Feels Like Spring

Today felt a lot like spring in Colorado.  Faced down 15 mile + head winds, moved a couple of snakes off the bike path who were sunning themselves – cleverly disguised as sticks – great for avoiding prey, not so great for avoiding bike tires.

The geese and ducks are pairing up, and the former are getting much more aggressive toward cyclists.  I had to dodge more than one male who tried to attack my leg as I rode by.  All in all a great ride today with another scheduled for tomorrow.

If you haven’t stepped outside to see the full moon, take a moment, moon-rise was stunning.

I’m pretty sure the photo above is one of the osprey returning to nest.  Blurry closeup below.  He was a big guy with a white fluffy chest.  A bit far away for me to clearly identify.

Spring Fever – Time for a Change

I’m a bit bored with the blog theme/background and may try out a few new ones over the weekend.  Don’t panic if it suddenly looks 6 different ways in two days, nobody slipped something into your Lemongrass soup.  And if one really strikes you as nice, let me know….it may just be the vote to swing it as the new theme.

Thursday Night Menu: Springtime Edition

It has been an interesting week. Very glad it’s almost over. We’ve swung between sunny spring weather and rainy spring weather. Both are welcome. So tonight’s menu features a primavera. Which is Italian for springtime. The carrot cake is not what you’d expect, it is a fruity, light confection with a definite spring touch.  Bon appetite!

On the board tonight:

  1. Chicken Primavera
  2. Carrot Cake

Chicken Primavera

  • 3 boneless chicken breasts, cubed in large pieces
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 to 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 oz sliced carrots
  • 8 oz broccoli crowns
  • 1 small yellow summer squash, sliced
  • 2 tsp basil, crushed or ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, quartered
  • ¾ cup chicken broth or equivalent
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 2 oz grated parmesan
  • 9 oz fresh linguine

skillet, large saucepan

Sprinkle salt & pepper over chicken pieces. Heat oil in skillet, add chicken and saute for 5 minutes over medium-high heat, until golden on all sides. Add carrots, broccoli and squash, and stir for 2 minutes. Add basil, garlic, tomatoes. Stir additional 2 minutes. Remove mixture to bowl. Add chicken broth and wine to skillet, deglaze drippings, bring to a boil, reduce heat, add chicken mixture, toss and cover. Reduce heat to low and let simmer while pasta cooks. Bring water to boil in saucepan and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain very well and toss with chicken mixture. Sprinkle with parmesan and serve.

Carrot Cake

  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8 ounce can crushed pineapple
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans

Frosting:

  • 1 ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans

2 bowls, 8×8 baking dish, well greased

Preheat oven to 350°

In a large bowl, combine grated carrots, flour, white sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir in egg, oil, vanilla, pineapple and pecans. Spoon batter into prepared pan.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool.

Frosting: In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients, except nuts. Beat until smooth. Spread on cooled cake and garnish with pecans.

Shopping List:

  • 3 boneless chicken breasts
  • 8 oz sliced carrots
  • 8 oz broccoli crowns
  • 1 small yellow summer squash, sliced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, quartered
  • ¾ cup chicken broth or equivalent
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 2 oz grated parmesan
  • 9 oz fresh linguine
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 8 ounce can crushed pineapple
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans

Also: salt, pepper, olive oil, vanilla, butter, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, garlic, basil,

Grilling Season

I just got off the phone with my cousin and now I’m homesick for LA.  Still cool spring here and I could really use the smell of eucalyptus and jasmine right now.  Even though it’s cool, I think I’ll push it and start digging out the grilling recipes.  Maybe seafood.   Until then…

Spring Training and the Garden

Once again, the first signs of summer have arrived.  Baseball spring training and garden catalogues.  I love summer.  I love baseball.  I LOVE gardening.  I’m an optimistic and lazy gardener.  I start early, before the last frost.  I prefer raised beds, so I can prep the soil with a deep layer of good organic material.  If I can’t wait and plant early, I use various measures to protect seedlings from frost, most involve plastic and water.  Most importantly I mulch heavily and continue to mulch over the growing season.  This is where the lazy part comes in.  The rest of the season I water minimally and rarely weed.  I figure I give my plants a good healthy start and then it’s up to them to thrive!

The anticipation of a garden harvest is joy.  Nothing tastes better than foods made with fresh garden ingredients.  Salsas are magnificent with garden tomatoes, cilantro, green onions, jalapenos and maybe some tomatillos.   Salads are full of flavor with greens freshly cut, tiny cucumbers, sweet peppers and whatever else I might be inspired to plant.  Fresh peas and pole beans, anything you buy in the store pales in comparison.  And at the end of the season, when tomatoes are abundant, I cook, puree and freeze the bounty to tide me over until about…. January.  This is why February finds me longing to start my garden NOW!

I come by it naturally.  My dad plants enough garden vegetables to feed most of the neighborhood and my mom comes up with fabulous ways to use them.  And who do you think  taught me how to extend that great flavor through winter?!  And nothing beats my mom’s cucumber, tomato, onion salad.   A summer favorite.

So if you’ve never gardened before, why not try it this summer?  Start small.  Get two large containers.  In one, plant a variety of lettuces, in the other a tomato plant, I suggest Early Girl for beginners.  Buy a healthy tomato seedling for greatest success your first time out.  There’s a new item out that I’ve been wanting to try, it’s an upside down tomato planter, this may be the summer I do.  Most garden catalogues carry them now.

Okay, with that, I’ll dig through my recipes and find something appropriate February.  It won’t be as exciting as fresh summer salsa, but it’ll be tasty.  Until then…