Hello…cold and rain, what the heck? I have been starting to cook, for us, quite a bit. This summer, because of the catering business I have slacked off on fun, interesting home food but I’ve the time now and am enjoying it. I was concerned that I had lost ALL interest in cooking because I was doing so much. Not so, I just needed a bit of a break from volume cooking. While shopping the other day I came across some beautiful Brussel sprouts – Paul immediately said when he saw them “oh no” but I found a recipe I could fool with and jazz them up. Beautiful blue cloth? My grandmother stitched that somewhere back in the 30’s perhaps. It’s still brand new looking and I use it allot. I remember my mother having it out too.
What I did was saute them in a bit of olive oil till crispy looking – you cook them face down undisturbed for quite a bit first. Then I added a large hunk of butter (2 Tbs.?) and a squeeze of that apple/vinegar reduction but it could have been honey or maple syrup instead, salt, pepper & parsley. I did chop up some cooked bacon and add that to it to satisfy or defray Paul’s complaints. Pancetta would have been excellent! I like the crispy/sweetness of it. The shrimp were tossed in chili powder then quick/hot pan sautéed in the same pan after the Brussel sprouts with some oil & lime juice. Pretty speedy dinner.
Food & Wine had a nice looking Quinoa salad with sweet potatoes and apples. I had the quinoa (red is my favorite) and had the apples, had squash and odd small vegetables still growing in the garden….japanese eggplant, long, thin green peppers, some scallions.
Roasted everything up while I cooked the quinoa. The recipe recommends heating 1 Tbs. olive oil in pan, toast 1.5 C. quinoa (remember to rinse thoroughly) for a bit then add 3 C. water, season with salt and bring to a boil. Cover and cook, on low, for probably 20 minutes. Remove from heat, let sit 10 minutes, fluff with fork. You can then spread it out on a sheet and chill in the fridge or toss it in with the warm roasted veges. which is what I did. I added arugula, scallions, apples some balsamic vinegar, a dash of cider vinegar and herbs from the garden.
It doesn’t look like much but it was pretty tasty. Visually it needs more red….maybe cranberries or grapes sliced in half. I did roast garlic while at it but I would not do that next time. I think it put the flavor off a bit – just didn’t seem to work for me. Nice salad though, plenty healthy and loads of it in separate bags for other uses.
While out diddling around in the gardens I discovered an area I had been avoiding. Right up near the pool we found bees hanging around in the grass abreast the potato field. In late summer we kept seeing these bees dive bombing into the ground. Paul got out every trick in the book to try and get rid of them including putting a garbage can over the opening. Nothing worked. Finally we noticed this….we had to get brave enough to go back over there.
This is weird and I’m not sure the picture does it justice. But, it’s a hole at least a foot deep with empty comb all around the outside. It’s perfectly circular with straight sides into the hole. Something enjoyed a feast I think but we can’t figure out what would dig like that. We had a hive up in the rafter by the chimney for the past few years….they disappeared this spring, just all of a sudden. I’m wondering if these are the same guys. If so they relocated really close to a water source (my pool). It was a wicked hot summer could have been thirsty. I was forever scooping them still alive out of my pool; not tons but enough.
Loving my vacation time these days…..knitting endless neck warmers. Very simple pattern, mindless, yummy yarn. I put up a picture last week I believe. I’m still threading the loom. I’m having a terrible time with my back these days; back, hips you name it I am a mess at the moment but I’m sure hoping with continuing walking, yoga and mind over matter I will repair. I’ve been told that job of mine has been too long and too rough for me. Cooking and non stop standing is for 20 year olds. Not sure I buy that but perhaps a bit more moderation might be a good idea. I, of course, always think I can do it all. Such a friggin control freak. Hummmm. Irish.