Monday, August 27, 2012

Last Days of "Summa"







We don't often take the time
to take our 
'67 Mustang Convertible
to a car show.
However, this Sunday there was a wee
show happening in the small village
of Millbank - about 10 minutes from home.
Off we went - it was a beauty day
and the perfect way to spend a late August Sunday afternoon!







After all, there was some
stale gas in the tank
and it needed to be used up
so fresh gas can be put in for
the wedding......











Much to our delight
the show was well attended
and there was even a great display
of antique tractors.



Watch for this one to show up on
the TV Series "The Murdock Mysteries"




Till next time ................. find ways to enjoy these last days of "summa".

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Gazpacho



The perfect cold soup to end
a very hot and busy late
August day!
The tomatoes are ripening
fast in the garden and
this is a great way to 
use them.









This recipe is loosely
based on the recipe 
in my Ina Garten cookbook.
Have you ever read any of the 
Barefoot Contessa cookbooks?
I was gifted one from a
wonderful travel mate who
introduced me to 
this wonderful series of cookbooks
written by this fine cook from the Hamptons!






GAZPACHO
This recipe makes  approx. 8 servings.  I made 1/2 recipe for myself and the farmer and we ate almost all of it - so much for 4 servings!  It was simply delicious and went well with the garlic bread made from left-over crusty bread.

6 ripe tomatoes - peeled and chopped
1 purple onion - chopped
1 cucumber - peeled and chopped (I used an English cucumber and did not peel or seed it)
1 sweet red bell pepper - seeded and chopped
2 stalks celery - chopped
1-2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbsp.  chopped fresh chives (I used basil)
1 clove garlic - minced
1/4 Cup Red wine vinegar
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
2 Tbsp.  freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp. sugar
Sea salt and pepper to taste
6 drops of Tabasco sauce
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
4 Cups tomato juice
Method:
Combine all ingredients in the blender.  Pulse chop to desired consistency.  Ina Garten insists to not over process - the soup should be nice and chunky, not pureed!  I think I over processed mine a wee too fine but it was still O.K. Place in a glass pitcher (do not use a metal container) and chill for at least 7 hours or overnight - the longer it sits - the better the flavours develop.








Thanks to Trese
for introducing me to
Ina Garten's cookbooks.
I hope to make many
more of her recipes!
Perhaps to relive
the memories of
that "once in a lifetime"
European tour in 2006!



Sunday, August 19, 2012

Friends


What a weekend!



A Beach Tea Party for a Beautiful Bride-to-Be,
Ms. Becky, and her amazingly "fascinating" friends!
What a blast!




Then on to the beautiful wedding celebration
of Alyssa and Chris, our God Daughter
and reconnecting with her amazing family
 and their friends!
We were "taking notes" for our own
daughter's upcoming wedding
in September .......




Weekends like this are
good for the soul!!!




Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Peach and Roasted Pepper Bruschetta




Google tells us that today was Julia Child's birthdate.
I don't know about you but I absolutely loved
the movie called "Julie & Julia"
starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams.
I have watched the DVD over and over
and have even made her famous
Beef Bourguignon - it is scrumptious.
I don't have the cookbook but have an abridge version
called Julia's Kitchen Wisdom.
The movie was the first time I had
ever heard of blogging - if you can imagine!

Well tonight I felt like cooking up something
that inspired me from the movie
namely the bruschetta that "Julie" whipped up
in that movie.


Peach and Roasted Red Pepper Bruschetta

This recipe comes from my dear co-worker Julia Cheri Otterbein who makes magic in the college kitchen!
Just one more famous and delicious recipe from there....

1 Red Pepper - roasted
2 Peaches – peeled and diced
1 Cup Tomatoes – diced and seeded
1 Clove Garlic – minced
1 Tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
2 Tbsp. Chopped fresh basil (I also added a bit of chopped parsley)
Salt and fresh ground pepper
1 baguette, sliced on the diagonal          
Roast the whole pepper on the grill or broiler, turning often, until well blackened.  Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  When cooled – remove skin, stem and seeds.  Finely chop and put into bowl.  Add peaches, tomatoes, garlic, vinegar and basil.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Marinade for 30 minutes before serving or cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.
Before serving, bring peach mixture to room temperature.
Lightly toast baguette slices on both sides – spoon peach mixture on top of toasts, top with a shard or two of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and enjoy!




Till next time .............. paging through Julia Childs book for some more inspiration!

P.S.  My posts might be just a tad scarce over the next month or so .......... there's a wedding coming up in exactly one month from today.  We are getting so excited.

P.S. Besides being Julia Childs birthdate today it's also my dear sister-in-law and brother-in-law's anniversary today!  Happy Anniversary to Glennis and Mark - love you guys!


Monday, August 6, 2012

Beet and Spinach Salad

What a weekend!
Two more 60th birthday celebrations for
my brother-in-law and his buddy
hosted by their families




a wee trip to the lake for this birthday celebration,
A shopping spree at Ikea,
and a long weekend Monday
to get lots of work done around home!!  Love it!

Today we worked hard - it felt great
It was a glorious sunny, not so hot and humid day.
The garage trim got painted,
the garden got weeded and tilled,
the potatoes were dug and the beets were pulled.
The cherry tomatoes were picked but didn't 
make it to the house - mmmm so good!


Loads of laundry hung in the sun all day,
time out for a cold drink and to watch
the Ladies Olympic USA vs. Canada soccer game,
shrubs got trimmed,
 and last but not least
we feasted on fresh picked corn on the cob,
boiled potatoes, delicious farmer's sausage,
and a fresh Beet and Spinach Salad.


I like to grow the "candy cane" beets and the white beets
specifically for this favourite "beet the heat" salad:


Beets – Toss beets with a bit of Olive Oil and baked at 400 degrees for about 1 hour (wrapped loosely in foil on a cookie sheet) or boil the beets till fork tender.  Allow to cool, peel and use immediately or save in refrigerator until ready to use (will last several days).
Salad:
Lay a bed of spinach or lightly steamed rapinni or other dark leafy greens onto salad plate.  Slice beets (warm or room temp.)  over the greens.  Add a few orange slices and tomato wedges.  Drizzle with following dressing:
Shake or whisk together:
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Splash of Red Wine Vinegar
1-2 tsp. Dijon Mustard
1 tsp. honey
Minced garlic
Garnish:
Crumbled goat cheese (chevre or feta), or bocconcini cheese, or sliced hard boiled eggs, or all three.  Sprinkle with dill or other herbs and black pepper.
Toasted walnuts and bite size pieces of Prosciutto are a nice addition as well.



We ended the day on the back patio
watching the sun set over the corn field,
watching the moon flowers unravel,
listening to the night sounds and enjoying
a cold glass of white wine.



T'was another productive Holiday weekend!







Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Zucchini Confetti Relish


I'm a late night canner, usually
starting the process after supper.
When you work all day you do what you "can"
-no pun intended!

This is our favourite Relish
and I make 1 or 2 batches every year.
The zucchini is at it's peak
so here I go ......

This recipe makes 4 pints and I almost
always make a double batch





8 Cups finely chopped Zucchini
2 Cups chopped onions
1/2 Cup chopped Red Bell Pepper
1/4 Cup sea salt
2 1/2 Cups White Sugar
1 1/2 Cups White Vinegar
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. celery seed
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. turmeric

2 tsp. cornstarch and 1 Tbsp. water for thickening at the end of cooking.




Chop chop all the veggies - I always make such a mess but it's worth it!  Also, my mandolin makes short work of all the chopping!

In a large bowl chop the onions and the red peppers, layering the chopped zucchini & the salt in between layers.  Stir well and let stand for 1 - 2 hours, stirring up occasionally.


This gives you time to clean up the chopping mess, do the dishes, wash up the jars and lids, and maybe even go for a nice walk.






I like to gather all the equipment together and use boiling water to sterilize and heat the jars just before filling them.  Sometimes I even put the jars on a metal tray and keep them hot in the oven at 200 degrees till filling time.









Drain the salt water and rinse with clear water, pressing out any excess water.












In a large pot/kettle, combine the sugar, vinegar, and seasonings.  Bring to a boil, add the drained vegetables.  Return to a boil - stirring often.  Adjust heat to simmer and cook for 25-30 minutes till the vegetables are cooked and clear - stirring occasionally to prevent sticking to pot.

In a small bowl combine the cornstarch and water.  Mix it into the hot relish in the last 5 minutes - stirring till clear and slightly thickened.  Ladle into hot jars and seal.



Till next time ..........waiting to hear that sound of the lids popping!!!