Corn on the Cob ~ fresh from the garden ~ my two favorite techniques

There isn’t much better than fresh from the garden corn on the cob this time of year.  It really is best freshly picked or at least eaten within a few hours of picking.  Setting even overnight diminished the flavor which is why that corn on the cob from the grocery store never really hits the spot. Around here a variety called Incredible is the best most versatile type.  It is sweet and delicious fresh and also freezes well cut of the cob for great corn all winter long if you are lucky enough to have some left.  There are some other great varieties too but this one is alway good.

I’ve found a couple of ways to cook it that we really enjoy.  First is the old water bath like mom used to do.  It is quick and easy and gets great consistent results.

Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Place as many ears in pan as you can comfortably fit and cover with water and bring pot back to a boil about 3 minutes.  We used to cook it 5 minutes once we placed the corn in the pot but really I think just returning to a boil and maybe a few more seconds does the trick beautifully.

The newest way I’ve discovered to cook it is to grill it.  Now I’ve seen all the techniques of leaving the husks on, pulling out the silks, soaking in water ….. but I’ve found shucking the corn and rinsing off then grilling over hot coals for about 10 minutes gets the corn nicely cooked and the sugars evolve in a way you really don’t even need butter.  It will however need to “steam” for a few minutes so I like to place mine into a gallon plastic bag or a covered bowl for 3 – 4 minutes before serving to really bring out the flavors and equalize the heat.

Enjoy ~ Kimberly

Homemade Eggplant Parmesan

I found a couple of eggplant at the farmers market today and couldn’t wait to make some eggplant parmesan.  I went with a fried then baked style dish.  I only used one of the eggplant and it made just enough for the two of us.  I could have eaten more of course, but I think this was ample enough to fill us up without over filling us.

Homemade Eggplant Parmesan

  • 1 small eggplant
  • salt
  • oil
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne if desired
  • spaghetti sauce
  • italian cheese blend or mozzarella and parmesan

Begin by peeling eggplant; slice and sprinkle with salt ~ this will help keep it from darkening and will pull out some of the excess moisture from inside the slices.

Heat oil in large skillet.  Meanwhile combine parmesan, flour, garlic, and cayenne.  Place each slice in parmesan mixture.  You may wish to rinse the eggplant first to remove excess salt.  Pat each side to help parmesan stick; fry in hot oil for about 2 minutes each side.

Remove from skillet to paper towels to help eliminate excess oil.

Pour about 1/8 cup spaghetti sauce each into 2 buttered mini casseroles.

Place fried eggplant slices on top; add another 1/8 – 1/4 cup of sauce to each.  Sprinkle each with desired amount of cheese.  Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.

Enjoy ~ Kimberly

Fresh Fried Okra ~ garden fresh okra simply fried

Just a quick post today.  I have a few recipes I need to post but I am worn out after a busy day at work and my creative juices have stopped flowing. I like to go with super easy when I fry okra. I’ve tried batters and fancy breading recipes but none of the really seem worth the extra effort. You will notice in my first picture I snuck in some zucchini fries too.  Sometimes frying those wonderful garden fresh veggies is just so good!

Fresh Fried Okra

  • okra
  • egg
  • flour
  • salt, pepper, cayenne, or any spice you desire
  • oil for frying

Wash your okra and trim stem end.  Cut into bite size pieces or leave whole if desired.  You should look for small okra; larger pieces tend to get a woody texture and bite size make it easier to eat.

Heat oil over medium high heat; use plenty of oil in large skillet for best results or fry in separate batches.

Place okra in a bowl and toss with an egg or two depending on how much okra you have; I used about a pint basket of okra and one egg.

Remove okra from egg and toss with flour.  Sift gently to get rid of excess flour.  Place breaded okra in hot oil; let cook for about a minute before stirring.  Carefully stir to make sure all surfaces are submerged and not sticking together; continue to fry for  2 – 3 more minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from skillet onto paper towels.  Immediately sprinkle with salt and pepper and any other spices; think of it like a french fry when seasoning.  If you have a favorite season salt or blend don’t be afraid to sprinkle that on.

Enjoy ~ Kimberly

Skillet Stuffed Peppers ~ or simply Stuff

I love stuffed peppers but for the convenience of reheating and sending for Charles’ lunch making stuff is so much easier.  It’s quick and easy prep and it will reheat beautifully when he has his lunch tomorrow. I vary this recipe sometimes and simply use spaghetti sauce, but with all these fresh garden vegetables and herbs I decided to use fresh tomatoes, basil, and oregano instead of opening a jar.

Skillet Stuffed Peppers

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic ~ minced
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 2 bell peppers; cut in bite size chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups tomatoes ~ peeled and diced
  • 1 Tbs fresh oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 Tbs fresh basil
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked rice

In large skillet over medium heat begin cooking ground beef.  Add garlic and onions and cook until meat in no longer pink about 7 minutes. Drain fat from beef and return to skillet.  Add peppers, tomatoes, and all spices and herbs besides basil.

Bring to simmer and cook for about 10 – 15 minutes.  Stir in basil and cooked rice; heat through.

Enjoy ~ Kimberly

Oven Roasted Tomato and Goat Cheese Appetizers

I was doing a little experiment today and I think Charles will be requesting these once he reads my post.  Our schedules conflict a bit on weekends so sometimes I am left to try new dishes all by myself.  I love goat cheese if you haven’t noticed and I finally have gotten some tomatoes from my garden so I couldn’t resist putting the two together.

Oven Roasted Tomato and Goat Cheese Appetizers

  • tomatoes ~ a small to medium size is ideal
  • goat cheese

Ok, so this is ridiculously simple.  Generously trim core from tomato making a cut out cone shape.

Fill with goat cheese; I left mine plain but you can add herbs such as basil if desired.

Broil for about 8 minutes or until skin begins to blister. This last picture isn’t great but I wanted to show how it looked from the inside.  I pulled the skin off which didn’t make for the prettiest tomato but so easy to eat.

Enjoy ~ Kimberly

Fresh Green Beans with Mushrooms

Just a quick post today about the green beans I made last night with our meatloaf.  I’d bought these at the farmers market a couple of days earlier and didn’t have a chance to cook them right away.  I decided to do a bit of a sauté / steam method.  Very tasty; still very crisp and the full flavor of fresh green beans.  As a kid I didn’t like that taste but I do so enjoy it now.  The mushrooms were the perfect complement.

Fresh Green Beans with Mushrooms

  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1 large quart basket of fresh from the garden green beans
  • 1 large Portobello mushroom
  • salt, pepper, and granulated garlic

Wash and trim green beans.  In medium skillet melt butter and add mushroom cut into large chunks.  Add green beans and cover; cook for 5 minutes over medium heat. Season with salt, pepper and garlic if desired; stir and cover; cook an additional 5 minutes or until desired tenderness.

Enjoy ~ Kimberly

Shrimp with garden fresh zucchini tomato and basil

Another quick post today; this would be another of my pasta and goat cheese recipes but I did take a slightly different and fresh approach to it.  I used a bruschetta type combination for the sauce;  a fresh basil, tomato, and olive oil. I also paired zucchini with the shrimp for a nice vegetable addition.

Shrimp with garden fresh zucchini tomato and basil

  • 8 o.z. angel hair pasta
  • 12 o.z. shrimp
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 Tbs fresh chopped basil
  • 3/4 cup diced tomato
  • goat cheese or parmesan cheese

Prepare pasta according to package directions or desired technique.  In large skillet melt butter; add shrimp and zucchini; sauté about  5 minutes or until shrimp is just cooked.  Meanwhile combine olive oil, basil and tomato.  Once shrimp has cooked add tomato mixture and heat through about  1 – 2 minutes.  Serve over pasta and add goat cheese or parmesan if desired.

Enjoy ~ Kimberly

Garden Fresh Roasted Corn Salad

I made the most delicious fresh corn salad today.  I served it with some slow smoked pork and fresh fried corn tortillas along with some cheese, sour cream and avocado.  Everything but the black pepper and the lime came from the farmers market or my garden.  Oh so deliciously fresh.  I roasted the corn and jalapeno and it brought out a terrific flavor and the cabbage adds a great crunch.  It was even delicious by the spoonful as a stand alone side dish.

Garden Fresh  Roasted Corn Salad

  • 1 cup diced tomato
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced cabbage
  • 2 cups roasted corn
  • 1 Tbs diced roasted jalapeno
  • pepper
  • juice of one lime

Over hot coals roast shucked corn for about 10 minutes and jalapeno for about 8.  Turn frequently and put each into a plastic bag when finished and allow to rest for 5 minute before proceeding.

Meanwhile dice tomato, cabbage, and onion.

Peel jalapeno and cut corn from cobs.

Stir together and add lime juice and pepper to taste.

Enjoy ~ Kimberly

Fresh from the Market ~ Homestyle Green Beans cooked to perfection

I stopped by our little local farmers market and found a few goodies today.  One of which was some fresh picked green beans.  We planted ours a bit late and although they are blooming I’m waiting for some beans to grow so I was glad to find these today.   I remember when we were kids mom would cook them for what seemed like hours.  I’ve found as I’ve gotten older I like them quickly cooked.  Don’t get me wrong I love some canned green beans so there is nothing wrong with cooking for a while, but when the opportunity presents itself I like to give them a reasonably quick cook. Different varieties make a difference too.  I am sure these were the usual blue lake variety most farmers around here grow.  I’m personally fond of the jade variety but these hit the spot and as soon as mine are ready I will be able to sauté, grill and even fry up some jewels!  Today though I went for a homestyle cook with a bit of this and that.  Vary the recipe with what you have on hand.  I happened to be cooking some sausage for breakfast so I kept a tablespoon or two of meat and the drippings from the pan to add the green beans but ham or bacon will be fabulous as well.  Even a meatless dish is tasty too just adjust to your liking.

Fresh from the Market ~ Homestyle Green Beans cooked to perfection

  • 1 quart fresh green beans
  • 1 small onion – sliced
  • a hand full of new baby potatoes – bite size or cut in pieces
  • a tablespoon or two of cooked sausage, ham, or bacon
  • a teaspoon or two of butter or fat from meat
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • water to cover

Wash and trim ends of green beans.  Place all ingredients in pan and bring to boil over medium high heat.  Reduce to medium and simmer 15 minutes until green beans are tender and potatoes are slightly soft.

Enjoy ~ Kimberly

Asparagus – fresh from the garden

I love spring.  The asparagus has sprung and the flowers are blooming.  We planted asparagus a few years ago and it is taking off like crazy.

We have three different varieties.  I like them all.  The purple is pretty; can’t say it tastes different but it is a lovely color raw and still pretty when cooked.

I just did a quick saute today.  About 5 minutes over medium heat with a tablespoon butter and a clove of minced garlic.  We like a bit of crunch so cook longer if you prefer more tender asparagus.

Enjoy ~ Kimberly