Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A change to my blog....

I have switched who I use for blogging.. my new blog address is our first CSA & random yummy recipes... new blog!

Some of you have commented on how you've had difficulty posting comments.  I've spent a little bit of time doing research, and I think that I like wordpress better......   so I'm not sure how you get to this page,  ( follow, email, FB, other blogs..) but  I will be posting on the wordpress blog instead.

Thanks ;)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The funny thing about tradition...

.. is that you don't always realize when you are actually starting one.  Many years ago,  our oldest (then only child) Jason,  set out for his first day of kindergarden.

I was soo proud of him ( still am ;)  So the school bus picked him up at our front door and I set back inside. Lost. For the first time ever in my life, I was alone. Being such a young mom, I had gone from going to school, to going to work while he was with one of his grandparents during the day & my days off were spent with him, playing, teaching, watching him grow.

But as I walked back in the house, I realized that I really was lost.

Unexpectedly.  Lost.

So I set out to my comfort zone, my kitchen.. and decided to bake cookies.

By the time the last batch was done, I heard the brakes of the school bus.. and he was home again.. running up the hill with papers in his hand, full of stories of his first day of school.

We sat on the living room floor while he emptied his back pack, had cookies & milk together while he shared all of his stories with me;)

A year later, as he entered first grade, we had another addition to our home...

Ryan had arrived.. when I sent Jason off on the bus, and Ryan had gone down for a nap....   I baked cookies again..

and a few years later, once Ali had arrived & our core family was complete, when Jay & Ry set off for school,

Ali & I .. you guessed .... baked cookies :)

I wasn't until a few years later, when we had now moved on to our next home, where the bus stop was at the end of the street, so we had to walk home that I realized what I had done......

I walked to the bus stop to get Ry & Ali  off of the bus on the first day of school and they both jumped off the bus and ran right by me.. they yelled back to me that they were racing home for the cookies. THAT'S when it occurred to me...

......I had started our very own tradition!

Jason is long out of school...  and like I said, I am still very proud of him...

Ryan will enter his Junior year of high school next week..

and Ali started her sophomore year of high school today.......

and despite the fact that it is 95 degrees out, & I don't have A/C...... you guessed it... I'm baking cookies !!!!

~because you don't break a tradition :)


on another note..... this is what we have deemed 'breakfast central' in our house.  While is was making Ali's breakfast this morning.... take a look at who showed up trying to sneak a ride to school in her lunchbox!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Day at the farm♥♥♥♥

Today was the annual Farm Day at Plato's Harvest Organic Farm  What is Farm day you ask? It is the day where Farmer Dave & his wife, Sasha organize a family fun day  right there on the farm complete with food, music, hayrides and of course the stars of the show, Plato & Einstein...and all of their animal friends.

It was a potluck.. so I decided to make this Edammame & white bean salad   Once I had made it, I felt like it wasn't enough.... hindsight, I should have doubled it form the start. Unfortunately I did not have any more edamamme.. or cannelloni beans. So I improvised. I added a can of Chick peas, rinsed & drained and Black Beans, rinsed & drained. I also doubled the dressing since I was adding more legumes..

the result...

delicious!!  The pic doesn't do it justice.. I was running late ( as usual.. where DOES the time go?) and took a quick shot once it was packaged to go. I was  disappointed that I had to add the extra beans, because I love the gentle flavors of the edamamme & cannelloni beans together with the rosemary & garlic oil, but when I went to grab the container at the end of the party, it was empty, so obviously, there weren't any complaints.

*note to self* Tj's trip this week.... you are out of edamamme....

Some pics from the day..

Farmer Dave Playing with Plato & Einstein

getting ready for the hayride

 wonderful music courtesy of the Lindsays

Hungry little fellows...


Scott & I picked some in hopes to be able to make some jam..

we weren't able to enough because they were too high for us short folk, but we did stop & buy some organic California grown grapes on the way home to add, so hopefully jam will be in  our future ;)

Now we are home, I have a small batch of Sauce simmering on the stove.... a chocolate zucchini bread in the oven.... this time I tried in in a bundt pan.... I'll let you know how it turns out  ;)

and all is well in the world....... time for a glass of wine and some burgers on the grill on my last night of summer... in my kids' eyes.... Ali ( my youngest) starts her Sophomore year of high school on Tuesday, so this is her last night of summer :(   boy did that go fast!!!!

I'm not just talking about the summer ......

nighty night!!


Thursday, August 26, 2010

eggplant rollatini

I've been waiting very patiently to make this dish.  I first had it sometime in the 90's all deep-fried & yummy...  I've made a bit of a lightened version of it....

I used Asian eggplant..  You can skip the whole 'salt to remove bitterness' step if you do :)

Start by slicing the eggplant about 1/4 in ch thick the long way

I saved the 'end pieces' ( the part that was all skin) for another dish.  Drizzle the eggplant slices with some olive oil & salt & pepper. The eggplant will act like a sponge    so don't be afraid to add more oil if needed.. 

♥♥♥♥(it's heart healthy)♥♥♥♥

Preheat a grill pan or grill

When grill is good & hot, place the eggplant at an angle on the grill.

let it develop grill marks for a minute then ( don't flip) using tongs Gently move so that the eggplant is angled the opposite way.

( I lost some of the pictures that I took of this somehow , I will try to describe the best that I can..)

*the top eggplant is the first angel that I used, then I turned it so that it is facing the direction that the bottom 2 are.

When you then flip it ( as I have, you will have these very pretty grill marks) *

When all of the eggplant are grilled, set them up like little soldiers to get ready to be filled.. (prettiest side down.. that will end up being the top)

ugh.. the other lost photos were of the filling.

I invite you to use your imagination...

I had about a cup of part-skim ricotta
1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese
1 egg
salt & pepper
crushed garlic cloves (crush with the side of a knife..)  this insures that garlic flavor will be throughout the filling without anyone biting straight into a chunk of garlic..

Then, start assembling

Lay some fresh basil leaves a top of your eggplant

then top with sun-dried tomatoes.. ( I used a different brand than I normally do.. they are as pretty and red as I'm used to, but they still tasted good )

next, the imaginary cheese filling

roll each eggplant up & place in a baking dish lined with some Marinara Sauce

top with more sauce & shred some parmesan cheese on top

bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes  then top with a drizzle of olive oil & a drizzle of balsamic vinegar


I served this with a simple tomato& cumber salad..

I used the same idea as Caprese Towers

I just layered an heirloom tomato with a lemon boy cucumber

I grew these just for fun this year....  You can used whatever cuke you like, just peel it first ;)

top with some shredded basil, a diced red onion, salt, Pepper, EVOO & balsamic vinegar...


on another note... is there something that you would like to have a recipe for?  Something that you would like to see me make? I do have a lot of ideas on my own but  I'm open to suggestions....  I love a challenge..

thanks for reading :)

~oxoox ~shel

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

just for fun

I thought that I would share some photos of my veggie garden...

it's not much, but I do love it...

my morning glorys were sad this morning :(

I have lots of weeds...  I've spent my life trying to get rid of them, but I've recently decided that they aren't all that bad. I do pull them, but overall, if they are growing in my garden it's because my garden is a fun place to grow!!

and drink my coffee.. just don't sit on that bench. it will fall apart.  It's a showpiece only :)

future jalapeno poppers

my Zinnias.... purple Prince &

Green Envy!!  my favorite!
and the piece de resistance

my compost bin!!!!  Those of you who know me know just how much I love composting!!

I can turn this into rich, sweet smelling compost!!

this is the fertilizer that I use..


it has a stinky smell, but works beautifully!

perhaps I should weed the walkway.....

nah.. no today.. my kitchen is calling.......


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

When life gives you a summer n'oreaster.....

Make sauce!!! Lots & lots of sauce!!

Last week we received even more tomatoes in our CSA share from Plato's Harvest Organic Farm

(yes, that's a big, beautiful, juicy watermelon :)

Onto sauce.... I know that I posted my quick fresh sauce recipe, but now I'm going for the big guns.. the 'stock the freezer' sauce.. the 'I like to pretend I'm an Old Italian grandmother' sauce...

The sauce that I will defrost for my homemade ravioli on Christmas sauce.

Yup.. that's the sauce..

Start by finding some big, comfy socks & turning on some corny 70's tunes

♬♬♬  If you like Pina Coladas♬♬♬

Bring a large pot of water to a boil  & also fill a large bowl with ice water

♬♬ Getting caught in the rain♬♬♬♬

Turn your maters upside down & with a paring knife, make an X in the bottom

 ( I can't see my X's.. perhaps I took the picture first?)

go ahead, make the X

♬♬♬ and the feel of the ocean♬♬♬♬

When the water is boiling, add a few tomatoes at a time & let boil for just about a minute

( take a sip of your coffee )

♬♬and the taste of Champagne♬♬♬

then, using a spider or tongs, remove tomatoes & quickly plunge into the ice bath

The skins should easily peel away

♬♬♬ why don't we peel away..baaam bamm abmm abaa baaamp..peel aaawwaay, into the  night♬♬♬

repeat with all of the tomatoes

( you can use this method to take the skins of of fruits like peaches & plums as well...)

When all of the tomatoes are skinned, dump the water from the stockpot , dry it, ( no need to wash it).. place back on the stove over medium heat & add some olive oil.

When the oil shimmers, add some chopped onion, carrots & celery... season with salt & pepper

yes, I have a purple carrot in there :)

once the veggies caramelize a bit ( you see a little browning ) add some finely chopped garlic ( add this right at the end, because if the garlic is in the pan too soon without liquid, it will burn & scorch & taste yucky)

))) burnt garlic((((

give the veggies one last swirl together

♬♬♬ Night Fever,  Night fevaaaaa  you know how to do it♬♬♬

then, start adding the tomatoes , cutting the cores out as you go..

WHOA!!  did you noticed how my pan changed colors???

♬♬♬♬Saturday.. in the park, I think it was the 4th of July♬♬♬♬

add a couple of bay leaves, kosher salt & pepper, some dried oregano & basil & bring to a simmer.

throw in some 80's tunes

♬♬ I've had the time of my life.. no I've never felt like this before♬♬♬

and let your sauce simmer

and simmer

♬♬♬ Nothing's gunna stop us now...♬♬♬

and simmer

your sauce will get thicker & a deeper color red as the day goes on...

stir it once in awhile and enjoy the amazing aroma..

♬♬♬wasting away again in Margaritaville♬♬♬

I let mine simmer for a good 4 hours. when the sauce is looking thicker... remove the bay leaves then..

 you can do one of 3 things.

1) leave it thick & chunky, test for salt & pepper

2) let cool & blend in batches in a blender; test for seasonings
3) use an immersion blender to puree; test for seasonings

I personally don't mind it chunky, but if I leave it chunky, I find that certain family members pick out some of the veggies; by pureeing the sauce, the eat them without knowing ;)

If you can eat it within a week, I store it in a mason jar, just make sure that it is completely cool before you put the lid on..

You also could can it at this point, but I chose to freeze it in portions in zip-lock freezer bags..

after, of course we had some with our sketti & meatballs last night.

This might seem like a lot of work to get from this

to this

but it is so worth it. If you have the opportunity to make sauce from scratch, I highly recommend it.

it is  very gratifying to look at the product at the end of the day.

not the mention to taste it :)


♬♬everybody's talkin' bout the new sound honey, but it's still rock & roll to me ♬♬♬♬