Red Rice Salad and Florida Gardening

February 3rd, 2018

Red Rice Salad

We are cooking on the grill tonight.  David is making ribs.  I was excited about this rice salad from Giada De Laurentiis and thought it would be a great accompaniment.  One of the ingredients is radicchio.  I was having a hard time finding it here in New Smyrna Beach.  The local Publix did not have it.  I went to the local health food market, Heath’s Natural Food and, although they did not have radicchio, they ordered it for me.  It came within days.  I shared Giada’s recipe with them and they will display the recipe near the radicchio to encourage others to buy and use it.  I also bought Organic Madagascar Pink Rice from them since I could not find red rice anywhere.  The local businesses here in NSB are very accommodating.

Red Rice Salad

There is much to love about this rice salad.  It is full of flavor with fennel, radicchio, oranges, cucumber and fresh basil.  The whole-grain mustard vinaigrette ties it all together.

NSB Planters

I am hopeful that the days of freezing temperatures are behind us.  Everything that the owner of the house had in her outside planters was taken out by the freeze.  I have been busy for the last week trying to replace what she has lost.  This large planter now has Geraniums and  White Bacopa flowers.

New Smyrna Beach Planters

I bought this Dorotheanthus succulent that can withstand high heat.  It is also called Livingstone Daisy.  Hopefully it will make it through the summer.

NSB Planters

I also chose a native plant: the Dune Daisy, which is indigenous to Florida.  I am looking forward to more blooms.  With winter blanketing so many of you, I wanted to offer a glimpse of Spring and Summer.  It has also been  restorative to my well being to work on these planters.

Red Rice Salad

This may be too late for a Super Bowl side dish, but I am sure that it would be welcomed by anyone wanting a side dish for a Pot Luck or a crowd.  Enjoy and thanks to Giada!


Shrimp Bowls

March 12th, 2017

Shrimp Bowl

We picked up some fresh shrimp at the Farmers’ Market last week.  It was expensive.  I decided to use the shrimp sparingly over several meals. By combining it with rice and beans we hardly missed the quantity of shrimp with the quality of the overall dish.  This made a perfect luncheon meal.

Shrimp Bowl

The white bean mixture includes canned diced tomatoes and jarred pesto; easy to pull together.  I used left- over Caribbean rice, but you could use any type of rice that you would like.

Riverside Grill

I know it has been a while since I have published a blog post, but I have been spending very little time in the kitchen. There are so many great restaurants in New Smyrna Beach that we have been eating out quite often.  The above picture was taken with our friends Mark and Ruth at Riverside Grill on the Indian River (IntraCoastal Waterway). Most of the boats going under the drawbridge were headed South.  Winter doesn’t want to give up and it is going to be much colder even here next week; just in time for bike week.

I’m hoping to post a recipe for my Guinness Beef Stew in honor of St. Paddy’s Day soon.  I am making it for friends next week.

In the meantime, hope you enjoy this easy Shrimp Bowl recipe.


3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 can diced tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
1 15 oz. can cannellini beans, drained
1/4 cup jarred pesto sauce
8 oz. shrimp, peeled and deveined

Cooked rice of your choice

Heat 2 Tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat and cook until shallot is softened.  Add tomatoes with their juices and salt and pepper to taste.  Cook until sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.  Reduce heat to low, add beans and the pesto sauce.  Cook until heated through.  Remove bean mixture to a bowl.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in skillet over medium high heat.  Add shrimp and cook, stirring often until shrimp os cooked through, about 3 minutes.

Add cooked rice to 2 bowls, top with bean mixture and place cooked shrimp over all.  Serves 2.

Printable Recipe

Florida Events

March 2nd, 2017

NSB Dinner

We have been very busy in our rental house in New Smyrna Beach.  As it turns out, we have had lots of get togethers with friends and family.  High School friends were here at the same time that we were.  We hosted a dinner for ten before we all headed to town (within walking distance) for music and dancing.  It felt like being in high school again accept for my aching back the next morning.  I planned a very simple dinner for the crowd.  Everything can be done ahead of time, except the rice.  We had my friend Barbara’s Chicken Poppy Seed Casserole, two do ahead salads; Corn, celery and roasted red pepper salad and 3 bean salad, Zatarain’s Caribbean Rice mix, and Ina Garten’s Chocolate Chunk Blondies.

NSB Peanuts

Flagler Avenue is a happening place with numerous restaurants and music venues.

Pizza, vegie and sausage

On another occasion we drove to Sanford to have dinner with David’s Finnish relatives.  It is a long story, but in brief, David’s Mother grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  Her parents had immigrated there from Finland.  David had very little contact with the extended family until a few years ago when our friend Ruth brought him together with his cousin Don.  The family now spend time in Florida.  It means a lot to David to have this connection.

We were treated to delicious pizzas cooked on the grill by grill master Jon.  The above pizza has sausage, bacon and roasted vegies.

Pizza, Barbecued ChickenThis is Jon’s speciality pizza.  It is a Barbecued Chicken Pizza with red onions, goat cheese and cilantro. It was fun watching him maneuver the pizzas around with his giant pizza peel.

Finnish FamilyWe enjoyed our evening spending time with wonderful family and friends.

Bread Board 2


On another matter, I am happy to say that my friend Penny, of the blog Enjoying the Simple Things, has started an Etsy Shop selling her Artisan made European French Style Bread Boards.  She and her husband are making these beautiful boards and the workmanship and quality are outstanding.  They also sell for a lot less than others I have seen online.  Here is the link to her Etsy Shop.

Also there are links above for the rice and Chocolate Chunk Blondies.  Here is the recipe for the Chicken Poppy Seed Casserole.


6 Chicken Breasts – Cooked and Cubed
8 oz. Crushed Ritz Crackers
1 1/2 sticks Butter
1 1/2 Tablespoon Poppy Seeds
2 cans Cream of Chicken Soup
8 oz. Sour Cream

Melt butter and mix with crackers and poppy seeds.  In another bowl, mix soup and sour cream.  Add chicken to this.

Line greased 9×13 inch dish with 1/2 of the cracker mixture.  Pour chicken mixture over and top with remaining crackers.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.

Printable Recipe

Chicken Kofta with Pomegranate Rice

February 12th, 2017

Chicken Kofta with Pomegranate Rice

We are now officially Florida residents for the next 6 weeks.  The rental house is small, but the kitchen is updated and very functional.

NSB Kitchen

I am always seeking out new recipes.  From a stack of magazines in the cottage, I found this recipe for Chicken Kofta with Pomegranate Rice in an issue of Real Simple.  When I travel to rental houses, I prefer to bring herbs and spices. The basket you see next to the refrigerator holds all of my favorites from home. These Middle Eastern ground chicken patties call for cumin and cinnamon; a great flavor combination.

Chicken Kofta with Pomagranate Rice

The chicken is served with yellow rice with pomegranate seeds, cooling cucumber slices and a lemon infused yogurt sauce.  We enjoyed this on the backyard patio.  The ocean is just two blocks away.


We love this small beach community.


2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 lb. ground chicken
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp.extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. water
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
4 cups cooked yellow rice
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup sliced English cucumbers

Stir together the yogurt and salt.  Combine the chicken, cumin, cinnamon, garlic, and 2 tablespoons of the yogurt mixture in a medium bow.  Shape into 8 (3-inch long) oval patties.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium.  Cook the patties, turning occasionally, until golden brown and cooked through, about 12 minutes.

Stir the water and lemon juice into the remaining yogurt mixture.  Toss together the rice and pomegranate seeds.  Sere the patties with rice; top with the yogurt sauce and cucumber.

Printable Recipe

Sweet and Sour Pork with Papaya and Cashews

December 19th, 2014

Sweet and Sour Pork 1


A simple meal when you are overwhelmed with holiday preparations.  That is what is needed.  I have had this recipes for Sweet and Sour Pork with Papaya and Cashews for years.  I don’t even remember its provenance.  But I was happy to run across it again recently.  A single pork tenderloin was waiting in the freezer, papayas where available in the produce section of the supermarket and cashews were on the pantry shelf.  We enjoyed a quick and easy dinner.  All that was added was a bed of rice to meld with the pan sauce.

Sweet and Sour Pork 2

We are preparing to travel to visit family for the holidays.  We also have work that needs to be done at our Lake Lure Cottage.  Every three years the lake level is lowered so that homeowners can do repair work to seawalls and boathouse supports.  New Years will find us at a beach cottage on Mrytle Beach with long time friends.  So there is much organization to accomplish besides the usual Christmas rush.  Easy meal preparations is a boon for this time of year.  This recipe fits the bill.

Sweet and Sour Pork 3 close

Enjoy the festivities of the season.


3/4 pound boneless pork loin or pork tenderloin, cubed
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 papaya, peeled, seeded, cubed
1/4 cup cashews

Combine flour and salt and pepper.  Cut pork into 1/2 inch slices or cubes.  Dredge meat in flour, shaking off excess flour.  Saute in oil until browned and cooked through.  In saucepan over medium heat, combine vinegar, water, and brown sugar.  Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.  In a small bowl, blend pineapple juice and cornstarch.  Stir into vinegar and cook, stirring frequently, until thickened.  Gently fold in pork, papaya and cashews.  Serve over a bed of rice.

Printable Recipe


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