Watermelon Blueberry Salsa

July 7th, 2015

 

Watermelon Blueberry Salsa 3

Our 4th of July celebration was another event to file away in the memory archives, especially for the children.  It is my hope that the Grandchildren and their cousins will always remember the fun, food and the joys of life on the lake.

The food front was well covered.  Everyone contributed something wonderful.  My DIL Kristen made this watermelon blueberry salsa that was out of this world delicious.  She found the watermelon recipe on a blog called Love and Olive Oil.    It is refreshing because of the fruit, a little hot from the jalepeno peppers, complex from the tomato and onion rough puree and brightened by the cilantro.  I couldn’t stop eating it with “scoop” shaped tortillas chips.  Kristen has many creative recipes.  And the good news is that she has recently launched her own blog called MENUbility where she offers practical tips, recipes and family-friendly ideas for dinner.  I have been downloading her free and practical blank grocery shopping list every week.

4th of July 2015 dinner on the porch

Our meals included the typical holiday selections of pulled pork, grilled ribs, hamburgers, chicken and lots of interesting sides.  Our evening gatherings on the porch were a special part of our days.

Wine tasting 2015 We also held our annual wine tasting.  This year’s wines were Viognier white wines. Viognier is a white wine grape variety originating in the Rhone Valley in France.  It is now produced in many parts of the U.S.  The winner was a 2012 K Vintners from Columbia Valley in Walla Walla, Washington.  On the right of the table are 4 juices for the kids’ tasting.  Thanks Dave A. for choosing and bringing the wine like you do every year.  Great job.

Grandkids juice tasting 2015 I guess you can tell that Cameron was not too fond of the carrot juice.  The winner turned out to be a tie between the strawberry and pomegranate juice.

Kristen and Keenan 2015

Kristen enjoyed teaching her niece Keenan how to make great Macaroni and Cheese.  Keenan has a great interest in cooking since we seem to be a family almost obsessed with it.  Kristen’s recipe is on her blog.

Watermelon Blueberry Salsa 2

I know you will love this Watermelon Blueberry Salsa recipe also.  Thank you to Love and Olive Oil.  Thank you also to Darla for taking many of the pictures.

WATERMELON BLUEBERRY SALSA

Ingredients:

  • 4 small Roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped (discard seeds for a milder salsa)
  • 1 cup diced watermelon
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice (from 1 lime)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Combine tomatoes, onion, and jalapeno in the bowl of a food processor; pulse briefly or until finely chopped (do not fully liquefy). If you don’t have a food processor, you can finely chop the ingredients by hand.
  2. Transfer tomato mixture to a medium bowl; stir in watermelon, blueberries, cilantro, lime juice, and salt.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.

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Farro Salad: Insalata di Farro

June 24th, 2015

Farro Salad 1

I have been researching Italian recipes for our trip there in the Fall.  I have found several recipes using farro.  Farro is an ancient grain in the wheat family that is very easy to digest.  It has a nutty flavor and has healthy benefits.  Farro is grown in the Garfagnana region of eastern Tuscany.  It is also known as spelt and can be used as a grain or ground into flour for bread or pasta.

Farro Salad 3

I found two recipes for farro salad in my search and adapted them to my taste.  In the summertime there is nothing better than a cool salad with fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, radishes and basil.  The farro pulls everything together and the lemon zest, juice and olive oil dress it to perfection.  As a luncheon dish it is paired with hard boiled eggs.  For dinner I served it with chicken piccata.  We loved the nutty flavor and the cool accompaniments.

Farro Salad 4V

We are looking forward to a happy 4th of July with our family.  We will be entertaining at least 14 family members.  It has become a tradition on Lake Lure.  I relish the memories that our 2 Grands and their 3 cousins are storing up; swimming, skiing, tubing, hiking, eating, wine tastings (Adults, LOL), crickets, porch lights, sleeping bags, cookies, s’mores, fireworks and love.  Will try to keep up here.

Farro Salad: Insalata di Farro

1 cup farro
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt, plus salt to taste
4-6 radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 small cucumber, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into narrow strips
3 tablespoons olive oil
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered

In a bowl, combine the farro with water to cover.  Let soak for 2 hours.  Drain and pour into a large pot with the 4 cups water.  Bring to a boil and cook, uncovered, until very soft, about 40 minutes.  (Cooking time may vary as much as 10-20 minutes.)

Drain and pour into a large bowl.  Add the radishes, tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, basil, olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper and toss well.  Place on a serving platter.  Arrange the egg quarters around the edge of the platter.  Chill and serve.

Printable Recipe

Chicken Salad with Wild Rice

June 16th, 2015

Chicken Salad with Wild Rice 1

Most evenings we eat on the screened porch overlooking the lake.  It has been pleasant most of the summer, but last week the heat hit us with a vengeance.  I didn’t want to give up our seats with a view, so I made this cooling chicken salad to keep us comfortable in the waning heat of the day.  This salad has it all; tanginess, crunchiness , beauty and taste.Chicken Salad with Wild Rice 3V

The wild rice adds an interesting twist to the ingredients of chicken, celery, dried cranberries, oranges and pecans.  The mayonnaise dressing is lightened with a bit of orange juice concentrate.  For some reason I have an aversion to heavy, gloppy mayonnaise dressings.  With this dressing I tasted a brightness to the chicken salad that is sometimes missing in your usual chicken salad.

Chicken Salad with Wild Rice 2

Hope you give it a try.

We will be traveling at the end of the week to Florida to honor the memory of one of our dear friends.  John Spangler Goodling died in late December and his wife Georgia will have a farewell ceremony for him at Atlantic Beach where he grew up.

John Spangler Goodling

He was a distinguished Professor of Engineering at Auburn University.  He and David were in Graduate school together and we have remained friends with John and Georgia throughout the years.  Oh, the memories.
Atlantic Beach

 

Godspeed dear John.  Your light may have been dimmed, but a flicker of your soul will remain with us always.

Talking about this recipe seems irrelevant now.  But I have to tell you a story.  When the guys were in graduate school, they would work hard all morning and then around noon John would say “Jeet jet?” David would say “No, Dju?”. John would say “No, squeet”.  And they would.  So let’s eat.  He would approve.

CHICKEN SALAD WITH WILD RICE

1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
3 1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken ( 1 1b.)
1/2 cups pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 orange, segments removed and chopped
1 large celery rib, cut into small dice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup wild rice
1 cup water
Lettuce leaves for serving

Whisk together mayonnaise and orange juice concentrate in a large bowl.  Add chicken, nuts, cranberries, orange,celery, salt and pepper and mix well.  Chill, covered, at least 1 hour.

Rinse rice in a fine sieve under running cold water, then drain.  Bring water to a boil in a heavy saucepan and stir in rice.  Simmer, covered, until rice is tender but not all grains have split, 40 to 50 minutes.  Drain rice and cool, then stir into chicken salad and serve over greens.

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Crab Cakes with Cucumber Salad

June 4th, 2015

Crab Cakes with Cucumber Salad 1

Crab cakes are such a treat.  We rarely have them because of the exorbitant cost of crab meat.  You can buy premixed crab cakes at most Super Markets these days, but I find that they have too much breadcrumb filler.  But, I still think that some filler is an added bonus and does not take away from the sweet taste of the crab meat.  The idea is to achieve a balance, especially when you have three kinds of diced peppers in the mixture.

Crab Cakes with Cucumber Salad 3v

A wonderful cooling ingredient in this recipe is the cucumber salad that compliments the crab cakes perfectly.  We found this to be a perfect meal with grilled sweet corn.  I even had the crab cakes the next day for lunch with a tossed salad.

Crab Cakes with Cucumber Salad 2v

I feel like I owe all of you an update on my health issues.  My sprained ankle has healed.  I still need surgery to remove plates and pins in my leg, but I can probably wait until later to have it done.  We have so much going on this summer and a 3 week trip to Italy in September that it is one of those things that I thought could wait until the quiet months of late fall to confront.  When life is so full, why mess it up with surgery?  My Doctor agrees.  Thanks to all of you for your support.

These crab cakes with cucumber salad are worth your attention.  Hope everyone is having a wonderful summer.  We have a beach party on the shores of Lake Lure this Saturday with The Ocean Boulevard Band performing.  If you have never heard of beach music or dancing “the shag”,  it originated in Myrtle Beach, SC. and is popular in our area.  Our Lake Lure Association president is Garrett Humphries.  Here is a you tube video of his award winning dancing. David and will try to keep up.  Ha!

CRAB CAKES WITH CUCUMBER SALAD

Cucumber Herb Salad:
2 cups cucumber, seeded and julienned
2 teaspoons fresh dill, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh tarragon, finely chopped (or 1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon)
1 teaspoon fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Crab Cakes:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons hot sauce
1/4 red bell pepper, finely diced
1/4 green bell pepper, finely diced
1/4 yellow bell pepper, finely diced
1 pound jumbo lump crab meat
1 1/2 cups Panko bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

In a medium serving bowl, mix cucumber, herbs, lemon juice and oil until cucumber is completely coated; season with salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside until ready to serve.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  In a large mixing bowl, gently combine all crab cake ingredients except olive oil.  Using a 1/4 cup, measure out 16 cakes.  Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large non-stick saute pan over medium heat.  Sear 4 to 6 cakes until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes.  Turn crab cakes over and sear for an additional 2 minutes.  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining oil and crab cakes.  Bake in oven for about 6 to 8 minutes and serve over Cucumber Herb Salad.

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Citrus Rice Salad

May 28th, 2015

Herbed Rice Salad 1

When summer arrives I prefer salads rather than hot side dishes.  We grilled a Tuscan butterflied chicken recently and rather than my usual rice, I turned the rice into a citrus laced salad with fresh herbs from my herb boxes on the deck.  I think I threw everything into that salad.  I had left over diced red onions and peppers, a half empty jar of roasted red peppers, a can of mandarin oranges, and toasted almonds.  With a lemon-lime vinaigrette it was tangy and refreshing.

Herbed Rice Salad 3V

The Butterflied Tuscan chicken was also good, but it was not very photogenic.  But if you are interested this is the recipe that I used.  I added more herbs though, since my herb boxes are doing so well.

Herbs on Deck 1

The sage and thyme are looking wonderful so far.  I bought a special organic potting soil mix that is supposed to hold the moisture better than others.

Herbs on Deck 2

I get my plants from a local shop.  They are inexpensive and always healthy.

Herbs on Deck 3We added two more boxes this year, so now I have four conveniently  located herb containers.  It makes cooking with fresh herbs much easier.

Herbed Rice Salad 2

This rice salad is best served at room temperature, but it is also good chilled.  You can get creative with it too.  It goes well with anything that you grill.

CITRUS RICE SALAD

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup white rice ( or any rice that you prefer, cooked according to package directions)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 1/2 cups water
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp cardamom, optional

Additions:
4 scallions chopped
Jarred roasted red peppers, chopped
small can of mandarin oranges, drained
1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
Zest of 1 orange
chopped herbs to taste; basil, parsley, chives

Vinaigrette:
Juice on one lime and one lemon
1/4 cup olive oil

In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil.  Add the rice, onion and green pepper and cook briefly to coat the rice.  Add the orange juice, water and seasonings.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and cook until rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed.

Meanwhile, combine the additions in a large bowl.  When rice is done, add it to the bowl.  Cool slightly.  Add the vinaigrette ingredients and toss to combine.

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© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.