Thursday, July 27, 2006


Thought I would post some pics. of recent food stuffs going on in our household (and I need to clean off the card on my camera!).

Shitake Mushrooms grown by a colleague of mine.

We ate these in a tofu stir-fry. Note to self -- cut off and discard stems before cooking/eating. They were surprisingly tough!

All the Veggies Pasta SaladA concoction to use up some fresh veggies sitting in the crisper. Light, tasty, and filling.

Cherry Clafouti

Surprisingly easy. Yummy!

Cherry Clafouti

Created by Gale G andFrom Great Food in the July 2006 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine

Serves 12

Pop this bubbly, custardy cherry clafouti into the oven midmeal and 30 minutes later, take your bows.


2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for greasing

2 cups fresh (or frozen, unthawed) cherries, pitted

1/3 cup granulated sugar

4 large eggs

1 cup whole milk

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. salt

Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350°.

Grease a 9-inch, deep-dish pie plate. Fill with cherries.

In a blender, combine sugar, eggs, milk, flour, salt and butter until smooth.

Pour batter over cherries in prepared pie plate. Bake until puffed and golden, about 30 minutes.

Dust with confectioners' sugar. Serve hot.

Produce Pictures

Here is the total haul fro mTuesday's market foray.

Red-speckled butter beans

Gilliliand's peaches

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Murfvegas has a farmer's market, and I finally found it! It has been elusive lo these past months...only because I was looking on the WRONG SIDE of Main St.! Geez! Well, I went last week for the first time, spent $6, and came home with enough veggies to feed us for the week. As a matter of fact I have been eating up what is left just so I could clear out the fridge for Tuesday's trip....which is detailed below....

I went to the market again today (Tuesday)...I only spent $5.50 and got so much food! There were a few more vendors today than last week, and some were already sold out and packing it up at 8:00 AM. I missed out on the cantaloupe...too bad, that was one of my favorites from last week.
However, I did get 4 ears of peaches-n-cream corn (see the picture), a bunch of tender baby crookneck squash, 1 lb. of blue-runner beans, 1/2 lb. of some sort of red and white speckled beans (apparently they are sweeter and creamier than lima, taste a bit like pinto? I don't know, I haven't had them yet), some blue potatoes (can't remember the offical name of these guys), and one organic cucumber. I stood and chatted with the only organic farmer there...super nice fellow, very knowledgable, and passionate, about eating only organics. He told me the story of his wife having kidney problems after working in their printing shop for 30 yrs. around a bunch of chemicals. Now that she eats all organic (on the recommendation of her doctor) and drinks only distilled water, she feels so much better. He has been selling at this market for about 4-5 years, and said he was "near run off" when he first started selling there. Now, this guy is about as local as they come (so it is not like he is an outsider, like me!), but apparently some of the other farming women were very nasty to him because he told them all the chemicals and pesticides they were using on their crops were bad. And since he doesn't use them, and he buys all organic seeds, etc., he charges more (like $3/lb for beautiful fingerling potatoes -- like 8 varieties!). They apparently also made a stink about how pricey his stuff was, and they could get the same thing or grow it, for less. Obviously, what they are buying elsewhere or growing themselves, was/is not the same thing. I am so glad he decided to ignore the ol' biddies and keep on with what he believes in. I am stopping there first next week to get me some of those potatoes!

Second cool treat today...Gilliland's Peaches (not really sure if I have spelled their name right...sorry folks if it is wrong). I found out about this "pit stop" (hee hee, sorry about the bad pun!) last Tuesday from one of my friends (that met me at the market to make sure I could find it!). Apparently, these people sell their peaches a block off the town square, out of the back of their truck every Tuesday morning. They start at 8 AM, and are sold out by 11 AM. My friend, AS, had to get on to a meeting, but urged me to go and try out these fantastic peaches (her obsession with them is similar to that of the Mackinaw on Seinfeld -- if you know what she is talking about!). She also warned me there could be a line, but that it would be well worth it. So, I found the place, (church parking lot across the street from Jr's grocery), and sure enough there was line, but only about a dozen deep. It was funny because it was obvious that everyone there was a veteran (at standing in line for peaches, not of any wars, although some of them were old enough to be), and knew what to do. I kinda' felt like I was getting in line for the Soup Nazi, but these people are not militant and are super nice! Seriously, you stand in the line, facing forward. When it is your turn to pay, you tell the old-timer (I mean this with the utmost respect) sitting in the lawn chair how many boxes you want, and give him your cash. You then have to wait until he tells you to move forward to the tailgate of the truck, where the Peach Mistress is working the peach boxes. While waiting my turn to pay, I chatted with the folks in line behind me and was told that these peaches were so good, that (1) I should stand in a bathtub to eat them ['cause they are so juicy], and (2) don't make anything with them -- that would be a waste, just eat them as they are. Well, with recommendations like that, how could you not want these?
(I was also told that the line often stretches around the building, and people have passed out in the heat from waiting in line for these peaches.)

So, I bought a flat ($8 for about 25 good-sized peaches), which the Peach Mistress hand sorts and chooses to make sure you get the finest of the peaches. She sets aside any half-rotten ones (which can be bought for $4 a box), and gives you extra if some of them are small, all with a smile on her face! Of course, I had to lug all my produce to my office so it didn't melt in the hot car. The peaches totally fragranced my office -- a good thing, I assure you. I took some down to the dept. secretary, and when I walked in she said "Are those Gilliland peaches? Man, I just love those peaches. Haven't had a chance to get over there this year."
YES, the peaches really are THAT GOOD! I have been eating them two at a time, because one is so not enough. Once, I even cut some up and put them over vanilla frozen yogurt w/ a sprinkle of cinnamon...ahhh, summer.

Anyhow...on to more recent adventures....

I stood in line again for peaches, but this time I knew what to do. I split a tray w/ my neighbor b/c I still have 8 leftover from last week's box. Add that to our plenteous bounty (is that redundant?) of tomatoes and we are set! I just picked a baker's dozen tonight...and there are PLENTY of green and half-turned ones yet. I just love mid to late summer!

Well enough of that for now. I will be posting a picture of my veggies and peaches when I get to a faster internet connection -- dial-up can't handle pictures all that well! If you have made it this far, thanks so much for reading and letting me share my farmer's market story! There aren't too many people that understand my joy at having fresh, well-priced veggies for the next few months!

Okay -- just popping in to add that something funky is going on with blogger b/c I am not able to post my pictures. I get them uploaded, and then it says "can not find server." Okay, vent over!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Carrots, and chocolate, and buttercream...oh my!

It must be a birthday! Happy birthday to my honey! His favorite cake is carrot cake (sorry honey, as you know this is not even in my top 10 of cakes), and I had never made one until we started dating in 2000. So for this year's bday I resurrected the same recipe I used that year (a Cooking Light recipe), made a few minor substitutions, added chocolate chips, and topped it all off with a low(ish)-fat buttercream icing (no cream cheese in the house, and in no mood to run to the store). All in all, the layers came out very nice, and the cake was not bad. I liked it best on the first and second day. It dried out (even w/ layers of plastic wrap and toothpicks) and became rubbery at the same time as days passed. Well, that is what happens with low-fat cakes sometimes.

Here is a picture of the dinner we had: falafel burgers, cucumber raita, chopped fresh tomatoes, feta, and mediterranean couscous.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Girls' Weekend -- Part II

First, let me offer my sincerest apologies for the delay in this second installment. First blogger was inaccessible (to me anyway), then I took some extended and much needed time away from the computer, and third -- I haven't been inspired to write at all. I haven't had writer's block since 1997...I really didn't know what to do. However, I have been reading like mad, in some vain hope for inspiration.

Okay, now let's get on to to the good stuff. I forgot to mention that K. and I went to a wine tasting on Friday night before dinner. It was free, not crowded, and I liked the majority of the wines. What's not cool about that?

Saturday -- late morning, early afternoon -- BERRY PICKING! K., Natalie, and I went to Reed Valley Orchard, in Bourbon County, for their Blueberry Jubilee and Pancake Day! We were a bit later getting out there than we would have liked, so we missed out on the pancakes (darn!), and there weren't as many ripe berries on the bushes as we would have liked, but we did manage to make a nice haul, and K and I took some time to pick red raspberries (N. abstained since she has her own thicket of these in her backyard, and plugged along on the bluesies!). K is on the right modeling a very nice ripe red raspberry. YUM! N. is below right with her flat of berries -- which she so graciously shared with me! Is that not the best berry picking outfit or what?

Here is my haul, before N. loaded me up with fruits of her labor! (You can seem that I had my sights set very high, with all those empty bins.) I ate a bunch fresh, but have since frozen them, to be used in yummy non-smoothie recipes. I have so far made Berry Tofu "Ice Cream" (from The Big Book of Vegetarian) with 2 cups of the bluesies. I think I will use some more in a lemon blueberry poundcake. The raspberries? These will be made into a raspberry sauce to go over Lemon Ricotta Pancakes (and some bluesies may make a cameo in those as well!).

Saturday Evening -- "Girls' Night In" Cocktail Party! Hosted by K, at her lovely nearly refurbished historic house.

Menu (solids) : hummus and dippers; lemony veggie dip (K's own creation -- very yummy!); olive nut and crackers; Italian cheese torte and baguette; dolmas (stuffed grape leaves); pita chips and tomato salsa (like a deconstructed bruschetta); and Chocolate Guinness Cake.

Notice the Guinness Chocolate Cake -- all gussied up!

Menu (liquids): various red wines (all that I sampled were delish); martinis -- lemon, passionfruit (my personal fave); regular (am I missing anything K?).

The food was fantastic, the beverages were fantastic, and the company and conversation was even more so. I can't say whenI have spent a more enjoyable evening with a group of smart, confident, in-the-know, fun women.

Thanks K for a great weekend! I hope we can repeat it again in the fall!