Monday, June 30, 2014

Grilled Chicken with Peach Salsa

Since I live in Georgia, I feel somehow obligated to incorporate peaches into our summer meals.  I'm pretty sure that they can't kick me out of the state for NOT eating my fair share of the peach crop but nonetheless, I feel it's only right that I eat peaches - in Georgia.  (Certainly don't want to risk extradition from Georgia for not consuming my share of peaches.)

The truth is that I hardly EVER see a peach tree in this state.  (I hear that they are south of Atlanta but I don't travel down there very often.)  To be perfectly honest, most of my peaches come from the grocery store and not the peach orchard that I'm you might be imagining in my backyard. 

What I do have a lot of is fresh herbs from my garden so when I found a recipe for peaches AND fresh herbs from Cooking Light, I thought I would give it a try. 

Check out my mint and my purple basil. (I got to use both in this fun summer recipe.)

I'm not normally a big fan of fruit salsa but this one just looked too good to resist.

Grilled Chicken with Peach Salsa
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
6 garlic cloves
4 chicken breasts
1 Tablespoon chopped red onion
1 Tablespoon fresh purple basil (or green basil)
1/2 Tablespoon fresh mint
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 ripe peach
1 teaspoon chopped jalapeno

Combine oil, cumin and garlic in a ziploc bag.  Add chicken and refrigerate for 1 hour.

To prepare salsa, combine remaining ingredients.

Grill chicken.

Serve with salsa.

Of course, the kids didn't appreciate the peach salsa.  I thought it was mighty tasty though.  I love the color that the purple basil gave it and the mint gave it a nice light flavor.  I think this recipe is a keeper.


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Almond White Cake

I bake cakes for a living and sometimes I use words to describe cakes that might not be clear to people who are not professional bakers.  (My family reminds me of this ALL the time.)  It happens completely by accident and I don't intentionally try to diminish anyone's cake knowledge, it's just that I get used to using words like yellow cake and white cake and assuming that the person that I'm speaking too, understands the difference.

So just to clear up any further confusion, I want to make it clear what I mean when I use the words "white" and "yellow" cake.  A yellow cake is rich and buttery and contains whole eggs.  A white cake is made with egg whites and it's usually lighter, fluffier and sometimes referred to as "sponge" cake.  Both are delicious and most people prefer one over the other but often use the terms white and yellow cake interchangeably.

Now that you know the difference, if your preference is white cake - I've got the perfect recipe for you.   This is one of my go-to recipes and I've used it to make all sorts of other cakes like my pink lemonade cake and my chocolate chip cake.  It's super delicious and it never lets me down.   

Almond White Cake
2 cups flour             
1 Tablespoon baking powder     
½ teaspoon salt           
¾ cup butter                
2 teaspoons vanilla           
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup milk
5 egg whites

Combine dry ingredients.

Beat butter 2 minutes.

Add sugar gradually.

Beat in extracts.  Add 1/3 of flour, ½ of milk and repeat.

Beat egg whites until stiff.

Fold into batter.

Pour into prepared pans.

Bake 30 minutes at 350. 

Cool on wire racks.

Frost and decorate as you like.


Friday, June 27, 2014

Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

Those of us who live in the South started our summer over a month ago when the kids got out of school, but for those of you in the Northern United States, summer has only just begun.  Either way - get out an enjoy every moment of it. 

Spending long, hot days in the pool, reading a good book while rocking in the chairs on the front porch, picking fresh vegetables out of my garden, catching lightening bugs after dark, taking my family for ice cream - those are the things that I love most about summer. 

(Anyone else think it's strange that the box of ice cream sandwiches has a picture of a wrestler in a singlet - holding up and ice cream sandwich?)

I am all about simple, easy summer meals so I can spend more time with my family and less time in the kitchen preparing food.  The only exception to that is when my family is IN the kitchen with me and we're preparing a meal together.  Sometimes, it takes a little planning but with the right ingredients, I can entice even the most reluctant teenager into the kitchen to help.

This recipe is so simple - anyone (literally anyone over the age of 2) can make it.  There are 3 ingredients and your family will love it. 

Ice Cream Sandwich Cake
Start by lining a 9x13 pan with freezer paper.  (Or parchment paper)  Unwrap ice cream sandwiches and arrange in the bottom of pan.  (I used 12)

Spread a layer of hot fudge sauce over sandwiches.  (Neatness doesn't matter.)

Top with a layer of cool whip.

Top with another layer of ice cream sandwiches.

Spread with cool whip and top with sprinkles.

Freeze overnight.
Remove cake from pan using freezer paper.

Slice into squares.

Simple but delicious.  What could be better than an ice cream sandwich on a hot, summer day?  An ice cream sandwich covered in hot fudge and cool whip - that's what.

Enjoy friends and keep cool this summer.


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Summer Garden Fish Tacos

Summer and garden - two words that just go together.  My garden is looking better and better every day.  I am diligently watering so my plants will continue to thrive in spite of the lack of rain in Atlanta.  I snapped a few pictures of my garden so that you can see what yummy things I have planted.

Carrots and Cucumbers and Peppers and Tomatoes and Beans and Watermelon - oh my!

Every time I 'm out working in the garden and I see these vegetables growing, I get hungry for fresh produce.  Most of my vegetables aren't quite ready for harvest yet so I have to make due with grocery store produce for a little while longer.

To satisify my need for fresh summer vegetables, I put together some summer garden fish tacos a couple of weeks ago - a recipe that I loosely based on a recipe that I found in a taste of home magazine. 

Summer Garden Fish Tacos
1 ear of corn
1 poblano pepper
4 orange roughy filets
salt and pepper
1 yellow squash
1 plum tomato
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 Tablespoon cilantro
1 teaspoon grated lime zesst
8 taco shells or flour tortillas
1/2 ripe avocado

Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper and wrap tightly in foil.  Place on the grill to cook through.  (Or bake in the oven.) 

Add corn to the grill to roast.

My fish took about 15 minutes to cook on a 300 degree grill.  (Time will depend on temperature of the grill and thickness of your fish.)

The corn took about 20 minutes to brown on the outside - the inside was perfectly roasted.

Cut squash and poblano in half.  Roast on grill until charred.  (I didn't add any oil to my vegetables but you could if you like.)

 It took about 15 minutes for my vegetable to cook.

I sliced my vegetables and chopped my fish for the tacos.

 Next, I chopped the tomato and the red onion and added the lime zest.

Once the corn was cool enough to handle, I sliced the kernels off the cob and added it to the salsa.

Slice up an avocado.

Put out some crispy taco shells or some flour tortillas and you have all the makings for a great fish taco.

I prefer the flour tortillas fish tacos.

And the kids like the crispy shells.

From the blog post, it really looks like these took a lot of work but they came together really quickly.  Everything cooked really quickly and if you have a big enough grill, you can cook it all at one time.

I just love these tacos.   The tomato/corn salsa and roasted vegetables are just perfect summer flavors.  Have I mentioned lately how much I love summer?