I’m not usually one to judge, but sometimes there are recipes SO EASY that people don’t even think to try. It drives me crazy! So today, I’m going to be a bit judgy. If you’ve never made your own croutons, and don’t do so regularly, well, I might think a little less of you. And if you don’t try them after I go ahead and show you step by step how easy they are to make and take practically NO TIME out of your normal dinner preparation time, well, then you’ll just make me sad. Nothing’s worse than a sad locavore, burying herself in pint after pint of local Blue Marble Ice Cream. You don’t want to be responsible for that, do you? So please, just try it once.
Success! The nontraditional heart and chocolate Valentines Dinner was a success! If you happened to be seated at our dinner table, and didn’t know you would be eating heart, you probably wouldn’t be any the wiser. Beef heart (at least went slow cooked and smothered with mole sauce) tastes a lot like tender steak, think Filet Mignon. At first I was pretty worried the meat would be chewy. When I stirred the pot partway through the cubes of meat seemed very tough and dense. However, the dish was nothing but delicious. I noticed the heart had a stronger beefy flavor and was firm but super tender. I think my next experiment will include it in a stew or maybe chili.
Unless it’s wintery and cold, I prefer serving salads. You don’t really need to worry about temperatures when serving. And unless you’re doing a grilled salad, they never get cold. Best of all, I could collect a majority of the ingredients during the days leading up to the party and just assemble everything in less than 5 minutes before serving. The theme of the party was summer meets fall. I was excited to find apples and squash peaking their way into the markets but still saw an abundance of greens, heirloom tomatoes and peaches. The dinner moved with the season change, highlighting the corn, peaches and tomatoes in the appetizers then getting heavy into apples and root veggies by the end of the meal.
You’d never go to a 4 star restaurant in jeans, right? So why would you make a beautiful salad of local greens or heirloom tomatoes, or cucumbers and destroy it with bottled salad dressing filled with high fructose corn syrup? Sorry, I’m not here to judge, but I don’t think people realize how easy it is to make your own dressing, especially a vinaigrette. I don’t think I’ve bought a pre-made store dressing in years! Some basic tricks to keep up your sleeve.
There’s something about watermelon that I can’t really put my finger on. The sweetness, the juiciness, I just love it! While eating it right off the rind is good enough for me any day, I still like finding creative ways to prepare it. One of my favorite and SIMPLEST preparations is Watermelon Salad. And when sugar melons start popping up at the Greenmarkets, I probably make this once a week. It’s really just three ingredients plus seasoning: