Happy 4th of July, to those living in the US. July 4th, Independence Day, is now past, but that is the thing we think of come July. Independence and freedom. Picnics and fireworks lighting up the night sky. And heat. Oh boy, it's been hot lately in the upper Midwest. Thank goodness for air conditioning.
But, that's what summer is all about: heat to ripen the crops and rain to help them grow; some muggy weather at times, depending on where you live it can be horribly humid and other places not. We've been fortunate so far with low humidity, despite the temperatures. And my tomatoes are ripening - hurray!
Wherever and however you spend your summer, I hope it is filled with fun.
When the weather is hot, the last thing anyone wants is to spend time over a hot stove. Even worse, have to heat up the oven. Here I have recipes for a a lovely meal that is quick and easy, to keep you as cool as a cucumber!
Clockwise from top left, click on a link to find the recipes:
Green Pea, Feta and Mint Spread. This appetizer spread is great to scoop up with things like carrot, celery or bell pepper strips, or just spread it on crackers of choice.
Avocado Mango Salad. This salad is quick to prepare, and a delight to eat. Cool and refreshing, a little sweet (mango) and a little bitter (arugula), a little creamy (avocado), a little crunchy (bell pepper) and a little tart (lime juice).
Grilled Pork with Indian Spices. Not much time to marinate? Just 20 to 30 minutes and you're all set to grill. Better still, while this is great with pork tenderloins as shown, you can substitute chicken breasts, or even cut up turkey breast to the proportionate size. Amazing flavor!
Chocolate Mousse. You might worry that this means stove time, but I'm here to tell you there is no stove time and nothing could be quicker, or smoother or more decadent than this beautiful Chocolate Mousse that sets up in about the time it takes to pop them in the fridge for a quick chill before dinner.
There are lots more recipes to choose from on my website or blog. These are some true summer favorites.
Below is a button to connect with a Bonus Recipe for this month. Please enjoy this recipe at any time of year, or when the weather does not allow for grilling.
Summer arrives and suddenly Farmers' Markets abound with fresh produce. Even in the small town where I live, there is a summer Farmers' Market, and I so love perusing what is on offer, week to week.
Rhubarb seems to abound, here, and though when I was a child, the only rhubarb dessert I ever recall is Mom's fantastic Rhubarb Pineapple Pie (which I now realize I have never posted as a recipe!), now I have been experimenting with many wonderful things to do with rhubarb. This Rhubarb Blueberry Bars recipe, shown above, is just absolutely wonderful. Serve it with a little whipped cream, or ice cream, and it is a match made in heaven.
Let's face it: when one chooses to plant zucchini, one will have an abundance. The question then arises: what do I do with all these zucchini? Personally, I am not over fond of plain cooked zucchini, so I look for ways to use it that it can be a co-star in the recipe, rather than the main event. One way I love is in lasagna. In these days when seemingly everyone wants to be gluten free, or is eliminating carbs, Zucchini Lasagna fits the bill on both counts.
Then of course, there is always the ubiquitous Zucchini Bread, and then I took it a step further, making this lowly vegetable into a really amazing Zucchini Tea Bread.
Do You Love Beets?
I love beets, most any which way. I love them plain, pickled, mixed in my salads.But, one of my most favorite beet recipes is these Lemon & Garlic Roasted Beets, which for me, just absolutely take beets to a new level.
Then, one summer three years back I was given a huge sack of beets. I love beets, but I am alone in this love in our household, so I was scrounging for things to use them in, and came up with a Chocolate Beet Cake. You cannot taste beets (unless you are one of those people with ultra sensitive taste buds), but the cake is as moist as a cake can be. It is a real must-try.
Nutmeg & Mace - Myristica fragans
The nutmeg tree provides two spices: nutmeg and mace. Most people are familiar with Nutmeg, the seed or pit of the fruit, shown above, but far less familiar with mace, the lacy reddish covering, or aril, surrounding the nutmeg seed, outside of mace added to stuffing at Thanksgiving. Nutmeg and mace have similar flavors, with nutmeg having a slightly sweeter and mace a more delicate flavor.
Nutmeg is best when grated fresh, easily done on any small-holed grater. Nutmeg is most often used in baking cakes cookies or pies, though it is also wonderful in stews, sausages, soups. Holiday eggnog would not be the same without without grating of fresh nutmeg. A little can even enhance the flavors of spaghetti or lasagna recipes.
Mace, shown below, is sometimes preferred in light colored dishes for the bright orange saffron-like hue. It is generally used in stuffing, yam dishes and sausages, though it works well in most dishes where nutmeg would be used.
Happy Fourth of July 2017. I hope you will visit all my sites and try some new (or old) recipes, learn something new about an herb or spice or other subject, or maybe just daydream. However it is accomplished, I endeavor to provide articles of interest. Not everyone cooks these days, due to time constraints. I did cook meals for my family back when I had 4 youngsters and worked 2 jobs, so I know it can be done, though it requires some real attention to detail. Many of my recipes are created now that I am retired and have extra time on my hands, yet many are easy and quick.