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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Red Onions & Beets (or something close to that)

Red Onions & Beets

This salad looked and sounded so summer!  Husband and I enjoyed it very much; the slight bite of the red onion, the Dijon vinaigrette, and the sweet meatiness of the beets.  Those beets were gotten at Conte’s (I went to buy them myself after last week with the strawberries from CA and not the much anticipated Jerseys ones!). 
After peeling the roasted beets Son and Nephew thought I could pass for having blood on my hands, but then that’s a teenage boy’s perspective.  Thankfully, the beet juice stain rinsed fairly clean! 
Served this wonderful salad alongside a steak and herbed garlic bread and it was dinner; simple and delicious!
Funny how the deeper into summer we go, the fewer words needed to translate the laid back bliss that summer delivers.

Happy Summer and Happy Independence Day!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tomato, Strawberry & Mozzarella Salad

We love salads at our house (though Son is more of purist with them)!  So this recipe was much anticipated to serve.  Here in southern New Jersey where local farmers grow from April through October, there is always something fresh to buy in the Garden State.  That being said, I looked forward to adding seasonal strawberries to this mix.  So I gave Husband the honey-do list to pick up the strawberries.  I forgot to be super specific about where to purchase the strawberries, I did write the name of the farm market to buy them from (Conte’s).  But, alas, there is another farmer’s market that holds a spot at the intersection in front of the farm and store where I indicated. 
Don’t get me wrong, the one at the intersection has lots of local grown, a great greenhouse, their own bakery, along with other produce brought  in from one of the other 50 states.  Conte’s, (where I told husband to go has the same style) though, grows their own strawberries and what I wanted to use in this salad.  The other stand had strawberries from….California.  Husband stopped at that market and picked up a container of those red strawberries from….California.  What could I say?  It was too late to go to Conte’s.  The salad had to be made and with the California ones.  Dorie’s suggestion to go with what is fresh locally ran through my head and I could imagine her shrug at what bounty I had.  I pretended that  Conte’s strawberries were gone for the season so that I could my enthusiasm for the salad. 
I used plum tomatoes, skinned and seeded, California strawberries (with all fairness, they were red and sweet!), and Bel Gioso’s mozzarella, and my own basil.  Lovely color when assembled.  We couldn’t wait to have it with our grilled steaks.  Husband loved it, son shunned it, and I let the flavor combinations make their impression on my palate.  I wasn’t sure about the tomato with the strawberry.  The basil was wonderful.  I decided I would like to try the recipe with baby spinach as a substitute for the tomatoes next time.  Love the flexibility of this salad to serve with a brunch, lunch or dinner. 
Looking forward to July’s selections.
Happy Summer, Everyone!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Warm Weather Vegetable Pot de Feu

Warm Weather Vegetable Pot de Feu

In a word-soothing!  In another-rich!  Even though the thermometer read 92 degrees outside, I persevered and cooked up a pot of this delicious vegetable soup/stew.  Husband couldn’t stop eating it or raving about it.  I followed the cooking instructions pretty much to the ‘t’, added dried lemongrass (see Penzey’s spices at instead of fresh (unless you can get an Asian market during the week) along with some dried herbs de provence.  Luckily, our Shop Rite carries fresh shitake mushrooms. i added the soft boiled eggs--Dorie was right on, it make the soup so rich! I served sliced chicken right inside the bowl and some toasted pane rustico with some dried herbs de provence sprinkled on top. 
Why soothing?  Late spring allergies have given me a post nasal drip and sore throat.  So I truly enjoyed this warm weather soup.  The chicken broth gave it a medicinal feel (though not taste!). 
Soothing, too, to my wounded mother’s feelings because of a parent-teenage head butting early in the week.  Rather a new occurrence this year, but an ever increasing frequency about all kinds of stuff—homework, freedoms, staying up too late, etc.  We are lucky, son doesn’t have any bad habits that need worrying about—still an AB student with a C or two.  I am sure things will even out soon.
That’s it.  Hope you all enjoyed this dish as well and will look forward to reading your posts. 
Oh, didn’t get this posted on Thursday—as I was writing this up, a transformer blew up in our neighborhood and we were without power for a couple of hours.  Too tired to start the whole blog again, I went to bed.