Summertime

June 15th is Waylon’s Birthday so we had lots of Waylon tunes filling the air at our house this week. Also just out is Twistable, Turnable Man, a musical tribute to the late Shel Silverstein in which Bobby Bare, Jr. put together some great songs sung by some great folks and this, it turns out, is a fun summer album. It makes me happy.

The local organic tomatoes and blueberries have appeared and this, also, makes me very happy.

One of my favorite ways to enjoy these little tomatoes is to half them, spread them out on a cookie sheet, cover in olive oil and roast in the oven with garlic cloves. Then you can do all sorts of things with them! For this particular evening, I also roasted summer squash and asparagus, added fresh basil from our garden and then threw over pasta and topped it with Reypenaer 2 year aged Gouda cheese. Delicious.

We LOVE blueberries and they are so good for you. We eat them all by themselves, with plain yogurt, in smoothies, fruit salads or sometimes… I make my Mom’s famous Blueberry Crumble Top Pie!

Earlier in the week, we drove over to 12th South to wander around and see what was new. We stopped at the new Green Light Market which is next to the new Las Paletas location and the new, much talked about restaurant, Burger Up. The market is tiny but cute and friendly. They have yummy sounding sandwiches, homemade lavash crackers that are amazing,  local specialty items and some local organic produce.

We found some amazing English Peas. I did some recipe searches trying to figure out what I wanted to do with them. I really like this recipe on Heidi Swanson’s 101 Cookbook site and I found one other I really liked that was just a simple salad with Arugula and Pecorino Romano cheese and a couple other ingredients. I ended up sort of combining both recipes and came up with my own which we ate with some garlic and fresh basil roasted chicken in foil that Grant made.

My recipe went something like this…

Fresh Pea Salad
1 cup fresh mint leaves
2-3 tbsp Flame raisins
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 small Anaheim pepper
a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and zest from that lemon
1 1/2 cups fresh peas
1 small head of romaine lettuce, cut into shreds
1/4 cup Parmesan Reggiano, cut in small pieces
fine grain sea salt

To make the mint dressing, puree the mint, raisins, chiles, olive oil, and lemon juice and zest using a food processor or hand blender. Blend until uniform in texture. Thin it out by adding a tablespoon of water so that it is a consistency in which you can drizzle over salad. Taste and adjust for lemon and spiciness.

Cook shelled peas in salted boiling water for no more than one minute. Immediately drain peas and place in a bowl of ice water to stop cooking process.

Just before serving gently toss the peas, lettuce, and cheese with about half of the dressing and a couple pinches of salt. Taste and add more dressing if you like.

Serves 2 – 4.

We used the leftovers in a sandwich wrap the next day!

Grant's chicken dish that accompanied the pea salad!

Also this week, I found some new and interesting cole slaw recipes. This one was particularly different and I have to admit that the thought of raw collard greens did not sound too appetizing to either Grant or myself. But, we tried it anyway and knew the raw vegetables would, if nothing else, be really good for our bodies. Surprisingly, we both really enjoyed it and were able to eat it with two very different meals this week. The first night we enjoyed it with a shrimp and Andouille sausage gumbo Grant made and the second night, we served it with Terriyaki salmon and some rice.

Collard and Cabbage Slaw
Ingredients:
1 bunch collards, stems removed and sliced very thin
1/2 small green cabbage, core removed and sliced very thin
1 large carrot, grated or julienned
3 green onions, white parts and some of the green, sliced thin on the diagonal
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, finely minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Combine collards, cabbage, carrots and onion in a large salad bowl. Toss until well mixed. Combine orange and lemon juices, ginger, garlic and salt in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in olive oil and continue to whisk until emulsified. Adjust seasoning to    taste. Pour dressing over greens and toss until greens are well coated.

This recipe I found on the PCC Natural Market website, our Seattle market when we lived there.

Collard & Cabbage Slaw with Gumbo and Scrabble!

Collard Slaw Again- with Salmon & Rice

Lots of good eats and fun country music coming up with a trip to friends’ wedding celebration in the Shenandoah Mountains of Virginia and the first Red Barn Round-Up of the summer!!!

PAELLA PARTY!

In his wine days, Grant learned to make Paella, a delicious Spanish rice dish. Paella was quite popular in Seattle and there is even the Paella King who has a giant Paella pan and travels around making Paella for parties. In Nashville, however, we can’t even buy all the right ingredients. After begging our visiting friends to bring us things from The Spanish Table in Seattle when they visit and cramming our luggage full of special Spanish ingredients on quick trips back to Seattle, we have stocked up on Paella rice and good olives. We are finally set up to make Paella. Our Paella pan is big enough to serve 6-8 so we gathered a hand full of foodie friends to join in the food fun.

We spent all day cleaning and shopping in 4 different stores (note: it’s not that the ingredients are so special, it’s just that Nashville is a little food challenged). Then, we got down to business. I prepared the apps and made a pie as Grant worked on the Paella prep.

This is a mixed berry pie. Kristin said her favorite pie was a blueberry pie with powdered sugar served with lemon sorbet. I knew she had a new New Orleans cookbook by John Besh so I figured it was his recipe. I found the recipe and then, of course, completely changed it. But what I really liked about it was I used the kitchenade mixer to mix 1/2 cup of sugar (organic cane sugar) with 2 tbsp butter (organic, unsalted), and 1 egg (local, organic, brown) and then folded in the berries (had to use organic frozen as the berries aren’t in season yet), lemon zest, and 2 tbsp flour (White Lily). I served it with Ciao Bella Lemon Sorbet. I’ve never been a fan of lemon in desserts but I think it was a nice combo.

We had a selection of cheeses- a couple local cheeses I got at The Turnip Truck, and a couple Nikki brought from Whole Foods, three different kinds of olives (one of our favorites is the Ybarra anchovy stuffed olives which we have not been able to find in Nashville). Everyone brought wine!

The Doggers were good kitchen helpers…

Our friends arrived!

Grant was the big hero, as usual, slowly cooking each component in the same pan. We had shrimp, mussels, chicken drumettes, and hard Spanish chorizo. (We can’t find the right one here, of course, but Grant has a trick. We get a hard pork salami from Trader Joes and he spices it up and then when sauteed, it greatly resembles the texture and taste of our favorite Spanish chorizo.)

All the vegetables except the asparagus, rice, stock and spices (mmm-saffron!) go in the Paella pan but are not stirred (grains need to be left as separate as possible) and placed in the oven for about 25-30 minutes at 400 degrees. After 20 minutes, he re-introduced the chicken and shrimp and placed the asparagus on top. The mussels went in at the very end.

Then, the feasting began!

Our bellies were happy… and maybe even a little too full…..