Wednesday, July 20, 2011


 We are having a heat wave here in the US and  I haven't cooked either  in the kitchen or on the BBQ lately(toooo hot..). We eat healthy cold salads and drink lots of beverages. I'm hoping that this situation will soon abate because my husband says that with all the vegetables he is consuming he feels like a rabbit... Maybe that's why he is in the garden taking pictures of the flowers!!!

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Broccoli -rabe is a variety of broccoli that's also known as broccoletti di rape, brocoletto, rapini, choy sum, or Chinese flowering cabbage.It is a versatile vegetable and is laden with vitamins.

A lot of people don't like broccoli-rabe because of its semi bitter taste.  In order to reduce this bitterness don't cook it too long and add a touch of lemon juice while cooking. Yesterday I made this light and nutritious soup:

1 pound of broccoli-rabe
2 cloves of garlic crushed
1/2 Tsp of lemon juice
2 Cups of chicken broth mixed with 1 packet of chicken bouillon
1 Can of beans any kind, drained  (I used pinto beans)
2 Tbsp of olive oil
Parmesan cheese

 Separate the leaves from the stem up to where the actual broccoli is and snip off  at that point. Save the stems for another application (I never waste a good thing-see below). Wash and drain on a colander. Sautee garlic with oil in a large skillet and add the leaves. Stir to coat with oil. Turn the heat  low and continue to stir for few more minutes. Turn off heat. In a medium pot add chicken broth, bouillon, lemon juice and the beans. Cover and cook until  beans are tender but not too soft. Add the sauteed leaves. Pour into individual dishes and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and enjoy.

For the stems: Carefully trim the stems with a knife eliminating all outer ribs and hollow parts. Sautee stems with a clove of crushed garlic in olive oil for 5-6 minutes then turn off the heat. Squeeze 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and serve hot or cold.  Great side dish for meat or poultry.    

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


The veal breast at the butcher looked very appetizing. Although I've cooked various veal dishes I had no experience stuffing the veal. I first removed the breast bone (it might have been a mistake, I don't know) but I proceeded to prepare the stuffing anyway. I used cubed stuffing bread and mixed it with 1/3 cups of  melted Cheddar cheese (other cheeses can be used as well), a few sprigs of chopped parsley, dash of cumin, curry powder and sage and mixed them altogether with 2 tablespoons of white wine.
Next I placed the butterflied breast of veal on a tray, spread it with one large crushed garlic and the stuffing mixture.
 Then I rolled and tied the meat with a kitchen string. Well, I have to admit that I tried several times to tie it and finally was successful. ( I tied a loop at the beginning and twisted the long end of the string from under the meat over to the top and continued to do so while making loops in between until I reached the other end). Well, that was my technique. After this I brushed the top with a mixture of a tablespoon of pepper paste mixed with a tablespoon of olive oil. (See below)
Then I roasted the stuffed veal it at 350 degrees oven for two hours. Rice pilaf and mescalin salad were good side dishes for this meal.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


I collected several sprigs of  lavender flowers  from my lavender plant in the back yard and put them in a bottle of 45 proof vodka for a week. During that time vodka became tinted reddish as the lavender oils seeped in to it. When I opened the bottle I was pleasantly surprised by the sweet scent of lavender. Well,  it was pretty strong so I decided to mix it with lemon-lime seltzer. It was like drinking liquid lavender with an amazing refreshing taste. I put one drop of blue food coloring in to my glass and achieved this color.I think it is worth trying at least once.


 Look at this Monarch butterfly flittering around the flowers. My husband was able to catch its movements. It was probably attracted to that butterfly plant.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Fried Yellow Zucchini & Carrots

I happen to like fried vegetables in summer. Something about the aromas and the appearances bring back a lot of fond childhood memories. The dredge I learned from my grandmother is the best so far. It forms a nice coating of crunch around the vegetables. Even if they are covered with garlicky yogurt or sauce they still retain their crunchiness. I use this dredge for vegetables as well as sea food.

I cut the vegetables into slices horizontally using the mandolin but it can be cut diagonally or any other way you like.

Slice all vegetables set aside.

For dredging:

1 Cup of flour
1/2 Cup of beer (any type)
1/4 tsp each (garlic powder, cumin, curry and rubbed sage and *salt).

Mix all together in a bowl to make a tacky paste ( flour or more liquid may be added to reach that consistency).

For frying:
1/2 Cup vegetable oil 
Heat oil in a skillet and slowly and carefully  add the dredged vegetables. Turn with tongs after one side is slightly browned. Once both sides are browned, place it on  a paper towel to absorb extra oil. In the meantime you can prepare the garlic yogurt and red sauce.

2 large cloves of garlic crushed
1 Cup of good plain yogurt. Mix well

My husband prefers using red sauce on his veggies.  I gave him the  pasta sauce I had made a day ago. (Store bought pasta sauce can be used with additional garlic, oregano and basil. 
*Salt, pepper and hot sauce can be added as   preferred.