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Posts Tagged ‘Tex-Mex’

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Two corn tortillas, fried in a small sauté pan. Two eggs, fried one after the other in the same pan. Black beans, laced with salsa roja and a few shakes of cumin. Grated cheese. Jarred salsa verde (or Amanda’s fresh salsa, if we’ve got it). Tortilla chips. And a tall glass of water.

For months now, this has been my dinner on Monday nights. After a long, full day at the office and Erin’s yoga class, it’s the only thing I want to eat. (Especially after adding in a boot camp workout before yoga, for the last six weeks.) The meal itself – spicy, nourishing and so easy – and the ritual of preparing it are both saving my life these days.

Mondays are usually a full day at the office: catching up on the weekend’s headlines, gearing up for the week with its projects and meetings. There’s always at least one curveball and usually a lot of email. By the time I leave the office, I’m physically weary and mentally wiped out.

It’s no secret that I love a lifesaving routine. While I reserve – and relish – the right to change things up sometimes, the truth is that my daily and weekly rituals keep me grounded, fed, rested and sane (for the most part). When I realized, several months ago, that I was craving huevos every Monday night, I thought: why not make it official? So now huevos is on the menu every Monday.

We make sure to restock the necessary ingredients during the weekend grocery shop, and we pull out the pans and the egg carton as soon as we walk in the door. My husband usually works late on Mondays, so we ride home together, catching up on our days. Once we’re home, we tag-team the prep: setting the table, pouring the water, flipping the tortillas, frying the eggs.

As with all routines, I’m betting this one won’t last forever: eventually we’ll get sick of it, or I’ll switch my workout night, or we’ll just decide to try something new. But for now, at least, on Mondays we make huevos. And they are delicious.

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I wait all year for the weather to warm up and the evenings to lighten, for the fresh tomatoes, zucchini, berries and stone fruits to appear at the grocery stores and the farmer’s markets. I have a deep love for autumn in New England, and spring, once it finally arrives, brings its own delicate, luscious beauty.

But summer is the season of abundance here – utterly bountiful and all too brief. We are luxuriating in it, savoring it, swimming in the golden light pouring through the windows from before breakfast until well after dinner.

summer dinner table

In the winter I make comforting, substantial dishes: enchiladas and manicotti in deep casserole dishes, pots of soup stirred and simmered on the stove. But in the summer, the cooking is easy, quick and light, starring whatever fresh produce I’ve recently brought home.

I eat a handful of berries with my breakfast, tuck a nectarine into my bag for an afternoon snack. We make fruit salad with whatever’s on hand (the only rule: no melons). I alternate between my two favorite summer teas: blackberry sage and ginger peach. They both taste like long-ago mornings at the coffee shop, a hot mug held between my hands on the speckled green counter, the aroma from the day’s first pot of coffee filling the air.

The dinner rotation these days is simple. Some nights I boil a pot of water, throw in some pasta, toss it with tomatoes and zucchini or spinach or bell pepper, grating Parmesan on top or stirring in a swirl of creamy ricotta. We love pasta year-round, but in the summer you barely have to fuss with whatever’s going in it.

pasta dinner patio lemonade summer

On slightly cooler nights we dare to turn on the oven, pulling out the pizza stone J gave me for Christmas, topping a store-bought crust with creamy rounds of mozzarella and bright slices of tomato and vegetables. J opens a package of crumbly goat cheese and dabs it around the edge with his fingers. I grind a bit of pepper on top. We pop it in the oven for 10 minutes, long enough for the mozzarella to melt and the goat cheese to turn slightly crispy.

Some nights, I whip up Jenny Rosenstrach’s yogurt-honey-garlic-lemon marinade, and we stick a few chicken pieces in it overnight. Cooked on the stove and then shredded, it is perfect with warm sheets of naan, topped with sliced baby tomatoes and a generous dollop of hummus. I slice a bell pepper into crisp ribbons and pile them on a plate; we dip them into the hummus too.

And every week, there is some variation on Burrito Night. We make rice in the rice cooker and J chops the chicken, then coats it in chili powder and black pepper. I slice and mash a few avocados with lemon juice and store-bought salsas for guacamole, and then we try not to eat it all while waiting for the chicken and rice to finish.

We carry everything out to the patio, and we drink lemonade and eat chips and burn our mouths with the spiciness. If we are sick of burritos or simply out of chicken, we make zucchini quesadillas, grating the zucchini into a heap and sauteing it with cumin and chili powder.

If we have a bit more time and inclination, we chop chicken and a pile of vegetables to make a curry. Our two favorites: Mango Chicken Curry from Shauna Niequist’s new book Bread and Wine, and an old recipe from Real Simple, featuring jalapenos and peaches. Simple, spicy, still starring fresh produce, and delicious.

What are you cooking this summer?

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Bethany says I have an avocado addiction.

ingredients

And she is exactly right.

I also have a guacamole addiction. It’s genetic – my Pop, my mom’s dad, makes delicious guacamole. And well, this isn’t genetic, but my college friends Jesse and Josh used to lob avocado pits out of their top-floor window in Oxford, hoping against all reason that an avocado tree would sprout in the front yard of House 9.

Anyway, we love our avocado around here.

avocado

(This is one of my special Whittard bowls – I would have totally bought the whole set if I had been capable of toting them all home.)

We like our guacamole simple. Just avocado, a few dashes of lemon juice, a few shakes of green taco sauce, and a healthy dollop of salsa.

mixture

Mix together and serve with tortilla chips. (Or on burritos or nachos, or just eat it straight.) Yum.

chip

All gone.empty bowl

Happy weekend to you.

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