Monday, August 21, 2017

Cucumber Melon Agua Fresca


Agua fresca is served at food stands throughout Mexico and is the perfect foil to spicy dishes. It's also one of the most refreshing drinks and excellent for cooling off on a hot summer day.

Cucumber Melon Agua Fresca
Hands-On Time: 10 minutes
Ready In: 10 minutes
Serves: Makes about 8 cups

Ingredients:

4 pounds of watermelon
1 large cucumber
2 Tablespoons lime juice
2 cups water
Sweetener as needed (sugar, Stevia, etc.)

Directions:

1. Remove rind and seeds from watermelon. Cut into cubes.
2. Peel cucumber and cut into chunks.
3. Puree fruit in a a blender until smooth - this can be done in batches if necessary.
4. Add water to fruit and stir well. Strain through a fine mesh sieve.
5. Add lime juice to taste. Many times the fruit is sweet enough that very
little sugar is needed, use as you desire.
6. Serve over ice.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Blueberry Bruschetta


While bruschetta is most often served as a savory preparation, it also makes a lovely and lighter dessert. The smooth cream cheese is a perfect contrast to the sweet-tart berries. Grilling is fairly quick and can be done on a traditional grill or in a grill pan on the stove top.

Blueberry Bruschetta
Hands-On Time: 15 minutes
Ready In: 15 minutes
Serves: 24

Ingredients:

1 French baguette (about 18 inches in length)
1/4 cup butter - melted
8 ounces low fat cream cheese (Neufchatel)
3 cups fresh blueberries, washed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:

1. Combine blueberries, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and toss well to coat. Set aside in
the refrigerator until ready to use.
2. Slice baguette into 24 slices, about 1/2 inch thick. Slicing on the diagonal provides
more surface area.
3. Brush each slice with butter and grill until lightly toasted on both sides.
4. Spread cream cheese on each bread slice and top with a spoonful of blueberries.
Garnish with mint if desired and serve.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Veggie Wednesday: Summer Veggie Melt and Tribute

Summer Veggie Melt

This is both a tribute and an homage to the now-closed Moravian Book Shop Cafe. I was recently in Downtown Bethlehem after not having been for several years and was surprised at the new shops, the old ones that were still there, and the ones I loved that are now gone.

My oldest daughter and I went into the Book Shop fully expecting to have coffee in the back at the Cook Shop, but found ourselves instead at the Colony Meadery. As intrigued as I was, (and still am, and plan to purchase several types of mead there in the near future) I had a moment. It's like that moment when you realize your prized stuffed animal that you've had since you were a wee child has gone missing. I didn't cry, though I truly felt as though I might. I adored that place so much.

Not only did I spend many hours there with my mother when I was a child, all of my children have had lunch there with me at one time or another. In fact, this was where I took each of my girls for "just us" lunch dates where they had my undivided attention. This is also where I sat with Kathy Lauer-Williams of the Morning Call for my interview that led to a half-page article about my time blogging with Disney.

I could write on and on about this, but I won't. I will share with you my recipe for the melt I had there each and every time I visited.

Summer vegetables are something we look forward to each year and this melt is full of garden-fresh goodness. Topped with cheese and only lightly cooked, the vegetables retain their crispness and the herbed mayo adds a layer of flavor underneath. They may look very 'handy' but a knife and fork is in order for eating them.


Summer Veggie Melt

Hands-On Time: 10 minutes
Ready In: 12 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

4 whole wheat pitas - uncut and unsplit
4 Tablespoons light mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon freshly snipped herbs such as dill, basil, oregano or thyme
1 medium zucchini - thinly sliced
1 medium summer squash - thinly sliced
1 medium green bell pepper - thinly sliced
1 large tomato - thinly sliced
1 small red onion - thinly sliced
1 large carrot, peeled and shredded, about 1 cup
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese


Directions:

1. Combine mayo and herbs and stir until well blended. Spread 1 Tablespoon on top of each
pita.
2. Layer each pita with squashes, pepper, tomato and onion. Top with a 1/4 cup of
shredded carrots and 1/4 cup shredded cheese.
3. Microwave on 50% power for approximately 2 minutes, or until cheese is just melted.

Alternately, you can place the pitas under a broiler for several minutes or in a 350F
degree  oven until cheese is melted.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Lemon Dill Shrimp Soup


I don't usually serve warm soups in the summer, but once in a while a day will present itself cooler than usual and then I feel comfortable serving this one. The bright flavors of dill and lemon complement the shrimp well. This can be served as a first course or as part of a light lunch.

Lemon Dill Shrimp Soup
Hands-On Time: 10 minutes
Ready In: 20 Minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

6 cups chicken stock
1 cup uncooked farfalline (little bow ties)
1 medium lemon
2 Tablespoons freshly chopped dill
1 Tablespoon freshly chopped flat leaf parsley
12 medium shrimp - shelled and deveined
salt, pepper and seafood seasoning to taste

Directions:

1. Heat stock to boiling in a medium stock pot.
2. Cut lemon into slices and add to stock with pasta. Cook until pasta is tender - about
7 minutes.
3. Add herbs and shrimp and turn heat to low. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes until shrimp is
done.
4. Remove lemon slices and add salt, pepper and seafood seasoning to taste. Serve with 3
shrimp atop each bowl of soup.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Fruit and Grain Bars

Fruit and Grain Bars

My kids love fruit and grain bars for after school snacks, but they can be quite pricey. This homemade version is a substantial savings over the store-bought kind, and because they're made at home, I'm more aware of exactly what's going into them. Try an organic cake mix and organic fruit spread. Don't be tempted to add more fruit spread, the amount called for is just right and too much will make the bars difficult to cut.


Fruit and Grain Bars

Hands-On Time: 5 minutes
Ready In: 35 minutes
Serves: Makes 20 bars

Ingredients:

1 box yellow cake mix (oz.)
2 cups oats - quick-cooking
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
1 large egg
1 cup jelly, jam, preserves or fruit spread

Directions:

1. Mix together cake mix, oats, cinnamon and brown sugar
2. Add egg and melted butter and stir with a wooden spoon until combined.
3. Divide batter in half and spread half into bottom of a greased 9x13 inch baking pan.
4. Spread fruit spread on top of crust to the edges.
5. Crumble the remaining cake mixture over the jelly and press lightly into jelly with
hands.
6. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until top is golden.
7. Cool well and cut into 20 bars.