the rainy kitchen

cooking through the rain in southeast alaska

meyer lemon whiskey sour

It’s Friday, friends, another week down. Seems like a great time to enjoy a whiskey sour with some pals!  I am a traditionalist when it comes to whiskey sours, which means, I like them with egg whites. It’s rare to find whiskey sours with egg whites in bars these days, I imagine it’s just a pain for the bartenders.  With all the fresh eggs we have from our chickens I thought it was time to try making them at home. I decided to use Meyer lemons because they are so extra delicious and we happened to have some on hand. Here is how I did it, and if I do say so myself, they were pretty darn good!

Meyer Lemon Whiskey Sour

*Makes 2 drinks

4 oz bourbon (I use Makers, it has just the right amount of sweet)
2 oz fresh squeezed Meyer lemon juice
2 oz simple syrup (to make simple syrup dissolve one part sugar to one part water in a sauce pan over medium heat, let cool)
white of one small egg

Fill a cocktail shaker about 3/4 full with ice. Add the bourbon, lemon juice, simple syrup and egg white. Shake vigorously for about a minute. Mixing it well will meld the flavors as well as make the egg nice and foamy, adding a creamy texture to the drinks. Strain into a chilled glass and serve immediately. SO good!

Traditionally whiskey sours are garnished with a maraschino cherry, so if you’re inclined…  Also if using raw egg whites freaks you out, then don’t. If you choose not to use the egg, cut back a bit on the simple syrup, as the egg does make sure it’s not too sweet. The drinks will still be yummy without them, just not creamy.

* If you prefer a more sour whiskey sour, use 3 oz of lemon in the above recipe instead of 2. Either way, enjoy! *

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curried quinoa salad

Quinoa is a delicious grain-like seed that is a complete protein and is so good for you. It’s also super easy to cook, yummy alone with a little olive oil or soy sauce drizzled on it, and great as the base for a salad. I use it in lots of different ways. One of which is the recipe that follows. It takes no time to prepare and makes for a great lunch salad. I like the curry in this recipe cause it gives it a little kick.

Curried Quinoa Salad

.75 c. dried quinoa
2 zucchini’s
.75 c. dried cranberries
olive oil
sea salt
fresh flat leaf parsley
good curry powder

Start with cooking the quinoa. If you’ve never done this before it’s very easy and only takes 10-15 minutes or so. You cook quinoa the same way you cook rice. Put two parts water to one part quinoa in a small pot over high heat. Once the water boils, turn it down to very low. Turn off when all the water has evaporated, the quinoa will more than double in size in the pot. While the quinoa is cooking, chop the zucchini up into small pieces and saute in a pan with a little olive oil. When the quinoa is cooked, transfer to a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Add the cooked zucchini and the dried cranberries. Mix in approx. one tbs of curry powder and a handful of chopped fresh parsley. You can eat right away, or refrigerate and enjoy later. This is great to bring to work for lunch. If you double the recipe you can have lunch all week. Healthy and so easy!

roasted green beans

I love green beans! One of my favorite ways to eat them is roasted. It’s a super simple way to make them and serves as a great side dish with salmon, a regular meal in our house. Have a lovely weekend and eat your veggies!

Roasted Green Beans

green beans
olive oil
sea salt
crushed red pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash about a pound of green beans and snip off the ends. Lay them out on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and crushed red pepper. Slide into the oven for about 15 minutes. Take out when they are getting roasted, but are still nice and green.

a simple shrimp pasta

The other night my dad came into town on somewhat short notice for a visit. It was great. I wanted to make something simple and elegant for dinner that would be easy to pull off without a store run, as Bret and I had a busy day of chores before my dad’s arrival. I was fortunate to have a couple pounds of frozen local shrimp in the freezer. My dad makes delicious shrimp pasta (in my senior high school year book I said my favorite food was dad’s shrimp pasta). I make it in a variety of ways, but the easiest way is with ingredients I always have on hand (besides the shrimp, as I don’t always have that). Pantry pasta!

Simple Shrimp Pasta

2 lbs fresh or fresh frozen shrimp
olive oil
crushed red pepper
dried oregano
4-6 cloves garlic
dry white wine
lemon
sea salt and pepper
capers

Shell and de-vein the shrimp. Put a pot of water on for the pasta, this recipe will make enough sauce for about a pound and a half of pasta – I would use spaghetti or linguini, don’t forget to salt the water.  Coat the bottom of a large saute pan with olive oil and heat over low heat. Chop the garlic and toss it in with the olive oil. Add a couple teaspoons of crushed red pepper and a few pinches of dried oregano. Let all of this cook together for a while on very low heat, being careful not to burn the garlic.  Add the juice of two lemons and several splashes of the wine.  Right before straining the pasta, put a ladle full of pasta water into the sauce. Turn the sauce off once  the shrimp is done (when it curls up and starts to show some reddish pink). Once the pasta is strained, drizzle with olive oil and put in a large pasta bowl, put the sauce over the top and serve immediately with fresh grated parmesan cheese.

 

 

 

we’re back!

It’s been a very busy few weeks. It has been all I could do to get food on the table, let alone blog about it! Life is still charging along, but I still have things to say about tomatoes! One of my favorite ways to enjoy them in late summer when they are so sweet and perfect is in a tomato and cucumber salad. Fresh cucumbers are also a super treat! Try it, you’ll love the fresh taste of summer it leaves in your mouth!


4-6 heirloom tomatoes (or whatever the sweetest, freshest tomato variety is that you can find)
2 cucumbers
good olive oil and good balsamic vinegar
sea salt and fresh cracked pepper

Cut up the tomatoes and the cucumbers and put them in a bowl. Lightly toss with flavorful olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. This is a very simple salad, so each ingredient needs to be good, it will make all the difference!

a simple tomato sauce

When I moved to northern California to go to college, I learned for the first time how truly amazing fresh tomatoes can be. Arcata had a great farmers market and I used to go and get fresh tomatoes, fresh basil and fresh garlic to make a simple sauce with. I still love this and of course, had to take advantage of the delicious tomatoes down here to make some!

Fresh Tomatoes with Basil

3lbs pounds tomatoes
6 cloves garlic
two handfuls fresh basil
olive oil
sea salt
fresh pepper
crushed red pepper

Chop garlic and add it to a heavy bottom pan with an inch or so of olive oil in it. Saute on low heat until the garlic begins to simmer and permeate the oil. Add chopped tomatoes (I don’t bother to peel and seed them, but if you’re a purest, you can do that first). Let the tomatoes cook down and then add the basil, crushed red pepper and salt and pepper. Let cook while you boil the pasta water.

* A note on boiling pasta water that is especially important for simple sauces such as this, don’t be stingy on salting the water! It brings out the flavor in the pasta and will make the overall dish much yummier. *

canning 100lbs of tomatoes

We are in Olympia, WA picking up a truck to drive home. So, we thought while we were here, we should can some tomatoes and bring them with us! This is something I love the most about coming south this time of year. Fresh tomatoes are everywhere, and they are so good. In honor of this, I am devoting a few of my favorite tomato recipes to the next week or so. I’ll start with our exhaustive and fun canning activities.

The tomatoes we canned are called San Marzano. Initially, we had planned to do Roma (which is what we’ve always done before, they’re good and meaty for canning). The farm we went to happened to have San Marzano though, and these are supposed to be the best for canning and sauce making, so we figured, why not? We picked them! It was very fun and amazingly fast. There were three of us and the owner of the farm picking and it only took about 15 minutes to get 100 lbs. It was fun and so cool to pick tomatoes off the vine out in the middle of a dusty, sunny field.

Tomatoes after picking. The yellow ones are from plants that have mutated. We didn’t care, we’ll take the mutated tomatoes!

The farm is called Krueger Pepper Gardens. They are known for peppers and tomatoes, but they have lots of other stuff too, including water melons. They are a family run place. We pulled in at the very end of the day and they could not have been nicer. If you live in this area, I highly recommend checking them out for your summer produce needs.

Before going in the pressure cooker.

Canning all these tomatoes was an epic ordeal. Bret and I canned all day, with the help of his mom (thank you, Susan!). In the end, we came out with 46 quarts. I kept out a few tomatoes that were not good for canning.  I will make a pasta sauce with them. It was a long, but satisfying process, from start to finish. Now to pack them up and drive them home with us!

The next morning, ready to pack up and move to Alaska.

first fresh eggs!

In April, we got 6 baby chicks. The other day, we got our first little egg! It was just a bit smaller than a tablespoon in size and about the cutest egg I’ve ever seen. One of my favorite ways to enjoy fresh eggs is poached and plopped on a salad of fresh greens, especially arugula. It makes for a quick and easy lunch. YUM!


Poached Egg on Fresh Arugula

Mix a couple handfuls of fresh arugula with sea salt, fresh ground pepper, good olive oil and white wine vinegar. Poach your egg. While it’s still warm, add it to the salad and dust with a bit of salt and pepper. Cut it open and enjoy with sparkling water.

How to Poach and Egg

Simmer a few inches of water in a pot. Add a few splashes of white vinegar (this helps hold the egg together when you put it in). Crack your egg open into a small dish. This will make it a lot easier to put in the water. You can do it directly from the shell but I think it’s a lot harder. Once the water is simmering, take a spoon or spatula and create a whirlpool in the water. Gently place the egg in the center. The spinning should help the egg stay together. If it still separates, you can use your spoon to push the whites gently back toward the yoke. The egg will take anywhere from 3-5 minutes to poach, depending on the size. I think this tiny one actually took about 2 minutes, but most eggs are bigger! To tell if it’s done, you can use a slotted spoon to take it out and gently touch the top (you can also do this in the water with your spoon). You want a bit of a jiggle, and you want the whites to be white, not transparent. Poached eggs are good on so many thing and as our chickens lay more we’ll be making them in many ways in The Rainy Kitchen. Stay tuned!

a simple fig appetizer

Figs are in season. YUM! Figs are delicious and so good for you. I also love that they happen to be totally beautiful, both inside and out. Lately I have taken to keeping frozen puff pastry on hand (store bought) which makes putting together a quick galette hors d’oeuvres no problem. This is what I’ve been doing with the figs. It’s simple to make and quite yummy (and very pretty if I do say).

Fig and Goat Cheese Galette

1 store bought puff pastry
6 ripe figs
10 0z goat cheese
fresh thyme
1 small onion
2 tbs Grand Marnier
.5 tsp garam masala mix
butter
1 egg white

Preheat oven to 375. Take the puff pastry out of the freezer and follow directions for thawing. While the pastry is thawing, thinly slice the onion and put it in a pan to caramelize with a bit of butter. Meanwhile, put the goat cheese in a bowl. Add Grand Marnier, 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme, and the Garam Masala. Mix together. Use a rolling pin to stretch out the thawed pastry just a bit. Put it on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and use a fork to poke holes all around it. Put the goat cheese mixture in the middle and spread it out evenly with your fingers, leaving about an inch around the edges to fold over later. Slice the figs and lay the slices evenly over the goat cheese. Lay the caramelized onions around the whole thing. Fold over the edges gently and brush with egg white. Put in the oven for about 20 – 30 minutes or until the figs get a nice color to them, and the pastry is golden around the edges. You can remove mid way and brush with more egg white if you’d like. Let cool and add sprigs of fresh thyme. Slice into wedges before serving (this is extra easy if you use a pizza cutter).

an easy and fresh summer gazpacho

As we’ve already talked about on this blog, ’tis the season for delicious summer tomatoes. Gazpacho is one of my favorite ways to enjoy them. This meal feels so healthy to me. Our house has been battling the summer cold that seems to be going around, and all the raw veggies in this dish, including garlic, make it great for fighting off what ales you. The other especially great part about this meal, is that it takes about 15 minutes to prepare. I fantasize about eating it somewhere in Spain someday, but until then, The Rainy Kitchen will have to do.

Summer Gazpacho with Garbanzo Beans and Avocado

3 lbs tomatoes
2 large cucumbers
1 bell pepper
.5 red onion
2 cloves garlic
3 lemons
2/3 c. of good olive oil
2 tsp kosher salt
4-5 avocados
1 can garbanzo beans
fresh cracked pepper

Halve tomatoes and pulverize them in a Food Processor. Pour them into a large bowl. Peel and seed the cucumbers and do the same. Chunk the bell pepper and do it again. It’s important to do all of these veggies separate, as they all take different amounts of time. Do the garlic and onion together. Once it’s all in the bowl, add the olive oil and juice of the lemons, stir in slowly, giving yourself time to watch it all come together. When serving, add a handful of garbanzo beans and half an avocado. Drizzle with a bit more olive oil, and finish with fresh cracked black pepper. Enjoy with your favorite delicious hard crusted bread.