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Archive for the ‘Spring’ Category

Easter Fiesta

Tried some wine, the Moscato was quite sweet and peachy (as expected), the Unoaked chardonnay was crisp and not too dry, and the red was shy on tannin (which I like actually). Who doesn’t love a rooster on your bottle of wine, ha! I bought all of these at Sprouts on sale.

Each paired nicely with dishes I prepared. The Chardonnay with the herb roasted turkey breast. The red with the spiral honey ham. The Moscato with the apple cinnamon crisp (a la mode  ). 

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My friends were welcome to bring something as a side, they brought mac’n’cheese (David’s recipe, which rocks because he puts Cheezits on top… I still have to try to replicate it!), green bean casserole, and apple pie tarts.  We could have fed an army!

It’s not the same as my family gatherings back home in Alberta, with a dish of every sort and cousins to match.  But Mom was here at least and my best friends, Stephanie and David, were enough to have a great time.  I love sharing my kitchen.

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My loquats are showing

texas tx loquat fruit tree

Fresh off the tree!

With the warmer days of late April come the golden fruit of my loquat tree.  You have to work quickly once they start to ripen, bugs and birds snack on the juicy yellowish orbs while they turn in the sun.  These are the very first loquats of the season in my back yard.  Now I have to keep the big critters from devouring them all before I can cook them down into a jelly or butter format.  Sweet and sour notes prevail when raw or cooked.  The butter I made last year was put to good use.  My friend at Full & Content rounded up recipes for this unusual fruit which will be posted soon!

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chop drop soup

This is not so much a recipe as it is a map or method to creating soul satisfying soup in five easy steps.  Let your imagination go wild, with the blessing of your taste buds of course.  Soups are a perfect way to use seasonal veggies that you may find at your local farmers market.  Say there is an unusual squash on the table, ask the grower if it is hard, bitter, sweet, or soft?  Bitter squash is not the best candidate for soups, at least in my view, so I avoid those.  Zucchini is about as bitter as I will go.  Give chop and drop a try!

Step 1

Empty the veggie drawer into the (clean) kitchen sink or counter.  Wash all skin-stay-on veggies.

Step 2

Peel and trim veggies.  Chop into manageable pieces.  Hint: the smaller the dice the hastier it cooks!

Step 3

Drop into a soup pot with a swirl of olive oil, sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Stir.

Step 4

Add liquids.  Choose your favorite stock, broth, bouillon, OXO, Knorr, or even tomato puree, or can of cream of whatever plus milk.

Step 5

Wait.  Poke the veggies to see if they are tender. Heck, you could even taste one or two.

You are ready to eat!

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Taco Salad

Want to skip the crunchy carbs of taco night?  Make a salad instead!

Chop up your favorite lettuce.  Make a fresh “salsa” out of diced tomato, onion (red or white, or green yum) and peppers.  Cook ground meat with taco seasoning or combine chili powder, garlic, oregano, cumin and salt.  To make it vegetarian, you could use beans instead of the meat or diced Portobello mushroom caps.  Hey that actually sounds pretty tasty!  Top with shredded cheese.

Funny tidbit for you:  the most popular search on my blog remains at Claire Robinson, she has many fans including yours truly!

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Toss the following:

  • steak, cooked how you like and sliced (leave off for vegetarian option)
  • spinach
  • tomato
  • red bell pepper
  • cheddar cheese, cubed
  • croutons
  • jicama shards (those are the white pieces)
  • italian dressing

A view of a half-eaten salad that I decided was tasty and wanted to share it with you.  Too bad your screen isn’t scratch’n’nibble!

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Cucumber

In a tizzy with leftover cucumbers?  I have a few suggestions for you!

Cucumber Tea Sandwiches

Pretend you will be hosting the Royal Princess to high tea and make some simple cucumber sandwiches using a cream cheese spread of choice, little mayo, crustless bread, and peeled and seeded thinly sliced cucumber.  Be authentic and use English cucumbers which do not require seeding.  Season gracefully with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Pasta Salad

Easy salad with very few ingredients, topped with sliced cucumber.  Cooked and cooled pasta, diced tomato, fresh basil chiffonade, a splash of balsamic vinegar, good quality olive oil, sea salt and pepper.

A Cool Drink

Cucumber with melon blended drink, spiked with fresh ginger.  (Feel free to add vodka or tequila)

2 cups seedless watermelon, diced

1/2 cucumber, peeled and seeded

1 tsp minced ginger root

juice of 1 lime

Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

Not just for ethnic foods, whip up a sauce for your BBQ chicken tacos!

3/4 cup finely diced cucumber

1/4 cup finely diced red onion

juice of half a key lime or tsp or so lemon

sea salt (to taste)

pepper (to taste)

2 -3 tbsp plain yogurt (drained) or greek yogurt

1 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped

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Lunch Box

In my lunch box today…

Tomato Basil Soup from Randall’s (Safeway)

Salad:

tomato

zucchini

radish (garden)

basil (garden)

arugula (garden)

peas (garden)

beans (garden)

croutons made from French bread

Italian dressing

It was missing red onion and maybe some cheese.  That would make one smashing salad!

What did you have for lunch today?

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