28 June 2013


So, summertime is here. Sometimes, I hate cooking when the heat is intense and the humidity builds. On those evenings, it's always good to have an easy out. In our case, this week's first real hot spell inspired me to make a batch of peperonata to have with semolina toasts. An easy salad of greens from the garden added enough bulk to the evening meal to make us happy.

26 June 2013

A New Quick Bread ... and Discovery

Pistachio and Prune Bread

I spend a lot of time cruising the food sites and blogs, poking here and there on links that others share in their articles and blog posts. You come across some incredibly interesting sites that way ... you're on someone else's tour of interests, food passions, and discoveries. Follow a few links, research a few references that someone has written of, check out a few names that someone has dropped, and soon you have wound up on a website or in a blog that is an unexpected surprise! It can be so enlightening.

25 June 2013

Curried Chicken Salad ... and a Hike

This is a healthy and lightened up version of chicken salad with a hot curry kick. It is a recipe found in a magazine called Delight- Gluten Free. I've had my eye on it for a while and was waiting for a day when I knew I'd be hungry for a substantial lunch-time sandwich. Today was the day! I started my day early, as it's really hot out. SB and I wanted to hike a piece of land over near Richmond, New Hampshire where the mountain laurel is in full bloom. We spent the morning exploring the forest trail along a small brook that feeds into Tully Brook and driving the back roads in the vicinity. By the time we got home, we were hot and hungry.

23 June 2013

Strawberry Moon and a Strawberry Pie ...

The strawberry plants have yielded a plentiful crop this year. SB moved the location of the plants last summer and tended them lovingly all last summer. His hard work paid off for us, as I've had enough for strawberry jam, gifting some to neighbors, making strawberry shortcakes, strawberry ice cream, smoothies, and today, a strawberry rhubarb pie. Plus, there is nothing like picking a colander full and just sitting and eating them like candy ...

This year's Strawberry Rhubarb pie is courtesy of Bon Appetit magazine's website. The filling is consists of equal amounts of rhubarb and strawberries and the juices are (supposedly) thickened by adding cornstarch to the sugars and spice. I think I would add more than the quarter cup measure, as the pie is ultra-juicy. Taste, though, is really good. There is a hint of cinnamon in the mix and I always add just a bit of cordial to give the filling a little boozy flavour. This year it's a couple tablespoons of our neighbor, Jeff's 'Black Eye Blackberry Cordial'.

The lattice is always fun to make and this year's crust, Martha Stewart's Pate Brisee made for an easy handling dough. Loads of butter and a hint of sugar make a really rich crust. I was so guilty about the calorie content on this dessert that I made a warm roasted cauliflower salad and another cold bitter greens salad for our dinner ... we got our fruits and veggies tonight! Now, we're waiting around to see if the skies will be clear for the rise of the Strawberry Super Moon.

Summertime in the City ...

SB and I visited Sprout Kate and her boyfriend a couple weekends ago ... we stayed in Brooklyn, but spent time in Manhattan. The new Freedom Tower is up and topped ... hurray!

We walked on The High Line. It's a blaze of color and activity at this time of year. People, sculpture, flowers, adjacent architecture all make for stimulus overload ... and in the distance, The Statue of Liberty holds her torch over all.

21 June 2013

IHCC - Ottolenghi's Spiced Red Lentils and the Colors of Summer

Welcome to the first day of summer! Summer colors like warm terra cotta tiles and bright green grass and cool puffy clouds abound in this spicy dish that I found in Ottolenghi's Guardian column archives. He says he likes to have it in any season when he needs a warm comfy supper ... which is exactly how I approached it yesterday! 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ... way back machine ...~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

19 June 2013

Little Italian Pastries - Soffioni di Ricotta

 Silent Bob has just come into the house with his nose twitching like a rabbit's. He roams in and out of the kitchen where I have just done a photo shoot on these warm soffioni di ricotta. I can hear him pacing around from my spot at the computer in the living room.

17 June 2013

Monday Morning ...

The sun's out today ... and there's a breeze. What a beauty of a day; I should be feeling full of vim and vigor, but I'm not. I am feeling like a cat that wants to laze in a sunny spot on the floor. I just came in from puttering in the herb garden and fertilizing a few of the flower baskets and planters ... trimmed the basil back and then felt the urge to have a late breakfast ... so here, we have it.

A second cup of coffee and a good book in a sunny chair on the porch ... that's as close to being a fat cat in a sunny spot on the floor as I'll get.

What do you have for breakfast ? I'm prone to coffee and toast, but sometimes I like a bowl of rice with butter and salt and pepper, or sunny-side-up eggs and a glass of orange juice, or this little tomato salad.
Especially if the herbs are fresh and the tomatoes are really sweet ...

I wish I liked oatmeal or omelettes or pancakes enough to wake up with a real urge to leap out of bed and rattle the pans, but I don't. I'm more of a 'slide quietly into the day' kind of girl. I like to putter around emptying the dishwasher while the coffee brews. I like slogging around the house with my scuffy slippers watering the plants and talking to the dogs and cats. I like working my way into the day at a sedate pace, sniffing the herbs, poking around on the computer, leafing through the mail, thinking about a few things that I really want to accomplish during the day. The days of multi-tasking and ramming willy-nilly from housework to job to after-school activities with the kids to making dinner to folding laundry at ten at night are gone ... and I am eternally thankful.

Mondays are finally just what I want them to be - relaxed and definitely NOT manic ... but I still like the song.

11 June 2013

Rite of Spring

We picked our first substantial colander of fresh strawberries today. It's raining and chilly, but who cares? There are perfect berries right out of the back yard bed, macerating in a layer of sugar and about a tablespoon of dry red wine.

05 June 2013

Virtual Supper Club Cooks Fresh and Local ...

This month's Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club theme is 'Fresh and Local' and aren't we all loving that? Our gardens are just starting to come on with greens and we picked the first strawberry of the season yesterday morning! It's all about the greens though ... new lettuce greens and the first kale, rows of spinach for salads - all brand new and minutes from the garden when it hits the salad bowl!

My favorite green is spinach and I pester my husband to plant it very early in the Spring so that we can have fresh baby leaves in salads. We never get enough to cook in the mounds that we like to gobble, so I do buy fresh from the farmers market and the super.  Today's recipe is a wilted spinach with a garlic vinaigrette sauce that when plated serves as a wonderful side dish or in this evening's case a bed for salmon fillets.

03 June 2013

Olive and Rosemary Focaccia

What could be better on a rainy Sunday evening than a glass of wine and a cookie sheet of sticky olive and rosemary-laden focaccia dough? I ask you. Just sipping wine in a warm kitchen while tossing the bread dough and chopping salty olives and fresh sprigs of rosemary made me feel happy. There was warm soup scenting the air and throwing steam up from the pot. I felt like such a homebody!