Saturday, July 31, 2010

Weekend Cat Blogging #269


Smudge is sure that I am finished working in the yard, and that it is time to head back inside to the air conditioning.

And you know what else time it is???  It’s time for Weekend Cat Blogging hosted by me!!!  


So, put you’re link in the Linky thing and join the party!! 

Friday, July 30, 2010

Herbed Lemon Vinegar

Herbed Lemon Vinegar 

As my summer comes to an end, **SOB** I start trying to put things up for winter.  I look for ways to have the herby goodness from my herb bed all winter long.  One of my very, very favorite ways is to make infused oils and vinegars.  They are so versatile, you can use them in marinades, dressing, glazes, use them to deglaze a pan or simple splash on some veggies before roasting. 

When I had some gorgeous, gorgeous lemons to use up, I made preserved lemons with most of them and then with the 2 I had left over I made this vinegar.  I found the recipe in my favorite preserving book:  The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving: Over 300 Recipes to Use Year-Round


Since this has to sit in the dark for a few weeks, I can’t tell you if it’s good or not, but just look at it!!  I expect big things from this, and I am sure it will deliver!

Herbed Lemon Vinegar

  • 2 lemons
  • 2 cups white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon drilled dill weed, basil, rosemary or tarragon, or 4 small sprigs of fresh herbs (I used fresh tarragon)
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced (optional – I included them!)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar

Finely zest the lemons and then thinly slice them.  Combine the zest, lemon slices, vinegar, herbs and garlic in a medium non-reactive pot.  Bring to a boil over high heat, remove from heat and let cool.

Pour into a clean jar.  Cover and steep in a cool, dark place for several weeks.  Taste it occasionally and when it is as strong as you would like, strain and discard the solids.  Heat the vinegar with sugar until the sugar is dissolved.  Pour into a clean jar with a tight fitting lid and store in the refrigerator.



This will be my entry for Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum!


Cookbook Used:

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Quinoa Salad with Scallops, Corn and Bacon

Quinoa salad

I love lists.  Love them.  I always have a to-do list.  I have been know to wake up in the middle of the night to add to my to-do list.  I have also been known to add something to it that I have already completed, just so that I can scratch it off.  When I got my new phone, the first thing I looked for was a to-do list app.  You should have seen my list at the beginning of summer.  Such optimism I had.  I am saddened to say that several of the things on the list, have been dutifully moved over every day, and now will probably continue to be dutifully moved every day until the beginning of next summer.  Except for one.  I finally cleaned out and inventoried my freezers!!  The stacks of jars lining my counter, to be cleaned out and washed was impressive.  Bacon grease from 2004!   Labels in my oldest daughter’s handwriting, and she hasn’t lived with us in 8 years! 

I know, you’re wondering what is the point of this only somewhat interesting rambling.  I have a point.  And that point is that while cleaning out my freezer, I found a half a bag of those tiny scallops (I think they’re called bay scallops), so I used them.  Yeah, it took me a whole paragraph to get to this. 

quinoa salad

Once I found the scallops, I searched through pantry and fridge.  I found some quinoa, bacon, and a couple of ears of CSA corn.  If you don’t know about organic corn, let me tell you that it has worms.  Big worms.  After last summer’s worm scare, I now cut off the top 3-4 inches (and even then, I have cut a worm in half – ewww).   This ended up being really good!  So, good that I immediately went and added quinoa to my grocery list. 

Quinoa with Scallops, Corn and Bacon

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/2 ears fresh corn (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 pound bay scallops
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 slices bacon, diced
  • 1 jalapeƱo diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • lime wedges for serving

Cook quinoa per package directions.  (I used 2 cups water, boiling, added the quinoa and cooked for 15 minutes on simmer, turned off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes).

While quinoa is cooking, slowly brown the bacon in skillet over medium heat.  When browned, remove with a slotted spoon.  Add onions and cook until softened, then add pepper and corn.  Saute for a few minutes to blend flavors and add scallops.  Cook until scallops are cook through, about 3-5 minutes.  Stir in quinoa, bacon and fresh basil, and salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with lime wedges.


This will be my entry for Souper Sundays (Soup, Salad, or Sammie) hosted by Deb at Kahakai Kitchen.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What Was it Wednesday

You’re looking at January 22, 2009.  Spelt. 

You may also notice the Christmas cactus in the background, and what looks suspiciously like Patchouli fur in the lower right.

This was also January 22, 2009.  I take it that this is cooked spelt.  I have no idea what I did with it.  Maybe a salad??  What does one do with cooked spelt?

****What Was it Wednesday – my attempt to work my way through my backlog of cooking photos.  Photos so old, that you’re guess is as good as mine!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Garden Tuesday – Indoors this week! Winner Announced!!

It’s crazy hot here people.  I go outside and my camera lens fogs over from the heat!  So, this week a couple of photos from inside my house, if you don’t mind! 

First up is my orchid!  Isn’t it pretty?  It was a gift from middle daughter for Mother’s Day and it’s still gorgeous!  I have never had an orchid before so I have no idea how long this thing will keep blooming!


And next are some flowers given to me by a new, but very dear to me friend!  She has just started blogging, so if you’d like, give her a visit and tell her Pam sent you, At Grace’s Table.


And a bit of terrible, horrible, very bad, no good, news.  This is my last week of summer!!  Where did it go?  It seems like only yesterday I posted with glee about the beginning of summer and you all wished me well.  Well, wish me well again people please.  I happen to know a few of the students who are going to be in 8th grade and I am going to need all the well wishes that I can get.  I have actually prayed every single night that a certain student move out of our zone.  So, tonight if you could add a little “please let Pam have a good school year” to your now-I-lay-me-down-to-sleeps, I would appreciate it ever so much.

AND lastly some good news, look how I kept you reading...aren't I sneaky. My random org generator picked numbers 4 and 20 for the giveway! Congrats to Barbara and The Empress, please email me at sidewalkshoes2(AT)gmail(DOT)com and I will forward them on to the Girard's people. Thanks for playing along!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Quick Pickled Cucumbers

Quick Pickled Cucumbers

If you were to open up my refrigerator right now, you would probably find at least 6 different jars of veggies in various stages of pickling.  I adore pickling.  Love it with a passion.  There is no quicker or easier way to preserve vegetables.  When my CSA overloads me with something, I invariably slice it up, blanch if needed, make a quick pickling brine, put the veggies in a jar, pour the brine over them, and store in the fridge.  Now, the veggies that I was under the gun to eat in a week or two can now sit for a month or two in my fridge and be eaten at leisure. 

But even with all this pickling going on, I still find the need for a quick pickle every now and then for a super fast side dish.  Enter Mark Bittman and his Quick Pickled Vegetables from How To Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food.  I used cucumbers for this and they came out delightfully crisp, a little salty, a little sweet.  This will be my go-to quick pickle from now on!

Quick Pickled Vegetables

  • 1 pound cucumber, zucchini, summer squash, or eggplant
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill, or 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 2 teaspoons any vinegar

Wash the vegetables, peel if you’d like and thinly slice (a mandoline is recommended, but I just used my mad knife skills).  Place them in a colander and salt them, toss them and sort of rub the salt in and over all of them.

Let them sit for 15-30 minutes, tossing and squeezing every few minutes.  When they stop oozing liquid, rinse them well in cold water and place in a bowl. 

Toss them with the sugar, dill and vinegar, and serve immediately, this does not keep well.

This will be my entry for I Heart Cooking Clubs!

And Real Food Wednesdays


And  Two For Tuesdays

**** And don’t forget you have till Noon today (EST) to enter my GIVEAWAY!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Weekend Wine Reviews #28

Anakena Sauvignon Blanc

Anakena, Chile, Sauvignon Blanc, 2008, $7.99.  They say:  Fresh gooseberry and wild-blossom aromas, bursting with rip fruit and freshness.  We say:  we are saddened that we have no idea what a gooseberry tastes like, but we pick up tropical fruits, citrus, very light and fresh.  Buy again:  yes!

***And don't forget to ENTER MY GIVEAWAY!!!!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Weekend Cat Blogging #268


A well-groomed kitty cat.


Is a ……


Contented kitty cat.

Smudge demonstrating the fine art of kitty grooming for Weekend Cat Blogging!



This will be my entry for Weekend Cat Blogging hosted by Nikita Cat.

***And don't forget to ENTER MY GIVEAWAY!!!!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Apple Chicken Salad Plus a Girard’s GIVEAWAY!!!


You know what food bloggers love???  Food bloggers love to try new foodie things.  We just do, that’s a fact.  I might even try liver if it was offered to me…no never mind, scratch that!!  But when I had the opportunity to try Girard’s Salad Dressings, I didn’t even have to think about it!  When I learned that they had partnered with Epicurious to create Everyday Elegance, it was even better!

The first thing I did was take pictures of the dressings, because they were so pretty all lined up!   Which do you prefer??

Overexposed, but still totally cool, or more normal:


Then, after carrying my dressings around all over the house and photographing them, I settled in on finding a recipe.  The dressings came with some recipe cards and that seemed like a fine a way to start.  I immediately settled on Apple Chicken Salad because I had some leftover rotisserie chicken in the fridge.   I had everything I needed to make it except for the cheddar cheese, which I just left off.  Very good!!!  The dressing was light and flavorful, not overly sweet, and I really like the combination of the cabbage and the salad greens.  

Apple Chicken Salad

  • 1/2 cup Girard’s Apple Poppyseed Vinaigrette
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped dates or other dried fruit (I used apricots)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups chopped cabbage
  • 4 cups mixed salad greens
  • 1/4 cup peels of age white cheddar (or not, if you don’t have it!)

Preheat oven to 350 and roast nuts on a baking sheet for 5 to 7 minutes, until toasted (or use a dry skillet, which is what I always do).  Cool and chop.

Mix with the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl, toss to combine.  Serve with the cheese on top.

Serves 4-6

Are you still reading???  OF COURSE YOU ARE, you are waiting to hear about the giveaway, aren’t you?  Well, 2 lucky people will receive 3 dressing flavors and the signature Champagne dressing!!!  All you have to do is leave a comment on this post.  You can leave extra comments if you tweet about it, or Facebook it, or blog about it.  I will randomly choose two comments on Monday, July 26th at 12 noon EST in the US.  (Also this is only open to US residents). 


This is why I will not be doing any professional food photography – don’t you love how I cut off their name.  Yeah, I got talent.

And besides having this fabulous giveaway, I am also entering this post into some events, because I am a genius multi-tasker.


This will be my entry for Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum!


And for  Souper Sundays (Soup, Salad, or Sammie) hosted by Deb at Kahakai Kitchen.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Orzo with Roasted Shrimp and Tomatoes

Orzo with Shrimp and Tomatoes

You can tell by that title that I made this up, can’t you?  My titles are nothing more than lists of what’s in the dish.  Of course the title could have read, “Orzo with Roasted Shrimp, Tomatoes, and Garlic with Feta and Fresh Basil.” So see, I did good in editing! 

This is my kind of weeknight pasta dish.  One pan (other than the pasta pot, which I totally do not count), one bowl, dinner on the table.  The beauty of this recipe is that you can modify it in a bunch of different ways:  different herbs, different cheese, different veggies with the tomatoes.  I just made this up on the fly as I surveyed my freezer and fridge, feel free to experiment and be creative!

Pam’s Orzo with Roasted Shrimp and Tomatoes

  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked orzo (this is a guess, I just used what I had left in a jar)
  • about 4 cups of quartered Roma tomatoes (or whatever you have, this just happened to be about how much I had)
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled and quartered (more or less to taste)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped (more or less to taste)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (more or less to taste)

Preheat oven to 375.  Place tomatoes and garlic on a sheet pan and toss to coat with a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper.  Roast for about 30 minutes.

Scoot tomatoes and garlic to the side and add shrimp to the pan, toss it with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and even some red pepper flakes if you’d like.  Bump oven temp up to 450 and roast for 8-10 minutes.

While shrimp is cooking, cook orzo according to directions.  Add orzo to a bowl and when shrimp is done, scrape shrimp and tomatoes into bowl (I kind of squished up the garlic, so there wouldn’t be any big chunks).  Toss with the fresh basil.  To serve, sprinkle with the cheese and extra salt and pepper to taste.


This will be my entry for this week’s Presto Pasta Nights hosted by Janet at The Taste Space.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What Was it Wednesday?

You’re looking at January 21, 2009.  Biscotti obviously.  You can see my pink Christmas cactus still in bloom in the background.  Now, I’m thinking about Christmas!  It will be here before you know it, people! 

****What Was it Wednesday – my attempt to go through my backlog of cooking photos, photos so hold I don’t remember what they were!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Garden Tuesday – Random Garden Pics

Rose of Sharon.

Purple Cone Flower

Purple cone flower with assorted insects!

Butterfly bush

Butterfly bush.

Hosta with bee

Mr. Bee on hosta flower.

And last, but not least, Mr. Bunny.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Salmon Roasted in Butter

Salmon Roasted with Butter

You know what I love??  I love when you discover a technique, a method that you know you will use over and over.  I like to be able to say, “oh a boneless, skinless chicken breast?  Here is the best way to cook that.”  Well, I can now say it about salmon.  Yes, there are may ways:  pan-fried, steamed, grilled, roasted…to name a few.  But from now on, if I don’t have a particular recipe I am following this is my salmon of choice – super easy and super tasty, you can’t go wrong.

The technique is simple and genius, so of course if comes from How To Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Foodby Mark Bittman.  All you do is heat some butter in a skillet, toss in some fresh herbs, add the salmon flesh side down, and pop it into a 475 degree oven, after 5 minutes, flip and cook for 3 to 6 minutes more.  Genius.  Perfectly cooked salmon, with a lovely herby butter flavor.  I served this on top of some roasted green beans and a fresh tomato salad.  Perfect.

Salmon Roasted in Butter

  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 2-3 pound salmon fillet, skin on (I had 4 little fillets)
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 2-4 tablespoons of a chopped fresh herb (I used tarragon)

Preheat the oven to 475.  Melt the butter in an oven safe skillet (cast iron is perfect)  or roasting pan, until the foam subsides.   Add the herbs.

Place the salmon in the butter flesh side down and put the pan in the oven.  Roast for about 5 minutes, then turn and roast for 3 to 6 minutes more.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve with the extra butter sauce dribbled on top. 


This will be my entry for Two For Tuesdays!

And Real Food  Wednesdays.


And  for I Heart Cooking Clubs!


Cookbook used:

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Weekend Wine Reviews #27

Vintjs, Russian River Valley, Chardonnay, 2008, $4.99.  The say:  green apple and tropical fruit flavors.  We say:  buttery, tropical fruit.  Buy again: yes!

Gnarly Head Chardonnay, 2007, California.  They say:  full bodied Chardonnay offers waves of flavor.  Bright tropical flavors of pineapple and citrus followed by a zingy ginger accent and hints of toasted graham cracker and vanilla on a creamy finish.  We say: very light and refreshing.  We don’t know the price on this since it was given to us by our MFDB (most favorite daughter’s boyfriend).  Buy again:  yes. 

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Weekend Cat Blogging #267

It’s hot.  We have been in the upper 90’s for at least two solid weeks.  Patchouli goes out every morning about 6:30 and then comes back in around 10.  She quietly disappears and I find her later on the antique green chair in a cool corner of the bedroom.  She spends from about 10am till about 3Pm stretched out on that chair.  I told you she was a smart kitty cat.



This will be my entry for Weekend Cat Blogging hosted by Othello at Paulchens FoodBlog?!.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Presto Pasta Nights #172 Round Up

Well, it’s here folks, the moment you’ve been waiting for!!  The weekly round up of Presto Pasta Nights, number 172!!!  

Unfortunately, I must begin with an apology.  If you’ve visiting before when I’ve hosted, you may know that I try to write some witty paragraph about each post.  But I am insanely busy.  For those of you that don’t know, I am having new hardwood floors put in our house and new kitchen countertops.  So, I have to pack up the entire contents of our first floor and move it to another level of the house.  I have stuff.  Lots and lots of stuff.  So, since I couldn’t give the whole paragraph writing thing the effort it deserves, I decided to just let the pictures speak for themselves. 

Check it out people, there is some good stuff here!


Pasta with Shrimps

Katerina from Athens, Greece, her blog Culinary Flavors, with Pasta with Shrimps.


Supper in the Garden

Judith from Think On It, with Supper in the Garden.


Powerhouse Pasta

Heather from Girlichef with Powerhouse Pasta.


Leek Cannelloni

Gilli from So So Simple Food with Leek Cannelloni made with Fresh Pasta!!


I can't believe it's pasta 

Abbhi from Soulful Creations with I Can’t Believe It’s Pasta.


Pasta with Bacon, Spinach, and Breadcrumbs

Maggie at Maggie’s Country Kitchen with Pasta with Bacon, Spinach, and Breadcrumbs.


Watercress, Bok Choy Pasta Salad

Tigerfish from Teczcape – An Escape to Food with Watercress, Bok Choy and Cabbage Pasta Salad.


Pinoy Style Spaghetti

Ela from Everything’s Herbed with Pinoy Style Spaghetti.


Kamut Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce

Lisa from Lisa’s Kitchen, brings us Kamut Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce


Joanne from Eats Well With Others with Baked Zucchini Macaroni and Cheese.


Carla and Michael from Recipe Addict with Cheese Tortellini with Sausage Ragu.


Daphne from More Than Words with Chicken Noodle Soup.


Jean from Lemons and Anchovies with Spaghetti with Fresh Tomatoes, Herbs, Olives, and Capers.


Julie from A Little Bit of Everything with Pasta with Garlic Scape and Basil Pesto.


Sherra from Our Taste of Life with a home version of Fish Head Bee Hoon with a Creamy Pasta Soup.


Reeni from Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice with Ravioli Gnudi with Walnut Sauce.


Deb from Kahakai Kitchen with a Greek Style Orzo Pasta Salad.


Chaya from My Sweet and Savory with Thai Taste as You Go.


Denise from Oh Taste N  See brings us Spaghetti with Spinach and Meatballs in Roasted Tomato Sauce.


And last, but not least we have Margaret from Tea and Scones with Seafood Fettuccini.

Yeah.  See what I mean.  Amazing stuff!   If you’re sitting there thinking, “Wow, what a fabulous pasta party, I’m soooo doing this next week,” then this is your lucky day.  You can go to Presto Pasta Nights to see the how-to’s and send your entry to Janet at The Taste Space.   Send your entries to saveur11 (at) yahoo (dot) ca and cc ruth (at) 4everykitchen (dot) com by July 22.  Easy peasy.