Saturday, November 28, 2009

This Squirrel Was Not Happy

I was in my office, working on my computer, last week when I heard this very loud chatter outside in my garden.  I went out to investigate and found this squirrel up in the oak tree, yelling at my Garden Supervisor with an acorn in it’s mouth.  My Garden Supervisor was pretending that she had absolutely no idea why this squirrel was so upset and making so much noise.  She claimed that the squirrel was having a psychotic episode and it was not her fault.  My Pest Control Manager was no where to be seen.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Daring Bakers' Challenge: Cannoli

The November 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge was chosen and hosted by Lisa Michele of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives.  She chose the Italian Pastry, Cannolo (Cannoli is plural), using the cookbooks Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and The Sopranos Family Cookbook by Allen Rucker; recipes by Michelle Scicolone, as ingredient/direction guides.  She added her own modifications/changes, so the recipe is not 100% verbatim from either book.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Side Dish Ideas

Still haven’t figured out what to make for Thanksgiving?  Do you need to bring a dish to grandma’s and you don’t know what to make?  Here are a few of my recipes that I would recommend.  

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Candied Yams

This one is for you TC.  Here’s the candied yam recipe.  The one dish at Thanksgiving that can never be tinkered with in any way.  I could change the stuffing a little each year, or serve brussels sprouts instead of green beans but THERE MUST NEVER BE ANY CHANGES to the candied yams. I did put a few pecans on the top....just for the photo....I apologize for letting nuts touch your yams.

Friday, November 20, 2009

After the Rainstorm

The wind came up this morning and the sky darkened. Then it started to rain. Of coarse, I had errands that I couldn’t blow off so I braved the weather and went out.  By the time I returned the rain had stopped.  Some of these leaves are from trees half a block away, which gives you an idea of how windy it was.  The rain also brought out the mushrooms and lichens.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Turkey Alternative

Thanksgiving is just a week away and I’m sure those of you who are cooking, are planning the menu.  If you’re not vegetarian/vegan yourself, you probably have at least one person coming to your table that will not eat turkey.  Maybe, due to the recession, you just can’t afford a turkey.  Whatever the reason, I have a very tasty alternative for you.  Stuffed tofu rolls with mushroom gravy.  The great thing about these tofu rolls is that it can be made the day before and reheated right before serving and topped with the gravy.  

Monday, November 16, 2009

Are These Edible Mushrooms

We found this amazing cluster of mushrooms growing under the blackberry vines yesterday when we were doing some late fall garden clean-up.  They’re beautiful, a little work of art.  Not only do they look amazing but they smell incredible.  They had an intense earthy, woodsy smell that makes you want to run in the kitchen and put some butter in a saute pan.

Minestrone Soup

We were working in the garden yesterday, harvesting the last of the tomatoes before the expected first frost.  Our garden is not producing a lot this time of year, just a handful of this and that.  I’m grateful that it’s producing anything at all, but that’s one of the perks of living in northern California.  We usually don’t get our first frost until November, so our summer vegetables will continue to grow until then.  

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Squash Stuffed Baked Apples

I got the idea for this recipe from an old 1988 calendar I found at my mother’s house a while back when I was helping her unpack.  November’s recipe was for squashed stuffed apples was courtesy of the Washington State Apple Commission.  I thought it was a great idea for Thanksgiving dinner.  However, I think a whole apple is a bit too much considering all of the side dishes that make up the Thanksgiving meal.   So, I adapted their recipe to make more reasonable portions and to shorten up the process.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My Garden Has a New Squatter

This guy showed up in my garden last week on this large well constructed web.  We noticed it because it caught a wasp, which was buzzing loudly.  The wasp was probably screaming in wasp speak, aware of it’s inevitable fate.  I have to admit I couldn’t watch what happened next, I just can’t watch this sort of thing.  I hardly ever watch the nature channel, for this very reason.  I just can’t watch animals eating each other.  I know, it’s the natural order of things, but I can’t do it.  This is why I don’t eat animals or birds myself.  I figure, if I don’t have the courage to kill it, then I shouldn’t eat it. 

Monday, November 9, 2009

Winter Cole Slaw

As I was typing the title for this post, it struck me what an odd name “cole slaw” is for a salad and I wondered what it’s origins were.  I turned to the web for a quick answer.  The term “cole slaw” comes from the partial translation of the Dutch term “koolsla”, a shortening of “koolsalade” which means cabbage salad.  Now it makes sense.  Apparently, the Romans were probably the first to make cole slaw, because it’s mentioned in Caelius Apicius’ collection of cook books (On the Subject of Cooking) from the 4th or 5th century.  His version contained vinegar, eggs and spices.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Roasted Vegetables with a Maple Orange Glaze

Normally, I would prefer to eat most of these vegetables raw, grated on a salad.  It’s the best way to get the full nutritional value out of a vegetable.  However, when the weather turns cold, I start to crave warm comfort foods.  This dish of roasted root vegetables is one of my favorite fall/winter (guilt free) comfort foods.  I love it because it’s so tasty,  so inexpensive and easy to make, and so good for you.  Topped with an orange maple glaze, you might even get kids to eat it. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Chocolate Molasses Ginger Cookies

....or what to do with your left over Halloween chocolates.

We didn’t have as many “trick or treaters” this year, compared to last year, so there were quite a few left over mini chocolate bars.  I put them to good use by topping some molasses ginger cookies with a piece.  The subtitle of this post could also be “how to get Mr. RK to eat a cookie that is not chocolate chip”  I get bored making the same cookies over and over.  He’ll usually eat any type of cookie as long as chocolate is involved, so I took the chance..and they were a hit.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pear and Chocolate Scones

This photo of my pear & chocolate scones was taken by Kathryn Hill of Apartment Therapy’s “The Kitchn” when she visited my kitchen to do a photo shoot for their website.  Since then I’ve had several requests for the scone recipe, so here it is.  To see the photos on The Kitchn, click here.