Author Archives: TaMara
Sometime contributor Michael Fallai shares a lot of terrific recipes on Facebook. The only hitch is they are often in Italian. Tonight’s featured recipe was one of those. If you ever want a laugh, let Google translate a recipe for you…and don’t let dissolve cheese in a water bath, or let your wine evaporate on flame lively intimidate you.
Perusing the weekly ads, I pulled together a few recipes based on what was on sale this week and headed out to the grill.
First up, Curried Turkey Burgers, recipe here. Great served on fresh pita and grill some fresh eggplant from the garden.
Collard greens were everywhere at the farmer’s market last weekend, so Collard Greens with Bacon seems timely, click here.
JeffreyW and Mrs. J made some delicious looking Cream Horns (and to this Italian girl, seems the only difference between these and Cannoli is the filling). Purty pictures and directions can be found here.
What’s on your menu this last weekend of August? What garden fresh items are you enjoying right now? What are you grilling up?
Tonight’s featured recipe (pictured at top) became a poignant reminder of the earthquake in Italy. I had pulled it off the Italy site, translated it and put the ingredients on my shopping list just days before it hit.
Here is my version:
Pasta with Pears, Pecorino and Walnuts
- 10 oz linguine pasta
- 1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 3 large pears, very ripe, cored and cubed
- 3 tbsp butter
- 3/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano (plus extra for garnish)
- 4 oz cream cheese or Mascarpone, cut into small cubes
- dash of white wine (opt)
- salt and pepper to taste
skillet, large pot
Bring water to boil in large pot, add salt and pasta and cook to al dente. Drain but do not rinse and add back to pot, off heat.
While pasta is cooking, heat skillet on medium heat, add walnuts. Stir constantly until lightly toasted, remove and set aside.
Add butter to skillet and melt before adding pears. Stir gently until well coated with butter. Cook until softened, gently stirring occasionally (you don’t want to break up the pears).
Add both cheeses and stir in completely. Let simmer on medium heat until lightly boiling. Add wine and let simmer away (about 5 minutes). Salt and pepper to taste.
Combine pasta, pear mixture and walnuts in large pot and mix well. Serve with extra Pecorino for garnish.
That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend, enjoy fading days of August – TaMara
I haven’t posted a lot of grilling recipes this summer because, well, let’s face it, I haven’t posted a lot of recipes! But this week I’ll post a few favorites. I’m still not doing much grilling because I’m saving up for a Traeger grill. Friends have one and I can’t imagine grilling or smokin’ on anything else since I’ve used it.
Until then, I’ll fry these up in my cast iron skillet. Great on the grill or in the skillet. And now that I’ve finally found a good source for tasty pita bread, a dinner favorite.
Serve with fresh corn on the cob and grilled eggplant (I have three Japanese eggplant almost ready to pick).
Curried Turkey Burgers
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 3 tbsp plain yogurt
- 1 tsp ground curry
- 1/8 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 green onions, chopped
- 4 pita breads
In bowl combine all ingredients except bread and mix well. Form 4 patties and grill, broil or fry to desired doneness. Serve in pita bread. Ground mustard and mayonnaise make good toppings or a little Greek salad dressing, along with lettuce & tomatoes.
This is JeffreyW’s swallowtail photo
I keep meaning to tell this story, but with so much going on I kept forgetting. My first weekend in the house, I was in the garden and there was a swallowtail sitting on a daylily leaf, drinking the morning dew off of it. I thought I’d help him out and dipped my hand in the dog water bowl. I went over to dribble it down the leaf for him when he stepped into my hand and drank from there.
It was awesome. And I figured a good sign.
My plan going forward is to turn the front garden bed into a butterfly garden, complete with a watering station.
Butterfly Water Feeder (“Puddlers”) Butterfly water feeders really aren’t necessary to supply water and butterflies don’t need bird baths or ponds because they get the liquid they need from nectar. However, they need places to “puddle,” as “puddling” provides the critical minerals that butterflies require. Here are a couple ways to create puddlers that butterflies will love. Spread a thin layer of dirt in the bottom of a shallow pie pan or dish. Arrange some rocks in the pan so the butterflies have a place to land. Cut a kitchen sponge into various shapes and arrange the sponges between the rocks, or put one large sponge in the center of the plate. Keep the sponges damp so the water slowly seeps to keep the soil moist. Put the puddler in a sunny, protected area near butterfly-friendly flowers where you can keep an eye on the visitors. A similar version of a puddler is to bury a shallow plate or bowl in the ground so the lip of the container is even with the surface of the soil. Fill the container with sand, then arrange a few rocks or wood chunks on the soil for landing spots. Add water as needed to keep the sand consistently wet. Butterflies will love it!
And since having two hummingbirds visit – one in the backyard and one at my office window box- I’ll make sure we are hummingbird friendly, as well.
BTW, still need to name the snake under my front steps. It really is a tiny little Eden in the middle of our little city.
I’m off to keep working on the Iris nursery – I’m relocating all the irises to the nursery, next spring I’ll photograph the colors and decide where to relocate them as I rearrange the beds. Right now Bixby is trying to kill them all with his big gollomping feet.
After asking for and receiving some excellent advice on how to use my new convection oven, I decided to jump in and test it out. Roasting a chicken seemed like the most logical choice. If I ruined it, I could turn it into chicken salad. Sonoma Chicken Salad to be exact, found here.
This time of year, recipes seem superfluous – farm fresh corn, zucchini from my garden and sliced tomatoes need little embellishment. But I do have Tomato-Pasta Salad, here, that changes up the usual flavors.
For dessert, those plums needed to be used, so I went with a Plum Crumble (or as my cousin christened it, Plumble), recipe here. I used the convection feature, which helped the crisp brown evenly. Bonus Bixby inspecting the plums here.
I don’t have any recipes from JeffreyW this week, but that could because this guy is keeping him busy:
That’s the most adorable, Gabe, getting himself into a bit of trouble. I am looking forward to seeing how JeffreyW’s figs turn out, hopefully abundant enough for homemade fig newtons. But if not, just fresh off the tree. I love figs! Photos of his fig progression are here.
What’s on your menu this weekend as summer winds down? My grapes are starting to ripen, and of course I’m overrun with plums, so does anyone have some good plum or concord grape recipes they want to share? What else is cookin’ tonight?
Tonight’s featured recipe is pretty simple, since what I wanted was to test out how the convection oven treated my ingredients. I started with a local chicken, zucchini from my garden, potatoes from my dad’s garden and local corn.
I mixed together 2 tbsps of butter with dried, crushed rosemary and basil, along with crushed garlic and rubbed it under and over the skin of the chicken. I then rubbed more of the herbs and garlic inside the cavity.
I put the chicken and the sliced potatoes into the roasting pan. I roasted them at 425 degrees, until the breast meat registered at 165 degrees and the thighs at 170 degrees. The high temperature, combined with the convection created a crisp skin that quickly sealed in the juices. Total cooking time was one hour for a five pound bird.
I added the sliced zucchini about 15 minutes before the chicken was about to come out of the oven, so everything finished up nicely. The corn was microwaved for two minutes an ear (for a total of six minutes) with the husks on. If I had been more confident with my oven skills, I would have popped the ears into the oven just a bit before the zucchini and roasted them in the husks.
I am over the moon with what the convection feature can do – the potatoes were perfectly roasted, the chicken crisp and moist, the zucchini tender. The flavors were great and the herbs really permeated the meat.
That’s it for this week. I’m sitting here watching the welcome rainstorm drench my very thirsty yard, while contemplating my long list of things to do this weekend. Have a great weekend! – TaMara