Tag Archives: summer

sugar apricots

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sugar apricots

I came back with a bunch of Turkish sugar apricots from my latest grocery expedition. They looked so cute and delicious, and they’re quite a bit smaller than regular apricots. And yes, they live up to the expectation of the name – they really are sweeter.

So what to make with them? This nectarine galette came immediately to my mind – rustic and flaky, and perfect for fresh seasonal fruit. It’s easy enough to make – I used a bit too much water while bringing the dough together, so it was a bit sticky, but sticking it in the fridge helped . I forgot to take it out in time to roll it out, and since I didn’t want a finished tart that was done around 11pm, I placed the rolled out dough in the freezer, just long enough for the dough to firm up, but not long enough to freeze. If you’re doing the same thing, make sure you check on your dough frequently and that you don’t get side tracked, otherwise you have a frozen dough with lovely cracks. Which defeats the whole no-tear concept and the juices will run out.

I used up every single apricot – sadness, since I wanted to eat at least one. But it sure did look pretty, with all those apricots arranged. I placed the tart on a pizza stone, which was great, and the tart came out really nicely. It’s easy peasey to make (God, I sound like one of those Food Network Chefs – I can’t remember who says that), and the crust is lovely and flaky and delicious. I made one with plums, and it’s just as good.

fruit tart

apricot tart, plum tart – baked on a pizza stone

Peppermint Princess

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Peppermint Princess

Glaubst du an den lieben Gott oder an Guevara
ich glaube an die Deutsche Bank denn die zahlt aus in bar au
Liebling lass uns tanzen hast du noch ‘nen Pfefferminz ‘nen Pfefferminz
so und nun gib mir ‘nen Kuss mit Pfefferminz bin ich dein Prinz

- “Mit Pfefferminz bin ich dein Prinz” by Marius Müller-Westernhagen

Clapotis in Wollmeise

You know how you sometimes just fall in love with a skein of yarn due to its name? Yes? No? Well, that was the case with me. When I’d just discovered Wollmeise yarn, I was looking at colors on the Wollmeise website, trying to figure out what colors I’d like. That was before I discovered how challenging it is to order Wollmeise yarn, and that you won’t easily find the color you like in stock. No, you just have to hope that the color you want will be available at that update, and you’ll have to hope no one snaps it up before you can checkout with it.

Wollmeise in blue-green

Pfefferminz Prinz above, Tiefer See below

Well, I was looking at the blue-green color family, and I immediately fell in love with two colors: “Tiefer See” which is the blue-green as ‘the blue and green of a deep mountain lake,’ and “Pfefferminz Prinz,” which must be inspired by the song above that is titled “With peppermint I’m your prince.” Well, I like that song, so I just had to like the color. The skein is lighter than the Tiefer See colorway – a very pretty turquoise and light green.

Thankfully I managed to score a skein of Pfefferminz Prinz thanks to a fellow Raveler. And when you finally get ahold of a yarn color that you’ve been hoping for, oh, forever, you of course have to find a project that will show off the colors.

One of the most frequently knit patterns using Wollmeise is the ubiquitous Clapotis scarf/shawl, second only behind the Hitchhiker pattern. I wanted more of a skinny scarf that would be light enough to wear during the summer, so I modified the pattern into a narrow scarf. It’s super easy to modify the pattern to the desired width and length. So many Ravelers have already done that, there are many many helpful project notes out there. In fact, there is an entire group dedicated to knitting your own Clapotis.

The best suggestion is to weight your yarn skein(s) before casting on, to then weight it again after the increase section, before knitting the straight part. Then you know how much yarn you can use for the straight section, and not run out of yarn. The scarf itself is knit on a bias, and stitches are dropped at regular intervals to created the lacy effects. You have to get used to dropping the stitches – normally I’m so super careful not to drop any. It’s a really fun scarf, and I understand why many people knit multiple Clapotis scarves – but that endless straight section is somewhat mindless. I’m not a huge fan of projects that are endless. I’ll be knitting a bunch of other scarves, but I can see myself knitting another Clapotis again sometime in the future.

Clapotis knit in Pfefferminz Prinz

Cookout!

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Cookout!

Do you want to get into the cookout mood? Just start singing “Rollout” by Ludacris and substitute “Cookout” for Rollout. There, now you’re ready to hang out outside.

We finally have less rain. No more April showers which is good since it is almost June. We have more sunshine, it’s warmer which means cookout season has started! It’s warm enough. Yaaaaaay! The kids can play outside, hang out on the swing, play Easter by hiding and finding things (yes, they really do play that). And if all else fails you can always have ‘sprinting competitions.’ The perfect way to grab a few quiet moments.

Fennel and Zucchini, with Feta, Pinenuts and Lemon

Shaved Fennel and Zucchini Salad

Now, while cookout season is great, there are also health risks surrounding the eating of grilled meats – the whole carcinogenic thing is something to pay attention to. If you want to know more, just google ‘grilling health risks‘ or something like that and you’ll find reports on the findings about cancer. (Don’t run an image search – the Google images on cancer are pretty horrific).

There have been and currently are enough cancer cases among friends and family that it doesn’t hurt to prepare plenty of non-grilling options at a cookout. (Yeah, it’s been a rough time all around). For us, a cookout is a collaborative effort where every one brings something, and then it’s not such a workload on the hosts. My favorite contributions are salads that don’t need refrigeration – careful on the mayonnaise, side dishes that can be prepared ahead of time, and dessert options that are non-melting. Pretty much common sense.

I’ve come to be known as the salad queen in the family, so my standard contribution is some kind of crunchy-ish salad. One of my friends always contributes a basic lettuce salad with vinaigrette. So that’s taken care of, and I can play around with different takes on salad recipes.

This one is my current summer favorite: 101 cookbook’s Shaved Fennel salad. Yes, it’s a non-smitten kitchen recipe! It’s so good, I can’t believe that it didn’t make it into the cookbook. It’s really easy to make, you can assemble parts of it ahead of time, and it’s light and fresh. I used to be a bit iffy about using fennel in my cooking – I’m not a fan of liquorice so I only liked my fennel roasted, and the spice had to be toasted enough that it wouldn’t remind me of some kind of digestive tea. You know that little condiment that you get at the end of a meal in an Indian restaurant? That little bowl of fennel with little candied sugar pearls? Yeah, that taste. Btw, fennel ice cream post-dinner instead of that fennel mix? That sounds like a win-win situation.

But – I’ve found that I totally love fennel in my salad. If it’s sliced really thing, then you aren’t chewing on the fibers in the fennel. Plus the fennel gains a surprising delicacy. If you have mandolin, have fun slicing (it’s just way faster), but you can just as easily get lovely thin slices with a heavy Chef’s knife. Same with the zucchini – it has more moisture, so I don’t know who it’ll hold up on a mandolin, but I suspect just fine. I haven’t tried a box grater, but the fennel should work just fine, but the zucchini – I doubt it.

The recipe suggest letting the fennel-zucchini-lemon juice-olive oil-mixture marinate for 20 mins to an hour. Yes, I left the dill out on purpose – I just don’t like it very much. I let it marinate somewhere around 3-4 hours before assembling the salad, and I think the marinade could easily marinate longer. There was no more fridge space left, so the mixture marinated outside, but since there was no mayonaise it it I figured it would be ok. And it was. The arugula was already in the salad bowl, dried, and sitting in the shade. All I had to do was mix the arugula with the remainder of the mix, add the feta and the pine nuts. And voila, you have the perfect cookout contribution. The salad disappeared so quickly, some people didn’t manage to score seconds. Oh, and one friend ate the remaining dressing with a bit of focaccia – she pronounce it delicious. I really recommend you try this salad on your own – you’ll love it.

Featured post image from Stackmatic.

Melon salad

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I love watermelon, but I’m not really a fan of honeydew or other melon sorts. But I had a honeydew melon on hand, and wanted to eat a salad. So guess what I found: a NYTimes recipe for a melon salad with a honeydew dressing. I once again improvised since I didn’t have any prosciutto or fennel, but I did have frisee lettuce. I used sliced almonds instead of hazelnuts. The dressing is basically pureed honeydew melon with oil and lime. I also added a bit of my pickled spring onions, and that was an excellent addition to the salad. This would also be an excellent fall salad. (Btw, do you want me to put up the bread recipe?)

Homemade bread, and melon salad. The perfect meal.

I had plenty of dressing left over, so I used it for the next days salad, where I added oranges, a yellow bell pepper and walnuts with the remainder of the frisee lettuce. Yum.

Today I’m linking up with Ginger Snap Crafts for her Wow Me Wednesday.

I’m not Cap’n Crunch

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I’m not Cap’n Crunch

Hello all you people who visit looking for the food part of this blog. I know, I’ve neglected you for the last few weeks. So, since I haven’t put up a post for you guys in a while, I thought I’d share one of my current favorites –  broccoli slaw. Yum. Crunchy broccoli, sharp onions (ok, they’re shallots), toasty almonds and sweet cranberries. And buttermilk dressing. What more could be better? I think this is my favorite way to eat broccoli, closely followed by steamed broccoli with lemon and garlic. Only disadvantage is that your breath will be rather oniony afterwards. In the interest being considerate to your fellow humans, you should brush your teeth or ate least suck on a cough drop. Btw, I’m not a fan of mayonnaisy dressings. I think they end up making a dressing so heavy, plus mayonnaise spoils so quickly if you make your own or buy the organic kind. I generally substitute yoghurt for mayonnaise, especially in dressings. Apart from that, iI you want to make any other substitutions, I think you could use pickled spring onions instead, and you could use pomegranate arils, both fresh or dried instead of the cranberries. And you could obviously easily substitute cauliflower for broccoli. But I like it just the way it is.

Why yes, that is a Brezel in the background. Brezel and broccoli slaw, what more could you want?

I’m also still looking for a great cabbage slaw with fresh apples and without carrots. And one that’s not made on a mayonnaise basis. In my opinion is makes the slaw soggy, and who wants a soggy slaw? That defeats the whole purpose of slaw. If you have a recipe you’d like to share let me know!

Btw, there were rumors that Cap’n Crunch is retired? I never ate it, but it’s almost like a childhood institution being retired, like Lucky Charms or Snap, Crackle and Pop, or even worse, Tony the Tiger. (Shhh, don’t tell anyone, but I occasionally crave – and eat – a bowl of Frosted Flakes. Yay for childhood).

I don’t know how to sew…

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but I totally want to learn! It would make life so much easier – for example, I could shorten my own hems instead of paying $14-16 (especially if I want to keep the hems on my jeans). Plus, you can just fit your clothes better. A friend of mine made beautiful quilts for her grandchildren.

But this, this is amazing. I mean, how awesome to know how to sew bathing suits? I love all the little details.

a tart

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lemons and tart, yum

whole lemon tart

Definition:

  • Delicious cream or jam-filled treat
  • A female who is attractive and has the air of being promiscuous, even if she isn’t
  • sour, acid, astringent
    ….

Yum! :)

I’m a huge fan ouf things sour, and I love lemon tarts. Sometimes when I’m lazy but have a hankering for lemons I buy one of these small, one person serving size lemon tartlets from Whole Foods. I also love lemon bars, key lime pie, lemon syrup, lemon pasta, lemon in my risotto - basically lemons in all of their iterations. I haven’t tried to make preserved lemons though – at least so far, but it sounds delicious, with many uses.

Anyway, I had planned to make this gorgeous lemon tart as a my contribution for a dinner with family friends, but alas, lunch was cancelled since the lady of the house wasn’t doing well. So I ended wondering when I’d get to make this lemon tart again. I mean, I could have made the dessert just for us, but really, an entire pie just for us? Oh the horror, what a temptation to eat lemon tart for every meal. My waistline wouldn’t thank me. Plus, my mother had made this delicious Mocha cake for me (I’ll post about this another time) – a cake that’s usually made just once a year, for my birthday, and that’s associate with lots of nostalgia and family history.

Back to the topic at hand. Matthias and his wife Lena called Friday morning, saying that they’d like to come over for a short visit. They’ve going moved Toulouse in October so opportunities to meet them are rare. They wouldn’t have much time since their little munchkin Marius would need to be put to bed on time. I’d hoped that I could make them dinner since I’ve had this yummy asparagus, artichoke and shitake mushroom recipe on the backburner, but dinner just wouldn’t work out. So at least I could make a dessert, and now I finally had the opportunity to make that lemon tart.

lemon tart and tea

lemon tart and tea: breakfast of champions

The amazing and usual part about this recipe is that the entire lemon is used in the filling. Ok, the pits are removed, but otherwise the entire lemon is is processed. Not just the rind or the juice (I really need to invest in a microplane grater since I’m usually annoyed to pull out the regular grater – the rind just end up small enough for my taste. Plus it’s not a box grater, so I have the lovely job of holding the grater while using pressure on the end to get the rind off. Clearly it’s time for a microplane grater). I’m all in favor of recipes that put a twist on normal – okay, classic – recipes.

The tart was a huge hit. The center was still slightly warm at serving time, but it was of a great consistency, and we demolished over half of the tart. However, I’d agree with Deb’s assessment – i.e. Smitten Kitchen – to serve the tart cold. Take my assurances for it, the tart is still delicious the next day and the day after – although only a teeny tiny sliver lasted that long. Try it out for yourselves, and I’m sure you’ll agree that this tart is worth making it again. If you have a half-done pie crust in your freezer/fridge, then this is an easily whipped up, last minute dessert. Or a great contribution for a summer cookout. Really, it’s perfect for summer, although it’s surely a lovely reminder of summer in the middle of winter.

I’m not a fan of bell peppers, but….

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I blogged the other day about this amazing summer salad I had. Meet this delicious Mediterranean summer salad - perfect for a warm summer day. It also keeps nicely til the next day (I’m sure it would keep longer, except that it’s so delicious that it might not last that long). I love sour things, but I never really thought about including pickled ingredients in my salad – I can’t imagine sour gurkens in my salad. But this, this was so delicious that I’m going to have to try out more recipes like that. Even my Dad, who isn’t a big fan of salad, said that the salad was yummy and that he’d like to eat it again soon. (And yes, I need to improve the lighting on my pictures).

summer salad

mediterranean summer salad on cress

We ate the salad with homemade flatbreads – another Smitten Kitchen recipe. So good! You might think that the mixture of honey, thyme and salt is weird, but it comes together nicely, with the finished object being more than it’s components. I’ll be making this one again, soon.

flatbreads

flatbreads with freshly crushed sea salt