Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Yeah...that sounded good!

So, Robin's recipe and description sounded tasty , so I made that tomato basil risotto. It got thicker than shown here in the picture and was great! A real crowd pleaser. Daddy and kids both ate it up! We had some corn on the cob as well which, I know, I know , makes for a starchy meal, but they were on sale:)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Risotto con Pomodorini

Well, we've just returned from a whirlwind trip to Italy which always provides me with new cooking inspiration. Here is a photo of a recipe I am going to attempt to recreate, Risotto con Pomodorini. The owner of the restaurant shared the recipe with us and basically it is a basic risotto and near the end of cooking you add a handful of mini tomatoes (cherry tomatoes) and some finely chopped basil (or a small amount of pesto) if you have it on hand.

So here is my rough interpretation:

Heat up at least a liter of vegetable broth (fresh broth versus canned is always better if you have the time). Heat up some olive oil and a chunk of butter, add finely chopped garlic or shallot if you want (or don't). Add arborio rice and let simmer slowly in the oil until kernels are coated and almost bursting (couple minutes). Add white wine and let the rice soak it up. Add a ladle of hot broth to the rice and let each ladleful be soaked up by the rice before adding another. Total cooking time for the rice is 20-30 minutes. Towards the end of cooking add a handful of halved cherry tomatoes and continue cooking until rice is al dente. Sprinkle in chopped basil (or small spoon of pesto) and handful of parmesan cheese (and if you can find some ricotta salata which will make it nice and creamy).

Friday, July 25, 2008

Creamed Corn with Bacon and Leeks


Hmmm...perhaps that is not the best picture.

So, I was flipping through the most recent issue of Cooking Light, (I still haven't made anything from it recently) when I saw a mention of an older receipe, Creamed Corn with Bacon and Leeks. I have never really been a fan of creamed corn, but I don't think I have ever had the the real thing. This was an easy side that went well with my grilled rubbed pork chops. Getting the corn off the cob was the hardest part.

At first taste I thought it was too sweet, and too soupy. Maybe this is just one of those dishes that has to sit for a bit, because 5 mintues later I thought it was really tasty. My dad's review "that's pretty good, kid" Mark said "I like the bacon!" and even James ate some with a fork. I would definately make this again next time corn is 12 for $3.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Chicken Shawarma and Chopped Vegetable Salad

I made this combo dish from the July Cooking Light and it was excellent. The vegetable dish was also a winner.

Chicken Shawarma

I served this chicken mix inside the half-pitas with lettuce, tomato and sauce. I didn't have any tahini for the sauce, so I left it out. It tasted great.

Chopped Vegetable Salad

Notice there is no link. This is one of the "menu" options in the magazine, which means they don't post the recipes anywhere on the internet. But, because it's so yummy, I will type it out for you:

Combine the following:
2c chopped cucumber
1c chopped red bell pepper
1c chopped tomato
1/2c chopped green bell pepper
1/2c chopped red onion
1/2c chopped fresh parsley
2 Tb red wine vinegar
1 Tb extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Prepare and let stand at room temperature for a little while. It creates more juice.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Zucchini cakes

I am finishing the month strong.


Zucchini and squash are one of the most abundant summertime veggies and one of the easiest to grow. However, I am always at a loss on what to do with them. I think it has been previously mentioned that I don't like the texture of these vegtables, and that is probably why I shy away from them. This week I had Paula Deen on and was half listening to it and she mentioned a recipe for zucchini cakes. It sounded like something I should try.

I only used 1 squash and 1 zucchini, and therefore used less of the other ingredients as well, but I still used one whole egg. I made sure to really try to get as much moisture off of the grated veggies as possible. The result was pretty tasty. Even Mark mentioned that the "cakes were good...did you make these?!?" I will definately make this again. I served the cakes with a roasted pork tenderloin.

Chile Con Queso Cheeseburger

I found this recipe for Chile con queso Cheeseburgers while looking for a way to use up a bunch of Anaheim Pepper that our neighbors were kind enough to give us. By a bunch, I mean...
First, I charred them on the grill with some jalapenos and some garlic.
Then, I chopped them up and mixed them with some cheese and tomato to stuff in a hamburger patty.
All in all, it was fun, but not the most delicious burger I have ever eaten. B said he like them. The idea of a stuffed hamburger is one that we will experiment with I am sure!!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Watermelon Margaritas


My toddler loves watermelon, and the ones you get in the grocery store are cute, small, seedless, and really perfect for snacking. However, the ones you get in season at the farmers market are huge, filled with seeds, but completely delicious. I'll buy one and we will eat off of it for as long as we can. I decided to make a pitcher of watermelon margaritas to help use some of it up.

I only made a half recipe, but still I had to invite some neighbors over to help us drink it. As written, I felt the margaritas were still a little bitter, so I added a cup of simple syrup (1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water). Really, it tasted like any fruity margarita. I thought they were good, I'd make them again if I had a surplus of watermelon, but I wouldn't buy a watermelon to make them.

I think I will make some watermelon salsa with the remaining 3/4 of my watermelon!

Watermelon Salsa!

WOW! I was shocked how well this salsa was received! I mean, my in-laws, my husband, myself...we loved it. I think I might have just lucked out with some of the most delicious watermelon I have ever eaten. I truly felt that I was having a taste of summer!

I used both the pink and the yellow watermelon to match the picture even though the recipe didn't call for it. I just did a search for Watermelon Salsa on! I tried to add alittle spice by throwing in some more jalapeno seed, but when that didn't work I just added some chili powder and cayenne pepper.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Grilled Chicken Salad with Sweet and Spicy Dressing

Is lettuce in season? Sure hope so.....

I'm not a big "salad for a meal" person, so I actually made this with the avocado soup I posted yesterday. It was a great combo and filled us up really nice.

This Grilled Chicken Salad with Sweet and Spicy Dressing is absolutely outstanding, but we were definitely having a shortage of salad dressing. Since none of the ingredients can be increased, I would just have to increase all of them.

Also, this is my first time ever to use chipotle chilis. Yeah for me! Definitely adds a kick.

And my DH thinks it's hilarious that you sit down to eat some lettuce, chicken, and cucumbers, and yet there are 40 ingredients. LOL.

Mediterranean Chicken Salad Pitas

These Mediterranean Chicken Salad Pitas are awesome! It's also from July Cooking Light. I'm sure that either the onion, bell pepper, or something is seasonal, but regardless I had to share.

It's ridiculously fast and easy and stands for a meal on its own.

We actually added a few drops of Louisiana hot sauce on top and thought it was even better, but that's optional.

My subs: green pepper for red (they wanted $2.99 for a red pepper). Plain yogurt for Greek.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Peach-Blackberry Cobbler

I made this Peach-Blackberry Cobbler after doing a search for "What the heck is in season anyways?" and I found this website...
I followed the link to this cobbler recipe. It was alright, but as usual, I manged to screw it up. I think in the mist of trying to calm my daughter and chase down my son at the store, I bought some weird peaches. They were more like an apple peaches, I think they are called white peaches. At any rate, they weren't sweet enough and they still weren't soft after 30 min :( The cobbler was still good, especially with the French Vanilla ice cream...I don't really like homemade vanilla, but french vanilla rules!

Tyler Florence's Ultimate Potato Salad

Tonight, I tried to cram a couple of contributions into one night. Tyler Florence's Ultimate Potato Salad was pretty tasty, but a decent amount of work for a potato salad that my husband described as, "you know, your traditional potato salad." All the ingredients are great and tasty, especially the pickle juice, I think it is key. BUT, the mayo and mustard still stand out and are pretty standard in most potato salads of this kind! Pretty good though!

Avocado Soup with Citrus-Shrimp Relish

These challenges with "seasonal" ingredients are difficult for me. The only things that grow where I am are the three Cs - corn, cotton, and cows. Well, cotton is tough to cook with.

But since somebody in another state thinks Avocados are in season, I'm using that as my chief ingredient.

I found this recipe in the July 2008 Cooking Light. It was a great soup. DH thought we could sell it and make millions. I personally thought it was simply "great" but not going to buy us anything special. It was filling and tasty. Give it a try.

Oh, I didn't use the queso fresco although I'm sure it would have rocked.

Avocado Soup with Citrus-Shrimp Relish


Sunday, July 6, 2008

Rustic Tomato Basil Tart - Take Two


Robin posted this recipe during our last farmers market challenge and I have been thinking about it ever since. I meant to make it last month for the blog challenge, but it just didn't happen. My in laws were nice enough to bring me fresh corn from a roadside stand (the best corn EVER!) and tomatoes from Uncle Herbert (and cucumbers, but that is another post). I think this is the first thing I have really cooked since the baby was born. It was really good! I had to make it ahead of time, so I think my crust was a little soggy, but still YUM. I served it with a basalmic roasted pork tenderloin and evem Mark said the dinner was great.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Pfifferlinge Zeit!

Pfifferlinge Zeit is chanterelle mushroom season here in Germany. It always surprises me every year because I thought all mushrooms had fall seasons. Here it follows closely after Spargel Zeit (Asparagus season, which ends by June 1). There are lots of chanterelles now in the market and they are a bargain at 3.99 / pound. I believe they are much more expensive in the States. A week ago, I had a wonderful tagliatelle pasta with chanterelles at a local restaurant and I tried recreating something similar last night. I found this recipe on the Cooking Light website, Penne with Wild Mushrooms. Loved it ... I followed the recipe but subbed dried sage for fresh.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Potato-Cucumber Salad

Cucumbers are abundant this time of year and I found some great mini gurkens (as they are called here) so I made this recipe that I came across in the German food magazine, Lecker. The pretty picture is theirs as I realized after I finished the dish that my husband took the camera on a business trip.


2 lb. potatoes (the type you use to boil not the type you use for baking or mashing)
1 onion
4 strips bacon
5 T. white wine vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar because it was on hand)
1/2 t. vegetable boullion
1/2 t. mustard
1 t. honey
3 T. raps oil (which I believe translates to our canola oil)
1 cucumber
1 small bunch of fresh dill (or parsley)

Wash the potatoes, cover with water and boil for about 20 minutes. Drain the water off and peel the potatoes. Set aside and let cool.

For the marinade, chop the onion into fine dice. Cook bacon until crispy, drain on paper towels. Put vinegar and 1/2 c. water in a saucepan and bring to a low boil. Add the bouillion, mustard and honey and whisk well. Season marinade with salt and pepper. Add the oil and whisk until well combined. Add bacon and onion

Slice the potatoes and toss with the hot marinade. Let it sit for 30 minutes with the top on. Peel cucmbers and thinly slice. Toss with potatoes and marinade. Top with dill or parsley and season with salt and pepper.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Challenge Repeat - Farmers Market Challenge

Ok, I know that I haven't been around, but I have a good excuse! I hope to participate more in July for our Farmers Market Challenge. I am working on becoming a "localvore" and there are so many farmers markets and roadsides stands in the area that I just need a little push in order to use them. You don't have to visit a farmers market for this challenge, just use any inseason food item and share what you make.