October and Ocracoke Vacation 2022 Food

Welcome back (to me, finally getting back to posting after a few week’s hiatus)! Here are the highlights of October food in our house, the wonderful food we made on vacation in Ocracoke, and notes on the cookbooks the recipes came from.

*This post contains affiliate links to some of my favorite cookbooks. If you click a link and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission.

Beets and Greens Phyllo Pie from Melissa Clark’s book,  “Dinner In One”. We took the suggestion in the recipe notes and swapped roasted butternut squash for the beets, and I only had feta on hand (not the washed-rind cheese Melissa suggests), but this was still delicious and 10 out of 10 would make again — and will follow the recipe next time b/c it seems a funky cheese would only make this crispy, hearty, veggie pie even better.

crispy Phyllo Pie on a cutting board

Grilled picanha steak w/ romesco sauce, fried plantains, coconut rice and beans. This was my birthday dinner and the recipe is… basically in the title. Simple and delicious, and note to self to include more plantains and coconut rice in my life. What really made this meal sing for me was the smoked almond romesco sauce, which I do have a recipe for and it’s included at the end of the post.

Brazilian steak, rice, and beans on two plates

A bloomer loaf and a rye, ale, and oat bread from “Paul Hollywood’s Bread”. Anyone else glued to the current season (and every past episode, ever) of The Great British Baking Show? I can’t get enough of it, mostly because of Noel Fielding. But a couple years ago, the show also inspired me to buy Paul Hollywood’s bread cookbook and learn to make bread, from scratch, by hand– not a stand mixed or a bread machine in sight. IDK what it is but something about making a loaf of bread with my hands makes me feel like I’m in total control of my life and am awesome. I love this book b/c it explains the why behind the how which, it turns out, is pretty important with bread-making.

Pizza with caramelized onions, homemade buttermilk ricotta, roasted mushrooms, and shaved brussles sprouts. Agh, my heart is aching that I don’t have a piece of this pizza right now. It checked every oniony, creamy, earthy, crispy greens box for me. And I MADE the ricotta! What! That recipe came from  “To the Last Bite” by Alexis deBoschnek and was easier than I thought. I want to be the person who always uses leftover buttermilk to make ricotta. Then puts it on a pizza with mountains of brussles sprouts and mushrooms.

And now on to the real fun… our Ocracoke vacation!! Here’s some of what we ate:

Scacciata from my one true cookbook love: “Italian American” by Angie Rito and Scott Tachinelli. My best description of this dish is a layered pizza? It has about 3 pounds of swiss chard and spinach cooked down with lots of garlic and wine, and loads of mozzarella. You make the dough, spread the filling, fold and repeat until it’s small, bake it, slice it, and all your friends say, “Wow“.

Oysters! My husband and friends foraged for and caught these oysters and were dining on them with lemon juice and hot sauce within about 30 minutes of pulling them out of the water. I mean… rockstars.

Smoked pork butt, ribs, and wings! It’s not an N.C. vacay without them.

Caramelized Onion and Short Rib Ragu with Pasta and crostini with smoked ricotta. Mmmmkay, the onion and short rib ragu is maybe one of my top 10 favorite things on earth and it is from, once again, “Italian American” by Angie Rito and Scott Tachinelli. I don’t think I need to explain why a ragu with that name tastes so good. We had it for dinner then again for lunch while dinner was on the smoker and I decided to become a badass for 15 minutes and smoke some leftover ricotta (with advice from “Via Carota” by Jody Williams and Rita Sodi). NBD.

Brief interlude for some 1718 Brewing food. The fried cheese cuuuuuurds:

Steamed buns and coconut curry pork meatballs. Yessss! These buns are on repeat from earlier this month, I will love them forever. And the coconut curry pork meatballs are a staple in this house from How Sweet Eats. The meatballs are so easy and the sauce is creamy and rich with a great punchiness from lime juice — fabulous.

Baked eggrolls for lunch. Molly Yeh strikes again — this recipe came from her book  “Home Is Where the Eggs Are” except instead of beef and store-bought coleslaw, I used leftover pulled pork and the Crunchy Asian Slaw from that same Molly Yeh book. I’m pretty sure you could fill these eggrolls with any combo of meat and cabbage-y thing and be successful. And yes, the eggroll wrappers and flour tortillas, but are still completely satifying.

baked eggrolls on a pan

Clean-out-the-fridge fried rice. This last-night-of-vacay dinner consisted of rice, pulled pork, minced up smoked chicken wing skin and meat, minced smoked rib meat, diced leftover roasted cauliflower, potatoes, and brussles sprouts, leftover coleslaw, and some croutons made from leftover brioche buns. Essentially, a masterpiece of leftovers.

fried rice in a pan

I’m terribly sad vacay is over. But, a good smoked almond romesco sauce recipe can help me move on.

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Smoked Almond Romesco Sauce

Brazilian steak, rice, and beans on two plates

A smoky, tangy sauce to serve with steak, grilled tuna, or as a spread on sandwiches.

  • Author: Megan
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cup 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 8 oz jarred roasted red peppers
  • 3/4 C salted, smoked almonds
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 TBS tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp smoked hot paprika
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne
  • 2 TBS sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp honey + more to taste
  • 2 TBS olive oil

Instructions

  1. Combine the first nine ingredients in a food processor and pulse to combine.
  2. With the food processor running, stream in the olive oil.
  3. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary — sometimes, depending on how sweet the roasted red peppers are, I like to add an additional squeeze of honey.

Keywords: quick romesco sauce, easy romesco sauce, almond romesco sauce, smoked almond recipe

Sweet Potato Collard Green Fritters

I want to say I pulled this recipe out today because I was just trying to use up some last bits of veg in my house. But, the truth is, I have a long-standing, undying love for vegetable fritters. Sometimes, a fizzy batter and a shallow fry in a skillet is the best treatment you can give a vegetable. That’s the case today with these sweet potatoes and collard greens.

Batter for Sweet Potato Collard Green Fritters on a wire rack with lemon wedges
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Caramelized Onion and Bacon Mac and Cheese

Every once in a while a meal is created that you just want to curl up in bed and snuggle with. This is that meal. Macaroni and cheese already falls squarely in the comfort food category but when you add sweet caramelized onions and salty, smoky bacon to it… It’s a real situation. You might be thinking, “Nah, that sounds too rich for me,” to which I would say, “Get real. It definitely is not.”

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Rosemary Onion Donuts

Well friends, this is a very special day! It’s donut day! But not sugary sweet, cake-like donuts. Nope, these are savory, herby Rosemary Onion Donuts that you dip in a salty, chivey butter and then you close your eyes and are like, “Wow, where have savory donuts been all my life?” That’s right – this is the 21st century and donuts do not always have to be sweet! Besides, a Rosemary Onion Donut with Chive Butter is kind of an ideal appetizer. It’s like bread and butter, only a bazillion times better. And, hello – party food? 100 percent.

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Fresh Tomato Basil Tart

The sun and the rain and the air have been really good to us on the OBX this summer and we have tomatoes for days. And basil is growing like a weed! I am reluctant to cook fresh garden tomatoes too much. Considering how sweet and juicy they are, it feels like a vegetable crime. But sometimes, an idea comes along that’s too good to resist and splaying these fresh tomatoes out all over a buttery, flaky tart dough showered with tons of fresh basil seemed like the best possible move. It’s like summertime on a plate. If the tomatoes in my tart picture look too round and uniform to have been homegrown by me, you are correct. I bought these from the farmer’s market because mine weren’t ripe enough yet. But, a week or so later, I proudly swung in from the garden with these beauties! Some of whom are definitely destined for another Fresh Tomato Basil Tart. Or, maybe this buttery tomato pasta? TBD.

fresh tomatoes on a kitchen towel
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Mushrooms and Kale with Breadcrumbs

So exited to bring you this super elegant but also super effortless veggie recipe today! It’s sort of a means to an end, really. Spoiler alert, the end is pizza with this mushroom/kale combo on top! And a white pizza sauce with an obscene amount of garlic. But you’ll have to wait till next week for that. For now, make this, make extra of it, and save the leftovers for the pizza.

This beautiful mess of wilty kale and crispy-brown mushrooms came about when I cooked it up to go alongside roast beef the other night and, despite my deep carnivorism, it was my favorite thing on the plate. So, here it is for you!

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Radish Greens Salsa

We’re growing a garden!! It’s happening! It’s the pride and joy of my covid #stayhome experience. Cleared, amended, and planted in April… and needing to be weeded almost every day since. Now that I am an official gardener, with all of 1 month’s experience under my belt, I want to share a tip with everyone: GROW RADISHES! Especially if you lack confidence and know-how, like me. Grow radishes.

Radish Greens Salsa in a black bowl next to a bunch of fresh radishes
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Scallion Flatbread

Judging by the flour shelves at the grocery store, and my instagram feed, quarantine is bringing out the baker in all of us! I am into this but, on certain nights, my interest in big cooking projects has its limits. Luckily, no-yeast, super easy Scallion Flatbread exists!

In the blur of meals I’ve cooked over these past several #stayhome weeks, I cannot remember why I needed to make this bread. It was definitely to pair with something Middle Eastern, with lots of sauce and rice… that is *always* the type of meal that makes me and Joey crave some pillowy, blistered flatbread. I recall only having about an hour before the rest of dinner was ready and before hunger was going to turn me into a monster. Oh, and my oven was full. So, these babies came together in a cast iron skillet in under an hour. Amazing – I know.

scallion flatbread on a cooling rack
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Broccoli Stem Slaw

Broccoli stems: the bonus ingredient of broccoli! Completely usable and tasty- and versatile! We eat a lot of roasted broccoli in my house and I usually just slice up the stems for roasting, too. But, occasionally, I’ll save them and turn them into Broccoli Stem Slaw. Fun fact: I will eat coleslaw on literally anything. Sandwiches, burgers, tacos, roasted veggies (gettin’ weird), rice (weirder), or mixed into any available leftovers (cringe). Broccoli Stem Slaw is no exception. I just finished off a bowl of it with piri-piri meatballs on top and it was perfect 🤷‍♀️

Broccoli stem slaw in a glass bowl
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Rosemary, Onion, and Olive Focaccia

Yaaasss, homemade bread! I know some of you are doing it, or at least thinking about it, during these strange days of #stayinghome. If satisfaction, and maybe a little distraction, are what you’re seeking, make some dang focaccia. You’ll be so, so proud of you! And, at the end of the day, you’ll get to enjoy fresh, olive oily, crispy outside, chewy inside, yeasty bread studded with roasty red onions, fragrant rosemary, and briny olives. Swoon ❤️

Rosemary Onion Olive Focaccia on a baking sheet
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