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Showing posts from July, 2011


Oh my gosh I hate moving.  Seriously.  I'm sure no one likes moving, but I really hate it.  And I always end up doing it during the hottest part of the summer.

I had great intentions of taking my big girl camera to the house today to get some before shots.  Yeah.  That didn't happen.  The whole day is a hot, sweaty haze.

Now that I've had a shower and taken way more ibuprofen than any human should need, I'm ready for bed.  Can't wait to wake up and do it all over again!

We Are Home-Owners!!!

After several disappointments, Dev and I finally closed on our forever home!
We signed our lives away at 1:00pm today.  I shouldn't complain, because we got an amazing deal on this house, and I can't wait to get busy making it into our first home.
After purchasing a new washer and dryer, we came back to town and loaded up a few tools and the dog, then headed over to do a few things.
Dev changed the lock on the front door and tinkered with the crawl space vents, while I roamed all over the house, thinking about paint colors and furniture placement.
I'll try to take my good camera over tomorrow and take some better "before" pictures.
The former owners had very....colorful taste.  Most of the house is mustard yellow.  The kitchen is bright purple, the guest bath and 2 of the bedrooms are lime green. It will be fun to see the progress as it becomes "our" space.
The poor yard has suffered severe neglect.  The grass is all dead, and the shrubs have had no pru…

Quick Yogurt Breakfast

This is a dreadful picture.  Sorry.  But it really tasted good.

I have mentioned before that I am lucky enough to have a husband who makes yogurt for me.  We had a batch in the ice box and I had just made some strawberry spoon fruit.  Sounds like a good combo to me!

I just mixed a few tablespoons of the strawberry stuff into a bowl of plain yogurt.  The spoon fruit is so sweet, it didn't need anything else- just a dash of good quality vanilla.

Fig-Balsamic Glazed Pork Chops

So I still have quite a few packages of pork in my freezer from when we bought half a pig last year.  I took out some pork chops the other day and decided to see what I could do with them.

Firstly, I decided to brine them.  I've read quite a bit about brining meat (especially pork), and if it keeps the meat moist, I'm all for it.  To me, one of the worst things in the culinary world is a dry pork chop.

I didn't really measure, but I put a handful of kosher salt in the bottom of a tupperware container, then laid in my 4 chops, then added water until the chops were covered.  I stirred it around, sealed it up and left it for 24 hours.

The next day I took out the chops, rinsed and dried them, then rubbed them with olive oil and salt and pepper.  I put them to the side to come up to room temp and turned my attention to a glaze.  I love pork chops with a sweet element.

I had a jar of fig preserves in the ice box, so I put a few tablespoons of that in a small saucepan, then adde…

I missed Black and White Wednesday!

I can't believe I missed Black and White Wednesday!  I'm posting my pic anyway.  Hopefully, it will be picked up in next week's gallery.
I entitled my picture "Why Thank You."

Busy, Busy, Busy

As the summer come to a close, things around here are really heating up.

We are still hoping to move at the end of this month, so we're thinking about packing.  Thinking.  We're not actually doing it yet.  I think part of our hesitation is the possibility of the closing not happening.  We have had such weird luck during our search for a house, I don't think we'll believe it's happening until someone hands us some keys and takes all our money.

I have been cooking quite a bit, and I have a few posts that I'm working on.  It's after midnight, though, so I think I'm going to bed.

Weekend Trip

We just got back from our short trip to Montrose to visit Dev's Mom.  It was a quiet weekend, but not without its firsts.... I attended my first ever bull riding event.  I only took a few pics because I was using my iPhone, which I have not yet figured out how to zoom, so the pics aren't that great.

Until I get around to writing up the post (hopefully tomorrow afternoon), here's a pretty sunset pic I took at Harvey Gap last week on one of our afternoon fishing trips....

Summer Pesto!

I love my herb garden.  I use something out of it every day.  I have been ignoring it lately, however, and my basil has exploded.  I have 3 basil plants, mostly because when I'm on a kick, I use so much one plant usually can't meet the demands I place on it.  To me, one of the best things about summer is juicy, ripe tomatoes, chopped with some Vidalia onion and fresh basil (maybe some mint if I'm feeling exotic), salt and cracked black pepper.  You can eat it with tortilla chips like salsa, or pile it on grilled bread.
The other way to use lots of basil is to make a big, beautiful batch of pesto.  I did just that last week.
My pesto recipe varies, depending on what I have around.  I happened to have the classic ingredients this time, so that's what I made.
In a blender I threw a huge handful of basil, a clove of garlic, some olive oil, a huge pile of grated parmesan cheese, some toasted pine nuts, salt and pepper, a few leaves of mint and a splash of balsamic vinegar.
The …


So I had grandiose plans to make a new recipe today.  I wrote about it last night while I was watching "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives."  I didn't quite get to it.  I really didn't get to anything today.

I only left the house once- to take some donated items to Lift Up and pick up some empty boxes from school so we can start packing up the house.

The rest of the day I spent laying on the couch watching Freemason documentaries and playing on the interwebs.  Right now I'm watching a documentary on how plastic coke bottles are made.

Doncha just love summer?  :)


Just for the record, Guy Fieri drives me crazy.  He's one of those small doses people for me.  However, with that said, I must also admit that I freakin' LOVE "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives."  Every time I watch this show, I get inspired to make something.  And usually, it comes out fairly edible.  I can remember one of the first times I ever watched it, he was interviewing someone making smoked tomato gravy.  The more I thought about that, the more I needed to try to make it.  The very next day, I dragged out my Emeril cast iron, stove top smoker, and smoked a few halved roma tomatoes and sliced Vidalia onions.  Instead of making gravy with them, I pureed some of them and used the puree to make grits.  I can honestly say those smoked tomato grits were one of the best things I've ever made.  And the leftover tomatoes were chopped and used to make smoked tomato salsa- that didn't suck, either.

I'm sitting here watching it right now, and he's watching som…

Black and White Wednesday

Here's my submission to the new "Black and White Wednesday" activity going on over at The Well Seasoned Cook.  Basically people are encouraged to dabble in black and white photography, then submit their photos to this gallery where other bloggers and readers can look at all the pics in one spot.   I can't wait to see what everyone submits!

I call my submission....Tortilla on the Grill.  I know.  Brilliant.

Chocolate Ganache Covered Chocolate Cheesecake Stuffed Chocolate Cupcakes

See what I mean about the naming thing?  Isn't that ridiculous?

First, I want to come right out of the shoot and admit that I cheated big time on this one.  Big time.  I used a chocolate cake mix.  I know.  I feel the shame being heaped upon me by the food blogging world.  I'm sorry.  Baking isn't really my thing, although I do get the bug to try it from time to time.  Moving up to this altitude hasn't helped matters at all, either.  My first from-scratch cake experiment after moving to Colorado was a disaster of biblical proportions.  It turned out like a big, steamy pan of chocolate soup.

I had been reading blogs and came across someone's post on black bottom cupcakes.  My Momma used to make those for my sister and I when we were kids, and I love them.  I can't remember the last time I had one.  So I decided to whip up a batch.  As usual, I couldn't remember which blog I saw the post on, and I hadn't bookmarked it, so I searched on  I f…

Hearts of Palm/Citrus Salad

I think I need someone to help me name some of the weird things I come up with.  Naming things is not my forte.

I love hearts of palm.  Why?  Because my Daddy loves hearts of palm, and he introduced me to them when I was in college.  I don't eat them often because they are expensive- like $5 a can expensive.  I can honestly say, however, that they NEVER go to waste, because what I don't chop up and put in salads, I eat right out of the can over the cutting board.

I was feeling extravagant the other day in the grocery store (visions of grandeur stemming from our adventure trying to buy our first home, I suppose) and bought 2 cans.  Yes- 2 cans.

Last week I took one of the cans and decided to design a different kind of salad using hearts of palm.  The ingredients aren't anything new, but I think the idea of the presentation is a little different.

Here's what I did:

I took a head of romaine lettuce (washed, of course) and removed 4 nice looking, sturdy leaves from it.

I la…

Zucchini Carpaccio

In addition to the ridiculous number of food blogs I read, I also subscribe to entirely too many food magazines.  But every once in a while, I get an idea from one of them that makes the price of the subscription worth while.   This isn't really one of them, but it comes close.  :)

Carpaccio is usually an appetizer involving raw meat (usually beef, I think), sliced thinly and served with lemon juice and olive oil.  This is a play on that idea.

I liked this recipe because it meant zero heating up of the kitchen.  I LOVE that.  Well, actually, I did have to toast some pine nuts, but that didn't take very long.

I got the idea for this from the newest issue of Food Network Magazine.  Theirs was a bit more involved, but the main ingredients are about the same.

Here's what I did......

I took 2 small zucchini and sliced them into rounds.  Very thin rounds.  Make-you-go-crazy-and-wish-you-had-a-mandoline rounds.  I spread the rounds on a plate in a very pretty pattern (until I los…

Spring Pea Soup

When I was growing up, pea soup meant split pea soup.  I hated split pea soup.  It always tasted gritty to me.  But as I've gotten older, and more exposed to other types of soups, I realize that pea soup can mean all sorts of things.

A few months back (it was actually during the winter), my friend Sue and I took a cooking class at the local hospital on cooking without salt.  One of the dishes we made was an asparagus soup.  The technique was very simple, and I remember thinking you could use almost any vegetable and make any kind of soup you wanted!

Fast forward to earlier this summer.  I had about half a bag of frozen green peas in the freezer, and I wanted to use them up.  Had it been cooler, I would have made a chicken pot pie, but I wanted something simpler.  I remembered the asparagus soup from the cooking class, and decided to use the same technique to make a soup with the frozen peas.  Here's what I did....

Spring Pea Soup

1 bag of frozen peas (or whatever you have left…

Gorgonzola Stuffed Burgers

It's summer.  Everyone is looking for the perfect burger recipe for those nights when it's just too hot to turn on the stove.  Grilling out is a national obsession, and I'm the first to admit I'm hooked.  I will do just about anything to keep from heating up my kitchen in the afternoons.

I have always struggled with burgers.  I love them, but I've never been any good at making them at home.  It seems mine always turn out too dry.  I always look forward to magazine articles in the summer, because you always get ideas for a better burger.  This year, I decided to try a stuffed burger.  And since I like blue cheese, I decided to stuff my burgers with gorgonzola.

I used my standard burger recipe, but it needs work, so any suggestions are welcome!

I bought a beef chuck roast (just a small one- a little over a pound) and ground it using my kitchen aid grinder attachment.  To the freshly ground meat I added a handful of panko bread crumbs, some worcestershire sauce, some …

Blue Cheese Vidalia Onions

I've mentioned several times before that I read several food blogs.  Actually, I read an obscene number of food blogs.  One of the newest blogs I've found is called Baked Bree.  I think I've saved almost recipe she's published in the last 6 months, at least.  Anyway- she posted a recipe for grilled onions the other day that made me want to jump up and try it immediately.  So I did.  I just happened to have all the ingredients, or at least ingredients I could sub.  She used Maytag blue, I used gorgonzola.  Plus, I had some zucchini around that I needed to use, so I threw them in as well.
One other difference- she finished hers off in the oven.  I didn't want to heat my kitchen, so I put them in a foil packet and finished them on the grill, right next to the kielbasa I served with them.  And since I was cooking them in the packets, when I added the butter and bread crumbs to the tops with the cheese, I sprinkled some white wine in the packet as well, you know, just …

Fresh Ricotta Cheese

I am totally spoiled.  I have a husband who makes yogurt and fresh ricotta cheese whenever I need him to.  It has ruined me forever on buying either of these items from the store.
The one drawback to the fresh ricotta is, it doesn't leave over well.  That means if I don't use it all in one shot, the day he makes it, it's never the same the next day.  It becomes gluey and sticky and a mess.

Here's one of the ways I devised for using up some leftover ricotta cheese.  Actually, to be honest, I was trying to use up some other leftovers as well, and this was a great chance to mix them all together.

Fresh Ricotta/Spring Pea Spread

I used about 1 cup of ricotta cheese, then started adding everything in the kitchen that wasn't nailed down.  Heh.  For reals, I added the zest of half a lemon, and the juice.  Next I threw in some leftover peas from dinner the night before.  Ummmm, after that I added salt and pepper and a little Greek Seasoning.  I think that's it.  Oh- an…

Sherried Shrimp

Here's a recipe I got from Damon Fowler.  He's a cook book author and food historian.  I've known him for a long time.  We used to sing together in the choir at St. John's Episcopal Church in Savannah, GA.
Anyhoo- when I saw this recipe he published on Paula Deen's website, I had to try it out.  I love shrimp bisque, and this is very reminiscent of that, owing probably to the shrimp and the sherry.

The recipe is very simple.  He serves his over rice.  I served mine over cheese grits.  You can serve it over anything you want.  ;)

Here's the recipe, in Damon's words....I didn't change anything.  I LOVE cut and paste!

Sherried Shrimp Damon Fowler Serves 4
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
 1 large clove garlic, lightly crushed and peeled, but left whole
 48 large shrimp (about 1½ pounds), peeled
 Salt and ground cayenne pepper
 ½ cup dry sherry
 3 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
 3 cups Lowcountry Steamed Rice
Put the garlic and butter in a large sauté pan over med…