Archives for August 2013

12 ways to preserve the August harvest (without canning)

I keep telling myself that September is going to be my big canning month, and it very well might be; I can’t say no to the bushels of tomatoes and crisp new apples beckoning at the markets during the fall.

So far, I’ve pickled a few jars of asparagus and made my usual strawberry honey jam, there was a batch of sweet relish, too, but I am not regularly turning my kitchen upside down with mega home canning projects. Oh, the cookbook is taking care of keeping us in dirty dishes just fine, thank you very much.

That said, I am still preserving the beautiful summer produce here and there, by freezing, roasting, packing in oil and drying. These are just some of the options to saving the season.

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A free Back-to-School lunch e-book

Since we’ve been back from our road trip, I’ve cast off the lazy days of summer mindset and am hitting the ground running every morning. I’ve been unprepared for the start of school before and don’t care to go down that painfully bumpy road again.

Our  lists of school supplies have been crossed off and the new items zipped into new backpacks. We’ve spent a few afternoons cooking and tucked away some quick dinners in the freezer.  We have a menu plan and the laundry pile is even down to zero. I know.

All that is left to do is to get organized for back-to-school lunches. Fortunately, I’ve got back up for that.

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Roasted Beet and Blueberry Salad to embrace the end of summer

Yes, I did indeed just use “embrace” and “end of summer” together. You see, the way I see it, June is for the planning, July the languishing, and August the embrace at the end. Think of it as a warm hug goodbye, until next year.

While I’m three weeks out until the official end of my children’s summer vacation and school commencing in September, I know that August is the last chance to really find that feeling I search for each summer. I am searching for an elusive moment when the kids are all smiling, still wearing their swimsuits from water play in the sunshine, the backyard table set for alfresco dining, piled high with fresh salads and roasted vegetables, the garden at the outskirts of the yard bursting with ready-to-be-picked produce.

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Shrimp and Tomato Kebabs: The Easiest Thing to Serve at Your Late Summer Soirée

I had been working in catering for a whole two weeks when the request came in: a client wanted a specific menu for her late summer party, one that boasted seasonal flavors and colors and lean protein. It also had to be served hot to those who arrived early, but should be equally appetizing if eaten at room temperature later in the evening.

She also asked me to avoid gluten, and to keep the vegetarians in mind, and if possible, to serve something that wouldn’t require a fork and knife as she felt finger foods were more appropriate for her planned gathering. I felt the panic building inside me with each request, which I noted in chicken scratch on a loose sheet of paper. What could I possibly suggest to meet all of her criteria?

After poring over my page for almost an hour, I took a deep breath and told my boss that I was stumped on a menu and had no idea what to suggest.  She let her eyes quickly scan the list of requirements, and before she reached the last of them she told me “shrimp or fish kebabs will work well for this.”

Shrimp & Tomato Kebabs 1

At the time it pained me to admit that I didn’t know fish or shrimp could be served that way, but I sure was glad to learn because it’s saved me more times that I care to count when it comes to hosting my own summer soirées.

I love that most kebabs can be cooked in advance and reheated, served at room temperature, or dished up hot from the grill on the day of a party.

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Summer bucket list: Item 1

I‘m sharing on my family blog today about the sole item on my summer bucket list: make a cookbook.

Normally I’d be writing about backyard grilling tips or the latest late-night canning session, but this summer is scripted completely differently than the last, oh, thirty-four or so. Social events, garden work and home preserving have taken a backseat to my latest occupation: book writing.

From the post:

While book-writing sounds like I am ensconced all day at a private (and tidy) desk in my sunny loft, dreamily tapping out my food memoirs, what actually is happening is much more frantic.

Any given week could involve pages and pages of list-making-recipe-scribbling-ingredient-brainstorming-headnote-musing, dashing all over the city sourcing ingredients, recipe testing with three kids underfoot, eating and testing again, dishesdishesdishes, hurried antique prop shopping with very unhurried shop owners, more dishes, more eating, and then writing, some, but never enough.

Aimee prepping food for cookbook

It’s been a crazy, fun summer. Read the rest on Under the High Chair

Don’t worry, road tripping and book writing aside, we have a super great month of content and recipes lined up for August! I’m just catching my breath after our whirlwind road trip.