I love Sunday workdays; kitchen all to myself, no time constraints, freedom to be creative, love love love. Today, after I finished my pastry dough/dub step time, I made tofu manicotti and “farmers’ market” tarts. The tofu manicotti is so easy and delicious it is ridiculous:
Manicotti Filling: tofu, cottage cheese (or ricotta), mozzarella, and whatever herbs and spices you like. Today I used fresh basil, oregano, salt, and pepper, but occasionally I will pack it full of spinach or add some mushrooms and olives.
Pasta Sauce: Grated zucchini, grated carrots, tomato sauce, herbs and spices.
To complete manicotti: stuff shells while still dry and hard. Pour a thin layer of tomato sauce on bottom of pan. Place manicotti in pan, cover with remaining sauce. Bake for about an hour at 350 degrees. Done!
The “Farmers’ Market” Tarts, as I so artfully named them (haha), were a lot of fun to create, and absolutely gorgeous when they came out. This is the first thing I have been proud to show at work. The crust was a basic tart crust: butter, flour, salt, sugar, and water. The filling was basically whatever I brought back from the market that week (with a little added extras). I did a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom, half I sprinkled with Parmesan, the other half I put thin slices of Swiss, and then I arranged a variety of cherry tomatoes (halved), basil, spinach, mushrooms, kalamata olives (non-farmers market), and garlic.
After work, I biked to Pisgah to pick blackberries and enjoy the few hours of sunshine I had left. According to the Google Gods, it was about a 17 mile bike ride. It was pretty much flat the whole way, and overall a pretty wonderful ride. I picked about 12lbs of berries (Free berries!) and am planning on making jam like my mother used to every year when we were kids. How I love blackberry jam…
When I came back into town, I decided to head straight for my favorite $5 meal at Eugene Fisherman’s Market: Salmon burger, waffle fries, and blackberrry bbq sauce, and what’s a great after bike ride dinner without a Hop Valley Double D Blonde Ale (ok so it’s a little more with the beer but hey…). The Fisherman’s Market always serves great food, has a great selection of Oregon beers, and an even better selection of wild caught oregon fish. Today I picked up a half pound of Columbia River Chinook Salmon, last week a pound of Rockfish, and they have other choices of Oregon shrimp, cod, snapper, etc. There are seasons of fish, just like vegetables, so I like to just go in and find the tastiest looking Oregon fish.
When I got home, I unloaded my loot from the day, figs and blackberries, and peered into my fridge and cabinets. My cupboards seem to be quickly filling as of late, and my freezer has been full for quite some time now. It is both exciting and nerve-racking, wondering if I have enough, if I will have room, what I will run out of, what I will get sick of. Only time will tell I suppose. For now, I shall preserve like there is noooo tomorrrow! Recent preservings: dill pickle spears, dill pickle chips, big and spicy curry pickle chips, blackberry applesauce, more roasted red peppers, dried mushrooms, and purple pole beans. Near future preservings: garlic braid, dried apple slices, more applesauce, blackberry jam, more dried mushrooms, and figs preserved in honey syrup. Happy Summer!