Weekend Reading

You know what? I can’t remember the last time I ate a potato – and that is a good thing.

Fresh produce is so plentiful and gorgeous right now, that the average meat-and-potatoes dinners are replaced with a pile of market fresh vegetables on the plate, with a little protein on the side. Corn cobs by the dozens, broccoli and beans, tomatoes and cucumbers, all fall under my knife as we enjoy them in their prime.

OK, so that’s not ALL we’ve been eating! We recently celebrated summer with about 25 friends and a huge banana split bar. It’s a simple summer dessert that feeds a crowd in a jiffy and is a definite crown-pleaser.

Last week we looked at preserving three ingredients that are abundant right now: broccoli, cucumbers and corn. Next week look for more preserving recipes to come your way and for a few dishes featuring more seasonal produce. Hooray for August!

For now, here are a few posts that I enjoyed on the web this week: [Read more…]

How to Freeze Sweet Corn

The following is a guest post by Tiffany of Eat at Home. Welcome, Tiffany!

One of the best tastes of summer is sweet corn.  It’s right up there with garden-fresh tomatoes and sweet tea.  Luckily, it’s easy to preserve summer flavor by freezing corn.  There’s nothing like pulling a bag of corn from the freezer and serving your family the tastes of July and August in the middle of winter.

When buying corn, look for freshly picked ears.  The husks should be green and not dried out.  Peel back the husks and take a look at the kernels.  They should be plump, but not too full. [Read more…]

Pursuing Your Passion For Pickles (Recipe: Garlic-Dill Pickles)

Written by Lynn Craig of Cookie Baker Lynn.

Pickles seem like a funny thing to get excited about. They’re just cucumbers in jars with liquid and seasonings, right? Right, but some people are quite passionate about their pickles.

A dear friend of mine who is a US transplant living in the UK says one of the things she misses the most is dill pickles. The shops there just don’t carry them. On a trip to visit family in the US she returned home with jars of pickles in her carry-on luggage (not something you can do these days). She got strange looks, but it was worth it to savor just-right dill pickles.

There is a deli in the Pike Place Market in Seattle that flies in their pickles every week from New York so they’ll be “right.”

And then there’s my son. Pickles are his favorite food group. He’ll beg me for a pickle to snack on while I’m slicing some and when he’s eating a sandwich or a hamburger, it’s got to have pickles or it’s not right.

The beauty of canning your own pickles is that you can make them to suit your own personal tastes and needs. Pints or quarts, dill or sweet, garlic or jalapeno, you can choose. And if you grow your own pickling cucumbers (I don’t – I am known as She-Who-Kills-Plants), you can even get just the right variety for the size and type you prefer. [Read more…]

Preserving Summer: Freezing Broccoli 101

As selective eaters as my sons are, there is one mighty green giant that they gobble up without hesitation and then ask for more.

Broccoli.

I know, it’s usually the one vegetable that is scorned, shunned, or pureed into sauces to bypass careful inspection of little diners, but my kids both love it. And so, I don’t question their fondness, I just serve it, and then serve it again.

Now that broccoli is in season, and those tight, firm heads are $0.99 each at the market, I’m buying them by the basketful and freezing them for winter. Simple steamed broccoli served with a pat of butter is the boys’ preferred way to enjoy broccoli (no roasting for them, please) and the frozen florets reconstitute quite nicely in boiling water.

It’s impossible to pass up this opportunity to stock up on one of our favorite mid-summer vegetables. Here’s how I do it. [Read more…]

Weekend Reading (abridged)

Happy August!

We just returned from a wonderful mini-vacation on the Maine coast where we camped on the beach, feasted on lobster and played in the ocean until sundown. I took a break from my online work and play, and thus my Google Reader got rather out of control and hit four digits! So, this weekend reading edition will be brief, as I haven’t yet caught up  with my blog and favorite sites.

However, I did want to take this opportunity to point you in the direction of an online tour of my kitchen… [Read more…]