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Thursday, June 07, 2007

TT #56

Thirteen Summer Recipes

My philosophy of summer cooking--easy to make, and light/refreshing. Below the cut (click on "read more"--way down there below the tags. I'm not sure why it's there--I'll try to get it in a more reasonable place, but for now, that's where it is.) are 13 recipes that fit the bill--for things my family will actually eat.

  1. Summer rice and vegetable salad:
    Everybody loves this one, and it's my staple dish to take to summer potlucks.

    3 T. salad oil
    1T. lemon juice
    ½ t. salt
    ½ t. Italian seasoning, crushed
    ½ t. onion powder
    1/8 t. garlic powder
    1/16 t. ground black pepper
    2 c. cooked rice at room temperature (made from 2/3 c. uncooked rice)
    ¾ c. cooked peas
    ½ c. sliced celery
    ½ c. diced sweet red pepper
    ¼ c. sliced green onions
    ¾ c. cherry tomato halves

    In a medium bowl, combine oil, lemon juice, salt, Italian seasoning, onion and garlic powders, and black pepper. Add rice, pes, celery, red pepper, and green onions; mix well. Let stand at least one hour before serving. Garnish with cherry tomatoes.

    Makes 4 servings, about 5 cups.

    Note: particularly if you're disorganized like me and didn't think to make the rice several hours ahead of time, frozen peas work better in this. That way they don't get so mushy. I hate mushy peas.

  2. Summer Vegetable Pot:
    Yes, it's soup, but it's a really summery soup.

    4 onions
    1 pound new potatoes
    1 bunch carrots (best is the good kind, fairly thin with the tops still on)
    3 T. butter
    3 c. chicken broth (you can use bouillon if you want--I never remember to buy the cans, and see above re: not a gourmet cook, so I do not make my own)
    1 10-oz. pkg. frozen peas
    ¼ pound spinach, stemmed and coarsely cut
    salt and black pepper to taste
    dash nutmeg
    1 T. chopped parsley
    1 T. chopped dill

    Peel and chop onions. Peel potatoes and carrots and cut into large chunks. Melt butter in saucepan. Add onions and sauté until lightly browned. Add potatoes, carrots, and chicken broth. Bring to boiling. Cover and simmer on low heat 15 minutes. Stir in peas and spinach. Continue simmering 5 minutes more. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Sprinkle with parsley and dill and serve.

    Makes 4 servings.

    Note: this is really good with Bockwurst and Brötchen--or, if you don't have that--deli-style hotdogs and some kind of crusty bread.

  3. Potato salad:
    A Romanian friend showed me how to make this--it's very simple and light, and I haven't made the nasty heavy mayonnaise-kind of potato salad since. My mom called me last week and asked how to make it--this is pretty much what I told her:

    Boil some new potatoes (not baking potatoes, unless you want mashed-potato salad)--heck, I don't know how many. However many you need to make as much salad as you want. When they're cooked, peel and slice into a bowl.

    Add some diced onions--say, a medium-sized onion for a medium-sized bowl, and a few strips of bacon, crumbled--it doesn't matter how much, really. If you don't have bacon, itty bits of ham will do, especially if you fryi it in a little butter.

    Season with salt and pepper and a whole bunch of dill. Then dump in some vinegar. No, I don't know how much. Just dump some in. If you have good salad vinegar (nothing dark-colored, though), use that. If you've just got regular Heinz that you can clean your shower head with, you might want to dilute it a bit with water. Just keep tasting it until it tastes right.

  4. Smoothies:
    I never quite understood the point of "smoothie mixes" when they're so extremely easy to make.

    Here's the ratio:
    1 carton yogurt : 1 serving of fruit : ½ tray of ice cubes
    The amounts don't matter all that much--that's just a rough ratio.
    Dump it in a blender and add enough juice to make the right consistency. Jucier fruits will require less juice--duh. Oh--blend. First on low, then on high.
    If you're using unsweetened yogurt, or sour-ish fruits, add sugar or strawberry or vanilla Quik.

    Note: if your bananas are threatening to go bad, cut them up and freeze them, then use the frozen bananas for smoothies. I made really great smoothies earlier this week with frozen blueberries and blueberry yogurt.

  5. Jello cake:
    This is the cake my husband always asks for on birthdays and Father's Day and whenever else he thinks he can get away with it. It never lasts long.

    1 packaged white cake mix, prepared.
    2 3-oz. pkgs. Jello
    2 c. boiling water
    1 9-oz. container Cool Whip, thawed (and yes, it sort of has to be Cool Whip--whipped cream just doesn't work)

    Prepare cake in round layers and bake according to package directions. Cool 15 minutes. Poke with fork or drinking staw at half-inch intervals. Do not remove from pans.
    Dissolve each package of Jello separately in one cup boiling water (unless of course they're both the same flavor). Pour each over one layer. Chill for 4 hours.
    Unmold one layer onto serving plate (dip bottom of pan in warm water), to with 1 c. Cool Whip. Unmold second layer onto first. Top with Cool Whip and cover sides with remainder if desired.

    Chill and garnish. (I'm not sure what they meant for you to garnish it with, but I usually toss some fresh berries of some sort on top.)

  6. Guacamole:
    This is another standard dish I take to potlucks along with a big bag of tortilla chips, and it always gets raves. People who hate guacamole very often like this guacamole.

    1 large avocado
    2 T. lime juice
    1 large tomato
    1 medium onion
    1 canned green chile pepper, minced
    2 cloves garlic, pressed
    salt and black pepper

    Peel, pit, and mash avocado with a fork. Stir in lime juice.
    Peel and finely dice tomato. (You really don't need to peel the tomato--that's just silly.)
    In bow, combine avocado, tomato, chile, onion, and garlic, mixing well. Season with Tabasco, salt, and pepper to taste.
    Cover and chill about an hour.
    Makes 1½ cups.

  7. Rice and Shine:
    This is pretty much a breakfast food, though I suppose it could be a salad at another meal.

    2 c. cooked brown rice
    8 oz. plain nonfat yogurt
    1 medium apple, peeled, cored, and chopped (you really don't need to peel it)
    ¼ c. raisins
    ¼ c. chopped pecans
    1 t. cinnamon
    apple juice

    Combine all ingredients except apple juice. Mix thoroughly and chill approximately 20 minutes before seriving. If desired, add apple juice to moisten.

    Makes 4 servings.

    Note: this really, really lends itself to experimentation. Switching to flavored yogurt (leave out the cinnamon, unless the yogurt is vanilla), using different kinds of fruit, different nuts. Or just leave out the rice altogether, chop up a piece of fruit into a bowl, dump in a handful of raisins, a handful of nuts, and a carton of yogurt, and voila: breakfast.

  8. Picnic Salads:
    I'm not sure why these are called "picnic" salads. I've never taken them to a picnic. *shrug*

    1 medium cucumber
    6 radishes
    4 green onions
    1/3 c. sour cream
    2 c. cottage cheese
    1 t. salt
    ¼ t. pepper
    dash cayenne red pepper
    lettuce cups

    Cut cucumber lengthwise into fourths, then into 1½-inch pieces. Cut radishes into halves and onions into 1½-inch pieces. Place vegetables in blender container; add enough water to cover. Cover and blend on high speed until finely chopped; drain completely. (Alternatively, veggies can be finely chopped by hand. If, for example, you're busy using your blender to make smoothies.)

    Mix cottage cheese, sour cream, salt, pepper, and red pepper; stir in vegetables. Spoon into lettuce cups and, if desired, garnish with sliced ripe olives.

    Makes 6 - 8 servings.

    Note: don't forget to drain the veggies. Even if you chop them by hand. Otherwise you get picnic salad soup, and nobody will like that.

  9. Marinated lentil salad:

    ½ lb. dried lentils
    2 qt. water
    1 bay leaf
    1 clove garlic, whole, peeled
    1 t. salt
    ½ c. chopped fresh parsley
    1 bunch (~6) green onions, including tops, sliced thinly
    1 t. Dijon-style mustard
    1 t. salt
    ½ t. black pepper
    4 T. olive or salad oil
    4 T. lemon juice
    grated carrots

    Clean lentils and put into large pot. Wash well. Add water, bay leaf, garlic, and 1 t. salt. Heat to boiling. Turn heat off and allow to stand 30 minutes. Drain. Turn into mixing bowl.

    Add onions, parsley, mustard, 1 t. salt, black pepper, oil, and lemon juice. Blend thoroughly.

    Garnish with grated carrots and serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for serving later.

    Makes 4 servings.

    Note: this is also delicious made with fresh asparagus (the green kind, not the fussy, ultra-bland white kind).

  10. Baked bean salad:
    I only make this for family gatherings, because it doesn't look particularly pretty. It's always a hit, though.

    1 21-oz can baked beans
    ¼ c. chopped green onion
    2 small tomatoes, peeled and seeded (you really don't have to peel them, and don't worry about seeding them until you're cutting them up--that just wastes time)
    ½ c. stuffed green olives, sliced
    2 T. red wine vinegar
    1 T. prepared mustard
    4 - 6 T. olive or vegetable oil
    ¼ t. each salt and pepper
    1 hard-cooked egg, peeled
    1 sprig fresh parsley

    Drain beans and place in large bowl. Cut tomatoes into strips, about 1/3-inch thick. Add to bowl with beans. Add olives and green onion. Fold together carefully.

    In small bowl, whisk together vinegar and mustard; slowly whisk in oil until an emulsified mixture is formed. Add salt and pepper; mix well. Pour dressing over vegetables. Fold together until blended.

    Before serving, garnish with sliced egg and sprig of parsley.

    Makes 4 servings.

  11. Greek pasta salad:

    8 oz. (3 c.) wagon wheel or other small pasta
    3 c. broccoli, stams peeled and cut into chunks, florets cut into bite-sized pieces
    1/3 c. olive oil
    2 T. red wine vinegar
    1 t. minced garlic
    ½ t. salt
    ½ t. black pepper
    1 16-oz. can chick peas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
    1 6½-oz. jar sliced pimientos, drained
    4 oz. (1 c.) feta cheese, crumbled

    Cook pasta according to package directions, adding broccoli last 2 - 3 minutes. Drain; cool under cold running water; drain again.

    In large serving bowl, whisk oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper until well blended.

    Add pasta and broccoli, then chick peas, pimiento, and cheese. Toss to mix and coat. Serve immediately.

    Makes 4 servings.

  12. Parfait pie:
    According to my dad, "pie" is one of the basic food groups. This one dates back to my childhood, and I have vivid memories of stirring until all the ice cream was dissolved.

    1 package lemon Jello
    1¼ c. hot water
    1 pint vanilla ice cream
    1 baked pie shell
    1 cup drained sliced strawberries

    Dissolve Jello in hot water. Add ice cream by spoonfuls, stirring until melted. Then chill until thickened but not set, about 15 - 20 minutes. Fold in berries. Turn into pie shell. Chill until firm, about 20 - 25 minutes.

    Note: you can change the flavor of the Jello, the kind of fruit, or even the kind of ice cream. Canned peaches work well, or mandarin oranges.

  13. Cool Whip berry pie
    I got this recipe from a German woman, who was always asking me to bring her Cool Whip from the commissary so she could make it. (Cool Whip isn't sold in German stores, and most Germans I know seem faintly horrified by the very concept of "non-dairy whipped topping"--I might be, too, if I didn't have such lovely memories of eating frozen Cool Whip as a child.)

    2 c. flour
    1 t. salt
    ½ c. brown sugar
    1 cup ground nuts
    Mix and bake until brown at 400° F.

    16 oz. Cool Whip
    8 oz. cream cheese
    1 c. powdered sugar
    1 t. vanilla
    Mix Cool Whip and softened cream cheese, then stir in sugar and vanilla.

    Put filling in crust, then top with pie filling or berries. Chill in refrigerator.

    Note: This is much, much better with fresh berries--with pie filling, it gets pretty darn sickeningly sweet. My favorite is red currants--nicely tart to balance the filling.

Brilliant idea for a TT, Darla. Now I'm starving. On the plus side, I think I've got next week's menu all planned now.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

  1. Susan Helene Gottfried: Trevor's wise
  2. why you shouldn't buy Ann(ie)'s book
  3. Tink plugs Google
  4. Angela/SciFiChick: 4400
  5. Lisa's vacation plans
  6. Frances: Tom's Diner
  7. Gabriella Hewitt's Pandora box
  8. Tempest Knight: Puerto Rico
  9. Red Garnier needs...
  10. Christine: random
  11. Thomma Lyn's blogiversary
  12. Samantha Lucas needs...
  13. Emma Wayne Porter: lines from The Living Legend
  14. Scribbit: Survivor, Alaska
  15. Julia: friends
  16. Crimson Wife: yuppie mom
  17. You're next!

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Mmmm. Cool Whip. LOVE that stuff, even as I'm offended by the kosher versions of it.

You have some really neat recipes here, Darla. I'll have to try some (but we make smoothies all the time. LOVE them!).

Happy TT!
Wow, these sound great! I'm going to have to try some out this summer!
Every one of those looks great, esp the summery salads. I'm gonna print it out.

Thanks for stopping by.
I have got to try that jello cake asap.
Sounds so yummy.
Thanks for visiting,
Great list!
I am sooo saving this page. Thank you! These look delicious. I know my kids will be all over the smoothies. I want to try out some of the salad recipes. Sometimes it can be hard to find some ingredients here in Japan though it's gotten a lot easier in recent years. I've now got an international super nearby.

Happy TT!
Oh man.. I can't see them. *sighs*
I am going to print these out and try them for the summer. I'm not much of a cook but these are too yummy too pass! =)
Wow, those sound very yummy! I'm afraid I'm not much of a cook, so I'll print them out for my hubby to try. :-)
I am so doing that Jello cake for father's day this year!! What an awesome idea.

I'm all bouncy now!
Mmmm, what a yummy TT! I'm definitely trying some of these.

Happy TT, and thanks for visiting mine! :)
I'm so hungry, but I sooo love recipes!
My children will love you for #4
Oh YUMMY! More recipes to try! I'm going to print these out and try to make them...wish me luck that nothing ....goes wrong....as it is my habit hehehe

Happy Thursday 13!
Wow, many of those look delish! Thanks for sharing :-)
Summer eating is so refreshing and light. Al fresco meals on the patio, it's just the best part of summer.
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