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Showing posts from August, 2011

In the Pantry-Baking Essentials

Last week I started a series about keeping a well-stocked pantry .  Did that post get you thinking about your pantry space and how it can be organized?  One thing I know for sure is that one person's organization strategy does not work for everyone.  Keep that in mind as you read this series.  These pantry posts should provide inspiration rather than a road map for your basic pantry.  Your pantry must work for you to make your life easier and that means it must be customized to your needs. The Baking Essentials in a Well-Stocked Pantry Today I want to start to share with the items that are baking staples in my pantry.  By staples I mean these are my go-to items.  We're not talking gourmet items here.  These are the products I don't want to be without.  When my pantry is stocked with my staples I find I am ready to cook a meal or bake a dessert without having to run to the store for ingredients.  Today's focus is on the baking essentials in my pantry.  You ca

Green Beans, Feta Cheese, Onions and Roasted Red Pepper with Herb Vinaigrette

Green beans are one of my favorite vegetables.  We eat them all year round, but this summer I'm especially in love with green beans because I've grown my own in my garden.  One of the ways to really highlight beautiful, tender green beans is to serve them as a cold side dish, blanched and tossed with a tasty vinaigrette. I wanted to make a colorful, bold flavored dish and this one fits the bill.  The garlic, oregano and basil in the dressing are enhanced by the red onion and roasted red pepper.  The feta adds a salty creaminess that goes nicely with the crunch of the crisp, green beans. This is a quick, easy to assemble side dish.  You'll want to make it early in the day, or a day before you serve it to give the flavors time to develop. Green Bean Salad Ingredients Green Beans with Feta, Onions and Roasted Red Pepper Serves 4 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed 1/4 red onion, slices very thinly 1/4 of a roasted red pepper, cut into thin 1" strips 1 1/2

How to Make Fresh Tomato Salsa

Fresh Tomato Salsa When your garden overflows with tomatoes one of the things you can make is salsa.  Yes, it is easy to make fresh salsa with your garden tomatoes.  Did you grow onions, cilantro and jalapenos?  Even better.  That means you have most of what you need on hand and you are ready to go. I had about eight pounds of tomatoes I had picked from my garden and there is no way we would be able to eat eight pounds of tomatoes in the next few days unless I got creative.  The first step is to blanch and skin the tomatoes.  That sounds like a lot of work doesn't it?  Well, it really isn't all that much work.  If you have helpers it can be fun.  Yes, you'll be getting your hands in a little bit of a mess, but it goes quickly and is worth the effort. To blanch the tomatoes fill a large pot 3/4 full with water and bring it to a boil over medium high heat.  I used about 12 medium tomatoes, approximately 6 pounds.  That gave me 8 cups of salsa.  Use your judgement

Sliders for Dinner

Last night it was just Hubby and me for dinner.  We've had a hectic week. I know, your week has been hectic, too.  That's why this dinner suggestion is perfect for all of us.  Sliders... Sliders for Dinner Sliders, you ask?  That's so last year... OK.  Come on...  Last year... this year... do you really care what year?  I'm just saying that when you need a quick and easy dinner, sliders can be a fun answer.  We all need a little fun in our dinner once in a while, don't we?  And sliders are both kid and adult friendly.  What's better than that? I must admit that sliders were not part of the original dinner plan.  Well, to be perfectly honest there was no plan.  There was a trip to the grocery store looking for inspiration.  Inspiration came in the form of sliders.  Yes, cheddar and bacon sliders to be exact.  Do I have your interest yet? Cheddar Bacon Sliders for Two Making Sliders 6 pre-made cheddar bacon sliders 6 slices chive cheddar c

How to Have a Well-Stocked Pantry

A well stocked pantry can be a great time saver as well as the key to making a wide variety of meals with very little planning.  We have all experienced a time when we were in the midst of making a recipe only to find out part way through that we were missing a critical ingredient.  Do you run to your neighbors or stop the preparation and run to your local grocery store?  What if neither is an option?  My well-stocked pantry came to be out of necessity.  As a working mom who traveled a great deal for my work I had precious little time for shopping, or even planning meals.  There was definitely no time for running to the grocery store in the middle of a recipe preparation.  I learned that my life would be much easier if I just made sure I had what I needed on hand. So, how do you get a well-stocked pantry in your home?  Here are five steps to get you started. Five Steps to a Well-Stocked Pantry 1.    Identify a location for your pantry.  I am lucky in that I have a closet in m

Roasted Tomato, Ricotta and Pesto Bruschetta

The inspiration for this roasted tomato bruschetta came from a bruschetta topping we bought at a specialty store in Meredith, New Hampshire while vacationing at Lake Winnipesaukee this summer.  We bought the most delicious fire roasted tomatoes to serve on top of grilled bread.  It was so delicious I was determined to make some of my own. I waited though.  Yes, I waited for my very own tomatoes to ripen so I could make a bruschetta topping with tomatoes I had grown with my own two hands.  Well, friends, the time has come.  My tomatoes have ripened and it is time to make bruschetta.  I also made some fresh ricotta cheese .  It is really, really easy to do.  Once you've made it you won't want to buy it from the store again. Here's what I did... Roasted Tomato, Ricotta and Pesto Bruschetta 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil  1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 2 large garlic cloves, minced 4 fresh basil leaves, chopped 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt  1/4 tea

Lemon-Lime Sorbet

Lemon-Lime Sorbet I had a bowl of lemons and limes sitting on the counter with no plan for their use.  I think you know I have been on a lemon and lime kick for a while, so it's no surprise I had lemons and limes on hand. What to do with them was the dilemma at hand.   The heat of the day helped me to make my decision.  A refreshing lemon-lime sorbet would both refresh and cool. Sorbet or sherbet?  A sorbet differs from a sherbet in that it doesn't contain any dairy.  Around here we all know Del's Lemonade, a lemon flavored frozen sorbet type treat.  I wanted to make something similar. Lemon-Lime Sorbet Ingredients Lemon-Lime Sorbet Print Recipe 2 cups sugar 2 cups water 1 cup fresh squeezed lemon and lime juice zest of 1 lemon Directions First, make a simple syrup by heating together two cups of sugar and two cups of water. Bring the mixture to a boil and stir to dissolve the sugar.  You'll see the mixture go from cloudy to clear.  Remove it f