Saturday, July 28, 2012

Basmati Rice Salad With Summer Vegetables

If you have a vegetable garden, this could be your best friend.  Nothing like a cold rice salad in this heat!

  • 1 small shallot, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups cooked basmati rice, cooled
  • 2 cups bite-size pieces assorted vegetables (such as radishes, tomatoes, peas, summer squash) or carrot ribbons
  • 3/4 cup torn mixed leafy greens, sprouts, and herbs
  • 1/3 cup chopped red, yellow, or white onion or scallions
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts (optional)


Pulse first 4 ingredients in a blender until combined; season with salt and pepper. With blender running, slowly drizzle in oil. Process dressing until well blended.
Place remaining ingredients in a large bowl; drizzle with 3 tablespoons dressing and toss to coat. Pass remaining dressing alongside for drizzling over.

Recipe Epicurious

Friday, July 20, 2012

Easy Summertime Coleslaw

I have been making this recipe ever since I can remember.  I had no idea it was from McCormicks, the spice company.  Easy, fast, the real deal!

Makes 8 (1/2-cup) servings.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Refrigerate: 2 hours


1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 package (16 ounces) shredded coleslaw mix


1. Mix mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar, celery seed, ground mustard and seasoned salt in large bowl. Add coleslaw mix; toss to coat well. Cover.

2. Refrigerate 2 hours or until ready to serve. Stir before serving.

Recipe from McCormick

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Neiman Marcus Popovers!

You will dazzle them at a ladies luncheon if you come up with these!  Keep in mind a resting period of 1 hour.


3 1/2 cups milk
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 large eggs, at room temperature


Preheat oven to 450 degrees fahrenheit

Pour milk into a saucepan and set over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, or until lukewarm (but not hot), about 110 degrees fahrenheit.

Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder into a large bowl.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a wire whisk, beat the eggs on low speed for about 3 minutes, until foamy and pale in color. Stir in the warm milk and continue to mix at low speed. Gradually add the flour mixture to the beaten eggs at low speed then increase the speed to medium and mix for 2 minutes longer.

Let the batter rest for 1 hour at room temperature.

Spray a 12-cup nonstick popover tin generously with nonstick spray and set on a baking sheet.

Fill the cups of the tin almost to the top with batter.  Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the over temperature to 375 degrees fahrenheit. Bake the popovers  for 30 to 35 minutes longer, or until they are deep golden brown and crispy on the outside and airy on the inside.

Serve hot with strawberry butter.

Strawberry Butter:

1 pound unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 strawberry preserves

Beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the preserves and beat until well combined. To serve, spoon or pipe into one-ounce ramekins or bread and butter plates.

These and more recipes are found in the “Neiman Marcus Cookbook” available at NM restaurants
or here

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Spicy Prawns With Zesty Avocado Spread

The creamy avocado in these bite sized appetizers is a cool complement to the spicy prawns and the crunchy texture of the rice cracker. This delightful and gluten-free appetizer will whet your guests’ appetites during all spring and summer entertainment occasions. Ensure you make plenty of extras as they will quickly disappear!

1 tbsp olive oil
20 large prawns, shelled
1 tbsp chilli garlic paste
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 avocados, finely diced
1 green onion, sliced
1 lemon, juice and zest
20 sesame rice crackers
20 cilantro leaves


In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, add olive oil and shrimp.  Cook shrimp for 2 to 4 minutes per side until they turn orange/red in colour and opaque. Add chili garlic paste and stir to coat, continuing to cook for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and set aside for later use.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine cilantro, avocados, green onion, lemon juice and zest. Top each cracker with 1 tsp (5mL) avocado spread and 1 prawn. Garnish with a cilantro leaf.
Serve immediately.

Yield: 20 pieces

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Look Who Just Landed!

The hawk in this case is one of a pair of hawks that live in the woods behind our garden.  They rule the entire area along the creek and nothing, and I mean nothing, gets past them.  The other day we heard a ruckus in the backyard and rushed to the window to see a poor owl being chased out of the woods by the hawks and every bird in the neighborhood, including the blue jays.  Apparently the owl landed unexpectedly in someone else's territory.

This one appeared early this morning as we were having coffee and sat there for a good 5 minutes surveying the yard.  He or she must have been stalking something, I hope not a snake.  Right below her is the wild flower garden which has turned into a zoo attracting all kinds of bees, birds and heavens knows what.

I don't know if hawks are a good or bad omen...but this one landed on the Fourth of July!

I just missed her!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Last Minute Red,White And Blue Trifle

My daughter has been asked, at the last minute, to bring a dessert for a Fourth of July cookout. It seems the hostess underestimated the popularity of a lake house for tomorrow's fireworks display.   Seeing that she is working normal hours today, we thought this would be a cinch to make and great theater for the occasion.

This dessert is assembled in a spring form pan. Alternatively, you can layer everything in a trifle mold and use store bought pound cake instead of ladyfingers.  Sara Lee makes a good one.

Serves 8

  • 1 1/2 pounds raspberries (5 cups)
  • 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice (from 1 large orange)
  • 10 ounces mascarpone cheese (1 1/3 cups)
  • 1 1/4 cups cold heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Fine salt
  • 20 to 24 ladyfingers (from a 7-ounce package), broken into 1-inch pieces
  • 3/4 pound blueberries (2 1/2 cups)
  1. In a medium bowl, combine raspberries with 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar and orange juice. With the back of a fork, lightly mash berries to release their juices and let sit 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together mascarpone and 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar until smooth. Whisk in cream, vanilla, and pinch of salt and whisk until soft peaks form, about 4 minutes.

  2. Cut one or two pieces parchment 1 inch taller than side of an 8-inch springform pan and line inside of pan. Place half the ladyfingers in pan and top with half the raspberry mixture. With a small offset or rubber spatula, spread half the whipped cream over berries. Tap pan gently on counter to remove air bubbles. Repeat with remaining ladyfingers, raspberry mixture, and whipped cream. Top with blueberries and refrigerate until whipped cream is stiff and cookies have softened, about
    3 hours (or, tightly covered with plastic, up to 3 days). To serve, unmold trifle and peel away parchment.

You can use cake sparklers on this trifle. They should only be used outdoors, according to package instructions; alternatively, look for sparkle candles, which will give you a similar look. Both are available from many online baking-supply stores.

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

Sunday, July 1, 2012

How To Care For Plants In Hot Weather

I am like a new mother these days checking on my plants every five minutes to see how they are dealing with 106 degree heat.  Most of them are coping, except for my beautiful parsley, both curly and Italian, both  much in need of intensive care.

The care of plants and flowers in hot weather is pretty much the same with exception to container plants, or those that have been newly planted. Of course, additional watering is a given, with new and potted plants requiring even more irrigation. In addition to watering more often, mulching plants can help conserve moisture and keep plants cooler. The use of shade covers, especially on vegetable crops, may be helpful as well.

Container plants will require daily watering, even twice a day in high temperatures. These plants should be given a thorough soaking until water can be seen coming out from the drainage holes. Placing water granules in pots also helps. As these will gradually soak up excess water, in times of dryness, the granules will slowly release some of this water back into the soil. Moving potted plants to a shadier location during the heat of the day is also recommended.

If some of your plants look like they have died and gone to heaven, don't give up on them.  Cut them back 50%, move them to a larger pot, water and fertilize them.  They may surprise you and come back sooner than you expected.

Reprinted from Gardening Know-How by Nikki Phipps


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