Summery Watermelon Soup

Summery Watermelon Sips

We are just head over heels about our stylishly rustic soup.  It strikes the perfect balance of tart to sweet.  Who says we can’t summerize and make it our main dish instead of relegating it to a side.  Gather up your family and friends and go out with a bang.

 Slurps up!!!

Summery Watermelon Soup


Ingredients:

.   1/2 cup sugar

.   1/2 cup filtered water

.   12 basil leaves, bruised

.   5 cups watermelon chunks (experiment with yellow and orange)

.   3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

.   1 teaspoon lime zest

.   1/4 cup sparkling wine (as always we use Prosecco)

Directions: Place sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.  Once sugar has dissolved add the basil leaves and bring mixture to a boil, then remove from heat and let it sit for at least 15 min.  Then discard basil and let continue to cool to room temperature. Working in batches, blend 4 1/2 cups of watermelon with basil simple syrup and lime juice. Push juice through a fine mesh sieve, over a bowl or pitcher with a wooden spoon.  Cover and refrigerate 1 hour to overnight. To serve, add sparkling wine, pour soup into 4 bowls and garnish with remaining cubed watermelon (important for a textural element) and lime zest.

Summery Watermelon Soup

Experiment with this recipe, try adding canned tomatoes, english cucumbers, beets or granny smith apples we have done all 4 with great success.

Summery Watermelon Soup

Modern Day Forager

MDF’s Icy Melon Granita

Cantaloupe Granita by Modern Day Forager

ICY MELON GRANITA

Our version of a childhood summer revival with a twist, a little bit more sophisticated and all grown up.  Chill out, cool down and make the most of your long hot days.  Using white and orange cantaloupe makes for a very fragrant and well-balanced combination.   The addition of basil and the spicy, salty, sweet sugars really liven up this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups cantaloupe chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups white cantaloupe chunks
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • curry sugar, didi’s sugars for the spicy component and for the salty and sweet component we used “martini” from go lb. salt rim-licks.
  • chiffonade of basil

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan, stir the water and sugar over low heat just until the sugar melts.  Let cool completely.
  2. In a blender, puree the cantaloupe with the syrup and lime juice.
  3. Strain puree into a bowl through a fine mesh sieve, pressing through with a wooden spoon.
  4. Transfer the puree to a shallow container and place in freezer until frozen around the edges and slushy, about 30 minutes.
  5. Using a fork, stir the granita every 20 until it is completely frozen, about 1 1/2 hours.  Just before serving, fluff granita with fork.
  6. Scoop into bowls, sprinkle with curry sugar and garnish with chiffonade of basil.

Cantaloupe Granita by Modern Day Forager

Our good friends Liz and Aaron Ecburg own a great company, go lb salt which is a local salt bar here in Arizona and boy, do they know their stuff.  We highly recommend their website, there is a wealth of information, along with a user friendly online store,  filled with everything you could possibly need, and if that wasn’t enough they offer classes as well.   Check them out at golbsalt.  We also used another favorite resource of ours for this recipe, Didi Davis’s Food Sugar Blends.  This is a great source for all things spicy, salty and sugary, and they focus on small-batch handmade productions.  Check them out at salttraders.  So many new ways to play with your food.

Cantaloupe Granita by Modern Day Forager

Modern Day Forager

Melon Week (oh by the way, this is week # 9 for us)

Melon Week

Melon Week by Modern Day Forager

Celebrating the simple pleasures of summer, we are giving melons top billing this week here at Modern.  Summer melons are vibrant, fragrant, extremely versatile and bursting with fresh flavor.  Just one taste and you will sure to be hooked and stay cool all summer long with the season’s “hot” essentials.

 We have come up with a few questions we would love for you to answer

What is your favorite thing about summer?

What is your favorite summertime meal?

What are you reading this summer?

How do you stay cool and make the most out of these long hot days?

Relaxing by the pool, beach or are you having a big summer adventure?

Melon Week by Modern Day Forager

We love hearing from you, it is one of the best parts of our day.

Modern Day Forager

Open Faced Grilled Cheese with Creamy Tomato Soup

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup by Modern Day Forager

Recipes by Rj of Urban Table
Photo Style & Art Direction by Traci of Urban Table

Photography & Art Direction by Heather of Heather Gill Photography

Tomato Soup by Modern Day Forager

One of my most cherished memories of eating an open faced grilled cheese sandwich,  a steamy bowl of creamy tomato soup and a cold glass of milk, is when I was a little girl and my GG , would lovingly prepare me this meal for me whenever I was sick, stayed home from school, or needed some extra TLC.  There is just nothing better than having your Grandma take care of you and her making your favorite comfort foods.  I could always count on her to do that for me and make me feel special.   As a I grew older, the tables had turned , and I was the one lovingly preparing this recipe for my GG to comfort her when she was ill.  I will always be very grateful for the time I got to spend with her.

Ingredients:

For the creamy tomato soup:

  •             4 lbs. ripe heirloom tomatoes
  •             2 T olive oil
  •             1 T unsalted butter
  •             2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  •             1/3 cup shallots, finely chopped
  •             1/2 cup chicken stock, or as needed
  •             1 t fresh basil, chiffonade, extra for garnish
  •             1/2 t sugar
  •             1/2 cup heavy cream
  •              salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup by Modern Day Forager

For the grilled cheese: 

  • 3/4 lb. mild cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
  • 6 slices whole grain bread
  • 1/2 pound cream cheese, softened
  • 4 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature

Directions:  To make the soup, preheat an oven to 400°F.  Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet. Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise and place them, cut side up, on the prepared baking sheet and brush with olive oil.  Roast until the tomatoes look somewhat shriveled, about 45-50 minutes.  Let cool for about 20 minutes.  Transfer the tomatoes and any juices to a food processor, pulse until chopped, then put the tomatoes and their juices through a food mill placed over a bowl.  You should have about 3 1/2 cups tomato purée.  Discard the contents and tomatoes skins from the food mill.
 
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat.  Add the celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes.
 
Stir in the tomato purée, 1/2 cup stock, and the basil and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes.  Stir in the sugar. In 3 or 4 batches, transfer the soup to a blender and process until smooth.  Transfer to a clean saucepan; add the cream and heat until piping hot but not boiling.  If the soup seems too thick, thin with more stock.  Season to taste with salt, pepper and garnish with fresh basil leaves and serve warm.  To make the open face grilled cheese sandwiches; heat a griddle or 2 large frying pans over medium heat until hot.  For each sandwich, place one-fourth of the cheese on top of bread slice and top cream cheese, then layer with fresh tomatoes, season with salt, pepper and garnish with extra basil.  Place on the griddle, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the undersides are golden brown, 3–4 minutes.  Ladle the soup into warmed bowls.  Serve and enjoy!!!
Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup by Modern Day Forager

Modern Day Forager

Strawberry Shortcake

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Recipes by Rj of Urban Table

Photo Styling & Art Direction by Traci of Urban Table

Photography & Art Direction by Heather of Heather Gill Photography

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Strawberry Shortcake

Ingredients:

4 cups fresh strawberries – tops cut off and sliced thinly (remove 1/2 cup and mash)

1/2 cup sugar

Directions:

Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup crushed strawberries.  They will be syrupy.  Add this to the remaining sliced strawberries.  Serve over biscuits and top with fresh whipped cream.

Whipped Cream

Ingredients:

· 1 cup heavy cream

· 1 tablespoon confectioners sugar

· 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract

Directions:

In a large bowl, whip cream until stiff peaks are just about to form. Beat in vanilla and sugar until stiff peaks form.  Make sure not to over-beat, or you will have butter.

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We used the biscuits from yesterdays post.  In case you didn’t catch it here is the recipe again.

Gran’s biscuits are all gussied up with macerated strawberries and old fashion whipped cream.  Change up the ingredients and embellish with 1/2 cup of crumbled bacon and 1 cup of buttermilk to the dough and now you have a rich and creamy savory biscuit

Grandma’s Biscuits

Ingredients:

1/2 cup leaf lard, cold and coarsely chopped plus more to grease pan

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

1/4 cup of warm water (105F-110F)

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon coarse pepper

3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 cup yogurt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425F.  Grease baking sheet with lard and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water, let stand until it becomes foamy (5-10 minutes).
  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, pepper, cream of tartar and baking soda.  With a pastry blender or two knives, cut the lard into the flour mixture until pea sized coarse crumbs form.
  4. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, add yogurt and yeast all at once and carefully toss with a fork until just moistened, careful to not over mix.
  5. Flour your work surface; roll out the dough to 3/4 of an inch thickness using a rolling pin.
  6. Cut the biscuits using a 2 1/2 inch round biscuit cutter.  Gather trimmings re-roll and cut.
  7. Place biscuits 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.  Leave to cool for 5 minutes on wire rack, serve warm.*** For a MDF take on Grandma’s Classic ***Replace vanilla extract with balsamic vinegar or any of your favorite extracts and/or bitters, then for an urban table twist try a chiffonade of basil.

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Modern Day Forager

Caramelized Plum Tartlets

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Recipes by Rj of Urban Table

Photo Styling & Art Direction by Traci of Urban Table

Photography & Art Direction by Heather of Heather Gill Photography

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What better way to celebrate the summer and the end of our week than with an old fashion caramelized plum tartlet!

These deep purple and burgundy drupes are filled with a good source of fiber, potassium and vitamins A and C.  A real summer time treat.

Here is our take on how to use them.

Caramelized Plum Tartlets

2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon ground cardamom

¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

½ lb. unsalted butter, room temp

2 large egg yolks

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon hibiscus extract (we love lc finn’s extract)

1 teaspoon lemon zest

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

6 plums pitted and sliced

½ cup turbinado sugar (you may substitute light brown sugar)

Powdered sugar as garnish

Directions:

  • Six 4 inch ramekins
  • Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Butter ramekins and place on baking sheet.
  • In medium sized mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, cardamom and salt.
  • In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter on medium high for 2 min.  Add yolks, sugar, hibiscus extract, lemon zest and cinnamon then beat until incorporated.  Reduce speed to low and slowly add flour mixture, do not over mix.
  • Divide dough evenly between ramekins.  Fan plum slices over top of dough pressing them in lightly.  Sprinkle tops with turbinado sugar.
  • Bake for 25 to 30 min until tartlets look set and the tops are bubbly and caramelized to a golden brown.
  • Dust with powdered sugar.

***Serving suggestion lots of ice cream (MDF favorite, homemade black peppered goat cheese)***

We are just over the moon to share with you one of our knock out recipes.  The buttery crust is what makes this…something truly special and the graham cracker crumb like texture…is my favorite part of this rustic tart.  Out of this world!!!

Then when the sweet juicy plums are added, bubble to the top, the sugar caramelizes, turns golden brown, and the hibiscus extracts comes into play, the tart becomes so flavorful and intensifies everything in sight.   Once you make this tried and true recipe you will be sure to add it to your recipe collection.

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Roasted Ginger Chicken w/ Pickled Cherries and Radish Sprouts

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Recipes by Rj of Urban Table

Photo Styling & Art Direction by Traci of Urban Table

Photography & Art Direction of Heather Gill Photography

Ahhh, roasted chicken, an all star staple in the MDF kitchen.  Simple, juicy, crispy and succulent, it just doesn’t get better.   Starting with this tried and true classic, we created a pan sauce from the pan drippings and added fresh grated ginger and a nub of butter.

These all American true blue crimson lil orbs are bursting with unbeatable flavor, packed with antioxidants and credited with anti-inflammatory benefits and are the new super fruit.  We had a blast working with cherries.  They are not just for pies anymore.  So we decided to go outside the box and pickle cherries.  Yes, pickled.  We added a few sprigs of rosemary that imparted a rich fragrant earthy evergreen like flavor and then pink peppercorns that added a note of heat with a touch of fruitiness.  We are pleased as punch with this recipe.

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Roasted Ginger Chicken w/ Pickled Cherries and Radish Sprouts

Ingredients:

1/4 cup butter, softened but not melted

1/2 teaspoon, ground cardamom

1 lemon, zested

1 Tablespoon grated ginger + 1 Tablespoon for pan sauce

Salt and fresh ground pepper

One 3 1/2- to 4-pound chicken

Olive oil

3/4 cup dry white wine, (if you wouldn’t drink it don’t cook with it)

2 Tablespoon butter

Directions:

If roasting immediately preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a small bowl, combine the butter, ground cardamom, lemon zest, ginger, salt and pepper, to taste.  Stir together with a spoon until well mixed.

Hold chicken over sink and drain then pat dry inside and out with paper towels.  Poke a small opening in the clear membrane between the skin and the flesh of the over the breast and thighs gliding your index finger through the opening, loosening the skin from the flesh, without removing it completely.  You’re creating a big pocket for the butter.  Once the skin is loose, rub about three quarters of the ginger butter mixture under the skin, over the breast and thighs. Rub the rest inside the cavity.  You can now refrigerate for up to 2 days or cook immediately.  We like to refrigerate ours over night.  When you are ready to roast chicken smear the surface all over with about 1-teaspoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Roast the chicken, (we like to use a shallow roasting pan that we can then use on the stove top for our pan sauce) after 30 min pour wine over chicken.  Roast and baste for an additional 30 to 60 minutes, until the juices run clear with only a trace of pink when you prick the thigh and a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh reads 170 degrees F.

Remove from oven and allow to rest, while you make a quick pan sauce.

In your roasting pan or a skillet, over a medium-high, heat the liquid remaining from roasting the chicken, plus the remaining tablespoon of grated ginger, salt and pepper.  Reduce liquid by half then whisk in butter and check seasoning, adjust if necessary.

  Pickled Cherries

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Ingredients:

3/4 cup filtered water

3/4 cup distilled white vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoon whole pink peppercorns

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 pound fresh cherries, stemmed and pitted

1 large rosemary sprig

Directions:

Boil first 6 ingredients in a medium pan, stirring to dissolve sugar.  Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.  Use a sieve to strain into a medium bowl then return liquid to pan.  Add cherries and rosemary to saucepan.  Simmer until cherries are tender, about 7 minutes.  Store cherries and rosemary in a re-sealable container and store in refrigerator for up to a month.

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Radish Sprout Salad Vinaigrette

 


Ingredients:

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons lemon zest

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:

Add lemon juice, minced garlic and lemon zest to a mixing bowl and slowly whisk in extra virgin olive oil until combined.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Dress radish sprouts and top roasted chicken.

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Peach Cardamom Crumble

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Recipes by Rj of Urban Table

Photo Styling & Art Direction by Traci of Urban Table

Photography & Art Direction by Heather of Heather Gill Photography

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We are pretty sure that you have had crumbles and cobblers before but we are guessing that you haven’t had anything like this!  We have added basil, balsamic vinegar and cardamomnot your grandma’s summertime crumble!

Peach Cardamom Crumble

Ingredients:

Base

6 white peaches, pealed and diced

2 Tablespoons loosely packed brown sugar

1 Tablespoon white balsamic vinegar

1/8 teaspoon cardamom extract (we used lc finn’s cardamom extract)

1 teaspoon fresh chiffonade of basil

Crumble

1/3 cup old-fashioned oats

1/3 cup loosely packed brown sugar

1/3 cup all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon cardamom

1/2  teaspoon citric acid

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Place peaches in a greased 9 X 13 baking dish or 6 greased ramekins. (If using ramekins place on a baking sheet) Sprinkle with brown sugar, white balsamic, cardamom extract, salt, pepper and basil. Toss to coat, set aside.

In a large bowl combine oats, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, cardamom, citric acid, salt and pepper then mix until combined. Now add softened butter and mash with a fork until crumble is formed then sprinkle over peaches.

Bake 15 minutes then rotate and bake an additional 15 minutes or until crumble is nicely browned.

You can serve immediately or at room temperature.

We love it with ice cream or a dollop of crème fraiche.

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Modern Day Forager

Celebrating Stone/Summer Fruits

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Summer and stone fruit go hand-in hand, so we decide to take to advantage and celebrate these fruits brimming at our farm stands and markets.  So what is a stone fruit?   Well, simply put, it is a indehiscent fruit with flesh or pulp that surrounds the stone or pit.   Indehiscent what?   Simply put, ha!  Indehiscent means that the fruit does not open or split at maturity to release seeds when ripe.   Some unusual suspects that you would not think would be in the stone fruit family are almonds, elderberries and olives.
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In preparing for all of this merry making, we carefully picked, grilled, roasted, sauteed, macerated, dried, poached, churned and pickled all of  these ripe blush pink peaches, succulent nectarines, golden rich apricots, deep tart plums and plump burgundy cherries.  We look forward to sharing some of our favorite savory and sweet recipes, along with how to select and store them.

So roll up your sleeves, get your hands on some of these mouthwatering fine drupes with all of their diversity and appeal and let the merriment begin.  Please share with us what you doing with your aromatic and fragrant beauties, we would love to hear!

Shop Girl for Farm Week

One more farm to pay tribute to…thanks to our fellow blogger AGRIgirl–Life Lessons From My Kitchen.

Please check out AGRIgirl, it is packed with  great content and valuable information.  Tammy’s love of  good food, life lessons from her kitchen,  leadership skills and an advocate for creating healthier communities is a food journal readers MUST!

Desert Roots Farm which is located in Queen Creek, Arizona.  Farm owner, Kelly Saxer has been tending to this 33-acre  CSA farm selling fresh high quality vegetables and herbs since 2001 without the use of pesticides or synthetic fertilizers.  Bringing back the farm to the community is her main goal.  A win-win relationship everyone benefits from.  When you sign up for Kelly’s CSA you will receive a box of seasonal foodstuffs throughout the farming season.  Know your farmer, know how the land is being treated, know your food. 

Desert Roots Farm
www.desertrootsfarm.com
Phone: (602) 751-0655

Shop Girl Logo

 

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Tula Hats

Sun protection never looks so good…these Tula hats have timeless style and casual elegance.  Our favorite hats are the Somerset Black Bow $43.99 and the Brook’s $33.99…both UPF 50+.

tulahats.com

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Working Wellies

Made from supple rubber and completely waterproof, they provide all day comfort.  We just think these dirt kickers are so fetching.

Comes in Red and Hunter Green.

$119

Gardeners.com

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City Planter by Potted

How cool are these swanky hanging gardens…they are all the rage.  Made of 14 gauge steel and hand finished with a sealed rust patina finish.  Each piece is one-of-a-kind.  Love the city slicker style.

$198

Pottedstore.com

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Chez Poulet Coop Blueprints by Heather Bullard

$39

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Farm fresh eggs just got better!!!

Detailed drawings to build your very own Chez Poulet, with a hip copper plated copula.  Your feathered flock will love the design, their new digs and lovely agrarian lifestyle.

 

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Slow Food:  Collected Thoughts on Taste, Tradition, and the Honest Pleasures of Food, by Slow Food Editore, Carlo Petrini

$20

Amazon.com

The Slow Food Movement shares lessons about how to cook well, eat well and live well.  We are encouraged by Petrini to enjoy life to its fullest.  Bring back the pleasures of the palate, focus on being convivial, nourishing our homes, communities and the humanity of food.  A fresh look on an alternative lifestyle to the fast paced world we live in.  I don’t know who said this, but boy does it resinate loud and clear for me…he who lives slow, lives well.

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