Sunday, September 30, 2012

Weekend Wine Reviews #126 La Vuelta Torrontes

La Vuelta Torrontes

La Vuelta Torrontes, 2010, Mendoza, Argentina, $8.99, Total Wine.  They say:  aromas of flavors of white peaches, jasmine, and rose petals are followed by a crisp minerality on the palate, ending with a nice balance of it’s natural sweetness and acidity.  We say:  We agree with everything they say!  Very Nice!  Buy again:  yes!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Weekend Cat Blogging #381 and Saturday Pet Blog Hop

Patchouli

Isn’t it sweet of Patchouli to guard the bird bath so that no one disturbs the little birdies?

 

 

This will be my entry for Weekend Cat Blogging hosted by Kashim, Othello and Salome

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

Friday, September 28, 2012

Creamy Potato Soup with Bacon Vinaigrette

Creamy Potato Soup with Bacon Vinaigrette

You know the old, “you had me at hello?”  Well, Food 52, you had me at “bacon vinaigrette.”  Really.  Two words that I have never put together before in my life…bacon and vinaigrette, and now I regret all those wasted years.  All those bowls of naked potato soup. 

I found Creamy Potato Soup with Bacon Vinaigrette by searching my most favorite thing in the whole world – Eat Your Books.  Now, that they have indexed some food blogs, the possibilities are endless.  As I mentioned on Monday, I am all about fall, and I wanted one of my first fall soups to be a classic – potato soup. 

Creamy potato soup with bacon vinaigrette

I thought, wrongly I must add, that there was really nothing new under the sun when it comes to potato soup.  But when I entered it in my Eat Your Books search and my eyes locked immediately onto bacon vinaigrette, I knew something special was going to happen.

And it did.  This was the best potato soup I have ever eaten or made.  Seriously.  I don’t think I’ve ever used rosemary in my potato soups – it was wonderful.  But really the show stopper…the bacon vinaigrette.  I love the addition of vinegar to soups and keep a bottle of chili pepper vinegar just for stirring into your soup at the table, everyone adding as much or as little they like.  So this was beyond amazing.  I can imagine in on bean soup, vegetable soup…heck any kind of soup.  And what about on a salad!  Or stirred into some grains.  It is my new most favorite thing!

Follow the link above and make this.  Seriously. 

 

 

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

 

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

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson

Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson

Let me begin this review by saying that you do not have to be a “foodie” to enjoy Yes, Chef: A Memoir by Marcus Samuelsson.  Because this is so much more than the story of a chef, or what it takes to be a chef.  Marcus Samuelsson is such a nice guy.  He is the kind of person you wish you had for a friend. 

He tells his story in simple, honest terms.  What is like to grow up as an adopted child in Sweden. Not just an adopted child, but a child adopted from Ethiopia.  The racial stereotypes that he has had to overcome.  The gratitude that he feels towards his adopted parents.  This is a man who appreciates what life has given him.  He is not afraid to share the good and the bad.

When one of his restaurants fail, he doesn’t point fingers or blame others.  When he goes back to Ethiopia to see his biological father, he takes you as the reader along with him.  When he competes on “Top Chef” you feel like you are right there along with him competing. 

This is such a refreshing memoir.  I really hated for it to end.

 

P.S.  Happy Birthday to my mom!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What Was it Wednesday?

What Was it Wednesday

You’re looking at December 27, 2010.  Frittata obviously.  Looks like a nice easy dinner for relaxing after the holiday whirlwind!

 

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

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Garden Tuesday ~ Peppers and Lemongrass

cayenne peppers

jalopeno peppers

lemongrass

My cayenne peppers, jalapeños and lemongrass still going strong.  This is my first year growing lemongrass.  I have no idea when or how to harvest. 

Anyone grown lemongrass before?

Please join me for Garden Tuesday.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Apricot, Plum, and Chicken Tagine with Olives

Apricot, Plum, and Chicken Tagine with Olives

Raise your hand if you love fall!  I know some people love spring, the whole first shoots of green popping up after a long winter sort of thing, but not me.  It’s all about fall.  Those first cool mornings offering a hint of things to come.  At the very first smidgen of coolness, I immediately want to leap headfirst into fall.  Boots, jackets, sweaters…and warm comforting soups and braises. 

That is why I cannot begin to tell you how excited I was to make Apricot, Plum, and Chicken Tagine with Olives from Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2009: Every Recipe...A Year's Worth of Cooking Light Magazine

Tagine spices

It was everything I wanted in my first fall dish.  Warm and spicy.  The house smelled divine.  If you follow the link above you can find the recipe at the Cooking Light site, or check out the annual – also with the link above.  I used to keep all of my Cooking Light magazines, but I love the annuals.  It is so much easier having everything all in one book. 

The only thing different I did on the recipe was that I used bone-in thighs.  So, to play it safe, I increased the cooking time by about 15 minutes. 

Happy fall!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Weekend Wine Reviews #125 Smart Cookie Sauvignon Blanc

Smart Cookie Sauvignon Blanc

Smart Cookie Sauvignon Blanc, 2010, $9.99, Total Wine.  They say:  aroma – freshly baked lemon cookies, body – bright zesty, character – tempt your tastebuds with a mouthwatering treat.  We say:  citrus, lemony, tart, light body.  Refreshing.  Nice for summer.  Buy again:  yes.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Weekend Cat Blogging #380 and Saturday Pet Blog Hop

Coco

Excuse me.  Someone is not quite ready for Weekend Cat Blogging and Saturday Pet Blog Hop.

Coco Grooming 

Sorry.  You’re just going to have to come back next week.

 

 

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

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

Friday, September 21, 2012

A Design Your Own Frittata

 

Frittata

Frittatas.  They make me feel both simultaneously fancy and peasanty.  Yes, peasanty is a word, even though spell checker is trying to tell me it isn’t.  I will ignore spell checker the same way I ignored some very well-meaning perm advice in the 80’s. 

They feel fancy because when served with a vinaigrette tossed salad and a glass of white wine, I feel like I should be sitting in an outdoor French café.  They feel peasanty, because they are so homey and basic, and served with a big chunk of bread, I feel like I should be hunkered down at an old table, having a quick meal before I head back to the fields.

What?  Certainly you dream up food scenarios while your eating.

They also make me feel like a chef.  They are one of the few recipes that I feel good about winging it.  I make them with whatever I have on hand.  My basic formula is some veggies (almost always includes some onions), some cheese (feta and goat cheese are favorites), some herbs, and some eggs. 

Red bell peppers and onions

This started with some red bell peppers and onions, sautéed until crisp tender.  Added a little goat milk cheese, some chives from the garden, 6 eggs, and some salt and pepper.  Cook until the eggs are mostly set.  Then run under the broiler to get that nice brown top.  Decide if you want to serve it fancy or peasanty.

 

 

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

Thursday, September 20, 2012

This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper

This is Where I Leave You

This Is Where I Leave You is my first book by Jonathan Tropper, but it will definitely not be my last.  I loved every single thing about this book.    Mr. Foxman's dying wish is that his family sit shiva.  A Jewish mourning process requiring the whole family to be together for seven days.  A tricky task for even the most functional of families. 

The characters were real, with dry, sarcastic personalities... people who I would like to hang out.  So, it makes sense that if I would enjoy hanging out with these fictional characters, I would enjoy reading about them.  

I highlighted so many passages in the book:

"The height of her stiletto heels, like the diameter of her breast implants, is inappropriate for both her age and the occasion."

"At some point you lose sight of your actual parents; you just see a basketful of history and unresolved issues."

"I had carved out a nice for myself on campus among the screwed-up girls with dark lipstick and too many earrings, who worked through their mixed bag of childhood traumas by drinking excessively and having sex with unthreatening Jewish guys with ridiculous hair.  This had actually happened exactly twice in as many years, but since it was all the action I'd see, I liked to think of it as a niche."

Completely enjoyable read! 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What Was it Wednesday?

You’re looking at December 18, 2010.  I don’t know.  Looks like spinach, but what is the other?  Pork?  Sweet potatoes?  Do I see an apple?  Balsamic vinaigrette? 

 

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

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Garden Tuesday ~ Nasturtiums~

Nasturtiums

I have tried to grow nasturtiums off and on for years.  Never very successfully.  They would get very leggy and eventually just sort of fizzle out.   This year they are wonderful.  They have filled almost a whole section of my herb bed.  I have no idea what I’ve or mother nature has done differently. 

It’s a mystery.

How about you?  Anything that you struggle with that for some unknown reason suddenly flourishes?

Please join me for Garden Tuesday.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Chicken Tortilla Soup ~A Regular~

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Even though I blog about cats, and gardens, and books, and wine, I pretty much consider myself a food blogger.  As a food blogger, I feel pressured to constantly try new things, new recipes.  I need fresh new content.  It’s exhausting.  And frankly, somewhat unrealistic.  Because what if you totally love something.  And you can think of nothing that would make you happier than to have that something…oh say…about once a month.

For example, Chicken Tortilla Soup.  It’s made it’s appearance many times:  Mexican Chicken Soup, Chicken Tortilla Soup, Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup, and Ina’s Mexican Chicken Soup

It’s making it’s appearance again. 

And, I suspect you’ll see it again.

And again.

And again.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Weekend Wine #124 Kris Pinot Grigio

Kris Pinot Grigio

Kris Pinot Grigio Venezie, 2011, $9.99, Costco.  They say:  vibrant flavors of acacia flowers, lime, hioney, and a unique touch of almond.  We say:  we don’t know what acacia flowers are, but they nailed everything else.  Also, we really must try more Pinot Grigios – which unfortunately I can’t think of without thinking of Ramona from Real Housewives, and what a shame for a perfectly good variety of wine to be tied forever in my memory to Ramona. Buy again:  yes!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Weekend Cat Blogging #379 and Saturday Pet Blog Hop

cat paw

I had a vision for today’s post.  I was going to take a photo of each of the cat’s paws and then let you try and guess which paw belonged to which kitty.  Unfortunately only one kitty cat cooperated.  Guess who?

 

 

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, September 14, 2012

Smoked Trout Salad with Goat-Cheese Croutes

Smoked Trout Salad with Goat-Cheese Croutes

You want to know what I love?  I love a recipe that requires practically no effort on your part and comes out looking and tasting like something you’d get in a fancy schmancy restaurant.  Hello, Smoked Trout Salad with Goat Cheese Croutes from Fine Cooking. 

I love a salad for dinner, especially on a Friday night.  It gets me ready for the usual over-eating I do on a weekend.  The trick is finding a salad that leaves me feeling virtuous and hubby not staring at an empty plate five minutes later with his stomach still growling.  This salad is perfect.  My store didn’t have any smoked trout, but they did have some smoked mackerel.   So, it was a wonderful, fatty fish that gave that full, satisfied feel.  Then you have the creamy, tangy goat cheese, and the crisp bread.  It was truly delightful.  If you are wondering why my goat cheese has red flecks in it…the only goat cheese they had was rolled in dried cranberries.  While I think I would have preferred the plain goat cheese, this was still quite good! 

Seriously make this.  Follow the link above and make this.

You’re welcome.

 

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

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Where’d You go Bernadette by Maria Semple

Where'd You go Bernadette

I have to begin this by saying that I loved Where'd You Go, Bernadette: A Novel  It was totally silly and totally what I was in the mood for at the time. The story of what happened to Bernadette is told through small snippets - emails, conversations, letters…bits of this and that. There is so much in this book, I can't even do it justice. I think that comedy is hard to pull of in a book, but this one does it wonderfully. The comedic timing is just right. It was a breeze to read, I couldn't put it down. Thoroughly enjoyable

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

What Was it Wednesday

Pasta

You’re looking at December 10, 2010.  Penne pasta.  Looks like mushrooms.  Beef? 

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

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Garden Tuesday ~Swallowtails~ Beauty in Remembrance

Swallowtail Butterfly

This Garden Tuesday is brought to you in remembrance of September 11, 2001.  I bring you these lovely butterflies, to stop for a moment and appreciate the beauty around us, while remembering how much we lost.

Swallowtail caterpillar

Remember that little guy above?  Well, he’s all grown up now.  Enjoy.

Swallowtail butterfly

swallowtail butterfly

swallowtail butterfly

swallowtail

swallowtail

swallowtail

How are you remembering?

Please join me for Garden Tuesday.