Happy Fourth Recipes and Happy Porch-Sittin’ Reads!

Love July. Love it. Wearing sundresses and floppy hats to the Farmers Market, kayaking on the lake, barbecuing and fireworks.  (I also buy ’em when they’re half-off AFTER the Fourth, and entertain the kids through the summer on the Lake Michigan shoreline.)

Of course I love outdoor reading. And the advent of this July not only brings favorite recipes to savor and share (recipe links below pics), but a picnic basket packed with books. Inexpensive books. Qualifier. Inexpensive digital books.

I’m old-school. I like the tangibles of pulp–the burnt almond smell, for instance, of a favorite old read. My fingers prefer turning a page instead of  a swiping a screen. And I much prefer browsing the colorful cookbooks on my shelf instead of pulling up a digital recipe on my screen. Each book’s a  reminder of a culinary escapade that transports me to happy times and places.

But digital has found a comfortable, welcome niche in my life. Less baggage, for starters. Today we’re on our way to Alaska traveling carry-on, as always. My Kindle is loaded with digital books and my iPhone packed with an Audible selection. While gazing at Denali on Friday, I could be listening to Jame’s Mitchner’s Alaska with my ear buds.

So here’s a deal for ‘ya: through July, Amazon’s featuring a variety of Kindle reads for under three bucks.  I was delighted to see THE PROMISE KITCHEN in the mix. If you’re a fan of Southern Grit-lit and food, now’s your chance to pick it up for peanuts.

It’s a part of the Popular Fiction Book Deals in their US marketplace. Just pick your favorite genre and go for it.

I’m thrilled to be with Lake Union –such a supportive, interesting group of authors. The link directs you to their FB page, hosting by a different author each week. Like the page  before it hits 2000 likes, and you’ll have a chance to win a Kindle Fire. And it’s nice to see my first baby, THE PROMISE KITCHEN, once again making the rounds. (The Audible version’s only a few bucks as well.)

I hope you, dear readers, have a lovely, relaxing, holiday. I’ll have an   apparatus attached to my person to stay connected and, as always, would love to hear from you. Recipe questions, good books you’ve read, your recommendations on Alaska must-do’s –I’m with ‘ya as long as WIFI obliges.

Right now I’m listening to FINDING HEATHER, a novel by Alison Ragsdale, a fellow Lake Union author.  The narrator, Mhairi Morrison, has an exquisite Scottish voice and the Audible version transports me to the Isle of Skye. That next trip to Scotland has now inched to the top of the bucket list.

So throw something on the grill for me, would ‘ya? We’ll be in flight, heading to the tundra. It won’t feel like the 4th, but the girl ain’t complaining. I’ve heard the halibut and salmon are amazing!

 

 

 

 

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Oodles of zoodles to channel the words!

Once again, I’m late to the party, waving my freak flag. My favorite food and writing bloggers pump out relevant blogs several times a week–how do they do it? These days between exhausting  road trips taking care of family matters (er, drama), insuring my third and final edit was returned squeaky clean (wine, please), and squeezing in basal cell skin cancer surgery ON MY FACE (thankfully the least worrisome of the skin cancers–wear sunblock, folks)– time management has been challenging.

Spiralizer in action!

I hope your summer is off to a more relaxed and mellow cadence. But now, since I’ll continue resembling the Phantom of the Opera another week or so, I’ll be hiding indoors.

So I ordered a new toy on Amazon to cheer me up. An Inspiralized spiralizer!

And yes,  you’ve probably been using one for years.  (I mentioned I’m always late to the party, right?) I’ve been googling away at spiralizer recipes. There are a lot out there–mostly, from what I’ve seen, using zucchini. Is there a reason?

A quick blanch is all the “zoodles” need.

Last night I took the machine out on her maiden voyage. I had several zucchini and eggplant to play with and here are my results. First, the good news. Pictures don’t lie–the spiralized zucchini was a roaring success! (These days, it doesn’t take much to thrill me.)

Here’s my no-recipe recipe that generously serves 2-3:

Boil desired amount of linguini  or spaghetti  (apx.1/2 pound) and in the last 45 seconds of cooking time, blanch the spiralized zucchini  (4 medium zukes spiraled with blade C) in the boiling water along with the noodles. Drain, and season the dish with EVO, minced garlic and red pepper flakes. Serve with loads of Reggiano!

Eggplant doesn’t seem a good choice for the spiralizer.

Fun!

Onto the eggplant–this has to be one of my favorite veggies.  I was planning to sauté it, perhaps turn it into a curried vegetable dish. It would be beautiful.

Not.

Even peeled, the seedy, thick flesh refused to go through the feeding tube, as if to tell me love me as I am.

Sweet potatoes, beets and butternut squash (as long as the food blogs don’t lie) seem to be viable candidates for the spiralizer. Lord knows, I don’t need another toy used once a year demanding  10-inches of shelf space.

Another thing to cheer me up is the WONDERFUL job the team at Lake Union Publishing did with my book cover.  I  received the final version and it’s magnificent. I couldn’t be happier!  For those of you who are new to my blog–I write women’s fiction focusing on my passion–– exploring food as a means for breaking down familial, as well as, cultural barriers.

Have a lovely Monday! Good eatin’, good readin’, good lovin’!

 

 

 

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Sorrel-Potato Soup, the perfect spring soup, is delicious served hot or cold.

Sorrel, thyme and chives are the first to welcome Spring!

Long before  Steve Brill made hunting for wild foods a thing, since the dawn of our species we’ve been foraging our lands for edibles to survive. (In the eighties, Brill–aka, Wildman– began organizing foraging expeditions in Manhattan. Once he was slapped with a summons for making a meal from Central Park weeds. Minutes after his arraignment, he was offering samples of his Five Park Salad to passerby.)

Extreme? Maybe. But there is something atavistically satisfying about finding or–in my case–growing your own food. Take sorrel. In my small kitchen garden, sorrel (alongside chives and thyme) is one of the first perennials to nose its way up through the cold, damp Michigan spring soil.

Sadly, the beautiful spring green of sorrel turns into an unfortunate shade of Army Tank Green.

Throughout the world, sorrel is both domesticated and found in the wild. The tart, lemony taste finds its way into soups and stuffings and–when the leaves are young and tender–salads. And it’s  heavenly when turned into a sauce and served over fish–the fattier fish the better; tart sorrel balances fat so well.

I  love it paired with rich meaty lamb–this recipe for Lamb and Eggplant in a Sorrel sauce is a favorite. (The linked recipe for sorrel sauce above would be wonderful atop  fish.)

Grilled Lamb & Eggplant with Sorrel Sauce

You say you’ve never had a knack for growing veggies; plants wilt when you glance their way? Try sorrel. It’s like the scrawny kid who dons gloves and refuses to go down in a match. Smack it down, it bounces back for more; refuse it water, it thrives. In fact, the abuse seems to make it stronger. With a host of health properties and a lemony pungency that would make the heartiest of veggies blush, sorrel in all its bright glory,  is the antidote to winter blah.

So what’s not to like?  The color, for one. After it’s subjected to heat, it morphs to the patina of an army tank. That color, however, may be modified by using an equal part of fresh spinach in your favorite recipe, as I did in the recipe below.

Secondly, unless it’s very young and tender, I’d be surprised if you’d enjoy the flavor raw. It would be like eating a bunch of fresh herbs, not something you’d want to do but–as fresh herbs–the addition of sorrel can be the grace note in a recipe. Sauté it in butter with a smidgen of cream to counterbalance that lean, mean tang. Oh la la! Magnifique! The following recipe is my riff on a vichyssoise, which seems appropriate as the French have such a love of the vegetable. A favorite French food blog, Zucchini and Chocolate, lists fifty ways of incorporating sorrel into your recipes. Look for sorrel at your local green market, as I’ve never seen it in traditional grocery stores.

Recipe: Sorrel Vichyssoise

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 leeks, white and light green parts only, washed thoroughly and thinly sliced (approximately 6 cups)
  • 6-8 cups packed sorrel, stems removed and coarsely chopped
  • 3 pounds medium-sized russet potatoes peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 6-8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 6-8 cups packed cups equal portions of spinach, stems removed and coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1-2 fistfuls of snipped chives plus extra for garnish, if desired
  • Pinch of nutmeg and cayenne

Instructions

  1. Sauté leeks in oil over low heat with a pinch of kosher salt 3 minutes. Add sorrel and cook an additional 2-3 minutes or until sorrel has cooked down and turned a khaki color and leeks have wilted.
  2. Add potatoes and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook about 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Turn off the burner and while soup is still hot, stir in spinach.
  3. In a food processor, puree soup until creamy. Stir milk and chives into soup. Season to taste with kosher salt, cayenne and nutmeg. Delicious served hot or cold, as you would a vichyssoise.

Active time: 30 minutes

Simmer time: apx. 20 minutes

Chill time (if serving as a cold soup): 12 hours

Number of servings (yield): 12-14 cups (leftovers keep, refrigerated, several days)

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.

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