When the corn is way higher than “knee-high at the Fourth of July,”and is, in fact, “as high as an elephant’s eye” (that would be right now), it’s time to use every little bit of it without delay. The very best corn is cooked within a few hours of being picked or even sooner if you’re lucky enough to own a corn field, but if there’s an ear or two in the fridge cooked yesterday or even fresh corn that’s been refrigerated for longer than it should be (tsk, tsk), skip the corn-on-the cob side and and make my Fresh Corn and Bacon Salsa. (Of course really fresh corn is also totally acceptable!) Perfect with salty, crispy-crunchy tortilla chips, it’s even better as a black bean soup topping–or how about on chili?Continue reading
If you live in Colorado, you know from peaches, which are grown way out west on the western slope–almost in Utah if you check the map. Every year about this time, your friends in other states begin to mention, “Hey, I bought Colorado peaches in the store the other day!” You look in your store and you find California peaches and begin to think we’re exporting all our best produce. It happens. (I’ll give you that there are also great peaches from Georgia, Washington state, Michigan, and even California. I just live in Colorado.)Continue reading
Asparagus, Beach Cooking, Broccoli, Cherry Tomatoes, Cold Soup, Cooking at the Cabin, Corn, Fourth of July, Green Beans, Green Salad, Grill Class, Grilling, kale, Labor Day, Lettuce, Memorial Day, Potato Salad, Potatoes, Tortellini, Tortellini Salad
This week marks the beginning of weekend picnics, warm holiday get togethers, nights in the backyard, weeks at the beach, days at the cabin, and all kinds of thrilling grilling on your balcony or patio! For fun, I ran through my TOP FAVORITE original summer sides on More Time at Table and brought them all together in one place just before Memorial Day. I’ll keep perusing my files and as I find other luscious things I think you’d like, I’ll stick them in. Be cool!
The Colorado growing season is short, but mighty. We make up for the reduced length with the best and sweetest Olathe (pronounced: o-LAY-tha) sweet corn and toothsome, sticky-dripping Western Slope Palisade peaches. (Visit Colorado wine country, too, if you go to pick peaches.) Somewhere in there the Rocky Ford cantaloupes also ripen, the Pueblo green chiles are roasted on street corners–going into myriad pots of pork green chile or into the freezer for scrambled eggs at Christmas and Super Bowl snacks. (We eat a lot of New Mexican Hatch chiles, too, which come in somewhat milder versions.) If you’re really lucky, you even know someone who fly fishes and will bring back trout we smoke to last all winter long. (More on those last three another post.)
By the way, the Olathe Corn growers and the Palisade Peach producers each sponsor local festivals every summer and they’re coming right up:
You’re gonna need a bigger boat…
On one more freezing May night after a day of jury duty, I opened the fridge expecting to find a few leftovers for supper, but there were none to be had. Somehow we’d eaten them all. I had my mouth all ready for pizza, homemade pizza at that, and found zip, 0, nada. I already had a nice little red opened to air, JAWS was on tv, Dave had called checking in from D.C., and I thought I had nothing to do but heat an oven. Instead I had to make something for dinner.
If there’s nothing made and there’s no time, there’s nothing better than an omelet of whatever variety and a glass of wine. Unless you’re too exhausted even for that, in which case you should have a cheese sandwich and go to bed.
(Above: a favorite book of mine)
I began with a 9-inch non-stick pan and good splash of olive oil well-seasoned with salt and pepper. In went a handful of cherry tomatoes, a nice chop of onions (about a 1/4 cup), and somewhat more of a beautiful red bell pepper I cut up with dispatch. There was no rhyme or reason to these ingredients, other than they were in the refrigerator and I knew they’d be good in eggs. I wasn’t thinking Spanish omelet (aka Tortilla) until I saw a big bag of small red potatoes sitting hopefully on the floor in the mudroom; I grabbed a couple.
Spanish omelets –or tortillas — are a flawless puffy and crispy combination of thinly sliced or diced potatoes, onions, eggs, and lots and lots of olive oil. My version would have luscious vegetables, including the onion, only two small diced red potatoes, asparagus, eggs, and not so very much olive oil. I seasoned it all with kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, crushed red pepper, and I’m sure terribly non-traditional tarragon. It would feed two of us –my son and me –with a bite or two left for the dogs. Try this:
Wake up and smell the salsa.
This is not salsa made in New York City.
Nor in San Antonio.
This salsa is made in your house. On your cutting board.
And not in your Cuisinart.
|“I’m a very active person,” she said. “I want to spend the rest of my days doing what I know best and that’s identifying what people are using in the culture.” Read more|
- 1 poblano chile—stems, seeds, and veins removed and flesh finely chopped
- 1 red jalapeño chile—stems, seeds, and veins removed and flesh finely chopped
- 2 yellow chiles—stems, seeds and veins removed and flesh finely chopped *
- 2 serrano chiles, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped white onion
- 1 ripe medium tomato (about 4 ounces), finely chopped
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried oregano
Recipe courtesy FOOD & WINE.
I just loved the colors and intrinsic beauty of the ingredients and kept taking photographs of the greens and the reds….
|Eggs traded for cookies with a St. Paul pianist who has a backyard full of chickens.
Please take some time and visit more of our great food bloggers:
Val – More Than Burnt Toast, Taryn – Have Kitchen Will Feed, Susan – The Spice Garden
If you liked this, you might like Boiled Eggs on English Muffins with Asparagus and Cheese Sauce on my Dinner Place blog:
Cooking for One – It’s Fun!
I have a friend named Lori. She’s smart and tall, is mom to a big hulking chocolate lab, is beautiful and talented, and does things like run a salon and also fly airplanes. Sometimes in the same day. Did I mention she’s a runner and that she’s from Boston? She also “did” my nails for several years in Colorado Springs. When you spend an hour and a half every three weeks literally face to face with someone for years on end, you either become friends or sleep. Lori and I chose to become friends. (I miss her.)
So, being women and being friends, and being a foot apart so often, Lori and I talked food. (Also family, men, sports–her, not me, work, whatever) Lori’s mostly vegetarian, though she eats some chicken, etc. And Lori makes meatloaf. Turkey meatloaf. It’s good, says she, but she’s a bit bored with it. More than once, she asked if I had another recipe. Recipes, now that we have the internet, are a dime a dozen, but I hadn’t made turkey meatloaf in years. I was intrigued and remembered someone saying, “You cannot season turkey meatloaf like beef meatloaf; it’s awful. You must season it like turkey.” While that brings sage, onions and celery to mind, for me it also brings hot peppers, feisty cheese, and salsa. Living in San Antonio for four years and Colorado for 15 would do that. Taking cooking classes in Santa Fe would definitely do that.
One day, after months of turkey meatloaf ideas perking around in my head from time to time, I decided to try it. Wow! Both Dave and I loved it. This loaf is full of chiles, onions, garlic, and salsa, and I stuffed it with overlapping slices of pepperjack cheese so that when you cut it (make sure and let it sit a while or you’ll have a gooey mess), there are lovely melting bites of sharp cheese right at the center.
I mean, if meatloaf is good, people adore it–right? It’s filling, homey, stretches to feed a bunch, and makes great sandwiches. Though, really, loving meatloaf isn’t something everyone wants to admit. It’s not on top of the trendy list, though come to think of it COOKING LIGHT has a meatloaf article in the October Issue. But trendy or not, if you make it, they will come. And they’ll want the recipe. It’s one of those emotional food-pingers like, “My grandma made the best meatloaf!” Make this even if you have to invite people over to eat it. ESPECIALLY if you have to invite people over to eat it.
Side: Mashed potatoes is the usual suspect, but I did an all-in-one sauté of sliced new potatoes, onions, garlic, and late summer squashes that comes together just before the meatloaf comes out of the oven and while it rests before serving. Top it with finely diced fresh tomatoes and sweet green peppers for color and crunch. That’s not much for directions; let me look in the cooking journal and see if I kept amounts listed when I cooked it. If I did, I’ll include a recipe. How’s that for informality in the cooking blog? Here’s the meatloaf recipe, for which I definitely kept the list of ingredients and, uh–techniques and methods!
Here you are, Lori. Sorry it took so long.
Southwestern Turkey Meatloaf Stuffed With Pepperjack Cheese
Serves 6-8 (or 2 with lots of leftovers for sandwiches or freeze half for later)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided (one for oiling pan, one for the top of the meatloaf)
- 2 pounds ground turkey
- 1 ½ cups salsa, divided (1 cup in meatloaf, ½ cup on top for serving)
- 2 cups whole wheat bread, cubed
- 2 eggs, beaten
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/3 cup minced onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 ounces (about 1 ½ cups) chopped button mushrooms
- 4 ounce can chopped mild or hot green chiles, drained
- 1/3 pound sliced Pepper Jack cheese
- Chopped fresh tomatoes and bell peppers for garnish, optional
Note about salt: I do not include much salt as the salsa contains quite a bit. If you’d like to check and see whether or not you’d like to add salt, make a small meatball of the mixture and fry it in a bit of oil. Taste and see (great song, too!) if you’d like any salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil 9”x5” loaf pan using 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.
- Wash your hands well and take off your rings and watch. To a large bowl, add the second group of 11 ingredients—turkey through chiles– using only 1 cup of the salsa. Put your hands down into the meat mixture and mix for about 2 minutes or until combined thoroughly.
- Pat half of the meat mixture firmly and evenly down into the oiled loaf pan and place the slices of pepper jack cheese right down the middle of the loaf, overlapping, stopping before the very end. (So that the cheese doesn’t ooze out so much while the meatloaf bakes.) Pat the other half of the meatloaf mixture on top of the cheese—again, firmly– to create the loaf. Brush top of meatloaf with the other tablespoon of olive oil.
- Place loaf pan on a foil-lined sheet pan and bake for about 1 1/4 hours or until instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees F. Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes; temperature will come up to 165 degrees F. Invert onto serving platter, first pouring out excess liquid if necessary, and top with the other half-cup of salsa. (Carve in pan if easier.) Garnish with diced tomatoes and green peppers as desired. Surround the loaf with the Potato-Zucchini Sauté and serve hot. Store leftovers tightly wrapped in refrigerator for up to four days. (Can wrap tightly and store in freezer up to 3 months.)
Yes, it was in the cooking journal and here it is…
Potato Zucchini Sauté serves 6
- 6-8 small (1-2″) new red potatoes, sliced thinly
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (I like Penzey’s; choose your style.)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 each: small zucchini and yellow squash, sliced thinly
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Garnish, optional: 1/4 cup each: diced fresh tomato and green pepper
- In a large skillet or sauté pan, heat oil and butter. Add potatoes.
- Cook until potatoes brown on one side. Stir and turn potatoes. Add onions and dust with chili powder, salt, pepper, and oregano. Cook one minute and add squash and garlic.
- Cover and cook until potatoes are tender–perhaps a total of 35-40 minutes and squash is al dente or grandma done (your choice)–another 2-3 minutes.
- Serve garnished with tomatoes and peppers if desired.
Two-Dog Kitchen and Around the ‘Hood
It’s that time of year. Keeping the cantata on the piano at all times (skipping my own piano lessons), planning holiday travel, getting the last of the outdoor chores accomplished before it snows, changing out the clothes, ordering wool socks, taking as many walks as we can with the doggies, and grabbing yet another bouquet out of the flower garden. This may have been the last rose of summer:
Or maybe this one!
|While very dry, the grass is still mostly green.|
Here are the pies I baked for Pops and Pies, one of the monthly concerts at Prospect Park United Methodist:
|Must be October if it’s pumpkin!|
Sour Cream Apple (above)
|I did make that beef-vegetable soup I mentioned (with three variations plus some ideas on how to make it a bit cheaper) and if you’d like to see how I did it, you’ll need to visit examiner.com where I write cooking and food articles for St. Paul.|
|Basic Beef-Vegetable Soup|
|Pumpkin Custard just for YOU|
Also, on my blog for The Solo Cook (Dinner Place), there’s a great pumpkin custard topped with cinnamon-kissed creme fraiche. It’s made for those who cook for one and is done in one minute in the microwave. Your very own (crustless) pumpkin “pie.”
|Warm enough for flip flops yesterday.|
|Stubborn Tucker: wouldn’t turn around for his picture.|
Happy October, my friends.
Sing a new song,
There are days when you just don’t want to put that book down.
Remember those? As a kid, my mom would not argue with me at suppertime if I was under a tree on a blanket with my nose in a book. I try to do the same for myself nowadays on occasion.
|This day, I just watched the dogs. No time to cook.|
Or there are times you’ve stayed on the phone too long with your sister.
Your best friend.
If you’re a piano player, your butt might have been stuck to the bench, right?
|Here’s someone I’ve spent hours talking with. Thanks, God.|
Or maybe you’re just tired. Somebody burned up your brain online and you keep waking up at 4 and your cousin’s in an awful personal jam and work’s a mess and your dog got a thorn in his paw and you had to have a tooth pulled (like I did Friday) and … well… and..
|Maybe you taught a piano student to make chocolate mousse that afternoon.|
Perhaps you broke down and spent the cash to go see a movie and got home at 7.
And then you just thank God for scrambled eggs. Maybe scrambled eggs and tomatoes, if it’s summer.
|From my garden|
Could be scrambled eggs and toast. Or asparagus. Even a few fried potatoes (if you microwave them first, it’s even faster), eh?
In this case: in under five minutes, you can cook up some grated summer squash with a tish of onion or garlic, add your eggs, stir, plate, and top with salsa.
There’s nothing magical about it. Except that it tastes very good, is quite filling, and takes no time away from the weird novel your neighbor left on your porch. Or from listening to a Charpentier Christmas Cantata or David Russell’s guitar music. From playing with the dog. Chatting with your husband. Try it:
Scrambled Eggs with Grated Squash and Salsa– Serves 1; doubles or quadruples easily
Into a small skillet heated over medium heat, measure 1-2 teaspoons olive oil. Grate 1/2 cup summer squash (yellow, zucchini, etc.) and chop 1-2 teaspoons of onion or 1/2 teaspoon of garlic. Place vegetables in the skillet and cook for a couple of minutes until softened. If you like, throw in a teaspoon or two of the fresh herb of your choice here; I like basil. Meantime, whisk (or fork) together two eggs and a teaspoon of water and pour over the squash. Season well with salt and pepper. Let eggs cook until about half-way set and stir briefly. Remove from pan while still tender. Top with salsa and serve with sliced tomatoes or toast. Et voila. Dinner is served.
Two-Dog Kitchen or Around the ‘Hood
Whenever I start a new job, my brain is full. So goes it these last two weeks. Lots to dream of in this lovely worship space where God engages my heart…
|Prospect Park United Methodist, Minneapolis, MN|
The beautiful thing is, I told Gabby and Tucker (who must wait at home when I’m gone),
is that I’m so very aware of the change-the transition–, once more, from writer-cook and pianist to church choral director. And while it isn’t easy in many lives, it is a truth that we are called to be together. And together singing–however it happens–is fun indeed. On 9-11, I’m so very grateful to be alive to share my voice. Thanks to all the singers in my life. And thanks, God!
Sing a new song,
If its August. If it’s Colorado. I’m eating peaches. Any day. Every day. For at least two weeks. By themselves. On Greek Yogurt with Colorado honey and slivered toasted almonds. Or granola. On top of vanilla frozen yogurt. In a salsa on pork chops. Etcetera.
Here are a few of the yummy things I’ve done. Of course the best? Above.
Preheat clean grill to medium-high heat. Cut peaches in half and remove pits. Brush each half with a little bit of canola oil and place cut-side down on grill. Let cook about 3 or 4 minutes and turn over when grill marks are well-established, but not blackened. Cook another 2 or 3 minutes until tops of cut-side are somewhat visibly drying. Remove and cool briefly. Enjoy as is or try another good idea…
2-6 t very finely minced jalapeno (to your taste–start with 2t and more if you’d like)
1/3 c finely minced onion
2 large peaches (Colorado preferred), cut in half and grilled*, peeled after grilling, and chopped into 1/2″ pieces
1 ripe avocado, peeled and diced
1/2 ea medium red sweet pepper and green sweet pepper, diced
1/2 c chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of 1/2 a lime
Dash of kosher salt and a couple of grates of fresh ground pepper
In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients gently but thoroughly. Taste and correct seasoning if necessary. (Add more jalapeno, etc) Serve on with grilled pork chops, shrimp or salmon or on seafood or fish tacos. (recipe copyright Alyce Morgan 2010)
Wine? If you make the bbq pork chops or salmon, try a little inexpensive Beaujolais. Other reds or bigger wines, will overwhelm this meal. It’s summer and something lighter and refreshing will turn on these peaches. If you make the shrimp or fish tacos, a cold Spanish Albarino (lovely white) or even an Oregon Pinot Gris could do the trick.
(If you’d like to make the green bean salad, here’s the blogpost for it, though I dressed it differently here. Rather than a mustard vinaigrette, I mixed a bit of top-quality light Ranch with some roasted salsa for a dressing.)
Lovely frozen yogurt from David Levovitz’ book THE PERFECT SCOOP. (Click for the recipe.) Of course, we then had it like this:
Vanilla Yogurt with Sliced Colorado Peaches
Two-Dog Kitchen and Around the ‘Hood
Our tomatoes are ripe. Salads are every day now.
Skippy Jon Jones and Tucker saying, “Hi!”
Emily’s home for a week or so. Here she helps beat melted chocolate, a little cream, and sugar for a frozen chocolate yogurt testing that looked like this when done:
I’m still working on this…want to try it with toasted almonds, etc. I’ll admit it was tres tres tres like it was… made with Valhrona Chocolate. Definitely. Oh my. Ask for it if you’re coming to dinner.
Speaking of coming to dinner: I have one space left in Cooking with Music for September 18 at 12:30. It’s an Italian class with pizza appetizer, two main-course soups, and an apple crostada (free form apple pie) for $50. Includes dinner (you also get to invite a friend) and wine. Email me if you’re interested.
Right now, the sun is shining so brightly. But on the windows I hear the tip, tap, tip of rain. Opening the shades (closed to keep the sunroom cooler), I see it’s definitely raining. Sun, Rain=Rainbow! I’ll be watching out east for it.
It’s time for a little music, a candle or two, cell phones on off, and watches stored. Friday. A bit of dinner together. Breathing how blessed I feel to have almost my whole family in my house.