A Bit Of Flavor

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It was great to celebrate summer produce with a food demo yesterday at the Red Stick Farmer’s Market. With beautiful seasonal corn, tomatoes and cucumber in abundance, it served as a great base for a shrimp bowl. Thanks to Anna Marie Seafood Company, Lena Farm, Chenier Farm and the Fekete Farm for great produce and homemade jelly for the dish.

Not only was this a simple dish, but one that was easy to make with two different flavors to mix things up. This is an easy dish to make before hand and store as individual servings in the fridge for go-to lunch or dinner meals during the week. Depending on your preference, you can make the shrimp all at once and either warm the shrimp separate, or eat cool bowls. I prefer to cook the shrimp two servings per person at a time by making individual and double serving-sized ziploc bags of shrimp that I stock in the freezer. Mix and store the dressings in mason jars or small containers and add 1-2 tbsp. to each serving before eating. The base ingredients are for 8 servings and each dressing is for 4 servings. Check out the two recipes below.

Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 7 minutes

Ingredients:
4 cups of fresh corn (4-5 ears)
2 cups diced tomato (2-4 small tomatoes)
2 cups of diced cucumber
1 cup micro greens (optional)
1/2 cup green onion

Shrimp ingredients:
2 lbs shrimp (5-6 pieces per serving)
1 tbsp. onion powder
1 tbsp. coarse black pepper
1/2 tbsp. sea salt
2 tbsp. olive oil

Dressing 1 ingredients:
2 tbsp. Lena’s hibiscus and bishop crown pepper jelly
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. coarse black pepper

Dressing 2 ingredients:
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp. chopped fresh orange mint
2 tbsp. chopped parsley
2 tbsp. chopped yellow onion
2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. coarse black pepper

Directions:
1. If cooking shrimp all at once, add peeled and deveined shrimp to a large ziploc bag, add seasoning and oil and close it. Massage or shake shrimp to distribute seasoning evenly. Let sit so Flavor soaks in.
2. Shuck and rinse corn to remove strings. In a large bowl, cut corn off of cob into bowl, one at a time.
3. Peel cucumber in one-inch strips leaving some skin for additional nutrients. Cut in half, then cut in half again. Cut the fourth of cucumber in half horizontally, then into strips before dicing to get a small dice. Repeat with remaining three pieces.
4. On a cutting board score and dice tomato and add to bowl.
5. Rinse and chop green onion and add to bowl. Mix with a spoon and add evenly to individual containers.
6. To make dressing one, add jelly and vinegar to a mason jar or small container and mix with a fork until jelly is dissolved. Add oil and seasoning. Store until ready to use.
7. To make dressing two, chop mint and onion and add to mason jar or container. Add vinegar, oil and seasoning and mix well. Store until ready to use.
8. Heat a large skillet over medium- high heat for two minutes. Add shrimp to skillet in an even, flat layer. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side. *If all of the shrimp doesn’t fit into the skillet, lower heat for the second batch to prevent over cooking shrimp.
9. Add dressing and shrimp to a pre-made bowl and enjoy!

 

A Bit Of Pork Loin

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Pork tenderloin is a good cut of meat that can be cooked in a variety of ways. You can smoke it, barbecue it and roast it with different flavors. Since my rosemary is growing wild in its pot outside, I decided to stuff the pork loin with some fresh garlic and rosemary and base it with a balsamic honey glaze near the end of the cooking process. I paired the pork with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli and broccoli and cheese rice with extra streamed broccoli during the week. It also makes a wonderful sandwich with lettuce and sliced tomato. Depending on the size of the loin, it can be plenty, so I highly recommend cutting and freezing a few servings in clearly-labeled freezer bags to make the most of your work. Once cooked, it’s easy to defrost and pair it with a new side and vegetable in a couple weeks when a quick meal is needed. Check out the recipe below and enjoy!

Serves 8-10
Cook time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients:
1 pork loin (1.5 -2 lbs.)
6 cloves of garlic
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1/2 tbsp. sea salt
1 1/2 tbsp. onion powder
1 1/2 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. coarse black pepper
1 tsp. cayenne
1 cup diced yellow onion
1/2 cup water

Glaze:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. local honey
1 tsp. coarse black pepper

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cut about four, finger-length slits in the top of your loin and add to a roasting pan or oven safe dish.
3. Smash and peel garlic cloves and rinse rosemary. Shove garlic and rosemary pieces into the slits until filled.
4. Peel and dice onion and add with the water to he roasting pan. Season loin along the top for a nice crust.
5. Cover with foil and cook for an hour.
6. Combine balsamic vinegar and honey on a small dish until honey is dissolved, add pepper and mix with a fork. Pour over loin then let cook for another 10 minutes.
7. Remove from oven. Internal temperature should read between 140-145 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer, let rest for 10 minutes before cutting and making sure the loin is not running pink.
8. Serve with sides of choice and enjoy!

 

A Bit Of Eggplant

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Eggplant is one of those misunderstood vegetables. It grows in many varieties with varying levels of sweetness and is easy to incorporate in a roasted vegetable medley, ratatouille, or made creole style with seafood and ground meat. I decided to give it some Asian flavor with a little sesame oil, ground ginger and a healthy hand of green onion. Since I keep shrimp on hand, that was a simple protein to add atop my sautéed eggplant. Check out the recipe below and let me know your thoughts.

Sautéed shrimp and eggplant
Serves 2

Ingredients:
1 medium eggplant
1 small onion diced
1 small bell pepper diced
3 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. coarse black pepper
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tbsp. onion powder
10 medium shrimp
1 medium lime

Directions:
1. Rinse eggplant and cut off ends. Cut in half longwise, then cut each half into thirds in slices. Keep slices stacked and cut into strips before dicing. Repeat with second half.
2. Rinse bell pepper then cut in half and remove seeds and stem. Cut into strips then dice. Repeat with second half.
3. Cut one end off the onion then cut in half and peel each half. Cut into strips up to the remaining end then dice. (Keep to stabilize the onion while you dice). Repeat with second half.
4. Peel and dice cloves of garlic.
5. Heat sesame and 1/2 the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add vegetables once hot. Add half of the seasonings and stir well. Add a splash of water to prevent sticking. Let cook for 5 minutes.
6. While mixture continues to cook, peel and devein shrimp and season with remaining seasoning.
7. In a small skillet, heat remaining olive oil and add shrimp, seasoned side down once hot. Cook for three minutes, stir vegetable mixture then flip shrimp. Cut lime in half and squeeze a half over the shrimp. Let cook for 2-3 minutes then turn off heat.
8. Plate and enjoy.

A Bit Of Peaches

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With summer upon us, lighter dinner options are a must. I am a fan of salad because it’s versatile and a great way to try out new vegetables and incorporate new flavors. Peaches are in season and a great pop of sweet to a summer salad. I also like to pull a few herbs from my planters and go to town in salads and summer cocktails. In this case, it would be great to pair the two together. If you did not give the adult popsicles a try, this would be a nice dish to enjoy it with or a glass of wine. 😉

Peach and basil salad
Serves 1-2

Ingredients:
2 cups of chopped arugula
1 cup of chopped lettuce
1 small peach diced
1/2 cup diced cucumber
1 cup tomato
2 tbsp. feta cheese
1 tbsp. chopped basil
1 tbsp. chopped pecans (optional)

Dressing:
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. local honey
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. coarse black pepper

Directions:
1. Rinse and chop lettuce and arugula.
2. Peel cucumber if preferred, then cut in half horizontally, then make three vertical cuts longwise (scoring the cucumber), then dice.
3. Rinse and slice tomato in preferred size.
4. Rinse peach and score it as if cutting off slices. Then cut in small chunks by cutting horizontally around the peach and removing chunks from pit.
5. Add ingredients to bowl, then top with feta cheese and pecans.
6. Rinse basil leaves then stack and roll to cut them into ribbons. Add to salad bowl or plate.
7. Add ingredients for dressing into a small bowl and mix until honey is dissolved.
8,. Add to salad and enjoy.

A Bit Of Spaghetti

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Though I’ve heard lots about spaghetti squash and have also tried it, I’ve never actually made it. Mr. Buddy at my local farmer’s market had a sample roasted with marinara and parmesan. I decided to “beef” up my take on it and make a quick and easy Rosemary meat sauce. This is easy to make as a second meal for a crock week so the longer items can cook at once and you will have options during the week. While I typically would make my own sauce, I decided a little store help wouldn’t hurt and would prove helpful for nights that need a quick meal turnaround. If you have a bag of frozen spinach or other leafy greens, add a serving to the bottom of a bowl with a layer of the squash, meat and marinara on top for an easy change to microwaveable leftovers. I hope you find this as enjoyable as I did. Enjoy and share your thoughts.

Meat sauce and spaghetti squash
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 large spaghetti squash
2 cups marinara sauce
1/8 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 tbsp. onion powder
1/2 tbsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tbsp. coarse black pepper

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Rinse and scrub spaghetti squash then cut in half longwise.
2. Remove seeds and pulp and put in the oven with a cup of water.
3. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until tender.
4. During the last 10 minutes of baking, peel and dice onion and add to a medium skillet over medium heat. Add ground beef and seasoning and cook until completely brown and tender.
5. Remove spaghetti squash from the oven and flake with a fork to make noodles. Add 1/2 cup or so to each plate, top with ground beef, marinara and sprinkle or grate on cheese.
6. Enjoy.

 

A Bit of Doubled Fun

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Who says ice has to be frozen water? Double the fun this Fourth of July with a cocktail that just gets better with time. Since ice not only cools a beverage, but can also water it down, I decided to add some flavor and a kick with the melt. It’s simple, use an ice cube tray or Popsicle trays (84 cents a tray at Walmart) as I did, to make ice of your drink of choice. I went with a pineapple coconut water that I picked up in Trader Joe’s for 99 cents with a half an ounce of vodka, a simple basil leaf and a couple of blueberries for color. These “sicles” freeze in a couple of hours and can be made with any flavors you like or have on hand. This is also easy to make non-alcoholic so that all guests can partake in the festivities. Check out the recipe below for the cocktail recipe.

Popsicle Dream
Yields 2

Ingredients:
3 oz of vodka
1 8.45 oz can of coconut water w/ pineapple juice (trader joes)
1 12 oz can of club soda
1 medium lime
4 basil leaves
1 tbsp. blueberries (optional)
1 tbsp. local honey
a pinch of cayenne

Directions:
1. Add 1/2 oz vodka and coconut pineapple water to each cool gear popsicle container.
2. Rinse and add a basil leaf to each and optional blueberries. Close and freeze until ready to use.
3. In a large glass or martinis shaker, add the juice of half a lime and basil leaves. Crush leaves to release flavor.
4. Add honey, vodka, water and cayenne. Top and shake until well blended.
5. Add a Popsicle to each serving glass, and pour mixture evenly into each glass.
6. Top with soda water and a squeeze of lime.
7. Enjoy.

 

A Bit Of Succotash

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Another crock pot dish has made my life easier this week and is one that will freeze easy for go-to meals when I don’t have time or am not in the mood to cook. Succotash is an inexpensive go-to dish that is primarily veggie based and a southern favorite; a rich tomato-based fusion of flavor that can slow cook in the crock pot and make it easy to run errands, workout and live life. You can always spice it up with a pinch of cayenne for an added kick. I grew up with this dish made with sausage; however it can be made with or without it. At about $9 for the pot without the sausage, this dish is a must add to the line up. Give it a try and share your thoughts!

Succotash
Serves 8-10

Ingredients:
8 husks of corn
2 medium/large tomatoes
1 1/2 large bell pepper
1 large yellow onion
1 head of garlic (6 cloves of garlic) minced
1 14.5 oz can tomato sauce (no salt added)
1 6 oz can of tomato paste
1 lb (16 oz) smoked sausage of choice
1 cup frozen or rinsed and canned Lima beans
1 tbsp. coarse black pepper
1 tbsp. onion powder
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
3 1/2 cups of water

Directions:
1. Shuck and rinse corn, then cut off cob and place in crock pot.
2. Peel onion and garlic; dice onion and mince the garlic and add to the corn.
3. Rinse and slice bell pepper before dicing and adding to the crock pot.
4. Rinse and slice tomatoes. Cut the whole sliced tomato in half (horizontal) then dice for smaller dice. Add to mixture in pot.
5. Slice and add sausage to the pot. Rinse and add Lima beans to the mixture or just add them in if using frozen.
6. Add tomato sauce and fill the emptied can with water twice to add to crock pot.
7. Add tomato paste and seasonings and stir well before setting timer to 4 hours.
8. Cook brown rice 30 minutes before timer is done.
9. Serve and enjoy.