Glowing, radiant health is the new black. Our Green Table is serving it up, for the whole body! Healthy recipes and tips, the latest on eco-friendly food and "skin food"products and a head's up on ingredient safety are all woven into family-centered stories and discoveries. Bring informed, aware and empowered looks good on everyone!

Abrazos! xox Penny

Friday, August 28, 2009

Half Mast and Mostly, Filled with Fun

I got several comments about the " 'Boo.." post, almost as many as the "Let the elephant..." one and so I feel I need to add this post in before I move on to the granola and hot dogs which really are coming next!

Some of you were a little surprised by the peanut butter jar having a place of prominence at my dad's memorial service. I guess you did have to be there but I will share the scene better than I did in an earlier post. I had never planned a memorial service before and of course, my dad left me no instructions and my mom's only comment was, "Pensy, what are you going to do for Dad's service?"

Dad's "assignment" over the past few years was to write me a "Doomsday Book". When I was up with him in January, I gently asked him how the writing was going. His response, "Oh, good, babe. Yea, good. You will find everything you need in the metal box by my desk." The day after he died, I tiptoed up to his room to look for my book and you guessed it. The neatly typed Title Page was the book in its entirety. And so, feeling the heaviness of my dad's death and the fragility of both my mom's and brother's condition, I decided we needed to throw a party in Dad's honor.

While the flags all over their island were lowered to half mast and the antique fire truck was draped in black, our party for Dad was actually fun, moments softened with a few tears here and there, but mostly replete with laughter. One of Dad's most honored achievements was that he was a commissioner of the volunteer fire department and an honorary fireman, and so we had his party at Firehouse #3. I went full throttle on a display with different vignettes that told his story, right down to the foods and snacks he loved...hence the peanut butter. We had his letter sweater from high school, trophies won from sailing, medals from The War, oars from his beloved dinghy, books from the library, his walking stick and trowel and the piece de resistance...a collage of every theater and event ticket he had saved and a list of 85 favorite things. In the background, we played his favorite show tunes.

It makes me smile just to think about that day. My mom is still getting letters and cards which make her smile and my brother is happy . All is good. Here is one of the foods we served. Dad loved a good deviled egg and he loved Firehouse #3.

Firehouse #3 Deviled Eggs

10 large eggs, hard-cooked and shelled
1 clove garlic, minced
2 serrano chilies, seeded and minced
1/2 cup real mayo
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/4 teaspoon good chili powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon chopped chives

Slice off top 1/3 of each egg and set aside. (It is a great help to slice off the bottom of each egg so that it sits flat and doesn't roll.) Scoop out the yolks and mash together with the rest of the ingredients except the chives. Refill egg white shells. Garnish with chives and serve chilled. Serves quite a few unless you are also feeding firemen. Those guys can eat!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Hot Dogs? You're dog-gone right!

As a little girl, I don't remember thinking very much about hot dogs, or even eating them for that matter. As an adult, I don't remember thinking about them at all until this summer. Well, yes, I take that back. They are iconic and perfect at the ballpark. Drowning out thoughts of "what's in these things?" with mustard and beer, fireworks and a good game works. But neither the thought or taste would linger.

Now, it seems that hot dogs and granola (more on that later) are all I think about. I am totally enamoured with hot dogs. But, here's the catch. Like Popeye would say, "I am what I am" and so, of course, I am trying to rescue the hot dog from its current hazardous waste condition and junk food demise. By George, I think I have done it.

After devoting nearly a week to eating nothing but hot dogs (seriously!), my family taste testers and I have come up with something fun: three really Great Dogs. Well, we already have three really great "real" dogs that I have written lots about before: Stuart, Lillie and Annie. And so, using their three sparkling personalities as a template, my sous chef Stuart and I spent four hours in the kitchen one afternoon making their signature "dogs" and they were a hit with the peanut gallery. There weren't even any leftovers for breakfast.

And so, my mission continues and is taking me on a rather curious but tasty course and honestly, I am a little bemused. First the granola and now the hot dog. Who knew? I am going to share my discoveries on Thursday with my First Thursday in Hillcrest pals.
For those who are looking for the recipe that goes with this week's New Clean Plate's in the next post.

Punch'ed out twice!

I have lost this recipe so many times it isn't funny. I put it in a place where "I will never lose it" and's gone. "They" (those ubiquitous know-it-all's) say we spend three weeks of every year looking for stuff. I'll tell you what. If that is true, I am well into my allotment for 2010, maybe 2011. And so, as I was getting ready to write this morning, I couldn't find the recipe...again. I even had to call my daughter, hoping I had tucked it in a cookbook I just sent her. No, I hadn't and the search began. That was the first punch out.

The second punch out is that this entry really is a recipe for punch, a beverage concoction I am usually not overly fond of, and so I am actually surprising myself by writing it. Most punches are way too sweet or subtly laced with far more alcohol than they 'fess up to. But, this one...well, it is just as straight forward and spirited as can be, a little sweet and a little tart and a great way to toast the last few days of summer.

Now, if I just can remember where I put the password to this blog....Cheers!

Tropical Sangria

2 limes, thinly sliced
2 small star fruit, sliced crosswise
1 bottle chilled white wine
12 ounce can of mango nectar, chilled
1 mango, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
12 ounce can of ginger ale, chilled
1 bottle sparkling white wine, chilled

Mix everything in a large punch bowl and serve it up! Add a few ice cubes and slices of lime for garnish. Fills a nice-sized punch bowl.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Lend me your ear

I love it when fresh corn hits the market and lands up on my dinner plate. The sweet, crisp, juicy, butter-dribbles-down-my-chin taste of fresh corn means S-U-M-M-E-R to me. Where I used to spend my summers as a kid, we watched the fields like hawks to make sure that the corn was "knee high by the Fourth of July" and then eagerly waited for first ears to fill the farmers market. There was always a certain anxiety until we saw and tasted those first ears. Did we time our vacation days right? Will the corn be in? Please, let it be in!!!

I love fresh corn in any color: yellow, white and the "butter and sugar" combination and now, there is even a red kernel that is wonderful. One of my favorite memories of going shopping with my Dad in the summer was stopping by Harbes Farm Stand and having an ear or two of their famous roasted corn and a glass or two of their fresh squeezed lemonade. We would sit down at one of their picnic tables or walk around looking at all the other fruits and veggies. They all looked great, but corn was king in our book! I can still see and taste the delights we shared.
Here is a recipe for roasted corn that we make on the barbecue grill:
Roasted Corn

Allow 1-2 ears per person and extra sweet butter
Sea salt and fresh black pepper
Buy corn the same day you plan to serve it and ask the farmer or grocer when it came in. Some corn will still be sweet sitting a couple of days, but most will turn a little "starch-y" and will not have that delectable fresh-picked flavor.
Remove silks but not husks from each ear. Soak corn in cold water for about 20-30 minutes. When your grill is hot, remove corn from water and fold back husks. Place little bats of sweet butter directly on the ear of corn in 3 or 4 spots. Replace husks and wrap in foil. Place foil packet on grill and cover with grill cover. Smoke for about 20 minutes, rotating once or twice.
To eat, remove foil. The corn in its husk will be very hot!!! You may opt to remove the husk or peel it back and use it like a holder. Add extra butter, sea salt and pepper. Bite in...either "around the world" or "typewriter" style will do!