mulberryshoots

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" ~ Mary Oliver

lemon cream cheese refrigerator pie!

IMG_1339IMG_1341If you like the taste of cream cheese, you’ll love this old classic, lemon cream cheese refrigerator pie. Before serving, I plan to place fresh fruit on top of the pieces I’m going to cut: tonight it’s going to be raspberries, and tomorrow, it will be white nectarines!

I baked the store-bought graham cracker crust for about 10 min. at 375 degrees after removing the plastic protector. In the meantime, I let two 8 ounce packages of cream cheese to come to room temp and opened a can of Eagle condensed milk. Also squeezed fresh lemons to yield 1/2 cup of juice.

When I first began beating the filling mixture with a portable mixer, the cream cheese turned into tiny lumps – so I switched over to an immersion blender and with a few swigs of it, the filling became velvety smooth.

When the crust had cooled, I transferred the filling into it and smoothed it out to the edges of the crust. And behold!, I discovered that I could re-use the plastic crust protector into a lid to crimp around the pie and set in the refrigerator to chill for a couple of hours before serving it. Looking forward to having this light, refreshing pie to add fresh fruit to – for a few nights this week!

cool as a cucumber soup. . .

IMG_1277

Inspired by Melissa Clark’s recipes,I’ve begun making cold soups in the blender. I’ve made a cream of cucumber soup that required cooking the cucumbers before blending, but this recipe just purees the soup from scratch.

I did peel the cucumbers and seed them before adding to the blender. Also added an avocado, red onion, half a clove of chopped garlic, small container of plain yogurt, a splash of buttermilk and juice of one lime. Four large ice cubes added at the end and whirred around to cool the soup. Luscious and refreshing!

 

15 minute gazpacho soup for lunch today! . . .

IMG_1264

15 minute Gazpacho soup for lunch today – along with tuna sandwiches.

In a blender, I combined 2 cans of diced petite tomatoes, 2 chopped celery stalks, a third of a green pepper, red onion, half a minced garlic, worcestershire sauce, cumin (1/2 tsp) salt, pepper and juice of a fresh lime. Whizzed it together, tasted it for seasoning, then added 6 large ice cubes and ran the blender again. Stored in the fridge until ready to serve with a sprig of fresh cilantro from the herb garden.

 

homemade margherita pizza for lunch!

Quick pizza dough: 2 tsp. dry yeast, 1/2 cup warm water, 1/2 t. salt, 1/2 t, sugar, 1 T. olive oil, 1 cup+ flour- stir, knead gently, let rise for 1 hr. – pizza sauce, lots of mozzarella, grated parmesan, fresh basil. Preheat oven to 425 and cook for 20 min.+/-. IMG_1239IMG_1243

compound herb butter! . . .

IMG_1207IMG_1209IMG_1212

Just finished making Melissa Clark’s recipe for an herb butter (compound) now in the freezer to slice for future use. I microplaned one large clove of garlic – was going to use two but one resulted in a lot of very fine garlic. Spread it over room temp butter and mixed it together along with some shakes of truffle salt. Chopped up fresh thyme, rosemary and parsley leaves. Mixed the green herbs with the garlic butter, put it all on a piece of plastic wrap and formed it into a medium sized roll. Placed the wrapped log of herb butter into the freezer. Voila!

“hot honey shrimp” . . .

IMG_1049

It’s the end of May and the weather has turned muggy and hot. So, tonight I thought we’d have a light meal of shrimp and asparagus rice pilaf. For the shrimp, I followed a recipe from the NYTimes by Melissa Clark. After shelling and cleaning the shrimp, I grated a large clove of garlic on the microplane, ditto, some fresh ginger root and zest from a lime. Squeezed half of a lime and added a tablespoon of honey with a sprinkle of crushed red pepper. The recipe called for cayenne pepper but I couldn’t find it. I spooned the marinade over the 8 extra large shrimp that I had prepared. In a bowl, the marinated shrimp rested in the fridge for a couple of hours.

When ready to cook, instead of heating up the oven to 500 degrees which would take about 20 minutes to heat up, I’m going to dot the shrimp with cold butter as noted in the recipe and run them under the broiler for a few minutes until cooked.

In the meantime, I have taken the tough stems off a handful of asparagus – and rinsed them in cold water. I’ll cut them in two inch lengths and saute them in butter with a chopped shallot until fragrant. To this pot, I’ll add about 3/4 cup of raw jasmine rice and stir in the buttery asparagus. To it, I’ll add about 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth and simmer with the lid on until the rice is tender. At the very end, I grated about 1/3 cup of fresh parmesan cheese and stirred it in. This may take about 20 minutes and I’ll wait for it to be ready to serve before I broil the shrimp.

Since I have cilantro growing in the herb planter by the kitchen window, I’ll squeeze the other half of the lime on the cooked shrimp and sprinkle some chopped cilantro on top. With it, I’ll make some mayonnaise dip – Hellman’s mayo whisked with fresh lemon juice. Yum!

P.S.  We just enjoyed this dinner and it was very tasty and a great combination! Grating the garlic on a microplane really brought out the taste in the shrimp – and the honey was sweet but not too much – and the crushed red pepper was invisible but also noticeable in a good way! This is definitely a keeper! Plus the asparagus pilaf was a great accompaniment.

 

 

 

navy bean soup . . .

IMG_1036IMG_1034

This morning, I took a package of dried navy beans out – used half of it by boiling it and letting it soak for an hour. The other half will be used to make New England baked beans on Monday, Memorial Day, to go with a cookout of hot dogs and hamburgers.

To make the soup, I sauteed together two cloves of garlic, a shallot and a Vidalia onion  – all chopped into small pieces. Added two carrots cut in quarter slice and some celery hearts. To the vegetable roux, I added the drained beans, water to cover and some Knorr chicken broth in gel form. The soup simmered for a couple of hours and after it cooled, I used an immersion blender to puree it. After tasting it, I added a little salt and a half gelatin of chicken broth with about a cup of water since the soup was very thick.  Simmered it for another half hour and added a half cup of whole milk.

Served the bean soup with a large salad of greens, avocado, Navel orange segments and honey walnuts with a ranch dressing with Gravenstein apple balsamic vinegar and olive oil. A half dozen large popovers rounded out the meal. Nice on a Saturday night!

 

 

homemade onion soup for lunch! . . .

IMG_1017On a lovely, Spring day, I made onion soup for lunch today. In a deep pot, melt a third of a stick of unsalted butter. Peel and thinly slice two medium Vidalia onions. Stir and saute the onions until soft. Add half a capsule of Knorr beef broth gelatin and add enough filtered water to cover onions. Simmer for a half an hour.

Take some ends of bread from a loaf in the fridge, or from homemade bread. Slice into four pieces, cover with Swiss cheese and grate some parmesan cheese on top. Heat the broiler and toast until golden brown.

In two soup bowls, ladle the hot onion soup and place the grilled cheese bread on top. Yum!

“Potager” asparagus bread pudding! . . .

IMG_1006This dish is in the oven for our supper tonight. It’s the first meal I ever made for G. when we started dating. Actually, we hadn’t started dating because it was a first date, sort of. Over twenty-eight years later, it is just as pleasing as it was then and it’s a joy to revisit it.

Years ago, Georgeanne Brennan wrote a cookbook about French country cooking called “Potager.” Its name refers to growing herbs and tender lettuces in either pots on your kitchen steps or nearby in a garden plot near the kitchen door. The recipe calls for using old bread saved from crusts and ends of, in this case, homemade 10-grain bread. The bread is torn into pieces and soaks in milk until absorbed. In the meantime, fresh asparagus, a harbinger of new Spring, is cleaned, cut into 2-3 inch lengths and parboiled until bright green. Drained, the asparagus is added in layers with Fontina and Swiss cheese on top of the soft bread. An egg/milk mixture is poured over the casserole and ends with asparagus, cheeses and grated parmesan cheese with bits of butter on top of the dish*.

In a 350 degree oven, the casserole bakes for about 45 minutes. Cooled for about ten minutes, it’s ready to serve with perhaps a light, green salad with fresh oranges on the side.  It’s a sunny Spring evening with a light breeze coming in the windows – a perfect setting for a culinary reunion with an old friend!

*As there are two of us, I made half the recipe in a medium sized baking dish. For the published recipe, it will serve about 6 people and will need to be baked in a large baking dish. Be sure to bake the casserole the allotted time even if the cheese topping looks golden brown – otherwise the bread/egg mixture may not be cooked through.

 

“Katharine Hepburn” brownies. . .

IMG_0958After lunch today, I decided to try this recipe for brownies. It sounded classic and simple to make. Plus, I had recently purchased a tin of Hershey’s cocoa. There were some hazelnuts in the fridge that I toasted and cut up to add to the brownies.

I browned them in a little butter and then put them into a plastic bag. With the top side of a cleaver turned upside down, I gently whacked the nuts still in the bag on a cutting board until they were cut into medium sized chunks. Then, I added them to the melted chocolate, egg, vanilla and sugar/flour mixture.

Baked in a 325 degree oven for about a half an hour. Yummy!