Grilled Asparagus with Creamy Scallion Dressing

Grilled Asparagus with Creamy Scallion Dressing

A few weeks ago, I went home for a last minute trip back home to Tennessee. The timing was just right, and I was overdue for a visit: my grandmother had open-heart surgery recently and was recuperating. I also wanted to spend some time with my niece and nephew before they moved back to North Carolina. Luckily I was able to find a reasonable fare, and I bought a ticket with 2 days notice to make my way back south.

Let me just say that my niece and nephew are 1 and 3 years old, and after three days with them my appreciation and respect for my sister-in-law went through the roof. Being home all day with those two requires an energy level that I just didn’t know possible. If I could figure out a way to bottle those kids’ energy and sell it, I could quit my day job.

It goes without saying that they’re absolutely adorable; they just happen to also be ornery little monsters. I was relieved to see that my grandmother is spunkier than ever and made sure to provide large spreads for us each day. Even though we beg and plead for her to let us help, she refuses and goes about her way making salads, sandwiches and corned beef – plying the wee ones with popsicles and conveniently hearing “sure, one more slice” when offering pie.

In addition to the food and baby time, I got to spend time with my dad and brother doing one of our favorite family activities: watching horrible action movies. My brother and I spent most of the evening trying to convince my dad to watch a good action movie and take him to see Pacific Rim. We were not so successful on that front, but it was a delightful visit, nonetheless.

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Potato and Bread Salad with Sautéed Vegetables

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A few weeks ago, I could have sworn that I had invented the idea of using bread as a base for a salad. Cube up some white bread, drizzle with a little olive oil, toast those suckers in the oven until just quite crouton territory, and then mix in some roasted tomatoes and BAM – you’re transported into summer on the coast. Little did I know the Tuscans figured that one out just a wee bit before my time.

For this particular salad, I decided it needed something to make it a bit more filling, so I thought adding in the potatoes would suit up just fine. I will say that this is something I came up with when I obviously needed some carbohydrates in my life. Now if only I could come up with a way to add some meat between two slices of bread, what would I call it?

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Spiced Brussels Sprouts with Walnuts & Goat Cheese

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Today was a day that just felt long. Nothing particularly interesting or noteworthy happened, it was not even particularly stressful, just long for a reason of undeterminable origin. The only reason I could come up with was that I didn’t eat breakfast this morning, and by the time I got home I was ravenous. I’d eaten a large salad for lunch, snacked on a couple pieces of babybel cheese, and even threw in a banana to try and quench the hunger. Nothing was working.

Then I keyed on to something I had heard earlier in the day – use vegetables for volume. I had already planned on eating poached chicken with roasted zucchini and tomatoes, but fearing I would decide after dinner to add in some needless carbs, I thought it best to add in another veggie instead. (Tennessee being a land of meat and threes – this was really quite a logical leap for me.) I’d had this side in mind for a while and thought it a perfect night to execute and sure enough I can say in full confidence, I am finally full.

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Cauliflower and Red Pepper Soup

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I’ve got a confession that might put my marriage in jeopardy – I’ve been carrying on a long and torrid affair…with soup.  For years, I’ve been engaged in an intensely passionate side relationship that borders on obsessive. I wade with my love in a deep river of emotion and in the immortal words of Emma Thompson “true love lasts a lifetime.” (Extra points to anyone who can identify what movie that is from.)

Soup season is tragically coming to an end. As the temps pick up, making a big steaming pot of anything is sadly losing a bit of its allure. I’m not sure how many recipes I write up that consist of me entertaining friends on the fly and having to utilize what’s readily on hand. It’s a reoccurring theme on Roxie Ginger and really why would this be any different?  Continue reading

Roasted Parsnips & Carrots with Dill

Roasted Parsnips & Carrots with Dill

As we roll into mid-December, with its cooler temps and spatters of rain, I feel I missed New York’s most perfect season, fall. Luckily for me, some steaming root vegetables are right at home in the cold and wet.

This recipe actually makes a lot and is perfect on a colder day. Pair it with anything you want, or just eat it on its own. Due to the brevity of the ingredient list, it’s important you use really good olive oil and fresh dill. Otherwise, it’ll come out a bit meh-tastic. Nobody needs that; the weather’s “meh” enough on its own.

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Cream of Mushroom Soup

For my birthday this year, Davis bought me my long coveted The Art of French Cooking by the larger than life, Julia Child. I have had this on my Christmas list for about 5 years and at a certain point, I became determined that this must be a gift to me given to my by someone else and not something I would buy for myself. This year, I received an Amazon gift card from my father in law and decided “well heck, this is close enough” and resolved to purchase it for myself. Before I got a chance, true gem that he is, Davis had already picked me up a copy on a recent business trip in New York.

I have been dog-earring recipes to try all week. First on my list was Cream of Mushroom soup, which has been a long-standing contender on my favorite soup list. This version is definitely decadent but it made my husband, a former non-mushroom eater, actually ask for seconds. Not something Campbell’s can claim.

This recipe makes a lot for a two-person household, which is for the best considering our upcoming move. The frenzy has our household in a total tizzy, and we could benefit from some leftovers.

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Jan & Robin – Home Fries

Being from the southern US, I grew up eating home fries almost every morning, and I still like to make them on weekends topped with an egg for an easy hash. I actually have a scar on my left hand from a grease fire caused by getting the oil too hot whilst making home fries for a class breakfast at 15; I’ve gotten a little better since then. I still have an aversion to frying, and now I put them in the oven. It also helps to use less oil and makes them a little less calorie-heavy.

So: less scarring and healthier. Everybody wins.

Jan & Robins are simply yummy things to look at. 

Just in case you aren’t familiar with how to make home fries there is a recipe after the break.

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Gazpacho

Ahhh, gazpacho. My favorite of all summer things. I apologize for all the tomato-heavy posts lately, but ‘tis the season, so to speak. When living in the Northeastern United States, I always looked forward the produce output of August. What other time of year can you find plump, fire-engine red tomatoes with a flavor so intense it (almost) makes you sad for cooler temps?  This being my first year in Barcelona, I’m not sure what I can really expect from the produce season. Maybe the novelty of being able to get delicious summer fruits later in the year will wear off, but then again, I seriously doubt that.

Gazpacho can be a personal, creative dish depending on your mood or whatever ingredients you happen to have at hand. I like mine as simple as can be: tomato, garlic, bread and olive oil. However, I still have half a watermelon in my fridge, so I might get creative this weekend…

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Sweet Potato & Cilantro Hummus

During our jaunt through London we came upon a restaurant that advertised a sweet potato and cilantro hummus. Unfortunately, we were not able to try the dish due to a persistent and insatiable desire for Sunday roast; you only have so many meal opportunities when you’re on vacation. Still, I thought it sounded interesting enough that I wanted to try and see what we could do with these flavors at home.

I had originally wanted to make this as the filling for a “quesadilla” using red peppers, but I couldn’t get the texture quite right. You need the crunch of the pepper to make the quesadilla concept work, but the flavor of the roasted red pepper is required to create the best taste. Unfortunately, roasting the pepper means no more crunch. The compromise I found was to add the red pepper to the hummus and serve with crunchy crudités. The flavors together work in almost perfect harmony. Yes, it’s a simple recipe, but who says that easy can’t be tasty, too?

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Baked White Beans and Rice

Today I woke up feeling a bit under the weather, and I needed something filling without being too overpowering. The perfect meal in a time like this is some good ole’ fashioned baked beans and rice. I suppose this would be considered peasant food, and there is nothing wrong with that. This batch of delicious requires nothing fancy, no long grocery list, and not a ton of standing up in the kitchen time. As Davis mentioned mid-meal, this also accidentally filled our vegan dish requirement for the week. You can make the beans from scratch, but in a moment like this, I felt a jar of canned white beans did the trick just fine.

Aside from feeling a bit ill, I have been recently a craving salad like nobody’s business, so I had to have one of those to round out the meal. I’ve never been very good at making salad dressings; it’s a skill that I’ve been working on improving and have to say this one turned out brilliantly. Adding white wine to the dressing and red pepper to the salad provides the tie in to the baked beans and rice, keeping the flavors relatively consistent. Similarly to how a rug that can bring a room together, using the same ingredients in two different ways can bring seemingly disparate dishes into unison.

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