30 June 2010

Moosewood's Muffin Madness ...

It must be summer, because I have pulled Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home off my cook book shelf. Summertime, that wonderful season when you just don't know what to do with all the stuff coming in from the garden, brings with it the Drosophila melanogaster. Yup ... fruit flies have been seen in the Lindquist kitchen ... hovering around some bananas that have seen yellower days. Time to make muffins! After that, the cook book will stay out for most of the summer, as I refer to some of the best vegetarian recipes for our garden's produce. Stay tuned there!

29 June 2010

Christmas in July ...

Welcome to summer vacation for many kids , not only in New Hampshire but across the country. It occurred to me that this blog would be an appropriate place to post a plea to any and all readers to consider making a few donations of foodstuffs and/or a monetary donation to their area food banks. This is the time of year when we, the fortunate, can harvest fresh fruits and vegetables from our gardens, visit farmstands to pick up the freshest of local fare, and go blythely on our way at the supermarket getting the regular items .

There is, though, a whole segment of the American population that relies on subsidized lunch programs at schools to help out with providing their children a nutritional lunch ... but school's out for summer. If those children aren't fortunate enough to be involved in a summer camp experience, they may not be getting the mid-day meal or what they are getting may not be as filling and healthy as their parents would like. Food budgets are stretched during the summer months for folks on tight budgets or the federal foodstamp program. 

It's funny. At Thanksgiving and Christmas time, many of us open our wallets and hearts and give bags of food and checks to our food banks and soup kitchens, but during the rest of the year, we slack off. In this current economic situation, it's all the more important to 'keep Christmas' all year. We may well be helping a neighbor as well as ' the poor unfortunate' out there in the Dickensian world  of our imagination.

I'm just sayin' ...

27 June 2010

Fettuccine Carbonara with a Twist ... Holy Basil!

Nothing like a good pasta fix! I love Fettucine Carbonara ... my recipe has nuts and prosciutto mixed into the creamy egg-based sauce. So good ... so completely satisfying! Let's make a wonderful creamy Italian treat!  Tonight, I'm keeping it simple. The carbonara will have a saute of chard from the garden to accompany ... a glass of white wine ... life is good!

26 June 2010

Cucumber Salad with Mango and Peanuts

Where, oh where, did this recipe come from? I do not know, but I have a beautiful piece of swordfish that is waiting for the grill. It's promising to be a hot day and I can think of no other more tasty way to complement that fish than to sit it beside a cool, spicy, citrusy cucumber salad ... I can hardly wait!

A Nod to Milk Products .... Part III

There is a reason for me posting this 'nod' on three different days ... it was about the idea that I must have biscotti with this dulce de leche treat. The ice cream needed to 'cure' in the freezer for a day too. So, we have finally assembled my 'grand scheme' ... and it was worth the wait! If this were in competition, I really think it would score big. But it's not ... it's just a quart of ice cold heaven for Silent Bob and I to parcel out over the next day or two. You'll have to make your own!

25 June 2010

Steaks and Taters ...

I know that beef is the next thing to a curse in today's nutritional world, BUT come on! There is nothing like a good steak broiled or grilled to perfection. Now, I'm not sayin' that I eat a whole lot of beef, but when I want a steak ... I want a steak that is big, juicy, spicy from a marinade, and hot from the grill. Give me some potatoes and a green vegetable and I am such a happy woman.

24 June 2010

A Nod to Milk Products - Part II

This post is about an old ice cream maker, an idea, and inspiration from life experience, a blogger friend, and hot weather!

Silent Bob laughs at me because I get an idea in my head and it's all detailed and convoluted.  I go off on a lark and make a big thing out of, what he considers, a simple thing.

Take ice cream. We have an ancient ice cream maker that I got for him one Christmas, when we were newlyweds. That first winter, he would shovel snow into the outer chamber and throw together vanilla or chocolate ice cream like it was nothing. Simple, huh? Yes, Bob would say! However, I have taken it in mind to make a wonderful French vanilla ice cream that has dulce de leche swirled through it and toasted hazelnuts plopped into it, like little crunchy nuggets.

23 June 2010

A Nod to Milk Products ... and A Stroll Down Main Street

Recently, Silent Bob and I attended the Annual Strolling of the Heifers Parade and Green Expo in Brattleboro Vermont. This is a fun Saturday morning on which the folks in the Connecticut River Valley and the dairy farmland on the surrounding hills of the Green Mountains bring their cows to town and celebrate the farming and country life ...

18 June 2010

Baking a Pie For My Dad ...

Today, I'm baking my Dad a pie with the ugliest pie plate in creation. It's a big 11-inch plate that's a bit deeper than the usual clear glass numbers you see in the grocery aisle. I got it over thirty years ago when I opened a bank account and started life on my own in Gloucester, MA, my digs when I got out of college. It was a gift from the bank. It's come with me through the apartment years, the married years, and is still hangin' around my pantry shelf in my retirement years. Some old things are just too good to throw away on  'newfangled and shiny new'. This may be an ugly pie plate, but I will put a lovely pie in it and we won't see it until the pie is on so many plates at my Dad's Father's Day picnic. And just so you know, it won't be a cheesecake.

14 June 2010

Maple Teriyaki Salmon Steaks

The spinach right now is so fresh and plentiful. It becomes the perfect stage for this easy salmon dish.  This is a dish for an evening when cooking is' back burner stuff'. You need to eat and you don't want to eat fast food or spend ages in the kitchen, so marinate some salmon and wash some spinach, do minimal 'slice and dice' and you still come out with a good meal. I halved the recipe and we had ours with steamed basmati rice to soak up the juices.

That's all I have to say. Enjoy!

11 June 2010

The Best Soft Molasses Cookies You Will Ever Knosh ...

Some cookie recipes are so good that you just have to share them with the world. This is the case with these molasses cookies ... amber rounds of soft, gingery molasses flavor with a sprinkling of raw sugar that adds a crunch when you bite into them.

I have had this recipe for years. It was included in a magazine that I subscribed to years ago ... and was a contest winning recipe that was submitted by a woman from someplace in 'the Heartland'. Well, I became a fan. This recipe makes close to 5 dozen cookies, which was a real seller when I first made them. You see, that was a time in my life when I was constantly baking for bake sales, girl's field hockey or softball parties, Cub Scout  and Girl Scout meetings, or PTSA refreshments. A big batch of cookies that was delectable and 'went' was a good thing. The beauty of a big batch also allowed me to bake for social gatherings and the family cookie jar.

09 June 2010

Meatless Monday - Warmed By The Sun Mesclun Greens, Warm Vegetables, Aioli Dressing

Welcome to my world ...

The first few days of summer give me my last chance to get the last of the annuals into the garden's empty spots and tend to the perennials. The deerflies and skeeters will be coming on strong as soon as the heat builds, so I've really got to pull out all the stops and get the cultivating, planting, weeding, dead-heading and watering done. It's a good move to push it and get all this done, because there will soon be days when you won't be able to move around the yard without enough bug dope to make a Dupont chemist euphoric.

After all the digging and delving, though, it's hard to think about cooking or doing much more than getting into a shower, grabbing clean clothes and a cold beer. But still, that garden calls. There are mesclun greens and they won't be around long. The heat of summer will wilt them and they will 'bolt'  and go to seed.

So... this evening calls for a warm salad. In this recipe, the peppery, bitter greeniness goes well with the mellow sweetness of a vegetable saute.  Add a strong garlic-y aioli dressing that can stand up to the strength of the greens and you have a nice warm summertime salad. There are so many textures on this plate ... the smooth sweetness of carmelized onion, tender crisp crunch of peppers, soft tenderness of sauteed zucchini, and the two different textures of the greens - some crunch and some wilted  smoothness. It's warm and garlic goodness... almost like the sun has warmed that plate and I suppose, in a way, it has!

Warning: Use no salt or pepper in dressing or saute. Let your dining partners decide for themselves. The greens (if they are the same greens we planted) are so peppery strong that some folks might not want extra seasoning.

Spring Greens With Sauteed Vegetables

4 large handfuls mesclun greens, washed and spun dry
2 small zucchini squash, washed and sliced into coins
1/4 sweet white onion, sliced into thin wedges
1 medium sweet red pepper
1/2 medium sweet yellow pepper
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 c. mayonaisse
2 cloves garlic, minced and sauteed in a bit of butter
2 tbsp. milk
2 oz. cream cheese, warm

Making the Salad:

1. Wash and spin the greens. Toss them in a large salad bowl and set aside.

2. Saute garlic in a small amount of butter and set aside.

3. Prepare the vegetables and saute them in the olive oil.

4. Remove from heat when they are tender crisp, leave in pan and set aside.

5. Mix the mayo, warm garlic, milk, and cream cheese in small bowl. Mix with a hand blender until smooth. Microwave for just about 20 seconds on a high setting to warm (watch it carefully.)

6. Minutes before you want to eat, re-heat the vegetables and turn them onto the greens, drizzle with the warm aioli dressing and serve immediately.

08 June 2010

Making Strawberry Shortcakes ... A Team Effort Between Susan and Betty Crocker

Here, we have Springtime heaven! What would you do to have some of this sweetness?

Meatless Monday - Fried Rice

Fried rice ... one of the most satisfying veggie and carb fixes the Asians ever concocted. In our house, there is never that take-out phonecall, though. Why call out for Asian when it is so very simple to make?  Besides, a fresh bowl of fried rice is so much better tasting than one that has been made earlier and  'dished'  into the takeout carton at the last minute in order to complete the order. A bowl of fresh fried rice that is loaded with eggs, peapods, shitake mushrooms, mung sprouts, scallions, and Thai basil is a complete meal.

04 June 2010

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Pasta with Pan-Seared Scallops

So, I have this thing about scallops. I don't care for the flavor of the orangey ones ... does anyone else out there in cyberspace feel the same? They have a musky flavor to me. I prefer 'the biggest and whitest' sea scallops I can find. Now, that can be problematic, as scallops are sometimes treated with a phosphate brine to 'preserve' them between boat and dock ... and extreme bleachy whiteness sometimes indicates those preservatives.  You see, scallops don't survive long out of the water, unlike clams and shrimp. So... they are shucked at sea and packed either in brine or on ice (dry-packed). Buying dry-packed will insure no added chemical preservatives. It pays to ask and look at the liquid in the container you're buying them from ... whitish liquid indicates phosphate brine. Okay... enough of that talk.

03 June 2010

Pan-Seared Red Snapper and Tropical Fruit Salsa ...

It all started with a really nice pineapple, beautiful mangoes, and unblemished jalapeno peppers ... then, I moved to the seafood counter and discovered gorgeous, shiny-fleshed red snapper. To boot, it was on sale ... music to a Yankee heart! I remembered a Christmas gift that I'd received from my gal, Sara. The rest is history.

Food Stamps ... A Quick Follow-Up...

Isn't it funny that I have been thinking about the trouble of budgeting a good basic diet for a family of four using only Food Stamps and this article appears on my radar?

Food Critic's Current Challenge

Life On Food Stamps

I'm still looking at doing the $68 weekly shopping challenge ... we, who have the means to pick and choose at the supermarket are, indeed, very lucky folk. I don't look forward to this challenge, but I think it's a necessary exercise.

01 June 2010

Seasonal Traditions ... Hello Sunshine!

High Spring is such a fun time to gather outside for a picnic! SB and I went to a Memorial Day shin-dig at a friend's home yesterday. It was the kind of old-fashioned affair that has been going on ever since folks started living in 'neighborhoods'. The entire street and half the county was invited to bring a dish or plate of picnic fare and show up around dinnertime. Harold cranked up the grill and had burgers and hotdogs smoking up the backyard. There was a platter of baked chicken and a pot full of pulled pork prepared and then ... dishes of all shapes and sizes starting arriving with folks. Children of all shapes and sizes began running around and swooping into the buffet table for a chip with guacamole or a deviled egg or some tortillas and taco dip or celery and hummus or, or, or ...