CCC – It’s the end of July already?

I’m not certain where the month of July has gone,IMG_4352 but it surely has. This has been known as the “silly season” in my field. Too many projects, too short of timelines – and well, too much in general. The month did start off with a bang! Literally. I spent the 4th of July weekend in the San Diego area. A small-town parade and barbecue on Coronado Island, Beautiful fireworks lighting up the beautiful sky, and of course, great friends to spend time with…

This month for the Cottage Cooking Club, I was planning on making 4 recipes. And really, who couldn’t fit in a little stir-fry and some sliced cucumbers with mint? Who? Me, that’s who. But I did complete two recipes. Though I’m embarrassed to show one of them. Not because the vegetables are not beautiful, but because, well, so very easy! Might as well start there!

100_4042One of my chosen recipes was for Artichokes. Simple, steamed artichokes. They are one of my favorite vegetables, and often make their way to my table. I particularly like the medium sized ones – they are perfect for a quick meal, and small enough that you can actually eat the heart before you are completely full! To be honest, I followed my regular plan. I cut off the tops, and if I want to 100_4045be “fancy” or just make sure that no one gets stabbed with the little spikes at the end of the leaves, I will trim the leaves as well. It does make for a prettier presentation.

These then get steamed, cut side down for about 30 minutes. I have a couple of ways to check them. One is to pierce the bottom of the choke with a knife to see if it’s cooked through. Another that I’ve often seen (and sometimes do) is to pull off one of the leaves – so100_4046rt of near the middle – if it comes off easily, and the meat appears to be cooked, they are ready. I love the color of artichokes too! especially the combination of purple and green. So pretty!

I’m kind of a purist with artichokes. If I want to be fancy, I will sometimes pull out the center leaves, scrape out the choke itself (the little fibers in the middle), and place the leaves back to create a little cup. That can be filled with whatever you’re dipping the leave in. I used to use sour cream topped with caviar, but something like a shrimp salad would be wonderful too. But usually, I just opt for mayonnaise. I have some cute artichoke plates that I inherited. I can’t think of a better summer meal than a perfectly cooked artichoke – served hot or cold – just wonderful!

100_4050

The other recipe I completed was Peperonata. This is another version of sauteed peppers, this time, with an egg baked on top. It can be used as a topping for crostini, or in plenty of other ways – but as I was planning on this for dinner – well, what isn’t good with an egg on top? This recipe uses multi-colored peppers and they really are beautiful!

IMG_4355IMG_4356

Once the peperonata is made, for this presentation, it’s either placed into individual baking dishes, or it could remain in the pan. Eggs are broken on top, and baked for a few minutes. I topped mine with a bit of Parmesan cheese.

IMG_4360

This was quite tasty. I think I like it better as just a topping, or alongside other things as a side dish, but this is a good example of this type of recipe.

Alas, I did not get to the other two recipes as promised. That does not mean that I didn’t take advantage of the fresh produce that July had to offer.

Grilled shrimp-stuffed mushrooms and asparagus

Grilled shrimp-stuffed mushrooms and asparagus

A repeat of last month's grilled houlumi and fresh-picked cherry tomatoes, along with some fresh grilled corn substituting for the potatoes

A repeat of last month’s grilled houlumi and fresh-picked cherry tomatoes, along with some fresh grilled corn substituting for the potatoes

Smitten Kitchen's tomato scallion shortcakes

Smitten Kitchen’s tomato scallion shortcakes

Beautiful squash blossoms

Beautiful squash blossoms

All in all, July was a great food month, even if I didn’t stick with the script the way I should have. I’m sure that all of the other members of the Cottage Cooking Club came up with wonderful dishes as well. You can find them here.

Squash blossoms - filled with shrimp or herb cheese, served with a cilantro serrano cream

Squash blossoms – filled with shrimp or herb cheese, served with a cilantro serrano cream

3 thoughts on “CCC – It’s the end of July already?

  1. Thanks for the information on how you prepared the artichokes for steaming and eating, will remember this! Lovely dishes by you!

  2. You are not a slacker! Your artichokes and peperonata look great! And I like seeing the non-CCC recipes you prepared as well. I’d definitely enjoy dinner at your house! I love those artichoke plates! What a perfect occasion to use them. I usually microwave them and we eat them plain, not butter or anything. Unfortunately, artichokes seem to be made out of gold lately, based on their price tag. And they don’t look all that inspiring, so it’s not worth it. Maybe I need to move to the West Coast where they are “local”. Happy August!

  3. Candy, I think you did a splendid job of cooking during the month of July. Like Betsy, I will insist that you are not a slacker. (I love that word.) I like your peperonata and have plans to make that soon. (Who knows when my soon is going to be?) I also made the artichokes but I grilled them. I don’t often make artichokes although I LOVE them. Have you ever grilled them? I will be happy to get back to California this winter and get some good ones. There wasn’t much to pick from here. I also never made the grilled houlumi and have eaten it at someone else’s house only once. I remembering loving it. They do carry it at my Whole Foods so I intend to get to that recipe also. I jiust seem to busy tryng to keep up with the monthly schedule that I cannot get back to others to try. Not a bad problem to have. nice post. Busy month. On to August.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s