Foodie Book Friday: Kabobs

It was on our local public radio show The Food Schmooze* that first I heard about Sally Sampson's "Recipe of the Week" cookbook titled Kabobs. I thought the idea was fantastic - a series of cookbooks with 52 themed recipes - one for every week. It seemed like a great way to mix things up a bit. I also thought that Kabobs, the first book in this unique series, was a great way to introduce the series. I mean, who doesn't love food on a stick?!?!?

I ordered the book as soon as I got home. After listening to the radio host and the author talk about the recipes, I was practially drooling, and couldn't wait for it to arrive. When it arrived, Chris and I flipped through it together and realized what an excellent addition to our cookbook collection it is. The recipes are original and innovative, and have definitely inspired us to come up with our own kabob ideas. There are kabobs with flavor profiles that seem pretty familiar to most home cooks (e.g. Beef with Herb Butter) as well as ones inspired by international cuisines (West Indian Chicken with Honey Butter). Importantly, the author goes well beyond beef, including recipes for lamb, pork, vegetable, fish, shellfish and fruit kabobs.

The recipes are clearly-written and easy to follow, with excellent photographs, organized notes, and helpful serving suggestions. They seem especially good for entertaining as most can be prepped ahead of time, and great for easy summer grilling. We look forward to adding these recipes into our repertoire and to taking a look at other books in the "Recipe of the Week" series.

*The Food Schmooze is broadcast live on Wednesdays at 3:00 p.m. on CT public radio and is repeated on Saturdays at noon. It is also available for listening online or via podcast. The host is CT's own famous foodie Faith Middleton.


Coventry Farmers' Market

June 7th was finally here, and with it, the opening day of the Coventry Farmers' Market in Coventry, CT. The weather was in full summer swing as were all the visitors, wearing sun-hats and carrying reusable totes and baskets. At the entrance a small cage with two goats being pet by toddlers was placed near a tent selling hand-spun, hand-dyed yarn. Kettle Korn was popping loudly next door to the coffee roaster (Bean and Leaf) who had already sold out of coffee but had beans that he had roasted the day before. We turned the corner and spotted The Farmer's Cow display, complete with a five-day-old calf and samples of their fresh organic milk (our favorite milk right now) and new lemonade and iced tea. Handcrafted soaps were being sold next to jewelry made from seaglass and beads, pottery, and hoodies made from hemp. All the farmers had their spring yields - mostly leafy vegetables, picked-that-morning strawberries, and perfect looking green onions. Most were selling plants as well, and we chose a few herbs and some heirloom tomato plants to round out our garden. Wave Hill Breads was there, as were a couple of other bakeries including the authentically French La Petit France, where I purchased a deliciously light pinwell pastry with a cream cheese center. We sample Italian basket cheese and picked up some chevre from Beltane Farm and tasted a variety of salsas, infused oils and vinegars from a variety of vendors. The "egg-man" was sold out of eggs but had some lovely fresh bacon we just had to purchase. We also browsed the product list at New Boston Beef's display; we'll get some next time. Coventry's Farmers' Market is open every Sunday from now through October, 11-2. We'll be back!

Greek Shrimp Meets the Best Bread on the East Coast

Tonight's dinner was fantastic, thanks to Closet Cooking's excellent recipe for Greek shrimp, our burgeoning herb garden, and a fabulous loaf of bread. The bread, voted "Best Bread on the East Coast" by authors and foodies extraordinaire Jane and Michael Stern, makes my top five breads of all time. It barely made it home and I was reluctant to share with Chris! It was a three-grain country loaf from Wave Hill Breads in Wilton, CT, with a nice brown, chewy crust and super-soft inside. We got it at the Coventry Farmers' Market (upcoming post on that) and will certainly be looking for it again. With it, we sopped up all the delicious sauce from the shrimp dish. Kudos to Kevin for the recipe, to Chris for being a terrific gardener, and to the geniuses behind Wave Hill breads!!! This dinner is one to be replicated.


Cockles and Mussels

Chris came home today with cockles and mussels and corn on the cob. Somewhere in my mind I thought of an Irish song about "cockles and mussels" but the thought left me as my stomach grumbled and we began to plan dinner. The plan was to cook everything outside on the grill since it was gorgeous out. So, first we soaked the corn in a sinkful of water for about a half-hour then put it, husk and all, on the preheated grill. About 15 minutes later, we threw the bivalves into the stainless steel basket insert of our crawfish boiler/turkey fryer with white wine, water, and all of the various other ingredients (see recipe) and put the pot, covered, on the gas burner on high for about 15 minutes, until all the shells were open. We even grabbed the herbs out of our growing herb garden which made us feel like we had accomplished something. What a simple and delicious dinner! We ate outside, enjoying the sunshine, the garden, our meal and each other's company. It was a nice taste of summer which is right around the corner!

2 lbs. mussels
1 lb. cockles
4 lemons, halved
1 bunch green onions, chopped into 2-inch pieces
1 handful fresh parsley
2-3 stems of fresh tarragon
1/2 stick butter
1/2 bottle white wine (we used Trader Joe's Pinot Grigio)
2 cups water

Put all the ingredients in a large stockpot, cover the pot, set it over high heat and cook for 15-20 minutes, until all shells are open.