Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Rena Inspired Salad

My friend and I were discussing the recipes found In True Blueberry and got into a discussion on the best fruits to mix with blueberries. I did not really have an opinion on this since I love blueberries on there own but lemon and blueberry is a almost unbeatable flavor combinations for me. Rena, felt that peaches and blueberries go together the best, so in honor of her and the peaches from the farmers market that needed to be used before they went bad, I made a peach and blueberry salad, and Rena was right those two taste great together.

This simple salad is made with two sliced and pitted peaches, sitting over mixed greens, a sprinkling of blueberries, feta cheese, and a lemon vinaigrette make this a flavorful and light salad that goes perfect with grilled chicken or pork.

It is getting HOT in here

I buy most of my peppers at an Asian Market near my house. This is the only place I can get serranos, but they sell them by the pound. I have no clue what to do with a pound of peppers when all I need is one, so I tend to give them to neighbors or throw them away. Well this time I tried something new, serrano slices, this was an daring experiment on my part since I have never pickled anything before. Once again the wonderful people on the web helped me find a way to do this. I spent about an hour looking at the various recipes for pickling hot peppers and wound up making my own. If you are stuck buying your hot peppers in bulk or you find that store bought jalapeno slices are just too mild for you, this is the recipe for you....
Pickled Serranos
2 1/2 cups of vinegar (I used white distilled)
2 1/2 cup of water
2 Tablespoons of Kosher salt
4 cloves of garlic
1 pound of serranos, cleaned and sliced
2 tablespoons of black peppercorns
In a medium sauce pan add water, vinegar, salt, garlic, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil. While brine is coming to a boil add serranos to a sterilized canning jar. When brine has reached a boil, pour over serranos making sure to cover all with liquid. When jar cools place in fridge and DO NOT OPEN for 1 week. Serve and enjoy, slices can be kept refrigerated for up to 6 months.

Healthy Fellow, a review

It has been awhile since my last post and for those who follow I am sorry that there has not been anything new or fun for you to read. Well I hope that this post will fit the bill. Over the weekend, I headed out to one of my local farmer’s markets and found one of the biggest zucchinis I have ever seen. I wanted to do something fun with this so I hit the web in search of a new idea and stumbled upon this website http://www.healthyfellow.com . I am normally not one to embrace all health food and the latest in natural health, but I found some useful information and am sharing this site with you to hope that you can find something to help you too. First off let me tell you that I am not a believer in diets, exercise is something I strive for yet have issues trying to squeeze it into my day. I am a believer in eat well, but eating healthy too. I love that this site featured some of my same attitudes while providing those who are way more into the whole healthy living scene so much more. The information provided was pretty well cited and the author made it personal and fun to read. My favorite thing on the site an article about planning for success with great tips on healthy eating. I am going to give some of the steps listed a try. Even better, I found great recipe to try with my super sized zucchini that I think the kids and husband will love too.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Rainier Cherries, a meal...

When you find Rainier Cherries at $2.88 a pound, you are going to buy them even if you live 4 hours away and are not leaving for another day. By the time the cherries and I got home, they needed to be used. Trying to figure out what to do with 2 pounds of cherries that need to be used and not wanting to make a dessert item gives one a definite challenge. Here is what I came up with....

Rainier Cherry Sauce

3 cups pitted Rainier Cherries

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup chopped shallot

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon peel

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
a pinch of thyme

In large saucepan, combine all ingredients; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes or until mixture thickens, stirring frequently. Serve over grilled salmon.

Note: I served this with salmon, and will not do so again, this is a perfect pork chop sauce and should be used as such...

Rainier Cherry Salad

1/2 cup of pitted Rainier Cherries

1 package of Arugula or Mixed Greens

1/4 cup of red onion or shallot, sliced thin

1/2 tablespoon of orange muscat vinegar (available from Trader Joe's)

1/4 cup of olive oil

a pinch of red pepper flakes

2 oz. of goat cheese, crumbled

salt and pepper

In a large bowl mix vinegar, olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper, combine until emulsified. Mix in lettuce, coating with dressing, add shallot, and cherries, top with cheese. If on hand add some homemade croutons and serve.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Summer Twist on Fall Classic

I love pork chops but, they seems to be more of a fall thing, that is until Asian Barbecue by Vicki Liley gave me an idea for a summer twist on a fall classic. In the recipe in the book, there is an Asian flavor twist. I personally wanted something that reminded me more of the classic oven roasted flavors. Here is what I came up with...

1 package of boneless thick cut pork chops

2 apples (I used Fuji, but go for what you like)

1 large white or yellow onion, cut into wedges

2 tablespoons of parsley

1 tablespoon onion powder

salt and pepper

Using an apple corer, core apple. Cut pork into apple sized pieces and season with salt and pepper. In a bowl large enough to hold all ingredients, mix pork, apple, and onion and season with parsley and onion powder. Place in fridge for 20 minutes, and soak skewers in water for same amount of time. Heat grill on Medium-High. While grill is heating place pork, apple, and onion on skewers alternating each ingredient. Place skewers on grill and cook with the lid on, turning over after 3 minutes until the pork in done. Serve with a mixed greens, cranberry, and walnut salad.

4th of July Continued

We were lucky enough to be invited to celebrate not just the 4th of July, but the 50th Birthday of three of our neighbors. The work for the feast started at 6:00 in the morning with the smoker being lit and the whole pig started it cooking journey. The night before the pig had been seasoned with a dry rub, and rather than mop the pig, its own juices were used to keep the meat moist. When I got back to see the progress at 11:00 the pig was well on its way to being done. The pig was cooked for a total of eight hours and the end results were delicious. The pig was removed from the heat and fat, skin, and bones were removed to create a southern style pulled pork that was served with a Carolina style sauce and a regular barbeque sauce. For those who have not ever had a Carolina style sauce with pulled pork, I recommend that you try it. It is very simple to make, take some hot sauce, a tiny bit of ketchup, red pepper flakes, and cider vinegar. Mix all together and smother the pork with the sauce. The best way to eat this type of pork is on a bun with coleslaw. That is exactly what I did with the delicious meat and I must say that I enjoyed every bite and am very thankful for all the work that my neighbors put into to getting the pig, the smoker, creating the rub, waking up early and staying up late, and most of all sharing this great 4th of July feast with all of us. I hope that everyone got some great cookout food on the 4th, next year we are looking forward to a trip to St. Michael's and partaking in the festivities there while attempting to cook out on the boat.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

4th of July Breakfast

Happy 4th of July everyone. I hope everyone has plans to enjoy the holiday and eat some great food. This morning I treated the family to a red, white, and blue breakfast. Well I should amend that to a white and blue breakfast but I think that the juice from the blueberries can qualify as red. I made some lemon biscuits with a blueberry sauce. I think everyone enjoyed them as my husband had thirds, my son took seconds, and the baby even ate one. Here is the quick and easy recipe.

For Biscuits:

5 cups of instant pancake mix (see note)

1 1/2 cups of water

1/4 cup of milk

zest from two lemons

For Sauce:

2 cups of clean blueberries

1/2 cup of sugar

juice from 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Mix all ingredients in a medium size bowl. Using a non stick cooking spray, spray cookie sheets, using a tablespoon, spoon dough onto sheet making sure to leave some room between biscuits. Bake in the oven for 8 to 11 minutes. While biscuits are baking, in a medium saucepan cook blueberries, sugar and lemon until the blueberries release their juices, about 7 minutes. Take sauce off of the heat and place in a bowl to serve. When biscuits are done transfer to a large plate and serve with sauce and butter. Enjoy...

Note: Make an instant pancake mix or use something like Bisquick.

For instant pancake mix use Alton Brown's recipe that can be found on the Food Network website.

And now for a little preview of what is coming later...