Monthly Archives: July 2016

Quick Pickled Tomatoes

qptWe’ve been getting a lot of cherry tomatoes in our CSA box. I’ve encouraged my kids to try them again to see if they’ve developed a taste for fresh tomatoes yet. No go. College Boy made a valiant effort, taking one of the largest ones, biting it in half, grimacing, and gagging a little . He choked it down though. He’s a trooper!

Since a college friend commented about adding tomatoes to my cucumber salad, I’ve had a bit of a craving for pickled tomatoes. But I lack the time, skill, or really the desire to start a full fledged canning operation in my very small kitchen. I came across this recipe for Quick-Pickled Cherry Tomatoes on Bon Appetit. My Faithful Assistant and I made them last night during our epic storm. We didn’t have some of the ingredients so I modified the recipe a bit.

Quick Pickled Tomatoes
1 pint cherry tomatoes
3/4 cup vinegar
3/4 cup water
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp celery salt

  1. Boil the vinegar, water and salts.
  2. Pierce the tomatoes and toss in a bowl with the crushed garlic.
  3. Allow the vinegar mixture to cool and then pour over the tomatoes.
  4. Let sit at room temperature and covered over night.

Because these are only fake canned, they don’t have a strong pickled flavor. You taste the vinegar and garlic, and you still taste a lot of tomato, too.

I loved them. I’m sure no one else in the house will eat them but that’s fine. In the heat of summer, it’s nice to have something salty with lunch and these are a lot better than chips.



Fastest Ever Chicken Skewers with Peanut Sauce

fcsepsThe other night, I posted a recipe for Classic Cucumber Salad. This made a friend of mine say that she wanted chicken skewers with peanut sauce. Mmmmm…. Peanut Sauce. From there, it was a grown up woman version of giving a pig a pancake. Mama wants what mama wants!

Chicken skewers are best when the chicken is marinated but sometimes we just aren’t that organized and we have to wing it. So I did and came up with some fast chicken skewers with pretty tasty peanut sauce in no time at all.

Fastest Ever Chicken Skewers with Peanut Sauce
1 lb chicken in pieces that can be skewered – 1 inch wide, 2 inches long, and 1/2 inch thick
1 cup coconut milk
1/3 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Olive oil
1/2 peanut butter
1/2 tsp curry
1/4 tsp turmeric
3/4 vegetable stock – I used Wegman’s Thai Culinary Stock

  1. Preheat oven to 400 and put chicken on the skewers.
  2. Saute the onion and garlic in olive oil until transluscent.
  3. Add the coconut milk, peanut butter, vegetable stock and spices and simmer until nice and thick.
  4. Bake the chicken for about ten minute, brush with some of the peanut sauce and keep baking for another ten minutes. Turn, brush with more sauce, and bake for about another ten minutes until cooked thoroughly.

We were very happy with the outcome of our very spontaneous dinner. The peanut sauce was very flavorful, and even though the chicken wasn’t grilled, it was ready fast and no one had to stand out in the blazing heat, sweating over a hot grill, sacrificing body and spirit for a few crispy pieces chicken grilled to perfection.

There was plenty of sauce for those of us who wanted extra, and enough for one more meal. Always a win.

I also served the chicken with lime wedges and soy sauce. I keep looking at the bottle in the picture and thinking it’s beer. Beer would also be good with this.

The heat continues in Central Maryland for a few more days. You may want to save this recipe for cooler weather, or just embrace the heat.


Classic Cucumber Salad

ccsThe CSA box this week had a lot of cucumbers. Not a problem at all. We all love cucumbers.

We often just slice them and eat them plain, but I was in the mood for something my grandmother used to serve that I actually never liked. Go figure that one out. I wanted a good old fashioned cucumber salad with vinegar and onions. I don’t have any recipes for this that were handed down so I looked through my cookbooks and found a few that gave me a  rough idea of what I needed.

Classic Cucumber Salad
1 large cucumber, sliced as thin as you can manage
1/3 onion, sliced so you have some nice onion arcs
1/4 cup vinegar – I used Apple Cider
2 TBSP sugar
3 TBSP olive oil

  1. Mix the oil, vinegar, and sugar until combined. You can heat it if you want, to help the sugar dissolve, but it’s about 100 in Central Maryland today so heat of all kinds is discouraged.
  2. Toss the dressing over the cucumber and onion.
  3. Serve chilled.

As you might be able to tell from my photo, I gave in and bought a Vegetizer. The model I got has a blade that turns your veggies into one big long ribbon. So fancy! My Faithful Assistant and I had fun slicing this morning. All fingers were safe which they would not have been if I had used the mandolin. And we did resist the temptation to “ribbonize” all the cucumbers.

The salad was exactly as I wanted. It had a nice tang from the vinegar that was offset by the sugar. Perfect for this awful heat we are having.

Some of the recipes I saw also included tomatoes. That would be a nice addition, and probably will be for the swim banquet tomorrow night, since the cherry tomatoes are multiplying in my fridge!


The Best Brownies I’ve Ever Had

bbiehJust to let you know how much I loved these brownies, I have thrown caution to the wind with their name. I know there is no chance anyone searching the interwebs for brownie recipes will ever find these. I care not. I was so happy with how this very daring recipe turned out, that’s all the satisfaction I need.

Why is this daring? Why was I so thrilled with my success? A few weeks ago, I was charmed into buying a bunch of very expensive baking supplies to try my hands at making some no-bake sun nut butter bars. The picture I saw reminded me of the peanut butter bars we used to get for dessert at elementary school. They looked so dense and creamy, with a thick chocolate topping. I was lured into buying the almond and coconut flour, sun nut butter, and coconut sugar needed for the recipe.

They did not turn out either time I made them.

So there in my pantry was ziplock with my costly flours and sugar and no ideas for using them. Then this recipe for Healthy Flourless Zucchini Fudge Brownies popped up on my Facebook feed. WIN!!! I modified the recipe slightly. My version is below. The photo is of my version too.

The Best Brownies I’ve Ever Had
1/4 cup plus 2 TBSP coconut oil
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup coconut sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup shredded zucchini with the water squeezed out
2 T cocoa
3 T coconut flour
1/4 cup sun nut butter

  1. Combine the coconut oil and chocolate chips in a microwave safe dish and melt together on reduced power for 1 minute.
  2. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the vanilla, sugar, and eggs and stir until combined.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients in the order listed, and stir until smooth.
  4. Bake in an 8×8 inch pan lined with foil or parchment paper at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

The child who was paying attention while I was baking was tempted to try one but he afraid of the strange ingredients. Even though they smelled good and looked just like you want an excellent brownie to look, he refused. My Faithful Assistant was not paying attention and didn’t know what was in the brownies and enjoyed them immensely during his weekly math tutoring. The math tutor did too. Her dietician sister might be pleased. Full disclosure. I did tell him about the zucchini after he ate one and he went back for more.

Do you see the dense fudgy texture? Did you notice the beautiful shiny top? Two signs of a perfectly baked brownie.  And in case you can’t tell from the ingredients, these are gluten free! AND I got to use some of the zucchini from my CSA box. So many victories with one recipe.

I will absolutely make these again. I hope you’ll try them too!


CSA Skillet

CSASWe’ve been doing well with our CSA boxes, eating pretty much everything every week. We do have a lot of cabbage to use, but about half of it is in the freezer. I will use that in the fall for soup.

Our go to way of using all of the ingredients is to throw everything in the cast iron pan (with or without meat), saute, add some rice, quinoa, beans, or lentils, and enjoy!

Here is a rough recipe for the skillet in the photo.

CSA Skillet
1 lb sausage or other meat of your choice
Olive oil
2 cups chopped cabbage
1 half onion, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 can black beans, rinsed
2 cups grain of choice, cooked

  1. Saute the onion in olive oil until translucent.
  2. Add the sausage and cook thoroughly.
  3. Add the cabbage and cook until it’s a little limp, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes, black beans and cooked grains and heat until nice and warm.

The burning question you are all wondering is, did they eat it? YES!!! YES THEY DID EAT IT!!!! Of course, my kids are not tiny anymore and have grown to love their veggies. Or have become resigned to eating them. They will never tell.

We’ve made a couple other versions of this:

Shrimp CSA Skillet
Saute shrimp in olive oil and a little butter and add cabbage, and a grain.

Vegan CSA Skillet
Spinach, shredded zuchinni, onion, garlic, basil, and brown rice.

What I love about these dishers, besides the ease of preparation, is that everyone loves them, and everyone can make them. Yes, you heard me correctly. Even the College Boy has been making his own variation of this. So, to summarize, lots of veggies, fast and easy to make, loved by all. This is a kitchen hat trick!