June 2010

Pesto Macaroni Salad with Tomatoes, Corn and Fresh Mozzarella

June 29, 2010
Thumbnail image for Pesto Macaroni Salad with Tomatoes, Corn and Fresh Mozzarella My mother and I are a lot alike. People often confuse our voices on the phone, we've been known to (independently of one another) buy the same shoes, and we share the same Sicilian temper which flares up on occasion. But I am not my mother and this is not her justifiably famous macaroni salad. I can't compete, so I won't even try. In fact, I still don't know exactly what she puts in it, so I simply made up my own, and the two salads can stand proudly side by side, as individuals, just as we do. This salad is a twist on the traditional, adding in some old world flavors and the sweetness of fresh corn so readily available in summer. It's an easy side salad for a summer BBQ or picnic and makes enough for a crowd. Tell me, do you have a family recipe which you've tweaked or updated?
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Garden Update; Preserving the Harvest

June 24, 2010
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In a perfect would garden harvest would come in easy amounts, just as you would buy the same food at the grocery store; a few tomatoes every couple of days, one zucchini a week, one eggplant, etc. Real life is not so simple and gardens are not so easy. Instead, I’ve had a surplus of zucchini and yellow squash and little else. In a couple of weeks, my tomatoes should come in and given that I have six eggplants, I’m expecting quite a few from there all at once too. I tried to stagger my planting, but I’m not sure how successful that will be.

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Zucchini and Arugula Salad with Lemon-Anchovy Dressing

June 21, 2010
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The last couple of times I’ve been to Rome I’ve had a wonderful salad made of a bitter green I’ve only seen there called puntarelle. You can see photos of it on my Favorite Rome Markets post. Typically this green is trimmed, pushed through a wire slicer, and then plunged into cold water so the leaves curl and crisp up. It’s then dressed with lemon juice and anchovies. Simple yet fantastic, like most food in Rome.

Here at home, I don’t have puntarelle, but I do have a surplus of zucchini and yellow squash in my garden (yes, already) and I’m always trying to figure out new things to try with it. I thought it would pair well with this dressing and liven up an otherwise sometimes bland vegetable. I’ve added the arugula to give it a slightly bitter, peppery kick like the puntarelle. This salad is light and …

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Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream

June 7, 2010
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One of the best things about the summer is all the fresh fruit available. Strawberries usually show early in the season so I always associate them with the start of summer, backyard BBQ, and the 4th of July. Our local farmer’s market had some organic strawberries which smelled so sweet it was just impossible not to buy some.

Last weekend we celebrated a significant birthday (one ending in a zero) of a very close friend. My mother made a knockout BBQ pulled pork and I made grilled vegetables and a killer pesto macaroni salad (recipe to come) along with my favorite lemon cake* and this fresh strawberry ice cream. It was a prefect late spring/early summer meal.

*For this lemon cake, I left out the lavender, multiplied the recipe x 1.5, and baked it in a bundt pan. It made a perfect birthday cake and went really well with …

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Garden Update-Have I Won the Battle?

June 4, 2010
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I may not have won the war, but I may have won the battle, at least for now. It seems like my monsters have found other places to dig besides in and around my garden beds. I like to imagine them frustrated; “What are these boards and bricks and rocks doing in my buffet? Let’s go somewhere else...”

As for my plants, they seem to be doing well. I’ve been able to remove the caging off the eggplants and squash and the effect was amazing. The zucchini doubled in size overnight. I am not exaggerating. It doubled. It was almost as if it was singing, “Born free....” and stretching it’s arms toward the sky.
Yes, both the animals and plants talk in my garden.
The tomatoes seem to be happy and two of the plants have quite a few green tomatoes on them. I harvested my …

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