Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Father's Day Dinner

Everyone knows I like to cook and I like to try new recipes. I thought it might be fun to share some of the new recipes as we try them out.

For Father's Day, we enjoyed three new recipes. All of them were from June 2006 Bon Appetit.

We started our dinner with a Corn and Crab Bisque.

I altered the recipe a bit. I halved it and we had plenty for our family plus leftovers. I used imitation "Krab" instead of the real stuff. The real stuff was not to be found in Hurricane. I also substituted chicken stock for some of the crab juice, that stuff is strong. Tom loved the soup. I thought it was just okay.

Our entree for the evening was Spice-Rubbed Chicken and Vegetable Tacos with Cilantro Slaw and Chipotle Cream.
These were delicious and very easy to make. We decided they could be all veggies and still be yummy. They contain a perfect amount of spice, flavor, and crunch. The slaw was good enough eat by itself. The only alterations I made to the recipe was I used shredded cabbage and carrots in place of the coleslaw mix and we added onions to the vegetables. We definitely will make these again and actually I did later in the week for my mom's birthday. They can be whipped up very quickly.

Our final new recipe of the evening was a Key Lime Pie Sorbet.
Those who like a nice, tart and very rich sorbet will love it. I know Porter and I did. It was a bit too rich and tart for Tom. I took some to Suzanne and of course, she devoured it. We made another batch for my mom's birthday, and it was a hit. Again, it is a very simple recipe. It takes time to process it in the ice cream maker and then harden in the freezer, but it is well worth the wait. It has a very soft set from the ice cream maker, but comes out with the perfect consistency after being in the freezer a few hours. The second time around I used a tad less lime juice and added a teaspoon of white vanilla. I also doubled the recipe both times. The recipe only yields three cups so I suggest doubling it if you think you will like it at all.

I would love to know if anyone tries these recipes and what you think of them.
Bon appetit.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Summer Garden

Anaheim Peppers

Juicy Peach
Strawberry blossom and fruit

Tomato Blossoms


Golden Pepper

Sweet BasilApple

I have never had success with a garden until this year. I am very excited to reap the fruits (and vegetables and herbs) of my labors. It has been so much fun tending, weeding and harvesting the garden. And I am being honest when I say it has been fun to weed. Typically, I despise weeding, but with this garden, it is so satisfying being out in the sun, getting my hands dirty and ridding my garden of all the invasive weeds so my plants can grow.

My garden this year has tomatoes, Anaheim peppers, red and gold peppers, and basil. My cilantro is done for the season and my parsley and mint never really took off. I tried cantaloupe and zucchini, but they both died. We also have two peach trees and two apple trees. One peach tree had only five peaches, but they are deliciously juicy. The other peach tree has many peaches, but they are small and kind of sorry looking. I still have hope they will grow into plump, juicy fruit. Only one apple tree produced any fruit this year; it has eight fun apples.

Out of all my plants so far, I'd say my basil has given me my money's worth. I harvest it often and add it to pasta sauce, pesto or salad. It is fragrantly delicious. Any other ideas anyone has for the basil I would appreciate.

I am most anxious for the tomatoes and peppers. I hope they taste as good as they look. All the tomato and pepper plants struggled in the beginning. I think I used too much compost, but they have all come back. There are many, many green tomatoes popping up every day on the eight plants I have. One golden pepper has been slowly growing for weeks and it has finally begun to get a golden hue. There is one small red pepper and just this week about eight Anaheims emerged.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

John Wesley Powell Expedition 140th Anniversary Commemorative Trek

This weekend we visited the North Rim and discovered the Grand Canyon rocks (note the subtle geology pun). Everyone had a great time. Highlights included:

The shortest hike - Porter
Opening birthday presents - Eliza
The Widforss Trail - Tom
Just being together as a family - Elizabeth

Porter and Eliza both earned their Junior Ranger Badges (Raven Level). They enjoyed learning about the plants and animals of the Grand Canyon, about the different colors of rocks and cliffs in the Canyon, and about the "Olocaver River" which formed the Grand Canyon. They especially enjoyed the Ranger Programs around the campfire.

Each night Elizabeth prepared gourmet meals including cheesy chicken and potatoes, sausage and green pepper pizza, and peach pear cobbler - all in a dutch oven (but not at the same time).

We discussed the relative merits of camping in tents vs. tent trailers vs. travel trailers. Elizabeth and Tom decided that you had to be a grandpa or grandma before you could camp in a travel trailer (Porter wasn't so sure about this conclusion). Tom decided that you had to be able to keep your hands out of the dirt and your face clean for at least two hours before you could camp in a tent trailer. Looks like we will be camping in tents for a long time to come.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Eliza becomes a princess at three

Eliza celebrated her third birthday in style with her brother and five close friends. Each guest got a princess skirt upon arrival. They then decorated wands and crowns to fully become princesses (Porter was the special Prince of the party). They enjoyed fresh fruit, princess juice, and quesadillas and sandwiches in the shapes of stars, hearts and flowers for lunch. After lunch, they played "pin the crown on the princess" (Tom did a great job with the poster) and pass the crown (a version of hot potato). They all enjoyed a very pink princess cake and then showered Eliza with great gifts. We all had lots of fun. I can't wait to start planning Porter's pirate party next month.