While we were in Santa Fe for the opera a couple of weeks ago, we were kindly invited for dinner with nearby family of old friends. While we love eating anywhere in Santa Fe, it’s usually a restaurant. We not only saw Santa Fe in a whole new light by breaking bread in a home, but made new friends who then next day took us for a picnic and hiking in the Santa Fe National Forest (do it, do it, do it).
In late summer in Colorado and New Mexico, there are chile roasters on busy street corners and if you haven’t the time or inclination to buy and roast your own chiles, this is the place you stop for our homegrown goodness. The aromas wafting around the intersections will call you even if you haven’t seen a roaster in years. Can’t eat them all right away–just warmed and layered with cheese, eaten with tortillas or tortilla chips? Then it’s time to gently tuck the chiles into small or large containers and freeze them for winter cooking.
Come cold weather, I like to pile up a big slow cooker full of sliced fresh salted and peppered pork loin, chopped onions and garlic, sliced or canned tomatoes, and the thawed or still frozen roasted chiles. At the end of a snowy day, we hit a fresh tortilla place on the way home and walk into the house full of blasting hot southwest aromas hitting us in the face. Tortillas go in the oven and a big bowl of pork and chiles is ladled out for each person. Time to sit down to summer complete with a cold beer. Meanwhile, we watch the wind whip down out of the mountains, screaming cold, cold, cold. Yes, it’s rather heavenly-sounding, isn’t it? Continue reading
My nearly daily breakfast is an egg white omelet or frittata, which is just the Italian word for an open-faced omelet. It’s fast, luscious, nutritious, and maybe best of all uses up my odds and ends of raw or cooked vegetables, restaurant leftovers (pizza toppings, too), bits of meat, and even a grate or two of cheese. I try and blog one of these a couple of times a year just to give a high five to
- eating healthy foods continually
- using up leftovers
- not throwing food out
- eating vegetables for breakfast
- getting a good start on the day.
There are times when I’m on a fresh fruit and Greek yogurt jag and even eat that with some of my homemade low-sugar granola, but this summer finds me working hard to lose weight and I’ve cut back both my fruit and my dairy in hopes of finding success. It seems to be working! I’m down a size or more and perhaps have taken off 20 pounds. No scale in the house; the clothes are the indicator.
Last Saturday, I made a brown and jasmine rice salad to take to my granddaughter’s birthday party (see below for opening presents through playing peek-a-boo, to eating cake and the very-necessary after cake sink bath–sorry for phone pics) mostly like any luscious summer pasta salad but with a combination of brown and jasmine rice added to a huge bowl of vegetables and a spicy mustard vinaigrette.
If you follow my blog, you could know I cooked a 50th birthday dinner for my next-door neighbor Mike a couple of weeks ago.
Maybe you made the Blueberry-Strawberry Pie I made him in lieu of cake; Mike is a pie-boy!
I try to eat as many meatless meals as I can. It’s hard; I love meat. My husband Dave is perhaps even more of a carnivore, but snarfed this down as fast as he could the other night out on the deck. In Colorado, our al fresco dinners are numbered. Within a couple of weeks, lunches outdoors will work wonderfully, but dinners will simply be too cold. In the meantime, we’re loving every meal we can get at the patio table with something fun on Pandora going and the dogs running around enjoying the breeze.
My book, SOUPS & SIDES FOR EVERY SEASON, has a chapter with easy and quick dessert recipes and one of my favorites is Grilled Peaches or Figs with Cheese, Honey, Thyme, and Black Pepper. It’s on the blog, too. While figs aren’t often available in Colorado–more’s the pity– our Palisades peaches are plentiful, juicy western slope wonders. (Scroll down for more info about our peaches and see about attending the upcoming Peach festival. I’ll stay up here where it’s just a bit cooler, heat wuss that I am. In fact, I’m heading to Santa Fe where it’s both higher AND cooler. But you go on west.)
One day last week even our famous Colorado peaches weren’t terribly pretty–just temporarily, you see; the melon, however, was drop dead gorgeous. And if our peaches aren’t your favorite fruit, our Rocky Ford melons might be. I brought one home, scrubbed it up really well, and cut into it. We couldn’t eat it all for breakfast with yogurt and granola or for snacks, so, gee, I had to make dessert out of it as well. I took a page out of my own book, used melon instead peach, turned the original recipe a bit Maineish with the blueberries and maple syrup, and now can’t wait to make it again.
If it’s hot at your house and you’re grilling dinner, why not continue to grill for dessert? You needn’t even spell cantaloupe correctly, but it might help. I ended by looking it up to be sure.
GRILLED CANTALOUPE WITH GOAT CHEESE, MAPLE SYRUP, BLUEBERRIES, AND TOASTED ALMONDS
serves 4 very generously
- 1 small, ripe cantaloupe, scrubbed well*, cut in half, seeded, and sliced into 1-inch slices (Rocky Ford melon if you can get one)
- Olive oil
- 4 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled (I like Haystack Mountain Boulder Chèvre.)
- 1/4 cup real maple syrup
- 1/3 cup toasted, sliced almonds
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- Fresh herbs for garnish
Heat grill to high, brush cantaloupe slices with oil, and grill for about 2 minutes on each side, turning after deep, dark grill marks appear. Divide cantaloupe between serving bowls and drizzle with maple syrup. Sprinkle each serving with a few almonds and a tiny bit of pepper. Add 1/4 cup blueberries to each bowl and garnish with herbs. I used chives as I had them, but you might like basil or thyme better.
*Store cut cantaloupe in a refrigerator with a temperature under 40 degrees Fahrenheit for safety.
Melon safety tips from the CDC:
Safety tips for eating melons
Get specific safety information about the Listeria outbreak in cantaloupes here.
FOLLOW THIS GENERAL FDA ADVICE FOR MELON SAFETY:
- Consumers and food preparers should wash their hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling any whole melon, such as cantaloupe, watermelon, or honeydew.
- Scrub the surface of melons, such as cantaloupes, with a clean produce brush under running water and dry them with a clean cloth or paper towel before cutting. Be sure that your scrub brush is sanitized after each use, to avoid transferring bacteria between melons.
- Promptly consume cut melon or refrigerate promptly. Keep your cut melon refrigerated at, or less than 40 degrees F (32-34 degrees F is best), for no more than 7 days.
- Discard cut melons left at room temperature for more than 4 hours.
WINE: I’d drink a little Moscato d’Asti if I were looking in the sweet direction. If not, a prosecco or cava would be lovely on the porch with this dessert. Best glasses, please, just to show off your dessert!
Sing a new song; grill some cantaloupe,
About those peaches!
It’s a hot part of the west this time of year out at the place where Colorado meets Utah, but if you’re up for it, you might want to visit for the yearly Peach Festival next week and see what the excitement is all about…and eat some peaches while you’re there. Bring home a few more.
One of the most popular events is the Feast in the Field Dinners. Local chefs create five-course, farm-to-table meals celebrating Palisade’s delicious peaches and pair courses with locally grown wines. The finishing touch is that the meals are hosted out in orchards for an added layer of ambiance. For 2015, there are two opportunities — on Friday, August 15, and Saturday, August 16 — with food prepared by Chef David Fitzpatrick of Berna B’s and with different local winery pairings each night. Tickets are $105/person for the Feast in the Fields Dinners and are available on eventbrite.com or by calling the Palisade Chamber of Commerce at 970-464-7458.
For more information about the Palisade Peach Festival, visit www.palisadepeachfest.com
– See more at: http://www.visitgrandjunction.com/palisade-preps-peachy-time-august#sthash.wkGQMQ2T.dpuf
So you love summer grilling but are getting a little bit tired of it all. That pot of chili simmering on the back burner or a chicken casserole in the oven is beginning to sound like something you want. (Smells, good, huh?) Salads truly make you a happy camper, but your mouth is just a wee bit sick of chewing…chewing…chewing. Welcome a new girl on your cooking block: grilled eggplant lasagna. You might rather think of it as Eggplant Parmesan Stacks or just Eggplant Parmesan–and you can– but as I recently realized: there’s mozzarella in this gorgeous and quick summer dinner. Which makes it more like lasagna, right? You call it whatever you like, but make it.
This meal looks and feels like pasta, but there’s no pasta in sight, making it perfect for a gluten-free meal. Seems a bit like meat, but the meat stayed at the store while the vegetables came home to play. (Scroll down for notes for both G-F and vegan.) There’s little to it but grilling the eggplant and zucchini, topping the eggplant with fresh mozzarella, then layering it all on the plate with warm marinara and shaved Parmesan. A few flakes of crushed red pepper add zing, if you like, and a plate lined with greens tidies the whole thing up and makes it both beautiful and healthful. Try this, even if you’re unsure about eggplant: Continue reading