50 Shades of Tomatoes {recipe}

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Curvaceous. Juicy. Bursting. Plump. Tempting. Exotic. Heavenly. Sinful. 50 Shades. No, this isn’t the sexy Hollywood movie. It’s 50 Shades of Tomatoes.

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My organic heirloom tomatoes are show stopping in spectacular shades, shapes and sizes with exotic names like: Black Tula, Principe Borghese, Large Barred Boar, Brandy Wine, Purple Russian, Big Pink and Green Zebra.

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 “Only two things that money can’t buy,  

that’s true love and homegrown tomatoes.” Guy Clark


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“It’s difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato.”  – Lewis Grizzard


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 “Gardening is cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes.”


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 “The tomato offers its gift of fiery color and cool completeness.”

  -Pablo Neruda


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“A world without tomatoes is like a string quartet without violins.”

-Laurie Colwin


Nothing screams “Summer!!” like just-picked tomatoes, sun-kissed and dripping with juicy ripeness.  To highlight your mouth-watering garden gems, keep it simple. Start by adding fragrant basil…

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“A man taking basil from a woman will love her always.”

– Sir Thomas Moore 


Add soft, fresh mozzarella cheese…

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Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and a thick, rich balsamic glaze.

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Now, how sexy is that?


Caprese Salad

(Shhhh. The secret is the glossy balsamic glaze.) For a more dramatic presentation, vary different shades, colors and shapes of tomatoes.

Serves 8 to 12

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Ingredients:

2 Cups balsamic vinegar

3 ripe heirloom tomatoes, preferably organic

12 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thickly sliced

Fresh basil leaves

High-quality olive oil, for drizzling

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Preparation:

Make the glaze: Pour balsamic vinegar into saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil over low heat.

Cook for about 15 minutes (stirring occasionally) or until the balsamic has reduced to a thick (but still pourable) glaze. Cool.

Assemble: Cut tomatoes into thick slices and arrange them on a platter. Sprinkle tomatoes with salt and pepper.

Alternate tomato slices with mozzarella slices. Tuck whole basil leaves in between the tomato and cheese slices.

Drizzle olive oil in a thin stream over the top. Drizzle balsamic glaze.

Sprinkle with a bit more salt and pepper, to taste.

***

Buon Appetito!

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“Homegrown tomatoes, homegrown tomatoes

What would life be without homegrown tomatoes?

Only two things that money can’t buy

That’s true love and homegrown tomatoes.”

– John Denver/Guy Clark

(click on link to sing along to “Homegrown Tomatoes”)

***

Photos by Seedy Lawyer.  All rights reserved.

Post shared with:  Fiesta Friday, Motivation Monday, Creative Mondays, Mix It Up Monday, Melt In Your Mouth Monday, Tasty Tuesday, Try A Bite Tuesday, Full Plate Thursday, Gluten Free Fridays, Foodie Fridays, Thursday Favorite Things, Link Party Palooza

Do you grow tomatoes? What’s your favorite heirloom tomato?

Mangoritas! {recipe}

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“If life gives you limes, make margaritas.”-Jimmy Buffett

Calypso music. Breathtaking sunset. Sailing away. A Caribbean cruise with my BFF’s. Decked out in my floppy hat and movie star sunglasses, the only thing missing was a drink in my hand.

The bartender (impersonating Isaac from The Love Boat) tempted us with exotic cocktails, “Mango Tangos, ladies?” Of course we indulged, happily sipping the frozen concoction to the beat of the steel drums.

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Yuk! What promised to be a tropical tequila treat was nothing more than an overpriced sad slushie! I was left with a bad taste in my mouth and a worthless souvenir glass. Since that day I have longed for the perfect mango libation.

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It’s mango season in Miami, when neighborhood mango stands pop up on every street corner! Look at these gorgeous gems I brought home. (Check out my cool Mango Facts)

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With my ripe beauties on the kitchen counter, I brainstormed how to best use my magnificent mangoes to beat the sweltering South Florida heat.

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Then I recalled that disappointing cruise cocktail…

It was now blender time!

Mangorita22_seedylawyerMinutes later, (steel drum roll, please) ….Mangoritas!!

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Perhaps The Love Boat should hire me to bartend? My mouthwatering Mangoritas are silky smooth, tangy, not too-tequila-y, a bit sweet, refreshing, very creamy, exotic frozen goodness. Guaranteed to make you feel sexier than Tom Jones and dance like Mick Jagger. Whip up a boozy batch for your friends.

After all, it’s 5:00 O’clock somewhere.

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“One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor.” – George Carlin

Mangoritas

Note: I am lucky enough to live where fresh mangoes are available. If mangoes are not in season or not available where you live, check out the frozen fruit section of your grocery store for frozen mango.

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

1 1/4 oz high quality tequila (You will thank me later!)

1 oz triple sec, Cointreau or Grand Marnier

1 1/2 oz fresh lime or lemon juice (plus extra to squeeze on top)

2 oz simple syrup or sour mix

1 1/2 cup frozen mango chunks

1 cup ice

lime garnish

sugar or salt for rim of glasses (optional)

Preparation:

Place ingredients into blender in the order listed. Blend until desired consistency. Pour into margarita glasses. Top with a squeeze of fresh lime or lemon juice. Garnish with lime slice and a paper umbrella. Cheers!

*** 

What’s your favorite cocktail?

Shared with Great Idea Thursday, Wordless Wednesday, Full Plate Thursdays, Gluten Free Fridays, Foodie Friday, Fiesta Friday, Plant Based Potluck, Flashback Friday, Foodie Friends Friday, Link Party Palooza, Thursday Favorite Things, Showcase Your Talent Thursdays, Simply Natural Saturdays, I’m Loving It Party, Creative Mondays, Motivation Monday, Busy Monday, Mix It Up Monday, Melt in Your Mouth Monday, Munching Mondays, Totally Talented Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesday, Try A Bite Tuesday, Simple Supper Tuesday

Photos courtesy of Seedy Lawyer and Love Boat.  All rights reserved.

Me, Myself and Thai {recipe}

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Smoke quickly filled the kitchen. Although deafened by the earsplitting noise blaring from the smoke detector, I could still hear my dogs howling frantically. I impersonated Michael Jordan jumping to fan the smoke away from the detector with my Grandma’s tattered oven mitt. I threw open the window to clear the room only to be blasted by the arctic air. It was now snowing IN my kitchen!

I knew I should have grilled these darn wings… but obviously grilling was out of the question…

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My BBQ grill. “Honey I don’t think the food is defrosted yet.”

I was all cooped up in my mountain home. Mother Nature blanketed the town in white. Our cooking club was almost canceled because some ladies were unable to maneuver their steep driveways and icy roads.

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Brrrrr… It’s cold!

I was the new girl in the cooking club: the rookie, the freshman. This was my big chance to meet more friends in my new town while improving my culinary skills. Two things I love: people and food. It’s a win-win! Our cookbook assignment was Everyday Thai Cooking by Katie Chin. The recipe I chose was Lemongrass Chicken Wings.

I planned on getting dressed while the wings were in the oven. How to dress for my first meeting? Not too city-slickery. Not too “Little House on the Prairie.” Wear just enough makeup but not so much to celebrate Halloween. Let’s see… I will take a shower while I pre-heat the oven. Then as the wings are starting to cook I will get dressed. Then flip the wings, flip my 1980’s hair and I’m off…

Okay, who forget to turn the oven knob to BROIL? Time was ticking and the oven was still cold! I panicked! I can’t poison my new friends with salmonella-packed, undercooked chicken! HmmmMicrowave? Boil? Chicken Soup?? No way!! Determined, I cranked the oven and perhaps placed the delicate wing tips a bit too close to the blazing broiler. Uh oh!!

Miraculously I was able to salvage my culinary delight and the wings were cooked perfectly! Once the soot cleared and I was finally able to breathe again, I inhaled the intoxicating fragrant aroma of lemongrass, garlic, and ginger. Yum!  I actually think the charring enhanced the Thai flavors. Ha! This was truly The Winged Victory.

With no time left to fix my hair (think Phyllis Diller), and smelling like a smoked BBQ brisket, I could still just make it to cooking club which thankfully was only few blocks away. Armed with wings and a prayer, I ran to my car.

Are you kidding??…

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I tossed my scrumptious creation into the front seat and grabbed the shovel and ice scraper. I worked faster than a Nascar pit crew! Now with black mascara running down my cheek and frizzy clown hair, I finally hopped into the car. My hands were numb and frozen as I steered down the mountain. Scared they were heading to my house, I ducked as the fire engine passed me.

I walked thru the doors of my cooking club and smiled. “Hi! I’m Lisa! I made you some Lemongrass Chicken Wings. Enjoy!”

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Lemongrass Chicken Wings

From Everyday Thai Cooking by Katie Chin

Sweet, tangy, salty and infused with exotic Thai spices. Double or triple the recipe for a crowd.

Serves 4-6 as an appetizer

Ingredients

1 ½ pounds chicken wings

2 tablespoons crushed roasted peanuts

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves

Marinade

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons shallots, finely chopped

2 teaspoons minced galangal or fresh ginger

2 tablespoons lemongrass, minced

1 tablespoon palm or brown sugar

3 tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla)

1 ½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

2 tablespoons oil

Preparation

Whisk together the marinade ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Place chicken wings in a large resealable food storage bag. Pour the marinade mixture over the chicken wings. Refrigerate for 2-12 hours. (I refrigerated overnight.)

Pre-heat a broiler. Arrange the wings, top down, on a broiler. Broil the wings for 10-11 minutes, turn over and broil for another 1-11 minutes until golden brown.

Garnish with chopped peanuts and fresh coriander leaves. Serve immediately.

***

 

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fresh lemongrass

Do you have leftover lemongrass?  Try my lemongrass ice cream for dessert!

Have you had any similar disasters in your kitchen? Please share your story.

Original photos by SeedyLawyer.  All rights reserved.

Shared with:  Fiesta Friday, Foodie Friday, Full Plate Thursday, Home and Garden Thursday, Great Idea Thursday, Natural Family Friday, Simply Natural Saturdays, Farm Hop, Flashback Friday, Motivation Monday, Busy Monday, Mix It Up Monday, Totally Talented Tuesdays, You’re Gonna Love It Tuesday, Wordless Wednesday, Tasty Tuesdays, Share Your Cup Thursday, Old Fashioned Friday, Real Food Fridays, Creative Mondays

 

got pecans? Make Turtles!

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“All you need is love.

But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”

Charles M. Schulz

Spanish Moss dripping from Oak trees. Quaint Southern streets. Welcome to Georgia! This sweet song keeps Georgia on my mind.

A roadside sign lures me in for local Georgia Pecans!

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So many pecans, so little time.

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Fresh, crunchy, decadent pecans.

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Loaded up with my stash, I spotted this sign. Got me thinking that I can make my own Pecan Candy!

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My love for Pecan Turtles dates back to when I was young. I rode my pink bike (with pink basket) throughout our neighborhood, selling chocolates as a fundraiser for my brothers JV football team. But, between the hot Miami sun and my girlish appetite, not many turtles survived. Sorry, dear brother.

Turtles get their name from their turtle-like shape.  Sweet, buttery caramel, and silky, smooth chocolate cover crunchy, toasted pecans. Irresistible. Yet so easy to make. You will never buy boxed chocolates again! (Even if a girl is selling them for her brother’s football team!)

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 “Try to be like the turtle – at ease in your own shell.”

Bill Copeland

CHOCOLATE PECAN CARAMEL TURTLES

Yields 60 turtles

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 pounds pecan halves (raw or lightly toasted)

1 cup unsalted butter

2 cups brown sugar

1 cup light corn syrup (Karo)

1 (14oz) can Sweetened Condensed Milk

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

One package (24oz) Chocolate Almond Bark (or chocolate chips)

Half package (12 oz) White Chocolate Almond Bark (or white chocolate chips) (optional)

PREPARATION:

Arrange clusters of 4 or 5 pecans on greased cookie sheets. (I used parchment paper.)

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Melt butter, sugar and salt in a heavy pot. Stir until combined. Stir in corn syrup and mix well.

Gradually add condensed milk, stirring constantly.

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Cook to firm candy stage, about 12 to 15 minutes (240 degrees using a candy thermometer).

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Remove from heat and add vanilla.

Carefully spoon caramel sauce over arranged pecans, enough to cover pecans. Let cool.

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Melt almond bark/chocolate over double boiler.

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Spoon chocolate on top of cooled caramel. Let cool.

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Repeat with melted white chocolate, if desired.

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Allow turtles to cool and set completely (at room temperature or in the refrigerator) before removing and packaging.

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Store refrigerated in airtight container. Bring to room temperature before serving.

***

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Caramel, pecans and chocolate are “so happy together!”  Just like the song says, by, of course … The Turtles! Enjoy!

Happy 2015!!

What is your favorite homemade candy?

Shared with: Mix It Up Monday, Motivation Monday Gluten Free Fridays, Natural Family Friday  Simple Saturdays, Motivation Monday, Clever Chick’s Bloghop, Mix It Up Monday, Home and Garden Thursdays, Recipe Round Up, Great Ideas Thursday, Full Plate Thursday, Fiesta Friday, Foodie Friday, Weekend Bites

Original photos courtesy of Seedy Lawyer.  All rights reserved.

Very Berry Summer Smoothie

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Hot town, summer in the city

Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty

– Summer in the City, The Lovin’ Spoonful

Cool off from the hot summer in the city with a Very Berry Summer Smoothie.

I started with juicy strawberries and blueberries and blended them with garden herbs, fruit juice, and a few other ingredients.

Chia seeds prolong hydration, are a great source of protein and Omega-3’s. Chia seeds also thicken the smoothie. Mint and cinnamon beat the heat with a cooling effect. Ground flaxseed boosts fiber and is loaded with Omega-3’s.   Ripe avocado adds nutrients and creaminess. Don’t worry, the flavorful fruit will cover up any taste of the spinach. (Your kids will never know that they are drinking their vegetables!)

After getting dirty and gritty from my garden, I cooled down with this refreshing Very Berry Summer Smoothie:BerriliciousSmoothie_Seedylawyer

Very Berry Summer Smoothie

Serves about 4

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup apple juice or water

1 cup unsweetened coconut or almond milk

1 tablespoon chia seeds (let seeds soak in liquid in the blender for 5-10 minutes before adding other ingredients)

2 cups fresh spinach or kale, chopped

6 leaves of fresh mint (or any fresh herb)

2 tablespoons ground flaxseed

1 cup sliced strawberries

1 cup blueberries

1 tablespoon coconut oil

½ of a mango

½ of an avocado

pinch of Cinnamon

1 frozen banana (cut up)

Ice

PREPARATION:

Start by adding the liquid to your blender. Add the chia seeds. Let chia seeds soak in liquid for 5-10 minutes. Blend.

Add greens and herbs. Blend.

Follow with the remaining ingredients. Blend on high for one minute or until the smoothie is well-blended and creamy. Adjust liquid to desired consistency.

Pour into your favorite glass and add a cute straw. Garnish with a strawberry or mint leaf. Voila! 

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Enjoy every lovin’ spoonful of your summer smoothie!  What ingredients do you add to your summer smoothies?

Sharing this recipe with my friends at Fiesta Friday #24!

 

Original photos by Seedy Lawyer.  All rights reserved.