Painted Lady Butterfly Garden

Painted Lady Butterfly

Alexis got a “butterfly garden” for her birthday. You got the “garden” and then sent off for the caterpillars. This was our big science project for the summer. They ship 5 and guarantee that at least 3 of them will become butterflies. Lex got lucky and all five made it!

We decided to release 3 of them and keep two to see if they’ll lay eggs. Today we let three of them go! All of the butterflies that came out of the “garden” were more than happy to sit on Alexis’ finger while they acclimated to being outside and this suited her just fine!

Painted Lady Butterfly

Who says science isn’t fun? 😉

Originally posted at Daffodil Lane.

“Fried” Green Tomatoes

"Fried" Green Tomatoes

I have a confession to make…

Are you ready?

I grew up in Tennessee, but I never had a Fried Green Tomato until I moved to Maryland. There’s a lot of those quintessential southern foods that I somehow missed growing up. This is probably because my mom didn’t fry a lot of things.

Shortly after we moved to Maryland I was over on the Eastern Shore, because for those of you who don’t know I’m a water person. Big time water person! Anytime I have the opportunity to be near the Chesapeake Bay, or more importantly the ocean, then by golly that’s where you’ll find me! It doesn’t happen as often as I’d like, but when we lived over next to the Bay, you’d often find me hopping across the bridge. I can’t even remember who was with me on this little jaunt, but I remember we stopped at this little seafood place, right on the water, and they had fried green tomatoes on their menu so I thought I’d give them a whirl!

To be completely honest I wasn’t really impressed with that first bite. They were made more like a deep fried/battered concoction and I thought they were heavy and tasteless. But that first bite made me start thinking…What if you seasoned the green tomatoes really well and then cooked them similarly to how I cook okra? You’d have a “fried” tomato, but it wouldn’t be as heavy and tasteless. And you know what? It worked!

These tomatoes are really fabulous! They make the perfect side dish. I actually like green tomato cut up and in salads, but this is a great way to use up some of those green tomatoes toward the end of the season, when the days aren’t quite long enough to make them ripen, if you’re not quite sure about just eating them as is.

What You’ll Need:
Sliced green tomatoes
Sea salt and pepper for sprinkling
1 cup of stone ground yellow corn meal
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of finely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of dry Ranch dressing mix
Extra virgin olive oil

First you want to slice your tomatoes to about the same thickness:

"Fried" Green Tomatoes: Mostly Green Tomatoes

As you can see this one was starting to turn red inside, but that’s ok.

Once you have all your tomatoes sliced lay them out and sprinkle them with sea salt and black pepper:

"Fried" Green Tomatoes: Salt and Pepper

Once they are seasoned on both sides set aside.

Place a large skillet on medium heat and place a think layer of olive oil in the pan to heat while you do the next step. A tablespoon of oil should be more than enough. You may need to add more as you “fry”, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

Mix together corn meal, sea salt, black pepper and Ranch dressing mix until completely incorporated and place mixture on a plate or flat dish. Next place one tomato on the mixture to coat:

"Fried" Green Tomatoes: Ready to Dredge

Then flip the tomato over to coat the other side:

"Fried" Green Tomatoes: Dredged

Now you’re ready to “fry”!

Place the tomatoes into the heated skillet/oil and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side until golden brown:

"Fried" Green Tomatoes: Frying

Once done remove from skillet and place on a plate lined with paper towels to “drain”:

"Fried" Green Tomatoes

You won’t get a lot of draining since you didn’t use a lot of oil, but there may be a little.

In between batches of tomatoes you might need to add a bit more oil to the pan. Just keep an eye on things. Repeat the process until all the tomatoes are done.

Serve immediately.

Notes: No notes for this one. When does that ever happen?? 😉

 

Lettuce Wraps

Asian Lettuce Wraps

For a while now I’ve been hearing a lot about lettuce wraps or cups. I haven’t tried either, but after taking a look at them I figured they wouldn’t be that hard to make! And you know what? They aren’t! This recipe is a fabulous, healthy meal in one that you can whip up quickly (after you marinate) and enjoy in no time. Pop the marinate in the fridge in the morning and in 20 minutes or so you’ve got dinner that night! How easy is that?

What You’ll Need:
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped fine
2 scallions chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound of flank steak, cut into strips
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
1/3 cup of low sodium soy sauce
2/3 cup of cold water
1 bell pepper, cut into strips
1 large portabella mushrooms cap, cut in half and then into strips
Romaine or bib lettuce leaves
Cooked brown rice
Toothpicks

First you want to get the meat marinating. I like to do this in a canning jar:

Asian Lettuce Wraps: Ready to Marinate

First add garlic, red pepper flakes, ginger, scallions and black pepper to the bottom of the jar.

Next add steak strips and cover with water, soy sauce and add the sesame oil. (Note: You really want to make sure you use a low sodium soy sauce or this will be so salty you won’t want to eat it!)

Give the jar a shake and place in the fridge for at least four hours. Give it a shake now and then to mix things up, or ignore it entirely. It can be done either way.

When you’re ready to make the wraps make sure you make your rice and have it ready to go first. Depending on the variety of brown rice that you choose it might take 20 minutes, or even up to 50 minutes to cook.

Add the mushrooms and bell peppers to the bottom of a large skillet:

Asian Lettuce Wraps: Ready for Marinated Meat

Next pour in the marinade mixture from the glass jar:

Asian Lettuce Wraps: Cooking

Cook until the marinade is absorbed, the vegetables are tender and the meat is done:

Asian Lettuce Wraps: Filling

Once your filling is done it’s time to make your wrap!

First you need a piece of lettuce:

Asian Lettuce Wraps: Lettuce

I used romaine. You might have to break the spine a bit to get it to roll as well depending on the leaf.

Next add 1/4-1/3 cup of brown rice to the middle of each leaf:

Asian Lettuce Wraps: Rice

And then add a bit of filling and begin the rolling process:

Asian Lettuce Wraps: Wrapping

I like to secure one side first and then bring the other side over. It makes it easier than trying to roll it all at once. So roll one side and secure it with a toothpick. This helps hold it in place while you roll the other side.

Bring the other side over and hold. Remove toothpick and stick it through the entire roll:

Asian Lettuce Wraps

Then serve!

This makes 4-5 rolls.

Notes: You could use chicken, shrimp, etc. Or you could even just load it up with vegetables for a vegetarian option.

Better Bites: Corn Salad

Better Bites: Corn Salad

One of Lex’s all time favorite foods is corn on the cob, so I often have a few ears hanging around in the fridge. This time of year corn is so fabulous because it’s fresh, so sweet and not to mention cheap! The going rate around here is about 6 ears for a dollar. Now that’s what I call sweet! 😉

The traditional ways of cooked corn on the cob are great. You can grill the ears, boil them, roast them, etc. But as with many things I get bored with eating the same thing the same way over and over and over. The kernels of the corn actually make a great base for salads! Throw in some other vegetables and you’ve got the perfect, healthy meal in no time!

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What You’ll Need:
2-3 ears of corn, cooked, cooled and kernels removed from the cob
1 bell pepper, chopped
1/2 a red onion, chopped
1 green tomato, chopped
1 carrot, cut into small bits
1 cucumber, cut into chunks
2 sprigs of thyme, stripped from the stem
2 sprigs of rosemary, stripped from the stem and chopped
The juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
A pinch of sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup of parsley, chopped

First you want to strip the corn kernels off of the cob. You can do this several ways. They have handy dandy corn strippers that do the trick (though I don’t have one of those) or you can use a serrated knife. Whenever I strip corn off the cob it reminds me of my grandfather who always ate it that way.

Anyway….

Dump the corn kernels into a glass bowl along with the other vegetables and toss to mix. Sprinkle the top of the vegetable mixture with thyme, rosemary and parsley and toss again. Add a pinch of sea salt and some freshly ground pepper to taste. Next squeeze the juice of one lime over the top of the mixture, along with the olive oil and toss to coat.

Better Bites: Corn Salad: Ready to Serve

Serve immediately or store in the fridge until ready to use.

Notes: The flavors of this salad become better with time as they meld. You can keep it stored in an airtight container in your fridge for several days.

Quilts, Quilts, Quilts!

I made a comment on Twitter/FaceBook yesterday about wanting to make a new quilt, but not wanting to cut out blocks. You see the cutting part is my least favorite part of the entire process! That led us down the who does, who doesn’t, who wants to path, so I thought it would be fun to share the quilts I’ve finished for Alexis and ones that are still works in progress. So here it goes!

So click below the fold and let’s talk some quilts!

Keep in mind that all of Alexis’ quilts are made to use and use them she does! They’ve been used and washed many, many times so they are starting to show some love marks! 😉

First I’ll show you the first quilt I made for Alexis before she was born:

Moon and Stars Quilt

This quilt hung on the wall in her room in our old house. Since the past two moves though it has ended up in bed with her since her room has taken on a fairy theme.

Some nights she covers herself up with it, some nights she uses it to cover her “friends”. (Also know as the menagerie of stuffed animals she piles into bed with her!)

A close up of the moon:

Moon and Stars Quilt

I wish now I had made the eyes, nose and mouth a bit darker. It shows up perfectly when you’re looking at it in person, but the camera doesn’t pick it up that well.

One of the stars:

Moon and Stars Quilt

And a shot of the back:

Moon and Stars Quilt

I love how you can make two faces to a quilt when you appliqué using satin stitch. You have a front picture and a back picture!

As you can see I just did a squiggle stitch to do the actual quilting. All of my quilts have been machine quilted.

The next quilt that I made for Alexis was a duck quilt:

Duck Quilt

I finished this one about two weeks before she was born and it is the quilt we took to the hospital and brought her home with. If I was making this one today I would have done some quilting around the ducks in the “water”.

A close up of one of the ducks:

Duck Quilt

The back of this one is solid yellow so it doesn’t photograph well, but in person you can see the outline of the ducks on the back too. Alexis also sleeps with this one too.

The next quilt I made for her was several years later. I started this one when she was two and finished it sometimes between her turning 3 and 4. I can’t remember the exact dates. This one is a Sunbonnet Sue and Sam quilt:

Sunbonnet Sue and Sam

On this quilt most of it was free handed. Sue was from a pattern. I can’t remember which company. Some of the bugs might have been from patterns too, though the snail I know for sure I free handed, I think…Who knows? It’s been a while! The tree, the sun, Sam, the grass, the flowers, etc. were all me.

The sun:

Sunbonnet Sue and Sam: Sun

The butterfly:

Sunbonnet Sue and Sam: Butterfly

The dragonfly:

Sunbonnet Sue and Sam: Dragonfly

The sunflower and the bee:

Sunbonnet Sue and Sam: Sunflower and Bee

The ladybug:

Sunbonnet Sue and Sam: Ladybug

Sam:

Sunbonnet Sue and Sam: Sam

Miss Sue:

Sunbonnet Sue and Sam: Sue

The snail:

Sunbonnet Sue and Sam: Snail

The tree top:

Sunbonnet Sue and Sam: Tree Top

And last but not least the back:

Sunbonnet Sue and Sam: Back

Apparently some people don’t like you to look at the backs of their quilts, but I don’t mind…I think they are pretty on both sides!

This Sue and Sam quilt is probably one of the most favorite that I’ve ever made!

The next quilt I made for Alexis was a “travel quilt”. A few years ago we thought we were going to go to Ireland and I wanted her to have a quilt she could take with her on the plane to sleep with. The trip ended up being postponed when Jamison got a new job, but the quilt still made it into being. Keep in mind Alexis picked out the material for this one and oh man is it bright!

Ready?

You sure?

The travel quilt!:

Travel Quilt

She uses this quilt with her Aerobed kids mattress.

Here’s a close up:

Travel Quilt: Up Close

Again wild colors! I would never have thought these up, but she loves them!

And the back:

Travel Quilt: Back

I just followed the shapes on the front. Nothing fancy, but it turned out nice.

Now let’s take a look at some works in progress! Keep in mind they have been folded for a while and desperately need to be ironed.

I started this one in 1998 or 1999 for our guest bedroom:

Red, White & Blue

As you can see all it really needs is for the red border to be added to the other 3 sides and for it to be quilted. I’ve moved this quilt top five times. One of these days you’d think I’d finish it already!

A closeup view of the inner diamond:

Red, White & Blue

And a closeup of one of the hearts:

Red, White & Blue

This is a baby quilt I started working on so I’d have a top ready to go:

Baby Quilt

As you can see there on the left the border is pinned on that side, but hasn’t been attached. All I need to do is sew down that seam and the press it flat and this one would be a finished top. I’ve moved it several times just like that. I have many of these works in progress things. I get side tracked easily!

A close up of the baby quilt:

Baby Quilt

Another baby quilt:

Another Baby Quilt

This one could be quilted as is or a border could be added. I’ve just never have gotten around to doing either.

This one I started for Grant (my nephew) after he was born:

Grant's Zebra Quilt

It’s a completed quilt top. Just needs to be quilted, you know maybe before he’s 25! 😉

Here’s a closer view:

Grant's Zebra Quilt

This is one quilt block that I made to see how I liked the overall pattern:

Quilt Block

Loved it! Never have got back to making anymore, though I’d like to make enough for a whole quilt!

These are some funky heart blocks:

Heart Block

Heart Block

Made a few of them before I decided my sanity was more important than putting these damn things together!

And this is a quilt I started last year one day when a tropical storm was blowing through:

"Recycle" Quilt: Where Blue Jeans Become A Quilt!

Obviously I didn’t want to be outside so I thought it was the perfect quilting day! I call it my “recycled” quilt because I am taking old pairs of jeans and pairing them with a print to make the quilt.

I have three rows sewn together and more rows that are sewn that just need to be added. I’m making this big enough to fit our king sized bed. It should be perfect for winter! (If I ever finish it that is!)

Here’s a close up:

"Recycle" Quilt: Where Blue Jeans Become A Quilt!

It’s simple, but then again simple isn’t a bad thing! I will most likely make this a “tie” quilt, rather than quilting it all over to make it more rustic.

And this is the watermelon quilt I started putting together right before Lex’s birthday:

Watermelon Quilt

I had grand plans to finish this before her birthday, but you know what they say about plans.

I’ve had this quilt in my head for years. As soon as I saw the fabric I knew what I wanted to do. I cut out big squares and freehanded the watermelon on paper and then cut them out. The main blocks are sewn together and the watermelon are ironed on. I will satin stitch around them during the quilting process. I’ll most likely add a border too.

A close up of the watermelon:

Watermelon Quilt

So that’s it for now. I have other quilts started here and there, but digging them out is the key! But that’s that for now. Hope you’ve enjoyed a peak into my quilting!

Originally posted at Daffodil Lane.

Bread Salad

Bread Salad

I love all the fresh vegetables that are readily available this time of the year. It’s so easy to eat fresh and local when you’re in the height of the summer season! Most days, at least one meal (and sometimes two), there is a salad, utilizing these ingredients involved. I often eat salad for lunch, and many times there is a salad component to dinner too.

Salads are so much fun because you can have endless variations, using the same ingredients, only tweaking them a bit. Salads also don’t have to be boring and if you don’t want to use lettuce or some other green, who says you have to?

This salad takes lovely, ripe local tomatoes, and pairs them with other in season vegetables to make a fabulous base. Add in some cheese and the unexpected Challah Bread and you’ve got the perfect, cool, don’t heat up your house summer meal that really hits the spot! What could be better than that?

What You’ll Need:
2-3 cups of plum or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 cucumber, cut in half and then sliced
1/2 a red onion, cut into strips
1 small bell pepper, cut into strips
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup of brown rice vinegar
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1/3 cup of parsley, chopped
1/2 loaf of Challah Bread, cut into cubes
1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese

First up let’s discuss glass bowls. I’ve gotten several e-mails as of late asking why I often specify glass bowls to use when mixing. That’s an easy answer actually…Plastic skeeves me out! Seriously I do NOT put anything that is hot and/or acid into plastic containers, even to mix briefly. I do a lot of storing food in glass canning jars for left overs and such and while I do have some plastic storage containers I use glass far more often that I use plastic. Acid and heat can leach the chemicals in the plastics out into your food. Not sure if you’re a fan of weird chemicals in your food, but I’m not. So that’s why I specify glass. I also don’t use anything that has non-stick coatings, and avoid aluminum for the most part too.

Ok, now let’s get started on this salad!

First off put your tomatoes in a large glass bowl:

Bread Salad: Tomatoes

Then cucumbers:

Bread Salad: Cucumbers

Red onions:

Bread Salad: Red Onion

Bell peppers:

Bread Salad: Bell Peppers

And feel free to use whatever color of bells you have on hand!

Next add sea salt, black pepper, olive oil and vinegar:

Bread Salad: Salt and Pepper

I chose to use a fine ground pepper this go around to really let the pepper get into the salad and give it a little zing!

Then the chopped parsley:

Bread Salad: Parsley

And last (but not least!) add the bread and Parmesan:

Bread Salad: Bread

I picked up the Challah bread at my local bakery, but you can certainly make it yourself if you prefer.

Toss it all together and serve immediately:

Bread Salad: Tossed

And remember this is really an eat it now sort of of salad! You can store everything but the bread for later. If you have left overs I would recommend picking the bread out, because it will just turn into mush as it absorbs the moisture from the salad.

Bread Salad

Notes: You can add in any vegetables that you like. Fresh corn would be great, or how about squash and/or zucchini. You could also add fresh oregano, thyme and/or rosemary.

Black Bean and Mango Salsa

Black Bean and Mango Salsa

I love mangoes, but I rarely eat them because they really are a pain in the rear to cut up. I’ve tried the tricks that supposedly make cutting them easier, but I have never really found one that I like. Often I buy frozen mango for smoothies, but once in a while I’ll buy an actual mango to enjoy.

Mango is great all by itself, but it’s really a fun component to add to salsa! This version is cool, fresh and really great to compliment a summer meal. Who says salsa has to be tomato based?

Black Bean and Mango Salsa: Ingredients

What You’ll Need:
1 mango, chopped
1/2 a large red onion, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
1-3 jalapenos, chopped fine
2 cups of cooked black beans
1 teaspoon of coarse sea salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons of white balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup of parsley, chopped (Note: I am not a fan of cilantro, in fact I despise cilantro, but if you’re a fan you could substitute this if you desired. I won’t vouch for the over all taste of the salsa though if you do choose this route.)

First chop a mango and add it to a large glass bowl:

Black Bean and Mango Salsa: Mango

Next add the chopped red onion:

Black Bean and Mango Salsa: Red Onion

Have I mentioned lately how these should be call purple onions instead? There is not red there! I haven’t? Well there you go then! ;oP

Next add cucumber:

Black Bean and Mango Salsa: Cucumbers

Then jalapeños:

Black Bean and Mango Salsa: Jalapeño

And then the black beans, salt, pepper, olive oil and vinegar:

Black Bean and Mango Salsa: Salt, Pepper, Oil and Vinegar

Toss everything together until well mixed. Then add chopped parsley and stir until incorporated:

Black Bean and Mango Salsa

Serve immediately or chill for a couple of hours before serving.

Notes: This is great on fish or steaks. Also you’ll want to use this within a day of making.

Old Bay Chicken Burgers

Old Bay Chicken Flat Bread Burgers With Caramelized Onions

Within the last year I have discovered ground chicken. I don’t know what took me so long, but it’s such a versatile ingredient to play around with! The first time I used it was actually earlier this year in Beggar’s Stew. Since then you will often find a package in my freezer.

Burgers are perhaps the most obvious choice when using ground chicken and this burger combines the old timey burger feel, with the zing and pop of Old Bay seasoning. If you’re a fan of Old Bay then this burger is for you!

What You’ll Need:
1 pound of ground chicken
1 large sweet onion, divided, half chopped fine, half cut into strips
Old Bay Seasoning
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Flat bread
Burger toppings of your choice

In a large bowl mix together ground chicken and chopped onion, along with a tablespoon of Old Bay seasoning. Mix together (it’s best to get your hands in there and just squish it all together!) until everything is incorporated.

Shape into three patties and then sprinkle the tops with more Old Bay seasoning:

Old Bay Chicken Flat Bread Burgers With Caramelized Onions: Ready to Cook

Preheat oven to 425 F.

In a large skillet cook burgers until each side is browned and then place in a glass baking dish:

Old Bay Chicken Flat Bread Burgers With Caramelized Onions: Ready to Bake

Place in preheated oven and cook for 20-25 minutes until done through. (Note: I like to finish these up in the oven to be sure that they do indeed cook through. Raw chicken is not something you want to bite into!)

While burgers are baking start your onions.

Place the onion strips into a large skillet with a little extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Cook, stirring often, until slightly caramelized:

Old Bay Chicken Flat Bread Burgers With Caramelized Onions: Onions Caramelizing

Once burgers are done remove from oven and let sit for 2-3 minutes:

Old Bay Chicken Flat Bread Burgers With Caramelized Onions: Baked

While burgers are resting toast your flat bread until nice and golden:

Old Bay Chicken Flat Bread Burgers With Caramelized Onions: Flat Bread and Swiss

Top each toasted flat bread with a burger, some cheese (if desired) and onions:

Old Bay Chicken Flat Bread Burgers With Caramelized Onions: Ready to Top

You can also top with any other burger fixings/condiments that you like.

I like to serve this with sweet potato oven fries.

Notes: If you don’t care for Old Bay (sacrilege! ;)) you can omit that and add in thyme and rosemary or some other seasoning.

Shrimp with Pan Fried Cabbage

Shrimp With Pan "Fried" Chinese Cabbage

I’ve never been a big fan of cooked cabbage, though I do like raw cabbage. Recently I’ve had the desire to play around with the cooked variety so when I was at the market the other day I picked up a small head of Chinese Cabbage.

Most of the time cooked cabbage is cooked in a way that just becomes this big, mushy, sort of sulfuric tasting mess, thus why I didn’t like it. I have had cooked cabbage in Asian dishes before that didn’t turn out that way and actually tasted good, so I knew it was possible. I decided to play around with pan “frying” in a little bit of olive oil to see what would happen and I have to say I was very pleased! Paired with some cooked shrimp it made the perfect meal!

What You’ll Need:
Extra virgin olive oil
1 small Chines cabbage, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Brown rice vinegar
1 pound of shrimp, shelled and deveined

Chop cabbage and place in a medium sized pan or pot with some extra virgin olive oil, garlic, a pinch of sea salt and some freshly ground black pepper:

Shrimp With Pan "Fried" Chinese Cabbage: Cabbage Ready to Cook

Sprinkle with a few shakes of brown rice vinegar and cook until cabbage is slightly soft and browned, stirring often:

Shrimp With Pan "Fried" Chinese Cabbage: Cooked Cabbage

Be careful and don’t let it get mushy. No one wants mushy cabbage! ;oP

While the cabbage is cooking you will also begin cooking your shrimp. The last time I made shrimp someone asked me how to actually devein them so I’m including a little “how to” on that. Excuse my green fingernail polish…Miss G wanted to paint our fingernails and she picked the colors. She got “Blu” and I got “Emerald City”. The things I do for her! ;oP

Now shrimp…You can buy them already deveined if you can find them that way, if not see below.

First rinse your shrimp well and remove the shells. Next you want to locate the vein:

Shrimp With Pan "Fried" Chinese Cabbage: Vein

Now here’s the tricky part…Sometimes the vein is on the underneath of the shrimp and other times it is along the back. I guess it depends on the type of shrimp. I’ve bought shrimp that had them in either location. The removing process is the same despite of where it is located. As you can see the vein is running just below the surface of the under side of the shrimp in this variety.

Take a paring knife and run it along the meat of the shrimp just above the vein:

Shrimp With Pan "Fried" Chinese Cabbage: Cutting

This will open up the shrimp and expose the vein.

Take your knife and run it under the edge of the vein:

Shrimp With Pan "Fried" Chinese Cabbage: Removing Vein

Gently remove the vein and throw away.

Once you’ve done that your shrimp will look like this:

Shrimp With Pan "Fried" Chinese Cabbage: Deveined

See the vein is gone!

Repeat that process until the shrimp are all deveined.

Next you want to generously salt and pepper your shrimp:

Shrimp With Pan "Fried" Chinese Cabbage: Ready to Cook

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add some olive oil and then place the shrimp in the pan. Cook shrimp on each side roughly 30 seconds to 1 minute until pink on both sides:

Shrimp With Pan "Fried" Chinese Cabbage: Cooked Shrimp

Be careful when cooking shrimp…They literally cook within a minute or two. If you take them too far you’ll end up with rubbery, tough shrimp and that’s no fun.

Place a bed of cabbage on a plate and top with cooked shrimp.

Notes: You could do this with scallops instead if you preferred.

Update: The next day I still had some left over shrimp and cabbage in the fridge so I thought I’d make a salad with them. Turned out great! I tossed in some mushroom, avocado and cucumber with the cooked shrimp and cabbage and it made a great lunch!

Shrimp With Pan "Fried" Chinese Cabbage Becomes Salad

It’s fun to take left overs and add to them! Who knew this would be good chilled too? But it was!

Fresh Vegetables and Penne

Fresh Vegetable Penne

As I’ve mentioned before Jamison and Alexis are all about spaghetti and at this point after knowing Jamison for 13 years I’m about as spaghettied out as you can possibly be. Once in a blue moon I get a craving for the traditional spaghetti, but for the most part I’d much rather make my own pasta topper.

This time of year it is so easy to whip up a fresh pasta topper with vegetables that are coming into season. You can use fresh tomatoes and pair them with various other vegetables and herbs to make something healthy, yet satisfying. Now that is my kind of pasta!

What You’ll Need:
Extra virgin olive oil
2 tomatoes, chopped into chunks
2 garlic scapes, chopped
1 cup of peas
10-12 yellow or green beans, chopped
3-4 Brussels sprouts, chopped
4-5 button mushrooms, sliced
1/2 a red onion, chopped
1/3 cup of parsley, chopped
2 sprigs of rosemary, chopped
2 sprigs of thyme, chopped
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 ounce of Parmesan, grated
2 ounces of dry whole grain penne pasta, cooked according to package directions

Cook pasta. Drain and set aside.

Add vegetables and herbs to a glass bowl and stir to mix:

Fresh Vegetable Penne: Ready to Cook

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and vegetables:

Fresh Vegetable Penne: Cooking

Add some sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and stir to mix. Cook for 5-10 minutes until tomatoes soften and vegetables are tender:

Fresh Vegetable Penne: Ready for Parmesan

Add cheese and penne and stir to mix. Cook for 1-2 minutes until cheese melts:

Fresh Vegetable Penne: Ready to Serve

Remove from heat and let sit for 2 minutes and then serve.

Makes 2-3 servings.

Fresh Vegetable Penne

Notes: You can use any combo of vegetables or herbs that you like. Carrots would be a good addition and/or asparagus. Squash and zucchini would be good too.