Slap Mint Gin and Summer Tomato Palooza

August, draped in excess, ripens into a rosy blush as she parades her finery. Especially beautiful, the tomatoes.

IMG_1690Locally grown tomatoes go down easy, almost as easy as the Slap Mint Elderberry Gin that complements an end-of-August afternoon on the beach. (Recipe below the tomato slide shows.)

Slapping mint before using in cocktails extracts the oils adding additional minty flavor to the drink. If the mint isn’t muddled, place the leaves or sprig in one hand and smack it with the other.

I’ve put together three summer tomato slideshows from previous blogs–Appetizers and Soups, Sides and Salads, and Main Events– that utilize this bounty in some fashion that may inspire.            .

Summer Tomato Appetizer and Soups:

Tomato Zucchini Tapas

Tomato Zucchini Tapas

Tomato-Mozzerella Bruschetta

Tomato-Mozzerella Bruschetta

Super-Fast Caprese Canapés

Super-Fast Caprese Canapés

Caprese Salad with Pesto Oil

Caprese Salad with Pesto Oil

Tomato Cucumber Raita

Tomato Cucumber Raita

Tomato-Zucchini Soup

Tomato-Zucchini Soup

Mix and Match Gazpacho with (optional) Shrimp

Mix and Match Gazpacho with (optional) Shrimp

Tomato Zucchini Tapas thumbnailTomato-Mozzerella Bruschetta thumbnailSuper-Fast Caprese Canapés thumbnailCaprese Salad with Pesto Oil thumbnailTomato Cucumber Raita thumbnailTomato-Zucchini Soup thumbnail
Mix and Match Gazpacho with (optional) Shrimp thumbnail

Tomato-Zucchini Tapas; Tomato-Mozzarella BruschettaSuper-Fast Caprese CanapesCaprese Salad with Pesto OilTomato-Cucumber RaitaTomato-Zucchini Soup; Mix ‘n Match Gazpacho with (optional) Shrimp

Summer Tomato Sides and Salads:

Jerusalem Pita and Vegetable Salad

Jerusalem Pita and Vegetable Salad

Indian Chopped Salad (Kachoombar)

Indian Chopped Salad (Kachoombar)

Tomatoes Stuffed with Walnut-Tarragon Chicken Salad

Tomatoes Stuffed with Walnut-Tarragon Chicken Salad

Tomato-Bulgur Salad

Tomato-Bulgur Salad

panzanella

panzanella

Fried Green Tomatoes with a Tomato-Corn Relish

Fried Green Tomatoes with a Tomato-Corn Relish

Summer Tomatoes with Fresh Peach Dressing

Summer Tomatoes with Fresh Peach Dressing

Butter Beans with Tomato Relish

Butter Beans with Tomato Relish

September Vegetable Succotash

September Vegetable Succotash

Grilled Stacked Mediterranean Eggplant

Grilled Stacked Mediterranean Eggplant

Green Tomato Curry

Green Tomato Curry

Jerusalem Pita and Vegetable Salad thumbnailIndian Chopped Salad (Kachoombar) thumbnailTomatoes Stuffed with Walnut-Tarragon Chicken Salad thumbnailTomato-Bulgur Salad thumbnailpanzanella thumbnailFried Green Tomatoes with a Tomato-Corn Relish thumbnail
Summer Tomatoes with Fresh Peach Dressing thumbnailButter Beans with Tomato Relish thumbnailSeptember Vegetable Succotash thumbnailGrilled Stacked Mediterranean Eggplant thumbnailGreen Tomato Curry thumbnail

Jerusalem Pita and Vegetable Salad; Indian Chopped Salad (Kachoombar)Tomato Stuffed with Walnut-Tarragon Chicken SaladTomato-Bulger SaladPanzanellaFried Green Tomatoes with a Tomato-Corn RelishSummer Tomatoes with Fresh Peach DressingButter Beans with Tomato RelishSeptember Vegetable SuccotashGrilled Stacked Mediterranean Eggplant; Green Tomato Curry

Summer Tomato Main Events:

Pasta with Easy Fresh Tomato Sauce

Pasta with Easy Fresh Tomato Sauce

Sun-kissed Tomato-Basil Angel Hair

Sun-kissed Tomato-Basil Angel Hair

Corn and Tomato Farosotto

Corn and Tomato Farosotto

Tomatoes Stuffed with Walnut Chicken Salad

Tomatoes Stuffed with Walnut Chicken Salad

Tomato Stuffed with Cottage Cheese

Tomato Stuffed with Cottage Cheese

Whitefish with Tomato-Caper Relish

Whitefish with Tomato-Caper Relish

Roasted Monkfish with Tomato-Olive Relish

Roasted Monkfish with Tomato-Olive Relish

Balsamic Lamb Chops with Tomato-Mint Salad

Balsamic Lamb Chops with Tomato-Mint Salad

Grilled Pizza with Fresh Mozzerella, Tomatoes and Pesto Pizza

Grilled Pizza with Fresh Mozzerella, Tomatoes and Pesto Pizza

Tomato Curry with Potatoes and Beans

Tomato Curry with Potatoes and Beans

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Romesco Sauce

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Romesco Sauce

Caprese Pesto Burger

Caprese Pesto Burger

Fried Green Tomato BLT

Fried Green Tomato BLT

Pasta with Easy Fresh Tomato Sauce thumbnailSun-kissed Tomato-Basil Angel Hair thumbnailCorn and Tomato Farosotto thumbnailTomatoes Stuffed with Walnut Chicken Salad thumbnailTomato Stuffed with Cottage Cheese thumbnailWhitefish with Tomato-Caper Relish thumbnail
Roasted Monkfish with Tomato-Olive Relish thumbnailBalsamic Lamb Chops with Tomato-Mint Salad thumbnailGrilled Pizza with Fresh Mozzerella, Tomatoes and Pesto Pizza thumbnailTomato Curry with Potatoes and Beans thumbnailGrilled Pork Tenderloin with Romesco Sauce thumbnailCaprese Pesto Burger thumbnail
Fried Green Tomato BLT thumbnail
.

Cartwheels with Fresh and Easy Tomato SauceSun-kissed Tomato-Basil Angel HairCorn and Tomato Farrosotto; Tomatoes Stuffed with Walnut ChickenTomato Stuffed with Cottage CheeseWhitefish with Tomato-Caper RelishRoasted Monkfish with Tomato-Olive RelishChicken Cutlets with Fried Tomatoes and Capers; Balsamic Lamb Chops with Tomato-Mint Salad; Tomato Curry with Potatoes and Beans; Grilled Pizza with Fresh Mozzerella, Tomatoes and Pesto;  Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Romesco Sauce;  Caprese Pesto Burger;  Fried Green Tomato BLT

The following recipe was inspired by a recent recipe I found in Traverse, My North magazine. I infused the simple syrup with rose petals (that I strained out); it added a bit of floral bouquet but, perhaps, not worth the fuss.

Recipe: Slap Mint Elderflower Gin

Ingredients

  • Several sprigs of fresh mint leaves
  • 4 cucumber slices
  • 2 ounces of your favorite gin
  • 1 ounce St. Germain (Elderflower liquer)
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 ounce simple syrup (I infused mine with rose petals)

Instructions

  1. Slap mint then place in the bottom of a Collins glass. Fill with ice.
  2. Muddle cucumber in the bottom of a shaker. Add gin, St. Germain, lime juice and simple syrup.
  3. Shake then strain into Collins glass. Serve.

Number of servings (yield): 1 cocktail 

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.

 

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Michigan Beaches, Strawberry S’mores and a Goodreads Giveaway

Michigan’s underrated. Some of us have long known that to be fact and now Thrilllist  agrees. In “The Definitive and Final Ranking of all 50 States”, Michigan was recently pronounced the best state to live “…ranking the states on everything”. And I quote:

 “…Did you know Michigan has more coastline than any state other than Alaska? Did you know it has such an embarrassment of beer riches that you can easily hit Bell’s and Founders in the same afternoon? Did you know the UP is so remote and uniquely beautiful that it almost feels like a secret 51st state where they inexplicably love British meat pies?”

(The other state I call home, Alabama, was ranked #29, a bit better than middling, the state highly applauded for figuring out a way to work mayonnaise into its barbecue. But Bama-land is not where I want to be in the dog days of summer. Hell––emphasize HELL––no. Steamy, sticky 100 degree days with 100% humidity; calling Alabama in August sultry would be like calling Marilyn Monroe, Norma Jeane Mortenson.)

s'mores cookbook

So what better way to celebrate Michigan’s gorgeous shorelines than with beach fires and s’mores. I was recently gifted a marshmallow stick set I’d been coveting with a companion s’more cookbook.

What an inspiration! S’mores with a cream cheese and Limoncello base? S’mores with Vodka Jell-O shots? Kahlua Brownie S’mores? We’re not talking child’s play.

 

Strawberry S'mores

Strawberry S’mores

No fire pit?  Any ole’ grill will do. I made author Becky Rasmussen’s recipe for Strawberry Cream Cheese S’mores with Champagne, omitting the Champagne part; I was responsible for 5 small children.

An official recipe is not needed. Simply spread cream cheese over your graham cracker, substitute sliced strawberries for the expected chocolate bar and slam a couple of well-done marshmellows on top. Done. Good eatin’.

Fun recipes and reads; for me, those two things best complement a Michigan summer sky. Feeling pinched? Goodreads has a very cool feature called “Giveaways” that gives away free books in raffles.

In fact, there is a Goodreads Giveaway currently running on my just published  “Simmer and Smoke“.  No gimmicks. Promise. Just click the “Enter Giveaway” link below, leave your e-mail address, and I’ll send you a book if you’re one of the twenty folks that Goodreads alerts me have won. To date, 519 folks have entered so your odds are 1 in 26. Not bad.

Better than Vegas.

Simmer and Smoke by Peggy Lampman
Simmer and Smoke: A Southern Tale of Grit and Spice
by Peggy Lampman (Goodreads Author)

Release date: Jun 25, 2015
(Just Released!) SOMEONE’S COOKING IN THE KITCHEN…DESIRE IS SMOKING ON THE STOVE.Kirkus Reviews on this delicious read: “A poor country girl and a fa…more

Giveaway ends in: 14 days and 10:19:47

Availability: 20 copies available, 519 people requesting

Giveaway dates: Aug 05 – Aug 25, 2015

Countries available:US, CA, and GB more

read on goodreads

 

 

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Simmer and Smoke paired with Grilled Caesar Salad

Five years since inception and Simmer and Smoke is available in paper and Kindle, with other formats on the wing. Mallory, Shelby and Miss Ann are, at last, alive. A feeling akin to childbirth? Not quite. It’s more like a funeral and I’m mourning their loss.

I can’t revisit my people––give Mallory another pill washed down with booze; push Shelby any harder; tuck Miss Ann to sleep. So be it. I’ve begun a second book about my ladies, Where There’s Smoke, which is easing the pain of this temporary loss. If this sort of fiction appeals to you, the first few chapters are free for your perusal. Just click onto the Kindle site and tap the “Look inside” feature on the top, left-hand side of the screen.

IMG_5639

Salmon Fillet with rub, pesto and lemon-herb butter–ready for the grill.

So what’s cookin’ with you? Summer’s settled the landscape, and it’s a pity to spend any more time indoors than necessary. Maybe your family, like mine, has taken to the grill–in our case the Big Green Egg.

The other night we were gifted (thank you Beth and Brian) a huge salmon fillet. We were debating its treatment before grilling and settled on a trio: 1/3 pesto, 1/3 rub, and 1/3 lemon-herb butter. Something for everyone, right?

IMG_1169

Grilling romaine on the Egg.

And what better way to complement the salmon than with a Grilled Caesar Salad. Grilled romaine, especially when cooked over hardwood coals, is sublime.

Other heartier lettuces also hold their shape and are marvelous when exposed to the heat of a grill. Raddichio loses some of its bitter edge sweetening into a unique, nutty flavor, as does endive or escarole.

Grilled Caesar Salad

Grilled Caesar Salad

 

With all lettuces, simply halve or quarter the heads, ensuring the leaves remain connected at the stem end, brush with olive oil, and grill over medium to medium-high heat.

The lettuces will cook quickly and you’ll know they’re ready when softened and lightly browned here and there. Then, drizzle dressing (recipe below) into the cut side of the leaves, add slivers of Parmesan, quartered cherry tomatoes and croutons, if desired. Pass the anchovies.

The recipe below yields 1 cup of rich dressing; enough to douse 4-6 half-heads of grilled romaine. Years ago, Donna Newsom showed readers how to make a classic (not grilled) tableside Caesar from her long-ago days waiting tables at the venerable Lord Fox. Her recipe includes homemade croutons that would lend a crunchy addition to the salad.

Recipe: Classic Caesar Salad Dressing

Ingredients

  • 2-4 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 6 anchovy fillets
  • 2 heaping teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 egg yolks*
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. With a fork, mash together 2 teaspoons minced garlic, anchovy, and mustard.
  2. Whisk in egg yolk, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and red wine vinegar.
  3. Slowly whisk in olive oil and continue whisking until emulsified. Taste and add additional minced garlic, if desired, and freshly ground pepper, to taste.

*Egg may be “coddled” (shell pricked then boiled in water for 1 minute) before using, if desired.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Number of servings (yield): 1 rich cup of dressing

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.

 

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