Rainbow Salad

Rainbow Salad

When you hear green or yellow split peas- do you think of soup?  You probably do. But when cooked until just tender, split peas make a great salad ingredient. I often add cooked split peas to a tossed salad. They add flavor, protein and a nice texture to salads.  An added bonus: split peas can be cooked from dry, to tender, in about 20 minutes. That makes them a great choice when time is tight.

This is one of my favorite salads using both green and yellow split peas.  Fresh and colorful, it is a big hit with vegetarian and non-vegetarian friends. If some of you are looking for new salad ideas this summer, this one is a winner.

The salad uses both green and yellow split peas, along with black beans, butter beans, red lentils and assorted veggies. It is a great combination of colors and textures. It does make a lot, but you can easily cut the recipe in half. Or maybe, invite more friends over!!!

The dish was inspired by my nephew  Danny’s love of sand art when he was a kid. The ingredients are layered in the bowl for a pretty presentation. It is also an homage to the layered salads I remember from my youth. I like this one a whole lot more.

  Rainbow Bean Salad

 1 c. each green split peas, yellow split peas and red lentils

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can butter beans, rinsed and drained

1 c. diced sweet onion

1 c. diced sweet pepper

1 c. grated carrot

Cook split peas and lentils separately just until tender. Split peas, both green and yellow will take 20 minutes. Red lentils will take about 8-10 minutes. Drain and rinse each under cold water when done and set aside until ready to use, or you can cook them a day ahead and keep chilled. Each will yield about 2 1/2 c. cooked.

In large glass bowl, place the following ingredients in this order.

Black beans, butter beans, green split peas. yellow split peas. onion, red lentils. carrots and peppers. Pour over dressing and chill several hours or overnight. Serve on a bed of greens.

Dressing *

1/2 c. oil

1/2 c. vinegar

1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained- I use a pint of home canned tomatoes

2-3 T. sugar

1/2 c. parsley or cilantro

1 t. each chili powder, cumin and salt

dash hot sauce

Combine in a blender or food processor until smooth.

*Note: Any fresh or bottled dressing you like can be used. Balsamic works very well.  I often serve it with homemade Italian dressing.

Compound Butters

Compound Butters

I enjoy making flavored, or compound butters, all the time. But even more so this time of year. My herb garden is growing wildly and there really is nothing better than the flavor of herbs, picked fresh out of the garden. Chop them up, add to some butter and you have a great spread for all sorts of foods. Now that local  veggies are here, I have even more reason to make some herb and butter blends.

I like to make  several batches, shape into rolls and wrap in plastic wrap. Now I can freeze them and just cut off a piece whenever I want. This is also a nice way to preserve some of this summer freshness for the cooler days ahead.

Herbal or spicy butters can add flavor to any meal. They can be used on breads, crackers, veggies, meats, or fish. Flavored butters can also be molded into shapes for special occasions. Here are the recipes for the butters in the picture.

Compound Butters

All recipes are for use with one stick (½ cup) butter.

Soften butter slightly to make mixing easier. Roll into logs, balls, or press into molds. Finished butters can be rolled in herbs, spices, or nuts for a decorative appearance. Chill several hours or overnight before using. Keep butter wrapped tightly in waxed paper for freshness. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before serving. Flavored butter keeps in the fridge for 1 – 2 weeks. Makes ½ cup.

Chive Butter: 3 T. snipped chives, ½ t. lemon zest. Good with fish, poultry, carrots, and potatoes.

Chili Butter: 1½ t. chili powder, ½ t. cumin, ½ t. garlic powder. This is good on breads, beans, grilled chicken, or popcorn.

Curry Butter: 1 t. curry powder, 1 t. fresh lime juice. Use on lamb, poultry, rice, and veggies.

Dill Butter: 2 T. fresh snipped dill, 1 – 2 t. fresh lemon juice. Good with chicken, potatoes, carrots, seafood, or rice.

Mint Butter: 2 – 3 T. fresh chopped mint leaves, 1 t. fresh lemon juice, ½ t. lemon zest. This is great with lamb, peas, chicken, or vegetables.

Sage Butter: 1 T. fresh sage leaves, chopped very fine, or 1 t. dried sage, 1 t. each lemon juice and lemon zest. This is excellent with chicken or pork dinners. Great on breads and rolls, too.

Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream

Strawberry Ice Cream

It is strawberry season around here, and I am loving it. Since the weather was finally warming up, I decided to make ice cream with some of the berries. Homemade ice cream is easy to make. When you make your own, you can adjust flavorings and sweetness level, too.

Studded with plenty of berries, this ice cream will put anything store-bought to shame. Feel free to add blueberries or raspberries, too.

Strawberry Ice Cream

2 c. chopped strawberries

1 c. sugar

1 T. vanilla

2 c. cream or  half and half or a combination. You can also use some milk or even almond or rice milk.

Additional sugar to taste

Place strawberries, vanilla  and sugar in saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and chill. Combine chilled berry mixture with cream. Add additional sugar if you like. Remember that once it is frozen, the ice cream will not taste as sweet, so make this mixture a little sweeter than you want the final product to be. How much sugar you add varies with personal taste and how sweet the berries are. Place in an ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s directions. Once finished put in an air- tight container and place in freezer. Makes about 1 quart.

Homemade “Magic” Chocolate Shell

Chocolate Magic Shell

I used to love getting a chocolate-dipped ice cream cone when I was a kid. I still do.

The ice cream shop near my house had them. I watched as the soft serve was swirled onto the cone, then turned upside down and dipped into a vat of melted chocolate goodness. Like magic, the chocolate hardened, and made this lovely, crisp shell.

Then they came out with the squeeze bottles of the stuff. Just a drizzle onto your ice cream and the chocolate hardened like, well, magic.

There are a lot of recipes out there for “magic” shell. I tried a few. All tasted fine, but some just worked better than others. I played around and found the mix that worked best for me.

It is very easy to make- just three ingredients. So easy- so good.

Homemade Chocolate Shell

1 c. chocolate chips- I used dark chocolate chips

3/4 c. coconut oil- I used the unrefined

1/2 c. powdered sugar

Heat all together until melted. I melted mine in a microwave for 1 minute, but you could also melt over a double boiler. Stir until smooth. Store at room temp. To use, drizzle over ice cream, wait about 10-20 seconds- and it will harden.

Cooking with Garlic Scapes

Garlic Scapes Potato Salad

If you have never had garlic scapes, you don’t know what you are missing. Garlic scapes are the green shoots removed from hard-neck varieties of garlic. By removing the shoots, the bulbs will get bigger. So farmers and gardeners remove them.  Garlic scapes curl as they grow, and are good served raw, or barely cooked. They are showing up at farm markets around here right now.

When cooked, the flavor mellows a lot. I love to steam garlic scapes for about 5 minutes, then just eat like fresh green beans, with butter and salt. I steamed a bunch of scapes the other day- then chopped them up and added to potato salad. So tasty!!

They have a rich, garlic flavor that is all the sweeter because of the short time they are around. Enjoy them when you can- they will be gone soon.

I sometimes use scapes in place of basil, in my pesto recipe, or combine them with parsley in a garlic scapes-parsley pesto. You can also combine the garlic scapes with cottage cheese in the blender- add a little lemon juice and hot sauce for a tasty dip. Here are some more recipes for cooking with garlic scapes.

Garlic Scapes Potato Salad

4-5  garlic scapes

2 lbs. red skinned potatoes*

½ cup minced sweet pepper

½ c. olive oil

½ c. apple cider vinegar

2 T. sugar

2 T. chopped parsley

2 t. fresh dill weed

Salt and pepper to taste

Hot sauce to taste

Steam the scapes for 5 minutes. Cool a little, and cut into ¾ -inch slices. You should end up with about 1½ of sliced scapes when done. Place in a medium bowl. Cook potatoes until tender. I baked mine in a microwave until tender and then cut into cubes. Baking them is also a nice way to cook the potatoes. You can also opt to cut into cubes first and boil the potatoes. Whatever method to cook the potatoes is fine with me. Take the potatoes, while still warm, and place in the bowl with the scapes. Mix the rest of the ingredients together in a small bowl and stir until sugar dissolves. Pour over warm potato mix, tossing to coat evenly. Adjust seasonings. Chill and serve. Serves 6-8.

* You can really use any potato you like.

Garlic Scape Pesto Sauce

1 c. chopped scapes – you can also use half scapes, half parsley
1/4 c. olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic
Salt to taste
1/2 c. pine nuts, sunflower seeds, pecans or walnuts
1 c. fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Combine all ingredients, except the cheese, in a blender and mix until smooth. Stir in the cheese and toss over hot, cooked pasta or use as a sauce on meat and poultry. Sauce will keep a few days in the fridge and makes about 1 1/2 cups, enough for 1 lb. of cooked pasta.

Lebanese Garlic Sauce

1/2 c. chopped garlic scapes

1 cup lemon juice

1 teaspoon salt

3 cups olive oil

In the container of a blender, combine the garlic scapes, lemon juice and salt. Blend at medium speed until smooth. Continue blending while pouring olive oil into the blender in a thin stream. The mixture should become thick and white almost like mayo. Store refrigerated in a glass container.  Nice on hot pasta, cooked rice or grains or brushed on meats while cooking. It also is a great salad dressing.

Garlic Scapes with  Broccoli

1 c. chopped garlic scapes

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets, steamed 5 minutes, cooled

1/3 cup olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, or to taste

Place garlic scapes in a food processor with the salt and blend into a paste. Add olive oil, vinegar, and mustard.  Pulse until smooth.  Place garlic scapes mixture in a bowl and add the broccoli.  Stir to coat. Chill for 3 hours to marinate, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese before serving. Tastes even better the next day!!!

Garlic Scapes

Cupcake Day- Hudson Camp

Some of the colorful cupcakes the kids made in camp today.

The kids did such a great job. They baked more than 120 cupcakes. I kinda lost count. Plus, we baked little cakes, which we will decorate tomorrow.

Strawberry Cheesy Chocolate Pie

Strawberry Cheesy Chocolate Pie

This pie has it all. Fresh strawberries, glazed and sitting on a flaky crust. But it doesn’t stop there. The crust is topped with chocolate and a layer of sweetened cream cheese. The chocolate and cheese are under the berries. They provide a wonderful surprise when eating the pie.

The chocolate is such a natural match for the strawberries. The cream cheese gives a little “cheesecake” feel.  In the end, the combination works perfectly together.

During strawberry season, I enjoy so many different dishes made with fresh berries. Fresh strawberry pie is always going to be a favorite. I try to make different versions and this one was definitely a version I will make again.

Strawberry Cheesy Chocolate Pie

1 9-inch pie crust * recipe follows

1 c. chocolate chips

1 T. butter

1 qt. strawberries (1¼ lbs.), hulled

1 c. sugar

2 T. cornstarch

¼ c. water

1 T. butter

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

½ c. powdered sugar

Whipped cream, optional

Using a pie pan, roll out your crust and fit it into the pan- trim off any excess. Pre-bake your crust. To do this: The prepared pie crust should be pricked all over with a fork. Cover the surface with foil and then pie weights. I use dry beans for my pie weights. Pre-heat oven to 400-degrees. Bake crust for 15-20 minutes. Check to be sure it doesn’t get too brown. Remove weights and foil. Melt chocolate chips and butter together, stirring until smooth. Pour over crust and use a spatula to spread into a thin layer on the bottom and, if you like, up the sides of the crust. Set aside and allow crust to cool and chocolate to set up. Select about 25-30 berries to be placed in pie crust, large side down, and set aside. You might need fewer berries, if they are really big. Puree or crush remaining berries. Place in a saucepan with the sugar and bring to a boil. Combine cornstarch with water and stir until smooth. Add to the strawberry mixture and cook, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and gets clear. Simmer about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Set aside. Place cream cheese in a bowl and beat in the powdered sugar. Spread cheese over the chocolate layer. Arrange the reserved berries on the cheese layer, pointy side up. Put the largest berry in the middle and arrange the rest around it decoratively. Spoon the puree over the berries and allow the pie to cool down a little before putting in the fridge. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

Note: other berries can also be used including raspberries, blackberries and blueberries, or a combination. This recipe can also be used as a filling for tarts and tartlets.

Half and Half Dough*

This is a great crust for liquid fillings like custard type pies and fresh fruit pies.

¼ c. butter, room temp

½ c. shortening, room temp- you can use lard instead, or chilled coconut oil

¼ c. sugar

½ t. salt

2½ c. pastry or all purpose flour

1/8 t. baking powder

¼ c. milk

1 t. lemon juice

Cream together the first 4 ingredients until smooth. Mix together the flour and baking powder. Set aside. Combine milk with the juice and set aside. Stir ½ c. of the flour into butter mixture. Stir until smooth. Add a little of the milk, stirring until smooth. Add remaining ingredients alternately until finished. Dough will firm up once chilled. Chill at least 4 hours before using. Makes 2 crusts. You only need half the dough for the strawberry pie.

Hudson Cooking Camp- Pizza Day

Pizza day at camp was a lot of fun!!!

This week camp has been so much fun. The kids are great and so creative. Today we made pizza dough- and then each child made their own pizza. I think they all did a wonderful job.

Garlic Scapes Hummus

Garlic Scapes Hummus

Around here, garlic scapes are in season and being eaten a lot. I find myself cooking with them in everything I can. Everyone seems to be talking about scapes and looking for new ways to use them. There is even a word for it – scorpacciata.

Scorpacciata is an Italian word that means consuming large amounts of a particular local ingredient while it’s in season.

Scapes, if you didn’t know, are the tops of hard-neck variety garlic. They are cut off this time to year- to help the plants produce larger heads. They curl as they grow. You should be able to find them at your local farm market. They can be eaten raw or cooked. They can be a little woody when raw.

This time, I steamed the scapes, and added them to my hummus. The end result was really good. The scapes replaced the garlic cloves, adding their own personality to the dish. I switched the dish up a little more, by using avocado oil, instead of the traditional olive oil.

So here is one more recipe to use those lovely, seasonal garlic scapes.

Garlic Scapes Hummus

1 can garbanzo beans, drained- I used a one pint jar of home canned

½ c. chopped garlic scapes- 1 or 2 garlic scapes- steamed 5 minutes and chopped

¼ c. olive oil or avocado oil

2 T. lemon juice – about 1 lemon

2 T. tahini (sesame seed paste)

salt and hot pepper sauce to taste

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. Adjust seasonings. Chill. Serve with pita bread, crackers or fresh vegetables. Also nice spread in a pita bread with sliced tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce. Freezes well.

Garlic Scapes

Fresh Strawberry Pie

Fresh Strawberry Pie

June in Ohio is all about the fresh strawberries. Berries can be found at local farm markets and at pick your own farms.  Because of heavy rains this year, the berry season is expected to be short. All the more reason to go out and get some now.

When I was a kid there was a local restaurant known for its fresh strawberry pie. It became a favorite of mine back then, and strawberry pie is still a favorite. This pie is always a big hit. It wouldn’t be June if I didn’t make at least one. A nice benefit, over most other pies, is that only the crust has to be baked- that takes just a few minutes- so you don’t need the oven on for very long and the house stays cooler. I used a homemade crust that really works for this particular pie. Directions for blind baking (pre-baking) the crust are included below, along with the recipe for the crust I used.

Fresh Strawberry Pie

1 (9-inch) pie crust, baked and cooled -recipe follows*
1 qt strawberries (1¼ lbs), hulled
1 c. sugar
2 T. cornstarch
¼ c. water
1 T. butter
4 oz. cream cheese
Whipped cream, optional

Select about 25-30 berries to be placed in pie crust, large side down and set aside. Puree or crush remaining berries. Place in a saucepan with the sugar and bring to a boil. Combine cornstarch with water and stir until smooth. Add to the strawberry mixture and cook, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and gets clear. Simmer about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Set aside. Place cream cheese in a small bowl and mash with about a tablespoonful of the puree. Spread on the crust and arrange the reserved berries on the crust pointy side up. Put the largest berry in the middle and arrange the rest around it decoratively. Spoon the puree over the berries and allow the pie to cool down a little before putting in the fridge. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.
Note: other berries can also be used including raspberries, blackberries and blueberries, or a combination. This recipe can also be used as a filling for tarts and tartlets.

*What is blind baking?
Some recipes call for pre-baking the crust. Sometimes this is because the filling is either un-baked, like a fresh strawberry pie or very moist, like custard pie. Blind baking is placing foil on an un-baked crust and then weighing it down. Then the crust is baked either a little, or until done depending on what the recipe calls for. The weights, often dry beans or rice keep the crust from getting air bubbles in it when it bakes. >^..^<
How to blind bake (pre-bake) a pie crust
The prepared pie crust should be pricked all over with a fork. Cover the surface with foil and then pie weights. Pre-heat oven to 425-degrees. For a crust that is only being partially baked allow 15-20 minutes, but remove before the outer edges get brown. If the crust is to be fully baked remove it after 15-20 minutes. Remove weights and foil and return crust to oven for an additional 20 minutes, but watch carefully so it doesn’t over-brown.

Half and Half Dough**

This is a great crust for liquid fillings like custard type pies and fresh fruit pies.
¼ c. butter, room temp
½ c. shortening, room temp- you can use lard or chilled coconut oil instead
¼ c. sugar
½ t. salt
2½ c. pastry or all purpose flour
1/8 t. baking powder
¼ c. milk
1 t. lemon juice
Cream together the first 4 ingredients until smooth. Mix together the flour and baking powder. Set aside. Combine milk with the juice and set aside. Stir ½ c. of the flour into butter mixture. Stir until smooth. Add a little of the milk, stirring until smooth. Add remaining ingredients alternately until finished. Dough will firm up once chilled. Chill at least 4 hours before using. Makes 2 crusts.

** this recipe makes 2 crusts- which makes me think you should just make 2 pies. If you don’t want to do that- the other half of the dough will freeze well for a few months. Seriously though, just make 2 pies!!!