Vegetables

Fresh Corn Tomato Bacon Salad

Happy Memorial Day! Let’s use today to count our blessings and stand proud!

Tis the season to be gardening! Our raised beds are ready for planting, we actually bought a small rototiller and I have no idea why it took us so long. I think we have always thought since they are raised beds we couldn’t use one. We ordered one online; only because they didn’t have any in stock at the store but they delivered it to the house with no shipping charges so even better for us. I honestly don’t think my beds have ever looked so good.   IMG_2945
I hope you are all doing well and are still making good choices. We went out to dinner last night to one of out local hangouts. First time since early March and it was really nice being out, everyone was very respectful. The food was really good I especially liked someone else making me a cocktail. I don’t know what that’s all about but I didn’t even mind the plastic cup it was served in.
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We ate outside by the river; there was just the three of us. We had to make a reservation and were asked to wear a face mask if we needed to go into the restaurant. The wait staff all wore masks and seemed very happy to be back at work.  The restaurant decided to use paper and plastic products we assumed it was because they could use less staff, or maybe it was to keep everything fresh and sanitary? I am not really sure.

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Serves 4–6

Fresh Corn Tomato Bacon Salad

great tasting summer salad
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
0 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Salad
Servings 6 people

Ingredients
  

  • 6 slices thick cut bacon
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 4 ears corn on the cob cut from ears
  • 3 cups cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil chopped
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • in a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp, remove and set aside.
    turn heat down to medium-low and add onions to the bacon drippings in the skillet Cook, stirring occasionally until softened - about 5 minutes.
    add the corn, turn the heat back up to medium and cook, stirring occasionally until the corn is tender and just starting to brown in spots 7-10 minutes.
    remove corn and onion mixture to a large mixing bowl and let cool for about 10 minutes.
    meanwhile crumble the bacon.
    add the bacon, sliced tomatoes, basil and vinegar to the corn and onion bowl. sprinkle with some salt and pepper. Toss everything together and taste. adjust seasoning if needed.
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using a little of the bacon grease

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Since I heard so many more people are getting into gardening I am interested to see how many people get truly hooked – we have had a vegetable garden every summer for over 30 years, while that sounds like we should be pros; every year somethings work and somethings don’t be we keep trying!  I wish you all good luck!

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I can’t wait for my basil

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BBQ steak sweet potato & squash

I hope you are staying safe and healthy! We are living in such a weird time right now which none of us have ever seen before I do hope we can get back to some sort of normal before too long. I am coming up on week seven for working at home. It’s actually going really well I think having my daughter working next to me helps even though she works for a different company. Last week to break up the groundhog day feel of it we held spirit week. Animal print Monday, crazy hair Tuesday you get the picture. We had a lot of fun! We’ll have to come up with something else since we are home until at least June if not longer.

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It’s about time we start getting outside and take the cover off the grill. We have only had a few nice enough days though I will grill even when it’s not so nice. I do recall one very rainy night several years ago where my very good friend was holding an umbrella over me and I think there was a flash light as well? I know there were drinks involved and apparently whatever we were cooking HAD to be cooked out on the grill 🙂

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This isn’t out on the patio yet but I hope it will be soon!

This is a great any night meal, it comes together very quickly and doesn’t take long to cook and then you are eating within the hour. Plus clean up is just as fast and it tastes great. I am so looking forward to getting my garden in. We learned our lessen years ago to not plant until Memorial Day (the last weekend in May) we have lost too many plants to that one last frost after Mother’s Day which used to be our planting day. I have already started some seeds in the house; which I haven’t done in years. Let’s hope that works.

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As long as the raw meat doesn’t touch the tray; you can use it to take everything off the grill

For some veggies I find it easier to put on tinfoil or you can use a veggie tray made for the grill or one of those copper grill mats. I have lost a fair few potatoes or veggies through the grates over the years.

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I use a little tinfoil so I don’t lose the veggies

Steak – you cannot go wrong with Ribeyes
Squash – whichever kind you like or both
Sweet potato or whatever you have on hand
Large Onion peeled and sliced
Olive Oil
Black Pepper
Kosher Salt

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You still get grill marks even while using tinfoil

That’s it!  Take the steaks out before you start anything else, they are best when the come to room temperature; season liberally with Salt and Pepper and put aside.
Start the grill, Slice the veggies and potatoes. Season those with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Grab a sheet pan or whatever you use when you grill and head outside. I have a little plastic basket I put all the supplies I need like the plates, utensils and tinfoil etc. And I usually only have to come back in to refill my wine.

Stay safe Stay strong and Stay healthy!!!!

Chow Chow relish – water bath canning

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Chow Chow Relish

 

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Washing the days harvest

While it may be the end of summer for some, I am not going down without a fight. My garden is still giving me lots of veggies; it even has finally snapped out of it and we have fresh garden tomatoes. I have made a ridiculous amount of kosher dill pickles. My zucchini plants did not do well this year, maybe a dozen in total and only two of the were the HUGE ones.  I gave my Dad one so he could make his lasagna he loves. My daughter used up the other one and made something new to us but a keeper.

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sterilizing the jars in my dishwasher

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cut off the ends and toss, then slice as you want them, I do way more chunks then spears

 

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Heating up the water while I prepare the cucumbers and the pickling spices

Last week I mentioned that I was going to share a recipe that my daughter made a couple of weeks ago with the super large zucchini and some other garden goodies. While I don’t have any pictures of her ingredients and process but I did teach her how to can some of her chow chow relish.
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I did take pictures of the last canning I did with the cucumbers so I will share those photos with you. Canning using the water bath method is actually pretty easy and you can use this method with quite a few ingredients though not everything you grow or make with the veggies.

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about to go into the boiling water

Here is how the recipe described what chow chow is. It is finely minced pickled-vegetable relish that walks the line between tangy and sweet in each zippy bite. For gardeners faced with the daunting task of tackling a late-summer squash surplus, chow chow can quickly become a lifesaver. Looks like I will be buying more mason jars for next years harvest.

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covered with boiling water for 15 minutes

 

Chow Chow Relish

Donna Clark - Cooking at Clark Towers
great on hot dogs and burgers

Ingredients
  

  • 2/3 pound tomatillos minced (about 2 cups)
  • 11/2 pounds squash minced (about 4 cups)
  • 1 pound red onions minced (about 3 cups)
  • 1/2 head cauliflower minced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 jalapeno seeded and minced
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup spice blend recipe to follow
  • 11/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 11/2 cups raw sugar

Instructions
 

  • Placed minced vegetables in a colander over the sink or a large bowl and toss with the salt. Mixing until well combined. Let the vegetables rest overnight, allowing excess water to drain off. Rinse the vegetables thoroughly and gently removing the excess salt. Pat dry.
  • Place the spice blend in a square of cheesecloth and secure with a piece of string to make a small pouch. In a large heavy-bottomed pot, combine the vinegar and sugar and bring to a boil. Add the vegetables and spice bag.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the vegetables become tender and start to form a slurry, about 40 minutes.
  • Remove the spicebag and ladle the chow chow into airtight glass jars. Filling each jar about three-quarters full. Chow chow will keep refrigerated for up to a week. To keep longer using the water bath method and store up to 18 months or longer if kept in a cool, dry place.

Notes

Spice Blend
1 cinnamon stick, halved
3 bay leaves, torn
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
1 teaspoon whole juniper berries
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon dill seeds
Place all the ingredients in a lidded jar and shake to combine
Adapted from Summer Squash by Sarah Baird short stack vol 15

Bacon Garden Pasta

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I wasn’t sure what to call this dish so I figured I would get more attention if it started with bacon. Because everyone knows everything tastes better with some bacon on or in it. This dinner comes together pretty easy and quite quickly so it would be perfect for a weeknight meal.
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If you don’t want to start up the grill just to char the corn you can totally skip that part and do it right on the stove top like I did. It was super hot and humid out the night I made this and had no interest in sitting outside to do anything let alone stand at the grill. I do have a grill cast iron pan so I got the same affect. By adding a little char on the corn it does bring another flavor to party so you do you and cook the corn how you see fit.

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I could just eat this – tomato and basil with salt and pepper

I do want to mention my garden; it is coming along a lot slower than I think it should be. The broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce and swiss chard have so far been the biggest producers. My cucumbers are now the ones out of control and today might be spent making pickles. We’ll see how it goes. I would love to say I used my own cherry tomatoes in this dish but I would be lying. I thought we were not getting any of them till I found out my husband has been eating them before they got into the house hmmmm. So on Friday I got home before him and went out and harvested everything before he got home. NOW we have some cherry tomatoes in the house. I do fear that the other roma and beefsteak tomatoes will probably all ripen at once it seems to happen like that.
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Stove top multi-tasking charring corn, frying up bacon and heating water for the pasta

Bacon Garden Pasta

Donna Clark - Cooking at Clark Towers
easy quick weeknight meal
Total Time 35 mins
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 4 medium corn on the cob shucked
  • 2-3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes halved
  • 8 + basil leaves
  • 6-7 slices bacon chunked
  • 1 medium sweet onion small diced
  • package of rigatoni or ziti
  • kosher salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Instructions
 

  • Char corn with a little olive oil over medium-high heat 7-10 minutes turning occasionally.
  • Using a sharp knife, remove the kernals from the cobs
  • cook pasta according to the packages direction
  • In a small bowl add the tomatoes, torn basil leaves and a little salt and pepper
  • In another pan saute the bacon until crispy, remove to a paper towel to drain
  • In the same pan fry up the onions till tender, 4-5 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes, corn and the bacon to the pan along with some salt and pepper just till combined.
  • drain the pasta once cooked add everything to your serving bowl and combine
  • top with a few more basil leaves and some freshly grate Parmigianno cheese
  • serve warm

Notes

Adapted from Fine Cooking
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Summer Garden Salad

 

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Pretty hot this weekend – so far hottest this summer. Not only the heat but the humidity damn its gross out there! My phone is telling me that it is 91’F out and it also says it feels like 98’F. That means it is gross out there and hopefully you can stay inside with the air conditioner on or you are somewhere near a lake, pool or ocean. I am fairly certain that even I would go into the Atlantic ocean; which I very rarely ever do, it’s way too cold; if I was crazy enough to head to Hampton Beach today.

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Cooking on hot days is not really enjoyable and neither is eating on hot days so that generally means something light and easy. Friday night my husband made us salads and then we went out for ice cream. They counterbalance each other right?

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Best if you can make this first before you start whatever you are serving it with so it has time to meld and let the veggies soak up the dressing.

Summer Garden Salad

Donna Clark - Cooking at Clark Towers
quick and easy summer salad
Prep Time 30 mins
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 small clove of garlic minced
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup sliced cherry grape or like tomatoes
  • ½ medium cucumber halved, seeded and sliced thin
  • ½ medium yellow summer squash quartered and sliced ¼ inch thick
  • ¼ medium sweet onion sliced thin
  • Kernels from 1 ear of corn
  • 1 Tbs coarsely chopped fresh basil

Instructions
 

  • Whisk the first 5 ingredients together in a medium bowl.
  • Add the next diced/sliced 5 ingredients; stir well to combine.
  • Let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.
  • Stirring occasionally before serving.
  • Garnish with basil.

Easy no-fry Eggplant Parm & Garden Salsa

OK so you are probably wondering when she is going to stop writing about her damn garden; but this year was a super year and I need to use up or give away what I pick; plus the season is winding down. It is Labor day weekend, there are school buses everywhere and we are supposedly not supposed to wear white anymore – pfff I wear what I want!
IMG_3103.JPGSo this week was another one of those busy weeks but I had a plan to use up what I have for tomatoes and peppers. I came home from work on Wednesday and started chopping. Halfway through we lost power so I finished chopping by candlelight. I made a pretty large bowl of salsa with my tomatoes, green peppers, onions and jalapenos. It was pretty cool since I haven’t been able to make it in a couple of years; it was a terrible year for green peppers last year and the year before I didn’t get any tomatoes. Yeah I know I could have gone out and bought some of what I needed  but that just doesn’t appeal to me for making “homemade salsa” I have issues I know!
IMG_3094Tonight (Thursday) I wanted to use up all the eggplant that was in the fridge. This is only the second year of growing eggplant and who knew there were SO many kinds out there. I had only seen the large oblong ones from the store but mine are long and thin. Which is great for slicing up and adding them into things. I know I have shared this recipe before but it is worth repeating since it comes together fast and tastes excellent with probably the fewest iIMG_3095
I add Sweet Italian sausage basically because I love it, and I think it brings a lot to the dish and my husband won’t ask why there is no meat. I very rarely keep the sausage link as a full link. For this recipe I sliced a couple of the links into coins or minim meatballs. I do this for spaghetti sauce sometimes; or I’ll remove the casing and smash the sausage up and brown it. Either way I am all in.
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I deglazed the pan with a little leftover red wine – totally optional

 

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I put this a baggie for another use – fridge or freeze it for another day!


Mock Eggplant Parmesan

1 large or several small Eggplant(s) diced
Marinara sauce – your favorite jar
1 small Onion diced
1 package Mozzarella
2 links Sausage (optional)

Saute the onions until they sweat, add the sausage if you are using it. Cook the sausage till it is done. Add the marinara sauce, stir and then add the mozzarella. Cover and let it simmer for about 30 – 40 minutes.

Serve with a side salad and some bread

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I posted this recipe way back in 2013 wow I have been doing this a long time!


Homemade Garden Salsa

6 tomatoes (roma)- seeded diced
1 Green bell pepper – seeded diced
1 Onion – diced
2 Jalapeno peppers – seeded chopped
5-6 cloves of garlic – pressed
1 Lime, squeezed
Fresh cilantro – chopped
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
dash Balsamic vinegar
1-2 packets of sweet and low

Dice and seed the tomatoes and set aside to drain while you dice the peppers and onions, press the garlic, and chop the cilantro. Mix everything together add a dash of balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste and a packet or two of sweet and low.

Hint 1: you can make it hotter by leaving the pith and seeds in the jalapenos or milder by removing them before chopping.

Hint 2: By seeding the tomatoes your salsa will be less watery

Crockpot Cauliflower Bolognese

Harvest season is upon us and I WISH I had a time elapsed camera set up near my squash because for the life of me I cannot figure out how on Monday they are almost but just not the right size and come Tuesday and they are like DAMN what the heck!

1st harvest 2018

1 cup measuring cup for scale


IMG_2964This morning (Saturday) I was sitting at the island enjoying my tea planning my day, making my grocery shopping list and trying to figure out what we might we eating this week. I figured I would head out to the garden and see what needed to be pulled.  I have already gotten way more radishes that any one human could eat luckily they are my Dad’s favorite and my daughter went into work (my favorite restaurant in town) tonight and asked if they might be interested in some; thankfully they said yes.
IMG_2954Veggie season gets me thinking of inventive ways to serve them. Right now it is only the squash and radishes but I see a head of Broccoli forming an the tomatoes are a few sunny days away. I tried a new recipe today using my slow cooker, which actually is not just a winter tool in my world. It doesn’t heat up the house and we get a nice meal with not a lot of effort.
IMG_2956I am going to call it a mock bolognese only because it doesn’t have any meat in it. Though I fried up some sweet italian sausage to serve along side it for us. You could make this totally vegetarian if you so wish to.
IMG_2958Crockpot cauliflower bolognese

Head of cauliflower cut into flowerettes
28 oz can San Marzano tomatoes
1 medium diced onion
3-4 cloves of garlic
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1-2 cup chicken broth – or veggie broth
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
IMG_2962Put everything in the crockpot, stir and place on high for 3 ½ hours.  Once everything is cooked down take a potato masher and break up the cauliflower taste for salt and pepper. Leave it a little chunky and ladle over zoodles or spaghetti.
IMG_2971I had planned on making zoodles since I have so many in the house not but I was running late and my husband worked on a roof all day so he needed the pasta, some bread and even a cocktail.

Enjoy!

Fresh Corn Tomato Bacon Salad

What to do with the leftover corn on the cob? Not sure if your local grocery store requires you to buy a 6 – 12 ears of corn; well require might be a “strong” word it’s more like encourage you to buy more ears than you need. You can buy 6 for say $2.99 or you can buy it for a buck an ear. So being my true New England Yankee self I buy my 1/2 dozen and the 3 of us eat an ear a piece. My husband always make a comment “why did you buy so many” I think he should start doing the shopping – Just saying!
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There are actually many things you can do with the leftover ears. Once removed from the cob. Here are a few that I like. Corn Chowder is classic, add kernels to your corn bread/muffins or even your pancakes. Make a Mexican corn by frying up some onions and garlic along with the kernels and add a few spices like paprika, cumin, chili powder and squeeze in a half of a lime and top with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro. Corn salsa is also a good summer time use but one of my favorites is fresh corn tomato bacon salad. I mean honestly add bacon to just about anything and I would probably call it my favorite.

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Serves 4–6

6 slices of thick-cut bacon
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
cut kernels from 4 ears of corn (about 2 cups)
3 cups halved cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
salt, to taste
fresh ground black pepper, to taste

In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp.  Remove bacon to a plate and set aside.

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using a little of the bacon grease

Turn heat down to medium-low and add onions to the bacon drippings in the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion has softened – about 5 minutes.
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Add corn, turn heat back up to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until corn is tender and just starting to brown in spots about 7–10 minutes.
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Remove corn and onion mixture to a large mixing bowl and let cool for about 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, crumble bacon.  Add the sliced tomatoes, bacon, basil, and vinegar to the bowl with the corn.  Sprinkle in a big pinch of salt and some fresh ground black pepper. Toss everything together add more salt and/or pepper if needed.

I posted this back in 2015 but just finished making this just this morning for the pictures!

had to share some more photos aka food porn!
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Basil from my herb gardens

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playing with the little sun coming through my kitchen window

BBQ Steak, Sweet Potato & Squash

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My family has re-discovered the outside patio area. We; well actually I wanted a sitting area on the patio. Not just any sitting area I wanted someplace where we can; after a long hard day of working we could sit and relax comfortably. I finally pulled the trigger on an outdoor couch and we LOVE it!  We make plans of when we could meet, what we are going to drink and who has to get up and make dinner.

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Looks pretty comfortable huh? 

With the nights already getting shorter meals have to be something quick to throw together just so no one has to be away from lounging on the patio for too long. What fun would it be if I spent an hour in the kitchen while they are out there chilling out. No fun at all.

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As long as the raw meat doesn’t touch the tray; you can use it to take everything off the grill

Here is something so surprisingly delicious but so crazy easy that anyone can make this meal and you won’t hear any complaints from the loungers

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I use a little tinfoil so I don’t lose the veggies

Steak – you cannot go wrong with Ribeyes
Squash – whichever kind you like or both
Sweet potato or whatever you have on hand
Large Onion peeled and sliced
Olive Oil
Black Pepper
Kosher Salt

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You still get grill marks even while using tinfoil

That’s it!  Take the steaks out before you start anything else, they are best when the come to room temperature; season liberally with Salt and Pepper and put aside.
Start the grill, Slice the veggies and potatoes. Season those with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Grab a sheet pan or whatever you use when you grill and head outside. I have a little plastic basket I put all the supplies I need like the plates, utensils and tinfoil etc. And I usually only have to come back in for a refill of my wine.

Have a wonderful long labor day weekend!

 

Garden Salad

Good morning and Happy Mother’s day!

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Looking forward to seeing this again this year!

My Mother’s day plans were to be spent in the garden but apparently Mother Nature had other plans. Unfortunately we are not supposed to see the sun until Tuesday; insert sad face here.

The gardens were on the agenda since the kids asked what I wanted to do today and I figured why not tick off something from my “to do” list. And the gardens need a lot of love to get ready for planting in a couple of weeks; and manual labor is a precious gift; to me anyway.  Many OK maybe 10ish years ago this was the weekend when I would go buy all my flowers for the porch and veggies for the garden but after losing more plants and money than I care to share I now wait until Memorial Day and then I go out and buy and plant everything I want. That seems to be the safest in this neck of the woods.

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Although yesterday; while it was still pretty nice out my husband got all the beds ready for planting and throwing caution to the wind he ended up planting a few things like potatoes, onions, leeks, carrots, beets and shallots. I think we should be OK since they are in the soil versus a delicate plant above ground; though we will be watching the weather very closely.  I did see that 3 or 4 towns over awoke this morning to snow and power outages instead of rain YIKES!

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In anticipation of the yummy veggies coming out of our and possibly your hard work and dirty hands I want to re-share a quick and easy summer salad  that everyone loved.

 

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Best if you can make this first before you start whatever you are serving it with so it has time to meld and let the veggies soak up the dressing.

Summer Garden Salad

⅓ cup cider vinegar
2 tsp honey
1 small clove of garlic, minced
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1 cup sliced cherry, grape or like tomatoes
½ medium cucumber, halved, seeded and sliced thin
½ medium yellow summer squash, quartered and sliced ¼ inch thick
¼ medium sweet onion sliced thin
Kernels from 1 ear of corn
1 Tbs coarsely chopped fresh basil

Whisk the first 5 ingredients together in a medium bowl. Add the next diced/sliced 5 ingredients; stir well to combine. Let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours. Stirring occasionally before serving. Garnish with the basil.