Monday, June 27, 2011

Geez Louise

It was a beautiful sunny afternoon.
A light breeze, fresh ocean air blowing through the trees.
The light was trickling through the branches in such a way that the leaves sparkled.

We were in Santa Barbara for their annual
wine festival held at the beautiful
The setting is picture perfect...
tents nestled under trees, bridges and quiet walkways to stroll.
More than 70 wineries and local restaurants and caterers, 
provide wine and food for a fantastic fundraiser
to raise money for the museums children's programs.

We sampled some delicious wines, and a couple
that well...shall we say, the plants enjoyed them. 
Some wonderful appetizers...
one of my favorites, ricotta and sage ravioli
finished in a brown butter sauce with crisped sage leaves...

Then there were these chocolates...
Sea Salt and Pepper chocolates from
Totally addicting!!
And the best part...
She was so nice and sent me home with a whole box of them...
Thank you so much!

It was a lovely afternoon of sipping and sampling,
strolling through the lovely museum grounds.
Talking to wine makers and chefs and just enjoying ourselves,

reared his head!!!

Geez Louise...
how old am I and you think I'd know better.
Empty stomach.
Hot day.
Unknown consumption of red samples that kept filling my glass.

Let's just say...
You know your husband loves you when he holds your hair
out of the way on the way home as you...
( get the picture)
and let me tell you, it wasn't a pretty one.

That was me.
Head hung down in shame.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

An Afternoon Well Spent

Do you ever just have one of those days?
Nothing wrong, but nothing really right either.
Tired, kind of desire to do anything.

I had one of those days last week.
I didn't want to sew, or cook or heaven forbid tackle my dirty thank you!

So guess what?
I didn't!

I decided to take a "time-out"...
I dusted off an old favorite feel good movie,
piled the pillows up high on my bed and sank in.

Have you seen it?

It's a story of love.
A celebration of life's journey...
that somehow moves like paintings across the screen.
Filmed in such a way that you really "feel" like you are there,
it is gentle, heartwarming and visually impressive.

It is based on Will Weaver's short story
A Gravestone Made of Wheat.

Watching it always puts me in a good mood.
The music, the words, the striking images somehow revive me.

It was an afternoon well spent.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

It's Raining Apricots

I mean!
We have an apricot tree in our yard that must have secretly taken growth hormones
or something, because it is literally raining apricots!

I mean...I'm feeding the neighbors, the passersby, 
even the local crows & squirrels have gotten smart, 
and don't venture more than the distance
an apricot will fall off the tree!

They are wonderful whole and eaten fresh.
Sliced up they are great with yogurt or ice cream.
Cut in half, wrapped in a slice of prosciutto and drizzled with balsamic vinegar,
they are a perfect pairing with a glass of wine.
I've even grilled them...they are so delicious that way, 
slightly warm over vanilla ice cream, 
the flavors burst, the warm sugars release...fantastic!

Last night...with yet another bucket full, I found an old
Martha Stewart recipe in a magazine for 
Peach Clafouti.
I didn't have peaches...but I had plenty of apricots!
We were having company for dinner so I figured...perfect dessert.

This was one of the easiest desserts that I've whipped up in a long time, and so good.
It was creamy and rich, slightly sweet, 
but balanced with the tart qualities of the apricots.
There was a custard yet almost cheesecake essence to it.

It bubbles up high and fluffy and smells divine,
and upon resting will fall slightly.
Serve slightly warm or at room temperature, dusted lightly with powdered sugar.
(and yes I know the photo below looks a little like scrambled eggs with fruit in it...eeeew,
but I can assure you it doesn't taste like that at all)

And the leftovers...
delicious for breakfast with a cup of coffee this morning!!

Recipe follows...


5 large eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sour cream
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar 
(I used slightly less & it was just right)
3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1-1/4 pounds apricots, halved, pitted and cut into slices
confectioners sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
In a medium bowl whisk eggs and flour until combined.
Add sour cream, milk, sugar, vanilla and salt and whisk together.
Pour mixture into a 3 quart baking dish.
Scatter apricots over top of batter.
(some will sink...just add more till you can see some on the top)
Bake until browned at edges and center is set...about 30-40 mins.
Let cool slightly.
Serve warm dusted with confectioners sugar.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Brought To You By The Letter A

Another week has steamrolled by 
and that means it's time for

once again!

This week it's being brought to you by the
Letter A.
Not as in Sesame Street or the Muppets,
but rather as in

The delicious Greek products found readily available at the market.

They have wonderful cheeses...I think their Feta crumbles are the best,
toss them in a salad and presto...your salad just went from boring to brilliant!

Now to add to their fantastic line up,

Creamy Greek yogurt, which has that wonderful tangy quality 
and is so good for you.
But they don't leave it at that...they add a little dollop off to the side
of honey, strawberry, blueberry or peach.
Mix in a lot, mix in a little...just mix it in!!
The slight tart quality of the non fat yogurt pairs perfectly with the sweet side.
The honey is hands down my favorite, 
with peach following right behind at a close second.

Have you tried it?

Linking up with my friend Sarah over at
Pop on over there to see some more fun
Tickle Me Tuesday finds!

Happy Tuesday!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Hello Summer

It's official...
after today, 
I will no longer need one of these till Fall.

It's happy and sad.
I love my Summers with my family,
but as I say goodbye to little munchkins today,
it always tugs at my heart.

For a whole school year, 
they have made me laugh,
made me cry,
given me days I'd like to pull my hair out and
shared everything with me...including their colds!
They have given the best little hugs that a 3 year old can,
and became a part of my life.

So today as it is every year, 
It will be bittersweet.
Hugs and smiles.
Goodbyes and tears.

Goodbye alarm clock.
Hello Summer.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Poor Mans Pasta

I love Italy.
I love Italian food....a whole lot.
It's simple, straightforward and uncomplicated.
This leads to outstanding dishes. 
Flavors shine unmasked by unnecessary ingredients.

I love cookbooks and when I was given 
Jamie Oliver's Italy for my birthday this year I was so excited.

This book is superb.
The photos are drool worthy and the recipes are from Italian home cooks,
authentic, yet easy to execute.

I've made a few things from it already, but by far my favorite is
Pasta Con Acciughe e Pomodoro
(anchovies in tomato sauce with pasta)

I love the measurements given in this recipe,
a handful of this, a big handful of that, a large glass of wine.
It made me smile as I was reading it, because to me those measurements 
give the the best homemade tasting results.  
You add a little of this, a touch of that and voila...a perfect dish!

The sauce is rich and earthy with a wonderful chestnut hue 
from the wine, tomatoes and anchovies.  
Did you know that anchovies completely melt away?
They dissolved magically into the sauce to give it a deep briny flavor,
without being fishy tasting in any way.
Crunchy toasted breadcrumbs balance out the dish. 

This dish is unsophisticated...and I mean that as a high compliment.
It is natural and easygoing.
It tastes like Italy.
Full of life.
Distinguished, yet down to earth.

Worth a visit?
Most definitely.

Recipe follows:


olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
2 big handfuls of pinenuts
a big handful of raisins
12 salted anchovy fillets
3 heaping tablespoons tomato puree
a large wineglass of red wine
1-3/4 cups stale breadcrumbs
1 lb dried margherita pasta
(I couldn't find margherita so I used perciatelli)

Heat a pan, add 6 tablespoons of olive oil, add garlic and fry slowly.
When garlic starts to color add pinenuts, raisins and anchovies, 
frying until anchovies have melted.
Add the tomato puree and wine and stir well.
Leave to simmer over medium heat for about 3 minutes.
In a separate pan heat a little olive oil and fry breadcrumbs until toasted and golden.
Cook pasta in boiling salted water according to package directions.
Drain pasta and mix with the sauce.
Twirl pasta with tongs onto 4 plates and sprinkle with breadcrumbs.



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