The Heat of Summer

weekly CSA produce share
These crops just love the heat!

Ah, summer is here. That means dry days that are hot, hot, hot! The day we picked up these vegetables, the temperature topped out at 105°F. And, more days like that are coming. Fortunately, there are crops that thrive in that heat. Corn, for example, and tomatoes, and, who can forget summer squash, that prodigious producer of summer. And, soon, we hope, we’ll start getting those other heat-loving crops: melons!

This week, we picked up:

  • Baby red potatoes (1 basket)
  • Yellow Taxi tomatoes (3)
  • Red heirloom tomatoes (2)
  • Amaranth greens (1 bunch) — traded for more potatoes
  • Arugula (1 bag)
  • Summer squash (2)
  • Yellow onions (2)
  • Sweet white corn (2 ears)

Almond Spread (Vegan Cheese)

almond spread
almond spread
Not cheese — almond spread!

This is a recipe that we’ve had around for a couple of years now. After a couple of years, we either need to try it or toss it (well, not really toss, since the Scratchin’ It filing systems uses a double redundant protocol to maintain records), so let’s try it out. It fits in well with yesterday’s post about the Crispy Smoky Salty Carrot Strips, in that the original recipe intended it as a replacement for a perfectly good food (cheese, glorious cheese) that we enjoy with abandon. So, why are we making it? To us, it might not be a good replacement for cheese, but it might be a delicious Almond Spread.

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Worth the trouble?

Crispy Smoky Salty Carrot Strips (Carrot Bacon)

crispy smoky salty carrot strips
crispy smoky salty carrot strips
Would you believe carrots?

When we first saw this recipe, we were skeptical; supposedly a few flavorings and a bit of baking would make carrots taste like bacon. In fact, the recipe in Bacon-ish, by Leinana Two Moons, was titled “Carrot Bacon,” which we changed to Crispy Smoky Salty Carrot Strips. Why? Well, let’s face it, carrots will not taste like bacon, and they’ll surely not fool anyone into thinking they are eating bacon, and that’s just fine. Why should they? Why can’t this recipe be just a new way to enjoy carrots? A way that’s crispy, smoky, and salty? We thought so. So we figured we’d give the recipe a whirl and pass it by our Scratchin’ It taste-testing panel for critique. What do we have to lose? It’s just a carrot, right?

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Away For A Birthday Celebration!

As you might surmise from the lapse in posting, we were away from the Scratchin’ It Test Kitchen. But, that doesn’t mean we stopped scratchin’ up good things to eat. This time around, we made mini lemon cupcakes (we used our Lemon-Poppy Seed Muffin recipe, sans poppy seeds) with Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream, and, thanks to an idea in Buttercream Basics, by Carey Madden (she used full-sized cupcakes with rounded frosting and highlights, which made them look more like balloons), we had a great way to present them. See for yourself!

mini lemon cupcakes
Balloons are always perfect for a party! And, these can be popped in your mouth!

Cherry-Almond Biscotti

cherry almond biscotti
cherry almond biscotti
Cherries and almonds are a perfect match.

Our Cocoa Nib Biscotti are so tasty that we were nearly afraid to change the recipe to make a new variety. As you can see, we got over our fears and decided on biscotti that combine cherries and almonds, which seems like a perfect pairing. How does that sound to you, fellow scratcher? Good? Good. Let’s get into the Scratchin’ It Test Kitchen and whip some up.

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Pasta Dough Revisited

No pictures. No real recipe. Just a short discussion about making fresh pasta.

We make fresh pasta a lot. At least once a week. Sometimes more. And, we’ve been doing this for years. That’s a lot of pasta. So, we think we know a little bit about making pasta from scratch. Not everything, but something. In particular, we’ve learned the exact amount of water you need to add to flour to make perfectly supple pasta dough. Perfect. Every. Single. Time. Who doesn’t want that?

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Cherry Mostarda

cherry mostarda
Cherry MOstarda with goat cheese
Wow! Cherry Mostarda is really good!

It’s cherry season, and, while we love fresh cherries, we also like to see what we can make from them. Sure, there’s a lot of desserts made with cherries, but what about something savory? Today, we decided that we’d try making some cherry mostarda. Now, we don’t know about you, but we’ve never even tasted this Italian condiment, so we figured we’d scratch up a small batch for testing purposes. Sound interesting? We’ll show you what we did.

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Worth the trouble?