Tomatoes and cucumbers are the staple of just about every summer kitchen. I had plans to do an elaborate salad for the holiday weekend, but when it came down to it, I went quick and easy with my tomato cucumber salad. As a non-mayo, vinegar based salad, it travels well and doesn’t go bad quickly on a hot summer day. If you don’t want to mess with a dressing, store bought will work just fine and save even more time.
- 2 whole cucumbers.
- 4 tomatoes
- 2 green onions
- fresh parsley
- fresh dill
- Olive Oil
- Red Vineger
- Peel skin from cucumbers, slice in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds with a spoon.
- Slice the cucumber in half again and slice thinly across all down the length of the cucumber.
- Place the cucumbers in a bowl.
- Slice the tomato to be in a similar size and shape as the cucumbers; leaving the seeds and juice behind add the tomato to the cucumber in the bowl.
- Thinly slice the green cucumbers and add to the tomatoes and cucumber.
- Add 1 tbs red wine vinegar and 2 tbs of olive oil to a small container.
- Finely chop parsley and dill and stir into bowl or jar (that has a lid) with oilve oil and vinegar.
- Place lid on top of the bowl with the dressing and shake.
- Add to the tomato cucumber mixture and toss
Since it’s National Garlic Day on April 19th, I wanted to come up with a dinner that had some nice garlic flavor. Originally I was going to make a salad with garlic chicken and asparagus, but while I was at the store other thoughts entered my mind and I went with it. I grilled asparagus on a grill pan first, but maybe it doesn’t really need it. We loved the whole meal and I will definitely do it again when my daughter’s home, she enjoys it when I come up with something delicious. Chicken stuffed with Asparagus and Herbed Garlic Chevre is something your family would enjoy too.
- 2 large chicken breasts – sliced in half, then pounded flat.
- 16 spears of asparagus
- Herbed Garlic Chevre
- Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Herbs – basil, parsley
Dollop the Herbed Garlic Chevre on the flattened chicken breast and place 4 spears of asparagus on top. Roll the chicken up around the asparagus. Sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese, Salt, Garlic Pepper and Herbs. Place in glass pan, or casserole dish, and cover with aluminum foil. Bake in the oven on 350 until Chicken is done. About 10 minutes before it will be done take the aluminum foil off.
Herbed Garlic Chevre
- 2 cloves garlic
- 4 oz basil garlic chevre
Sauté garlic in oil to soften. Peel parsley, basil and thyme off stems and coarsely chop. Put it into bullet or other small processor or chop finely, and chevre, and whirl to combine. Use this to dollop on the chicken breasts.
- 2 large chicken breasts – sliced in half, then pounded flat.
- 16 spears of asparagus
- Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Herbs – basil, parsley
- Dollop the Herbed Garlic Chevre on the flattened chicken breast and place 4 spears of asparagus on top.
- Roll the chicken up around the asparagus.
- Sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese, Salt, Garlic Pepper and Herbs.
- Place in glass pan, or casserole dish, and cover with aluminum foil.
- Bake in the oven on 350 until Chicken is done.
- About 10 minutes before it will be done take the aluminum foil off.
- Sauté garlic in oil to soften.
- Peel parsley, basil and thyme off stems and coarsely chop.
- Put it into bullet or other small processor or chop finely, and chevre, and whirl to combine.
- Use this to dollop on the chicken breasts.
You could really smell the garlic in the kitchen while it was cooking and taste it in the cheese.
I served this with resmashed potatoes. I added a little cream, some gouda, and parmesan, salt, garlic pepper and herbs. Place in ramekins, sprinkle with garlic pepper, then parmesan cheese – It will have a nice cooked brown parmesan top to it when it’s ready. Throw it in the oven with the chicken for about 20 minutes (place in pan with water).
Dinner was a success. Though the chicken didn’t need a sauce or gravy – it wasn’t dry, the bottom of the pan was filled with good stuff my husband and I kept scraping, so maybe deglazing the pan and making a sauce with it is something I might try next time.
Spring is officially here, and the time has come to change things up from the vegetables and fruit that overwinter in the basement to the freshly growing like asparagus. Red pepper isn’t too local right now, but the southern states have a little coming ripe right now. This Spring Red Pepper and Asparagus Frittata is light, but full of flavor. It’s great for Sunday Brunch or even for a quick worknight dinner.Diana
I told you I was going healthy for the Superbowl. We brought this – Chicken, Chard, Bean and Butternut Squash Soup. We also brought some berries and greek yogurt with honey – plus vegan chocolate avocado cupcakes. We did splurge though because my sister in law made some awesome queso with sausage that was great with chips and they also had some Buffalo Wild Wings. It was a small gathering, but there was plenty of food and even though our favorite team disappointed, we had a good time (well most of us).
I bought my butternut squash last fall at the farmer’s market. We put them into baskets and stored them on shelves in the unheated basement. The food doesn’t freeze down there, but it does get rather nippy downstairs. Last year I tried storing them in a warmer spot, but some of my squash went bad. This year, they are in perfect condition and not even drying out. I’m thrilled that we put up a nice shelving unit to use for winter storage.
Anyway, I also have been trying to work with beans more, but dry beans not canned beans, and so that was the start of this soup. I roasted most of the vegetables in a glass pan in the oven until almost cooked. I also baked the chicken breast rather than fry it up. I wanted the broth to be clear when I served it and not muddied, which is why I did it this way. And to give it a nice bright taste, I grated lemon peel and squeezed lemon juice into it. This soup is one of my best tasting, I recommend it for family dinner, or a gathering of friends, or just the two of you.Diana
I like spaghetti squash, it’s one of my favorite vegetables, but I’m not a fan of covering up it’s flavor and texture with spaghetti sauce. To me, it’s not a replacement for spaghetti, it just mimics the texture but it’s so great tasting and yet low carb. When Filippo Berio sent me samples of Olive Oil, I ran to my cold food storage area (aka the unheated basement), and brought up the spaghetti squash. Squash is a great long storing vegetable, so for us right now this dish is very seasonal and from the local farm market.
My son assisted me in cooking this day. I was covering for someone on vacation all week, so I appreciated his help. Funny note: in my directions I told my son to cut the squash in half – which he did – staight across instead of lengthwise. He scooped it out to look like a bowl. Along with the squash, he roasted turip, carrots fennel and onion, all found in our marketbag. When I came home and checked on everything, we recut the squash lengthwise si it cooked more evenly.
After we removed the vegetables from the oven and let cool just enough to handle, we scraped the squash fibers out to look like spahetti, then sliced the other veggies snd tossed. For a little lightness we added fresh parsley and cut up some pea shoots and tossed along with the juice of a lemon.
PS – don’t forget to enter the giveaway… Filippo Berio GiveawayDiana
At one family gathering, I brought a salad with beets. My husband’s Aunt upon hearing there were beets in the salad asked if they tasted like dirt. I responded that they had an earthy flavor, and she said, ” Well, they taste like dirt to me.” Orange pairs well with beets, and helps to give the beets a less earthy flavor, as evidenced by my daughter’s statement when she tasted this year’s beet salad. I handed her a plate and told her the beet salad was my offering. She took a bite and said she liked it because, “it doesn’t have that really rustic flavor that beets sometimes have. ”Diana
It’s just the two of us now, and some nights it’s difficult to want to cook. All summer I could call my kids and tell them to start dinner. Now they’re both gone, we are tired , the pets need to be fed, and we don’t want to think about preparing a meal. I think sometimes it’s more difficult to cook for two; it’s easier to think about just skipping it and going for the ice cream. On the night my husband wasn’t home, I made myself an egg sandwich, but the next night I was determined to provide us with something delicious and nutritious and I wasn’t popping it into the microwave, Butternut Squash with a Maple Bourbon Glaze. I had butternut squash and I was going to use it, even if it was too big for two people, yay, we had leftovers too. I think maple and bourbon are very friendly flavors, and on the butternut with a little melted butter they were perfect.
- Butternut squash
- 2 tbs wild turkey bourbon
- 1 tbs maple syrup
- 1 tbs melted butter
Slice the butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Whisk together the butter, the bourbon and the maple syrup. Brush the cut halves with the glaze and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in oven (we actually used the toaster oven) on 400 until you can poke it with a fork and it gives nicely, brushing every so often with the glaze.Diana
I still have butternut squash in my basement, but as the basement warms up, the squash will be in peril. I’m glad they lasted as long as they did, since this is the first year we tried basement storage. Last year we kept the winter squash upstairs, and they didn’t last as long. I’m going to make Butternut Squash Under a Swiss Cheese Crust for our family Easter gathering. I made it for dinner one night and my husband was really impressed, so impressed he wants me to make it again. I used curry in the dish to keep it from being too sweet, but also added nutmeg and cinnamon because I love the taste with butternut squash and I also added nutmeg to the cheese sauce. The swiss cheese was hand delivered from Wisconsin. A friend of my husband’s brought us back cheese from a recent trip. Isn’t it cool to have a friend like that? My favorite prep method for butternut squash is to slice it down the middle, scooping the seeds and pulp out, but leaving the meat behind. Then it is brushed with olive oil, and placed cut side down in a glass pan. It goes into the oven at about 350 and bakes until a knife slides in easily. Ingredients:
- 1 butternut squashed prepped(see above)
- 1/2 cup half & half
- 1 tsp curry
- 1 tsp nutmeg -grated
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tbs butter
- 2 tbs flour
- 1 cup half & half
- 1 cup swiss cheese shredded
- 1 tsp nutmeg – grated
Bake butternut squash until soft. Cool and then scoop butternut squash out of the shell into a bowl. Use a mixer to combine the squash milk, nutmeg, cinnamon and curry. Place in a buttered casserole dish. In a small saucepan melt butter and whisk in flour. Slowly whisk in cold milk until smooth. Take off heat and whisk in the cheese. Spread cheese sauce over top of the squash (add more cheese if you need a thicker consistency). Bake in oven at 350 until cheese starts to brown and crusty.Buff
This is one of my favorite meals and I get to cook it only once or twice a year – once on St. Patrick’s Day [March 17th for those not in the know] and again when either the mood strikes me or I have special guests. Well, the other day we had special guests in and not only did I make this special dinner, we actually sat at the Dining Room table!
My husband picked up a Dry Aged Beef Tenderloin from Bluescreek Farm Meats this week and I knew it was the beef we could use for a special dinner. I was looking forward to trying out the tenderloin – which I’ve never cooked before. I love an opportunity to try out something new, but it can be a little scary trying out something new when you know if you mess up. That’s it, we’re eating it anyway because we spent the money already. This one though, this was a big winner.
I researched the best cooking methods, and there was a consensus that high heat quickly was the way to go. I couldn’t use salt, because my husband is on a low sodium diet and meat carries its own sodium, so I wanted a way to keep it moist and flavorful but without added sodium. I decided to try out my dehydrated mushroom powder on the tenderloin. Last year I took mushrooms, dehydrated them, and then pulverized them to make it into a powder. I think mushrooms in gravy compliment steak. I mixed up some garlic powder, paprika and the mushroom powder, and then smooshed it up with some softened butter. My steak had been sitting out coming to room temperature, which helps it to become soft and pliable. I took the butter paste and rubbed it all over the steak.
The biggest hurdle to this perfect meal – was my husband didn’t know exactly what time he would be leaving work since he had to work on a project later than usual. His task was to call when he was leaving work. In the mean time, I put my cast iron grill pan into the oven and let it heat up at 450 degrees. As soon as he called, I put a few pats of butter in the pan and placed the tenderloin on top and put it into the oven. I set the timer for 17 minutes because I was going to check the internal temperature at that time to see what the internal temperature was. My creamed kale was ready in a glass dish so that it would be tossed into the oven while the beef was resting. I sliced shallots, mushrooms and a couple of green onions and set it aside.
When the timer dinged, I checked the beef tenderloin and it was 135 degrees. I have seen suggestions for 120, but my husband won’t eat rare meat or medium rare, medium is the lowest he would be happy with. I took the tenderloin out and stuck it on a separate plate with an aluminum tent over top. Then I added the chopped mushrooms and shallots and a couple of tablespoons of butter into the pan the beef was cooked in, on top of the stove over a low temp. The mushrooms and shallots were sauteed until soft, removed from pan and set aside. A cup of wine was added to the pan and simmered until reduced by half. When it was reduced by half, the mushrooms and shallots were added back in and sauteed for about a minute.
Place the Creamed Kale on the plate, slice the beef tenderloin on an angle, place on top, and spoon the mushroom wine reduction over top. My goodness this is good stuff. The beef was pink, soft, tender and delicious. Wow, that was good.
- 2 to 3 lb beef tenderloin
- 2 tsp dehydrated mushroom powder
- ½ tsp paprika
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- Pre-heat oven to 400.
- Let Beef tenderloin sit out to come to room temperature.
- A couple of softened pats of butter should be mixed in a small bowl with mushroom powder, paprika and garlic powder.
- Smoosh and mix the butter with the mushroom powder and spices until it is all mixed in as well as it can be.
- Take cast iron pan and melt 1 tsp butter and 1 tsp olive oil in the bottom of the pan.
- Rub the smooshed butter all over the tenderloin - massaging it well.
- Grind fresh black powder over top.
- Place the tenderloin in the cast iron pan and place into the oven uncovered.
- Set the timer for 15 minutes and use a meat thermometer to check the temperature. If you like your beef rare - take it out when the internal temperature reaches 125.
- My husband likes it medium so, I took it out at 135.
- Remove the tenderloin to a plate and tent with foil.
- Slice mushrooms and shallots.
- Place the cast iron pan back on the stovetop and melt 2 tsp butter in the pan.
- Saute the mushrooms and shallots in the pan until soft and remove them from pan and set aside.
- Add 1 cup red wine, scrape the bits off the bottom and reduce the wine by half.
- Add the mushrooms and shallots to the wine and saute for a minute.
- Place the tenderloin over top of the creamed kale (or spinach, or polenta, or mashed potatoes) spoon the mushrooms, shallots and sauce over top.
- Grind a little more pepper over top.