Friday, July 29, 2011

Panzanella: a recipe

One of the best things about cooking in the summer is that it often involves not cooking.

Sometimes it's just too damned hot out to think about turning on the stove or the oven.

Hot weather, coupled with the first harvest of sun-ripened, don't-taste-like-cardboard tomatoes, means one dish to me: panzanella, which is an Italian bread salad.

Now, to be honest, there are as many recipes out there for panzanella as there are for my-Italian-grandmother's-world's-greatest tomato sauce. But I am hooked on this one, which I have adapted a bit over the years from one that I received via the Splendid Table newsletter.

Can a person truly be in love with a salad? I say yes, because I am.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Quick pickled veg: recipes

Pickled beets and radishes
According to the August issue of Bon Appetit that I just received, you should make some pickles because (and I quote)

Everybody's Doing It!

Yep, surely that's a good enough reason to do anything, right?

Regardless, pickling can be easy, especially if you're making a quick pickle, rather than a preserved pickle (which is still easy but takes more time).

So while waiting for the bumper crop of cucumbers to start pouring in so I can once again put up a whole crapload of Best-Evah Dill Pickles, I tried a few different quick pickle recipes this week, using vegetables that are probably showing up in your CSA share right about now.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Blueberry cobbler bars: a recipe

Blueberry cobbler bars
Fresh, juicy fruits and berries are some of the best things about summer, don't you think?

Right now in Vermont, fresh means blueberries. But not from our yard, sadly.

Before we moved in to our new house, the wee orchard was invaded by rose chafer beetles, and it appears they did some irreparable damage to this year's fruit harvest. As an example, the previous owners told us they harvested a full bushel of peaches last year; this year, I can't even tell which trees are peach because they have absolutely no fruit.

Which is why I'm thankful for dedicated local farmers, who clearly are better at growing fruit than I will ever be!

Earlier this week, I used some of my berry haul to make a blueberry-peach shortcut galette. Late yesterday afternoon I decided I wanted to make a cobbler or something for dessert but was running short on time.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday: currants?

Are these currants? Or something that will kill me if I eat it? There are tons and tons of bushes of them, as well as very old apple trees, along our road (former farm land). Can you help?

Monday, July 18, 2011

CSA Share Ninja Rescue: celery

Wicked awesome macaroni salad
The CSA Share Ninja Rescue feature is back, this week featuring celery.

Yes, just celery. But that's OK.

All I can think is that everyone is inundated with tomatoes, with which you don't need any recipe help, as you are just eating them whole, with lots of salt, or in a fabulous tomato sandwich.

If that's you, shut up. We're still waiting on tomatoes up here in Vermont.

So, back to the celery:

  • Macaroni salad from Eating Well: I could go on and on and on about how amazingly delicious this pasta salad is (I ate the whole bowl by myself in two days -- THAT'S how good it is). As an added bonus, it is loaded with healthy veg and is low fat and low calorie (even WITH the cheese topping, which I didn't bother to add). Seriously perfect summer food! I added some cooked chicken which made it even heartier.
  • Braised celery with crunchy breadcrumb topping from Molly Stevens and 101 Cookbooks, by way of my cousin Susan: I think this would be perfect with a nice roasted chicken.
  • Celery and pear bisque from Bon Appetit and the Ninj: Super easy, wonderful flavor.
  • Bloody Mary tomato salad from Bon Appetit: The name is NOT an exaggeration! This is the perfect vehicle for fresh tomatoes and makes a lively accompaniment to grilled steak. Eat the pairing outside for the perfect summer meal.

So, whatcha gettin' in your box next week?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Lemon-lime basil shortbread cookies: a recipe

Lemon-lime basil shortbread cookies
Even the name of these cookies sounds summery and refreshing, doesn't it? And look at those little flecks of green -- so pretty!

While lemon-lime-basil-shortbread may seem like an odd combination of flavors, it really works in this cookie. The shortbread is extra buttery but the citrus and basil give it just a little kick.

The recipe calls for finishing the cookies with coarse sugar (I used Sugar in the Raw) but you could leave it off if you wanted them to be more of a teatime treat.

(Photo-wise, please bear with me. My new kitchen has much cooler tones and light than my last one, so I need a little time to figure out the best places to take my food photos.)

Don't forget to leave veg suggestions in the comments for Monday's CSA Share Ninja Rescue!

RECIPE LINK: Lemon-Lime Basil Shortbread Cookies from Bon Appetit

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday

The wee garden grows -- just a wee bit.