August 20, 2009

Ann, senior food editor: Japanese eggplant, green bell peppers, eggs

I was stoked to go home with Japanese eggplant—beautiful,pale-purple, slender, delicately curved. I love this stuff cooked withground pork in a spicy Asian brown sauce. I used our recipe for

 The eggs, oh those lovely fresh eggs. I can get down on eggs just aseggs—scrambled, over-easy, poached—I don’t usually want to “hide” themin a recipe application. Three days in a row, my husband and I enjoyedour favorite summer breakfast: toast slathered with

Cindy, associate editor, healthy living: Cucumbers, field peas, green beans

Confession: I never made the

Jason, editorial assistant, culinary school student: okra, corn, soybeans

With five ears of corn, creamed corn seemed like an clear choice, and

CJ, administrative coordinator: heirloom tomatoes, summer squash, cherry tomatoes

As soon as I saw the gorgeous picture of the Roasted Vegetable Pizza in our 5-Ingredients, 15 Minutes special edition, I knew that was what I wanted to make this week. The recipe seemed easy enough, but it taught me a few important lessons about cooking.

First, read the directions carefully. If they call for "coarsely chopped" squash, if would be useful to notice that before you've sliced the squash into your prep bowl.

Second, humor is a secret ingredient.

Third, don't be afraid to experiment. When things go wrong, you learn. When things go right, it leads to a sense of confidence in the kitchen. Case in point: I dared to change the recipe by adding roasted red peppers. I don't own a jelly-roll pan, so I used one of the trays from my toaster oven for roasting the veggies. I used a baking stone for the pizza. It all worked out. Except one small thing:

 If you are planning to photograph your pizza, go easy on the cheese. (Compare my photo to the professional shot to see what exactly I mean.)

I used the heirlooms in the Tomato, Avocado, and Onion Salad. The heirlooms were so pretty when sliced, and the avocado, onion and basil combined to make a very easy-to-prepare and colorful dish. It gains flavor marinating overnight.

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