I love going to the markets and seeing the spring and summer produce slowly appear. Every year, when summer turns to winter, I miss the abundance of fruit and vegetables that are in their prime but after a few months, it’s easy to forget what a good tomato looks like. Now that peppers, zucchini, and tomatoes are back and super cheap, I feel like my dinners would be lost without them. While there is nothing better or fresher-tasting than crunching into a whole red pepper or a lightly salted tomato sometimes it’s nice to have a warm, hearty meal. In fact, there’s nothing more satisfying than applying a little bit of heat, some herbs and spices, and coaxing the best, freshest produce into an easy, weeknight dinner in under half an hour. That’s exactly what this spring ratatouille is.
Miso soup is one of those things that I always forget is in my repertoire. I think it’s because I usually make soup as a meal, not as a starter (that’s what salad is for more often than not) and normally, miso soup is not filling enough to be classified as dinner. I thoroughly enjoy miso soup but it makes me sad when I get some at a restaurant and there’s one piece of tofu, maybe a couple of pieces of seaweed, and a shitake mushroom floating around. While the broth is arguably the best part of miso soup, we can do better with the fillings people! In an attempt to have this ridiculously easy, fast meal on rotation more regularly, I decided to make it into more of a substantial meal.
As much as I love experimenting in the kitchen, sometimes you just need to eat. Fast. However, more often than not, I still want a nice warm meal that I won’t regret 10 minutes after eating it. The other night was a night just like that one and I went through my mental account of what we had in the fridge. Leeks. Carrots. Cherry Tomatoes. Tofu. I started trying to put together a meal in my mind, when I thought, forget it, a bowl of pasta is all that I want. For some reason, I always feel like pasta is a cop out. Before I took my interest in cooking seriously, pasta was on the menu easily 4 times a week. It is warm, comforting, filling and easy. But, I think I have to get over it, because sometimes pasta is just the right thing.