Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Basil Pesto ala Italia, #recipe from @DarylWoodGerber



From Daryl aka Avery:

CONGRATS to all the winners of our 5th anniversary photo contest!  What a great job everyone did submitting photos of their adorable pets, fun libraries, quirky adventures, and delightful bookstores! Next time...kitchens and reading rooms, right! So many categories, so little time.

Speaking of adventure...

A few weeks back, my husband and I were lucky enough to take a dream vacation and cruise from Venice, Italy around the boot to Rome. On the trip, we stopped in Taurmina, Sicily and dined on some of the best pasta with pesto sauce I'd ever tasted. We had found a darling, hole-in-the-wall restaurant, recommended by the cruise director. It was off the beaten path. The wine list was extensive and delicious. And the owner fully understood my gluten-free issue. Wow! Did I mention the gluten-free pasta was divine?

Anyway, I had such a craving for a great pasta dish when I came home, I had to attempt to make the pesto. It was sooooo good.

And, well, (polishing my fingernails on my shirt front), I did!!

This is the simplest, easiest...did I mention simplest?...recipe imaginable.

Cook up some pasta, prepare a side salad, and get ready to feast.


BASIL PESTO SAUCE (for pasta)


Ingredients:

2 cups fresh basil leaves, trimmed
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 – 2 teaspoons salt
1 – 2 teaspoons ground black pepper


Directions:

In a food processor, combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts. Pulse until the mixture is coarsely chopped. 







Add the oil and pulse again, until fully incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Season with salt and pepper.




Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.



We had some meatballs left over from the night before and I added them to this, if you want a little protein in the meal. Enjoy!




* * *

For STIRRING THE PLOT, which comes out September 30th, I'm going to be doing a number of giveaways, starting in August. Books, mugs, stuffed kittens!  Make sure you're signed up for my newsletter and "like" me on Facebook, where information about the giveaways will appear.  Look for pictures of Tigger, the ginger cat in the series, celebrating ala Halloween!



******************

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Easiest Summer Salad Ever and Results of Favorite Cookout Foods Poll from Cleo Coyle




Cleo Coyle has a partner in
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here and here.

Have you ever wondered where the phrase "cool as a cucumber" came from? 

The inside of a cucumber is 20 degrees cooler than the outside. Too bad we can't claim the same advantage on these sweltering summer days! Marc and I do the next best thing, we eat them like crazy. 

Crunchy, cold cukes are supremely satisfying in summer. Their B vitamins make them a great pick-me-up food. They're also hydrating. And staying properly hydrated is a real health concern these days, not only in summer but year-round. 




Apparently, the Roman Emperor Tiberius insisted on cucumbers daily during summer and winter. The Romans used greenhouses to provide it for him every day of the yearBelow you'll find one of our favorite ways to put it on the table...


Cleo Coyle's
Cool as a Cucumber 
Summer Salad

If you like buttermilk Ranch dressing but never have buttermilk on hand and don't want to use bottled dressing, try this super-fast creamy, cool, and crunchy salad. It pairs beautifully with grilled meats and fish, making it a fantastic salad for summer cookouts. And speaking of cookouts, scroll down for the results of my Cookout Foods Poll that many of you took last week. May you eat with the joy of summer! 

~ Cleo


Yield: About 4 servings


Ingredients

2 medium to large chilled cucumbers
1 small red onion (or 1/2 a medium to large red onion)
3 (or so) tablespoons cold sour cream (*see my note)
Fresh dill 
Salt and pepper (to your taste)


* CLEO NOTE: You can substitute crema Mexicana or creme fraiche for this recipe, but do not use yogurt, which is too tangy. The sour cream provides a sweeter, creamier flavor that (combined with the dill) mimics a lovely buttermilk Ranch dressing, but without the fuss of lots of ingredients, including buying buttermilk, which some folks have told me they have trouble finding these days. I hope you enjoy it!

Directions: You can either peel the skin from the cucumbers or keep the skins on for extra fiber. (See a great use for cucumber skin in my tips below.) Cut the cucumbers into thin slices. Cut the red onion into thin slices. Toss both well with sour cream and the fresh dill. Salt and pepper to taste. White pepper (used sparingly) makes a pretty presentation. Garnish with a bit more fresh dill.




CLEO'S COOL 
CUCUMBER TIPS!



* SUNBURN SOOTHER

Use the skin of a cucumber to sooth your sunburn or skin irritations, the same way you would use aloe for sunburn. 





Cleo and her (home office) 
Cucumber Spa





* EASY, SOOTHING SPA TREATMENT - Place a slice over each eye. The cool feel of it is incredibly soothing, the scent is lovely, and the anti-inflammatory properties help reduce puffiness.

* HANGOVER CURE - Because cucumbers have B vitamins and electrolytes, they can restore the nutrients you need during sleep. So if you've had a few too many cocktails, eat cucumbers before going to bed. By morning, the intensity of any hangover headache will be reduced.



Mr. Fellows appreciates 
the Hangover Cure.





* HEALTH BENEFITS: The fiber in cucumbers helps us eliminate toxins from our bodies. They relieve bad breath, help fight some forms of cancer, promote joint health, and reduce cholesterol. The potassium and magnesium also help regulate blood pressure, and cucumber juice has been found to be beneficial for diabetic patients (it contains a hormone needed by cells of the pancreas for producing insulin). Read more here.



And now...




CLEO's
SUMMER COOKOUTS 
POLL RESULTS!


As our blog follower "Jen" put it in the comments last week, "Nothing beats summer BBQs!!!"  Many of you had the same happy reactions to my poll.

You can see the original blog post and poll by clicking here. Now here are the final results of your voting...


What 4 items are a MUST 
for your summer cookouts?



Out of over 500 votes cast, 
you chose the following Top 4 foods...


#1 Burgers (beef, lamb, turkey, or veggie)

#2 Sweet Corn on the Cob

#3 Potato Salad

#4 Watermelon


And here is how you ranked 
the other foods in the poll...


(#5) Hot Dogs  (#6) Steak  (#7) BBQ Baked Beans 

(#8) Chicken (#9) Ribs (#10) Beer 

and finally (#11) S'mores 



* * *

Your "other" suggestions
for cookout foods included...

BRATS - Anne Lovell, Elaine Klingbiel, Deborah, and B.E. Sanderson all mentioned bratwursts. 

And Deborah added:  “…here in Ohio, we are big on grilling bratwurst. Hey, at least I didn't go with goetta - no one outside this area even knows what that is. :)”

TURKEY BRISKET IN THE SMOKER - Stephanie Jones said: “I like turkey or brisket in the smoker for the day, and those amazing aromas that trigger hunger. Also, a fruit skewer of whatever is in season…”

BRISKET AND PORK LOINS - Kitty said: "We love to put them on the back of the pit and let them smoke.”

Donna E had a great suggestion: “…one of our favorite grilled meals at home is chicken marinated in Italian dressing & then grilled.”

Grandma Cootie has a favorite, too: “…can't leave out my son's wonderful special baked potatoes. Slices and seasons them, cooks up a little crisp bacon to add while serving - yum. Everything is better on the grill.”

Helena Georgette likes to cook more than one meal on her grill. “My Santa Maria Tri Tip & Santa Maria Beans are very good for summer grilling.”

Joyce Tremel said: “…If I'd have had a fifth choice it might have been ham barbecues with Isaly's Chipped Ham.”





Cynthia E. Blain – “…we do love lobster steamed in a pot ON the grill along with plenty of steamer clams from Maine or Cape Cod and many times we do a Clam Boil with the potatoes, onions, Portuguese sausage or Kielbasa, along with the clams. Nothing like a real New England Clam Boil. We also make homemade clam chowder and clam fritters to go along with almost every cookout/BBQ….” (Wow! Count me in, Cynthia! - Cleo)


  

* * * 


And many of you 

shared lovely memories...




Dotty Kelley – “When I was a kid we used to summer on Cape Cod. There was a great farm stand on the way that sold the sweetest sweet corn ever. We always stopped there and bought dozens of ears for our first cookout. Great memories of family fun and summer grilling.”

PlumGaga – “…I'm a corn snob, so in an ideal world, the water would be put on to boil before the corn was picked from the garden. These days I reluctantly settle for the freshest from the farm stand.”

Ronna Lord - “…the potato salad is a definite must. It's my mom's recipe from years ago and everyone loves it and the memory of mom/Grammy/great Grammy!”

AnnMarie Green – “4th of July was like a big family reunion when I was growing up. It was the best picnic ever…and for dessert a cup of coffee with a plate full of cakes and cookies!”

Debra Carmichael – “We love grilling out…My husband is retired Army and even stationed in Alaska we cooked out in the winter.”


Carol Summers-Kolber – 

“My favorite cookout was the summer before my husband passed away. All the family was there and some of my adult kid's in-laws too. We cracked open a bottle of wine that my granddaughter had corked in her summer apprenticeship to a vineyard and toasted each other. My son-in-law did the grilling and we all contributed the side dishes. We ate outside under the huge maple tree in the backyard while various family pets chased each other and the younger kids around the yard. We all knew my husband did not have much time left because of his illness and it remains one of the best days of summer past.”



Thank you, Carol, and all of you for
sharing such beautiful memories!

XOXO  ~ Cleo


* * * 

Finally, the most 
important ingredient of all...

ANN*H – “The only thing I would add to this list is family and fun : )”

Connie Stein – “plus…swimming pool and family and friends…”

Diane Snow – “The most important ingredient is ‘Family and Friends’ (including the 4 leg variety)!”





Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
Friend me on facebook here.
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Visit my online coffeehouse here.





To view the
Coffeehouse Mystery
book trailer, click here.
 








Countdown to
Release!
 


Next Tuesday
August 5

The hardcover
bestseller comes to
paperback...


*Starred Review ~ Kirkus
"Top Pick" ~ RT Book Reviews
"A highly satisfying mystery" - PW


Billionaire Blend
A Coffeehouse Mystery

This culinary murder mystery features
more than 30 delicious recipes, including
secret "off the menu" coffee drinks.
Read (and eat) with joy!



***

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
amateur sleuth murder mysteries set in a landmark
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the
14 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 

Download a Free Title Checklist
(with mini plot summaries)
by 
click here.



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