Merry Meet friends! I hope you are all having a wonderful Spring so far. Our Spring has been on of the rainiest ones I can remember in a long time. Cool weather and rain and gloom much more then sunshine this year. But the last 3 days have been sunny, summer-like and wonderful! I have soaked it up as best I can. Its the kind of weather you want to sit on the porch, work in your garden, take a walk, go get ice cream, read a book under a shady tree, watch the sun rise with a cup of coffee, and watch it set with a glass of wine. I love this weather. Tonight though, the storms came back and the next few days it’s going to rain again.
I don’t really mind the rain as I’m going to be very busy. My grandson, Charlie Matthew, is going to be born sometime tomorrow! My daughter will be induced early in the morning..doc says it’s time and so does Kate. I can not wait to hold the little guy in my arms, see what he looks like, pray that he is healthy, and welcome him into our family. We feel so blessed and we all can’t wait for Lily to meet her new little brother. I pray to the Goddess for an easy delivery and a healthy, bouncing baby boy. We are all so excited!
I was thinking about Summer and decided to go ahead and post my recipes for Litha tonight for you. Remember in my Countdown to Litha post..I talked about the correspondences for food for the Solstice. Fresh fruits…especially citrus and in-season fruits, all vegetables, summer squash, honey, fresh herbs like thyme and lavender, pumpernickel bread, ale and mead were all on the list of yummy foods that represent Litha. I found and have some wonderful recipes ..hope you like them!
*1 pint small strawberries, hulled and halved
*A few sprigs fresh mint
*1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar
*6 cups water
*12 lemons, juiced
Add the berries and mint to a glass pitcher and smoosh (LOL yes that is a term ) with a wooden spoon.
In a saucepan add the sugar, to taste, and 2/3 cup of water. Cook over medium
heat until the sugar dissolves. Pour over the strawberries.
Stir in the lemon juice and fill the pitcher with the remaining water. Chill or pour over ice and serve.
*1 jar mushroom slices
*½ cup Hellmans mayo
*1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
*Small can French fried onions
*Cocktail sized pumpernickel bread
*Dash of salt
Mix ingredients well except for bread. Spread mix on bread slices.
Bake at 350* until Mixture is brown and bubbly….
*1 tablespoon orange marmalade
*1/4 extra-virgin olive oil
*Salt and freshly ground black pepper
*2 to 3 cups fresh spinach
*2 to 3 cups arugula
*1 orange, peeled and thinly sliced into discs
*1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced
*1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted
In the bottom of a shallow salad bowl, combine the marmalade with the juice of 1 lemon then whisk in extra-virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss greens with
oranges and onions and season with salt and pepper. Top with hazelnuts.
Autumn’s Greek Pasta Salad
*1 lb bag tri-colored pasta or pasta of choice, cooked, drained and cold
*1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into small cubes
*1 -2 tomatoes..cut into small cube
*1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
*1/2 – 1 cup crumbled or cubed feta cheese
*1/2 cup sliced black olives
*salt and pepper to taste
*a bottle of italian or greek dressing or homemade if you have it.
Mix all ingredients well. You may have to add more dressing after it has chilled as pasta will absorb it.
*this is a light and delicous salad..a favorite at our house!
Fresh Fruit Salad with Honey Yogurt Dressing
*2 cups plain yogurt
*2 tablespoons good honey
*1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
*Seeds scraped from 1/2 vanilla bean, optional
*1/2 orange, juiced
*1 banana, sliced
*1/2 pint fresh blueberries
*1/2 pint fresh raspberries
*1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and cut in half
*1 bunch seedless green grapes, halved
Combine the yogurt, honey, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean seeds in a bowl and set aside
Combine the orange juice and banana slices in a separate large bowl. Add the berries and grapes and gently mix the fruit mixture together.
Spoon the fruit into serving bowls and top with the yogurt.
Glazed Carrots and Sugar Snap Peas
*2 pounds carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
*1 pound sugar snap peas, ends trimmed and cut into three strips lengthwise
*2 tablespoons butter
*3 tablespoons honey
*2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
*1 tablespoon lemon juice
*salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook carrots 1 minute, add peas and cook another minute. Drain under cold running water to stop cooking. In a large skillet heat butter with honey over medium high heat until honey is melted and runny. Stir in1 tablespoon lemon zest and lemon juice. Add carrots and peas and cook until they appear glazed about 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve sprinkled with remaining lemon
Balsamic Glazed Butternut Squash
*1 (20-ounce) package peeled cubed butternut squash
*2 tablespoons honey
*1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
*1 tablespoon lemon pepper seasoning
*3 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a large bowl combine all ingredients and mix to coat the squash.
Place squash on a nonstick baking sheet or a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake until
the squash is tender and brown about 30 to 35 minutes making sure to turn the squash after 15 minutes.
Grilled Balsamic Chicken Breasts
*1 pound chicken breasts
*1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
*1/4 cup olive oil
*2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
*1 teaspoon dried thyme
*5 cloves roasted garlic
*1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Wash the chicken and pat dry; cut diagonal slits across the chicken breast (about 1/4-inch thick), this allows the marinade to penetrate the meat; place into a resealable plastic bag.
Combine all marinade ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until smooth. Pour the marinade into the plastic bag with the chicken and seal, removing as much air as possible. Let sit in the fridge 1 hour.
Preheat the grill to the medium setting; spray the grill grates with cooking spray (while standing back!). Put the chicken on the grill; cook for roughly 15 to 20 minutes, flipping once; chicken is done when juices run clear.
Honey-Lavender Biscotti Recipe
*2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
*1 teaspoon baking powder
*1/2 teaspoon baking soda
*1/4 teaspoon salt
*2/3 cup granulated sugar
*3 large eggs
*3 tablespoons honey
*1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
*2 tablespoons orange zest
*1 tablespoon dried lavender blossoms
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Adjust oven rack to the middle position. Lightly grease
three baking sheets or line with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk sugar and eggs to a light lemon color; stir in honey, vanilla extract, orange zest, and lavender blossoms. Sprinkle dry ingredients over the egg mixture; fold in until the dough is just combined.
To shape the dough into a log, lightly sprinkle flour on the work surface, on top of the dough, and on your hands. Use just enough flour to form the logs and to prevent sticking; you don’t want the logs to be covered with flour. Divide dough into six equal pieces. With your hands, pat and shape each piece into a loaf approximately 3 inches wide, 7 inches long, and 3/4-inch high. Place two rolls onto each prepared baking sheet with 3 to 4 inches of space between them.
Bake 25 minutes or until dough pops back up when lightly pressed with a finger.
(After dough has baked 10 minutes, reverse cookie sheets from front to back and
move from the top rack to the bottom one. Repeat this again after another 10
minutes). You can’t judge the cooking by the color. The biscotti shouldn’t
change color during the second baking, so poke them to tell if they’re done.
They should feel dry and offer some resistance. Remove from oven and cool 10
minutes on a wire rack.
Reduce oven to 275 degrees F. Using a long serrated knife, cut logs diagonally into
1/2-inch thick slices. Turn the slices over, onto their sides; return slices, on baking sheets, to oven. Bake another 15 minutes. NOTE: Do not crowd the biscotti slices on the baking sheet for their second baking as they need the hot air to circulate to enable them to crisp up evenly. Remember biscotti will continue to crisp up, as they cool, so do not be tempted to over bake. Remove from oven and cool completely on wire racks. Store biscotti in an airtight container. They will keep well for a few weeks.
Yields about 54 biscotti.
*These are not quite as complicated as they sound..and worth the effort You’ll love them!
All these recipes are so summery, fresh, some are very healthy and full of good stuff from the garden and all the foods suggested for Litha. Now obviously you may not fix all of these THAT day but you will want to make all of them at different times over the Summer. The pasta salad is great with burgers and corn on the cob. The Summer squash great with the chicken. Have your girlfriends over for strawberry lemonade, mini tea sandwiches, fruit salad and honey-lavender biscotti. Add grilled chicken to the orange -spinach salad and you have a meal right there Yummy!! Make your Summer Solstice extra special this year by serving up fresh, light food for your family! Bon Appetit!
“What is one to say about June, the time of perfect young summer, the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months, and with as yet no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade.” — Gertrude Jekyll
Blessings and Light, Autumn
*Sources..my kitchen and the internet. All pics from the internet.