Summertime Simple

~Lemonade Tea with Mint
~Artichoke and Tomato Salad
~Chicken and Shrimp Clemeneau
Dinner in the summertime. How does summertime affect choices in your kitchen? We eat fresh and simple; many of us are in the middle of heat waves but where does your taste buds drift?
Heirloom tomatoes, fresh figs, local new varieties of cheese, different cuts and a wider variety of meats (such as bison, salt cod, kobe beef) have been a new for several years in the NorthWest. We have local coffee made with personal touches (one local coffee farm succeeds by incorporating enthusiastic volunteers; Vashon Island's homegrown and roasted variety of coffee and tea comes to mind . . . LOVE the chocolate tea!), local cheese stores where the cheese is made on site, an amazing Russian sausage house only open Thursdays thru Saturday in Shoreline (the rest of the week you can see the smoke emitting from the small store, readying stock for the weekend), wonderful local butcher stores keeping costs down and variety up (the Swinery in Seattle and DD Meats in Mountlake Terrace are two of my favorites), and the many local fruit, berry and nut farms open to the public to pick for a cheaper price along with bringing the produce to local stands. Friday and Saturday Farmer's Markets are wonderful for a wider variety of selection then just your local fruits and vegetables. Kind of like a homemade metropolis for most every part of a home. Woodworking, plants, quilts, canned goods, fresh seafood, fresh-cut flowers, and the list goes on (I love each of the Farmer's Markets in Port Orchard, Gig Harbor and Olympia along with the ever popular Pike's Place Market in Seattle, open 7 days a week).
Tonight's dinner incorporates local prawns, poultry, and vegetables accompanied with an inner feeling of warmth because I have helped support my local business community.
Lemonade Tea with Mint
12 cups boiling water
12 single-size tea bags
3 fresh mint springs
1 (12-ounce) can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
In a large pot, combine water, tea bags, and mint. Let stand for 15 minutes. Remove tea bags. Stir in lemonade concentrate.
Pour some of the tea into an ice cube tray for serving time. Freeze.
Refrigerate the rest of the tea for approximately 1 hour, or until ready to serve. When serving, use tea ice cubes in freezer.
Artichoke and Tomato Salad
1/2 cup baby spinach
1 1/2 pounds heirloom tomatoes, or different colored tomatoes (yellows, oranges, and reds), diced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
8 artichoke hearts, cut in half
Remove stems from baby spinach, clean and pat dry.

In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, basil, oil, and vinegar. Arrange baby spinach on plates and top with tomato-basil mixture. Lightly cover salads with Parmesan. Arrange artichoke halves around salad.

Chicken and Shrimp Clemenceau
(adapted from Dooky Chase Restaurant)
1/2 c. vegetable oil
2 1/2 c. peeled and diced Idaho or Yukon potatoes (approximately 3 medium potatoes)
3/4 c. butter, divided
3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into strips
1 1/2 c. sliced mushrooms
2 pounds medium fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined (tails left on)
1 t. minced garlic
1 1/2 c. green peas (fresh, frozen, or canned)
1 T. chopped fresh flat leaf parsley (out of my garden)
1 t. hot sauce, such as Tabasco
1/2 t. ground paprika
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
Garnish: sliced green onions
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil, and heat. Fry potatoes until browned, 7 to 9 minutes. (Or you may blanch potatoes in water, drain, and then brown in butter.) Transfer potatoes to a dish with a slotted spoon. Set aside.
Wipe out skillet, and add 1/2 cup butter. When butter melts, add chicken strips, and brown lightly, in batches if necessary, approximately 5 minutes per batch. Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken to a dish. Set aside.
Melt remaining 1/4 cup butter (if needed) in the same pan. Add mushrooms, and cook until they release juices. Add shrimp, and cook until pink and firm, 2 to 3 minutes.
Return chicken to pan, then add potatoes and peas; heat thoroughly. Top with parsley, hot sauce, paprika, salt and pepper. Garnish with green onion, if desired.


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