observations - i'm not as young as i used to be and i think, perhaps, that i'm pretty glad about that. of course there are days i complain - like in the morning when i get up and my heel is killing me (the shift to hardwood floors and my bad habit of going barefoot has kicked in a case of plantar fasciitis). so, the quiet gathering last night was a perfect evening. we all brought dishes, laughed on the back patio and watched the almost full moon rise over the treetops as we heard the distant booms of fireworks. (can you believe the size of these strawberries? they were humongous and so sweet)
some of you wanted the recipes for the ranch potatoes - but after making it last night, i'm not sure if i'm happy with it yet. i made some adjustments that didn't quite work yesterday so i'm going to try again. plus, i'm not happy with it's appearance - not attractive. but, wow - the goat cheese spread? soooo yummy. someone offered to lick the bowl last night. it's my friend carol's recipe and i finally snagged it when she participated in the recipe exchange we did about six weeks ago. (next time i'll take photos - but this time i didn't think about it)
ingredients: one or two logs of goat cheese, basil pesto (i used store bought because my basil drowned), one red bell pepper, one orange or yellow bell pepper, golden raisins.
putting it together: about an hour before, place the goat cheese out to soften.
one reason i've hesitated making this dish is that roasting bell peppers has always intimidated me. it was way easier than i thought it would be. put your peppers on a cookie sheet, turn your oven up to broil, and then put the peppers in the oven. (people say you can put the peppers on a fork and do this over a burner, but they drip so the cookie sheet is less messy) let the skins char (blacken) in the oven, turning so all sides are charred. take them out of the oven and immediately place in either a brown paper or plastic bag and let them cool down to room temperature. this steams the skins where they are loose and easily removed. so, peel and de-seed your peppers (if you pull the stem gently - most the seeds come away with the core). lay the peppers flat and chop into a coarse dice.
while the peppers are roasting, unwrap the goat cheese and place in bowl. add a healthy tablespoon of pesto to the cheese and stir together until mixed well. taste to make sure you have enough pesto to make you happy. stir in a good handful of golden raisins (the raisins add a sweet burst of flavor to this dish and a chewy texture; however, if you don't like raisins - you could leave them out.)
after the peppers are chopped, stir them into the cheese mixture. simple, right? if not serving immediately - refrigerate. let it soften a bit before serving so it's easily spread on crackers or bread. i am not kidding - the bowl was scraped clean before dinner.
don't even get me started on the salad nita made with the homemade lavender syrup dressing, the fresh corn salad or the homemade ice cream. serious eating my friends.