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Balsamic Roasted Carrots

It starts to be that time of year. Fresh vegetables start to appear. Carrots grown in the greenhouse over winter pop up and are ready to eat.

I wish I could say these were my carrots, but alas, we planted nothing for over winter in the greenhouse this year. These are local and fabulous.

I love roasting carrots; it really bring out their sweetness. Tossing them with balsamic and garlic … well, woweeeeee! I made these one night we had a bunch of people over. Another of those situations, where 4 turns into 6 which turns into 8 and finally stops the train at 10! Fortunately, the Dear One must have been Italian in a past life as he will always opt for erring on the side of too much food. Well, except these carrots. I made a 1 1/2 times this recipe and there wasn’t a single carrot left!

  • 24 thin carrots, tops trimmed to 2 inches (or cut thicker ones in half)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves (additional shopped for garnish)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray.

Place carrots in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet.

NOTE: Some that seemed too wide I cut in half. Slender baby carrots would be perfect for this.

Mix next 7 ingredients in a bowl.

Pour over carrots and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat all carrots.

Into oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until tender.

Serve immediately, garnish with chopped parsley.

Peach Salsa

peach-salsa

When the Dear One and I talked about getting married – really, the hows and wheres and whos part of getting married – it became apparent to us that we wanted only two things out of the ceremony (1) it had to be small and (2) we wanted all of our children there. Wait, maybe we wanted another – we wanted to be married.

Between us, there are 4 children (I always in include my dear daughter-in-law in that number), 7 parents, 4 sisters and 2 brothers, as well as their husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends. There is NOTHING small about that group of people. There is nothing intimate about that group of people. There is nothing simple about placing all those people in the same place at the same time.

Okay, so how about just you and me, our kids, someone to marry us, a best man and maid of honor. Everyone else? Well, we’re adults, this isn’t the first time for either of us, this is our choice and, hopefully, they will just be happy for us. We chose to be married this way and at our age not anyone else’s place to have issue or commentary.

Trying to put the 4 kids in the same place at the same time was proving impossible. We tried for 6 months and just couldn’t manage. It had to be all of them or none of them. How do you explain to the ones who couldn’t be there on a specific date and time that others would be there and we would just go on without them. Sadly, after trying to arrange something, it had to be none. We didn’t handle it very well – correct that – one of us didn’t handle that very well and it isn’t the one typing. Okay, okay, I didn’t handle some things well either.

But I honestly believe that it’s all about how you recover from your mistakes that really counts. If you make a mistake, and don’t admit the mistake and do nothing to rectify it, you’ve learned nothing and will likely do something very similar again. I believe that parents should apologize when they’re wrong – and we were wrong. I believe now we’re in a very good place together as a family. Our definition of family.

There is, though, one person, who I doubt will read this, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your words meant more to us than you can possibly imagine. We will keep that note always.

We realized then, that as much as we love that small army of people, we married each other – not our mothers or fathers or sisters or brothers – each other. To a certain extent our children – it takes a village, don’t you know. We have a favorite son, a favorite older daughter, a favorite younger daughter and a favorite daughter-in-law. Mix them all together, add lots of love and a little understanding and patience, two adults who just love them to bits – oh, really, there’s no place else I’d rather be and no other people I’d rather be here with.

It’s that melding of people – all very different, things in common here and there, but somehow melded to make a family unit that bring me to … TADA! Peach Salsa.

peaches

This past summer we had TONS of peaches! You remember the Peach Liqueur – I think I do! There will be Peach Jam coming up.

I found this recipe in Small Batch Preserving. I’ve had it book marked forever, but I’m not quite comfortable with canning yet, so I would look at the book and cast it aside and then look and cast … the more I delve into it, the more I do like it.

The peaches bring a certain sweetness, a bit of kick from the jalapeño, tartness from the lime, they just all come together for one incredible bite.

The worst part of this salsa is peeling and chopping the peaches. IF – and that’s a big IF – I made a single batch, it might not have been so awful, but I doubled it. By the end of dipping them into boiling water, you JUST DON’T CARE.

  • 2 C chopped, peeled peaches (about 4 medium peaches)
  • 1/4 C finely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 C finely chopped red pepper
  • 1 T finely chopped jalapeno
  • 2 T honey
  • 1/4 t pickling salt
  • grated rind and juice of 1 lime
  • 2 T finely chopped mint

NOTE: To peel the peaches, bring a large pot of water to a boil. On the counter next to that pot have a large bowl of ice water. Place a couple of peaches in the boiling water for 20 or 30 seconds, transfer to the ice water. After a few seconds, the skins will pop right off. By the end you and your kitchen will be covered in sticky peach juice, but it’s totally worth it!

ingredients

Combine peaches, onion, peppers, honey, salt, lime rind and juice in a medium stainless steel or enamel saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat and boil gently, uncovered, for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

simmering

Stir in mint and stir for 1 minute.

NOTE: Not a huge mint fan so I used half the amount.

Remove jares from canner and ladle salsa into jars within 1/2 ” of rim (head space). Process 10 minutes for half-pint or pint jars.

NOTE: I process the jars in the dishwasher. I try to time the end of the dishwasher cycle to the salsa being ready.

 

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookeis

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

I should start this with … these are THE BEST vegan chocolate chip cookies EVER. And quite nearly the best chocolate chip cookies. But …

I am a carnivore. A carnivore through and through. A believer in a well balanced diet being far better for you than one completing omitting a food group.

I now find myself surrounded by vegetarians and vegans, many of whom consider themselves foodies (?). Always hungry. Always looking for snacks. I need a cookie that would work for everyone and this is the one.

I have found most homemade vegan cookies to be either tasteless, ridiculously complicated to make, way too many ingredients and ending up with a crumbling, sandy cookie like substance.

Try these once and you’ll be hooked. It’s all in the mixing.

  • ½ C coconut oil
  • 1 C brown sugar
  • ¼ C almond milk
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 2 C flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t baking powder
  • ½ t salt
  • 1 C vegan chocolate chips (I love ‘Enjoy Life Mini Chips” for this)

 

Preheat oven to 350

Cream coconut oil and brown sugar. Best to use stand mixer, second best a hand mixed.

NOTE: The key to this cookie is the length of time you spend combining the ingredients. This should look like butter and sugar having creamed before you continue. It’s not always quick.

Add almond milk and vanilla. Mixture may be a little liquidy.

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients using a hand mixer or stand mixer. Fold in chocolate chips.

Scoop tablespoon sized balls and place on cookie sheet. Flatten the balls a bit with your hand.

Bake 7 – 10 minutes

NOTE: You want the dough to be the consistency of cookie dough and not crumbly or sandy as many vegan recipes tend to be.

NOTE NOTE: I have varied the size of the cookie from half-dollar sized to 3 inches around. It holds up no matter the size. Just vary the cooking time.

Fresh Corn Salad

One of my favorite Ina Garten recipes is her Fresh Corn Salad from The Barefoot Contessa cookbook. It is the ultimate summer in a bowl recipe. It is great with anything you throw on the grill, a rainy day indoor meal to bring sunshine inside, or a winter pick-me-up to remind you summer has to be coming soon!

Driving back from the Hamptons one weekend, there was stand after stand of fresh fruit, vegetable and flowers. Piles and piles of fresh corn. How could I not stop and buy some? I started making plans of what to do with my booty, top on the list the Fresh Corn Salad!

I adapted this recipe from Ina’s, a few of my own twists, a bit of a South of the Border flair.

  • 5 ears of corn, shucked
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin (more to your taste)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the corn for 3 minutes until the starchiness is just gone. Drain and immerse it in ice water to stop the cooking and to set the color. When the corn is cool, cut the kernels off the cob, cutting close to the cob.

NOTE: My husband would certainly disagree, but I need one of them fancy corn strippers! For the number of times a year I actually make this I suppose I could suffer through cutting  the corn off with a knife, but wouldn’t one of those strippers be much more fun!?

Toss the kernels in a large bowl with the red onions, lime juice, olive oil, cumin, salt, and pepper. Just before serving, toss in the chopped cilantro. Taste for seasonings and serve cold or at room temperature.

NOTE: The nice thing about this salad is how many ways it can be changed to suit what you’re cooking. I swapped out the vinegar and basil in Ina’s recipe for lime juice and cilantro. I have added tomatoes. I have added string beans or sugar snap peas. I have used frozen corn in the winter and even – GASP – canned corn when the yen for the salad has struck. Try it once and you will be hooked!