Zucchini Onion Pie

IMG_2701Summertime vegetables are best when cooked simply. Even though I prefer not to heat up the kitchen with baking, this veggie pie is a great one dish meal, delicious with a crisp salad for supper.  I like adding some color with slices of red pepper from our garden.

Zucchini Onion Pie

3 eggs

1 cup flaked or grated parmesan cheese

1 cup cooking oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

3 cups thinly sliced zuchinni

1 small onion, chopped

1 cup biscuit mix ( I used Cheddar Bay biscuit mix and loved it)

In a large bowl, whisk the first seven ingredients. Stir in the zucchini, baking mix and onion. Pour into a greased 9-in. deep-dish pie plate. Bake at 350° for 25-35 minutes or until lightly browned.Yield: 6 servings.

Southwestern Meatloaf

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We enjoyed a new twist on traditional meat loaf this week.  I have made meat loaf like Mother did (ground beef, tomato sauce, cracker crumbs, eggs, onion, and green pepper) as well as substituting bread crumbs or oatmeal  for the filler and different seasonings, but this spicy version is a keeper. Crushed tortilla chips and salsa make it a super quick and easy. I liked serving it with fresh roasted corn, black beans, and a garden salad.

IMG_2706Southwestern Meat Loaf

1/2 cup crushed tortilla chips

1/2 teaspoon cumin

2 crushed and minced garlic cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

3/4 cup peach salsa (or salsa of your choice)

1 pound lean ground beef

1 cup cup grated cheddar cheese

2 Tablespoons spicy ketchup

1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice

Heat oven to 350. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray, crush tortilla chips in sandwich bag, add to mixing bowl. Add salt, pepper, cumin,garlic and salsa and stir to combine. Let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes.  Add ground beef and cheese.  Mix well, shape into an oval, place in loaf pan, and bake for 50 minutes.  Mix ketchup and lime juice and spread over top of meat loaf, then return to oven for another 10 minutes.

I used some tasty peach salsa but you can use any salsa, preferably a chunky one. Turn up the heat by trying Chipotle or Habanero Salsa!

Eetch

IMG_2552Eetch (pronounced Yeetch) is a traditional Armenian side dish made from Bulgar wheat. It is similar to tabbouleh but much thicker and grainier, and not as tart. Its color is derived from tomato paste and tomato sauce. It is a great way to use summer vegetables, another take on salads, and you can add as much spice as you wish.  I think the next batch I make I will omit cayenne pepper, but add some chopped jalapeno!  OK, I know that is not traditional, but we could call that Texas Eetch!

Eetch – Armenian Bulgur Salad

1 medium onion, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

1/2 cup olive oil

1 Tablespoon tomato paste ( I buy tubes of tomato paste rather than cans, so easy to use small amounts)

1 8 oz. can tomato sauce

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup water (just measure by rinsing the tomato sauce can)

1 1/2 cups Bulgar

chopped parsley

juice of 1 lemon or more to taste, optional

a pinch of cayenne pepper ( to taste, and optional)

Heat olive oil in large sauce pan. Add onion, green pepper, 1 T tomato paste and salt, Cook over medium heat about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add tomato sauce, water, and when back to boiling, stir in bulgur, mixing well.  Cover, remove from heat and   let stand.  Fluff and stir in parsley plus lemon juice and cayenne if using.  Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.   This is beautiful served on a Romaine lettuce leaf with a sprinkle of chopped fresh tonatoes and green onions, but also works well as a side dish or  a stuffing for peppers.

Mary Ann’s Tuna Salad

IMG_2517 Sometimes I forget that something I have made and eaten for as long as I can remember is considered a “family favorite” recipe. I think that is why no one ever wrote down Grandma Terrell’s tea cake or cornbread recipe, or Daddy’s recipe for homemade rolls.They were made so often that they were learned by heart and hands but now, generations later, the recipes would be treasured, knowing that we were doing it just like they did..

Tuna salad is like that for me. When I was a little girl, I loved our famiy’s tuna sandwiches. They were a staple when teenage friends gathered at our house.  I still make it just like Mother did with 2 slight alterations:  I use white albacore tuna packed in water, not the Chicken of the Sea packed in oil that Mother always used, and I use a lighter version of mayonnaise. Neither of these products was available all those years ago!  I have eaten many variations of tuna salad in different places. I know I can add onions if I want, or chopped pecans. Or celery and fresh dill. I know it does not have to have boiled eggs and apples. But as a family favorite, here is the way I make it.

Mary Ann’s Tuna Salad

2/ 7 oz. can’s white albacore tuna packed in water.  (Costco’s version is very good.)

2 boiled eggs, peeled and chopped

1 large apple, peeled and chopped

1/3 cup dill relish, or 1/3 cup whole pickles, chopped fine

1/2 cup Mayonnaise  (I prefer Hellman’s Mayo with Olive oil)

Drain tuna and add to bowl along with eggs, apple, relish and mayonnaise.

Season with salt and pepper if desired.  Mix and spread on bread slices or served on a lettuce cup.

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Garden Salad

IMG_2461After our weekend family gatherings with meals that inlcuded a Saturday dinner of smoked pork tenderloin, roasted corn, roasted green beans, a lunch of sausage,vegetables, and rice, baking (and eating) breakfast scones, root beer popsicles, ice cream treats, and our Memorial Day feast of grilled hot dogs, Kielbasa, smashed potatoes and all the trimmings – we were more than ready to have salad for a meal.  All the food was pretty healthy, there was just alot of it!  If you begin to feel that way as summer arrives, there is no tastier choice than a fresh vegetable salad.

If you are going to avoid a long session of prepping, remember to save those small amounts of leftovers that sometimes get tossed.  Of course you can always make soup, but think salad and stash those left behind cooked vegetables – green beans, corn, beets, asparagus, Grilling and roasting vegetables is very popular, and nothing tastes better topping your fresh ingredients. Quantities suggested below will vary according to what is in your own frig. I love it when I have a few things from my own garden. The combination of colors, textures, and flavor make this crunchy salad a feast!  Top with make-your-own or bottled Balsamic Vinaigrette, recipe below photograph.

Garden Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

2 cups mixed leaf and Romaine lettuces

2 carrots, sliced

4 -5 radishes

2 ears roasted sweet corn, cut from cob

1 cup roasted green beans left whole or cut into pieces

1 small yellow squash, sliced

1 small green pepper, chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

chopped red onion (optional)

Prepare all vegetables and place on top torn lettuces in large bowl.  Add Balsamic Vinaigrette and toss.  Serve with a crusty baguette.

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Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup olive oil

Put all ingredients in a jar, tighten lid, and shake!   Taste and adjust amount of vinegar or seasoning as you wish.

Apricot Scones

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I fell in love with scones in 1991 during a trip to Scotland. While we were living in Indonesia, I read an enchanting article in Victoria Magazine which featured a tearoom in the Highlands housed in a 200 year old cottage. When we planned soon after to include a trip to the UK on summer trip back to the US from Jakarta, I hoped to add a visit there. Joe managed to find Shore Cottage (not easy), and he and I and our youngest son, Ben had tea there. I bought a Shore Cottage Tearoom Book of Recipes which still holds a place of honor on my shelves of cookbooks. Tell me, wouldn’t you be drawn to go to a place with this description?

“Through a periwinkle gate and a rose-bedecked door, one enters the white cottage where Lilly McNaught was born Perched above Loch Etive, it is now a tearoom noted for the sweets Lilly bakes with her daughter and granddaughters.”

This recipe is not in Shore Tearoom’s little blue book, but it comes from an intrigue with scones begun there in the Scottish Highlands.  When I think of baking them, I am reminded of the Shore Tearoom and our scones there. As you can see, I still have the article which drew me there.  I keep it folded inside the recipe book. I don’t know if Lilly still bakes with her granddaughters, but tomorrow I plan to bake scones with mine!

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Apricot Scones

2 Cups flour

3 Tablespoons. sugar 

3 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons orange zest

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 Cup dried apricots, chopped

1/2 Cup white chocolate chips

1 1/2 Cups whipping cream

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 Cup powdered sugar
2-3 Tablespoons. orange juice

Preheat oven to 400°. Line with silpat or grease baking sheet. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, orange zest, salt, apricots and vanilla chips.Stir to coat apricots. Add the whipping cream and almond extract all at once and stir just until ingredients are moistened.

Turn out the dough on a lightly floured cloth, turning a few times until smooth. Divide the dough in half and pat into two 6-inch rounds. Cut each round into 6 wedges. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 5minutes. While the scones cool, combine powdered sugar and orange juice. Drizzle over warm scones. These are best served warm.

Lobster Bisque on a Budget

IMG_2345One of my favorite treats when we go out for a special meal is Lobster Bisque. We rarely cook fresh lobsters at home and when we do there is seldom enough leftover to add to a bisque, but now I have found a way to use other white fish in a way that will put this particular bisque on our table more often!  Joe and all three of our sons spent last week fishing near Homer, Alaska.  Happily, they brought back plenty of salmon and halibut to add to our freezer.  They also brought back a method for cooking what they call Poor Man’s Lobster!  The first fish Joe cooked was halibut cooked like this. I found there are recipes everywhere with many variations.  Almost any type firm fleshed white fish can be used – cod, haddock, monkfish.

Poor Man’s Lobster

  1. Fill a pot with water, at least 2 quarts of water..
  2. Add 1 cup sugar and 1/3 cup salt and bring to a boil.
  3. Do not ever stir the mixture.
  4. Add chunks of halibut, do not over crowd.
  5. They will sink to the bottom, and then rise to the top when they are done.
  6. It should take just a few minutes.
  7. Remove with slotted spoon.
  8. Remember do not stir the mixture.
  9. Continue until all the halibut is cooked.
  10. Dip in melted butter and eat!

We had plenty of this, drizzled with lemon butter, and heaped on some crusty French bread. It really does taste like lobster!

We had a sandwich bag of leftover fish, so I made this wonderful Lobster Bisque the next day for our lunch. Feel free to use the real thing, but the Poor Man’s Lobster worked for us. Don’t let the long list of ingredients and directions fool you.  It is easy, and the results are worth any effort!

Lobster Bisque on a Budget

  • 6 to 8 ounces lobster broken into small chunks
  • 2 shallots,  minced
  • 2 green onions, sliced thin
  • 4 garlic gloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup  white wine
  • 1 T Worcestershire  Tabasco
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 4 ounces tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cups whipping cream
  • 2 cup half and half
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  1. Saute shallots, onions, and garlic about a minute in a sauce pan
  2. Add white wine and stir to combine..
  3. Add Worcestershire, Tabasco, and thyme and saute for another minute.
  4. Add sherry and stir
  5. Add the paprika, hot water, bay leaves, and tomato paste, combine well.
  6. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Whisk in whipping cream,half and half  and the butter and bring to a simmer
  8. Add the lobster and heat through.
  9. Serve with crusty garlic bread.

Opal’s Mexican Cornbread with Ground Beef

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It is Mother’s Day weekend.  I have had both smiles and tears on my face as I cherished memories of the birth of each of my sons and thought about sweet times with them.  They are all fathers themselves now and are wonderful, caring husbands. They still show me they love me too!  Also,  I have thought often of my own mother this week, so I thought I would share one of her recipes with you.  This one, as others that I cherish which are written down in her beautiful handwriting, is written in pencil on a half sheet of what she would have called “scrap paper.”  She didn’t start making this until after I was married, but it was one of her favorites, always delicious.  It is still, after many years and many variations, one of our favorite ways to fancy up cornbread. I have presented it as much as possible in the same format as her writing.

Opal’s Mexican Cornbread with ground beef

from Patsy Hopkins (mother’s across the street neighbor)

Mix together:  1 cup cornmeal (she always used yellow)

1 #303 can cream style corn   (#303 can contains 16-17 ounces)

Add:              3/4 cup sweet milk, 2 eggs, 1/2 teaspoon soda and salt

 this recipe originated from the days when there was butter milk or sweet milk!

Mix above & set aside. Brown 1# ground meat & drain. Prepare spearately 1/2 lb. American cheese grated,  2 Jalepeno  peppers, 1 large chopped onion. (I add some chopped celery) – her note.

Grease a big iron skillet,sprinkle a little meal & let slightly brown. Pour half of batter.Sprinkle cheese, there (the?) meat onions, peppers. Pour rest of batter. Bake 45 min. or less or until brown.

Posted in honor of Opal Terrell Teal, 1913- 2006.

I will make this soon. Thank You, Mother!

Tuscan Salad

IMG_2238I like to make salad or side dishes that can be stored in the refrigerator and dipped into for quick suppers. This is one that I tried last week and it has been named one of our “Kitchen Keepers” – quick and easy to prepare, and even tastier in the next few days as the ingredients soak up flavors.  Canned cannellini from the pantry along with Kalamata olives and sundried tomatoes from the refrigerator tossed with Italian dressing make a perfect accompaniment to roasted or grilled meats and fish. I found a similar recipe on Epicurious that also added chopped fresh spinach.  That would be good, but the fresh greens would not keep well.  I like my version because we can have it later for lunches or dinner later in the week.

Tuscan Salad

1/4 cup olive oil

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes

1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives

1/4 cup (more if you wish) bottled Italian vinaigrette

shredded fresh basil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a skillet, add the onion and cook and stir until slightly brown, about 5 minutes, turn off heat. Toss the beans, onion,, sun-dried tomatoes, and olives in the skillet with the vinaigrette until just combined. Season with salt and pepper. Top with shredded fresh basil leaves.  Serve at room temperature.

Roasted Green Beans and Fennel

IMG_2141Fresh green beans paired with a huge bulb of fennel from the farmers’ market is a new favorite side for me, just as roasting is my new favorite way of cooking vegetables.  These were so pretty before they went into the oven that I posted this before image. They looked great after roasting as well, but we served them up with leftover baked chicken and they disappeared before having their picture taken. I will definitely serve this dish again soon and might experiment with adding some chopped shallots but the flavor was excellent with just the toss of olive oil and sprinkles of sea salt and freshly ground pepper!

Roasted Green Beans and Fennel

4 cups fresh green beans, washed, ends snipped and broken in pieces

1 large bulb fennel, greens and root trimmed, cut into small chunks, rinsed carefully and       patted dry

olive oil

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place green beans and fennel pieces in baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle with  sea salt and ground pepper.  Roast for 20 to 25 minutes.