Monday, July 28, 2014

The Rain in Spain Stays Mainly on the ?

It has been raining cats and dogs yesterday, all night and today. Some areas are under water, some areas have flooded. I am waiting for the pond to form in my backyard. Maybe I will get some tadpoles, anything but snakes! We are lucky so far, trees still standing, but look at those branches almost touching the ground!

My garden is doing well, as much kale as we might want. Someone continues to dig in my pot of arugula on my front porch, but who?

No need to wash the deck furniture or the grill, nature is doing it for me, can't paint the deck when it is soaking wet every other day, so I get to take a rest?

I have multiple barriers for my hydrangeas as our starving deer love them, but per our difficult and very long winter, the coldest on record in years, my hydrangea just started blooming this week. Mine are younger, but the older plants at my Mom's house have not yet started to bloom and last year they were  truly gorgeous!

Wow, and the branches of my Thornless Honey Locus trees (that are not so thornless) are nearly
touching the ground this morning per their wet leaves! Will the branches break off? Stay tuned!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Grilled Veggies, Baby Arugula Salad, and Salmon

The very top photo is my baby arugula growing in a pot next to my house, thus when I need to make a quick salad, I do not have to run in the backyard to my garden. Someone has been digging in it. I cut what I need and it grows back. Later today I will plant more seed in the dug out area of the pot.

I lightly coated the salmon with a bit of oil, a very tiny coating before placing the pieces, skin side down on the grill. I love Costco's Copper River Wild salmon - I buy a big slice and cut it up. When I have lots of company, I buy a whole salmon at Costco and grill the entire fish, very impressive for my nephews!

 However, I grill my vegetables first until tender and then take them off the grill before cooking the salmon as I am always afraid of contaminating something, having been trained as a microbiologist over 40+ years ago!

Try to get an assortment of colored vegetables to grill. My theory is if we have a variety of colors, it is healthier than our entire dinner plate being of one single color, like all brown. My middle sister used
to give this advice to her family when eating out, order a "colorful plate," not all "brown food," for

The vegetables include sweet potatoes, vidalia onions cut in half, zucchini, and yellow squash. I had cut the squash into strips as the eggplant was cut into circles. My husband dislikes eggplant, but will eat anything from the grill.

While the food was cooking, my sister and I enjoyed hummus and blue chips on the deck.

I make humus and baba ganoush (eggplant hummus) too, but these are subjects for another post.

In regard to grilling salmon, I put it on the hot grill skin side down, reduce the heat to about #2 on my grill, cover, and leave it alone for about 10 minutes, perfect every time! Of course, I cleaned any remaining scales off the skin before placing on the grill and I do wash my fish in cold water as do not like seeing scales. The skin holds the fish together and I do not mind if any of the skin sticks to the grill.

I have to use a timer as do not want to eat undercooked fish and hate overcooked salmon.

The most wonderful part of grilling out is "NO pots and pans."

Wonder what I will grill tonight?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Baby Sister Coming to Dinner

My youngest sister, who is my "baby" no matter her age, is coming to dinner tomorrow night. I had to bake her favorite pie, pumpkin and her favorite shortbread cookies. I rarely bake in the summer, and even more rarely in July. Both of my sisters' birthdays are in August, so baking in summer can sometimes not be avoided.

I love using natural brown waxed paper to roll out a pie crust and always use parchment paper for baking cookies as it is fast.

I have little time as it may get hot today, but it is cool at the moment. I use the oven for multiple tasks on days like today!

I made a whole wheat pie crust with white whole wheat flour, photos included.

Some of the cookies are a bit overbaked for shortbread cookies, but we like our cookies to at least have a bit of a brownish area on the outside. These cookies are very, very, delicate.

Here is how I made the pie crust, I roll it on the brown waxed paper and move the paper over the
pie pan and deposit it on the glass pie pan. Using a scissors, I cut any extra and paste it if needed.
I pricked one pie crust with a fork but not the other, and do not see much difference in the pre-baking process. Since we dislike 'soggy" crusts, I bake the crust for about 10 minutes before adding the pumpkin filling.

For the cookies, I mixed the dough and placed it in the refrigerator while the pies were baking.

Here are the photos, my Mom made the most beautiful cookies, I rarely make a decent one!

I rolled the dough in long tubes and rolled into the wonderful brown waxed paper and refrigerated longer as my pies are in the oven. I have a double oven, but only use the top and try to put several items in it to bake, if I am going to bake!

I unrolled two of the rolls and froze the third one without the wax paper, and placed in a freezer bag in my freezer for another cold morning when we have company, as these butter cookies are NOT in our diet. I baked the cookies in two rows in my oven.

Here are the baked pies and cookies, now the problem is I am not to eat this until my sister comes over tomorrow. Guess, I better get a cup of coffee, sit on my porch, and dream about them as the smell is incredible, or get back to one of my "volunteer" projects!

Oh, and the dishes, luckily I put them in my really deep sink, so I do not see them, but here they are as no munchkins live in this house to clean up my kitchen!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Kale Omelette


I used some of that beautiful Italian Heirloom Kale from my garden to make a beautiful omelette. I included tomatoes, as my husband loves them in omelettes, onions, a bit of left over yellow summer squash. a few spoons of left over mashed potatoes (Yukon Gold and water), and a huge mushroom. I chopped everything up and sauteed in a bit of hot water as my husband (who had a heart attack at age 49) continues on a very low fat diet, but for the fats naturally found in veggies.

Per eggs, I took the yolks of half of the eggs and saved them for another recipe, as we try not to eat too many egg yolks, the other eggs were left whole. I beat the eggs but did not add any water to them as my veggies are cooked but with so many there may be some lingering wetness.

My mother would have beaten the egg whites, but I only do that for "special" occasions!

This is a big omelett and it should feed 4, but since we are only 2, it can also be for lunch or dinner
with an arugula salad from my garden.

First, I cooked all the veggies until tender, then gently beat the egg white/egg yolk mixture and slowly, under low heat, cook the omelette. In fact, it is slowly cooking on the lowest heat as I
write this.

Omelettes are the most tender if cooked on low heat, but we have to be careful of salmonella, etc, so I cook it until the top is more than set. I do not turn this type of omelette over until I plate it as this omelette is heavy on vegetables.


Here is the omelette plated out, I turn it upside down on the plate to show off the veggies!

I hate to admit it, but we ate the entire omelette! Guess it will be vegetarian spaghetti  tonight! Luckily, we both love spaghetti -- I like the brands from Italy best, my middle sister Cecile
does too!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Italian Heirloom and Red Kale

The first photo above shows my Italian Heirloom kale which is doing great this summer in my garden and the photo below it shows the border of my garden with Red Kale. The Kale is doing great this summer as we have more rain than usual and I am not good about watering my garden and I rarely water my lawn.

I did not plant the beautiful flowering kale this year as I like to rotate my kale crops since I can not help but plant some in areas where I planted members of this family the year before.

We pick leaves from the bottom; the oldest leaves and new ones continue to grow and develop from the top. I put chopped kale into almost everything and we use a leaf of kale instead of a leaf of lettuce in sandwiches.

We cook it like spinach, chop it up into sauces, but our very favorite might be "kale-banana-almond milk-based smoothies."