Exciting week provides lots of ideas

Posted Tuesday, Jun. 11, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Mike and I have had an exciting week visiting with friends, attending a family reunion and getting ready for the North Texas Daylily Flower Show. I'm having a lot of fun photographing flowers, though there's lot to learn when entering these in a contest - each picture is a learning experience. I had a "near miss" when I thought that floating daylilies in our pool would make a beautiful picture with the blue water as a background. I bent over to catch the shot and nearly fell in! Luckily I caught myself before falling in with my new digital camera. That will teach me to stick to the shallow end.

We visited Weatherford Farmer's Market and came away with nice tomatoes, okra from West Texas and some local yellow crookneck squash which was wonderful just steamed with spices and a small dab of butter. Mike bought some roasted and salted peanuts in the shell which are some of the best we've had. I don't know if the basket of onions are noonday's, but they are so sweet. We're enjoying them sliced in our evening salads.

As we grill out, we really like to have a side or two that is both delicious and healthy. Today's column features some more summer recipes.

Thompson's Stuffed Mushrooms

This is really good served with a grilled beef or pork tenderloin.

12 large mushrooms

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon oregano

1/2 cup dry bread crumbs

Grated Parmesan cheese

3 Tablespoons melted butter

Clean mushrooms with a clean and damp cloth. Remove stems and chop into very small pieces. Heat butter in a large skillet; add chopped mushroom stems, onion and garlic. Saute until onion is tender. Add seasonings and bread crumbs. Spoon stuffing mixture into mushroom caps. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Pour melted butter in an 8X8-inch glass baking dish. Add mushrooms, turning to coat bottoms and sides. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Note: This also makes an excellent appetizer.

Fresh Asparagus and Red Pepper with Wine Sauce

Always use a wine in a recipe that you would drink (if you drink wine). Most alcohol is diminished when cooked, it's just the flavor we want

4 cups water

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 pounds fresh asparagus, tough end of stalk cut off and discarded. Make all spears the same length.

1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into narrow strips

1/4 cup whie wine

3 Tablespoons melted butter

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large pan over high heat, bring water and salt to a boil. Boil asparagus and bell pepper 5 minutes. Drain veggies under cold water. Arrange asparagus in a single layer in a long baking dish or ovenproof serving dish. Arrange peppers on top.

In a small bowl mix wine and butter and pour over asparagus and bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper. Bake until heated through, about 10 minutes.

Dee Dee's Chocolate Chippers (Just perfect for dipping into milk)

Here's a cookie that is so delicious, travels well and can be frozen-just try them and see!

1 stick butter, softened

1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup granualted sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 Tablespoons cocoa

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, beat together the butter and both kinds of sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix well. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl. Add to the wet ingredients and mix well. Stir in the chocolate chips and pecans. Using a spoon, drop batter onto a greased cookie sheet, forming cookies of whatever size you prefer, leaving the cookies about two inches apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes, just until firm. This makes about 4 dozen 2-inch cookies. I keep them stored in my Lock and Lock plastic container with tight fitting lid. I freeze them in the same container for a later time, if needed.

This is a requested cookie recipe, fantastic for chocolate lovers because of the addition of the cocoa. My granddaughter, Kathryn tells me everytime, "Gram, these cookies are delicious-the best ones I've ever eaten." Well, that's a sure way to get Gram making these often just for her, however, I've noticed there’s a man in the house, a.k.a. "The Mikester," who helps them disappear fast.

What a great time of year to complete, or even begin, a new yard project. There's so many things to do and I like using June and July to get rid of the old things, like solar lights that not only look bad but don't work well anymore, and replacing with new ones. I like to take a walk around the yard with my morning "first-light" cup of coffee and see what changes I should be concentrating on.

Have a wonderful week and try visiting your favorite farmer's market and local plant nurseries. There's lots to see and enjoy.

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