My love of pasta is no secret, but I’m cutting back. An article in the New York Times covering the latest research about the benefit of low carbohydrate diets has me rethinking my noodle consumption. I won’t give them up completely but now and again I can see trying something different. Something like zucchini noodles.
For a long time I’ve wanted one of those spiralizer type tools. But they are rather expensive and I just wasn’t sure how much use I’d get out of them. There is actually an easy way to make “noodles” out of zucchini or other vegetables using a box grater. You just lay the grater on its side like a mandoline! But I’ve just recently tried out the Microplane spiral cutter and it’s an even better option. At $14.95 it’s a lot less expensive than some of the other tools and takes up very little space. It also has two sizes so you can shred larger or smaller vegetables.
Meteorologically speaking, fall has fallen. Maybe in parts well above the Mason-Dixon Line or high in the Appalachians, crisp mornings and whispers of Autumn proper are upon y'all. When I'm in Cashiers, I can feel it too, but whilst back in Perrydise, the equinoxes have not yielded one to another and summer still reigns supreme.
Indian Summer is what this seasonal limbo is often referred to. And summer garden produce is still coming in too! With the plethora of produce, a couple of my favorite dishes make their way to the table this time of year. In Dinner on the Grounds, I have my Cashiers Farmers Market Pasta, and from A Time to Cook, my Summer Garden Pasta comes to life on the pages.
I love this pasta. It's simple and delicious and full of flavor. It can be doused with cream and covered with cheese or served simply without the cheese and cream ... yet be so elegantly fresh and light. It's even better the next day reheated!
Plus, this is a pot and pan dish. Boil the pasta in a pot and sauté the veggies in a pan. Mix it all in the pan and serve! There'll be some chopping too but it's a fun meal. A meatless meal but you'll never miss it... Unless you just want a piece of salmon or some shrimp or sausage for good measure.
My sister has been making zucchini bread for as long as I can remember – and it’s always been a favorite quick bread, especially in the summer. It’s a great way to use up overgrown zucchini from the garden.
The pineapple adds some nice flavor and makes a nice alternative to raisins. I like to serve it sandwiched together with cream cheese and thinly sliced granny smith apples.
So as the days of summer dwindle, so does my supply of summer fruit. The bowl that I filled on Thursday with the bounty from the farmers’ market was down to a few lonely items by Sunday.
I was gonna make a cake or a tart or a cobbler or a pie but a) everybody’s so annoyingly calorie-phobic and b) I’m too lazy. (Isn’t Labor Day supposed to be Labor-free?) So I embraced my inner sloth and just threw together something so simple you barely have to be conscious to make it.
The hardest part was locating my cherry pitter, which I’d received as a hostess gift some time in the ‘90’s from someone who didn’t know me well enough to know how seldom that tool would see the light of day.
I only had a few cherries, so the task of pitting them was over before it could become annoying. I threw them into a saucepan, added my two remaining nectarines and what was left of my berry stash and cooked ‘em up with a little sugar, lemon and orange zest. Now I’ve got this lovely, almost labor-free compote and only one task remains. Hint: it involves an ice cream scoop.
Summer fruits and veggies start coming in this mid to late summertime heat. Often, it is not just a lil’ bit of ‘maters or peaches or squash – it’s a bushel and a peck! Blackberries for us are one of those crops. We have stands of wild blackberries down the dirt roads and edges of the woods on our property that fill our baskets with berries and, in turn, give us all sorts of blackberry delights!
From cobblers and crisps to jams and salads, we have found many an excuse to devour blackberries. Aunt Kathy, with her astute culinary prowess, makes these blackberry muffins that we all clamor and beg for during berry season. The whole wheat flour is heartier and holds up better, since the muffins are laden with berries. A citrus sauce makes for the perfect glaze, and I have found that I love citrus with blackberry any ol’ time!
I can, can you? Sure you can! Canning is not hard to do at all, especially if you pick a really easy project like canning fruit. This year I received a box of luscious peaches from Washington state. They were perfectly ripe, but a bit crushed in spots due to poor handling in transit. Instead of canning slices or halves, I used the fruit—some perfect and some not so perfect—to make peach ketchup!
Peach ketchup is a lovely peachy color, but it tastes very much like tomato ketchup. Taste it before you can it, and adjust the spices and sugar to suit yourself. Use really great tasting fruit, it should not be brown or overripe, but if it is soft in spots, that's ok. Use the tangy sweet and sour ketchup just as you would regular tomato ketchup. It’s particularly great on potatoes.
Sweet Preservation ia a great go-to resource for canning and freezing stone fruits, offering how-to-tips, recipes, health information, customizable canning jar labels and more.
It’s the end of summer. And I always get nervous that it’s almost the end of peach season (which is true). So the race is on over here to figure out all the things I can do with peaches before the summer ends.
I spent a summer once on a farm in Pennsylvania. We had fresh yellow peaches every day from the Amish Farmer next door. We ate them for breakfast, sliced with their skins on, in a bowl, with unsweetened heavy cream poured over them (not too heavily, not like cereal) and walnuts if we were feeling adventurous. It was a delicious way to start the day.
There was peach cobbler once a week in the summer when I was growing up. Perfect with a real pie crust on the top. And then when I started entertaining for myself, peach praline pie was one of my favorite things to make.
Here are some of our favorite peach recipes. Tell us yours!
Fresh Peach Tart | Iron Skillet Peach Pie | Peach Galette | Fresh Peach and Cinnamon Ice Cream | White Peach Sherbet | Grilled Peaches Stuffed with Mascarpone Cheese and Rosemary | Grilled Pound Cake with Warm Peach Coulis and Chantilly Cream | Amaretto Peach Bake with Honey-Lemon Olive Oil Cake | Peaches in Sauternes | Blackberry and Peach Crisp | Peach and Tart Cherry Cobbler with Sour Cream Biscuits | Summer's Best Fresh Peach Cobbler | Peach and Raspberry Cobbler
This quick and easy dinner was inspired by Aida Mollenkamp‘s Chile Basil Coconut Ceviche. Black Cod arrived from the fish CSA this week, I just bought a can of coconut cream and I was awash in fresh lime juice.
It was, as they say, beshert, meant to be. It never occurred to me to combine coconut milk/cream with lime juice to “cook” the fish. Black Cod is so luscious that I normally wouldn’t use it in ceviche but somehow the idea of combining like with like (rich fish and rich coconut cream) seemed like a good idea.
I looked in the fridge to see what I had that would appeal in the same way Aida’s mixture of mango with coconut appeals. I had a luscious Weiser Ogen melon. Score!
A friend of mine from NYC called the other day to ask which pie bakery I preferred. He had guests from Norway stopping by that afternoon for coffee and wanted to offer them a slice of “American pie”.
When he told me a whole pie from a bakeshop would cost anywhere from $35-$65, I suggested he take a quick lesson in pie making and bake one himself. He had 3 hours before they arrived and I was convinced I could help him get a pie, prepped, baked, and on a cooling rack before they rang his buzzer.
I quickly emailed this recipe for Best Ever Blueberry pie and he raced to his local grocery store to pick up everything we needed, (including a pie plate). With the help of Skype, I coached him through the basic steps (he saved time with a ready-made pie crust) and the pie was in the oven in no time.
There's nothing better than the smell of a freshly baked pie and this one is certain to please any guest.
What would labor day be without grilling and hamburgers? Burgers are a mainstay of any backyard get-together. No party, especially one at my house, could ever take place without them. It's hard to believe that September is here and soon summer barbecuing will be over. But while the weather is warm there's still time for one last outdoor party before the leaves start falling. So if you are planning on making burgers, this is a recipe for something different.
Here is a burger with a slight English accent. First the meat mixture contains Worcestershire sauce, the famous condiment originally from Worcester, England. And there's Stilton, the British blue cheese. Any blue cheese would work in place of Stilton, but this cheese is worth searching for. It's strong flavor works surprisingly well with arugula and of course, beef. These burgers are tangy, pungent, and peppery.
Since I like to use lean beef, I bind the meat mixture with eggs and breadcrumbs to keep it from crumbling. The burgers are cooked just until done, rested, and then topped with Stilton, a slice of tomato, and arugula. Serve with buns of your choice. But before you add ketchup, mayo, or mustard, just try the burger as is. You might find it's juicy and flavorful enough to not need any condiment cover-up.