Sunday, July 25, 2010
We also tried smoking today for the first time. I don’t think Hubby has the patience for smoking. We tried chicken thighs in our smoker. Our smoker has been handed down from our friends. As they get more experienced smoking, they buy bigger smokers. We had a couple of mishaps, though. This really isn’t our first time. A couple of weeks ago, we tried smoking, only to blow a circuit and ruin the meat, because we didn’t realize for the longest time that the smoker wasn’t heating up.
Today, we tried to add more wet wood chips, or I did, and ended up starting a small fire. We put the fire out and just went on with the smoking. Hubby thought he could really taste the wine – we used wine as our liquid of choice for the smoker. I didn’t taste that strong a wine taste. I did think the chicken was a bit dry. Either we cooked it too long, or the little fire did it. Anyway, not too bad for a first try.
I seasoned my meat with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Smokin Dave’s BBQ seasoning. I bought the seasoning at the Jakey in June BBQ contest. We love the rub!!
I also made a cake – no photo though. I saw a picture in my Martha Stewart Living magazine of a white cake layered with strawberries and whipped cream. I tried to make one layered with raspberries and whipped cream. The magazine one was really pretty – mine, not so much. Maybe next time. My kids liked it though. I guess that is what matters.
More food coming soon – have a great evening!!
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
I am somewhat sad today. School starts in a month and I have to go back to work. It isn’t the work that makes me sad, it is the time away from the kids that makes me sad. I have had such an amazing summer with them, and I don’t want it to end.
So today, we spent the day lounging around the house, and we grilled for dinner. I decided I had to use up some of my tomatoes so I roasted some and make a creamy roasted tomato sauce for pasta to go with the steaks that Hubby grilled.
I used fresh ingredients from the garden, and I really liked the pasta. It was light, but flavorful – different tastes and textures for us.
Roasted Creamy Tomato Pasta with Feta Cheese
About 2 lbs tomatoes – your choice, I used heirloom that I had on hand
2 garlic cloves
1-2 tsp Italian seasoning
½ cup chicken stock
½ cup half and half
1 lb pasta your choice
Large bunch fresh arugula or spinach
½-1 cup feta cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut tomatoes in half and lay on sheet tray cut side up. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 30 minutes. Let cool. Put in blender and blend to desired consistency – I like mine a little chunky.
In a large sauce pan, sauté garlic in olive oil until softened, add Italian seasoning. Add tomatoes and chicken stock. Bring to low boil and simmer to allow to thicken. Finish with half and half
After pasta is cooked, drain reserving 1 cup pasta water. Pour sauce over pasta, adding pasta water if too thick. Add lettuce and cheese stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
I think the feta added a sharpness to the pasta that I think allowed the lettuce to stand out a little more. It was a different pasta for us, but very good. I also liked the lightness of the pasta. I don't like my pasta to be drowning in sauce. To me, it takes away from the dish.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
I was taking care of a neighbor’s garden – she said I could take whatever was ready to be picked. There was a huge zucchini that I picked. I decided to make some zucchini bread, but last year, one of the recipes I used was somewhat dry, and my kids weren’t overly fond of it. They did like the chocolate zucchini bread, but I didn't have any chocolate around.
I went to Facebook and asked my friends for some help with recipes. I got three, which is good, because my zucchini is huge. This is the first of my recipes. It received two thumbs up from my kids. It was moist and had a lot of flavor. I think though, that next time, I will add more zucchini like my friend did. I really liked it – the nuts were a nice touch; I chopped my pretty small, so they really are combined well throughout the bread.
Zucchini Bread from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 beaten egg
1 C sugar
1 C finely shredded, unpeeled zucchini (My friend used 2 cups; I used 1 ½ cups)
1/4 C cooking oil
1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts or pecans--and/or mini chocolate chip morsels.
Preheat oven to 350.
Grease bottom and sides of loaf pan. In medium bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, baking powder and nutmeg. Mix well and make a well in center of flour mixture. Set aside.
In another medium bowl, combine egg, sugar, zucchini and oil. Add zucchini mixture all at once to flour mixture (pour into center of well) and stir until moistened. Fold in nuts, chocolate chips, or both. Pour batter into loaf pan.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 50 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack. Enjoy!!
P.S. If I put chocolate chips in my loaf, I usually reduce sugar by a little bit. Actually, I usually reduce the sugar in all my loaves just to be a little healthier!! (Comment from my friend) I am going to add chocolate chips next time. Didn’t have any on hand this time.)
I love using fresh ingredients from gardens this time of year. I also want to thank those who gave me recipes – I will be trying more soon! Have a great day!
Thursday, July 8, 2010
I have been eating and loving the fresh fruit that is in season now. This weekend, I tried to make blueberry muffins, but they were by no means picture ready. The recipe said to fill the muffin pan to the top, which caused the muffins to rise up and over the muffin tin, messing up my stove in the process. I then turned to blueberry cakes or bars. I found a recipe that stated muffins or cake would work.
I thought it turned out really well. There was a hint of lemon that could be tasted and the sour cream gave a nice tanginess to the cake. I do think I need to fold the blueberries in better next time. Some parts were a little shy of blueberries and some parts seemed like they had an over abundance of berries.
When I make this again, I think I will add a little more sour cream for more moisture, and I might try a different berry. One of my friends who tried the cake thought that lemon curd might be a nice addition – you know bring out the lemon flavor more. I think I might try that next time.
Here is the recipe for Blueberry Muffin “Bundt Cake”
Blueberry Muffins (Cake)
from Donna Hay Modern Classics 2
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup superfine sugar
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
Preheat oven to 350F. Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl. Add sugar and combine. Whisk sour cream, eggs, lemon rind, and oil together in a bowl. Stir in the dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in the blueberries. To make a cake: spread batter into pan and bake for 40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. To make muffins: fill a dozen 1/2 cup muffin tins about 2/3 full and bake for 12 minutes or until clean toothpick stage.
Next up is something with zucchini. Have a great evening! Talk to you soon!
Sunday, July 4, 2010
We were invited to a friend’s Fourth of July party on Friday. They provide brats and hotdogs, guests brings sides, apps and desserts. It is a very nice evening, and there are always lots of friends there to catch up with. The fireworks were also really good. My kids really enjoyed seeing them. For my side, I chose caprese salad:
Cherry tomatoes-cut them in half
Extra virgin olive oil
Combine all ingredients.
Caprese salad is one of my staple salads in the summer. This summer is the first summer that my oldest is eating it. He has always loved the fresh mozzarella, but the tomatoes have been something he didn’t enjoy. I told him this year, he couldn’t eat the cheese without the tomatoes, so he tried it and…….he liked it!! It was a good day.
Anyway, I had some leftover tomatoes from the party – all the cheese, but a little was gone. I took the tomatoes home, and tried to think about how I was going to use them. I settled on this pasta. Using tuna I found in the freezer – bought it on sale very cheap from Trader Joe’s, I decided to season it with some Southwestern seasoning from Penzey’s, garlic, salt and pepper. Hubby grilled it for me – tasted great on its own!.
“Caprese” Tuna Pasta
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 anchovy filets
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp Italian seasoning
Leftover tomatoes from caprese salad
1 lb linguine cooked per package directions
1 cup chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 large bunch basil chopped fine
3 to 4 small tuna steaks cooked on grill with your choice of seasoning
In a large skillet over medium high heat, sauté garlic and anchovy filets until filets melt into oil. Add Italian seasoning and tomato mixture to skillet. Allow to come to a boil, and turn down to a simmer. Add chicken stock and allow to simmer and reduce.
Meanwhile cook pasta according to package directions.
Add cooked pasta, reserving some pasta water, if needed. Flake tuna and add to pasta along with basil. Combine; season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!!
I hope you all had a great Fourth of July! I know we did. I a going to leave you with a quote from Erma Bombeck:
You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.