Who would have thought coming into this new year that we would be going through anything like the pandemic we are now living through. The government all seems to be working together, finally, to do what our country needs. People and business have sacrificed so much to try and stop this virus. Closing restaurants, bars, now even parks are closed in our area quickly makes you realize how serious this is.
Spring hasn’t sprung yet!
Well, Spring hasn’t sprung yet but we can always get some pretty nice asparagus here in Texas. Ya know, Spring is just right around the corner; may not feel like it right now even here in Texas but another couple of months and the trees will be budding and flowers popping up all over the place.
I use to think of asparagus as mostly a spring vegetable since that is when it is harvested but these days (or probably last few decades) we get our vegetables from all over the world.
These little pearl red onions come from Frieda’s of southern California who produces a lot of specialty produce items. And when I saw these little purple onions I just knew I wanted to use them with asparagus. After all, purple and green are my favorite colors and this was such an easy dish to prepare for company.
Corn, corn, corn, and what to do with it.
So, it’s the end of summer and I’m sure by now your are wondering what to do with all that fresh corn you are seeing in the markets.
Over the 4th of July I picked up some for 10/$1. I can tell you I bought more than 10 ears at that price. Most of it I cut off the cob to put in the freezer for some corn and shrimp chowder I want to make once the temperatures start falling.
Easy pasta dish for the summer.
Don’t you just love pasta dishes for the summer. Pasta cooks in under 10 minutes and everything else that goes into the dish takes a matter of minutes. So, in less than 30 minutes you can have this dish on the table and have time to open that bottle of wine.
This was a Michael Symon recipe that I saw on Food Network. I love buying different shapes of pasta and for this particular recipe I bought a casarecce pasta which is kind of twisted. His recipe called for a cup of mint leaves but I only used 1/2 cup since hub does not care for mint that much.
One other change I will do next time is the cooking of the snow peas and peas. I would not cook. I wanted them to stay bright green and have a little crunch to them so I would recommend maybe sautéing the green onions a couple of minutes then throwing in the peas and pasta and cook just long enough to heat the snow peas and English peas.
Funky corn will take your funk away!
If you love corn and can’t get enough of it in the summer and you’re always looking for a new recipe and something EASY to make for dinner, then this one’s for you.
When we lived in Ft. Madison, Iowa back in the late 70’s we use to go to festivals in the summer; the strawberry and corn festivals were my favorite. I remember the corn especially because you could eat all the hot buttered corn you wanted for free and the kids could run around and play and you wouldn’t think of worrying about their safety.
My son, Scott, who lives in Chicago is always sending me websites to restaurants he and his wife, Missy, go to. This particular restaurant, Funkenhausen was just named one of the 16 best restaurants in Chicago and their chef comes from Charleston, SC and has German roots. I’m sure this corn recipe was probably his take on grilled corn and similar to a Mexican street corn.
Here’s another “kiss my grits” grit recipe.
Well, not sure if grits need to be kissed but these were so delicious I want to kiss someone to thank them for the idea. Guess that would be Bobby Flay. I saw one of his shows where he made these and he pureed the corn but I decided to put the whole kernels in my version. My recipe also has a couple of eggs in them and they set up nicely for a casserole.
I love serving grits with bar-b-q of course but any grilled meat or chicken would go nicely with these grits. Add something green and your done.
So, when it comes to the grits, first of all don’t use instant grits as they are precooked and dehydrated and do not have nearly the flavor as other types. Quick grits and regular grits are about the same with the only difference being the size of the grind. If you are lucky enough to find stone-ground grits then buy those. They are made from whole dried corn kernels and coarsely ground between two stones of a grist mill. The entire kernel is ground so the stone ground grit will have a more speckled appearance and a rich corn flavor. (I store mine in the freezer.) I still buy my South Carolina grits and now find them on Amazon – here. The first time I bought Charleston grits was at a farmer’s market in Charleston and they were mixed – yellow and white. On Amazon they sell either white or yellow so I buy one of each and mix them and then freeze what I am not using. They last a long time in the freezer. (I just found Palmetto Mixed Grits on Amazon so no need to buy a bag of each.)
I’m all shook up!
Remember these these famous lines of Elvis’ song “I’m All Shook Up”
♫I’m in love
I’m all shook up
Mm mm mm mm, ya, ya, ya,♫
Well, you will be going mmm, mmm, after eating these potatoes; and they are all shooked up.
My mother use to make two types of potatoes that we really liked as kids. One was these “shooked” potatoes and the other potato recipe (no recipe at all) was called “stewed” potatoes.
Let me tell you about the Stewed Potatoes first. First, you have to be making some home made cornbread in order to make these potatoes (no boxed, sweet cornbread either). So, my mother would have some peeled, quartered potatoes cooking in water. She would have her cornbread ready to go in the oven and before putting the bowl in the sink to be washed, she would add a little water (maybe 1/2 cup or so) to the bowl and swish it around and then she would pour this into the cooked potatoes and cook for about 5-10 minutes longer and this watery mushy stuff would thicken the water and then she would add some salt, pepper and butter and they were ready to serve up. Very good and I think about her every time I make them.
Broccoli gone skinny! Or broccolini.
So, what do you do when you are snowed in or it’s just too cold to get outside? Well, I tend to do one of several things. Wrap up in a blanket, pop some popcorn and start binging on Hallmark movies. Or, I start organizing drawers (after I watched “Tidying Up” series on Netflix); or I start cooking or looking for something new to post.
Well this past week it was cold in Texas; and I don’t mean a foot of snow on the ground and subzero temperatures cold. I have to say 40’s and 50’s (low’s in the 30’s) in Texas can feel bone shilling cold. I’m probably not going to get any sympathy from friends who live in the north. Maybe we’ve lived in Texas so long (30 years almost) that anything below “hot” feels chilly.
While my husband was out building our dry creek bed (I’ll show pictures when he’s done) I was inside looking for something to keep me busy so I didn’t have to go outside.
My Israeli dates made a wonderful salad.
I didn’t expect to see so much agriculture in Israel but we saw field after field of dates, olives, pomergrantes, and limes. All of their fields have drip irrigation; I guess that explains growing in the dessert.
Our first day of our tour (or I guess third if you count the two days getting there), we had rain the night before. It was their first rain in seven months and the morning ride on the bus still had us being sprinkled on — what did we see? The most beautiful, vivid rainbow I have ever seen. It was from end to end and you could see the lines of color so clearly and what happened next took us all by surprise — another rainbow appear on top of the first rainbow. What a way to start our trip.
On a recent, very long, road trip (3,500 miles) to see our son and family in Chicago I bought corn.
So the trip started from Texas and stopping in Missouri for a few days and Chicago for a few days we made our way north around the lake. Did you know that it is 1,000 miles around Lake Michigan?
We had to deal with 4 hours of rain leaving Texas, then another 4 hours the day we left Missouri and guess what, another 4 hours of rain driving up the Wisconsin side of the lake before getting to our final destination (almost) on Mackinac Island where we stayed a couple of days, enjoyed biking around the island and tea at the Grand Hotel. Leaving there we headed towards Traverse City visiting a lot of little lake towns along the way; and no rain!
So, what’s so good about these refried beans?
What’s so good about these refried beans? Well, they are homemade.
When I was on a girl’s trip last September we had lunch one day at Rancho De Chimayo in Chimayo, NM. This restaurant won a James Beard award in 2016 so I knew when I read that and we were going to Chimayo we had to eat there.
We had lunch before visiting the historic village of chimayo which dates back to 17th century and that’s where I first bought blue corn cornmeal that I made these Blue Corn Muffins. I also picked up some freshly ground Hatch green chili powder and green chili flakes which I had never seen in our stores.
Rancho De Chimayo, pueblo-style, restaurant has dining rooms throughout the house. Some of the rooms have exposed adobe walls and since 1965 they have been serving delicious authentic Mexican food. They also have outside dinging in courtyard like setting with flowers around. It was beautiful when we were there. We sat on the glassed in porch and it was a very nice lunch to enjoy with forever friends.
Green and gluten-free!
While in Hot Springs a couple of months ago going to the horse races I found this gluten-free green pea pasta at one of the shops down town and since my son and family were visiting the next week I wanted something new gluten free to make for my daughter-in-law.
I purchased a red lentil pasta and this green pea pasta. My first thought was a pea pasta salad with green peas and some other green ingredients. I just happened to have one potato so I cut it into small cubes and boiled and added to the pasta salad.
There are so many gluten-free pasta out there now and once you add all your other ingredients you would never know it was GF. I was never a fan of gluten-free recipes (especially sweets/pastries) when they were starting to appear all over the internet. Seems like they were all made from just almond flour and to me everything tasted like almonds. I like all the new blends of flours and especially the pastas made with vegetables like this green pea pasta. This one comes from Abruzzo, Italy and you can buy it here or find it in a specialty shop.