CCC – The wonderful month of June!

This month of June with the Cottage Cooking Club has been a great one! So many delicious recipes, and not nearly enough time. But! We were offered many great selections from Hugh Fearnely-Wittingstalls’s River Cottage Veg. I feel like I’ve fallen down on the job recently – but I’m really the one that misses out! IMG_4190

My recipe choices for June included a Beet Green and Ricotta Tart. I was fortunate enough to be able to find beet greens when so many of my fellow participants could not. They were, also, attached to beets! So that meant that I would also be making an earlier favorite – beet soup!

We were definitely looking forward to the tart. It has the same sturdy crusts as Hugh uses, which makes it both delicious, and a great casing for fillings, since once served, the slice can be picked up – no wimpy falling-apart crust here. I did decide to save time and try pressing it into the shell. Well, not the best idea I ever had. It looked great, even par-baked, but it leaked… Surprisingly, it still held together once cooked though – so good lesson learned! The filling is the sauteed greens along with onions, garlic and fresh herbs. Then with ricotta salata (delicious!) and an egg and cream custard. This was fantastic, and held up well as a leftover. I would maybe use more greens next time, but it turned out great – so maybe it was perfect as is!

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IMG_4196I did make the beet soup again, this time roasting the beets attached to the greens. The ratio of greens to beets was high – lots of greens left over from the tart. But we decided that we liked the soup made with baby beets as I had before better than this time. I loved the roasted garlic, but the beets just weren’t as sweet – in fact a bit bitter. So. Note to self!

Another recipe I made this month was Macaroni Peas. A very simple macaroni pasta 100_4016recipe with a “sauce” made from green peas. There’s a little butter and Parmesan in there as well. Of course you can IMG_4206imagine the recipe. Cook Pasta, saute peas in butter, smash or blend some of them, add a bit of the pasta water and drained pasta – throw in cheese. Season with pepper (and herbs if you have them). This made for a quick dinner one evening after work. And it was ok. My peas ended up being a bit sweet for the dish, I thought. The Parmesan just didn’t add enough of a counterpoint. But I will likely make it again, since these ingredients are almost always on hand.

100_4023The New Potato Salad “Tartare” was one I made for a quick lunch one day. I am pretty sure that this was really popular with the other members of the Cottage Cooking Club. Not so much for me – which was a surprise because I love the New Potato, Tomato and Boiled Egg Salad. It was probably me. Too much of a hurry, oh who knows? But this one didn’t work for me. Maybe I had the wrong expectations.

Tomatoes with Herbs – another easy100_4027 assembly of wonderful ingredients. Cherry tomatoes, fresh chives, a bit of olive oil and some balsamic vinegar. Oh, and maybe a grind or two of fresh ground black pepper. This is always just shockingly good. The chives and balsamic really add to the dish. It really does scream summer!!

The final recipe I completed this month was Halloumi, New Potato and Tomato Kebabs.
Early in the month, I had despaired of nice grilling weather getting here (What was I thinking??), so didn’t know if I would be able to make these. But I love Halloumi cheese, so was looking forward to it. This recipe was a case of some things going spectacularly well, and a couple that I will change when I make this again (yes, it will happen!).

The marinade makes this recipe. I used meyer lemon olive 100_4030oil, lemon thyme and orange mint from my garden. That’s mixed along with a bit of honey, and I did add a splash of lemon juice. A few dried red chile flakes are added. The herbs of course get chopped up, and this is used to marinate the cheese, the tomatoes and boiled new potatoes prior to 100_4032grilling. That was the super-fantastic, never-to-be-forgotten part. The not-so-much part was the cooking of the potatoes. What was I thinking? When the recipe said slightly under done – I took it a bit too seriously. They needed to be cooked longer. And I forgot that the Halloumi that I get from Trader Joe’s is already “conveniently sliced”. That doesn’t work very well for skewering. Skewered it was, and marinated along with the potatoes and tomatoes. Knowing that the cheese would indeed melt a bit, I wanted to put something under the kebabs. Instead of using foil on the grill top, I used another handing screen that helps with veggies and other things falling through. Hmmm. Again, I should know better (but in truth, I was a little seduced by the photo in the book). So, it all started well, The cheese in places getting a bit brown, the tomatoes getting cooked and even the potatoes toasting in spots. But perfection was not to be. At least not in the grilling department.

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Perfection of another kind was, however. I was told to put a huge star on the page! While the potatoes could have been cooked a bit more, and the cheese could have held together better (and in truth, like all kebabs, putting each ingredient on skewers themselves would likely work better), this was delicious!! The marinade was amazing. The tomatoes were perfect – just a fabulous flavor combination. I’m actually happy that there are corrections to be made – since that requires I make it again – and soon!

There were other recipes to be made this month – a total of 10 to be exact! You can find out what all the others thought of these recipes by visiting the Cottage Cooking Club.

12 thoughts on “CCC – The wonderful month of June!

  1. Great post, Candy. I was one of the CCC gang who was not able to find Beet Greens (remember, it was still raining and snowing in the Colorado High Country for most of June) but when I do, and I do mean when, I will make this tart. You made it seem not-to-be-missed. I happen to love beets and this looks like a dish that needs to be tried. So many of you made Macaroni Peas. Since those little round green babies are not a favorite of mine, I passed on that recipe but still intend to give it a Go. Katie used a Spiralizer when making this, BTW. It seems a spiralized dish can make anything tasty and fun, even peas. I liked both the new potato and tomato salads. Also thought they made a great lunch for me. I threw goat cheese on the tomato salad, as Hugh suggested, and, for me, it made it more filling. Do not laugh but I had a taste of my first Halloumi cheese two years ago and really went crazy over it. I cannot own a grill at The Gant so miss out on those recipes. David Lebovitz has a recipe for Halloumi that I may try and I may even try to do this one on my inside grill pan. I sorta liked the way you served it…..messy vitality, in a way. It looks delicious. Wonderful post.

  2. What a great selection of dishes you made. I made a few of the same and quite enjoyed them. Like you, I thought the macaroni peas a little too sweet and had to tweak that one a bit and I really wish I’d made the tart with beet greens and used the beets for soup – at least that can be frozen even if I have to eat it all myself. The kebab marinade was quite special and you made it even more so with your flavoured oil and lovely garden herbs. Another great month.

  3. Hi Candy! Love Your Post! In particular, you have me intrigued on the kebabs which look quite delicious and I am quite fond on reading your experience which is most helpful in future preparations. A couple among our CCC have common thoughts on the sweetness of the Macaroni peas and I admittedly thought the dish was perfection and so will again prepare it in its given preparation as is. I too was fond of the tart, prepared with rainbow chard from my garden. I am planning on making the potato tartare this evening as overall it met with such positive response, fortunately we have more than vanilla ice cream in the world for each one has their own taste and so I appreciate your honest view and opinion on the dish. Great month. All the best in the month ahead, see you around!

  4. Those halloumi kebabs with the meyer lemon vinegar sound fabulous! I’ll have to try that beet soup, too! As for the peas, if we hadn’t been serving them next to a really rich and spicy bison meatloaf, I’d not have been able to eat them for being too sweet. Even so, it felt like a really rich side dish. lovely to “see” you outside of our FFWD posts. 🙂

  5. Dear Candy, what a bountiful month…and you made the most of the vegetables available! Fabulous! I am still jealous of your beet tops but I will find some, one day – your tart looks wonderful and I remember that the roasted beet soup was one of your favorites recipes – so, what a great idea to be making that one again with the beets. The Mac & Peas were such a hit and we did nor find them too sweet at all – it all depends on the definition of sweet, I guess and I did use wholemeal pasta, may be that made a difference. The Potato Salad is delightful and our favorite from the book – too bad it could not impress you much. The tomatoes and herbs are a delicious “must” at this time of year and we also fell in love with the Halloumi Kebabs – your personal touch with the marinade sounds wonderful – this is all summer produce at its best, prepared in such a loving way!
    Thank you so much for participating again this month – I am looking forward not only to many more of your posts but also to many more of your pictures from the farm stands, I love those!!!
    “See you soon!” – or as we say around here “Bis bald!”,
    Andrea

  6. Hi Candy, great selections, after reading your post I wish I would have made the kebabs and the tart. I thought about them both but decided on just 3 recipes for this month. I am one that really enjoyed the macaroni and peas but I used frozen peas and maybe that made a difference. Oh well, looking forward to next month…….

  7. My halloumi wasn’t pre-cut and I still had a lot of trouble skewering it. You’re right, though. The marinade really makes the recipe, and it’s definitely one worth repeating. I’m also trying to think of other uses for that delicious marinade.

  8. Beautiful looking beet greens! It’s not often I seem them that fresh looking. I can’t wait for my tomato bounty – love fresh tomatoes and herbs. I so wish I was able to make the kababs – they look good, and sound wonderfully delicious.

  9. You went all out this month, Candy! Good for you! I really enjoyed the tart. I have tons of greens (it’s that sort of season) so I’ll be making it again. I wonder what was up with you and the potato salad. I actually loved it. I didn’t make the others you chose, but it’s great to hear your report because I’ll try them. I appreciate your tip on the TJ haloumi because that’s where I would have bought it. Can’t wait to see what’s up for July!

  10. The tart and the potato salad were on my list, but life got away from me and I haven’t made them yet. Everything you made looks so good – I’m sorry the potato salad didn’t work out for you, though.

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