What to eat when it’s hot outside ? A salad with pesto as the dressing is better than mayo or heavy dressings and parts of it can be made ahead of time to be combined sometime later before you eat. Both my husband and my son enjoyed this for dinner, my husband loved it so much he finished off whatever was leftover that same evening.
I received garlic scapes in my market bag and used it in the pesto and the salad itself, chopping it into pieces about one to two inches in length. I cut the asparagus and the leeks to the same size as the garlic scapes (though they weren’t used in the pesto). I prepared this again with more asparagus for our Memorial Day family gathering, but I have broccolini that would work well and so would fresh peas.
Garlic scapes are substituted for garlic in this dish, I used it in the pesto and the salad. They are the seed heads that shoot up among the garlic, cutting the scape off is supposed to lead to a bigger head of garlic. While you are patiently waiting for your garlic to grow, you can cut off your scape and substitute it in your recipes.
- Bunch Parsley
- Bunch Oregano
- 2 Garlic Scapes
- Bunch Basil
- ¼ cup Pine Nuts divided
- Olive oil
- Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 8 oz dried Orzo
- 8 Asparagus stalks
- 4 Garlic Scapes
- 2 Leeks
- Pine Nuts
- Grated Parmesan
- Place all Pesto ingredients into a food processor or magic bullet.
- Drizzle olive oil in and pulse.
- Check to see if the pesto is the right consistency – it should be loose enough to toss with salad and coat the pasta, but not too loose that it will just slide right off.
- If it isn’t loose enough add more oil and pulse again.
- Cook Orzo according to package directions.
- Slice the garlic scapes, the asparagus and the leeks.
- The leeks will need to be rinsed again so that all of the dirt and sand is removed.
- Drain pasta and the vegetables and toss together.
- Toast Pine Nuts and add to the Pasta
- Toss the pesto with the pasta salad.
- Sprinkle Parmesan, salt and pepper and toss again.
I’m adding a note here that I’m entering this pasta salad as my entry for Culinary Smackdown – Battle Salad. Come visit and see the entries.
My daughter inadvertently planted my sorrel last year in the flower bed. It has leaves similar to other plants when it is first growing, which makes it difficult to find until the flowers start growing in. The other way to figure it out is to taste the leaves, and if it’s lemony, it’s sorrel (if not, ugh). My sorrel has finally reached a nice size for using in cooking and tastes lemony good when cooked down into a sauce. I made some lamb chops and grilled it on the NuWave, just brushing it with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Then I made this delicious sorrel sauce from Michael Roux’s Sauces. It really was the perfect sauce for the lamb chops; I can’t wait to use it on some salmon.Diana
This asparagus coulis from the book Sauces by Michael Roux was the perfect sauce for my tortellini and asparagus tips. Usually with tortellini we have an alfredo sauce. This coulis is a much lighter, but very flavorful way to serve tortellini. It adds depth to the asparagus tips that we tossed in with the tortellini, and my photo does not show how green and pretty the sauce color came out. There were many steps to the sauce, plus I forgot to put the o-ring on the blender and it squirt sauce out all over the place – not funny really, but I recovered and it came out lovely. Stop laughing, I kept yelling that blenders that shot sauce out everywhere weren’t useful, so there had to be something very wrong going on then I found the ring in the box. My husband said – look at it this way, you won’t forget the ring again, lesson learned. I think it comes from having such a small kitchen that I pull apart my equipment and put it back in boxes, so that I can shove it on the shelf. The point is, that in spite of a dumb blender, the sauce came out lovely.
- 12 oz asparagus spears(preferably small)
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3 1/2 tbs butter
- 4 tbs chopped shallots
- 1 thyme sprig
- 1 1/4 cup chicken stock or water
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
- 1 tsp soy sauce (optional)
Peel the asparagus stalks using a swivel vegetable peeler. cut off the tips and blanch them in boiling salted water for 1 minute or until firm to the bite. Refresh, drain, and set aside. Chop the stalks and leave them raw.
Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan. Add the chopped asparagus stalks and shallots and sweat gently for 5 minutes. Add the thyme and chicken stock and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes.
Pour in the cream, increase the heat to high, and reduce the coulis by one-third. Whiz in a blender for 3 minutes, then pass through a fin-meshed conical strainer. Season with salt and pepper to taste, adding the soy sauce if you wish.
Keep warm and serve as soon as possible. Add the blanched asparagus tips to the coulis just before serving.
Note; I added the tips to the tortellini, and then poured the sauce over top. Like and delicious.Diana
I was introduced to a cupcake company that uses Pama Pomegranate Liqueur. Though I haven’t tasted Chocolate Pomegranate Cupcakes by More – which by the way look fantastic, I have tasted Pama – and it is fantastically delicious.
I thought I could take the liqueur and use in in a sort of Bananas Not So Foster served on top of an almond pound cake. I love cooked bananas, I love rum but since I love Pama, and this sweet Pomegranate Banana sauce over top of the cake was really really good, that’s what I used. My son and husband agreed. I made the almond pound cake using almond flour and cardamom, but I’m still working on the recipe. However, the Bananas and sauce can be used as a topping for your favorite desserts – ice cream, cake, scones, etc. I used only two bananas, and made slices to go on top of the cake better. I also didn’t use the flaming rum. I have a seventeen year old son who doesn’t need that much alcohol, I just wanted a taste of Pama in it. So it’s Not So Foster after all. The Pama gave it a little fruitier taste; we thought it was yummy.
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 cup Pama liqueur
- 2 bananas sliced
Melt butter in sauté pan along with brown sugar and cinnamon. Cook this down to caramelize and reduce down a little – about 3 to 5 minutes. Add in Pama liqueur, and simmer for another couple of minutes. Stir in bananas until warm. Pour your sauce over cake or ice cream or whatever you desire.Diana
This recipe is from 300 Big & Bold Barbecue & Grilling Recipes book by Karen Adler and Judith Fertig. This is one of my favorite ways to prepare my salmon before grilling it. My husband and kids love it and my mom enjoyed it too when we had it the other day. This is from the sauce and rubs section of the book. There are more complicated and much different recipes, this just happens to be one of the best and easiest and tastiest.
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
In a bowl whisk together mayonnaise and mustard.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
My variation is to add dill and parsley to the sauce and sprinkle some herbs on top. I also have extra as a dipping sauce for the plate.Diana
Christmas was a fun time for us. Most of our relatives are 3 to 12 hours away, so we only see them a few times a year. My side of the family sees us once or twice a year but we communicate a lot by computer or phone. Visiting and seeing how the kids have grown and what they are accomplishing is always special.
My sister in law Pam gave me a Pesto book by Lou Seibert Pappas with illustrations by Steven Salerno (along with some really great paring knives) which I thought I would share with you. This book is small in size, but has plenty of recipes and tells you what to pair it with. Pam made a pasta with pesto for my daughter’s graduation with herbs from her garden that turned out delicious and we discussed using pesto again.
I found a dill recipe that would go great with Salmon. It isn’t the right time for Dill in my frozen garden, though you may be able to find it in the market. I cook salmon on a grill pan – I’m sure Deb’s husband would be out in the winter grilling it, but I like my cast iron grill pan.
1 1/2 cups packed fresh dill leaves
1/2 cup packed fresh flat-leaf(Italian) parsley
2 tbs walnuts, pistachios or pine nuts
2 large garlic cloves smashed
3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbs freshly grated parmesan cheese
In a blender or food prcessor4, place the dill, parsley, nuts and garlic. Whirl until finely minced add the oil and cheese and process until blended. Transfer to a small bowl, cover and chill. Makes about 3/4 cup.Diana
Spicy Newcastle Brown Ale BBQ Marinade
Makes enough to marinate 1 1/2 to 2 pounds of beef; Newcastle recommends sirloin tip or London broil. Yields about 2 cups
- 12-ounce bottle Newcastle Brown Ale
- 1 tablespoon dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/8 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
- 2 tablespoons sugar or honey
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
Thoroughly blend all ingredients except beef. Pour marinade into a container big enough to hold beef in one layer or a zip-seal plastic bag large enough to hold beef. Add beef, cover or seal and marinate at least 2 hours in refrigerator before grilling.Diana
When I talk about my great tasting salsa my sister always encourages me to post the recipe. I tell her, it’s not a regular recipe. She says I should post it. My family loves salsa especially my husband and College Girl. We can a huge amount, but it doesn’t last the winter, no matter how much we make. I like to sneak jars into Christmas gifts, but my husband isn’t thrilled with that he wants it all for himself. Last year, we made 36 pints and it lasted until April. It would have lasted longer if I didn’t give any away, but my sister in law makes us soap and gives us jars of honey. I think it’s a good trade.
Here’s my recipe:
- 2 drywall buckets of tomatoes (homedepot buckets work as well)
- 6 large whole onions (my family loves sweet best)
- 6 or 7 cloves of garlic
- 1 large serving bowl of peppers ( green peppers, or sweet peppers – any mild peppers)
- Hot peppers to taste
- Parsley – huge bunch or two (can use cilantro)
- 2 cups of apple cider vinegar
- 2 cans tomato paste
- lemon juice
At first bite of Mrs. Renfro’s Mango Habanero Salsa, one gets a tongue pleasing sesation of fruitiness, but give it a couple of seconds and the heat hits. The perfect blend of fruit and spice. It’s not too sweet and the heat isn’t so much that it takes away from the flavor of the salsa. To say I can sit down and eat a jar of this in one sitting is an understatement. I know some people ( *cough* Diana *cough*) aren’t fans of fruity salsa. When it’s done right however, it becomes a flavor explosion. Mrs. Renfro’s does it right.
It gets better though. Mrs. Renfro’s is one of those food companys using its power for good, not evil. They’re rocking the pink lids to raise awareness for breast cancer. A portion of pink lid sales are donated to the breast cancer cause. We so approve.
Right now I have a jar of Mrs. Renfro’s Raspberry Chipotle salsa hidden in the back of my refrigerator. I hope my husband doesn’t see it. I don’t want to share.Diana
My husband is a vodka aficionado. When we were dating, he kept a bottle of Vodka in the freezer at all times. As we got older and the kids were teens we cut down on keeping vodka in the freezer. However, people who know my husband likes vodka have given him a bottle of vodka for cleaning up their hard drive. He doesn’t mind the trade at all. We have a bottle of 360 vodka, which doesn’t just make him happy, it makes me happy too.
360 Vodka uses 100 % locally grown grains form northeastern Kansas and northwestern Missouri. Every bit of it is utilized and nothing goes to waste.
The beautiful green bottle is 85% recycled glass.
The packaging is chlorine free recycled paper and recycled materials with soy based ink.
That’s not all
They use carbon offsets.
They have a close the loop campaign where they donate 1.00 to an environmental organization for every returned bottle closure.
My husband thinks it’s a quality vodka – which would be the only reason to even look at it in the first place.
- The vodka 360 website has hints and suggestions for helping to do our share to do a little more to be green.
Here’s a Vodka Marinara recipe that’s quick and easy. I use some of my homemade canned sauce with it as a short cut.
- 2tbs Olive Oil
- 1 med onion diced
- 1 garlic clove (2 if you like garlic) minced1 jar marinara sauce
- 1/4 cup vodka
- 1/2 cup of half & half or heavy cream
- 1/4 cup of fresh basil leaves – chopped (less if you are using dried)
Saute onions and garlic in oil until soft. Add vodka sauce simmer for a few minutes until vodka is almost evaporated. Dump in marinara sauce and simmer for about 5 minutes(longer if your sauce is a little runny like mine is this year). Stir in cream, add basil and salt and pepper to taste.
This is my own paw paw drink made with 360 vodka.
- 1 large paw paw (or many small ones) peeled and seeds removed.
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- 1 cup lemon lime soda
I put the paw paw and the pineapple juice into the bullet and blended it, added the soda and stirred then added the vodka to the right strength. This is delicious.