Saturday, August 27, 2011

Versatile Fresh Mild Salsa: Snack, Endive Finger Salad, Pasta Salad

What a surprise! I had no idea when I made this mild salsa that it would be so versatile during our vacation in New Hampshire. 

Salsa With Blue Corn Chips
The salsa was made from some of my garden vegetables before we left. We ate it as a snack the first night on vacation. I love using organic blue corn chips because, not only do they taste good, they are a nice contrast to salsa. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture because we were on vacation and didn't want to seem obsessive, at least not at the beginning of vacation anyway!

~ Picture the
with Blue Corn Chips
Here! ~

Method: I diced a few cucumbers, a few tomatoes, and a red onion, added organic canned corn (drained), chopped fresh parsley to taste (I didn't have cilantro), fresh juice from one lime, and pepper to taste. It was a pretty big batch, but I was trying to use up vegetables that I had just picked. Reduce the portions for your needs.

Being leery about the existence of GMOs and chemicals in conventional canned or fresh corn, I used organic canned corn hoping to avoid them. (Frozen bagged corn would be best to avoid possible BPA from cans.) Still, I can't be sure. This is one of the reasons I support GMO labeling - it should be my choice.

Endive Finger Salad
Then I used the salsa in this endive salad to which my son said, "Oh, no, I feel like I'm in Paris again!" You would understand why he said that if you saw this post.

Method: I cut the ends off the endive, carefully pulled off a few leaves, added a slender slice of block feta that was left over from our watermelon salad, topped with a spoonful of salsa and a sprinkle of extra virgin olive oil.

Pasta Salad
The rest of the salsa was added to farfalle pasta one night and served as a side pasta salad to our hamburgers.

Method: To cooked and cooled pasta, I added salsa, some extra virgin olive oil, and rice vinegar to taste.

For the bread and pasta, I couldn't find organic rolls nearby at Price Chopper and didn't have time to drive to Littleton Food Co-op, so I picked up organic bread which I was happy to see was from the nearby state of Vermont. I also found local cheese from Vermont, organic wine, and partially organic pasta. Whole wheat pasta was not an option and we're really not a fan of it anyway. Why the fuss to find organic? Ever since my daughter was diagnosed with her kidney disease, when shopping, I look for organic and if I can't find it, I look for local; if I can't find local, I try to make the best conventional choices (but more about that in another post).

Roasted Peppers
The peppers were previously roasted at home a few days before vacation and came along with us.
Method:  trim peppers, coat with olive oil, broil on low until skins are charred. Place in a bag until cool enough to touch. Peel skins.

~ ~ ~
This summer, I've had the convenience of purchasing most of our meat at farmers markets. The meats are frozen in durable vacuum-sealed packages so it's easy to stock up. Here are the names of the farms: Aquidneck Farms, Pat's Pastured, J. Beaulieu Farm, Roy Carpenter's Farm, Meadowstone Farm

~ ~ ~

The historic Littleton Grist Mill where fine grains can be purchased

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Zucchini Hash

Zucchini season is almost over, at least in my neck of the woods, so I thought I better get this recipe out now!

I said "recipe" but it's not really a recipe. It seems I have an aversion to writing my own recipes, especially when it's something I just whip up. When I get started in the kitchen, it's like I'm in a frenzy. I always think I should write everything down, but I rarely do. I feel it suppresses my creativity. Not that this dish is very creative; it's pretty basic but you know what I mean!  

Zucchini Hash
The ingredients can be changed to suit you and how many you're serving. Here's what I used:

1 large russet potato, or 2 medium, chopped
1 small onion, diced
1 medium zucchini, or 2 small, chopped 
About 1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley, loosely packed
Extra virgin olive oil, about 1 tablespoon
Celery seed, a sprinkle or about 1/4 teaspoon (a chopped celery stalk would be fine but I didn't have any)
Pepper to taste

Cut the russet potatoes very thin and chop. Dice onion and zucchini. Saute onion in about 1 teaspoon of olive oil until soft. Remove and set aside. Add a little more olive oil to the pan and saute potatoes until tender. Add onion, celery seed, and zucchini until zucchini is heated through to your liking. I usually don't let zucchini get mushy. Add chopped parsley, pepper to taste, stir, and serve.

I didn't take too many pictures of the process, the kitchen in the cottage we rented was dark. 

* * *

This zucchini hash was made while we were on vacation in July when I was taking a break from my blog. I still remember the flavor, though, and it went well with various dishes that week and even as a snack by itself. It went nicely with our eggs that morning, made a great side dish to grilled steak another night. It can even make a great meal by itself - for a little protein, add your favorite beans or cheese.

We brought our own garden parsley and zucchini to the cottage we rented at the beach, but we're lucky to be near this farm where we bought the russet potatoes and onions, among many other delicious foods that week.

I was also lucky to capture this scene, during a walk one morning, of two cows shading another!

We had great weather.

Enjoyed a full moon over the ocean.

Captured a sunset behind a flag raised for Independence Day.

Went fishing.

Saw Man Of La Mancha at this charming and very professional theatre. Love the little windmills in the flower pots!

And collected sea shells.