This recipe uses your garden favorites. Serve this cold or at room temperature—perfect for a picnic or barbecue.
Ingredients
•8 ounces orzo (about 1 1/3 cups)
•6 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
•4 tablespoons red wine vinegar, divided
•2 medium zucchini or summer squash (about 9 ounces total), cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
•1 red or yellow bell pepper, quartered
•3 tablespoons purchased pesto
•2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
•1 pound uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined
•2 heirloom tomatoes (8 to 10 ounces total), cored, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
•1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves plus sprigs for garnish
•1 8-ounce ball fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Preparation
Cook orzo in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain. Rinse with cold water; drain well. Transfer to large bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon oil.
Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Whisk 2 tablespoons oil and 2 tablespoons vinegar in small bowl. Brush zucchini and bell pepper with oil mixture, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Whisk pesto, lime juice, remaining 3 1/2 tablespoons oil, and remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar in small bowl for pesto vinaigrette. Place shrimp in medium bowl. Add 2 tablespoons pesto vinaigrette; toss to coat.
Grill zucchini and bell pepper until crisptender, about 3 minutes per side for zucchini and 4 minutes per side for bell pepper. Transfer to work surface. Sprinkle shrimp with salt and pepper; grill until charred and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Place shrimp in bowl with orzo. Chop zucchini and bell pepper; add to bowl with orzo. Add remaining vinaigrette, tomatoes, sliced basil, and mozzarella; toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover; chill.
Garnish with basil sprigs and serve cold or at room temperature.

Servings: Makes 6 servings
From Bon Appétit  | June 2008 by Sara Foster

Published in Landscaping
Tuesday, 19 August 2014 10:42

Landscapes Need Renovating Just Like Homes

Your landscape is much like your home’s interior décor. It grows old, sometimes tattered and torn, and needs updating from time to time. Sometimes, plantings need to be torn out and replaced. Sometimes, old porches, patios and decks just don’t work any longer.  Here are some tips from KATHY VAN MULLEKOM of the Daily Press: http://www.timesdispatch.com/entertainment-life/home-garden/landscapes-need-renovating-just-like-homes/article_01bd5a63-d6f9-592a-8610-fbefbebb02d0.html

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Glenview Landscape Ideas, Schmechtig Landscape

Published in Landscaping
Thursday, 31 July 2014 07:59

Recipe Thursday - Fresh Peach Cake

Enjoy this Fresh Peach Cake recipe - it's easy and yummo!
Ingredients
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch-square baking pan.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and 1 cup of the sugar for 3 to 5 minutes on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time, then the sour cream and vanilla, and mix until the batter is smooth. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the batter and mix just until combined. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and the cinnamon.

Spread half of the batter evenly in the pan. Top with half of the peaches, then sprinkle with two-thirds of the sugar mixture. Spread the remaining batter on top, arrange the remaining peaches on top and sprinkle with the remaining sugar mixture and the pecans.

Bake the cake for 45 to 55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Total Time: 1 hr 15 min   Prep: 20 min   Cook: 55 min

Yield: 8 servings   Level: Easy
Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten

Recipe courtesy Barefoot Contessa: How Easy is That? Copyright (c) 2010 by Ina Garten. Published by Clarkson Potter for Food Network Magazine

 

Published in Landscaping

Hammock's are a worthy pastime. Becky Harris, a Houzz Contributor, shares photos to inspire you to keep on rockin’your hammock. Get inspired:

http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/29102391?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u576&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery5

 

Published in Landscaping

Ingredients
8 slices thick-cut bacon
1/4 cup packed fresh basil
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh lemon or lime juice
 Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
8 thick slices multigrain bread
2 peaches, halved, pitted and thinly sliced
 Baby arugula, for topping
 Cornichons or other pickles, for serving (optional)

Directions

Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, turning a few times until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, then cut each slice in half. (Or bake bacon in oven at 350 degrees, until you have desired crispness. 15 minutes)

While the bacon is cooking, pulse the basil, olive oil, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon water, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste in a mini food processor (or finely chop the basil and whisk with the other ingredients) until smooth. Add the mayonnaise and pulse until just combined.

Toast the bread and spread evenly with the basil mayonnaise. Divide the peaches, bacon and arugula among half of the bread slices; top with the remaining bread slices. Serve with cornichons.

Total Time: 20 min   Prep: 12 min   Cook: 8 min
Yield: 4 servings   Level: Easy
Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen

Published in Landscaping

There is nothing better than garden picked basil and tomatoes.  Here is one of my favorite summer pasta dishes courtesy of Ina Garten.

Capellini with Tomatoes and Basil


Ingredients
Kosher salt
1/2 cup good extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for the pot
2 tablespoons minced garlic (6 to 8 cloves)
4 pints small cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes
18 large basil leaves, julienned
2 tablespoons chopped fresh curly parsley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 pound dried capellini or angel hair pasta
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Extra chopped basil and grated Parmesan, for serving

Directions
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of salt and a splash of oil to the pot.
Meanwhile, heat the 1/2 cup of olive oil in a large (12-inch) saute pan. Add the garlic to the oil and cook over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, basil, parsley, thyme, 2 teaspoons salt, the pepper, and red pepper flakes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to soften but don't break up.
While the tomatoes are cooking, add the capellini to the pot of boiling water and cook for 2 minutes, or according to the directions on the package. Drain the pasta, reserving some of the pasta water.
Place the pasta in a large serving bowl, add the tomatoes and Parmesan and toss well. Add some of the pasta water if the pasta seems too dry. Serve large bowls of pasta with extra basil sprinkled on top and a big bowl of extra Parmesan on the side.

 

Published in Landscaping

Thoughtful touches and smart planning make summer visitors feel right at home.  Being a good host is something of a lost art. Balancing the roles of tour guide, innkeeper, cook and friend (while still managing to have fun yourself) can be challenging, to say the least, says Laura Gaskill.  Read More: http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/2928273/list/Summer-Living--How-to-Welcome-Weekend-Guests

 

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Unwind with your guests and family around a firepit.  Firepit Ideas, Winnetka, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes

Published in Landscaping
Thursday, 10 July 2014 08:17

Recipe Thursday - Cajun Shrimp and Rice

An easy dinner recipe that will take you 20 minutes to prepare from start to finish!

Cajun Shrimp and Rice
Ingredients
• 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
• 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails intact
• Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
• 4 plum tomatoes, chopped
• 2 bunches scallions, chopped
• 3 cups cooked white rice
• 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
• Lemon wedges, for serving (optional)


Directions
Heat the butter, olive oil and garlic in a large skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the Cajun seasoning and shrimp and cook, stirring, until the shrimp begin to curl, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the tomatoes and scallions to the skillet and cook, stirring, about 1 minute. Add the rice and 1/4 cup water and continue to cook until the rice is warmed through and the shrimp are opaque, about 3 more minutes. Stir in the parsley and serve with lemon, if desired.

Published in Landscaping
Tuesday, 17 June 2014 08:15

Grow a Lush Privacy Screen

No need to wait forever for patio privacy the green way. These 10 ideas from Christine Tusher, a houzz contibutor, will get your screening up and running in no time.  Read more: http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/23910734/list/Grow-a-Lush-Privacy-Screen

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Privacy Screening, Evergreens and Perennials, Winnetka, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes

 

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Privacy Screen Ideas, Wood Fence with Outdoor Artwork and Raised Plant Beds Barrington, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes

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Privacy Screen Ideas, Stone Wall with Water Feature, Barrington Hills, IL. Schmechtig Landscapes

Published in Landscaping

Designing a gorgeous container garden is easy once you know this simple rule of thumb for composition. Here are some tips from Houzz contributor Margie Grace, read more:  http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/2758270/list/The-Secret-Formula-for-Grouping-Plants-in-a-Pot

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Front Entrance Container Pot Ideas, Winnetka, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes

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Front Entrance Container Pot Ideas, Winnetka, IL., Schmechtig Landscapes

Published in Landscaping
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