Summer Recipe Roundup

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine asked if I could post some fun, summer recipes. The problem is that because summer has just begun (or not even, officially), I can’t really start experimenting or playing around with summer recipes yet until the produce is available. I did get a pretty good haul this past weekend and hopefully will have some recipes to share with you at the end of the week, but for now, what I thought might be nice is to round up several recipes from previous summers, with links, so you can dive into the archives and go with something tried and true. So here ya go, Janessa.

Summer Recipe Roundup

Creamy Avocado Linguine with Meyer Lemon and Arugula
shrimp avocado pasta

Although avocados are technically in season all the time, this dish is decidedly summer. The addition of shrimp make it seasonal for the Eastern Seaboard, and it’s just so damn refreshing.

 

Dried Strawberries

Dried Strawberries

There are still some strawberries in the fields around here – if they’re still available where you are, a great way to save them is to dry and freeze them. Great on salads, in cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, etc.

Eggplant Rotini with Roasted Veggies

eggplant Rotini

This is one of my favorite summer recipes. Quick, fresh, easy and adaptable to whatever veggies you have on hand. Don’t go through the summer without making this.

Local Yokel Mojito
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Of course I had to add a beverage in, but mojitos, with fresh mint from your garden, are the epitome of summer sipping. My mint is already coming up like crazy, and if yours is too, then don’t let another Happy Hour go by without making this.

Roasted Beet Salad with Vinaigrette
Beets in vinaigrette

I just got a bunch of beets from the farmers market this past weekend, so beet salad with vinaigrette is not far away. This is by far my favorite beet recipe out there and a summer staple at our house.

Shrimp Ceviche
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Shrimp Ceviche is so fresh, light and healthy that it screams summer. Dish it out into martini glasses for a classy, but super easy app.

Summer Beef and Rice Skillet Casserole
beef skillet

This recipe was great and I’m furious at myself for not making it this past summer between our epic move and living in two different states. This is a great way to use up all that squash and zucchini that presents itself mid to late summer. It’s also great for a family or for a small crowd. This summer, I’ll be making it as much as is reasonable and/or until my husband starts complaining.

 

OK! There are so many more recipes, many of which are summer seasonable, over on the RECIPES PAGE, but hopefully this gave you a good start. This is such an exciting time of year when things start to pop up and the options are endless, so don’t let it pass you by – get out to your local farmers market, farm stand or local grocery and BUY LOCAL and EAT FRESH!

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Happy Hour

I know I’ve been out of blogging mode for awhile, but we’ve been working on getting our house on the market – it will be for sale this week, just in time for us to fly to Seattle for a week. It’s been hectic. So, in light of that, I figure it’s time for a drink. And since my mint came up like crazy with the heat this week, I figured it’s mojito time.

Not a lot of locals know that we have a rum and vodka distillery right here in Hampton Roads- Chesapeake Bay Distillery. I was “blessed” with a bottle of their small-batch rum a few months ago when I went to visit the Distillery. So between my backyard mint and this “Chick’s Beach” rum, this really is a local imbibe worth sharing.

local yokel mojito

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Snip several stems of fresh mint and muddle in the bottom of a large glass with a spoonful of raw, organic sugar and the juice of half a lime. Fill the glass with ice, then fill the glass 1/3 full with rum, then a jigger of sweetened lime juice, the juice of the other half of the lime and fill the rest of the glass with club soda. Stir well and enjoy.

Cheers!

Cookie Culture

Today I am the guest blogger at a fabulous blog, Whisks and Words. Dana (aka – Whisks and Words) asked me to participate in her blog party cookie swap. Super cute idea, unless you’re me and you hate baking and don’t eat sweets. But I love Dana and her blog and writing self-effacing posts, so I did it. Check it out and subscribe to her blog; she’s way better than me about posting on a regular basis, and always has great recipes and reflections. Here’s a teaser of the cookies I made:

apple spiced caramel cookies

apple spiced caramel cookies

That being said, and because I’m sure you’ve gone to the link above and read my cookie post, I present to you another cookie recipe, but this one is baking Rachel style. I found this recipe on Pinterest, (via Six Sister’s Stuff) just like the one in the other post, and also saved it for the purpose of making them for co-workers and others at Christmas. But once I made these cookies and tried them for myself, I actually LIKED them, and made them again. And ate some of them. Shocking. But that’s how good they are. And I’m almost positive I don’t just like them because there are only four ingredients and like three steps. Seriously, this is all you need to make these cookies:

This is my kind of baking

This is my kind of baking

Mint Chocolate Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 box of chocolate devil’s food cake mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c. vegetable oil
  • 1 bag of andes mints OR mint truffle Hershey kisses

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the first three ingredients together until well combined. Scoop each cookie out with a large spoon or a cookie spoon works best, you want at least a tablespoon of dough for each cookie. Round out each cookie into a ball with your hands, make a small depression on the top of the cookie ball and place 2 inches apart on a parchment lined cookie pan (or use a baking mat).
  2. Bake about 7 or 8 minutes, no longer – you don’t want to overcook these. Take them out of the oven and place your mint kiss or Andes mint on top of each cookie, then put back into the oven for 30 seconds-1 minute. Remove from the oven, and with the back of a spoon or a butter knife, gently spread the mint (which will be melty) over the top of the cookie. Let the cookies cool on the sheet, then transfer the sheet to the fridge and let the mint chocolate glaze set before eating. Or eat them immediately like I did. Whatever.

mint cookies done

These are awesome. Seriously. This is now my go-to cookie. They are headache free. The hardest part was trying to find Andes mints, which are surprisingly scant. But the mint truffle Hershey kisses were actually great here in their place.  The second hardest part was not being able to share them with the dogs.

mint cookies and dog

Not really. These cookies are for me, dogs!

What is your favorite cookie around Christmas-time, or of all-time, for that matter?

Herb Jelly

A few weeks ago my mom, myself and a friend of ours went to an herb preservation workshop where we learned how to make herb vinegar as well as herb infused oils and jams and jellies. I have a jar of herb vinegar stewing away in the back of a cabinet, which I will blog about soon, but it’s so easy to do it’s almost pitiful. In the meantime, our friend Theresa took on the more complicated process of making herb jellies and at a dinner this past week she presented us each with a jar of basil and rosemary jelly. I was so excited to try this flavor combination with anything I could find: fruit, bread, meats, cheese, an old flip flop – whatever!
The whole thing was made even more appealing by just how adorable the jelly was to begin with:

Rosemary and Basil Jelly

So this morning for breakfast, I decided to try it with a slice of multi-grain bread and some fresh, local peaches I got from the farmers market this past week. I know, peaches with rosemary and basil may not be the first thing that comes to your mind, but it should be! This combo was amazing. The heartiness of the bread, the sweet but herbal flavors of the jam and the tart but subtly sweet peaches were perfection. It doesn’t look like much and I realize you can hardly see my bread for all the peach, but seriously – amazing.

Multi-grain bread with herb jelly and peaches.

If you are already making jams and jellies, then add this recipe to your repertoire:

Herb-Apple Jelly

  • 4-5 fresh basil sprigs
  • 1 fresh rosemary branch (not too large or flavor will overpower the jelly)
  • 3 cups unsweetened apple juice
  • 4 ½ cups sugar
  • 3 oz. liquid Pectin (1 pkg.)

Make this jelly with different fresh herb combinations, either basil with rosemary or
thyme with mint. It’s good on toast, and excellent on pork and chicken.

You will need 6 clean (8-oz.) jelly jars and two-part lids (seal and screw-on band). Fill a
large stockpot or canner with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Sterilize jars and
lids. Keep at a simmer while you prepare the jelly.

Tie basil and rosemary sprigs in cheese-cloth. Place in a 5-quart pot along with apple
juice and sugar. Bring to a full boil and continue boiling for 1 minute.

Add pectin, stir well, and boil for 3 minutes. Remove and discard cheesecloth with
herbs; skim foam if needed. (you may also add a teaspoon of butter to reduce foaming)

Pour hot jelly into sterilized jars. Wipe jar rim if necessary, press on lid, and screw on
band. (If there’s any extra jelly, you can enjoy it right away and it will last in your fridge
for a while.) Work quickly but carefully, as the jelly will be very hot. Place jars in
simmering water and raise heat to bring water to a boil. Boil jars for 5-10 minutes, then
remove and allow to cool to room temperature. Leave for 24 hours.

You should hear the jars pop shortly after removing them from the canner. This
indicates that it’s sealed. When cool, the lids should be smooth and flat. Store for up to
a year in a cool, dark area out of direct sunlight.

This recipe and the others we received in the workshop are courtesy of local personal chef and herb-master, Elizabeth Meska. 

 

I can’t wait to try this jelly with so many other things. Anybody have any suggestions?