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Fun in the Kitchen and Other Things

I baked a lemon bundt cake this morning for my county fair entry, which I hope shall reach a mellow, not so loud, lemon tart flavor when the judges taste it this Wednesday afternoon. This cake has several firsts for me. It's the first time I've entered a cake in the fair, I tried a new recipe, and I experimented with the recipe twice (I wrote about the first attempt last month). I added a lot more lemon zest and a heaping measurement of sour cream to the recipe for more lemon flavor and less dryness. And, yes, I used a bundt pan this time.

Thank goodness that the Husband hung out in the kitchen while I was working on the cake.  He looked up things on Google: How many tablespoons equal 1/4 cup? How do I make lemon syrup? When do I douse the cake with lemon syrup? Which end of the bundt cake do I display (the Husband had it right—the bundt ridges must show)? and  How do I store the cake if I'm not serving it right away?

Sorry, no photo. The cake is nothing truly exciting …

Lots of Fruit

A whispering of leaves. . .

Plop!

Sometimes, after the sound of trembling leaves, goes a ping! against a ladder, a bench, a table, or the shed, followed by a thud.

Rustle . . . ping! . . . plop!

I wonder how many times Molly the Cat has had a near miss with a fallen lemon or apple or avocado or apricot or Asian pear.


The Husband says that Missy Girl knows precisely where to lay herself down in the backyard.

He's right, Missus Lady.  Purrrrrrrrrrrr. 

This has been a good year for Mama's fruit trees because of the winter and spring rains.  All the trees have been continually aborting themselves of immature seeds and fruits so that the fittest may live to full development. Plop! The lemon tree is a different story. We can't reach the top branches, thus when the fruit ripens, plop!


The two apricot trees had branches heavily laden with fruit that they snapped. Giving baskets and box lids full of apricots to several friends didn't make a dent to the tree. Plop, plop, plop.…

Keepers

Don't these daisies look like space aliens of some kind? That's what came to my mind when I saw them at the farmer's market last year. So, of course I had to buy a pot. For two bucks, I couldn't go wrong.

ARUGULA PESTO
Arugula is my new favorite vegetable right now. I like its kick. So far, though, I make a pesto out of the bitter greens. As with any dish, there are different kinds of arugula pesto recipe out there. Here's the one I made up yesterday: I grinded and blended a batch of arugula, a handful of parsley, 8 big garlic cloves, olive oil, a bit of water, Parmesan cheese, and salt and white pepper to taste.

I loved how green the concoction looked. A perfect Spring dish. Maybe next time I'll think about taking a photo. Also next time I'll add a lot more shredded Parmesan. (I only had 1/4 cup in the fridge.)

A Glorious First Day of Spring, One and All!


I'm linking up to two fun memes today: ABC Wednesday and Say Cheese! Come check out the other par…

Breaking the Fast with Goodness

All of a sudden I was hearing cowbells. No moooo. None at all.

It had to be one of the chimes on the other side of the backyard. I looked over to see what may be swaying in the wind.

Ha!

The Husband stood outside the patio door, clanging on the triangle. "Come and get it," he called. "Coffee and pancakes."


Whooo-hooo!


We've had some tasty breakfasts the last several mornings because, one, we finally went to the grocery store and, two, we were without peanut butter, our breakfast staple. The other day I made strawberry brie biscuits, which looked more like scones. Biscuits or scones, they were delicious. You can't go wrong with brie or strawberries.  We happened to have frozen organic strawberries from last summer. Very flavorful, they were.

My concoction began with a mixture of 2 cups of flour and about 1 teaspoon of baking powder and a couple of dashes of baking soda. (I added the latter because I ran out of the former.) To that, I cut in 1 tablespoon o…

Tuna BLT on Sourdough Bread

"I'll have a tuna BLT," said Good Friend D.

"What?" responded the waitress.

"Tuna BLT," said he again while some of us checked the menu again. It turned out D merged the tuna melt and the BLT together in his head, at which the waitress relaxed, then said they don't substitute. Oh well. D ended asking for the BLT.

The Husband and I were so enamored with the idea of a tuna BLT, I concocted sandwiches for us a week later.

Ingredients
• 2 slices of barely toasted sourdough bread
• Mustard
• 3 strips of bacon (which I cooked in the toaster oven)
• 2 tomato slices
• 2 or 3 lettuce leaves (we had red lettuce in the fridge)
• Tuna filling: one can of tuna mixed with minced celery, onion, garlic, orange bell pepper, pickle, pumpkin seeds, mayonnaise, and creamed horseradish.

Assembly
I layered the sandwich as such: A slice of bread, tuna filling, lettuce, tuna filling, tomato, bacon, and the other slice of bread spread with mustard.

The Husband and I tot…

Tomatoes!

Last Sunday we went to a tomato tasting party hosted by good friends Missus and Mister H, who planted a variety of tomatoes. I can't recall if Missus H said they put in 70 types or 70 plants.

Many of the different varieties looked huge and heavy. A couple I picked up had to be close to 12 to 16 or more ounces.


One of my favorites was a big red organic tomato called Boxcar Willie, which was named after Grand Ole Opry Singer. The Husband described its taste best—"It was sweet, and had a rich flavor."

Another favorite of mine was Barnes Mountain Yellow, a very plump heirloom yellow tomato which ancestors were grown on Barnes Mountain in Kentucky. Its flavor reminded me slightly of smoked salmon.

I also liked Lemon Boy, a true yellow of a tomato, which was your average size of a tomato. I don't remember the flavor, which tells me that I was probably more enamored with its name.

There was an heirloom tomato called Abe Lincoln that I thought its flavor tasted like the aro…

First Time Ever!

That tall tree next to the side fence is an avocado tree. It started from a seed the Mama planted. 

Until last year, it was hidden by a red shed, which has me now thinking that Mama planted the seed after the shed was built in 1989, thereabouts. That makes the tree about 29 years old.

Yesterday morning a branch grazed the top of my head, so I got the pruning shears to trim it as it would get in the Husband's way.

Lo and behold! I saw an avocado, the size of my tiny finger, hanging from beneath leaves on that low branch. I looked and looked. Yup, avocados. A whole lot of tiny avocados growing! This is the first time that avocado tree is bearing fruit. Wowza!

Although Mama is physically gone, the Spirit of Mama continues to whisper to her plants.


A Heart Full of Cherry Tomatoes

Giggle.

If only that Girl had joined us in the picture. Molly the Cat happily watched from the sidelines. She said she only works on Mondays for the blog.  Oh-oh. What can she mean? Will she not let me write or show photos of her on non Mondays?

Cosa sara. As Doris Day used to sing, "Que sera, sera."

Here's a close-up of the cherry tomatoes that I picked this morning. They are sweet as candy.


Time for Our World Tuesday. Here's the link to check out participants from around the world, and maybe to join up yourself. Thanks, Our World Tuesday hosts!



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…