Spring Rolls

I’ve mentioned before how I have a can have a hard time finding specialty ingredients here on the Eastern Shore. Like – exotic mushrooms for instance. Whenever I take a trip to Annapolis or Virginia Beach, I always make sure to get some funky fungus that I can’t find here at home – chantarelles, oyster, trumpet. I love them all!

Thankfully a local friend has started growing her own varieties of mushrooms. I visited her last week to pick up some gorgeous oyster mushrooms (her latest harvest), and was also kind enough to show me her garden, with all kinds of delicious goodies growing. She loaded me down with peas, lettuce, onions, herbs, and broccoli greens! We enjoyed them all week long in various dishes. There’s nothing like fresh picked produce – and growing on Chincoteague Island, right on the water – you can taste the salt from the air and the soil in the veggies. Absolutely wonderful. Thank you so much for showing us your little piece of paradise, Donna!

We enjoyed some of the mushrooms and onions sauteed, served over some thinly sliced roast beef and chevre on a baguette. But, the favorite thing that I made last week by far were these delicious spring rolls. I’ve always loved spring rolls from Chinese restaurants – but often the filling is bland and boring. My filling used the gorgeous oyster mushrooms, fresh bean sprouts, garlic scapes, shredded cabbage and carrots, as well as softened rice noodles. They turned out so delicious – rivaling my famous chicken egg rolls. Already can’t wait to make them again!

Raspberry Lemonade Bars

Have you guys been having mega-deals on gorgeous berries in the grocery stores right now too? The past couple weeks I’ve been coming home with at least one clamshell package each of strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries. Ahh, I love summertime!

I’d had these bars on my radar for quite some time now, and finally got around to making them this week. If you like sweet-tart treats, well then this one is nothing short of amazing. Truly like raspberry lemonade in bar form. The filling is stiffer than you’d find in a traditional lemon bar, but still soft and gooey. And the color – isn’t it pure gorgeousness?

This is one I’m can’t wait to take to potlucks this summer, just because it’s so fun and different. Also looking forward to trying other varieties – blackberry or strawberry immediately comes to mind. Have a great weekend everyone!

Grilled Pineapple Salsa

I love getting creative with different kinds of fruit salsas in the summertime. This pineapple version is one of my favorites! A quick char of fresh pineapple, paired with traditional salsa ingredients – red onion, cilantro, and fresh jalapeno, and you have yourself a damn fine salsa.

My original plan included mango in the mix, but it looked less than desirable when I cut it open – and I really liked the fact that the pineapple was the star of the show. Didn’t miss the mango one bit.

It’s fabulous on fish tacos, grilled chicken or pork chops, or on it’s own served with tortilla chips. Perfect for a summertime fiesta in the backyard!

Lavender Lemonade

The neighborhood sharing program continues here on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. My girlfriend and neighbor Colleen bought me 3 gorgeous bundles of fresh lavender from her garden last week. I gave one bundle to my other girlfriend, evidently lavender is good for the hen house. Then, the other bundles I got a little crafty with, and put into vases. However, now that I’ve discovered the simple equation of lavender + sugar + water = lavender simple syrup, I’m not sure how long I’ll have them around for decoration. Which is a shame, because it’s so damn pretty!

But this lemonade. Oh my. It’s so different and delicious, I know that I’ll be drinking it all summer long. The lavender is not overpowering, and the tart lemon still definitely shines through. It’s such a perfect balance. And how lovely is it in a tall glass filled with ice, and a little sprig of lavender for garnish? The only thing that would make it lovelier is a splash of vodka or gin. Now, please excuse me while I go plant a lavender bush. Then I’ll harvest it next year, and channel my inner Joan Crawford.