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Monday, July 22, 2013

Celebrating Summer!

About a month ago I started keeping a food journal. For years I've made my menus on the back of our grocery lists.  They'd get lost.  I'd get frustrated.  There was no way to go back and find recipes I'd wanted to try but hadn't.  What my eighth grade drafting teacher would've called a mell of a hess.  Turns out one of the reps had brought me a journal.  A blank journal.  Perfect.  Now, when there are photos that I can't quite figure out I can go to the journal.  I can also keep a list of the things that need to be used up.  For example, today's list was:  chicken stock, bbq pork and beef, peaches, cabbage, corn, pesto potato salad, fresh mozzarella, panzanella salad, pickled beets, eggplant involtini, pesto, grilled zukes, rhubarb, chanterelle mushrooms, tomatoes, sweet cherries in port, meringues, eggplant spread and asparagus.  Quite the collection, eh?  I've got four dinners to plan from that.  Plus six lunches.  We'll be eating well, won't we?

Now, the other great thing about the journal is that when I make up a recipe I've got a place to record it without having to actually write a blog or create a document in Word.  Saturday evening is a great example.  Eggplant involtini was on the menu.  It's one of our favorites.  Turns out there was an old eggplant in the fridge downstairs.  It was on its last legs and there was no way I could use it for involtini.  So, I created an eggplant spread.  First I peeled and cubed the eggplant.  Then, I tossed it with olive oil and roasted it for about 25 minutes.  After that it went into the food processor with about 2 T of tahini, 2 chopped garlic cloves, 1 t of lemon juice, 1/2 t of cumin.  That all got processed.  Then, I drizzled in 2T of olive oil.  It was fabulous on some nice crackers but would be equally good on fresh veggies.  Or, on a sandwich...  It wasn't much too look at but made up for that in taste!

About the same time, I thought about the sweet cherries in the fridge.  They really needed to be used up.  And, I had two leftover egg whites.  Those got whipped with a smidge of cream of tartar and enough sugar to make a nice meringue.  I piped that mixture onto a baking sheet and baked it at 250 for 25 minutes then left them in the oven with the heat off for another hour. 

The cherries were stemmed and pitted then cooked down in a couple of teaspoons of butter. 

Once they'd softened nicely and released a bunch of juice, I added some sugar and port.  That was thickened with corn starch and served over the meringues. 

Without the journal I'd not have a clue in a month how in the world I made those.  As I type this my favorite hot curried peaches are simmering on the stove - with the addition of a couple of cups of chopped rhubarb and a bit more brown sugar to offset the tart rhubarb. 

Shredded cabbage is draining for cole slaw.  I'm not sure if we'll be trying a new recipe or going back to one of the old faithfuls- Mrs Huber's slaw or barbecue slaw.  Mom got me a cookbook titled, "How to Cook a  Porcupine" at the church rummage sale and there's an interesting slaw recipe there so I may have to try something new.  (nb - it wound up being new/old with a regular creamy cole slaw and a 4oz jar of pimentos tossed in)

Connie wants leftover eggplant involtini for dinner.  I kind of wanted to do just bbq favorites.  But, we can do both within reason. 

See the serving from Saturday?  Two eggplant rolls...  For our bbq dinner we each had half a roll.

Tomorrow we'll have Caprese salad and pesto pasta for dinner.  Lots of basil.  Reminds me that I saw a fun basil butter corn recipe on Food 52.  Might try that tonight...  Then again, maybe not. 

Now, before I post this, I've got to add that the Caprese salad was fabulous.  In addition to the usual suspects of sliced tomatoes, basil, fresh mozzarella, extra virgin olive oil and balsamic glaze, I added a smidge of lemon salt.

Along with the salad we had some pesto pasta, sautéed mushrooms and some onions from our garden.  I've never had better onions!  They were sautéed with butter and salt and stole the show.  We each ate about half of our pasta but cleaned up our onions!


Debra Eliotseats said...

I should so take lessons from you. I waste so much food that gets left behind in the fridge. I am so making that eggplant spread! And the involtini!!!!

Liz Berg said...

I think I need a blogger journal, too! Wow, you two have been eating some scrumptious meals of late :)