Sunday, June 26, 2011

Freedom, Tradition, and ....Pizza?

Over the next week you will most likely be surrounded by events celebrating FREEDOM in our great country. When I think about this amazing time of year, I'm reminded of fond times spent camping with friends, doing bottle-rockets in our driveway with my dad and sister, and climbing barefoot onto the roof of our car to watch the fireworks over Ford Lake. As I reflect warmly upon memories like these, I feel grateful. I like how this time of year is such a time for TRADITION. These traditions are gifts passed down to us ( from our friends, our parents, our communities) that link us together. And, although what we're celebrating is INDEPENDENCE, it's a great reminder that what we all really need is each other.

What are some of your summer traditions? My guess, is that whatever they are, there is FOOD involved!! There is a delightful variety of fruits and vegetables in season during the summer months, and not only are they juicy and refreshing, but they're also beautiful to look at. Also, great about produce that's in season is that it costs less! You don't have to spend enormous amounts of money to get a beautiful spread of food for your summer gatherings, or even spend hours in the kitchen preparing recipes when you'd much rather be outside playing!
Having a RED, WHITE & BLUE party? Want to try something new? You may be interested in trying jicama. Jicama can be eaten raw or cooked, is crisp and crunchy and the flesh is white.

Why not throw together a salad, including jicama and some gorgeous red bell peppers?
RECIPES!! FRUIT PIZZA is a total crowd-pleaser! My mouth is watering just typing about it. It's sooooo good and you can really have fun with it and create a design all your own, using any combination of fruits you would like. And here are a few other food ideas that might work for the colors-themed party, that I know are super yum:

Looking for a cool treat that is sure to satisfy? This recipe for FROZEN LEMON CUSTARD won't let you down!

So....What do you love about this time of year? Do you have any recipe requests? Post them here and we'll do our best to oblige!

Friday, June 24, 2011

"Hey, that's MINE!!!"

Is there a food that you would fight to have the last bite of?

...A food that you would travel hundreds of miles just for a taste?

Have you ever been eating something Delicious and really, really enjoying it -I'm talking LOVING it, cherishing it, zoning off into la-la-land with it- when all of a sudden someone else stuck their grubby hands (fork, spoon, straw, spork) in it and tried to take a bite? How did you react? Maybe you don't want to 'fess up to having ever behaved like a 2yr old who just got their favorite stuffed animal ripped from their cute and chubby little grasp - lower lip quivering, eyes popping, will rising to do anything and everything in their power to get it back... I mean who would ever behave such a way over something like FOOD, right?

I'm sure, like me, when you find a food that the mention of which makes your mouth water and your heart race - you want to tell the world! In fact, you would give every last bite of it away, if it meant that you could share how good it is with as many people as possible. But, OK, I admit to an occasional knee-jerk reaction like that which is aforementioned. I'm not proud of it, but occasionally it happens. Of course, I quickly recover and return to being generous and kind, and desiring to share all of my food secrets with the world. There is something so heart-warming about being able to create an experience for others that you have enjoyed so much yourself.

Recently, I had a non-food related (gasp!) experience where I had one of those "Hey, that's MINE!!!" kind of moments...(or perhaps several hundred or so) and it made me think about how that sometimes happens with food. The truth is, as someone who loves to cook for others, this rarely happens for me with regard to food. Though, there is the occasional moment when a rambunctious teenager (my son) with a mischievous grin will take delight in stealing a coveted bite of whatever it is that I am salivating over. I will then momentarily object as it is snatched from my fingertips, just as it is on its way into my mouth. Even with moments like these, I'm reminded that food, like life, is always so, so much better when it is shared. And I sure love seeing someone elses smile and watching their eyes gleam, even if it is with (more than) a hint of mischief, and even if it does cost me my dinner.

In the spirit of sharing, here are some recipes I've tried recently and flipped over... I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!
Have you ever made your own PORTOBELLO BURGERS? YUM. I recently made these for a group of women who were all really surprised, yet delighted at how satisfying they were. I think one of the crucial parts of the recipe is when stuffing the mushrooms with herbs and garlic. Garlic is so good! If you take a little extra time and care to place your garlic and herbs evenly throughout the top of the Portobello, it will be WORTH IT. One of the great things about burgers is the toppings! I like mine with carmelized onions and red peppers, fresh tomato, green leaf lettuce, and avocado. I also like to make sure to lightly toast my whole wheat buns, because that makes a HUGE DIFFERENCE in the pleasurable experience of biting into the burger. You will love these Portobello Burgers and best of all they will love you back! That's right, you read that correctly. Replacing the red meat in your burger with a big juicy mushroom is good for your heart!
Speaking of Avocado, I just can't get enough of this VEGETABLE & AVOCADO SAUTE.

I hadn't had a lot of dishes that used a warm version of avocado, so I was slightly skeptical prior to making this for the first time.... but it did not disappoint! It was the perfect side dish on our seafood night one week, when I made Mahi-Mahi for the first time. That turned out so good, by the way. I highly recommend it. Super easy to bake and not fishy-tasting at all!

Check this out: Blueberries and Tunafish! ....I might guess what your thinking, and I have to admit I wasn't expecting these two flavors to be complimentary either, but you know what? They totally pull it off! This BERRIED TUNA SALAD WRAP was a very welcomed and surprisingly tasty change from the 'norm'. It's got a delicious crunch! All I have to say is: Try it. You'll love it. Share it. You'll love it more.

Now, excuse me while I take my creme brulee in the other room and eat it where no one can find me... ;-)

Do you have a favorite memory of sharing food with someone or when someone shared food with you in some way? Please share with us. We love to hear from you.