Saturday, August 29, 2009

Cook-up with Dzintra
from Donna Hay Magazine

Over the past months Dzintra and I have been doing
cook-ups from this wonderful Australian food magazine!

I found Donna Hay's magazine tucked in between
the many other food magazines at our local
Border's Bookstore and fell in love.
Donna Hay's mantra is "special made simple,"
and she lives up to it... with finesse!

Last evening I did my cook-up from Issue #45 - Jun/Jul 2009

I chose 2 recipes:

Lemongrass and Coconut Braised Beef Ribs

1.2kg/2.65 lbs rack of beef ribs
plain all-purpose flour, for dusting
1 Tbls Vegetable oil
2 stalks lemongrass, white part only, chopped
5cm/1.97in piece of fresh ginger, sliced
5cm/1.97 in of fresh galangal, sliced
1 whole star anise
4 small dried chilies
2 x 270ml cans of coconut milk
(the can I had were 400mls, so I used the whole thing)
1 Tbls brown sugar
2 Tbls fish sauce
1/4 cup (6ml) lime juice
1/2 cup beef stock
Preheat oven to 180C/ 355F. Dust the ribs with flour and shake off any excess. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over high heat. Add the ribs and cook for 2-3 minutes each side or until browned. Remove from the pan. Add the lemongrass, ginger, galangal, star anise and chili to the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. Add the coconut milk, sugar, fish sauce, line juice, beef stock and ribs to the pan. Cover with a lid and roast for 1 hour 30 minutes. Remove lid and cook for a further 30 minutes or until the meat is tender and falling off the bone. Serves 4-6.

The ingredients:

The lemon grass, limes, and chilies all came from my garden

Braising the beef:
I used beef rib steaks, the bone cut away
(I know... a bit of a cheat)

Normally we don't eat alot of beef,
but hubby loves it, and now and then we splurge,
and this recipe was worth the spluge! (:

Spices and flavors

Simmering together


Beets, Carrots and Zucchini from the garden
Lemon Cream Pots

2 cups (500ml) double (thick) cream
1/4 cup (110g) caster (superfine) sugar
1 Tbls finely grated lemon rind
double (thick) cream to serve

(I didn't make the lemon wafers the Donna Hay serves with the Lemon Pots)

Place cream and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and stir to dissolve sugar. Bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes. Removed from heat, add lemon rind and juice and stir to combine. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Pour into 4 x 3/4 cup capacity (185ml) dishes and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or until set. (And here I can attest to the fact that putting them into the freezer for half the time works just as well... (:

First, Donna Hay's photos
This is one of the best things about her magazine...
The styling alone makes me want to make the recipes! (:

My Finished Lemon Cream Pots

These were such a hit with the family
that I will make them again in the future!

(I don't think there's much fat in these, right? LOL!!!)

Delicious, but may add inches to the mid-section (:

Voila Dzintra~
Thank you for being so patient with my slowness at doing this cook-up.
Summer has proven to be a rat-race! LOL

Anyone else who might be interested in joining on cook-ups...
Please do!
I was thinking that cook-ups could be from any good food magazine.
Dzintra and I have this common interest magazine and share it on our blogs,
but there are many good food magazines out there,
so an open invitation to you all. (:

On to the newest issue, #46
As spring approaches Dzintra's beloved coastal area of Australia...
Fall approaches my beloved Central Coast of California.
I've heard that this is an El Nino year...
which means more rain for us... (we need it badly, so I won't complain)

Donna Hay will move along with Dzintra's weather,
and as winter moves in here, I will enjoy her posts of spring...
knowing that it will come back to us in a few months too.

~Bon appetit~

Friday, August 28, 2009

Harvest Friday

Today's harvest comes from outside in the garden,
and from the other side of the country.

Green Beans.... and more green beans.
I think my eyes got bigger than my freezer this year!
They're beginning to fall into that "zucchini" arena! LOL

MORE tomatoes!
Last year my 4 vines produces 527 tomatoes (by the end of October)
This year, my 6 vines have produced 602 ... and counting

And a most special harvest from my dear Uncle!
I got a box in the mail yesterday...
and inside it was my Grandmother's Family Bible,
printed in 1877

Thank you Uncle D!!!

At some point in its life, someone decided to repair it.
At that time it was bound with black binding tape...
The job was not professional, as you can see,
and has covered up the beautiful embossing
and pressed surfaces along all the edges.

I may take it to a professional binder...
The only issues are...
whether or not the bad binding can be removed and redone
and how much $$$ it will cost.

Wasn't the handwriting beautifully done?
(I know its not easy to see in this photo... but its so elegant)
We don't take the time to have lovely penmanship
like the old days.

No deaths recorded...

No names written under the photos...
so I don't have a clue which names go with which faces...
a real dilemma.
Guess I'll have to put in a call to Sherlock Holmes

Someone pressed a leaf...
...which we all know is not good for the paper... acid factor.
But I don't know if I can remove it...
Who knows how long its been there,
or who put it there,
and it just feels so right sitting here in the book.

Also, I got 3 of my grandmother's handwritten recipes.
A true treasure to me

Lastly... Hubby got TOTALLY carried away on our hedge!!!
One thing I'll admit... it has brought all the neighbors in!
They are stopping by to laugh and say how they love it!
Can you tell what it is?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Weekend Harvest

The tomato vines are producing at hyper-speed!
What to do with all these tomatoes (this is just one small basket)
1) Salads (of course)
2) Put them into the food dehydrator (for later use in soups, stews and sauces)
3) Give away to friends and family
4) Give to the homeless shelter

There's one problematic issue in my Bit o'earth...

We have this HUGE avocado tree

It produces the lovelies (below) ...
the problem is that when they do reach us...
they have little tiny bite marks!

This comes from the fact that the tree is over 50ft tall
and there's no way for us to reach the avocados.

The only ones who can reach them is our squirrel team.
They take a few little bits, and then pass them down to us...

Wonderful! Thanks kids!

Did you know that avocados are a climacteric fruit (the Banana is another),
which means that it matures on the tree but ripens off the tree...
which in turn, might explain why the squirrels take a bit or two and toss it!

Its native to the Caribbean, but is farmed in South America and Southern areas of USA.

It belongs to the family of trees that are labeled Lauraceae ...
along with Cinnamon, Camphor and Bay Laurel.

If I'm buying from the grocery or farm stand, Hass is my favorite variety,
but I have no idea what variety mine is.

For supper, we will have tomato and avocado salad...
(even though they have tiny bite marks on them! LOL)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I am pathetically and unapologetically
a proud Grandma (Nami to Sophia)

She loves to play a game called
"Monster Daddy"

The way the game works is ...
Daddy hides behind the curtain!
Then Sophie runs over as quick as she can to see where he is!

Daddy makes a loud snort!

....and Sophie RUNSSSSS!
Real fast!
Mommy will save her!
But Daddy comes after her anyway! Yikes!!
Quick Sophie!!! You can get past him!!!
I think...

Sophie's favorite food is...

There's only one problem...

They sure can be sour!
But will that stop her from eating them?


Saturday, August 8, 2009

Crazy... wish I could say Lazy Hazy Dayz of Summer

Summer has proven to be a challenge of time. Since we live at the beach, our home becomes a sort of B&B for family and friends. Mind you, I am in no way complaining! I am a self proclaimed home-body and love to just be home... so family and friends who are willing to come here is fine by me! (:

However, it does pose a problem with time. When everyone is here I cook and clean and tour them around... which leaves little time to post on my blog. I love the contacts I've gained in the blog world and hope I don't lose any of you. I value my visits to your blogs, and I value your visits to mine. I know that as fall approaches, and my bit-o-earth settles into the rhythm of the seasons, I will have more time to post to my blog, read the books I want to read and work on my stitchery that my dear friend Dzintra sent me months ago.

Also, Dzintra and I have begun a cook up, using each new issue of Donna Hay's magazine... well, the last issue has now been replaced by a newer issue and I have yet to do my cook-up from the last one! I plan to do a cook-up from both the past one and the current one...

but it may have to wait a few more weeks, as I plan to go back up to the ranch in Oregon for my Dad's 75th birthday! Happy Birthday Dad~ I love you!

Until then, I still keep my camera shutter clicking away on my garden and here are a few shot ... not of the vegetables, but of the beauty I see in every nook and cranny, vein and vital part of the plants in my little bit of earth.

Love to you all, and I hope you are enjoying your summer. Thanks for sticking around too~ (:

My favorite plant
St. John's Wort or Hypericum
The flowers are waxy and vibrantly colored,
and the leaves are heavenly.

Ok, maybe one vegetable leaf... Beetroot
Lovely isn't it?
The veins are deep red, but the green of the leaves jump out

Elephant Ear
That's all I know it by. It was given to me by a kindly neighbor.
The color of the leaves is exquisite,
and the veining on them intriguing to me.

I am such a lackadaisical gardener...
I don't put enough time into
learning the names of the plants, or about their history, etc.
I go by feel... if the plant reaches out to me, I grab it.
Doesn't this fern look magical? So delicate...