Today, (well, actually a combination of tomorrow and yesterday) is officially the one year anniversary of Love and Olive Oil. Way back on Valentine’s day of 2007, I got the wild idea to start a food blog. Inspired by our continuous search for recipes, and my newly acquired slr camera and macro lens, I sat down and set up the first version of this blog. Which, surprisingly (given my pension for re-designing things every 4 1/2 weeks), lasted up until just last month.
It’s been a great year for us. Big changes, plenty of driving (far too much of it taking place in Kansas), and most of all, lots of good food.
To celebrate, we decided to recreate that very first recipe, or part of it anyways. Since good sushi-grade tuna is hard to come by (at least reasonably) in Tennessee, we couldn’t recreate that part of the meal. But the salad, well, Taylor admits he doesn’t remember the tuna, but he remembers the salad.
A zesty salad with avocado and grapefruit slices (if I miss one thing about California it’s the abundance of blood oranges – my absolute favorite). The dressing is refreshing, slightly sweet, and a perfect accompaniment to the citrus. While I don’t foresee us making a life-long tradition of eating this salad on Valentine’s day, it’s something I didn’t mind eating two years in a row. And that says something about it.
Enough about the salad already… I know you’re wondering what we decided to cook WITH the salad!
Well, it WAS Valentine’s day, after all. And while we eat quite economically the rest of the year, our gift to ourselves on this holiday was a nice rack of baby back ribs.
I had originally picked out this recipe to make. It sounded delicious enough, slightly intimidating, with the caramel and all, but delicious nonetheless. And hey, it only takes 90 minutes! Delicious indeed. That is, until we discovered that our 6-month old fish sauce that we kept in the cabinet had REFRIGERATE AFTER OPENING prominently displayed on the label. And if there’s one thing I don’t double cross, it’s fish sauce.
On to plan B.
A quick google search (keep in mind it is already 4:00 here) brought up one of my favorite blogs, Steamy Kitchen, and her recipe for Baby Back ribs with Asian Orange Ginger glaze. After the first two sentences, we were sold. Except, oh no! 4-6 HOURS? Please say it isn’t so.
Seeing as we actually wanted to eat our dinner ON Valentine’s day (and not at 1:00 in the morning on the 15th) we persevered. Upped the temperature to 275Ëš, and sure enough, after just over 2 1/2 hours, they were falling of the bone and ready to be devoured. I can only imagine what these must taste like after 4 hours, because they had me at 2 1/2.
If you like ribs, or even if you don’t but are willing to give them a try, make this recipe. It’s a keeper, and screw the salad â€” this just might become our lifelong Valentine’s tradition. Pair this with some from-scratch Brioche bread, pomegranate sorbet, and chocolate dipped almond wafers – now THAT’s what I call a Valentine’s day to remember. I’ll take an almond cookie (ok, three) over a bouquet of flowers any day! (Don’t worry, I’m just teasing you with sweet temptations. I’ll post the recipes for the rest of our meal tomorrow).
So here’s a toast to you, our readers, and thanks for your comments and support this past year. We hope you’ve gotten the same enjoyment out of seeing our food as we have from eating it. And rest assured, we don’t plan on stopping anytime soon!
It snowed yesterday. A rarity here in Tennessee, but we were pissed. Upset? Why? It’s just snow? Well, we grew up in the snow – 18 years of winters running from September through May. I’ve had one too many June snowstorms for my liking. So we left. Our 4 years in California was a safe bet, but when we move to Tennessee we knew that they got snow ‘rarely’. We can deal with rarely. At least we don’t have to drive in it. But we were upset nonetheless.
Anyways, snow means soup, and canned soup just doesn’t cut it.
So we made this pot of love… homemade minestrone.
And it was good.
It’s a recipe by no means set in stone. Use whatever vegetables you like or have on hand. Same goes for beans and pasta. The original also called for a dollop of homemade pesto on top, which would be delicious as well.
However, unless you are a family of 8 or really like leftovers for days on end, you might want to consider halving this recipe. It makes a lot. I’m sure it’d freeze nicely, to save for other (hopefully not) snowy days, but Taylor was adamant enough that he would eat it all that we didn’t try to freeze it. We’ll see about that.
Rustic Winter Minestrone Soup
Recipe from What’s For Lunch Honey?
Makes 6-8 servings.
1 can mixed colored beans (use whatever beans you like best)
3 potatoes – diced
4 carrots – diced
3 parsnips – diced
2 onions – finely chopped
4 tomatoes – roughly chopped
2-4 slices bacon – diced (optional)
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 bay leaf
Large handful flat leaved parsley – chopped
8 cups vegetable stock
1/2 lb. pasta (save the other half box and cook it later with leftovers)
Salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese for garnish
Place the beans along with the soaking water in a pot and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer for 1 hour, until soft. Alternatively, use your pressure cooker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. SautÃ© for 3-4 minutes.
In a pan heat the oil and, if using, sautÃ© the bacon until crispy. Add the onions and all the vegetables except for the tomatoes and beans, and cook until they begin to brown and soften, about 10 minutes.
Now add the tomatoes, parsley, bay leaf, and vegetable stock. Bring to a rolling boil, turn the heat down and simmer for 30 minutes. Drain the beans and then add to the soup. Cook for an additional 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a separate pot according to the instructions. Drain well. Divide pasta into bottom of bowls, and then spoon soup over top. Keep leftover pasta separate from soup to avoid sogginess.
Our panini maker has had a nice hiatus, but last night we brought it back into play.
This recipe is what you call “winging-it”, a jumble of what was left in the cupboard at the time, and for once, I actually wrote it down as I went along. Maybe I knew it was destined to be delicious.
Part of it anyways.
The homemade fennel focaccia… not so great. It worked fine for the panini, grilled and paired with other strong flavors, but take a bite of it raw and it tasted faintly of play-dough. I’m still a bread-beginner, and will surely keep testing the waters with other focaccia recipes. I’ll get a good one sooner or later!
Tuna & Artichoke Panini
Makes 3-4 Sandwiches
Focaccia bread, sliced in half
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 small jar artichoke hearts, chopped, liquid reserved
1 tablespoon capers
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 can tuna
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
Combine mayo, lemon zest, capers, parmesan, and 2 tablespoons of reserved artichoke liquid in food processor. Pulse 4-5 times or until well combined.
In a small bowl, combine artichoke hearts, tuna, red onion, and sundried tomatoes. Add mayonnaise mixture and stir well to combine.
Preheat panini maker or large skillet. Divide tuna mixture equally among bread, not spreading it too close to the edge (pressing the sandwich will spread out the filling, you don’t want it to ooze!). Liberally brush top and bottom with olive oil. Press or cook until filling is heated through and both sides are golden brown.
They might look like cheesesticks, but you’d be quite wrong if you assumed that’s what they were.
Nope. These babies were made in response to a few comments on our coconut shrimp post a few weeks back. Why not try the same thing with tofu? Hey, now there’s an idea!
Taylor’s given you his Kick Butt Peanut Sauce. Now it’s my turn. I present to you, Lindsay’s Kick Butt Mango Sauce! While it’s not the *ideal* dipping sauce (it’s pretty chunky and needs to be spooned on top of the tofu sticks), it has a natural sweetness and tang that is the perfect compliment to the coconut. The sauce would be a great dipping sauce for some asian spring rolls, or even as a salsa for fish tacos. I have to say, it’s pretty darn good!
As far as the coconut tofu goes, we followed the exact same recipe as our coconut shrimp, just substituting extra firm tofu in place of the shrimp. Be sure to press as much moisture out of the tofu as you can, then cut into ‘shrimp sized’ pieces. They definitely don’t have as much flavor as the shrimp – they almost need to be sweetened, but when combined with the mango sauce are quite delicious! And hey, wouldn’t it be fun to trick your friends into eating tofu by pretending they are mozzarella sticks? hehe.
Lindsay’s Kick Butt Mango Sauce
1 tablespoon ginger, grated
2 tablespoons coconut milk
1 tablespoon (or to taste) sweet chili sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 mango, cut into a 1/4″ dice
1 kiwi, diced as well
Combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl. Add chopped fruit. Enjoy!