Zoodles with a spiral slicer

I finally purchased a Paderno spiralizer slicer and it has been a wonderful addition to my kitchen tool collection.  My three blade slicer is able to cut vegetables very quickly into angel hair noodles, shoestrings and even spiral cut strands.  My first attempt at using the tool was extremely successful, as I made zucchini noodles in place of pasta one evening for dinner.

I sautéed the zoodles with some sliced mushrooms, seasoned with black pepper and parsley flakes in one tablespoon olive oil. I cooked the zucchini noodles until soft and served with pasta sauce.  The noodles were extremely tasty, and confirm the recent enthusiasm from many chefs for using this spiral slicer.

I will be experimenting with apples, potatoes, carrots and cucumbers in the coming months. The slicer is an interesting way to prepare and cut these foods for appealing presentation and to increase food excitement.

For more information on this slicer, it can be purchased online at Williams Sonoma cookware.

Seed Season

My mailbox is full of gardening catalogs and the excitement of spring and summer is almost here.  So many new ideas every year are contained in these great publications.  Yes, there is something to actually having a printed catalog in hand, when searching for my lettuce seeds for my summer kitchen garden. Most often, I am reading and learning from the various companies as they showcase their products.

I love to shop these catalogs and complete a bit of research on the types of seeds that might work best in my short season Michigan garden.  I know that my yard does not have the greatest and longest sunny exposure, so I am always careful to choose seeds that will grow to maturity within the summer months.

This year, I will grow a variety of mesculun salad leaves and other lettuce mixes. In years past, I have had great success with lettuce in my garden. And fresh garden lettuce is so spectacular, that it is hard to compare to anything found in a market.  For this reason, I think everyone should have a small kitchen garden. So satisfying!

Thanksgiving turkey tray

For an afternoon holiday appetizer tray, I found this cute idea on Pinterest. If you haven’t found Pinterest yet, I highly recommend the website as a great way to find ideas for just about anything.  I have tried many great recipes on the site, and have saved more than 11,000 pins so far into various boards. Find me on Pinterest under my name.

Here is my version of an appetizer tray that I served on Thanksgiving day.  It was well received by my family. It was a cute way to serve a very basic appetizer while everyone was waiting for the main event. The relish tray is arranged in the shape of a turkey.

Earlier in the day, I cut and prepared the vegetables and then just before serving, arranged them on the tray.  It was easy and fun.  And also encouraged raw vegetable eating instead of other more caloric snacks!

 

Sauteed fresh corn and zucchini

A week ago, I wanted to serve fresh corn again for dinner since it has been so tasty this year.  My husband loves fresh corn season, and sometimes I don’t feel like corn on the cob. So, I found a recipe for a saute which was simply delicious.

I used margarine instead of the butter in the dish, and it was perfect. It took about ten minutes to prepare and was a wonderful side dish for chicken that evening.  I highly recommend making this dish with fresh corn.

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Here is a recipe that I adapted from allrecipes.com from this summer.  Gather these ingredients:  1/2 stick butter, 1/2 cup diced white onion, 2 cups chopped zucchini, 3 ears of fresh corn with kernels removed, salt and pepper to taste.

Heat the margarine in a large skillet on the stove and cook the onion first.  Add the zucchini next and cook about 5 minutes.  Finally, add the corn, salt and pepper and cook for another 4 minutes until hot for serving immediately. This was a delicious side dish to serve with any meat entree.

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rosemary potatoes

I love the taste of fresh rosemary and decided to use some from my garden for these potatoes.  They were delicious.  If you have fresh parsley from the garden as well, that would also compliment the taste of this dish.

To make these potatoes, I used my electric skillet, but they can also be prepared on the stovetop.  I used seven small red potatoes, olive oil, black pepper, about 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, crushed garlic, and some chopped prosciutto.

First, I parboiled the potatoes for about 20 minutes.  I chilled the potatoes earlier in the day and then diced the potatoes.  Then, I browned the chopped prosciutto in the skillet with a tablespoon of oil and the flavors.  Then, I added the potatoes.

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I cooked them until they lightly browned, and then added some diced red pepper, grated Parmesan to taste and some fresh or dried parsley to taste.

These potatoes could be used to accompany eggs for breakfast or any meat or fish dish for dinner.  Excellent taste and flavor.

 

Tip: preserving green onions

If you are harvesting green onions or purchasing them in the market, I recently found an amazing way to store the onions in my home refrigerator.

I seem to always have an endless battle with green onions if I don’t use them promptly within a couple of days of purchase.  The green ends shrivel into weak blades of grass, and my hand-picked green onions can’t be used as I intended in many of my dishes.

So, here is the tip to keep your onions super fresh for weeks.  Yes, weeks. I unwrapped these onions after almost two weeks in my vegetable bin and they look as fresh as the day I placed them in there for storage.  Wrap in plastic straight from the garden or market. I do not wash the ones from the market at all until I use them.  Then, the secret is to wrap that plastic package in aluminum foil tightly. Total preservation.

Amazing and I know this tip will help many of you who did not know the secret.  After discarding shriveled onions for more than 30 years, I finally found the proper storage method. This method works for celery too.  I do clean the celery before storage.

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Summer garden update

Our Michigan chilly Spring temperatures moved slowly into pleasant Summer weather and suddenly, I looked up, and my perennial garden was back in bloom.  Anyone who gardens with perennial flowers and herbs knows the feeling when the garden looks flat just after the Winter season breaks. I look outside and think, will my garden come back this year?

And, in a matter of weeks, the garden springs forth without much more effort than clearing some leaves or clipping and pulling dead growth. I remain fascinated by the wonder of gardening. Each year, I choose a few annual herbs and vegetables to add into my kitchen garden, and then relax and enjoy what has been planted in years past.

I usually lose one or two plants every year, but seem to move past the sorrow quickly when other flowers seems to have tripled in size and beauty.  Some of my perennials seem to multiply around my garden and either by birds, squirrels or the breezes find another comforting spot to grow and become comfortable.

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My garden is very personal.  I share it with you only because I truly enjoy being within the fenced walls to think about each plant, and reflect on how it finds nourishment from my Michigan sandy soil.  Others gardeners may strive for perfection, look for praise, or hope for awards–but I know the true reward from my garden, it is the satisfaction from making a space in my yard tranquil and inviting. My husband and I turned a family playground space into a place where we could experiment with plants and learn from nature.

Enjoy the photos and think about how you might create a quiet space for reflection within your own yard. Or, maybe you also know that satisfaction?

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