Watermelon Gazpacho With Chile and Feta Cheese

Watermelon GazpachoThat’s Usin’ Your Melon!

After an extended vaca­tion and a lot of dri­ving, we’re back home and I am looking for some good “real” food. It can be fun eating out, but even­tu­ally I get tired of shouting in a clown’s mouth and want to have a normal, family dinner around our kitchen table. I know. How very Norman Rockwell…

I gotta say, I’m pretty tired. So as much as I want a real meal, I also want it to be easy and per­fect for the warm weather. Luckily, I have a recipe that covers both.

Last month at our Tyler Flo­rence cook­book dinner, one of the recipes I went crazy for was the Water­melon Gaz­pacho with Chile and Feta Cheese. Just so you know, I don’t like watermelon—which makes my love of this recipe weird. But it’s good…really good. And it is made almost entirely in the blender. Nothing is easier than that. Add to that the fact that my toma­toes are abun­dant and melons are at the peak of their season, and you just can’t go wrong with this one.  Read more…

Trout Meunière

Yellowstone River Goin’ Fishin’? Yup…

You cannot catch trout with dry breeches.
~Spanish Proverb

As you read this post, I am wearing waders (It’s a real good look.), thigh deep in the Yel­low­stone River—fly fishing for trout. Before you get too impressed, let me say that I am not a fly fish­erman. My first and only encounter with the sport (?) occurred right after col­lege when my then boyfriend tried to teach me the art of the cast in my dri­veway (’cause doesn’t everyone do that?). I never got it right, but it did make for some serious comedy. And for 5 min­utes I was an awe­some girlfriend.

Fast for­ward a few years. (Actu­ally it’s almost 20, but I refuse to wrap my mind around that.) Here I am again trying to figure this whole thing out. The best part is we are in Yel­low­stone, which has been on my bucket list since I studied Geology and Vol­canology at the U of O. (Geek alert! Obvi­ously that career didn’t pan out.)

Despite visions of Chevy Chase and his sta­tion wagon (or maybe because of it) we decided to load up the kids and the car, and expe­ri­ence a real family vaca­tion com­plete with plenty of whining, bath­room stops, and “Will you stop touching me!”. It’s all worth it because good or bad this will be a trip that we will remember for years to come.

Below is a favorite recipe for Trout Meu­nière from James Peterson’s cook­book Fish & Shell­fish. This book is another one of those must haves for any cook’s library. It is a great ref­er­ence for cooking any­thing and every­thing that comes from the water. I have included his intro…seems appropriate.

Trout Meu­nière
I must have been four or five when my mother took me and my brothers into the moun­tains of Cal­i­fornia for a week of camping. We’d pitch a tent big enough for the whole family, and my mother would be up at dawn, rod and reel in hand, to fish for our break­fast. The trout would end up siz­zling in bacon fat over an open fire. No trout has ever again tasted quite the same, but this recipe is for me as close as it gets.
~James Peterson

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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…