31 August 2010

Seafood Fra Diavolo

There is something so pretty about a cooked lobster! That shade of coral can't be found in many places and for me, it's a sure reminder of summertime and hot beach days followed by an easy boiled dinner with garden vegetables. Fall is showing signs of its approach, though, and the lobsters will soon be a thing of the past. The local season ends when the Fall storms rile up the seas off  the coast of New England, making lobstering too dangerous. So, by November it's tough to find affordable lobster that hasn't traveled too far from the sea to your plate. I have found a small local outfit, though, to which I plan to give my business right up to the time when the owner's son must stop taking his boat out for the season. (He's selling lobsters for $4.99/lb these days ... a real deal!)  And just before he stops pulling his traps, I plan to buy several lobsters to boil. Then, I'll freeze the meat in small batches and have lobster casseroles and lobster mashed potatoes, and lobster dip around the holidays. Yum!

30 August 2010

Easy Pork Roast ... Florentine-Style

You can't go wrong with a basic roast pork when you're looking for a nice Sunday dinner ... this treatment made for a very moist and intensely flavored roast. The recipe came from Culinaria - Italy and was titled Arista Alla Fiorentina (Florentine Roast).  I made a Caesar salad and bruschetta with tomatoes, mozzarella, parsley and basil to accompany the roasted pork and potatoes.  We drank a Spanish Rioja with the meal ... completely wonderful.

Now, some might laugh at the simplicity of this recipe, but not every blog browser is a foodie with excellent kitchen talents ... my friend , Max is always looking for easy recipes that he can use to impress a new girl (JK, Max!). So, basic recipes are a good thing now and then! This one's for you, Max!

27 August 2010

Anadama Bread - Because Silent Bob is Coming Home and Wants Toast!

Warm Dough

The things we do for love ... Silent Bob has a love for a good freshly baked bread.  His mom baked bread when he was a kid and when we were in Germany those food memories were reawakened, after a long time eating store-bought bread and an occasional home-baked loaf . The Backstube where we bought our bread did phenomenal things with yeast doughs! Since moving back to the States, there has been the challenge of baking our own or finding good local backeries to satisfy his lust for the crust.

Confession time: I have never been a great bread baker. It's not for lack of trying, but those fancy loaves just don't come together for me! I keep it very simple when I do bake bread - herb bread, that walnut fouace I made a few weeks ago, simple bisquits and yeast rolls. I was really excited when I found this recipe for Anadama bread right after SB and I were married. It's been an old stand-by over the years. Very moist, a nice dark brown loaf of bread with not too much 'sponginess'. SB will slice it up for toast and jam, but it will also be the base for some chicken salad sandwiches that I'll be making up with some leftover roast chicken ... SB will like that.

25 August 2010

Zucchini and Corn Fritters

When the tomatoes and zucchini come in, every self-respecting gardener is grabbing onto any recipe to use their bumper crop.  I'm no different! I saw this recipe demonstrated by a TV food editor on the morning show the other day... looked really good! He did the demo with maple syrup. I, however, have made salsa and was thinking that these fritters would be really good (and maybe a bit healthier) with salsa and the fixings. What do you think? I'm thinking the garnish possibilities are endless. So... what started as a snack/breakfast could transform itself into an appetizer, light lunch, or dinner course!

See what do YOU think!

24 August 2010

Tomato Salsa - Spicy Hot!

The bumper crop of tomatoes is upon us here in New Hampshire ... and we're not complaining! We have had BLT sandwiches, grilled tomato and cheese sandwiches, Tomato Caprese salads, tacos with pico de gallo, sliced tomatoes with balsamic vinegar and sugar ... you are getting it, right? Still, there are a few tomato recipes that I am still excited about preparing!

23 August 2010

Buttermilk Squash Soup - Courtesy of Heidi

the inside of my market basket

So... I was driving home from visiting my Mom and Dad in New York State and I was wondering what to cook for my dear friend, Diane who was, simultaneously,  headed to the grey cottage on the hill. It was a bright blue day, sunny and dry, late summer at its best. The road curved through gorgeous farm country on the border of New York and Vermont, so I stopped and took a look at the fare at two farmstands.

11 August 2010

A Different Snickerdoodle ...

Snickerdoodle ... it must be an Americanized pronunciation for some German cookie. It's a Pennsylvania-Dutch recipe isn't it? All I know is that I have a German cook book that has a bunch of Weihnachten Rezeptes (Christmas recipes)  in it and there is a small S-shaped cookie that has the cinnamon and sugar coating ... sounds like Snickerdoodle to me!

Okay, so that bit of free-associating is behind me. I can move on, and I better! I have a boat-load of baking to do in the next 24 hours. I have signed on to bake cookies for a luncheon at our church's summertime flea market and thus far I have only produced one big batch of soft molasses cookies . They are bagged and ready for placing on the lunch orders, but I need to produce these Snickerdoodles too. Then, I'm moving on to the zucchini bread that I told the ladies coordinating the bake sale table that I'd put together for their end of the project! Did I tell you how hot it is? Never mind, use your imagination and you will no doubt, be right on the money!

10 August 2010

Easy Summer Soup ...

I had this soup several years ago at a luncheon on a shady summer porch ... why haven't I thought of it in so long? That IS a big question ...

 Last evening, SB and I had corn on the cob with our dinner. When all was said and done, there was one ear of corn left ... one lonely ear of corn. As SB cut the corn from the cob, I flashed on that bowl of soup from long ago.  It was a simple concoction with the freshest of everything summer .... a soft chicken broth in which floated, fresh corn that had been cut from the cob, small chunks of garden tomatoes, fresh green cilantro leaves, tiny rings of jalapeno pepper, slivers of scallions, and small bite-sized nibbles of shrimp. The soup was garnished with toasted tortilla slivers that had been tossed with a ghost of olive oil and kosher salt and pepper. Smack dab in the center of the crown of the soup was a tiny dollop of sour cream - a cool little mound to swirl through the soup.

07 August 2010

Cashew Chicken ...

Hurray! It's cooler and I'm feeling like firing up the wok. I'm hoping that I'll find some late bok choy and scallions at the Walpole farmer's market. I have some beautiful roasted cashews and a couple boneless chicken breasts that would make a lovely cashew chicken.  I know it's dangerous to go out to the market with a set list on produce, but we haven't had this dish in ages. Guess I'll hope for the best and be ready to adapt ...

Five hours later .... no bok choy to be had, but I did get the scallions, 'butter and sugar' corn, a half gallon of raw milk, and some basil/garlic chevre ... and then I stopped at the 'big box market'  and picked up Chinese 'Napa' cabbage as a substitute for the bok choy.

06 August 2010

Two Words ...

Ripe Tomatoes...

Crispy Lettuce ...

Only Hellman's ...

Black Pepper ...

Buttered Toast ...

Background Bacon ...

Summertime Lunch ...

05 August 2010

One Hundred Plus Posts ... Hmmm!

Red Balloon - Paul Klee

So I was thinking about The Spice Garden today ... I've been at this blog for a good while and it occurred to me that I've long since past the  '100 post mark'. One would celebrate one's 100th birthday, 100th customer, 100th day without lighting up a smoke ... you get the idea. Yet, I missed the boat on the 100th post.  Time has flown for me in the kitchen and at the keyboard ... howwwww did that happen?

I just don't know! Honestly,  I've been so enthralled with learning the technology of blogging, writing posts that are semi-literate, learning a bit about my digital camera and taking the pictures, looking at others' recipes and work, researching ingredients and different cuisines, cooking up my favorites (or what's been on special at the market), making some fun blogger friends, and wishing that I had an unlimited budget for new and interesting plates and dishes for the staging end of things that the 100th post went right by the wayside!

04 August 2010

A New Pie ... A Cool Pie!

Summertime is all about cool desserts ... right? Look at this! Perfect white peaches! A white peach cream pie with a sugary butter-based pastry shell. ... comin' up! I'm also making a jug of suntea and spiking it with mint, a touch of apricot brandy, and plenty of crushed ice. Later, we will have a dessert fit for a king!

03 August 2010

Martha's Deviled Eggs ...

I have a dozen too many eggs in the fridge. Shannon brought fresh ones the other day, so I need to use some up ... and what do you do when you have too many eggs?  Make flan, deviled eggs, egg salad sandwiches, a cream pie, quiche, a souffle,  .... I could go on. Let's just stop here and go straight for the deviled eggs.

02 August 2010

A Nod to Rabelais ... and Yeast

Rabelais, one of France's original 'eat, drink, and be merry' guys knew what he was talking about when it came to wine, bread, and partying. He once wrote, 'There is nothing better than warm fouace with grapes and a fresh rose or mellow Vouvray.'  ... or so says Judith Ryan Hendricks in her book, The Baker's Apprentice. The novel was the inspiration for baking this bread today. I have been wanting to make some bread and the recipe Hendrick's shares in her novel, looked like the best for a simple rustic loaf.

01 August 2010

Roasted Chicken Breasts and Cherry Chutney ...

There comes a time during the latter part of July and into August when the katydids start their chirp, the goldenrod comes into bloom, and the nights begin to cool down and give you a really good night's sleep. Fall is in the air. Silent Bob and I always wait for the katydids' and crickets' chatter ... we call it 'September Song'.  When the wild asters bloom deep purple, then we know we're headed for autumn!