Basil Gone Wild!!!

A couple of months ago we got a new neighbor.  She is really great, and has a son the same age as Rat Boy (the resident 15-year old zombie killing expert), who is also homeschooling.  She also has plants…LOTS of plants…a veritable explosion of plants on the tiny back porch.

Not to be outdone, I pulled out looked for brushed off my green thumb.  Thinking about how many times I’ve run down to the market to grab some fresh herb that I just had to have, I decided (after lengthy browsing at Lowe’s) to plant a container of basil and thyme, the two herbs I most often use.  A couple of weeks later, I was back, looking for a larger pot 😛

The basil has grown like it’s on steroids!  It’s taking over the pot, the porch, and soon I fear the kat will vanish while taking her evening constitutional on the porch.  Something had to be done!!!  SO…I trimmed, and trimmed, and then trimmed some more, until the bushy basil resembled something under control.  Then I washed and dried the fruits of my labours, which was a considerable pile of fresh basil 😀

I’d read that the best way to dry and store fresh herbs is to rinse in cool H2O, then lay flat to dry on a paper towel, after which refrigerate in a ziplock.  So I did that with about half of the stems, until I ran out of room on the counter for the paper towels and leaves.  The other half I rinsed and stood in a glass of water, like a flower arrangement.  The standing basil dried in about half the time, I didn’t need to fluff or turn it.  Actually it’s still sitting in the glass, looking fresh and crispy and quite decorative.  The detached leaves did finally dry, and are now safely ensconced in the fridge.

Yesterday, after the lawn work 😛 I pulled out some leftover chicken, which had been grilled on the bone and then deboned for convenience in storing. I rough diced the chicken and a couple of stems each of green onion and celery, a couple of roma tomatoes, and basil. Threw all of this together with a little mayo, some brown mustard, a bit of basil for garnish (it is SO pretty) and voila…Yum-tastic!  Cool, easy, and bye-bye leftover chicken 😀

I put mine on little cocktail rye slices.  Hubby had his on Ritz.  Either way, great nibbling without having to turn on the oven 🙂  And when you live in Texas, and the temp is holding steady at an early 100+, oven avoidance is an art to cultivate…even if you have AC!

Love Affair

I have a habit.  Hey, if I can’t admit it to the world anonymously, when will I ever get it out in the open? And experts say that must be the first step toward recovery.  No, it’s not a drug habit, or anything like that, though I will admit to imbibing a variety of tasty adult beverages on occasion. And for the funneh ones out there, it’s not the kind of habit you wear, either!  I have a morning habit…coffee au lait, and a bagel.  Am I sounding dangerous yet?

Since I’m obviously living on the edge here, I go all the way every morning.  Shmears of peanut butter (the real stuff, just old fashioned ground up peanuts), runny raw honey from the farmer’s market, and a banana top my morning bagel.  Yes…every morning, unless hubby happens to be off work and awake (at the same time :P) and voices a desire for something less routine.

I guess I missed out on the whole peanut butter banana thing as a kid.  My mom’s idea of cooking included a stop at some restaurant to pick up polystyrene containers or Night Hawk frozen dinners.  I still remember when they came in foil pans, and you had to heat them in the oven because we didn’t have a microwave!  And breakfast was…donuts.  Every day.  So now I feel like peanut butter and banana is a treat, especially with organic bananas.  Yes, they are ridiculously expensive, but they taste so awesome!

After I enjoy my gooey morning treat, including plenty of coffee, only because there’s peanut butter stuck to the roof of my mouth 🙂 I’ll get busy and revisit the battle of the basil that began yesterday.  Might even get to a yoga class today!  Meanwhile, I’ll lick honey off my hand and the back of my arm, pausing to chase the occasional banana slice that flees in the vain hope of escaping my gaping maw certain pulverization and death and browse about in search of more groovy noms to share.

About Last Night…

I think most Americans have a love-hate relationship with food.  We love to eat it while most of us hate to cook it.  We dine out more than we dine in.  We’re too tired, too busy, too untaught, or just too uninterested.  Weirdly, I find that among my non-cooking friends, any sort of “Food TV” is a popular choice for viewing for adults and kids alike.  I mean, who can resist the Iron Chef and the battle of the…whatever usually weird ingredient that the Chef is sure to incorporate somehow into ice cream?

Sometimes time gets away from me, and I have one of those days where I look up, it’s after 8 p.m., and I’ve done nothing for dinner.  Yes, there’s usually leftovers, and about once a week, I pull them all out and everybody chooses something to finish off.  But sometimes there’s no such luck, and a quick meal is in order.  Around here, that usually doesn’t mean a call to the pizza guy (although sometimes pizza is just good for the soul).  Usually, it means throwing together whatever I can find lurking, hiding, forgotten in the back and bottom of the fridge and cupboard!

Lucky for hubby, last night this ended up being tortellini with a light Alfredo sauce, grilled asparagus, red bell pepper, and apple smoked chicken sausage, tossed and served all together.  I was planning for a beating down harvest of my basil today, so didn’t think to grab a few leaves to slice on top for garnish, and we just happened to be out of Parmesan.  Altogether, a pretty tasty meal thrown together in about 30 minutes (and part of that was waiting for the grill to heat up!).  Plus, only 1 dirty pan to wash! 😀

Grab that leftover glass of wine and try very hard to look like this took hours to prepare. 😛

Monday. Time for another Beer of the Week!

I tend to think it’s just a coincidence that I’m strategically reviewing a beer after the weekend, but really, I tend to think any day is a good day for beer!  Also, I just discovered that I now have 2 readers!  Welcome!  I’m very excited to have you, and hope you find (or share) some nomable treats.

Today’s beer comes to you courtesy of the Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon.  Weirdly, as I was browsing through bon appetit, the grilling issue, I cam across a story of love and betrayal beer.  Apparently, those good German beer lovers are drinking a summer brew…for summer. 🙂  This is a shocking national departure from hefes and pils, enough so to make what passes for international news in the food world.  The summertime beer of choice would be…go figure…summer ale (called Kolsch in German-speaking circles).  Wow I thought, with mental gears screeching so loud I was sure that the checker could hear…I’m trendy!!!

Twilight, the beer not the movie thankfully,  is light and easy to drink in the summer heat while still retaining its ale-ishness.  It’s not fruity, but instead has a nice hoppiness…however, not so much as an IPA or winter ale.  The label touts the use of Amarillo hops, though I’m not sure what the difference is, the beer is delicious!  It’s drinkable on its own, or paired up with some nice mixed grill of the beefy variety.  Twilight has a balanced bitterness, not lacking at all in flavor and fragrance, but retaining a crisp bite.  Cold is good, and lukewarm is actually better, which is great for the heat of Texas summertime of tripple digit weather.   So whether you’ve just finished mowing, grilling, or energetically lazing around the poolside, I’d recommend this ale.  It’s definitely a winner!

Hopefully, I can go all summer without tasting a beer I don’t really care for.  Prost!

Kitchen Kat

Found invariably, in the kitchen, as the name would suggest!  I’ve spent the week pricing out a catering job, so haven’t been very faithful in posting anything interesting to drool over 🙂 So for my one reader (yes, thanks again Aggie!) I’m sharing teh funneh of kitchen kat.

Rumbleguts, came to live with us last December.  He is now about 2 I think. He aquired his name from the unusually loud purring which issued from his tiny kitteh body.  I find kats in general to be interesting, but he is definitely the strangest kat I’ve ever owned.  We’ve figured out, in his obviously mixed ancestry, somewhere there was a snowshoe Siamese.  His fascination with water has led us to this conclusion, along with other unusual behaviors.  He waits patiently, sitting between shower curtain and liner, for hubby to emerge and drip upon him.  He is also fond of saline solution, delighting in being sprayed down so he can lick it off.  If you tarry too long with the contact cse open, he will drink the saline directly from the wells!  Plain Jane meowing is not good enough for him…he echo-locates using a high pitched trill.

Since I spend a considerable amount of time in the kitchen, he is usually to be found directly behind me, having strategically placed his tail so that I’m constantly leaping into the air after placing a foot firmly in the middle of the tail.  However, he has a good disposition so doesn’t really seem to mind that I tread upon the tail frequently.  Being a helpful sort of kitteh, he enjoys doing dishes, and comes running whenever he hears the dishwasher open..or the dryer, or closet, or any other door to which he is generally denied acccess.  So for today, meet Rumbleguts, a.k.a. Kitchen Kat, in his favorite location…

Summer Solstice

Well, it’s official.  Summer is here, and with it, rain?  Somehow this seems a bit off for my part of the world, when the arrival of Summer (not that you can really tell the difference from Spring), heralds a lack of rain but continuing hotter than Hell warmth.  They say La Nina is once again responsible for the oddness of our weather.  Whatever.  Give me a sweater and I’ll happily sit and watch the rain, enjoying a nice cuppa Joe!

Our modern world doesn’t seem to have much time for staying in touch with Mother Nature, unless she is smacking us down with a tornado or flood or other ‘natural disaster’.  Monday night, I attended a drum circle’s welcoming of Summer which was really quite moving.  We all managed to put aside the ordinary cares and worries of our busy lives, and concentrated on feeling joyful and thankful at the change of seasons.  So today, instead of sustenance for the body, I give you sustenance for the spirit, hoping I can share a little peace, joy, and gratitude for the beauty in our world.

First, water.  Our Earth is more than 70% water, as are our bodies.  We would find it impossible to exist completely without water.  Water cradles us in the womb and washes through our lives, helping us de-clutter when necessary, washing us clean in body and spirit.

Then fire, also cleansing, renewing, warming, but sometimes out of control and frightening.  Fire is the creative power in each of us, the Spark of the Divine we all carry.

The third element pertaining to changing seasons is Earth.  As we grow more technologically oriented, we’ve grown away from Earth, always under our busy feet, providing us with the food we need to flourish whether we notice it or not.  Earth gives us a solid foundation upon which to build our lives, grow our families, dream our dreams of flying high, and incredible beauty upon which to feast our eyes and fill our souls when we stop and look around.

I found it a treat to dance to the rhythm of the drums, as perhaps my ancient ancestors did, as indigeous peoples around the globe continue to do, and find the time to be thankful for the things in my life that I am blessed with.  I also enjoyed the spiritual/mental aspect of pushing out the clutter, letting go of those things which I do not need, and finding joy that there is a changing of the seasons, even though we might not feel it so much in Texas!

Take  a quiet moment to be thankful today and think of all the wonder and beauty in your life.  I wish joy and peace to everyone who needs it…and also those who don’t think they need it at all! 🙂


Beverage of the Week

Today I am stealing borrowing an idea from another blog which I enjoy very much.  Then again, imitation is the highest form of flattery my Mum used to say.

As a dedicated beer drinker, I’ve decided to share a beer that I recently purchased on a whim, but liked it so much, I purchased it again!  I have to admit, I’m partial to beer, but also enjoy wine and other adult beverages.  So this will end up being a mixed bag, but variety is a spice they say.  😉

Circus Boy, The Hefeweizen, overcomes it’s odd name to present the thirsty beer lover with a delicious hefe, with a note of lemongrass, no fruiting required.  Pairing beer with a slice of citrus has become recently popular.  However, I find myself disliking the fruit/beer pairing in general.  It just seems like I always end up tasting the bitterness of the rind.  😡  The makers of Circus Boy have simply brewed a smidge of lemon taste into the beer…no bitterness included.  🙂

Coming to us from Vermont, not a place I generally associate with microbrewed beer, Circus Boy is an offering of Magic Hat Brewing Company.  It is unfiltered, but without cloudiness or sediment.  At 4.4% alcohol, it has a bit of a kick while remaining light, refreshing and tasty…everything a hefe should be.  I found it to be a great poolside beverage, sliding easily down my parched throat…although the glass container at the pool might raise some eyebrows.  I tried it with traditional pool party food:  bacon wrapped shrimp, pulled pork tacos, chips and queso.  I plan to try it in some pulled pork, but more about that later.

I would definitely recommend picking up a six pack (or two…maybe even three?) of this beer to enjoy any time.  Actually, I think I’ll have one now!  Coming to you now with smilies  😀  Thanks Aggie!

Sublime Summertime

So it’s that time.  Hot, hot, hot, but also time for the first summer pool party in my neck of the woods.  Of course, all are asked to bring a side dish or dessert.  After much deep thought a ridiculously busy week (and spending some time trying to figure out how to get a picture posted on the same page as the post to which it refers) I decided to make one of my favorite sides.  So, today I will be arriving with a black Bean and sweet Corn Salsa, always good for outdoor events.  No mayo to give everyone food poisoning, so the kind overworked hostess won’t even have to find room in the overloaded fridge.  Plus, easily put together on the spur of the moment!

Combine 2 cans of Black Beans (though I rarely use anything from a can), drained well, with 2 cups of frozen sweet corn (thawed), and rinse well, until the corn is just cool.  Add 2 cups of pico de gallo (today, thankfully pre-prepared by my local grocery) and toss gently…make your life easy and just use your hands.  You can add extra peppers, diced, if you like to turn up the heat.  I prefer serrano, but the reliable jalapeno will do also.  I put all ingredients  in the collander to drain, and transfer it into a serving bowl, or tupperware if you’re heading out the door.  Voila!

Now for a beer run, and I’m ready to spend the afternoon being hot having fun!

The Masterpiece

Something Wicked This Way Comes.

I was visiting with a friend the other night, talking about great scary books and films that we love.  got me to thinking about this film, and how some things are more tasteful when something is left to the imagination.  Mine can come with some pretty crazy stuff.  She, of course, blogs.  I’ve enjoyed reading her blogs as well as others that I’ve found from that jumping point for a while now, and thus I am taking the plunge!  From just tasty to totally wicked, it’s all about the food baby!

I am an addict.  I fall asleep thinking about what I’ll cook tomorrow.  Which cookie recipe will I try?  How I can I tweak that pulled pork from great to divine?  What have I eaten lately that I’m determined to make? I’m also a homeschooling stay-at home mom, and personal assistant to my hubby, who is sometimes the 2nd teenager in my life.  So I can wear many hats, all of which eventually lead back to food!

Since I’m really new at this, I thought I’d begin with just a photo, while I work on figuring out how to operate this site.  Bear with me, and keep your eyes peeled for the Groovy Noms to come!