Potted Lamb with Red Wine, Garlic and Mushrooms

This is the last of the box of lamb I bought several months ago. The shoulder blade chops wouldn’t be tender if merely grilled, so I did what my grandmother would do, throwing them in a pan, adding some liquid for flavor and let them cook in the juice.

Potted Lamb with Red Wine, Garlic and Mushrooms

  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 lamb shoulder blade chops
  • 8 large cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1/4 lemon
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1/4 lb. mushrooms, halved
  • seasoned salt

Liberally season the lamb with seasoned salt. In a large, deep pan that has a lid, heat the olive oil until very hot and then add the chops and garlic. After you have browned both sides of the lamb—about 6 minutes per side—squeeze on the lemon juice, pour on the wine, and immediately cover the pan. Reduce to medium and let cook for 10-15 more minutes.

We had enough left over that I will trim it up and make a lamb stew on Friday.

Zucchini Part 3: Zephyr Zucchini

Buy the tiniest zucchini you can find. Serve them whole, on a bed of onions and mushrooms.

I had to look up the name of this type of zucchini. It is my favorite because of its delicate flavor and bicolor cuteness. I couldn’t bear the thought of cutting into these tiny squash, so tonight I cooked them whole, steaming them in the pan over a pan of vidalia onions and mushroom halves.

Saute mushroom halves, a clove of pressed garlic, and onion slices in a little olive oil and butter. When the onions just begin to soften, and the mushrooms have released some juice, place the zephyrs on top, season with salt and pepper, cover and let cook over a low heat for 10-15 minutes. Check them along the way by poking with a knife to see if the squash are cooked. You don’t want to over-cook these. They are best when just tender.

Maralee’s Cold Sesame Noodles

My sister Maralee came to visit the other day. She brought me some new earrings from Israel, a bag of chocolate bars and a full container of Cold Sesame Noodles. I’ve been eating the noodles for lunch all week. That’s what I call a nice sister.

Here is Maralee’s recipe, a new idea for a cold, summer pasta dish:

Sesame Noodles

Cook and let cool 1 to 1-1/2 pounds rotini or other pasta.

Mix together the following, and let sit for a few hours (if you have time):

  • 1/4 c. grated ginger root
  • 1 Tbs. sugar
  • 2 Tbs. toasted sesame oil

Mix together the following until smooth:

  • 5 Tbs. toasted sesame oil
  • 5 rounded Tbs. smooth, unsalted peanut butter (if you use salted peanut butter then reduce amount of soy sauce, below)

Add the following to the first two mixtures:

  • 1/4 c. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. suagr
  • 1 large clove garlic, pressed
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped

Add a little water to thin, if needed. Toss the sauce with the cooled noodles.

Candace’s Oven-Crisp, Sugary, Peppered Bacon (from her Grandmother)

There's no stove-top clean up when the bacon is baked.

It’s a lovely moment when you’re cooking something ordinary and are reminded of the wonderful friend who first taught you the recipe. This secret bacon recipe, so beautifully simple, was shared with me by Candace McMahan, nearly 20 years ago, at her home in northern Colorado. I haven’t seen Candace in years, but I think about her even more often than I cook bacon.

Baked Bacon

Place the slices of bacon on a cookie sheet that is lined with foil. Sprinkle with coarse pepper and some sugar. Bake at 450 degrees. After about 15 minutes take the pan out of the oven, turn over the slices and sprinkle again with pepper and sugar. Return the pan to the oven, checking it every 5 minutes or so. It will take about another 15 minutes of cooking time, or about 30 minutes from start to finish.

To clean up, after the grease has solidified, gather up the foil and throw away the mess.

It's the pepper and sugar that make this bacon taste so delicious.

A BLT with a garden-fresh tomato makes an easy supper. We ate ours tonight along with some watermelon, potato salad and carrot sticks.

Lemony Rice Pudding

I was planning on gyoza with rice for dinner tonight, but just after I started the pot of rice I noticed the left-over zucchini pancake batter so I changed the menu. Just like that I was left with two cups of cooked rice. The solution, of course, to freshly cooked leftover rice is rice pudding. But I wanted something more refreshing than the usual rice pudding, so I grated in the zest from one whole lemon, added some golden raisins and WOW, it’s really, really good. If you want to impress some fancy company, serve it warm with some freshly whipped cream.

Lemony Rice Pudding

  • 2 c. cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 lightly beaten eggs
  • 2 c. milk
  • zest from 1 large lemon
  • 1/3 c. golden raisins
  1. Grease a 1-1/2 quart baking dish.
  2. Put the milk in a medium saucepan, add the raisins, and scald the milk (heat until it just barely begins to bubble at the edges).
  3. Stir the sugar and eggs into the cooked rice.
  4. Slowly stir in the warm milk mixture.
  5. Pour it all into the baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the blade of a knife comes out clean when cut through the center of the pudding.

Serve warm or cold, with milk, cream or whipped cream.

Another idea for the big harvest: Zucchini Pancakes (off-season latkes)

This batter is so colorful with zucchini, carrots and a small purple potato.

These pancakes are very versatile: zucchini, carrots, potatoes, kale, chard and green onions are just some of the possible list of ingredients. If you have a bountiful harvest of zucchini then you can use 100% zucchini and they will be delicious. The recipe uses 6 cups of vegetables and you can mix and match as you please. Our dinner pancakes were made with 1 onion, 1 carrot, 1 small purple potato and the rest zucchini.

Zucchini-vegetable pancakes (makes about 16 pancakes)

  • 6 c. shredded vegetables (of the six cups, it is best to have about 1 cup of onion)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • oil for frying

Lightly beat the eggs, mix in the vegetables, and then the flour, salt and pepper. Cover the bottom of a large skillet with a small amount of oil, no more than 1/8″ deep. Heat until very hot, then drop batter by large spoonful. Brown well before turning over. Remove from pan and place on a cookie sheet that is lined with paper towels. Set in warm oven while frying subsequent batches.

Zucchini pancakes, melon, fresh yellow tomatoes and grilled sausage.

Traditional Cream of Tomato Soup

This soup is a great use for the current abundance of ripe tomatoes.

My mother would make this every summer, preparing the tomato base and freezing it in individual portions to use throughout the winter. She would then add a basic white sauce for a rich and fresh tasting cream of tomato soup. This soup has a very smooth flavor with just a hint of cloves.

Traditional Cream of Tomato Soup

  • 8 c. tomatoes, stems removed, cut in half
  • 1 onion, cut into think slices
  • 3 c. water
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 2 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt

Cook everything until the onions are soft. Strain through a Foley food mill. At this point the tomato base may be frozen—before adding the white sauce.

Everything goes into the pot.

Here's the Foley food mill in action. Using this makes it so the tomatoes do not need to be peeled or seeded. This food mill is also good for apple sauce.

White Sauce (enough for about 4 cups of soup base, or to taste)

  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 2 Tbs. flour
  • 1 c. milk

Melt butter, whisk in flour. Over a very low heat (or turn off the burner as you do this step), and while constantly stirring, slowly—very slowly—add the milk, stirring with each addition until very smooth. After all of the milk has been added, continue stirring until the sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper.

Cream of Tomato-Basil (or Rosemary) Soup

To the finished soup, blend in a nice sized bunch of fresh basil or rosemary leaves.

I added fresh basil to this batch.