The Yum Yum Days

Not particularly different from any other days other than the fact that Evan and I actually captured our culinary output on camera while running after the kids, enjoying Philadelphia, and much-deserved time with my parents. Cookbooks, blogs, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter are full of single shots of delicious eats but they don’t often give us a glimpse into a full day in the kitchen. I am going further and sharing a weekend. The farmer’s markets brimming with strawberries and vegetables have inspired me in the kitchen. Our local HeadHouse Square farmer’s market looked like an explosion of bright red and green. Had we not been limited by the one tote we brought with us, I would have bought every radish and green in sight.

So here goes… two days in our culinary life:

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Tomatoes aren’t really in season yet but parsley, young red onions, and garlic are bountiful. I roasted the tomatoes in the oven until they were bursting with sweet-sour flavor and dressed in an herbaceous vinaigrette. It was sunny bright.IMG_0978

Earthy and flavorful is this deep-roasted broccoli with oven-fried garlic. Some florets are verdant green while others are crispy-baked. A perfect side served room temperature and just as good cold in the evening. Healthy, too.
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Speaking of healthy but more importantly, absolutely delicious. This is the one dish I did not cook. My mom made this gorgeous, chilled borscht topped with sour cream, grated egg, scallion, cucumber and dill. Mouthwateringly delicious and perfect on a hot summer’s day.

IMG_0985 Some go goo-goo for pasta salads but I find them to be too rich, too heavy and laden with cheese and unbalanced vegetables. Instead, I opt for a quinoa salad. Same principle… herbs, veggies if you’d like, and a light olive oil vinaigrette. This one has lightly pickled onions, garlic, and some herbs. 
IMG_0991These easy oven-baked chicken thighs have made regular appearances at our dinner table the last few weeks and for good reason, too. They are so very delicious, a synch to make, and fill the house with the most beautiful aroma. 
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Corn chowder, to me, is a summer affair. This one is a very light version of Corn Chowder sans bacon and with part-skim milk. Light and refreshing it pleased even the tiniest of taste buds.

IMG_1012Eggplant is such a favorite at our house. Baked, sautéed, stewed, stuffed and even steamed, we eat it year-round and I cook it in the Italian, Turkish, Japanese, Indian and Azeri styles. Every which way it is unforgettable. This is pan-fried eggplant topped with a dill and garlic crema. It is my most favorite preparation because that’s how I grew up eating it.

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And since hot weather, margaritas, happy hours, and siestas are upon us, we make guacamole. Simple. Avocados, red onions, and limes. A favorite snack for everyone … even Eliza.

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And if you know me, you know that I am someone who does not like to make dessert optional. The rhubarb season is brief and it is one of the earliest spring plants. Rhubarb is best friends with strawberries but I thought it is special enough to be the star of a sweet ending. Here’s a rhubarb snacking cake. Yum.

Maybe I shouldn’t tell you that completing this culinary line-up are homemade strawberry-creme-fresh and chocolate ice creams. Well, the least I could do is not taunt with pictures. They are mind-blowing.

Whew. That was quite a lineup, wasn’t it. Well, all that cooking didn’t preclude us from enjoying our weekend outside the kitchen. We visited a farmer’s market, the Three Bears Park, and partook in the happenings of Old City. We also went to Spruce Street Harbor Park which has been open for a week, and Sophia has her eyes set on the skating rink at Blue Cross Summerfest. Sophia may be eyeing skating, but I am eyeing those hammocks and beer at Spruce Street Park.
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Quality time with Baba and Deda were huge hits for us and the girls. Played out and fed with all sorts of delicious, the girls played with Legos together. Future engineers? I can only hope.
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