Friday, July 30, 2010

Launch Tomorrow

Yes, I know Something Borrowed, Something Bleu was officially released on July 1. But it was available a couple weeks before then, and my publicist always warns me not to schedule any appearances until at least the middle of the release month. So pinning down an exact “release” date is sketchy business.

Which, by the way, makes it tough to celebrate. It’s not like a birthday or anniversary where there’s a particular DAY on which to whoop it up.

I chose to launch Book Four at the Old Firehouse Books in Old Town Fort Collins. Tomorrow, July 31st, at 1:00. Meg Cattell from the Windsor Dairy will be joining me and bringing some of her amazing artisan raw milk cheeses. I have sourdough boules in the oven right now, and will bake more in the morning. I can’t imagine a book launch without feeding the passersby – especially when the book has a culinary backdrop.

Champagne is chilling for tomorrow evening. Arbitrary, but I don’t care.

No recipe today as a result of getting ready for the launch and my trip to Seattle and Snohomish at the end of next week. In fact, I’ll be sprinkling in recipes in a more haphazard fashion in the future, not just on or always on Fridays.

Some other changes are coming to Hearth Cricket as well. I’m not sure what all they are, but I’ll let you know when I do. Wait a minute – that sounds ominous. Don’t mean to. Just rethinking what this blog should be about. Growing pains I believe many blogs go through.

If you happen to be a local follower of Hearth Cricket, Meg and I would love to see you Saturday. And feed you. If you can’t make it, I’ll take pictures and post them here.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Guest Post on A Million Blogging Monkeys

Hi all. Today I'm guesting over at Alan Orloff's A Million Blogging Monkeys with tips on how to improve the pace of your writing. We'd love it if you stop by and say hi!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Weekend Photos

Today I’m posting over at Inkspot about being a lying liar (also known as a fiction writer). And below are a few photos from this last weekend.

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My new bookmarks. The red and teal pops!

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View from the campsite at Vedauwoo, Wyoming late Saturday afternoon

CheeseCat

Cheese the cat really gets the whole lazy summer Sunday afternoon thing.

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New-to-me 50’s Lincoln Beautyware canisters from Ebay. Look at those fabulous fonts.

On Wednesday I’ll be guest posting on Alan Orloff’s A Million Blogging Monkeys. See you here and there!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Week Four of No-Oven Menus

I can already tell I’ll need to do another week of no-oven (really no-stove) cooking because of the hot weather and because a week ago I was gone so much it wasn’t much of a challenge not to cook inside.

Here’s what last week looked like, though.

Saturday
We were in Jackson Hole, Wyoming with friends where we grilled steaks, summer squash and asparagus and ate in cool mountain air. Dessert: Klondike bars!

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Asparagus ferns

Sunday
Also in Jackson Hole. Grilled lamb chops and corn on the cob with a garden salad (yes, I hauled veggies from our garden up there in a cooler).

Monday
On the road home we stopped and had a bowl of chili at Wendy’s. It’s been a while, but I don’t remember it being so sweet and yet otherwise flavorless.

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Lots of good veggies coming out of the raised beds these days.

Tuesday
Jerk chicken (whip together a half cup of apple cider vinegar, 2 T rum, a seeded habanero chile, a small onion, 1 T dried thyme, 2 t. salt, 1 t. pepper, 1 T ginger, 1 T cinnamon, and 1 T allspice in the food processor. You can throw in some garlic if you’ve a mind to. Marinate boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the mixture for one hour and then grill), three bean salad (using frozen green beans from last years garden) and garden salad (lettuces, carrots, tomato, cucumber, scallions, green pepper, basil, and parsley).

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First time growing corn – there are actual ears forming now!

Wednesday
Meatball subs (cooked the meatballs on the grill in a cast iron skillet I picked up at the thrift store) with home-canned marinara sauce a friend gave me, store-bought buns and a pickle plate (cucumbers, beets, beans and asparagus all pickled last year).

706400_carrot_topThursday
Cubed pork tenderloin tossed with Worcestershire sauce and lime juice then grilled on skewers, new potatoes and carrots from the garden cooked in a foil packet with butter and lots of fresh herbs, garden coleslaw and the last jar of applesauce from last fall.

Friday 
Tonight we’ll slice the leftover jerk chicken and layer it with sharp cheddar between tortillas for quesadillas (again using the new-old cast iron skillet on the grill). There’s guacamole in the freezer, as well as a bit of last year’s salsa and fresh piima cream for dipping. (Can you tell I’m trying to clear the freezer before preserving this year’s harvest?). If the milk delivery comes in time I might make up some mozzarella this afternoon to go into a caprese salad with sun-warmed tomatoes and basil from the wishing well.

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Edgar the bird and herbs in the wishing well

See you Monday!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Made From Scratch

Apparently all you have to do for me to read your book is call it Made from Scratch. I have two such named volumes. The first is by Jean Zimmerman and is called Made from Scratch: Reclaiming the Pleasures of the American Hearth. I stumbled across it in 2003, the year it was published.

zimmerman cover Zimmerman is a journalist who has written several books about women’s issues. In this one she examines the history of the domestic arts from the goddess Hestia to the Martha Stewart phenomenon. The book speaks to the conflict women feel regarding their private and professional lives, the desire for a richer home life in the face of increasing technology, the homogenous goods we now buy and consume, and the irony of buying “homemade” goods.

From Chapter 1:

“Because the work of the home has been deemed insignificant, we’ve been able, over the past fifty years, to walk away from it with an alacrity that’s breathtaking. What is remarkable is how completely we’ve stripped ourselves of the skills, rituals, and allegiances that have sustained humankind since time immemorial. An age-old female craft tradition is threatened with extinction. Stitching a hem, making pie crust from memory, and countless other ‘quaint’ and ‘trivial’ domestic arts have now largely vanished from the cultural vocabulary … When we haven’t abandoned them altogether, we’ve commodified them by giving them over to the marketplace, hobbified them in a manner of holiday craft kits, or celebrated their anachronism in ‘living history’ exhibits. The domestic arts involved, which were centuries, sometimes millennia, in the making, are now undergoing their most substantial transformation ever.”

I enjoyed the rich history of domiology Zimmerman explores in this book, as well as the modern contradiction of our socio-cultural minimization of traditional skills while we also try to preserve and honor them. It’s a slightly wonky read, granted, but fascinating.

woginrich coverAnd right next to it on my bookshelf is Made from Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life by Jenna Woginrich. I discovered this book via her website, Cold Antler Farm. She’s a web designer by day and homesteader the rest of the time. The book recounts her early journey after she decided to take control of her life and what she consumed. She learns how to grow food, keep bees and chickens, bake bread, sew, knit and provide her own entertainment by playing the fiddle and mountain dulcimer.

Woginrich is in her twenties. I find it tremendously encouraging that young people (wow, that makes me sound old) are still interested in learning and practicing traditional skills. She inspires, informs, and effectively blends nostalgia with a modern how-to attitude.

The book is fun, too. Woginrich writes with an easy, conversational style, is often laugh-out-loud funny, and shares both her failures and her successes. There’s plenty of hands-on information, and she provides resources for learning how to do all of the things she did, even on a small scale in a rental or an apartment. Plus, there’s an awesome recipe for coffee, which involves stirring in a square of dark chocolate. That right there might be enough to recommend it.

Now I just need to pick up Sandra Lee’s memoir, Made from Scratch

Monday, July 19, 2010

Contest Winner! (& Freezing Cilantro)

Today I’m on my way home from the gorgeous environs of Jackson Hole, Wyoming where the weekend was full of golf, laughter, grilled meat, mountains, friends and wine. I asked my buddy Mary to draw from a hat full of names (really full – thanks for all the emails and comments – I love hearing from you) and … drumroll, please …The winner of the Basic Hard Cheese Kit and Ricki Carroll’s Home Cheese Making is Pieces. Congratulations! I’ll get the kit and book out to you this week.

Look for more giveaways in the future!

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I should be better about keeping up with succession planting, but I’m not. If a space opens up in the garden It’s filled quickly enough, but I never remember to sow radishes or carrots, corn or cilantro two weeks apart to ensure a steady harvest. As a result, I recently had a glut of cilantro.

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It happens every year. You can dry the leaves, but last year I discovered I could freeze cilantro. When there’s extra basil at the end of the summer I puree it, pack it into ice cube trays, freeze it and then drop the frozen cubes into sauces and soups all winter. Cilantro requires a little different process, but the fresh flavor throughout the year is worth it.

Pick the cilantro, and strip the leaves from the stems. If it’s starting to bolt, including a few flowers won’t hurt anything.

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Put the leaves in a large bowl of ice water and allow to soak for ten minutes or so. Then gently swish clean and dry in a salad spinner. Spread the clean cilantro on a towel and allow to dry thoroughly. It’s imperative that there isn’t any water at all on the leaves.

Pack it into ziptop freezer bags in handfuls. You can fit a lot into a bag and it’s still easy to retrieve just a small amount if that’s all you need. Then remove absolutely all the air you can from the bags. I use a straw inserted in an almost closed bag, suck all the air out, and close it really fast. Stop laughing.

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Toss the bags in the freezer. They last until used up or your next harvest. I know because I still have a small bag from last year. And I’m going to use it to make Summer Garden Stew, which is also a good way to use green tomatoes and squash blossoms. I’ll post the recipe on Hearth Cricket next Friday.

And once more, Congratulations to Pieces!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Baked Potato Salad

This week’s no-oven menus have been pre-empted by an actual summertime recipe because, though the oven remains off, our meals have been uninspired, eat-on-the-run affairs. K was gone last weekend, and this weekend we’re golfing with friends in lovely seventy degree weather at the base of the Grand Tetons. Luckily, the magic of technology allows me to share this recipe for Baked Potato Salad even though I’m on vacay.

I read once that most American families cook and eat an average of ten different dinner dishes over and over. Everyone has their favorites, after all. Still, it throws me a little when K puts in a kitchen request for something I feel like I just made. But let’s face it; he’s an adventurous enough eater, but would be perfectly content with ten meals.

So this week he asked for baked potato salad again, which I mentioned in the first week of the no-oven challenge. It’s an easy recipe that I threw together just because I love a fully loaded baked potato. 

Baked Potato Salad

  • 3 medium baked potatoes, cooled and chopped into bite-sized pieces (keep the skin on)
  • 2 ounces grated cheese (Cheddar is great)
  • 3 slices cooked bacon, crumbled or chopped
  • 1 large green onion, sliced (or chives are good, too)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 + Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

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Combine first four ingredients. In a separate bowl combine remaining ingredients.

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Toss sauce with potato mixture and sprinkle with a little paprika if you like. Try to make this at least a few hours ahead to let the flavors mingle, and the potatoes will soak up a bit of the dressing. Makes about four servings.

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That’s it. Easy peasy, especially if you baked a few extra potatoes to have on hand for things like this. I used russets, but this is good with  baked red or yellow potatoes, too. The salad is prettier with yellow Cheddar, but I had some white horseradish Cheddar so went for the flavor. And I used buttermilk because I happen to have a lot of it around right now. You could also use plain yogurt, or cream or half-and-half with a spritz of lemon juice to achieve a little tang. This salad would be good with a traditional mayonnaise dressing with a bit of mustard, though I think the sour cream works especially well with the other flavors.

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cheese making kit

The giveaway continues for a copy of Ricki Carroll’s Home Cheese Making and her Basic Hard Cheese Kit, valued together at $47. You can enter multiple times in any of the following ways:

Leave a comment on Hearth Cricket saying specifically that you want to win the cheese making kit, or let me know at cricketmcrae@gmail.com if you want to enter the contest.

Add Hearth Cricket to your blogroll and email to let me know you’ve done so. Or, email and let me know if you already have me on your blogroll.

Tweet this contest and email to let me know you did.

Post on Facebook about this contest and email to let me know you did.

Recommend Hearth Cricket on StumbleUpon and email to let me know you did.

Bookmark this post on Delicious and email to let me know you did.

Thanks Ricki! I’ll announce the winner next Monday. Good Luck, everyone!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

More Eco-Friendly Gardening Solutions

071210 036 Yesterday was garden maintenance day at Hearth Cricket. Well, every day is, really, but yesterday we caught up with some of the things we don't do very often.

First, I sprayed my new vinegar-and-citric acid weed killer between the paving stones. I’d waited until there was no rain in the forecast. Some weeds it killed almost instantly; others may take a couple applications.

071210 032Then I sprinkled half a cup of Epsom salt about six inches away from the roses. The magnesium sulfate will encourage lots of blooms over the next few months. Probably should have done it a month ago and then again at the end of July, but, well, I didn't. Note: never use any other kind of salt around plants unless you really won't miss them when they’re gone.

071210 021Next I made up a solution of one part milk and nine parts water to spray on the powdery mildew spreading on the leaves of the spaghetti squash and pumpkins. It started after a few heavy rains a few weeks back, but I thought the sun might remedy the situation. Not so much. This is the first time I’ve run into powdery mildew in Colorado, but we had it all the time in the Northwest.

071210 029The brassicas are crazy healthy. I swear one cauliflower matured in two days, and new florets of broccoli are ready to harvest every other day.  The green cabbages are getting huge, while the purple ones lag behind -- a nice way to space out their harvests. I did see a couple aphids on one of the cabbages, though, so gave them all a little spritz with water mixed with a few drops of dishwashing liquid.

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The corn has almost caught up with the giant bloomin’ onion 

And the ants are busy among the paving stones. For the most part I leave them alone, but when they get too close to the house it’s time for the borax. Borax is a great way to battle ants if they show up inside the house, too.

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The perennial garden is getting established. Next year: asparagus!

Last week Stacey left a comment with the link to Arbico Organics. thanks for the reminder! They have all sorts of eco-friendly goodies, including beneficial nematodes you can add to your soil.

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The giveaway continues for a copy of Ricki Carroll’s Home Cheese Making and her Basic Hard Cheese Kit, valued together at $47. You can enter multiple times in any of the following ways:

  • Leave a comment on Hearth Cricket saying specifically that you want to win the cheese making kit, or let me know at cricketmcrae@gmail.com if you want to enter the contest.
  • Add Hearth Cricket to your blogroll and email to let me know you’ve done so. Or, email and let me know if you already have me on your blogroll.
  • Tweet this contest and email to let me know you did.
  • Post on Facebook about this contest and email to let me know you did.
  • Recommend Hearth Cricket on StumbleUpon and email to let me know you did.
  • Bookmark this post on Delicious and email to let me know you did.

Thanks Ricki! I’ll announce the winner next Monday. Good Luck, everyone!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Ricki Carroll and a Giveaway

Today Beth Groundwater interviews me on her blog. She asks me to tell something I’ve never revealed in any other interview. My answer isn’t exactly scandalous, but at least it’s true!

The Giveaway

ricki bookRicki Carroll, the Cheese Queen herself, has donated a basic hard cheese making kit and a copy of her book, Home Cheese Making for me to give away here on Hearth Cricket. Together they retail for $47.

She also permitted me to post her recipes for 30-Minute Mozzarella, Whole-Milk Ricotta and Queso Blanco on the recipe page of my website. The last two don’t require any special cultures or equipment, and are a great way to get started making fresh cheese.

This kit makes eight delicious, homemade cheeses: Farmhouse Cheddar, Gouda, Monterey Jack, Feta, Cottage Cheese, Colby, Parmesan and Ricotta.

cheese making kit

It contains a basket mold, vegetable rennet tablets, mesophilic DS starter, thermophilic DS starter, dial pocket thermometer, 1/2 oz calcium chloride, one yard of re-useable cheesecloth, and a recipe booklet.

This is the same kit that I bought in the ‘90s to learn how to make Cheddar and Monterey Jack. I’ve used the thermometer and basket mold ever since.

If you’ve ever wondered about making your own cheese, or if you’ve already dabbled with fresh cheeses, this is the perfect way to get started with easy hard cheeses. It’s fascinating that even with the same culture, the method used can produce cheeses as different as Ricotta and Parmesan.

If you want to know more about Ricki and cheese making in general, check out The New England Cheese Making Supply Company.

Despite my proselytizing, not everyone wants to make their own cheese, so this time around either leave a comment on Hearth Cricket saying specifically that you want to win the cheese making kit, or let me know at cricketmcrae@gmail.com if you want to enter the contest. You can enter more than once, too, in one or more of the following ways:

Add Hearth Cricket to your blogroll and email to let me know you’ve done so. Or, email and let me know if you already have me on your blogroll.

Tweet this contest and email to let me know you did.

Post on Facebook about this contest and email to let me know you did.

Recommend Hearth Cricket on StumbleUpon and email to let me know you did.

Bookmark this post on Delicious and email to let me know you did.

Thanks Ricki! I’ll announce the winner next Monday. Good Luck, everyone!

Friday, July 9, 2010

More No-Oven Menus

The giveaway I mentioned will start on Monday so there will be a full week to enter.

Despite much cooler temperatures a couple days this week, I stuck with not using the oven or stovetop. Here’s how it went:

Saturday
Spicy shrimp Caesar salad using the leftovers from the shrimp tacos and croutons made from the previous week’s asiago-basil bread. For the croutons I tossed dried bread cubes with olive oil and herbs, then put them on foil on the grill and poked at them until they browned a bit.

070710 016Tandoori Chicken

Sunday
Tandoori chicken using the recipe here, naan baked on the grill and garden cauliflower cooked with homemade butter in a foil packet. The cucumbers weren’t quite big enough to make a real raita, so I just made a yogurt sauce with lemon juice and lots of cumin.

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Monday
Hamburgers with steak fries and wilted lettuce. I harvested an enormous bowl of leaf lettuce from the garden, removed the thick ribs and tossed the tender leaves with sliced scallions, crumbled bacon and a hot vinaigrette made with a little bacon grease, apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper, and a little sugar.

Tuesday
Fajitas made with round steak marinated briefly in lime juice and crushed garlic then grilled and sliced across the grain. We layered the beef in wheat tortillas along with sliced avocado, red onion, grated cheddar and a sauce made from drained yogurt, salsa, mashed avocado, lime juice and lots of lime zest.

070710 055 Pita Bread

Wednesday
Curried chicken salad made from the leftover tandoori chicken stuffed into pita pockets baked on the grill along with lettuce and tomato from the garden. The pita is grilled just like naan, but rolled only 1/8 inch thick. The steam created by high heat makes it puff up very quickly.

070710 061 Chicken Salad in Pita (yes, there’s a bite missing)

Thursday
Halibut steaks in a foil packet, baked potatoes and garden salad.

Friday
Tonight I’ll be grilling pizzas and will make another big garden salad. The lettuce is nearly bolting, so we’re enjoying all we can, while we can.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Guest Posting on Patricia Stoltey's Blog

Hi all. I'm guesting over at Patricia Stoltey's today. She has a series called My Writing Life where I talk about my path to publishing. Pat's blog is a great resource for writers and definitely worth a visit.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A New Killer

Weeds. The bane of summer. The soil around here has a lot of clay in it, so pulling weeds out of dry ground is nearly impossible. Wet ground is better, of course, but still requires a lot of digging.

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Yeah, well, poor me. Everyone has the same problem.

A lot of people spray heavy duty herbicides. Now, I dislike things like Roundup because of the chemicals but also because it takes forever to supposedly kill weeds that then seem to come back even stronger.

But recently I discovered (concocted) an effective, eco-friendly weed spray!

I've used straight vinegar before, and the result is decent top kill in a day or so rather than a few weeks of ugly dying greenery. But then I heard of horticultural vinegar, which is 20% acid rather than the standard 5% you find at the grocery store.

None in town that I could find, only some stuff called Burn Out which I'm told works pretty well. It's kind of spendy, though. The helpful woman at the nursery told me it contains acetic acid (vinegar) and citric acid, as well as clove oil.

Citric acid, eh? Turns out I have a bunch of that. Like, five pounds leftover from making bath bombs and bath melts. And it's food grade, so I also use it to make 30-Minute Mozzarella. What if I were to dissolve some in vinegar, thus upping the acid content to something truly lethal against bindweed, thistles and the like?

Bwa ha ha ...

It worked! I added a cup of citric acid granules to a gallon of white vinegar and then tested it on these weeds in the driveway. In less than four sunny hours the sprawling greenery in the picture above looked like this:

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The big test will be how much comes back. And thistles. So far the tiny ones die pretty quickly, and if I manage to keep on top of things that will be enough. For weeds in the driveway and among the paving stones, I’ll add a little salt to really up the toxic level. No salt in the landscape beds or around the veggies, though.

Will the weeds actually be under control this summer? We'll see. But at least I have another weapon in my arsenal. And when I run out of citric acid, I'll just order more from Glory Bee, where five pounds costs 15.25 plus shipping.

Any eco-friendly solutions you’d like to share?

UPDATE: The weeds in the pictures are SO DEAD, and show no signs of rallying.

Tomorrow look for me over at Patricia Stoltey’s blog, where I’ll be posting about my path to publication as part of her My Writing Life series.

And on Friday I’ll be posting more no-oven menus and there will be another giveaway!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Borrowed and Bleu Trailer

I confess: Creating the video trailers for my books is a LOT of fun. It appeals to that part of me that really wants to be a film director. Heck, maybe there's still time for yet another career, eh?

Here's the one I made for Something Borrowed, Something Bleu.


Making this video at http://www.animoto.com/ cost $3. It's very easy, and simply consists of combining images and text (and video, if you want -- like the blood dripping down the white background). Once you have everything arranged in order, you select the music. The tempo of the music will affect how the images and text are rendered into the final video.

Then you run everything through the rendering software (which consists of clicking on a button). If you don't like the result you can re-render your video, or edit the images or text and try again. All for the original $3. If the video is less than thirty seconds, it's free.

Animoto also offers templates for video cards, background themes, and copyright free music selections. I haven't looked at the cards, so I don't know if they're cute or silly or what. The musical selections can be limited, especially if you're looking for songs sans lyrics. You can also use your own music, but be aware of copyright infringement issues.

So I'm thinking this might be a fun way to do a Christmas/holiday letter, eh? What do you think? Pictures of the kids (and/or pets), that family vacay, the piano recital, etc., along with key pieces of text (there are strict character limits) to explain the photos.

Any other ideas?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Contest Winners and No-Oven Menus

The two winners of the Cheesy Contest have been drawn from Hearth Cricket comments made since the contest was announced a couple weeks ago. Dru won a copy of Something Borrowed, Something Bleu and a copy of Ricki Carroll’s Making Butter, Yogurt and Cheese Bulletin. Shel won a copy of Something Borrowed, Something Bleu and a selection of cheeses from igourmet.com. Congratulations to you both! Please send your mailing addresses to me at cricketmcrae@gmail.com so I can get your loot to you asap!

Today I'm guest posting over at Anastasia Pollack's blog, Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers. Anastasia is the crafts editor at American Woman Magazine and the title character in Lois Winston’s upcoming Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries.

So, no formal recipe this week at Hearth Cricket, but plenty of summer meal ideas. It's been a week since the oven went off, and I haven't used the stove top either. That meant lots of cooking on the grill and a bit in the microwave, combined with salads and leftovers. Breakfasts have often been fresh fruit with homemade yogurt and granola. I also discovered I could boil a cup of water in the microwave, add a room-temperature egg to the hot water, go take a shower, and come back to an evenly cooked soft-boiled egg, perfect over over wilted chard or with toast.

Lunches, when we bothered, consisted of leftovers or salads.

No-Oven Menu Last Week

Saturday
Grilled New York strip steaks, baked potato salad (bake potatoes by microwaving four or five minutes, then douse in olive oil and a goodly sprinkle of kosher salt and grill on medium indirect heat until crispy chewy on the outside and tender in the middle), and grilled vegetables (zucchini, sweet peppers, vidalia onion slices and mushrooms).

Sunday
Bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches. Fresh asiago-and-basil bread from the farmer's market, peppered bacon cooked in the microwave and the first Cherokee purple tomato from the garden made these perfect summer fare. K wanted French fries, so I made steak fries on the grill by microwaving two potatoes for three minutes and slicing them into wedges, then tossing them with olive oil, salt, pepper and a little chopped rosemary. Then they cooked for about twenty minutes on a piece of foil laid across a relatively low grill. The lid was closed most of the time, but I moved them around a lot to achieve even browning. The result was very similar to the ones I broast in the oven during the winter.

Monday
Grilled pork sirloin strips marinated in peanut sauce and threaded on kabobs -- tossed with broccoli grilled in a foil packet, fresh cilantro, chopped scallions, leftover linguine and more peanut sauce. The linguine was a frozen leftover, otherwise I would have used bean threads or rice sticks softened in boiling water.

Tuesday
Salad of rare, thinly sliced leftovers from Saturday’s New York strip steaks (they were quite large) tossed with blue cheese, halved cherry tomatoes, walnuts and Italian dressing and served over garden greens.

Wednesday
Dinner out after nine holes of evening golf.

Thursday
Shrimp tacos – grilled the shrimp after rubbing them with a paste of garlic, chili powder, cayenne pepper, olive oil and lime juice and letting them sit for an hour or so – accompanied by chilled black beans tossed with finely chopped red onion, chopped roasted poblano peppers, lime juice, olive oil, kosher salt and lots of fresh cilantro.

Tonight
Pork Spring rolls made with Monday’s leftover peanut pork kabobs, grated carrot, sliced scallions and thinly sliced crispy garden lettuce. Dipping sauces will be bottled peanut sauce, a combination of soy sauce, sesame oil and a bit of sugar, and hot mustard mixed with soy and garlic chili sauces.

Anyone have a favorite outside dish they'd like to share? I’d love to hear about it.

See you Monday!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Book Release Today!

And I’m guest posting over at Thoughts in Progress. Stop by to find out why I chose to include cheese making, Colorado and a decades-old suicide in Something Borrowed, Something Bleu!