Buttermilk Biscuits

Sometimes ya just want a buttermilk biscuit with strawberry jam. Simple as that.

I know I’ve posted a ton of buttermilk biscuit recipes (maybe I have a slight addiction to buttermilk biscuits ~ huh, never really thought of that before), and there’s a good chance I’ve used this recipe before. But this one is worth a repeat.

For the first time ever I actually read the entire recipe before baking (don’t know what bee got in my bonnet, I never do that). Certainly glad I did though because her “notes” are spot on! I followed all of her suggestions and these biscuits turned out flakey and buttery.

You will love these! Enjoy!

Side note… my oven must be way cooler than hers because I had to double the baking time.

Buttermilk Biscuits (recipe care of sallysbakingaddiction.com)

INGREDIENTS: 2 and 1/2 cups (312g) all-purpose flour, 2 Tablespoons baking powder (yes, Tablespoons!), 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter (very cold and cubed), 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons (270ml) cold buttermilk (divided), 2 teaspoons honey

optional for spreading: 2 Tablespoons melted butter + 1 Tablespoon honey

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Place the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl or in a large food processor. Whisk or pulse until combined. Add the cubed butter and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter or by pulsing several times in the processor. Pulse until coarse crumbs form. See photo above for a visual. If you used a food processor, pour the mixture into a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the mixture. Pour 1 cup of buttermilk (240ml) on top, then the honey. Stir everything together until just about combined– do not overwork the dough. The dough will look like shreds and be very crumbly. See photo above for a visual. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently mold it into a rough looking rectangle using your hands. Use the photos above as a guide. Fold one side into the center, then the other side. Turn the dough so it’s long horizontally. Gently flatten. Repeat the folding again. Turn the dough so it’s long horizontally once more. Gently flatten. Repeat the folding one more time. Gently roll the dough out with a rolling pin until it’s about 3/4 inch thick. Cut into 3-inch circles. Re-roll any scraps until you have 9-10 biscuits. Arrange in a 10-inch cast iron skillet or close together on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. (Make sure they’re touching.) Brush the tops with remaining buttermilk. Bake for 15 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and, if desired, brush with melted butter and honey mixture. Enjoy warm. Cover leftovers tightly and store at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Baked biscuits freeze well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and warm to your liking before enjoying. You can also freeze the biscuit dough. Prepare the dough through step 3. Wrap up tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and continue with step 4. Also, after step 3, you may wrap up the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days before continuing with step 4.
  2. Flour: Starting with cold flour helps guarantee taller biscuits. If have time, place the flour in the freezer 30 minutes before beginning. You won’t regret it!
  3. Butter: Cut into about 1/2 inch cubes. While you’re placing the flour in the freezer (note above), place the cubed butter in there too. Partially frozen butter is the BEST for biscuits.
  4. Buttermilk: You can substitute whole milk for buttermilk if desired. Acidic buttermilk isn’t needed in order for the biscuits to rise since we’re using baking powder. However if you’d like the tangy flavor, which I highly recommend, you can make your own sour milk substitute. Add 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice or white vinegar to a liquid measuring cup. Add enough milk to make 1 cup. (You need 1 cup in the recipe, plus 2 Tbsp for brushing– you can use regular milk to brush on top.) Whisk together, then let sit for 5 minutes before using in the recipe. Whole milk is best for the DIY sour milk substitute, though lower fat or nondairy milks work in a pinch. (In my testing, the biscuits don’t taste as rich or rise quite as tall using lower fat or nondairy milks.)
  5. Use either a pastry cutter or food processor for combining the ingredients. Both are great, but the food processor is quicker.

Bacon Cheddar Chive Biscuits

So there’s a strong possibility that I’ve made these before. But who cares? It’s bacon, cheddar, chives, and butter. There’s nothing wrong with a repeat of a combination of damn good ingredients.

Now, I’m not gonna lie to you. There is so much butter in this recipe that when I pulled them out of the oven, bubbly butter was literally oozing out of them. I’ve never really seen that before in a biscuit recipe. Paul even noted the fattening fragrance of butter cooking as they were baking. The moral of the story is that these are not the healthiest treat in the world. But again, who cares?

I didn’t freeze and grate the butter like the recipe calls for. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m a lazy baker. Instead, I just cut the butter into small pieces. In truth, I think grating it would have been better. The strands of butter would have incorporated into the dough more consistently. This would’ve have created lovely layers within the biscuit. Oh well.

However, even with my apathy, these are delicious! I would happily serve these for breakfast, a side to a salad or soup, or just as a snack. They’re yummy! Go forth and enjoy!

Bacon Cheddar Chive Biscuits (recipe care of damndelicious.net)

INGREDIENTS: 6 slices bacon (diced), 4 cups all-purpose flour, 4 ounces shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives, 4 teaspoons baking powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 3/4 cup unsalted butter (frozen), 1 3/4 cups buttermilk

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Drain excess fat; transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. In a large bowl, combine bacon, flour, cheese, chives, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Grate butter using the large holes of a box grater. Stir into the flour mixture. Add buttermilk and stir using a rubber spatula until a soft dough forms. Working on a lightly floured surface, knead the dough 3-4 times until it comes together. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 1 1/4-inch thick rectangle. Cut out 10-12 rounds using a 2 1/2-inch biscuit or cookie cutter. Place biscuits onto the prepared baking sheet; place in the freezer for 15 minutes. Remove biscuits from freezer. Place into oven and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Mexican Brownies

Oh holy hell! These are crazy good. Seriously, CRAZY good!

I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the movie, “Chocolat.” But if you haven’t, you should. It’s such a beautiful film with a fabulous soundtrack. Anyway, I do have a point. As I was melting the chocolate, espresso, butter, and sugars together, I envisioned myself in the chocolatier’s kitchen stirring the thick, pasty, chocolatey mixture with a feeling of awe. Slowly pouring the mixture into the dry ingredients and gently combining them while inhaling the rich fragrance took me to that kitchen filled with love and warmth. As you can tell, I have a very romantic imagination.

These aren’t your regular, run of the mill brownies. They’re moist, rich, and spicy. Their chocolate decadence is enhanced by the ground espresso, a necessary ingredient to bring out the full flavor of the chocolate. And the cinnamon and cayenne pepper give them a warmth that normal brownies just don’t have.

The heat is very mild. It’s subtle, and an amazing addition. Even if you’re not a fan of spice, give it a try. You’ll love them and your audience (if you choose to share them ~ absolutely no judgement if you don’t) will be extremely impressed with your creativity.

P.S. I love to tear recipes out of magazines, but of course I cannot remember which magazine graced me with this recipe. I have a horrible memory and the magazine title wasn’t listed anywhere on the page. Sorry!

Mexican Brownies (recipe care of ????)

INGREDIENTS: 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon each table salt and baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 8 ounces semisweet bar chocolate (chopped), 1 stick unsalted butter (cubed), 1 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar, 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder, 3 eggs (beaten), 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-inch square baking pan with nonstick spray. Whisk together flour, cocoa, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, and cayenne. Melt chocolate and butter with granulated sugar, brown sugar, and espresso powder in a saucepan over low heat. Off heat, stir in eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture just until incorporated. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake brownies until a toothpick inserted into center comes out with a few moist crumbs, 25 minutes. Transfer brownies to a rack and let cool completely. Cut brownies into 16 squares.

Mexican Wedding Cakes

Okay, let’s look at the positive Covid side… I live in a town where I can see my family, the Chenoweths and Dargas, and friends regularly. I have a job that I love and provides me the opportunity to work with some of the best Santa Barbarians around. I’m healthy and strong.

Okay, let’s look at the negative Covid side… I miss seeing faces. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I need facial interaction. People have such interesting faces; the expressions tell such stories. I miss, with my whole heart, the rockstar students that I’m lucky enough to teach. I miss.

In the midst of this Covid, crappy, crazy pandemic a dear friend of mine shared this recipe with me. She asked me to make them, and I couldn’t think of a better time. She’s finding such strength in herself while facing some seriously challenging situations. I think she represents most of America, and truly the world.

Well if I can do anything to lift a friend’s spirits, I can bake her request and share them with love. So an Irish/English/Welsh/American woman baked Mexican Wedding Cakes for her lovely Mexican American friend. What cracks me up is that my very Irish American mother shared this exact recipe with me but named, “butter balls.” So many cultures connect through food. What a gift.

Easiest recipe ever. Seriously, easiest recipe ever. What I liked so much about this recipe was the directions on how to “powder” them. If you have any appreciation for my random, and often drawn out advice, then listen to this… follow the directions in this recipe. The two rolls, while the cookies are warm and then cooled, are imperative. You will look like a rockstar in offering these lovelies at any gathering.

Ultimate Mexican Wedding Cake Cookies (recipe care of sunset.com)

INGREDIENTS: 3 cups (6 sticks) butter (softened), 2 tbsp. vanilla extract (yes, that’s 2 tbsp. and not 2 tsp.), about 1 3/4 lbs. powdered sugar (divided), 6 cups flour, 3 cups finely chopped walnuts

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 300°. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Beat butter, vanilla, and 1 cup powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed until creamy, well-blended, and fluffy. Add flour 2 cups at a time, beating on low speed, then on medium speed after each addition until well-blended, stopping occasionally to scrape inside of bowl. Add nuts and beat on low speed until blended. Stir by hand a few times to be sure dough is evenly blended.  Roll even 1-in. balls of dough in your hands and space 1 in. apart on lined baking sheets. Bake until dough is pale golden on top and golden on the underside, 25 to 35 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes. Gently toss warm cookies a few at a time in a bowl of powdered sugar (the sugar will melt and form a coating), then set on wire racks to cool completely. Repeat to make more cookies.Gently toss cookies in powdered sugar again to coat generously. Store airtight up to 1 week, or freeze.

Veggie Skillet Biscuits

These buttery, cheese filled, salt topped biscuits are actually “good” for you because they have a teeny tiny of zucchini, broccoli, and carrot in them. So in truth, it’s like you’re eating a minuscule serving of your daily vegetables. That’s my way of justifying their fabulousness.

When Paul and I first started dating there were certain foods he simply would not try, namely vegetables. I think he may have been slightly intimidated by them. He considered butter soaked corn and peas to be the perfect veggie side dish to his teriyaki chicken. He learned this from Nana, his mother, who cooks with sticks and sticks of butter. Not that there’s anything wrong with corn and peas and LOTS of butter, but the nutritional values of these aren’t the highest. Delicious, yes. Nutritious, no.

So when I started to cook for Paul, his mind was blown that vegetables can be both delicious AND nutritious. He was surprised that he actually liked salads and grilled or roasted veggies. But despite all of my efforts, there are certain vegetables he still hates. I can usually hide them in what I’m making, but he won’t voluntarily eat them.

Here is his list of non-negotiables… broccoli (aka “trees”), cauliflower (aka “brains”), asparagus (aka “sticks”), mushrooms, and olives. I love all of these, but nope! Not Paul. So at times I can disguise or hide them, or he’ll pick around them. He cracks me up because I’m basically a rabbit and love most every vegetable I stumble across. Poor Paul.

Anyway, long story short, these biscuits are delicious and even Paul liked them. They are perfect as a side to tomato soup, or a savory treat with breakfast, or just a lovely snack. Give them a go!

Veggie Skillet Biscuits (recipe care of bhg.com)

INGREDIENTS: ½ small zucchini (3 oz.), 1 small stalk broccoli (about 3 oz.) stem trimmed and peeled florets broken apart, 1 small carrot (3 oz.), 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon black pepper, ½ cup cold unsalted butter (cut into small pieces), ⅔ cup shredded extra-sharp cheddar, 1 cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (melted), flaked sea salt

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 450°F. Use a box grater to shred zucchini, broccoli stem, and carrot onto a cutting board. Using a chef’s knife, give the shredded vegetables and broccoli florets a quick chop. (You should have 2 cups total.) Transfer vegetables to a medium bowl. Toss in 1/4 cup flour; set aside. In a large bowl stir together the remaining flour, the baking powder, salt, baking soda, and black pepper. With a pastry blender or your fingers, cut in the butter until the pieces resemble coarse crumbs. Fold in the vegetable mixture and the cheese. Gently stir in the yogurt until the mixture is moistened. In the bowl gently knead until it comes together as a dough. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Pat the dough to a 1 1/4-inch thickness. Using a 2 1/2-inch diameter cookie cutter or glass, cut dough into rounds, flouring cutter between each cut. Repeat with scraps. Arrange biscuits in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until golden. Brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with sea salt. Cool slightly before serving. 

Chocolate Chip Pan Chewies

Oh, the cockiness.

I found this recipe on Facebook and thought it looked quick, easy, and yummy.  The kind of deliciousness you’d find at a family BBQ or a picnic with friends.  Nothing fancy, simple yet a crowd pleaser.

One reason I loved it was that 12tomatoes.com touted it as the easiest recipe in the world to make.  After reading it (and baking it), I whole heartedly agree.  However, my stupid arrogance!  If something can go wrong, you know it’ll go wrong in my kitchen.

When cracking the egg, a bit of shell fell into the batter.  I was suspicious that a shard had escaped but I couldn’t tell for sure.  Well yep, after mixing the wet ingredients together I saw a small piece of shell staring up at me, mocking me.  I confidently reached in to snatch it up but it slipped into the buttery abyss.  I dove in with both hands (literally), desperately trying to feel for that sharp, little bugger but to no avail.  Paul even took a gander trying to find it, but nope!  That thing was gone.

As I poured the batter into the pan, I saw two tiny pieces and fished them out.  But there’s a really good chance that someone will find a crunchy surprise when they bite into this sugary treat.

All I can say is, oops!

Chocolate Chip Pan Pan Chewies (recipe care of 12tomatoes.com)

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INGREDIENTS:  1/2 cup unsalted butter (melted), 1 cup brown sugar, 1 egg, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1 cup chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 9×9-inch baking pan with nonstick spray. In a medium bowl, stir together melted butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and egg until well combined. Add flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda and stir to combine. Stir in chocolate chips and pour into prepared pan. Bake 20-25 minutes. Enjoy!

Biscuit Cinnamon Sweet Rolls

Now y’all know I’m a fairly adventurous, confident baker but there are two things that scare the bejeezus out of me… 1. yeast and 2. kneading dough.

I have literally avoided every recipe that I can that includes yeast.  I always end up killing it and the recipe falls flat (literally).  Kneading dough worries me because what if I overwork the dough and it becomes dry or tough?  What if I don’t have enough flour on the surface to keep the dough from sticking?  What if my rolling pin doesn’t have enough flour on it and the entire ball of dough refuses to let go of the pin?  These are the terrors that haunt me when I bake (that was very dramatic and only slightly true).

Needless to say, although Paul has always tried to get me to make cinnamon rolls I never have because they require yeast.  However my friend, Laura, sent me this recipe and I was all in because it looked crazy delicious and only involved one of my fears… kneading.

So I dove into this recipe with great enthusiasm and used plenty of flour on both the counter top to fold the dough and on the rolling pin to roll the dough.  Gotta say, turned out pretty well.

Ya know ya have a fun recipe when you’re trying to roll out the dough and you need your sioux chef husband to stand behind you, arms on either side, holding the wax paper in place while you roll out the dough.  It can be a very sensual experience if you want it to be (imagine the scene from Ghost with Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze).  For us, it was more goofy, involving a lot of laughing.

Ya also know ya have a delicious recipe when both your cheek and phone have remnants of icing on them.  This is seriously one of the best recipes I’ve made.  Simply delicious.  I’ve never made anything like this before so don’t be intimidated by the steps.  If I can do it, anyone can.  Enjoy!!!

Biscuit Cinnamon Sweet Rolls (recipe care of Southern Living)

INGREDIENTS:  1/4 cup frozen shortening (cut into small pieces), 1/4 cup cold butter (cut into small cubes), 2 1/2 cups self-rising flour, 1 cup buttermilk, wax paper, 6 tablespoons butter (softened), 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, vegetable cooking spray

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat oven to 450°. Cut shortening and butter into flour with a pastry blender or fork in a medium bowl until crumbly and mixture resembles small peas. Freeze 10 minutes.  Make a well in center of flour mixture; add buttermilk, and stir with a fork just until dough comes together.  Turn dough out onto a heavily floured surface, and knead 8 to 10 times. Transfer dough to a heavily floured piece of wax paper about 18 inches long. Roll dough into a 14- x 10-inch rectangle.  Spread dough with softened butter, leaving a 1/2-inch border. (Make sure butter is very soft, and spread it gently.) Stir together sugars and cinnamon; sprinkle over butter. Lift and tilt wax paper, and roll up dough, jelly-roll fashion, starting at 1 long side and using wax paper as a guide. Cut dough into 14 to 16 (1-inch-thick) slices. Place rolls in a lightly greased (with cooking spray) 9-inch round pan.  Bake at 450° for 13 to 15 minutes or until rolls are golden brown. Cool in pan on a wire rack 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, prepare Creamy Glaze, and drizzle over rolls.

Creamy Glaze

INGREDIENTS:  1 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 4 tablespoons heavy cream

DIRECTIONS: Whisk together powdered sugar, vanilla, and 3 Tbsp. heavy cream. Whisk in up to 1 Tbsp. cream, 1 tsp. at a time, until smooth and creamy. Use immediately.

Herb-Grilled Chicken Tacos

I don’t know about y’all but in the Covid-19 pandemic, I’ve probably gained half of the 19 pounds.  Oh wait, is the “19” not referring to the amount of weight gained during quarantining?  My bad!

Dear Lord, Paul and I have eaten our way through the last 6 or so months.  So now that school is starting up again (well, sort of – at least I’m hoping to have a normal schedule), I’m determined to once again cook healthy, yet delicious meals.  Hence the grilled chicken tacos.

These are fresh, flavorful, and visually beautiful tacos.  Oh and as I require, they’re super easy!  I would suggest making these during the height of summer because of the fresh ingredients.  In-season herbs, fruits, and vegetables make all the difference in this kind of recipe.

I did have a few changes (mainly because I’m lazy).

  • I would double to the wet rub for the chicken.  We only had one pound of chicken and made the rub as called for, but could’ve easily used more.
  • We didn’t grill the avocado.  Simply because it just seemed like a lot of trouble.  Plus avocado on its own is a little piece of heaven here on earth.  But if you’re into grilled avocado, have at it!
  • We used queso fresco instead of cotija cheese.  I like the flavor and texture better.
  • We used flour tortillas because that’s all I could find while shopping and there’s no way I was gonna go to a second store.  Again, I’m lazy.
  • I heated the tortillas in a skillet then moved them to open flame so that they had that wonderful, charred flavor.

As Santa Barbara locals say at this time of year, “Viva la Fiesta!”

Herb-Grilled Chicken Tacos (recipe care of Lorena Garcia)

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INGREDIENTS:  1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. vegetable oil (divided), 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme, 1 tsp. lime zest, 1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt (divided), 3/4 tsp. black pepper (divided), 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts, 1 avocado (seeded and cut into 8 slices), 1 tomato (finely diced), 1/2 cup finely diced white onion, 1 small poblano chili (finely diced), 1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro, 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice, 8 soft or hard corn tortillas, 2 oz. cotija cheese (crumbled)

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat grill pan over high; brush with 1 tablespoon oil.  Stir together thyme, zest, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl.  Sprinkle evenly with herb mixture.  Cook in hot pan until chicken is golden brown and cooked through, about 8 minutes per side.  Remove chicken from pan; remove pan from heat.  Place avocado slices in pan, and let stand until grill marks appear, about 2 minutes.  Let chicken stand 1 to 2 more minutes; cut into 1/2 inch thick slices.  Stir diced tomato, onion, poblano, cilantro, lemon juice and remaining 1 teaspoon vegetable oil and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a medium bowl.  Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes.  Heat tortillas according to package directions.  Fill with grilled chicken, pico de Gallo, grilled avocado and cheese.

Pasta with Roasted Summer Vegetables

Booths lined with baskets of bright raspberries, indigo blueberries, and dark blackberries. In a sign of individually and creativity, the farmers display various berry basket patterns that are both attractive and enticing.

The above is my favorite part about visiting local farmers’ market (regardless of where said market is in the world).  The colors, the shapes, the aromas, the energy.  With every farmers’ market I’ve visited between Santa Barbara, Missoula, Granada, and Cusco… I learn something about the culture.  Something special, something unique, something that is probably a gift from the heavens of that is good with food.

Okay, one quick story.  When I visited Granada, Spain (twelve million years ago), I stumbled (literally and figuratively) down a cobbled stone street, into a small courtyard lined with tables covered by baskets filled with the most stunningly, brilliant, beautiful, fragrant spices I’ver ever seen.  Granada is a wonderful mixture of the Spanish and Muslim cultures.  I was enchanted.

Man, I can ramble on when I remember fabulous food related experiences.  Back to the point!  I am lucky enough to live in a town where the farmers’ markets (we have something like 12 each week) offer crazy gorgeous produce any day of the week.  When I saw this recipe, I immediately thought of Santa Barbara’s plethora of summer squash, peppers, garlic, olive oil… the list goes on and on.

Enjoy this fresh, healthy, summer delight!

Notes:  I used one pint of tomatoes and added in one red pepper, orange pepper, and a bag of fresh baby spinach.  With these additions you might need to adjust your seasoning.

Pasta with Roasted Summer Vegetables (recipe care of… onceuponachef.com)

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INGREDIENTS:  1-1/4 lbs (2 pints) cherry or grape tomatoes (halved),  4 shallots (thinly sliced), 5 cloves garlic (peeled and smashed),  1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (plus more for serving), 2 teaspoons salt, 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar, 1 medium zucchini (cut into 1/4-inch chunks), 1-1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (from 2 ears corn), 12 oz fusilli (or similar shape) pasta, 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1 teaspoon herbs de Provence, 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese (plus more for serving), 1/2 cup tightly packed basil leaves (roughly chopped), 1/3 cup pine nuts (toasted)

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with heavy duty aluminum foil. Combine the tomatoes, shallots, garlic, olive oil, salt, and sugar on the prepared baking sheet. Toss with your hands or a rubber spatula until the vegetables are evenly coated. Arrange the vegetables in a single layer and roast for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the tomatoes are just starting to brown. Remove the pan from the oven and add the zucchini and corn. Toss with a rubber spatula (the tomatoes will collapse; that’s okay) and spread into an even layer. Roast for 5 minutes more, until the zucchini and corn are tender-crisp. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain, then add the pasta back to the pan. Add the roasted vegetables and all their juices to the pasta, along with the butter, herbes de Provence, red pepper flakes, Pecorino Romano, basil, and pine nuts. Toss well, then taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Spoon into pasta bowls and drizzle with olive oil, if desired. Serve with more grated cheese.

Nana’s Teriyaki Sauce

Paul and the “Goletians” (the crew of Goleta locals who all hung out and graduated within a few years of each other), have had a long standing 4th of July tradition of setting up a ridiculously awesome BBQ/picnic on Goleta Beach.

When I attended my first Goletian 4th, I was crazy nervous.  This was my Goleta boyfriend’s extremely close friends’ tradition.  Here I am, the local Santa Barbara girlfriend (local SB people will understand this) invading the celebration. I had to earn the trust of his friends and prove that I could prep a killer picnic.

Needless to say (since Paul and I are 8 years strong), the Goletians accepted me.  It might be because I prepared a fabulous beach meal and participated in an illegal pier dive at the end of the day.

The key to my success was Paul’s mom’s teriyaki sauce recipe.  It’s simple, easy, and awesome!

Notes:  I used way more garlic than the recipe calls for (as Nana suggests).  So far, Paul and I have used this recipe repeatedly with flank steak (making skewers).  But it would be delicious as a marinade for any kind of steak or chicken.

Teriyaki Sauce (recipe care of Karen Darga a.k.a. Nana)

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INGEDIENTS:  1/2  cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup sugar (I used brown sugar), 1/4 cup water, 1 piece fresh ginger root (peeled and diced), 1 clove garlic (diced), Nana’s note: “I use more garlic.” Oh Nana, we all do!

DIRECTIONS:  Chop, pour, combine, shake… in other words place all prepared ingredients in a shakeable container (that’s my technical word for Tupperware).  Give it a rigorous shake, pour it into a large ziplock plastic bag, and let marinate for 24 hours- 2 hours (the longer the better)

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