Sunday, August 21, 2016

Tomatoes! Red and Green options

Ok, I don't mean to brag - and if I did it would be on what a great job my hubby has done with our garden because I have tomatoes coming out my ears! It's really hard to tell from this shot - but they are HUGE - the Heirloom type is called Carbon and they are dark red and wonderful - really meaty with a thin skin and great tomato taste. I've been eating them alone and this last week I made a large pot of tomato soup - boy are we going to be in heaven with OUR tomato soup and grilled cheese this winter! Also this weekend I decided a few fried green tomatoes would be a nice change of pace - and they were great along with a few little padrones...And then I saw the little leftover (after canning the rest) jar of my pepper jelly and thought - I bet that would be pretty tasty on one of those tomatoes - and hell yeah it was! This pepper jelly was even more special because I used Piment d'Espelette peppers from Mary and Bert at the Healdsburg Farmer's market - spicy and warm - they are delicious in this! 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

My Garden - it's going off!

Okra plants - see the little okra?
Okra flower - who knew!?

Yes, I will share - as I'm about to be flush with these!
a whopping 1.3 pounder! 

I Heart Tomatoes!
I don't really have much to say except - holy shit it's working! My hubby gets an A+++ on this garden thing - this isn't even the half of it - we are flush with Roma Tomatoes and Cukes and of course Zucchini galore - I've made Julia Child's Zucchini Tian  a few times - love it! and daily we have a Greek Salad - and of course Zucchini Bread - and finally after a tantalizing couple shared plates of Okra Salad with my husband we had enough for 2 large servings - oh I'm enjoying this! And dinner last night was that one HUGE tomato with burrata a drizzle of olive oil salt and pepper - a side of prosciutto and a little toast - yes, Summer is good. 

I almost forgot my little cucumber duck - quack quack!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Cooking - always an adventure!

OMG - yes I make PLENTY of mistakes in the kitchen - some correctable, some not. For example I had some skinny asparagus so I decided to make my Asparagus Rice soup a little while ago - but whoops! Turns out what I thought was brown arborio rice was actually Barley - so a new version was born - Barley Asparagus soup - slightly different but still delicious. Note to self - when putting grains in a cute glass container in the cupboard include the label.
Barley or brown arborio rice?

Then a few days later I needed to sauté some onions for something or other and got distracted and walked away from the pan - and hello burned onions! Not recoverable. And what a nice smell that greeted me when I went back downstairs! My friend Rachel was just arriving for our walk and she was like - What? - you burned something?! - YES. No one is perfect in the kitchen. Just some things are less disastrous than others - and really in the scheme of things, what's a little burned onions? As they say, no use crying over spilt milk or burned onions - you gotta just get back on the horse. Ok, sorry enough cliches. Go watch your pot. XO

Nicely burned onions

Monday, July 4, 2016

A Pluot by any other name

Whether you call them Pluots or Plumcots - either way they are delicious! Basically it is a hybrid of a Plum and an Apricot - firm and sweet yet tart - and when my friend Mindy said her trees were full and they were not going to last much longer I got my happy self over to her house and cranked out a
couple huge batches of Plumcot Jam. The color is amazing - and the taste even better. We adapted a recipe from Sunset magazine - it's crazy the amount of sugar they want you to put in - so here is our nicely tart version - you could use Plums if you can't find these at your friends or farmers market - but beware - you don't want this kind of Plums ; 0
Although I do now own a cherry/plum pitter so theoretically I could do it with that other type...

Spiced Pluot Jam

6 cups diced Pluots - basically you need to remove the pits but leave the skin so we just chopped them around the pits as they were big enough.
2 cups sugar (I think we only used about 1 cup of sugar - so use your own judgement if you like it tart use less)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 bay leaf
1 orange - using a vegetable peeler get long pieces of the peel without the white part and big enough so you can fish them out later
1 vanilla bean split in half

Throw everything in a large wide pot and bring to a simmer - stirring and removing the foam that rises to the top for about an hour or until it's thick. To test this put a little plate in the freezer and pour a tablespoon on it and if it sets up when you tilt the plate you are good. Next fish out the leaf, peels and bean scraping the pod to get all the yummy seeds in and then either refrigerate in jars or process in water bath for 5 min. Make some toast and enjoy summer all year long!


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Becky-wiches and Cookies for Tuesday Music

I love our Tuesday Music on the Plaza here in Healdsburg! Every Tuesday in the summer everyone puts their blankets and chairs down and gets together for food, wine and catching up - oh yeah there is music too! Last night my friend Caroline was in town for work so she got to party with us (and Uncle Sam) after!  I harvested the first 2 - yes count them - 2! Speckled Roman Tomatoes- so I cut them in half and sprinkled with some olive oil and salt and pepper and roasted at 200 degrees for about 3 hours in my little toaster oven - then with those I made the 1st of 2 sandwiches (or as our friends like to call them Becky-wiches) for our picnic. This first one was MY roasted tomatoes with mozzarella and prosciutto toasted; and the second one was pesto mayo, fresh sliced tomatoes (these I had to buy at the farmers market as my others are not quite ready yet - but soon!) mozzarella and basil both on ciabatta rolls from Downtown Creamery and Bakery. And for desert - Dark chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies - oh yeah. And Yes - this is The Best Town Ever!

"Uncle Sam" walks around every year collecting donations (and hugs) for our even more amazing 4th of July Fireworks show - Can't wait!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

FFA Parade and Cake Auction

OK, Healdsburg is adorable. Can I tell you how adorable? Every year the Thursday before Memorial day is the FFA (Future Farmer's of America for those not in the know) Parade in our little town. Everybody lines the streets with their chairs by noon and at 6pm the parade and the wine drinking start.  Half of town is walking in the parade; the other half is sitting and watching - this year I was in the former group! That's right - I'm on the Board of the Healdsburg Farmers Market so I helped proudly carry our sign on the parade route in front of our "float" which was a way cool old truck and trailer. We passed out little hand stamped (by me, my friend Mindy and her 2 adorable girls) sunflower seed packets and waved to the crowds. And then there is the Fair - I've never made it to that part of the event but then Mindy invited me to bake a cake for the auction (ok, coerced) and go with her and the girls on Friday night. Well the theme this year was Beach Party so this is the cake I baked - it was a yellow cake with strawberry jam in the middle and vanilla frosting - on top are Teddy grahams sitting on "beach towels" made out of candy strips and "floating" in the ocean in gummy Lifesavers. About as damn adorable as my town right?! Then they auction off the cakes (I think the $ goes to a scholarship) and mine went for $220! But the real treat was that I won the "Best Decorated Cake" Award! So fun!!
Auctioning my cake

The Award
Mindy's cake was adorable too - and her's went for the highest bid of the night - 350 bucks! So a successful night for all!
Mindy's adorable Sheep Cake
And no, we didn't have any fun during the parade. Not one bit.
And yes - you can see the actual award on the wall now in my office ; ))))

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Wednesday Night Farmers Market opens tomorrow!

Blueberries from my garden
In case you haven't heard - our little mid-week market opens tomorrow 6/1/16 in Healdsburg - in the parking lot next to Shed by the Purity building - and there is parking! I'll be there shopping tomorrow even though I'm growing my own now - this is our first harvest of blueberries - maybe someday I'll have enough for a pie or at least more than a handful but for now I can supplement at the market! Hope to see you there!