Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Home Again...Now What To Do With All Of Those Carrots And Cucumbers?

We are back from the ultimate summer vacation.  For two weeks, our most pressing decisions each day were which beach to visit and what to have for dinner.  The sun was bright; the sky was blue (most of the time); the weather was warm.  We stayed up much too late and slept much too long.  We visited the bakery each morning for croissants and pain au chocolat.  We shared simple picnics on the beach for lunch.   We spent a magical evening across the street at a Michelin 1 Star restaurant savoring Foie Gras, Scallops and Breton Lobster.  We were entertained by midnight fireworks on three separate occasions as many of the tiny villages put on their annual summer parties.   We walked to islands accessible only because of the low tides.  By the next to the last day, we felt that perhaps we had had too much of a good thing...spent too much time together.  However, by the next day (our last), we were all best friends again and couldn't believe that it was almost over.

Yes, folks...he is wearing capris
So, we are home and the vacation feeling has ended as we jump back into the swing of our lives.  Morning swim practices started for Dear Daughter and school will start in just 10 days.  Dear Husband is out the door at 6:10 each morning and we see him twelve hours later.  The weather has been warm---a bit too warm and without our ocean breezes.

The garden survived my lack of care and I harvested an incredible amount of carrots and the cucumbers are close behind.  I found a recipe for carrot jam (yes, jam) and plan on making it tomorrow.  I will let you know how it turns out.  My biggest surprise was learning that the thorny bush that I have been cutting back all Spring and Summer is actually a blackberry bush!  I now have Dear Daughter and the neighborhood kids scouring the paths behind our house in search of blackberries.  A little crazy, I know, but I really want to make blackberry jam.

To celebrate the arrival of the cucumbers, I made a big batch of hummus.  Cold, crunchy cucumbers dipped in creamy hummus is really yummy.  I promise you that once you start making it yourself, you will never go back to buying it.

I would love to receive any recipes for carrots and cucumbers.

Classic Hummus

Classic Hummus
(adapted from Cooks Illustrated magazine)

1 (14 oz) can of chickpeas, drained (save the liquid) and rinsed
6 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch cayenne

Place all of the ingredients in a blender and add 1/4 cup of the reserved chickpea liquid.  Process until smooth.  If it looks a bit thick, add a bit more liquid until you get the desired consistency.  Adjust the seasonings, adding a bit more salt or cumin as needed.

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