Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Garden Tuesday - Cleome


Are you looking for an easy plant?  You need to look no further than cleome.  It is a wonderful old-fashioned plant that sort of acts like zinnias.  If you’ve grown zinnias before you know what I mean.  One year, I bought a package of cleome seeds and sprinkled them on my bed, and have been rewarded every year with massive fields of these flowers.  I do have to pretty much pull them up like weeds, but it doesn’t feel heartless since there are so many.  The bees and the hummingbirds love them! 

P.S. Yesterday, Joanne asked me what two cookbooks I wishlisted, while exclaiming that I wasn't even using cookbooks anymore. The answer is: Urban Pantry: Tips and Recipes for a Thrifty, Sustainable and Seasonal Kitchen and Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours and for those of you wondering...they are no longer on my wishlist, they are on their way to me. I can't help it. Truly I can't.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Nick Usner’s Pan-Fried Fish with Squash Salsa

Pan-fried fish with squash salsa

Okay, don’t tell my husband, but I’m kind of wondering why I have all my cookbooks.  See, all mine are packed away, except for a milk crate full of favorites.  In the chaos that is my house right now, I find it so much easy to just go to Real Simple, or Martha Stewart, or Epicurious, or Eating Well and just find and print off a recipe. 

It’s crazy easy.  Last week, I found myself with an abundance of squash (I’m sure there are lots of you with this same lovely predicament), so I just went to a few favorite sites, typed in squash or zucchini and within minutes had a stack of printed off recipes.  Hugely quicker than going to my books, pulling them off the shelf, searching through the index, looking at the recipe, and then repeating about twenty times till I found the one I wanted.  I’m concerned.  What is going to happen when I finally unpack all my cookbooks.  Are they going to be dusty and unloved?  What does it say about me that even while feeling all this, I went and added two new cookbooks to my wishlist on Amazon? 

pan-fried fish with squash salsa

So anyway, one of the recipes I found was, Nick Usner’s Pan-Fried Fish with Squash Salsa at Real Simple.  This was wonderful.  Quick and easy and delightfully fresh.  The only thing I changed was that I used a tablespoon of my hot chili oil to spice up the salsa a bit and I used an entire small red onion. 

Nick Usner’s Pan-Fried Fish with Squash Salsa

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 medium summer squash, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 small red onion, chopped
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 4 3- to 4-ounce skinless catfish fillets

    Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini, squash, bell pepper, onion, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, tossing occasionally, until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and refrigerate until cool. Wipe out the skillet.

    In a medium bowl, toss the cooled vegetables with the vinegar, parsley, basil, and 2 tablespoons of the oil.

    Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Season the fish with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook until opaque throughout, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Serve with the salsa.

    Serves 4


    This will be my entry for Two For Tuesdays!


  • Sunday, August 29, 2010

    Weekend Wine Reviews #32

    La Vuelta

    La Vuelta, Unoaked Chardonnay, 2009, Mendoza Argentina, $7.99. They say:  This fresh crisp wine holds in perfect harmony the flavors of tropical fruit, green apple, and pineapple.  These are complimented by a well-constructed palate that is rich and full-bodied.  We say:  buttery, fruity, light.  Excellent!  Love it!  Buy again:  definitely!

    Saturday, August 28, 2010

    Weekend Cat Blogging #273


    Do you want to know what is more stressful to kitty cats then having a new floor put in?  Nothing.  The noise, the hammering, the people.  Big, scary, unknown people.  It is enough to completely wear out a poor little kitty cat.

    But it’s all done, and Patchouli is celebrating both the floors and the me and hubby’s 23 wedding anniversary!  Yep!  It’s just me and the kitty cats because hubby went to a beer festival, which some of you may remember I can’t attend because  alcohol makes me sleepy.



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

    Friday, August 27, 2010

    Freezer Bread and Butter Pickles

    Freezer Bread and Butter Pickles

    I’ve made freezer cucumbers before, so I thought, “why not?” when I saw this recipe for Freezer Bread and Butter Pickles in my very, very, favoritest and bestest preserving book, The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving: Over 300 Recipes to Use Year-Round

    Now, I can’t tell you freezerwise, how they turn out, because they are snuggled deep in my freezer waiting for the middle of winter to be opened for a breath of fresh, summer pickles.  But I can tell you that the half a jar that I placed in the fridge, has been fabulous! 

    Freezer Bread and Butter Pickles

    • 4 cups thinly sliced cucumbers
    • 1 cup thinly sliced onion
    • 1 sweet red bell pepper, thinly sliced
    • 2 tsp pickling salt
    • 1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
    • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 tsp mustard seeds
    • 1/2 tsp celery seeds
    • 1/2 tsp turmeric

    Place the cucumbers, onion and red pepper in a large non-reactive container.  Sprinkle with salt and mix well.  Let stand for 3 hours, stirring every so often, and then drain.  Rinse twice and drain thoroughly.

    Heat the vinegar in a microwave for about 30 seconds or warm slightly on your stove.  Combine the vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, celery seeds and turmeric in small bowl and stir until the sugar is dissolved.

    Pack the vegetables into small freezer containers.  Divide the liquid and poor over the pickles, seal tightly and freeze.

    Store pickles up to 6 months.  Once thawed, use them within several days or they will lose their crunch.

    Makes about 3 cups. 



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

    Thursday, August 26, 2010

    Roasted Halibut and Green Beans with Asian Cilantro Sauce

    Roasted Fish with Asian Cilantro Sauce

    I want to be British.  They get to say fun things like gobsmacked and bloody ‘ell and shagged.  I’m feeling rather British this morning because the first thing I thought of when I saw this photo was, “that mushroom is being rather cheeky all out in front like that.”  Cheeky.  I even thought it in my head in a lovely British accent. 

    This, of course, has absolutely nothing to do with this recipe, what with the Asian Cilantro Sauce and all.  But still, it is a cheeky mushroom, isn’t it?  Sorry..back to the recipe.  First off, I didn’t have the $19 dollars a pound halibut that it called for, what I had was the $7.99 dollars a pound tilapia.  A teacher’s salary does not include halibut, especially when one is having their floors redone.  And second of all, it was fabulous.  Crazy good.  Insanely good.  You know one of those dishes that is ridiculously easy, but yet looks all complicated and elegant.  Even with the lowly tilapia, this dish has huge flavor and presentation payoffs.  Make this now, you will not be disappointed.  I found it at Epicurious – Roasted Halibut and Green Beans with Asian Cilantro Sauce

    Roasted Halibut and Green Beans with Asian Cilantro Sauce

    • 2 cups loosely packed cilantro leaves (from 1 large bunch)
    • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    • 1 green onion, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
    • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
    • 1/2 jalapeƱo chile with seeds, chopped (about 2 teaspoons) (I used a whole one)
    • 5 tablespoons safflower oil, divided
    • 2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil, divided
    • 3 teaspoons soy sauce, divided
    • 2 8-ounce halibut fillets, each about 1-inch thick (or tilapia!)
    • 2 cups green beans, halved
    • 2 cups stemmed shiitake or oyster mushrooms

    Preheat oven to 450°F. Place first 5 ingredients, 3 tablespoons safflower oil, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, and 1 teaspoon soy sauce in processor; puree. Season sauce to taste with salt.

    Place fish, beans, and mushrooms in single layer on rimmed baking sheet. Whisk remaining 2 tablespoons safflower oil, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, and 2 teaspoons soy sauce in bowl to blend. Pour over fish, beans, and mushrooms; toss beans and mushrooms to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until fish is opaque in center and beans are crisp-tender, about 8 minutes. Divide fish, vegetables, and sauce between plates.

    Serves 2 (I doubled and thank goodness I did, because you will want more of this, believe me)



    This will be my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging hosted by Astrid from Paulchen's Foodblog.

    Wednesday, August 25, 2010

    What Was it Wednesday?


    You’re looking at January 31, 2009.  Dark, brooding, bubbly pizza.  I see olives and cheese, but not sure about the rest.

    ***What was it Wednesday – where I attempt to work my way through my old cooking photos.  Photos so old I don’t remember what they were or don’t care to remember!

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010

    Garden Tuesday – Garden Friend

    Praying Mantis

    I was watering my azalea's when this big guy came lumbering out from the depths of the bush.  Notice the water dripping off his elbows (do bugs have elbows?)!

    Monday, August 23, 2010

    Pasta with Butter, Sage, and Parmesan

    Pasta with Butter, Sage, and Parmesan

    What’s in your herb bed?  Mine… rosemary, tarragon, chives, fennel, thyme, oregano, sage, and catnip.  The catnip is enjoyed the most :) followed closely by rosemary, chives and thyme.  I rarely use my sage or fennel.  So, when I saw that my sage was about 2 feet tall, I went searching for something sage-y.  What I found was Pasta with Butter, Sage, and Parmesan from How to Cook Everything, Completely Revised 10th Anniversary Edition: 2,000 Simple Recipes for Great Foodby the master of simplicity, Mark Bittman.


    This was everything I wanted it to be:  simple, creamy and good.  And yes, I know it was probably up there in the whole calorie count thing, but you know what, I don’t care.  It was made with all wholesome ingredients:  pasta made from organic flour, butter made from grass fed cows, organic parmesan, and sage from my own garden.  It was perfect for lunch the next day because there was no garlic in it, something I try to avoid too much of since I have to lean over to talk to my students a lot!

    Pasta with Butter, Sage, and Parmesan

    • 6 tablespoons butter
    • 20 or 30 fresh sage leaves (or 1 tablespoon dried)
    • salt and fresh black pepper to taste
    • 1 pound cut pasta (like ziti or penne)
    • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
    • Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

    Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat.  Add the sage, salt and pepper.  Cook until the butter turns light brown, about 10 minutes.

    Salt the boiling water and cook the pasta per package directions.  Reserve 2 or 3 tablespoons of the pasta water and place in a warm serving bowl.  Drain the pasta and in the serving bowl, toss it with the butter mixture and half the Parmesan cheese.  Serve with additional ground black pepper and the rest of the Parmesan cheese.

    Serves 4 

    This will be my entry for I Heart Cooking Clubs because I think leftover pasta is a fabulous lunch!


    ALSO  for this week’s Presto Pasta Nights hosted by Amy of Very Culinary.



    Two For Tuesdays!

    Sunday, August 22, 2010

    Weekend Wine Reviews #31

    River Road Chardonnay

    River Road Chardonnay, 2008, Sonoma County, $9.99.  They say:  abundant citrus with tropical fruits and hint of spice.  We say:  very light and pleasant, bit of citrus.  Buy again:  probably.  Actually it’s embarrasses me to say it, but $9.99 is kind of high for one of our light summer wines.  We are more of a $4.99-$7.99 kind of daily wine drinkers.  Sad, I know.

    Saturday, August 21, 2010

    Weekend Cat Blogging #272

    Patchouli the kitten

    I thought it would be fun to have a little flashback.  This was Patchouli on September 29, 2008.  She was a crazy, wild little thing.  She would tear up and down trees, full speed ahead.   Now, she is content with a much less frenzied playing, thank goodness!



    This will be my entry for Weekend Cat Blogging, hosted by Samantha, Clementine, and Maverick.

    Friday, August 20, 2010

    Chicken with Mushrooms and Green Beans

    Chicken with Mushrooms and Green Beans

    Can we talk cooking philosophy?  What’s yours?  Do you have one?  I used to be all about the next, best, greatest recipe (true it had to be somewhat easy, but still it needed to have some sort of wow factor).  Not so much anymore.  I’m going back to basics (me and Ina), except I don’t really have a back to go back to.  I started out cooking full speed ahead, never making the same recipe twice, dabbling in all sorts of cuisines and filling my pantry with Thai red curry paste, garam marsala, brown and yellow mustard seed, keffir lime leaves…and more, much more.  And while these things are all lovely, I was not developing a basic cooking strategy.  When faced with a simple chicken breast, I had to go find another next, best, greatest recipe to try.

    No more.  I want to be able to cook with a handful of ingredients.  Because I am using lovely free range chicken, grass fed beef, and gorgeous organic CSA produce, it shouldn’t need a lot of fancying up.  This recipe from Real Simple, Chicken with Mushrooms and Green Beans is exactly what I am talking about.  Lovely, simple, flavorful.   AND I learned a fabulous technique, something probably all of you know, but I just discovered…roasting an orange and then squeezing it over the dish before serving!  How fabulous is that?!  I’m going to use this same technique with lemons and limes.  Love it! 

    Chicken with Mushrooms and Green Beans (from Real Simple)

  • 1 3 1/2- to 4-pound chicken, cut into pieces (I used split chicken breasts)
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme (I used a couple of teaspoons of fresh)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped, plus 12 whole cloves, unpeeled
  • 1 small navel orange, halved
  • 3/4 pound green beans, trimmed
  • 1 10-ounce package button mushrooms, caps quartered
  • Heat oven to 400° F.

    Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Place in a roasting pan.

    In a small bowl, combine the thyme, red pepper, 3/4 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the black pepper.

    Brush the chicken with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil and sprinkle with the chopped garlic and spice mixture. Arrange the whole garlic cloves and orange halves around the chicken. Roast until the chicken is cooked through, 35 to 40 minutes.

    Meanwhile, place the green beans and mushrooms on a baking sheet (I just moved over my chicken because I had room). Drizzle with the remaining oil and season with the remaining salt and pepper. Roast until the mushrooms are cooked through and the beans are lightly browned, stirring once, about 15 minutes.

    Divide the chicken and garlic among individual plates and squeeze the roasted orange halves over the top. Serve with the green beans and mushrooms.



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

  • Thursday, August 19, 2010

    Chicken, Rice, and Black Bean Salad

    Chicken salad

    Hey food bloggers, I have a question.  Do you only post recipes that you like?  What if you make something and you don’t like it, but others might?  That’s how I feel about this recipe. 

    Let me first give a disclaimer.  I made this with brown rice.  It’s my effort to be healthier.  I shouldn’t have.  Though I try, I just can’t embrace the whole grain thing.  I much prefer white bread over whole wheat, regular pasta instead of whole wheat and white rice over brown.  So, making this recipe with brown rice already kicks it down a notch in my book.

    But I am posting this because my husband liked it.  Time for another disclaimer…while I am happily munching on my Cinnamon Crunch Bagel with Hazelnut Cream Cheese at Panera’s, he, on-purpose – no one made him,  is eating a whole grain bagel, and while I order the big basket of hot wings at Buffalo Wild Wings, he orders a chicken salad!!!  Seriously, who in their right mind orders a chicken salad at a restaurant called Buffalo Wild Wings?!!  So there, with that knowledge, you can be the judge on whether or not my husband’s opinion matters.

    So, anyway, this was okay.  It was nice and healthy and a way to use up some leftover chicken.  I think it could be jazzed up a bit, maybe some lime juice or something. 

    Chicken, Rice and Black Bean Salad (From Martha Stewart)

  • 1 cup brown (or white) rice
  • 1 cooked chicken (about 2 1/2 pounds), shredded (about 4 cups)
  • 1 can (15 1/2 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 6 plum tomatoes, quartered lengthwise, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeno chile (seeds and ribs removed for less heat, if desired), minced
  • 1/4 cup white-wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • Cook rice according to package instructions. Spread on a baking sheet; refrigerate until cool.
  • Place cooled rice in a large bowl; add chicken, beans, tomatoes, scallions, jalapeno, vinegar, oil, and cumin. Season with salt and pepper; toss to combine. Serve immediately, or refrigerate, covered, up to 1 day.


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

  • Wednesday, August 18, 2010

    What Was it Wednesday?

    Something Shrimp

    You’re looking at January 24, 2009.  Wow.  I don’t know.  Whatever it is, it looks good.  Shrimp, couscous (?), broccoli.  Seriously, what was this??? 

    ***What Was it Wednesday – my attempt to work my way through my backlog of cooking photos, photos so old I don’t remember what they were.

    Tuesday, August 17, 2010

    Garden Tuesday – Sidewalk Bed

    Hey, when you popped open your baby blues, beautiful browns, or gorgeous greens this morning, I bet the first thing you thought was, “wow, I wonder how Pam’s sidewalk bed is doing?” 

    It was, wasn’t it???  Because the last time I showed it to you was May and earlier in May and in April!!! 

    Sidewalk bed

    You can see it’s looking a little hot and tired, just like me and every other living creature.  The phlox is finishing blooming, the black eyed susans are attempting to cheer me up, the catmint is putting on a second show and the sedum autumn joy is getting it’s big flower heads ready for their autumn show. 

    Monday, August 16, 2010

    Grilled Shrimp with Lemony Potato Salad

    Shrimp with Lemony Potato Salad

    You know when I first started cooking, if I didn’t have an ingredient in a recipe, I didn’t make that recipe.  As I’ve evolved (and I would like to think that I have evolved), I’ve grown more comfortable with making substitutions, omissions, and even radical changes.  I am much more confident in my ability to second guess a recipe, and while there have been some less than stellar results, there really haven’t been any failures.

    Such was the case with this recipe, Grilled Shrimp with Lemony Potato Salad.  I’m not sure what I was searching for when I found it, maybe shrimp or maybe potatoes.  It looked good and more importantly, now that school is back in session, it looked easy and complete.  Only two probs…one – I had no asparagus, and two – it was 100 degrees outside (yes, 100 exactly) and there was no way I was firing up the grill.  But with my new-found evolved confidence, I fostered ahead, subbing green beans for the asparagus and roasting the shrimp instead of grilling. 

    This was everything I wanted it to be.  Quick and easy, complete and tasty.  The potato salad taken back to utter simplicity was nice.  It was not the best potato salad, but it was perfectly fine for a quick weeknight meal.  The green beans were good, I think asparagus would have been better, but to keep it real, I use what is in season now and right now I have more green beans then I know what to do with!  Oh, and by the way, the shrimp was fantastic.  Tossing the shrimp with the olive oil, Old Bay seasoning and roasting it makes for a mighty tasty shrimp!

    Grilled (or not) Shrimp with Lemony Potato Salad

    From Real Simple  (adapted for roasting not grilling)

  • 1 pound baby red potatoes (about 12)
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed (or green beans)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds medium shell-on shrimp
  • 1 tablespoon seafood seasoning (such as Old Bay)

    Preheat oven to 450.

    Place the potatoes in a medium pot and add enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil and add 2 teaspoons salt. Reduce heat and simmer until tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain, run under cold water to cool, and cut into quarters.

    In a medium bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Add the potatoes, celery, and chives and toss to combine.

    In a bowl, toss the green beans with 1 tablespoon of the oil and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. In a second bowl, toss the shrimp with the seafood seasoning and the remaining tablespoon of oil.

    Spread the green beans out on a cookie sheet and roast for 20 minutes.  Remove the cookie sheet, scoot the green beans over and spread the shrimp out.  Roast for 10 more minutes or until shrimp is just barely pink.  Serve the shrimp and green beans with the potato salad.


    This will be my entry for Two For Tuesdays!


  • Sunday, August 15, 2010

    Weekend Wine Reviews #30

    San Elias

    San Elias, Sauvignon Blanc, 2009, Chile, $7.99.  They say:  pale in color with a gooseberry bouquet and fresh zesty flavor.  We say:  light and pleasant.  Buy again:  probably not.  It is sad to say, but if we can find a wine for $4.99 that we adore, when we are only meh about one for $7.99, it just doesn’t make it to our list.  That is how cheap we are.

    Saturday, August 14, 2010

    Weekend Cat Blogging #271


    Patchouli is more than content to do her bird watching from inside.  She thinks that the birds will be just fine until oh, say about September, when the temperatures become more reasonable for kitty cats.



    This will be my entry for Weekend Cat Blogging hosted by Breadchick and LB at The Sour Dough.

    Friday, August 13, 2010

    Strawberry Sour Cream Ice Cream

    Strawberry Sour Cream Ice Cream

    Do you find things in your fridge that you bought for a recipe that you ended up not making?  I always do.  Usually it’s something odd, like an avocado or leeks or some sort of condiment.  I found a huge container of sour cream.  I don’t remember what I bought it for.  I am sure that whatever my original plan was, it could not have topped this!! 

    This Strawberry Sour Cream Ice Cream from The Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompanimentsby the master, David Lebovitz, couldn’t be any easier.  And it couldn’t be any tastier!  I didn’t have cream, so I subbed whole milk, not as rich, but still oh-so-good.

    Strawberry Sour Cream Ice Cream

    Makes about 1 1/4 quarts

    • 1 pound fresh strawberries, rinsed and hulled (I used frozen)
    • 3/4 c. sugar
    • 1 tbsp. vodka or kirsch (I used kirsch)
    • 1 c. sour cream
    • 1 c. heavy cream (I used whole milk)
    • 1/2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

    1) Slice the strawberries and toss them in a bowl with the sugar and vodka or kirsch.  Stir until the sugar begins to dissolve.  Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour, stirring every so often.

    2) Pulse the strawberries and their liquid with the sour cream, heavy cream and lemon juice in a blender or food processor until almost smooth, but still slightly chunky.

    3) Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.



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

    Cookbook used:

    Thursday, August 12, 2010

    Beef Salad with Mint

    Beef Salad with Mint

    I don’t know about you, but I almost never finish my entire meal in a restaurant.  So, I am always bringing home bits of this and that, half orders of pasta, whatever.  Well, when I was cleaning out my freezer, I found half a steak.  What to do with half a steak???  I love salads with leftover sliced beef and one of my very favorites is Beef Salad with Mint from How to Cook Everything, Completely Revised 10th Anniversary Edition: 2,000 Simple Recipes for Great Foodfrom Mark Bittman.   It’s the perfect way to stretch a little bit of meat. 

    Beef Salad with Mint

    • 1 8-10 ounce piece of beef (filet mignon or sirloin)
    • 4 cups torn Boston, romaine or any lettuce blend
    • 1/4 cup minced fresh mint (or basil, parsley, or cilantro)
    • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced (I omitted because I don’t like raw onion)
    • 1 small cucumber, seeded and thinly sliced
    • 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
    • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
    • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I used chili sauce)
    • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
    • chopped peanuts (my addition, I like them on this salad)

    If you are starting with raw meat, heat a grill or grill pan to high.  Grill to medium rare, about 4-5 minutes per side and set aside to rest and cool.

    Toss the lettuce with the mint, onion, and cucumber.  Combine the dressing ingredients and reserve 1 tablespoon, tossing the rest over the salad.

    Thinly slice the beef (reserving any juices) and lay the slices over the salad.  Combine the meat juice with the reserved dressing and drizzle over the top.  Top with chopped peanuts.

    Makes 3-4 light servings.

    This will be my entry for I Heart Cooking Clubs!


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


    Wednesday, August 11, 2010

    What Would You Chose?

    Some of you may know that I am having new floors put in the first floor of our house.  Well, it’s been delayed…really is there anything involving contractors that actually occurs on time when expected??  But anyway, I had to pack up my 153 cookbooks.  Yes, I know exactly how many cookbooks I have, thanks to Goodreads!  The thought of being without my cookbooks for who-knows-how-long was frightening.  So, I allowed myself a milk crate full of books.  I thought you might find it interesting to see what I chose.  A lot of it has to do with season, it’s summer, it’s hot and there’s a lot of produce. 

    First the basics:

    And for all those herbs and produce:

    And because it’s summer:

    So, there is my milk crate.  What would be in your milk crate?

    Tuesday, August 10, 2010

    Garden Tuesday - Dreaming

    Shoes and snow

    You know, I have never learned to embrace the “here and now”

    Because it’s the first week of school, and I’m already hoping for this.

    Of course, if the here and now wasn’t 98 degrees, I might be able to embrace it a little more. 

    Monday, August 9, 2010

    Spaghetti with Zucchini, Walnuts, and Raisins

    Spaghetti with Zucchini, Walnuts, and Raisins

    Raise your hand if you have zucchini coming out your ears.  Yeah, that’s what I thought.  I, for one, can not keep up with the zucchini and yellow squash that my CSA keeps giving me every week.  I’ve frozen them, I’ve pickled them, I’ve served them on the side, I’ve served them as the main dish.  I spend countless hours googling zucchini recipes.  In the midst of my countless hours I found, Spaghetti with Zucchini, Walnuts, and Raisins from Real Simple. 

    Truth be told, I went to Real Simple first.  Because school is back in session (and for those of you wondering, my prayers have been answered.  I prayed every night that one particular student move away.  And he did!!!  He is only one school over, I would have preferred another country or possibly Alaska, but I will take this.  Even though it is a little too close for me to totally relax.)  So, anyway, I’m all about Real Simple because I am already Real Stressed. 

    This recipe helped me become less stressed.  One…it used up some zucchini, two….it was easy,  three…it was healthy!  It’s a win-win-win recipe.  Good tasting too!

    Spaghetti with Zucchini, Walnuts, and Raisins
    • 12 ounces spaghetti (3⁄4 box)
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1/2 cup walnut halves, roughly chopped
    • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
    • 1 1/2 pounds small zucchini (4 to 5), cut into thin half-moons
    • 3/4 cup raisins
    • kosher salt and black pepper
    • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan (1 ounce)
    1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions; drain and return it to the pot.
    2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the walnuts and cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to brown, about 1 minute.
    3. Add the zucchini and raisins to the skillet, season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper, and cook, tossing occasionally, until the zucchini is just tender, 4 to 5 minutes.
    4. Add the zucchini mixture to the pasta and toss to combine. Sprinkle with the Parmesan before serving.


      This will be my entry for this week’s Presto Pasta Nights hosted by Siri of Siri's Corner.


      AND  Two For Tuesdays!