Come along with me as I journal about my latest cooking and gardening adventures. Discover what grows in my zone five garden, and see what new recipes I try from my cookbook collection each week.

As I share recipes and information from my kitchen, I invite readers to comment and share ideas along with me in this blog. I am looking to increase followers to my blog, so that I may learn more about cooking and gardening.

Since moving to Midland, Michigan, I have been reading and researching many cooking journals, cookbooks and collected recipes from the past thirty years. Organizing pictures of gardens I enjoy has also been a joy for me, as I continue to learn about garden design and horticulture.

angel food cakes

angel food cakes
this kitchen is seasoned with love

Friday, July 9, 2010

summer reading this week

two more of my favorite summer cookbooks came off of my library book shelf this week.  the lobster roll is written by the owners of the famous Hampton's restaurant known as lunch.  the shop has an old fashioned sign on the outside of the establishment, which simply says lunch.  the official name of the restaurant is the lobster roll.  the book includes recipes from appetizers and soups to drinks and desserts.  detailed directions are given for their famous lobster roll, shrimp salad, how to prepare soft shelled crabs, clam rolls and even how to steam a lobster at home. the grilled citrus chicken made with basil, honey and orange juice is on my list to try in the upcoming weeks.

serendipity sundaes is a cookbook from serendipity, a famous cute little place to eat in new york city on the upper east side one block or so from Bloomingdale's.  we ate here several years ago, and it is worth the wait, so cute and whimsical.  the book is filled with toppings, sauces, and ice cream recipes that look oh so delicious.

serendipity is known for their frozen hot chocolate recipe, made with hot chocolate mix, blended with ice and topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

bistro shrimp fried rice

i found this recipe online and it could be called a copycat recipe from p.f. Chang's, as the dish is very tasty. it could be made with shrimp or chicken.  i chose to use large shrimp which made the dish especially nice in presentation.  along with the rice, i added petite green peas, shredded carrots, and green onion.  it would be optional to add bean sprouts.  i used egg substitute, which is cooked first and then placed aside, while the other ingredients are stir fried.  i also prepared the rice early in the day, to decrease the preparation time during the dinner hour.

for the sauce, the recipe calls for Dijon mustard, minced fresh ginger, minced garlic, molasses, and light soy sauce.  the sauce and the egg are added last, after all the vegetables are cooked through and the rice is heated to serving temperature.

this is a great recipe for a summer meal or it could be used on a Chinese buffet for entertaining.

perennial sweet peas

this plant has been growing in my garden here at 6110 since summer 2008.  it is a very pale pink sweet pea and does not have any fragrance, however; it is a wonderful cut flower and does well in full sun.  my references say that it can grow to twelve feet on a trellis, but mine is about 7 feet and droops over the trellis which i encourage. the look is very soft and appealing to me, and one that i have included in my cottage kitchen garden. 

each year, the sweet pea has become stronger and more sturdy on the trellis, though i prune it back to the ground every fall to prepare it for the winter cold and snow. it is cold hardy to zone three and one of my favorite plants in july.

red skin potato salad

another one of my favorite summer potato salads is made with red skin potatoes.  early in the day i boil a small quantity of potatoes with their skins on after a good scrub in the sink.  then, i chill the potatoes until very cold for several hours.

at preparation time, i chop the celery and green onion into small pieces.  according to preference, chopped green or red pepper could be added.  next, i chop the potatoes into cubes with skins left on.  the dressing is absolutely delicious. mix one tablespoon of low fat mayonnaise with one tablespoon of Dijon mustard.  add salt to taste, and then start with 1/4 cup of light olive oil and mix in red wine vinegar to taste, always keeping the vinegar ratio much smaller than the olive oil.  combine all ingredients.  stir and taste.  cover and refrigerate.