Nicoise Salad

This is a great summer salad and a meal in itself. It is what is referred to as a “Composed Salad”.

It is a lot of work, but you can do everything ahead of time except for the final “dressing” of the salad.

This recipe is from The Way to Cook by Julia Child.

Tonight we are serving it with a fresh baguette.

20120826-182836.jpg

20120826-182858.jpg

20120826-182843.jpg

20120826-182851.jpg

20120826-182910.jpg

Classic Dill Pickles

My daughter, Alex and I decided to try doing Dill pickles again this year. Last year’s had a great taste, but were lacking in that special “crunch”. I bought this product by Bernardin which is suppose to alleviate this problem. Since you can’t eat the pickles for two weeks, time will tell.

We made half of the recipe, but needed the full amount of brine called for in order to cover the pickles properly for canning.

This was pretty straightforward and didn’t take a lot of time.

20120825-200605.jpg

20120825-200556.jpg

20120825-200617.jpg

20120825-200631.jpg

20120825-200644.jpg

Chili Sauce

I made this chili sauce yesterday. I cut the amount of sugar in half and it was definitely sweet enough for my taste.

Mae’s Chili Sauce Recipe

25 large ripe tomatoes (a 6 quart basket)
4 large onions
4 stalks of celery
4 cups light brown sugar
2 tablespoons salt
2 cups white vinegar
2 hot red peppers
2 sweet green peppers

Prepare tomatoes the night before by skinning and chopping.
In the morning, drain the juice off the tomatoes.
Mix all ingredients, except celery, and cook for approximately 2 hours, until thick.
Add the celery about the last 20 min. of cooking.
Put hot chili sauce into sealer jars.

No spices are used in this recipe. It is very good!

20120824-175238.jpg

20120824-175245.jpg

20120824-175252.jpg

20120824-175649.jpg

Homemade Tomato Sauce

Every August I head to a farm stand and buy Roma tomatoes. This year I purchased three bushels and now I have about 75 jars of tomato sauce in my basement.

I wash the tomatoes in cold water and then place them on an old towel to dry. Then they are chopped into quarters and run through the food mill attachment of my kitchenaid into a large glass Pyrex container with a generous pinch of salt added. The food mill separates the pulp from the seeds and skin. I place a large drinking glass under the part of the food mill where the seeds and skin come out. I usually run the seed/skin mixture through the food mill again and then discard it.

The tomato sauce is then placed in sterilized canning jars with a freshly washed leaf or two of basil. I heat the sealers (lids) in a pot of simmering water and place the hot sealer on the filled jar and secure it with a ring.

The jars are then placed in a canning pot filled with boiling water and simmered for about thirty minutes. I then remove them from the canning pot and place them on an old towel. In the past I have made the mistake of placing them directly on my granite counter and some have cracked due to the temperature change.

This is a lot of work and the more helpers you have, the better. On a cold January night it is a great reminder of the taste of summer. Because the sauce has nothing but a bit salt and basil added to it, you can make your own Marinara sauce to your liking.

20120809-201730.jpg

20120809-201744.jpg

20120809-201757.jpg

20120809-201817.jpg

20120809-201834.jpg

20120809-201843.jpg

20120809-201856.jpg

20120809-201911.jpg

20120809-201924.jpg

20120809-201940.jpg

20120809-201954.jpg

Summer’s Bounty

I am always inspired by fresh tomatoes and basil this time of year.

Tonight’s dinner is a reflection of that.

Dinner starts with a caprese salad made with fresh tomatoes, Buffalo mozzarella, good quality olive oil, fresh basil and salt and pepper. This is a salad to be enjoyed in the summer months when tomatoes are at their prime.

I made homemade pasta and filled it with fresh ricotta cheese, sundried tomatoes, fresh basil, prosciutto, two beaten eggs, grated parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste.

I also made a rose sauce which is tomato sauce with garlic and heavy cream added along with some dried oregano.

If you attempt homemade pasta, try to work in a cool kitchen and many hands help. Have the filling made before you make the pasta so the pasta doesn’t have a chance to dry out before you seal the ravioli. I seal the pasta with water applied with a small pastry brush. Always check to make sure that all four sides are properly sealed. Flour clean kitchen towels and place the ravioli on them.

You can make the sauce ahead or after the pasta has been made. The ravioli cook quite quickly so keep a close eye on them.

Serve them with a good Brunello, if you have one available.

20120808-090941.jpg

20120808-091236.jpg

20120808-091249.jpg

20120808-091344.jpg

20120808-091351.jpg

20120808-091403.jpg

20120808-091439.jpg

20120808-091454.jpg

20120808-091559.jpg

20120808-091610.jpg

20120808-091627.jpg

20120808-094055.jpg

20120808-094102.jpg

20120808-094115.jpg

20120808-094136.jpg

20120808-094145.jpg

20120808-094154.jpg

20120808-094227.jpg

Sunday dinner

Tonight for dinner my daughter and I made homemade goat cheese soufflé, a summer salad with avocado, cucumber and homegrown tomatoes and a side of bruschetta. For dessert we had sour cream peach pie. It was a truly delicious, summery meal.

Goat cheese soufflé:
http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Goat-Cheese-Souffles-102423

Sour cream Peach pie:
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/sour-cream-peach-pie/

Note: I added a little nutmeg and cinnamon to the peaches and used half the amount of sugar that the recipe called for because the peaches were already ripe and sweet enough.

Bon Appetit!

20120805-192745.jpg

20120805-192756.jpg

Sarabeth’s Chocolate Chubbies

These are double chocolate cookies. They’re rich, delicious and not too hard to make. You’ll need walnuts, pecans , chocolate chips, unsweetened and bittersweet chocolate. The recipe says to use a double broiler to melt the butter and chocolate, but I find it’s faster and just as effective to stick the mixture in the microwave. Pictures and the recipe are posted below!

20120805-171031.jpg

20120805-171442.jpg

20120805-171507.jpg

20120805-171513.jpg

20120805-171556.jpg

20120805-171602.jpg

Summer Salad

When summer offers up fresh ingredients, make a salad.

This salad is made from Earthbound Baby Romaine, diced tomatoes, sliced avocado and baby fresh mozzarella balls.

It is simple, but delicious. Use any salad dressing you like and you have a healthy side salad.

This only took less than five minutes to put together which is great when you don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen on a hot summer day.

20120801-193154.jpg