Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Summer Love - Past and Present



Hi friends. Welcome back. I have been off for a bit. Lots happening around here - and just haven't had a chance to curl up with my laptop and tell stories.

I went over to Point Roberts - aka The Cottage, this past weekend to see my brother and his wee'ins. I had a great visit with my sister's son too and my mom, and my uncle and aunt were also there as well. It was a full house. Just like the tv show - except there were more kids, more women, and not 3 grown men living together. Some of you may not even know that show. That's probably a good thing. I, do. Yipes. 

Anyways - it was a good little visit. I took some photos to share. 

Summer Present.




Chris and I have been 'dating' for 11 years. We started dating when I was 12. Just kidding - 13 ;). I started cooking for him right away. He was hungry. I was tired of cooking for myself. He liked food. I liked to cook. It was a perfect match. Anyways, I had a few dishes that I made regularly - greek salad, some type of pasta, homemade soups... not a huge repertoire, but he enjoyed whatever was on the menu.

One of the first things that I can remember making for him was pasta with lots of fresh vegetables and feta. I still remember the first time I made it for him and the conversation that we had - and that was a very long time ago - so I have a very good memory. 

Picture this - I am a cashier at Safeway. I have just finished my shift and I call Chris at home. 

Me: Hi.
Chris: Hi.
Me: Do you want to come for dinner?
Chris: What are you making?
Me: Pasta with lemon, vegetables and feta.
Chris: Sure.

I should have asked him why he needed to know what was for dinner. What if it was liver and onions? Would he have still came? What if he didn't? Would we be engaged 11 years later? These are the things that keep me up at night.

This pasta is so easy. So fast. So delicious. 

Pasta with summer vegetables, lemons and feta

1 pack of whole wheat linguine - or regular linguine (I think that it works best) - boil until al dente

2 tbsp of butter
4 cloves of garlic minced
2/3 cup green onions - chopped
4 roma tomatoes - chopped into small pieces
2 small or 1 medium yellow or green zucchini - chopped into match stick slices
Juice of 2 lemons
1 tbsp dried oregano
Fresh basil - lots of it
1 cup feta

In a large saucepan, melt the butter and add the garlic and green onions - add a dash of kosher salt. Saute for a couple of minutes over low heat to ensure that the garlic doesn't burn. Add the tomatoes, squash and the the juice of the lemons, as well as the oregano and continue to saute for another 10 minutes or so.  Add the fresh basil. Then add the linguine, adding a small amount at at time so that the sauce coats the pasta. Once the pasta is coated in all of the sauce, add the crumbled feta cheese. 

Serve hot.

Loves.

Enjoy!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Smile.

For my birthday this year, Chris spoiled me rotten, and gave me a Canon video camera. I was so surprised. I was not expecting it at all. I was expecting a hug, maybe a card, but a video camera, nope. He is one spoiler. I am still trying to figure it out. At this point, we only know how to put the pictures and videos on his PC, and not my laptop. Hopefully we sort that soon. Anyways, it takes amazing pictures. Here are a few:

Gladiolas - they always remind me of my dad. 
Blueberry addiction.

Eggs. Beautiful eggs.
Thinly sliced summer squash - used for a summer lasagna - will share recipe soon.

I am not sure what is going on these days, but I am struggling a bit to come up with dinner ideas. Most nights I would like to make toast. Or a pizza (not the homemade kind). Or chocolate. Or cheese and crackers. I haven't done that yet... well the pizza one yes... but the others, I am practicing self control.

One night this week, I made this. You're probably asking - 'Why doth thou use the oven when it is 30 degrees out?' Please don't talk like that. No one knows what 'doth' means. I did use the oven because of my addiction to Sabrina's EGGS. Sometimes, during the week, it's just easy to whip something up in one dish, and then just shove it in the oven and sit on your Royal Canadian while it is baking. 

I did barbeque a feast a couple of weeks ago. I did a grilled buttermilk chicken inspired from Real Simple and some new potatoes with blue cheese. These were both extremely easy dishes, and something that I am happy to have added them to the recipe box.

Grilled Buttermilk Chicken

4 chicken breasts (bone in) - cut in half
6 chicken legs
1 1/2 cups of buttermilk
4 cloves of garlic - minced
Fresh thyme and rosemary - chopped - 1 to 2 tbsp each
Kosher salt and pepper

In a bowl, mix the buttermilk, garlic and fresh herbs together, season with kosher salt and pepper. Place the chicken in a ziploc bag and then pour over the buttermilk mixture. Let the chicken marinade for at least an hour, preferably overnight.

Remove the chicken and place the pieces on a oiled grill. Grill over medium heat for about 20-30 minutes. 

The chicken is incredibly moist and full of flavour. If you don't have a grill, this chicken could be easily cooked in the oven.

Chris rated this a 4. 


New potatoes with Blue Cheese

If you are looking for an easy, delicious and flavourful side dish,  you should try these.  

10-12 small to medium sized white potatoes - these are in season right now - so finding them at a local market will make these even better.
Olive oil 
Kosher salt and pepper
1/2 cup blue cheese

Pre-heat the oven to 425. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the potatoes to ensure that they are lightly covered. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for approx. 45 minutes - or until potatoes are cooked. Reduce the oven to 300.

Remove from the oven and cut an X on the top each potato. Do not cut all the way through. Spoon a small spoonful of the blue cheese in the top of the X. Place the potatoes back on the baking sheet and heat for 5 minutes to let the blue cheese melt. 

And that's it! The flavour of the potatoes are warm, cozy and comforting. The blue cheese is a savoury addition to make these potatoes burst in  your mouth. 

Chris did not love these because of the blue cheese. He is not a fan. I will make these again and use gruyere or even cheddar. I will make him like these if it's the last thing I do. I hope he's reading this - b/c he will be shaking in his boots. 

Just kidding. I have so much more to do than make Chris love these potatoes. Stuff like plan a wedding. Each time I say that I stress just a bit more. It's pretty much 3 months away. What I thought would take forever isn't. It's just around the corner. Breathe! BREATHE!!! 

Alright friends, it's almost the weekend. I hope you have big plans. I am hoping off the rock for the night to see my brother and his wee'ins. Can't wait.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Guest Chef - Auntie Babs - Ribs, ribs, ribs


Meet My Auntie Babs.

Babs is an amazing chef. 

Babs is my dad's younger sister.

Babs is a mom, a grandma, an aunt, a sister, a sister-in-law, a daughter, a successful business woman, a friend. Growing up, we would only see her once a year, maybe twice. We always knew that although she wasn't close to us physically that she was a very special person to my dad - and he made us sure that we knew how special. My dad had a huge amount of respect for her, so does my mom. 

When my dad was sick, she became a constant in our lives and was there for all of us, no matter what. Our relationship has developed so much over the years, and I like to think that I have the relationship with her, that I want to have with my nephews and nieces. She has always instilled that family is important, the most important thing. She has wonderful stories of my dad and grandparents, and we are truly blessed to have those stories.

I also share a love of cooking with my aunt. I have learned so much from her over the years and absolutely love sharing recipes with her. She is an incredible cook. She uses fresh and local ingredients, likes quick and simple recipes with bold flavours. She always has something to serve when anyone comes over and can whip it up in minutes. 

Let's get to know her more:

What is your favourite dinner eat?
I have two: rack of lamb encrusted in garlic crumbs and herbs; and a huge lobster with drawn butter.

What is your favourite dinner to make?
I have a fish chowder that takes forever. Full of fresh fish and veggies. And a fillet of beef would be another - baked at 500 degrees for 10 minutes no matter what the size.

If you could have dinner with anyone, anywhere, what would it be, who with and where?
My family, on my deck at Hood Point. A big rib bake with salads, fresh corn on the cob, and sherbet cones for dessert.

What is your favourite kitchen utensil?
Chopping knife.

My aunt's recipe is her Ribs. They are unreal. Seriously. I made these a couple of weeks ago, and Chris loved them. He likes Babs' more - and rates them a 15+. They are easy to make, but no one will need to know that you didn't slave away all day. Roll up your sleeves, get a bib, tie your hair back, and dig in.

Auntie Babs' Ribs

2 racks of baby back ribs
1 cup of white sugar
1 cup of white vinegar
1 cup of ketchup
4 cloves of garlic - minced

Mix the sugar, vinegar, ketchup and garlic together - this will be the sauce for the ribs.

Pre-heat the oven to 450. Put the rib strips in a roasting pan. Fill the pan 3/4 of the way up the sides with water. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 1.5 hours. Drain the ribs prepare the grill to bbq.

Place the ribs on the grill and cover them in the bbq sauce and grill for about 10-15 minutes.

Summer is still here - so you should really give these a try. You will not be disappointed.

Thanks Auntie Babs for being one of my guest chefs. I have learned so much from you, and look forward to so many more foodie conversations with you.

Loves.

Enjoy!



Sunday, August 15, 2010

If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. Seriously - get out, it's hot in there.


It's been hot here. hot. HOT. HOTTTTTT. I am not complaining. I  promise. I really am not. I do love the heat - because it's summer, and summer only comes once a year. And, because we have not had the greatest summer, so this heat is a treat. Hey, that rhymes. 

It probably sounds like I am complaining when I say things like 'I am sweating to death', or 'I think that I may die because it's so hot', or 'Chris please run me an ice cold bath?', or 'Chris can you drive me around for an hour in the air conditioned truck?'. I don't really say things like that when I am hot. Ok, I may have said the first one once. Actually probably the second too. And, when I am delirious because it is so hot, I may have said the latter two. But who's keeping track? I'm not because it's too hot.

When it is hot like this, I don't feel like cooking. I feel instead like sitting down in Suite B, eating Smartfood popcorn and never leaving. 

I find that when it is hot on days like this, that we have to be good to ourselves and make easy, light dinners that don't involve a lot of effort. Even better, find things that you can make for dinner that are easy, light and that someone else can help with. For us, burgers on the barbeque are a delicious and an easy choice (mostly b/c Chris does the bbq'ing). I made Ground Turkey Burgers for myself, and Chris some juicy beef burgers. I never really make the same burgers twice, but lately I have been loving adding a bunch of fresh herbs (sage this time round), garlic and lots of parmesan, dried oregano, some ketchup and that's it. 

To 'spice' them up this time, I added a bunch of fresh herbs to mayo - to serve as a garnish. This was delicious!!!


Fresh Herb Burger Mayo

1/3 mayonnaise - I use Hellman's non-fat 
2 tbsp fresh chives - chopped very fine
2 tbsp fresh basil - finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh oregano - finely chopped
2 tbsp red onion - finely chopped
Black pepper

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix together. Keep cool until serving. Serve on one side of a grilled hamburger bun. 

I really liked this as an accompaniment to the burger. It was extremely fresh, and tasted delicious. Chris rated this a 5!

Then to keep things cool and sweet. I place 3 fresh grapes on small skewers and then placed them in the freezer for the day. I served them with ice water - they looked so pretty - and were very refreshing.

Well, I hope that you are managing the heat. Enjoy it, as it will be winter before we know it.

Loves.

Enjoy!!

Let's chat about eggs.

wakey wakey.

I am up early this beautiful, sunny morning. Not by choice though. Well, I guess it is in a sense. I could have made myself fall back to sleep, but just couldn't do it.

Picture this: 6:40 AM - Ogre is meowing outside of my window. We have a little ledge outside of our bedroom window that he climbs on to and scratches the screen if we don't let him in after his 7 demands. So, after his 6th, I shuffle to the front door and let him in.

6:55 AM - Ogre is now in the house and has eaten his breakfast and is gently telling me that he wants out. His meows start out quietly, almost cute, and then they become more demanding. If I don't get up and let him out after his 12th meow, he then uses the chair in the living room as his scratch pad. I shuffle out of bed again, and let him out.

7:05 AM - back to sleep, almost. Then, I hear screams, crashes, dogs barking (not mine - they some how sleep through it all), and then a lot of mumbling. I, once again shuffle out of bed. Look out the window - and see two adults - a male and a female. The male is getting off the ground, pulling off the bike that was on top of him. The female is laying on the road after (plummeting, I assume) from one of those carriers that joggers use to push kids in when they are running. Uh huh. So, after assessing the situation with one eye open - it looks as though the guy was riding his bike, pulling a child size jogger carrier with a woman in it by a bungy cord. What the heck??? She was alright - after a lot of 'EFF' words by the woman, and the guy standing about 5 feet away telling her that she is ok, and that she has to push the cart because he won't be pulling her anymore. Uh, maybe you should have thought about that before the first time you tried your makeshift getup. Oh my. There's never a dull moment 'round this place.

Alright - so I am up. 

Let's chat about eggs. Why not - it's early enough. Chris works with a woman who has her own chickens that give her the most incredible eggs. I am serious - they are incredible. Two years ago, the first time Chris brought some home - I made Rhubarb Custard Pie - with them and they made a huge difference. I'm serious! At first I couldn't figure out why they turned out so perfectly - and I realized it was the eggs. The custard was a gorgeous yellow, and so creamy. Fresh, free range, organic eggs are absolutely the best. 

Soft boiled eggs

Eggs
Boiling Water

Bring a pot of water to a boil. With a slotted spoon, gently place the eggs in the water. Boil for 3 minutes. Remove the eggs from the water and dry the shells off. Using a egg cup or a shooter glass, place the egg in, and with a sharp knife, gently cut the top off. And then serve with some toast for dipping. Pure perfection.



After breakfast, I headed to the beach with my neighbour and her pups for a dog walk. 

So, although my day started with a bit of unwanted chaos - the dog walk made up for it. Now I will spend the rest of the day trying to stay cool. It's hot. Humma humma HOT!

Loves.

Enjoy!!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Eating, Praying, Loving


I am just home from the movie 'Eat, Pray, Love'. 

I haven't read the book. Although my sister has been trying to get me to read it for forever, and my friend Tracy brought it to me this week so that I could try and read it before tonight. I will read the book now. I will start this weekend.

Do you know the feeling when you come out of a good movie, or when you have read something, or heard someone speak, and you just can't stop thinking about what just occurred and how it in some way relates to everything else that is happening in your world, right at that specific moment? Reflection . It's reflection(Tracy summed it up). I am always in awe - almost like I believe that it shouldn't happen - that something like that can give me the power that I need to reflect on my life; What's surrounding me at this moment; The people that are in my life. 

I think, that when this does happen, that I almost have some form of guilt that I am making something else inspire me to reflect on my life. Am I not strong enough to do that myself? Do I need some form of social media to help me try and figure out who I am, what I want and where I should be? I feel, that I should say 'no'. I think that I need to not be so hard on myself. I think that I need to embrace these moments regardless of how often they occur, how long they last, and just breathe them in. And then absorb them. 

Ok, I have written that, and I still have guilt. Guilt is a useless emotion. Chris has taught me that. It's true, I think. It is really - why should we have guilt? We make choices and we have to be responsible for them. I think that we can have regrets, but guilt is too consuming, too painful, too hurtful.

I think that I am reflecting. 

There was a line in the movie - and I said it over and over again so I wouldn't forget it. But, I did. It was something like 'modes of transformation'. I think that I need to watch it again to remember the line. But it just grabbed me. To me, I thought, there are so many moments in our lives that transform us to who we are, where we are and why. Transformation. It can only be a good thing. 

I have left that movie - and I feel a bit emotional. I want transformation. I don't want the kind of transformation of changing my hair colour and wearing a size 10 (although that would be nice). I need to find a journey that is going to transform me into the most healthy and beautiful person on the inside and out that I want to be. I know what I need to do, but I am scared, I am afraid, I am cautious. But, I am loved, strong and not alone. I am the only one that is not allowing any sort of transformation to begin. 

Well, not a recipe for today, but maybe some 'food for thought'. Really I am not a fan of that saying, mostly because I don't really know what it means. 

Loves.

Enjoy!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Girlfriends II



Girlfriends party - means no boys - except these two - how could we deny them. Too cute.

Girlfriend party continued...

For the main course I did two different salads - cherry tomatoes (red, yellow and orange) with basil and shavings of parmesan and grilled yellow and green zucchini with goat cheese. And then grilled pork tenderloin with an Italian Salsa Verde. I served a loaf of bread with a sun-dried tomato butter that I made. 


For the salads - they were exactly what they were. For the tomato salad, I tossed the tomatoes in a very small drizzle of olive oil, chopped up some fresh basil and seasoned with kosher salt and pepper. Then with a potato peeler (very high tech) I shaved pieces of fresh parmesan cheese. 

For the grilled zucchini and goat cheese - I sliced 4 zucchinis (2 green, 2 yellow) in half lengthwise and brushed a very small amount of olive oil and seasoned with kosher salt and pepper. Then grilled on a low heat until they had beautiful grill marks and were soft - but not mushy. I then cut thin into 1 inch pieces, placed them in a bowl and crumbled goat cheese over top and gently tossed.

For the main, main event, I grilled pork tenderloin and served it with Italian Salsa Verde. I used the same recipe that I used for my grilled pork tenderloin, all the time. Simple rub, and it works every time. Check that out HERE

I made the salsa verde, earlier in the day. It had all day to sit and let all the flavours soak in together. Oh my - was it worth the it.

Italian Salsa Verde
2 cups parsley - chopped (stems removed)
2 cups fresh mint leaves
1 cup fresh chives
1 cup fresh basil
4 cloves of garlic
1 tsp chili flakes or 1 small fresh jalepeno (I used chili flakes)
2 tbsp drained capers
Juice of one lemon
1/2 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper

Place all of the ingredients in a food processor (I tried using my blender, b/c it was already out for the Gazpacho, but it didn't work). Pulse to get all of the herbs chopped. As the ingredients were being processed, I slowly added the olive oil. Use a spatula to ensure that all of the ingredients are consistently processed together. Place in the fridge and let sit until serving. 

I pulled the salsa verde out just prior to serving to let it sit at room temperature. 

I sliced the tenderloin on the diagonal and spooned the salsa verde on top. 

And with that, dinner was served! 

Again, it was a great night - it was so intimate to sit on the deck with close friends, and have the opportunity to cook for them too. 

Jenny - you are invited any time - or you can crash it - whatever works better for you. I would love to have you any time. 

I have stories to tell, love affairs to declare and recipes to share. Those will come soon. For now - I need to look at the dishes that I should be doing, try and get Chris to open a bag of kettle chips to share, not think about the fact that there is no chocolate in the house and pretend that tomorrow is Saturday and I can sleep in for 2 extra hours. 

Loves.

Enjoy!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Girlfriends



Two weekends ago, I had my girlfriends over for my 'annual' girlfriend party. I have really only done it 3 times, and I missed a year between the 2nd and the 3rd. I know that it's hard to get everyone together during the summer, but when it happens, I love it. It's a great opportunity for me (it's all about me - just kidding) to meet up with my great friends, catch up, allow everyone to meet each other (if there are newbies), eat, drink and be merry (not necessarily in that order).

I am crying - but only b/c I was laughing so much. I won't share the story that made me laugh so much - it's a little unladylike. 

I took about a week or so to plan what I was going to make for dinner. I wanted to try and make things that my GFs maybe hadn't had before, things that I hadn't made before and some things that I know have been tried and tested.

I made sure that the deck was all 'decked' out. Chris helped me hang more little white lights, I got a lot of candles, some new chairs, and tried to have everything match. I am just that way. I LOVE setting a table, having all the dishes, napkins, linens, flowers match. I can't help it. 

My friend Tracy took a bunch of photos - which was a total treat for me. They turned out fabulously. 

All in all, for me, it was a wonderful night. 

On the menu:

Gazpacho with feta stuffed olives
Stuffed Cucumber cups

Fig and Goat Cheese Pizza with Pesto

Tomato Salad
Grilled Zucchini Salad with Goat Cheese

Pork Tenderloin with Italian Salsa Verde

Baked Fruit with Vanilla Ice Cream

*I want to share all of the recipes but will have to do it over a couple of days - or I will be typing way past my bedtime. 

Gazpacho 
I have wanted to make this for a long time. I found a recipe online a couple of weeks ago, and thought that I would give it a try. But, my wee nephew Callum who knows that I love cooking magazines, gave me one for my birthday, and in it was a delicious recipe. I altered it slightly - and it turned out very refreshing and tasty.

2.5 lbs of fresh tomatoes (about 8 or so tomatoes) - cored and seeded
4 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp of fresh oregano
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 1/4 cup of tomato juice
Kosher salt and ground pepper

In a blender, pulse a few tomatoes at a time, to ensure that they are all completely blended. Once they are done, add them to a big bowl or soup pot. Continue with the rest of the tomatoes until they are all pureed completely. Add them all to the bowl or pot. Stir in the garlic and oregano, the olive oil and the tomato juice and season with kosher salt and pepper. Stir it well, cover and let it sit in the fridge. I would recommend making this at least 6 hours in advance to give the soup time to absorb the all of the flavours. 

Olives Stuffed with Feta

I used very small skewers and 3 olives per skewer. I had 8 people so made 24. 

1 can of pitted olives - 24 from the can - drained
1/2 cup of feta
Skewers

So simple, so delicious. I gently took a small piece of feta and stuffed the hole of the olive. Then put them on the skewers in the middle, so they would fit nicely on the glass that I served the Gazpacho in. 

I loved the electric colour of the soup with the green olives on top. They complimented each other very nicely.

Stuffed Cucumber Cups
This recipe is enough to make 16 cups

2 long english cucumbers - cut into 8 pieces each - washed but not peeled
1 pack of Boursin light cheese 
1/2 cup of finely chopped arugala
1/2 cup of finely chopped red peppers
1/4 cup of fresh chives
10 chopped basil leaves
Kosher salt and pepper

In a bowl, mix the cheese, arugla, half of the chopped red pepper, chives and basil and season with kosher salt and pepper. 

With a melon baller or a small spoon, carefully, scoop out the insides of the cucumber pieces, ensuring that you leave the bottoms so that the filling stays in.

Scoop a healthy amount of the cheese mixture into each cup. Top with more of the fresh red peppers. If you are like me, and have never tried Boursin cheese before - be warned. This stuff is incredibly delicious.


I served both the Gazpacho and the Cucumber Cups on the same plate. I loved how these appetizers turned out. They were easy, not very complex, and something that I will definitely make again.

Alright friends - I hope that Monday was kind to you. You deserve it. 

Loves.

Enjoy!!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Dinner Guest Preparations

mw

For my guest chef series, I like to ask: If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be? What would you eat? And where?

I was thinking about what my answers would be. I would most definitely pick my dad. It's hard to say what we would eat, because my style of cooking is very much different than the 5 meals that I used to cook for him. Perhaps it would be Chicken Pot Pie, or Steak and Twice Baked Potatoes and maybe Fudge for dessert (I come by my chocolate addiction naturally). We would probably be at our family home in Kitimat, or actually a pub - my dad loved the pubs. 

You can see all of my guest chefs just to the right at the top - C. Mitchell Presents - Guest Chef Series.

If you notice, I have also added a new link - If Mark Wahlberg came to dinner, I would make...'. 

I went and watched him in 'The Other Guys' last night. It was very good. Will Farrell was hilarious - and Mark was hot. What can I say. I was thinking for fun, what if he wants to come for dinner? What? IT COULD HAPPEN! I think. Anyways, what if someone like him wanted to come to dinner. I start to panic a bit. What would I make? So I have decided to be prepared.I would probably start with Fig and Goat Cheese Pizzas with Pesto.

Chris is ok with my Hollywood crush - and just wants to be invited for dinner as well. :)
Stay tuned for more action, comedy and romance...

Just enjoying the rain today - it's been a lazy day and I am lovin' it.

Loves.

Enjoy!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Home sweet home.


It is 6 years today, that Chris and I purchased our wee little home. 6 years! I can still remember that day as if it were just yesterday. It was such an exciting time - such a big accomplishment for the both of us - I was so proud of us, and still am. 



I like to refer to my yard as my 'farm', but it's not really. It keeps me busy, and we love spending time in our backyard enjoying the deck. We have a safe and good space for our dogs. We have wonderful neighbours (except the person living kitty-corner to me in the backyard that I think may be coughing up a lung). We are so central, and were so happy that we sticked to finding something within Victoria city limits. 

We have made little changes and updates since we have been here - but have still so much to do. We have painted, we have put on a new roof, we have replaced the water heater (we didn't have a choice), we replaced the oil heater, we took over the suite downstairs - aka Suite B, we have replaced all of the appliances (both up and down), we have redone the downstairs computer/pantry area, we have bought a bit of new furniture and a few other things I'm sure. There are still so many other things that I would like to do. Oh my. New kitchen counters, kitchen painted, redo the master bedroom, new toilets, new vanities, redo the living room, new blinds, paint, gardens.... Oh my, too much to comprehend. If I win the lotto I can do all of this stuff - but then we could find that farm that I have been thinking of.

Let's talk about some food now.

I saw a picture of something like this yesterday online. It wasn't the same, but the avocado was the base, and they were made to form and layer all together. They were very easy to prepare - and extremely refreshing and delicious. 

Avocado, Prawn and Tomato Towers

1 avocado - cut into small chunks
4 large tiger prawns - cooked
5 cherry tomatoes - cut into 4 pieces each
2 tbsp red onion - finely chopped
Kosher salt and pepper
This is enough ingredients for 1. Simply double ingredients, triple or quadruple or even eightuple if there are 8 for dinner. 

Using a round cookie cutter, or biscuit cutter (something that is hollow on both ends), line with wax paper or parchment paper. Let the paper sit up about 3 inches high. If you have the metal rings for molds - use those - and then tell me where I can find them :)

Place the avocado into the bottom of the dish. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Gently press the avocado into the edges of the dish to help mold the base.

Place the 4 prawns to cover the avocado, with the outside of the prawns on the outside. 

Chop the tomatoes and add the onions. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes to the top of the prawns. 

Place the towers in the fridge and let them set. Ideally they should sit for about 30 minutes.

Now these aren't the greatest pictures. They don't do them justice. Chris rated these a 14!!!

They are so fresh, so flavourful. All of the natural flavours of the ingredients work so nicely together and accentuate each other.

The weekend is oh so close. Tomorrow is the opening of 'The Other Guys'. I can't wait. I get to see my Hollywood Husband. So exciting.

Loves.

Enjoy!!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Luvva Luvva Lemons

Jozie - lovin' the beach
I was trying to get them to watch the sunset - it was not very romantic for me. Thanks dogs.

I think that since summer is here - the nights are so much fuller. Take this evening for example. It is now 8:38 and I am just sitting down to the PC. I could and probably should, be doing a lot of other things. I.e, the dishes. I love summer - and I love the evenings - and I love that my 'farm' is keeping me busy. My poor plants though - this summer has not been good to them. I have 2 of 6 tomato plants that are doing amazing. The others - well let's just say that I am 'nursing' them and talking friendly to them so that they keep growing. I hear that it's just like raising kids. :)

Not too much to say today. I know! I am once again going to keep it short and sweet and share another recipe that I made at PR. I found this recipe on the PioneerWoman (who I heart) - I altered it - and fell in love with it. I think that it is similar to other pasta recipes that I have created over the years - but I wanted to try it - happy I did. Jules loved it as well.

Lemon Basil Pasta

1 box of whole wheat penne
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts - cut into 1 inch cubes
Juice of 4 lemons
4 cloves of garlic - minced
1/2 cup of butter (or less, I did)
1 1/4 cup of half and half
1 cup freshly grated parmesan 
20 whole basil leaves - chopped

In a skillet drizzle some olive oil and saute the chicken , adding the juice of one of the lemons. Cook for approximately 7 minutes, until chicken is tender. At the same time you can boil your pasta until it is al dente. You may want to reserve some of the pasta water in case you want the sauce to have a little more liquid.

In another skillet, melt the butter, add the minced garlic, the juice of the 3 lemons and the cream. Whisk to ensure that all of the goodies are mixed together. Add the cream, a pinch of kosher salt and pepper, and the basil. Stir everything together and let the cheese melt. Add the chicken the the cream sauce.  Add a couple of large spoonfuls of the pasta to the sauce and coat, and continue to add the pasta to the sauce to ensure that it is all covered in the lemony goodness. Serve along side a beautiful summer salad (like this) top with some freshly grated parmesan and knock the socks off your dinner guests.

Omg - I want to go and make this right now. But I can't. I have already had dinner which I will share with you very soon - and I am trying to be ladylike and having two different dinners in one night isn't. I don't think. Is it? What do I know?

Ok friends - soak in those summer evenings - there aren't many left.

Loves.

Enjoy!