Friday Recipe Exchange: Garden Fresh

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JeffreyW makes Caprese Bruschetta, yum

Hey! How ya been? It’s been much too long. I owe you recipes and a house update.

It’s been a busy month and I have some more house details and photos. Buying a house in seller’s market was the most challenging house I’ve ever purchased. But I found a cute one with a great garden area. Garden photos at this link and house photos at this link.

Today is my birthday and I’m celebrating with friends and Dutch Chocolate Gelato, recipe here. I served it with a variety of chopped nuts: hazelnuts, walnuts and almonds.

Dutch Chocolate Gelato

Cooking in the new kitchen has been fun, and by fun I mean interesting and challenging. The first couple of weeks it was much like cooking in a stranger’s kitchen. Even though I’m the one who set everything up and organized the cupboards, I’ll be damned if I could remember where I put anything. I had my first house-guests last week, so I cooked quite a few elaborate meals, which gave me a stronger grasp on the kitchen. I am getting acquainted with the layout and mostly pleased. I could use a pantry…but I’m looking for a tall, stand alone cabinet in local antique and thrift stores to make up for it.

Kitchen 2

I have a glass-top stove and I like it a lot. I’m learning the temperature quirks. One of the reasons I like to cook with cast iron is because I can gauge when I can turn off the burner and let the retained heat do the remainder of the cooking. It will take a bit more cooking to find that sweet spot with the new one.

Kitchen 1

I do have questions for anyone who has a hybrid oven – conventional and convection. When and on what foods should I be using the convection feature? Any direction would be appreciated.

My brother and father have competing gardens, which means I reap the benefits when I drive home for a visit. I returned with a box full of tomatoes, onions, potatoes, and cucumbers. I arrived back home to find my very own garden was flush with tomatoes.


Which, in case you missed the story, the woman I bought the house from planted a veggie garden even though she knew she would be moving. I have eggplant, tomatillos, tomatoes, peppers, strawberries, grapes, zucchini…there are more photos of my garden here.

All those tomatoes mean an abundance of Salsa, recipes here and Pasta Caprese, recipe here, to enjoy and share. And I’m having plenty of guests this weekend to feed.

Besides helping me with my oven questions, what’s on your menu tonight?

Tomato Cucumber Queso Fresco Salad

Tonight’s feature recipe is from a friend who also needed to use up quite a few garden tomatoes. Her recipe used avocados. I am not a fan, so I  substituted queso fresco, but for those who love avocados, I hear they’re excellent in this salad. I marinated the onions, just to add a bit more zing.

Tomato Cucumber Queso Fresco Salad

  • 1/2 small yellow onion or 6 to 8 green onions (use whites and greens), diced
  • 2 tsp limejuice
  • 2 large tomatoes (about 1 lb)
  • 1 large cucumber (if not fresh from the garden, use an unwaxed English cucumber)
  • 4 oz queso fresco, crumbled (more if desired)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped (good substitutes: fresh basil  or dill)
  • salt and pepper to taste

large serving bowl, 2 small bowls

Toss  onions with limejuice and set aside.

Wash,dry and chop tomatoes and cucumbers into large pieces. Toss together in serving bowl with cilantro (if you don’t like cilantro, substitute basil or dill).

Put lemon juice into small bowl and slowly whisk in olive oil. Pour over tomato mixture, add onions, cheese and toss gently until combined. Let rest for 10-15 minutes for flavors to meld. Salt and pepper to taste just before serving.

That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend. Let’s finish up this recipe thread with a bonus puppeh:

Bixby Hiking July 16

We went hiking in Roosevelt National Park last week, His first real mountain hike. He did great. There are more photos of him in the new house here. See you next week!