definitely lacking.  Not surprising considering nothing grows in upstate New York during the winter months.  Saturday though, marked the 1st day of the summer season at the market and you could tell.  Every building was open, every booth was occupied.  You had to constantly watch where you were going lest you trip on a basket of flowers or stumble into a booth of produce.  I love going to the farmers market and finding exciting new things to try, so it made me really happy to see it full and busy Saturday.

We ended up with lots of yummy things including a huge loaf of artisan bread, a bunch of artichokes (for $1!!), and some rhubarb.  Rhubarb seems to be an overlooked piece of produce.  You never see it in the grocery store, and you never hear people exclaiming about how they can't wait for rhubarb season, and I'm not sure why.
 Growing up we had a rhubarb plant in our back yard, so rhubarb crisp made an appearance in our home every so often.  As much as I like rhubarb crisp I decided to use this rhubarb to make a pie.
 Rhubarb is a very tart fruit but as long as you pair it with just the right amount of sugar you will have a wonderful dessert.  It's important to not overpower it with sugar and remove all it's tartness, so take the time to play around and find just the right ratio.  I'm very happy with how this pie turned out, sweet yet you can still taste the tangy tartness of the rhubarb. 
I encourage everyone to go out and try and some rhubarb if you've never done so, I think you'll be in for a very nice surprise.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

A Friday Night Feast

Well, it's coming to the end of the semester, which for me means very little except there are lots of loud parties taking place around my neighborhood.  For Steve though, the end of the semester means lot's and lot's and lot's AND LOT'S of work.  For the next week or so we basically only see each other when he goes to bed and I'm getting up. Since he's been so busy and stressed I decided to treat him to a nice meal Friday night.  I'm really lucky because 90% of the time Steve makes us dinner, so I wanted to say thank you for that.  I also wanted him to be able to get some work done while I made dinner ( which means I probably shouldn't have supplied him with wine). 

Since I had forgot to take any meat out of the freezer and I didn't want to buy more since we have an entire farm in our freezer I decided to do a vegetarian meal.  I started off with Carrot and Tofu soup.  I know this sounds kind of weird but trust me it's very good!  Steve said it tasted like lobster bisque, which I've never had, but maybe that's a good thing?  Not only is it very tasty, it's very filling since it's filled with tofu.  This could easily be a meal on it's own.
 For the main course I made a Turnip and Parsnip Gratin.  Although this is probably not an ideal spring food (it'd be better suited for a cold winter night) it was very good; a definite comfort food.
 I finished the night off with strawberry shortcakes (no pictures).  I cheated though and bought the store brand spongecake things.  I did make fresh whipped cream though! 

All said I was really happy with how everything turned out.  Nothing was  really difficult so it was a mostly stress free meal (except for the minor fire in my broiler because Steve left a pan with food gunk in there! UGH!).