30 August 2012
29 August 2012
If you've got a vegetable garden of any size, you're probably getting a bit tired of dealing with the mass of tomatoes coming your way by this point. I know I am. I still can't stop myself from making a few last tomato indulgences, though. Still up is my annual batch of Honey and Lemon Tomato Salsa and one more batch of tomato sauce. Then, I think, we will have used most of the tomatoes and the rest will go for BLT's, Caprese, chopped for omelets or added to salads, stuffed and roasted. We will certainly miss them in January, but right now they are as plentiful as ants in an anthill.
25 August 2012
I know I'm pushing the Fall thing, but it's presence is ever closer - just look at all that goldenrod that's in bloom! SB and I went for a bike ride today out along one of the New Hampshire rail trail bike paths. This one was over in Jaffrey. There were clumps of goldenrod along the path and ponds carpeted with defunct lilypads ... limp, drooping blossoms laying on the water and bullfrogs 'galumphing' away.
22 August 2012
Yup, Fall's comin' on! I went to the lake yesterday and plunked myself in a beach chair with a good book - The Song of Achilles (Madeline Miller) is a wonderful read. The sun did its magic on my exposed legs and décolletage while I got lost in the relationship between Patroclus and Achilles, the unfolding of the Trojan War, the sad fulfillment of Achilles' fate, and the numerous dalliances of the Gods and mortals.
Occasionally, I'd loll back and look out over Harrisville Pond and up into the sky. It was that fantastic washed-out blue of late summer; there were fair weather clouds making their lazy way from west to east ... it was such a gorgeous day. After a few hours of quiet and a couple lazy dips in the water, it became painfully obvious that I needed to get out of the sun. Between the stares of a few 'sun neighbors' and the beginnings of a sunburn tingle, I knew that I shouldn't have forgotten the sunscreen at the house and I should have moved into the shade much sooner. Alas, I shall be a lobster for a few days ...
20 August 2012
Perfect cookies for dunking in a good strong cup of coffee
My friend Brenda from over at Brenda's Canadian Kitchen made biscotti this past week and I have not been able to get those beautiful crunchy biscuits off my mind. To boot, this month's 'We Should Cocoa' challenge has been playing with my imagination. The challenge is chocolate and cherries and as the image of biscotti stewed around abit, I began plotting the next 'sweet tooth treat' for SB. Yes, chocolate biscotti would be just the ticket ... but let's add chocolate chips AND dried cherries! Then, let's dip those little guys in bittersweet chocolate so that when they get dunked in coffee or milk or tea or whatever ... oh my! And almonds! Why not almonds too ?
15 August 2012
There was something so utterly comforting about this dish. While it worked really well this evening, at the height of summer, I can see myself making it when the snow is blowing and the drafts are shifting throughout the house. It's an easy mix of celery, onion, garlic, carrots, acorn squash, cauliflower, tomatoes, mushrooms, red lentils, oregano, chives, and parsley, vegetable broth, some hot spicy chili sauce, and a cornstarch and water thickener. This 'cobbler' has chunks of everything; there is no mincing here. It's substantial vegetarian fare. The dish is topped with herbed dumplings that have been cheesed up with smoked Gouda. We had it with a big bowl of steamed green beans and big glasses of Meritage.
14 August 2012
13 August 2012
This is barm brack, an Irish dried fruit loaf that resembles Panettone when it's baked in a nice deep casserole. SB and I call it poor man's panettone. It doesn't have all the eggs and citron fruit, but it does have currants, and golden raisins, and dried cranberries (my idea). It is infinitely better than Irish soda bread - it's a yeast bread, after all and not a quick bread.
10 August 2012
Oh, man! I love high summer ... it seems that the garden is giving up all sorts of good stuff. It's time for new broccoli and last night's dinner consisted of a warm orzo salad made with broccoli florets, pignoli, slivers of avocado, bits of shallots, and a dressing made with broccoli pesto, a touch of sour cream and lemon zest. A salad like this just cries out for a nicely roasted piece of chicken or grilled salmon or bluefish ... we opted for roasted peppery chicken breasts that were laying in a dozen pieces of roasted garlic cloves and big fat slices of lemon - luscious! Just imagine our plates rounded out with fat, juicy slices of tomatoes and cold, crispy cucumber spears ... Oh, man! I love high summer ... but you already knew that! Right?
07 August 2012
Pistou, Pisto Castellano, Pisto con Gambas ... by any other name is ratatouille. Ratatouille with stuff added gets a 'Pisto con ....' handle. In any language , you can't get more seasonal! Pisto and ratatouille are really the same dish ... one French and the other Spanish ... I daresay the tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, peppers and onions know nothing of political borders or languages. They grow and ripen under the same hot summer sun and when they offer themselves up ... it all comes together to make the ultimate seasonal vegetable dish. Different regions of cooks add few different touches and herbs; the dish morphs to meet the needs of the different hungry bellies!
As the layers of tomatoes ripen on the back porch, I take my pick and head to the herb garden for fresh parsley. Within an hour, there is a soft satisfying dish of traditional Pisto Castellano - plain and simple ratatouille sitting on the dinner table for our Meatless Monday fare.
Sprinkled with a bit of cheese and served with some black olive and rosemary bread and a wedge of goat cheese pressed in Herbs de Provence, it makes for a wonderful seasonal supper. If ever there was a directive to crack a bottle of red wine, this is the time for that directive. Open a full-bodied red, plate some olive oil and herbs, black olives, have on hand a big loaf of crusty artisan bread, and enjoy some Pisto/Ratatouille!
06 August 2012
You've gotta love a dessert that can come together in stages over the coarse of a couple days, especially when the days are as hot and sticky as the last few have been. In Saturday's post, I told you about picking over black currants and making a sweet currant sauce. It was all very slap dash ... a lemon infused simple syrup with black currants added and cooked down to a thick sauce. Twenty minutes at the stove in 90 degree heat was enough for me! I strained the sauce, reserved the sweetened berries and popped the containers in the fridge.
05 August 2012
It was so hot yesterday. These are the dog days of summer. The late summer sun bakes everything and the gardens go blowsy and the grass is parched in places. The Corgis rush out the back door full of energy and drag themselves back after a brief run around with their tongues hanging low. They flop ... and pant ... and drop off to sleep. They inspire me to do much the same. I get things done in spurts and then flop and pant ... talk about people resembling their pets!
03 August 2012
02 August 2012
I am considered the Queen of Pies by friends and family, as I am fearless when it comes to pie crusts. I love the process of making pie dough. The real fun for me, though, comes when I find a new pie filling that makes me sit up and smack my lips. This past month, Martha Stewart Living magazine published a cold coconut cream pie recipe that had me drooling. So yesterday, I made pie filling and a sweet crust that got baked and set aside to cool.
01 August 2012
The continuing parade of vegetables is marching out of the kitchen and onto the dining room table! I've been at the Farmer's Market for two weeks straight and have come away with some great produce that SB is not growing in his 'bit of Earth'.
This week, it was a gorgeous head of cauliflower, some of the first I've seen around. I dug up another of the newest recipes from my latest cookbook, power foods - 150 delicious recipes .... This pearl barley with cauliflower and toasted almonds is very reminiscent of a risotto. The barley is slowly simmered to a nice 'bite'. Then, Parmesan cheese is added to the last bit of moisture and makes for a creamy finish. Cauliflower and toasted almond chunks are added and the dish is finished with a spritz of lemon juice and some freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley.