Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Weekend BBQ 2010

Continuing the long tradition of hosting BBQs on the summer holiday weekends, I hosted a group of 12 on Saturday.


Munchies included guacamole, goat cheese-pesto-sun dried tomato 'torta,' and crab dip (courtesy of Bob).  And piles of chips, crackers, and bread to scoop it all up with.

Main course was grilled chicken on skewers and grilled shrimp on skewers.  Potato salad, cole slaw (Larry), New England baked beans (Larry again), asparagus-lemon pasta salad, deviled eggs (Chris), and a few dipping sauces for the chicken and shrimp: Thai satay, basil pesto, and hot pepper jelly.

Desserts were strawberry-rhubarb cobbler, ginger-lemon cake (Bob's -- and the biggest hit of the day), ice cream (Steve), watermelon (Carmen), and pineapple cheesecake (Barbara).

Iced tea, mint iced tea, and a kick-ass sangria.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Apricot and strawberry jam

I bought a couple quarts of beautiful, local strawberries on my way to the shore the other day.  Earlier in the week I bought a few pounds of apricots at Produce Junction.

Time to make jam!

I'm not going to go into process details here.  Your best bet is to follow the same directions I did, which come from the National Center for Home Food Preservation at the University of Georgia.  It is a great resource and offers recipes for a wide range of food products -- jams, jellies, pickles, and so on.  The link to NCHFP is to the right, in my list of links.

National Center for Home Food Preservation at the University of Georgia:



Apricot jam, in pint jars.

 Strawberry jam, in pint and half-pint jars.

It's still too hot to test.  Can't wait!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Tomato techniques

First good, ripe tomatoes of the season are coming in, even if from Florida or Texas.  Still, they're beautiful and tasty. 

I enjoy making the tomatoes into fresh tomato sauce.  There's nothing else quite like a sauce made from fresh tomatoes, rather than canned. 

A couple of tricks for the peeling and seeding part of the process:

I'll typically do about 3 lbs of tomatoes at a time.
Dig out your 1-gallon Rubbermaid beverage pitcher.

Fill with the tomatoes, and pour boiling water over all.

 Cover with the lid, and let sit about a minute.

Pour off the hot water, then fill with cold water, and let sit a few minutes.  
Pour off the cold water, and you're left with tomatoes ready to peel.

Slip the skins off, cut out the core, squeeze out the seeds, and let drain a bit.  
Chop and use for your tomato sauce.


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Herb garden

My herb garden is doing well so far this spring.  The chives are well up and in bloom now, the sage is fully green, and the oregano and thyme are doing OK, though the oregano seems to have taken a beating over the winter.  The tarragon did not survive the winter.  The mint is as robust as ever -- after a few seasons and two mint plants, I now have an 8-ft x 3-ft carpet of mint.

I've just put in eight basil plants this morning.  I have a bit of room left -- might put in a couple more thyme plants.  Rosemary is always nice, too, but it never winters over in our climate, so it has to be put in new every year.

Chives in bloom.

 Chive blossoms up close.

Beautiful sage.

Mint carpet.  Mojitos will be the cocktail of choice this summer!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Betty White dinner

Having some folks over for supper tonite, followed by cards, then Betty White on SNL.  I'm making guacamole with chips, throwing some stuff onto the grill (chicken, skirt steak, sausage), big, fat asparagus with hollandaise, rice pilaf, cole slaw, and a strawberry-rhubarb pie for dessert. 

Pie's done already, and I've peeled the asparagus.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


I'm recalling the beautiful, fat, white asparagus in Germany this time of year, boiled up, and served steaming hot with melted butter and hollandaise sauce, and the white asparagus soup, and the asparagus with vinaigrette and chopped egg (Flämische Art) 


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Dinner for Andy

My buddy Andy will be coming in from NYC for dinner tonight.  He'll be leaving soon on a long road tour of "Shrek," for which he's music director.

Tonight's menu:  Cocktails with various munchies, including roasted tomato and tomatillo salsa; potato gnocchi with a tomato-basil sauce; meatballs; green salad; ice cream with homemade fudge sauce & cookies.  Iced tea, wine, beer, coffee, tea. 


I was hoping we could eat outside -- the weather's perfect -- but it's only May 1st, and it will be dark by 7:30, which is somewhere around the pasta course!