Showing posts from July, 2014

Halloumi and Seared Red Peppers, Olives and Capers

I do love Deborah Madison's massively informative cookbook,  Vegetable Literacy ,  even though have posted about it only  once . It is chock full of inspiring information, and in this age of marrying informed gardening, thoughtful cooking with delightful eating, it's a rich cookbook to have on one's shelf.* *I guess I find this book very, um, informative, given that I have used the adjective, noun, and attributive verb form of "inform." In this section on the nightshade family, Madison writes a lovely essay on peppers and chiles (reminding us that "the word for the hot pepper is chile , and the name of the dish of meat seasoned with hot peppers is c hili"). In addition to detailing the Scoville scale wherein chiles and peppers are ranked according to heat units, Madison talks about the terroir of the pepper, much like one would for wine. Too little water, a little more sun, and your peppers from the same mother plant might act quite differe

Grilled West Indies Spice-Rubbed Chicken Breast with Equatorial Fruit Salad

We spent yesterday gardening, cleaning up the backyard, and puttering around outside.  To reward ourselves for a job at least adequately done, we grilled. A few weeks ago, t he husband's parents made this Grilled West Indies Spice-Rubbed Chicken with the cookbook -recommended grilled banana, which was so good we had to make it ourselves.  However, I find that the grilled banana can become a bit cloying, so we switched out the accompanying fruit for a far zingier Equatorial Fruit Salad with lime and  jalapeño .   We walked away with five important messages about the salad from the meal: 1.) The Equatorial Fruit Salad is phenomenal.  The sweet acidity of the pineapple next to the smoothness of the papaya just tastes like a tropical summer.  The lime gives a further zing that plays off of the creaminess of the bananas.  I was a little worried about the heat, so I put in only 2  jalapeños.  However, because you seed them, the  jalapeños end up not being that hot.  Go ahea

Spaghetti with Lime and Rocket

Keeping with the simple, a la Donna Hay, theme, here's another fast dinner.  Combining the bitter arugula (rocket) with the bright lime, creamy cheese and sweet prosciutto, Hay whips up an easy weeknight meal perfect for a hot summer night. Arugula is one of my favorite greens--it's hard to know if you should call it an herb or a lettuce, as you can use it as either one.  Chop it up and toss it on a bruschetta or slip it on a sandwich; give it a quick rinse and leave it whole and throw it in a salad on its own or with other greens--either way, you cannot grow wrong.  It is bitter and quite sharp, though, which personally I like, but the husband prefers to pair arugula with something, anything when eating it.  Lucky for him, there were other mouthwatering ingredients from which to select. Makrut (or kaffir) lime leaves, found usually in the herb section of your supermarket, are not the same as regular old lime leaves.  This Southeast Asian lime itself is gene

Chili-Crusted Lamb Cutlets with Cucumber Yogurt

  Certainly lamb is a spring dish, but here I am, posting in summer.   Indeed, summer is upon us.   The niece is visiting California again.   This is a not-so-subtle ploy to convince her that she should move to our fair state when she is ready for college—which seems simultaneously eons away (four years) and just around the corner.   So much can happen in that short amount of time, and she has entered into those vulnerable first two years of high school.   Let’s face it—middle school is just all around generally unreasonable for most of us; however, it’s the first two years of high school where teenagers begin to define about what they are passionate, which paths they are going to take, and just who they are going to be.   Myself, I was sullen, melancholic, and ready to break out of my small town.   As I write this, I am sitting in a small town (or even just outside of it) up the coast in Northern California.   However, the sullenness and melancholy have dissipated, the p