Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Red Fruit Salad

Red Fruit Salad is a delicious way to combine the red fruits of summer into one delish dish.  I found this recipe in Bon Appetite magazine.  There are just two set rules in making this salad.  Use a knife to pit your cherries and no raspberries.  I broke the second rule.  I love raspberries.  What is a fruit salad without raspberries?

I took some plums, strawberries, cherries, red grapes and raspberries  out of my crisper for my salad.  You can use any fruits that are red or have a purplish red tone.    That's a great positive for this salad you can use the red fruit you have on hand as long as it is red.  Watermelon would be great for this salad.

I cut the plums in small chunks, quartered my strawberries, halved my grapes, cherries, and left my raspberries whole.     There is no set quantity of the fruit  - use what you feels right.   I  then tossed the fruit gently in a medium bowl and served.

I loved this salad.  It looked lovely and tasted great.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Golden Oreo Pudding Pops

It is hot here.  My main objective has been to stay cool.  I accomplish this by staying in the nice cool house and drinking plenty of cool beverages and eating Popsicles with the kids.    Yesterday, I made some Golden Oreo Pudding pops - two of my favorites combined in one cool treat.

I remember when Jello Pudding pops came out - I thought they were the greatest.  Fast forward a couple of decades and pudding pops have been kicked up a few notches.  I added some crushed Golden Oreo cookies (yes, I love Golden Oreo cookies) to some vanilla pudding.

Crushed Golden Oreo Cookies

Spooned the mixture into 3-ounce Popsicle molds and froze them for about 6 hours. I used sailboat Popsicle molds that I bought at Costco the other week.  They had  Sailboat molds and the Rocket molds in a combined package.  I think I got 16 molds for around $14.  I love Costco:)  Back to the pops.

When you are ready to eat your pops take the molds out of the freezer and run the molds under warm water.  Gently pry the pops from the mold.   You can leave the remaining pops in their molds, or unmold the remaining pops and place them individually in freezer-safe resealable plastic  bags.  Store the bags in the freezer until you are ready to serve.

These pops were the best.  Cool, refreshing, and great tasting:)

Golden Oreo Pudding Pops

Special Equipment: 10 (3-ounce) Popsicle molds

2 1/4 cups cold milk
1 (3.5 ounce) box instant vanilla pudding and pie filling
1 cup Golden Oreo cookies (about 9), crushed

1. Whisk together the milk and pudding mix for about 2 minutes or until thickened.

Stir in the crushed Oreo cookies.

2. Spoon the mixture into the individual molds.  Place top o the molds.
3. Place molds in the freezer for at least 6 hours.
4. Remove pops from the mold when ready to serve.

To Unmold Pops: Run the mold under warm water.  Gently pry the pops from the molds.

 Makes 10 pops

Monday, June 22, 2015

Pickled Peaches

Pickled Peaches are a great way to enjoy your summer produce.  You can use them on salads, scoop some in your yogurt,  on top of ice cream, or just eat them by themselves.  They are delicious no matter how you eat them.  How do you make these you ask?

You start by making the Pickling Brine.   The brine consists of  water, white balsamic vinegar, sugar and kosher salt.  Bring the ingredients to a boil and them remove from heat.  Let the mixture cool for about 1 hour.

Fruit Pickle Brine
Next, you prepare your peaches.  Wash and slice about 1 pound of fresh peaches.  You then put the peaches and mint springs into a canning jar.  The recipe recommends a 24-ounce jar.  Once the mint and peaches are in the jar, pour your brine over the peaches.  Seal and chill the jar for at least an hour.

Peaches and Mint
How do these peaches taste?  They taste fantastic.  The sweetness of the peaches is enhanced by the vinegar.  They have a delicious sweet taste with a touch of tartness and the refreshing flavor of mint.  Try them - you'll like them is all I can say:)

Pickled Peaches
From Southern Living Magazine

1 pound fresh peaches, cut into slices
2 fresh mint sprigs
Fruit Pickle Brine - recipe follows

Place about peaches and mint sprigs in a 24-oz. jar with a tight-fitting lid. Pour Fruit Pickle Brine over peaches; seal and chill 1 to 12 hours. Store in refrigerator up to 1 week.

Fruit Pickle Brine

1 cup water
1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt

Bring all ingredients and 1 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Remove from heat. Cool completely (about 1 hour), stirring occasionally.

Makes 1 (24-ounce) jar

Beautiful and Delicious

Monday, June 15, 2015

Dirty Coke

The other day it was hot and I needed something that was over-the-top refreshing.  I had the urge for something sweet and fizzy.  A plain old Coke would have been the quick answer but I wanted something more.  A Dirty Coke was what I needed.

I haven't had a Dirty Coke in ages - I will not mention how long it has been.   Basically, a Dirty Coke is a Coke poured over ice with some Coconut Syrup, lime juice, and half and half. I used Monin Coconut syrup but you can use what brand you prefer.   That's it.  This beverage is ever so wonderful.  Delicious, decadent, refreshing all in one beverage.  If you want to cut the calories substitute a diet Coke for a regular Coke.

Dirty Coke

1/2 of a fresh lime - cut into wedges
2 tablespoons Coconut syrup
1 (12-ounce) can of Coke
2 tablespoons half and half

1. Fill a large glass half full of ice.
2. Squeeze the limes wedges to release their juice and add to the glass of ice.  Add the coconut syrup and lime wedges.
3. Pour in the coke and stir.  Add the half and half.  Serve.

Makes 1

Friday, June 12, 2015

Tagliatelle With Prosciutto and Peas

A flavorful pasta dish with prosciutto and peas coated in  a rich creamy sauce.  This dish is easy, delicious, and comes together nicely.  Perfect for those nights when you want something quick and satisfying for your family.

Begin by cooking the pasta  to al dente.  I could not find any Tagliatelle pasta so I substituted some Pappardelle pasta.  While the pasta is cooking the prosciutto and shallot are cooked.  Some cream is added and brought to a simmer.  The sauce is cooked for about 7 minutes then removed from the heat.
Once the pasta is cooked reserve 2 cups of the cooking water.  Drain the pasta.  One cup of the reserved cooking water is then added to the drained pasta along with the cream mixture, prosciutto strips, peas, Parmesan, Gruyere, and pepper.  Everything is gently tossed together and served immediately.  

An easy dinner to prepare that is both satisfying and delicious:)

Tagliatelle With Prosciutto And Peas
From Cook's Illustrated Magazine
6 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 shallot, minced
Salt and pepper
1 cup heavy cream
1 pound tagliatelle pasta
1 1/2 cups frozen petite peas, thawed
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 cup)
1 ounce Gruyere cheese, grated (1/2 cup)
1. Slice 5 ounces prosciutto crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide strips; set aside.  Mince remaining 1 ounce prosciutto.  Melt butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-low heat.  Add shallot and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until softened, about 2 minutes.  Stir in cream and minced prosciutto and bring to simmer.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until cream mixture measures 1 cup, 5 to 7 minutes.  Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm.
2. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot.  Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring often, until al dente.  Reserve 2 cups cooking water, then drain pasta and return it to pot.
3. Add 1 cup reserved cooking water, cream mixture, prosciutto strips, peas, Parmesan, Gruyere and 1 teaspoon pepper to pasta.  Gently toss until pasta is well coated.   Transfer pasta to serving bowl and serve immediately, adjusting consistency with remaining reserved cooking water as needed.

Serves 4 to 6

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Cherry Thyme Jam

I finally got done picking the cherries from our tree.  This years crop was huge.  It has been our largest to date. We ate alot of them and gave some to friends.  I dried some for baking, snacking and cooking.  I got 2 full quart sized bags of dried cherries:)   Cherry jam was the latest cooking adventure.

I decided to pair the cherries with a little thyme from the garden.  I heard that herbs can added a subtle delicious flavor to jam.  So I decided to give it a try.   I began by stemming and pitting 4 pounds of cherries.  Buy a cherry pitter if you do not have one.  I left about 1 pound of the cherries whole and coarsely chopped the remaining ones.  I put them in a large pot and threw in some thyme, honey, sugar, and lemon juice.

 Give everything a stir and set the pot on the stove.  Cook and bring the mixture to a boil. As the jam is cooking, place two small plates in the freezer.   Cook until the jam registers 220 degrees F on a candy thermometer.  Be sure to stir the jam as it cooks and skim off any foam that forms. 

 Remove one of the plates from the freezer.  Spoon a small amount of the jam on the plate and put the plate back in the freezer for about a minute. 

The jam is done when the jam wrinkles as you push it forward.  

 When the jam is done ladle it into sterilized jam jars.  I used the 8 ounce size.  Place the jam in a water bath and process for 10 minutes.  Remove the jars from the bath and set them on the counter to cool.  You will hear popping sounds of the lids as your jam is sealed.  You can keep the jam for a year.

This jam probably will not last for a year.  It is one of the best jams I have ever tasted.  It has a deep rich cherry flavor with an underlying light thyme flavor.  Delicious:)

Cherry Thyme Jam
4  pounds red cherries, stemmed and pitted
2 cups honey
6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh minced thyme leaves

1. Place 2 saucers in the freezer.
2. Chop 3 pounds of the cherries coarsely.  Leave the remaining pound whole.   Place the cherries in a medium stockpot.
3. Add the remaining ingredients to the stockpot and stir well.
4. Place the pot on the stove over medium to medium-high  heat and bring to a boil.  Cook, stirring frequently until the jam registers 220 degrees F on a candy thermometer.  This will take about 30-40 minutes. Remove any foam that floats to the surface.
5. Remove one of the plates from the freezer and drop a spoonful of jam on it.  Place the plate back in the freezer for a minute.
6. Remove the plate and nudge the edge of the jam with your finger.  If the jams wrinkles slightly when nudged it is done.  If the jam does not wrinkle cook another 2 to 3 minutes and test again.
7. Remove jam from the stove.  Ladle the jam into sterilized jam jars.  Fill the jars within a 1/4-inch from the top.  Wipe off the rim.
8. Place a canning lid that has been sterilized in boiling water on the jar.  Screw on a band and tighten firmly.
9. Using canning tongs, place the jars in a water bath.  Raise the heat to high, cover and bring to a boil.  Process the jam for 10 minutes.
10. Using tongs transfer the jars out of the water bath to the counter to cool.  The jam will keep up to 1 year.

Makes 5 (8-ounce) jars

Note:  Refer to the Web or a Canning book to get more detailed information on a water bath, if desired. 

Friday, June 5, 2015

Chia Nectarine Pudding

Chia seeds are gaining in popularity.  Now Chia seed products can be found almost everywhere.  I remember a couple of years ago when I first started using Chia Seeds, I could only find them at Whole Foods. Recipes using Chia seeds is also on the rise. 
I can understand this popularity.  Chia seeds are great to cook with and they are powerhouses of vitamins and minerals.  I love their gel quality when they are soaked in a liquid.  They add a nice nutty chewy texture.  

This pudding recipe is like a tapioca pudding in texture.  I soaked some Chia seeds in Vanilla Soy Milk and added a chopped nectarine and some vanilla extract.  Let the pudding sit for about 30 minutes.  Stir to unclump the seeds.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  When ready to serve, spoon in bowls and top with slices of nectarine.  If you would like your pudding a little sweeter add some sugar or maple syrup before serving.  

This recipe is very flexible. You can use whatever fruit you have on hand.

Chia Nectarine Pudding
From Redbook Magazine Adapted by From My Southwest Kitchen 
2 cups sweetened Vanilla Soy milk
5 tablespoons chia seeds
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 medium nectarine, diced
Nectarine slices for garnish


1. Whisk together, the soy milk, chia seeds, and vanilla extract in a medium bowl.   Add in the diced nectarines and stir.
2.  Let the pudding stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.  Stir to unclump the pudding. 
3. Refrigerate the pudding overnight.
4. Remove from fridge and spoon pudding into serving bowls. Garnish with nectarine slices.

Makes 4 servings

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Beer Can Chicken

I  have heard of Beer Can Chicken but I never made it.   After making this recipe, I do not know why it took me so long to make it.  This recipe is very easy to make and the chicken is indescribably delicious.  Moist, tender, flavorful, meat falling off the bone, this chicken is how a chicken should taste. 

The first step is to heat up the grill.  I cooked my chicken on a gas grill.  You only lite one side of the grill.  Once the grill is heating, it is time to season the chicken.  The recipe I used seasoned the chicken with some olive oil, kosher salt, pepper, and fresh thyme. First you rub olive oil over the chicken and then rub in the spice mixture.  Next, you get the beer can ready to go.

You only use half a can of beer.  I  lightly sprayed my can so it would not stick to the chicken.  I placed the beer can on a baking sheet and slipped the chicken over the can.  I transferred the chicken to the grill and cooked for about  1 1/2 hours.   Like the recipe said leave the chicken for about 1 hour before checking on it.  Your chicken is done when it registers 160 - 165 degrees F.  I slid a large grilling spatula under the chicken and used tongs to place it on my baking sheet.

Remove the chicken from the beer can, carve and serve.

You can find this recipe from Simply Recipes here.