Burger time! 8/15/19

It is in the 100s again today. Late August and September are the hottest months here in Northern California and it is the time of summer that no one looks forward to.

We are not going to be heating up the kitchen in these temperatures so poor John is outside cooking over a hot grill in this awful weather. According to this week’s menu I am supposed to be making Caesar salad with croutons but since we still have leftover Texas caviar and tabbouleh I am taking the easy route and serving them. I have added a little serrano chile to the Texas caviar since John thinks it is to mild.

Grilled hamburger with Texas caviar and tabbouleh

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Great tabbouleh and more! 8/14/19

I get a lot of accolades from the family when I make this parsley-forward tabbouleh based on a recipe for a Lebanese Tabbouleh from NYTimes Cooking. For tonight’s version, here is the recipe:

Lemony Parsley Tabbouleh

1/2 cup bulgur wheat
2 bunches Italian parsley, thick stems removed, smaller stems okay
1/4 cup mint (a handful of mint leaves)
5 scallions, cut into 2 inch lengths
2 cloves garlic, cut into smaller pieces
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 lb. tomatoes, chopped
1-2 tbsp. olive oil

Cover the bulgur with hot water and let sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients, about 20 minutes. Wash vegetables. Using a food processor whiz up the parsley, mint, scallions, and garlic in two equal batches. About 8 pulses until finely chopped. Remove each batch to a large bowl. Stir in the salt and the lemon juice. Drain the bulgur thoroughly through a sieve, pressing to remove as much water as possible. Add to the parsley mixture. Add the chopped tomatoes. Stir until everything is incorporated. Refrigerate for a couple of hours. Right before serving add olive oil. Stir.  Makes 4-6 servings.

You will have to play around with the seasoning, acid, and oil to see what combination works best for you. My recipe is the way we like it.

Lemony parsley tabbouleh with hummus, pita, roasted golden beets, tomatoes, and feta

In addition to the tabbouleh I also served store-bought hummus, toasted pita, and a salad of roasted golden beets, tomatoes, and feta dress with balsamic vinegar and EVOO. (For a vegan version omit feta.)

This is an excellent dinner for a hot night.

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Shrimp scampi. 8/13/19

Tonight’s dinner is easy for me. I have to mince 4 cloves of garlic, heat up some leftover rice, and zap the Stouffer’s spinach soufflé for 10 minutes. John, on the other hand, has to peel and de-vein the shrimp, make a stock out of the shells, and cook the shrimp in the stock, white wine, and garlic. Oh, and I have to chop up some parsley for garnish.  So it seems like an even division of labor, right?

We do all those things and somehow it is after 8 PM when we finally sit down to dinner. I keep telling John that I need to eat earlier because I spend between 5 PM and whenever we have dinner noshing on this and that. It is no good for my diet plan!

Anyway the dinner is super tasty and actually pretty simple to do.

Shrimp scampi with rice and spinach souflle

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Meatless Monday. 8/13/19

On this hot meatless Monday we are minimizing the heat in the kitchen with microwaved corn on the cob, a salad, and portobello mushrooms grilled outside.

Let’s start with the corn. It is so easy when you do it in the microwave. Just shuck the corn and put it in a zip-lock bag  (partially zipped) with a tablespoon of water, some butter or margarine, and zap it for one and a half minutes per cob. Done.

The Texas caviar is a rinsed can of black-eyed peas, small dice (about 1/2 cup each) of carrots, celery, red bell pepper, poblano pepper, scallions, tomatoes, corn, and jalapeño pepper (if you like it spicy), one minced garlic clove, five drops of hot sauce, chopped cilantro, and a lime vinaigrette. If I am making it for a crowd I add a rinsed can of black beans and more veg. Mix it all together and let it sit for a while before eating. Delicious and healthy to eat and beautiful to look at.

Texas caviar

John makes a marinade of 3 tablespoons of olive oil, one tablespoon of vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder, and salt.  He brushes the cap tops of the mushrooms with the marinade and puts the rest on the gill side. After one half hour in the marinade John cooks the mushrooms on the grill –  8 minutes cap side down, turn, 6 minutes gill side down. They look dark but are not burnt.

I have some toppings waiting in the kitchen – onions, spinach, tomato, and feta cheese (omit if making a vegan recipe.) Using the feta as a spread on the bottom roll keeps the roll from getting sogged out.

Summer on a plate!

Portobello mushroom burger, Texas caviar, corn on the cob



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Lemony zucchini salad. 8/11/19

In case you have too much zucchini from your garden, here is a tasty salad to use some of it. Leave some time to marinate the zucchini before you eat the salad. At least 4 hours would be best. In addition to the zucchini I included some slivered fennel and onions plus cherry tomatoes. All this was piled on a bed of raw spinach.

Lemony zucchini salad

Lemony Zucchini Salad
Adapted from NYTimes Cooking recipe

2 medium zucchini, sliced very thinly lengthwise or sliced with a mandoline
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
various other salad vegetables to garnish

Slice the zucchini either by hand or with a mandoline very thinly into ribbons, Salt the zucchini strips and let them drain for 20 minutes. Rinse and pat dry. Make the lemony dressing and pour it over the zucchini ribbons. Marinate for 4 hours. When it is time to serve make a bed of spinach or salad greens. Pile the zucchini in the center. Add other salad vegetables if desired. Pour remaining marinade over entire salad.  Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.

Tonight we ate our salad with Trader Joe’s bratwurst on Cobblestone sausage rolls. Use your favorite mustards and relishes on the bratwurst.

Lemony zucchini salad with Trader Joe’s bratwurst


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Weekly Menu. 8/11-8/17, 2019

It is going to be extremely hot this week. Supposedly we are going to see around 100F (38C) for at least 4 days. Depending on how hot the house gets we may have to switch around or change some dishes.

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Mediterranean salad. 8/10/19

We have all sorts of tomatoes covering the kitchen table. There are large ones and petite cherries, plus all sorts of colors, green, purple, yellow, orange, and red. It is hard to keep up with this onslaught! We are giving them away and sadly putting a few in the compost bin. Tonight I made a big Mediterranean salad to use some of them.

Mediterranean salad

My salad consists of one enormous Aunt Ruby’s German Green, a dark red Paul Robeson, and the cherries, yellow Sungold, orange Lollipop, and purple Black Cherry. After seeding the cucumber I decided to leave the skin on for a little crunch and cut it into half moons. For some saltiness and zing I added pepperoncini, scallions, and Castelvoltrano olives. The whole thing is dressed with our Arbequina olive oil and a bourbon balsamic vinegar that I picked up last week during our Sonoma wine tasting jaunt. Feta cheese dots the top.

To accompany our salad John made grilled chicken thighs and I rustled up some tater tots (always a favorite.) It was a perfect summer’s night dinner.

Mediterranean salad, grilled chicken breast, and tater tots

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