Posts tagged ‘food’

May 3, 2012

we like peas

due to our being “in transition mode” i only planted one 4′ row of bush peas this year.  i thought we’d at least get enough for one or two meals.  i still have some yet to harvest, but yesterday this was all we got:

just enough to garnish some penne pasta with shallots, pancetta, and alfredo sauce.

after i picked them, i set the bucket down on the porch to tend to something else in the garden.

i guess we aren’t the only ones who love fresh peas.

April 26, 2012

portable property

even though we are tentatively planning on moving late this summer, i couldn’t bear the thought of a summer without tomatoes, which, if all goes as planned, would be  coming on just as we’re getting ready to leave.

i’ve heard through the grapevine that this could potentially be the summer for tomatoes.  the last two years in a row the weather here has been so hot, and the spider mites so bad, that few tomatoes were to be had. but this year, this year, could be… The Year.  and i don’t want to miss out.  i decided to plant them all in plastic buckets, so that, come time to move, we can bring them along.

i purchased a series of plastic five gallon buckets at lowe’s and husby drilled holes in the bottom  to allow for drainage.


i then loaded them up with soil, dug a little hole and added some egg shells for a calcium boost.  this was a little trick i learned  that helps eliminate blossom end rot.  it really does work.


i put in the plants,  labeled them….


set the cage around the plant, and placed them in the back of the yard where they should receive the needed 6-8 hours of sun a day.

in addition to one ancho pepper plant, i have two roma tomatoes, and four cherokee purples.  we decided to add some grape tomatoes, and i wanted to give something new and funky (for us at least) a try: a cream sausage tomato.

the buckets, along with all the other things i have in pots in preparation for the move, really make the yard look junkie, but, they are happily growing and i’m keeping my fingers crossed for homemade spaghetti sauce (the romas), and roasted tomato pie (the cherokee purples) prepared in our new kitchen late this summer.

April 24, 2012

my kale has started going to seed.  we usually eat it up rather quickly.  but this spring i just haven’t been harvesting it as often.

who knew that red russian kale produced such pretty little blossoms?

who knew that this kale,

this cole crop, whose cooked “aroma”  hangs in the kitchen for days afterward,

when combined with blue batchelor’s buttons that have self seeded,

could be




April 7, 2012

lovely lettuces all in a row…

from back to front: red velvet, yugoslavian butterhead, and amish deer tongue.  i’ve worked on these since february.  we’ll probably consume them in about a week.   i definitely need more space….

April 5, 2012

menu for a spring luncheon

ginger marinated pork tenderloin

french potato salad

sesame seed asparagus

angel food cake with strawberries

the original inspiration for this meal  fixed for a recent family dinner was from a cooking class i attended some years ago.  i particularly remember this class, sitting on a stool at a large counter feeling much like a dumpy housewife, when in swept a rail thin, beautifully dressed middle aged woman with a designer bag.  as the class progressed,  i felt so intimidated.

until she opened her mouth.

the instructor was stirring something with a simple wooden spoon.  thin lady asked: “so, this spoon, is this something all good cooks use? and are they very expensive?”  i just about fell off my stool.  she obviously thought this was basic cooking 101.  i mean really.  a wooden spoon???  it was all i could do not to holler “oh my goodness madam. yes.  we all have one.  i have six. and they each cost more than your bag.”

while the class wasn’t general cooking, the menu presented wasn’t terribly difficult either.  i make it often in the spring, and even made it once for easter dinner using chicken instead of the pork.    while the potato salad is served warm or at room temperature, it can be made a day ahead, and the pork can be marinated overnight. you then have time to finish cleaning the house, decorate, and set the table.

once the meat is put in the oven the day of the meal, all that needs to be done is the asparagus and the strawberries for the cake, which i confess, was store bought.  if you want to make an angel food cake from scratch then, yes, a bit more effort is required, and (in my honest opinion) more power to ya.

french potato salad

the red and white potatoes are optional, but they add a very nice touch. i used mini yukon golds instead of white and they were wonderful.

1 pound of small white boiling potatoes

1 pound of small red boiling potatoes

2 tablespoons good dry white wine

2 tablespoons of chicken stock

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon of dijon mustard

2 teaspoons of kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

10 tablespoons of olive oil

1/4 cup of minced scallions; green and white parts

2 tablespoons minced fresh dill

2 tablespoons of minced fresh parsley

2 tablespoons chiffonade of fresh basil leaves

bring a large pot of salted water to boil.  add the red and white potatoes and cook for 20-30 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork.  drain in a colander, and place a towel over them to steam for an additional 1o minutes.  when cool enough to handle cut into halves or quarters (if the potatoes are large) and place in a medium bowl.  toss gently with the wine and chicken stock.  allow the liquids to soak into the warm potatoes before proceeding.

combine the vinegar, mustard, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper and slowly whisk in the olive oil.  add the vinaigrette to the potatoes.  add the scallions, dill, parsley, basil, and salt and pepper and toss.  serve warm or at room temperature.

serves 4-6

ginger marinated pork tenderloin

1 cup of honey

3/4 cup of soy sauce

1/4 cup of minced garlic (about 12 cloves)

1/2 cup of fresh grated ginger root

3 pounds of pork tenderloin ( i used two; 1 1/2 pounds each)

combine the honey, soy sauce, garlic, and ginger.  pour over the tenderloin and cover.

allow to marinate overnight.  remove pork to foil lined baking sheet.  if desired, pour some of the marinade over the pork and discard the remainder.   bake at  375 degrees for 30-45 minutes or until pork reaches desired internal temperature (mine is 160 degrees).  do not overbake.

serves 4-6

sesame seed asparagus

1 pound of fresh asparagus

2 tablespoons of toasted sesame seeds

2 teaspoons of sesame seed oil, plus more as desired

salt and pepper to taste

lightly steam asparagus; drain, and arrange on serving platter.  season with salt and pepper.  sprinkle with sesame seeds, and drizzle with the sesame seed oil.   serve immediately.

serves 4-6

angel food cake with strawberries

make the strawberries earlier in the day so the juices have time to release.

1 prepared angel food cake

8 oz. of strawberries

2 tablespoons of sugar

1 cup of whipping cream

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla

slice cake and arrange on serving dish or platter.  wash, hull, and slice strawberries.  sprinkle with sugar and set aside.  pour cream into mixing bowl.  add powdered sugar and vanilla.  whip just until stiff peaks form.  to serve, spoon berries over a slice of cake and top with the whipped cream.

April 2, 2012

my travel diary

as i have said before my husband travels extensively with his job.  i knew this when i married him.  it was part of the deal.  normally though he would just travel once or twice a month, so the time away was manageable especially since he offices from our home; so when he is home, he’s home.  lately though,  his time away has increased to every single week.  this isn’t as doable for us so every so often i  tag along in order to spend more time together.   i love tagging along.  it gives me the chance to see where he stays, where he works, and the restaurants he frequents so that when he comes home and talks about these things,  i can better visualize where he has been.

last week i tagged along.   i had the wonderful privilege of spending five days in hurst, tx with my sweetie.  hurst, in case you didn’t know (i didn’t), is a suburb of dallas. now, i’ve already done the dallas thing the last time i tagged along: neiman marcus, sixth floor museum, and all that.  so this week was a bit more, how can i say, low key.  which was lovely because, truth be told: i’m not really into shopping and sight seeing.  i hate to shop unless it is for groceries or plants; and my idea of sight-seeing is to look at restored older homes.

so without further ado: these are the hilights of my trip; i present to you my humble  travel diary:

day 1:  arrived at hotel.  i then ummmm….took a bubble bath and finished my book.   had dinner at my husband’s monday night haunt.




day 2:  ran moday night’s dinner (veal parmesan) off while on the treadmill.  decided i love the convenience of a treadmill.  began figuring out how we can have a treadmill on our farm…battled the dallas traffic to get to central market where i had lunch outside while reading up on keeping chickens.  shopped.  bought, mushroom flavored finishing salt and tea biscuits, among many other fabulous foodie things.  battled the traffic to get home, and was nearly caught in a wreck.  was so traumatized i spent the afternoon at the hotel watching tv.  we don’t own a tv, so we don’t obviously watch much.  it was the first time i’ve ever seen paula deen in action.  i was mesmerized by this woman with big eyes and a molasses thick southern accent, using prolific amounts of butter.  i still……can’t get over it.   had an absolutely beautiful candlelit dinner with my sweetie at a french bistro: complete with escargot and floating island for dessert.

day 3: ran tuesday  night’s dinner off while on the treadmill.  still want a treadmill.  still traumatized by dallas traffic.  so much so that i seriously considered skipping the dallas arboretum.  gathered my courage, and my gps, and mapquest directions, prayed hard, and went to the arboretum.  i. was. floored.  it was amazing.  took dozens of photos and decided that we will not keep chickens and plant vegetables, we will have ten acres of amazing gardens instead.  now to figure out how to assemble a staff….. purchased some texas wildflower seeds to see how they will do here in oklahoma.  had barbeque for dinner at another one of husbie’s weekly haunts.

day 4: ran wednesday night’s dinner off while on the treadmill.  come hell or high water we are getting a treadmill.  and a tv. and cable.  so i can watch the food network while burning calories.  spent the entire day “off” working on my cross stitch while watching (you guessed it) paula deen.  and occasionally ina garten whom i am coming to admire almost as much as julia child.  made a brief excursion out to a cupcake bar where i ordered nothing more than one chocolate cupcake with chocolate buttercream and one vanilla with chocolate buttercream.  my only adventurous ingredient was reeces pieces sprinkled on top which i regretted.  what can i say?  i’m a purist.  had a lovely dinner sitting outside where i discovered blackberry mojitos. omg ya’ll (said with a southern crack like paula deen).  i now have a new favorite cocktail.  move over pomegranate martinis….

day 5: ran thursday night’s dinner and mojitos off while on the treadmill.  contemplated where to shop for our new treadmill and where to put it in my tiny barn-cottage.   showered, packed, crammed my central market groceries into my suitcase.  decided on one final fling: lunch at the new in and out burger across the street.  in and out was closed: not to open for another eight days, so i spent an hour trying to find something else, getting lost, panicking, battling traffic, and getting lost again.  ended up very frazzled at starbucks where i settled for a “bistro box”.   met up with husbie and made our way to the airport for home.  uneventful flight where i caught up on my chicken garden book.  spent the evening on the back porch, looking at our overgrown yard,  and planning the upcoming week.

March 20, 2012

10 ways to welcome spring…

in my part of the world it has gone from winter cold to very warm, very fast.  we almost seem to have bypassed spring and gone straight into early summer.  nevertheless these are some things i’m looking forward to doing this spring when we aren’t busy planning the building of and move to our farm:

  1. opening all the windows and airing out the house
  2. while the windows are open, giving the house a good clean from top to bottom
  3. washing, starching, and ironing the curtains so they look pretty when they catch the breeze from the open windows
  4. (so as not to focus completely on housekeeping) getting a pedicure and having my toes painted pink
  5. making deviled eggs
  6. going for long walks and taking in the blooming daffodils, tulips, dogwoods, and redbud trees
  7. planting a vegetable garden
  8. making a pretty spring wreath for the front door
  9. mowing the lawn, then sitting out on the back porch and enjoying the smell of the cut grass
  10. flying a kite

happy first day of spring!  what are your plans from now until summer?

March 12, 2012

am i the only one…

who owns potholders that look like they have been through a war?

who purchases packages of chocolate chips that never quite make it into cookies?

who adds items to a list –  items already accomplished just for the sheer thrill of being able to cross them off?

who laments about her weight while shoveling that fourth cookie into her mouth?

whose library books are always overdue?

who, upon entering the house, makes a mad dash to turn off the beeping security system even though it is only 50 feet from the door, and you have a full 60 seconds to get to the key pad?

who spends the week lecturing one’s self on portion control only to purchase a package of cheese puffs without guilt simply because they are labeled “organic”?

who rinses a single dish and then feels a facebook break is well deserved?

…please tell me i am not.

October 21, 2011

random thoughts for a friday morning

~this is my first and only post for this week.  i am lagging behind in several areas; we’re also going through a stressful time and some days i feel like i am furiously treading water just barely keeping my chin above the surface.  i have had posts lined up but lacked the time or energy to write them out and publish.

~i feel like socializing about as much as i feel like writing.  i have one more social obligation lined up for this  year, and then i plan to drop off the face of the earth until january at which time i will come up for air.  hopefully.

~today is my husband’s birthday.  he is younger than i am but other than that we can never remember how old we are.  birthday traditions here include a dinner of your choice usually prepared together while listening to jazz.  since my husband is in meetings all day and his dinner of choice is an all day thing, i am going to make it for him: spare ribs braised with red onion, bacon, and guiness; mashed potatoes, and boston cream cupcakes.

~our first hard frost (or last depending on how you look at it) was  yesterday morning.  my beautiful wedding white zinnias are finished for the year.

~i am in the process of deep cleaning my house.  it takes more time than one would think.  by the time i am finally finished it will be time to start all over again.

~redbook has launched a publicity campaign for infertility called “the truth about trying”.  when i discovered it, i stood on my chair and applauded.  you can see it here.

September 30, 2011

from the cookbooks on my shelf

it’s friday!  the last friday in september and a lovely fall day.  actually the fall weather is still a bit slow in coming on and i have worried about  my cool weather crops that prefer lower daytime temps.  i’ve been bitten by the fall bug this weekend however, and am tempted to set aside some time to bake something and get to making that fall wreath for the door (subject of a future post).  i’m also in the middle of a Pantry Project that really needs to be completed (also the subject of a future post) so i’m not sure yet whether that will win out over my desire for pumpkin cookies? cake? muffns? or not.

now to a cookbook review…

it is no secret that i love to cook.  i love to cook with recipes.  i’m not usually one to strike out on my own and attempt something original, i like to go by the book.  i do though have a small kitchen and i have never seen the point of owning an entire library of cookbooks that are never used, so i am very choosy about what goes on my single cookbook shelf above my sink.   i like to choose books that are a resource on one specific type of cooking (say french bistro or breads) or an excellent general resource on the basics.  neiman marcus taste  by kevin garvin is one of those great general resources.

how i came to own it: this was given to me a few years ago as a christmas gift from my sister.

why it stays on the shelf as opposed to being relegated to the “give away” pile: in addition to this being a beautiful book (it could sit on a coffee table) it is loaded with some amazing recipes.   while not exhaustive, it does contain a wide variety from appetizers, to salads, entrees, and desserts.  i have to say their cookie recipes are exceptional (orange marmalade cookies anyone?).  the majority of the recipes are taken from helen corbitt’s (the original food director of neiman marcus in the 5o’s and 60’s) files and updated by the current director kevin garvin, along with some family favorites of his own.  i had the privilege of lunching last year at the flagship neiman marcus and passed garvin in the elevator wearing his chef’s whites.  i did not have the nerve to tell him “i have your cookbook!!” but i did stare in a most pop-eyed unladylike fashion.

to whom i would recommend this book: a fellow foodie.  someone who enjoys cooking as well as presentation.  this is not for someone who counts calories, or is on a restricted diet; and while the recipes are rated according to skill level, this would not be for someone just starting out in the kitchen.

i would also add: nearly every recipe is photographed, the book contains a very interesting history about the neiman marcus restaurants.  and just for what it’s worth and just in case you were wondering:  the book does not contain the recipe for the (urban) legendary $250 neiman marcus cookie.

my rating: four spoons (out of five)

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