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Friday, June 25, 2010

Fresh from the garden

We were on vacation for a bit earlier this month, and when we came back the garden had exploded ! Weeds everywhere, garlic that developed curliques so that it looks like something out of Doctor Suess, and STRAWBERRIES everywhere. I couldn't wait to get in and cook some of the bounty !

After spending a day doing yardwork, I wanted something simple. I stole a bunch of rhubarb from my parents (well, they knew about it, so I suppose it wasn't stealing), and combined with the strawberries from the garden, I was able to make a really great cobbler. The nice biscuit topping and the fresh fruit were a great combination. I added a little bit of cinnamon to the fruit, flour, and sugar, and that was it. The topping was just basic biscuits (flour, sugar, butter, buttermilk) but I added a little bit of almond extract to give it a different flavor. I think Ray ate half of the pan on the first day !

We have a lot of fresh herbs, and lettuce that needed to be picked, so I marinated some chicken breasts in a tarragon mustard vinaigrette, made with fresh tarragon from the garden. I also made a lemon thyme vinaigrette for the salad, which had fresh mixed greens from the garden, onion, tomato and bacon. Although this was a really simple dinner, Ray thought it was one of the best he had ever had !

And, we can't forget the cocktail. I wanted to take advantage of the fresh mint and strawberries, so I blended them together into a smooth syrup. Then, I added vodka, Sierra mist and a little lime, and it was the perfect compliment to our garden fresh dinner.

I am planning a nice ceviche for Saturday, contents will depend on what is fresh at the fish market !

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Tuna Tacos

The tuna tacos were a big hit ! And very simple and fast.

I bought some frozen ahi tuna steaks from Sam's Club. They are not very expensive, and perfect for a dish like this. I marinated them in Cuban Mojo marinade. I purchased this pre-mixed...take the help where you can get it, right ?

I had small tortillas, soft shell size. Salsa from last years canning run, lettuce from the garden, shredded cheese and sour cream. I added a diced avocado and some left over roasted corn to the salsa for a little different texture.

To grill tuna, you want your grill very hot, and just cook the tuna a couple minutes on each side. Good ahi is meant to be eaten medium rare, and these came out perfect ! I just sliced the steaks like fajita meat, and we built our own tacos.

The perfect compliment to this quick and easy meal was a mojito ! We are growing spearmint in the garden this year, so I dusted off my bartending chops to take a stab at these yummy rum cocktails. In true "Lisa" fashion, however, I had to give it my own twist...

I muddled the mint with some fresh lime juice, and dropped half a lime into the bottom of the glass. I added some agave syrup instead of the traditional simple syrup, and topped off with ginger ale instead of soda. They were delicious, and since our mint plant is taking over the planter it is in, there are more mojitos on the horizon !

Off for some camping this week, but I will blog from the road !

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Stuff from the garden !

Haven't done much interesting cooking over the last week. We went camping over Memorial Day weekend, so meals were potluck with a large group of friends. I made chicken wild rice salad, with water chestnuts and dried cherries. It was quite good. And easy to make on the camp stove !

We are just starting to get a few things from the garden. We have had a couple salads from lettuce we started early in a little planter. On Thursday, I made a pasta with italian sausage, peppers, tomatoes, onions and fresh basil and oregano from the garden, Yummm !! The mint plant has exploded, so I think some mojitos are on the horizon!

Tonight we will grill some tuna steaks and have tuna tacos, with homemade salsa from last years garden. And tomorrow, we break out the smoker ! We have 2 big pork roasts, a chicken and a pheasant to smoke. Should be some good eats at our house !