October 31st, 2012 · Comments Off
September 24th, 2012 · Comments Off
As the summer growing season comes to an end – we’re getting in as much local watermelon eating as possible. I tried carving one in a fancy shape this year like you can see here but that was a dismal failure – so I’ve looked for other ways to liven up our watermelon habit. There’s a very cute folk tale about a Turkish folk hero named Mulla Nasrudin. Nasrudin is a very wise man and also very funny. Children and adults will both delight in these humorous tales. If you’re interested in learning more Turkish folk tales this book is a wonderful resource – Watermelons, Walnuts, and the Wisdom of Allah: And Other Tales of the Hoca by Barbara K Walker.
Walnuts and Watermelons – find this story and others here.
As Nasrudin rested under a tall walnut tree one day, he looked a few yards to his side and noticed a big watermelon growing on a thin vine near the ground.
Nasrudin looked up and said, “Great God, please permit me to ask you this: why is it that walnuts grow on big strong trees, while watermelons grow on think weak vines. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?”
But at that very moment, a walnut fell from high on up in the tree and hit Nasrudin square on the head.
“Ah!“ remarked Nasrudin. “I suppose Nature’s ways might not be as backward as I thought. After all, if a big watermelon fell out of the tree and onto my head, it might have killed me!“
Here is our version of a watermelon, walnut salad with the added goodness of fresh blueberries – at our house it’s become a special breakfast treat. If you’re in a light mood, feel free to stop and serve the fruit salad in its simplest form. You won’t be disappointed, I promise. But adding freshly made whipped cream elevates this dish to new heights and if your kids are like ours, you’ll have them singing songs in your honor!
2 cups watermelon, cut into bite-size pieces.
1 cup blueberries
¼ cup broken-up walnut pieces
1 cup heavy cream
Toast the walnuts in a skillet over medium-high heat, being careful not to burn them. Note: If your walnuts are not already broken into pieces, place them in a napkin and let your little ones bang them with the bottom of a can to break them up, then shake out the napkin into the skillet.
Put the watermelon and blueberries in a bowl and add the toasted walnuts. Gently mix everything together. I let the kids handle the mixing part and they love to snitch extra bites of fruit while my back is turned. Ah! The wonder of childhood – that joke never gets old!
For the Whipped Cream
With your hand mixer or standing mixer with the whisk attachment, making fresh whipped cream is very easy. Pour the cream into a bowl, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of sugar if you like your whipped cream to be a little sweet. Starting out on a slow speed so as not to splatter yourself with liquid, gradually increase the speed as you see the cream start to thicken. Pay attention to the consistency of the cream as it mixes – you want the cream to stand up in peaks, but you don’t want to over-mix and make butter! There are great tutorials on YouTube.
September 13th, 2012 · Comments Off
Our summer was busy with the kids going off to camp and short little weekend trips exploring our own little corner of Florida. The biggest thing we did this summer was purchase a new house. It’s a fixer-upper in every sense. A sad little house, neglected for a long time but the yard is big and the neighbors are friendly.
You can see more photos and follow our progress here .
June 24th, 2012 · Comments Off
If you’re ever on the Treasure Coast of Florida this place is a wonderful place to stay. The original family still owns the property and the great granddaughter runs a lovely bed and breakfast.
April 27th, 2012 · Comments Off
I’ve always been fascinated with the process of making cheese. Farmer’s cheese looked easy enough for our first attempt. After reading dozens of recipes that all appear to be closely related I opted for an easy version that did not require a trip to the store for the purchase of cheesecloth. By using more vinegar the cheese will have bigger curds and using a fine mesh strainer will work. Kitchen Daughter was very happy helping with the process and impressed herself with what she remembered from science class when she studied states of matter.
Although everyone who ate the cheese enjoyed it, half of the folks said they thought they could taste a hint of vinegar. I think next time I will try the cheesecloth method using a half gallon of milk and buttermilk with less vinegar.
April 9th, 2012 · Comments Off
The night before Easter, dear friends invited us over for an evening of pot luck and egg dying fun.
With an abundance of tomatoes right now, we made bruschetta to take to the party.
4 ripe tomatoes
1/4 cup minced basil leaves (or whatever herbs you have around – we used Mexican tarragon, parsley and chives for part of that total)
2 cloves minced garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil (be generous!)
A few dashes balsamic vinegar (if you have any herbal vinegar, this is a great time to bust it out.)
1 loaf of Italian bread
a pinch of salt and pepper
Get a large bowl. Mince some of your garlic and glug a little balsamic over it. Add some cubed tomatoes. Mince some basil (or whatever herbs) on top of that. Add more tomatoes. Put some oil over that. Add salt and pepper, whatever tomato you have left, and some more olive oil. If you feel the mixture is not coated with enough olive oil, you can add even more. It’s healthy, right? Allow the mixture to sit for minimum 10-15 minutes for the flavors to blend. A couple of hours is better. Overnight is even better than that. This is a great dish to take to a party because you can make it ahead and let the tomatoes sit in the fridge for a while and let them get all juicy.
When you’re ready to serve, cut the bread cut into diagonal slices and place on a baking sheet under the broiler until they get brown on both sides. If you feel brave, put a drop of olive oil on them, too, before broiling.
Spoon the tomato mixture over the warm bread and enjoy.
March 20th, 2012 · Comments Off
February 26th, 2012 · Comments Off
Our pup Lulu loves this peanut butter with molasses biscuit
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup lowfat milk
1 cup chunky peanut butter
1 tbsp. molasses
unsweetened carob chips
Preheat oven to 350° F
Whisk the flour, oats and baking powder together in a medium bowl.
Gradually stir in the milk, peanut butter and molasses.
Turn out onto a floured surface.
Knead until a soft dough forms.
Roll out to 1/2″ thickness and cut with a biscuit cutter or dog bone cookie cutter.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Let cool overnight in the oven or cool on a wire rack.
After the the biscuits are cool, melt the carob in the microwave 10 seconds increments until soft. Be careful not to burn them. A little water may be stirred in if necessary to get a liquid consistency. The biscuits may then be dunked in the carob or using a spoon drizzle the carob.
We keep a weeks worth of biscuits in an airtight container and freeze the rest, defrosting as needed.
February 14th, 2012 · Comments Off
February 3rd, 2012 · Comments Off
And for a great recipe we used this one from 101 Cookbooks.