Archive | Taste of Summer

Shaved Cabbage, Kohlrabi and Carrot Slaw from Rochelle Bilow

Raw, raw, raw. All I crave in the summer are vegetables in their purest states. The trick for a fine raw slaw is to shave ingredients_slawthe vegetables as thinly as you can. Here, i eschew the traditional mayonnaise-based sauce in favor of a garlicky, peppery vinaigrette. Allowing the vegetables to marinate in the dressing for a few hours will serve you well, as they’ll break down a bit and absorb much more flavor.

This recipe requires a few cheats –  fermented plum vinegar, sesame oil, and tahini, which are, of course, not local. but i find it’s well worth the splurge. This serves eight to ten.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup kohlrabi, peeled, stems trimmed
  • 2 cups grated savoy or napa cabbage
  • 2 cups carrots, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ume (fermented plum) vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • salt, optional

slaw_carrotskohlrabiFreshly shave the vegetables using either a box grater or the grater of a food processor.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the garlic, vinegars, tahini, and pepper.

Slowly stream in the oils, whisking the whole time. Add the cut vegetables and us a spoon to coat them completely with the vinaigrette.

Taste, and adjust seasonings if desired (I find the ume vinegar imparts enough of a salty tatse for me, but you may certainly add salt).

Let marinate for at least one hour, preferably more, and finish with fresh parsley when it’s time to serve. I think this tastes best at room temperature.

 

*This recipe appears in Rochelle’s book, The Call of the Farm.

About the Author – Rochelle Bilow

rochelle_bilow_bioRochelle is an associate web editor for Bon Appétit magazine, where she writes about seasonal eating, cooking with local ingredients, and how to be more efficient (and have more fun!) in the kitchen.

When she’s not writing, she’s managing Bon Appéit’s Instagram account at @bonappetitmag and Tweeting at @bonappetit.

Before joining BA, Rochelle worked as the Experts Editor at YourTango.com; prior to that, she lived and cooked on a small farm in Central New York.

The Call of the Farm, her first book, a memoir of food, farming, and love, was published in 2014.

Connect with Rochelle on her personal Twitter and Instagram accounts (below) and read more at RochelleBilow.com.

You may purchase her book, The Call of the Farm, wherever books and ebooks are sold.

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Because Tomatoes and Corn Say “Summer”

“I have a love affair with tomatoes and corn. I remember them from my childhood. I only had them in the summer. They were extraordinary.”
–Alice Waters

This is my favorite part of the summer: both the Amish Tomatoes and the corn from Brentlinger’s farm are both in season. I know that thanks to modern imports and farming, we can have these any time, but there is nothing to cornsaladcompare to having these quintessential summer veggies at the peak of their season.

We’re eating tomatoes in salads and with cucumbers and tossing them in the skillet with chicken and rise…and corn is finding it’s way to our plates in various ways as well.

But combining them together has become one of my favorite dishes to serve when the local farmers are harvesting both.  Serve as a side dish, take to a party, or eat as an afternoon snack, this is my favorite Summer Tomato and Corn Salad.

Take three ears of corn and pull the kernels off of the cobs. In a large skillet, add a tablespoon of olive oil and gently toss for five minutes.

Alternatively, if you have the grill going, wrap three ears of corn – with husks on – in aluminum foil for 30 minutes. Then, cut the kernels off.

Get out a large bowl and add corn kernels. Then, roughly chop 2 large beefsteak tomatoes  – or two cups of your favorite local tomatoes (even cherry). Dice 1/3 of a red onion and toss it into the corn and tomatoes.

Next, take a dozen fresh basil leaves and tear them into rough pieces and add them to the mixture.

Heavily season with: one tablespoon of kosher salt, one tablespoon of celery seeds, and a dozen grinds from your pepper mill.

Finish with a tablespoon of red wine vinegar and 3 pours of extra-virgin olive oil around the bowl.

Toss together…you can serve right away or store this perfection of summer for snacking.

About the Author – Debra Smouse

debrasmouse200x300 I’m Debra Smouse, a self-admitted Tarnished Southern Belle. I can help you detangle all your clutter, fall in love with yourself and your life, and unleash your inner sex kitten.

My truth? In order to live life the way you were meant to, you must fall in love with the day-to-day activity of living.

I spend my days writing and working with people who want to change the world, beginning with themselves.

Want to bring your dreams into your reality? Snag my FREE EBook You Can Achieve Your Dreams: There’s Still Time in 2015

A life coach and writer, me and my Gypsy Soul have stopped their constant roaming and have settled down in Dayton, OH where I share life’s adventures with the Man of My Dreams.

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The Scent of Summer (and Basil Pesto) by Katrina Kittle

There is something about a July morning that takes me straight back to childhood summer vacations from school. I lime popsicle flckr creative commonsget flashes of my childhood self: scraped knees, skin “brown as a bear,” hair bleached from the sun, lips green from homemade lime popsicles, that glittering promise of every summer morning.

What triggers all these memories? The fact that summer smells so good. Truly—scent evokes more memory than any of our other senses…and the summer landscape is a poem of aroma.

Try this: go outside, early, when the dewiness of night helps intensify all good smell.

The fresh cut grass. Honeysuckle. The cloying old lady perfume of lilies. I touch the herbs in my garden—the tingly sparkle of mint, the bright breeziness of cilantro, the sneeze of dill. Brush up against a warm tomato plant and it releases a sharp perfume that should be bottled for First Aid in the grey month of February.

Peel a peach, warm from the sun, and try to decide which is more delicious: the smell or taste. Can you even differentiate between the two?

Move through your day and notice the uniquely summer smells. The hint of coconut in sunscreen. Pool chlorine. Even the touch of sun left in your glowing skin. A grill firing up. BBQ. Charcoal. Rain on garden dirt. Wet grass. Gardenia in the soft evenings when fireflies appear. Citronella. Campfires.

The more in touch we are with our senses, the more we are fully inhabiting our lives. Summer is the smell of promise and free time—when we remember simpler times, we’re more inspired to re-create those feelings in our present day.

One aroma rules over all the others in my opinion, however. The gorgeous, bright kelly green basil plant. Basil almost laughs with an aroma that is the epitome of summer to me. I always grow an abundance of basil, so much that I sometimes simply pick it as the most cheerful of filler (and aromatherapy mood lifter) in fresh cut bouquets.

My favorite thing to do with basil is of course to make pesto—to use on pasta, in omelets, in risotto, for grilling salmon and chicken, to spread on panini sandwiches, to dollop as a garnish on gazpacho…you name it. There are few things that can’t be made happier with some basil pesto. Here’s my favorite recipe. If you make it, promise to savor the scent of each fresh ingredient…and to breathe it in before you bite. Enjoy!

basil pesto in food processor creative commonsPESTO RECIPE

Blend the following in a food processor:

  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons walnuts (or pine nuts, or pistachios)*
  • clove garlic**
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan***
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup BASIL leaves packed tight

*Oh, come on, only 2 Tablespoons? I always put in a wee fistful.
**Seriously? One clove? There’s no such thing as too much garlic, in my opinion.
***There’s also no such thing as too much cheese. Ever. But save some to sprinkle on top, along with toasted pine nuts.

Images Via Flckr Creative Commons: Image One by Kayla Casey  | Image Two by Becky Stern

About the Author – Katrina Kittle

KatrinaKittleBioKatrina is a novelist, with four books for adults and one novel for tweens, her most recent titles being The Kindness of Strangers and The Blessings of the Animals—all redemptive stories that deal with issues of social justice.

Katrina teaches creative writing workshops from the third grade to retirement communities, focusing on craft and motivation (and is especially good at jumpstarting stalled writers).

In the Dayton-Cincinnati area, she teaches regularly for Word’s Worth Writing Connections and online through OnLiten (www.onliten.com ). She also offers manuscript consultations through Write Sisters Consulting. Katrina has always loved telling stories in any medium, and because of her extensive background in dance and theatre, she is a firm believer in both honoring an apprenticeship and caring about craft.

She lives near Dayton, Ohio with her wonderful fella, and their sweet beagle and odd cat; has a thing for goats, gardening, and going barefoot; and is totally addicted to coffee, pedicures, and movies. You can find out more at www.katrinakittle.com

 

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Cucumber Watermelon Refresher by Erica Jones

Cucumber Watermelon Refresher copy

Summer is such a time of refreshment isn’t it? It’s a time to reconnect with friends and family and a time for rest and relaxation…well, at least it should be. 🙂

You may be looking forward to an exciting vacation this summer (and I hope you are!). Perhaps you’re taking a tour of Europe or you plan to kick your feet up by the beach and sip a fruity drink while staring out into the ocean.

Even if you don’t have a vacation on the books there are ways to enjoy the refreshing feeling of summer no matter where you are. A great way to do that is to delight your taste buds with the fresh foods of the summer.

It’s one thing that I look forward to every year during the summer time. The beautiful variety of fresh produce available excites me and I always look forward to meals out on the patio with my husband.

I love adding juicy peaches or crisp grapes to a fresh salad and having slices of cantaloupe with Saturday brunch is the perfect accompaniment. And there is so much more to choose from. Today, I’m giving you a great beverage recipe that’s perfect for cooling off on a hot summer day.

Cucumber and watermelon are foods that have high water content and they are wonderful for hydrating the skin. This can help repair sun damage and keep skin looking soft and glowing all summer long. I hope you enjoy it and I hope that you have an incredibly refreshing summer!

Cucumber Watermelon Refresher

Makes 2 cups

Special Equipment: Juicer

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of cubed watermelon
  • 2 cups of peeled and chopped cucumber
  • Juice of 2 limes

Steps
Run the watermelon and cucumber through a juicer. You can either juice the limes by hand (I think this is easiest) or cut away the rind and run them through the juicer as well. Stir all of the juice in a single pitcher. You can enjoy right away, but it’s best served chilled.

Add a splash of Ginger Ale Zevia for a little twist and some bubbles.

(Zevia is a zero calorie soda made from natural ingredients and sweetened with Stevia – a plant based sweetener. You can find Zevia in most health food stores).

Enjoy!

About the Author – Erica Jones

erica_jones_bioErica Jones is a holistic health advocate and natural and organic beauty guru who is passionate about toxic free skin care. She is the creator of truebeautyyou.com, a website dedicated to natural and organic beauty strategies for a gorgeous complexion.

She is also the co-founder of Designer Health Centers, a virtual health consultancy serving executives and entrepreneurs all over the world.

You can connect with Erica at her website at www.truebeautyyou.com.

If you’re interested in free natural and organic skin care strategies check out her one-page Quick Guide to Essential Oils for Radiant Skin.

 

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Summer Spinach Pizza by Melissa Bartell

While I love pizza in almost any form, it’s not the best food choice in the middle of summer when I’m drawn to foods that are light, fresh, and easy. Still, even when it’s 94 degrees outside with 79% humidity (like today), I want warm food for dinner.

Enter Summer Spinach Pizza, I’ve been making it for years, varying the choice of crust from commercial pre-made options (Boboli’s 12″ thin crust is my current favorite) to using the same quick and dirty press-in crust I use when making quiches, and using whatever vegetables are around for toppings – mushrooms and tomatoes are my go-to choices, but bell peppers, olives, and onions are tasty as well.

It’s the use of Gruyere that really makes this pizza pop – sweet but dark and kind of earthy, it’s a perfect counterbalance to the fresh veggies and chewy crust.

Make this pizza for a quick weekend lunch (or if you work from home), paired with a glass of lemon water, or iced tea, or add tomato basil soup and/or a fresh salad to form a light summer dinner.

Goes well with any chilled white wine – I like it best with Fetzer’s “Sundial” Chardonnay.

Ingredients (For the pizza)

  • 1 pre-made pizza crust (like Boboli), OR make a basic press-in crust (recipe below)
  • 1-2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3-4 ounces fresh baby spinach, washed and patted dry
  • 4-6 ounces shredded Gruyere cheese (I use Applewood smoked Gruyere, but plain is fine as well.)
  • Roma tomatoes, sliced paper-thin (1-3 depending on the size of the tomato)
  • White mushrooms, sliced (4-6 ounces)
  • Herbs de Provence, to taste.
Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees, and make sure the rack is fairly close to the middle.

You don’t need a pizza pan if you’re using a pre-made crust, but you can use one if you want a softer, chewier finish.

If you prefer a crispy crust, like me, you’ll want to bake your pizza directly on your oven rack. (See below for instructions regarding blind baking a press-in crust.)

Brush the crust with olive oil.

01-crust

Layer the spinach on top – leave just enough of an edge to be able to pick up the finished pizza.

02-spinach

Evenly distribute the grated cheese over the spinach.

03-cheese

Add your toppings – I tend to make tomatoes the top layer, but feel free to experiment.

04-shrooms

05-tomatoes

Sprinkle Herbs de Provence over the entire pizza.

06-done1

Bake for 7-10 minutes (shorter time if directly on rack, longer if in pan).

07-done2

Slide onto a cutting board or platter for serving, but let stand a minute or two before you attempt to slice. (I use a very sharp pizza slicer, but a good knife, or even kitchen shears, will work, as well.

(Optional press-in crust recipe)

  • 1 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar (optional)
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 3 tablespoons milk

Blend together all ingredients, then press onto a medium sized cookie sheet or into a pizza pan.  Bake at 350 for ten minutes before using.

About the Author – Melissa Bartellmelissabatellbiophoto

 

Writer, book reviewer, voice actor, dog-lover, and bathtub mermaid, Melissa can be found at her her website (MissMeliss.com) or her book blog (Bibliotica).

You can also listen to her podcast, “Bathtub Mermaid: Tales from the Tub” at Bathtub Mermaid or on iTunes.

 

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Fairies, Root Beer, and Love by Tea Silvestre

Hires coverIt was summer in the early 70s.

I sat on the picnic table in our backyard. My skinny legs dangled over the side as I watched my dad brew a batch of homemade root beer in a pot on the barbeque. (Mom thought it was too messy for the kitchen.)

The whole family was together outside. My mom, nursed a baby, keeping one eye on my younger siblings as they played in the sprinkler.

And my dad broke out his best science teacher self and expounded on the process of fermentation.

The hardest part was waiting three days for the carbonation.

But when it was ready, we’d go outside again and spend the day taking turns churning a concoction that would — hours and hours later — become homemade vanilla ice cream.

If you’ve never made homemade root beer floats (completely from scratch), trust me, it’s high time. Give yourself this gift.

I have no idea what recipe he used, but I later found this one (from Wellness Mama) and was able to brew up something completely delicious on my stove:

Homemade Root Beer

A simple and nourishing fermented homemade root beer (non-alcoholic) with herbs and beneficial cultures.

Author: Wellness Mama

Ingredients
  • ½ cup Sassafras Root Bark
  • ½ teaspoon wintergreen leaf (or more- try this to taste but start with a little as it has a very strong flavor)
  • 1 cup unrefined organic cane sugar like rapadura
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 1 cinnamon stick or 1 tiny dash of ground cinnamon (optional)
  • dash each of coriander and allspice (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons of natural vanilla extract
  • 3 quarts filtered water
  • ¼ cup lime juice (optional but good for flavor)
  • ¾ cup homemade ginger bug or other starter culture like whey or vegetable starter
Instructions
  1. Put the sassafras root bark and wintergreen leaf in a large pot. Add cinnamon, coriander and allspice if using.
  2. Add 3 quarts of filtered water and turn on high heat.
  3. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
  4. Hires FairiesStrain through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth to remove herbs.
  5. While still warm, add the sugar and molasses and stir until dissolved.
  6. Let cool until warm but not hot and add the lime juice and then then ginger bug or other culture and stir well.
  7. Transfer to grolsch style bottles or jars with tight fitting lids and allow to ferment for several days at room temperature.
  8. Check after two days for carbonation and when desired carbonation is reached, transfer to refrigerator and store until use.
  9. Enjoy!

Notes

If desired, the following can be added to the original boil but they are not needed:

  • 2 cloves
  • 1 tablespoon licorice root
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger root
  • 1 tablespoon hops flowers
  • 1 teaspoon of anise or fennel

Fun marketing fact: Hire’s created an entire story/poem around the inspiration for root beer. And thanks to the University of Iowa, you can see the actual content in its perfect Victorian-era fanciness. A content marketing campaign that detailed the story of Little Mabel who was given the recipe from forest gnomes and fairies.

About the Author – Tea Silvestre

Tea bioTea Silvestre is all about The Story. Telling them, listening to them and figuring out what they mean.

She’s also the author of “Attract and Feed a Hungry Crowd: How Thinking Like a Chef Can Help You Build a Solid Business.”

She teaches workshops in brand storytelling and mentors creative solopreneurs, coaches, and authors on the art of building a heart-centered business.

Food and stories. Two crucial elements that help us build relationships that matter. If you’ve got a small business and you’d like it to grow, there’s no better way than to share stories with folks over a meal. Come learn more this August in Portland.

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12 Reasons to Visit Your Local Farmers Market by Sue Ann Gleason

One – You can take your dog shopping with you.

Dog at Farmers Market

Two – You can take your kids and they’ll think it’s a street fair.

Kids at Farmers Market

Three – You’ll really begin to appreciate the terms ‘local’ and ‘seasonal.’ And who knows? You may even find a very good deal.

c. good deal_sm

Four – You’ll get curious about the health benefits of cultured and fermented foods. You may even sign up for my summer Eat Your Way to Gorgeous online adventure and learn how to make your own!

d. fermented_sm

Five – You’ll find yourself wanting to explore the meaning of phrases like ‘fair trade’ and ‘non-GMO’ and learn why it’s so important to be an educated consumer.

e. fair trade_sm

Six – You’ll meet wonderful organic farmers like Hana Newcomb of Potomac Vegetable Farms who has been growing organic vegetables for thirty-five years.

Hana Newcomb of Potomac Vegetable Farms

Seven – You may discover that bee pollen is a better alternative to the ‘protein powders’ you thought you needed in your morning shake.

g. bee pollen_sm

Eight – You’ll find healthy “convenience” food that doesn’t come in a styrofoam container or a can.

h. soup_sm

Nine – You’ll start looking for words like ‘ecologically grown produce’ and you’ll be grateful there are still people out there who take the time to figure out how to control garden pests without chemical intervention.

i. ecologically_grown_sm

Ten – You’ll meet not only the faces, but also the commitment (no extracts, no shortcuts, no compromises) behind the items you purchase. You may even give yourself permission to indulge in some homemade ice cream like Sin du Jour by Sinplicity.

j. face_food_sm

Eleven – You’ll find herbs that delight your foodie sensibility and spark your imagination.

k. choc_mint_sm

Twelve – You may even come away with not one, but two beautiful pieces of art, because you were drawn to the spirit and passion of the painter and you knew that someday he would famous.

l. art_sm

And finally, you may decide to take a walk on the wild side and prepare something really yummy like a seriously simple nectarine salad for picnic lunch!

Seriously Simple Nectarine Salad

(from the Sprinkle, Splash, Swirl & Savor™ Collection)

Ingredients

  • 3-6 organic nectarines (depending on size)
  • 1 lemon or lime
  • 1 cup raw organic salted pistachios
  • 1 handful fresh mint or basil, slivered
  • extra-virgin olive oil (lemon-infused even better!)

Instructions

  1. Slice nectarines.
  2. Drizzle with high-quality extra virgin olive oil.
  3. Add a squeeze of lemon or lime.
  4. Sprinkle with salted pistachios and slivers of fresh mint or basil.

nectarine_600

About the Author – Sue Ann Gleason

sue_ann_gleason_bioSue Ann Gleason is food lover, food writer, food-based healer and champion for women who want to lead a more delicious, fully expressed life. She has been featured in Oprah and Runner’s World magazines and numerous online publications.

When not working with private clients or delivering online programs, Sue Ann can be found sampling exotic chocolates or building broccoli forests in her mashed potatoes.

You can connect with Sue Ann in a number of places. Delicious freebies await you!

Her Eat Your Way Gorgeous online adventure has two rounds this summer. Join one or both (for the same cost)

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Potato Salad with Homemade Mayo

The consummate summer side for any BBQ or gather to me is potato salad. There are, of course, as many ways to make potato salad are there are days in the year, but no matter what potato salad I might try, nothing compares to the recipe I’ve developed through trial and error.

Begin with mayonnaise. Sure, you can choose any mayo, but during my detox I took a good look at the ingredients and saw that every commercial mayo, even the ones made with olive oil also had soybean oil and some preservatives I couldn’t pronounce. Who wants to put stuff you can’t pronounce into your body??

mayo_debrasmouseSince then, I haven’t given up on my beloved mayo, instead, I began making it from scratch.

Homemade Blender Mayo

Ingredients

  • One Egg
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • dash of onion powder
  • 1 1/4 cup (plain – not extra virgin) olive oil (divided)

Crack your egg into your blender and add tablespoons of lemon juice. Let them get cozy with each other for at least an hour though I usually let it sit on the counter for two hours (it’s very important that they be room temperature).

Add: salt and your spices along with 1/4 cup of olive oil. WHIRR it together in the blender until mixed.

Now comes the hardest part of the process: you are going to barely stream one cup of olive oil into the egg mixture.

Take the center cap off of your blender lid so that you have a hole. Grab some paper towels to cover as much of the hole as you can (mine spatters), turn your mixer on “mix” or “low” and gently trickle one cup of olive oil into the egg mixture. It needs to take you approximately three minutes to add the oil so that the mayonnaise doesn’t “break” and will emulsify properly.

If you listen closely, you will hear the pitch of your blender shift as it morphs from liquid to thickness.

Once you’ve added all the olive oil, turn off your blender and, using a rubber or silicone spatula, transfer into a seal-able container for your fridge.  (Mayo will expire when your egg expires)

Now that you have fresh mayo at hand, you can make the best potato salad.

Best Southern Potato Salad

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds small yellow or red potatoes
  • 4 boiled eggs, sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 ¼ cup homemade mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon celery seeds
  • ¼ cup DILL pickle relish (or diced dill pickles!)
  • ¾ cup chopped red onion
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Paprika

Place the potatoes and 2 tablespoons of salt in a large pot of water. Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and potato_saladsimmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the potatoes are barely tender when pierced with a knife. Drain the potatoes in a colander, then place the colander with the potatoes over the empty pot and cover with a clean, dry kitchen towel. Allow the potatoes to steam for 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, whole grain mustard, dill, pickle relish, and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Set aside.

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them in quarters or in half, depending on their size. Place the cut potatoes in a large bowl. While the potatoes are still warm, pour enough dressing over them to moisten. Add the sliced eggs (reserving a few pretty slices to top salad!), the red onion, celery,  2 teaspoons of salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Toss well.

Put your salad in the container you will be taking to the BBQ, then add the pretty slices of eggs on top and sprinkle with paprika.

Cover, and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend.

About the Author – Debra Smouse

debrasmouse200x300 I’m Debra Smouse, a self-admitted Tarnished Southern Belle. I can help you detangle all your clutter, fall in love with yourself and your life, and unleash your inner sex kitten.

My truth? In order to live life the way you were meant to, you must fall in love with the day-to-day activity of living.

I spend my days writing and working with people who want to change the world, beginning with themselves.

A life coach and writer, me and my Gypsy Soul have stopped their constant roaming and have settled down in Dayton, OH where I share life’s adventures with the Man of My Dreams.

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Summer Love Notes Challenge #1

In the early 70’s, Mansfield, Texas was a one stoplight town, but it was far enough away from home that I never gave summer_love_challenge1it much thought.

What I did think about, though, were the train tracks: if a train was coming through town, we were stuck on our side of town until it passed. That meant we couldn’t get to my granny’s house or Lee’s Supermarket.

We could, however, get to Dairy Queen.

I loved the nights my mother didn’t want to cook and we’d get take-out. Our only in-town choices were the Fried Chicken place off of Main or Dairy Queen. I liked Dairy Queen the best.

We could get hot dogs with onions and relish on them, big juicy hamburgers with melted cheese, steak fingers served with cream gravy and thick buttered toast, and crispy French fries.

Best of all: Dairy Queen had ICE CREAM.

If we were picking up dinner, I’d beg for an ice cream sandwich or a Dilly Bar, treats we could pop in the freezer while we ate our completely delicious and perfectly greasy food choices.

What was even better, though, were the late summer evenings when my mother would get out a cake pan and send my dad and I to Dairy Queen to bring back Banana Splits and Hot Fudge Sundaes. (Her theory being that if anything melted, the pan would catch the drips.)

I fondly recall their “Banana Fudge Royale”. It was much better than the Banana Splits and that gooey yellow-ish pineapple concoction on the middle scoop; the Royale was all my favorite parts of a banana split: ice cream topped with bananas, hot fudge and whipped cream.

Though we regularly kept Ice Cream in the freezer, it didn’t compare to the soft, creamy goodness of Dairy Queen’s soft-serve with it’s thick, rich flavor and the signature Curly Q on the top of every scoop.

I learned, too, that going with my dad to Western Auto, to take something to Granny’s, or to hang out while he took the cars to the Car Wash typically meant we would drive through Dairy Queen for a Cherry Coke or Cherry Vanilla Doctor Pepper and an ice cream cone.

Do you remember their beautiful soft serve cones DIPPED in Chocolate?

We never fessed up to my mom or sister that we’d gotten a treat while we were out; I’m sure my mother suspected.

Summers meant an increase in ice cream consumption.

That’s my Summer Love Challenge to you this week: Go out and get ice cream.

Don’t calculate the calories or the points. Don’t look for the low-fat or sugar free versions. Don’t obsess over the fact that it isn’t “Artisan Made” with “Organic and Fair Trade” ingredients.

Go to an Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor and get two scoops. Go to Dairy Queen for a Soft-Serve Dipped Cone. Indulge in a Hot Fudge Sundae or go for that Banana Split.

Allow your more sophisticated adult palate to play like a child.

And while you’re out indulging in your Summer Treat, snap a photo and share it in your Social Media Streams (Facebook, Instagram) and tag it: #SummerLoveNotes – That way, we can all share in the creamy deliciousness that is Ice Cream.

Here’s to Ice Cream on a Hot Summer Day.

Note: This Summer Love Notes Challenge #1 runs until July 1st.

About the Author – Debra Smouse

debrasmouse200x300 I’m Debra Smouse, a self-admitted Tarnished Southern Belle. I can help you detangle all your clutter, fall in love with yourself and your life, and unleash your inner sex kitten.

My truth? In order to live life the way you were meant to, you must fall in love with the day-to-day activity of living.

I spend my days writing and working with people who want to change the world, beginning with themselves.

A life coach and writer, me and my Gypsy Soul have stopped their constant roaming and have settled down in Dayton, OH where I share life’s adventures with the man of my dreams.

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Blistered Tomato Gratin by Rochelle Bilow

Summer tomatoes are beautiful raw and although they don’t need help, things certainly don’t need to be bad to be cherokee-purple-tomatoes-on-vinebetter.  This is a fairly simple preparation with relatively few ingredients, so be sure you are using high quality products. Homemade breadcrumbs are a must.

** Serves Six to Eight as a Side Dish**
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 4 large, firm, ripe, round tomatoes (feel free to play around with varieties; I’m partial to Cherokee Purple)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 cup freshly torn bread crumbs, in pieces roughly the size of a thumbnail
  • 1/3 cup grated aged Cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped dill

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Call of the FarmRub the bottom and sides of a casserole dish with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and set aside. Slice the tomatoes 1/4 inch thick (a serrated knife works best for this) and arrange them, slightly overlapping, tin the prepared dish. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the garlic, then remove the pan from the heat; leaving it too long on the flame will cause the garlic to burn. immediately stir in the breadcrumbs and drizzle the mixture all over the tomatoes. Sprinkle the cheese on top.

Bake on a rack in the upper third of oven for 15 minutes, until the cheese is browned an bubbling. Remove from the oven and scatter the dill over the top. Serve while warm.

 

*This recipe appears in Rochelle’s book, The Call of the Farm.

About the Author – Rochelle Bilow

rochelle_bilow_bioRochelle is an associate web editor for Bon Appétit magazine, where she writes about seasonal eating, cooking with local ingredients, and how to be more efficient (and have more fun!) in the kitchen.

When she’s not writing, she’s managing Bon Appéit’s Instagram account at @bonappetitmag and Tweeting at @bonappetit.

Before joining BA, Rochelle worked as the Experts Editor at YourTango.com; prior to that, she lived and cooked on a small farm in Central New York.

The Call of the Farm, her first book, a memoir of food, farming, and love, was published in 2014.

Connect with Rochelle on her personal Twitter and Instagram accounts (below) and read more at RochelleBilow.com.

You may purchase her book, The Call of the Farm, wherever books and ebooks are sold.

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