Thursday, July 30, 2009

Birthday browned butter blueberry muffins

A big thank you and shout out to Joy the Baker! I have her to thank for these delicious muffins fresh out of the oven. She posted the recipe adapted from the Gourmet cookbook on her blog and I had a pint of blueberries just asking to be made into muffins. Right after they came out of the oven, our landlady stopped by and I got my June Cleaver on by offering her a piping hot, delectable treat. I think it helped me win the four-star housekeeping award she gave me before leaving. Try these muffins — you won't be disappointed! Now, I'm off to throw on my party dress — it's my birthday after all!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Balcony garden update…

As promised, here is a brief balcony garden update:

Basil. It grows leaps and bounds every hour. The boy has found his calling: basil farmer. Acres and acres of basil. Imagine the amazing smell wafting in the breeze. We've harvested several large colanders full so far with no end in sight.
We have corn people. Yes, it has emerged, and again, growing like gangbusters. We planted two bushel baskets of silver queen and one is thriving, the other got beat down by the wind, I think, and is drooping like crazy. But several of them have the beginning of buds… yippee! One day we will have at least two wee little balcony-grown corn cobs. Can't wait.

Zinnias are my favorite, so we did some mini ones and they are up and blooming like mad. Had bountiful bibb lettuce, but that's about done. Carrots… haven't done so well. Radishes were a hti, though they are about finished up, too. Mint. Can't get enough of the mojitos we've been having. Next year, an even bigger pot for it, I'd say. Several more snap peas showed up unexpectedly. All in all, great success in the garden. May do some spinach plantings for fall… but now, I'm off to water. Ciao!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A green alternative

Chilled cucumber soup, originally uploaded by sloeginfizz.

Looking for a green alternative to gazpacho? Look no further… I had a boatload of cucumbers from the market to deal with yesterday and while I contemplated simply lying down and placing them over my tired eyes, I rallied and decided that a chilled soup sounded good. I had two recipes that looked great. One recipe was much quicker than the other, but I only had the ingredients for the longer one, so my decision was made. It's not that this recipe is difficult, it's just that the other recipe requires no cooking, getting it creaminess from an avocado. But I had never cooked a cucumber before and I was up for the adventure. I am happy to report that it is delicious, creamy and refreshing, and doesn't really take all that long. It came from one of the members of the CSA I was in back on Long Island. Try it!

Cold Cucumber Soup
Adapated from Alexis Sauer-Budge
2 large cucumbers
2 scallions, whites only, sliced (can also use onion)
1 Tb butter
1/2 Tb olive oil
1 Tb flour
1 1/4 c. chicken broth
1/4 c. milk
1 Tb fresh lemon juice
1 tsp dried dill, or more if using fresh
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 c. yogurt
1/4 c. fresh mint, chopped

Peel, seed and slice cucumbers. Melt butter and oil together over medium heat in skillet. Saute cucumbers and scallions together for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Lower heat a tad, then add flour and cook 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently. Heat chicken broth and milk together in a saucepan and stir this slowly into the cucumber mixture. Add lemon juice, dill, salt and pepper. Simmer another 10 minutes, stirring gently until thickened. Puree in blender until smooth. Cool completely. Add yogurt, taste for seasoning, cover and chill for at least six hours. Serve garnished with fresh mint. (Don't skimp on the mint, it really brightens the flavor.)

Stay tuned for details when I go for Cuc soup, round 2. And look for a balcony garden update tomorrow!

Monday, July 27, 2009

North Fork farm love

Not to rush the season, but this September will be the third year of the North Fork Foodie tour on Long Island. I love working on this project because I have a lot of creative freedom and I love the event itself. Above is the image I came up with for this year's poster and brochure. If you are anywhere near the area, you should check it out. It's well worth it with all kinds of farms getting involved. More info is available at