Goodness. I can't believe it has been a month since I've posted! Even with a backlog of photos I've still neglected my little blog...
If you are still working your way through your holiday shopping list, be sure to check out the Dobbin News Holiday Shop with gorgeous knits, jewelry, ornaments, and other lovely items by Wiksten, Lissa, Remade, Fay Andrada, and Odette.
My personal favorite is the Odette Deer Necklace in sterling silver. Just the right amount of holiday to get you in the festive mood!
Have I mentioned lately how much I love pizza? Okay, I have, I know. It's just that it is so versatile and never disappoints. It's like your favorite book - familiar and comforting - only in a delicious edible form. You know it will be good topped with your old standby toppings, but if you're feeling frisky, you can bet it will be good topped with something a little unusual too.
When I saw Lottie + Doof's Garlicky-Sesame-Cured Broccoli Salad, it's probably no surprise that my first thought was - "Ooh, that would be great on a pizza!" My slight tweaks were blanching the broccoli to take the edge off and using umeboshi vinegar instead of red wine vinegar. After sitting for an hour or so, the broccoli salad went on my pizza with a generous amount of smoked mozzarella and more black sesame seeds. It was a different - but delicious - pizza that might just become an old standby.
I had a few items of white clothing that weren't so white anymore, and I had the idea that it would be fun to try and dye them to get a second life out of them. Have you tried looking for Rit dye lately? It's harder than one might think - at least here anyway. I tried craft stores, fabric stores, a hardware store, and big grocery stores, all to no avail.
Thankfully my Mom came through for me, as moms always do, and found some at a hardware store in a different state. Much to Mike's dismay, I had her pick up two different shades of brown for me.
And here are the final results - not exactly perfect matches to the colors on the box, but I'm pretty happy with them nevertheless.
Yup, I was already talking about cheddar-crusted quiche today over at the Real Time Farms blog, and I'm talking about one here too. This one was better though. (Shhhh don't tell Karl and Cara!)
Please excuse the slightly hypnotic coloring. It gets dark around 3 pm or so now in Michigan, so it's pretty much impossible to capture any evening meals without them looking otherworldly. Which I guess is appropriate for the week of Halloween. Everyone have their costumes ready?!
"ArtPrize is a radically open competition. Open to any artist in the world who can find space. Open to anybody in Grand Rapids, Michigan who wants to create a venue. Open to a vote from anyone who attends." Just a few of the many highlights:
I'm a big fan of kale chips and potato and kale soup, but sometimes you just need different ways to eat your greens - like in bread products!
Have Cake, Will Travel shared this kale bagel recipe, that I'm pretty sure could convert anyone with an aversion to greens. Plus they weren't as difficult to make as you might imagine - as a first time bagel maker, these turned out beautifully (and deliciously!).
This little beauty is covered in bits of fresh grilled corn and eggplant, soysage, Zingerman's Creamery smoked mozzarella, and a few eggs - and then baked until the eggs are just set. Breakfast is served!
Inspired by a great lunch over at the Real Time Farms world headquarters, I decided to do something similar for an equally great dinner.
I started with Ree Drummond's Crash Hot Potatoes, and topped them off a a roasted vegetable medley of broccoli, beets, and red pepper, added a can of black beans (drained and rinsed), and tossed all of that with a dollop of Zingerman's Creamery Pimento Cheese, which melted and formed a zesty cheesy sauce.
In Japan, we had "pizza night" once a week for a little taste of home. It certainly satisfied, and was something for us to look forward too, but baking personal sized pizzas topped with mediocre mozzarella in the teeny convection oven was a far cry from what we are able to do now in a regular oven with proper cheese! Hurray for being home!
This one has a base of cilantro and olive oil, topped with tomatoes and Zingerman's Creamery smoked mozzarella.
Cilantro and olive oil base again, topped with green olives, grilled eggplant, and more smoked mozzarella.
After receiving a plethora of delectable tomatoes from a friend's garden, I was searching all of my favorite food blogs for tomato inspiration, and Smitten Kitchen's Tomato and Corn Pie rose to the top.
A savory biscuit-crusted pie hiding layers of fresh corn, tomatoes, and cheddar cheese - how could I resist?
I didn't! Although our pie had a puddle at the bottom of it (seeding the tomatoes didn't seem to make a difference), I just poured off the liquid, and it still tasted fine.
More than fine actually as I went back for seconds!
With Mike busy this evening, I decided to be productive and start prepping for the next painting project that we'd planned to tackle this weekend. After all, that's what long holiday weekends are for, right?!........ I was happily listening to a podcast, unscrewing items from the wall and patching holes, when I removed one outlet cover and a chunk of paint came with it.
And by chunk I mean a huge sheet of paint. This paint thinks it is wallpaper.
So now we have a couple of taupe walls and a vibrant peach wall in a bathroom unsuccessfully prepped for painting. I think I need sandpaper. And reinforcements. So, I've decided that productivity is overrated and that a beer and some bad television sounds like a better plan for the night.
My grandmother is a big fan of putting nuts in cookies and all other types of baked goods. I on the other hand, am not. It's not that I don't like nuts (I do!), and there certainly are exceptions to the rule, but for the most part I think they just throw off the texture of most goodies.
But when I saw Smitten Kitchen's Walnut Jam Cake recipe, I was pretty sure that I'd found a happy compromise. The toasted walnuts are finely chopped, lending a delicious nutty flavor to the cake, without disrupting the cake's soft texture. I made the recipe exactly as printed, except I substituted my homemade blueberry butter for the suggested jam topping. I think it was a hit, as my grandmother went back for seconds!
More corn! It's just so hard to top Michigan sweet corn, I can't get enough of it! (Don't forget to check Real Time Farms to see where you can pick up some corn for yourself!)
Pasta with Fresh Corn and Snow Pea Pesto
(adapted slightly from Lottie + Doof, who adapted it from the August 2010 issue of Bon Appétit)
soysage of choice (I used half a package of Gimme Lean! Ground Sausage Style)
4 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from about 6 large ears)
1 cup chopped snow peas
2 - 4 large garlic cloves, minced (When it comes to garlic, I'm a big believer in "go big or go home!")
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil (I used about half of this, go by what tastes good to you)
8 ounces pasta
Cook soysage in large nonstick skillet over medium heat with a little bit of olive oil until browned, stirring often. Remove soysage from the pan and set aside. Add corn, snow peas, garlic, salt, and pepper to the skillet. Sauté over medium-high heat until corn is just tender but not brown, about 4 minutes.
Transfer 1 1/2 cups of the corn and snow pea mixture to a small bowl and reserve. Scrape remaining corn and snow pea mixture into processor. Add 1/2 cup Parmesan and pine nuts. With machine running, add olive oil through feed tube and blend until pesto is almost smooth. Set pesto aside.
Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1 1/2 cups pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot. Add corn and snow pea pesto, soysage, and the reserved corn and snow peas. Toss pasta mixture over medium heat until warmed through, adding reserved pasta cooking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls to thin to desired consistency, 2 to 3 minutes. Season pasta to taste with salt and pepper, and top with additional grated Parmesan.
Before blueberries are completely gone for the season, I'd recommend making this refreshing summery Blueberry Corn Salad from Shutterbean. I served it with salt and pepper pan-fried tofu, lime sour cream, and a dollop of guac.
And I've been absent for so long that I missed my 2 year blogiversary! Sigh. Happy belated birthday Herban Girl!
Today marks the launch of our "Make Your Veggies Famous" video! Please take a couple of minutes to click the link and watch it, after all, when is the last time you saw a skateboarding watermelon?!
This video kicks off our 5 photo campaign to get 5 photos of every farmers' market and farm across the country, and we'd love your help! We'd really appreciate it if you would share this video with your friends and family so we can get everyone involved in building a nationwide, LIVE, local food guide full of colorful, engaging photos of what's fresh now!
Today marks our five year wedding anniversary, and due to momentous events like moving back to the States, buying a house, fixing up the house, etc etc, the only trip we'll be taking to celebrate is a trip down memory lane!
We went on our honeymoon early, before getting married, and spent a week in Paris. The temperatures were unusually cold - the Eiffel Tower and Montmartre cemetery both closed due to "ice" and "snow" for a couple days, and we had to sleep in our coats and hats to stay warm. But seeing The Gates of Hell covered in snow at the Rodin Museum, having a snowball fight on the grounds of the Palace of Versailles, and enjoying fantastic (yet cheap) daily meals of cheese, wine, and fresh baguettes all helped to make it a wonderful and memorable week.
So we're celebrating tonight with wee glasses of Farigoule, a thyme flavored liqueur that we enjoyed in Paris, and got a hold of recently thanks to some help from a friend. Here's to five wonderful years and many more to come!
Hana the Wonder Pup has taken her um 'unique' tendencies to a whole new level. Although she seemingly loves her new food, and eats her meals with a gusto we've never seen before, she has started to fling the dark bits of kibble out of her bowl and litters the kitchen floor with them. Finicky much? Perhaps this is karmic payback for my "I'm not eating anything if it's not a cheeseburger or grilled cheese" phase of my childhood...
We have been spice-less in the kitchen since moving back from Japan. That is a long time to go without even pepper in the cupboards, but we've been too busy to cook on a consistent basis, and when we have, it has been really simple meals.
Last night we went grocery shopping, and I finally picked up a couple spices. Which one was I talking to in the aisle of the grocery store (yes, I did get a funny look from a passerby-er) professing to it how much I had missed it? Jane's Krazy Mixed-Up Salt. Mmmmmmmm
Burritos filled with avocado, habanero cheese, and mashed black beans (drained, rinsed, and heated with a little olive oil and garlic) with a side of jicama and cumber salad (dressed with lemon juice, olive oil, basil, salt and pepper). Best consumed on a porch while people watching with a cold beer.