Cod with roasted tomato thyme sauce

9.26.2016

I'm still holding on tight to any element of summer that I can grasp. Despite my wardrobe beginning to adjust, I'm holding off on switching to Fall flavors. I'm not ready for root vegetables, cranberries, and stews. I still want caprese salads.

In direct correlation, I was having someone over for dinner this weekend. We had made a lot of jokes about my phenomenal carrot crop and how some of them looked downright prehistoric... but I couldn't quite bring myself to cook with carrots yet. When I think of carrots, I think about soups and stews, roasts, and cold weather.
For the dinner, I prepared myself with two options. Despite my excitement over the abundance of carrots, I was pretty thrilled that we chose option 2. This meant for more time watching a gorgeous sunset and looking for cranes... than searing a pork loin on the stove.
  • Option 1: Rosemary pork loin with roasted carrots and goat cheese
  • Option 2: Cod with thyme roasted tomatoes
Despite printing out the original recipe, we followed almost zero of those notes. Except to combine tomatoes and thyme and fish. There are a few things that made this meal a flipping A+ effort:
  • GARDEN FRESH // We cut the thyme and plucked the tomatoes right from the vine after a beach walk. 
  • FLEX TIME // The slight caveat for this dish is that you can make it with probably 5 minutes of prep and 30 cooking minutes... or 15 minutes of prep and 45 cooking minutes. The later will yield a more flavorful dish as you give the tomatoes more time to roast. If you are short on time, toss everything in at once and you'll be fine.
  • BREAD // I'll admit the bread was a late add - but it was so necessary. I'll also be honest and say I have no idea how it came out so evenly and perfectly toasted. But man, dipping bread in roasted tomato juicy goodness is one of the best things that can happen to you.

Here's how it goes.
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F
  2. Generously add olive oil to the baking dish and then add in the tomatoes, onions, and garlic. Squeeze a bit of lemon juice over everything. I cut my tomatoes into wedges and slices in the effort to reduce time needed for getting them nicely roasted. There is no need for perfection here. You'd be wasting your energy.
  3. Add the thyme to the dish too. You can take the time to remove it from the stick part... or just toss it in whole. Roast the dish for about 20 minutes or so. Season your cod fillets with salt and pepper ... then add them right on top of the tomato mixture.
  4. Cod will take about 12-15 minutes at 400. 
  5. With about 5 minutes left, generously drizzle sliced bread with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Add your sliced bread to the top to toast up. 
  6. Fish is done when it flakes easily.
Shopping List
2 cod fillets, about 6-8 oz each
olive oil
salt & pepper
lemon juice
6-8 tomatoes, cut into wedges and slices
1/2 medium onion, sliced
lemon juice
sprigs of thyme
2 cloves of garlic, roughly minced
great bread

blueberry almond coffee cake

9.20.2016

I recently cleaned out my freezer and truly discovered what was hiding in the depths of those drawers. The answer? Blueberries and perhaps some real sad soup recipes that I have no intention of ever eating. Also, pounds of butter and not nearly enough frozen waffles. I love frozen waffles.

tomato jam... with a kick

Ah tomato jam! File this recipe under "way too easy", "fast", "super unique", and many other things.

I first made a tomato jam back in 2012 when I lived in my very crooked North End apartment. I gave away most of the jars that I made pretty much because I didn't really appreciate the diverse uses for tomato jam. If I'm being honest, I barely even tasted the 2012 batch of jam. I made it, tasted it, and then gave them away. 

This year, I haven't gotten back into sauce making yet. Instead I've been giving away more tomatoes than canning them which is great for cementing friendships but less amazing for winter cooking. I've also done things to the tomatoes like drizzled with carrot chimicuri, grilled tomatoes, and even just olive oil with mint and basil.

But tomato jam is really quite unique. I'm not really a jam or preserves person in general. I like butter on my toast but tomato jam is kind of a great thing. I have eaten it on toast at 6 am and 8 pm. I can imagine it being a killer addition to an appetizer. Endless opportunities.

This particular batch has a bit of a kick to it. Nothing like an aggressive Mexican meal or anything but just a gentle kick to add some flavor. I like it - and maybe you will to.

Here's how it goes.

(STEP 1) Add all the ingredients to a heavy bottom saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil stirring frequently to prevent the bottom from burning.

(STEP 2) Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened to the consistency of jam. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

(STEP 3) Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator if not canned.

Shopping List
2 pounds tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne

That moon right?

9.16.2016

I think I'm currently at month ten of living in the suburbs. Give or take.

Through a variety of circumstances I've recently had the opportunity to think about this decision more. I switched onto a new project at work and when people find out that my commute is 90 minutes long ... each way... the natural next question is "so when are you moving closer?". I answer "never" so fast that it probably surprises people. The thing is, yes I love where I live right now. But nothing in life is permanent. If things change and I want to live in Boston again, I can and I will. But right now, I don't.

I don't have to remind myself often of why I moved. More often what happens is that I am reminded by other things why I did. That might be confusing, but essentially think of it this way. When I'm having a hard day I don't have to remind myself of the virtues of my decisions. It is more the virtues that remind me.

For example, last night I was driving home from the work and saw a moonrise / sunset so amazing that I swore about it. Multiple times. I could not pull over fast enough to capture it. And then when I got home, I couldn't change fast enough to get out for a quick walk. I'm not a messy person but there is literally a pile of discarded clothes in the front hall from evenings just like this.

There are things that I do miss about living in the North End. But when I made a quick list, 60% were food related and 20% were yoga classes. That last 20%? Just general exploration and socializing. There is something rather lovely about taking casual multi-hour strolls and not picking anything up.

But instead of long city walks, I take long sea glass walks. And I take weekend morning bagel trips with my brother. And I see the ocean every day - twice. And I can grow 6 varieties of tomatoes without getting labeled a fire hazard.

dinosaur caterpillars are my enemy

9.06.2016

It's been about 3 weeks since the last garden update. Ever since that date, a whole lot has changed.

The garden literally exploded with produce. Specifically tomatoes. It legitimately happened the very next day. I was in the garden and began to pull out my expected 2-3 ripe tomatoes and just did not stop until the little folding table was filled. Since then I've eaten some seriously beautiful tomatoes on the regular. Since I'm unable to eat all the tomatoes, I chose to give them away to people that I like and want to be my friend. Not just anyone either, I'm pretty discriminating about who gets tomatoes.

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