Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Lemon-Walnut Green Bean Salad

Today was the first really warm day we have had this year! Beautiful and sunny. A perfect day for a light vegetable salad. Blanched green beans, lemon zest, a dash of olive oil, and roasted walnuts create this refreshing summer salad, perfect for picnics in the park or summer barbecues.

My good friend Pavlina Ortiz stopped over today with her two boys. She is an amazing photographer specializing in babies, children, and families. I've been working with her to improve my photography. Plus, she is letting me try out some of her lenses! Today's photos were shot with her 50mm f/1.4D lens. Such fun! And still so much more to learn.

This green bean salad would pair well with barbecued chicken made with my Homemade Chipotle Barbecue Sauce, a Cold Spaghetti Salad, a fresh, baby green salad dressed with my Pepper-Mint Dressing, and quite possibly Watermelon Sorbet for dessert!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Avocado Fudgesicles

Well, it finally feels like summer here today in the Pacific Northwest. We actually turned the heat on a few days ago because it was so chilly and rainy here! School is out, the sun is out and it is time for frozen treats....popsicles and fudgesicles!

I really like to make my own blended fruit popsicles for the kids. Homemade popsicles can be made in a snap using fresh or frozen fruit, nut milks, water, or coconut milk. Plus, by using reusable popsicle molds, we cut down on unnecessary packaging and waste. Check your local co-op or just about any store at this time of year for popsicle molds. If you don't want to use plastic, then check out these stainless steel popsicle molds!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Fresh Vegetable Curry

We love curries around here. Our children have had the opportunity to enjoy a variety of curried dishes from a young age. Their taste buds know the flavors well. I made this recipe for dinner tonight and there was very little conversation during mealtime. A sign of a good meal!

I've been very busy lately with my garden projects. I'll post photos to my blog soon! I also recently took a solo trip for six days to Breitenbush Hot Springs and the Oregon Coast. It was so lovely to get away and relax for a while!

When making a stovetop vegetable stew, it is important to cut your vegetables into certain sizes and know how long each takes to cook. It is not very appetizing to have crunchy potatoes and over-cooked cauliflower! For example, potatoes and carrots take quite a while to cook so I always add them in the beginning. Green beans take a moderate amount of time, and cauliflower cooks up quite fast. Think about the size you cut your vegetables. If you dice the potatoes too small they may become very mushy by the time everything else is done. If they are too large, they won't ever cook thoroughly. Cooking is a dance with your ingredients.

A word on spices: make sure yours are fresh! Old spices lack flavor and are often bitter. they can drastically change the outcome of your finished dish. If they are older than 6 months it is best to compost them and start with fresh spices. You'll love the difference.