Mini Bouchon Carrot Muffins

bad photo
bad photo
Oh no! Our camera is having problems! Drat!

As we were making these, disaster struck. Our faithful camera self-destructed, so you won’t see how these carrot muffins turned out, but you will see most of the steps, so you can scratch ’em out yourself.

We decided to make these for our fellow Monday night volunteers, mainly because they sounded healthy. After all, it’s like eating carrots, right? Of course not; it’s more like eating cake with some carrot pieces, but, that’s okay, too (we were going to go with chocolate muffins, but changed our minds at the last minute).

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Zucchini Shakshuka

zucchini shakshuka
zucchini shakshuka
Odd name (to us), but fast and tasty!

We include zucchini in the title simply because we’ll make this dish to help use some of the plethora of summer squash that we get during the season. But, really, there are only two things you need to remember for making Shakshuka: spicy tomato sauce and eggs. As far as we can tell, everything else can be changed (even the spiciness, of course) to suit what you have on hand and what you like. With that in mind, we’ll show you what we did for a quick and easy lunch (it’ll also work for dinner, or even breakfast).

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Crispy Smoky Salty Carrot Strips (Carrot Bacon)

crispy smoky salty carrot strips
crispy smoky salty carrot strips
Would you believe carrots?

When we first saw this recipe, we were skeptical; supposedly a few flavorings and a bit of baking would make carrots taste like bacon. In fact, the recipe in Bacon-ish, by Leinana Two Moons, was titled “Carrot Bacon,” which we changed to Crispy Smoky Salty Carrot Strips. Why? Well, let’s face it, carrots will not taste like bacon, and they’ll surely not fool anyone into thinking they are eating bacon, and that’s just fine. Why should they? Why can’t this recipe be just a new way to enjoy carrots? A way that’s crispy, smoky, and salty? We thought so. So we figured we’d give the recipe a whirl and pass it by our Scratchin’ It taste-testing panel for critique. What do we have to lose? It’s just a carrot, right?

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Cherry Mostarda

cherry mostarda
Cherry MOstarda with goat cheese
Wow! Cherry Mostarda is really good!

It’s cherry season, and, while we love fresh cherries, we also like to see what we can make from them. Sure, there’s a lot of desserts made with cherries, but what about something savory? Today, we decided that we’d try making some cherry mostarda. Now, we don’t know about you, but we’ve never even tasted this Italian condiment, so we figured we’d scratch up a small batch for testing purposes. Sound interesting? We’ll show you what we did.

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Oven-Roasted Tomato Sauce

oven roasted tomato sauce with pasta
oven roasted tomato sauce with pasta
Best and easiest tomato sauce ever!

We’ve known about this recipe for years, and, all that time, we’ve wanted to make it. So, what stopped us? Simply a lack of ingredients. We just didn’t have all the ingredients; specifically, we were lacking fennel. Normally, when we get fennel, we make up a small batch of Fennel Gratin, which we think is nearly the best way to eat fennel, but, last week when we went through the line at the CSA, we selected a nice large fennel with the idea of making Thomas Keller’s Oven-Roasted Tomato Sauce.

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Piadina (an Italian Flatbread)

piadina or Italian flatbrad
piadina or Italian flatbrad
Piadina along with Primavera risotto and fennel oil. Yum!

Last Friday, we were making a traditional Italian dish for dinner — Risotto Primavera — and we didn’t have bread to serve alongside. In our house, baking day is Sunday, and, since we’d traveled, we’d eaten all the bread in the house. So, we decided that there must be some quick, easy, traditionally Italian flatbread we can make up in a few minutes. And, according to posts on the Internet, there is: piadina. We looked at a few recipes and quickly realized a secret about piadina which we’ll reveal at the end of this post.

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Mirepoix

mirepoix disks
mirepoix disks
Once frozen, we pop out the disks and transfer to a freezer bag.

This is a really really basic thing to make, but being basic doesn’t mean that it’s not important. You probably make something like this nearly every time you cook something savory, but, did you ever think to make it in advance and freeze to quick-start your meals? We did, mainly because we have a surfeit of celery from our CSA right now, and making mirepoix is a great way to ensure that it doesn’t go to waste. The next time we start something savory — soup, beans, tomato sauce, pretty much anything — we can break out a bit of mirepoix and shave 30 minutes off our cooking time.

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