Thursday, August 26, 2010


Had great fun last night with five mom friends making pie! So fun to get together with a group, snacks, and wine, and make pie and chat all together. It's just so easy to make and super fun. One person asked if I've ever had store-bought pie crust. No, I haven't. It takes me under ten minutes to make this pie crust, and I know what all the ingredients are. So I haven't seen a need. Just a need for this recipe!

Pie Crust
This is for bottom and top. If you want just the bottom (like for pumpkin pie), halve this recipe.

2 cups flour
2/3 cup margarine or butter
1 tsp. salt
almost 6 tbls. ice water

Filling: ~ 5 cups fruit, ~3/4 cup sugar, ~1/8 tsp. salt, flour
Adjust according to sweetness, acidity, and juiciness of fruit.

350 F for ~ 1 hour - middle to lower rack

Friday, August 20, 2010

Summer-only Salsa!

I make this salsa as often as humanly possible in the summer because you just can't replicate it at any other time of year. It demands fresh, in-season corn and fresh, in-season tomatoes. I will say that I cheat a little; here in Colorado we start getting corn at least a month before local tomatoes are ready, so I will make it with California tomatoes just because it's hard to wait. But once the local tomatoes arrive? Shazam! It is AMAZING. Best are tomatoes fresh from your own garden picked the day you make the salsa.

I got the recipe from my mother. Sometimes that's where the best recipes come from, right?
Here you go:

3 ears corn, cooked and kernels cut off cobs
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1-2 fresh jalapeƱos peppers, seeded and minced
1/2 cup loosely packed, chopped, fresh cilantro or parsley
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp olive oil
salt to taste
Mix all and let stand at least 30 minutes.

Of course, like any other recipe, change it how you like it! I use about 1/4 of one jalapeƱo and less than 1/2 an onion. I prefer parsley to cilantro, and I love lime juice. Today I made it with only 2 ears of corn to get a more tomato-y salsa just because I had a ripe tomato from my garden that I wanted to taste really well!

Serve as an appetizer with a delicious light white wine and good chips. Yummy! Maybe you won't even want dinner?!

Thursday, August 19, 2010


The bounty coming in is just crazy.
Rocky Ford canteloupe - perfect wrapped in prosciutto - get the slightly saltier kind as it sets off the melon's sweetness much better.
Or try this for a dinner or two this week (courtesy of Real Simple):
Blend a whole canteloupe in a blender. That's right. Just blend the sucker up. You know what you get? Rocky Ford Soup! Serve it chilled, alongside a baguette - sliced in half, drizzled with olive oil, sandwiching fresh mozzarella and prosciutto. Wow! We've had this for dinner two nights this week, and I can't get enough.

Peaches to snack on during the day.

Fresh new potatoes and snappy green beans partner my grilled salmon in the evening.

I can't wait to learn how to make jam!

Happy Farmer's Market-ing!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Mid-Air Sustainability: Answers

When you jump off a cliff, metaphorically speaking, -- like take a risk, large or small -- how do you sustain yourself? How do you keep from flailing?

Many people take leaps and fall apart at the seams. There are parts of us we need to sustain, like eating, sleeping, breathing, not ending up a complete wreck in the process... There are so many ways of sustaining our selves, our bodies, in the process.

What tools do you use? Often when we take a risk, leap into the air, many things may happen: we get stressed, we may get physically tight, feel anger or fear, have digestive issues or sleep problems, etc. How do you keep the balance? Sustain yourself? We all have tools in the toolbox... What are yours?

Various answers:

Breathe, yoga, Nia, laugh, cry
close your eyes
make sure there's a soft landing
wine, sex, exercise, spend time with kids
faith, trust, gratitude
stay with your truth
support from friends!
talk it out with girlfriends
eat comfort food; make sure you eat well
use more energy; use less
use our voices!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Blackberries and Peaches and Corn, Oh My!

Came home with a flat of blackberries (12 boxes for $12), a box of peaches (seconds for only $10!), and two dozen corn. Wow!
Saving aside a couple boxes to eat and use in cobbler tomorrow, I placed the blackberries on two baking sheets in the freezer. Once frozen, I would scoop them into freezer bags for easy access. They would be great in scones, muffins, and jam later in the winter.

I knew we would eat most of the corn in the next few days, but I scraped some off the cob raw and froze that as well. Nothing like digging into that stash in January, tossing some corn kernels in with our fajita fixings.

And then I stared at the large box of peaches. Hmm. Okay, out come 8 or 10 for cobbler tomorrow (my husband makes a mean berry/peach cobbler. It can only be done with super fresh fruit.) And then I decided. It was time to learn to can! I had felt daunted for a couple of years, but a recent visit to my dear friend Dawn, who cans every summer, made me realize it wasn't as hard as I had thought. She directed me to the website of the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Easy instructions, and you can sort by what you're wanting to do (can peaches or tomatoes, make jam, etc.)

Leaving my daughter playing in her room and my husband painting the porch ceiling, I ran to the local grocery store and picked up the materials I needed: jars, a little canning equipment set for only $8, and "Fresh Fruit" - recommended by Dawn as the easiest and best way to add ascorbic acid to prevent browning. I got out of there for $35. Nice!

And then the process began! It was definitely easier than I'd thought. Poetically enough (for Dawn is a math instructor), it reminded me of algebra. Plug the numbers into the equation correctly, and you can't go wrong. Follow the steps for canning correctly, and you can't go wrong.

Except my quart jars wouldn't fit in my pot with enough water overhead for boiling. I tried it, it bubbled water, and extinguished the stove flame! Onto pints.

Except my pints boiled over too and extinguished the flame, but no one noticed till the allotted time was up. I re-boiled those for 20 minutes.

Other than not watching the pot -- you can't go wrong!

The end of the day gave me 8 pints of canned peaches plus two full pie-fillings. The peach-seller at our farmer's market recommended putting together the filling for peach pie and pouring into a pie pan atop plastic wrap. Once frozen, you lift it up and into a plastic bag. Mid-winter, place into freshly made pie crust, bake, and voila! (At least, I hope so! I'll let you know how that goes...)

So. 8:30pm. Exhausted but happy and satisfied. The porch ceiling is painted (thanks to my husband); the blackberries, peaches, and corn are all properly dispatched, and my daughter is asleep. Good stuff!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Backyard Bounty

Back from eight days out of town, and the garden is in full swing. After no harvesting for a week, there was a bounty of cherry tomatoes, carrots, basil, and a couple of regular-sized tomatoes. Dinner: farmer's market pasta with cherry tomatoes, shredded basil, a little olive oil, and parmesan. Backyard bounty indeed.