Sunday, July 14, 2013

Can't stand the heat? Cool off in the kitchen

Can’t stand the heat? Cool off in the kitchen
Hug a farmer is one of Matt Kadey’s first suggestions. Invest in a good chef’s knife and slice your fresh produce really thin for a delicate taste is also high up there.
“The No-Cook, No-Bake Cookbook: 101 Delicious Recipes for When It’s Too Hot to Cook” has art like a coffee table book and quick ideas like your favorite home magazine. It’s not billed as a diet book but my experience is that when you eat natural foods you will get good results all the way around.
How do you “not cook?” Kadey has ideas that take just a few minutes but end up looking more impressive than if you spent a lot of time on boring packaged foods. Rainbow Sardines on Rye is the simple concept of spreading something on a cracker or bread, but this offering looks like an expensive restaurant appetizer.
Everything from Shaved Squash Salad to Coconut Cream Pie Milkshake will call your name.
Cream Cheese Crackers with Smoked Oysters is a variation of a New Year’s favorite for me, but these are taken up a notch with something else I love, a pickled jalapeno chile pepper topper. Try avocado in your fruit salad or salmon crackers for breakfast. Here’s a twist on gazpacho that our peach-growing neighbors in Texas Hill Country ought to love:
Peach Gazpacho
2/3 cup water
2 pounds ripe peaches (about 6 medium,) pitted and chopped
½ English cucumber, chopped
2 green onions (scallions) white and green parts, sliced
1 jalapeno chile pepper, seeded and minced (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 small red bell pepper, diced, for garnish
1 small peach, diced, for garnish
Add the water, peaches, cucumber, green onions, jalelpeno if using, garlic, basil, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to a blender or food processor container. Blend togetheruntil smooth. If you’re using a small food processor or blender you may need to do this in batches. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
When ready to serve, ladle the soup in to serving bowls and garnish with bell pepper and peach.

s.a.l.t. sisters
I can already tell from the catalogue photos of herbs in Mason jars that I want in with s.a.l.t. sisters. What a cool family. Charmane Skillen named her herb business from an acronym of her daughters’ names and began educating the public on benefits of unrefined salt in Goshen, Indiana. Now she also promotes r.u.b.s. and vanilla infusion kits called b.e.a.n. as well as c.a.n.e. organic cane sugars. Can you smell this coming: It’s g.o.o.d.
As a hottie person, I am playing with Dragon’s Breath rub on everything from eggs and veggies to the intended meat rub. Applewood-smoked peppercorn and smoked paprika makes mayo sing. I very rarely add salt to anything, so this black truffle sea salt is a unique adventure. It’s intense over eggs, popcorn, whatever. The good stuff comes in resealable packets, but also look impressive in Mason jars. The’ve got lots of flavors including a lime sea salt to rim summer drinks. Visit for ideas like the following:
Dragon’s Breath Dip
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
1/3 cup half & half
1-3 tablespoons s.a.l.t. sisters Dragon’s Breath
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Whisk until well blended. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Serve with fresh cut, roasted or grilled vegetables or grilled meat.
Packin’ cocktails
It’s a Southeast Texas Tex-Mex dream: Margarita in a bottle at less than 125 calories a serving. Pack this bottle, not a whole bar, in a picnic basket for a portable party. VitaFrute is “the first organic, all natural, ready-made drink with only the highest quality ingredients, perfect for summer celebrations with family and friends.” That’s a big first. You’ll want to be first in line for your lemon-lime, VeeV Acai Spirit and agave flavored sip of fun. I love the flavor and the notion that it’s a much lower-calorie option.  There are lemonade and cosmopolitan options. Summer also mixes well with Akvinta Vodka for recipes like this:
Akvinta Blood Orange Cosmo:
-2 oz. Akvinta Vodka
-1/2 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
-.75 oz Mandarine Napoleon Orange Liqueur
-1 oz. Blood Orange Juice
-Lime wedge

Shake and strain all contents into a chilled cocktail/martini glass. Garnish with a lime wedge

 Give me more to cook
With a new GreenPan Ceramic Grill Pan in the house, I can’t keep out of the skillet. Have you tried one? I’m a gracious recipient of other gardeners’ bounty, and it’s all going in this pan, which is billed as a great Dad’s Day gift. I agree.
Here’s the company pitch:
GreenPan ( uses a heavy aluminum base and natural Thermolon nonstick technology for beautifully browned food. Eco-friendly, it has 60% less CO2 emissions during application of coating. It is safe for halogen, gas, solid hob and ceramic stovetops, as well as for the oven.”
 Here’s my experience: Keep it on low and be amazed as food crisps up. It’s easy to clean, so you can’t wait to prep for the next meal. You’ve seen them on TV. They work. Go GreenPan.
And I have to say this, Mom was right. You can keep a pan nice by preventing time on the high heat burner. My Green Pan is used daily and still looks new.

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