Wednesday, July 2, 2014

CCC June

In my book, it really doesn't get better than summer produce.  Except for maybe summer fruits, and summer desserts, and ice cream, and chocolate...Well, I'm glad I don't have to pick a favorite!  I'm really enjoying this cookbook so far.  The recipes are relatively easy, they're worked, and I've learned some new methods for preparing common vegetables.  I'm in a rush, and late already, so here are my thoughts on the recipes that I've made.

Lettuce, spring onion and cheese tart definitely wins the award for the most pleasant surprise.  I was very nervous about cooking lettuce.  Paul tells awful stories of being served stir-fried lettuce in his college dormitory, and my only experience with cooking lettuce--grilled romaine--did not go well.  However, Paul's lettuce is growing at a very fast rate and I was thrilled to see a recipe that used up so much lettuce, so I decided to give this one a try.  I nervously tasted the cooked lettuce before placing it into the pie shell, and was pleasantly surprised by how good it was.  I waited until Paul tasted the pie, and told me how much he liked it, before I asked him to guess what was in it.  He was absolutely insistent that it was spinach, and couldn't believe it when I told him that it was lettuce.  This one is definitely a keeper.  I'll be making it again next spring when our garden is overflowing with lettuce.

This cookbook is two-for-two so far in the "cooked lettuce" recipes category.  Again, I was very nervous about making the Cucumber and lettuce vichyssoise, but excited about using up so much lettuce.  We were both pleasantly surprised by this soup.  I'm not normally a big fan of cold soup, but this one had a nice complexity.  I also loved the texture that the croutons brought the soup.  What's not to like about bread cooked in olive oil?

The Crudités with tarator sauce is another recipe that was different from anything I've ever tried before.  I'm still on the fence about it.  I love toasted walnuts, white bread, and olive oil separately, but I'm not sure how I feel about the combination.  I liked both the flavor and texture, but didn't  love them.  There are so many dips to try, I'm not sure if I'll make this again.  That said, we did happily finish the dip.

Are vegetables still healthy when they're battered and fried?  I guess they're healthier than when Oreos or Twinkies are battered and fried!  As I poured an entire bottle of oil into my cast iron pot I kept reminding myself that not all of it would be absorbed, but it was hard not to think about how much was being absorbed.  The Vegetable tempura with chilli dipping sauce was delicious.  The kale, especially, was a revelation.  It was crisp and shattered in my mouth.  I won't be making this again anytime soon, but I'm glad that the blog gave me an excuse to make it.

Speaking of health, my co-workers and I have a running debate about what counts as a vegetable.  In my book beans, corn, and potatoes, while delicious and healthy foods, are not vegetables.  My co-workers disagree.  They tend to be of the mindset that anything that isn't meat is a vegetable :-)  As I ate the Pizza with new potatoes and blue cheese I found myself wondering where the vegetable was!  I was very pleasantly surprised by the flavor, however.  It seemed like a lot of starch, but the potatoes really were delicious on the pizza dough, and I loved the saltiness of the warm blue cheese.

With the rest of my purple potatoes, I made the New potato, tomato and boiled egg salad.  I'll be curious to see if the eggs worked out for everyone else.  I knew that 7 minutes seemed too short, but decided to follow the directions anyway.  I should have trusted my instincts.  This was good, but the eggs were very runny.  The yolks were more like an additional sauce.  Next time I make this I'll try boiling the eggs for 8 minutes.

I used the rest of the cherry tomatoes to make Honey roasted cherry tomatoes.  I've never met a roasted tomato that I didn't like, and these were no exception, but I also didn't think they were anything to write home about.  The next time I roast tomatoes I'll probably try out a new recipe.

The last 3 recipes were just okay in my book.  They were all good, but not especially exciting, renditions of things that I've made many times before.  The Frittata with summer veg and goat´s cheese and the Baby carrot and broad bean risotto were both good entrees, and the Steamed veg with a hint of garlic was a perfectly fine way to prepare kale and peas, but I doubt I'll bother pulling out any of these recipes again.


  1. Holy cow girl! You were busy! I really enjoyed the roasted tomatoes, the tempura and pizza. I felt the soup needed a little tweeking. I really want to try the risotto soon.

  2. Jora, you actually made all of the ten recipes - you win an extra ward to being such an enthusiastic participant. I love everything you made and I have a few different opinions on a few dishes you prepared but I am totally thrilled that I get to see all of the recipes here. I love that you used violet potatoes for the pizza and the salad. So very pretty and healthy! The risotto was actually one of my favorites, along with the tempura battered veg - but I agree with you on the tarator dip, too many great dips out there to be making this again (I used almonds). I baked the spring onion tart for a teachers´ luncheon today - I am awaiting the opinons but it smelled wonderful while baking - I am totally jealous that you get to use so many wonderful veg from your own garden, jealous in a really good way, of course. Hugs to Charlotte - hope your work week will end on a less stressful note and thank you, again, for participating in the CCC!
    P.S.: The link for the July recipes can be found here (no stress, here):

  3. made all of them! I made the pizza and the tempura vegetables and really liked both. I thought I would never make the tempura again but I may reconsider after reading your comments about the kale. And I'll really have to give that lettuce tart a try - it looks and sounds delicious!

  4. How DID you do it. I chose three recipes in June, managed to make two, and posted late. And, you made ALL ten. And, you have baby Charlotte. And, you have a job. And, you have a very nice husband. And, you made ALL ten. If I didn't like you so much personally and if I didn't like reading your Blog every week, I would just totally quit commenting on your unbelievable output. BUT, I will try to find my better self and tell you sincerely what a great job you did in June and how tasty everything looks. From the comments that others have made also, I am going to get in the lettuce-cooking business. I've never tried it. Hugs to Charlotte.