Friday, July 30, 2010

this moment: like college

dancing, drinking, and laughing like crazy. gotta love visiting with old friends.

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this moment is one that i want to keep with me for a long time to come.

see other moments on soulemama's blog.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

csa day: a pot of sun gold

Finger Pickin' Farms' CSA contents this week:
Top row: Sun gold cherry tomatoes, wax beans, onions, carrots
Bottom row: Beets, red peppers, potatoes

(Not pictured: Candy-colored zinnias. They're beautiful, but my camera blurred all of the pictures. I repeat, it was the camera's fault.)

These tomatoes are seriously oozing sunlight. 

Bread from the oven in my hot hot hot kitchen. Worth the heat.

Yes, I'm still baking. I just can't help myself. I've been making bread all week long from this easy recipe. I made the dough at the beginning of the week, stuck it in the fridge, and whenever I need bread I cut off a hunk of dough and bake it.  Plus, the bread tastes amazing! Chewy, light, and really flavorful. We've used it for sandwiches, dipping in soup, and alongside pasta. It's definitely a recipe worth keeping around.

* * * * * 
Weekly Menu:

Homemade pasta with tomatoes, squash, walnuts and garlic. Garlic bread.

Grilled teriyaki vegetable sandwiches  

Quinoa pilaf with zucchini, mint, cucumbers, and feta (didn't get around to making it last week)

Summer vegetable soup with white beans and black olives

* * * * * 

So, I know it's hot. Yes, this summer has seen some record temperature days. But I'm still going to try to talk you into trying this soup recipe (unless you're reading this in the Southern Hemisphere, in which case this recipe might sound pretty enticing just about now). 

This soup is perfect to make in the summer, while you're getting lots of great produce from your local farmers. Heck, I got to use five different vegetables from my CSA box (including some leftover from last week). 

I think you'll like it. The flavors run the gamut--the carrots lend sweetness, the tomatoes and lemon give it some tartness, and the olives add a delicious brininess--but all come together to create a really balanced taste. If you just can't bring yourself to make this now, tuck the recipe away until colder weather. It's one worth trying.

Feel free to substitute with the vegetables you have on hand. Fresh herbs would also be wonderful in this. I wish I'd had some basil to throw into the pot. Next time...

Summer Vegetable Soup with White Beans and Black Olives

(adapted from The New Moosewood Cookbook's White Bean and Black Olive Soup)

1 large onion, diced

2 medium carrots, diced

1 tsp salt (or more to taste)

2 small sweet peppers, diced

1 small squash or zucchini, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

4 cups vegetable broth

1 cup tomato sauce

2 cups cooked white Northern beans

1/2 cup sliced black olives

1 TBSP lemon juice

Chopped tomatoes for topping.

Heat a good dollop of oil in a soup pot. Add the onions, carrots, and salt and cook over medium heat until tender (about 8-10 minutes). Add the peppers, squash/zucchini and garlic and cook about 5 minutes more, until peppers are softened. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the toppings, and cook for about 15 minutes. Top with tomatoes (you could also add herbs, sour cream, or whatever makes you happy).  Tastes great served with crusty bread slathered with herbed cream cheese. 

Happy eating!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

weekly wanderings: a little bit wild

[the rainbow house]*

i absolutely love my neighborhood. it's eclectic. it's fun and funky and is home to a great mix of people. there are many restaurants within walking distance--falafel, sushi, barbecue, tacos, indian, sandwiches, and pizza galore. we've got coffee shops, parks, bookstores, and a great library. it's a neighborhood where walking and biking are the best ways to get around and an afternoon's entertainment can be found sitting outside and people-watching. 

it's the kind of neighborhood where you never know what you're going to find around the next corner. 

like the rainbow house. 

the wild mix of colors always makes me happy, but i think the crepe myrtle blooms really add to the revelry. 

whenever i pass by the rainbow house, i can't help but try to imagine who lives here. i'd like to be friends with them. 

i also love the wildness of the tall grasses in front and the way the rough wooden siding contrasts with the colorful facade. 

nearby, i spotted this monkey hanging in a tree. he's even got all of parts. it cracks me up.

* * * * * 

what's your neighborhood like? i'd love to hear what things are like where you live!

 * * * * * 

*the rainbow house is what i call this place. i have no idea if it has an official name. 

Monday, July 26, 2010

Honey Pie: A song for a happy Monday

I'm absolutely loving The Beatles song Honey Pie these days. As in, I'm afraid I might wear out that song on the record. I just want to listen to it again and again. It's so catchy, and fun to sing and dance along with. Go have a listen--I bet it will make you smile.

Also, it makes me really hungry. I can't help but dream up recipes for a Honey Pie.

Here is my dreamed up recipe, which I have not attempted at all because I've been too busy dancing in the living room.

Honey Pie

Fill a baked pie crust with vanilla honey custard, top with meringue, sprinkle with toasted walnuts and crushed bits of honey toffee,  and drizzle with honey. Eat in a pool of sunlight. Dance between bites.

What recipe would you dream up for a honey pie?

* * * * * 

Hope you are having a marvelous Monday!

Friday, July 23, 2010

csa day: summer rainbow and backyard eggs

There were lots of good things in the CSA box this week from Finger Pickin' Farms

Left to right--
Top Row: Squash and zucchini, flowers, yellow wax beans
Middle Row: Carrots, sweet peppers, chiles
Bottom row: Onions, tomatoes, cucumbers

We've also been eating these lovely eggs. K and I walked over to my cousin Ryan's house and were lucky enough to receive a dozen eggs from his backyard chickens. He's had them for a little over a year now and seems to really like them and the eggs they lay. He said the heat has slowed down their egg-laying, but that in cooler weather he has more eggs than he knows what to do with. Seems like I should visit him more often, huh? Especially since these eggs have the orangest yolks I've ever come across.

Things on the menu this week:

*Homemade pasta with squash, tomatoes, and walnuts
*Baked tofu, roasted potatoes, and yellow beans in cream sauce
*Japanese curry over mashed potatoes
*Quinoa pilaf with feta, mint, and squash
*Homemade peach ice cream
*Mint lassis
*Tassajara whole wheat bread

**What are you eating this week?**

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

sunshine on a cloudy day

Tiny crochet motifs

At this very moment my kitchen floor is covered with flour, the counters stacked with dirty bowls and measuring cups, but there's bread in the oven. My couch is littered with hooks and yarn; the living room floor looks like it's laundry day circa 1970-something because of all the vintage linens scattered there, but I've got creative energy to burn. The skies are filled with heavy dark clouds threatening to expel a summer storm, but as the thunder rolls through, I've got a happy tune on my lips (more on that later).

So, I thought I'd share the little things that are making me happy this week. It's a good reminder to myself that life is full of sunshine if I just stop to look for it. I don't know about you, but I certainly need the reminder sometimes.

New addition to the living room

Sunshine chair and rainbow zigzag were instant best friends.

Studying for my Spanish translation exam

That's not the happy part. The happy part is that I passed! One step closer to my M.A.


Because everybody needs to act like a kid now and again. 

Vintage floral sheets

Thrift store score. Cheap and bright. Woohoo!

**What's making you smile these days?**

* * * * * 

*I laughed my little pigtails off that night because I went to see Nunsense with my friends Julia and Lucas. The show is hilarious and if you're in town you should definitely go see it. It plays through this weekend. Lucas is the assistant director, and he did a great job!

Monday, July 19, 2010

weekly wanderings: morning on the dock

one morning last week i found myself alone on a dock at the lake with a cup of coffee. the water was still and quiet. the birds were awake and chirping, and the fish were nibbling my toes. it was a wonderful way to start the day.

breakfast time

shore view

treasures from the beach--i'm pretty sure the second object is an unripe persimmon

* * * 

i won't lie. it felt very nice to be away from the computer last week. i enjoyed not having the pressure of coming up with new blog posts. i liked being able to just go and not have to worry about when i'd have time to blog. life felt very full and calm. that said, i missed this space. i missed writing and hearing from all of you. have any of you felt this push and pull, the love and hate of blogging? how do you strike a healthy balance?

Monday, July 12, 2010

taking some time

i'll be taking some time away from the computer, heeding gary snyder's words: 

stay together
learn the flowers
go light

--from "for the children"

have a wonderful week!

Friday, July 9, 2010

this moment: happy-mess

a moment from this week that i want to remember.

see what others want to remember here.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

csa day + lots going on in the kitchen this week

Half of Finger Pickin' Farms CSA share for the week of July 6, 2010:

This is only our half because I forgot to take my camera over to my dad's house. 

From left to right, starting at the top:
Row 1: Zucchini, squash, peppers 
Row 2: Pattypan squash, white cucumbers, green cucumbers
Row 3: Tomatoes (from one of my dad's patients, not the CSA), onions, and carrots
Not pictured: flowers and basil

And because I've been so gung-ho about cooking lately, I thought I'd share what I've been up to. I made a cinnamon coffee cake for a tea party I had with my friend Julia. The topping was very crumbly at first, but really got good on day 3. That's good to know, but who bakes a cake and then waits three days to eat it?

A couple of you asked to know how the beet gnocchi turned out. It was really good! I don't get many opportunities to eat such bright pink food, and I loved it. 

Beet gnocchi is made from beets, potatoes, and parmesan cheese mashed together with some flour to form a dough. It's rolled out and sliced, then boiled like pasta. I tossed the gnocchi with basil, walnuts, olive oil, garlic, and parmesan cheese. The beet flavor was subtle in the final dish because the garlic and basil were the stand out flavors. I was really surprised how light yet filling the gnocchi were.

I would definitely make beet gnocchi again, but would pick out one big beet to use instead of the tiny beets I used here. Our CSA beets were really sweet, especially after roasting them, but it was a bit of a hassle to peel so many little ones. Also, I would be up for making regular gnocchi without the beets, though I would miss that bright pink color!

This week I checked another thing off of my 2010 to-do list because I made mayonnaise (I know, how strange, who puts "make mayonnaise" on their list of resolutions? Forgive me, I had just watched Julie and Julia). I used my mixer to make the recipe from this book, though someday I suppose I'll try to make it by hand to gain some serious kitchen cred. Despite the fact that the recipe stated that making mayonnaise with a food processor or mixer "takes no skill whatsoever," I'm still pretty impressed that I could get egg yolks and oil to come together to make such a creamy sandwich spread. 

This mayonnaise turned out much creamier than store-bought. I love knowing all of the ingredients that went into it, plus I got to flavor it how I wanted it. I left most of it plain, but did add basil to a small portion. The basil mayonnaise has been great on sandwiches and the plain made a great potato salad.

I had 3 leftover egg whites after making the mayonnaise and so I got to make pavlovas, which I've wanted to try for years. The recipe comes from my new favorite cookbook. These mini-pavlovas (meringues) are so fluffy, crunchy and sweet. Topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit these are a wonderful summer dessert, so light and refreshing. Mmm...I would highly recommend making these!

Weekly Menu:

*Fourth of July cook out

*Enchilada Stack

*Green eggs (scrambled with cream cheese and basil), corn on the cob, green beans

*Picnic food--Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, potato salad, plums. Ideally eaten at the park, if we can catch a breeze.

*Dinner with Kristie (maybe that squash and pasta casserole)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A place to rest your head

We all need a place to stop. A place to put up our feet. A place to breathe deeply and let go of worries, if only for a moment. A place to close our eyes and dream.

K and I recently received a bed for our guest bedroom/office/sewing room (perhaps we should call it the room of requirement? it is what we need it to be). We lucked into it when my uncle sold his house in town and needed to unload some furniture. We were more than happy to take this bed off of his hands.

I've spent time making it comfortable--I added vintage floral sheets from my own childhood bedroom (they were my mom's before that), a quilt we received as a wedding present, a thrifted embroidered pillowcase, and a patchwork pillow sewn from fabric Liesl sent along with an order. Maybe you remember seeing these patches before? I started this pillow cover months ago with no idea where it would land in our house. Now it has found its home, nestled next to a quilt and embroidery.

This bed is the perfect spot to spend a few hours with a novel or even a textbook if you have a bit of summer studying to do. The room gets plenty of light, stays cool with the help of a ceiling fan, and makes me want to read just one more chapter again and again.

Ideally this spot is for overnight guests in our home, and I'm excited to say the very first one will be coming by tomorrow! I hope it's just the beginning of our overnight guests because I love friends who like to linger, and it's also the perfect excuse for a breakfast party!  

* * * * * 

Where are you putting up your feet these days? And are you reading anything good? After 7 years on my reading list, I'm finally reading Slaughterhouse-Five. And The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is sweeping through my family like wildfire. It looks like a fun book to curl up with this summer.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

weekly wanderings: i went down to the river to play

oh i just love holiday weekends! there's always so much to do and so many people to see. this past weekend was no exception. i took my camera along to a welcome back party for my aunt donna and uncle earl. they've lived away from louisville for 30 years but are now coming back home for good. the party was held at my uncle's brother's house down by the ohio river. it was a beautiful place to spend the day and catch up with family.

spotting boats by the river. i couldn't resist this goofy one of my sister julie acting like such a serious scout. that's my uncle denny on the right...he catches up on what i've been doing by reading my blog every friday. *hi uncle denny! thanks for reading!*

we played in this shady grove. well, i chatted. other people played cornhole, badminton, and jumped on the trampoline. k and my uncle denny were the undefeated cornhole champs. i'm so proud.

we were close to the sailing club, so i walked down to get a better look. 

apparently the club was having a meeting. lots of boats were in attendance. 

dinner was a shrimp boil with lots of vegetables and some mussels and clams, too. 

and we got to watch an apricot sunset over the river. after the sunset bonfires popped up along the riverbanks. it was such a beautiful, magical night.

i hope you had a lovely weekend, too! 

Friday, July 2, 2010

this moment: crafting doesn't stop for injuries

the ice pack that soothed my burn and let me keep on crocheting.

* * * * * 

ice pack inspired by this post on the poppies and milk blog.

this moment inspired by soulemama.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

csa day: time to get creative with squash

Finger Pickin' Farms CSA for the week of June 29, 2010.

Left to right, top to bottom.

1) Zucchini, golden zucchini, zephyr bicolor squash, purple carrots
2) Zinnias, sweet basil, green cucumbers, white cucumbers, pattypan squash
3) Beets, candy apple red onions

We got a lot of good food this week, but I'm most excited about these sweet onions. The color is such a brilliant ruby and they taste amazingly sweet. I'm trying to come up with ideas to use up some of the squash and zucchini we've amassed, and I can't decide what to do with all of those cucumbers. Maybe a salad or perhaps some pickles.

Weekly Menu:

*Veggie Burgers and oven fries

*Cold soba with dipping sauce

*Egg Fu Yung with Cabbage, Carrots, and Candy Apple Onions, Rice

*Pizza with Tomato, Basil, Garlic, Feta and Parmesan

*Beet Gnocchi (wish me luck!) from Apples for Jam, a cookbook that is on my Christmas wishlist already even though it's only July. I start my wishlists early.

*Pasta and Squash Casserole. I'm making this one up as I go. I'm picturing a layer of cooked pasta, topped with sauteed squash and zucchini, garlic, and tomatoes, bechamel or marinara sauce, a sprinkling of parmesan and bread crumbs. Baked until golden and bubbly.

Maybe the best pizza I've ever made

Blackberry Buttermilk Cake from Apples for Jam

I also made a breakfast cake this past weekend because I hosted a little breakfast party for my uncle who was in from out of town. I just love having breakfast parties these days! The food is easy--I usually do fresh fruit, eggs, a baked good, and maybe some bacon if K wants to cook it. Pour everyone a cup of coffee, put on some records, and start the day off right. 

I'm having a friend over for tea tomorrow before we go thrifting, so I get to bake a little something for that, too. I've been reading Anne of Green Gables for the first time and it makes me want to bake lots of cakes, have teas, and go play in the woods. Thanks to Amy for recommending it!

* * * * * 

What's on your plate this week? And what's on your mind?


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