Bacon-Wrapped Grilled Peaches

Bacon Wrapped Grilled Peaches

 

Bacon Wrapped Grilled Peaches 2

We have had an unusually cool summer this year and I for one, am not complaining!  We have been spending long nights in the back yard soaking in our hot tub or hanging out on the deck reading and loving our flower-filled back yard.

Photo Aug 25, 3 55 29 AM

Last night we enjoyed some soup I had made earlier in the day but I wanted to grill an appetizer for us to enjoy out by the grill on the deck and soon we had Bacon Wrapped Goat Cheese Stuffed Grilled Peaches drizzled in a thick syrupy balsamic vinegar my cousin Diane’s hubby  brought me back from Italy.

Bacon Wrapped Grilled Peaches

These were fun to pop in our mouths as we enjoyed the beautiful summer night. I almost couldn’t eat soup afterward because I ate too many. One must take full advantage of fresh juicy peaches in the summer however, so I didn’t feel a bit guilty.

All you have to do is remove the pit from the halves of each peach.

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Chop up two tablespoons of scallions or chives and add them to three ounces of goat cheese.

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Mix this up well and then using a spoon, spread some into hollow of the peach.

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Slice them each into four pieces.

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Cut four pieces of bacon into thirds and using one piece of bacon, stretch it around and cover as much of the goat cheese as possible on the peach.

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Continue making all of the rest ( I used 2 peaches which made 16 pieces) of the wrapped slices.

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Then put them on a medium-hot grill on some tin-foil.

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And grill them until the bacon looks done, about ten-15 minutes, turning them midway.

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Then remove them to a platter.

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Chop up some basil into very thin pieces.

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Sprinkle it right over top of all the peaches.

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And drizzle lightly with some really good syrupy balsamic.

Bacon Wrapped Grilled Peaches

If you don’t have a good aged balsamic, add a teaspoon of sugar to some regular balsamic, put it in a pan and simmer it until it’s reduced by half. Let it cool and you’ll have some pretty good stuff.

Please eat these outside with a special someone or special friend while you laugh, breathe in fresh air and all the goodness that is summer.

AMEN.

Bacon-Wrapped Grilled Peaches
Author: 
Recipe type: appetizer
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16
 
Ingredients
  • 2 ripe peaches, pitted and cut in half
  • 3 oz. soft goat cheese
  • 2 T. chopped green onions or chives
  • 4 slices bacon (not thick cut)
  • 8 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade (about 3 tablespoons
  • 2 T. aged balsamic vinegar
Instructions
  1. Mix goat cheese and green onions and spread evenly on 4 peach halves filling pit indention
  2. Slice each half of peach into fourths.
  3. Cut bacon into thirds and use one piece (1/3 of one slice) to wrap each peach slice covering as much goat cheese as possible.
  4. Lay on foil on grill and grill 10-15 minutes until bacon cooks turning halfway
  5. Remove to platter and sprinkle basil over top
  6. Drizzle balsamic lightly over peaches and serve warm.

If you’d like to swoon over fabulous other recipes using fresh summer peaches, check out what wonderful food bloggers are making this week below for Food Network’s Summer Soiree!

Virtually Homemade: Mixed Summer Fruit Baked Oatmeal
Homemade Delish: Bite-Sized Peach Panini
The Heritage Cook: Grilled Chicken with Peach Chimichurri Sauce (Gluten-Free)
Weelicious: Peach and Ricotta Crostini
Creative Culinary: Fresh Peach and Bourbon Upside Down Cake
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Chocolate Dipped Peaches with Sea Salt
Red or Green: Summer Peach & Tomato Salad
The Mom 100: Sour Cream Peach Cobbler
Domesticate Me: Peach Crumble Smoothie
Daisy at Home: Creamy Peach Popsicles
In Jennie’s Kitchen: Six Ways to Savor Peaches
Healthy Eats: 7 Healthy Ways to Use Peaches in Their Prime
Taste with the Eyes: Grilled Peach Salad, Over-The-Top Maple Bourbon Dressing
Swing Eats: Grilled Peaches with Greek Yogurt, Honey, Lime Zest, and Vanilla
Dishin and Dishes: Bacon Wrapped Grilled Peaches with Goat Cheese and Aged Balsamic
FN Dish: 8 Juicy Ways to Eat Peaches Before They’re Gone

Bacon Wrapped Grilled Peaches Collage

The Drake Seafood and Oysterette

The Drake Seafood and Oysterette exterior

The Drake Seafood and Oysterette exterior

The Drake Seafood and Oysterette is the new offering from the folks at A Good Egg Dining Group led by Keith & Heather Paul. You may have dined at one of their other delicious offerings like Cheevers Cafe, Republic Gastropub, Red PrimeSteak, Kitchen 324 and Tucker’s Onion Burgers.

We do SO love them and their restaurants in our household.

Saturday we attended the soft opening at The Drake and happened to sit with a group of foodie friends at one of the large circular tables, which ended up fitting right in with the concept of The Drake.

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Remember my post about Carlton Landing and how much I loved the sense of community there? Now I am a little in love with the community concept of The Drake as well.

A portion of the bottom of their menu reads:

“This menu is written to be shared, served family style in the center of the table. Think impromptu dinner party with friends.  Dinner will be served “as ready” the moment our kitchen finishes preparation. At Drake, we believe this style of menu highlights the delight of enjoying a great meal.  The Drake is a place to pass the plate, pick up the forks and be happy to share”

Thank you, thank you, thank you to A Good Egg for getting what dining is all about. It’s about hanging out with friends and saying “Ohhh that looks good” and your friend saying “It IS! Want to taste it?” And at The Drake you are given permission to share fabulous tastes together while having enjoyment with friends. Be gone food snobs who don’t get that food sharing is part of fellow-shipping with your besties.

The building itself is part of the new “The Rise” 64,000 square foot development on 23rd Street and The Drake itself is located directly on the corner of 23rd and Walker. Head north down Walker and right next door you’ll have Pizzeria Gusto and The Pump Bar.

The Drake OKC Oklahoma City

The inside reminds me of Kitchen 324 and is light and airy and polished.

The Drake Seafood and Oysterette interior

The oyster bar is long and sleek and beautiful and topped with a cascade of golden bars wrapped in u-shapes going up to the ceiling.

oyster bar The Drake OKC Oklahoma City

And speaking of oysters, let’s get right down to the star(s) of the show shall we?

Oysters.

oysters at The Drake OKC Oklahoma City

We are talking about prime fresh oysters, unlike that which we usually see here in Oklahoma City, The Drake offers up a selection of varieties ranging from the small buttery and briney Kumamoto babies from Humbolt Bay off the coast of California (also the home of my favorite goat cheese),  to the sweet and mineral taste of the Rocky Nook variety from Kingston Bay Massachusetts. And when I say fresh, I  mean it as all the seafood is flown in fresh and not frozen at Drake.

Oysters The Drake OKC Oklahoma City restaurant

You can choose from a variety of mignonette sauces like Cucumber, Rosé,  Yuzu-Jalapeno or Banyuls. A mignonette is a vinegar based sauce typically made with chopped shallots and black pepper. The additional ingredients gourmet them up nicely and the center dish houses some fresh horseradish. Thanks to my dad for instilling a love of horseradish in me from an early age that has now transpired to an addiction to wasabi as well.

You just spoon a little of the mignonette, or horseradish (or both) on the oysters and then slurp them down. The vinegar pairs nicely with the briny creaminess of the oysters and I think the cucumber had to be my favorite, although Mr. Wonderful mixed the cucumber and jalapeno one and created his own version. He always has to be different that guy.

mignonettes oysters The Drake OKC

To order the oysters, just use the given pencil on a smaller menu left on your table like the one below, much like ordering sushi.

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The Treasure Chest was not available at the opening but I am anxious to go back and try it soon.

We started out our meal with a few of the appetizers but this was absolutely my favorite – the Hiramasa Crudo.

Hiramasa Crudo The Drake OKC Oklahoma City

I could eat this as a meal. I loved it so much. First let me explain the terms. Hirimasa is a Pacific based tuna and crudo means “raw”. So basically you’re getting a thinly sliced raw tuna sashimi dressed with thin noodles of cucumber over top, thinly sliced fresno chiles toasted sesame seeds and …puffed rice? Whoever thought of adding puffed rice to this dish – I would like to give them a huge hug. It strangely….worked. And the sauce was one I adored – Asian flares of yuzu and a soy vin lightly covered the bottom of the platter.  This was just wonderful.

Mr. Wonderful ordered the Clam Chowder. It is one of the seven world wonders in his life. The man LOVES clam chowder.

Clam Chowder The Drake Oklahoma City OKC

The clam chowder here is made with Littleneck clams  and also has bits of salt pork, and I’m pretty sure a lot of heavy cream or half-n-half. The flavor was delicious. The bowl got cold very quickly but that is what a restaurant dry run is for (to iron out kinks)…the large shallow bowl just cooled it off too quickly. We suggested maybe a soup urn of sorts with smaller bowls to share would be a good idea and knowing Good Egg, they will remedy it quickly. The flavor was spot on and a neat little trick done at our table was impressive as our waiter Warden drizzled sherry around the soup after he served it.

clam chowder the drake

We ordered a few sides which were delicious…like the Grilled Asparagus in tamarind brown butter.

asparagus the drake okc

And I truly loved this one….Grilled Brussels Sprouts which alternated on the skewer with shishito peppers (swoon) and sat in a dashi sauce with more sliced fresno chiles.

Grilled Brussels Sprouts and shishito the drake

LOVED.

Some items ordered at out table for main dishes were …Seared Hiramasa with orange miso sauce and marinated fennel. Yum.

hiramasa the Drake OKC

Mr. Wonderful got the Lobster roll which was tossed in tarragon mayonnaise and served with drawn butter. Photo credit to Carly Nguyen because I completely missed this picture – there was just too much food happening!

Lobster Roll the Drake OKC Oklahoma City

Now keep an open mind about this next one..you REALLY should.

This is something you don’t normally see in our neck of the woods. A whole branzino (European sea bass) packed in a salt crust and roasted until the crust hardens, holding in all the moisture of this tender fish.

Salt Encrusted Branzino The Drake Oklahoma City OKC

The branzino is then dressed for you at the table. The salt crust is cracked…

whole salt crusted branzino The Drake

And removed…then placed on a new serving platter with a grilled lemon to serve.

whole salt crusted branzino

The fish has also been stuffed with fresh tarragon, sliced garlic cloves and lemon slices.

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IF you are squeamish about the head, eyes and tail, get over it and try this…it’s amazing, moist, delicate and a delicious way to eat fish.

This is something Mr. W and I would go and do on a date night. We’d get some oysters and then split the Seafood Paella for Two.

Seafood Paella for Two The Drake Oklahoma City OKC

This was moist rice infused with saffron broth, mussles, clams, andouille sausage, shrimp and chicken chicharron (crispy chicken skins ya’ll), and good GOSH it’s wonderful. and homey, comfort food deliciousness.

If you are not a seafood fan (please help me understand you?), there are non-seafood options like Wagyu wood grilled skirt steak, Black Mac & Chicken and holy WOW…this Fried Chicken Sandwich, which might possibly have been the best chicken sandwich I’ve ever had.

Fried Chicken Sandwich The Drake Oklahoma City

It had a pickle slaw, a brioche bun and something called “hey hey sauce” which was fantastic.

And of course we had to taste dessert. Remember there were five of us?  We really weren’t that bad when you consider there were FIVE of us….I repeat.

FIVE OF US.

First up was the Lemon Cloud Pie. There was limoncello involved you guys, real whipped cream and a biscoff crust. YES.

The Lemon Cloud Pie The Drake

Next up -and if I may say so, there was a truly fun take on milk and chocolate. Chocolate Hushpuppies came out hot and crisp on the outside and soft and moist and super chocolatey on the inside and were served with a ramekin of chocolate ganache and to wash it down…there was a shot of ice cold milk.

Chocolate Hushpuppies The Drake OKC Oklahoma City

I know that probably just about did you in, but this was my favorite dessert.

The Drake Creamsicle

Man, the crust on this was so good – a brown butter coconut cookie with  a layer of vanilla orange shertbet swirl, layers of orange curd,  and a salted Chantilly cream.

OUTSTANDING!

And I would be remiss without mentioning the drinks at The Drake.  All drinks are fresh juiced and really good. I loved the idea of the bottled double drinks that come out in quaint bottles and are poured table side for you.

drinks The Drake OKC

The Drake is going to become a well-loved addition to the Oklahoma City restaurant scene for seafood lovers and more. Friends will meet here, families will hang out together and feast off of shared dishes and have memorable times.

I know we will.

The Drake Seafood and Oysterette
519 NW 23rd St, Suite 111
Oklahoma City, OK 73103
405-605-3399
website

A sample of the menu:

The Drake Seafood and Oysterette Menu Oklahoma City OKC

Trying to find The Drake? Below is a map to help you!

Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream

Final 5

Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream Recipe

I have to confess to you that I am not much of an ice cream fan.

There I’ve said it.

Anything icy-cold hurts my sensitive teeth and I just have learned I don’t enjoy eating it much.  My family however, makes several runs during the week to Braums, our local dairy store to buy things like Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream.  I thought maybe I should learn how to make it and save hundreds of dollars each year so I began looking at recipes.

Three weeks ago, this little naughty kitchen toy arrived so I set to work.

cuisinart ice cream maker

So far, I’ve tackled several different versions like Coffee Ice Cream with Chocolate Chunks (Mr. Wonderful’s favorite), Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream with Peanut Butter cups in it (the kids thought vanilla would be better), Vanilla Toffee Crunch (everyone loved!), and Fresh Strawberry.

I could now buy stock in Braum’s Dairy store because I’m mostly funding them with all the whole milk and cream I’m buying.

I have now established what I think is my perfect vanilla ice cream base for several different ice creams including this Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream recipe.

Here is how it goes!

To begin, pour one and one half cups of whole milk and one and one-half cups of heavy cream into a medium sized sauce pan.

milk and cream

Add in one-third cup of white sugar and one-third cup of brown sugar,  one teaspoon of vanilla (use PURE vanilla extract, not imitation!), and a pinch of salt.

Whisk it up and turn the heat to medium.  You just want this to start steaming, not really boiling. Make sure you keep whisking it every ten seconds or so, so the bottom doesn’t scorch like milk does.

In a small bowl, add four egg yolks.  Save the whites for after you eat ice cream. You know, the next morning when you’re feeling guilty, you can make an egg white omelet and redeem yourself!

egg yolks

Whisk them up well.

Once your milk/cream mixture steams, ladle about ½ cup of it into the eggs.

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Whisk quickly to incorporate.

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This is calling “tempering” and it keeps the eggs from scrambling if you added them quickly to the hot milk mixture.

Add in another ½ cup of the hot milk mixture.  Whisk.  Now you can pour the egg mixture into the milk mixture safely. Whisk it in quickly.

ice cream custard

Bring the mixture to a steam again and keep whisking it for about ten minutes.

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It will have thickened up enough to coat the back of a spoon.

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Remove it immediately from the heat.  Set a fine mesh strainer over a medium sized bowl.

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Pour the custard into the strainer, and using your whisk, begin whisking to push the custard through strainer to weed out anything grainy that might be in it.

strain custard

Stir in a teaspoon of vanilla and one more cup of cream.

cream in ice cream custard

Cover the custard and put it into the refrigerator for several hours or even overnight.

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Next, turn on your ice cream machine and pour it in!  ( I have this ice cream maker and I love it!)

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Set a time for 15 minutes. At the end of 15 minutes, the ice cream will be like a thick milkshake.

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While that’s mixing, chop up your peanut butter cups.  I used the small wrapped Reeses peanut butter cups.

Peanut Butter Cups

I like them fairly large but you don’t want things TOO large in your ice cream. Note the picture above for the size.  You’ll want roughly about 2 cups of chopped peanut butter cups.  If you don’t like a lot, scale back to a cup and one-half, but why in the WORLD would you do that?

After 15 minutes, add in the chopped peanut butter cups.

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Let it mix to incorporate all the lovely peanut butter cup pieces.

peanut butter cup

This should only take about a minute or two tops.

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Then scoop it into an air-tight container and pop it in the freezer for several hours. We like it best after at least 4 hours or better yet, overnight.

Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream Closeup

This is delicious.

Trust me.

Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups milk
  • 2½ cups cream (divided)
  • ⅓ cup white granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1½ c, chopped peanut butter cups
Instructions
  1. Combine the milk, 1½ cups of the cream (save the other cup for later), sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat the base until it begins to steam, whisking continuously.
  2. When the base begins to steam, pour one- half cup out of the pan and into the egg yolks, whisk immediately.
  3. Add another ½ cup of the milk to the eggs. Whisk.
  4. When completely combined, add the yolk mixture back into the rest of the of the base, and heat until the mixture reaches 170°F, or until it coats the back of a spoon.
  5. Remove immediately from heat and pour through a fine mesh sieve using whisk to push through.
  6. Add in the remaining cup of cold cream and let chill for 3 or 4 hours or overnight.
  7. Pour the base into an ice cream maker and churn according to your ice cream maker manufacturer's instructions.
  8. When 1 minute remains, add in peanut butter cups and let stir for full minute. Don't add earlier, as you don't want to overprocess and break up the peanut butter cups.
  9. Yield: Makes a quart ane one-half of ice cream.
Other additions:
  1. teaspoons instant coffee granules and 1 t. coffee extract to make coffee ice cream
  2. Add 4 oz. of Heath bar crunchies to make toffee ice cream
  3. Sprinkle ¼ c. sugar over 1½ c. sliced strawberries and let set for ½ hour to make strawberry ice cream. Pour in juice and strawberries at 1 minute to go mark.

 

peanut butter cup ice cream recipe

Check out what other fabulous bloggers made in the way of frozen treats for Food Network’s Summer Soiree this week!

The Hungry Traveler Blog: Banana Coconut Paletas
The Lemon Bowl: Chocolate Peanut Butter Magic Shell
Creative Culinary: Strawberry, Lemon and Basil Sherbet
The Heritage Cook: Grilled Plums and Port Parfaits (Gluten-Free)
TasteBook: Triple Chocolate Mousse Pie
Dishin & Dishes: Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream
Homemade Delish: Jalapeno and Peach Gelato
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Healthy Chocolate & Greens Fudgsicles
Red or Green: Ice Cream Sandwiches with Frozen Yogurt
The Mom 100: Easy Chocolate Mousse
Weelicious: Fruity Lemonade Ice Pops
Taste with the Eyes: Figs and Sabayon à la Julia Child
Healthy Eats: Puddings, Pops and Pies: 7 Desserts Best Served Cold
In Jennie’s Kitchen: Seven Sensational Frozen Treats
FN Dish: 8 Desserts to Check Off Your Frozen-Treat Bucket List

 

Recipes to Beat the Heat of Summer

thermoter

Recipe to beat the heat

It’s freaking HOT here in Oklahoma right now.  Just making it from anywhere out to your car coats you in a fine layer of sweat immediately.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t care much for standing over a hot stove or turning my oven on during this particularly steamy time of the year so I thought I’d offer you guys some “beat the summer heat” types of recipes that are some of my favorites! Just hold your mouse over the  

  • Grill these Hatch chile Salmon Burgers to avoid turning on your oven!

I’d also love to hear what you make to beat the heat in the summer? Please tell me in the comments below!

Carlton Landing Brings Back Community

View Carlton Landing Lookout 2

View Carlton Landing Lookout 2

A couple of weekends ago, Mr. Wonderful and I were lucky enough to be invited out to Carlton Landing, a lake resort community that has been around and growing over the past five years on Lake Eufala, about a two and a half hour drive from East from Oklahoma City.

I think the word “community” is most certainly a must in describing Carlton Landing.

I say this because during the summers I grew up at my family cottage on Lake Otsego in Michigan.  Once it’s disappeared from your life,  you never stop craving the small lake community experience. It  engrains itself as a part of your soul and you want to live it again no matter where you’ve moved onto in your life.

Arbutus beach Seifert cabin

My childhood, teenager, and even young motherhood summers have memories built around our cottage vacations.  My children couldn’t wait to go to the cottage and spend their days on Arbutus Beach. When my aunts decided to sell the cabin that my grandfather and uncles built all those years ago, my cousins and I went into mourning, until at last, one of my cousins purchased it and kept it for a few years before selling it.

To know that someone else is making memories in our beloved cottage is still a bittersweet pill for me to swallow, and I only hope there are cousins running up and down the streets with fishing poles and racing to swim to the buoy beyond the t-shaped dock.  I hope they are trying to catch minnows with little plastic nets, and roasting marshmallows in the fire pit on the driveway at night, all the while licking all the ooey-gooey marshmallows off of their fingers awhile listening to one of their uncles tell “fish stories”.

These memories came racing back when we visited Carlton Landing. The sense of community there is just endearing to me.

When we looked out our front window Saturday morning, the neighbors waved to me from their porch that was this close.

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This was a little unsettling to me as I was still in my pajamas. And a little later when I snuck out to the screened-in porch to read my morning devotions, they started to talk to me across the boardwalk. While at first this was a little odd to me, immediately it all started coming back to me.

It came back to me what it felt like to have coffee with a neighbor first thing in them morning and share life stories, and enter into relationship with people that are near you…and well, it just started to feel wonderful. Mr. Wonderful continues to tell people I turned into a different person at Carlton Landing. A newly reinvigorated and “all my senses woken up” kind of gal.

And above all, it feels like a safe place…you know…where you can leave your doors unlocked and know someone across the way is watching out for you.

kids fishing Carlton Landing Oklahoma

Watching kids walk down the boardwalks carrying fishing poles or riding their bikes makes one feel like they’ve stepped back in time. Kids are actually OUTSIDE all the time and it made me smile to see them there instead of inside with a game controller or cell phone.

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Carlton Landing is not just a vacation rental spot, people actually live here as well.  The community was founded by the Humphrey’s family. Remember Kirk Humphreys, former mayor of Oklahoma City? His son Grant and his wife Jen started the vision, and if you don’t believe they love community, just go to church in their living room on Sunday mornings while visiting.   It was the Humphrey’s dream to build a place where people could go who wanted to be outdoors and be active, but also interact with their neighbors and town the way life used to happen before technology, crazy schedules and the like.

We drove into Carlton Landing just in time for dinner, and I was mildly excited about this dinner because it was being cooked by Chef Josh Valentine (of Top Chef 2013 and The George Prime Steakhouse fame of late) who has moved out to the area with his kids to be a part of the going on’s of The Landing. Josh and other visiting chefs use local produce, meat and dairy to fix a picnic style meal at the town pavilion on Friday nights. As we drove in, we passed by the tables being set up at the pavilion. And incidentally, that pavilion is constantly being converted to yoga class area or ping pong table area depending on the time of day.

The Farm community dinner Carlton Landing

But first we had to make a quick pit-stop at our cottage and unload our car.

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We stayed in a darling cottage that was one of the nicest we’ve stayed in at a lake in Oklahoma.

Blue Moon Cottage Carlton Landing

Inside was just so ..cozy.

blue moon cottage interior carlton landing

And the screened-in porch was my dream.

Photo Jul 24, 6 38 25 PM

I. Want. One.

If you know me at all, you know I live to be outside, and without bugs is always a beautiful thing.

We felt like a king and a queen when we saw our adorable welcome basket, themed with all made-in-Oklahoma products.

welcome basket carlton landing

We headed over the to pavilion.  The weekend we were there, the weather was a typical Oklahoma scorcher, but we endured…and the food was served in paper take-out style boxes along with options for beer and wine.

Farm Community Dinner Carlton Landing

The carpaccio-style summer squash was layered with red veined sorrel and sprinkled with cherry tomatoes and cheese and lightly dressed and I seriously loved it. My mandoline and I have a date to try to make this soon.  There were also grilled skewers of wild boar and chicken along with some habaneros from the farm and roasted potatoes.

And oh have MERCY. There were these.

Farm at Carlton Landing Community Dinner Dessert

I don’t remember what Josh called “these” but they remind me of a cronut or a croissant dough fried into  a doughnut and topped with fresh whipped cream, ganache and more sprinkles of chocolate. They were still warm and good gosh were they good!

I met another fun blogger, Thuy, who sat at our table. You should totally check out her site – it’s awesome (and her boys were adorable!)!

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See what community does for you? You make friends and that is just how it should be.

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While we’re on the subject of food, I should point out that there is a farm to table led movement at Carlton Landing, which I am a huge fan of.

There are two “farms” to speak of – one is the community garden in the town square that is accessible to all.

Community Gardens Carlton Landing

Mr. Wonderful was taking notes of the galvanized sided raised beds, as we are adding more raised beds to our garden next year. We strolled through and watched town folk picking sunflowers and cucumbers along the way.

And get this…there is a chicken house. 

chicken house Carlton Landing

Feel free to saunter right up to the wooden doors on the side anytime and see if there are fresh organic eggs for you to pluck out of the bins. The town kids really enjoyed playing up in the house and watching the chickens.

The second garden is the big garden for the community. Tended to by the town farmers, this will be functional by next year and will be a source of organic produce for the town restaurants once they start up. Town members can also get CSA baskets from the farm and I believe the farm will eventually provide a Farmer’s Market for the town as well.

The farm is also a source of learning for the town school – Carlton Landing Academy, which is about the cutest looking school house I’ve ever seen.

Carlton Landing Academy

I spoke earlier of the town square. This is located on the main street of the town as you drive into Carlton Landing. There is the Meeting House (and our bikes) where you can find out lots of information about the development of The Landing.

Meeting House Carlton Landing

Outside the Meeting House is a patio area with tables. On the weekends Chef Valentine sets up his airstream food truck called “Buds on the Lake”.

Josh Valentine food truck

Josh serves up some delicious boxed lunch offerings and you can hang out on the patio and feast on them while music plays around you.

Photo Jul 25, 12 39 41 AM

Photo Jul 25, 12 39 58 AM

Also there is a General Store. And the General Store has a porch with a table. On the table is a giant glass urn full of dog biscuits because…well…dogs need community also!

Photo Jul 25, 9 15 37 AM

Next door to Bud’s and behind the Meeting House we got some great Oklahoma-grown produce at the little farmer’s market that was up and running.

Photo Jul 25, 8 58 38 AM

And there is, of course, water.

pool house carlton landing

There is a lovely pool area with fountains that arch across the pool, a splash pad for the kids, and even an outdoor kitchen and grill and large table to accomodate…yes MORE community by promoting cookouts.

Photo Jul 25, 4 16 17 PM

And there is a great dock area where you can grab a paddle board or kayak and hang out and swim with your family.

boat dock carlton landing

boat dock Carlton Landing

Just be aware that when you sneak down to the boat dock at night with your grown-up husband to relive a childhood memory of looking for a shooting star, make sure you have a flashlight and be cautious, because in country living, you just might see a doggone copperhead. But hey, even the snakes are friendly here and this one decided not to bite our bare flip-flopped feet which were only a few feet away.

Photo Jul 25, 10 22 35 PM (1)

We are most definitely going back to Carlton Landing next summer. We really enjoyed our weekend. We loved the concept and the community we experienced.

Photo Jul 25, 8 02 27 PM (1)

We felt it even as we were driving out…

Carlton Landing Exit Signs

Tamashii Ramen House

Tamashii Ramen House Exterior OKC OKlahoma City

Photo Aug 01, 11 15 57 PM

We have a store-front ramen noodle house in Oklahoma City.

Glory be and thanks to all that is good and right.

Miso Corn Ramen Tamashii OKC

We waited a bit as we do with any restaurant for them to iron out their kinks before heading over to Tamashii Ramen House this weekend. And our experience was absolutely fantastic.
Tamashii Ramen House Oklahoma City Interior

If you’ve never experienced authentic ramen before, you need to try it at Tamashii.  It’s so unlike those ten-cent packets you get at the grocery story, and you really need to experience it first-hand.

We fell in love with authentic ramen at L.A.’s Daikokuya in Little Tokyo  and it was tough coming home and thinking we couldn’t have a similar taste experience here in OKC.

While fairly small (even the famous L.A. ramen dives are small), I did like the inside atmosphere of Tamashii. It’s all black vinyl, rustic wood and brick with some classy touches.

Interior photo Tamashii Ramen House Oklahoma City

I especially love the dishes, being the dish freak that I am.

ramen bowls Tamashii

Most ramen houses offer you a bar to sit at and watch the magic happening behind the counter and in this regard, Tamashii doesn’t disappoint.

ramen bar counter Tamashii Ramen House OKC

Behind the counter simmers the star of the show – usually the tonkotsu broth.

Photo Aug 01, 10 36 21 PM

The stock for this famous Japanese noodle soup is made from pork bones, which are simmered for hours, breaking down the collagen, marrow and fat, unleashing a creamy, white liquid.

When it’s time to plate up the ramen, the broth is ladled into the bowl along with pork, noodles, green onions and other elements including bamboo and a seasoned perfectly soft-boiled egg. Some places serve the noodles on the side but they came right in the bowl at Tamishii.  Proper eating time is under ten minutes for a bowl of ramen so the noodles don’t break down so go ahead and slurp away!

This was Mr. Wonderful’s bowl of the traditional Tonkotsu Ramen with the tonkotsu broth, noodles, marinated spiced egg and the braised pork belly.green onions, and marinated bamboo. The tonkotsu broth is typically pretty salty so be prepared for that and if you don’t like salt, you might try another option.

Tonkatsu ramen at Tamishii Oklahoma City

The pork at Tamashii is braised pork belly. I much preferred the way the pork is cooked at Tamashii in comparison with other pork I’ve had. It had a crispy outside and tender inside bite to and it was delicious. The noodles are not made in-house but are made just for them and they were very good. They are precooked in baskets and drained and left ready to add to the hot soup.

noddles at Timashii Oklahoma City

Here’s a little FAQ for you on ramen noodles. In order to stand up to time in broth, the noodles are made alkaline, usually with kansui, an alkaline, mineral-rich water sold in Asian markets. The kansui reacts with the flour to give ramen its yellow color. In Japan, these noodles are taken very seriously and sometimes take apprentices years to learn to make.

Oh, and another FYI for you on eating ramen…. you should absolutely feel prone to slurp the noodles. It is done with pride and with broth running down one’s chin.

Ramen bowls at Tamashii range from $8.75 to $9.50 and you can order extra noodles for $1.75 and additional toppings for a small price as well. It’s a good helping of food, so it’s worth the price in my opinion.

I ordered the Miso Butter Corn Ramen to try a new flavor and I just might stick with this one from now on. It was wonderful. You can see the pat of butter melting over the sweet corn in the photo below.

Miso Butter Corn Ramen Timashii Oklahoma City

You can add various things to your ramen at Tamashii (like fish cakes,  marinated bamboo or spicy ground pork) and I added in the black mushroom and seasoned egg. The fresh buttered corn in the miso broth was really nice and I also had the braised pork belly in mine.

There are also offerings of srirachi sauce, soy sauce and white pepper (very traditionally served with ramen although I don’t care for it) to add to your ramen to your liking.

Photo Aug 01, 10 35 34 PM

There are other eating options besides ramen at Timashii as well like Garlic Fried Rice that comes served in the frying pan it’s cooked, and comes with raw eggs that you scramble yourself when it comes out.  And there is also this.

“This” is a favorite dish of mine at ramen places – the Chasudon.

Chasudon Tamashii OKC

Tamishii’s version comes with a braised pork topping ladeled onto steamed rice with their special sauce blend and truffle mayo on top. The special sauce is sort of like a sweet teriyaki sauce. I appreciate that there is a small order of this available for $4.50 or you can get a large for $8.50. I am so glad that we got the small for a taste test because we also had to try a few other things.

The Takoyaki ($4.50) came out hot out of the fryer and was really good.

Takoyaki Tamashii OKC Oklahoma City

If you’ve never had takoyaki before, think of a wheat-flour based savory doughnut laced with small pieces of octupus, deep fried so that it is crisp outside and melty and soft inside. It’s usually covered with a Japanese mayo based sauce and bonito shavings.

takoyaki tamishii in Oklahoma City OKC

The Takoyaki was one of Tamishii’s “Small Plate” offerings. You can also order Gyoza, so of course…we did.

Gyoza Tamashii Oklahoma City

The Gyoza was nicely done and steamed and browned perfectly.

Potsickers Gyoza Tamashii Oklahoma City

An honorable hurrah was given by both of us for the chopsticks used at Tamashii, as they deviate from normal slippery chopsticks with an end that is textured for better gripping.

On our next visit, we MUST try the dessert menu – I have seen photos of a dessert they have called Fuji Toast. It looks like a semi-hollowed out loaf of white bread that’s been toasted and drizzled with honey and filled with green tea ice cream.  We tried so many menu items that I couldn’t even finish my ramen noodles which was just a crying shame.

eat ramen tamashii OKC Oklahoma City

He, however, didn’t have any trouble at all.

I love feedback so if you’ve been to Tamashii Ramen House – please leave a comment below and let me know what you thought!

 

Click to add a blog post for Tamashii Ramen on Zomato

(Menu subject to change)
Tamashii Menu Oklahoma City

Tamashii Ramen
321 NW 8th Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73102
405-517-0707
Facebook

Need directions to Tamashii Ramen?  See the map below!

Grilled Honey Mustard GLazed Chicken Thighs

Grilled HOney mustard chicken breasts

Grilled HOney mustard chicken breasts

Okay grill people…this is for you and one of those quick week-night dinners that uses very few ingredients but is amazingly delicious.

Grilled Honey Mustard Glazed Chicken Thighs

You already know I love anything honey mustard-like especially this recipe that I make in the oven.

Summer begs for a grilled version so the scorching oven heat doesn’t have to compete with the air-conditioned interior of the house and we made this recipe the other night with just a few staples from my pantry and it was absolutely wonderful.

glazed honey mustard chicken

Marinade the meat for at least an hour, reserving 1/2 cup of the marinade to brush on the finished grilled chicken thighs. It’s a great summer weeknight dish that you’ll come back to!

Grilled Honey Mustard GLazed Chicken Thighs
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. whole grain or stone ground mustard
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1T balsamic vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 /4 t. cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
Instructions
  1. Mix together all ingredients except chicken in a bowl.
  2. Reserve ½ cup for the glace and pour the remaining mixture over the chicken thighs in a shallow long container, tossing with tongs to complete coat.
  3. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour but overnight is really wonderful as well.
  4. Cook on medium heat grill for 5-6 minutes per side
  5. In the last two minutes of grilling, brush both sides of chicken with remaining honey mustard sauce or wait until you plate it on a platter and brush then. Serve quickly!

 

Grilled Honey Mustard Glazed Chicken Thighs 3

Coral Snake Salsa (Apricot Tomatillo)

Iguana grill coral snake salsa recipe

Coral Snake Salsa 1

This salsa.

Has me hopelessly addicted.

Since I noticed fresh apricots in the store 2 weeks ago, I’ve made it no less than 4 times. (Revision: I have since made it many more times and when fresh apricots are out, the canned ones either in natural juices or the sweetened ones rinsed of their juices are just as good, maybe better!)

Seriously.

The first batch I made, I couldn’t stop eating.

First off, because the flavor is so unusually wonderful, but secondly, because it was so flippin hot that I couldn’t stop or my mouth would combust. No worries! I’m going to solve that problem, even for kids!

Recently Produce for Kids asked me to feature a recipe featuring fresh produce in the Get Healthy, Give Hope campaign which will raise money for Homeland’s designated local charity – the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma’s Food for Kids Backpack Program.

Produce for Kids logo

Oh, THIS is something I believe in, I thought and was so excited to help. I wish I could go back in time and build healthier habits in my kiddos. It’s not too late, and I’m converting them every day to yummy and fresh recipes (as we speak). Kids love salsa in Mexican restuarants here, at least Oklahoma kiddos do, so I thought I’d scale the heat down and use this for inspiration.

Since 2011, Homeland has raised nearly $60,000 for local children’s organizations. Homeland is one of nine retailers participating in the national campaign, which is expected to pass $5 million in overall contributions in 2014! To help Homeland increase its donation, shoppers are encouraged from June 1 through 30 to add more produce to their grocery carts. All participating fruit and vegetable suppliers will make a consumption-based donation to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.

Iguana grill coral snake salsa recipe

If you have kids, or know someone who needs healthy cooking/buying options for their kids, please follow them on the following social media sites or share these with your loved ones!

Also, be sure to check out Produce for Kids on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest for more info on the campaigns, healthy eating tips and tricks and delicious recipes that call for spring produce!

One thing I would encourage parents to do is to “buy seasonal”.

What does this mean, exactly? I mean you hear it all the time.  Simply put, it means if asparagus is on sale in the spring -BUY IT!  This helps your budget but also encourages you to try new produce and recipes for them all the time.

This week I saw apricots and something clicked in my mind.  A salsa recipe that we absolutely LOVE that was created by Chef Ryan Parrott here in Oklahoma City when he was the chef at Iguana Grill. Ryan tweeted this recipe once upon a time, which I missed, but when I begged him for it, he generously accepted and told me it is not a deep dark secret so I wanted to share.

Apricots are very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. They are also a good source of Dietary Fiber and Potassium, and a very good source of Vitamin A and Vitamin C so make the mild version of this salsa and your little ones will scoop it up with joy because the flavors are outstanding. I will offer the original (very hot) rendition of this salsa ..and, shall I say “the weenie” variation for kiddos and adults alike who can’t handle the heat.

Start off with 2 cups of halved apricots. The beauty of many salsas are that you toss all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse them giving you fresh and delicious salsa in all of two whole minutes.

This is one of those recipes.

Slice apricots (no need to peel) in half until you can throw them into a 2 cup measuring cup and fill it.  

coral snake salsa

The first time I made it, the large apricots I had only required 4 1/2 apricots to fulfill this requirement, but the second time, I got smaller ones…much smaller, and it took eight, so you’ll have to go with what you buy.

Photo Jun 14, 1 03 24 AM

Next up, you’ll need two tomatillos.  Tomatillos look like a green tomato and are covered in a papery husk that has to be removed.  They lend a tart and slightly spicy flavor to anything they are cooked for and are wonderful.   They are also a good source of Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Niacin, Potassium and Manganese.

fresh tomatillos Coral Snake Salsa

To prep them, simply pull off the husk and then give them a rinse, because for some reason, they have a sticky residue on them when you do.

tomatillo husk Cut these in fourths and along with the apricots, add them into your food processor bowl.

apricots coral snake salsa

Now, if you are making this for kids, please look away.

The next ingredient? 

habanero recipe

Two habanero peppers.

Please in the name of all that is right and good use precautions when using these babies. I keep a box of beautician rubber gloves under my sink for just such a evil ingredient as this.  I learned when putting my contacts in, you should ALWAYS do this, without fail. Well, you know, if you want to have sight for the rest of your life and all.

gloves habaneros

 I cut these open and removed the stems and ribs, but if you are one of those people who can eat lit fire, go ahead and leave them in. 

Habanero peppers

If you’re making this for kids, use 1/2 of a jalapeno pepper with the stems and ribs removed. It’ll lend a bit of spice but nothing too drastic.

jalapeno peppers

You’ll need two tablespoons of cilantro but I just grabbed a small hunk of leaves and threw them in. Also add in 1/2 of a red onion roughly chunked.

red onion coral snake salsa

Add 1/2 cup orange juice and a tablespoon each of salt and pepper (the second batch, I reduced the salt by 1/2).

 

Then just hit pulse on your food processor until it looks kind of chunky, but is pureed somewhat.

Coral Snake Salsa

Then eat and enjoy….and keep eating…

Coral snake salsa from Iguana Grill recipe

Because it’s addictive.

Pour it over chicken or fish or shrimp.

It’s SO addictive.

Author Note:The following recipe is the original, I usually adapt it by omitting the jalapeno and using one habanero, stems and seeds removed. I also LOVE It with canned apricots in off season. It’s also really good to make with fresh peaches!

Coral Snake Salsa
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • (Recipe courtesty of Ryan Parrott)
  • 2 c. apricots (or 2 cups rinsed and drained canned apricot halves)
  • ¼ c. orange juice
  • 2 habeneros
  • 2 T. cilantro
  • 2 Tomatillos
  • ½ jalepeno pepper
  • ½ small red onion
  • 1 T. kosher salt (I used ½ T.)
  • 1 T. black pepper (Also used ½ T.)
  • Kids version - substitute ½ small jalapeno, seeded with ribs removed)
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients into food processor and pulse until still chopped and not totally smooth. No need to peel the apricots. For the tomatillos, peel off husks and rinse to remove the stickiness, no need to peel, just quarter.

Corral Snake Salsa Recipe apricot

See what other wonderful food bloggers are making this week in Food Network’s Summer Soiree featuring “no cook” dishes!

Feed Me Phoebe: 5 Farmer’s Market Summer Salad Recipes
Healthy Eats: Ovenless Entertaining
Dishin & Dishes: Coral Snake Salsa (Apricot Tomatillo)
The Mom 100: Simple Raspberry Fool
Domesticate Me: Arugula Salad with Shaved Zucchini, Pistachios and Parmesan
Taste with the Eyes: Santa Barbara Sea Urchin à la Jean-Georges
Homemade Delish: Delicious Ceviche
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Tomato & Mozzarella Sandwich with Basil-Garlic Scape Pesto
Red or Green: Gott’s Gazpacho
Swing Eats: Green Grapes, Drunken Goat Cheese, and Jalapenos on a Toothpick
Bacon and Souffle: Scallop Ceviche
FN Dish: A Complete Menu of No-Cook Recipes for the Whole Day

Watermelon Jalapeno Agua Fresca (Aguas Frescas)

Watermelon Jalapeno Agua Fresca Recipe 2

Watermelon Jalapeno Agua Fresca Recipe 4

 

A couple of years ago, when I was finishing my book, Mr. Wonderful and I went on a trip to the Los Angeles area for a week. He worked for two days and I sat on the beach with my laptop writing. Then, we traveled up and down Highway 1 along the coast stopping at every beach and staying at various hotels along the way.  One in particular near Santa Monica was absolutely wonderful. It had an outdoor lobby in the center and had lush groupings of fire-pits with beautiful couches and chairs, complete with the ability to privacy with long resplendent curtains you could pull around them. The pool had cabanas around it with lounge chairs at ground level built down into wooden platforms. It was by far, one of the most-glamorous and enjoyable hotels we’ve ever stayed at.

By day we would traipse down to the beach and enjoy watching the surf-dudes try and conquer the waves, and then we’d come back for a clothing change and head out to a local place to have lunch. When we returned to the hotel from the beach, however, man were we thirsty!

In the hotel lobby were giant glass urns full of ice water infused with various fruits and vegetables, and I fell in love with one in particular – watermelon and jalapeno. At first, it seemed off-kilter to me but I fell in love with the sweetness of the watermelon and the soft heat of the jalapeno flaring up after the fact in the back of my throat.

That is the inspiration for this agua fresca.

Agua frescas are common to Mexico, Central America and parts of the Carribean. The term agua fresca means “fresh water” and is nothing more than a blending of sweet or sour fruits or sometimes rice (in the case of horchata) with water and some sort of sweetener. They are extremely refreshing in the hot summer and exceptionally good for you too! Watch how easy this one is to make.

Start out by getting a really good watermelon.

Photo Jul 21, 1 59 27 AM

I have the best luck looking for one that has a yellow spot on it and thumps hollow-like when I rap it with my knuckles. The yellow spot means it has rested on that particular spot on the ground for awhile ripening and this peculiar method of selection has usually ended up with sweet ripe results in a watermelon.

Cut it up into slices, remove the rind and cut into rough chunks until you get six cups. This was about a half of a medium-sized seedless watermelon. Except it had seeds, so I’m not sure what’s up with that.

Watermelon cut collage

Now slice off the tail end of a jalapeno and slice it in half. Scrape the seeds and white ribs out with the pointed end of a spoon. If you think the jalapeno is too adventurous for you, simply leave it out. The plain ol’ regular watermelon agua fresca is delicious by itself!

jalapeno slice

Place both the watermelon chunks and the pieces of jalapeno into your blender and then pop the lid on. If need be to get your blender going, add a bit of water (maybe a couple of tablespoons) to the blender. Then whiz it up! If you can’t fit all six cups, do about four and then when it begins to liquify, you can push the other remaining chunks through the hole of the blender. Puree this to a very smooth consistency and then pour it into a bowl or pitcher through a fine sieve. You can press the solids (kind of foamy-looking stuff) in the sieve with the back of a large spoon or spatula to really get all the juice out.

Blend watermelon for Agua Fresca

Now add in the juice of two limes, one and one-half cups of water and two tablespoons of either honey or Truvia (maybe less depending on your sweet preference). Also take your jalapeno slices and 2/3 cup of fresh mint leaves and two more limes sliced thinly and add them in along with 2-3 cups of ice cubes.

watermelon agua fresca collage

Stir up the pitcher with a long spoon.

pitcher of watermelon jalapeno agua fresca

And pour some into glasses.

Watermelon Jalapeno Agua Fresca Recipe 3

Refreshing doesn’t even begin to cover it.

AWatermelon Jalapeno Agua Fresca (Aguas Frescas)
Author: 
Recipe type: Drink
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 6 c. watermelon, cut in chunks
  • ½ medium sized jalapeno, ribs and seeds scraped out
  • 1½ c. water
  • 2 large limes, juiced (about ¼ cup)
  • 2 T. honey or 2 T. Truvia
  • Garnish: 2 limes, sliced into rounds, 1 jalapeno, sliced into rounds, seeds removed, ⅔ c. fresh mint leaves
Instructions
  1. Place watermelon and jalapeno in blender. If needed, add a little of the water to start the blending process.
  2. Once the mixture is finely blended, pour it through a fine sieve into a bowl.
  3. Squeeze in lime juice and add any remaining water and honey or Truvia.
  4. Pour into large pitcher and add ice, lime and jalepeno slices and mint
  5. Serve in glasses with ice

Want some more some more watermelon inspired recipes? check out what other wonderful food bloggers are featuring in Food Network’s Summer Soirée below!

Weelicious: Watermelon Cinnamon Granita
Homemade Delish: Refreshing Watermelon Salsa
Healthy Eats: Pretty in Pink: 6 Dishes Made Better with Watermelon
Creative Culinary: Margarita Watermelon
The Wimpy Vegetarian: Watermelon and Peach Salsa
Dishin & Dishes: Watermelon Jalapeno Agua Fresca
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Watermelon Salsa
Red or Green: Watermelon, Corn & Jalapeno Salad
The Mom 100: Watermelon Strawberry Smoothie
Taste with the Eyes: Unique Watermelon Salad – Pomegranate Syrup, Feta, Cucumber
FN Dish: 6 Party-Ready Ways to Take Watermelon Off the Rind

 

 

 

 

 

 

how do you make agua fresca

A Modern Way to Eat – Cookbook Review

a-modern-way-to-eat-anna-jones-goodhousekeeping.co_.uk_

a-modern-way-to-eat-anna-jones-goodhousekeeping.co_.uk_

Hello, my name is Katie and I have a vegetable addiction.

Other than eggplant, whose squishy weirdness I just can’t get an affection for, there has not been a vegetable that I don’t fall in love with. Its not secret if you know that I adore my vegetable garden and a good portion of my meal almost often involves numerous vegetables.

I also love this book.

Anna Jones’ A Modern Way to Eat is a gorgeous and divergent set of recipes that are unlike anything I’ve seen before except maybe for Yotam Ottolenghi’s masterpieces Plenty and Plenty More. In A Modern Way to Eat, Jones pieces together vegetarian dishes that combine less than usual sets of ingredients to make some beautiful dishes.

Don’t let the cover of this book fool you. It is pretty uninspiring and pristine-looking with a kind of boring picture on the front but when you start to turn the pages of the book, the photos are gorgeous and full of life and color.

I am less than halfway through perusing through its pages and already have a rainbow set of tabs marked of recipes I can’t wait to try.

A Modern Way to Eat cookbook review

A sampling of the recipes I’m drawn to is the “A New Eggs Benedict”, a play on the traditional dish but using roasted sweet potato slices stacked up, and then topped with caramelized red onions and sautéed spinach topped with a poached egg and avocado cashew nut modern version of Hollandaise.

This is representative of Anna’s take on updating an old classic but making it more vegetable packed but keeping deliciousness as well.

Another thing I really love within the book are the mint green colored pages in each section that offer many varieties of making something.  There is a base starting point and then each additional column offers additions to continue the recipe or to make it different with a list of ingredient suggestions. It opens your mind up to the many different creations of a salad, a soup, a pesto, etc. that you can invent by following her suggestions.

If you are a very traditional recipe person, this book might intimidate you with its flavors and spices from around the world, but to me it’s a challenge ….and a healthy one at that!

*In compliance with FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received this book through Blogging for Books for this review (but I would totally buy it had I not).

Kale Pesto and Mushroom Stuffed Porterhouse Chops

Grilled Kale Pesto and Mushroom Stuffed Porterhouse Pork Chops

 

Grilled Kale Pesto and Mushroom Stuffed Porterhouse Pork Chops

This week I sauntered into a grocery store near my house looking for something different.  I’ve had just about enough of chicken over the past few weeks and needed something different. My eyes came to rest on some rather large pork chops and I looked at the label.

Porterhouse Pork Chops.

Stuffed Porterhouse Chops

Huh?

Although I am a lover of anything bacon, I tend to steer away from pork in general, especially pork chops.  Most folks attempts at them come out dry and rather bland so I guess that being my taste experience, I gave up on them.

A few years back the pork industry decided to re-invent the names for pork chops so us common folk could get a clue about what we were cooking thus offering what once used to be “chops” into Ribeye chops (what a Ribeye is to steak…well you get the picture right?), porterhouse chops and New York chops. These names replaced what used to be some confusing names like loin chops and rib chops. Who named these things anyway?  Pork butt has always confused me because, well it isn’t from the butt but from the shoulder. And funny thing, ham is actually from the butt, but it’s not called “butt”.

Somewhere there is a butcher laughing at the confusion in all of us.

Since most of us know our steak cuts, we can now get what the heck these chops are about and how they are intended to be cooked.

The Porterhouse chop often has part of the pork loin attached to it, contains a T-shaped bone with loin on one side of it, and tenderloin on the other. If you get one with more tenderloin on it, the price will be a bit higher. This along with the fact that they are usually cut pretty thick, allows them to be a good candidate for grilling.

And that’s exactly what we did.  I just chopped up some mushrooms.

Photo Jul 12, 4 28 32 AM

And I added them into a pan and sauteed them with some chopped onions and garlic.

Photo Jul 12, 4 31 03 AM

Just for fun, but you could skip this step, I poured in about 1/4 cup of dry red wine to deglaze the pan and let it bubble until it was almost gone.

Photo Jul 12, 4 31 16 AM

Then I removed the pan from the stove and allowed it to cool on the counter top for a bit. When it was cool, I stirred in a couple of tablespoons of the Kale Pesto (click here for the recipe) that I made the other day. You don’t want to stir the pesto into a hot pan and mushrooms or the oils in it may separate.

Photo Jul 12, 4 32 26 AM

Then I slit the Porterhouse chops all the way through to the bone so that I could stuff them with the above goodness.

I spooned in a couple of tablespoons of this mixture into the center of each chop, then I sealed them with toothpicks, brushed them with olive oil and seasoned them outside with salt and pepper. Then they went out to the grill where the Wonderful guy took over.

grill Porterhouse chops

He’s really good about making those pretty diamond grill marks on meat. It’s one of his many talents.

grill porterhouse pork chops

As the meat cooks, it will start to seal shut around the edges. We grilled these for about 4-5 minutes on each side or until the center temperature was about 145º.

how to grill Porterhouse pork chops

These were so huge we just had a meager side of grilled asparagus to eat alongside of them.

Porterhouse Pork Chops

The filling keeps the meat nice and moist.

Stuffed Porterhouse Pork Chops

I believe I actually might like pork chops now.

Kale Pesto and Mushroom Stuffed Porterhouse Chops
Author: 
Recipe type: Meat
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 2 Porterhouse Pork Chops, at least ¾ inch thick
  • 1 recipe Kale Pesto (see link in blog post)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1½ cup chopped mushrooms
  • ½ c. chopped onion
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • ¼ c. dry red wine (like Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • olive oil for brushing
  • salt
  • pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat
  2. Also heat up a sauce pan and add 1 tablespoon olive oil
  3. Chop mushrooms, onions and garlic and add to pan. Saute over medium heat until mushrooms are softened and browning. Pour in wine and stir until wine has reduced almost to nothing.
  4. Remove pan from heat and let cool (put in refrigerator to speed this up)
  5. When cool, add pesto into pan and mix to combine
  6. Cut slit across the center of pork chops all the way to the bone to make a pocket to stuff.
  7. Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of pesto/mushroom mixture into pocket and use toothpicks to seal the edges shut.
  8. Brush both sides of chops with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  9. Grill about 4-5 minutes per side or until meat thermometer reads 145º when poked into center of meat.
  10. Remove and allow to rest at least 5 minutes before eating.

Do you love pesto like I do? See what other fabulous bloggers made for Food Network’s Summer Soiree this week featuring pestos!

The Lemon Bowl: Lemony Pistachio Basil Pesto
Dishin & Dishes: Kale Pesto and Mushroom Stuffed Porterhouse Chops
Creative Culinary: Pesto Potato Salad with Parmesan Walnuts
Weelicious: Kale Pesto
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Garden Salad With Basil-Pesto Vinaigrette
Red or Green: Corn On The Cob With Basil-Jalapeno Vinaigrette
Homemade Delish: Spinach and Kale Pesto
Domesticate Me: Ratatouille Quinoa Bake with Pesto and Buffalo Mozzarella
The Mom 100: Crusted Loin Lamb Chops with Mint Basil Pesto
Taste with the Eyes: Fresh, Fabulous, and Frugal – Carrot Top Pesto
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Chicken Breasts with Coconut and Cilantro Pesto
Healthy Eats: Green Is the New Black: 5 Must-Try Pestos
FN Dish: 6 Non-Pasta Ways to Go Big with Pesto

Kale Pesto and Mushroom Stuffed Pork Chops

 

Mixed Berry Rustic Tart (Galette or Crostata)

Mixed Berry Galette 2

Mixed Berry Galette 2

This is a go-to super easy dessert to make for when you have a last minute get-together.

Mixed Berry Galette

However, your friends will think you baked for hours when you bring this out to the table.  I am including a recipe for the crust, but in a pinch, you can just use a store-bought crust – you know, the kind by the refrigerator pop open biscuits?   You can unroll the pie crust, mix up the berry filling and have it in the oven in literally five short minutes.

Mixed Berry Rust Tart 4

Because it’s a free form “rustic” tart, it doesn’t even have to be crimped all pretty-like either. In France they call this a “galette” and in Italy they call this a “crostata”.  I call it a “rustic tart” because I’m not exactly sure how to pronounce that first one properly, although I think it’s (gah-leht). Anyway, you can slice this up and add a scoop of ice cream to each slice, and you’ve got a delicious dessert with very little effort. You no longer have an excuse not to bake! Anyone can do this!

To make the tart – use one 10-inch pie crust. Roll it out fairly round but it doesn’t have to be perfect and put in on parchment paper or a Silpat sheet on a large cookie sheet. You could also use a baking stone without the paper.

Photo Jul 12, 3 35 33 AM

See what I mean about round? I think mine is almost a square! Somehow me and pie dough don’t play well together very often.

Preheat your oven to 400º.

Measure out four full cups of mixed berries. I used raspberries and blueberries, but you could also do blackberries and slice strawberries or you could even just use one berry like blueberries if you are one of those OCD people who don’t like mixing things up.

Zest one large lemon right into the bowl with the berries, then cut it in half and squeeze half of the lemon’s juice in as well. Add in 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla, a pinch of salt and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch into the bowl as well.

berry filling ingredients

Now take a large spoon and gently fold the berries over until you get a glossy-opaque coating over all of them.

Photo Jul 12, 3 15 01 AM

Man do I love raspberries. That picture alone is killing me right now.

Spoon your berries into the center of your pie crust, leaving at least an inch around the sides.   Then take one small section and fold it over the berries.

Galette crust

Continue to fold the crust over the berries, making sure your last fold is overlapped by the one you’re folding.

folding galette crust

Until you get all the way back around to where you started.

Photo Jul 12, 3 37 57 AM

Then take one egg, drizzle about a tablespoon or so of water into it in a bowl and beat it up with a fork to mix it.  Using a pastry brush, brush the egg all over the crust of your tart.

egg wash pie crust

And take some of this stuff. (Or just use regular sugar).

Photo Jul 12, 3 17 45 AM

Turbinado sugar is really wonderful to top things with. It lends a nice crunch factor that reminds me of rock candy.

Photo Jul 12, 3 17 59 AM

And sprinkle it over the top of the berries and crust. (About 2 tablespoons).

Photo Jul 12, 3 41 14 AM

Pop your tart into the oven for 35-40 minutes and don’t be like me and be where you can’t hear the timer.  Mine crust got a tad overdone.

Mixed Berry Tart Final

Slice it up and top each slice with a scoop of ice cream. Wasn’t that easy?

Mixed Berry Rustic Tart (Galette)
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 (10 inch) pie crust
  • 4 c. mixed berries
  • ½ c. sugar
  • juice of ½ large lemon
  • zest of one lemon
  • ½ t. pure vanilla extract
  • 2½ T. cornstarch
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T. water
  • 2 T. turbinado sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400º
  2. Add cornstarch, sugar and salt together and wisk to mix well
  3. Add berries, lemon zest and juice, and vanilla to bowl and gently fold berries to mix
  4. Add dry ingredients and gently fold again to mix
  5. Spoon berries onto center of pie crust leaving about an inch and one-half around the edge to fold over berries
  6. Begin folding crust over berries in about 1½-2 inch sections overlapping each section to encase berries
  7. Mix egg and water and brush over the edges of crust
  8. Sprinkle sugar over berries and edge of crust.
  9. Bake 35-40 minutes or until crust is golden brown
  10. Let cool 10 minutes before serving

 

Mixed Berry Galette