Monday, August 24, 2009

Frozen Blackberry Lemonade

Blackberries are back in season and I can't wait to find new ways to use them. We have been down to the blackberry patch in the forest near our house once already and none too soon. The stash we froze last year is down to about a cup left. In July I thawed some of my frozen blackberries and made Frozen Blackberry Lemonade on a hot summer day. . .YUM. I had to do something with that pile of lemons adorning my counter!

Here is what you'll need:

1 1/4 cups plus 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
3/4 plus 2Tbs simple syrup*
1 pint fresh blackberries--juiced (about 1/2 cup)
4 1/2 cups ice cubes

Juice your lemons--or make your nephew do it like I did!

Combine 1 1/4 cups of lemon juice with 3/4 cup of simple syrup and set aside.

Heat blackberries over medium heat until very juicy, stirring periodically--10 minutes. Press through sieve. Should produce about 1/2 cup of juice.

Stir together blackberry juice, 1 tsp. of lemon juice and 2 Tbs of simple syrup. Set aside.

Put ice cubes in blender with lemon juice mixture. Crush ice until smooth.

Pour 1 - 2 Tbs of blackberry juice in each of 4 glasses.

Pour frozen lemonade into glasses, dividing evenly. Garnish with mint sprig and blackberries (optional). Serves 4.

*simple syrup is one cup water to one cup sugar--heated on stove top until sugar is dissolved.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Creamy Pesto Dressing

In an effort to get good use out of my garden, I have been coming up with new ways to use what I have growing out there. Early in the summer I was awash in the most tender buttery Buttercrunch lettuce. It was almost good enough to eat alone. But I also had, and still have, loads of basil. So I decided to put the two together and made a Basil Pesto Salad Dressing.

It's simple, its yummy, and you really don't need much else for your salad. . .except maybe some tomatoes.


1/2 cup of basil leaves
1/4 cup parsley
1/4 cup Parmesan
1 cup mayo
1 Tbs red wine vinegar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup of pine nuts
1 clove of garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 pepper

Process in blender of food processor until creamy. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Crab Cakes and Red Pepper Sauce

Something about summer makes seafood seem mandatory. I am sure it helps that I live in the Pacific Northwest where seafood is quick and easy to get fresh. I often buy crab cakes at a little seafood market near my house, but over the fourth of July I decided to make crab cakes from scratch.

For the Crab Cakes:

2 Tbs chopped parsley
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 large eggs--beaten
2 Tbs Mayo
1 tsp lemon juice
1 pound crab meat, flaked
1/2 cup bread crumbs (plus more for coating)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Butter or oil for frying

Combine ingredients gently so as not to break up the crab meat too much. Divide into 6-8 thick patties. coat each patty with bread crumbs. Heat a couple tablespoons of butter and a little olive oil--enough to generously cover the bottom of a large fry pan--over medium heat. Fry patties until golden brown on both sides--about four minutes per side. Remove from pan and serve immediately with Red Pepper Sauce.

Red Pepper Sauce:

1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup mayo
1 Tbs minced shallots
2 Tbs minced fresh parsley
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 tsp honey
salt and pepper to taste

Combine in blender or food processor until finely chopped. Serve immediately with crab cakes, or refrigerate covered until serving.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Tomato Basil Panini

This year I planted six basil plants and four tomato plants that are all thriving. So I am putting them to good use. My favorite lunch these days is a tomato basil panini. It is simple yet divine!

I made them for my 4th of July barbecue as little appetizers. They are cute this way as well as super yummy. I just cut the bread with a round cookie cutter and bought the round mozz.

Here is what you need:

Tomatoes - sliced
Fresh Basil - whole or shredded
Soft Mozzarella - sliced
salt and pepper to taste
Garlic salt (optional, but I love to sprinkle on just a dash)

Assemble and grill in the panini press until cheese is slightly melted and grill marks are on the bread.