i’ve been traveling. traveling places where other people do the dishes for you.
aren’t parents glorious?
we drank a lot of wine. a lot. (evidence above)
we went to a baby shower. i tried to ignore my thumping womb and focus on the champagne and nibbles.
it was like the real martha stewart had catered.
out of control pretty. want more?
oh, california. who lives like this? this home is a funky, arty wonderland of found objects.
my momma’s garden is pretty rock star too, though. they have fountains and roses and herbs. the other week, she made ice cream using passion fruit and macadamia nuts from her front yard.
how do you have passion fruit growing in your FRONT YARD for, like, a decade and not know?
oh, yeah, because you’ve been too focused on the glorious bounty from your tangerine, lemon and avocado trees.
california. some day, my friend, some day.
in the meantime, i visit. and make messes.
i also make crostini. toasty bread + ricotta + squash + lemon & herbs = winning.
just don’t over toast your bread (ahem, i mean burn it to a sad black crisp) unless you have the worlds best momma to run to the store to buy you more.
what? me? spoiled? whatever do you mean.
back to the crostini and how i earn my keep. i took some shortcuts. it worked out. you should make this. it is pretty foolproof.
the irish pasta-maker? he took no short cuts.
100 percent homemade, hand-cranked spaghetti. who lives like this? amazing.
he even has his own kitchen mascot.
don’t be fooled by how sweet she looks at rest. this happy beast considers herself a lapdog.
mom kept up her own with some tasty french 75s. neat trick i learned – with a spill-proof container, equal parts sugar and water and elbow grease, you can make simple syrup without adding yet another dirty saucepan to the growing pile in the sink.
see? totes considerate of others.
anyway, that woman makes a mean cocktail. luckily, i think it’s genetic.
we finished up with another winner of a simple, foolproof recipe. banana tartes tatin. (julia child rolls over in her grave.)
find a pan. smear the bottom with butter. sprinkle with brown sugar. layer banana slices. top with thawed puff pastry. bake.
it’s great with vanilla ice cream. better when eaten with your loving family.
Squash & Ricotta Crostini
Adapted from Bon Appetit
- 1 baguette
- 2 cups butternut or acorn squash, in cubes
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 cup ricotta
- 1 lemon – zest & juice
- Salt & pepper
- Herbs, chopped (recommended: basil, sage, thyme, tarragon or a mix)
Ghetto Hilary Version: Slice your squash in half. Remove seeds. Cover flesh end in plastic wrap. Microwave until soft. Start with 5 minutes in the microwave, then add time until done. Let cool unless you are like me and just burn your finders all over the place. Scoop flesh out into a saute pan – warmed with warm olive oil. Mash it together. Saute a couple of minutes with brown sugar and a dash of salt.
Normal Version: Peel and chop squash into 1/2 inch cubes. Toss with oil, salt, and brown sugar and roast at 400 degrees until brown and caramelized, about 30 minutes.
In a medium bowl, mix ricotta with lemon zest, just a squeeze of lemon juice and salt and pepper.
Slice the baguette. Toast under broiler, both sides. Takes just a few minutes per side. Don’t ignore it, don’t be like me.
Ghetto Hilary Version: If you have the mashed squash, spread some of that on the baguette, top with a dollop of ricotta, then chopped herbs.
Normal Version: If you have adorable cubed, roasted squash, start with a smear of cheese, then squash then herbs.
Why does the order matter? I don’t know. I’m OCD. Do what you like. 🙂
Banana Tartes Tatin
- 4 bananas
- 4 tbsp butter, softened
- 8 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 sheet puff pastry
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Slice bananas on the diagonal. Smear butter on the bottom of a 8×8 pan (or use 4 ramekins!). Sprinkle with brown sugar. Add banana slices, slightly overlapping. Top with puff pastry. Bake about 20-25 minutes until golden brown and bubbly at the edges.
Note: The traditional tartes tatin is made with apples. You caramelize them on the stove with butter and sugar, then top with pastry and finish in the oven. I think the oven-only version works because bananas are already so soft and sweet. But I bet some fruit would also work with this oven-only approach – raspberries, strawberries, mango – so explore! It is SO SO SO easy. If you’re ready for the skillet version, I’ve made one with tomatoes (admittedly in the middle of amazing tomato season) that was so good and different as a dessert – sweet but acidy and completely surprising and elegant.