Tuesday, July 20, 2010

{Cool Cooking Ideas}

Holy mother of god, it's been warm here. Humid and 115 degrees ... at the same time.
Although, we got a little break today with a high of only 108. :)

It's nice to use your oven less during the summer. I mean, isn't it paradoxical to run the air conditioner and then heat a hot box to 350 degrees in the middle of your house? Surely, it's
worthwhile sometimes, but it's nice to have a stack of cool cooking ideas handy when the
season calls for them. Here are a few things I've made lately, sans the oven ...

Chicken salad -- Organic, free range chicken that David grilled. I cut it up and added grapes,
golden raisins, celery, a bit of yellow onion, salt, pepper, & a touch of Miracle Whip Light to
hold it together. I would have added walnuts, but Mr. Link isn't a nut guy.

Toast with poached egg, crumbled feta, tomato, fresh basil, salt, & pepper.
My friend, Alejandra, made this for me one day, and it's been a fav in our house since.
I changed it up here based on the ingredients I had. (She originally spread goat cheese
on the toast, added a layer of sliced avocado or tomato and then topped that with a
poached egg.) I love that it takes ten minutes to make but it still feels like you're
spoiling yourself with goodness when you eat it.

Watermelon-Feta-Mint-Scallion Salad. The only other ingredient is a tiny drizzle of EVOO
to hold it altogether. I'll change three things next time I make this:
1) Use a block of feta, cubed, instead of using crumbled like I did here.
2) Mix the feta in last to keep it from breaking up too much.
3) Cut up the watermelon and let it drain in a colander first to keep it from being too wet.
Otherwise, the flavors were great. I'll be making this again.

Height-of-Summer Tomato Salad. (Found in Vegetarian Times.) The dressing is simple. It's
2/3 c. fresh basil leaves, 3 cloves minced garlic, 2 Tbl. olive oil -- pulsed in food processor.
That's poured over the salad, for which I used a few colors and sizes of tomatoes. Hot house,
Roma, Heirloom, Yellow Grape, Cherry. Beautiful! Then, I added cucumbers, slices of red
onion, basil, and a touch each of EVOO and ricotta.

Fennel-Spiced Potato Wedges. (Another Vegetarian Times idea.) Here's the how to:
- Take 3 large Yukon Gold Potatoes, cut each into 8 wedges.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add wedges & cook 5-6 minutes. Drain, pat dry.
- Meanwhile, toast 1 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds in a small, dry skillet for 3-4 minutes. Shake skillet often. Then, grind seeds in coffee grinder (or with mortal and pestle) until a fine powder.
- Combine fennel powder with 1 1/2 tsp. onion powder and 3/4 tsp. salt in a small bowl.
- Toss potatoes in olive oil. Spread on plate and sprinkle all over with fennel seed mixture.
- Season with pepper.
- Heat grill to high; rub grates with canola oil. Place wedges on grill, close lid and cook 4-5
minutes or until easy to turn. Flip, close grill and cook 4-5 minutes more.

Parmesan-Truffle Popcorn. This is divine. A little salty but divine. We made the popcorn in a
pot, stovetop style. Then, in a small saucepan, we melted butter, grated Parmesan and truffle salt. Once it was all combined, we drizzled it over the popcorn, and it was amazing! Next time
I make it, I think I'll use truffle oil and Parmesan so I can skip the salt and most of the butter.
Not bad either way, I'm sure. :)

A simple fruit salad, perfect for summertime. Pineapple, cantaloupe, strawberries, and
blueberries. Delicious, fresh and all natural.

I also made Potato-Broccoli Soup, but I didn't take a photo. See recipe here. :)

And if you want something not cool but super awesome to cook ... you might wanna
check these out. Ohmygoodness, ohmygoodness. I might have to ... oh, yes I might.
Will you?

I believe you've met my kitchen helper, the lovely and sweet, Miss Norah Bean.
She's my loyal Lola, never far away. I love that she keeps me company in the kitchen!

Happy summer. Stay cool. Xoxo.


Michelle said...

YUM! That chicken salad looks so delicious...and with walnuts? Divine. Going to pass on the luscious pillow cookies. I'm trying to be good.

I said trying.

Alejandra said...

Wow! everything looks great!! This weekend I ate a lot of product that were made right there in VT, cheese, maple syrup, crepes, rabbit, more cheese...ummm!
I am glad you are keeping up with cooking different items...keep up the good work. One day when I grow up and have to cook I will use your recipes!! :)

elizabeth said...

can I come live with you!?

everything looks amazing, but the tomatoes, egg, feta on toast WILL be mine soon! the potato wedges too.

AMR said...

Very cool! lol! I've been looking for some easy lite yummy meals to feed ourselves. These are awesome! The fruit salad is perfect - no wilting or turning brown in 5 seconds.

carlene federer said...

one word-yummy!

Shelle said...

yum so much food on your blog lately ;) isn't it great to use your new photography skills on people, i had a blast when my nephews and sil were here last week.