the rainy kitchen

cooking through the rain in southeast alaska

Month: September, 2012

roasted green beans

I love green beans! One of my favorite ways to eat them is roasted. It’s a super simple way to make them and serves as a great side dish with salmon, a regular meal in our house. Have a lovely weekend and eat your veggies!

Roasted Green Beans

green beans
olive oil
sea salt
crushed red pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash about a pound of green beans and snip off the ends. Lay them out on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and crushed red pepper. Slide into the oven for about 15 minutes. Take out when they are getting roasted, but are still nice and green.


a simple shrimp pasta

The other night my dad came into town on somewhat short notice for a visit. It was great. I wanted to make something simple and elegant for dinner that would be easy to pull off without a store run, as Bret and I had a busy day of chores before my dad’s arrival. I was fortunate to have a couple pounds of frozen local shrimp in the freezer. My dad makes delicious shrimp pasta (in my senior high school year book I said my favorite food was dad’s shrimp pasta). I make it in a variety of ways, but the easiest way is with ingredients I always have on hand (besides the shrimp, as I don’t always have that). Pantry pasta!

Simple Shrimp Pasta

2 lbs fresh or fresh frozen shrimp
olive oil
crushed red pepper
dried oregano
4-6 cloves garlic
dry white wine
sea salt and pepper

Shell and de-vein the shrimp. Put a pot of water on for the pasta, this recipe will make enough sauce for about a pound and a half of pasta – I would use spaghetti or linguini, don’t forget to salt the water.  Coat the bottom of a large saute pan with olive oil and heat over low heat. Chop the garlic and toss it in with the olive oil. Add a couple teaspoons of crushed red pepper and a few pinches of dried oregano. Let all of this cook together for a while on very low heat, being careful not to burn the garlic.  Add the juice of two lemons and several splashes of the wine.  Right before straining the pasta, put a ladle full of pasta water into the sauce. Turn the sauce off once  the shrimp is done (when it curls up and starts to show some reddish pink). Once the pasta is strained, drizzle with olive oil and put in a large pasta bowl, put the sauce over the top and serve immediately with fresh grated parmesan cheese.




we’re back!

It’s been a very busy few weeks. It has been all I could do to get food on the table, let alone blog about it! Life is still charging along, but I still have things to say about tomatoes! One of my favorite ways to enjoy them in late summer when they are so sweet and perfect is in a tomato and cucumber salad. Fresh cucumbers are also a super treat! Try it, you’ll love the fresh taste of summer it leaves in your mouth!

4-6 heirloom tomatoes (or whatever the sweetest, freshest tomato variety is that you can find)
2 cucumbers
good olive oil and good balsamic vinegar
sea salt and fresh cracked pepper

Cut up the tomatoes and the cucumbers and put them in a bowl. Lightly toss with flavorful olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. This is a very simple salad, so each ingredient needs to be good, it will make all the difference!

a simple tomato sauce

When I moved to northern California to go to college, I learned for the first time how truly amazing fresh tomatoes can be. Arcata had a great farmers market and I used to go and get fresh tomatoes, fresh basil and fresh garlic to make a simple sauce with. I still love this and of course, had to take advantage of the delicious tomatoes down here to make some!

Fresh Tomatoes with Basil

3lbs pounds tomatoes
6 cloves garlic
two handfuls fresh basil
olive oil
sea salt
fresh pepper
crushed red pepper

Chop garlic and add it to a heavy bottom pan with an inch or so of olive oil in it. Saute on low heat until the garlic begins to simmer and permeate the oil. Add chopped tomatoes (I don’t bother to peel and seed them, but if you’re a purest, you can do that first). Let the tomatoes cook down and then add the basil, crushed red pepper and salt and pepper. Let cook while you boil the pasta water.

* A note on boiling pasta water that is especially important for simple sauces such as this, don’t be stingy on salting the water! It brings out the flavor in the pasta and will make the overall dish much yummier. *

canning 100lbs of tomatoes

We are in Olympia, WA picking up a truck to drive home. So, we thought while we were here, we should can some tomatoes and bring them with us! This is something I love the most about coming south this time of year. Fresh tomatoes are everywhere, and they are so good. In honor of this, I am devoting a few of my favorite tomato recipes to the next week or so. I’ll start with our exhaustive and fun canning activities.

The tomatoes we canned are called San Marzano. Initially, we had planned to do Roma (which is what we’ve always done before, they’re good and meaty for canning). The farm we went to happened to have San Marzano though, and these are supposed to be the best for canning and sauce making, so we figured, why not? We picked them! It was very fun and amazingly fast. There were three of us and the owner of the farm picking and it only took about 15 minutes to get 100 lbs. It was fun and so cool to pick tomatoes off the vine out in the middle of a dusty, sunny field.

Tomatoes after picking. The yellow ones are from plants that have mutated. We didn’t care, we’ll take the mutated tomatoes!

The farm is called Krueger Pepper Gardens. They are known for peppers and tomatoes, but they have lots of other stuff too, including water melons. They are a family run place. We pulled in at the very end of the day and they could not have been nicer. If you live in this area, I highly recommend checking them out for your summer produce needs.

Before going in the pressure cooker.

Canning all these tomatoes was an epic ordeal. Bret and I canned all day, with the help of his mom (thank you, Susan!). In the end, we came out with 46 quarts. I kept out a few tomatoes that were not good for canning.  I will make a pasta sauce with them. It was a long, but satisfying process, from start to finish. Now to pack them up and drive them home with us!

The next morning, ready to pack up and move to Alaska.