Dinner for a Hot Night

One day it was 103 and one morning it was 50….St. Paul doesn’t seem to be able to decide between hot and cold.  Windows closed.  Water everything green that’s dying out there.  Runs to Menard’s for air conditioners.  Calls to St. Paul Heating and Cooling for help.  (Like everyone else in town.)  Ach, windows open.  And now it’s cold…close them again.  So goes summer.  Meantime, the roses are blooming…

As are the later peonies, irises, and late lilacs.

Moses supposes his toeses are roses….. (If you’re a “Singing in the Rain” fan.)

Closeup of rose tree

Tiny irises snuck up amidst the peonies.

Hostas burned in the heat, but tomatoes loved it and grew 2 inches, I think.  I now have baby tomatoes.  BLTS here we come.

Our house painters are done.  Now we’re trying to figure out how to make our furniture fit.

Meantime, we have Emily home and she’s been busy perfecting her Pad Thai game:

While I serve as chief bottle washer.  Sous chef sounds better, doesn’t it?

As we’re getting ready to go to the lake, there’s plenty of opportunity for easy suppers and farmer’s market mixed greens with a lemon vinaigrette and warm goat cheese toasts filled the bill.  We get some lovely local goat cheese  in Minnesota and perhaps even more in Wisconsin.  Of course it’s a bit more expensive than the generic brand at the store, but you’re supporting a local food producer and that’s worth a lot of money.  Can you buy fresh chevre from France here?  Yes, you can at St. Paul Cheese.  Somehow they get around the pasturized milk problem.  But try the local stuff.  Our cheesemakers deserve to make a living, too.

Fresh Greens with Lemon Vinaigrette and Goat Cheese Toast  serves 4

Goat Cheese Toast:

  Preheat broiler.  Slice thinly half a baguette (whole wheat if you can find it) for 8 slices total.  Brush each slice with olive oil and place on a small sheet pan.   Spread a tablespoon of  fresh goat cheese (chevre) on top of each piece of bread. Give each piece of bread a light blessing of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Place pan  in oven 4 inches from broiler and let broil 2 minutes or so until crispy.  Remove from oven and set aside.

Salad:

Place 8 cups fresh, washed greens and 2T chopped herbs (any kind) in a salad bowl.  Squeeze half a lemon over all.  Salt and pepper well.  Dress with lemon vinaigrette:

2T lemon juice
Generous pinch of salt and several grinds of white pepper
1/4 t Dijon-style mustard

Whisk together well so that salt dissolves in the lemon juice.

4T extra virgin olive oil

Drizzle the olive oil into the juice mixture slowly, whisking steadily until well combined or emulsified.  Pause every tablespoon or so until that amount of oil is totally incorporated, then repeating until the other two tablespoons are in the vinaigrette.

Pour about half the vinaigrette carefully over greens and toss well. Add more if needed/desired.

Divide dressed salad among four plates and top each salad with two pieces of cheese toast. 
  Optional:  Add 1/4 cup sliced kalamata olives for garnish

Wine:  a pink–dry rose from France, Spain or Oregon…wherever. It’s time for pink wine and rose sets off goat cheese.

Two-Dog Kitchen and Around the ‘Hood
a few things I cooked for examiner.com articles and meals on the patio–summer!

A candle, some great music…dinner under the trees. 

This little sparrow was brought right to the feeder by his folks, who fed him by mouth right there.  And there he stayed..afraid to leave, he just made himself at home in the feeder.  Until he gained enough confidence to teeter back and forth on the edge and finally make it back to the ground.  While sparrows aren’t my favorite birds, I have nevertheless almost made my peace with them.