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I’m almost there. My first home grown tomatoes in years and years. I used to plant them, but then the deer and rabbits and other wild creatures in the neighborhood would decide to have a feast of the stuff, tomatoes, leaves, flowers and all. So I stopped planting.
I decided to give it another try. A small garden only: tomatoes, basil and mint.
This year a cute brown rabbit did get to the basil, but so far the tomatoes are intact.
I moved the basil to the top of my grill where the rabbit couldn’t get to it, and that’s a pain in the neck when I want to grill something for dinner, which is often during the summer. But the basil does seem to be coming back, although not yet thriving.
If you ever have the chance to eat a fresh-picked tomatoes, do not pass it up. The fruit is sweet, juicy, natural.
It makes you feel better about the earth. 
Fresh garden tomatoes are best plain. But if you have enough, you can cut them into a summer salad:                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
Tomato Salad with Spices and Herbs

3 cups halved cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped chives
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cut up the tomatoes and place them in a bowl. Add the chives, basil and mint and toss ingredients to distribute them evenly. Pour in the olive oil and wine vinegar and toss ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss ingredients. Let rest for about 15 minutes before serving.
Makes 4-6 servings

I’m almost there. My first home grown tomatoes in years and years. I used to plant them, but then the deer and rabbits and other wild creatures in the neighborhood would decide to have a feast of the stuff, tomatoes, leaves, flowers and all. So I stopped planting.

I decided to give it another try. A small garden only: tomatoes, basil and mint.

This year a cute brown rabbit did get to the basil, but so far the tomatoes are intact.

I moved the basil to the top of my grill where the rabbit couldn’t get to it, and that’s a pain in the neck when I want to grill something for dinner, which is often during the summer. But the basil does seem to be coming back, although not yet thriving.

If you ever have the chance to eat a fresh-picked tomatoes, do not pass it up. The fruit is sweet, juicy, natural.

It makes you feel better about the earth. 

Fresh garden tomatoes are best plain. But if you have enough, you can cut them into a summer salad:                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Tomato Salad with Spices and Herbs

3 cups halved cherry tomatoes

1 tablespoon chopped chives

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cut up the tomatoes and place them in a bowl. Add the chives, basil and mint and toss ingredients to distribute them evenly. Pour in the olive oil and wine vinegar and toss ingredients. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss ingredients. Let rest for about 15 minutes before serving.

Makes 4-6 servings

Remember a couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I bought some fantastically delicious peaches at Costco? Well, this week I saw a boxful of fabulous-looking, velvety-skinned figs that were so picture perfect that I had to buy them.
Mostly we ate them out of hand. I cut some up for my morning yogurt. I ate one or two garnished with crumbled blue cheese.
The rest? I poached them, reduced the sauce until it was nice and thick, set the fruit up in a pretty plate, added a dab of whipped cream and a sprinkle of chopped toasted almonds and VOILA! a fancy dessert.
So easy.
Here’s the recipe:

Poached Figs with Apricot and Cinnamon Sauce
1 cup apricot nectar
1 cup water
1/4 cup honey
1 cinnamon stick, about 3-inches long
2 strips orange peel, each about 2-inches long
12 large fresh figs
1 cup whipped cream
finely chopped toasted almonds

Combine the apricot nectar, water, honey, cinnamon stick and orange peel in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the figs and simmer for about 8-10 minutes or until the figs are tender but not overly soft. Remove the pan from the heat. Remove the figs to a dish and let cool. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick and orange peel from the pan. Boil the liquid over high heat for about 5 minutes or until syrupy. Let cool. Spoon some of the cooled syrup onto 6 dessert plates. Cut the figs in half and place 4 halves on each of the plates. Spoon a dollop of whipped cream on top of each fig half. Scatter the nuts over the figs.
Makes 6 servings 
 

Remember a couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I bought some fantastically delicious peaches at Costco? Well, this week I saw a boxful of fabulous-looking, velvety-skinned figs that were so picture perfect that I had to buy them.

Mostly we ate them out of hand. I cut some up for my morning yogurt. I ate one or two garnished with crumbled blue cheese.

The rest? I poached them, reduced the sauce until it was nice and thick, set the fruit up in a pretty plate, added a dab of whipped cream and a sprinkle of chopped toasted almonds and VOILA! a fancy dessert.

So easy.

Here’s the recipe:

Poached Figs with Apricot and Cinnamon Sauce

1 cup apricot nectar

1 cup water

1/4 cup honey

1 cinnamon stick, about 3-inches long

2 strips orange peel, each about 2-inches long

12 large fresh figs

1 cup whipped cream

finely chopped toasted almonds

Combine the apricot nectar, water, honey, cinnamon stick and orange peel in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the figs and simmer for about 8-10 minutes or until the figs are tender but not overly soft. Remove the pan from the heat. Remove the figs to a dish and let cool. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick and orange peel from the pan. Boil the liquid over high heat for about 5 minutes or until syrupy. Let cool. Spoon some of the cooled syrup onto 6 dessert plates. Cut the figs in half and place 4 halves on each of the plates. Spoon a dollop of whipped cream on top of each fig half. Scatter the nuts over the figs.

Makes 6 servings

 

It’s hot, hot, hot. The new big thing. Trendy.
It was all over the Fancy Food Show last month.
What am I talking about?
Smoked food.
Smoked cheese, smoked meat, all sorts of jerky (dried smoked meat). Smoked caramel chocolates. Smoked vegetables. Even smoked sea salt.
I don’t like any of it.
Okay, maybe the smoked salt is good. And it’s true, I use a smoked turkey neck or wing when I make split pea soup.
But I really really dislike smoked mozzarella, liquid smoke-infused barbecue sauce, smoked turkey breast. Don’t give me smoked brisket or smoked pecan ice cream. Please, please NO smoked pizza. I don’t even like Lapsang Souchong Tea.
And yet — 
Smoked Salmon is another whole thing. Gaspe Nova Scotia Smoked Salmon to be specific. The fancier stuff — Scottish, Irish, Norwegian and so on — is too dry and smoky for my tastes.
Give me Gaspe Nova Scotia Smoked Salmon. Soft, moist, glossy slices over a crispy potato pancake. Chopped and mixed with seasonings for Smoked Salmon Tartare. Pureed into Smoked Salmon Pate. Smeared with cream cheese and wrapped around asparagus as a quickie hors d’ouevre.
Or as a component of tea sandwiches, for some of the simplest, easiest party food nibbles there are. You can make these in minutes (okay, you will need some egg salad for starters). I don’t buy the expensive sliced salmon for these — the much cheaper “ends,” which many stores sell, is just fine.

Smoked Salmon and Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches

16 slices loaf type bread (whole wheat, multigrain, white)
1 cup egg salad
1 cup finely chopped smoked salmon
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 cup finely chopped fresh parsley or dill, or 1/2 cup each

Place 8 slices of bread on a board and spread about 2 tablespoons of egg salad on each slice, evenly covering the entire surface up to the crust. Top each egg salad layer with chopped smoked salmon, using about 2 tablespoons for each piece. Spread half the mayonnaise on the remaining 8 slices of bread. Place these slices on top of the smoked salmon, press down lightly. Trim the crusts. Cut the sandwiches in half diagonally, then cut each half in half diagonally. Use the remaining mayonnaise to spread on the cut surfaces of each triangle sandwich. Press the edges into the chopped herb to garnish the edges.
Makes 32 pieces

Here’s how I make egg salad: 3 large hard-cooked eggs — peel and grate into a bowl. Mix in 2-3 tablespoons mayonnaise, a small amount of Dijon mustard (optional) and salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. (Makes one cup)


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It’s hot, hot, hot. The new big thing. Trendy.

It was all over the Fancy Food Show last month.

What am I talking about?

Smoked food.

Smoked cheese, smoked meat, all sorts of jerky (dried smoked meat). Smoked caramel chocolates. Smoked vegetables. Even smoked sea salt.

I don’t like any of it.

Okay, maybe the smoked salt is good. And it’s true, I use a smoked turkey neck or wing when I make split pea soup.

But I really really dislike smoked mozzarella, liquid smoke-infused barbecue sauce, smoked turkey breast. Don’t give me smoked brisket or smoked pecan ice cream. Please, please NO smoked pizza. I don’t even like Lapsang Souchong Tea.

And yet —

Smoked Salmon is another whole thing. Gaspe Nova Scotia Smoked Salmon to be specific. The fancier stuff — Scottish, Irish, Norwegian and so on — is too dry and smoky for my tastes.

Give me Gaspe Nova Scotia Smoked Salmon. Soft, moist, glossy slices over a crispy potato pancake. Chopped and mixed with seasonings for Smoked Salmon Tartare. Pureed into Smoked Salmon Pate. Smeared with cream cheese and wrapped around asparagus as a quickie hors d’ouevre.

Or as a component of tea sandwiches, for some of the simplest, easiest party food nibbles there are. You can make these in minutes (okay, you will need some egg salad for starters). I don’t buy the expensive sliced salmon for these — the much cheaper “ends,” which many stores sell, is just fine.

Smoked Salmon and Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches

16 slices loaf type bread (whole wheat, multigrain, white)

1 cup egg salad

1 cup finely chopped smoked salmon

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1 cup finely chopped fresh parsley or dill, or 1/2 cup each

Place 8 slices of bread on a board and spread about 2 tablespoons of egg salad on each slice, evenly covering the entire surface up to the crust. Top each egg salad layer with chopped smoked salmon, using about 2 tablespoons for each piece. Spread half the mayonnaise on the remaining 8 slices of bread. Place these slices on top of the smoked salmon, press down lightly. Trim the crusts. Cut the sandwiches in half diagonally, then cut each half in half diagonally. Use the remaining mayonnaise to spread on the cut surfaces of each triangle sandwich. Press the edges into the chopped herb to garnish the edges.

Makes 32 pieces

Here’s how I make egg salad: 3 large hard-cooked eggs — peel and grate into a bowl. Mix in 2-3 tablespoons mayonnaise, a small amount of Dijon mustard (optional) and salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. (Makes one cup)