“In My Kitchen” July 2018

I used to dread July.  It’s hot.  It’s humid.  It means I only have four weeks left before school starts and back to the grind.

Notice the past tense I used above…

I have a new job and although it is a twelve month gig (as opposed to my 11 month contract for the last thirteen years) and I am extremely busy and doing a lot of traveling, I LOVE IT.



(I am even looking forward to August this year.)  I love fresh starts to rejuvenate and refresh!


So, what’s new in my kitchen?

Did I mention how busy I am?   We have honestly been subsisting on rice bowls and dining out.  Still, the tomatoes are doing well, especially the cherries.

Sweet Million cherry tomatoes and three Cherokee Purple cherries.

The tomatoes are doing so well, that I decided to whip up another salad for this month’s IMK.  This time I have more of a recipe though.

Toasted Quinoa Garden Salad


With items from the pantry and garden, this salad developed naturally. 🙂


  • 1 c. quinoa
  • 1/3 c. olive oil plus 1 T., divided
  • 2 c. water
  • 1 lemon
  • balsamic vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed and minced
  • dash of red pepper flakes
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 c. Vidalia onion, diced
  • 1/2 c. Kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1 1/2 to 2 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and seeded and diced
  • 1/3 c. basil, packed
  • 1/4. c. crumbled feta


  1. Place 1 T. olive oil in a medium sauce pan on medium high heat. When oil is hot, add quinoa and toast for 3-4 minutes or until aromatic. Add the water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to simmer, and cook for ten minutes.
  2. While the quinoa cooks, make the vinaigrette. Place the remaining 1/3 c. olive oil in a small mixing bowl.
  3. In a 1 cup liquid measuring cup, squeeze the lemon juice and strain out the seeds. (You will have less than 1/4 c. probably.) Add the balsamic vinegar to top off the lemon juice to equal 1/4 cup.
  4. Pour the lemon juice/vinegar into the olive oil along with the garlic clove, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk and set aside.
  5. When the quinoa is finished cooking, place it in a large serving bowl or mixing bowl. Whisk the vinaigrette again and pour it on the warm quinoa. Stir and set aside while you prepare the vegetables and herbs.
  6. Once the quinoa has cooled to at least room temperature, add the onion, olives, tomatoes, cucumber, basil and feta. Season with more pepper. (Beware of too much salt because of the feta and the olives.)
  7. Refrigerate and let set for at least one hour. Serve.

Yield: 4-6

Prep Time: 30 mins.

Cook time: 15 mins.

Total time: 45 mins.

The tomatoes, cucumber and basil came from the garden.  (Sorry no photo of the cucumber.  It had gotten lost at the bottom of the vine and when I found it it was almost yellow.  I was afraid it would be bitter, but it wasn’t and was a good addition to the salad.)

Three kinds of basil: Tulsi, Aristotle, and Lettuce Leaf

I also have a butternut squash vine that is going nuts!

First harvest.

This cookbook is not necessarily new.   I got it last summer after perusing through a copy my sister had during our Fourth of July celebrations 2017.   I ordered one as soon as I got home.   I just now used it for our 2018 Fourth celebrations.  

I made both the Fresh Potato Salad w/Horseradish, Lemon and Capers and the Mango Squares with Coconut Topping from The Summer Table.  (I will post these recipes and a full review soon.)

And finally, this is not from the garden but this makes for a quick and easy early evening cocktail when it’s hot outside and you only want to stir.


It’s really great stuff and is non-alcoholic (until I add the rum).  We had dark rum on hand so that’s what went into these cocktails, along with some fresh mint (also from the garden) and a lime.

Whether it’s winter or summer where you are, I hope you enjoy!

I’m linking up with Sherry’s Pickings.

I’m linking the salad portion of this post up with Deb’s Souper Sunday.

Hope you had a wonderful Fourth!

11 comments to “In My Kitchen” July 2018

  • wow butternut squash in summer time…I am jealous. And those herbs are looking really healthy and great.

    • Unfortunately, since posting, the squash plant shriveled up and died. 🙁 ???????? I did harvest about a half dozen squash though.

  • Nice haul from the garden! I love the salad and I want to know more about your awesome new job!

  • thanks for joining in debra. i noticed in your recipe you say 1 c. which i guess is one cup. interesting isn’t it how different countries write recipes? we would never use that expression in australia but i knew what you meant of course. i find it fascinating, the use of language. anyway your salad sounds tasty with all the basil and fetta and olives Yum! have a great month. yes tell us more about your new job. cheers sherry

  • Your salad with all the ingredients fresh from your garden looks very good. Enjoy July, oh and August too. 😀

  • Enjoy all the travelling! All the summer goodies makes me long for some hot weather 🙂

  • Where have you been? Or where have I been. Somehow I quit getting posts from you, until I happened on a comment of yours, and of course I remembered the name of your blog!!! Nice to have you back in my life!

  • Congrats on the new job! Glad you are enjoying it.
    Your salad looks so tasty and perfect for summer!
    Thank you for sharing it with Souper Sundays this week.