Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Two Seasonal Sides

This is a difficult post because both of these dishes out of the recent Cooking Light got two very different reviews in our household.

Thyme Corn Bread was liked by my husband but I didn't care for it. It was too thymey tasting and a bit dry because they seriously cut back on the amount of oil to keep it light. I used some leftover Iowa farmers market corn in it.

On the same page was another recipe I tried out tonight called, Cherry Tomato and Herb Salad. I added a half of a chopped fresh mozzarella ball to it and had all the fresh herbs growing in that strawberry pot I posted earlier. I really liked this one and the combination of the herbs but my husband gave it a thumbs down for the same reason ... too herby.

Three more to share

I have been busy lately, but doing well CSA-wise. The new pick up is today and my fridge isn't still overwhelmed with last weeks produce. Here are some things I have made:


That is a squash casserole. My hope was that I could make a big batch and freeze some. Unfortuately, there wasn't enough to freeze. That is a pretty small baking dish, but the casserole is so rich, it ends up being a lot.

Sour Cream Squash with Two Cheeses

2 lb yellow squash
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp sugar
7 TB butter (I used 2)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup sharp cheddar
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup parmesean
1/4 cup white wine (I actually used a splash of beer)
1 cup bread crumbs

- Cut squash into 1/4 inch slices. Bring 2 cups water to boil; add squash, sugar, and salt. Cook for 20 minutes
- Preheat oven to 350. Melt 4 (1) TB butter in skillet. Add onion and cook until transparent.
- When squash is done, drain, pressing to force out extra liquid. Stir onion and butter into squash. Add Cheddar, sour cream, parmesean, white wine, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly and pour into baking dish.
- Melt remaining butter (1TB) in skillet and saute bread crumbs until warmed through. Top casserole with the crumbs and bake 20 - 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Not very healthy, but not bad every once in awhile served with grilled pork chops.


The next recipe help to use up some of this KALE! I just took a spinach quiche recipe from my Better Homes and Garden Cookbook and used KALE! instead.

1 store bought pie crust
1/2 cup chopped onion
6 slices of bacon, chopped
8 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
dash grd nutmeg
3 cups chopped KALE!
2/3 cup mozzerella
1/2 cup parm cheese

- Unroll and bake pie crust at 450 for 8 minutes. Reduce oven temp to 325
- Cook onion and bacon in large skillet (don't do this, cook separately, the bacon never gets crisp)
- Mix eggs, sour cream, milk, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir in onion, bacon, KALE! and cheeses
- Poor into pie crust. Bake at 325 for 45 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.


I served this with Watermelon and Feta Salad. I really liked this! The combo of the watermelon, black pepper, and feta was actually really nice. I added some mint as suggested by one of the reviews, but I probably would not do that again. Mark thought this was wierd, but the kids liked it.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Grilled Corn on the Cob

I'm almost embarassed to post this because I figure everyone knows how to grill corn, except for me. I have never had any luck grilling corn, it always ends up undercooked and chewy or blackened beyond recognition. I brought back some fresh Iowa corn to Arizona with me and looked up several grilled corn methods and settled on the one posted below. It was really good, I would try this method again. I don't know if it beats plain old boiled corn on the cob but if you don't want to heat up your kitchen it is a good alternative cooking method.

Grilled Corn on the Cob
Pull back husks but don't remove. Remove silk as best you can. Pull the husks back over the corn. Soak corn in husks for 1 hour in a pot of water. Prepare grill to medium high heat. Drain corn and place on grill. Grill for 25 minutes, turning often.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Cookbook challenge for August!

Just a little update for the challenge in August. We are going to be cooking from a cookbook again, but this time, we are going to cook from India. The cookbook is called Mango and Curry Leaves, and it is by the same author of the Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet we have cooked from before. Order yours now. If you get a cheap one, order one for me too! My library actually has a copy, so I am going to borrow it from them.

Low County Boil

I did a search and couldn't find this posted before. I can't believe that no one has posted this one. (by no one, I mean me or my sister) This is a new family favorite we make every time we get together. I just so happened to take a picture of our dinner tonight because it looked so impressive on the platter. The corn was purchased by my FIL at a farmers market in the low country and the shrimp I got from Redmond Boys, a little produce stand that brings in seafood.


Low Country Boil
2 lbs unpeeled shrimp
4 ears corn, cut it half
5-6 red potatoes
1 package smoked sausage
4 green onions, chunked
several peeled garlic cloves
2 stalks celery, chunked
2 TB crab boil
2 TB old bay
2 TB cider vinegar
kosher salt

Bring LARGE pot of water to boil. Add large handful of salt. Add seasoinings and vinegar. Add celery, onion, garlic, sausage, and potatoes. Cook for 10 minutes. Add corn. Cook for 5-7 minutes. Add shrimp. Cook 3 more minutes. Drain and pour onto serving platter. Cover serving table with newpaper and serve with lemon butter and cocktail seasoning. YUM!

My Dad's Cucumber and Tomato Salad

My dad started whipping this little number up this year. Not sure why he just started it now, but it is a nice little fresh side dish for the summer to use up the bounty of tomatoes and cucumbers that you just don't know what to do with. Here is what I had from my CSA:

That red tomato I actually grew in a pot. I pealed it before adding it to the salad. The yellow ones are from the CSA and that round wierd looking thing is actually a cucumber. Here is the assembled dish:

Cucumber and Tomato Salad
Tomatoes (grape or cherry halved, anything larger, peeled and chopped)
Cucumber, thinly sliced and chopped.
Onion, (I used green, but red would probably be better)
Red wine vinegar
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Assemble all ingredients and let sit in fridge for awhile. Enjoy!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Farmers' Market Roasted Vegetable Salad-Stuffed Avocados

I found this recipe for Farmers' Market Roasted Vegetable Salad-Stuffed Avocados on Food Network. I did a search on yahoo for a farmer's market recipe and this popped up! It was pretty good...I enjoyed it. My husband thought it was only so-so!

Here are all the chopped veggies ready to be roasted!
I roasted some chicken as well. That turned out great!!

My son insists that I take a picture of his plate also. He was especially excited because he had a super long holder on his corn tonight.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


I have said this before, but this time of year, I like to buy one of those BIG watermelons from a roadside stand, seeded of course. I just find it tastes a lot better than the ones without seeds. This of course leads to another problem, what do you do with all that watermelon. We ate some, gave some away, and still was left with about half. This first thing I tried was the watermelon salsa KAJ posted last year.


(my camera was dying for all these pictures, not none of them were very good)

I thought this was ok. Perhaps my huge, seeded super sweet watermelon was a little much for this salsa. My red onion was bad so I used a white one, and did feel it was missing something, could be a little more onion taste.


The other thing I made was watermelon and cucumber tonic from the July 2009 Cooking Light. I know, right? Can't decide if it sounds really good or really bad? Well, I definately thought it sounded interesting. I followed the recipe pretty much exactly and actually measured all my ingredients. (this does not always happen) The one exception was that I used a regular cucumber instead of an english. The result. Ummmmmmm, not so good. I felt the cucumber taste was overwhelming. Maybe I just don't like gin. I tried it a couple of times, but again, it was just ok.


I served the tonic with a meal of stuffed hatch chili peppers and it just looked so impressive, I took a picture.


Grilled Onions

I made this recipe for the first time the other night when we decided we would only eat "grill food". It's too hot to use the stove/oven! Although the recipe says to cook for one hour on indirect heat, that was not nearly enough time. Perhaps less indirect, and more direct would be a good combination. We microwaved them the rest of the way and it was absolutely delicious!

Grilled Onions

Enjoy. I can't wait to make these again.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Baked Omelet with Zucchini, Leeks, Feta and Herbs

I've had this recipe cut out for a long time now. Every once in a while I bring it out in hopes of trying it and somehow it gets put back in the folder for another time. I was looking for something different to share this month so I brought it out once more to try. This was a great dish ... we really loved it. It's a great way to sneak in veggies if you have kids. I shredded the zucchini on a box cheese grater and it worked just fine. I also used about half the amount of mint the recipe called for and skipped the dill. I served it with a salad of escarole, tomatoes, cucumber and some leftover roasted red pepper. Not a bad way to use the best of the season's veggies.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Lee's dinner

So, my cousin is married to a trained chef. We were recently in town to visit and got him to cook dinner for us. I just wanted to share. It was delicious.


It was baked flounder rolls with a little sauce, a rice pilaf, and julianned steamed vegtables. Delicious!

Pico de Gallo

Now, Pico de Gallo is pretty simple thing. We don't make it near as much as we should, but with all the tomatoes out, it seemed like a good idea! With the lime juice, it is so fresh and a perfect snack for the summer!!

1/4 C cilantro
1/4 C chopped red onion
4 chopped tomatoes with juice squeezed out
1 green onion chopped
2 jalapenos chopped with some seeds
juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Carne Asada with Avocado

First the steaks were marinaded for 5 hours beforehand.

meat marinade
Juice of 2 limes
olive oil
white wine vinegar
salt and pepper
crushed red pepper
steak seasoning
garlic and onion powder

We grilled the steaks on the grill and topped with Monterrey Jack cheese the last couple minutes on the grill. We topped it with pico de gallo and served with avocados and sauteed peppers and onion. Pico post to follow :)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Layered Strawberry Cheesecake Bowl

Strawberries are plentiful in this area. About 20 minutes north of us, is a place known as Strawberry Hill USA. They have the best strawberries we have ever tasted!

I made this dessert for Kevin to take to an end of the year luncheon at school. Because my trifle bowl is so large, I doubled to recipe. I also did multiple layers of cake, strawberries and custard.

The only changes I made were to use Splenda instead of sugar on the berries. I also didn't put melted chocolate on the top but did decorate with whole strawberries. Sorry that I don't have a picture of mine.

I could not get the link to work, but here is the webpage for the recipe.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


I made a simple Caprese salad for lunch this weekend with a fresh from the garden (not mine) tomato, basil (from my garden), fresh mozzarella and a drizzle of EVOO and crushed pepper. It tasted like summer on a plate. YUM!

Saturday, July 4, 2009


I think every year, there is a kale. There is one vegtable item that just gets harvested like crazy, and you never know what to do with it. This year, ours is KALE. It actually started in May, before the CSA actually began. It was growing so fast, we had some early pick ups. I really thought this was a winter vegtable, but here it is July and we are still getting KALE. We sauteed it up a few times with garlic, ok, but now what? I found the following recipes:

Ricotta and Kale salad. Kale is a little bit bitter to eat in this form, but the riccotta salada helps to balance this. Mark ate every last bite (he loves salad). I would add a bit of sugar to the dressing next time.

Kale and Potato Puree. This was a real winner. So rich and creamy, you really couldn't even taste the kale. Not sure if that is bad or good. Even Andy ate it, and he doesn't really do table food at this point. Course, it practically is baby food. Anyways, it is a great side for a sunday dinner. It is pictured here with meatloaf.


Roasted kale. Really? You can roast kale? Yup. I really enjoyed this as well, but Mark and both kids thought it was wierd. It gets really crispy, like a thin potato chip. The flavor reminded me of fried okra. Next time I would skip the vinegar step. Don't need it. Picture here with leftover meatloaf.


Patty pan squash

So, one of these showed up in my CSA share.


I mean, what the heck is that? Turns out it is called a "patty pan squash". No, I never heard of it, and didn't know what to do with it either. After some reseach on the web, I turned to my old standby - roasted. First, I trimmed the ends and the skin.


The top and the bottom definately should be cut off, but the skin is actually pretty thin. It is totally edible.

I then cubed it, then drizzled it with olive oil, the sprinkled salt and pepper, roasted at 400 for about 20 minutes. A before picture:


And after.


It is not the best picture because it was leftover on Mark's plate!! He ate it up the first night because he didn't know what it was. The second night all of a sudden, it was too wierd.

I really liked the patty pan squash. Regular yellow squash is really a little too squishy for me, but the texture of this was a little denser, more potato like. I would get this again.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

July - CSA challenge

This summer, I joined a CSA. No, that does NOT stand for "confederate states of america" it stands for "community supported agriculture". You pay money to a farm for "a share" and you get all of the products of a garden without the work! This month challenge will be to use any seasonal local produce in your cooking - your basic farmers market challenge. Happy cooking!