June 28, 2013

Seared scallops over pearl couscous with peas and garlic scape sauce

This dish is a lovely early summer dinner full of fresh sweet peas and slightly spicy garlic scapes. Garlic scapes are something I look forward to now that I've discovered their tastiness. If you haven't tried them yet, keep your eyes open at the farmers' market. You'll love them if you are a fan of garlic and they make delicious pesto and sauces, or can just be sauteed with some vegetables. Checkout this article from Backyard Boss for more information and ideas for eating garlic scapes. They aren't around long, so grab some soon! 

This dish was inspired by the garlic scapes and fresh peas I bought at the market last weekend. I knew I wanted to pair the peas with pearl (or Israeli) couscous to match the size and shape of the peas. After a search at the grocery store, I finally found some. The scallops were a treat too - a delicious and elegant way to top off this dish. This recipe will make a nice dinner for two. Perfectly romantic, except for all the garlic breath....

June 24, 2013

Strawberry-basil ice cream

My first ice cream of the season! I wanted to make a strawberry-basil ice cream last year, but strawberry season was over when I finally bought my ice cream maker. So I've been waiting anxiously to make it until this year. This was my second batch. The first batch tasted just as great, but I left the strawberries in quarters, and ended up not liking the texture. This time, I mashed the strawberries, and it worked much better - they were evenly distributed but it still had a little texture so you knew there were strawberries in it.

We ate this ice cream on a hot day (as you can see from the photo - it was rapidly melting) and the best description of it is refreshing. Very refreshing. You may think basil is an odd thing to add to a dessert, but I love herbs in sweets. The basil is a nice and refreshing background flavor that really takes the ice cream to the next level. It makes it more complex and plays nicely off of the sweet strawberries. This recipe will make about a quart of ice cream.

June 19, 2013

Chicken florentine pasta

Spinach season has arrived and my husband and I both love to eat our spinach! It's probably our favorite green. We get large bags of it at the farmers' market and eat it in lots of ways. I enjoy this time of year because so much produce is coming into season. It's a great change to have all these fresh vegetables after a long winter. This pasta dish is pretty simple to make and it's a great way to use up a lot of spinach. Our spinach was really juicy and fresh, so it was beginning to turn the cream sauce a touch green, but that's OK. That's a good sign, right? 

Be sure to wash your spinach very well as it tends to be sandy and gritty, which can easily ruin a dish. This recipe will feed about four to six people or make you some nice lunch leftovers for during the week (my favorite).

June 10, 2013

Hot and sour rhubarb pork and noodles

I think I've made an amazing discovery with this dish: rhubarb is awesome in savory dishes and is the perfect sour component to an Asian-inspired sauce. Wow. Just wow. This sauce was fantastic. This is yet another recipe inspired by Jamie Oliver's Jamie at Home. I modified it a bit to make less and to use some ingredients I had on hand. I also discovered that the recipe needed a little tweaking for our tastes to ensure that we didn't end up with a pile of stuck together noodles, which was starting to happen! The flavors in this dish are so good and very intense. I topped it with scallions, radishes, mint, and cilantro - I think that daikon radish, savoy cabbage, and other herbs would also be delicious toppings. I also enlisted the assistance of the slow cooker for this recipe because I didn't want to be using the oven (too hot). Below is my modified recipe that will serve two-three people (or make some really tasty leftovers).

June 3, 2013

Penne and asparagus carbonara

Spring time is asparagus time and we just can't get enough of it. I love asparagus - but this is really the only time of year that you can get it fresh and it's a short time. Our favorite place to get asparagus is from Thorpes Organic Family Farm (also our favorite place to get strawberries - I'm in anticipation for those already). We pick up a couple pounds a week and eat it in all different ways while we can. I love simple roasted asparagus as a side dish, but I also love to incorporate it into main dishes and breakfast. Asparagus pairs perfectly with eggs and bacon. So when I was flipping through Jamie Oliver's Jamie at Home (still one of my favorite cookbooks ever) and saw his beautiful zucchini carbonara I was inspired to make a similar dish with asparagus. I also picked up some fresh pastured eggs and cream at the farmer's market, some high quality bacon, and used fresh oregano from my herb garden. This dish was truly delicious and decadent. While it may not be classic carbonara, that's OK with me - it was pretty spectacular! This recipe will make a lot of pasta and is best eaten right away - it will serve at least four people. Serve it with some fresh crusty bread to pick up any sauce at the bottom of your bowl.