Kitty’s Roasted Pepper, Tomato, and Salted Lemon Relish

Portrait of Naughty Chickens Naughty Chickens

I have naughty chickens. It would be a rea­son­able assump­tion to think that I am refer­ring to my kids, and while there are times you would be cor­rect, in this instance I mean actual fowl.

About a week or two ago we decided that the chickens were old enough to be “free-​​ranging” in my garden. They were very excited. (Think Dis­ney­land excited.) They ran around like crazy chickens and seemed con­tent to frolic in the dirt, scratch the ground and eat the bugs. Then they dis­cov­ered the veg­etable plants.

While watering the other evening, my hus­band noticed that leaves on my sweet pep­pers were gone. I mean totally gone. Like the locusts of the eighth plaque had come and laid siege to the plant. The pep­pers were still on the branches but the plant was bald. Curi­ously, it was only the pepper plants that had been tar­geted. The toma­toes, melons, squash and beans were left untouched. So I put up a wire bar­rier and hoped that the pep­pers wouldn’t get scorched by the sun and that was that. Or so I thought.

Last night I came home to find the girls with guilty looks on their faces nes­tled in the soil between my zuc­chini and yellow squash plants with tell-​​tale beak sized pieces missing from the leaves. Now my garden looks like San Quentin with wire all around the plants in the hopes that we might get to eat, as well as our chickens…

If we’re lucky and the pep­pers sur­vive, I plan to make this recipe. One of my favorite snacks is a great appe­tizer, a light lunch, or a just the thing for a panini. This recipe is cour­tesy of one of my favorite chef/​teachers, Kitty Morse. Read more…

Two Summer Tomato Recipes

Tomato, Peach, Avocado Bruschetta The Ripe Time
Thanks to the recent hot weather, last night we ate the first garden fresh toma­toes of the season. There really is nothing like home grown toma­toes. Of course by the end of the summer I’ll be giving them to anyone and everyone who hap­pens by—but at this point I am savoring the sweetness.

When our toma­toes start to ripen to the tune of one or two a day, I look for recipes that use them fresh, without much alter­ation. I want to taste the toma­toes, not hide their flavor under a heavy sauce or dressing.

More often than not, I will make some kind of bruschetta or open faced tomato sand­wich. They are easy, and per­fect for lunch or a light dinner. Add a little sliced fresh moz­zarella and/​or Pro­sciutto and you’re good to go. You could even add some good quality tuna in olive oil and some sliced hard boiled egg…whatever suits your fancy.

I found these two recipes on my new favorite blog, Love And Lemons. The first is a bruschetta with toma­toes and peaches, which are at their best right now. The com­bined fla­vors are amazing.

The second caught my eye because as the toma­toes are ripening, so are the summer squashes and zuc­chini. This is a great way to use both. I’m on the fence about the egg­plant. Not one of my favorites but feel free to take the risk! Read more…

Lemon Curd Trifle with Fresh Berries

Tyler Florence TrifleA Trifle Sweet…

Over the weekend we had our latest Cook­book Club dinner, and it was tasty as usual. The chef of note was Tyler Flo­rence, and while we found a number of good recipes, the con­sensus was that Tyler needs a better cook­book editor. Nearly all of our recipes left a lot of room for interpretation—a novice cook might have trouble fol­lowing his instruc­tions to get the desired result.

That said, we made some really great tasting dishes. I made one of the favorites: Fresh Berry and Lemon Curd Trifle. It is not only a great hot weather dessert, it looks beau­tiful in the glass bowl with it’s red, white and blue colors. This trifle screams to be a con­tri­bu­tion to a 4th of July Potluck.

This recipe feeds a crowd, and uti­lizes the sweet and juicy summer berries that are at their peak right now. I opted for plain pound cake instead of lemon at the request of my daughter who likes lemon but not that much lemon.

One option is to do indi­vidual short­cakes if you don’t want to make a big dish. I think I will try that next time.

We had A lot left over…but break­fast the next morning was pretty good :)  Read more…

Two Summer Salads

Cucumber Salad croppedIt’s A Toss Up!

As a gen­eral rule, I am not a salad kinda gal. You will almost never see me order a salad for a meal. There are some notable excep­tions. On rare occa­sion a Cobb Salad hits the spot.

It’s not that I have any­thing against salads. I don’t. I love veg­gies. I simply would rather have some­thing else along with my salad. The salads I pre­pare are more of a side veggie than a bowl of leafy greens.

I have recently dis­cov­ered two recipes that quickly became go-​​to favorites. They are easy and go well with Summer meals. I found this first recipe while researching Tyler Flo­rence for this coming weekend’s cook­book club dinner, and it made it to the menu. It takes min­utes to assemble, and is per­fect with the ripe avo­cados of the summer. Of course, any­thing with bacon works for me.

The second is for people who like pickles. That would be me. (I blame my viking her­itage.) How­ever, here’s a way to enjoy fresh pickles without the two week wait. I was looking for a recipe that would help me use up the cucum­bers (that have been mul­ti­plying like rab­bits in my garden) since I haven’t had time to make them into pickles. It’s the best of both worlds. It’s cooling and full of flavor, and great with burgers or any­thing you want to throw on the grill. Read more…