Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Fourth of July: Watermelon Salad

Watermelon and the Fourth of July go hand-n-hand at my house.  The fresh coolness and refreshing taste makes the hot summer days bearable.  Usually I just slice up the watermelon and serve, however, one day I decided I would make a watermelon salad.   Easy, refreshing, and a great side dish.   I added some fresh mint, feta cheese, salt and pepper.  Tossed them together and the result was a great tasting summer salad.

I love this salad.  The taste is so summery and refreshing and the mint adds an extra coolness to the salad.

What I sometimes do when I am taking this salad to a real picnic - is assemble the salad there.  It gets soggy if it sits around for hours.







Watermelon Salad



Ingredients:


 

6 cups of seedless watermelon cubes

1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves cut into thin ribbons
Freshly ground pepper
Sea salt

Directions:
1. Drain any excess juice from the watermelon cubes.  Toss the watermelon gently with the rice vinegar and the feta cheese. 
2. Toss the watermelon with the fresh mint.  Transfer to a serving bowl.
3. Sprinkle the salad with ground pepper and salt.  Serve immediately.

Makes 4-6 servings











Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Brazilian Strawberry Limeade

As the days are getting hotter,  I like a  glass of something cold to drink.  Today, I made some Brazilian Strawberry Limeade.  I got the idea for this beverage from my earlier post  Brazilian Lemonade from "Our Best Bites".  I  added once cup of sliced fresh strawberries to the original recipe of limes, sugar, water,  and condensed milk.    The mixture is blended, strained, stirred,  then poured over a tall glass of ice.  The result is a  a wonderfully refreshing drink that is not too sweet or too tart.


Brazilian  Strawberry Limeade
Adapted  from "Our Best Bites"

Ingredients:
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
4 juicy limes
1 cup sugar
6 cups  water
4-6 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk


Directions:

1. Make a simple syrup consisting of 1 cup hot water and 1 cup of sugar.  Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Pour the simple syrup and remaining water into a pitcher and chill until ready to use.
 Note:  This step can be done ahead of time.
2. Puree strawberries.  Press the mixture through a wire-mesh strainer into the pitcher you will serve the limeade in using the back of a spoon.  Discard the seeds.
3.  Wash limes thoroughly with soap.  Cut the ends off the limes and then cut each lime into eighths.













4.  Place half of the limes in a blender.
5.  Add half of the sugar water.  Place the top on your blender and  pulse 5 times.





6. Place a fine-mesh strainer over a pitcher (the one you will serve the limeade in) and  pour the blended mixture through the strainer and into the pitcher.  Use a spoon to press the rest of the liquid into the pitcher.

7.  Dump the pulp and stuff in the strainer into the trash.
8.  Repeat with the remaining limes and sugar water.
9.  Add  4 tablespoons  of the sweetened condensed milk. Stir until mixed.
10.  Taste and adjust sweetness if needed - add some more condensed milk.
11.  Serve immediately over lots of ice.

Makes 4 servings






Friday, June 24, 2016

Bratwurst In Beer

It's summertime and that means time to bring out the grill.   We are proud owners of a new grill this year.  It has been a joy grilling on it.  We have grilled the usual to break it in, hamburgers, hot dogs, steaks, chicken, brats.  Everything has tasted delicious.

Today, I want to share a favorite recipe of ours for Bratwurst In Beer.  Bratwurst are grilled and then placed in a pot or  disposable foil roasting pan with butter, onions, garlic, and beer.  Keep them in the beer until they are ready to serve. 


These are the best tasting brats around.  The beer adds a great flavor as do the onions and garlic.  You can serve the brats with the onions but we prefer sauerkraut. 

This is perfect for your Fourth of July Celebrations.  

Bratwurst In Beer
 From Epicurious
Ingredients
1/4 cup butter
2 medium onions, sliced into thin rings
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped (optional)
3 to 4 (12-ounce) cans cheap beer (Wisconsin fans insist on Pabst Blue Ribbon)
8 bratwurst links
8 small, crusty hoagie rolls
Whole-grain mustard
Dill pickle spears
Preparation
1. Prepare the grill for a medium-hot fire.
2. Place the butter in a medium disposable foil roasting pan. Place the pan on the grill rack and cook until the butter melts. Add the onions and garlic (if using); cook until softened, three to five minutes. Add the beer and bring to a simmer. Place the pan on the low heat zone and keep the onion mixture warm.
3. Place the bratwurst on the grill rack. Grill, turning occasionally, until evenly charred, four to five minutes. Transfer the bratwurst to the onion mixture and let stand until ready to serve.4. With tongs, place the bratwurst in the rolls. Serve with the onions, mustard, and pickle spears. 

Serves 8 




Saturday, June 18, 2016

Turmeric and Ginger Latte

According to Google Food Trends Report, turmeric is a rising star.   Why is this?   Is it because of its' peppery, warm and somewhat biter taste that brings flavor to your dishes? Turmeric also known as Curcuma longa has been used for years in  food.  It is mostly used in savory dishes. You have probably used turmeric in your curry recipes.

Do a search on the internet and you will find numerous health benefits of consuming turmeric.  
1.Turmeric increases the antioxidant capacity of the body.  Antioxidants are beneficial because they protect our bodies from free radicals. 
2.Turmeric relieves arthritis
3. Controls Diabetes
4. Reduces Cholesterol level
5. Immunity Booster
6. Heals Wound

I have noticed recently a lot of recipes for making  a Turmeric Latte.  I tried a few and could not find one exactly to my liking.   Some used too much turmeric,  others used flavors that I did not like, or some just had a flat taste.  Below is a recipe I came up with I feel is nutritious and has a great flavor.


Turmeric and Ginger Latte
Ingredients:
1 cup cashew milk
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
Ice cubes
Directions:
1. Mix all ingredients together in a 2 cup capacity measuring cup.  Let sit for 5 minutes so the flavors can blend together.
2. Put some ice in an 8-ounce glass.  Pour the turmeric mixture over the ice.  Serve.
Serves 1   

 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

One-Pan Dinner: Halibut with Potatoes and Corn

I love one-pan dinners.  Not a lot of dishes, no worrying about everything getting done on time, a whole lot of things make one pan meals a delight.  Normally, I am not a fish person but I do love halibut.  I was very excited when I saw this recipe for halibut in Cook's Country magazine.

The original recipe calls for sing 12 ounces andouille sausage and red potatoes.  I modified the recipe by using Yukon gold potatoes and no sausage.

This dish is prepared in the oven using a large baking sheet.  First you roast in a hot oven 500 degrees F.  the corn and potatoes.  Roast them for about 20 minutes.  Once the veggies are done, your remove the corn from the baking sheet and add your halibut.   Reduce your oven temperature to 425 degrees F and bake for about 10 minutes or until your fish registers 130 degrees. 

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and serve.  I especially loved the potatoes in this recipe.  They skins were crispy and flavorful.  The corn and fish had a very nice flavor.  The Old Bay butter added extra flavor and made the meal.  This was a very easy dinner to prepare and a delicious one.  

One-Pan Dinner: Halibut With Potatoes and Corn
From Cook's Country Adapted Slightly by From My Southwest Kitchen

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
1 teaspoon lemon juice
4 (6-8 ounce) center-cut skinless halibut fillets, 1 inch thick
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 pound small Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled, halved lengthwise
4 ears corn, husk and silk removed, cut into thirds

Instructions:
1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 500 degrees F.  Combine butter, Old Bay, and lemon juice in a bowl; set aside.  Pat halibut dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper; refrigerate until needed.
2. Brush rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon oil.  Toss potatoes, 2 tablespoons oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together in a bowl.  Arrange potatoes cut side down on half of sheet.  Toss corn, remaining 1 tablespoon oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper together in now-empty bowl.  Arrange corn on empty side of sheet.






3. Roast until potatoes are lightly browned and corn kernels are plump, 20-22 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through roasting.
4. Remove sheet from oven, transfer corn and 2tablespoons Old Bay butter to medium bowl and toss to combine.  Cover bowl tightly with aluminum foil and set aside.  Arrange halibut fillets evenly on now-empty side of sheet.
5. Return sheet to oven and reduce oven temperature to 425 degrees F.  Roast until center of fillets registers 130 degrees and flesh is just opaque when checked with tip of paring knife, 8 to 10 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through roasting.
6. Transfer halibut to a serving platter.  Portion remaining 2 tablespoons Old Bay butter evenly over halibut.  Transfer potatoes and corn to platter with halibut.  Serve

Serves 4

   




Sunday, June 5, 2016

Strawberry Balsamic Rosemary Jam

Summertime is the time to make great jams, jellies, and preserves to enjoy the summer harvest year round.  I love making different jams that use ingredients that compliment and bring out the flavors of the various fruits. This jam has a wonderfully rich strawberry flavor with just a hint of rosemary and pepper.  The balsamic vinegar does wonders for enhancing the flavor of the strawberries.


In this recipe, I combine strawberries with balsamic vinegar, rosemary, and a dash of black pepper.  The result is truly amazing and delicious.  I used about three pounds of fresh strawberries, sugar, balsamic vinegar, rosemary and black pepper.  I cooked the mixture until the jam passed the cold plate test.  Plates are put in the freezer and as the jam starts to thicken, a small amount is placed on the plate.  I put the plate back in the freezer for about 2 minutes and ran my finger down the center of the jam.  If the jam stayed separated, it was done.  Important note:  When doing this test be sure you remove the jam from the heat. Here is an additional link from the kitchn to make sure your jam sets.   It describes 7 different tests for jam doneness.

Once the jam is set, I ladled the jam into sterilized pint jars.  You will need 5 for this recipe.  I then wiped the rim of the jars, sealed and put the ring on the jars.  I then processed the jam in a water bath for 10 minutes. 

Once the water bath was done, I removed the jars and let them cool.  The jam was ready to enjoy. 

Strawberry Balsamic Rosemary Jam
Ingredients:
3 pound fresh strawberries, hulled and coarsely chopped
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
Directions:
1. Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl.  Stir and mix well.  Let the berries sit until the strawberries release some juice.  Place 2 plates in the freezer.






2. Place the strawberries in a large non-reactive skillet.  On medium high heat, bring the mixture to a boil stirring often.




3. Reduce heat and boil strawberries until mixture thickens - about 30 minutes. Conduct a jam doneness test.   Remember to remove the jam from the heat.   Remove a plate from freezer and drop some jam on the plate.  Return the plate to the freezer for 2 minutes.  Remove the plate and run your finger down the center of the jam.  If the jam separates and doesn't run together  immediately, the jam is done.   Repeat test if necessary.





4. Ladle the jam into pint -size sterilized jar.  Wipe the rim with a clean damp cloth.  Seal and put the rings on the jars.
5. Process the jam in a water bath for 10 minutes.  Remove the jars from the bath and let them cool.

Makes 5 pints





   

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Minty Limeade

Need a go to cool and refreshing beverage to help you make it through the upcoming hot summer months?   I have got one for you - Minty Limeade.  The cool refreshing taste of mint mixed with the citrusy coolness of limes.   This limeade has an extra refreshing flavor. Perfect for the upcoming hot summer days.  

Let's begin making our limeade.  Start by making a mint syrup.  Sprigs of fresh mint are added to a simple syrup of sugar and boiling water.  Let the syrup cool to room temperature or make ahead of time and put it in the fridge.   In addition to the mint leaves in the syrup, fresh mint leaves are chopped and put into the bottom of the pitcher.  Pour your syrup over the mint leaves.  Next add the fresh lime juice and water.   Stir and your limeade is ready to serve.

I added a little extra touch by dipping the rims of the glasses in sugar.  Doesn't take much time and makes your drink special. 


Minty Limeade
From Our Best Bites and Adapted by From My Southwest Kitchen

For the Syrup 
2 cups water
2 cups white sugar
2-3 sprigs fresh mint
 
For the Limeade
1 3/4 cups freshly squeezed lime juice
8 cups cold water
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves
Ice
Garnishes 
Fresh mint sprigs
1/2 cup sugar

Instructions 
1. Bring water to a boil.  Remove from heat.  Add  the sugar and stir  until the syrup is clear - the sugar has dissolved.  Add the mint sprigs.   Allow to cool at room temperature or place in the refrigerator. The syrup can be made a few days ahead of time.
2.When ready to serve, place the chopped mint leaves in the bottom of the serving pitcher.  Remove the mint sprigs from the syrup. Add the syrup, freshly squeezed lime juice, and 8 cups of cold water. Stir well.
3. Place the 1/2 cup of sugar on a small plate.  Using a damp paper towel, wipe around the rim of each glass and then invert the glass into the  sugar. Carefully fill the sugar-rimmed glasses with ice cubes and pour the limeade into the glasses to serve.
 
Makes 12 servings