When Life Gives You a Lemon Pitcher…

There’s a neat little antique store in Ocean City, NJ called Back in Time that I made sure to visit last week while on vacation. As I browsed the aisles, this little lemonade pitcher caught my eye. It was one of those things where you pause, pick it up, put it back down, keep on walking, only to return before you leave to snatch it up, knowing if you don’t buy it now, you’ll regret it later.

Luckily, the lids from some of my kids’ old plastic cups fit on top perfectly. So naturally, when my daughter asked to make fresh squeezed lemonade this week, I happily obliged, ¬†knowing this pitcher would be the perfect vessel for our summer drink!

Fresh Squeezed Lemonade

Juice from 7 lemons (1 cup juice)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water, plus approx. 7 additional cups water

heat 1/2 cup water and sugar in a saucepan until the sugar is completely dissolved. Pour syrup and lemon juice in pitcher and add water. Sit under an umbrella or shade tree outside and enjoy.

Also purchased at the store were two Pyrex glassware pieces (I have a vintage Pyrex weakness) and a Coca Cola crate that I had my mom go back and get for me this week (she’s still there with my sister this week) because it was one of the items I didn’t purchase and kept thinking about! LOL.

Scallion Pancakes

Of all the plants I’ve started from seed, I think I’m most impressed with the Parade onions. They start out so tiny, they seem like they are going nowhere, and then all of a sudden – they take off.

When I pick one of these bad boys, I want to make sure I use every last bit. So when I picked one for our nachos yesterday (along with the first jalapeno from “spicy” the pepper plant) I saved the onion tops for scallion pancakes.

Scallion pancakes are another one of our family’s favorites. It’s one of those simple (albeit time-consuming) recipes – but it’s worth every minute! Here’s what you’ll need:

Ingredients

2 cups flour (plus at least a cup more for flouring the rolling pin and rolling surface)
1 cup chopped scallions (I prefer using just the green tops)
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup water
salt

Directions

1. Place 2 cups of flour in a large mixing bowl. Form a well in the center.

2. Pour the 2/3 cup of water in the well of the flour.

3. Now’s the time to get your hands a little messy. Mix the flour and water together with your hands, kneading the dough until both are fully incorporated. You want your dough to be smooth and workable, much like pizza dough. Add tablespoons of water or flour until the dough is not sticky, but not too dry.

4. turn your dough onto a floured surface and knead, knead, knead. Just when you think you have kneaded enough, knead a little more. :-) You want your dough to be smooth and elastic.

5. Let your dough rest a bit. Meanwhile, gather your scallion/onion tops, oil and salt, along with a cup of flour for your surface and rolling pin.

6. Form your dough into a long rectangle, about 2 inches by 12 inches.

7. Evenly slice your dough into 8 sections. Aren’t they cute? Place these little guys aside, preferably where they will not stick to each other.

8. Flour your surface really, really well. Flour your rolling pin. Seriously – don’t be afraid – let the flour fly. You want nothing to stick during the rolling process.

9. Take your first section of dough and roll it out evenly until it is very thin and about the size of a large dinner plate. I usually know I have it thin enough when the dough starts to “ripple” a little as I’m rolling it.

10. Brush oil across the surface of the dough thinly and evenly. Sprinkle evenly with salt.

11. Sprinkle with scallions as shown above.

12. Now it’s time to roll! Start at one end and make a tight roll…

half way…

All rolled up!

13. The next part is a little tricky, so I decided to use “counter cam” and capture this little move on video:

14. Take your little bundle and roll it out:

Repeat this process with all your dough balls.

15. Time to fry these puppies! Heat a thin layer of canola oil in a large skillet and place your pancakes in the hot oil, flipping when brown.

The top two have been flipped.

16. When fully browned, remove to a drying rack covered with paper towels to drain and cool a bit. Serve with soy sauce or your favorite Asian dipping sauce.

I served these for dinner tonight with this recipe for hot and sour soup from the Ranting Chef’s blog!

Balsamic Vinaigrette

We’re back from vacation and I’m happy to report that I’m just about unpacked (I’m still avoiding the beach bag full of sandy towels sitting in the laundry room.)

While we were at the beach, we ate at a restaurant on the boardwalk which served the most yummy balsamic dressing. My first order of business after restocking our fridge and pantry with groceries today was to try to recreate that dressing for our salads tonight. I didn’t quite duplicate the dressing I had at the shore, but it turned out quite yummy in its own right! Here it is (along with a pretty photo of my dinner plate – LOL – I gotta hand it to my resident photographer hubberman, balsamic dressing isn’t the easiest thing to photograph, but hopefully you get the idea!)

Balsamic Vinaigrette

Ingredients

1/3 cup Balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup olive or canola oil
2 tbsp minced shallot
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp mustard (I used honey mustard)
1 tbsp agave nectar
2 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Whisk together all ingredients except oil. Slowly drizzle in oil, whisking vigorously to emulsify. I use a hand held immersion blender (love that thing!) and not only does it perfectly emulsify the oil with the other ingredients, it also blends in the shallots so that they are not chunky/crunchy in your dressing.

Taste test and add more sugar, salt or pepper to taste.

Vacation Thyme

It’s been a little quiet here at Clover and Thyme for the past week or so…our family is vacationing at the Jersey Shore, enjoying the start of summer with a healthy dose of sun, surf and sand. You know it’s been a relaxing vacation when you lose track of what time of day it is, and your June magazine issues have the scratchy sound of sand stuck between the pages.

I’ll be back to posting come Monday, I’ll most certainly have a big garden update to share along with photos from our time here at the shore.