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Kimchi, Yummmm.

I love how the kimchi in those jars look. I made the kimchi. That's right. Me! Call me vain, I don't care. I can't stop looking at the kimchi. It looks like real kimchi, by golly. It even smells like kimchi.

Today is the second day the kimchi has been sitting at room temperature. The lids are loosely screwed so the kimchi has breathing room. Otherwise, the kimichi will do precisely what the Husband likes to say, after I tell him the lids are barely screwed, "They'll blow their tops off!" I think he'd be pleased to see that happen.  

This is the second time I've made kimchi. The first batch was okay. It didn't start tasting like kimchi until it had been in the refrigerator for a long while. That's not good kimchi. I can eat half a jar of the fermented spiciness by myself. Feed me kimchi and rice, I'm happy. Real good kimchi, I'm delirious. Oooh.

I read several kimchi recipes to come up with my own synthesization. Here was my process.

P…

Getting Inspired

I almost decided to go back into the blog's archives today. After two weeks away, I felt rather constipated in thought. Then I heard a low hum that I eventually identified as the stove fan. Ha, that may mean...yes, indeed. I caught a hint of pancake in the air.

The Husband was making us pancakes for breakfast. Hoo-rah! Off the computer, down the stairs, and to the kitchen I went.

After eating the Husband's yummy fare, I was inspired with many thoughts that I might write about. One being the Husband made us pancakes for breakfast!

Aren't I a fortunate woman?


Today I'm linking up with All Seasons, a weekly meme hosted by Jesh at Artworks from Jesh St.G. Click here to check out Jesh and her meme. For the participants list, click here. Thanks, Jesh!

Senior Citizenery—Here We Are!

The Husband and I went to our first true senior citizen thing this morning—an event specifically catered to old folks. It was a senior citizen brunch hosted by our local hospital's volunteer group.  We wouldn't have known about it, nor gone, if it weren't for our friends, the Mister & Missus H, for which, I believe, this was also their first exclusive senior citizen event.

For two bucks (you heard right), we got coffee, orange juice and whatever we wanted at the buffet table, which included scrambled eggs, sausage, hash browns, French toast, steamed veggies, chicken and artichoke in gravy (think biscuit and white gravy without the biscuit), cottage cheese, peaches, and Mandarin oranges. We ahhhh'd when the gals running the show announced that the hospital had also sent over an extra treat of coffee cake for us. 


Two bucks a person! Probably the last time we could buy a hearty breakfast for that amount was in the 1970s. These days, it's about $15 per person. …

Roast Beef Sandwich for Breakfast

I've heard the Husband say at least twice how much he enjoyed his roast beef sandwich for breakfast this morning.

I generally figure every morning that I'll be having a peanut butter sandwich for breakfast. Easy-peasy, you know. Some mornings I surprise the Husband and me by making a hot breakfast. I hadn't planned on it today but I started flipping through a cookbook  because I decided to weed out the cookbook collection. After all how many cookbooks do I need when I'm not one to follow a recipe the way it's written?

I didn't know I had a Costco cookbook (I wonder if I got it for free). It has lots of cool photos illustrating short and delicious-sounding recipes from big-time chefs such as Mary Esposito and Jamie Oliver. I found a recipe towards the end of the cookbook that inspired today's breakfast. Coincidentally, the Husband walked into the kitchen as the oven light bulb lit over my head.

The poor Husband. I often, if not nearly almost, don't consi…

A Kitchen Game: Leftovers

How many dishes can you make out of leftovers? Not separate dishes. More like turning leftovers into something left over for more leftovers.

It was either Monday or Tuesday last week that I made pork ribs by first simmering them with fresh garlic and Cajun spices, then broiling them in a toaster oven. For the BBQ sauce, I mixed leftover homemade pizza sauce, made a few days earlier, with horseradish. Sounds horrible, but it tasted mighty good, so the Husband said.

Even though it was a small slab of ribs, we had leftovers. Not enough for two people though. A couple days later, I added the meat to a concoction of garbanzo beans, peas, linguisa, and leftover sauteed onions and mushrooms. I also threw in a couple of frozen tomatoes. That delectable dish was served with Jasmine rice.

There were leftovers.

On Saturday, we happened to be standing in front of a Mexican restaurant. Its doors were wide open so we could enjoy yummy smells. Although mouthwatering, we weren't hungry enough to …

Suman

Suman is my all-time favorite Filipino dessert that the Mama made during the Christmas season when I was a kid. It is a decadent sweet rice concoction made from sticky rice (aka glutinous rice and sweet rice), brown sugar, and coconut milk.

The delightfulness about suman is the memory of it being made, usually on a cold, rainy day. I'm anywhere from age four to seven. The Daddy cracks open two or three coconuts, pouring the juice into a waiting glass. I have yet to taste coconut water as good as what I drank way back when.

The Daddy scrapes the coconut meat from the shell carefully and precisely on a a flat, round serrated scraper that he attached to a thick chunk of wood that he straddled. "I want to do it," I say every so often, as I watch the coconut transform into tiny slips of whiteness as it falls from the scraper into a large white metal basin with red trim. Eventually the parents let me sit on the homemade coconut scraper and try for a short bit. It is not easy,…

Chicken Bittermelon Soup!

Hurrah! I finally had chicken bittermelon soup yesterday. Slurp, slurp. Mmmmmm.

The day before we stopped at a Filipino market in Watsonville and almost immediately saying hello to me was a display of bittermelon (parria to me) and bittermelon leaves. I've been craving bittermelon for the last several months. Unless I grow it, we have to travel far and almost wide to purchase the vegetable.

The Daddy and the Mama grew bittermelon in their vegetable garden every summer. When I was a kid the Mama made chicken bittermelon soup at least once a week. Slurp, slurp. It wasn't until the Mama was 90 or so that I finally paid attention to how she made it.

Wash and drain the chicken in the cooking pot, then steam the chicken (no additional water yet) with ginger and garlic (how much is your choice). At that magical moment (just before the chicken skin burns in the pot) pour water to cover the chicken and then-some. Put the lid on the pot and step away from the stove. Let the concoction …

Lunchtime

Chirp. Chirp. Chirp.

Crackle. Chirp. Chirp.

Little brownish birds with yellow beaks landed on the persimmon tree branches above me.

Hop, hop, hop. Chirp. Chirp.

"Is it time for lunch?" I stepped away from the ladder. "Okay. I'll do something else until you're done."

Right after the birds had their fill, the Husband came outside and he kindly picked a basket of persimmons for me.

A wonderful day.



Love, Persimmons

"'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free. . ." ~ Joseph Brackett



Spaghetti Pizza

Ever had spaghetti pizza?

The other day I used leftover spaghetti, made with a friend's awesome marinara sauce, as the "sauce" for a pizza. The spaghetti had zucchini, red pepper, yellow onion,  two huge handfuls of spring salad mix, and brie. On top of the spaghetti went layers of red onion, pepperoni, green olives, pimento, and farmer cheese.

The marinara sauce was homemade by friend Gloria who grinds her own mixture of dried herbs and spices. The sauce had a light and mellow taste. Subtle and sophisticated. Wowza wow wow!

Gloria gave us two tubs of her sauce, one for the freezer.  There are so many possibilities for the second tub. I could use it as a base for a cioppino or make a pasta dish with Italian sausage, for example. Both the Husband and I agree that we could even slurp up the sauce straight as soup. Yummmmm.

Thank you, Gloria!



A Lesson from the Persimmon Tree

Hundreds of persimmon buds, then hundreds of persimmon babies fell this year that I didn't think we would have much of a crop.

I was wrong.

The persimmon tree has taught me that we never know what will be.



Sizzle, Sizzle. Sizzle.

Yesterday I fried chicken for the Husband's and my main meal, which some may consider a very late lunch or a rather early dinner. I've been wanting to taste fried chicken for the last several days.

Fried chicken is one of my comfort foods. Nibble, nibble.

The best fried chicken I've ever eaten was cooked by the Daddy, perfectly crisp on the outside and moist inside. It has been over 35 years since I ate the Daddy's fried chicken.

Recently I decided it's not worth buying already-made fried chicken from any of the options in our town. It's too disappointing. Too greasy. Too dry. Too salty. And so forth and so on.

So, this Missus Lady (as Molly the Cat calls me) cut chicken thighs into bite-size chunks; shook them in a bag of flour, paprika, turmeric, mustard power, garlic powder, black powder, and salt; and fried them in olive oil. Sizzle, sizzle. 

The result was quite tasty. Nibble, nibble.

The best part about eating fried chicken yesterday was remembering how…

Surprise! It's an Olive!

Whoooooo-hoooo!

Our olive tree has its first olive.

It's a cute little olive.

Our olive tree is two years old, which we bought at our local olive festival in its six-inch pot of glory. It's about two feet tall today. One day it'll go into the ground. My, oh, my, think of all the olives that it may produce.

What shall we name our first lovely olive? How about Daisy?




Taking a Break for Writing

Note: I wrote this post yesterday from the iPad, then sent it to my computer by email. Perhaps one day I'll learn to cope and paste on iPad. Anyway, by evening, I was too pooped to get on the computer and publish this post. In the end, does it really matter if I had? :-)

I'm taking a short writer's break from being a domestic goddess. Brief no doubt because I have been thinking about writing that first sentence for the last 10 minutes. Every so often that sentence repeated itself in my brain when I wasn't distracted by The Solid Gold Oldies music station on TV playing in the background and by the ambitious things I want to complete before dinner begging for mental attention.

Sigh.

I forgot. What was the intent of this post?

Probably to brag about the things I have finally got to and then some. Should that be one word: then some, thensome?

To my great surprise the Blenheim apricot tree gifted us—and the birdies—with many branches full of fruit. We can't eat the apricot…

Our Own Mustard "Field"

Wild mustard greens is one of my favorite foods. I like to sauté the greens in garlic and soy sauce. Add a bit of bacon grease, if I feel like being fancy. Yummm.

When I was a kid, it was common for the Daddy to pull our car beside an orchard or field full of wild mustard. The parents got out to collect bunches of greens, while I wandered about, gazing and doing who knows what.

These days I wouldn't gather any wild mustard unless I knew the property owner and was assured that the property is certified organic.

Last year, the Husband and I decided to grow our own mustard "field", not only for food but also to help put nutrients back into the soil. We purchased a pound of mustard seeds online, but sowed about a third of the bag. Toss is more precise. In December, I tossed the seeds willy-nilly into the backyard.

Today it's a mini jungle of green and yellow back there. Some of the mustard plants are nearly five feet tall. I read that these plants can grow between six …

The Letter A

So, what did you think about when you read the letter A?

The Scarlet Letter?  Alvin from the Chipmunks? "A-a-a-a-a" as in the Fonzie's?

Nope. You get no analyzing from me about your answer.

Mine, you ask?

Avocados. That's because an avocado fell from our tree during the amazing storm this past weekend. Most of the fruit are at the top, which surprised me. I didn't think we'd have much of a crop because of the big one last year.  But nearly every time I looked at the avocado tree, and it was infrequent, I found another hidden among the leaves. Trés cool.

I read that avocados start ripening once they're picked and that the best place to store avocados is on their tree. In two or three days, the avocado may be ready to eat. Maybe four days. If so, our feasting on avocados begin.

Once all the avocados are harvested, we'll lop off the top branches. The Mama taught me to prune high in the tree so that the fruits would grow low on the tree. We shall see.


Cheers to a New Calendar Year!

"What got into you?" asked the Husband, looking across the table as I cracked walnuts.

"The bananas got browner just like you said would happen," I answered. We bought the bunch of organic bananas yesterday afternoon. I only wanted three bananas, but when I saw that the bananas were a bunch for a dollar, I couldn't bring myself to buy three bananas when I could purchase eight for the same price. Would you?

I don't remember if I fully answered the Husband's question. I recall that he went back to checking out Facebook so I must've said that I want the walnuts for making banana bread. Now I think I'll bake scones. Easier. Then I'll freeze the rest of the bananas. I found out I don't even need to peel, slice, or stick them in freezer bags. And when I want to use one or two for baking or smoothies, I simply microwave the bananas for a minute or two. Voila!

It's been a good new year so far. I've been very productive, too. Along with…

Harvest Time — Not So Easy Work

Harvesting crops is hard back-breaking work. Every time I pass by a field of workers, I'm very grateful to them. How can anyone not want to give them a living wage?

It wasn't until 1978 that farmworkers on large farms were finally included under the Fair Labor Standards Act, which required their employers to pay them minimum wage. Still, in some states today, farmers can choose to give their workers a piece-rate wage rather than a minimum hourly rate. It's not a high piece rate either.  For instance, if a worker receives 50 cents for every bucket of tomatoes she picks, she would need to pick about 2.5 tons of tomatoes to earn an equivalent minimum hourly wage for a 10-hour day. I think all states ought to mandate hourly wages for farmworkers.

I've got a Mama story for you. She always laughed when she told me about her first year working in the fields of America. It was either the first or second year that she was living here, so that was 1950 or 1951. She decided to p…

Friday's Hunt v.2.9

The cues for Friday's Hunt this week are: 1. Starts with I   2. Week's favorite   3. Pink

So, here's my week's favorite picture: The pink-faced Husband quickly inserting himself into the photo I was taking of the apples and lemons that I harvested from our trees.  I love that silly guy.


Friday's Hunt is a weekly meme hosted by Teresa at Eden Hills. To check out the other participants, please click here.


Baaaaaaaa

Good ricotta?

I think it is made from sheep, because that's the artisanal stuff we bought at the independent, natural goodness supermarket in Santa Cruz last week.

I forget that cow's milk isn't the only source for cheese until I eat cheese that's made from other animals. Maybe if I'd been more careful, I could've found the good ricotta made from cow.

For breakfast I ate a peanut butter-ricotta-honey sandwich. As I chewed, I thought of sheep, their wool, their face, and their hooves. I recalled the Warner Brothers cartoon in which the wolf wore sheep's clothing to get closer to the sheep. The sheepdog always beat the wolf at his game. Of course. The funniest part about the cartoon was the end when both the sheepdog and wolf clocked out of their work shift and said, "See you tomorrow."

Molly the Cat came mewing to see what I had for breakfast. She likes cheese, too. I gave her a pinch of the ricotta from my sandwich.  Sniff, sniff. She walked awa…