Monday, August 31, 2009

End of Summer

I feel the summer just raced by. I'm a little undone that it's the last day of August. What did I do? Why do I continue to procrastinate? Oh, well, what's not done is not done.

I've had this recipe stuck on my fridge since June. Asparagus Summer Salad, from Sunset Magazine, is another delicious veggie salad with a lemon/Dijon dressing. And, I toasted my first nuts today. Really, first time. There is no excuse.

However, I did make some adjustments. I forgot the chives and cilantro, so I used Italian parsley and basil in the dressing. And, I put all the dressing ingredients in my mini food processor, as I wasn't in the best shape for whisking. See prior post about mandolines, blood and bandaids...

This is definitely a new addition to the repertoire. Is it dinner time yet?

I'm germinating on my encounter with Martha Stewart in 1989. Should be posting that tale in the near future.
And, I am linking each website's resume to the title of each post. I'm so tricky...

Mandolines - Instruments of Terror

Let's talk about the mandoline, shall we? I just got my first one, and while working on one of the recipes below, did a great number on my finger. And, where were the bandaids? Nowhere. Excellent. So, my friends, my advice is to have the first aid kit close by when using this device.

No blood made it into my recipes. Really, people, so ghoulish...

I started this session with a recipe from the NY Times, Summer Squash, Pea and Red Onion Salad with Feta. There was no picture for comparison, so you will have to settle with mine. This was wonderful, very light and lemony. If there is no mandoline in your house, slicing the squash thinly will be fine. Also, I used yellow squash, but will try this with yellow zucchini next time.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Martha & Rachael

First, here is the recipe and photo from Everyday Food for Lemon Zucchini Cornmeal cookies. Couldn't find cornmeal in Ralph's Supermarket, so I used Jiffy Cornbread mix instead. These are yummy, and for the most part, look like their professional photo, excluding my free-form edges.

Had to buy a box grater since I only have a microplane. Almost shredded my fingers, as my new purchase is super sharp! And, since I was in Crate & Barrel, I bought a springform pan, a large whisk, and a mandoline. Thank God for gift cards!

I wanted to post the Everyday Food link for the recipe, and low and behold, found at least 20 other blogs talking about this recipe...and no link. So, this is going to be an educational process for me...

And, can I talk Rachael Ray for a second? When she was first on the Food Network, I watched. Her show was entartaining and you could see that she was making meals in thirty minutes. However, I cannot watch her now or listen to her ridiculous abbreviations for ingredients and just plain words! I tried to stay up last night to see her on David Letterman, knowing that the old Dave would have been his snarky best. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I fell asleep and missed the new Dave, which probably wasn't snarky. Oh, well.

Well, I will admit to buying her magazine occasionally, as I am a magazine whore. I made her Surf and Turf tacos (pix above) last night:

A couple of things...the spice mixture includes garlic powder, chili powder, cumin and paprika. I omitted the paprika, as it gives me a raging headache, and added more of the other three ingredients. You toss the steak in the spices, and this came out amazingly well! I also used shrimp instead of snapper, tossed in the spices, and these were delicious, too. The sour cream and lime juice mixture was fine, but the cabbage tossed in lime juice was overkill. I would toss red cabbage and red onion with a vinaigrette of red wine, olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper.

Okay, so maybe I'll slow down on bashing RR, as these tacos were very good.

Still trying to figure out blogging and photos an layout, oh my. Suggestions and patience are much appreciated.

Breaking my blogging cherry, so to speak

I went to Chino Farms, finally. Chino Farms, in Rancho Santa Fe, is owned and operated by the Chino family. They grow and sell the most beautiful produce I've ever seen.

I got some bi-colored corn, different squashes, lemon thyme, strawberries to die for, jalapenos, green beans, and fennel. Chino Farms is known for their strawberries, and I concur. These little gems were so delicious, and their flavor is something I don't find with strawberries from Whole Paycheck or any other organic grocer. Worth the 2-hour drive just for them!

My friend, Christy the chef, gave me a great idea about the corn. As a single person, who wants to shuck, clean, boil or grill? So much time, blah blah blah. Well, per her instructions, I shucked and cleaned the ears, rinsed them, wrapped in plastic wrap and microwaved for 2-3 minutes. Let me tell you, that is one of the best tips I've ever received, as this was the perfect and easy way to cook corn on the cob with no effort. Christy = genius!

I've been a bit obsessed with the Vietnamese Corn Salad from Susan Feniger's Street ( This has corn, scallions, pork belly and a lovely vinegar based sauce, and damn it, I cannot find thie recipe anywhere! So, I tried making my version, which looked like this. Corn, scallions, peppers, fish sauce, soy sauce, oil, a little butter, and zucchini, but no pork belly. It came out well, but not a match to Street's version. I am going to try this again, with Chinese black vinegar, to see if that makes a change.

Any suggestions are welcome....