Friday, February 29, 2008

Royal Foodie Joust - in just under the wire!!!

I did it...I really thought that there was no way that I was going to get this done but I did! The Royal Foodie Joust is an event that is held each month. It is hosted by the amazing Jenn - the Left Over Queen. Each month the winner from the previous month gets to choose the three ingredients that we are suppose to create a recipe using. Last month's winner was Heather - Gild the Voodoolily and she chose Pork, Citrus and Pink Peppercorns. When I saw those ingredients my first thought was that would make a really crappy brownie!!! See, I love brownies and anytime I can I make them I do. But this time I was going to have to be a bit more creative than that!

I also had a real problem this month finding pork that I would eat. If you have read anything in this blog you will know my stand on CAFOs and Factory Farming. I am still a carnivore but I refuse to support the industry. This is a challenge but one that I am determined to succeed at. I have found chicken, beef, pork, buffalo meat and seafood that is all humanely treated and fed. But for some reason I could not find what I wanted to out of desperation I grabbed some hot Italian style pork sausages that was humanely raised. I had no idea what to do with this. So after standing in front of my open fridge for about and hour (yeah...for real!).See messy food filled fridge?

It hit me. I had some fresh cilantro still so I was going to make a citrus salsa to go along with my sausage. Turned out absolutely incredible. It was so fresh tasting and zesty along with the hot sausage.
All the ingredients I needed!

Sunshine Citrus Salsa

1 lime
1 lemon
1 orange (I used cara cara oranges)
1 carambola
1 small white onion (chopped)
1/2 fresh jalapeno (use more if you have more)
1/8 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tbsp of tequila (a couple of shots for the cook didn't hurt either!)
1/2 tsp crushed pink peppercorns
salt to taste

Cut up all of the fruit into small pieces. With the citrus make sure that all the white and membrane is removed. Stir all of the ingredients together and allow to sit for at least an hour before using. I used it the next day and it was incredible!

I just pan fried the sausage and served it with the salsa, oven roasted beets and sauteed spinach. I wish I had of had people over to eat this with us.

Would I make this again? - You bet!!!

And onto something totally unrelated there is a new picture on my side bar telling you that I am famous. Click on the click here link to read the interview!

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Thursday, February 28, 2008

What is this????

What is this? At the Farmer's Market they told be it was cauliflower and I would hate to use it in something that I wanted cauliflower in when it was broccoli????
Looks like broccoli to me????

When I went to Worden Farm Farmer Market yesterday I bought a ton of stuff but every week I try to buy one thing that I have never cooked with before and will have to challenge myself and family (by eating it). This week I bought Leeks. I don't think that I have ever even tasted a leek but T. was really excited and told me that I need to make creamed leeks with smoked Gouda. So I bought everything that I need to do this so now I just have to find a minute to do it!

I also bought this purple cauliflower. Does it look like cauliflower to you? It looks like broccoli, acts like broccoli and strangely enough, it even tastes like broccoli...but they told me it was cauliflower!!! Any ideas?

Blackberries cooking down for the blackberry yogurt!

Boiling the milk for the yogurt!

I started another batch of yogurt today. The bad thing about this is that it takes about 11 to 12 hours to incubate the yogurt so I am finding that I have to either make it first thing in the morning or late at night for it to be done at a good time for me. This time I made 2 jars plain (my oldest daughter keeps telling me that she likes it plain) and the rest I made blackberry (yummmm!). They should be done around 11 so that isn't too bad and the girls will have fresh yogurt for breakfast in the morning! I need to figure out how to make granola so they can have some of that to mix in!

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Farmer's Market and what I am going to make!

Turnips, onions, savoy spinach, purple cauliflower, red swiss chard, leeks, arugula, baby asian spinach, potatoes, shitake mushrooms, and from the U-Pick I got carombola fruit, tomatoes, strawberries and Italian fresh garlic!!!

I had a great time at Worden's Farm Farmer's Market. I went with a friend and that always makes it so much more enjoyable!!! It sure does seem like a ton of food but it all gets eaten by next Wednesday so I can start all over a again!

I am going to finally get my entry to the Royal Foodie Joust today. Heather from Gild the Voodoolily choose the ingredients this month as Pork, Pink Peppercorns and Citrus. Your killing me took all month and a flukey trip to the grocery store to come up with this one. Usually I just try to make everything into a brownie but this time it was impossible!!!

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Off to the farmer's market and a meme!

It is freezing here! Yesterday I swear to you that it was 85 and we were all in shorts and tee's. Last night I left the house all open. The french doors in my bedroom leading to the pool deck were open and then came the wind. It is 52 outside right now and the winds is at about 25-30 mph. That was blowing into my bedroom ALL NIGHT LONG!!!! It was so windy the covers kept blowing up over my head...I know, why didn't I close the doors? I was trying to sleep and was getting mad at being woken up over and over again! I know the logic of a woman!!!

Anyway I have been tagged to do a meme! Susan at Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy and somebody else but for the life of me cannot remember who (please email me or leave a comment if it was you!!!)

The rules for the meme are as follows:

1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.

2. Share 5 facts about yourself.

3. Tag 5 people at the end of your post, and list their names- linking to them. (I will not be doing this...I think that all of us food bloggers have had to write about enough things other than food...sorry if I seem like a spoil sport but I barely have time to cook, bake, eat, take pictures and blog and I am sure that there are others who feel the same!)

4. Let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs.

5 things about me:

1. I once ran away from home when I was 16...spent the night trying to hide out in a park, slept in an apartment stairwell and realized that the life I ran away from was not nearly as bad as it seemed the day before!!! lol

2. Used to suffer from Hyperhidrosis but found a product called drysol which has cured me!

3. Was diagnosed with ADD as a child but my Mom stuck it out and never medicated me (thanks Mom!).

4. This is my second marriage. First one lasted for a very, very, very short time (felt like forever).

5. I have been married for almost 12 years (together for 4 before that) to my very best friend! It even sucks when we fight because I can't go bitching to my BF because it is him!

This was fun and thanks to Susan and whoever the other one was!!!

Check later for my fresh market pictures!!! Wednesday...the best day of the week!

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Things seem normal again!

My Slice of Eggplant Parm!

After a couple of very long days of chaos it is so nice to have things back to normal (at least what seems normal to me anyway). Last night for dinner T. decided to cook and he made us his super special Eggplant Parmesan! He only made a half of this recipe because I had only bought one eggplant.My new Euro Cuisine Yogurt Maker!

I mentioned yesterday that I had just gotten a Euro Cuisine Yogurt Maker. I have made 4 batches of it already and was about to throw it into the pool because everything was just turning out not firm enough!!! The first one was my fault. I decided I was going to cheat and not cook the milk...the next time I cooked the milk and the third time I cooked the milk and let it incubate longer!!! And the texture still wasn't right!Ignore the orange color but see what I mean about the texture!

Last night I decided to give it one last attempt before it was pool bound and it seems to have redeemed itself. I had made all of the other batches using goat milk and I only had enough for a batch of pudding and a cake I want to make today so I used 1% Organic Cow Milk. I don't know if this made the difference but I am going to try to get some more goat milk and try this again. This time I flavored the yogurt with some fresh fruit and sugar. I made this over night so it still wasn't ready for the girls to eat this morning but I bet they will like it for an afternoon snack!!!
Happy, firm berry yogurt!

I have also been tagged several times for meme's. Right now I don't have the time but I will get to them when I can. Thanks so much for tagging me! I am struggling with my Daring Baker's Challenge (time wise) for this month and then I need to find time to do the Royal Foodie Joust! I promise I will get to it when I can but for some reason I have lost the whole month of February!!!

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Monday, February 25, 2008

One very messed up day...

Sometimes s*** just happens.

Yesterday we had pretty much decided that we were just going to spend the day hanging around the house. We had a bunch of things that had been sorely neglected in the past few weeks - yard work, getting stuff picked up and just general everyday home things that are so easy to overlook and ignore! I got a bunch of cooking and baking done - bread for the girls lunches for the week, soup stock was on the stove bubbly away just waiting until dinner, one really failed batch of goat milk yogurt in my new yogurt maker and another one started, Banana-Chocolate Chip Squares (King Arthur Flour-Whole Grain Baking cookbook). Then it all started to go a little crazy.

The girls were outside playing and they had the Golden Retriever outside running around with them. Now these girls play really rough with this dog and we have warned them over and over that somebody was going to get hurt one of these days. Yesterday was the day! I was about to get into the shower and I could hear what they were doing...a lot of screaming, running, and yelling. The kids and dog both think that this is fairly harmless. But it was starting to sound a little out of control. So there I was with the shower ready nothing on but a tank top as I was about to get in and I thought that I should just tell them to settle it down a bit. Well that's when I saw it oldest daughter flying down the slide of the play set with the 85 lb Golden Retriever flying through the air and landing on her just as she hit the ground head first!!! For the first little bit I just kept and eye on her, got ice for the headache that she had (yup imagine that!). I went and finished my shower. I came back out to check on her and she was sleeping with a freezing cold ice pack on her head...this is when I started to get a little worried! We are not alarmist when it comes to the kids and we can ignore a ton of things without guilt but heads are another story.

I called T. and got him to come home (he was out at an impromptu meeting). I was able to wake her back up but at this point I wanted her looked at. Her face had started to swell a little too. So when T. got home off we all went to the ER. We got there and it was so disgusting! The whole place smelt like vomit and some people had already been waiting in there since 9 this point it was about 2:30 PM. We decided to take her outside and see if this was all really necessary (All I could think was that by us being in there we would catch something horrible and end up there again!!!!) We gave her some juice to drink and asked the triage people what we needed to check for. After going through the check list we decided that we really did not want to be there. We got her home and she seemed to perk up quite a bit. It think we made the right decision! She slept fine and she was okay this morning except for some achy body parts (no surprise there). Whew - It took me well over a bottle of wine to make me fine after that!!!!

Any way, the soup was still on the stove so we knew what was for dinner and you have seen enough of my soups to know what they look like and it was really to chaotic here to try and take pictures (also had a friend over for a quick meal with us-yep someone will actually voluntarily come and eat with us!). When she called and I invited her I was just making the biscuits. I had decided to try a new recipe also from the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking Cookbook.

Parmesan-Pine Nut Biscuits

Makes twelve to fourteen 2-inch biscuits

These are made with white whole-wheat flour, which has a milder flavor than its tan cousin. The biscuits would go nicely with smoked turkey or a creamy chowder. Adapted from "King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking" (Countryman Press, 2006).

2 cups (8 ounces) white whole-wheat flour (I only had regular whole wheat-white may have made them lighter)

1/2 cup (2 1/8 ounces) bread flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

4 ounces (1 stick) cold unsalted butter

1 cup (3 1/2 ounces) freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for the tops (topping optional)

1 cup (about 5 ounces) pine nuts

1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary (optional) (did not use T. doesn't like it)

1 large egg

1 cup (8 ounces) buttermilk, plus more for brushing the biscuit tops

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a large baking sheet or line it with parchment paper.

Combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. Using a fork, two knives, a pastry cutter or a food processor, combine the butter with the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Add the cup of Parmesan cheese, pine nuts and rosemary, if desired.

In a small bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the egg and buttermilk. Add to the flour mixture, blending lightly and quickly with a fork until the mixture is evenly moistened. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and, using a bench knife or dough scraper, fold the dough over on itself 3 or 4 times until it comes together. Pat or lightly roll out the dough until it is 3/4 inch thick. Cut the dough into squares or 2-inch rounds and transfer the biscuits to the prepared baking sheet. Stack the scraps on top of each other, fold them as you did for the original dough and pat out and cut again to form the rest of the biscuits. Brush the tops with buttermilk and sprinkle with more cheese, if desired. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until the tops are golden brown. Serve warm, or transfer to a wire rack to cool; store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

All in all it was a good day and thankfully my oldest daughter was not really hurt!

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Hamburgesa Mexicana with fresh Pico de Gallo!

Hamburgesa Mexicana with avocado, pico de gallo, pan fried potatoes and tortilla chips!

Yesterday was one of those marathon days of shopping...Car shopping that it. I hate car shopping. It is such a guy thing. My lease is coming up in April and I mentioned that I might be interested in a car. Big mistake and imagine trying to do this with 2 children with you!!!

Any way for dinner all I ended up doing was roasting a chicken (so I could make soup today) and serving it with wilted spinach and shitake mushrooms. Pretty easy and sensible dinner! Friday's dinner was much more fun.

I made what Ben at What's Cooking? calls a Hamburgesa Mexicana, and boy were they ever good! I made them using ground beef instead of turkey and I used canned refried beans (egad!!! I just ran out of time!!!) and instead of parsley I used cilantro. Why? Because I love it and will try and put it in anything!!! T. thought these were incredible. I loved the flavor of them and that they were a nice quick meal that everyone loved! The girls ate theirs in tortillas and we just ate them with avocado, some homemade Pico de Gallo, and pan fried potatoes. What a great end of the week meal!

Hamburgesa Mexicana

Printable version
Makes 6-8 patties
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Method: Fry

For this recipe you will need:

  • 1 lb ground turkey (I used lean, free range, natural ground beef)
  • 1 cup refried beans (Jerry has an amazing recipe here)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 jalapeno, veined, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 TBSP parsley, finely chopped (I used cilantro)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2/3 cup onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • salt
  • black ground pepper
  • vegetable oil


  1. In a large bowl mix all ingredients together, except oil, until well blended.
  2. Heat oil in a large heavy skillet.
  3. With a serving spoon drop some of the mixture on the skillet and with a spatula form a patty.
  4. Cook each side for 10 minutes.
I also made my own Pico de Gallo
Ingredients for Pico de Gallo
Fresh Pico de Gallo
I don't measure this but make it to taste:

garlic powder
Chopped Cilantro for Pico de Gallo and the Hamburgesa Mexicana's

Nice ripe avocado to put on the burger

Would I make this again? Most definately...It was a great, fresh tatsing recipe and I can't wait to try those stuffed zucchini's!

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Friday, February 22, 2008

I have such a great life...

Sauteed Summer Squash and Zucchini

Today is one of those days that I truly love being me and love the life that I have. I have cleaners come in and clean my house on Friday's so they are always really good days for me anyway (neck injury from a car accident prevents me from doing it awwwwww, who am I kidding, my husband is just super awesome and has someone come in and do it for me!!!).

So this morning I took the girls to school and went and returned something to the grocery store and was heading home when suddenly my car turned the wrong way and I ended up at Barnes & Noble????!!! Not a bad turn huh? Got myself a Starbuck's (yep I know, but I really, really, really like a non-fat green tea latte light on the sweet) and took my latte and went to peruse the cookbook section. I found a book that made me so happy that I would have paid any amount for it...lucky it didn't cost that much!!! I paid for my happy books and I left.
The Homegrown book was the one I would have lusted over and obsessed about so would have had to go back and buy it anyway...I just saved myself a trip.

I knew I needed to go to Ada's (similar to Whole Foods) and get a ripe avocado (they are NEVER ripe at the grocery store and I needed it for tonight). I argued with the manager's about them not selling enough local produce and no local fresh eggs (I do this every time...sooner or later they will recognize me but for now I think they think that a lot of people are looking for this stuff!).

Can you tell I am just killing time? I like to walk into my house after it has been cleaned and not see the cleaners doing it...I guess that helps to rid me of the guilt (boy do our minds work in strange, wonderful, crazy ways!). Sooner or later I had to go home...when I got here they were still here but T. was just leaving and had let the dogs out before he left. As I was taking the recycling out I started calling for the young, crazy golden to come. He came running and went flying past me and that's when it first hit me...the gross, sickening, evil smell of whatever it was that he had just rolled in!!!!! I can't tell you if it was something that was decomposing or if it was just plain crap...but OMG did it ever reek!!! Now remember my house is just being cleaned...I was devastated but should be used to it. One of these days I would just like to have my house stay clean for even half a day. But my problem now was how was I going to destink him? In a round about way this is one of the things that I am also so grateful is 80 degrees out so I grabbed the dog, garden hose and some shampoo! He only got away from me once, covered in soap and rolling all over the ground AGAIN...and I swear I heard someone laughing (one of my neighbors maybe) but now he is all cleaned up, smelling sweet and banished to the pool deck until he is completely dry!!!
The girl's dinner - Radicchio, shrimp and summer squash and zucchini

Now for last nights dinner - Remember the boat shrimp? I had bought 3 pound and had only used one in the pasta from Wednesday night so I needed to get those cooked up. I decided to just sautee them in garlic and butter. I tossed my in some fresh pesto and T. used some of the garlic hot sauce that we got on Sunday at the Sweetwater Sunday Market. The girls ate theirs plain.
T.'s shrimp with the garlic hot sauce

We sauteed up some summer squash and zucchini with garlic, salt, pepper, ans paprika. And I broiled the radicchio this time. It turned out good but I still like it grilled the best!
Broiled radicchio

I also got another gallon of goat milk yesterday so of course I had to make pudding for everyone right away. I wanted to show you that even when you don't have all of the "right" equipment their are always ways to make do! Below is what I use for a double worked great for my lemon meringue pie last month and for the pudding it is awesome as well. Don't get me wrong, I love gadgets and special tools but that is one that has never really seemed too necessary to me!
My Double Boiler

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Farmer's Market and a great pasta dinner!

Onions, zucchini, shitake mushrooms, basil, cilantro, red swiss chard, spinach, potatoes, romanesco, eggplant, tomatoes, and jalapeños!

Yesterday was my Farmer's Market day and I had my oldest one home with me because she had been sick on Tues. Yesterday she was doing well enough to go but I thought she needed a good day to recover and I have also really wanted her to see the Farmer's Market but with it being in the middle of the week they are always in school! So yesterday she finally got to see it. She made friends with a Great Blue Heron that waits beside the shrimp boat, where I get my fresh boat shrimp, waiting for the guy to peel them one and share!!! But she also loved seeing the beautiful fresh produce and helping to pick out the ones that we would have and eat this week!

We were able to get onions, romanesco (yup, Heather you can't scare me with your little critters), spinach, red swiss chard, zucchini, shitakes, cabbage (for Jenn's Cabbage Rolls), basil and cilantro!!! On out way home we stopped at the local U pick farm and got some tomatoes, strawberries, jalapeños, and a really pretty eggplant! Turned out to be a great haul this week as well! We also bought a couple of pounds of the sweetest freshest shrimp I have tasted since living in Daytona and eating the shrimp right fresh from the boats there!
Rigatoni with Squash and Prawns

I needed a plan for dinner though and as luck would have it I was able to find one on a fellow blogger's site! Peter over at Kalofagas - Pursuit of Delicious Foods had posted a recipe last week that I was dying to try Pasta with Squash and Prawns. This recipe was taken from Giada DeLaurentis I already had all of the ingredients but was waiting for the fresh shrimp and basil. Now that I had it it was all a go!
This was an incredible recipe. So simple, yet the flavors all blended beautifully. Peter tossed his shrimp in some seasonings but I just left my plain...both ways would be great! Peter's pictures look great so go and check his out as well!

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Goat Milk Chocolate Pudding - or regular milk will do!

My oldest is still home sick today but at least she is well enough for me to drag her to the Farmer's Market today!

I promised you the Goat Milk Chocolate Pudding - so here it is. I took the recipe from SmittenKitchen and I am so glad that I did!

The only thing that I did differently was using whole goat milk in it! T. thinks of pudding as medicine (his comfort food) so he really loved it! This recipe was soooo easy to make so I tried to make a vanilla pudding yesterday for my little sickie and it didn't turn out so good and was way more work! I would stick with this one if I were you!
Another satisfied customer!

Silky Chocolate Pudding
Adapted from John Scharffenberger, via Wednesday Chef

Serves 6

1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cups whole milk (I used whole goat milk)
6 ounces 62% semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used good quality semisweet chocolate chips; use 70% bittersweet if you want more of a dark chocolate kick) (I used some leftover chocolate from Christmas baking)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Combine the cornstarch, sugar and salt in the top of a double boiler. Slowly whisk in the milk, scraping the bottom and sides with a heatproof spatula to incorporate the dry ingredients. Place over gently simmering water and stir occasionally, scraping the bottom and sides. Use a whisk as necessary should lumps begin to form. After 15 to 20 minutes, when the mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of the spoon, add the chocolate. Continue stirring for about 2 to 4 minutes, or until the pudding is smooth and thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

2. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer (or skip this step if you’re a slacker like me who is absolutely certain that there is nary a lump her puddin’) into a serving bowl or into a large measuring cup with a spout and pour into individual serving dishes.

3. If you like pudding skin, pull plastic wrap over the top of the serving dish(es) before refrigerating. If you dislike pudding skin, place plastic wrap on top of the pudding and smooth it gently against the surface before refrigerating. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 days (ahem, good luck with that).

Oh and onto something totally unrelated...I went onto Foodbuzz this morning and their featured item today is Swiss Chard...Guess who's photo is headlining it? Yep!!! It's mine! Follow the Foodbuzz link on the sidebar to see!

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sunday was Soup Day...

Egg Drop Soup the Chiappini Way!

First off Mom - Happy Birthday to you! I love you and wish I could be there to share this day with you (I would have baked you a great big huge delicious cake as well). Enjoy your day! P.S. took care of the flower issue and they have made it better! Glad you like them!

So around here Sunday has become Soup Day. I think because it is near the end of my produce week and I have found that this is a great way to get rid of all of the leftover things that I have so I can be nice and cleaned out for Wednesday when I go to the Farmer's Market again! This Sunday though I had no bones to make a stock from so I used some organic free range chicken stock that I had bought at Costco (gotta love Costco) and tossed in some onion and onion tops, celery, carrots, garlic, parsley and a tsp of thyme. I turned my pot on low and off we went for the day!

I had been looking for some other Farmer's Markets in my area and I was coming up with nothing. I love the one that Worden Farm's holds on Wednesday but, human nature - we always think that there might be a better one out there! I found one that sounded kinda neat but it was in Tampa which is about 2 hours from here. We had nothing else going on other than tidying up the house which I will find any excuse to get out to Tampa we went!
It was a true hippie type thing. I am really not so into all of that. Personally I am not out to change the world by eating organic and free range this and that. I want to feed my family the best tasting and safest food products available. Amid all of the recalls I think that this is almost becoming a necessity as opposed to a choice! So for me this was a little over the top. But I was able to get some duck eggs!!! The woman who was selling them had already ran out of chicken eggs so I got the next best thing I could! I was also able to get my hands on some heirloom seeds to start for the fall. Other than that the produce that I get from Worden Farms was far superior to theirs and this place smelt very strongly of patchouli and other herbs! Would I go again...probably not but I am glad that I went and saw that the grass was definitely not greener there!
My happy, fresh, duck eggs!

Note attached to the egg carton

So with my eggs in hand we drove back home and were going to stop at Ada's (like a Whole Food's but local) or Publix and grab some chicken to cook into the soup I had started at home. T. then suggested that we use the eggs to make egg drop soup. What a great idea that turned out to be!!!

We added some of the swiss chard and potatoes I had left over and then broke 3 eggs into a bowl, scrambled them and then dropped them into the soup through a strainer.

Would I make this again? Most definitely and if you can ever get your hands on some duck eggs I would highly recommend them!

I was going to tell you about the delicious goat milk pudding I made for dessert last night but I have my oldest daughter home from school today (apparently they don't take to kindly to your daughter vomiting throughout the classroom) so my post is shorter then I had wanted it to be! Tomorrow will be pudding!!!

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Monday, February 18, 2008

Nice relaxing dinner with a good bottle of wine!

Potatoes with onion, garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil, and oregano

Anyone who has been following me on blogging adventure know that I LOVE fresh farmer's market food. This meal was all about that.

I had bought some potatoes on Wednesday when I was there and was really curious to find out how different an organic potatoes taste was compared to a regular potato. Our favorite way to eat potatoes is to oven roast them with garlic, onions, olive oil, salt, pepper and oregano (or any of your favorite herbs). They turned out so great tasting we were all very impressed.

I had also purchased some Romanesco which is described as a cauliflower. I don't know that it really did taste like that. We ate it raw sort as an appetizer. I had my oldest daughter help break it from the stem. In that way it was like broccoli or cauliflower but the taste was very different. It has a nutty, fresh taste to it. We ate it with blue cheese to dip.
Oldest daughter helping in the kitchen (no the knife was not hers)

For the meat we bought some steaks from Publix Greenwise. This was a treat for the girls because we hadn't had steak in a while! It was a treat for T. and I as well becasue we had a nice bottle of wine to go along with it!
All in all a real nice relaxing dinner...I find even the children seem better once I get a glass or 2 of wine in me (is that really the case or do I just not care quite so much???!!!), but regardless it was a perfect meal!

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Sunday, February 17, 2008

I won, I won, my first award ever!!!

And thank you so much for it, ga.farmgirl!!!

ga.farmgirl's blog - Life on A Southern Farm is really on of my favorite's that I make a daily visit to. I have this huge attraction to "life on the farm" blogs right now and she sure is hitting the spot. Great pictures along with nice stories to go along with them. Please be sure to check it out. There really is something for everyone there!

Now I guess I am suppose to pass this on to 5 more of my favorite blogs so as much as I like all of the ones that I visit I can only choose 5 so here goes:

Jenndz: The Leftover Queen, always ready to add a kind comment, moderate differences and offer encouragement. We can all learn so much from her!

Farmgirl_dk: On the way to Critter Farm - Yes I know you have already been given this award but I wanted you to have it from me as well! You offer so much on a daily basis (even in the midst of realizing your dream. I find your blog very inspiring and I know others do as well!

Robin: Caviar and Codfish (formerly known as The Clumsy Cook) - Love your blog...especially love the courage it takes to change your name and the direction. Shows that we can all evolve.

Heather: Gild the Voodoolily - You just crack me up and there is something huge to be said for that. We all need to laugh and you provide me with that!

And last but not least Bellini Valli: More Than Burnt Toast - This is another blog that inspires me. She is also a fellow Canadian and I have a soft spot for that, so I check her blog daily hoping to find things that trigger memories for me!

Thanks so much to all of you for the support and the inspiration!!! Now pass this on to 5 of your favorites or anyone that you think deserves this award!

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Friday, February 15, 2008

We loved this Split Pea Soup!

Anyone who knows us knows that T. is a huge lover of anything pork or made with pork how did I get him to eat Split Pea soup without a ham hock in it???? I made it and served it to him on Valentine's Day along with a loaf of fresh homemade bread, that's how! Is there anyway on a day that men are so filled with guilt could he have possibly said "no way will I eat that!" Anyway he ate it an really liked it so did the girls!!! I have to say that it was probably one of the best pea soups that I have ever had and it is all courtesy of Heidi at 101 Cookbooks.

Now, I know that her recipe says "vegetarian" pea soup but she has some really great recipes on there that you can tailor to a non vegetarian life style. I eat meat but I am very consciously aware about what I will consume. I will only eat meat that I am sure does not support any CAFOs therefore my family will only eat the same as I am their food source! I make all of my own stocks for soups and use only meats that are humanely raised.

Yes, this is challenging but I am not fully convinced that a vegetarian lifestyle is the best for me and my family. Now that all said we try to eat a mainly vegetarian diet with a small amount of meat protein thrown in. We are trying to make it so that is not the main part of our meal. So when I saw what sounded like a great recipe for Pea Soup I knew I had to try it! I did add chicken stock to help add some flavor and replace half of the water and I also added soup vegetable soup base to help bring out the flavor.

Will I make this again? Oh yes definitely. It was very fast and easy to make. Everyone enjoyed it - even the girls and T. took it for his lunch today so that says something right there!
Vegetarian Split Pea Soup (Heidi of 101 Cookbooks)

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 large onions, chopped (I added 3 cloves of garlic as well)
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
2 cups dried split green peas, picked over and rinsed
5 cups water (I substituted 3 cup of the water with homemade chicken stock)
juice of 1/2 lemon (reserve the zest)

a few pinches of smoked paprika
more olive oil to drizzle

Add olive oil to a big pot over med-high heat. Stir in onions and salt and cook until the onions soften, just a minute or two. Add the split peas and water. Bring to a boil, dial down the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the peas are cooked through (but still a touch al dente). Using a large cup or mug ladle half of the soup into a bowl and set aside. Using a hand blender (or regular blender) puree the soup that is still remaining in the pot. Stir the reserved (still chunky) soup back into the puree - you should have a soup that is nicely textured. If you need to thin the soup out with more water (or stock) do so a bit at a time. Stir in the lemon juice and taste. If the soup needs more salt, add more a bit at a time until the flavor of the soup really pops.

Ladle into bowls or cups, and serve each drizzled with olive oil and topped with a good pinch of smoked paprika and a touch of lemon zest.

Serves 4 to 6.

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Thursday, February 14, 2008

My Farmer's Market haul and new compost bin!

Crazy looking huh? Romanesco - cauliflower

Fresh Produce from the Farmer's Market

Okay now I have said it before and I will say it again and again...I am a city girl, was born a city girl and will always be a city girl, but...I have one problem. I really like good food! I have found that they best way to get some really good food is to grow it myself or find some really good sources for it.

Doesn't sound very city girl like huh? I have learned though that there is nothing in the world like a nice ripe tomato plucked from your garden, still warm from the sun and just waiting for some sea salt and a knife. I have found a really good source for organic produce at the Worden Farm Farmer's Market. I have also been able to locate a great source for goat milk...I am still hunting the fresh eggs but the cage free ones from the store are satisfying for now! But having my own garden again will make it all right again. I think we may have to make it bigger for all the things I would like to try.

Somehow though we missed this years growing season which starts in late August, early September. We went through a couple of surgeries last year and just our regular day to day chaos got in the way. But regardless of that I wanted to be completely ready for this year coming up. I made T. buy me a composter!!! This is not our first time with one but this is the fanciest one we have ever had. No turning the pile using a shovel. No worrying about critters getting into it. By starting it right now we can have the dirt all cooked and ready to go by the end of the summer. My brand new composter

It sound like a perfect plan right? Oh, but our garden needs a lot of work this year!!! We need to take the weed barrier up and get rid of the empty tomato cages, maybe expand it. Maybe we should tackle that this weekend. My sadly neglected garden (and really old dog (16 yr old black lab!!!)

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!