With July heat in full swing and the dog days of August coming up, I thought cold recipes would be a good idea for tonight’s recipe exchange. It made working in the kitchen much more appealing this week and I managed to try out a couple of new recipes and do some actual blog posting.
To get things started, Monday was house hunting and one of my new summer favorites, Jicama Slaw, surprisingly sweet and creamy, click here.
Tuesday was notes on the kittehs and Key Lime Bars, which I made to satisfy an intense craving for a cold, tart, citrus dessert, read here.
Wednesday I played with making my first Granita, I chose watermelon, but there are many other flavor combinations for this easy, cold treat. Recipe here.
The dinner menu this week was Grilled Chicken Salad and Green Beans in Vinaigrette. Complete menu, recipes and shopping list are here.
For the pet lovers, there’s a Bixby Diary update.
Well, that was my week, how was yours? When it’s too hot to cook, what’s your go-to for dinner?
For tonight’s featured recipe, I was looking for a fresh salad idea and a friend was travelling through Italy and posted photos of an unusual salad, complete with recipe (in Italian) on Facebook. It looked good, so I decided to try it. Here’s my version.
I chose to use mint because it’s what I had handy, but I’ve seen it with basil or oregano and white wine vinegar instead of limejuice. For a spicier version, try limejuice and Pico de Gallo.
- 4 cups cubed seedless watermelon
- 1 large cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced (if using unwaxed, no need to peel)
- 2 tbsp limejuice
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- mint leaves, torn into small pieces
- Pecorino Romano, feta or other similar cheese, cut into small chunks or crumbled
Add watermelon and cucumber to a serving bowl, drizzle with limejuice and oil, add mint leaves, then toss to combine. Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes, sprinkle with cheese just before serving cold.
That’s it for this week, have a great weekend and try and stay cool – TaMara
I just put jicama on the grocery list and I plan on making Jicama Slaw (recipe here), perfect for late summer heat. And it makes 6 to 10 servings, so I’ll have it on hand for the week. I can’t complain too much about the heat, because as far as Colorado summers go, this one has been pleasantly mild. Late afternoon showers keep things from heating up too much.
I wanted to talk a bit about house hunting. I know it must seem like I’ve been shopping forever (trust me, it feels that way to me, too). Timing is everything. I started my own business four years ago and two years ago it became my full-time gig. Once that happened, I clearly needed more room as I worked at my home “office” 3 to 4 days a week. I ventured out into the market right at the time things heated up to bubble status. Houses are selling at a ridiculous amount over list.
Luckily, I have great clients, two who are actually custom home builders and one who is a financial whiz. They’ve been very helpful and confirmed my own intuition. I’m taking their advice, waiting out the bubble and trying to find my patience, both for myself and the critters. We all need more room to stretch out and we will find it.
But in the meantime…ugh my kitchen. It’s just unworkable, especially for blogging and photos. No light, cramped space, crappy stove. I’ve been living on salads and diet Coke all summer. I do have a backlog of recipes that I will just have to start posting, sans photos.
And when we do move, then not only can we celebrate, but there should be some fun as I document the inevitable upgrades.
A few years ago, I picked 5 gallons of crab apples and made up a large batch of apple butter. It made a LOT of butter. I gave it away, I tucked some away, I kept a jar open in the frig for toast. It lasted forever, so I was always looking for different things to do with it (btw, was a great addition to pumpkin pie).
I thought it might be good with chicken or pork and eventually decided that barbecue chicken thighs would be where I started. A spicy, smoky mix of apple butter, chipolte peppers in adobo sauce and a touch of spices made the perfect sauce. Alas, all my apple butter is gone and I don’t anticipate making it again (ever, not even if you paid me). Canning is not my thing. But the Farmer’s Market to the rescue for tonight’s featured recipe, where I found someone who likes to can and I was happy to pay.
In that fruity vein, I have two more fruit inspired grilled chicken recipes:
Cranberry Grilled Chicken, click here for the recipe, mustard gives it a bit of bite, but you can add cayenne or red pepper flakes to kick it up a bit more.
Can’t go wrong with citrus and chicken, here’s a marinade that is a notch above traditional lemon chicken, Sunrise Chicken (click here).
JeffreyW puts his smoker to work on Smoked Chicken, pictured below and directions here.
What’s cooking in your backyard this weekend? If you grill, what’s your preference – coals, wood pellets, or gas?
For the pet lovers, a quick Bixby update here.
For tonight’s featured recipe, you can make it is as spicy or mild as you like by adjusting the number of peppers you add. Bone-in, skin on thighs would work best, but you can easily switch out leg quarters or bone-in, skin on breasts.
Chipolte-Apple Butter Barbecue Chicken
- 8 chicken thighs
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 tsp crushed garlic
- 1 cup apple butter
- 1/2 yellow onion
- 2 tbsp chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (to start, add more as desired)
- 2 tsp crushed garlic
- 1/4 tsp salt
Season thighs with 1 tsp crushed garlic, salt and pepper. Let sit for 5-10 minutes while oven or grill preheats to 375 degrees. Bake or grill chicken for 15 minutes. Meanwhile in a blender or food processor, blend together remaining ingredients until smooth. Brush on chicken thighs thickly at the 15 minute mark and add more every 5 minutes until chicken reaches 165 degrees internal temperature (usually 10-15 minutes for a total cooking time of 25 to 30 minutes). Serve with lots of napkins.
That’s it for this week. I’m working on a couple of breakfast pizzas (inspired by a restaurant review I stumble upon) so those might make an appearance in the next week or so. Until then, have a great weekend – TaMara
It’s that time again. Time to dig out the ice cream maker and try out some new recipes. I cannot express how much I love the ease of the frozen bowl style machine. No fuss, no mess.
Pictured above is this summer’s first batch, Vanilla Nut Crunch, recipe here (where there is also a bonus kitteh)
And here are four of my favorites from the past summers:
Key Lime Pie Gelato, click here for recipes and photos.
Strawberry Ice Cream, two recipes here.
Blueberry Sorbet, recipe and photos here.
Chocolate-Hazelnut Gelato, really my very favorite of all the recipes, is here.
For the pet lovers, in case you missed it, Bixby needed to cool off in a cute video here. He now has his own kiddie pool in the yard because flooding the bathroom nightly was not an option.
What’s on your menu for the weekend? Getting ready the big holiday? Any favorite frozen treat recipes?
Tonight’s featured recipe is one of the most chocolaty ice creams ever. It takes a full cup of dark dutch cocoa and just enough sugar so it’s not too sweet. The ice cream scoop in the photo was my very first Kickstarter contribution. It works great on the hardest frozen ice cream with little effort. But in all honesty, I contributed because the presentation was so funny and the inventor was a riot. I <3 engineers.
Dutch Chocolate Ice Cream
- 1 cup dark dutch cocoa, unsweetened
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1-1/2 cups milk
- 3-1/4 cups heavy cream
- 2 tsp good quality vanilla extract
mixing bowl, ice cream freezer
In the mixing bowl, combine cocoa, sugars and salt, until well blended, add milk and use a hand mixer on low speed to combine until sugar is dissolved (about 2 minutes). Stir in cream and vanilla by hand.
Freeze according to manufacturer’s direction for your ice cream maker (for mine, I place the frozen bowl on the machine, add the paddle and the top, turn it on and then pour the ice cream mixture in while it’s turning. 30 minutes later I have ice cream).
After it has completed its freezing cycle, you usually have a soft serve consistency, you can freeze it until hard. Makes about 1-1/2 quarts.
That’s it for this week. There won’t be an exchange next week because of the holiday. I hope you have a great week and a terrific 4th! – TaMara
It’s been a busy week of cooking, surprisingly. When stressed, I retreat to the kitchen and even in its unwelcoming state, there was solace there this week. Bixby turned one on Tuesday, I baked up some more dog biscuits for him and his best play-buddies. You can see his birthday photos here.
Then I was at the store and found chicken leg quarters on sale and sitting right next to them, my favorite bottle of wing sauce, so I made some Buffalo Leg Quarters, pictured above and recipe here. They were really good and much easier than making wings.
JeffreyW was busy in the kitchen, too and his Shrimp Mornay with Broccoli from earlier in the week looked delicious. Photos and recipe here.
What’s been cooking in your kitchen this week? Is it time to give up on indoor cooking and move it all out to the backyard? What’s up for Father’s day? I had tonight’s featured recipe tucked away for the day I could find decent tomatoes. That day was today. And if you want other cucumber salad ideas, click here for a bunch of them.
Crisp Cucumber Salsa
- 1 large chopped cucumber – I used an English cucumber so I didn’t have to peel or seed it.
- 2 small chopped tomatoes
- 3 green onions, chopped, greens included
- 2 tbsp minced fresh Italian parsley
- 1 jalepeno pepper, chopped (seeded if you want to lower the heat)
- 4-1/2 tsp minced fresh cilantro
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1-1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 1-1/2 tsp lime juice
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- dash of cayenne pepper (opt)
- 1/4 tsp seasoned salt
- Tortilla chips
- Small tortillas, cut into eighths
small bowl, serving bowl
In a serving bowl, combine the top seven ingredients. In small bowl, combine the dressing ingredients and mix well. Pour dressing over cucumber mixture and toss gently to coat.
Let the flavors blend for about thirty minutes. Serve at room temperature or ice cold with chips and tortillas.
That’s it for this week. I hope everyone has a lovely Father’s Day. – TaMara
Have I mentioned I HATE my kitchen? The house hunt goes on…and on. But this week I braved the ugly, cramped space because one of my clients was having a tough week and I thought Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies would help (recipe here). They worked wonders. And I’ll add that since they are very chewy and crispy they are great frozen – cold, chewy and sweet.
I’d done a bit of cooking over the week, but most was for Bixby. As timing would have it, a few things fell into place that meant I had ideas for dog treats. And that became the idea for this week’s recipe exchange.
First up, Mrs. J cooks up cheesy dog biscuits (photo above and below by JeffreyW). Recipe and step by step photos here.
Just a note, no Bixby update this week, but all his recipes include bonus photos of the Beast.
Then from my files, Dried Liver Treats, recipe and pup photo here.
Next, his absolute favorite treat right now, Yogurt Pupsicles, recipe and pic of that Tongue, here.
What about the cats, you ask? Well, as I’ve mentioned before, I tried making food and treats for my cats (including fresh fish) and they looked at me like I was insane and stomped off. So if you have had better luck, please share because I’m open to trying again.
What’s in your dish tonight? Do you have any treat recipes? Any fun plans?
For tonight’s featured recipe, more biscuits. I enjoyed making them and I might do it again, it was pretty simple and quick.
Brown rice flour gives the biscuits crunch, peanut butter and pumpkin give them irresistible flavor (for pups at least). These got two paws up from Bixby and the neighbor dogs.
Pumpkin-Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons dry milk
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup brown rice flour
- 1 cup, plus 1 tbsp whole wheat flour (if your dog has a sensitive tummy, use all rice flour)
Preheat oven to 350.
In large bowl, whisk together eggs, pumpkin and peanut butter until smooth. Stir in dry milk, salt and then add the flour gradually, combining with spatula or hands to form a stiff, dry dough. It’s very dry, so you may need to add a touch of water to get it to the consistency you need to roll it out.
Turn out onto lightly floured surface – and if dough is rough, briefly knead and press to combine.
Roll dough between 1/4 – 1/2″ and use biscuit or other shape cutter to make biscuits. Place shapes on cookie sheet.. Bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully turn biscuits over, then bake additional 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely on rack.
Mine made 2 dozen very large biscuits. Next time I’ll try to find smaller cookie cutters, or just make discs. I think you could easily get 4 dozen smaller treats.
That’s it for this week. Have a great (and hopefully dry) weekend – TaMara
JeffreyW posted his photo of cast iron baked beans a while back and all I could think was, “great idea, why haven’t I tried that?” I debated between posting about cast iron recipes or baked beans. With Memorial Day coming up fast, it seemed like a good time to bring back a bunch of baked bean recipes.
There was no real cooking in my kitchen this week, I’m uninspired while I house hunt. Luckily, I keep a lot of frozen meals, marinated meats and sauces in my freezer. I double batch much of what I cook and freeze for later. Boil up some fresh pasta or rice and I’ve got a quick meal. But I did get to a Bixby update for the pet lovers, he’s relaxin’ and chillin’ for your amusement here.
On to the recipes:
I like linking to JeffreyW’s recipes (rather than embedding them in the post) because he writes a narrative of the process instead of simply listing the recipe and often includes a batch of photos to illustrate. His Cast Iron Baked Beans recipe (click here) is no exception. It would silly to abridge it here.
I had these baked beans at a cookout and absolutely needed the recipe. Turns out it is just a few ingredients that spices up a simple can of baked beans and adds a touch of sweet, too. Nita’s Baked Beans, recipe here.
If baked beans aren’t your thing, how about Butter Beans and Greens (recipe here), since in many backyard gardens, the collards, mustard greens and spinach should be ready for spring harvest.
What’s on your plate this weekend? Do you have a dish that everyone asks for the recipe when you take it to gatherings? And do you give it out? Have any dishes you had to have the recipe after tasting it at a cookout or potluck?
The featured recipe tonight is savory, sweet. smoky and oven baked. Who knew molasses could be so good?
Baked Beans Photo by JeffreyW
And if you want a true New England experience, add some Brown Bread, recipe here. Brown bread was a childhood treat that I didn’t realized until later was unique to New England (at least at that time). My mom would fry it up in a skillet, served with lots of butter, maple syrup and baked beans.
Boston Baked Beans
This serves 8, but you can easily double it for large gatherings. The slow cooking, white beans and molasses are what give these baked beans their signature flavor.
- 1 pound (2 cups) dried white beans (Great Northern or navy beans)
- 2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1/2 cup ketchup (or 2 tbsp tomato paste)
- 1 tbsp dry mustard
- 1/4 pound thick sliced bacon, cut into pieces
- 4 cups water, or more if necessary
- 1/4 tsp salt (more may be needed, but start here)
- 1/4 tsp pepper
large dutch oven, bean pot or heavy duty oven proof pot
Soak the beans overnight, drain, and rinse them. (Here at high altitude, soaking doesn’t do much, so I pressure cook them for 20 minutes instead, then let them soak for an hour)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Drain and rinse the beans.
Put the beans in a large, ovenproof pot.. Add the onions, brown sugar, molasses, tomato paste, mustard, and bacon. Add water, salt, and pepper. Return the beans to a boil. Cover the pan and transfer to the oven.
Cook the beans for 4 hours, checking them every hour to see if the pan seems dry. Add more water as needed, ½ cup at a time.
Add more salt and pepper, if you like, and let the beans sit for 15 minutes before serving.
Note: To reheat leftovers, add more water and cook over low heat, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until hot.
Missing the full dinner menus and shopping lists? If you click here, it will take you to all the ones I have posted. That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend. – TaMara