My eggplant is finally starting to come into my garden. Which means you’ll be seeing MANY more eggplant recipes here on the blog while our garden is cranking them out. I hope you like eggplant as much as I do. If not, don’t tell me because then I’d have to try and convince you what you’re missing out on and I’m stubborn and persistent and won’t let it go. Now you know. Eggplant Parmesan is a classic. What’s not to love about eggplant, homemade tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil. Exactly. The traditional method can be a little heavy so we’ve taken the liberty of lightening it up a bit. Which means I can eat more. Win win. I think you’re going to go ga ga over these stacks.
Does anyone else think of fencing when there are kebabs on the menu? No, just me. Okay then. Glad we got that out of the way. I like kebabs. They’re fun to say, and better yet fun to eat. You can have an entire meal on a stick. You know my aversion to dishes loving self would be all over that. Yep yep.
I had my fair share of frozen banana daiquiri’s on my honeymoon in Jamaica (we won’t discuss how many years ago that was let’s just say I’m into the good gift numbers). Brought over by cabana boys to the beach, to the pool, to the lobby, you name it. They were so polite it would have been rude to have not accepted them right? Right. They were the best banana daiquiris I’d ever tasted. I’m not sure why I’d never tried to recreate them before now but I’m glad I finally did. What made me try after all those years? A beautiful bottle of banana rum.
I hope you’re ready for one pretty awesome NO BAKE dessert. Yes I said no baking and or cooking for that matter. Well unless you count melting in the microwave but let’s not split hairs about that when we have such a glorious and decadent dessert to dwell on. A chocolate pudding concoction that will have you making noises when you eat it. Yep yep. It’s silky, sweet (thanks to a little maple syrup) and smooth and just when you think it couldn’t get any better you feel that slight tingle and tickle of heat. Pure bliss.
We use a lot of tomatoes in our house. A LOT (yes that’s totally a technical term) I love to garden (it’s calming and soothing to me, well not the dirt under the nails but everything else). I grow most of the tomatoes we use and/or supplement from the farmer’s market. In the summer time I honestly have more than I know what to do with. Since I HATE to waste any food with the excess we CAN (hello fresh tomatoes in December), make OVEN ROASTED TOMATOES and tomato paste.
I like sauces. It’s true. Savory, salty, sweet a little heat. Doesn’t matter to me just bring on the sauce. I also like simple and it doesn’t get much simpler than this 4 ingredient Spicy Caramel Sauce. It’s savory sweet and has a little heat. Covering almost all of my bases. It takes less than 15 minutes and I’m betting you’ll find all kinds to drizzle this deliciousness on. My go to is ice cream. Preferably vanilla bean because it goes with everything that I feel like bringing to the ice cream party. It’s also great drizzled over cream puffs. I mean who doesn’t like cream puffs. Don’t tell me if you don’t. That would crush me.
I’m an all year round soup girl. I love it in all it’s glorious forms. Clear, Creamy, Chowdery (is that even a category well it is now) and most definitely Chilled. While it’s not your usual run of the mill hot soup don’t let the cold nature of these stop you from giving these a go. They’re super refreshing, and perfect for sipping all summer long. If you can work a blender you can make this recipe.
I hope you things HOT, besides the weather which here in North Cackalacky is already sweltering. Not that I should be surprised after 6 years of being here. What does surprise me is the bill. I’m thinking I should start a savings fund for said air conditioning bill. Sigh. We however are talking hot as in hot and spicy food. This week we’re partnering with TABASCO to bring you not one but FIVE hot and spicy recipes. An entire week of recipes dedicated to that little iconic bottle. You know the one. It’s pretty unmistakeably. That bottle has been gracing my family’s fridge for longer than I can remember. I’m betting it’s in most of yours too.
I’ve never been able to do shots (well unless they were of the jello variety). I just can’t. I have to sip them and well that’s just embarrassing (it’s okay I know it) so I avoid the inevitable mocking and bright red face by running away from them like they were the plague. Cocktails now are another story. I prefer those that pack a little punch and are on the fruity side. What can I say. I like them and especially those with tequila. Tequila kinda has a reputation of sorts. There are odes to it all across the airwaves. Kenny Chesney’s- “you and TEQUILA make me crazy” (it’s true) and Joe Nichols “tequila makes her clothes come off” (ehem not going there) are just a few of my favorites that reference that clear concoction.
Jams, jelly or preserves? I’m a preserves kinda girl through and through. I like a little texture going on. Plus it’s less work. Truth. Strawberry is my preserve poison of choice. It’s what I gravitate to, well that and Fig Preserves, which is also the bomb diggity. Lately I’ve been on the strawberry rhubarb bandwagon. Adding the rhubarb to the mix adds another dimension, it takes it from casual sundress to cocktail dress but in the culinary sense. This preserve is giving my old favorite a run for it’s pole position in my pantry.
Now that the weather is warm we spend a lot of time on our deck, which is located directly off our kitchen and faces our backyard. We’re fortunate to have a decent size deck that houses our container garden, a sitting area plus a dining table with umbrella and chairs. When the weather permits, we like to enjoy our family meals on the deck as well as entertain in this space. The deck overlooks our backyard which is heavily wooded and I can pretend that I’m in a tree house. One that just so happens to have plumbing. I’m not really the camping type, have I mentioned that?
My littles get out of school NEXT week. I’m having a hard enough time dealing with the fact that it’s already JUNE and on top of that it is the end of school year. Pass the wine. While I will enjoy the laid back slow mornings, because y’all know that I am not, nor will I ever be a morning person (my dream of owning a farm complete with a big green tractor is held up because of this and okay a big fat down payment as well) I’m dreading hearing the “I’m BORED” or “What’s there to eat” every two seconds. Maybe it’s just my kids? Time to start cranking out the homemade snacks.
A few weeks ago we got our started our container using Miracle-Gro Gro-Ables. Gro-ables are seed pods that provide an ideal growing environment for your seed. Each ready-to-plant seed pod contains growing materials, plant food and a specially selected seed from one of 17 different varieties including basil, spinach, cilantro, dill, sweet peppers, cherry tomatoes and more. All you need to do is plant your seed, water and enjoy watching it grow into something greater. Easy right?
If you were to ask me to describe summer in a glass I would give you a sip of this cocktail. It screams summer. This cocktail reminds me of the spiked watermelon that we used to enjoy during our college days except now I can enjoy it in a glass. Because of course we’re way more refined. That’s it. We’ve also upped the ooh and ah factor by adding our HOMEMADE HONEYSUCKLE SIMPLE SYRUP. You’re going to want to keep this handy all summer long. You’ll find yourself using this simple syrup in all types of summer sippers (that can be spiked or not.) Sweet tea flavored with Honeysuckle anyone?
Work is getting harder and harder to focus on now that it’s SUNNY outside. Is anyone else having that problem? I believe I have a serious case of spring fever. By the time noon rolls around all I want to do is jump in my beetle, drop the top and go joy riding. Back roads, cow pastures (“If I’m gonna hit a traffic jam, well it better be a tractor man”) blue skies, hair in the wind equals happiness. Thank goodness I get good gas mileage because this is my most every afternoon lately. I also now am sporting quite the farmer’s tan. Be jealous. It’s hawt. LOL.
One bite of this balsamic roasted strawberry and rhubarb sorbet and I think you’ll agree that your spring and summer just got a whole lot zesty and zippier. If you’ve never tried roasted strawberries I’m going to have to insist that you do (in the non pushiest way possible of course). If you have then you know how absolutely intoxicating the berries are when they’ve been hit with that low and slow heat. I find that to be true of most things that go through the roasting process. In short, roasting rocks and you should and simply must try it.
Creme Brulee is one of my half dozen go to desserts (and my second favorite all time dessert next to Tiramisu). There’s a reason it’s on my short go to list. Besides being spoon licking good, It’s EASY. Yes it may sound all fancy schmancy (despite it’s literal translation of burnt cream) but it doesn’t require any special equipment. You of course CAN use a blow torch which is fun and all but you honestly don’t have to have one. You can use your broiler in a pinch.
I think spring made a guest appearance and then summer blazed in and sent her two stepping. Blazing as in it’s already been in the 90′s in my neck of the Southern woods. Which means, if there isn’t rain coming down, my rag top is down, shades are on and my crazy convertible hair (how do “those” girls keep perfect convertible hair anyway?) is flying all over the place. When I get home I’m always looking for something COLD to enjoy. Like a granita. A caffeinated coffee granita tops that list. What’a granita you ask? It’s pretty much an adult version of a sno-cone. They’re super easy to make and that gives you an excuse (as if we need one) to enjoy coffee without the heat.
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of going on a media trip to Vidalia, Georgia. Being a Georgia Peach myself I was naturally over the moon excited about seeing these sweet spheres in their natural habitat. One of the things I love about my job is visiting farms, getting to know the actual farmers and seeing how much love and attention goes into growing, harvesting and packaging the food that ends up in our grocery bags and on our kitchen tables (or breakfast bar because yeah sometimes the table is covered in photography equipment. It happens).
I kinda have a thing with lasagna. Not going to lie. I love it. It’s a classic and there’s a reason things become classics. They’re GOOD. Alright better than good. They’re G-R-E-A-T. Now Tony Tiger is swimming around in my my head and I’m sure in yours as well. You’re welcome. I make my Lasagna alla Bolognese in the fall and winter. It’s heavy, rich and begs to be made during colder weather when I need to be warmed up from my head to my toes. That doesn’t mean I don’t crave lasagna in the warmer months. I do. I just go a little different route.