Thursday, June 25: We’ve been looking forward to and planning for our first camping trip for weeks. Our plans were to head to Turquoise Lake early Friday morning. Picturesque Turquoise Lake is about 2 1/2 hours west of Denver, near Leadville. An every summer destination. We love the trails for hiking, and the area is unique to add a couple of birds to our year list. Most years we find a Fox Sparrow in a marshy area on the North side of the lake and regular campground flyovers of Red Crossbills are always a treat. Continue reading
This week found us lunching and brunching at NoNo’s Cafe on County Line Road, just east of Santa Fe. I don’t know why we don’t go to NoNo’smore often, it’s just minutes away from home, reasonably priced and offers a good menu. I feel very comfortable saying that anyone can find something to their liking on the menu. Food with a New Orleans theme, an atmosphere slightly country-fied, and welcoming hospitality are what you’ll find here.
We all met up over at Tom and Kathy’s house for a typical Highlands Ranch All-American backyard BBQ. As predicted there were a couple of non-typical culinary highlights that merit mention.
If you’re looking for backyard BBQ menu ideas, hopefully this post will help you out.
Honorable mention goes to the Caprese Skewers. Ever since Tom and Kathy returned from a vacation in Italy a couple of years ago, Kathy has been the Caprese Queen. She served her latest creation; a head of cabbage cut in half and placed flat side down on a silver platter to cleverly display the wood skewers of cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella balls and basil leaves. The balsamic vinegar was in a bowl on the side for dipping.
First prize also goes to Kathy for her consistently delicious Jalapeno Bacon Shrimp appetizer. We all agree we could eat these things every day, every meal. I’ve made them and they’re easy, just a little time consuming to assemble, but well worth the effort.
Kathy’s Jalapeno Shrimp
24 medium shrimp — shelled, deveined
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
24 wood toothpicks
12 slices bacon
24 pickled jalapeno slices
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbs chili sauce
1 Tbs sweet pickle relish
1 Tbs minced red pepper
1. Place shrimp and balsamic vinegar in a large resealable plastic bag. Refrigerate for about 15 min. Soak toothpicks in water while shrimp is marinating. Cut bacon in half, crosswise. Remove shrimp from marinade, reserving marinade. Put 1 piece of bacon on work surface, place on shrimp at the end, place one slice of jalapeno in the crook of the shrimp, roll and secure with toothpick.
2. Stir together mayo, chili sauce, pickle relish, red pepper and 1 T. water. Refrigerate until ready to use.
3. Broil shrimp brushing with marinade 2-3 minutes. Turn, marinade again and cook another 2-3 min.
Below you’ll find a perfectly dipped Jalapeno Bacon Shrimp – AWESOME
This flavorful Summer soup recipe is as easy as it is healthy. Try to find true baby carrots for this, as opposed to the packaged peeled mini-carrots. Fresh Lemon Thyme from the garden is a real treat ingredient. Enjoy:
- 4 baby beets, scrubed and halved
- 4 baby carrots, scrubbed, left whole
- ½ sweet onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1 small summer squash, peeled and cubed
- 1 cup shredded red chard
- 6 ounces boneless/skinless chicken breast sliced
- 2 T. olive oil
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 4 sprigs fresh lemon thyme, leaves stripped, stems discarded
- Parmesan Cheese curls for garnish
- In a Dutch oven heat olive oil on medium high heat, add chicken slices and saute until browned. Add broth, carrots, beets, onion and garlic. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add squash, thyme leaves and chard, cover and simmer all for another 3 minutes.
- Ladle into a pretty bowl and top with Parmesan curls and a few sprinkles of fresh ground pepper. Serve with a fresh salad and some bread and you’ve got a delicious meal in a matter of minutes. Serves 2.
If you looking for Summer soup recipes, give this a try.
Fresh Summer Soup…It’s What’s For Dinner
My Whole Foods-less friend Vickie, in Montana, is going to be so upset when she finds out that I now have TWO Whole Foods stores within 15 minutes of my house. It just doesn’t get any better than that.
This week, our new Whole Foods Store at the Streets of Southglenn opened. I felt like Steve Martin in the movie The Jerk, when he was jumping up and down celebrating: “The new phone books are here, the new phone books are here” For me it was “The new Whole Foods is open, The new Whole Foods is open”.
Monday I headed over to the new Whole Foods Southglenn at about 9:30 in anticipation of just browsing for an hour. I unwittingly found myself in the middle of a community celebration, complete with local television and radio stations, speeches from the Mayor of Centennial and Whole Foods Corporate Executives, a presentation of a $5,000 donation from Whole Foods to Breast Cancer, and a crowd of about 500 people gathered in front of the store waiting to shop.
Did I mention that by the time I left I had been served so much free food that like I felt like I had just finished Thanksgiving Dinner? :-) Of course the store is wonderful. Here’s a few pictures:
Literally a truck load of watermelon on display in a vintage GMC flatbed.
Grilled Watermelon carmelized from the heat, crisp mache and curry flavored shrimp makes for a delicious Summer salad. Grilled Watermelon Shrimp Salad with Curry and Mache.
Our Highlands Ranch Farmer’s Market opened on May 4. Seems a little silly since our fresh vegetables from the farms in Brighton, delicious peaches from the Colorado Western Slope and our Rocky Ford melons don’t arrive until July.
Got a mango sitting around on your kitchen counter? Not sure what to do? Try this: pit, peel, sliver, place in a bowl and gently toss with olive oil. Plate and top with slivered jalapeno pepper, slivered sweet onions. Dress with a generous amount of ground black pepper, squeeze lime juice over all and sprinkle with salt.
This is a mango salad which is great side dish served with offerings from the grill: asparagus and Norwegian salmon. Think about that presentation: bright crisp green of the asparagus, the off pink “salmon” color of the salmon, and the yellow-orange of the mango. Not to mention the combination of flavors. ohmygosh good, and an easy and healthy dinner.
My long-time friend, Vickie, who now lives in Montana, sent me a photo of her Caprese Salad served on her patio. Great photo looks delicious, elegant and inviting. Below you’ll find Vickie’s description of the presentation:
“For my caprese, I sometimes add English cucumber to add a bit more veggie as well as adding another flavor – call it Montana Caprese if you’d like.
Well, I must say I out did myself with this one. I decided to jump on the Pine Nut Vinaigrette bandwagon since I’ve been seeing it everywhere lately. I’m glad I did – delicious. I have two recipes and decided to use the one that Michele posted. Very good! You’ll find the recipe at the end of this post.
This scallop salad recipe was easy to prepare, healthy, fresh, pretty and absolutely delicious. What more could you ask for.