Monday, August 20, 2007

Not too much cooking to be done in this bloody heat wave. Who wants to stand in front of a hot stove when the house is already 85-90 degrees F?

Quick gardening update: Herbs are doing very well, except the heat is a bit brutal for them. The ones more acclimated to hotter and drier climates (rosemary, sage, and mint) are flourishing, but the basil is prone to wilting. Everything else is holding up well. I have purchased Thai basil and will go about planting it when it cools down a little. Maybe towards the latter part of the week. I still haven't planted the arugula and lettuce, but seedlings won't hold up in this heat, so I'll wait.

We had guests this weekend and made dinner on Sunday night. We used a Giada DeLaurentiis recipe from her Giada's Family Dinners cookbook. It's a sun-dried tomato and basil penne with sausage, parmesan, mozzarella, and artichoke hearts. We used Tofurky sausage and served it with grilled corn.

It's been such a good summer for corn. I brushed the cobs with melted butter and plopped them on the grill. If you do it this way, you really have to watch the cobs to make sure they don't burn. It won't take more than 6-8 minutes and they should be turned every couple of minutes. I had some heirloom tomatoes leftover from the pizza making, so I chopped them up with some basil, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper for a quick bruschetta. It's important to let it sit for an hour or so. The tomatoes will break down and the flavors will blend really well.

It's not bruschetta without bread, so we picked up some rolls from Charlie's Best Bread in PB. The Oregon Herb rolls are out of this world. They're wheat-based with tons of herb and garlic flavor. The sesame seeds are a really nice touch, too.

I can't take a lick of credit for this dessert, as it's inspired by several people. Thanks to B., D., and Aunt L.! Graham crackers smothered with some kind of dairy always makes a good dessert. I did a variation of B.'s pudding cake, only using sugar-free chocolate pudding and graham crackers. I layered the crackers densely, but they still turned into fabulous mush. Yum. Next time, I'm going to do Aunt L.'s cake and make a Kahlua whipped cream, layer the crackers densely, and top with chopped nuts (usually pistachio).

This dessert's perfect for a hot day. No baking, no cooking, and it's incredibly good.

We're heading home for a visit with the parental units next weekend, so I might make tiramisu and drop it off with Unc and Aunt C. Another fabulous no-bake dessert. If I do it, there will be pictures. As for this week: pavlova. The one dessert that I can't even come close to perfecting. Ina Garten has a method I haven't tried, so we'll see how that goes. It's another work dessert, so there will be an audience.

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