cooking

Heirloom Tomato, Zucchini, Caramelized Onion and Feta Galette Recipe

It took me a while to get into Pinterest. Years. I liked Tumblr a lot, and Pinterest seemed redundant. Well, it's finally won me over. I find almost all of my recipes on Pinterest, including this Heirloom Tomato, Zucchini, Caramelized Onion and Feta Galette.

The recipe is great, but the one problem I ran into was that the pie crust stuck to the parchment paper. And stuck well enough that I mostly just ate the filling the first time I ate this. 

So the second time I made this, I placed the (homemade!) pie crust in a large rectangular glass pan. It meant that there were no individual galettes, but less work for me, and since I was the only one eating it, it worked out perfectly!

I also used two different kinds of thyme growing in our garden. And finally, the second time I made this, I made the mistake of going to the expensive grocery store to get heirloom tomatoes which were $4 more a pound than at the other store. So I supplemented my heirlooms with some normal tomatoes so I didn't have to go to two stores. I didn't see a major difference, but the heirlooms are quite a bit prettier!

Do you have any similar recipes to share?

No Microwave, No Problem

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When I moved to my most recent rental, it came furnished. But didn't have a microwave. The house was old, over 100 years old, and while the owner assured me that it could handle a microwave, I wasn't so sure based on none of the outlets working with my fast charger. Between that doubt and me being too busy to read reviews for microwaves online, I never got around to getting one. The previous two and a half weeks I'd been petsitting for a friend who didn't have one and I'd gotten used to it. I just had to heat thing up on the stove, in the oven, or not at all.

So living without one actually wasn't a huge adjustment.

The biggest adjustment was waking up early enough to heat up the oven to heat up my breakfast burritos. I'd been doing that while petsitting, but his oven worked. The one at my house? It stayed on once every fifteen times you turned it on. I wish that was an exaggeration but it's not. There were days it just wouldn't stay on, no matter how many times I started it. So I just ate something else for breakfast.

But I heated up soup on the stove, milk for hot chocolate on the stove, leftover thai on the stove... And it all worked pretty well! There were a few things I chose to eat cold, but they weren't bad cold, they were just meant to be hot.

Overall it wasn't a huge adjustment to live without a microwave. I didn't think I could do it, but it was pretty easy. I understand that not everyone has the time or the budget to do it, the fact that I had the time to wait for the oven to heat up and for it to heat my food says a lot. And honestly, environmentally-wise, and utility-wise it may not have been better to use the oven than the microwave. Someone else might be able to figure that out; it'd be interesting to see what difference is.

And finally, adjusting to living without a microwave makes me think I could adjust easier than I think to other lifestyle changes. Like a smaller house or less stuff. 

Has there been anything you've adjusted to living without?

Cooking Spaghetti Squash

Northwest Pearls: Cooking Spaghetti Squash Recently I wanted to cook  spaghetti squash to see if it really was a good spaghetti substitute.

  • I preheated the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Cut the squash lengthwise from stem to end. Scooped out the seeds.
  • Then I placed the squash cut-sides down in a pan and added a little bit of water to the pan so it would help soften the squash.
  • I cooked the squash for about 45 minutes before pulling it out and making sure it was soft enough to pierce with a fork. It was so I took a fork and started to separate the flesh into strands.Northwest Pearls: Cooking Spaghetti Squash

I liked it but it definitely wasn't as good as spaghetti. It'd be good with a hearty red sauce, but it wasn't my favorite with pesto or just with butter and parmesan.

Do you have any spaghetti squash tips?

Huckleberry Pie at Priest Lake

Northwest Pearls: Huckleberry PieI've always loved huckleberries. We've always had bushes of them growing in our yard or neighborhood so it blew my mind when my best friend thought that they were something "from Dr. Seuss." Then I had two other friends think that they were just a flavor. They didn't realize they were a real thing. That being said, I love huckleberry flavored things. Ice cream especially. We bought huckleberry ice cream at Priest Lake and it was amazing. And while at that store, we picked up a huckleberry pie for later. It was pretty good. And so pretty. I can't imagine how many huckleberries it took to make this though.

I'd for sure go get ice cream there again and probably the pie too!

What's one of your favorite flavors?

Homemade Chicken Pot Pie

Northwest Pearls: Homemade Chicken Pot Pie I was recently craving comfort food, in particular Chicken Pot Pie, so I decided to make one!

In the past, okay, it was one time, I haven't had much luck with pie crusts. But I decided to try again and make my own pie crust. So I found this recipe from the New York Times and followed it for the crust.

And for the pie filling, I followed this recipe from All Recipes.

Northwest Pearls: Homemade Chicken Pot Pie

Both recipes were fairly easy, well, I had some trouble with the pie crust, but it turned out this time. (Last time I ended up going to the store to buy a crust.)

I could have cut the slits in the top a bit more symmetrical, and I could use some practice in rolling out the pie crust, but oh well. It tasted good anyways!

The one thing I would change is to not add so much salt to the dish. I think most of the salt was in the pie crust because when I ate the filling and bottom crust, I enjoyed the dish more than with the top crust. But that's a pretty easy fix!

What's a pie you like to make?

Cooking with Friends

Northwest Pearls: Chicken Caprese A friend and I got together and we wanted to make a fun and not-too-hard meal. We settled on this 30 Minute Skillet Chicken Caprese recipe.

We bought the ingredients, substituted grape tomatoes for cherry tomatoes, and rosemary for the herbes de provence, and started.

It was pretty easy, we didn't have a pan we knew for sure could be used on the stove and in the oven so we just transferred the chicken from the cast iron pan to a glass oven pan.

I left my friend alone with the instructions to cut the tomatoes and came back to find he'd cut them in half the wrong way. But it worked.

Northwest Pearls: Chicken Caprese

We did forget to add the basil, but it was a great dish. My friend said it'd definitely be something he'd make again and our two other friends both enjoyed the dish!

We ate the dish with some yummy bread and for dessert we had angel food cake with strawberries and whipped cream.

What easy recipe do you like to make?

Blue Apron Meatballs

We got Blue Apron for a week, and this was the second meal we made from them. It was Pork and Ricotta Meatballs with Creamy Polenta and Broccolini. Northwest Pearls: Blue Apron Meatballs

I'd never cooked, or had polenta before. The red sauce was good, and the meatballs were fine, but my favorite part of the recipe was the broccolini. I wouldn't make this again, but if I did, I'd substitute the polenta for spaghetti. I really enjoyed the other meal we received from them, and this one was okay, just not something I would have picked.

Northwest Pearls: Blue Apron Meatballs

Northwest Pearls: Blue Apron Meatballs

Northwest Pearls: Blue Apron Meatballs

Northwest Pearls: Blue Apron Meatballs

Blue Apron isn't for the novice cook. They're assuming you have decent equipment and some cooking knowledge. So I wouldn't recommend it if you've never really cooked before. It is a fun thing to do with family or friends though.

To see our first Blue Apron meal, check out my blog post on it.

Have you ordered meals to be prepared at home? What have you thought?

First Meal from Blue Apron

Blue Apron Za'atar My mom received a coupon for a week's worth of free meals from Blue Apron from a friend of hers who uses the service. So she ordered two four person meals. They arrived in the same container with two separate recipe flyers. We chose to make the Za'atar Chicken Skewers and Mint Yogurt Sauce recipe for our first dinner.

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It was fun but pretty time consuming. The prep time was supposed to be 10 minutes, and the cook time was supposed to be 25 to 35 minutes but it seems like the two of us spent at least an hour total on it. That may get faster as you get used to Blue Apron, but I don't think I'd want to use this every night.

This would be a fun idea for a date night, or for when you are hanging out with a friend. (It also might be a good idea for Firefighters to use every once in a while!)

The food was pretty good, and very filling. It's not a recipe I would have picked, but I enjoyed it.

Have you tried anything similar? What have you thought?