Thursday, July 31, 2014

Apricot Tart

With company in and some cooler temps and some fresh fruit- it was the perfect time to make a tart.  If you are expecting sweet - don't make this tart.  We like desserts that are lower in sugar (except my kids of course).  Sprinkle confectioners over top if you like.  We thought it was perfect.

We took a ride to Letchworth State Park.  It was a beautiful day for being at the park.  We have spent many a days picnicking there. Lots of reunions visiting there.  Days spent with my cousins in from out of the town exploring the area. Lots of dates (in my single days, of course) there at the park as well. It holds significant meaning there and fond memories. Here are a few pics of the beauty you can find there.

Apricot Tart
Adapted from this recipe at Tartelette.

6 to 10 apricots, pitted and halved

pastry crust:

1 1/2 cups flour
5 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 egg yolks
1 to 2 tablespoons water

8 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup honey
1 cup almond meal or ground almonds
2 eggs
1/4 cup half and half

In a processor or with a pastry blender combine flour and salt, stir.  Work in butter.  If using a processor drop by pats into the flour as the machine is running.  Add in egg yolks and then a couple tablespoons of water (or a little more, depending on the humidity in the air). As soon as the dough forms a ball turn off the processor.  Gather all into a ball and place in plastic wrap, form into a disc and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to a couple days.

Remove dough from refrigerator and roll in between sheets of plastic wrap to make a large circular shape to fit your tart pan (or square, rectangle- whatever you have).  If dough should tear, repair with bits of dough from edges.

Pierce dough with fork tines repeatedly. Fill with beans or pie weights and bake in a 350 oven for fifteen minutes. Remove.

In a large bowl beat butter and honey, add in eggs one at a time.  Add in almond meal. Remove beaters and gently stir in half and half.

Arrange apricot halves over tart crust and then pour filling over top.  Bake in a 350 oven for 30 to 35 minutes.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Mexican Style Quinoa Bake

When life gives you leftovers, make Mexican food.  It's no joke.  I can hide a multitude of leftovers in a Mexican casserole.  Flavor it up with all those delicious Mexican flavors, throw in some chips, salsa and cheese and none of the people in my family even notice.  (Well, my one daughter did pick the peppers out of it- and that wasn't even the leftover part).  I did see this amazing recipe on Pinterest and said- dang, I pretty much have all of that in my fridge at this very moment.  You can find the inspiration recipe here at Half Baked Harvest and believe me, it is totally drool worthy. The only thing I was missing was some cheddar.  I decided just to use some feta because I had a lot of it.  Its not nearly as pretty as molten cheddar cheese.  But equally delicious.

Dip a chip into that top it with some pico de gallo and we were good to go.

Mexican Style Quinoa Bake

1 can of black beans
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 tablespoon oil
2 onions, chopped
1 pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon taco seasonings
2 teaspoons cumin
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 cup of cheese- cheddar is best but feta is nice too

Sauté onions, peppers and garlic in oil in a large skillet that you can throw in the oven (if you like).  Once translucent add in the remainder of ingredients except cheese. Cook until all ingredients are heated through.  Once combined sprinkle cheese over top.  Either place under a broiler or you can cover and the pan and it will melt nicely.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Radish Avocado Salad

Very simple, very easy. I am embarrassed to post this because it is so simple.  I just don't want to forget this idea come next summer. And I like to share it with you because that is why I visit blogs, to get ideas.  Not that I always do an exact replica, but it's all about ideas and sharing ideas.

Radish Avocado Salad

8 fresh radishes, chopped
1/2 of a Haas avocado, chopped
2 green onions, sliced
1 teaspoon walnut oil
2 tablespoons grapefruit vinegar (one of my faves)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
s and p to taste

Mix together and enjoy.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Dog Pill Hide Ems

My unsuspecting mutt. I kind of feel guilty, look at that face!

How do you get down a dog pill... undetected? See those three globs... "one of these things is not like the other, one these things just isn't the same" ( inserting Sesame Street here).

You see, my dog is no longer interested in taking her medicine.  I think they changed the formula.  Before the company had a quite a long hiatus my dog loved these things.  Now that this company is back in action she can not stand them.  I tried to give them to her in her food bowl, which before she would eat the tablet first, not now, she some how ate around it.  Like how do they do that?  They dont have fingers, they just eat with those big snouts and just how do they eat around something that is exactly the same size as the rest of the stuff in their bowl?  They're brilliant, I tell yah.

If I cover them with cheese then, by Joe, she will figure it out.  She will eat all the cheese and leave the pill lying on the floor, looking at it incredulously. Like how could I even think of giving her something like that to eat.

In comes peanut butter.  Her favorite.  I mean her favorite all time thing to eat! One time the kids and I did a taste test.  We put some peanut butter on the tile floor and a piece of meat.  We had bets on which one she would eat first.  She walked over to the meat, smelled it. Went to the peanut butter, ate it then promptly ate the meat as a chaser.  I won.   

Its becasue of this knowing that I had to try this tablet in peanut butter.  It worked.  Has worked many times since.  She is none the wiser.  I know some of you purists may balk at the use of wheat flour but I imagine it would work equally as well with oat flour or rice flour.

Pill Hide Ems

1 generous tablespoon peanut butter
1 equally generous tablespoon flour (your choice- rice, oats, wheat)

Stir together flour and peanut butter, mashing it out to mix it.  Make three balls, inserting the tablet into one.  Feed the dog a tablet free one just in case they decide to do an investigation.  This way if they check it out they will see it is just pure yum.  Give the tablet one next.  Usually my dog catches this one mid air because she already has realized its something yummy and since they look exactly the same way there is no need to do an investigation.

Then maybe you wonder if the dog is getting the pills total benefit if they do not chew.  I asked my vet that question and she said, yes, it is made to get absorbed fairly quickly.  It really doesn't matter for my dog though because there ain't no way in God's green earth that she would ever chew the thing anyway.

(Action shots of pill consumption, in a dimly lit kitchen, below.)

She's licking her lips, doesn't that say it all.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Buffalo Chicken Wrap

What do you do when you have been running all day and don't know what to make for dinner?  Well, that is totally my plight in the summer.  Fortunately, on this particular day, I knew exactly what I was going to do when I looked in the fridge.  I had some grilled chicken, which by the way in the summer - is a totally great thing to have on hand.  Matter of fact I am going to grill up a bunch of chicken this week for quickie meals. I also had some greens that were given to us by some friends of my parents, some pita that was drying a bit... and bingo it came to me.
All this little wrap is- pita, rolled with some fresh greens, grilled chicken, blue cheese dressing and of course the all important Franks Red Hot Sauce (the regular one and no, this is not a paid endorsement). If you don't live in the USA then a hot, vinegary sauce will work equally as well.  It wont be like the original but it still will be darn good.
 Roll it together.
Thats a wrap!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Spicy Korean Zucchini

Beautiful summer days.  I know some of you that like it hot-hot-hot are dissapointed so far this summer.  Not me.  Its a perfect summer for me. We have been going all kinds of places.  We recently went to a Civil War reinactment.  We went last year but it was so rainy- we were drenched and really unable to truly enjoy it. We decided to go again this year.  I had a blast.  This summer my husband was able to go so it was even better for me.  We also took along our friends daughter.  This makes my girls happy.

I have to share some pics of the day with you.  I love the feeling of going back in time.  So neat!

At a seemingly random turn from summer activities to food... I quite literally stumbled on this recipe from You Tube.  Here is a link to it.  Great tutorial.  

Korean Spicy Zucchini
Because I did not have the right kind of chili flakes for this recipe I adjusted to what I had in the house.  If you have the right kind, then you can follow her recipe to a "T".

1/2 of a guajillo chili (dried) pulsed in a spice grinder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 medium sized zucchini
3 green onions (chopped or sliced)
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
2 tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon of salt ( for sweating the zucchini)
1 teaspoon of mirin (optional) (can substitute white wine if you like)

In a collander toss the zucchini with the salt.  Let sit for about 30 minutes- depends on the freshness of your zucchini).  You want the zucchini to be bendable.  Rinse with water.  Drain. Repeat.

Toss everything together but the mirin.  Sauté in a large frying pan until tender.  The picture below shows how I became a bit distracted and cooked it a bit too long. It still was delicious. Anyway, once the zucchini is tender, add the mirin.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Zucchini Ribbons

I bought a new kitchen toy- a zucchini ribbon maker- Pampered Chef. Since I love doing zucchini this way I was totally jazzed about buying it. 

  This is what the gadget looks like.  You can click here to go to the Pampered Chef web site.  I am not being paid to say any of this- just wanted to let you know about my new kitchen toy.

After you are done making your pretty ribbons.  Note: you could also use a vegetable peeler for long thin slices.  Toss with the dressing below.  Refreshing and delicious. You could add a little olive oil and arugula leaves as well.

Citrus and Herb DressingLargely adapted from this recipe from Shirl Cieutat, New Orleans, Louisiana, AUGUST 2004.

3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Whisk together.

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