Saturday, October 23, 2010

That's Italian!!

I'm not Italian and I don't even play one on tv, but I love Italian food. We often eat at a wonderful locally owned Italian restaurant, owned by a Kurdish family, so I don't cook as much Italian as I should. The basil in the backyard was once again begging to be harvested and I have a really good bottle of red wine that some friends gifted me, so I was inspired. By my herb garden and a bottle of wine. And THAT is what make me a real chef. (Yes, I know that I am farrrr from a chef, much less a real one AND my herb 'garden' is just really pots of herbs, but play along, please). So, today I made Roasted Garlic, Marinara Sauce and Pesto. I have previously posted the recipe for the Pesto, so let's get to the others. ROASTED GARLIC This is amazingly easy and delicious (my fave two things). All you need is heads of garlic and olive oil. Cut the tops off of the garlic and peel away most of the papery skin. Make sure you cut enough off the top so that the individual garlic cloves are exposed. Place each garlic head in the cup of a muffin tin and drizzle with a couple of tablespoons Olive Oil per head of garlic. Pour it on slowly so that it gets all down in between. Cover with foil and bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. Let cool. Pop the cloves of garlic out. Mash and spread on bread or mash with butter and a little parsley and make Roasted Garlic Butter. Mix with sour cream as a topping for baked potatoes or use in pasta sauce. Delish! Jana's Marinara Sauce This sauce has a lovely consistency and is very inexpensive to make. This recipe makes about three dinners worth of sauce and freezes well. It tastes MUCH better and is cheaper than storebought. 3- 28 oz cans of Crushed Tomatoes 3- 6 oz cans of Tomato Paste 1/2 cup chopped fresh Parsley 3 teaspoons Salt (or to taste) 1 teaspoon Black Pepper 1 White Onion finely chopped 3 teaspoons Oregano 1/4 cup Olive Oil 1 cup White Wine 4 - 6 cloves minced Garlic (depending on how much Garlic you like. I like a lot) 1 Tablespoon Splenda 1 Bay Leaf 6 - 10 leaves of fresh Basil or 2 Tablespoons dried Basil In a small amount of Olive Oil, sautee the Garlic and Onion in a large pot until Onion turns translucent. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool and store in the freezer in zip bags or Tupperware. I love to chiffonade Basil. First of all because it looks pretty, like green ribbons and secondly because it is a French word and it makes me feel all sexy. Here's how (this works with any leafy item, spinach, herbs, etc) Take about five leaves and stack them on top of each other. Now, roll the leaves up And slice ribbons! This is really a pretty garnish for Garlic bread or a Caprese Salad or anything Italian.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Fabulous Adventure

Want some good reading? Check out my friend, Margaret's blog. In her own words:
This blog is a collection of stories from my life as a nomad, flit flitting all over the world. For the past six years, I have been changing locations every two years. There’s no magic to that number; it’s just when I typically get the urge to pick up and see & do something new. Newspaper reporter in Virginia. English language teacher in Spain. Hotel manager in Mexico. I didn’t really start documenting any of it till my last stop in Mexico, though, which you can read about here, in the Notes series. Now I am back in the country and more on the move than ever as I try to visit as many Facebook friends as I can in a year, traveling throughout the U.S and Canada in my 1977 Toyota camper, Roxanne, with my dog, Rennie. It’s called The Facebook Project but that’s probably just a temporary name, and it started Aug. 16, 2010. If all goes well, it will end Aug. 16, 2011, and you will be able to follow my progress through my posts. If you want more background on the planning that preceded the actual journey, you might read Notes No. 65 and No. 76, as well as these pre-trip posts. I am hoping that by the end of it all, I have a more focused idea for a book but until then, I am just writing about my adventures as they happen and without much analysis. Feel free to comment as I go. Maybe together we can come up with a theme.
I find this experiment fascinating and enjoy 'going along' with Margaret to visit many out of the way places in her travels. She's witty, fun and an excellent writer and I think you'll enjoy her blog. I look forward to seeing Margaret when she travels through Texas! Rock on, Margaret! We miss you when we're on Isla!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Best Friend ~ Country Style!

My friend, Dale, and I have so much fun together. We are both 'artsy' and like to create things and we've even done a couple of ill fated art shows together. (It wasn't OUR fault that it rained/the temperature dropped 50 degrees/people didn't 'get' our art). We hang out at the pool in the summer and pretend to be on a tropical isle. We go to Watter's Creek and shop, drink and dine while scattering glitter throughout. We get together with our families and have Saturday night dinners. We laugh a lot. One of the weirdest things we do is talk 'country style'. You know, like hillbillies (which comes frighteningly natural to us both). She and her daughter and her sister started it and for some reason it really amuses us. So, you can imagine how excited I was last weekend when Dale presented me with the 'Best Country Style Friend' award. I should have had an acceptance speech ready, oh, I know I should've. But all I could do is laugh. And drink more moonshine. Love you, Dale (Country Style)!!!!!

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Some of these entries are vintage travel reports and have been restored from a lost blog. I hope you enjoy them.