Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Summer Sizzle

Put some sizzle into your cooking with these easy grilled entrees.
Grilled Veggie Pasta Salad
Make use of all those fresh summer vegetables with this light and flavorful Grilled Summer Vegetable Pasta Salad with Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette. I’ve used zucchini, yellow squash, red bell pepper, and red onion, but you can pretty much use any vegetable you have in your garden or your refrigerator. Eggplant and broccoli would also work well as would some corn.
Recipe adapted from spicysouthernkitchen.com
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 pound corkscrew pasta or penne
  • 2 TB. lemon juice
  • 2 TB. red wine vinegar
  • ½ TB. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/3 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup julienned fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • Cut yellow squash and zucchini in half lengthwise and then into half moon shapes. Cut red bell pepper and red onion into approximately 2-inch chunks. Place together in a medium bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. When hot add vegetables. Grill until they develop nice grill marks and then flip over and continue to cook until softened. Place in a large bowl.
  • While vegetables are grilling, bring a large pot of water with 1 tsp. salt to a boil. Cook pasta to al dente. Drain pasta and rinse with water. Drain well and add to bowl with grilled vegetables.
  • In a medium bowl, combine lemon juice, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, sugar, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and thyme. Gradually whisk in oil. Add basil.
  • Pour dressing over pasta and vegetables. Add tomatoes and Parmesan cheese. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour for flavors to meld. 
Brats with Cucumber Blueberry Slaw
Cook's notes: This recipe caught my interest with the unusual ingredients paired with brats. I really liked it and makes good use of summer produce for the slaw.  
Recipe adapted from BHG
  • 6 uncooked bratwurst links
  • 1- 1/2 cups apple juice
  • 3 cups shredded coleslaw mix
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced cucumber
  • 1/3 cup fresh blueberries
  • 3 tablespoons sliced green onion
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 2 TB. light mayonnaise
  • 1 TB. snipped fresh parsley
  • 1TB. snipped fresh dill
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/8 tsp. each salt and pepper
  • 6 bratwurst buns, split and toasted
  • Make Cucumber-Blueberry Slaw - in a medium bowl combine cabbage, cucumber, blueberries, and green onion. In a small bowl stir together buttermilk, mayonnaise, parsley, dill, garlic, salt, and pepper. Add buttermilk mixture to cabbage mixture; toss gently to coat. Refrigerate several hours for flavors to meld. 
  • In a large saucepan combine bratwurst and apple juice; bring to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 12 minutes, rearranging once until sausage reach 160 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.
  • For a charcoal or gas grill, place bratwurst on grill rack directly over medium heat. Grill 5 to 7 minutes or until sausage is browned, turning occasionally.
  • Serve bratwurst in toasted buns. Top with slaw.

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Monday, July 25, 2016

Go Greek

Add Greek flavors to your next meal with Greek Orzo Salad
Recipe serves 4.
Orzo Salad

  • 12 oz. orzo cooked and drained
  • 1 diced red and yellow pepper
  • 3/4 cup red onion slices
  • cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 cucumber. diced
  • 1-cup olives (pitted)
  • ½ cup pine nuts (toasted)
  • optional ½ small bag spinach leaves (stems removed)
  • crumbled feta cheese
Prepared Greek dressing-I used one from the chain restaurant Its Greek To Me or the grocery store carries prepared Greek dressing or try this homemade dressing below it's so easy
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 TB.  lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon pepper
  • Mix orzo, peppers, onions, olives, feta, pine nuts, tomatoes, cucumbers and olives.
  • For homemade dressing use a blender to mix ingredients. 
  • Add enough dressing to moisten the salad mixture. Refrigerate covered for several hours for flavors to meld. May need to add more dressing to salad right before serving.
Cook's notes: A recipe for a healthy vegetarian sandwich wrap inspired by the flavors of Greek cooking. It includes feta cheese and lightly marinated veggies, wrapped up in a healthy whole wheat flour tortilla. Recipe serves 4. 
  • 4- 10-inch whole wheat tortillas
  • 3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • approx 16 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 10 black olives, sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced thin
  • 1 small yellow squash, sliced
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 2 TB. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tb. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • mixed greens
  • In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients except for the tortillas and mixed greens. Let stand for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Drain off liquid. Ads a couple of handfuls of torn mixed greens to ingredients. Divide salad mixture among the tortillas. Fold bottom of tortilla partially over filling and then roll up.
Option: Skip the dressing in the above recipe and mix wrap ingredients with some of the
Tzatziki Herb Sauce and Grilled Chicken

  • 2 cups fat-free plain yogurt
  • 1 cup peeled, seeded and diced cucumber
  • 2 TB. chopped fresh dill or 1 tsp. dried dill
  • 1 TB. lemon juice
  • 1 TB. white vinegar
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. salt (optional)
  • Mix all Tzatziki ingredients and refrigerate several hours for flavors to meld.  
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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Weekend Round-Up

Summer Salads
Boston Lettuce Stacks with Grilled Peaches, Feta and Pecans
Link to 16 Summer Salads from Midwest Living 
Corn and Blueberry Salad
Link to 40 Summer Salads from BHG

Lemony Green Bean Pasta Salad
Link to 68 Quick and Delicious Summer Salads from Southern Living  
Yes, and I will also be thankful for 19 coffee flavored dessert recipes from Woman's Day magazine, cooler weather and no storm forecasts. 
  Ice Cream Tiramisu Cake 

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Friday, July 22, 2016

Up North Update

It's all in your perspective when you view other people's losses compared to yours.  What I take away from this storm is the sense of community, neighbors helping neighbors. Many in the area are still without power which I am so grateful to have. We are able to finally get out to main road as to reach our house it's really only one way in and only one way out. And we have two cars not damaged that were sitting outside in driveway when the storm occurred. Today we have neighbors coming over who have their chain saws sharpened and ready to attack the 100 feet trees toppled over in our yard.   
for your concern, care, calls and FB notes. 
The chicken salad was shared with neighbors and enjoyed by all. The recipe has been previously posted but worth repeating. 
Wild Rice Chicken Salad with Pea Pods and Cherries
Cook's notes: A great for a summertime meal. The recipe makes a large salad and keeps well for a few days.  With advance planning the assembly is made easier by making the wild rice and chicken ahead. The salad should be made a few hours in advance for flavors to meld. More dressing can be added if needed. Optional adding toasted pecans on top. This recipe serves 8-10
  • 3 cups cooked chicken or turkey, diced
  • 3/4 cup green onions,diced
  • 1 cup almonds or cashews
  • 1-1/2 cup pea pods
  • 2 cups cooked wild rice
  • 1 package (5 oz.) cran-raisins cherry or dried cranberry
  • 2 cups diced celery 
  • 2 TB. parsley flakes
  • 1 cup dry macaroni shells, cooked al dente
  • optional red grapes
  • Blanch pea pods and drain in a colander.
  • Place cran-raisins in a bowl and pour 1 cup hot water over it. Let sit 15 minutes to plump up cran-raisins, drain and pat dry with a paper towel. 
  • In a large bowl add diced chicken or turkey, wild rice, celery, parsley flakes, pea pods, cran-raisins and cooked macaroni shells. 
  • In another bowl make dressing. Moisten chicken salad ingredients with dressing. Cover and chill several hours.

2 tsp. sherry, 1/4 tsp. ginger, 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp. soy sauce and 1 cup Miracle Whip or mayonnaise. Use a whisk and mix well. 

A note on Pinterest which some of you have inquired. When I pin something from the site it goes to Facebook but instead of showing a photo of the pin it just shows a box that say pin it. Customers service is trying to resolve the problem and says others are having same issues too. Hoping soon for some resolution. 
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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Up North Storm Devastation

Last night's storm did a significant amount of damage to our area. High winds woke us in the middle of the night when this tree fell against the house. For those from Minnesota who are reading this post THINK Brainerd June storm from last year. 
 Remember the tomato potted plants I was bragging about in yesterday's post?  What a difference a day makes.
The yard looks a bit like a war zone. 
Our neighbors have all sprung into action with their chain saws. Presently the road is impassable for a mile or two with some 20 trees down. 
All things considered we fared much better than our neighbors. Just to reach my neighbor's house to view their damage I actually climbed under and over many trees in the road to reach their house. 
 Kathleen's car was totaled 
and they have a lake view which they never had before with some 50 trees down.
Our other neighbors were hit very hard by the gusty winds that ranged between 50-70 miles an hour. I couldn't even make a guess as to how many trees they lost. 
Just think of how old these trees are that have been uprooted out of the ground. 
So needless to say there have been many frantic phone call from homeowners living in the cities or whereabouts wondering about their property. 

There is a bright side to all of this...neighbors have pulled together to help one another, clear the road and lend out chainsaws. The irony of this is my husband just dropped ours off yesterday in town to be sharpened so we don't have it. And another good thing we do have power, AC  and internet!!!!!!!!!
And so the enormity of the physical work that lies ahead is mind boggling. 
Will keep you posted. 

Know that a  lovely wild rice chicken salad was going to be posted today. I had made it for potluck lunch offering for a community event today but we will enjoy it with a few neighbors instead.       

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Taste Summer with Tomato Recipes

BHG newest special interest publication Taste Summer Tomato Recipes features  100 recipes using tomatoes in every way imaginable. 
In addition the issue includes tips on freezing, drying, roasting, and canning tomatoes.
I am ready for what I hope will be a bumper crop with 5 different pots that are thriving despite the excessive amount of moisture we've had. These three have loads of green tomatoes almost ready to turn . 
I'll be honest I did have to cheat on the following recipe by buying tomatoes at the store. Hopefully by next week I'll have some of my own to use.  

Tomato Galette
Cook's notes:  A galette is a rustic tart with hand-folded edges. This recipe was adapted from page 66 and serves 4.
A prepackaged pie crust can be substituted for a homemade crust. Italian sausage would be a savory addition to the galette.

  • 1 traditional/regular pie crust rolled to a 10 inch circle (about the size of a dinner plate) 
  • 3 TB. fine dry bread crumbs mixed with 1 TB. Italian herbs (use a food processor for this step) 
  • thinly sliced tomatoes
  • sea salt
  • green and yellow peppers, finely diced
  • snipped basil leaves 
  • diced shallots
  • crumbled semi soft goat cheese
  • grated Parmesan cheese
  • optional cooked, crumbled Italian sausage
  • egg wash
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Slice tomatoes and place on a paper towel. Sprinkle tomatoes with sea salt and let sit 20 minutes. 
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  • Roll crust out out on a floured piece of wax paper. Transfer crust to parchment paper. 
  • Sprinkle with bread crumbs leaving a 2 inch border. 

  • Layer tomatoes, peppers, shallots and sausage if adding to galette. Grate Parmesan over the mixture.
  • Fold crust over filling, pleating as necessary and leaving some filling exposed in the center. 

  • Crumble goat cheese over the top and sprinkle with snipped basil leaves.
  • Brush on egg wash over exposed crust. Grate Parmesan cheese over the crust. 
  • Bake 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 400 degrees and bake 20 minutes.
  • Let cool before cutting with a serrated knife or pastry wheel.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Celebrating Two Notable Birthdays

Two Ballet Dancers by Degas 1879

Edgar Degas (July 19,1834-Sept. 27, 1917) 

Degas was a French artist famous for his paintings, sculptures, prints, and drawings. He is especially identified with the subject of dance; more than half of his works depict ballet dancers. Degas is regarded as one of the founders of Impressionism, although he rejected the term, preferring to be called a realist. He was a superb draftsman and particularly masterly in depicting movement, as can be seen in his renditions of dancers, racecourse subjects and female nudes. Degas's portraits are notable for their psychological complexity and for their portrayal of human isolation.
Eve Merriam

Eve Merriam (July 19, 1916,-April 11, 1992) ,was a poet, playwright, director and lecturer. She was a master at using metaphors to craft a poem. These are two of my favorite ones. Each poem gives me food for thought.

Metaphor by Eve Merriam
Morning is
a new sheet of paper
for you to write on.

Whatever you want to say,
all day,
until night
folds it up
and files it away.

The bright words and the dark words
are gone
until dawn
and a new day
to write on.

How To Eat a Poem by Eve Merriam

Don't be polite.
Bite in.
Pick it up with your fingers and lick the juice that

may run down your chin.
It is ready and ripe now, whenever you are.

You do not need a knife or fork or spoon
or plate or napkin or tablecloth.

For there is no core
or stem
or rind
or pit
or seed
or skin
to throw away.

Eve Merriam wrote many poetry books. One poetry book "Inner City Mother Goose" was the basis for the 1971 Broadway musical, Inner City. This is a link to a complete list of the books she has authored.http://www.directtextbook.com/author/eve-merriam
In 1981, she was named the winner of the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children.

I have enjoyed using Eve Merriam's books in the classroom. "Blackberry Ink" is a fun book for young readers. It is a collection of humorous and nonsense rhymes on various themes.

Ham and Swiss Cheese  Sandwiches 
Cook's notes: When I was growing up this sandwich was a family favorite. I consider this Ham and Cheese sandwich a pioneer meal for foil packet cooking in the 60's.
  • buns or Hawaiian rolls
  • melted butter
  • mustard
  • poppy seeds
  • ham
  • Swiss cheese 
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lay sheets of foil on the counter.
  • Melt butter and use a pastry brush to apply butter on one side of the bun. Spread mustard over the butter and sprinkle with poppy seeds. 
  • Add on ham and cheese.
  • Place bun on a sheet of foil. Seal the bun in foil. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.  
Another updated option:Hawaiian Ham and Cheese Sliders

Cook's notes: Easy way to bake 12 sliders at a time minus the foil. 

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