Tag Archives: Tomatoes

Taco Salad

Tonight’s supper is an old favorite of Linton and Kate’s!  Taco Salad!  There is not really a recipe, it’s more about bringing together all your favorite ingredients – and they can vary greatly from cook to cook – or family to family!  Our taco salad is an easy fix, something to have on a rushed evening – when there was a basketball game or play practice to attend – not something that’s on the agenda any more!  Browned hamburger seasoned with chili and cumin is one of the hardest steps in making this salad!  Everything else is opening a can, shredding some cheese, washing the lettuce!  I do insist on homemade guacamole – which you can find in a previous blog.

The building of a taco salad is an art in our household – no two people make their salad alike!  All ingredients are placed in separate bowls and each person concocts their dinner according to their preferences.  Of course the correct way to fix a taco salad, my way!, is to start with a nice bed of salad greens.  Next comes my seasoned hamburger – then the cheese, so it can melt just a bit.  Tomatoes are next, then black olives and a bit of salsa.  If you need a recipe for salsa try my fresh tomato salsa.  Three dollops are the crowning piece de resistance – sour cream, refried beans and guacamole!  Served with tortilla chips it is so good – a burst of flavors in every bite!  And even though I have instructed my family in the proper way of making a taco salad, being the very independent souls that they are, filled with ingenuity and stubbornness, they cling to their design.  Kate makes small little piles of ingredients – with no lettuce.  Taco salad and no lettuce – I’m still pondering on that one!  Linton, bless his dear little heart, does not eat guacamole – or at least not in previous years.  He missed out on the best part!  Ritchey is not as particular of the order of his ingredients – dare I say he puts his hamburger on the plate first?  Ah, what can I do with them?  Just love them I suppose!  How do you like your taco salad?

And now after that bit of silliness – I was tagged by Linda at Savoring Every Bite for the 10 Question Quiz:

1.  Describe yourself in seven words. 

I love life with Ritchey, Linton, Kate!  That about sums it up – even though we are all alike in many ways, our differences make life very interesting!  We love Renaissance Faires, Tolkien conventions, food, music, the beach, books, gardening, being green, traveling and genealogy (I must admit this is mostly me!).

2.  What keeps you up at night?

Not a thing, once my head hits the pillow that’s it till morning!

3.  Who would you like to be?

No one but myself!  I love being who I am and where I am in my life.

4.  What are you wearing now?

Jeans, a shirt and sweater – it’s cold here in Kentucky!

5.  What scares you?

Nothing really.  I’m concerned about the economy and the unconcernedness of the world and people in general today.  I wish people cared more, were more passionate about what they felt and believed in, were more anxious to stand up for what is right.

6.  What is the best and worst things of blogging?

The best – I love all the people I’ve met, the new friends I’ve made.  I so enjoy reading your blogs – and have learned so much from you!  The worst – I think everyone has the same answer – the time it takes!  I write two genealogy blogs a day and a food blog a couple of times a week.  I wish there were more hours in a day!

7.  What was the last website you  looked at?

My genealogy website!

8.  If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

To become a minimalist.

9.  Slankets, yes or no?

No.

10.  Tell us something about the person who tagged you.

Even though I am not Italian – unless you go very far back into history – Linda and I must be related.  Our way of cooking is so similar.  I’ve made so many of her recipes and they turn out lovely – the flavors and seasonings are just perfect!  Her photos are exquisite – you can almost eat from the pages of her blog!  I have learned so much from her!

 Who are you going to tag to join the quiz?

Karen – Back Road Journal

Cecilia – The Kitchens Garden

Greg and Katherina – Rufus’ Food and Spirits Guide

Caroline – Sweet Caroline’s Cooking

Joanne – Fifteen Spatulas

Red Bean Soup

During the chilly days of fall, soup is on our menu quite often.  Red beans are a fantastic source of protein – incorporating them into a soup makes a small bowl of goodness into a power-packing meal!  I used small red beans for this recipe.  Add fresh corn cut from the cob, tomatoes and spices and you have a winning combination to fight chill and hunger both!

Red Bean Soup

  • 1 pound dry small red beans
  • water
  • 1 stick butter
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 cups fresh corn
  • 4 cups tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • dash or two or hot pepper sauce – or more!

Wash the beans thoroughly, picking out any beans that are discolored.  Place the beans in a large pan and fill with water to within 2 inches of the top.  Bring the beans to a boil, cover and turn heat to medium.  Let cook for a couple of hours, checking on them every fifteen minutes or so, giving them a good stir at this time.  As the beans cook you will need to add more water – perhaps twice during this time period – about a cup or two at a time.  Add the stick of butter and let the beans cook until tender and soupy.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Add the chopped onion, garlic, corn, tomatoes, worcestershire sauce, bay leaves and thyme.  Stir well to incorporate all ingredients.  Turn heat to simmer and cook 30 minutes.  Add a dash or two of hot pepper sauce.  Remove bay leaves before serving.  Lovely served with the Johnny Cakes from a previous post!  Enjoy!

Chilled Quinoa Salad

Quinoa is a protein-filled seed that has a fluffy, creamy, somewhat crunchy texture and nutty flavor when cooked.  It was called “the gold of the Incas” who knew it gave great stamina to their warriors.  It is not only high in protein, but the protein it supplies is complete protein, meaning it includes all nine essential amino acids.  Quinoa is a great source of magnesium, which helps those who suffer from migraines.  It is also a good source of the amino acid lysine which is essential for tissue growth and repair.  I suppose what I’m saying is that eating quinoa is one of the most healthful options you have.  The plus side  – it is also delicious!

Bring two cups of water to a boil in a saucepan.  Add one cup of quinoa.  Turn heat to medium low and cook for 15-18 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Finely chop 1/2 red onion and 1/2 green pepper.  Cut two medium tomatoes into small pieces.  Finely chop a handful of fresh dill.  Place vegetables in a large bowl.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Add cooled quinoa.  Whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar.  Pour over salad and mix well.  Chill in refrigerator at least two hours or overnight.  Enjoy!

A Light and Fluffy Frittata

How much better could Saturday morning get after being out in the chill and frost, taking pictures and working up an appetite?  Finding enough cherry tomatoes that survived the last several frosty days – hidden underneath the vines – to use for a breakfast frittata!  And dill!

And thyme!

My sister’s fresh eggs were waiting in the fridge – along with some asiago cheese.  Black olives, red onion and a little salt and pepper were the only other necessary ingredients.  Well, other than butter!

Frittatas are such lovely works of art – similar, but every one completely individual and different in its own way!  Saute chopped onion in a couple tablespoons of butter in a skillet.  Break 5 or 6 eggs into a bowl.  Add a little salt and pepper and whisk!  Add the eggs into the skillet.  Add tomatoes, chopped black olives, fresh dill and thyme.  Cook until the bottom is golden brown.  Remove skillet from heat and add shredded asiago cheese.  Place under the broiler in your oven until the cheese is melted and eggs are set.  Prepare yourself for one great breakfast – especially if it’s shared with someone you love!  Enjoy!

Sausage and Rice Stuffed Peppers

Another stuffed pepper recipe!  I hope you don’t get bored!  We love peppers stuffed in a variety of ways!  My mother, who was an excellent cook, thought there was only one way to prepare each dish.  I’m sure she was following her mother’s footsteps, because my grandmother did the same.  Grandmother didn’t have the availability of a wide variety of ingredients and spices.  They lived through the Depression – and what was grown on the farm was what they had to eat.  Mom still has some of her ration tickets for coffee and sugar.  Everything they cooked was very good – and I followed in their lead when I first started to cook.  But then I branched out using new and different ingredients and techniques.  Then Mr. Brown came along – he loves anything and everything to eat!  It’s been great fun through our 31 years together!

The peppers, tomatoes, leeks and rosemary came from our garden – which we’re fortunate to have this late in the year!  The leeks smelled so good when pulled from the ground!  I put sweet potatoes in the oven to cook with the stuffed peppers – our meal is complete!

Sausage and Rice Stuffed Peppers

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 leeks, sliced
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • salt
  • water
  • 6 green peppers, halved
  • 1 pound sausage
  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 1 sprig rosemary, stem removed and chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a medium pan melt the butter.  Add the leeks, turn the heat to medium, cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Wash the rice through 2 or 3 waters and drain.  Add rice to pan and enough water to cover.  Bring to a boil.  Turn heat to medium low and cook for 15 minutes.  While the rice is cooking, peel and core tomatoes; cut into small pieces and put in a large bowl.  With your hands break sausage into small pieces and mix well with tomatoes.  When rice has cooked add to sausage and tomatoes along with the chopped rosemary.  Mix well.  Put pepper halves in a glass dish.  Fill peppers with sausage and rice mixture.  If you have extra it can be cooked in a separate glass dish.  Cover dishes with aluminum foil.  Bake for about 30 minutes.  Remove foil and bake an additional 20 minutes.  Enjoy!

It’s Fall, Y’all!

Looking at this photo you probably think I’ve mixed up my seasons!  But no, this was our bounty of tomatoes picked on Saturday!  Since the weather has shifted from 90 degrees to about 78 in the last few weeks, the tomatoes have started to ripen nicely!  Such a lovely surprise for this late in the year!  Since the pink and yellow tomatoes have little acid in them and are not as suitable for canning, I’m going to peel them, cut them in wedges and freeze them.  They’ll make a lovely soup – or baked tomatoes!

I pick tomatoes from the perimeter of our little garden area – Ritchey gets the job of going into the middle to face the spiders and whatever else happens to be lurking there!  Notice how the vines are drying up – yet some are still green!

Spiderwebs abound!  Just an example of one on the deck!  Much of the day was spent removing spider webs, cleaning gutters, washing windows, hanging fall curtains – just the business of changing seasons and getting the house prepared!

Most of our flowers are just a memory – the colorful zinnias, the glorious day lilies – even the hummingbird bushes have only dried blooms left on them.  But these are still beautiful and colorful.

The catalpa tree’s leaves are drying, a few turning somewhat of a shade of yellow!  We really don’t have much color in our leaves yet – towards the end of the month we’ll see more – deep reds, yellows, russet, golds.  Perhaps we’ll drive to Eastern Kentucky – in the mountains there will be a gorgeous array of colors!

This poke bush, that was hidden behind some of the butterfly bushes, has now produced berries.  I love the purplish color of the stems – and the dark purple that the berries will eventually become – you can see that one at the top has already turned.

The dried grasses abound now.  I think they’re beautiful, although some may call them just a weed.  I love the shade of brown of this one!

Our Nippon Daisy – related to the Chrysanthemum – doesn’t look like a mum at all, except in the round mound in which they grow.  The leaves are rubbery, thick and scalloped.

And the best was saved for last!  An Apple Thingamajig – according to John at from the Bartolini kitchens.  Visit his website for the recipe!  The house was filled with a wonderful cinnamon smell – and the taste was out of this world!  We were two tired people – but with a pot of coffee and our delicious apple dessert we were also two very happy people!  But then, we always are!

Divine Round Steak

Ritchey and Linton returned last night from a three-day camping trip.  They had a great time – hiked 11 miles up the mountain one day!  There was no one to cook for so I relaxed for a few days!  Tonight I wanted something good and nourishing – and found a couple of round steaks in the freezer.

I also had bags of frozen cherry tomatoes.  Now, what could I do with the two?  The tomatoes I put in a pan over low heat and let them thaw – added a little salt, pepper, basil and thyme.  Using my immersion blender I whisked it into a tomato sauce and let it cook on low until thickened.

In a large skillet I sauteed chopped red onion, garlic and green pepper in a little olive oil – and added a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  When the onions were translucent, I removed them to a bowl.

To the same skillet I added a little more olive oil and browned the steaks on both sides.  Since they were rather large, I browned them separately.

I added just a bit of the tomato sauce mixture in the skillet first, arranged the steaks on top, then poured the rest of the sauce over the steaks.  The red onions, garlic and green peppers were placed on top.  I covered the skillet, turned the heat to low and let it simmer until the steak was fork tender – about 30-40 minutes.  Basmati rice is my favorite!  I seasoned it with lime zest and used it as the bed for the presentation of the steak and sauce.  It was a homecoming supper!  After all, I couldn’t let Ritchey get too used to cooking for himself now, could I?  I might be out of a job!  Enjoy!