Summer time and the living is easy… Somehow the HOT weather screams RELAXING, A DIP IN THE POOL, BACK YARD GRILLING, FRESH VEGGIES, HOMEMADE PEACH ICE CREAM, ICE COLD WATERMELON, FAMILY REUNIONS and if you live in the Deep South - GNATS!!!
A summer tomato is to die for! I mean a real VINE ripe tomato. Two slices of fresh soft white bread (so fresh and soft that it sticks to the top of your mouth), a generous dollop of mayo, a juicy red vine ripened tomato sliced with the skin left on, a pinch of salt and pepper, and MAN do you have a gourmet delight. You can add lettuce and bacon if you really want to get fancy. The more additions to the basic SUMMER TOMATO SANDWICH takes away from the flavor of the delicacy of the REAL tomato! There are so many ways to prepare tomatoes. Another one of my favorites is the tomato pie. I always have this with fish. Actually, this is so good with any type of meat or even at brunch with eggs, sausage, bacon and fruit.
Tomato Pie Recipe ala Bubbles!
1 pie crust, found in the refrigerated section of the grocery
3 vine ripe tomatoes, sliced with peeling left on and drained between paper towels for several hours
1 green onion with top, chopped
1 cup mayo
1 cup grated sharp cheese
Fresh basil leaves shredded
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unroll pie crust and fit into a pie dish. Crimp the edges or score with a fork. Brush the bottom of the pie crust with a dollop of Dijon mustard. Lightly cover, do not get it too thick. Mix the mayo and the grated cheese. Layer the tomatoes, onion, a few of the shredded basil leaves and cheese mixture ending with the cheese mixture.
Bake for about 45 minutes or until the middle is set. Leftovers are even better! Unfortunately, this does not freeze very well!
Casseroles made from fresh crook neck squash and bread made with zucchini are out of this world! Of course, just a little butter in the iron skillet with sliced squash and Vidalia onion is hard to beat. Sautee’ just until tender and serve your plate.
Summer Veggie Casserole
3 crook neck squash
1 medium onion sliced thin
2-3 medium tomatoes sliced thin
4 slices of American cheese cut into strips
4 – 6 slices of bacon
Salt and pepper to taste
In a rectangular baking dish lightly sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, layer in order, squash (unpeeled and sliced lengthwise), zucchini (unpeeled and sliced lengthwise) , onion, tomatoes, cheese and bacon (uncooked). Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.
A great alternative to potatoes!
3 ¼ cups all purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup water
2 cups grated zucchini
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients except for nuts in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients, fold into dry, and add nuts. Bake in two lightly greased and floured loaf pans for 1 hour or until done.
When Phil wants to fire up the grill, one of his favorites is to BBQ chicken and baste it with Peanut Butter sauce. When the sauce sort of burns a little on the chicken and the skin gets crispy - YUM YUM YUM!!! Now that we have a new grilling area out back it if so much fun to have friends and family over for a cookout. Thanks to Mark Holloway at Modern Gas for helping design the new additions to the courtyard.
Peanut Butter Sauce
In a boiler melt 1 stick of butter with 2 heaping Tablespoons of smooth Peanut Butter. Whisk until smooth. Add 2 tablespoons of Chili powder, 2 teaspoons of salt, 1 teaspoon pepper and 1 teaspoon celery seed. Add 3 cups of white vinegar and heat thoroughly. COOL and add the juice of 4 lemons. Baste the chicken several times with this sauce while it is cooking on the grill!!
While the chicken is cooking, throw a couple of ears of fresh corn wrapped in foil on the grill. Turn each ear a couple of times to be sure it gets thoroughly cooked.
Open the foil and drizzle with BUTTER! When you sink your teeth into the delicious ear the butter the juice will just run all down your chin. Ain’t nothing like it!!!!
Homemade biscuits and Mayhaw jelly are a must with a summer meal. Mayhaw jelly is a southern specialty and once you have had it you will not want any other jelly. The mayhaws grow on a tree near water and they are a real delicacy. The mayhaws are about the size of a blueberry and a reddish color. I have never seen the berries sold in a store. They are like GOLD. Friends usually give them to friends. The jelly can be bought in specialty stores in the South. My Mother makes the absolute best Mayhaw jelly. If you want to try some of this gourmet delight just let me know. My daughter, Cathie, and her daughters, Collins and Carson will not eat anything but Mayhaw on their biscuits!
Ice Cold Watermelon is a dessert within itself. We put the whole melon in an ice chest or cooler packed with ice so that when it is ready to be cut it will be COLD! The small seedless watermelons are so very sweet but the regular watermelons with the black seeds are equally as good. Seedless watermelons eliminate the SEED SPITTING CONTEST!!! Please don’t tell me that you have never had the opportunity to see how far you could spit a watermelon seed??? This is something that you just cannot resist doing.
I remember the sound of the ice cream churn when it starts to slow down – meaning the best is yet to come! Daddy would have to add ice and rock salt for hours until the slow dragging grinding sound would be heard and we knew that and scraped but there was always just enough of the ice cream to be licked right off the dasher itself. Dasher you say, well it is the paddle gadget that stirs the ice cream while it is churning!! Vaguely, I remember taking turns actually turning the crank on the churn before someone invented the ELECTRIC churn. I am old but not THAT old!! Thanks goodness for the Cuisinart version that is available now. In fact, I ordered one from Paula’s web site for Phil’s Father’s Day Surprise. We have had several different churns but this appliance seems to be the easiest and churns the best ice cream.
Recipe for Old Fashion Homemade Peach Ice Cream
This is a no fail recipe and it is QUICK AND EASY!!!
2 cans sweetened condensed milk
2 qt. whole milk
4 cups ripe, crushed peaches, sweetened
Juice of 1 lemon
Combine the 2 milks together slowly. Stir in the peaches and add lemon juice. Freeze in churn.
Makes a gallon of ice cream!
Recipe for getting rid of GNATS!!! Wish I knew one. These pesky little varmints buzz around your eyes, nose, ears, legs and wherever. I just hate the thought that some of you out there have never experienced a GNAT. If you are going on a summer picnic in the South you can bet there will be lots uninvited guests – GNATS!
Hope that you have some good recipes for your Father’s Day and Fourth of July Celebration. I do not always cook exactly like the recipe says. You can be creative and vary some of my recipes!
Love and Hugs!
P.S. Thank you so very much for all of the emails requesting info on the cutout initial wreath and the “grands” necklace that I featured on my last blog! In fact look at the initials in the bottom of a pool. I did not have time to create a wreath for my special friend so her assistant put them in the pool! Great idea and good looking!