Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence Day

What a blistering hot day!    too hot to cook much.  Too old to get in the boat and water ski or swim.  And too lazy to work in the yard so I've decided to try this again--blogging that is.

 Just to catch all of you up on things, I'll start by saying that last July Bodie and I moved to the family ranch near Lampasas.  We have both retired but oh not really.  I still work part time for Fort Worth ISD and Bodie still helps Ashley at Skinny"s Hamburgers in Weatherford.  When we work she has house guests.  That's the trade off she has to make for reliable help.  Can't get any better than that! 

But, this summer I have been at the ranch everyday and have loved every minute of it.  I've fed my hummingbirds, my big birds and my man.  I planted an herb garden and it is doing better than anything else in this scorching weather.  And speaking of herbs, the basil and the mint are my pride and joy.  I just have to share 2 recipes from my book,  Praise the Lord and Pass the Biscuits---Tomato Basil Soup pg. 39 and Mint Ice pg. 78.  Both are easy to prepare and are light fare for these hot days.

                                                                        Mint Ice

2 c. sugar      4 c. water      1/2 c. fresh mint leaves, chopped     1 Tbsp. unflavored gelatin
2/3 c. lemon juice, strained    1-2 drops  green food color

In a medium sauce pan combine sugar and water and bring to a boil.  Add chopped mint leaves.  Stir gelatin into 1/4 c. hot water and add to hot mixture. Stir.  Cover and let steep/sit for 1 hour.  Then add lemon juice and stir together.  Now strain the entire mixture and add food coloring.  Pour into an ice cream freezer and let the machine do the work.  Garnish with mint leaves and a lemon slice.  Serve with a good chocolate cookie or brownie.

Mint is such an old herb.  Both my great grandmothers always had it in a bed near a dripping outdoor  hydrant.  They often added a sprig of mint to the pitcher of sweet tea.  So very fragrant and an added benefit is that it aids with digestion.  The older I get the more I need this to work

                                                             Tomato Basil Soup

4 c. whole tomatoes, crushed     4 c. tomato juice     10-15 fresh basil leaves    
1/2 lb. sweet butter (not margarine)     1-2 c. heavy cream

Combine tomatoes and tomato juice in a large non-reactive saucepan.  Cook on low to medium heat for about 30 minutes.  Add small amounts of hot tomato mixture and basil leaves to a food processor and puree.  Pour each batch into a mixing bowl.  When all tomatoes are pureed return mixture to the sauce pan and add butter, cream, salt and pepper to taste and heat through before serving.  Garnish with a pat of butter and a sprig of basil.  Serving this in a bread bowl makes a very attractive presentation. 

Of course the best is to use fresh tomatoes from your garden or Farmer's Market.  And since you really can't overdo the summer tomatoes I can't see a thing wrong with serving this with your favorite tomato sandwich.  YUM!!

I hope everyone has had a safe and delightful holiday.  God bless the men and women who keep our safety and freedom, often at the expense of not being with their families today and everyday.  God bless our nations leaders with the wisdom and the courage to do what this country has always done---lead the world in democracy!


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