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
  • 2 Tablespoons  dry sherry
  • 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 pan00000
  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.