Saturday, June 21, 2008

Solstice Pics, and a couple of new recipes....

First off, the back yard looking toward the North West. I tried to get as close to a shot of the sun as I could without ACTUALLY looking at the sun. *grin*

Next, a pic of Jenny and Puck enjoying the evening sunshine in their kennel. Just had to get that in there. *grin*

I don't know if you can make this out, but at 8:30 last night (when I took this first bunch of pics), it was almost 80 deg. outside in the shady side of the shed.

Another one trying to give you some idea how high in the sky the sun still was at this point. You'd think it was more along the lines of 5 pm, instead of 8 pm, as far above the horizon as the sun was.

And now here's a shot as the sun hits it's lowest point on the horizon, from what I could tell. This was at 12:30 pm.

I don't know if you can tell very well, but the sun is actually JUST peeking between the trees there in the center of the pic. That's taken from the street in front of my house looking North. I've got a post to make about the condos just visible at the end of the street, but that'll be at some later point, not right now.

And because it was just too pretty NOT to share, the sky in the OPPOSITE direction at the same point. It was all clouds with some brilliant pinks showing up. Unfortunately you cannot see the incredible lavender tone of the clouds themselves. What appears blue & gray here was actually tones of lilac and lavender, along with the pink. (The pink is actually coming through pretty true, tonight.)


I tried a couple new recipes out on the kiddo tonight, as well as a friend who's spending the night. They're out of a cookbook I have full of Eastern European and Russian recipes. The first is Potato Pancakes (Latkes).

6 large, waxy potatoes, peeled
2 eggs, beaten
1 to 2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 c plain flour
1 tsp chopped fresh marjoram (didn't have this so I used italian seasoning. I wish I'd just used dill instead.)
4 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
sour cream, chopped fresh parsley or chives

Grate potatoes and squeeze thoroughly dry using a dish towel. (Oops.... I just realized I forgot to squeeze the moisture out!).

Put the potatoes in a bowl with the eggs, garlic, flour, marjoram and salt & pepper; mix well.

Heat half the butter and half the oil in a large frying pan then add large spoonfuls of the potato mixture to form rounds. Carefully flatten the pancakes well with the back of a dampened spoon.

Fry the pancakes till crisp and golden brown, then turn over and cook on the other side. Drain on kitchen paper and keep warm while cooking the rest of the pancakes, adding the remaining butter and oil to the frying pan as necessary.

Serve the pancakes topped with sour cream, sprinkled with parsley or chives and accompanied by a fresh, juicy tomato salad.


The next new recipe I tried was from the same cookbook and was actually a tomato salad.

Cucumber and Tomato Salad (The notes in this one claim it's from Bulgaria and that you should use Greek Yogurt. I used sour cream instead.)

1 pound firm, ripe tomatoes
1/2 large cucumber
1 medium onion

4 Tbsp olive oil
6 Tbsp thick greek-style yogurt
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley or chives (I have chives, that's what I used.)
1/2 tsp vinegar (I used a LITTLE more, about 1-1/2 tsp worth.)
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1 small hot chili, seeded and chopped, or 1 inch lengths of chives, to garnish

Skin the tomatoes by first cutting a cross in the base of each tomato. Place in a bowl and cover with boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the skin starts to split, then drain and plunge into cold water. (Skin must STILL be peeled off with the tip of a sharp small knife. But, at least this first step loosens it up a bit.) Cut the tomatoes into quarters, seed and chop.

Chop the cucumber and onion into pieces about the same size as the tomatoes and put them all in a bowl.

Mix all the dressing ingredients together and season to taste with the salt & pepper. Pour over the salad and toss all ingredients together. Sprinkle the chili or chives over the salad for garnish and serve with crusty bread.


So, I proved to Taylor tonight that a nice little vegetarian meal is ok once in a while. Now to convince Scott. But, like it or not, I'm going to try cooking with LESS meat, and occasionally vegetarian dinners. It just doesn't make sense with food prices and fuel usage being what it is, to continue trying to eat high on the food chain so often. And besides, I'm sure it'd be better for all of us if we could cut meat out a bit. (Not that I ever want to be vegetarian completely. I like my meat too much!


Ok. I've gotta dig out an air mattress as one of Tay's friends is spending the night and will need someplace to sleep. I also need to water my plants one last time, and let the dogs back in for the night. (It is currently 11:54 pm and obviously not dark. Unfortunately the mosquitoes are out thick & mean, this time of night!)

Have a Blessed Day!


Ashley Ladd said...

My dad loves to make and eat potato pancakes, too. So do I. :)

I love your pics. Beautiful sky.

Tori_z said...

I agree, you don't "have to" have meat all the time. Good luck getting Scott to realise that though. LOL!

Wish I could see those pics... I bet they're beautiful!

barefoot gardener said...

that tomato salad sounds yummy!

whimsical brainpan said...

Thank you so much for sharing that with us Kati!

And now I'm hungry...