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

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

broccoli almond salad

a couple of weeks ago, we had some warm temperatures in midland, and i decided to take out my summer salad recipes and prepare one for dinner.  this is one of my favorites and very easy to make.

in a mixing bowl, combine these ingredients:  6 cups of fresh broccoli florets, 1/2 cup chopped celery, 1/2 cup raisins, 10 slices of baked bacon that has been cooled and crumbled, and 3 sliced green onions.

next, mix 2/3 cup light or fat free mayonnaise, 1/4 cup heated honey, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. pour over salad and toss to coat the ingredients.  stir in about 4 ounces of almonds just before serving.

baked red onion

this oven baked method produces a very tasty appetizer onion.  start with a very large red onion.  preheat the oven to 375 degrees and light spray a sheet pan with olive oil spray.

peel the skin from the onion and trim the bottom so that the onion will sit flat on the pan.  using a knife from the top down, cut 3/4 down into the onion forming a flower shape.  this may take 20 or more vertical slices.  transfer the onion to the baking sheet.

next, combine 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs, mixed with any seasoning of your choice.  examples would be garlic powder, paprika, any seasoned salt, or a favorite herb mixture.  in another small bowl, mix 2 large egg whites or use egg white product found in the dairy aisle of the market.  pour the egg whites over the onion after slightly opening up the onion to form the flower shape.  then, sprinkle with the bread crumbs mixture. 

spray the onion with olive oil and bake for at least 40 to 60 minutes until browned.  serve with a dipping sauce. this onion is very tasty and will be enjoyed by your guests at any game day party.

vegetable spring rolls

as a healthy alternative to the fried Asian egg roll, this spring roll recipe is light, crunchy and very tasty.  although i chose to make the recipe with just vegetables, this dish could be made with cook shrimp or chicken. this recipe can be made in advance and is certainly going to be a hit at your party.

mix 1/2 cup fresh bean sprouts, 1/2 cup shredded carrots, 1/4 cup water chestnuts, 3 chopped green onions and grated celery in a large mixing bowl.  this filing is very flexible and other vegetables can be used.  other options would be to add chopped mushrooms, shredded napa cabbage, chopped basil or other herbs to taste.

using packaged rice paper spring roll wrappers, dip them one by one in very warm water for about 10 seconds.  working one at a time, add the filling to the center of the wrapper and fold up into a log and then using extra water on the fingers, shape the edges into a spring roll shape. 

after 10 to 12 of these are prepared, i place them on a 1/2 sheet pan, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate before cutting in half for serving.  for a party, serve on a bed of large leaf lettuce on a chilled platter.  any favorite Asian dipping sauce can be used as a garnish.  for an orange sauce, heat orange marmalade in a saucepan until the consistency is thin enough for dipping.  

roasted red potatoes

as an alternative to boiled or baked potatoes, these roasted red potatoes are a great side dish for any casual meal.  served with burgers or fish, they are tasty, crunchy and have excellent flavor.  i choose red potatoes over other varieties, based on their texture and cooking time.  i try to slice the potatoes into similar size and shape to keep the cooking time even.

prepare a baking sheet with a light coating of olive oil and slice the potatoes in lengthwise fashion.  mix with the olive oil on the sheet and season with a flavorful mixture.  i really like Mary's gourmet seasoning purchased in traverse city Michigan.  i also use a sprinkle of parsley and crushed black pepper.  the potatoes are roasted in a 375 to 400 degree oven for at least 20 minutes, then turned and roasted on the opposite side for another 15 to 30 minutes.  the cooking time needs to be monitored based on the choice of potatoes, the darkness of the baking sheet, and the thickness of the sliced potato.

serve with barbecue sauce, ketchup, a peppercorn dressing or just as cooked.  these potatoes are very crispy without frying and very flavorful.