Sunday, July 17, 2016

Salad of the summer

We have a salad with dinner almost every night.  In the summer, it's not uncommon for the salad to be the dinner.  Last night, I mixed up some sliced peaches, rotisserie chicken, spinach, and bleu cheese and drizzled it with a balsamic vinaigrette and called it dinner.  It was good, but every year, there seems to be some salad that I fall in love with and make a billion times.  The recipe below is the salad in the photo above - it's a crunchy salad because of the seeds and nuts and the kale and romaine mix with this dressing will convince even your most reluctant kale eaters!

Here are some of the summer salads of the past:

This is a very rough recipe - I'll try to actually measure next time so I can edit and update!  But for now, this works - you can't really mess it up, just don't add all the dressing at once.  Use your judgment since there's not an exact amount of greens.

Crunchy Kale Salad:

Chop some kale into bite sized pieces.  Mix with about an equal amount chopped romaine and a cup of broccoli slaw (or chopped raw broccoli).  Toss in a bowl with this dressing:  Whisk together 4 T brown sugar, 1 tsp. salt, 6 T rice wine vinegar, some tabasco, 1/2 cup canola oil.  Let it set for about 10-15 minutes.  Then, mix in  toasted sliced almonds, toasted sunflower seeds, and dried cranberries before serving.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Atlanta Trip 2016

Our first trip of the summer was a long weekend trip to the Atlanta area to celebrate my husband's grandma's 93rd birthday.  Fifteen years ago we got married on grandma's birthday and we've made it a point to remember that date :)

Here are some photos of this special trip to the south:
In the Super Shuttle - all ready for a day of travel

We made it!  In Atlanta with Aunt Sharon

Really fun visit to the Center for Puppetry Arts

Enjoying water activities with NO CAST!

Hanging out with Great Grammy

Celebrating Gram's 93rd birthday

Arguably the best part of the trip for Middle - hanging out with Barkley

Enjoying the southern tradition of sitting on the porch

A fantastic New Orleans style farewell dinner at Henry's in Acworth

We also had so much great food.  From another visit to Henry's, to an amazing french toast casserole (that we even drizzled bourbon over and had for dessert the next day) to a fabulous birthday party menu - I had to work out extra after the trip!  This was one of my favorite things that our aunt made - a fresh, summery side dish that I'll be making soon.

Corn, Tomato & Avocado Salad (4 side dish servings)

1 pint grape tomatoes
1 ripe avocado
2 ears fresh sweet corn
2 T fresh cilantro, chopped
one lime, juiced
3 T vegetable oil
1 T honey
1 clove garlic, minced
dash of cayenne pepper

Grill corn until it has some brown spots.  Cut off the cobb and set aside to cool.  Slice tomatoes in half and dice avocado.  Combine with the corn and cilantro.

For the dressing, whisk together the remaining ingredients.  Mix gently with the vegetables.  Let it sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Zucchini Basil Cous Cous

Our garden is growing!  It has a lot of direct sunlight and with the heat, some things didn't make it (most of our strawberries, broccoli, lettuce) but other things are coming in great (zucchini, carrots, herbs, sunflowers, tomatoes, and chile peppers).  It's small but the girls have delighted in planting, watering, and especially picking.  Our zucchini plant is hard to keep up with - we've given away some to family and neighbors and I've been making lots of new and old favorite zucchini recipes.  Middle loves it just steamed or sautéed with a little salt and has been opposed to grating and baking with it which is actually great.

You could do lots with this basic recipe - varying the herb that you use (mint? thyme?) to go with the rest of your meal would be a start.  I was thinking some feta cheese would also be a good addition for next time.

Zucchini & Basil Cous Cous (8 side dish servings)
Original recipe from Food Network

10 oz couscous
2 cups chicken broth
2 T olive oil
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 cloves minced garlic
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 T green onion, sliced
2 T basil, sliced thin
salt & pepper

Bring the broth to a boil.  Stir in the couscous, remove from heat and cover.  Let it stand for about 5 minutes.

In a large pan, heat the olive oil.  Add the red pepper flakes, garlic, zucchini, and green onions.  Cook until tender (about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Fluff the couscous with a fork and fold in vegetables.  Stir in the basil.  Add a little salt and pepper to taste.