The month of July has been filled with house projects and summer fun! Here are some pictures of Tom trimming the giant tree in front of our house. The branches were hanging so low that it was hard to see the house and the branches were also covering our driveway quite a bit. Then we used our town pass to fill up our pickup with all of the branches. Tom did a great job allowing more of our house to be shown, but we still have a lot of landscaping left to do!
I also had an awesome "play date" with Stevi and her kids Leo & Juliet. We played at the sprinkler park and I had so much fun running with Leo and watching him laugh as I got splashed by random kids! It felt good to cool off with two of my favorite kids! Then, we went back to Stevi's house, dined on a McDonald's lunch (you should see Juliet attack a chicken nugget!), and overall I loved playing with them! I hope to have a lot more play dates with them this summer!
I've also been trying to do some creative cooking. I haven't eaten a whole artichoke in so long, but my mom used to make them often in the summer. I tried to remember how she would make them. I drizzled olive oil, salt, pepper, and some garlic on top. Then I let them cook in boiling water (not completely submerged) in boiling water until the leaves were tender. If you have never eaten a whole artichoke, it is a fun process. You scrape each leaf with your teeth until you get down to the middle where the artichoke heart is hidden, which is the most delicious part. Before you eat the heart though, make sure you scrape out the hairy part because it can be quite pinchy.
Along with the artichokes Tom grilled these beef, spinach, and cheese pinwheels and I made a salad.
Our garden has also really been getting underway. We have little green tomatoes and a lot of flowers on our cucumbers, eggplant, and pumpkins. The corn is getting really tall too! We love being farmers, can't wait until the veggies are ready to be picked!
I also made my dad's first month of treats from his Father's Day gift, sesame seed cookies! Here is the recipe I used from Emeril:
Ingredients1 pound all-purpose flour (3 1/2 cups)
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 pound vegetable shortening
1 large egg
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup water
1/2 pound sesame seeds
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl or pan, mix together the flour, sugar and baking powder. Add the shortening and work it in with your hands until well mixed. Add the eggs and vanilla, and 3/4 cup of water, and work in well. The dough should hold together but not be sticky. If needed, work in a little more water, 1 teaspoon at a time. Place the seeds in a shallow baking pan. Pinch off a small amount of dough, about the size of a small fist, and cover the remaining dough with a damp dish towel. Roll the dough out into a long rope, about 1-inch in diameter. Cut the dough into 2-inch pieces. Drip a small amount of water through a fine mesh sieve, and sprinkle over a small portion of the sesame seeds to wet them (but do not wet the seeds until they will be used). Roll the dough in the seeds, pressing slightly to make them adhere. Place the seeded dough onto a large ungreased baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough. Bake on the bottom rack of the oven until the bottoms are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Turn the cakes over and place the baking sheet on the top rack of the oven to bake for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on cooling racks. Serve at room temperature, or keep in tins for up to 2 weeks.
We also had a fun 4th of July at Tom's aunt & uncle's house. We made these fun pretzel rods dipped in white and dark chocolate and then sprinkled with red, white, & blue!
Last weekend, we had some local fun down at Riverhead Raceway. It is really cool since Tom is a huge NASCAR fan that we can watch a real race so close by. We got to see a few different races and then they ended the night with a fireworks show since it was 4th of July weekend. If you would like to catch a race visit: Riverhead Raceway
On July 6, we went to Oysterpond's Heritage Day. It was fun because we got to see an old-fashioned parade, they read the Declaration of Independence aloud, and the scenery was beautiful!
And another recipe I made was for this zucchini bites. It was a recipe that Tom's friend Andrew's mom Donna, shared with me for my cookbook. I am still working hard to type all of these recipes, but I am thrilled with how many awesome recipes friends and family have shared with me for my "Cooking for a Cure" cookbook.
I also made this cherry water, in an attempt to offer us a healthy but flavorful beverage. I made it with sliced fresh cherries and just a little sugar.
6 cups tart red cherries, pitted
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons butter
1 egg, beaten
3 tablespoons milk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a saucepan combine filling ingredients and cook, stirring until bubbling and thickened. Pour into an 8-inch square baking dish. Meanwhile, stir together flour, sugars, baking powder, and cinnamon. Cut in butter until it is crumbly. Mix together egg and milk. Add to flour mixture and stir with a fork just until combined. Drop topping by tablespoonfuls onto filling. Bake for 25 minutes until browned and bubbly.
Lastly, Tom and I visited two local events today. First we went to the Mattituck Love Lane Street Fair. We had so much fun and bought this awesome North Fork sign for our loft. Then, we went to Hallockville Museum to see the Long Island Antique Power Association's Tractor & Truck show. Tom and I were in our glory with a day of country food, crafts, and tractors.
I truly love the North Fork and couldn't be happier that Tom and I have made it our hometown. Here was the sunset we saw today when taking our nightly walk by the cornfields.