Tomatoes and Cucumbers with Basil Salt

Summer has come to an end, but my garden is still producing a wonderful every other day harvest. I almost enjoy the vegetables more now since I really savor them. While the nights are getting cooler, the tomatoes seem warmer and sweeter. I happened upon this wonderful flavor enhancing salt and had to share it with you. It is so simple to make and really brings out wonderful flavors. Everyone adds a little salt or basil, why not combine them? Be sure to try this, I think you will really enjoy it!

Oh, and as the original source suggests, this is a wonderful addition to rim a margarita glass!

Tomatoes and Cucumbers with Basil Salt

Tomatoes and Cucumbers with Basil Salt


  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 3-4 cucumbers
  • 3-4 tomatoes

Pre-heat oven to 200 F.

Combine 3/4 cup of the basil leaves and salt in a food processor. Process until well combined.

Spread basil-salt mixture on to a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Shake the pan occasionally to ensure it dries well.

Allow to cool to room temperature.

Slice tomatoes and cucumbers and arrange them on a platter with the remaining 1/4 cup of basil leaves. Sprinkle a small amount of salt over the slices.

The remaining salt and can be stored in an airtight container.

Source: Kid Cultivation


For years I wouldn’t touch a brussel sprout. I would politely say, “No thank you” or move them around my plate a lot until everyone else was finished with their meals. Over the years I have made a few recipes that I like, but I still typically only make them when I really want something different. They are never my “go to” vegetable. Well, after tasting these, not only will this be my go to side dish but also a go to snack! I probably wouldn’t mix up the aioli all of the time so that I can watch the waistline. The brussel sprouts are tasty alone, with a nice caramelized crunchiness. The aioli though, that really brings them up a notch. I found myself dipping more than taking pictures of these. My daughter was home with me and she liked them, once I told her they were baby bunny lettuce heads! I honestly slide the last few out of view so she would leave me in peace while I snacked on them. I know I should have given her the vegetables, but I had to clean the kitchen so I deserved them!

I found the aioli a bit too heavy on the mayonnaise so I added a bit more lemon juice, letting the acid do its thing. The garlic is raw, but not too worry, it isn’t super potent in this recipe!

Crispy Brussel Sprouts with a Garlic Aioli


For the Brussel Sprouts:

  • 20 small Brussel Sprouts, quartered
  • Canola Oil
  • Salt and Pepper

For the Garlic Aioli:

  • 6 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1/4 tsp garlic, finely minced
  • 2 to 2 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

Pre-heat oven to 4oo F.

Place brussel sprouts to a baking sheet and drizzle a small amount of canola oil over top. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste on top and then toss the brussel sprouts to ensure they are evenly coated. Bake for 15 minutes, or until a golden brown on at least one side.

While the brussel sprouts are cooking, whisk together the mayonnaise, garlic, lemon juice, and parsley.

You can either serve the aioli in a ramekin or drizzle over the top of the brussel sprouts.

Adapted from: Costa Kitchen


Fried German Potato Salad

Summer has come to and end, but great potato salads don’t have to go away just yet! If you are like me, you are still holding on to the nice weather and grilling out as much as you can. Pair your meals with this wonderful warm and filling potato salad and you wont be disappointed! It has the familiarity of a German Potato salad, with a warm savory taste.

Fried German Potato Salad


  • 6 Yukon gold potatoes, medium size, cut into large dice
  • 8 oz thick sliced bacon, cut into pieces
  • canola oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 Tbsp capers, drained
  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Put the diced potatoes into a pot and fill with cold water. The water should just cover the potatoes. Add salt and cook on medium-high heat. When the water comes to a boil, and the potatoes are cooked, drain the potatoes and spread out on a kitchen towel to dry.

While the potatoes are cooking, add bacon to a large saute pan and cook over a low/medium flame. When the bacon is cooked, remove with a slotted spoon and drain the bacon fat, reserving some if you want to add it later. Wipe out the pan and increase the heat. Add enough canola oil to cover the bottom of the pan and a little but more and heat it until you get some smoke.

Once the oil is hot, carefully add the potatoes and shake the pan a couple of times to make sure nothing sticks. Lower the heat a little and let the potatoes brown. Season with salt and pepper.

After a few minutes, shake the pan again. When the potatoes are almost completely cooked, add the red onion and let everything cook together. Once the onions are caramelized, add the capers and red wine vinegar and deglaze. When the vinegar is mostly evaporated, add the extra-virgin olive oil, mustard, and bacon (and reserved bacon fat if you want), re-season with lots of cracked black pepper and serve warm.

Serves 4 to 6 servings.

Source: Guy Fieri

How to Trim and Steam Artichokes

Just as I try to stretch my daughter’s and husband’s taste buds, I try to force myself to try new or old things as well. I’ve had artichokes before, but never cared for them. I was in the grocery store and saw some beautiful looking ones and thought to myself, “I really need to give them another try.” So, I grabbed a few and decided to start with the basics.

The great thing about artichokes are they have no fat or cholesterol, are low in sodium and high in Vitamin C, fiber, and folate. As long as you keep everything else low-fat, you have a very healthy snack!

As I figured, I found that I liked artichokes this time around. I made a few other recipes that I really enjoyed, but I figured I’d start off with the basics with you as well!

How to Trim an Artichoke


  • 1 lemon
  • 4 large artichokes
  • large bowl of cold water

Fill a large bowl with cold water; squeeze in the juice of 1 lemon and drop in the lemon halves. Working with one artichokes at a time, saw about 1 inch off the top using a serrated knife.

Snap off the tough, dry leaves around the steam, about 2 layers of leaves.

Use kitchen shears to trim 1/4 to 1/2 inch off the thorny leaf tips.

Peel the stem with a paring knife or cut off the stem completely if you want the artichokes to sit flat. Rub the cut parts with a lemon half, then keep the artichokes in the lemon water while you trim the rest.

Steamed Artichokes


  • 4 large artichokes
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • a few stems of fresh parsley
  • unsalted butter, melted for dipping

Set a steam basket over rapidly simmering water with 1/2 lemon, a few parsley stems and 2 smashed garlic cloves in the water. Trim 4 large artichokes, removing the stems. Stand upright in the basket. Cover and steam on medium heat, adding more water as needed, until tender, about 45 minutes. To check, stick a knife into the center and it should come out easily.

Serve with melted butter for dipping.

Source: Food Network Magazine April 2012