Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Shrimp Acapulco and Naughty Sunbathing

The title is just a mean trick to see if you're here about the food, or something else entirely. But, it is true, the day I made this, there was some naughty sunbathing involved--NO SUNSCREEN. I know; but my friend, Nina, came down for a girl's weekend visit and gorging ourselves on this fabulous shrimp concoction and being high out of our minds on too many corn chips and some good old fashioned peer pressure led to our naughtiness. After all, girls will be girls.

But, don't be like me and Nina--wear your sunscreen--it's important. However, don't worry about eating too many corn chips, because this Shrimp Acapulco is definitely worth it and a corn chip is the best vehicle to scoop up big tasty mouthfuls.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Chilled Carrot Soup

The dog days of August have me by the ankles! For those who don't know me well, and for those who do but choose to ignore my obsessive personality, let me mention that I like to garden. Unfortunately, I garden pretty obsessively, so that means that I am knee deep in the 24 (yep!) tomato plants that I put in back in May and the 14 (yep!) giant pumpkin vines I planted in June.

But this post is about Chilled Carrot Soup, because no matter when I plant my tomatoes, they never hit full stride until the end of August or the beginning of September. But it's HOT outside (okay, hotter than it's been, but not really hot) and I'm busy chasing down gophers and voles and mulching pumpkins and pollinating them too, but that's another story. And because I love chilled soups and this one is the perfect canvas on which to improvise, I'm sharing my recipe with you.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Cranking Up the Heat with Chipotle Coleslaw

It's well known that when it's hot outside, eating spicy food will cool you down. That's why notoriously hot spots serve up some of the hottest food around.

I'm thinking of all those delicious and fiery Indian and Thai curries, Mexican salsas, Jamaican Jerks, North African Harissa and of course, my adopted Cajun eats.

Adding heat to food isn't only about kicking up your metabolism and firing up that internal air conditioning (hot foods cool us off), but peppers and pepper products have immense health benefits.

Capsaicin, a natural property in hot peppers, is a know anti-inflamatory and adding hot peppers to your diet can provide relief from rheumatoid arthritis, lower your blood sugar and cholesterol, prevent heart disease, heal an ulcer, and even promote weight loss. An added benefit is capsaicin releases endorphins, creating a sense of well being; it's also a natural pain killer and it stimulates your circulation.

So if you're hot today, whip up a batch of my highly addictive and super hot (you can tone it down) Chipotle Coleslaw and give your taste buds an awakening.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Gazpacho and Hot Summer Nights

Okay, so part of that title is a big fat lie. It hasn't been hot at all (but it was) and we are in fact enjoying some pretty darn gorgeous, albeit, cool summer weather. But it's July and I always make gazpacho in July--August, too--so in spite of 70 degree weather, I concentrated on the blue skies and sunshine and got my blender out.

What I'm sharing with you is the simplest, tastiest, and best of the best gazpacho recipes. It's not only delicious, but super healthy, so you'll definitely want to make some soon.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Grilled Caesar Salad

I know people who are so obsessed with Caesar salad that they will do shameful things to get their fix. Of course, I don't know any of these people personally, at least I don't think I do, but nonetheless, I always think of them on those rare occasions when I whip up a bowl.

Organic Romaine was a hot ticket sale item last week, so I bought a few heads in anticipation of a good chopped salad and a Caesar salad and on a day when the Mercury headed to the triple digits, I marinated a thick steak and gave Ken a halved head of Romaine to toss on the grill. Yep; grilled Caesar salad is definitely in my summer repertoire.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Oh My, It's Time for Cherry Pie

Every year, come June, I say goodbye to my comfortable pants and eat my way into a semi-conscious state of bliss. Weeks before it happens, I try to cut back on calories, hit the gym, and even press myself to do a few extra laps in the pool. I feel victorious; strong; almost as if I might, at least once, avoid the (pardon the pun) pitfalls of cherry season. But no sooner do I feel able to withstand the short harvest, that I fall by the wayside and happily succumb.

Ken is supposed to be the strong one, but once I start talking about pies and turnovers, he forgets, and then he starts asking the question, "Is it pie day today?" But he knows as well as I do that we always start talking pie weeks before we start eating pie. I'm not sure why it takes us so long, but I figure it must have something to do with the sheer labor intensity of pitting five pounds of cherries. Yep. Five pounds--for two people. You must be wondering if my pants are ever comfortable, but I assure you, some things just must be done with passionate vigor and I'd say cherry pie is one of those things.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

For the Love of Tomato Soup

I know. It's May; almost Memorial Day, and here I am, waxing poetic on tomato soup. In my defense, allow me to point out that we had a rash of rainy and cold weather (cold enough for me to kick on the furnace and pull out my sweater) that gave me a real craving for soup.

The problem was that by this time of year, the ingredients in my fridge have shifted, leaving me very little to make soup. But while rummaging in the deep freeze for a lost ham hock, I came across two containers of fresh tomato puree that I had lovingly and painstakingly put away back in late October. I remembered these tomatoes well, for I had let them stay on the vine and reap the last of the fall warmth and the nightly temperature dips all in the hopes of harvesting the sweetest tomatoes of all. By the time I picked them, most of the leaves had fallen away and the fruits were nicked and not anywhere near the beauty bombshells of the earlier crops. But they were tasty and made me long for tomato soup the way they serve it up in Yountville (very near Napa) at a little French bistro called, Bistro Jeanty.