Monday, August 30, 2010

Well this is the zucchini relish I made. It was fun to make and I love to see the little jars lined up on the counter. This is a tasty relish with a tangy bite but not sweet. This relish is wonderful with chicken, turkey and sausages as well as on sandwiches, dogs and burgers. We made turkey sammies with cukes and tomatoes from the garden added a spoonful of the relish and other condiments and it was a three napkin sandwich. Juicy, tangy, crunchy. Perfect.

My daughter and granddaughter were here this past weekend. We all participated in the Eugene Celebration. It is a crazy yearly affair in the downtown area complete with the crowning of a SLUG QUEEN! There are four stages with varying music venues. There is much tasty food, a parade, street vendors, party goers, entertainers. Just a big bunch of fun. My hubby and danced the afternoon away we could not resist the beat of the music. Next year we may have to stay downtown for the entire weekend so we do not miss a thing.

It is showering here this morning. Not that I mind I find it quite pleasant actually. The soft patter of the rain on the deck is comforting. However I certainly do not want it to stay as we need the sun for our hundreds of baseball size tomatoes to ripen.

Here is the recipe for the Zucchini relish.
10 cups of zucchini squash
3 cups of onion
5 tbsp. salt
2 red peppers and 2 green peppers

Chop veggies to small dice, I used a food processor.
Put in a large container and add the salt and let stand overnight in the fridge.
In the morning rinse and drain well.

Put the veggies in a kettle and add.
1 quart of white vinegar
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
1 tbsp. nutmeg
1 tbsp. turmeric
2 tbsp. celery seed
2 tbsp. cornstarch (I add to this a bit of water from the cup of water and blend)
1/2 tsp. pepper black pepper

Stir to blend and cook for thirty minutes. Seal in sterilized jars. No processing is necessary according the original recipe. But current guidelines indicate that the relish should be processed in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.
This is such a great way to use a lot of zucchini.

Tonight we are having fresh green beans from my sis in laws garden. I will cook el dente and then drain and add to a skillet with butter and a tad of olive oil, some lemon zest and minced garlic. Just heat to meld the flavors. I am also serving corn on the cob with honey butter and a plump roasted chicken. I will prepare the chicken simply tucking a few lemon wedges and fresh rosemary into the cavity. I will rub the skin with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
There is nothing better than a juicy roasted chicken falling off it's bones. I will serve some of the zucchini relish along side for dunking.

Well I am off to grab my umbrella and walk.
The walk will be nice as it is not cold out. Just feels damp and so fresh.
Enjoy your day and make some relish.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Beautiful Central Oregon

Back from our little getaway to Central Oregon.
As you can see it is mountain country. Actually some years back I climbed the South Sister mountain pictured here. Believe me it is a long way to the top and it was a big climb for me but I made it!
The second photo is of Devils Lake. My hubby and I have been on this lake in our raft. A very uplifting spiritual experience unfolds floating on these tranquil waters.

We had a grand old time with family in Bend. Much laughter was shared and new memories created.
Blueberry pancakes were prepared by my brother in law from scratch and piled high on a platter served with pure maple syrup. Is there anything better than syrup dripping down your chin, pass the napkins please!
Our Bend family resides on fifteen private and quiet acres. This is such a special treat for us as we are city dwellers. It felt like a country retreat that we never wanted to leave.

Back now to catching up once again. Today I gathered together as many half pint and pint canning jars I could locate and dug out the water bath canner from the storage shed. Tomorrow I will buy the ingredients I need and Thursday is relish making day. I will take a photo my efforts when finished.
At least the veggie bin in the fridge will be empty of zucchini for a day or so till another arm load comes in.
We are enjoying lots roma tomatoes now they were the first to come on.

It is quite a warm today mid nineties. The temps will be dropping ten degrees in a couple of days. Well that is Oregon. It is the nature of things here though to have an amazing indian summer well into the first weeks of October.

I am making my tuna cakes this evening. I do believe I have already posted that recipe when I first started my blog. I did not take a photo though at that time. So I may have one for you tomorrow. I now must get the weekly menu figured out so I can make my grocery list for tomorrow. I also have a dirty deck awaiting my attention so best get to it.
Have a great day wherever you are.

Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 20, 2010

Tomatoes are coming on!

We cannot wait now. Those red mouthfuls of pleasure are almost ready to eat. Actually we have had a couple so far. Masses of green ones are getting larger every day. The Heirlooms as so heavy on the vines.

Tonight we are having sirloin steak and veggie kabob's with crookneck squash, onions and peppers. I will serve with steamed rice. I have the meat marinating as I write. Like I mentioned before I do not make kabob's to often so my marinade is never the same. I do not use a recipe just dump in this and that. The main thing is to get the tougher cuts of meat tender.

Yesterday I went shopping for a new mattress. I hate going through the hassle but a mattress is one thing you just cannot order up on line unless you have seen the exact same one somewhere and have laid on it for a period of time.
I used to sell bedding sets when I worked as a designer in furniture stores. So it always amuses me to experience the different sales techniques one encounters while shopping for mattress sets.
The first person did not even listen to what I had to say he just went through spiel. Sounded like he was reading from a script. The next place was the total opposite. Though the fellow was very personable and listened to what I had to say he was there alone and there were several folks in the store needing assistance. So I just wandered around plopping on beds and looking at price tags. I never found anything I wanted to buy in the price range I wanted to be in. So off to yet another store. This was a small store but no one was in there but me so I had the salesperson to myself. I did find a mattress in the right price range and the right firmness. So it is being delivered today. So I am happy that is over..........I am not and I repeat a shopper!

My brother and nephew are on their way home from their holiday to Yellowstone Park and the Tetons. They have had a wonderful time. My brother sounded so elated calling from Jackson Hole the other evening. I am so pleased he made the effort to take this trip at his age.
My daughter just got home from a trip to the southern Oregon coast and now she if off to Central Oregon for a couple of days.
Seems summer is winding down and soon the trips will be over and fall will be here. Already it is getting cooler in the evenings and the sky is that deep blue it gets in autumn. I do not mind I love the fall it is a cozy time of year for me. Makes me want to do more in my home and even cook more if possible. But till then I will be making relish and jam and soon dealing with way to many tomatoes all at once. However I have plans for every one of them. The ones that are still green at the end of the season are picked and stuffed into brown paper bags and tucked into a cupboard in the cool garage. They then turn red, like magic. Everyday there are one or two ripe tomatoes to be plucked from the bag. It is like having your own little produce section in the grocery store.
It is a beautiful day here today. I heard the jays earlier and now the the crow jabber has filled the air. Two little squirrels were racing each other atop the fence railing a bit ago. They are so entertaining to observe they make me laugh. Ah life is sweet!
I hope your day is special in some way.
Till later
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

taco night

Posted by Picasa

Taco night

We love to munch on the taco's. The meat was flavorful without being particularly spicy. All the other ingredients were fresh. We like to top our taco's with cheddar cheese next to the meat, then chopped ice berg lettuce, chopped sweet onion, chopped garden tomatoes, fresh cilantro and finally home made salsa topped with a dollop of sour cream. Like I mentioned before on a earlier blog we fry our white corn shells in canola oil till crispy, then set on a paper towel and sprinkle immediately with canned Parmesan cheese. The cheese absorbs the oil and gives the shells a slight cheesy taste. I just fixed canned black beans with a little cumin added and served with shredded cheese, cilantro and onion. All very easy. Using the slow cooker is the only way to go for the meat. It was so fork tender I hardly needed to shred it, it just fell apart.

Here is the recipe. Acutally I used what I had on hand for seasoning and saucing the meat. So there was no recipe but there is now!
Zo's shredded beef taco's.
Boneless pot roast approximatley two pounds.
Make a rub with these spices:
Kosher salt, black pepper, cumin, allspice, crushed coriander. Use equal amounts of all except the salt. Use a little less salt. I cut my roast in three sections removing all visible fat. Firmly pat the rub on all sides of the pieces including the ends.
Using an iron skillet with canola oil coating the bottom, sear the roast pieces on all sides, including the ends. You want a good sear and a iron skillet is the way to go. This step takes a bit of time but it so worth it.
In the bottom of your slow cooker add.
1/2 cup chopped onion
one clove of garlic minced
1/2 Anaheim pepper seeded and sliced
When the meat is well seared lay the pieces in on top of the vegetables.
While the skillet is still hot add 1/2 cup of water and using a wooden spoon dislodge all the little bits from the bottom of the skillet to deglaze. You will now have a nice brown broth. To this broth add:
1/2 cup green taco sauce
2 tablespoons of green jalapeno sauce. I like the El Pato brand(available in most grocery stores)
or you could add whatever hot sauce you prefer red or green.
Stir to blend and pour over the top of the meat in the slow cooker.
This amount will not cover the meat but as the meat cooks it will absorb the flavors. I usually turn my pieces about four times during the cooking process so all sides of the meat have an opportunity to hang out in the sauce. I like to use slow cooker liners. If you do use the liner be very careful not to puncture it while turning the meat. The meat should be fork tender in about seven hours on slow. You can speed the process by setting your slow cooker on high for the first two hours and then turning to low.

So that is all there is to it. Get that roast in the pot and go about your day with no worries.
Tonight we have left overs so we will make tostado's. I will use white corn shells once again. Just fry them in canola oil. Set on paper towel and sprinkle once again with the Parmesan. I like to start with the beans and load up from there. I love a crunchy tostado's.

I am home today catching up on house things. It is overcast here this morning and cool so I have the doors open and I hear the jay's playing in the trees. I adore listening to their chatter.

I made two loaves of the chocolate zucchini bread yesterday afternoon. I have several loaves now in the freezer of the chocolate and also the regualr kind. I cannot wait to make the zucchini relish next week. The recipe makes seven pints. It will be nice to have on hand and also give out at the holidays. I love it with turkey.

We are making a little trip over the mountain pass to Central Oregon this coming weekend to visit hubby's brother and family. One the way home from that trip we are taking the back way. We will drive along the Cascades Lakes highway and pass by Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort and many lakes. We have been on many of these lakes in some fashion in past years. Either via canoe, raft or motor boat. We have camped on their banks and eaten fish from their waters. We lived in Central Oregon for many years and know the area well.
There is one special place we like to picnic so we plan on taking a lunch. I will take photo's of this increidable area with the mountains so close you can feel their breath.

Have a great Wednesday and make some taco's. Yumo!!! as R.R. would say!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Zucchini marinara

This is a good creamy sauce and a great way to use zucchini.
Here is my original recipe.
Zo's creamy zucchini marinara sauce.
one medium to large zucchini diced
1/2 medium size onion chopped
1 clove garlic minced
1 14oz can Italian stewed tomatoes
1 small 8oz can tomato sauce
1/2 dozen basil leaves chopped
fresh thyme several stems use only the leaf
black pepper
olive oil

Go around the pan once or so with the olive oil just to coat the pan, add the other ingredients stir to blend. Cover the skillet and bring to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer and continue cooking until the zucchini is soft. Let the mixture cool. Then put in blender on puree and pulse until all is creamy and smooth. Cook your pasta in the meantime reheat your sauce. Serve over spaghetti noodles top with fresh grated Parmesan cheese and extra chopped basil leaves.

This is a yummy mixture of ingredients. You can taste the layers of flavors. There was enough left for lunch yesterday and after sitting over night in the fridge it was even tastier. I feel the zucchini gives it a richness that you cannot achieve with other ingredients. Also considering there is no cream in this recipe it is quite a healthy mix of ingredients. I have decided to make a couple batches to freeze, what a nice treat for winter. I find that freezing sauces works well. For intance when I make my swiss steak sauce I always make a large batch and freeze the remainder. I can then use the sauce in a variety of ways. Ethier more swiss steak or it is great for the sauce with stuffed green peppers. If you want simpler than that it is good just over rice or pasta for a super quick meal.

Shortly I will putting a pot roast in the slow cooker. We are having shredded beef taco's this evening. This always makes my hubby so happy. He is crazy for taco's and will consume many. I am not quite sure what I will use for the seasonings this time in the slow cooker. Seems I always try different things. We like the meat to have plenty of flavor but not to spicy. So I will report tomorrow on these taco's.

Well I must walk before it gets to warm. We have not hit one hundred again but it is plenty warm.
I was sizzling right along with the sausages last night on the grill. However I was seated at the patio table thumbing through a magazine while all cooked. The tinfoil pouches of potatoes, peppers and onions was delish. I also added small pieces of corn of the cob to the pouches. These little pieces caramelized on the edges golly they were awesome!

Well food and more food I could chat forever but best to get on with my day.
Have a tasty Tuesday.

Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 16, 2010

Back from the mountain lake. Such a great little getaway. Sitting on the beach of a high mountain lake surrounded by forest and mountains is needed nourishment for the soul.

The days were hot, the sand was hot, our feet burned while walking on it. So for the most part the rafters stayed on. The breeze was up which helped with the heat but played havoc with the beach umbrella. We finally wedged it in the back of a sand chair and put the ice chest on the chair for weight. That worked out perfectly as we did need some shade.
We took thick tuna and cucumber sandwiches for our lunch along with a variety of drinks, a person must stay hydrated in such heat.
The water was cold as usual but we braved it to get wet and cool off. Hubby floated for long periods of time on our river rat which is a good size tube. I had my pink noodle, what can I say?

Eating out was an experience and not especially a good one. We went the first evening to a place I have been going to since I was a young girl. This establishment has been known for it's broasted chicken and jo jo's for decades. Well perhaps things have slipped a bit or maybe it was just a off night but we were not pleased with our food. We heard a few others saying the same. However we ate with as much enthusiasm as we could muster and we were having a good time until my hubby reached for the check and knocked my red wine a flying and it splattered all over the front of me. Hmmm well let's see I had on a white blouse and light tan crop pants. We thought it best to call it a night and went to our room and I soaked my clothes in club soda while we watched a show on the telly.

The first night we had reservations at the Inn but the second night we stayed in one of their new chalets. It was adorable, perfect for the two of us. A nice seating area with a leather sofa , chair and ottoman. It had a flat screen telly with all the needed equipment. A workable kitchen complete with gas range, dishwasher abundant counter space and well stocked cabinets. The bedroom had three small bay windows and the bed was so comfy. There was a little deck outdoors surrounded by pine trees. We played cards for hours out there and watched the stars blink on. We then sat on the steps and watched the night sky come alive. We slept like babies.
We fixed a nice breakfast of cheesy scrambled eggs and bacon in the morning with a huge pot of good coffee. The morning air was brisk and scented with pine.
We are hoping to get this chalet over the Christmas holiday's. There is always snow there in winter and my hubby is a cross country ski nut. It would be perfect. I can see it now. The snow is falling outdoors and it deepens as the day goes on. I am cozy sitting in the chair reading and sipping a hot buttered rum. The turkey is roasting in the oven and chalet smells of Christmas. My husband comes in from his ski, his face all cold, red and icy. As he is pulls off his snowy duds I make him a hot drink. We both sit and he excitedly shares his day with me. Oh I hope we can get that cabin!

The drive there and home was so gorgeous driving along the curving mountain pass through a color palette of greens. As we neared the lake Diamond Peak poses, it is a broken topped snow covered mountain.
As you leave our area here in western Oregon and cross to the east side of mountains the terrain and trees change. The view then is one of pine trees big sky and a brown landscape. It is much higher in altitude and much drier on the east side of the mountains. So it adds to the beauty of the drive seeing the two different landscapes.

So back to reality and food. Last night I created a dish using what do you think? You guessed right zucchini! I wanted pasta so I made a sauce of simmered zucchini, onion and garlic as well as tomatoes and such. I sauteed the ingredients cooking them down, cooled them and then pureed all together for a light creamy marinara sauce. Tomorrow I will share a photo of that dish and the recipe. It turned our quite amazing. This recipe will surely be a keeper for zucchini season.

Tonight we are having chicken garlic basil sausages on the grill. I am making my potato and pepper foil packets to cook on the grill along side. We will also have cucumber, tomato and onion marinated salad. So it will be an easy dinner.

Our heat rose on Saturday to one hundred degree's. It was sweltering. There was no breeze just dead hot air on the deck. We would go out to experience it briefly but back to the air conditioned house to cool down. Yesterday though warm was much more pleasant. There was a nice breeze in the afternoon that was much appreciated.

We have a family of crows in our neighbors huge tree. The tree is right behind our deck. The crows are feeding their babies often and the sounds that come from the nest are amusing. The little ones are croaking away in their crow baby talk. The parents are squawking loudly back to them, they are all talking at once. Sounds like my family!

Well once again on my agenda is to make more zucchini bread today. Next week I am going to make a recipe for zucchini relish the recipe has been in my collection forever. I remember I loved it as child. It was sweet and tangy and so good on a sandwich or burger. The recipe calls for a lot of zucchini, that makes me so happy.
I would like to see something red instead of green being hauled in from the garden. We get so anxious for the tomatoes this time of year.
The plants now are just loaded with huge green tomatoes. Our Roma's are well on their way to red now. We actually had three the other evening and it was like eating a sugared tomato.

I best get at the bread now.
Happy Monday.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Garlic basil burger on sourdough

We wanted something easy and filling last night. So it was hot off the grill burgers. We like ours on sourdough bread that I grill along with the burgers. It made for a hearty meal with a nice glass of pinot noir from one of our local vineyards.
These burgers are simple. Good quality ground beef, a little minced garlic and chopped basil are mixed into the meat with salt and pepper. Grilled to medium then I add Gruyere cheese till melted. Load up with a big tomato slice, sweet onion, dill pickle, leaf lettuce a couple more basil leaves and top them off with a yellow wax pepper. I always make my secret sauce not much of a secret I doubt. Just some mayo, horseradish and chili sauce. Doesn't everyone do something like that?

I am off today for grocery shopping for the week and our little getaway to Crescent Lake. The weather looks very promising for a lakeside trip. We will have plenty of sunshine and heat. That water there is freezing so I am one who will only tip a toe or perhaps my ankle in to cool off. My husband will not doubt swim, he always does.

My daughter wrote me a detailed account of her little adventure into the wilderness this past weekend. They had a wonderful time being alone in nature in the Blue Mountains. Seems for fun times, wonderful scenery and adventure we need never leave our state.

I must make haste this morning as I have much to do the next couple of days. We have low coastal clouds this morning. This seems the pattern the past couple of days with the sun always breaking through before noon. It is rather nice though as it is cool in the mornings and I open the doors to welcome all that freshness in. It smells like the ocean.

I will make more zucchini bread this afternoon as the veggie bin is once again full of them. I laughed to my husband as it is never ending. Each evening he walks in from garden with another arm load. Heaven help us!

Have a lovely Tuesday till later.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Crescent Lake Oregon

This is where we will be next week. Oh I cannot wait as we love this place. I have been going to this lake since I was eighteen years old. When I am there this lake gives me peace, it brings to mind the many memories of times past. Times with my parents and little brother, with my children as they were learning to water ski or just flying on a tube behind a boat. My hubby and I do not have our cabin cruiser boat any longer but for years we spent many weeks each summer on this lake. We lived on our boat and anchored each evening to sleep in a little bay. Ahhhhh it was wonderful. This lake is truly woven into the fabric of my soul.

Well our lunch out yesterday to the new place was a bust. We checked the hours they were open before leaving. We drive to this area for the treat of authentic Mexican food. We park and walk up to the door and there is a sign plastered over their hours sign that states: Will be back at four thirty. Well it is now two. So what to do? We cannot wait around for two and half hours. So we go to our old standby Mexican restaurant and have a jolly good time on the cute patio with the bright yellow umbrella's. The food was good and drinks were great as usual.

There was not a single thing happening in my kitchen last night. We were not hungry in the slightest. This evening we are having grilled beer brats with roasted peppers and paprika potatoes. My husband is doing the cooking. He always does a good job. I must run to the farm though asap to get an assortment of peppers. He will just toss these in the grill basket and sprinkle with salt and a little olive oil. Serve along side the brats and potatoes. My contribution is my special mustard for dunking the brats in.

Must get out the door for my walk and on to farm stand.
Have a wonderful weekend where you are.

Friday, August 6, 2010

zucchini bread in the freezer

Yesterday afternoon was spent making several loaves of zucchini bread. The photo is chocolate zucchini bread which I really prefer over the regular. It is not sweet but rich with a wonderful melt in your mouth texture. It not only has chocolate chips scattered inside but also unsweetened chocolate and a hint of Cinnamon.

Here is the recipe.
2(1ounce)squares of unsweetened chocolate
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups grated zucchini
1 teaspoon vanilla extract(pure vanilla is best)
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, lightly grease and flour two 9x5 baking pans. In a micro save dish melt the chocolate, stir occasionally.
In a large bowl combine eggs and sugar and cream together add oil, grated zucchini, vanilla and melted chocolate beat until smooth.
Mix in the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Then fold in the chocolate chips and nuts. Pour into the loaf pans and bake for 60 to 70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool and remove from pans.
These loaves are good size so I cut them in two and double wrap in foil and then into zip lock freezer bags. They will hold really well in the freezer.

Last night for dinner I fixed bowtie pasta with shrimp, shallots, garlic, diced zucchini(of course) canned diced tomatoes in their juice and salt and pepper and heavy cream and a few red pepper flakes. Topped with fresh chopped basil and grated Parmesan for serving.
I make dishes like this quite often and just use what ever veggies happen to be in the fridge. It is always a nice meal. Last night we had a thick slice of artisan bread with chive butter to go with.

For our little adventure out this afternoon we have decided to have Mexican fare. We are trying a new place in one our more unique districts of the city. There are many ethnic eateries in this area. So I will report on tomorrow's blog what we thought. I truly hope it is a good place that we will want to return to.

It is another stellar day here in Eugene.
The tomato plants are loaded with tomatoes but no red ones yet. It seems they always come on all at once then we are in tomato world instead of squash and cucumber land.

My daughter and significant other are heading for the Blue Mountains of Oregon this morning. We are so fortunate to live in this state of varying scenery. Where they are going is big sky and big country. They are tent camping in the woods hope they do not forget the mosquito spray.
My brother and his son are leaving for Yellowstone park in the morning. They are very excited to be making this trip together. I know they are taking lots of mosquito spray as I advised them of what kind to buy. I have heard they can swarm you and leave you bloodless. So let's think what is more dangerous bears or mosquito's? They are taking bear spray also, very smart. They have covered their bases and surely will survive the trip. Way to go guys!

Well I must walk and tidy the house and get ready for my afternoon date with my hubby. Cannot wait. Silly me.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Zucchini Canoes

Grab and oar and dig in! Or you can skip building the canoe altogether and just chop up the zucchini and add to the sauce mixture and ladle over the rice in a bowl and top with cheese. Either way a mouthful of flavor.

Here is what I did and this is a original recipe.
2 medium zucchini's
1 clove of garlic minced
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1/3 pound lean ground beef or ground turkey
1 jar of prepared salsa whatever heat level you prefer
1/2 cup grated jack, pepper jack or cheddar cheese or a combo of all
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon bread crumbs if needed for thickening sauce
olive oil

To make the canoes take a zucchini and make a cut about 1 inch from both ends of the zucchini and then make two cuts the length of the squash from the outer edge of the end cuts to the other end. Scoop our the interior of the zucchini and dice and set aside. Leave enough meat at the bottom and the side of zucchini to hold the mixture.
Add a small amount of olive oil to a pan and add the meat, garlic, green pepper and onion. Saute till meat is done then add the diced zucchini and salsa. Simmer the zucchini just a few minutes until tender. Season with salt and pepper and add the bread crumbs is needed.
Pack the zucchini's with the mixture and top with some of the grated cheese leaving some cheese for serving.
Put the canoe's in a 8x8 glass baking pan sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degree's for approximately forty minutes or until the zucchini's are tender and the cheese is bubbly and browned. Remove from oven add extra cheese over the top. Serve rice along side and scoop the remainder of sauce over the rice. Or you can use the bowl method I mentioned at the top of the page.

I did not make the chocolate zucchini bread yesterday as I spent most of the day in the back yard area. One project seemed to lead to another. I even decided to revamp a couple tired looking bird houses. They are now hanging from trees in their new rusty red color.
So today the bread is happening in my kitchen. I sure love good smells coming from the kitchen. My mother was always cooking or baking something wonderful. Growing up on a farm we had much summer produce and what was not eaten fresh had to be canned, frozen or made into jam or somehow preserved. It was a lot of hard work that my Mother took as a blessing. It was so important for her to provide healthy good food for her family.
I was walking home from school one stifling hot day the school year had just started. The smell of blackberries overwhelmed me as I walked up the driveway. I walked through the kitchen door and there was Mom standing at the stove. It was sweltering in the kitchen but there she was in one of her cute little aprons humming away while stirring a huge cauldron of blackberry jam. I went to the fridge and poured a glass of ice cold kool-ade and Mom loaded up a piece of bread with warm jam and handed it to me. I sat at the kitchen table with the fan blowing in my face and jam dotting my chin. Oh I was a happy girl.

If I am walking that river trail today I had better get moving. The sun was out bright and early this morning so the heat will be coming quickly.

Tomorrow I will not be making dinner as the hubby and I are going for a late lunch early dinner. We have a place we like to go that has an nice outdoor space where you can observe the side walk action. We love to people watch and be outdoors. Rarely will you find us indoors when the weather is nice. We always seem to find something to do outside. Even if there is nothing to do how nice it is to sit under the patio umbrella and thumb through a magazine or read a book or stare into space. Seems the older I get the more I do that not consciously though.
Enjoy the great day.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Zo at the river

Good morning,
Another glorious day in the Willamette valley. Low clouds this morning breaking into golden sunshine as I write.
I accomplished much yesterday but still need to spread some small rock this morning in the backyard area.
We had a good simple dinner last night. My hubby grilled a T-bone steak to perfection we spilt that steak which is what we do with a large steak. I made sauteed crookneck squash and grated Gruyere cheese on top and sprinkled with fresh lemon thyme from the herb barrel. I made a green salad with sweet onions and a beautiful crisp cucumber just picked from our garden. We topped the salad with my Mom's honey mustard dressing. Simple and satisfying.

I am making chocolate zucchini bread today and will take a photo and post it tomorrow with the recipe.
I actually lost my recipe, misplaced it more like it. Well when you have hundreds of recipes tucked here and there you can see how that happens. So I looked online and found one that seems to be so similar. So will give it a whirl.

Tomorrow morning I am going to walk the river trail that goes along the Willamette river. There are walking and biking trails throughout our whole city and surrounding area. There are lots of birds, ducks and geese that gather at the rivers edge. The trees are of many different varieties and there are flower gardens and rose gardens and even community vegetable gardens along the path. There is much to look at and take photo's of if one likes. Seems there are always folks on the river in canoes, rafts or just swimming. So that is my treat to myself tomorrow. Hubby is working this week so I do not have his company. There is a little spot I will pop into and have a fish taco after my walk. Yum!

I now must once get out to the yard to get the rest of my outside work finished.
Wherever you live get out and enjoy the day. Fall then winter will be on our doorstep all to quickly.

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Enough with the zucchini already!

I pick what is needed to be picked in the squash bed and the next morning I go out to check and they have given birth again!
Day after day it is the same. I am making zucchini bread around the clock it seems. Chocolate zucchini bread is on the agenda today. For a side for tonight's dinner we are having yellow squash they are perfect size, small and tender.
Last night I used a recipe for zucchini fritters from Food Network magazine. I must say I was sorely disappointed. I followed the recipe perfectly and they looked great when finished. However after one bite into the center they were gluey. There is an adornment amount of Parmesan cheese in them as well as flour and egg. Well you get the picture. I was going to pass the recipe along and a photo but oh well..........I am going to make my Mom's recipe for the fritters which I adore and I will pass that one along. Sometimes there is nothing better than Mom's cooking.

I am working in the back yard today before the sun arrives there, so best get at it.
Must grab the rake and make haste.
Have a good day and eat your squash!
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 1, 2010

My trip

Well I am back from my grandsons grad party and a visit with my brother.
What a grand time I had. I saw my grandchildren, my two children and other relatives and close friends. It made my heart soar to be with so many I love and care about.
I never cooked for days but I surely enjoyed wonderful food. At the grad party the fare was grilled seafood. Freshly caught salmon in Alaska furnished by my grandson who made the trip with his father and grandfather. There was lobster and colossal shrimp on the grill as well. The food was bottomless and many traipsed back to the grill for more.
At my daughters home the previous evening I dined on halibut grilled to perfection fixed very simply. It melted in your mouth.

I went to my brothers the day after the graduation party. As I mentioned before in a previous blog my brother lives on property overlooking the Columbia river. The second day spent with him we went to the river to spend part of the day. He has a little four wheel drive truck that we made good use of. We plunged down a steep sandy bank and had the beach to ourselves. It was private and beautiful. It brought to mind tender memories from childhood of hours spent beside that river. My brother tossed his fishing line just in case a fish would bite. I had made super fat veggie sandwiches for our picnic. My brother said to me, now how are we ever going to wrap our mouths around those?
I used black sour rye bread lightly toasted, slathered with mayo and a tad of mustard. I loaded them with long slices of cucumber from our garden, walla walla sweet onion slices, a big juicy tomato slice, I slit jarred yellow wax peppers to release their juice and loaded them on also a big wedge of iceberg lettuce and slices of Tillamook Colby cheese and sprinkled all with salt and pepper. With the help of many paper towels we managed to put those big boys away.
There was a bit of wind at the river which kept it cool as it was a hot day. We set up the beach umbrella and anchored it well to have some shade. I strolled along the beach for a walk searching for driftwood for my yard. I wanted just a few pieces and I found what I needed and they now adorn a sweet little area at the curve of our front walkway.

So back home again to my thoughtful hubby who had the house all tidy for my arrival. He was on a job site and not at home when I arrived so I unloaded my rig and plopped in my chair. I had intentions of catching up on the newspapers, yeah well so much for that. Before I knew it the paper had dropped from my hands and I was snoozing away. Oh it felt so good, the quiet and comfort of my own home. It is always so great to go and see everyone but so nice to come home to your own little nest.
Speaking of nests my brother has been feeding a pair of blue jays for years now. They fly right up to him and take their treats. Not shy at all with him however I made them a little nervous. They have babies every year and as the babies grow they get more aggressive. It looks like the parents have been in a battle zone with all their feathers ruffled and missing. These birds look so exhausted from it all. I assume they will celebrate when their off spring leave the nest and go about their own lives.
I must say I had the sweetest photo of my brothers little bird buddy. I posted it to this blog and it did not post. Where is it???? Why did not come up???? Sometimes I want to pull my hair out!

My hubby at this moment is cooking us a nice size kokanee fish caught yesterday at one of our high lakes on the Willamette Pass.. So we are having it for a snack. Good smells are coming from the kitchen. He does a good job making a crispy crust with juicy fish inside.

I will be making zucchini in many different ways over the next few weeks. Tomorrow night I am fixing crookneck squash, so stay tuned for squash season in Zo's kitchen. I have already made four loaves of zucchini bread and tucked them into the freezer.
Oh, summer I love it!