Thursday, August 30, 2012


About a month ago, I actually found it.  A FOOD DEHYDRATOR!!!  It was $6 at a Salvation Army in the Iowa City area.  I regret that I didn't celebrate sufficiently by running through the streets with my "As Seen on TV" American Harvester Snackmaster food dehydrator from the 1990's.  But I was pretty excited to find it.  Sadly, I didn't get a chance to experiment with it until Friday night.

We have a little tree in our front yard that we thought was dead the whole time we've lived in the house. Until this summer.  It started to grow tiny fuzzy bulbs... that turned into hard yellowish orbs that when we cut them open revealed a stone inside...  they eventually turned into peaches!  Tiny little peaches!!

The peaches are a pretty addition to our front yard.

Ryan has been  keeping an eye on them and periodically tasting them.  Friday night he realized they were really sweet and tasty and promptly picked several.  Not sure exactly what we'd do with another stash of peaches (our neighbor who also has a peach tree had just brought a beautiful basket of large peaches the week prior... which we are still eating!) I suggested we try them in the dehydrator!! Perfect for experimenting since we had nothing to lose, the peaches were plentiful and free!

It whirrrrrrrs like a fan when it's on. 
We cut them up into quarters, set them in the trays at 135 degrees and turned it on.  The next morning we had dehydrated peaches.  They are slightly chewy and not as sweet, but for free peaches from a tree we thought to be dead, it was a pretty cool experiment! I look forward to trying more food dehydration adventures... including homemade fruit rollups and possibly corn tortilla chips.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Back to School Menu

I go back to school today.  That means I need to be more organized when it comes to cooking ad eating.  It's been a blissful summer of cooking on a whim with local or garden ingredients.  However, I won't have that luxury when I have school work looming (which I'm very excited to get back to BTW!).  So here it is... a weekly menu!!

I flipped through the growing pile of food magazines on the coffee table and this is what I came up with. Yum!

gnocchi with pesto, tomatoes and bacon  and green beans

black bean and wild rice burritos

pesto chicken burgers (from Martha Stewart Everyday Food issue 94)  and corn salad with red onion and tomatoes (from bon appetit magazine)


grilled pork and mushroom skewers with basil sauce (from Weber's grilling book) and a salad

 Have a great and tasty week!! 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Creamy Coconut Barley with Peaches and Cardamom

Yipes! Its been such a busy summer for me, photographing weddings and people and my cat, and going to the beach and having visitors and getting outdoors as much as I can!

I promise, I have been cooking, and enjoy the bounty of summer produce. But if I have a free minute I'm usually lingering over heirloom tomatoes with mozzarella on the deck, not blogging about it at my computer!

But here's a delicious breakfast I've been enjoying this week with fresh peaches. Its so good. Healthy and satisfying.

Creamy Coconut Breakfast Barley with Peaches and Cardamom
serves 2

1/2 cup pearled barley
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup of coconut milk
1 peach
2 teaspoons coconut oil
a pinch of cardamom
agave syrup to taste

Rinse the barley in a fine mesh sieve. Cook in a small pot with the water, lid slightly ajar for 25 minutes or until water is absorbed and barley is soft. 

While barley is cooking, heat the coconut oil over low heat in a small heavy-bottomed pan. Slice the peach and saute in the coconut oil with a pinch or two of cardamom, until edges being to slightly brown.

Combine the cooked barley with the coconut milk and enough water to make it blendable with your handstick blender (or in your regular blender - with lid slightly ajar to let steam out while blending!). Barley cereal should be nice and creamy when done, but not too runny.

Pour the barley into two bowls add splash of milk, top with sauteed peaches and a drizzle of agave syrup.

Summer Cooking: "I'm Craving a Burger"

WHAT?!  Yes, I was craving a burger.  It's the end of summer and this just can't commit vegetarian wannabe hadn't eaten a single burger from the grill. So last night was the night.  And by burger, I meant turkey burger.

Turkey Burger
(based on the seasonings from this recipe)

1 lb. ground turkey
1 t dried or fresh parsley
1/2 small onion
1 or 2 cloves garlic
1-2 t cayenne pepper (adjust to your desired level of spice!)
1 t cumin
1 t coriander
salt and pepper

finely mince the onion and garlic in a food processor. 
mix meat, onion, garlic and seasonings together with your hands.
form into 4 to 6 patties.
suggested toppings:  plain yogurt mixed with cucumber and dill, garlic mayo, feta cheese... These are my preferred toppings for this burger but since we had none of these around it was plain mayo, pepper jack cheese and veggies. 

I also made some "fries" to grill.

1/4-1/2 lb. potatoes, chopped into small bite size pieces
2 t paprika
1 t cumin
1 t coriander seeds
salt and pepper
drizzle of olive oil (probably 1 T)
aluminum foil

spray foil with oil.
toss potatoes with oil and seasonings.
wrap in foil packet.

Goes well with a craft brew! 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Summer Cooking: BLTs

I don't think I have to give you the recipe for this one... but thought a couple of nice photos would be fitting for a Summer blog post.  After the first taste of one of these crunchy, squishy bacon-y sandwiches, it appears on the Summer dinner table over and over again.  Viva la BLT!  

toasted wheat bread. sliced tomato. crisp lettuce. crispy bacon. mayo!

it MUST be cut on the diagonal. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Summer Cooking: Grown Up Ice Cream Sandwihes

I love ice cream sandwiches, the plain old chocolate wafer and vanilla ice cream are one of my favorite  summertime treats.  But, with a bunch of peach ice cream in the freezer, it was time to get creative.  I was thinking the other day that a delicious cinammon and oatmeal cookie would make a good sandwich for that peach ice cream.  Yes, I fantasize and dream about food on a regular basis.  However it's been too hot to bake so my cookie plans were pushed to the back of my mind.  Then, Bon Appetit posted a delicious looking photo gallery of gourmet DIY ice cream sandwich recipes

My mouth watered just looking at the photos.  It had to happen.  I prefer and welcome the challenge to make things homemade when I can, but instead of heating up the house to bake cookies, I headed to my favorite locally owned grocery, Gateway Market.  They have a nice selection of baked goods including super delicious big cookies. I picked out the last two ginger cookies and Ryan opted for a cinammon cookie known as snickerdoodle (what a silly name!  even for a cookie!!). 

Here's how I constructed my grown up ice cream sandwiches. 

First I set out the ice cream so that it would soften up just a bit.
Then, using a mason jar, as a cookie cutter, I made cookie circles and saved the edges for later!

I placed the cookies flat side up and topped one side with a scoop of peach ice cream.

I then put the second cookie on top of the ice cream and gave it a little squish. 

I wrapped them up and placed them back in the freezer, hoping they'd firm up. After about 45 minutes, Ryan and I unwrapped and bit into our ice cream sandwiches. 

The dense, chewy cookies, now a bit cold, made for a very messy sandwich.  I had to handle it a little differently than the traditional thin chocolate wafer variety,  but the mess was well worth it for a Tuesday evening treat.

What is your favorite summertime treat? 

Have a great day!