Lots of photos today and lots to say. Why? Because it’s my blog-ver-sary! So, no that doesn’t rhyme, but it’s close!
They say when you have children, the years go by quickly but the days can seem long. I feel that way about this blog. It is truly hard for me to believe that I sat down a year ago and started this journey. I’ve really enjoyed all of it and am already excited about the coming year. Thank you for being here to read what I write. Thank you for trusting me and my recipes and for letting me know when things look good and when they turn out well.
By coincidence, I got to celebrate by catering a lunch for a group of lovely women who were honoring themselves as mothers. My friend Jen hosted a “mother-asana” at her studio on Bainbridge Island. It was a day of yoga, meditation, and thinking about who we are as women, not just moms.
Jen’s studio is on her property and it is as lovely as she is. I had so hoped to take part in the asana part of the afternoon, but alas, my brother was hospitalized this morning with appendicitis. It didn’t feel quite right to me to be enjoying a yoga class while he was in so much pain. I did get to enjoy a quiet ferry ride over in the morning, some solitary cooking time in Jen’s kitchen, and then sharing lunch with the other moms. I also got to visit my brother who was still in a lot of pain but seemingly on the mend.
In all the cooking I have done for other people, I have rarely made lunch so this was a nice challenge. I did a few lunches for a former client who is a lawyer and, no offense to the lawyers out there, but I’d rather cook for blissed out yoga women. (Although I do have to brag that I got to bring lunch to Chris Cornell – he is a client of my former client.)
I figured that everyone would be hungry but because there would be another yoga practice in the afternoon, I didn’t want to make anything to heavy. I knew sandwiches were a must but, because making 20 individual sandwiches seemed kind of impractical, I made 3 large ciabatta ones which I sliced into portions.
This one had hummus, green olive tapenade, and carrots that had been marinated in lemon juice and a host of spices. I also made one with egg salad, but I think the favorite was this one.
This sandwich is one I’ve made over and over and I’m not really a sandwich person. It’s very simple but the flavors are perfect together. Homemade roasted bell peppers, soft goat cheese, basil, and red onion make for a special treat.
Also on the menu, a favorite pasta salad and a new quinoa salad which I will share with you in the next couple of days. There was a big green salad with asparagus, green beans, avocado, and grapes – all dressed with a mustard-y vinaigrette with lots of basil. And, of course, a big platter of fruit.
After all that healthy stuff, people definitely needed a treat. I made these oh-so-very-blogged-about cookies a while ago and hadn’t made them since so I figured it was time. They were gone in a matter of minutes.
But back to the sandwich. This is a wonderful thing to have in your cooking arsenal. It can feed 6 easily and you can always double it if you have more mouths to feed. It looks pretty, the flavors are fresh, and it comes together easily. You can roast the peppers days in advance to make it even easier to assemble. Next time I make it, I am going to scoop out some of the ciabatta’s top innards. I thought it was a little too bread-y.
One year ago: Meet Me
Roasted Pepper and Goat Cheese Sandwiches
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home
Here is the funny thing. I forgot about part of this recipe when I made it today. I just put the roasted peppers on the sandwich without the capers and other flavorings. It was still delicious but I recommend you take the extra steps described below.
4 large red or yellow bell peppers (or a mixture)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. drained capers
1 large ciabatta bread, halved horizontally
1 (11-ounce) log soft goat cheese (such as Montrachet)
8-10 large basil leaves
3 thin slices red onion
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
Place the whole peppers on a sheet pan and place in the oven for 20-30 minutes, until skins are completely wrinkled and the peppers are charred, turning them twice during roasting. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately cover it tightly with aluminum foil. Set aside for 30 minutes, or until the peppers are cool enough to handle.
Meanwhile, combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.
Remove the skin from the bell pepper, then slice in half and remove the seeds, and the stem and discard. Slice the peppers into thin strips and place in the bowl with the olive oil mixture. Stir in the capers. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend.
To assemble the sandwiches, spread the bottom half of the loaf with the goat cheese. Add a layer of peppers and then a layer of basil leaves. Separate the onions into rings and spread out on top. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Top with the top half of the ciabatta and cut into individual servings.