Friday, July 11, 2014

What's Cooking?

 My garden has been so bountiful that I have found myself spending a LOT of time in the kitchen, preparing different things with all of it.  One day last week, I made a sort of fresh grilled veggie salsa with all of it.  I started with several ears of corn.  I just lightly brushed with olive oil, and then put them onto a screaming hot grill pan.  Turning every couple minutes to get those grill marks on all sides.  Season with salt and pepper.
I took those off to cool, and began to add a bunch of other veggies.  Broccoli, bell peppers, onion, jalapeno peppers.
Toss in a little olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and grill.
I have a Lodge cast iron grill pan, and I love it!

The smell is so good that you are going to want to dig in right away!  After the rest of the veggies are grilled on all sides, remove to cool.  Meanwhile, I removed the corn from the cob into a large bowl.  Adding in all of the rest after giving them a rough chop.
I chopped up some fresh tomatoes and added those to the dish.  Simply stir and check for seasoning.  It needing nothing else.  The flavor was so good.  You could eat it with chips.  Serve it as a salad.  Really yummy, and versatile.  I put it in glass jars, and gave my girls each one, and we brought one to the mountains and ate it with chips out on the boat.  Then, a couple of nights later, we heaped it onto our grilled hot dogs!  DELISH!!
I have also been harvesting an awful lot of basil!  I made pesto in a big batch, and froze some in ice cube trays, and put some in a jar to make a pasta dish with.

I rarely buy pine nuts for my pesto anymore.  They are so expensive, and I find that the flavor of the pesto is just as good, made with either sunflower seeds, or walnuts.  Much less expensive and a good substitute.  I blend several cloves of garlic, with my nuts, add parmesan cheese.  Put basil leaves in processor, and pulse.  Stream in your olive oil to desired consistency.  I like it a little bit thick for using as pizza sauce.  Season with salt and pepper, and there you go, a delicious sauce to use in many different ways.  As a base for your pizza, sandwiches, pasta,  put a dollop on fresh grilled fish.  Yum!
I made some home made vanilla ice cream to take up to Big Bear with us.  I have a Cuisinart machine that makes it in about 25 minutes.  But what put this batch of vanilla over the top, was a topping I made for it, out of fresh peaches and basil.  Yes, basil.  I saw this in one of my Pioneer Woman cookbooks.  I thought it sounded interesting, and there on the counter top, were several ripe fresh peaches, and a beautiful bunch of basil.  So, I made it.  And glad I did!
I had ripe peaches and nectarines, so I used both.  Peeled the peach, not the nectarine.   First make a simple syrup with equal parts sugar and water.  I used one cup each.  Cool syrup, and in your blender or processor, pour cooled syrup in, then add several basil leaves.  I can't remember what the recipe said, maybe 18. I didn't count them.  I just tore off a bunch and threw them in.  Pulse to blend.  Then add your diced fruit.  
Hers was more blended.  But let me tell you.....this is a delightful topping.  Refreshing and light.  So, so good!
I could have just slurped it right out of the jar without the ice cream!  It is an odd combination, but trust me, it works!!
The other day, I just so happened to catch The Chew.  It must have been on Wednesday, because Noah wasn't here, and the telly wasn't tuned to his shows.  They made these quick and easy Energy Balls.  I am not certain of the measurements, or ingredients.  But I will tell you what I did.  
One cup, or so, of whole oats.  About 1/4 to 1/3 creamy natural peanut butter.  About 1/4 cup or so of honey.  1/4 cup, or desired amount of chocolate chips.  A generous teaspoon of vanilla.  And a handful of natural coconut chips (chopped)  Blend in large bowl until holds together.  If dry, add more peanut butter and/or honey.  I lightly sprayed my hand with cooking spray and rolled into one inch balls.  Place on waxed paper and let harden in fridge.  That is, if they last long enough to make it into the fridge!  I made a second batch today!  YUMMY!!!
Because we have so many fresh tomatoes, and lettuces and avocados, and because it is HOT.....I make simple dinners.  One night we had a BLT with avocado on hot dog buns.  We were out of bread, but had a few buns left over from the 4th, so why not?
I lightly toasted the buns in the toaster oven, and then some mayo, and began to layer on the goodies.  We both loved them!
The other day I harvested all of my cabbage!  I can't remember how many now, but something like 40 cabbages!
What does one do with 40 heads of cabbage?  Well, I shredded up several heads, and we had a beautiful Chinese Chicken Salad last night.
My Mama gave me this recipe many years ago, and I make it a lot!  I didn't use all of that shredded cabbage.  About half.  I saved some for other meals.  So to several cups of shredded cabbage, add the breast meat of a rotisserie chicken, or any chicken you have cooked.  Several green onions, toasted sesame seeds.  Toasted slivered almonds.  Crush the ramen noodles of package of top ramen, discarding the seasoning packet....patooey!   I often add sugar snap peas, and a can of bright orange mandarin oranges to this too.  Toast your sesame seeds and almonds for maybe 5 minutes on 250.    Add chicken, onions, seeds, nuts, and ramen to bowl.  
For dressing:
1 cup vegetable or canola oil.  1/2 cup rice vinegar.  About 21/2 to 3 T granulated sugar.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Whisk well, and pour over salad just before serving.  Toss all together, and enjoy!  
Not a very good photo, but ever so good!  I assure you!
Yesterday, I decided to try my hand at making sauerkraut with all of my cabbages. So I watched several You Tube videos, and looked at recipes and got busy.  I shredded cabbage for what seemed like hours!  I used my Pampered Chef mandoline.
It is easy, but time consuming.  After my arm nearly fell off from slicing, I wound up with two large containers of kraut.  It will take about 2-4 weeks for it to ferment and be ready.  I will let you know.  
That sure doesn't look to me like a lot of cabbage!  But you shred it, then salt it, then press, press, press it down with a potato masher.  It releases liquid, and then it sits down in the brine.  I can hardly wait to make some beer steamed brats and smother them in homemade sauerkraut!
Nearly every day, I am bringing armloads of veggies into the house.

So what's a girl to do?  She cooks!!!  Thanks for coming by to see me today.  I so enjoy my garden and sharing what I do with it, with all of you.  I love to cook, and gardening is tailor made for someone like me.
Have a great weekend!!!
XO  Garden Girl Kris


Jeanna said...

OMG Kris. I was just complaining that we over-ate and will have to exercise a little extra this weekend. But after reading this post, I am hungry all over again! Your garden is quite abundant and blessed this year. I hope you all continue to enjoy it!

Jeanna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
From the Kitchen said...

Don't be teasing me with fresh corn!! Well, any of your wonderful produce! Shucks (no pun intended), I'm just jealous. Enjoy!


Nana Go-Go said...

Hey Garden Girl, that was like reading a really good cookbook!I hope you write one someday, I'd certainly buy it. Everything you make is so wholesome (I've just found out I shouldn't eat raw cabbage because it reacts against my thyroid medication apparently and I LOVE raw cabbage!). Here's to many more 'Lady Bountiful' posts!xxx

Gracie Saylor said...

I love your cooking posts, Kris...such yummy looking food you show us how to prepare! And I especially like it when you use the foods you grow!

My mom had a recipe similar to your peanut butter balls, I want to try making your recipe with gluten free oats and dairy free chocolate chips. Mmm :)

I think your cooking posts would make a great cookbook, too! xx

MommaGott said...

What a great post, so inspiring! I ljust love reading your blog, thanks for sharing.

mynestofyarnandbuttons said...

Kris you have made me soooo hungry! I will be right over! You should have a cooking show with your colorful harvest! Have a beautiful weekend, xoRobin

Nicolle said...

You are an amazing gardener. I love all of your veggies. You know I make that oriental salad, but our recipe doesn't call for chicken. I've made it twice in the last week, we just love it so much. Your version sounds really good. You definitely have to update on the kraut because I'd love to make it homemade. I want to know how yours turns out!

Mahek said...

you are so lucky to be able to have such a rich produce..
Here in India where we stay in apartments we depend on markets for
our food
good post

Mahek said...

you are so lucky to be able to have such a rich produce..
Here in India where we stay in apartments we depend on markets for
our food
good post

Dawn said...

You have been a very busy girl with all your gardening. I think you should be called Farmer Kris from here on out. My family loves the Chinese salad too.

corners of my life said...

I am intrigued by your Lodge cast iron grill. I recently ordered a 17" Lodge Skillet. What was I thinking - 17" - I could barely lift it and it didn't fit on the burner. I gave it to my son for camping . . .

Mereknits said...

I think you should invite us all over for lunch, I am sure we could help you eat all that delicious food. You are making me feel I need to eat a lot more healthy.

Betsy said...

I am amazed each post of all the bounty in your garden. And you find the most delicious sounding recipes to use it in. I enjoyed this post so much and I'm salivating at the pictures.

Pammy Sue said...

I don't know what else to say but YUM! You have been a busy cook with all that fresh stuff. Wish I was your neighbor! That corn salsa stuff looks GREAT!

Taciana Simmons said...

Wow, wow, wow Kris !
I am amazed with your harvest , I won't have a garden this year as we have just moved, but you have inspired me beyond believe ... I love it and I would be so excited to cook. You will have nice organic veggies for a long time :) have a great weekend :)

Teresa Kasner said...

Kris, you are so energetic and amazing! Your produce is wonderful! We just went to Coastal to get some chicken food and they had all these hanging baskets of cherry tomatoes - poor things were crispy and dried but lots of tomatoes, so we got 2 baskets and will try to keep them watered. I think you should go on one of those cooking contest shows for the Food network - you'd win and we could all watch your show! LOL!! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

podso said...

Love that ramen noodle recipe. Say you are busy with abundance! That's wonderful. I think I'm going to try you corn relish or dip or whatever you call it! It looks so healthy and good.

45th Parallel Quilter said...

Your blog just brightens my day!! Love to read about your garden (mine is a few plants in containers on a deck because of huge deer issues here). Just wanted to stop by and tell you that I appreciate your sharing your life with us! Thank you!

Debbie said...

Oh my goodness Kris I am not sure which one of your recipes sounds best. How wonderful to be putting that bountiful garden to such good use! LOVE it! And thanks for the suggestion on the chair. Don't know why it hasn't occurred to me. We are already checking into it. Enjoy the rest of your week-end!

Amy at love made my home said...

Wow, what a lot of veggies!!! I would have no idea what to do with 40 cabbages at once, you are set for all your cabbagey needs for the time being though!! xx

Karen L. Bates said...

That is just awesome! Such beautiful dishes you have been mouth is watering. And it is all are doing such good things for your family! I don't have anything except tomatoes and some spaghetti squash.

Great rewards for all your hard work in the garden. Love the new header!

Gloria Baker said...

I really enjoy this post Kris! What amazing vegetables always I find you have the most beautiful veggies in your garden.the salad, the corns, and the basil spectacular.What beautiful idea can preserve some of these to reminder summer.
Love your pesto! Ah dear you inspiring
me cant wait here arrrive spring:))

Poppy said...

You are such a whiz in the kitchen, and make it all look so easy! Yummy veggie dishes; love your pesto!


Pam said...

You sure have a green thumb! All of this food has made this girl hungry. YUMMY!

Linda said...

You made me hungry with all those wonderful recipes!! We have been eating lots of fresh veggies too...made some pico de gallo this morning for tacos tonight with onions, peppers and tomatoes from our garden...first time I have grown red onions...they haven't gotten very big...but they are tasty! Happy Monday!!

Susanne said...

Who needs to watch those tv cooking shows when I can come right here and read all this yummy goodness. I am laughing cause I thought I was one hot shot today, picking my first nearly ripe tomato, lol. Your garden is overflowing. I hope you have good luck with your kraut. My mil wand another gal I knew made the best kraut, but for the life of me, mine never turned out. Then I figured it was because I used my well water and it was softened cause we have a water softener. I never could figure it out. Always loved a pork roast with sauerkraut and sprinkled with brown sugar on top of the kraut. A friend told me to fix my New Years pork that way and it was so GOOD. Of course it is good on those hot dogs and brats as well. Love it with mashed potatoes too.
(((HUGS))) Susanne :)

Corn in my Coffee-Pot said...

Hi Kris!
I can't believe I've not followed your blog... I just found you. We follow one another on IG...I'm looking forward to reading the words HERE that go with your fabulous pictures,THERE!
raining here today, mild 88* weather here,
Pat (Patriciagram65)

Jann Olson said...

Perfect timing! I got a post ready tonight to publish in the morning before heading out of town. Guess what the title is? From the Garden. Don't have nearly the bounty you do, but starting to get some and boy do I love it! I made Oriental Chicken Salad and am sharing the recipe in my post. It did not have enough dressing. I've made it before, but must have used another recipe. Still tasty, but will make more dressing next time. I'm pinning all of your delish!

Jill said...

This all looks so delicious!! I am going to have to jot down a few recipes. Hope we can get our garden to this point next year! Nothing better then from your own yard. I'd enjoy any tips you'd like to share😊 have a wonderful day!!!


Patty Antle said...

I love to read what you have been cooking. I recently saw a recipe for the little balls but they had banana in then and they were baked in the oven. Also, I've had that cabbage salad and i know how yummy it is. Your family eats very well!!

The Tuscan Home said...

Whoever gets to partake in your wonderful meals and fresh garden veggies is LUCKY!! Everything looks absolutely......D I V I N E!! Now my mouth is watering, lol!;) xoxo, Liz

corners of my life said...

Such a great idea for roasting corn. Can't wait to try it this weekend. Thanks.

Astri said...

I am so on my way over for some of that salsa! The rest of the food too!

Sweet Cottage Dreams said...

Oh Lordy! I say open a veggie stand! Wow!!!!!! You sure know how to garden!!!!