The summer is winding down here in New England. Though, you would never know it by the weather. It is hovering somewhere around 90 and will remain so for, at least, the next week. I am always sad to see summer end, but at the same time, I look forward to fall. I love the crisp fall days, the beautiful autumn colors of the leaves, and, of course, the fall foods. Every year my family and I go apple picking at a great place called Apple Crest in New Hampshire. On the drive there, we get to enjoy the beautiful fall foliage. Then once there, we take a hayride to the apple trees where we load up our bags with many varieties of apples, cortland, macintosh, macoun, granny smith, delicious, etc. This place is great. They have a blue grass band playing and an area where you can buy freshly made apple cider donuts and homemade pies and jams and pumpkins. I look forward to this every year and also to the delicious recipes I will make with all of those apples. For the next few weeks, we drink apple cider laced with cinnamon and bake and eat homemade apple pies and cakes and anything else I can think to stick apples in. I have a few really great recipes this year that I am very excited to try.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
The weather here in the Boston area has been pretty chilly, in the 60's to be exact, not exactly what you would expect for August. The weather in New England can be quite fickle. Sure enough, next week just in time for the kids to go back to school, the weather forecasters predict it will be in the high 90's. All those poor kids with their new fall school clothes will be sweltering in their unairconditioned classrooms.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
My grandmother and I love spanakopita or any type of spinach pie. We are always trying new recipes in search of the perfect one. We are constantly discussing and tasting each other's findings. When I purchased the Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics cookbook and saw her dinner spanakopitas, I knew I would not be disappointed, and of course, I was not. In fact, her spanakopita is definitely my favorite so far. As a matter of fact, as most of you know, recipes by Ina Garten are always great.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
When I was in junior high, there was a house right next to our school, and the owner of this house sold homemade slush, or Italian ice, which he made in his basement and actually turned his basement window into a store front to which we kids could walk up and order the most delicious homemade slush I had ever tasted. It was a real treat for us. I remember I would ask my mom for change so that I could get one after school. Sadly, like so many of the mom-and-pop-type stores, it is no longer there. This treat reminded me of that yummy slush from way back then.
Granita is a wonderful, slush-like, treat that is really simple to make. This version is made with fresh watermelon, lemon, and a sugar syrup. It is the perfect refreshment for those hot days when nothing seems to quench your thirst. It is sweet enough for the kids and the fresh fruit flavor is sure to please the adults.
To make this granita, bring two cups of water and 1/2 cup of sugar to a boil.
Simmer for about five minutes until the sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, cut watermelon into cubes. You will need 2 slightly heaping cups. Place the watermelon and the juice and half of the zest of one lemon into a food processor or blender and puree. Pour the watermelon/lemon mixture and the sugar syrup into a 9 x 13 pan. Mix well. You need to use a long pan. That way it will freeze better and quicker.
Excuse the pan..I know I need some new bakeware.
Place pan in the freezer. After 30 minutes, use a fork to break up any ice crystals that have formed especially around the edges. Give it a good stir too and cover with plastic wrap. You will need to do this every 45 minutes to an hour, breaking up the ice crystals and mixing until it has frozen into a slush texture. This will take about four hours. At this point, it can be served or placed into a freezer-safe container and stored in freezer until ready to serve. To serve, let set on the counter for a minute or two and stir to break it up a bit before serving. I think this would also make a great cocktail, maybe add a little vodka:)
2 cups of water
1/2 to 3/4 cups of sugar, depending on how sweet you want it
The juice and half of the zest of one lemon (no more than 1/2 cup of juice, though)
2 cups of watermelon cut into cubes
In a medium saucepan, boil sugar and water. Simmer five minutes, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, place watermelon and lemon juice and zest in a blender or food processor and puree.
Place water/sugar syrup and watermelon/lemon puree into a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Place in the freezer. Freeze for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove from freezer. Use a fork to break up ice crystals especially around the edges and give it a good stir. Cover with plastic wrap. Every 45 minutes to one hour, remove from refrigerator and break up ice crystals with a fork, especially around the edges, and stir. Do this until frozen into slush texture desired, about four hours. At this point, it is ready to serve. If desired, place in a freezer-safe container and store in freezer until ready to serve. When ready to serve, place on counter for a minute or two to let it melt a bit. Then stir to break up into a slush and serve.
Monday, August 16, 2010
One of the things I love about blogging is finding loads and loads of wonderful recipes. I am always amazed at the talent and creativity of the many bloggers I have met. Though, I have only been blogging for a short while, I have a huge amount of recipes bookmarked that I want to try. So many, in fact, that I think it will take me quite a while before I get to them all. Each time I visit another blog, I just cannot believe how many delicious recipes bloggers are sharing. Another thing I love about blogging is how much I am learning about foods from other countries and even foods that are specific to other regions of the United States.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Pasta salad says summer to me. It is one of my favorite dishes to eat in the summer, and I look forward to piling it alongside my burger at barbecues. In fact, I don't think there is a pasta salad that I don't like. I think everyone has their own favorite version. This pasta salad is definitely mine. I got the inspiration for this pasta salad from two of my favorite Italian chefs, Giada De Laurentis and Lydia Matticchio Bastianich. They each make a pasta salad that I enjoy. Here I have combined the two and used Giada's red wine vinaigrette to create my favorite pasta salad yet.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
As I promised before, when I find a recipe on a blog that I love, I will post it here. This is definitely a keeper. My family and I love Mexican food. It is one of the few types of foods that I can make and everyone is happy. So when I saw this recipe for chicken fajitas on Cinnamon Girl's blog, I knew I had to try it, and we were all thrilled with the result. It is easy to prepare and has wonderful flavors. Definitely check out her blog Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice. It is a great blog with lots and lots of great recipes and beautiful photos. If your looking for something good for dinner or dessert or anytime, you will find tons of delicious recipes there.
Monday, August 2, 2010
I have just returned from a very relaxing week in the beautiful state of New Hampshire, the White Mountains region to be exact. New Hampshire has always been a favorite vacation destination of my family's ever since my kids were young. When they were younger, we would visit Storyland, Santa's Village, etc., and had lots of fun, well at least the kids did..lol, but since my two children have gotten older, teenagers now..yikes!, we have begun to try more adventurous things such as kayaking and hiking, you know the really enjoying nature stuff which is just what I love and luckily my kids do too, well my daughter (13) did complain a few times that if she saw one more waterfall she would scream. Oh well, we can't all be happy all the time:)