Thursday, May 27, 2010

Three Cheers.

Summertime has arrived.  You know it and I know it.  In fact, I'm (wanting to get) really, really excited, but first I have to attend a weekend wedding and get some quality time in with some family and friends.  This means I'm going to have to save my high-kicks, hyper-enthusiasm and new recipes week?  Sorry.  Yet in the meantime I have some awesomeness to tide you over until I get back.

(Photos by G.)

Dungness Crab and Grilled Asparagus with Caper-Lemon Vinaigrette.  Are you kidding me?  I cannot wait to make this recipe.  Kiss My Spatula is my newest favorite food blog.  Hooray for her brilliant recipes and mouthwatering photography.  Or do I have that backwards?  She's got my head spinning.  

Next up is a friend of mine, Donn, and his incredible farming blog: Farmer South.  I can't rave enough about this blog, or the importance of his journalism, which gets into the heart of the farm life.   He's either the next big thing in farming or journalism or both.  A rewarding read for anyone, a must read for a Southerner.

If you are planning on going all out for a dinner party, here's the most amazing menu.  I can't wait to make the penne frittata.  How I love Cup of Jo!  

***Last but not least: three cheers for my sis-in-law, Bea, who has transformed my front porch.  (Photos to come...).  Thanks, Bea!***

See you all next week!  Have a lovely weekend!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

My Front Porch.

Hi!  I simply wanted to tell you that I hope your weekend is as lovely as this beautiful photograph, (which was captured by Brian of The Blue Hour. Click through to see more of his amazing work!)

P.S.  My goal is to get my front porch to look the exact same.  Especially since our soil is rejecting everything. We'll see!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Wow Factor.

There are days when I plan posts for you to read, but then I bump into an idea or recipe that trumps that planned post and I have to share with you.  Immediately. The planned post usually gets archived and slowly buried away from thought or recollection.  But that's okay, right?  Sort of what summer is all about?  Rolling with it?  Today I wanted to tell you all about the European Market in Athens, Georgia (and I will get around to it, hopefully) but then I saw a rockin' recipe that you will want to eat (immediately) and when I saw it  I turned into this little guy:

[photo via le love]

Dang-It!  Now, not only do I have usurped plans, but I must make this recipe and go get a dog.  Immediately.  NPR did it again.  And the best part is that you can head on out to the Farmer's Market and buy your eggs, tomatoes (that might be a little stretch... unless you are lucky), spinach (most definitely) and possibly even feta cheese, depending on where you live.  So, here it is, the big usurper of plans:

[eve turow for npr]

  Feta.  Spinach.  Eggs.  Baked in a tomato.  Would it be weird if I stole a tag line off one of my older posts?  I don't know any other way to say it: you should be drooling.  You should have heart shaped glasses over your face and a look of longing in your eyes.  Even if you don't like the ingredients, the wow factor of the presentation should be enough for you to start getting excited.  Come on.  You know you want to make them.    Even if they sort of look like fish roe, you will ignore that fact and get to work anyway.  (Sprinkle some chives on top and maybe they'll look less like watery yellow eyes.)  This dish is one for the ages, so stop drooling and take your dog to the market already.

Eggs Baked With Spinach And Feta In Tomato Shell

Recipe from NPR
Makes 4 servings
4 large ripe tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 medium eggs
4 tablespoons feta cheese
1 pound spinach
   Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut off tomato tops and set aside (may be used later as garnish). Run a paring knife around the inside edge of the tomato and scoop out insides, creating a tomato shell. Sprinkle the insides with salt and pepper and turn the tomatoes upside down on a towel to dry and drain out any excess liquids.
   In the meantime, steam or sautee the spinach. To steam, fill a pan with a thin layer of water and bring to a boil. Turn off the burner, add the spinach and cover the pan until the spinach wilts. Drain out excess water once the spinach is cooked. Stand the tomatoes right side up in a pan, and place approximately 1/4 cup spinach into the bottom of each, pressing down to make room for other ingredients. Break an egg inside each tomato shell. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and feta cheese. Place in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Do not let the yolks become too firm.  Serve IMMEDIATELY.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Kiss My Spatula.


This photo is just a small taste of the incredible goodness going on over at  Kiss My Spatula.

Prepare yourself!  You will fall in love with the outstanding and lovely photos/words/recipe phenomenal-ness going on over there... (yup, phenomenal-ness).

I love it a lot, and think/hope you will too. 

P.S.  Can't wait to try her French Green Lentil Soup, because French Green Lentils are delicious and phenomenally healthy.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ripe For The Picking.

[photo credit: Washington Farms]

By no stretch of the imagination is it easy to follow up Aline's story. (If you haven't read it yet, please do!) However, I figured we could hold on to her a little bit longer. She mentioned fresh strawberries in that divine Moelleux recipe, which means we all need to go pick some, right?


If you live in Athens, the place to do so is Washington Farms. I have yet to go, but I have tasted their sweet, juicy deliciousness firsthand (thanks Zach & LA)and I'm ready to put my boots on and get pickin' and nab some more. Farm fresh strawberries are the means to your summer pies, smoothies, health, happiness etc. Washington Farms has all the information on their website for the how-to's of picking, storing and freezing their strawberries. Check them out and make some plans, or find a similar place near to where you live.

(P.S. This is also a genius activity for kids because they make good helpers and learn about where their food comes from. If you have them, be sure to bring them along.)

Hurry on out there and stock up before the season ends in June!

Friday, May 14, 2010

How Special It Is.

Today you will be told a story about a beautiful girl...

...who lived in a beautiful country called France.

One day she decided to travel to America, to be a foreign exchange student in a small high school in Chattanooga, Tennessee...

...and made a lifelong friend.

Her name is Aline. She is as marvelous and beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. She has poise, grace and an incredible, kind spirit. All you have to do is look at her photograph and you can see it for yourself. So I digress.

Aline and I became close friends in my senior year of high school. So close that my father gifted me with a trip to visit her in France for my graduation present. We brought along my other friend Laura and spent a week in Italy, then met Aline in Paris. This was everyone's first time in Paris (except Aline, of course) and it was magical. What can I say? To be with your dearest friends and your father on a June day in Paris... heaven.

We said goodbye to my Dad who flew out of Paris and allowed us to stay with Aline for an extra week. She took us to Strasbourg, the city where she lived while "studying." (How anybody ever manages to study in Strasbourg is beyond me.) The city will melt your heart with its idyllic, old world French charm. Cottages with bright flowers spilling out of the windowsills line every street. The air you breathe seems to be golden, filling your lungs with light.

Aline opened my eyes to so much beauty, so much charm. I know now that this little blog of mine would not exist without having known her or having seen her world. She introduced me to red wine, green olives, black chocolate; to peppermint Schnapps, to bikes and baguettes. She welcomed me into her home and introduced me to her lovely family, her life and her unspeakably picturesque world. So much beauty! (Again I must digress.)

Life went on. We kept up a little bit here and there. We passed information to each other whenever we could. Of course it was never quite enough, but we managed to keep in touch. She called to congratulate my engagement (and marriage), and I often flip through old photographs of our trip to France with a sigh... (I really miss her. And France.)

Then one day out of the blue, she wrote me to tell me she likes my blog (of all things!) and informed me of the devastating news that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

At this point of the story, I think it's best that you read a few of her words:

"...Now I'm trying to think about my life and what direction I want to take... Because one thing is sure: it is not worth it to work too hard and to spoil my health... Life and health are too precious!! And now that I have time to live, I go to the small producers markets to buy most of my groceries... I agree with you that the quality of locally grown food is not comparable to any grocery store food! I live right in the centre of Strasbourg and it is very unique to be able to go to the small butcher, the markets, the cheese store and buy only quality food!"

Months passed and we fell out of touch, until one day I wrote her expressing the desire to tell YOU about her. To my complete surprise, after many months of chemotherapy and radiation treatments, I learned the news that she was in full remission. Again, her words:

"For my part, I am doing much better than in my last email!!!! Difficult times seem so far away...I had my last round of chemo just before Christmas then radiations between January and March, and then nothing more!!! It was such a great sensation to feel life coming back in my body! Day by day, I could feel a little better: no more headaches, no more sickness, no more strange feelings in fingers, no more bleeding nose, no more pain in bones and joints, no more dry mouth, no more excessive tiredness...I can feel that I get my strength back day after day, my hairs are growing again (very very curly, it is terrible!!!), my cheeks are naturally pink again (by the way Guerlain's Terracotta is the best), I may have plans and think about the futures without "if", I can wear Mascara again!, I can exercise...I can live quite normally!!!!!"

Aline and I put our heads together and decided that even though we live very far away from each other, we can still celebrate her wondrous, blessed recovery. And what better way to do that than... (you guessed it...) chocolate? She has graciously translated and converted a very special and phenomenal French dessert recipe, one she made for me back in the day. (Lucky me!) Now it is yours! My hope is that you will take a moment to make and enjoy this recipe, and when you do so, think of amazing Aline and her wise words about life and health and how precious it all is.

Bon Apetit!

Moelleux au chocolat

Makes 4 “moelleux au chocolat”

4 Ounces of bittersweet chocolate chips

¼ Cup butter, cut into pieces

3 eggs

½ cup sugar

¼ cup flour

In a bowl over simmering water, slowly melt the 4 ounces of chocolate chips. Add ¼ cup butter and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth.

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, whisk the eggs and ½ cup sugar on high speed for about 5 minutes, or until thick and light. Stir in the melted chocolate and ¼ cup flour in the egg mixture just until well combined.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Coat 4 ramekins with butter and flour.

Spoon the cake batter into the ramekins and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes (up to 48 hours).

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. The cake must be firm to the touch but still melting in the center.

Run a small, sharp knife around the inside of each ramekin to help remove the cake. Serve with fresh strawberry and raspberry and a spoon of vanilla ice cream.

[P.S. All photos are of Strasbourg, France and the surrounding countryside of Alsace which was voted into the "Ten Most Beautiful Places to visit in the world by Lonely Planet for 2010.]

Also, if you would like to leave a comment, the easiest way to do so is "anonymously" but please, please sign your name! Thank you!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Edisto, South Carolina.

Hi! We just got back from Edisto Island, SC
What a charming, special place.

We highly recommend it, especially for the bike rides and the dolphins.
(Yes, dolphins!)

Now I'm home and a little busy (gotta get ready for summer school). However, I'm preparing a very special post for you, so please keep checking back. And here are some more photos to feast your eyes upon.

Hope you have a wonderful day!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

This, yes.

Thank you, NPR. You've really made my day. This story is one of the coolest I've ever read.

What story do you love?

To Market, To Market.

It is time to get out your baskets. (Or get one? This Reed & Seagrass basket is handmade from Etsy). The farmer's markets are opening up!

(handmade Strawberry Basket)

And, in Athens, our Farmers Market is expanding its reach, big time. Check out the wonderful news about our community HERE! It is so exciting for the future of farmer's markets & local food. Even if you do not live in Athens, you should check out the article. Maybe it will inspire you to get the same ball rolling in your community.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Beauty Every Day.

It is true. There is beauty in every day and there is BEAUTY EVERY DAY. I love this website because it challenges me artistically to see not simply obvious beauty, but mysterious and obscure beauty, even "ugly beauty" if you will so allow the term. And not only on a computer screen, but everywhere. Here's a few of my favorite photos for you. I hope you have a beautiful Wednesday.

For a fabulous/similar radish recipe, click HERE.
Thanks B.E.D!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


If I were a betting woman, I'd wager that there is a lot going on with you right now. Maybe even too much. Wherever you are, whoever you are, I bet you are really busy. Maybe your house is nearly flooded, or totally flooded. Maybe you experienced true fear with a bomb scare. Maybe floods have ruined your farm. Maybe you just took the hardest test of your life, or are about to. Maybe you're about to have a baby, or just delivered a baby. Maybe you are trying to get a job deal to go through, or you are trying to find a job. You're tired and just plain MAXED OUT!

(photo via le love)

Here's some advice: today I think you should eat whatever you want to eat and not think twice about it. Then go give somebody a big, fat hug. Everything's going to be okay.

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