Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Garden Tuesday ~ Swallowtails Love Fennel

Swallotail caterpillar on fennel

Swallowtail caterpillar on fennel

Swallowtail caterpillar on fennel

swallowtail caterpillar on fennel

swallowtail caterpillar on fennel

swallowtail caterpillar on fennel

I grow the herb fennel, not the bulb.  I admit, that I don’t use it much, though it’s big stalks make great racks when roasting a chicken.  But even if I never used it at all, I would grow it, because swallowtail butterfly caterpillars love it.  At this time of  year, they appear all over it.  You can see the different stages of their growth, in the second photo there is a younger one, with the yellow in the center and then as they age, they look more uniform.  Lovely.

Speaking of summer.  Guess who goes back to school on Thursday????  I know.  Where did this summer go?  Oh wait, for some people the summer doesn’t actually end on August 2nd like it does for me!! 

What’s in your garden this week?

Please join me for Garden Tuesday.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Pea and Shrimp Penne with Basil

Pea and Shrimp Penne with Basil

My basil is thriving.  I don’t know how I’ve managed to do it with all this crazy hot dry heat.  Oh wait.  I do know.  I’ve spent countless hours watering, and watering, and watering some more.  Well, it has paid off.  My basil looks like it’s been growing in a tropical rain forest. 

Pea and Shrimp Penne with Basil

I was looking for something a little different than the usual pesto pasta dishes, and found Pea and Shrimp Penne with Basil from Fine Cooking.  This was perfect.  Quick, easy and light.  Though you may be looking at it, thinking, “my those are funny looking peas!”

Yes, I admit it.  I had no frozen peas in my freezer.  I know.  I couldn’t believe it either.  I went through the whole freezer twice, in disbelief.   What I did have was a bag of frozen edamame.  It’s almost peas, right?   I think it was a pretty good substitution.  The edamame added a bit of nutty bite to it. 

 

This will be my entry for this week’s Presto Pasta Nights hosted by Ruth at Once Upon a Feast.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Weekend Wine Reviews #117 Babble Red Wine

Babble Red Wine

Babble Red Wine, 2010, Mendocino County, $6.99, Trader Joes.  They say:  plum, bacon fat, and blackberry preserves.  Kinda creamy on the palate with hints of cocoa and tannins that round out nicely in the finish.  We say:  we pretty much agree with everything they say.  Buy again:  yes.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Weekend Cat Blogging #372 and Saturday Pet Blog Hop

Coco in tree

Coco in tree

cat in tree

cat in tree

Cat in tree

cat in tree

So, the temps finally dropped below 100.  Which made someone a little frisky.

 

 

This will be my entry for Weekend Cat Blogging hosted by Mind of Mog.

This will be my entry for The Saturday Pet Blogger Hop! 

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Creamiest Chocolate Pudding

Creamiest Chocolate Pudding

The other day, I was absolutely craving something chocolate.  I needed it.  Something rich and dreamy.  But I didn’t want to go the grocery store, so I had to have the ingredients and I didn’t want to bake, because baking and I are not the best of friends.  So, I went to my Eat Your Books and searched for chocolate.   And there I saw it.  The Creamiest Chocolate Pudding in Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2008: EVERY RECIPE...A Year's Worth of Cooking Light Magazine

It was chocolate, it was creamy, and I had everything I needed in the pantry – well, except for evaporated milk, I just used more regular milk. 

This was so good.  So good in fact that I’ve made it again.  And if you’re wondering why it looks like there is a kalamata olive on top of my pudding.  It is a cherry.  A cherry that has been soaking in some lovely vodka, making an even lovelier cherry liqueur.   The perfect way to use up some boozy cherries. 

You can find the recipe online:  The Creamiest Chocolate Pudding

 

 

This will be my entry for Foodie Friday at Rainbridge Farms!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

The Age of Miracles

Let me begin this review by saying that I have been on a great reading kick lately.  People who love to read know that it is just as easy to pick up a bad book to read as it is to pick up a good one.  Lately though I have been on a winning streak, pretty much loving everything I’ve read. 

Back to The Age of Miracles: A Novelby Karen Thompson Walker.  There are plenty of issues with being a preteen girl. Looming puberty being a big one. But Julie has an even bigger issue, one she shares with every other human being on the planet, the earth's rotation is slowing down. Days slowly become longer. Clocks become not necessary and then necessary again as days become too long.

This is a fascinating account of what if. What if the world as we know it, stopped acting like the world as we know it. The days lengthening effects everything…from food supplies, to animals , to the actual magnetic field of the earth.

Some highlights I marked while reading:

"After the slowing, every action required a little more force than it used to. The physics had changed. Take, for example, the slightly increased drag of a hand on a knife or a finger on a trigger. From then on, we all had a little more time to decide what not to do. And who knows how fast a second-guess can travel? Who has ever measured the exact speed of regret? But the new gravity was not enough to overcome the pull of certain other forces, more powerful, less known - no law of physics can account for desire."

"This middle school, the age of miracles, the time when kids shot up three inches over the summer, when breasts bloomed from nothing, when voices dipped and dove."

A coming of age novel, with a twist.

4/5

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What Was it Wednesday?

What was it Wednesday?

You’re looking at July 14, 2010.  What do you think?  Blackberry?  Sorbet?

***What Was it Wednesday – my attempt to work my way through my backlog of cooking photos.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Garden Tuesday Basil and Peppers

Rooted basil

Do you remember on July 3rd, when I posted about harvesting my basil?  I explained that my first basil harvest always goes to rooting, so that I can have more basil plants.  Well here are my first basil roots ready to go back in the garden.  They have been sitting on a windowsill in a little jar of water, busily growing roots.

planted basil

And here they are planted in the garden.  You can see the original basil plants that I harvested them from are ready to harvest again.  I will cut them back (and probably make some pesto or a caprese salad) so that they are about the same size as the newly rooted plants.

Cayenne peppersjalopeno peppers

Also, in my garden, my hot peppers are loving this hot, dry weather.  What’s happening in your garden?

Please join me for Garden Tuesday.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Grilled Chicken and Arugula Caesar Salad

Grilled chicken and arugula Caesar Salad

Specialty cooking magazines lure me in every time.  I admit it.  Sometimes I am happy with my purchase and sometimes not.  One that never disappoints me are the ones that are produced by Fine Cooking and my favorite place to find them is Lowe’s.  How else am I supposed to amuse myself while my husband wanders in Stepford Wife like wonder through the aisles?  We can never check out without me tossing a cooking magazine on top of the nails, pipes, and paint.  

Grilled Chicken and Arugula Caesar Salad with Grilled Croutons

My recent acquisition was Fine Cooking Grilling 2012.  

I flipped through the appetizer section (unfortunately, I rarely get my act together enough to prepare appetizers AND a meal), and ended up at salads.  I found the Grilled Chicken and Arugula Caesar Salad with Grilled Croutons.   This was so good and easy!  It was perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon, and even easy enough for a weeknight dinner. 

If you try it, let me know what you think!

 

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

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The County Fair I Have Seen the Elephant Chardonnay

The County Fair Chardonnay

The County Fair, I Have Seen the Elephant Chardonnay, 2010, Mendocino County, $7.49, Trader Joes.  They say:  lovely aromas of ripe tropical fruit, fresh lemon and green apple marry beautifully with rich vanilla, oak spice, and melon flavors.  We say:  light, refreshing, tropical fruit and lemon.  A bit of vanilla.  Buy again:  yes!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Weekend Cat Blogging #371 and Saturday Pet Blog Hop

Smudge in the catnip

Smudge in the catnip

Smudge in the catnip

Guarding the catnip is a 24/7 job here at the Sidewalk Shoes household.  One that Smudge takes very seriously.

 

 

This will be my entry for Weekend Cat Blogging hosted by Kashim, Othello and Salome.  This weekend is in honor of Sher.

This will be my entry for The Saturday Pet Blogger Hop! 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Boston Baked Beans

Boston Baked Beans

I don’t know about you, but the only time I eat baked beans is when I have takeout barbeque.  Why is that?  Every single time I order it, I get baked beans and cole slaw as my side.  Yet when I make barbeque at home, I don’t even consider baked beans.  I think of them as some sort of mysterious ingredient laden casserole that takes hours to cook.  I could not have been further from the truth.

Boston Baked Beans

I found this recipe in Everyday Food: Fresh Flavor Fast: 250 Easy, Delicious Recipes for Any Time of Day (Everyday Food) and it could not have been easier.  I was of course completely lured in by the bacon on the top.

Boston Baked Beans

  • 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 3 cans (15 1/2 ounces each) navy beans, drained and rinsed (I used beans from my freezer stash)
  • coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 large onion, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 4 slices bacon, halved crosswise

Preheat the oven to 375.  Combine the molasses, ketchup and mustard.  Add the beans, and season with salt and pepper, stir to combine.

Spoon into a 2-3 quart covered baking dish (I admit, I stirred and combined all in the same dish, which is why my dish looks so messy).  Scatter the onions over the beans and place the bacon on top in a single layer.

Bake covered for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake for 30 to 40 more minutes to crisp the bacon.  Let cool for about 5 minutes.  Stir well and serve.

Serves 6

 

 

This will be my entry for Foodie Friday at Rainbridge Farms!

This will be my entry for Cookbook Sundays

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Book Review ~ Oxford Messed Up by Andrea Kayne Kaufman

I loved every single thing about this book. It takes dysfunctional to a whole new level. There are dysfunctional individuals, dysfunctional relationships, dysfunctional families. The two main characters are Gloria, a Rhodes scholar who has come to Oxford to study women's poetry and Henry, a music loving son of one of the Oxford dons.

The two are thrown together when their flat at Oxford shares a bathroom. This would not be such a bad thing, except that Gloria has an obsessive/compulsive disorder. She can not abide by germs. Her hatred of germs is fueled by "Oliver" a voice in her head. And Oliver has a lot to say about Henry and his slovenly ways. Gloria combats this by cleaning the bathroom every morning for hours and applying copious amounts of hand sanitizer. Henry realizes that Gloria is probably actually more messed up than he is, and after finding that he has feelings for her, sets about to help make her better.

What they do have in common is Van Morrision. His words and wisdom are so interwoven through this story, that I had to stop in the middle and purchase and download his greatest hits album.

This is a love story. It is a story of rising above our own personal demons. It is a fascinating look at OCD. It would make a wonderful movie.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What Was it Wednesday?

Chickpeas

You’re looking at July 12, 2010.  I know.  It doesn’t get much easier than this. 

Except this was the second photo.  It looks like some of the slaw from last week’s WWIW, only with some chickpeas added, served with some skewers that apparently I had focusing issues with.

***What Was it Wednesday – my attempt to work my way through my backlog of cooking photos.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Garden Tuesday ~Phlox and Bees

Phlox with bee

Phlox with bee

Phlox with bee

Phlox with bee

Someone has been very busy around here.  How about you, who has been busy in your garden this week?

Please join me for Garden Tuesday.