Watermelon Salad with Feta, Pine Nuts and Basil-WHB

roundup link

Labor Day weekend is upon us.

It is a signal for me that summer is drawing to a close and we will soon be cutting fire wood.

Our garden is bare in places where a few months ago it was lush and full.

The corn stalks stand striped of their golden ears and wait to be bundled for hallowe’en decor. The potato patch is turned over and all spuds reported to duty in our potato bin.

I am now gathering watermelon.

I guess I should type that I am gathering “baby” watermelon.

I posted here about the suprise I had that it even came up, as it was grown from misplaced harvested seed from three years ago.

I am not sure if the growth was stunted because it was old seed, or if it was stunted because of weather.

At any rate, I have little baby watermelon. It tastes good in spite of the size.

I have wanted to make this salad since last year when I read about it at The Travelers Notebook watermelon salad recipe here. The pic there is much better than mine, but I bet my home grown baby melons taste just as good.

I subbed walnuts for the pine nuts.

Since it uses wonderful fresh basil, I thought it would be nice for Weekend Herb Blogging hosted this week by WHB originator Kalyn’s Kitchen.

computer tip- did you know that if you spill coffee in your keyboard and ruin it, you can copy and paste osk in the runbox and come up with a on screen keyboard that mouse types. It might take you hours though.


In The USA, tis The Season for Tomatoes

I have been covered up in tomatoes and so busy roasting, freezing and canning.

My favorite way to utilize tomatoes is to first roast them.

I just wash and cut them into equal sizes. Top them with onion and spray it all down with an olive oil spray. Then salt well and sprinkle some dried oregano and basil on them. I roast them in a 350 degree oven about 1 1/2 – 2 hours depending on how many are in the pan. I stir a couple of times during the roasting.

The aroma in the house makes your mouth water.

I then freeze them for use later in sauces, soups or stews. Or I refrigerate to use in recipes.

The above photo is a mac and cheese layered with roasted tomatoes and then topped with tomato slices. The roasted tomato just jazz it up a bit. Topped with fresh chopped basil or oregano, ( I used oregano in the above) it is almost a meal in itself.

In the below photo I just topped some of those english muffins I blogged about a few posts back. I melted Mozzerella cheese on top and garnished with fresh basil and parmesan.

Gosh, there are a slew of ways to use roasted tomatoes. They just seem to make any recipe calling for tomato just a little special.

Dilly O Sourdough- BBD #3

Bread Baking Day #3 is being hosted by Ulrick at Küchenlatein

and it is Sourdough roundup. Roundup Link

I wanted so much to enter since I have my new sourdough starter.

The preferable flour is rye and I didn’t have any,
but I had so much dill seed from the garden to use.
What is better than dill & rye?

I wanted to go ahead with unbleached all purpose and make something
with the dill seed since I didn’t have the rye, and don’t
believe I’ll have any before the roundup.

I hope it is acceptable for the roundup. If not I understand.
Rules are rules, but I’ll give it a try anyway.

I found a King Arthur recipe for dill rolls with onion, but it
wasn’t sourdough.
The recipe also used mashed potato and I had leftovers from

I had the potatoes seasoned with butter, salt, and milk,
so that needs to be taken into account here.

I took the recipe and winged it with the sourdough, by omitting the
water, yeast, and reducing the flour and dried onion.

The rolls came out great with a wonderful browned out side and
beautiful crumb. They were the best rolls I had ever winged in my
life! ( I hope it isn’t sourdough beginners luck!)

I brushed them with egg wash before baking ,which I don’t believe
I’ll do the next time I try to make them. I also think I’ll add a bit more dill seed.
I was a little upset that I only got 9 rolls from it, the original
said it made 16.

If your going to try them, kick start your starter overnight
the night before with 1/2 cup warm water and 1/2 cup flour.

I am calling them Dilly O’ Sourdough Rolls.

Dilly O’ Sourdough Rolls

1 tablespoon melted butter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup mashed potato
1 cup sourdough starter
2 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour, plus more for work surface
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons dill seed
2 tablespoons minced dried onion
1 teaspoon salt

Place all ingredients in a bread machine in order given and place machine
on dough cycle. Let the cycle work about 10-15 minutes and then
remove the pan.
Don’t allow it to go into the rise cycle.

The dough should be soft yet holding a ball well. Allow to rest
10 minutes then dump onto a floured work space.

Fold the dough several times (4-6), incorporating more of the flour
and keep it from sticking to your hands then divide it into 9 equal pieces.

Form the pieces into balls.

Place the pieces on a greased baking sheet about 2 inches
apart and cover with a towel.

Let them rise to double in a warm area (5-6 hours).

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and bake the rolls
20-25 minutes until browned.

Enjoy hot with butter, or cool and store in an airtight container.

Braised Lima Beans with Tomato and Parsley- WHB

Question- What did the little pig say while laying on a hot beach?
Answer- ” I’m Bake’n ”

It has been 100 degrees in the shade around our parts.

There is a bean in our garden that seems to love
hot weather. The Lima.

Limas are my Weekend Herb Blogging entry. Weekend
Herb Blogging
is being hosted by Zorra at Kochtopf
this week.

You can read the WHB rules at Kalyn’s Kitchen and join in the fun.

I love fresh Lima Beans. The only part of a fresh Lima I dislike is
shelling. The pod can be a bit tough on the fingernails
so I slit the side of the pod with a sharp knife.

Limas are said to contain cyanide compounds, so they must be cooked
thoroughly. Cooking is suppose to turn it to gas to be
driven out of there. You don’t want to eat these beans raw.

This is one of my favorite Lima recipes. It is a Weight Watcher
recipe. I sub real butter for the margarine and fresh cooked
garden Limas for the frozen. I also sub curly parsley when necessary.
My flat leaf has all gone to seed.

It is very good tasting and good health wise also
as lima beans provide virtually fat-free high quality protein.


Braised Lima Beans with Tomato and Parsley (2.59 WW Points)

Recipe By :Weight Watchers International, Inc.
Serving Size : 4

2 teaspoons margarine
1 cup chopped onions
2 1/4 cups frozen baby lima beans — thawed
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup diced plum tomatoes
1/4 cup Italian parsley — chopped

Place medium nonstick skillet over medium heat 30 seconds;
add margarine and heat 30 seconds more. Add onions and cook,
stirring occasionally, until translucent, 4-5 minutes.

Add lima beans, 1 cup water, the thyme, salt and pepper. Simmer,
covered, until beans are very tender, 15 minutes. Add tomatoes and
heat through. Stir in parsley and serve.

NOTES : Recipe from Weight Watchers Cut The Fat Cookbook

English Muffins and Baltimore

I was so glad my sourdough starter peaked when it did.

Hubby is a big fan of all Boston sports and we took a trip to Baltimore
for the Redsox / Orioles game. We had a blast. There are a few pictures of Baltimore at the end of
this post. I have been to Boston but it was my first visit to Baltimore.

I knew if my starter didn’t peak it would lay without a feed for several

I couldn’t wait to get back from our trip to try the English Muffins
Blue Zebra posted.
Recipe Link

I tried to do my own English Muffins many years ago when I ran my
Bed & Breakfast. I used Julia Child’s recipe. It was a flop and got thrown out.
I am sure it was my fault and not Julia’s recipe but I never ventured into
English Muffins after that again.

I can say that this recipe was great. I am older and wiser than
when I tried years ago so that could have much to do with it,
but I am so glad my starter can make such wonderful English Muffins.

I did have to finish off in the oven like Blue Zebra suggested.
The finished product would have been too dark if I had done it all on the

English Muffin Photos

English Muffins

Coffee & Cornbread McMuffins

Baltimore Photos

View of ESPN Sports Bar and Hardrock Cafe from the Bay

View of Baltimore from the Stadium

Boats docked in the Bay

The scoreboard


A shot of my sunflowers blooming before I go into a monolog
of sourdough.

My sourdough adventure has taken me through highs and lows.

I decided I needed more coaching than I received at the first
bread site I used.

Their motto seemed to be, take a cup of flour and a cup
of warm water…. Go forth and multiply.

Maybe I exaggerate a bit.

After the Lurch failure I figured there had to be more to it.

After finding Wild Yeast Blog raising a starter link ,I realized failure was due to-

1- using water that was too warm plus
2- using a kitchen that was too cool

I fixed the water by using my insta-read and the cool kitchen
by shutting off a bedroom from the air conditioning and started Lurch II.

I had to lug the stuff up and down the stairs. To the kitchen to feed,
to the bedroom to grow. I felt a bit silly but my efforts paid off
along with the wonderful coaching at Wild Yeast Blog.

I didn’t have rye flour but Wild Yeast said they also had success
with wheat flour so that is what I used. I placed tape at the top
of each feed so I could see the progress.

After day one all was well

After day two all was well

After day three, just like coached, the cultured seemed dead.

It picked back up after day four and then on day five I started
feeding white flour only and left out the wheat.

This was when things slowly seemed to die again. There were bubbles
and foam but no growth for about 7 days.

I decided to experiment with the leftover feed and added the wheat back
into a separate container but left the original untainted after about
5 days.

The experiment not only doubled but tripled in 12 hours while the original
only grew to half its size, but I knew something must be up.

On the eighth day I was about to give up. The stuff was growing about
half its size each 12 hours. Suddenly after the 8th day AM feed I
checked and cheered SUCCESS! It had doubled in 4 hours!

I did begin to feel guilty about throwing out all that flour through
the process, but eventually found I could refrigerate it and use in tortillas,
waffles and even flavor regular baked bread and biscuits.

Now off I go into the field of real sourdough baking!


Salsa To Order

I personally love my salsa more like a pico de gallo where the veggies are
fresh and chopped without touching a stove top.

My husband however prefers the cooked salsa from a jar. He likes a
“thick” salsa and says pico de gallo is too thin.

I should say he “preferred” the salsa from a jar until I began making
salsa to order.

As you can see this salsa will stick to a tortilla chip without
being cooked down for 2 or more hours.

I can cook this salsa in about 10 minutes. A longer cooked salsa does blend flavors,
but this “quick” salsa fits our lifestyle to a tee.

The reason I named this salsa “To Order” is because I use a
secret thickening agent and it gets thick in a heartbeat.

The secret agent is cornmeal.

Salsa To Order- recipe by Sue Edwards

1 large tomato (or 2 medium size),quartered
1 large hot pepper, seeded
1 medium onion, cut into quarters
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
pepper to taste
3 tablespoons cornmeal

Place all ingredients but the cornmeal in a food processor
and blend until chopped and chunky.

Place this in a saucepan and bring to a boil.

Boil about 5 minutes and then sprinkle with the cornmeal.
Continue to boil until thick, about another couple minutes.
Adjust salt, pepper and sugar to taste.

Pour into a serving bowl and cool to room temperature
to serve with chips.