Posts from August 2014

Spa Water

08/30/2014

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Today it feels like if you stepped outside for too long, you’d melt into a puddle on the ground. Needless to say, it’s hot. Thus, saying hydrated is crucial. But after awhile, ice water just gets old. This recipe from my friend Kathy is a refreshing way to put some flavor into your water without adding sugar. Believe me, you’ll drink it by the gallon.

I used the mint from our garden, and limes from our tree. You can do many permutations on this recipe: lemon slices and fresh thyme is also a great combination.

Ingredients:

1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced
1 lime, sliced
2 sprigs of fresh mint leaves
1 sprig of rosemary

Instructions:

Put the ingredients in a gallon of water and let it steep for at least 2 hours. Serve over ice. To garnish, add a lime slice or min sprig to the water. When the water is gone, you can refill and reuse the ingredients. Enjoy!

Cobb Salad

08/27/2014

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It’s hot around these Florida parts, so our oven and stove are temporarily closed for business. But truth be told, that’s my husband’s rule. I instead have a habit of trying to cook pizza with a 500 degree oven in August, which Gary reminds me oh so often that ovens and warm meals should be reserved for times when it’s not a billion degrees outside. I (actually) listened to him the other evening. . . .well, maybe “listened” isn’t the right term; Gary turned oven off and said he was making us Cobb Salads for dinner instead.

Our tomatoes are our only garden vegetable fit for a salad these days. And, as my vines show, they’re at the end of their line. I’ll squeeze out a few more recipes with them, though, before the end of their season.

Ingredients (amounts can be varied for the numbers of salads made):

Lettuce
Tomatoes, chopped
Carrots
Hard boiled eggs
Avocados
Ham
Blue cheese
Bacon

Dressing ingredients:
3 T olive oil
2 T red wine vinegar
1 T lemon juice
1 T mustard
1 t Worcestershire sauce
S&P

Instructions:

Combine all the dressing ingredients in a mason jar with a lid. Shake well and set aside. Chop all vegetables and arrange on plates. Drizzle dressing over everything. Serve with crusty bread. If the salads are large enough, they work great for entrees.

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Coleslaw with Green Onions

08/25/2014

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I am in constant search of the best coleslaw. The tanginess of vinegar or citrus juice on crisp, uncooked veggies is just wonderful during hot summer days. I was looking for something I didn’t have to cook to heat up the kitchen, and also to use our green onions, which are basically the last things remaining in our poor August garden.

One of our raised garden beds is devoted (unintentionally) to only green bunching onions. We planted them two years ago thinking they were white onions–the ones that would produce a big head that we could pull all at the same time, braid together, and store in a dark place for months to come. But nope, they weren’t white onions; they were green bunching ones. Instead of making one big head, the plant just puts on other green onions right next to it propagating itself. So we harvest a couple from a plant at a time, and the plant keeps on producing. Hence, we have a whole bed devoted to only onions. Oh well. They end up in just about every dish we make.

Ingredients:

1 one-pound head of green cabbage, cored, and cut into strips
1 1/4 c apple cider vinegar
1 c sugar
1 c grated peeled carrots
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1/4 c mayonnaise
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
S&P

Instructions:

Put the chopped cabbage in a bowl. Add the vinegar and sugar and toss. Cover and let it stand for 30 minutes. Drain. Toss and let it stand for 30 more minutes. Drain again. (At this point, you can let it sit in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours.) Next, add the carrots, green onions, mayonnaise, cilantro, and S&P. Enjoy!

Scallops with Chimichurri

08/21/2014

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After four years of pleading, I finally caved to my husband’s desire of getting a (small, 15 year old) fishing boat. Sigh. I don’t know if this will make me a fisherman’s widow, or maybe I’ll just learn how to love the rod and reel and become a fisherwoman myself. Time will tell.

One thing that I do LOVE to do, though, is go scalloping! I was back in Iowa when Gary caught these, but he was nice to save some for me for dinner once I returned.

Ingredients:

1 lb scallops (instructions on how to shell them can be found here.)
2 T butter
S&P
Chimichurri sauce
4 Yukon potatoes

Instructions:

With the clean scallops, set them out on a paper towel, dry them well, and salt and pepper them all. Set aside. Make the chimichurri with my instructions here. Stick the potatoes (after poking them with a knife) in the microwave until done. While the potatoes are cooking, get a pan hot over high heat. Once hot, throw in the 2 T of butter. After that melts, throw in your scallops (you may have to do this in two batches so you don’t cool off your pan.) Sear about 2 minutes on each side, and then take off the heat. You don’t want to overcook the delicate meat.

Put a scoop of the chimichurri sauce over your scallops and enjoy!

Cherry Tomato Caprese Salad

08/18/2014

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Now that the dog days of summer are upon us, our garden is beginning to struggle. Most tomato plants don’t produce fruit when the temps reach above 90 degrees. Because that is the norm here in Florida in August, we have to grow varieties that don’t mind when the mercury rises above the “comfortable” level.

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We have four plants of Sungold Cherries that don’t mind the heat and keep on producing even late into August. However, as shown above, my plants kind of grew out of control when I was gone last week. Yikes! Not pretty. I was diligent about staking up the vines early in the season, but now it’s hopeless. Point being, you can still make a pretty salad even if your garden doesn’t look as such.

Ingredients:

2 pints of cherry tomatoes (Sungolds are great!)
1 package of fresh mozzarella, chopped in cubes
1/2 c fresh basil, chopped
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
1/4 c olive oil
S&P

Instructions:

Half the tomatoes and chop the cheese. Add these together. Mix the vinegar and oil. Combine everything, and toss in the chopped basil. It’s best made right before you’re ready to serve, although it can stand an hour or two in the fridge.

Grilled Green Beans with Bacon

08/15/2014

beans

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At the lake over the weekend, my mom’s garden was bursting with beans. They’re great as a simple side with bacon. (Bacon makes even the best things better.)

Ingredients:

1 lb green beans, trimmed
3 slices of bacon, uncooked
S&P

Instructions:

We have a vegetable griller, which we used. If you don’t have this, a big cast iron skillet will do. Cook the three pieces of bacon in the skillet on medium heat. Once done (about 5-7 minutes), take out the bacon and set aside. Leave most of the grease (discard some if the bacon is too fatty), and throw in the beans. Cook for 5-8 minutes, or until the beans are cooked through. Cut up the bacon, and throw them back in the pan. Salt and pepper your beans. Voila, a crowd pleasing and easy side dish.

Salmon with Hollandaise Sauce

08/12/2014

salmon

I’ve been neglecting my blogging duties for the past two weeks; I was in vacation mode in Iowa with my family. At the peak of summer when the gardens are full, lighting bugs are out, and the kiddy pools are filled with naked babies, you just about had to pry me away from it all with a crowbar.

We ate lots of locavore meals, like the one above, with zucchini and beans from my mom’s garden, local sweet corn, and salmon caught by my dad and grandpa.

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Earlier this summer, Dad and Grandpa spent a couple of days fishing in Lake Michigan, and caught their limit of big, beautiful salmon. (Dad caught the largest one–a 24 pounder!)

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My grandma prepared this hollandaise sauce (minus the blender, only because there wasn’t one available). It was a great topper for the fish.

Ingredients:

2 lbs of fresh salmon (or more)
3 egg yolks
1 t Dijon mustard
1 T lemon juice
1/2 c butter
S&P
coconut oil

Instructions:

First, get the grill hot for the salmon. Put S&P on the salmon, and drizzle with coconut oil (or canola oil) that will stand high heat. If the skin is present, leave on. If not, oil both sides of the fish and put it on foil.

Once the fish is ready for the grill, set it aside and make the sauce. In a blender, combine the egg yolks, mustard, S&P, and lemon juice. Cover, and blend for about 5 seconds. Place the butter in a glass measuring cup. Heat butter in the microwave for about 1 minute, or until completely melted and hot. Set the blender on high speed, and pour the butter into the egg yolk mixture in a thin stream. It should thicken almost immediately. Keep the sauce warm until serving by placing the blender container in a pan of hot tap water.

Next, put the fish on the grill and cook on medium high heat for 7 minutes. I like my salmon undercooked in the middle, but you can keep it on the grill for longer if you like it cooked well done. Do not flip.

Serve the fish with the sauce immediately. If there is any hollandaise sauce leftover from the meal, discard it since it has raw eggs.

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