Monthly Archives: June 2011

RIQ: Nostalgic Fourth

The 4th of July is a nostalgic summer holiday. At least it is for me. I’ve been thinking about some of my favorite 4th of July memories, and recipes that would best represent them. Five recipes, five memories.

5. Firework Cookies

Martha's Fireworks cookies

I grew up on a small cul de sac, and in the summer all of the kids would play in the street. We’d bounce from house to house, sampling the food offerings. My mom always had Kool-Aid and sandwiches. I loved to sneak across the street, where our neighbors always had the soft Lighthouse cookies that I loved. These sugar cookies are a more sophisticated replica and have a beautiful Americana feel.

4. Yesterdog Hotdogs

Yesterdog featured on SeriousEats

The summer before college, a group of us met at Yesterdog before the display was held. I remember how happy I was, ready to head to college, bursting with energy and pride.  That happy high forever linked with Yesterdog.

3.Strawberry and Lemon Verbena Summer Drink

from Maria Teresa Jorge, via Food52

Kool-Aid is quintessential summer and I want to remember it that way. I always loved the “Pink Swimmingo” kind. I loved it, begged for it whenever my mom went to the grocery store. Maria Teresa Jorge’s fizzy pink drink is the perfect substitution. I added gin (Maria suggests rum) when I tested the recipe and it was perfection.

2. Flag Cake

Ina Garten's classic

Must have flag cake. The one of my childhood generally involved jello and Cool Whip, so this is a vast improvement. You could go with a cool reinvention of the classic, like this one from Baked Bree or this one from 17andBaking. But I like Ina’s. It’s homey. And it has lots of cream cheese. Win-Win.

1. Sour Cherry Slab Pie

Deb's Sour Cherry Slab Pie

Being from Michigan, Sour Cherries are our thing.  Except we call them Tart Cherries. There is a big Cherry festival in Traverse City, generally near the 4th of July. Because what better way to celebrate Michigan’s proud fruit than to have a festival?  And this cherry pie is portable. Handheld, even. Perfection. Once again, Deb is the master.



Filed under Recipe Instant Queue, Recipes

We’re Jamming!

Last summer, I became completely addicted to jamming. So did my dutiful assistant, Mr. Radar. He is VERY enthusiastic about preserves and even picks the berries with me.  This year, I decided to sell of my jam to Dayton area customers. I thought I would sell a few jars. But I sold out of two batches in two days! Wow!  Our jam is now on Etsy. We will expand our offerings as the growing season continues. Expect raspberry, blueberry and peach preserves in July.  For now, we have Mango Butter, Rhubarb Ginger and Strawberry Rose.

Mango Butter

Rhubarb Ginger

Strawberry Rose Preserves

PS: If you’re in Dayton, you can get a side of Thistle Confection jam with a croissant or crumb cake at PRESS coffee shop.


Filed under Shop

London Calling

You may have noticed that I was missing. That is because Mr. Radar took me to London. He worked. I did not.  I enjoyed all of the major sights, imbibed a fair deal, and generally just enjoyed my time off. We also had a brief stay on Hayling Island, a little island near Portsmouth known for its sailing and congenial residents. Mr. Radar’s friend James was so generous in inviting us to his weekend getaway. Thank you, James! I know you are likely reading this and I hope you received the jam. (Her Majesty’s Royal mail is very confusing!)

Here are just a few snaps from my iPhone. These are my favorite memories. Quirky, I know. But that’s good, right?

Call the Doctor!

The Tardis chilling out in a dark corner. I was introduced to Doctor Who by Professor Kelly Johnson at a party a few years ago. Now that the 11th Doctor is streaming on Netflix, I’m an addict. But I must confess, River Song really confuses me.

Dale Chihuly

Chihuly sculpture at the Victoria & Albert museum. My favorite museum, and this is a fantastic sculpture. I love the contrast between the modern glass and traditional marble colonnade.  For reference, this sculpture is 30 feet high.

Her Majesty's Black Swan

At St. James Park, Her Majesty has an amazing collection of birds, both local and exotic. There’s a 4 ft pelican (he got very angry when I tried to take his picture!) and many other delightful birds. The landscaping is so beautiful. A truly lovely garden and a must see cut through to Buckingham Palace. Make sure to treat yourself to a cone with flake. (yes, flake).

HMS Victory

After the US Revolution, the Brits were very busy crushing Napoleon. The HMS Victory was commanded by Admiral Horatio Nelson. You may have read about him? His victory at Trafalgar is legendary. (He also had one arm and one eye, see the monty python sketch).The Trafalgar campaign, as it is known,  has its own holiday and its very own (giant!) square in London. And this is the ship. She is very beautiful and enjoys a seat of honor in Portsmouth harbor.

Savory Maple Burgers with English Cheddar, Bramley Apples and Streaky Rashers.

At Hayling Island, I was pressed into service.  American style hamburgers, sweet potato chips (fries) and a little salad.

I also made scones. Rye & Strawberry this time, served with an insane amount of very delicious Devon Cream.


Filed under Family & Life

RIQ: korean Tacos

I’ve got just one recipe for you today. Mostly because I’m across the pond, on vacation. Mr. Radar let me tag along on one of his very important trips to London.

Korean Fusion Tacos

via the Steamy Kitchen

Every summer, Mr. Radar and I visit the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York. Mr. Radar generally works a few days at a fancy-pants engineering school, and I get to visit my family and drink lots of wine.  The Americana Vineyard has a WONDERFUL cafe, and Mr. Radar ordered kimchi tacos. And I’ve been trying to recreate the experience ever since. Steamy Kitchen’s recipe looks fabulous and extra BBQ sauce is okay with us.


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Earl Grey Cream Soda

The combination of vanilla and earl grey is one of my very favorites- and is employed in everything from popsicles to cookies. In the winter, I love to add homemade vanilla simple syrup to my earl grey tea, then cap it off with a dose of whole milk or half and half. This is the summer variation of my winter stand by.

In this recipe, I like to use a “left-over” vanilla bean. I find many recipes call for the seeds and I often have vanilla bean shells laying around. This is the perfect use for them.

Makes 5-6 8 oz drinks

1 cup Granulated Sugar
1 cup water
1 Vanilla Bean
3-4 Bags of Earl Grey tea
Seltzer Water
Half and Half or Whole Milk

To make the simple syrup, combine the vanilla bean and sugar in a small saucepan. Rub the vanilla bean in the sugar, until the mixture is fragrant. Add the earl grey tea and water. If you want extra earl grey oomph, use four bags of tea. I like to use three, for just a hint of bergamot. Heat on medium low and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat to medium and bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Turn off the heat, and use tongs to remove the tea bags. Leaving the tea bags in the mixture will make the syrup bitter. Allow syrup to cool before using. I like to let it sit overnight.
To make the soda: Fill an 8 oz glass 3/4ths full with seltzer water. Add 1/4 to 1/3 cup syrup, depending on desired sweetness. Top with half and half. If you are feeling extra devious, top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and make yourself an Earl Grey Cream Cow.


Filed under Recipes

RIQ: Arugula

I planted a lot of great vegetables in the community garden this year, but many were lost to the weirdo storms and torrential downpours. But my arugula survived. Thrived, even. I’m so proud of my baby lettuces, I don’t want to relegate them to a salad. So here some new uses for arugula.

5. In Potato Salad

Arugula Potato Salad, via theKitchn

All that starch could use a little green, right? Potato salad with dill and arugula at theKitchn.

4.  In a Panini

Delicious Panini from Phoebe of Big Girls, Small Kitchen

Prosciutto and Fontina panini with arugula and pickled shallots. Yes, Please. Phoebe and Cara have a new cookbook, too. It looks really great and frugal. My favorite kind of recipes.

3. Pile it on top of pizza.

the Pioneer Woman continues to amaze.

Figs, Prosciutto, Parmesan? Count me in. I think Gorgonzola would also be a delicious choice here instead of the Parmesan. just saying!

2. In Pasta

Jamie Oliver's Spaghetti with Prawns & Rocket

A little recipe from everyone’s favorite Brit. It looks good, doesn’t it?

1. With a Great Grain

via Tea and Cookies

Farro, Beet and Arugula salad from Tea and Cookies blog. Oh, and that feta Tara mentions in the recipe? I’d use a local goat cheese…

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Strawberry Barley Scones

There are no words to write, other than Kim Boyce is a genius and you should all be running (or clicking) to get her book, Good To the Grain. I love it. And I love this recipe best. I did not use Kim’s recipe for strawberry jam, though. I like mine better.

Strawberry Barley Scones

Baked by me, recipe by Kim Boyce

Dry Mix

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons Barley Flour

1 cup All-Purpose Flour

1/4 cup Brown Sugar

2 teaspoon Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

1 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt

Wet Mix

1 stick Butter, diced into 8-10 pieces

1/2 cup Buttermilk

1 Large Egg

To Finish:

1/2 cup Strawberry Jam

1 tablespoon  melted, unsalted butter

1 tablespoon sugar



Preheat oven to 350. Make sure the rack is in the center of the oven.  Lightly butter (or spray, or use a Silpat) a baking sheet. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl, making sure to sift the Barley flour and All-Purpose flour very well.  Add the chunks of butter to the mix. Blend using either your fingers or a pastry cutter until the mix resembles pebbled sand. (If there are larger chunks of butter, that’s okay. It will only make the scones flakier).

In a small bowl, whisk the egg and buttermilk together. Add to the dry mix. Combine with your fingers until a loose, shaggy ball forms. Dump the dough onto a well-floured work surface, and knead the ball a few times until a smoother ball forms. Divide into two smaller balls. Form the balls into two disks, 7 inches in diameter. Spread the strawberry jam on top of one disk, and gently place the other on top. Cut into 8 large triangles to form the scones. Top with the melted butter and sugar.

Bake for 22-24 minutes, until they have a golden brown crust and the jam is bubbly. Try resisting eating them all. They are supremely delicious.


Lovely photograph by Nicole Hodac.






Filed under Family & Life