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Category Archives: summer food

The Best Things About Summer…Tomatoes and Champagne!

It’s been a busy summer.  We finished our kitchen remodel, yeah! And I’ve been having so much fun cooking up a storm!

sign bollinger kelly

My bubbly sister-in-law gave us this lovely “new kitchen warming gift” that she had made for us by our local Appalachian Press ~ I love Madame Lilly Bollinger’s quote:

sign Kelly

And I’m always happy because this is pretty much me on the lazy hazy days of summer…

Next week I will be on our local NBC Affiliate show “Daytime Blue Ridge” preparing my favorite Sangria recipes:               http://www.wsls.com/daytime

Peachy Rosé Sangria

Sandy’s Peach Mango Sangria

I would love to hear from my readers…What is your favorite Sangria…Do you prefer the traditional red wine/fruit sangria or the lighter white wine/summer fruit sangria? 

Sangria

beer painting

During the summer we enjoy lots of outdoor festivals.  At the Deschutes Brewery Street Pub in Downtown Roanoke Virginia we met Karen Eland, an artist that paints with coffee and beer. http://www.karenelandart.com

Now on to the TOMATOES…On Saturday I visited our local farmer’s market and enjoyed a fresh tomato tasting. After tasting the tomatoes we put a toothpick in our favorite tomato. The tomato with the most toothpicks won the tomato tasting competition.

tomato sign

tomato table

Mr. Stripey Tomato, beautiful yellow and red striped beefsteak tomato, with its pleasantly sweet taste,  was the crowd favorite that day.

tomato mr stripey

big tomatoes

Our market offered up huge tomatoes, but none as heavy as this:  The heaviest tomato weighs 3.906 kg (8.61 lb), was grown by Dan Sutherland (USA) and weighed in Walla Walla, Washington, USA, on 30 August 2016. The achievement was authenticated by the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth (GPC).  Source:  http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/heaviest-tomato

 I will be using some of my juicy ripe tomatoes to make  Tomato Water Martinis.  Here’s a link to a yummy recipe for said martini:  http://drinkwire.liquor.com/post/spicy-tomato-water-martini.   

tomato martini sign

Surprise! A green tomato can be ripe if it is a green tomato variety. The Green Zebra Tomato is yellow with dark green stripes. Sweet and tangy.  If a green tomato is soft to the touch and the bottom of the yellow stripes begin to turn a light reddish color then the tomato is ripe. Green tomatoes come in cherry tomato size too!

zebra tomato

I love purple tomatoes!   This Cherokee Purple Tomato has a slightly smoky taste, rich and sweet.   This purple tomato, originating from Tennessee,  was thought to have been passed down from Native Americans of the Cherokee tribe.

purple tomato

rose bottle

Rosé is a delicious accompaniment to fresh tomatoes.  One of my favorites is  La Chapelle Brut Rosé Nuance Premier Cru Champagne.  $40 range. Crisp and elegant with notes of framboise (raspberry) and fraise des bois (tiny wild French strawberries). 

Don’t forget to stay cool and hydrated this summer…

drink champagne sign

frexnet cava

party trained

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A Toast To Summer…Fresh Green Pea With Radish And Lemon Zest Toast + CAVA

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pea toasts and lemon

Fresh Green Pea With Radish And Lemon Zest Toast

toast

Bakery fresh baguette slices toasted.

pea toasts

Cook fresh green peas until almost mushy.  Add butter, sea salt and a dash of fresh cream.  Mash peas. Top baguette slices with mashed peas.  Top peas with mandoline thin slices of radish, lemon zest and freshly ground black pepper.

pea toast

Serve with a lovely Spanish Cava…

Cava F

Freixenet Brut Blanc de Blanc

This bubbly Cava is produced by the same winery that gives us Gloria Ferrer, one of my favorite sparkling wines:  https://www.gloriaferrer.com/carneros-winery

The perfect casual summer sipper…from Catalonia, Spain. 100% Chardonnay grapes.  A sparkling value…$10 range.  Lots of fun bubbles. Notes of baked apple with just a touch of lemon. Available on-line. I also found this Cava locally at Tinnell’s in Roanoke, Virginia. http://tinnells.com

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fiesta-friday-2016

 

Arugula Strawberry Spring Rolls With Honey Lime Dipping Sauce ~ Vegetarian Delight!

kobari

Its Spring signOn Saturday I popped by our local Grandin Village Farmer’s Market and picked up some Kohlrabi.  One of the farmers offered the purple variety of this vegetable that looks like a turnip with a nice crunch and a little bit of a peppery flavor.  Kohlrabi is German for “cabbage turnip” and it’s a member of the cabbage family.  To make a yummy Kohlrabi Slaw, peel Kohlrabi then cut it in matchstick pieces, toss with julienne strips of peeled apple and carrot and a bit of coleslaw dressing, then sprinkle with crispy crumbled bacon or sunflower seeds (or both!)  Cover and chill until ready to serve.

What do you call a sad strawberry? ….A blueberry!

Why was the little strawberry sad? … His mom was in a jam!

Christina with salad

Culinary Teacher Extraordinaire Christina Nifong

Displays Her Greens and Berries Salad

Spring rolls on plate

Christina Nifong is a food writer well known in our region for the stories she’s written about the Virginia food scene and the recipes she creates and shares during the culinary classes she teaches. The class I attended on Saturday at the Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op was Local For Lunch: Berry Bonanza. I always walk away from Christina’s class with a new favorite. This time my new FAV is Arugula Strawberry Spring Rolls.  So easy to make and as Christina explains , “These are basically a fresh and delicious handheld salad.”   Here’s her recipe:

Makes 10 – 12 spring rolls

Ingredients

Brown Rice Wrappers (available on-line or at the Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op)

4 cups lettuce, spinach or other green, torn or chopped into bites-sized pieces

4 cups arugula, washed and chopped into bite-sized pieces

4 ounces plain chevre (Curtin Dairy is a good choice), softened

2 pints ripe strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced

Mint leaves for garnish

Instructions

  1. Heat large bowl of water. Dip one brown rice wrapper into hot water. Hold it there for 30 seconds.
  2. Set damp wrapper onto cold, dry, flat surface. (Make sure the surface is non-porous, granite is a good choice; do not use wood because it is porous.) Add row of lettuce in the center of the wrapper.
  3. Top with arugula, then a slight smear  of goat cheese. Then stack a row of strawberries.
  4. Fold top of wrapper down. Then fold bottom of wrapper up (about an inch). Then roll from the left, tucking and rolling until spring roll is closed.

spring rolls roll upspring rolls

  1. Set onto serving dish. Repeat until all ingredients are gone.  Make sure not to let spring rolls touch on serving plate as they will tear.
  2. Refrigerate until time to eat. Garnish with mint. Serve with honey-lime dipping sauce.

Honey Lime Dipping Sauce ~ Juice of one lime, 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 garlic clove minced, salt and black pepper to taste, dash of red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon finely chopped mint. Place all ingredients into a small mixing bowl and whisk to combine.  Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Here’s another spring roll recipe with a yummy peanut dipping sauce on Christina’s website…christinanifong.com

http://christinanifong.com/2017/05/vegetarian-spring-rolls/

The  brown rice wrappers are more sturdy (gives the spring roll a nice bite) than the white rice wrappers and they have a lovely nutty flavor.

Rosalee

My bubbly friend made some awesome spring rolls!

VA sign

spring rolls granitaLooking for the perfect palate cleanser between courses or a light dessert to serve al fresco? Raspberry Lime Granita!

Christinas raspberries

Christina made the granita with fresh raspberries from her garden!

Makes 12-15 servings

Ingredients

3/4 cup organic granulated sugar

1 3/4 cup water

Juice and zest of 2 limes

2 Tablespoons chopped, fresh mint leaves

2 pints (4 cups) fresh, ripe raspberries, pureed (force raspberry puree through a fine sieve to remove seeds, discard seeds).

Instructions

  1. Bring sugar, water, lime zest and juice and mint to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat.
  2. Reduce the heat. Let the mixture boil for 1 minute.
  3. Let the syrup cool. Strain out mint leaves (optional). Mix together syrup and berry puree.
  4. Pour into 9 x 13 freezer-safe baking dish. Freeze overnight or up to 24 hours.
  5. To serve, remove from freezer and let thaw for 10-20 minutes. Scrape with cold ice cream scoop into serving dishes.

Thank you Christina! Looking forward to your next class!

Christinas blueberry salad

GREENS AND BERRIES SALAD

carrotsturnips

 

lettuce

Iceberg Lettuce Fresh From The Garden

You are invited to visit my Facebook Page: Bubblybee

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Summer Snacks ~ Chive Blossom Dip

In the “good-ole summertime” I love creating recipes that are simple to prepare and will hold up in the heat when we entertain outside.  Here’s one of my new favorites Chive Blossom Dip:

Pink rose blooming next to chive blossoms in my herb garden.

Chive blossoms in bloom in my herb garden.

Chive Blossom Dip

Easy prepare in two minutes!  In a small bowl, combine 5.2 ounce package Boursin Shallot and Chive Cheese with 3 to 4 tablespoons milk. Mix each tablespoon of milk into the cheese and add more milk as needed to make the dip smooth and dip consistency. Put dip in a pretty serving bowl.  Garnish with fresh chopped chives and a chive blossom in the middle of the bowl. Serve with Terra Exotic Potato Chips or your favorite kettle cooked potato chips (kettle cooked potato chips are usually heartier and stand up to the humidity in  the summer better than other types of potato chips).

Boursin Cheese

Creamy, spreadable cheese flavored with garlic and herbs.  Other flavors are now available:  shallot and chive, pepper and cranberry and spice.  (You can make dip out of these flavors too – just change the garnish to crumbled crisp bacon for the pepper boursin and chopped toasted pecans or walnuts for the cranberry and spice boursin.)

To learn more about Boursin Cheese, please visit:  http://www.cheese.com/boursin

Easy recipes that do not require cooking are especially important to me right now…our kitchen/dining room remodel is about half-way completed. Granite countertops are being installed today. Can’t wait to get back in the kitchen and start cooking again!

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Summer Fun With Cherry Gazpacho!

champagne 2

Happy Champagne Summer ~ enjoying sitting outside and celebrating all things bubbly!

Champagne Charles Mignon Cuvée Comte de Marne Brut Grand Cru, NV

$48 range. 55% Pinot Noir and 45% Chardonnay grapes. Nice acidity and hints of white flowers with strawberry.  Underlying light apple notes with a touch of mineral and toast. Crisp and elegant.

gazpacho

I found this lovely summer recipe for Cherry Gazpacho in one of our neighborhood magazines The South Roanoke Circle in an article by David Lake Cook’s Nook, Liquid Pleasure = Liquid Salad. The cherries add a surprising zing to this Spanish chilled soup.  Don’t forget to chill your serving bowls and soup spoons in the freezer before service which will help to keep the soup nice and chilly as your guests enjoy it.  The tomatoes, peppers and herbs in the photo above were freshly picked out of my garden.

Cherry Gazpacho

Three 1-inch-thick slices of a rustic white sandwich-style bread

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

3 garlic cloves, 1 thinly sliced

1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped

1 yellow bell pepper, coarsely chopped

1 seedless cucumber, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 pound fresh bing or sweet cherries, pitted, set aside 12 cherries and finely dice them

3 ounces tomato juice

1 1/2 ounces red wine vinegar

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 thyme sprig

Tabasco sauce (I used Peri-Peri medium hot sauce)

4 basil leaves, torn, for garnish

Cherry gazpacho mixture:  Drizzle 1 bread slice with olive oil on both sides – do not cut it up yet.  In a medium skillet, fry the bread over moderate heat, turning once or twice, until golden, about 4 minutes. Rub the bread on one side with 1 whole garlic clove. Cut the bread int 1-inch cubes and transfer to a bowl. Add the sliced garlic, red and yellow bell peppers, cucumber, whole pitted cherries, tomato juice, vinegar, and 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours.

Croutons:  Meanwhile, cut the remaining bread into 1/2 -inch cubes and toss with the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil. Add the bread cubes to the skillet along with the thyme and the remaining garlic clove and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently until the croutons are browned and crisp, about 4 minutes.  Transfer the croutons to paper towels to drain. Discard the garlic and thyme and season the croutons with salt.

Working in batches, puree the cherry mixture in a blender until smooth.  Strain the gazpacho through a fine sieve.  Season with salt, pepper and Tabasco.

Ladle the gazpacho into shallow bowls. Garnish with diced cherries, croutons and basil. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.

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