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Archive for June, 2010

Key Lime Meltaways

For Father’s Day this year, I sent my Dad some Key Lime Meltaways. My parents went to Key West recently and upon our recommendation, experienced the magic of chocolate dipped frozen key lime pie. Yes, that’s right- a slice of key lime pie, frozen, dipped in chocolate and served on a stick! What could be better?!

When Tony and I were in Key West last summer we had one everyday. On the day we left we even had one for breakfast- literally while driving in our convertible rental car- the perfect exit!

I realized shipping a frozen key lime pie to New York was not economically feasible ($115 for 12 bars here, anyone?), so I decided to make the next best thing- key lime cookies! These are great summer cookies- small, light and refreshing!

adapted from Martha Stewart

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • Grated zest of 2 key limes (or two regular limes)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (or 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

 In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, cream butter and 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar until pale and fluffy. Add lime zest, juice, and vanilla; beat until fluffy. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, and salt. Add to butter mixture, and mix on low speed until just combined.

Divide dough in half. Place each half on an 8-by-12-inch sheet of parchment paper. Roll in parchment to form a log 1 1/4 inches in diameter, pressing a ruler along edge of parchment at each turn to narrow log. Refrigerate logs until cold and firm, at least 1 hour (I refrigerated the dough overnight).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Remove parchment from logs; cut dough into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Space rounds 1 inch apart on baking sheets. Bake cookies until barely golden, about 13 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool slightly, 8 to 10 minutes. While still warm, toss cookies with remaining 2/3 cup sugar in a re-sealable plastic bag. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 2 weeks.

I debated dipping them in chocolate, but it was late and I didn’t want to ruin my hard work! Next time when I’m not under a holiday deadline crunch, I will experiment!

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We recently joined a CSA (“community supported agriculture”) called Harvest Delivered!

 

Our friend Andrea is a member and she recommended it to us. We looked into a bunch of CSAs and liked the flexibility offered by this one.  We pay by the week, there is no annual fee, and we can stop delivery any week (if we’re out of town or for any reason). This was important to us because our main hesitation was that we wouldn’t use all of the produce delivered and it would go to waste (and be a waste of $$$). We signed up for a 1-2 person delivery and so far the amount has been just right for the two of us. Oh, and they also deliver right to your door! So we don’t have to go to any out of the way pick-up point once a week. This was also a huge plus for us! So this will be a fun challenge to find new and fun ways to use the fruit and veggies each week! (see new category on the right)

Our first week’s loot included some beautiful and colorful Swiss Chard! So I decided the most efficient (and tasty) way to use the produce was to make a frittata! It was a great summer weeknight meal and also provided lunch for the both us a few days after. That’s my kind of dish!

Swiss Chard Frittata

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs
  • 4 leaves Swiss Chard, chopped (stems removed and chopped separately into ½ inch pieces)
  • 4 small potatoes, diced  
  • 2 green onions, chopped (white and very light green parts only)
  • ½ large yellow onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ – ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1-2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Splash of milk

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place potatoes in a saucepan; cover with water and bring to a boil; cook approx. 8 minutes, until fork tender. Drain and cool. Set aside. In the meantime, whisk eggs, a splash of milk, salt, pepper and the parm cheese in a bowl. Heat oil in an ovenproof pan over medium-high heat. Add Swiss chard stalks, yellow onion and green onion, and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add Swiss chard leaves and cook until wilted and tender, about 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Add potatoes. Pour egg mixture over vegetables evenly. Place pan in the oven and bake until the eggs have set, about 15 minutes. Serve on top of a bed of mixed greens for a light dinner and/or lunch.

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Our garden is in full bloom!

We planted earlier this year (late April, early May) and we added some fun, new fruits and vegetables. As a result, we are already harvesting! Here is what we are growing this summer:

Tomato Plants

Lettuce

Strawberries

Broccoli

Onions

 

Yellow Squash and Zucchini

Not pictured are Cucumbers, Eggplant, Rosemary, Oregano and Basil

What surprised me the most were the strawberries! We already picked about 3-4 pints worth of fruit and they tasted delicious. Apparently, we’ll get one more harvest in July. Also the lettuce! While you do have to wash it very well, I am shocked by how much has grown and how good it tastes.

We also harvested our first yellow squash and zucchini the other night:

We cut them up and made a simple and tasty pasta dish. We sautéed two cloves of garlic and half an onion in olive oil for a few minutes. Then added squash and zucchini along with one can of diced tomatoes, one tablespoon of tomato paste, chopped fresh rosemary, salt and pepper. Simmer until veggies are soft (about 10 minutes). Meanwhile bring water to boil and cook pasta until al dente (we used pappardelle). Seve with fresh basil and a generous amount of parmesan cheese!     

 

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Since we’ve been back from St. Lucia, mangos just keep jumping into our grocery cart each week! I guess we’re not ready to let go of that taste of tropical paradise quite yet. While mangos are by themselves delicious, I discovered a way to use them in a salad that is perfect for lunch or dinner. A great way to kick off the start of summer!

Mango, Jicama, Quinoa Salad

 

I paired the mango with red quinoa and jicama root to create this tropical summer salad.

QUINOA

The quinoa adds a nutty flavor and since the grain is packed with protein (6 grams per 1/4 cup serving!) it also adds sustenance. I’ve had both plain and red quinoa, and they taste pretty similar.

JICAMA ROOT   

I also added jicama a root, which is a tasty root vegetable from Mexico that is surprisingly sweet and has a crunchy, apple-like texture. It is often used in salads and goes really well with mango! To cut, simply peel off the exterior skin and then slice to your desired shape.

 

INGREDIENTS

(serves two)

  • ½ cup red quinoa (uncooked)
  • 1 mango, cut and sliced
  • ½ jicama root, cut and sliced
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • Red leaf lettuce

Dressing

  • 1 Tb. Olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 Tbs. red wine vinegar   
  • 1 Tb. honey
  • Salt and Pepper

DIRECTIONS

Cook the quinoa according to package directions. Let cool while you prepare the rest of the salad. Whisk together all ingredients for dressing in a small bowl. Chop mango, red onion, jicama, and tomato. Serve with quinoa over a bed of lettuce. Drizzle with dressing and serve!

I do have to add this funny note: Tony was perfectly happy to eat this salad for dinner until the smell of grilled meat came wafting in our kitchen window… only at that point did he realize what was missing- MEAT! He then threatened to go across the hall to our neighbor’s (who are boys) and show them his plate and ask them to take pity on a man who married a vegetarian hoping for some leftovers! Must remember to keep that window closed 😉 He was perfectly content otherwise!

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