- Jalapeno Pickle Brined Fried Chicken (with ranch. duh, this is America)
- Blue Cheese Potato Salad w/ Bacon and Scallion
- Beergarita Popsicles with Smoky Chile Salt
- Tomato and Peach salad with Basil and Red Onion
- Strawberry Icebox Cake
We would be such assholes if we gave you instructions on the perfect Grilled Cheese, but didn’t talk about tomato soup.
The perfect tomato soup is velvety smooth, without being creamy or rich, and sweet-savory, without tasting like a bowl of marinara. It’s comforting, intensely tomato-y, and refreshing. The secret to turning fresh, late-harvest tomatoes into a fucking yummy lunch that makes you say ridiculous words like “yummy” and “tummy” and makes you feel like your stomach is wearing its favorite sweater is roasting the tomatoes before they go into the pot, adding a touch of dry vermouth, and using a pinch of baking soda to give you control over the acidity.
What’s special about this soup is that it doesn’t have any dairy, so it freezes, cans, and stores really well. We’re big on feeding friends, especially if they need a little extra help, and this is a great recipe to make for folks who don’t have the time, ability, or resources to make dinner in their own kitchen. It’s comforting, easy to heat up, and can be adapted to suit a wide range of dietary needs and restrictions.
Salads can be a bummer.
Too often, especially in Midwestern American culture, they are used as a boring food, arbitrarily assigned to be virtuous, which atones for the crime of being a woman with a body. They’re eaten out of obligation, because of their designation as healthy, where “healthy” has come to mean: gastronomic flagellation through the consumption of flavorless, pleasure-less gruel.
While that kind of thinking does a disservice to people eating the food– and we’ll talk about that another time– it also gives good food a bad rap. Once you stop looking at salads as punishment or duty, it finally becomes possible to see them for what they are: fucking delicious. And this salad is our new favorite.
Juicy tomatoes paired with equally juicy peaches, tipped to the savory side with the faintest sliver of red onion and a healthy drizzle of olive oil. Nothing is more appropriate for the season and we have yet to find a better accompaniment to grilled meat. Don’t get tied up with the absence of lettuce; salads are much more than that. And, very simply, a pile of delicious foods tossed together in a dressing.
The finely sliced red onion is really what holds this dish together. While you can achieve that effect with a good, sharp knife, we like to use a mandolin slicer. Mandolin slicers are an essential tool in our kitchen and we use them most days. Whether slicing potatoes for a breakfast skillet, or making garlic chips, they speed up our prep and cut down on mess. You can get your hands on an inexpensive model at most markets but we really like this one. Make sure that the blade stays sharp, and always, always use the hand guard.
We know that it’s vegan and mild and generally well tolerated by even the most allergic among us. We understand that it does a good (boring) job at filling the role of the inexpensive, easy party snack for busy hosts. We get that not all dips can be mayonnaise and caramelized onions; sometimes people need to eat things with food in them. But… hummus just isn’t fun. Like, Ooh, roasted garlic and aggressive amounts of cumin, I’m so fucking impressed, I’m sure.
Even worse than just being boring, hummus is not at all versatile. It’s dip, exclusively, and anyone who has thrown a party knows there is absolutely nothing you can do with the neigh untouched bucket of chickpea mush the next day.
We came up with three alternatives that are a little bit more interesting, and a lot more versatile. White Bean Spread with lemon, rosemary, and red pepper is hearty, protein rich, and can be made with stuff you probably already have laying around the house. Roasted Tomato Jam is a great candidate for canning and packs a powerful flavor profile that some how makes tomatoes taste tomato-ier. Avocado Pesto is creamy and zesty and our favorite. Once you start making it, you will keep it in your recipe heavy rotation for life.
All three of our patently NOT boring spreads are vegan, can be made for less than $8, and take less than 8 minutes of hands-on prep time. Try them with your standard crudités and crunchy chip things, and pay special attention to the end each recipe for some suggestions on how we like to re-purpose our leftovers.