Book Club · New Favorite

Summer Corn and Vegetable Salad

Fresh sweet corn, tomatoes, onion, and cucumber tossed with avocado and Feta…OMG it is so good.  This salad is a wonderful side dish to grilled fish, chicken or beef but it also can serve as the main event on a hot summer evening.

SUMMER CORN AND VEGETABLE SALAD

4 ears corn, cooked
2 avocados, diced
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (I use orange & red for a little color)
1/2 an English cucumber, finely diced, skin on
1/3  cup crumbled feta
1/2 red onion, finely diced

Cilantro Vinaigrette
1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt 
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. cilantro, chopped
6 tbsp. EVOO

  • Cook the  corn.  I steamed the corn and cut from the cob but the original recipe had a great idea to ‘put in the oven on 350 degrees, and throw the corn in, husks and all. Bake them for 25 minutes, let it cool, and then cut off the very bottom of the corn. You should be able to easily pull off the husks and the silk’.
  • Cut off the kernels with a large knife, add to a big bowl.
  • Chop the avocados, cherry tomatoes, English cucumber, and red onion, then add to the bowl. Add the feta.
  • For the vinaigrette, combine the first 5 ingredients (so the seasonings react with the vinegar), then add the cilantro and the EVOO. Shake it up.
  • Gently mix all the salad ingredients together. When ready to serve, add the dressing and stir to combine.
  • Optional:  Serve on bed of mixed greens.

Adapted from: AuthenticSuburbanGourmet and AndwhatIate

 

New Favorite · Vegan · Vegetarian

Peach Quinoa Salad

Fresh Colorado Peaches are the best!  Quinoa is a favorite so why not pair them together with other scrumptious ingredients for a yummy, cool summer salad!

PEACH QUINOA SALAD

1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tsp. agave nectar or honey
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup olive oil
3 cups cooked quinoa
1 Tbsp. chopped parsley
2 fresh Peaches cut into chunks
1/2 cup dried wild blueberries (or bing cherries)
1/2 cup spicy pecans chopped
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced cucumber
1/2 cup diced red pepper
1/4 cup chopped scallions
1/4 cup red onion diced

  • Mix the first 5 ingredients in a bowl; set aside.
  • Add the other ingredients together in a larger bowl.
  • Mix in the dressing. Garnish with parsley. Serve.

Recipe from reluctantentertainer.com

Family · New Traditions

Fresh Peach Cake

Fresh Peach Cake is delicious, even though the photo of the finished product is not.  I was disappointed by the appearance of the finished product, but the taste was delicious.

Next time, I would use a slightly bigger pan, since the batter cooked over the side.  However, a few crispy bites of dessert are equally good!

FRESH PEACH CAKE

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced
1/2 cup chopped pecans

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch-square baking pan.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and 1 cup of the sugar for 3 to 5 minutes on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time, then the sour cream and vanilla, and mix until the batter is smooth.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the batter and mix just until combined.
  • In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and the cinnamon.
  • Spread half of the batter evenly in the pan. Top with half of the peaches, then sprinkle with two-thirds of the sugar mixture. Spread the remaining batter on top, arrange the remaining peaches on top and sprinkle with the remaining sugar mixture and the pecans.

  • Bake the cake for 45 to 55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.
New Favorite

Gin and Tonic Drizzle Cake

Gin & Tonic Cake sounded delicious when my sister-in-law, Betty, told me about it a few years ago.  Summer time evenings on the patio with a G&T and good friends inspired me to make this wonderful cake.  Warning…it is a bit boozy but oh, so delicious!

I converted the recipe to American measures (in parenthesis) and it worked well.  Instead of baking a big pan of cake, I baked in several smaller cake pans and froze a few cakes, minus the lime slices.  It freezes well.

GIN & TONIC DRIZZLE CAKE

Cake:
250g unsalted butter (8.8185 oz. or 1.102 cups)
250g sugar (8.8185 oz. or 1.102 cups)
250g self rising flour (8.8185 oz. or 1.102 cups)
5 medium egg
1 lime, zested

Drizzle:
75g sugar (2.6455 oz. or 1/3 cup)
5 tbsp. Gin
5 tbsp. Tonic Water

Icing:
200g powdered sugar (7.0548 oz. or .8819 cup)
3-4 tbsp Gin

Decoration:
1 lime, zested
lime sliced

For the Cake:

  • Grease and line a 2 lb. loaf tine (i used several small loaf pans instead).
  • Preheat the oven to 180 centigrade or 350 degrees fahrenheit.
  • Cream together the butter and sugar until light an fluffy.
  • Add in the eggs, flour, and lime zest. Beat again until smooth and combined.
  • Pour the cake ingredients into the cake pan(s) and bake for 40-45 minutes.  When baked fully, a cake skewer should come out clean and the cake shouldn’t be making a bubbling sound.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and cool slightly while making the drizzle.

For the Drizzle:

  • In a small pan, add the sugar, Gin and Tonic.
  • Heat on a low-medium heat while stirring.  Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from the heat.
  • Poke the cake lightly with a cake skewer and drizzle over the cake. Allow the cake to cool fully in the cake pan.

To Decorate:

  • Once the cake has cooled, remove it from the cake pan.
  • In a small bowl, add the powdered sugar and gradually mix in the Gin until you get a thick, pourable consistency.
  • Pour the icing over the cake, sprinkle with lime zest. Add lime slices to the top for decoration.

Recipe slightly adapted from Janespatisserie.com

Family · Family Favorites · Garden · Gluten Free · Vegan · Vegetarian

Cool sweet, juicy watermelon…seasoned memories

Summer and watermelon go together like Mac and Cheese.

When the weather is scorching hot…
a chilled slice of watermelon hits the spot.

As a kid we would take a half slice of watermelon outside and let the sweet juice run down our chins and arms.  Seedless watermelons were unheard of so a little ‘seed spitting’ was in order, too!  Mom probably had to hose us down before letting us back in the house.

girls eating watermelon

My Mother would always eat watermelon and canteloupe sprinkled with salt.  I prefer my watermelon naked but daughter, Sarah, and her friends introduced me to TAJIN fruit with lime seasoning a few years ago.  From the moment I tried it, I was hooked and it has become  family favorite.  The combination of lime, salt and a little kick with the sweet juicy watermelon is delectable.

I find TAJIN at Walmart and sometimes at the local grocery store in either the fruit section or ethnic foods section.

Give it a try.  I think you’ll be hooked too!

Family · Garden · Gluten Free · New Favorite · Vegan

Easy Summer Quinoa

Summer vegetables and Quinoa is the perfect combination.  This recipe is from Iowa Girl Eats.  I follow her blog and love her recipes! Her blog name, alone, was enough to bring me to her blog…Iowa girls stick together!

I loved this dish and the wonderful summer vegetables.  I substituted roast red peppers for the sundried tomatoes with great results.  I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did!

EASY SUMMER QUINOA

1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup quinoa
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large shallot, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
pinch red pepper flakes
2 cups chopped kale
1 small zucchini, chopped
salt & pepper
2 ears sweet corn kernels (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes packed in oil, cut into strips (or roasted red peppers or both!)
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup peas
1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
shaved or fresh grated parmesan cheese, for topping

  • Bring scant cup chicken (or vegetable) broth to a boil in a small saucepan. Rinse quinoa very well in a fine mesh sieve under running water (quinoa is coated in a natural, bitter coating that needs to be rinsed off) then add to saucepan, place a lid on top, turn heat down to medium-low, then cook until quinoa is tender and broth is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in a very large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots then sauté until tender, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and red chili pepper flakes then sauté for 30 more seconds, stirring constantly.
  • Turn heat up to medium-high then add kale and zucchini. Season with salt and pepper then sauté for 2 minutes.
  • Add corn and sun-dried tomatoes then sauté for 2 more minutes.

  • Add white wine then scrape up brown bits from bottom of skillet with a wooden spoon. When wine is nearly gone, add peas then stir to combine. Add chicken broth and cooked quinoa then cook until broth is absorbed. Remove skillet from heat then add basil and stir to combine. Taste then add salt and pepper if necessary. Serve topped with freshly shaved or grated parmesan cheese.

Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

 

Garden · New Favorite · Skinny · Uncategorized

Blueberry Gooseberry Yogurt Smoothie

How many ways are there to use Gooseberries? Not as many as one would think, at least not many that are documented.  I’ve never tried a smoothie with gooseberries until I found this recipe.  I  substituted almond milk for cow’s milk. Very refreshing!

BLUEBERRY GOOSEBERRY YOGURT SMOOTHIE

1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 cup fresh or frozen gooseberries
1/2 of banana, frozen
1/2 cup lowfat vanilla yogurt (I prefer Greek yogurt)
1/2 cup almond milk

  • Put all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.  Enjoy!

Adapted from Sumptuous Spoonfuls

New Favorite

Mixed Green Salad with Fresh Peaches, Avocado and Pecans

A potluck to go to and what to fix?  I had beautiful fresh peaches, greens from my garden and avocados.  Why not a salad mixing these ingredients topped with nuts?  After reviewing several recipes, I combined a few to make this my own and it is now on my favorite summer salads list.  Can’t wait for Colorado peach season later this summer!

MIXED GREEN SALAD WITH FRESH PEACHES, AVOCADO & PECANS

1/2 pound mixed greens
1 cup sliced peaches
1 avocado, diced
1/3 cup chopped pecans

Dressing:

1/4 cup champagne or white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons minced green onions
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and fresh ground black pepper

  • In a blender, combine the vinegar, honey, onions, mustard and garlic.  Puree until smooth, 10-15 seconds.
  • Slowly drizzle the olive oil into the blender until the dressing is smooth.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Refrigerate until ready to use (up to a week).

In a bowl combine the greens, peaches, and avocado.  Drizzle with 1/2 of the dressing. Add more to taste.  Toss the salad and serve immediately.

Adapted from:  Food Network

Family Favorites · New Favorite

Sangria, Mock and Not

Sangria reminds me of summer, tapas, and good times with friends.  It’s refreshing, light, fruity and delicious.  History states that Sangria was first served at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York.  While interesting, I truly expected Sangria to be the drink of Spanish Royalty (or something equally impressive).

Mock Sangria

Nonetheless, it’s delicioso!  This time, I made a mock Sangria (without alcohol) as well as the real deal.  I enjoyed them both.

 

SANGRIA

1.5L of chilled red wine
3 cups prepared lemonade
1 cup orange juice
4 tablespoons brandy
2 cups chilled club soda
sliced oranges, limes, lemons, apples

In a large pitcher, combine the wine, brandy, lemonade, and orange juice.  Add the fruit slices and refrigerate until chilled.

When ready to serve, add the club soda.  Garnish glass with slice of lime (or other citrus)

MOCK SANGRIA

2 cups orange juice
1 cup white grape juice
1 cup cranberry juice
1 liter bottle lemon-lime carbonated beverage
ice cubes
sliced lemons, oranges, limes

  • In a large pitcher, stir the juices together.  Chill.
  • When ready to serve, add the lemon-lime beverage and stir gently. Fill glasses with ice, then sangria then slices of fruit.  Enjoy!

Mock Sangria adapted from BHG.com

New Favorite · Skinny · Vegan · Vegetarian

Summer Veggie Stir Fry

Recently I went to the Highland Ranch Town Center Farmer’s Market, http://www.denverfarmersmarket.com/locations.htm, a dangerous place to be when you are hungry. My daughter, Megan, and son-in-law, Christian, and I strolled through the market sampling and buying more than we really needed.  However, the wonderful dishes that came from the veggies and fruit were summer delicious! There is nothing in the world like fresh vegetables and fruits.

We bought a squash new to us, a round, globe squash. I asked the vendor how she cooks the squash and one of her suggestions was a Vegetable Stir Fry. I also decided to throw in a chopped Japanese Eggplant.   I tried, I liked, I shared.  Enjoy!

SUMMER VEGGIE STIR FRY

Chopped yellow squash, globe squash, zucchini, eggplant (optional), peppers (bell, Anaheim or whatever you like), onion, garlic, fresh sweet corn, fresh tomatoes, herbs of your choice (I used a blend of thyme, oregano, marjoram, rosemary, and basil), salt & pepper.

Sauté the onions, peppers and garlic in about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil.  When softened, add the chopped squash, eggplant, peppers and seasoning. When the squash is beginning to soften, add cut cooked fresh sweet corn and 1-2 chopped fresh tomatoes. Continue to cook/stir until all vegetables are cooked to your liking.

I made a large batch and had leftovers for 2 days. It seemed to get better every day, just like a wonderful batch of soup.