Links delicious

Could go for some Pineapple Limeade Cooler right about now…

Scones…love them.  I find that recipes {and the results} for scones can vary widely, so when I find a good one, I stick with it.  Thinking I should add this one to the rotation.

Oh, she had me at “breadcrumb-like crouton rubble coating each cut side of tomato.” And then slayed me with “crouton fairy dust.”  I now must make this tomato salad with crushed croutons.

{As an aside, in that very same post, Deb mentions a tomato and corn omlette and links to this picture.  Sheesh, now I want to make that, too.}

Pina Colada Cupcakes — yes, please!  {are we picking up on a pineapple theme here?…}

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Links delish

Sorry, folks.  This week’s {Looks} Links delicious is a bit sparse.  Guess I’ve been caught up in photographing and documenting for A Week in the Life and I haven’t been drooling over food photos and words quite as much.  Forgive?

I tend to be a bit iffy about sangria, but I’m willing to give this one a whirl.

This recipe for Key Lime Pie Ice Cream has been open in my feed reader for months.  Perhaps it will finally make it to my kitchen come August.

Dear friends who are well-acquainted with my sweet tooth sent me *cupcakes* for my birthday this week.  Little did they know, but the master baker behind this delicious little business is a former colleague of my husband’s, so I’ve known Christina for several years.  The cakes were incredible, and I’m so thrilled for Creme Cupcakes’ success {and for any opportunity to taste these lovelies!}!

Weekend report

Tried the genius salad idea from DALS featured in last week’s “Links delicious.” HUGE hit with the fam! The kids loved it and requested that every salad be served that way forevermore.

In the spirit of the genius salad, once the lettuce and {garden} cucumbers were gone, all that remained in the bowls was feta, a little bacon, some sliced pear tomatoes {also from the garden}, chives {garden again}, and a few sunflower seeds. Across the table sat the rest of the steam-sautéed green beans {not from the garden, dammit.  why won’t those plants produce??}. I married the two bowls and tossed the veggies in a little blush wine vinaigrette {Brianna’s — my new all-purpose favorite}. Oh my, what a happy accident!!

As much as I wanted to make peach crisp at some point over the weekend, it just didn’t happen. But still, for two nights in a row, at 9:30 p.m. I craved dessert.

In the form of dark chocolate to be precise.

To be even more precise, I craved dark chocolate chips.

Nestled in a pillow of cookie dough.

Aha, perfect occasion for the recipe developed expressly for eating in short order, no equipment–of the mixing or baking variety–required. I think of this as more a formula than a recipe, largely because it would take me longer to locate the original recipe than to just wing it. Hence, the proportions are flexible and adaptable.
Using a standard chocolate chip cookie recipe {or this one, if you wish} as a guide, mix together corresponding proportions of butter and sugar. Add flour, maybe a pinch of salt, and a scoush of vanilla extract. If the mixture is too stiff, add a few drops {yes, drops — don’t overdo it} of water. Lastly, add the chocolate of your choice — here I suggest you round up in the proportion of chips or chunks. After all, that’s the point of this whole exercise isn’t it??

Here’s what I did tonight:

1 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. or so of applesauce {my grand attempt to make the notion of eating cookie dough a nearly healthy option ;)}
1.5 tsp. each brown sugar & white sugar
Teensy bit of vanilla
about 2 Tbsp. flour
Chocolate chips

Freeze for the time it takes to draft a blog post. Be sure to retrieve it before your husband does.

 
One last note: this is best made after the kids have gone to bed so you can savor it rather than scarfing it down so you don’t have to share. 😉

Favorite things

Trader Joe’s cannoli. In the freezer section. For dessert in a pinch, it’s dang tasty.

 

This galette from Dinner: A Love Story. I made it this weekend using a mix of cherries and blueberries and a pie crust I found in the freezer. It was dessert in a pinch {again}, and it was FAN-tastic. The homey deliciousness of a pie, with a fraction of the effort. Can’t wait to make one again!

 

Dinner on the fly. Saturday night, we put together a fantastic meal with minimal effort (thank you, summer!). Steak and corn on the grill. Salad with strawberries and walnuts. Sesame semolina bread from Panera. And thanks to my brother’s generosity, a 2007 Paso Creek Cab.

 

Sweet corn. One of the best things about summer in Iowa.

 

On a mission

Note: As I endeavor to unearth this blog and sort through the pile of unfinished drafts cluttering up the collection of posts, I’m marching a few things out…the moments for them may have passed but the lessons and ‘things to remember’ are still present…

For a time, I lost my muse–I don’t know, somewhere around the time all of the beautiful, bountiful, fresh seasonal produce disappeared from the grocery stores and soccer games started to eat up our Saturday mornings and made the farmers market no longer an option.  Oh, yeah, and that whole two kids in activities and school + work + life routine kinda put the brakes on innovation in the kitchen.  Innovation suddenly became “how can we not eat fast food or breakfast for 3 out of 5 weekday meals?”  And I didn’t think that was worth writing about.

So here we are.  Life is just as full but nevertheless I hope to make a go of this again.  Let’s jump right in, shall we?

Much as I’d hoped to celebrate some summer-fresh veggies or some such wholesome noshery, what was on my mind and in my kitchen when this draft originated was cake.  My baby bird turned 5 (gah!) this spring and desperately wanted to make cupcakes to share with her class.  Due to allergies, we avoid eggs and nuts in any treats for school; the absence of eggs in baked goods boggled me so I deferred to the tried-and-true recipe the class has used before:  sub applesauce for eggs in a boxed cake mix.

Ew…

Boxed anything and me are like {this}.

BUT I have learned to make concessions on occasion — birthdays being one of them.  To my kids, cake is so quintessentially “BIRTHDAY” that it simply must be part of the day, and after 9 years I have officially (for now, anyway) abandoned the stress I used to pour into making from scratch the *perfect* cake for them.  They do not care from whence it came; all they want is the final product.

And the frosting.

We went the boxed route this time (for school.  I ate one and instantly regretted it–why waste calories on something that tastes so ridiculously artificial?!).  And I’m kicking myself that I didn’t make this.  A dear friend calls it Wacky Cake and makes for occasions from book club to birthdays.  Next time, I vow!

The following weekend, we celebrated Easter and the big birthday with the grandparents and awesome uncle, so I was confronted with the cake dilemma again.  I wondered if she’d go for strawberry pie?  Or unfrosted cupcakes with homemade frozen yogurt?

We went with homemade frozen yogurt and her grandpa made her an angel food cake. All was right in the world.

{Still, I wish I would have made these little beauties, even if just for home.}

A surprise under the lid, or Why you should go toast yourself some coconut

Last night’s dinner was one of those meals that starts with a vague idea

Tacos, with grilled chicken

and ends with something that was more fun to make and tasted better than I could ever have conceivably planned for.

5:45 p.m. 

The Husband, “I’ll throw the corn on the grill.  Anything else?”

Me:  “Uh, yeah…” (…brain scrambling because I really haven’t thought beyond the general idea “chicken. tacos.”…) “Come back in a few for the chicken.”

5:47 p.m.

Chicken’s thawed and waiting on the cutting board.  I stare in the spice cupboard, willing some inspiration to jump off the shelves.  It does, in the form of cumin, seasoning salt, pepper, and chili powder.  Season the meat, drizzle with olive oil.  Done.

5:52 p.m.

Open the fridge in search of salsa components to go with the orange cherry tomatoes on the counter.  Locate: half a garden onion, a lime, half an avocado, some black beans, cilantro.  Oh! and look, there’s some cabbage.  Hmm…crunchy… Toss everything on the counter.

5:55 p.m.

The Husband comes through the door bearing a monster of a cucumber, fresh off the vine.  M’kay, kids will eat that.  Peel (and briefly consider seeding before remembering that they don’t mind seeds), slice, toss with Cucumber Ranch and a little salt.

5:58 p.m.

Quarter tomatoes, chop onion , toss in a bowl with black beans, salt, lime.  Add avocado, cilantro, more lime, more salt.  All the while I’m thinking about that cabbage. Hey, people eat cabbage on fish tacos, why not make a quick slaw for chicken tacos?

6:04 p.m.

Slice cabbage.  Toss with salt, lime juice, a (very) little vegetable oil, top with a sprinkling of cilantro.  All the while I’m thinking about the cumin-lime crema at Dos Rios.  How do they do that?!  What’s in that tasty little sauce?

6:10 p.m.

I honestly have no idea what makes a crema.  So I’ll make something up:  plain yogurt, cumin, lime juice, a little salt.  Taste, add, taste.  Add cilantro (to make it pretty, of course!).

6:10 and a half p.m.

What’s this under the yogurt lid?  A recipe for lemon parfaits?  Scanning it — I have all of those ingredients…mmm…mental note: don’t throw the lid away!

6:30 p.m.

After repeated requests to “please wash your hands and come to the table!” and remembering “oh YEAH! tacos require shells, d’oh!” and “please carry this to the table” and “please get the glasses.  and silverware.”  and “did you wash your hands?!” we are finally ready to eat.

Damn, that was good.  The birdgirl declared the crema/yogurt sauce “Delicious! Can we have this every time we have tacos??”  The Boy said with a full mouth and vigorous nod, “This chicken is really, really good!”  The Grill Master, too, offered his compliments.

A discussion about black beans may have ensued, with birdgirl insisting that she did NOT like them. 

Me: You’ve never had them, silly.

BG: Yes, I have.

Me: No.  You have not. [At least not that you’re aware of, because every other time I’ve served them, I’ve disguised them, a la Meri’s secret, yummy taco filling, or in chili that you won’t touch with a ten-foot pole.]

BG: Well, I’ve had brown beans and I don’t like them.

Me (yes, the adult): Black beans are better.

BG: I don’t like brown beans.

Me: But these are BLACK beans.  And they’re much better than brown beans.

BG: But I don’t like them.

Me: They have lime juice and salt on them. And they’re really, really good.

Finally, she tastes one.  Well, more like, she licked one. 

BG: Hmph.  I don’t like it.

Me: You didn’t. even. taste it. It’s tiny. Now put the whole thing in your mouth.

Finally!  Bean, chew, swallow.  Wait for it…

BG: M’kay.  Can I have another one?

And seven minutes later, “can I have more black beans, please?”

Amen.

Now, about that mental note.  “Luscious Lemon Parfaits,” said the recipe.  But I twisted it just a bit to continue the “lime” theme.  Same diff, eh?

Oh. These were so, so delicious.  The toasted coconut totally made this a showstopper.  Even the kids loved it.

Luscious Lemon Lime Parfaits

from the foil lid of a quart of Danon plain lowfat yogurt

Layer the following in a parfait glass:

1/3 c. plain yogurt

couple teaspoons lemon lime curd

2 T. crushed graham crackers

2 T. toasted coconut

Repeat layers a second time.  Top with whipped topping if desired.  I abhor whipped topping and therefore did not desire it.  Totally didn’t need it.

p.s.  You’re welcome. 🙂

Nanners!

To those of you who suggested that my Popsicles! piece was not a real post, behold

Molly’s post at Orangette this week.

 

And, this,  my favorite line from that post:

Have you ever seen what happens to adults when you put popsicles on the table in front of them? Namely, popsicles in shot glasses? They grin uncontrollably. It’s beautiful.

Just reading that made me grin uncontrollably. 🙂  Yet another reason I can’t wait to visit Seattle again.  I must eat at Delancey’s.