Cool pops for hot days


I never thought much about hot weather before we moved to Portland.  We’d visited many times, but mostly in spring and fall, when the weather was mild.

What a shock it was when the temperature hit 102 degrees in my driveway a couple of weeks ago.  Since then the thermometer has hovered in the upper 80s most days with the occasional spike in the 90s.

These are the days when all I want for dessert is something light, cold and refreshing.  It could be a little fruity and maybe a little sweet, but not cloying.

I’m talking ice pops, adult-style, with sophisticated flavors like the Thai iced tea and agua fresca pops pictured here.  You can share them with the kids but you’ll be tempted to hoard them for yourself. Continue reading Cool pops for hot days

Asparagus before it’s gone


Theoretically, asparagus season should be over, but I still see some in the market.  Thankfully, there’s enough time for one last couscous salad with asparagus pesto before the last stalks disappear altogether from the produce aisles.

I’ve been fiddling with this idea for the last month and it just keeps getting better.  The concept started with samples of asparagus pesto handed out at New Seasons, a terrific local chain of natural food stores here in Portland.

From the first bite, I was enchanted by this sauce, which is a little sweeter and more delicate than pesto made primarily with basil.  It seemed a perfect match with the Israeli couscous that I had picked up on an excursion to Bob’s Red Mill in Oregon City.  Israeli couscous, also known as pearl couscous, is much larger than the more familiar, fine-grained couscous and has a delightfully chewy texture. Continue reading Asparagus before it’s gone