Sunday Goodies

It was a rainy, gray, thunderous morning here and we needed a good dose of morning sunshine to kick start the day. So I threw together an impromptu batch of what are now known as Sunrise Muffins. They were immensely good and we finished the muffins before I could take pictures. However, there was enough excess batter to throw in a small loaf pan to make one muffin loaf.

Hiding inside are fresh strawberries and nectarines which were marinated overnight in sugar and Kraken Spiced Rum. The fruit reminds me of an Arizona sunrise in July, brilliant reds peeking through oranges hues as the sun climbs over the horizon.

The muffins were moist and tender. The fruit was not overly sweet over so drunk on rum that all you could taste was the rum. Instead, the muffins, and by extension the loaf, were slightly sweet, nicely spiced, and light.

The perfect start to a Sunday was followed up with the perfect late lunch condiment, salsa! I love salsa, no seriously I love salsa that is fresh, homemade, and so spicy my mouth is on fire. Well, I succeeded in my last batch which included two small and extremely spicy peppers from our garden.


I made the salsa a week ago and put it in the refrigerator to marry the flavors. Any great salsa requires time to blend and become one and boy howdy, was the salsa blended perfectly. To be honest salsa is simple to make and healthy, and tastes nothing like the jars of salsa sold on supermarket shelves everywhere. Best part of homemade salsa is you control the heat and the ingredients. The recipe for mine is simple:

Roasted peppers – peeled and deveined

Onions

Tomatoes

Cilantro

Garlic

Lime zest

Lime juice

 

Dice the roasted peppers, onions, and tomatoes into small bite size pieces. Finely dice the garlic and cilantro then add it to the diced ingredients. Zest one lime into the mixture and lime juice to taste. Salt and pepper to taste (I never do).

 

Can be eaten immediately but for best results, refrigerate for at least a week.

 


Now you are set for the perfect accompaniment to almost any meal. Enjoy!


 

Drunk berries, breakfast and margaritas

A week ago I promised to post about the delicious concoction that is drunk berries but, life has a way of intervening in our best laid plans. Drunk berries are nothing complicated or mysterious, fresh berries, sugar, and bourbon. Clean the berries like normal, sugar to taste, and a healthy splash of bourbon. Place in the refrigerator for several hours to allow the sugar and bourbon to work their magic on the berries. The end result are berries that are slightly sweet, fresh tasting, and will keep for much longer without turning into moldy mush.

When I was just a wee thing, my favorite food in the world was pancakes. I would request them every morning for breakfast and then Mum and I would walk to Knott’s Berry Farm where I would feed the chickens. This was a daily ritual we both loved. I still love pancakes although I no longer eat them on a regular basis. I will admit that I am a pancake snob, I really only eat pancakes made by myself or Mum to this day.

When I made pancakes for breakfast last Sunday, I warmed the drunk berries and poured them over the fluffy stacks of pancakes. The drunk berries, the real maple syrup, and peppery bacon made for the perfect accompaniment to steaming, dark cups of coffee. Hubby and I started Sunday off on the right foot thanks for the drunk berries and pancakes.

The perfect Sunday breakfast was capped off with grapefruit margaritas. Nothing like fresh squeezed grapefruits and tequila to put the perfect drink together on a lovely summer evening.

Summer has officially arrived

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Happens every year, that overwhelming urge to eat sweet, succulent, juicy fruit until my insides explode and that desire smacked me in the face this week.  We were at Costco yesterday and came home with a car brimming with fruit.  Nectarines, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, apples, grapefruit, cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon all somehow managed to jump into the cart and sneak into  checkout lane.  Got home without any of the melons exploding from getting jostled during the ride home, something my husband always worries about but has never happened, and made room in the refrigerator.

When I opened the door of the refrigerator about ten minutes after I shut it to contemplate what I felt like making for dinner, the smell of fruit was overpowering and delicious.  We ordered pizza last night, lazy but it was simply to hot to cook after being out in the sun in the middle of the afternoon hen it’s over 100 in the shade here right now.  First thing this morning, I got up and decided to tackle the immediate “problems” in the refrigerator.

The first thing to be tackled were the berries, by far the most delicate of all the fruits and the most likely to spoil.  I dumped all of them into a sink of cold water and swished everyone around to rinse off the dirt and debris that might have decided to come along for the ride.  Blueberries and raspberries were then rescued and transferred to a colander by hand, and  impressively not a single one of them were bad or needed to be tossed.  I let those drain while I stemmed and sliced the strawberries.  I tossed all the berries in containers with a little sugar and a healthy splash of bourbon.   Two containers went immediately into the freezer because they will spoil before the two of us could eat them alone and the third container is in the refrigerator waiting for tonight when I make Drunk Berries Shortcake, pictures and recipes to follow tomorrow.

The melons were the next thing I tackled.  One of my favorite dishes in the the world is melon salad.  It’s not complicated, it isn’t fussy, it doesn’t care about perfect cuts, it’s just plain, simple, old fashioned good food.

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Cut and cleaned cantaloupe and honeydew are combined with juicy watermelon, tossed together and chilled.  It is the perfect breakfast dish with toast or yogurt,  It is ice cold when you come in from outside activities and need to recharge your batteries.  And tonight for dinner it will be served alongside grilled Andouille Sausage and fresh squeezed grapefruit margaritas to wash it all down with. 

 

Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving Day has come and gone in all of it’s wonderful, glutinous traditions.  I didn’t cook this year, let’s be honest Mum still does the cooking and I don’t foresee that changing anytime soon.  I’m perfectly fine with that to be honest.  If we are all honest, nothing beats a homemade meal from Mum no matter how old we grow.

It was a small Thanksgiving table this year, just four of us (my parents and hubby and I) and for the first time it was casual.  I always request casual holiday events and Mum never listens to me.  She always wants to pull out the china and expensive stemware, even when there are a whopping four people sitting down to dinner.  This year she cook a small bird and a small number of sides.  There were hardly any leftovers which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  What leftovers there were, came home with us since they are on their way out of town to visit the Texas grandchildren.

Our holiday meal included the ever present stuffing and turkey but with a twist.  She no longer stuffs the turkey bird with stuffing but rather puts it in the crockpot.  First time she told me she was cooking stuffing in the crockpot I was convinced she was going senile early.  I was wrong.  Stuffing turns out moist and perfectly down.  It’s even possible to get crispy sides if you take off the lid about thirty minutes prior to serving.  I did have a hand in cooking dinner, minor in the extreme however.

A couple of years ago I discovered the secret to an always moist and juicy turkey no matter what the time of year … citrus.

Seriously, not kidding here, it’s citrus.  I know, sounds crazy but it works and no the bird doesn’t come out overly sweet or tangy from the fruit.  I usually stuff whatever citrus is in the refrigerator whenever I pop a turkey, or for that matter a whole chicken, in the oven.  Blood oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes, tangerines, doesn’t matter to me they all work.  I also usually add an onion and depending on the time of the year a jalapeno or an apple or two.  I just half or quarter, depending on the cavity size, and shove the fruit and spices inside, cover with foil and stick in the oven for a couple of hours.  Foolproof, never fail delicious turkey is always the result.

It probably won’t be until sometime next week that I make turkey for just the two of us but when I do I will remember to take a couple of pictures to share.  I will be honest, I am looking forward to that meal since there were so few leftovers yesterday.