“They got a cherry pie there that’ll kill ya!”

Any Twin Peaks fans out there? Cherry pie will forever make me think of Peaks. I can’t help it. And it doesn’t matter how long it’s been since I’ve seen the show. And what goes better with cherry pie than coffee?

My husband and I are coffee snobs. Not so much the quality, but yes, that, too. For us it’s gotta be super hot or it’s not worth it. Often one of will say over our decaffeinated beverage, “DAMM good coffee, and HOT!” Because we love us some Dale Cooper.

We used to live in Seattle, so my husband has been to the “Double R diner” out in North Bend, WA, which is really called Twede’s. They still serve Cherry Pie, but now, of course it’s called “Famous Twin Peaks Cherry Pie.” Continue Reading


Strawberry Tarts Galore!

For today I’ve got something easy and refreshing. Strawberry Cream Cheese Tart. I like this dessert because it takes advantage of good summer fruit by keeping it whole and raw. There is some baking involved, but not the fruit.

There’s lots of ways to do a fruit tart, though, so here’s a couple more for ya! Check out this one from weeklydish.com. It sounds just fabulous—a bit more of an upscale kinda tart experience: Balsamic-Mascarpone Strawberry Tart.

And here’s a great no-bake option from desserts.wordpress.com. I’m hoping that there’s a typo because it calls for “mable syrup.” I sure don’t know what that is! Continue Reading


Peach and Blueberry—you can’t go wrong

You simply have to take advantage of peaches in the summer. Like tomatoes, there is really no other time to eat them. The ones you find in the off-season are just sub-par and that’s why we have to dive in and get them while we can.

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If you have a market near you that sells them, please, please, do yourself a big favor and get a GOLDBUD peach or nectarine. I don’t know what kind of Harry Potter magic spell they are putting on their fruit trees, but damm! I’m telling you I have never tasted anything better. They are like super-charged with sweetness. Truly like candy. And also HUGE. One summer when I lived on Martha’s Vineyard I worked at a farm stand/nursery that sold them. Each day I would pick a nectarine to take home. I could only afford one, because, well, I was poor and they are somewhat expensive as fruit goes. I always chose wisely. I’d wait until I got home. I’d wait until after dinner. I’d wait until hour 2 of the summer Olympics program for that evening and then when the anticipation was sufficiently build and I could no longer wait another minute, I’d break that nectarine out, rinse and eat. And there was no sharing it—under any circumstances. That’s how good they are. I noticed on the website that you can order them and have them shipped to you. I may just have to do that. . . www.goldbudfarms.com
So, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, let’s get into the first recipe. This week we’ll be talking about Summer Pies and Tarts. The first on the list: Continue Reading


Guacamole—Salsa’s sidekick

We’re talking salsa this week, but it seems that wherever salsa goes, guac goes too. It can’t beavo.jpg denied that the 2 are an excellent pair—great with tortilla chips, on the side of quesadillas or burritos they elevate any mexi dish to the higher reaches of yum in no time.

Here is a basic, but great recipe for guac. Feel free to add other things to it—fresh corn, maybe or chili powder. Experiment! It’s fun! Let me know what you come up with, too. Continue Reading


Bam!

I can’t help it, I do love Emeril. It’s been a couple years since I have seen him on a regular basis,emeril.jpeg however. We quit cable TV. Partly because I couldn’t keep myself away from the Food Network. And, though I want my kids to grow up with a love of food and cooking, I don’t want them to learn it from television. I want them to learn it from my and their experiences in the kitchen with me. So, we turned off Emeril and did what he would want. We got in the kitchen and started cooking ourselves.

I do find Emeril to be inspirational, though. He’s from the old hood. Grew up in Fall River, MA, where I went to school for a while. He’s down-to-earth and makes cooking fun. Sure, we all get tired of the whole “when we get back. . . another notch!” thing, but I think he’s helped folks get excited about food and about cooking. He showed us that it’s nothing to fear. Continue Reading


Get Tropical with Mango Salsa

We never had much of the tropical fruit experience when I was growing up.  Never had mango, papaya, kiwi or even pineapple much.  Because of this I was always a little suspicious of tropical fruits. Except anything Tropicana.  Yeah, I know that doesn’t count, but to a 13 year old in suburban Massachusetts, it’s somewhat exotic.mango.jpg

When I finally did start getting into mango-eating, I found it hard to judge ripeness.  I also found it hard to cut. I just wasn’t sure how to handle the thing.  Wild Oats has a great explanation with photos of how to deal with mangoes properly.  If you’re a little mango-shy, it’s a great resource that shows you how it’s done!

Here is what I have learned about choosing a ripe one—smell it. It’s going to smell fragrant when ripe. It also give a little when you press it. Be gentle, don’t want to bruise! If it feels firm with not much give, then it’s not ready. Take it home and sit it in a brown paper bag for a day or 2 and it’ll ripen right up for you.

The first time I had mango that was perfectly ripe and sweet it was one that came from a friend’s mother in Florida. She grew them in her backyard and shipped them to my friend in Massachusetts.  We got us some good vanilla ice cream and spooned chopped mango over it. My taste buds were doing the happy dance, I tell you. It was divine.

The second time I had mango that was thoroughly enjoyable in a way I hadn’t expected it was a mango salsa. I was out of my head with, “why didn’t I know about this before?” and “mango is my new favorite fruit!”

Continue Reading


Tomatillo Time

At our CSA farm, we get loads of tomatillos. It’s hard to know what to do with them all.  And I find them so strange and fun in their little paper hats that I kind of can’t resist picking them when they are available.

The best way I know to prepare these little green fruits is to make salsa with them.  And the salsa can accompany a variety of things; tortilla chips (the old stand-by), grilled fish (a good, firm white fish is best), quesadillas (any kind) or a breakfast burrito. Yum!  Here’s how I like to do it:

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1 lb (or so) fresh tomatillos
3-4 fresh serrano chiles
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1 medium onion, chopped
coarse salt to taste
Juice of half a lime or lemon

1. Fire up the grill on medium-high.

2. Remove husks from tomatillos.  If they are sticky, rinse them under warm water for a minute.

3.  Add tomatillos, chilies and garlic to a grill-safe pan or use a disposable aluminum one.  Place pan on the grill and close cover.  Cook, turning chilies and tomatillos only once until softened and slightly charred, about 7 minutes.

4. Peel garlic and remove the tops from the chilies. Pure everything in a blender and you’re done! Store it in the fridge or use it right away. It’s all good.


Garden Fresh Salsa

One of my absolute favorite things to make in summertime is fresh salsa. I’m a serious tomato snob, so when they finally start showing their round, red faces I eat them in mass quantities and salsa is probably my favorite way.
If there’s anyone out there who enjoys salsa and really loves tomatoes who’s never had fresh salsa, I insist you try it. Make your own. It’s easy and so worth it.
I’ll never forget the first time I had it. I was in high school and my dad’s new girlfriend made some. Being a long time fan of Mexican food, I was game to try anything Mexi that came my way. I had never even considered that salsa could be made fresh and raw like that. Dad’s friend made the salsa in the morning and insisted that it be done this way so that the flavors had time to merge and meld before eating. She was right, however I could totally have eaten it for breakfast. Spoon some a’dat on my eggs and I would have been more than satisfied. But I waited. As instructed. Come late afternoon we broke out a bag of chips and this bowl of salsa. I was hooked instantly. It was like candy to me. I think I ate most of the bowl. All those fresh flavors coming alive and jumping around my mouth—not too spicy, but loaded with flavor. Heaven. Continue Reading


Gifts for the Griller

In my family and circle of friends there is a silly number of Leos. When I lived in Seattle, we used to have one big party for all of them—we dubbed it “Leo Fest.” It’s not easy coming up with gift ideas for all these summer birthday boys and girls. There are a few cooks in the mix, though. And I’ve found some great gifts for those who have a love of outdoor cooking and dining. Here’s a few to share with you—in case you, too have more summer birthdays than you know what to do with!

bbqsauceofthemonth.com has some enticing offerings. You can get gift baskets with sauces and rubs, eoriginalbbq21.jpgtc. or gift your birthday barbequer every month with a new sauce in the mail. It’s awesome! You can do a 3, 6 or 12 month plan based on your budget or on the recipients passion for good sauce. They’ve got one called “Crazy Mother Puckers” sauce! I simply hafta try that. Here’s what the website says about it:

“Crazy Mother Pucker’s sauces recently won a total of sixteen national awards in the two most prestigious competitions in the zesty food world. Crazy Mother Pucker’s BBQ sauce is taking the world by storm.”
Continue Reading


Corn—a perfect summer grillable

Without a doubt corn on the cob=summer.

I can remember summer afternoons being handed I big brown bag of a dozen or more ears and being told to shuck as my part of helping out with dinner. I never minded so much. It was kind of a fun job and I loved to eat it, so, why not help out?

My husband and I love to “grade” our corn experiences. In early summer the corn can be disappointing, but by the end of the summer it usually earns a “so sweet it tastes like candy” comment from one of us. And that’s when we can’t get enough of it. We buy way more than we could eat and inevitably, I end up cutting it off the cob and freezing it. This way, in December we get acorn1.jpg little taste of summer—SO far superior to the bagged frozen corn in the grocery store!

I have always wanted to grow corn, but I’ve been too afraid to try. I heard one person say one time that it was hard to do, and I quit there—which is silly. Maybe next year I’ll give it a go. If anyone has tips, let me know! There’s also a great site I found that gives clear, concise help for growing corn—sweetcorngrowingtips.com. I love a well-designed easy to navigate website.

Today’s recipe is for Grilled Corn on the Cob with Cilantro-Lime Butter. I once made this for a friend’s graduation party and it was a big hit. Great for summer pot-lucks! Continue Reading