Tag Archives: summer

Recipe: Thai-Style Seven Flavor Salad


After nearly two weeks of juicing fruits and vegetables for breakfast and lunch and eating vegetarian meals for dinner, Rem and I went our for Thai food on Friday evening and ate a yummy appetizer that inspired this dish. At Thai Smile in San Rafael, the dish is called MIANG KHAM (Spinach Wraps).

Instead of a bowl or plate of salad this is assembled in small lettuce leaves and eaten out of the hand like a mini lettuce taco. Each person assembles a wrap with the seven different ingredients, plus the chutney to pull it all together. It is very flavorful.

I used lettuce leaves instead of spinach and cooked shrimp meat instead of dried shrimp. Peanuts were replaced with almonds, but only because I didn’t want to buy a large bag of peanuts.  Either would be great. It was a refreshing supper on a hot summer evening.


I also cheated by using chutney for the sauce, but it was fairly similar to the sweet, gingery sauce we enjoyed the other night.

I’m going to offer suggested amounts for two servings, but to be completely honest, I didn’t measure as I was making this. So feel free to ad-lib and adjust as you see fit.

Thai-Style Seven Flavor Salad

2 baby gem lettuce, leaves pulled apart and washed and dried on paper towel or in lettuce spinner

1/3 lb. cooked shrimp meat

about 1 cup dried shredded coconut, toasted in a dry pan until a bit brown, watching carefully so it doesn’t burn ( I got plain, unsweetened shredded, dried coconut at Trader Joe’s)

1/2 cup roasted, salted peanuts or almonds (I used rosemary and salt Marcona almonds – yum!)

1/2 lime with peel, thinly sliced, each slice cut into about 6 small squares

1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into very small dice

2 inch piece of green onion, finely sliced or chopped

1/2 jalapeno chili cut into very thin slices, than cut those in half or quarters

1/2 to 3/4 cup of chutney

Arrange all ingredients in small bowls or in piles on a platter.  Each person assembles their own individual wraps.


The coconut and almonds or peanuts are crunchy, the chili, onion and ginger add their own zing and the lime is bright and tart. The dried shrimp we had in the restaurant was kind of chewy and salty.  But for our summer dinner (with half an avocado on the side), the cool, sweet shrimp were delicious.


In my #30DayJournal project today, the prompts asked about how I bring creativity into my life, and experimenting with recipes is one of the ways I do that.


Thank you for stopping by (sorry for the early draft that went out by mistake to my subscribers).


Filed under Cooking

Ratatouille in a Slow Cooker

Ratatouille Ingredients

I need to share this recipe with you.  I’ve made a batch every week for the last three weeks and think it’s delicious but I can’t seem to get any good pictures of the finished dish.  But I can’t hold out any longer.

This came about because I bought some vegetables that I planned to cook on the grill. But it was so hot that weekend, I didn’t want to cook at all.  The next weekend rolled around and I still had the vegetables, a little worse for wear.  It was still hot so I wanted a recipe for the slow cooker.  I wasn’t sure how it would turn out but it was great!

My recipe is adapted from one I found by Geema at Food.com.  Each time I make it, I change it a bit based on what I have in the fridge.  It is pretty flexible, so if you don’t like mushrooms, by all means, leave them out.  If you have some fresh herbs to use up, put them in.

Third Batch Ratatouille ingredients

The first time I made it I didn’t take any pictures.  The top photo is from my second batch and I used 4 squash, Japanese eggplant and only one bell pepper.  The third time I made it with regular eggplant, big zucchini and bell peppers and small tomatoes.  It was delicious every time.

Here’s the recipe but don’t be too worried about measuring everything exactly.  Sprinkle in the herbs, drizzle in the oil and enjoy the way the dish melds into something greater than the individual ingredients.

Ratatouille in a Slow Cooker

Adapted from Geema at Food.com

1 large eggplant or 2 Japanese eggplant, (about 1.5 lbs. total), cut in cubes


3 or 4 zucchini or other summer squash, cut in chunks


2 onions, cut into quarters and sliced

2 red bell pepper, de-seeded and cut into strips or squares

8 oz. mushrooms, cut in quarters  or if really large into 6ths or 8ths

2 large tomatoes, cut in wedges than chunks

2 cloves garlic, minced

'shrooms, onions, bell pepper and garlic

1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste

1 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil


1 teaspoon sugar (I used it twice and forgot it the third time and the difference was pretty minor)

pinch hot pepper flakes (use caution here, a little goes a long way)

Hot Pepper Flakes


Put half the vegetables in the slow cooker.

Dot half the tomato paste over the vegetables and sprinkle half the seasonings on the vegetables.

Drizzle with half the olive oil.

Half of the recipe in slow cooker

Repeat with remaining vegetables, tomato paste, seasonings and olive oil.

Cover, set slow cooker to high and cook 3 to 6 hours or low for 7 to 9 hours.

Full Recipe in pot

I used some fresh herbs in this batch.

Covered and Cooking

The last time I made it, my zucchini and bell peppers were on the large side.  It was a very full pot and took longer to cook. Next time I’ll use smaller veggies.

The finished stew.


This is good hot with some grated Parmesan.  It is also good cold on a hot day.  You can toss it with pasta or use it for a pizza topping or sandwich filling.

How about on an open-faced meatball sandwich with melted cheese over the top?

Meatball sandwich

Or add some beans to boost the protein. I like a piece of french bread (or two) on the side to sop up the juice.  I imagine you could use a stick blender to make a smoother sauce.  I like it chunky so I haven’t tried that yet.

With Beans

Thank you for stopping by.












Filed under Crafts

Can He Bake a Cherry Pie?

Cherry Pie with Struesel Topping

This is a guest post by Rem O’Donnelley, my sweetheart and partner of 15 years.  We’re a great team and the other day we made pie together.  I asked him if he would write a post about it and this is what he wrote:

Who doesn’t like a good cherry pie? I didn’t see any hands raised in internet land.

I had a box of pie dough sitting in the fridge. Originally, it had two pie crusts but I used one for a pumpkin pie. I was about to do the same thing when Dianne suggested making a cherry pie. She heard on the radio that there was a one-day sale at Whole Foods so I bought a two pound bag of cherries.

Since there was only one crust that meant that there was no crust for the top. Dianne had the idea of a streusel topping. I found an oatmeal streusel recipe here which we adapted.

Cherries on hand and we began to work. I washed and stemmed the little red gems.

Cherries in Colander

Dianne pitted them.

Pitting Cherries

That done, next the cherries were put in a large bowl with sugar, tapioca granules and vanilla. We decided to stick with just cherries and omitted crystallized ginger and almond extract from the original recipe.

It didn’t look like it was enough cherries so we added the other half pound to the mix. (Note: adaptions have been included in recipe here)

Measure Cherries
Once this was mixed, I spread out the pie crust in a glass pie dish. Then the cherry mixture was poured in.
Finally came the topping.  Again, we made some changes to the recipe. It didn’t seem to have enough butter and sugar to balance the oats and flour, so we increased the amounts a bit.

Making Streusel
I mixed it with my hands until it was crumbly and then sprinkled it on the cherries.  Then it went in the oven.

Here is the recipe.

Cherry Pie with Oatmeal Streusel Topping

Adapted from Miri Rotkovitz at About.com

Baking time – 40 to 45 minutes

Yield: 1 9-inch pie


1 9-inch unbaked pie shell, homemade or store-bought, thawed if frozen.  We used Pillsbury refrigerated pie dough

2 lbs. cherries, pitted (5 to 6 cups) If desired, cut cherries in half. This recipe called for “1 lb., (about 4 cups)” but we found it was more like 3 cups. Our pie had about 5 cups of cherries and it could have held 6 cups, no problem.

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons granulated (instant) tapioca or tapioca starch

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

Butter and Cinnamon

For the Streusel Topping:

3/4 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

5 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces


Preheat the oven to 400° F.

In a large bowl, toss together the cherries, sugar, tapioca, vanilla extract, and salt. Mix just until the cherries are evenly coated with the other ingredients.

Sugary Cherries

Pour the cherry mixture into the pie crust.

Wipe out the bowl (or use another, smaller one) and mix together the oats, flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Rub the butter pieces into the dry ingredients with your fingers,until the butter is well incorporated and the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle the streusel mixture evenly over the top of the pie.

Place the pie on a parchment-lined baking sheet to catch drips. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the crust and streusel are golden and the filling is bubbly. Cool the pie in its baking dish on a rack.

Just out of the oven!

Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. Store leftover pie, well covered, in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.

Pie and Ice Cream

(Editors note: Rem made the vanilla ice cream too!)

It turned out great. The only thing I would change is cutting the cherries in half so the cherries are in smaller bites.

Thumbs up!

Thumbs Up Selfie

Thanks, Rem, for writing a post about our pie-baking and for the great selfie.

Thank you for stopping by.



Filed under Cooking

Corn Dog Mini Muffins

Cut Open Mini Muffin

Have you seen these on Pinterest?  I’ve been wanting to try them but it wasn’t until I bought two mini muffin pans that I found in the housewares section of T.J. Maxx that I made them.  They are simple to make and if you like corn dogs, I think you will enjoy these.

I don’t eat hot dogs very often but every once in awhile I crave a corn dog.  Here I am with a giant corn dog at a street fair a few years ago.

Big Bite of Giant Corn Dog

This monster was probably the biggest corn dog I’d every had.  It was ginormous!

Dipping the Dog

It was coated in a thick layer of cornmeal batter and deep fried to a deep, crispy brown.

Vat of Frying Corn Doggies

It was delicious, but not exactly a guilt-free treat.

So the idea of a miniature corn muffin with a bite of hot dog in the middle was very appealing to me.  Baked, not fried and small enough to have a few and still be ahead of the game (or at least as compared to eating one of those fried street fair corn dogs).

Corn Dog Muffin Ingredients

Corn Dog Mini Muffins

Yield: 21 to 24 mini muffins


1 8.5 oz box of corn muffin mix (makes 6 to 8 average-sized muffins)

1 egg

1/3 cup milk

3 or 4 jumbo hot dogs  (I used Hebrew National beef franks)

nonstick spray

mustard (to serve – optional)


Combine muffin mix with egg and milk as directed on package of muffin mix.

Muffin mix with egg and milk

Side note: Did you know that the President of Chelsea Milling Company, makers of Jiffy Baking mix, is named Howdy Holmes?

Howdy Holmes

I didn’t either.

Anyway, back to the recipe.  Stir just until dry mix is moistened.  There should be some small lumps.

Lumpy Muffin Mix

Spray the muffin pans with nonstick spray.  I used a paper towel to kind of spread it around in each cup.

With two spoons, drop about a rounded tablespoon of muffin batter into each muffin cup.  I made 21 muffins but could probably been a little more careful spooning it out and stretched it a bit.

Spooning Batter

Next cut a hot dog into pieces.  I tried cutting the first one into 6 pieces, not quite an inch each.  The hotdog was about 5.5 inches long.

6 pieces of hot dog

I wanted a high ratio of hot dog to corn muffin. But after baking the first pan, I realized I could make the pieces a little smaller and still achieve the results I wanted.

9 piece hot dog

I cut the next one into 9 pieces.  I think I could have cut each hot dog into 7 pieces to make it all even for 21 muffins, but if you stretch your batter to 24 muffins, you’ll want to cut each hot dog into 8 pieces.  Or use all four hot dogs in the package and cut each one into 6 pieces. Got that?

I experimented with the placement of the hot dog pieces in the batter.

Muffins Different Ways

Next time I make them, I’ll  scoop out a little dollop of batter, put the slice of hot dog in and only partially cover it with batter.  I liked how the ones with a little hot dog peeking out of the baked muffin looked.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes.  Serve warm.

Baked Baby Corn Dogs

Here are some that I baked with the pieces of hot dog turned on the side rather than with the cut side up.

Each muffin is about two bites and they are really tasty with a  bit of mustard.  One small warning: the second bite of the mini muffin is a little precarious as the tender cornmeal crust tends to crumble as you bite into the more resilient hot dog.

I took some for lunch to work on Friday and they warmed up very nicely in the microwave.  A toaster oven would probably be even better.

The best part is they completely satisfy my corn dog craving!

Wiener Dumpling

Rem calls them Wiener Dumplings.

Thank you for visiting.





Filed under Cooking

End-of-Summer Supper

Rice-Stuffed Tomato

I know that the end of summer doesn’t come on the calendar until later in September.  But when school starts, and the days start getting shorter, that’s pretty much it for me.

Earlier in the week I fixed dinner for my mom, my boyfriend and I to enjoy at her house.  It was a little celebration of the end of summer with some of the produce that is so wonderful this time of year.  For me, corn and tomatoes top my list of what-tastes-like-summer, with stone fruit right behind.

I went to the Farmer’s Market on Sunday, got the fixin’s, and this was my menu:

White Corn on the Cob

Rice-Stuffed Tomatoes (from Smitten Kitchen)

Sweet Italian Sausage

Rosemary Focaccia

Almond-Crisped Nectarines (from Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for Almond-Crisped Peaches)

Unfortunately, due to my lack of skill and some poor lighting, I didn’t get all the pictures I would have liked to share with you.  Get on over to Smitten Kitchen – she’s got some beautiful pictures as well as the recipes for the Rice-Stuffed Tomatoes and Almond-Crisped Peaches – or nectarines.  As for the corn, sausage and focaccia – use your imagination!

I do have some shots of the Rice-Stuffed Tomatoes, and a little further down, some pictures of the nectarines.

Start with good tomatoes, cut off the tops and scoop out the insides.

Hollowed Out Tomatoes

Take all that nice juice and pulp…

Tomato Pulp & Juice

and puree it.

Pureed Tomato Pulp

You also need onion, garlic, olive oil, arborio rice, bread crumbs, salt, and some fresh herbs.  I had rosemary, so used that…basil would be delicious.

Ingredients for Rice-Stuffed Tomatoes

Arborio rice is short-grained, starchy rice, used for making risotto.

Arborio Rice

After cooking the onion and garlic in some olive oil, add the arborio rice and cook it a bit before adding the tomato puree.

Cooking rice & tomato puree

Simmer that on medium-low heat until the rice is partially cooked, stir in salt and herbs.

Par Cooked Rice

Now take the creamy-tomato-y rice and stuff it into the hollowed out tomatoes. Top with bread crumbs and a drizzle of olive oil.

Stuffed, ready to bake

Bake for 30 minutes.  While the tomatoes bake, fix the rest of your supper (it doesn’t have to be corn on the cob and sausage).  How about a little butter lettuce salad?  The tomatoes are simple, seasonal, and delicious hot or cold.

Yellow Rice-Stuffed Tomato

I did the tomatoes the day before but you could have them in the oven at the same time as the Almond-Crisped Peaches.

One suggestion (that didn’t occur to me) is to find free-stone peaches or nectarines.  It was a little tricky cutting the pits out of the ones I bought, but they were still delicious.  The filling is a combination of almonds (I used almond meal), butter and sugar.

Filling in Nectarines

Spread the filling out to cover the cut fruit-halves.

Almond Topping

Now bake.  Mmmm. It smells so delicious while it’s cooking.

Serve warm with ice cream.

With Ice Cream

I hope you enjoy the Labor Day weekend and the last fruits of the season.

Thanks for stopping by.

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One Pot Farro with Tomatoes

Farro and Tomatoes

Something that I like to do on Sunday is fix an easy supper that makes enough to have leftovers for a lunch or two during the week.  Actually, I’m a big fan of getting a second dinner out of leftovers too.  This dish is pretty simple to put together, it is cooked in one pot and includes delicious little tomatoes, one of the joys of summer.  It is from Smitten Kitchen, which in turn was adapted from a version in Martha Stewart using pasta instead of farro.

Bowl of Farro & Tomatoes

It is one of those creations that seem to be greater than the sum of its parts. I picked up grape tomatoes at the Farmer’s Market but this time of year you can find colorful, sweet cherry or grape tomatoes at Trader Joe’s and Safeway too. The Smitten Kitchen recipe calls for ½ of a large onion and I used a whole medium-large one and it cooks down in the finished dish, which was so sweet, mellow, and tomato-y that I am ready to make it again.  Basil and grated Parmesan cheese are the finishing touches.  Without the cheese, you might want to increase the salt a bit.

Farro Ingredients

Farro with Tomatoes

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Serves: 2 as a main dish, 4 as a side (or dinner and a lunch or two)

2 cups water

1 cup semi-pearled farro (sometimes labeled whole farro) or Trader Joe’s 10 minute Farro (I’ve only done it using the 10-minute Farro)

1 onion (I used a yellow onion)

2 cloves garlic

9 ounces grape or cherry tomatoes

1 1/4 teaspoons kosher or coarse sea salt

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

To serve:

Grated Parmesan

Few basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons

Grated Parmesan cheese


Put water and farro in a medium saucepan to presoak while you prepare the other ingredients. Five or ten minutes is enough time.  If you are using the 10-Minute Farro, you can omit the presoaking.

Cut onion in quarters and thinly slice.  Add to the pot

Thinly slice garlic and add to the pot.

Halve or quarter tomatoes and add to the pot.

Add salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil to pot.

Ingredients in Pot

Bring uncovered pot to a boil, and then reduce to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally. Cook for 30 minutes.

Farro Simmering

Farro should be tender but with a little chewiness, and the cooking water will be completely or almost completely absorbed. If needed, cook for 5 more minutes.

Closer to Done

You can double the recipe.

In the comments on the Smitten Kitchen site, several people suggested adding some canned white beans near the end of the cooking time, which is a great idea.  I had this with leftover grilled chicken and a green salad.  Delish.  I thought it was also great cold for lunch.

Closer View

As always, thanks for the visit.  Please do comment as it makes me so happy!  If you try the recipe, I’d love to hear about it.


Filed under Cooking

Day 22: Shine On

Shine On!

Day 22: Shine On. This happy salute to summer is my take on this poster I saw on Pinterest.

When I started, I decided the blue “sky” background was brighter than I wanted.  I wish I’d had light blue and aqua tissue paper.  But it looked kind of cool with the empty circle in the middle.

Background Sky

I added white tissue paper to tone soften the blues.  Than I added the sun in the middle.

Then I forgot to take any more pictures of the process.  So this is the finished project.

Shine on Sun

Searching for words I wanted to use took some time.  Other words I put together with a great sticker set that I received from my friend, Lisa (thanks, Lis!)  It’s perfect for this.

Closer Sun

Yes, chocolate IS like a ray of sunshine in my life.


Last year my Day 22 project was Water Marbled Nails.

I did Fabric Covered Notebooks the year before that.

Thank you for stopping by.


Filed under 30DOC, Crafts