Archives for the month of: August, 2011

Well, I survived my 30th birthday.

The birthday itself wasn’t all that great.  But that evening, DH and I took off for a weekend in Seattle, where I got to spend an entire morning wandering around Pike’s Place market, eating really awesome peaches and nectarines, as well as one of the most delicious Chinese dim sum chicken bun I’ve ever had.

We learned something.  I am perfectly content wandering through a crowded market when there is beautiful food around me.  Make me wander through a crowded anything else?  Insta-panic mode.   For now, I am greatful that DH also enjoys the food markets and is still willing to bear with me on the other crowds.  Someday I will find the right mindset.  After all, I’m now able to fly in airplanes without sedatives!

A few weeks ago, I made this salad to use some of my cucumbers and jalepeno peppers from the garden.  Since the recipe involved a Thai peanut sauce, there was no way I could go wrong.  And it was wonderful.

Highly recommend having some extra Jasmine rice to eat with the sauce

Thai Peanut Cucumber Salad
Adapted from James Petterson’s Cooking

4 cups of slided cucumbers, seeded
1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 cup natural creamy peanut butter
2 – 3 jalepeno chiles, seeded and diced
1 clove finely diced garlic
1/2 cup lite coconut milk
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 chopped fresh cilantro (don’t skimp!)
Fresh basil leaves
3 Tbsp lime juice
3 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 – 3 Tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp olive oil (or peanut oil)
1/2 – 1 lb peeled, deviened shrimp

In a collander, sprinkle salt over cucumbers.  Allow to sit for 20-30 minutes in the sink.  Squeeze out as much moisture from the cucumbers and put in your salad bowl.

Combine peanut butter through sugar with a whisk.  Stir in cilantro, chopped basil, juice, vinegar, and fish sauce.  Stir in with cucumbers

Heat oil in a skillet on medium heat.  Cook shrimp for 3-5 minutes, until pink.   Add to salad.  Let sit in refridgerator at least an hour before service (but it will be awesome for lunch the next day).

Just writing this post makes me want to make this salad again. This weekend.   Any good ideas for using summer produce?  I’ve been out of the kitchen for the better part of two weeks (and I’m getting ansy…)



I’m not sure where the summer has gone.  I had grand plans for my last summer before hitting 30.  Grow my garden, become a TurboFire master, work less during the week.  All good intentions that have gone out the window.  Except the garden.  Somehow I’ve managed to cultivate a mutant cucumber plant.  I could post for a week about the various cucumber salads I’ve been making to use them.  For you, I’ll space them out.  Especially since I can’t stand the thought of cucumber again tonight.

The one thing I have managed to make progress on this summer is going through my grandmother’s old recipes.  I’m trying to get her favorites down to one little cookbook.  She definately spent a lot of time when she was home reading magazines/newspapers – I had several spiral noteboos full of recipes that had been stapled in to various sheets of paper.  Lots of Jello salads.  One of the recipes was for a Lobster gelatine salad, stuffed into a Lobster mold.  (Of which, we did find the lobster mold in one of her cupboards).  I can’t imagine putting a plat of Lobster gelatine salad in front of DH. 

They say you shouldn’t eat anything that your grandmother wouldn’t recognize for food.  After seeing the recipes of the 50’s – 70’s, I think I need to look to my great-grandmothers.

I love that the trend is going back towards natural foods.  Although I have been busy this summer (and not blogging), I have been cooking quite a lot to use the CSA veggies.  Guess you’ve got to focus your energy somewhere.  I managed to make this recipe one night after work – it’s one of like, 3 meals I’ve managed to make after work this summer, but it was worth getting home by 7 to make it!

Cheesy AND can't go wrong

Baked Pasta with Summer Veggies
Adapted from Cooking Light

6 ounces cooked pasta
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 yellow summer squash
1 zucchini, diced
1 medium onion, diced
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
3 large tomatoes, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 ounces lowfat shredded mozzerella cheese, divided
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tsp dried oregano
3/4 tsp salt, divided
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
2 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese
1 large egg, slightly beaten

Cook pasta according to directions with no salt.  Drain.
Heat over to 400 degrees
Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add oil.  Add squash, zucchini, onion and mushrooms to pan.  Saute for 5 – 7 minutes until veggies start to soften.  Add garlic and tomatoes.  Saute for 3 minutes until cooked.  Stir in cooked pasta, 1/2 of the mozzerella, herbs, 1/2 of the salt, and pepper.
Combine ricotta cheese, egg, and remaining salt.  Stir into the pasta mixture.  Poor into a CorningWare dish that is coated with cooking spray.  Top with remaining mozzerella.  Bake for 15 minutes uncovered until bubbly and thick.

Use whatever veggies you have on hand – DH didn’t mind this at all (if he has to eat vegetarian one night a week).

At some point, I need to start cooking my grandmother’s recipes.  Strawberry Jello salad baked into angel food cake anyone?