Tuesday, July 31, 2012

foodie to foodie {july pen pals}

i think
foodie pen pals
is single handedly
saving the postal service
each month
about a thousand packages
flying across the world
filled with
tailored to individual tastes
what the sender knows of the receiver
is very little
he/she may read your blog
ask what you favor
wonder about allergies
food true loves
pops a whole lot of goodness
in the hands of 
parcel post

july was my second month of participation 
foodie pen pals
dreamed up and managed by
lindsay of the lean green bean
it is a whole lot of fun
anyone can join...
....it isn't just for bloggers
on to the treats i received
a darling gal named marisa from the college cuisiner
put together a really special package 
first let me say
i am a bit sappy
there is a rule
the package must include something written
knocked it out of the park
it made me teary eyed
can you see it?
it is a journal
with recipes and ideas and food quotes
bound in leather
that SHE made
it is wonderful!
i have already decided to "borrow" the idea
along with this fabulous gift
the box was filled with all the things i love
crunchy homemade kale chips
(already gone)
quince jam her sister made
(already opened and enjoyed)
delicious almond butter
(also gone)
green tea for my morning pick me up
(not gone, but well on its way)
a personal chocolate milk
(which i am saving for a weekend mocha marathon!)
and some amazing crackers
no photo of the crackers?!
that might be because
they. are. gone. too
marisa did offer this quote in my new favorite journal
so it is kinda her fault
thank you marisa
i truly loved everything in the box
there were also bubbles
which are so much fun
i broke them out immediately
figuring our african grey would find them amusing
no g
he kept telling me to
"knock it off"

i sent my package to heather
who is also in california (like me)
but doesn't have a blog
she was kind enough to
send a little post along
for me to share with you
what i sent her
take it away heather!

I was the recipient of Christy’s box this month for Foodie Penpals, and was I thrilled with the amazing things she sent.  The first thing that was great about my pen pal this month was getting to discover Christy’s blog.  She has some great recipes!  My eggplants are finally ready for picking and I tried her eggplant involtini recipe, which was fantastic. Her box was just as wonderful and Christy must be a mind reader for things people will love.  
The first thing I noticed was a tin of Chana Masala.  I did not tell Christy this, but I just went to a friend’s wedding in India this April and I am on an Indian food kick.  It smells wonderful and is all set to be used for this tandoori salmon recipe I want to try out this weekend.  There was a box of green tea chai.  I don’t drink coffee, but looking at my desk at work right now, I have at least 8 kinds of tea and this is a great addition to the mix.  The chocolate covered grahams were delicious and did not last long after the picture was taken.  The olive oil is so good drizzled on a fresh picked tomato with a pinch of coarse salt. I have already made a note to get more of this oil when I run out. As if everything wasn’t wonderful enough already, Christy has also given me some of the wildflower honey from her hives.  I am so jealous about her having beehives and the honey is so good that I haven’t figured out what is the best way to enjoy it yet. I don’t want to waste it on something that won’t really showcase the really floral flavor.  On top of the food, I got a neat little bundle of the cutest things.  There is a Pinocchio bottle stopper, adorable.  There are also some cute little picks that will be fantastic on a cheese platter. And finally, a handy bottle opener that will be added to the wine opener in my picnic basket, since I always forget it doesn’t open bottles.
Thank you so much for all the delicious and fun treats, Christy.  Your box was thoughtful and I appreciate everything you sent!

if all this seems like fun to you
join up

Sunday, July 29, 2012

chard & ricotta pie

up at the cabin
i don't always have a full larder
i do have a garden
a few cheats in the freezer
which leads to

i was able to whip this
up in a snap
mostly because
our garden overflows
 chard and ricotta pie
10 sheets filo dough
olive oil
grated parmesan

1 garlic clove--finely chopped
1/2 medium onion--finely chopped
2 Tbs olive oil
1 bunch (about 12 large leaves/4 cups chopped)--chopped--discarding stems

1 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan
2 eggs
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp freshly grated parmesan
a few turns of the pepper-mill

use an 8x10 pan.  layer the filo by brushing each sheet with olive oil, and a light sprinkle of parmesan cheese.  the bottom layer should be 6 sheets.  trim the ends and set aside.  
in a large skillet, heat the olive oil on low--toss in the garlic and onion.  cook just until the onions begin to sweat and turn translucent. do not allow the garlic to brown.  toss in the chard and allow to wilt, giving a good stir to evenly cook.  after about 5 minutes, toss in about 1/4 cup of water and cover.  allow the chard to get nice and soft. allow to cool slightly. strain off the liquid and place in a bowl.  add the ricotta, parmesan, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, and pepper.  
evenly spread into the prepared filo crust.  
take the remaining 4 leaves of filo one by one and scrunch them in a loose accordion.  place on top of the spinach layer, making sure to cover the entire top of the pie.  drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle a bit more cheese.
bake at 375F for about 30-35 minutes.  you will look for the filo to be nice and crispy.
serve warm or room temperature. 
this is very easy to crisp up in the oven for a "next-day" treat!

Friday, July 20, 2012

lemon lavender cake

i love lavender-trimming day
delicate buds
not yet spent
given their pollen
to the bees
at the ready
culinary cajoling

i bundle the limping stalks
tacking my baker's rack 
lines of purple
scent of  Provence
filling the air

i toss the dried buds
in everything 
simple syrup to custards
aioli to bitters
shortbread to biscotti

i especially love it
in this cake
lemon-lavender cake
(this is a riff on a classic 1-2-3-4 cake)
1 cup unsalted butter--room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 cups flour
4 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 Tbs lemon zest
juice of 1 large lemon
1 generous tsp dried lavender buds

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time fully incorporating after each
addition. Stop and scrape down the sides with a spatula and resume beating until the mixture looks like
buttercream frosting. Meanwhile…in a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda.
Combine the lemon zest, lemon juice and buttermilk together. With the mixer on low, alternately mix in
the flour and buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour, in 3 additions. Do not over-mix, just allow the ingredients to come together. Stir in the lavender. Pour into 2 loaf pans that have been coated in pan spray. Bake at 325 F for approximately 50 mins. Check for doneness after 40 minutes. Cake is fully baked when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.When cool, pour glaze over
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbs cream
Juice of lemon (more or less to your taste)
Stir together and pour over cooled cake.

i've linked my cake up to this great weekly party

Friday, July 13, 2012

ripe figs with ricotta & honey

it is a given

if i were to find myself
roaming the garden of eden

surely i would be
plucking and eating figs
not with

figs are good
fresh or dried

for a simple and gorgeous treat
serve these
as an appetizer or dessert
gilded figs
ripe fresh figs
ricotta cheese (fresh if you can get it)
sea salt
toasted walnuts

slice the figs in half, and put a generous scoop of fresh ricotta on top.  drizzle your best honey to just cover the ricotta, sprinkle a few grains of sea salt and top with a walnut half.  serve chilled or room temperature.
**tastes great accompanying a cold glass of prosecco

Saturday, July 7, 2012

eggplant involtini

with the sun low
a slight breeze
cooling the warm air
summer evenings
for a picnic

we like to hitch the dogs
a well worn blanket
a basket of tidbits
head out
our garden
the beach
a park
a concert
the porch

a favorite tidbit
this time of year
eggplant involtini
roasted peppers
fresh basil leaves
soft goat cheese
2 cloves garlic-peeled and smashed
1/2 cup olive oil
salt & pepper

place the olive oil smashed garlic in a small saucepan and heat to warm. this process is to simply infuse the garlic flavor into the oil.  set aside and allow to infuse for an hour.  remove the garlic and store extra oil in the refrigerator.  slice the eggplant into slices no thicker than 1/4".  layer slices between paper towels and let dry out for several hours or overnight.  heat a large skillet over medium heat. in batches, place the eggplant in the skillet. do not use oil, you will be dry frying.  turn when soft and brown and brown the second side.  remove from heat and place on plate and allow to cool to room temperature.  once cool, take a slice of eggplant and brush the top with the garlic oil to coat, but not saturate.  place a piece of roasted pepper across the middle, add a generous dollop of  goat cheese.  give a quick sprinkle of salt and pepper, and top with a basil leaf.  roll overlapping the eggplant ends and place closure side down. brush a bit more olive oil over the top.  serve cold or room temperature.


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