Saturday, August 31, 2013

Friday, August 30, 2013

preserved lemon and melon salad~

this post originally posted for the mystery ingredient club, i find it easier to locate recipes when they have their own page~

oh my, talk about a real zing in your step! i took fresh greens mixed almost 50/50 with fresh mint, i LOVE mint. i then layered red onions, the sweetest cantaloupe my neighbor just gave me, salty creamy feta and then sliced one quartered piece of lemon to spread about.

i took the briney juice from the jar and added a bit of olive oil, pepper and honey and drizzled over the top. it was an explosion of taste in my mouth! the lemon with the mint and sweet cantaloupe with salty feta is THE perfect combo! since my neighbor had just given me her cantaloupe i took a salad over for her too, she had never tried preserved lemons before, as she took her first bite i watched her eyes pop large and round, as we chatted she couldn't stop picking at the salad, how fun for us both to try new flavors straight from the jar~

Thursday, August 29, 2013

halibut with soy lemon sauce

this post originally posted for the mystery ingredient club, i find it easier to locate recipes when they have their own page~

Pan Roasted Line Caught Halibut with Soy-Lemon Sauce (ok my line was standing in costco)

4 6-ounce center-cut halibut fillets, skin-off
2 large minced shallots
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons white wine
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/3 cup chopped preserved lemons
1/4 cup chopped chives
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Extra virgin olive oil to cook

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. In a large saute pan or cast iron skillet, coated lightly with olive oil, season the halibut and sear until brown on top side, about 2 minutes. Flip halibut and add shallots and tomatoes in between the pieces of fish, drizzle some extra virgin olive oil place in oven. Roast for about 12-14 minutes until cooked through. Transfer the fish to a plate and place pan on high heat. Deglaze with wine and add preserved lemons and soy sauce. Reduce by half. Check for seasoning. Plate fish and encircle with sauce. Garnish with chives.

i confess i added some ginger halfway through my meal, i was craving lemon and ginger together, it was an excellent addition~

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

a beach diary 8/18 thru 8/28

8/19 monday

scott was up and gone before 3 am, god i hate that hour of the night... the moon was on the water though and gorgeous, i can count on a 3 fingers how many times i have seen it this last month, with nonstop fog its nice to see anything, anytime! i read until 5:30 am and then fell back to a horrid sleep for an hour. i was a mess all day with exhaustion, its one thing when i wake and can't sleep, its another when i am awakened and then can't sleep...

took the dogs for a late walk, saw kim and lucy and so waited until they were gone. was an ok morn, watered in the trees and new plants, was going to read the morn away in the gazebo but suddenly it was cold and gray, and not even fog! high real clouds, next thing i hear big fat rain drops on the skylight. i was shocked, i live so quietly here, never read the weather reports, it could be the 1930s and a hurricane rolls in and no one knew what was going on back in that era, that is how life is at the beach for me, isolated, quiet, a small content little life.

spent the day reading a good book, made some lavender strawberry jam, i need to get cracking on all my apples, but without scott here whats the point in baking...

ended up dozing off late afternoon, awakened with cassie barking at ups at the door. just a quiet night, getting up at 3 am messes me up for the day!

8/20 tuesday

slept well with the kittens, but cassie went on the attack at 6 am, she is becoming so unruly... i know scott is eager to get on with things, another day of waiting...

took the dogs to the beach when they opened, saw a young man swimming with no wet suit, its 55 degrees and the water is 48 degrees, there is a light breeze... he must be drunk or on drugs, or maybe it was a dare, or maybe he wanted to tell his friends back home somewhere else he swam in the pacific. 2 others bundled in scarves and parkas on the bluff watched him, at least he wouldn't die in vane if a great white snatched his pearly blue and white body out to sea...

finished my book, really enjoyed it. looks like it could rain again today, high thick clouds. scott said it was 105 at home yesterday but humid, something we never get.

with a gray day i decided to make baked apple pies, as i wrapped up the sun burst forth, a gorgeous day unfolded all around me with a brisk wind. ate my pie at the picnic table feeling guilty i am indoors now. how quick it can all change! you have to relish the sun while you can~

scott still on the hook, no news, i know its hard on him, he wants it over and done...

finally after 6 he gets a call, will connect tomorrow... tick tock tick tock.

i finished up my diary, grabbed a new book and slept with the ferals.

8/21 wed

high fog this morn with a beautiful shoreline beckoning me. left before the beach opened, but they were moving sand so got right in. only ones on the beach except for a few surfers way out. yesterday there was a stack of sand pails and buckets on the dune, like some little kids had just been yanked away the parents having no interest in bringing their sandy toys, this morn for the first time there was a pile of beer bottles, like some unruly adults crawled away, either way its a shame, and i still crack up thinking i was the one hunted down for planting a tree!

came home to get cracking on my apples, with scott coming tonight there is someone to enjoy all the baking. made mini brie and apple tarts and a rosemary apple cake, i know he will be happy.

the sun burst forth around 2, its drop dead gorgeous, i can see the slack tide line meandering out to sea, the birds are dive bombing the feeders. i am SO happy the feral is locked inside, all the baby quail got to grow up and they are young adults now, almost the size of their parents. it is so quiet and peaceful, no one around and the sun is shining, does it get any better?

well, yes, if they would hurry up and let scott know whats going on :-( its not the way ones sr years should be spent...

restless afternoon waiting to hear from scott, they are just dragging this on, i can tell he is at the end of his rope. didn't answer any calls, to antsy to chat, i just want an answer. tried to read, but up down, up down. cleaned out the fridge and sent maggie outside with some rib bones. brought her in and forgot about the bones...

scott finally gets word, i jump up to hear him and suddenly cassie is lunging at the screen door, i can't hear scott and i am livid. its my fault, the vultures are swarming the bones in the yard, cars are stopping to watch, all this happens JUST AS SCOTT CALLS. i have to dash out and grab them so i can hear him and traffic can move on. decision made, scott is quitting, time for changes in our life...

its been a very tumultuous career for scott, he survived massive layoffs, 75% were let go over the past 7 years, but the stress of carrying on with so many gone has been overwhelming for all. there is point where enough is enough, he has been courted before, but they got wind and gave him a 2 year contract to stay, fearful he would leave, with bonuses. but things change, all it takes in one person to alter your course. he has been miserable long enough, they came calling again, this time he accepted.

our life is easy right now, he works in town, no commute, back country roads. we can meet for lunch, go to the drs together, share dental appointments, our life is easy and compact... but that is all coming to a screeching halt, he will be off to the world of commuting, at least an hour away. i will miss him... he will be working right down the street from where we used to live before we moved to the country. its ironic he will finish his career out where we started. this means he will be on the road everyday. i dread it... i will worry. when the rains come that road floods, often they just close them. i am not happy with change, but he needed to move on...

he gave notice the moment he signed their papers. they were shocked. they didn't deserve him. i am so angry i feel like i could spit nails at the person that is the catalyst for his departure. face it, any job is based on who you work for, the problem is top management comes and goes often, sadly this one didn't leave first, scott chose to exit. to leave our home town... it saddens me so. we live in fire country, i liked knowing scott could race home in an emergency, i feel sort of lost knowing he is not going to be close anymore... his job is split between both our houses. i can only imagine all the miles he will be driving. it sickens me...

scott arrived happy and relieved its over, he was so ready to go. time for a fresh start for him, i just need to adapt and support. he will take 2 weeks off between jobs. if we didn't have so many pets i would book us a cruise this minute, but alas, we do and thats why we bought sea dream, our travel days are stymied by fur...

i made a favorite meal for him, apple laden from start to finish, the brie apple tart for an appetizer, butternut squash pasta with brown butter, sage, apples and italian sausage, baked apple with ice cream AND rosemary apple cake. he left the table oh so happy. i can just see his spirits lighten, trust me, he has been volatile too long...

i think we will be living here every other week, weather permitting in winter. he will commute from here one week on, one week off, i do think the ocean does wonders for him, and i enjoy cooking by the sea. he set up the second tv in the study, getting ready for his direct tv on saturday. i decided i was going home with him tomorrow morning at 5 am, no more 3 am %^&$, he is quitting and we are taking back out lives. he fell asleep fat and happy, i dozed off about an hour after him only to be awakened at 11:30 pm with his snoring... OY i was up until 3:30 am reading, needless to say the bus pulled away without me, i was to tired to board the train hone :-(

8/22 thursday

i had planned on being home today to work on the novel bakers, right now i have nothing but scads of ideas, i need home to make it happen... i woke up due to someones snoring and just could not go back to sleep, so many changes are coming i kept thinking about our future. scott came in at 4:45am, i had just gotten back to sleep around 3:30 am, why bother going home, i will need a nap this afternoon anyway, i won't be very productive in the long run... i am panicked i will have nothing, i selected this book because it has great ideas to run with, i never dreamed i would be gone 6 weeks and miss doing one single thing.

i set the kittens free at 5:30 am, they have been running over my face and body for hours, haley likes the computer, my fear is she may start shopping with prime. i put catnip on their tower, stoned kitties predawn when you have had 2-3 hours sleep is a startling way to spend you early morning hours. was going to take the dogs down for the last minus tide, but i am to wiped out to get out of bed and down the hill. i hate sleepless nights, but at least i we are no longer wondering what our future will be, he pulled the plug and away we go~

called scott to see how it was going, the head guy called to come talk to him, its sinking in why scott is leaving. he was stunned. scott had been the golden child, a key person of interest for a decade... until this person arrived last year from europe. he didn't value him. he is just realizing its his fault. i hate him, i hate that one person changed our life. to late that now he is just catching on. i doubt he will be here in another year, california is not his home, just an interim position in a worldwide company. it sickens me really, all it takes in one personality to alter your future, there is only so much a person has to put up with, i stand by scott, but i wish i was kicking that honcho in the balls at the same.

the day was rather a blur, i never did nap, instead i opted for a zombie and visited with friends on the phone and in person like a blithering idiot. i felt like the bobo doll just bobbing my head up and down, not quite getting the blood to my brain to sound coherent...

ended up trying to pull together the next novel baker, which means scott is on the hook to search out all my props... nothing makes him madder! my dishes are like old friends, i know where they all are, its a nightmare for scott. i send pics and directions telling him where, but he is a man, with no sense of design, even with a pic in hand. i asked him to bring some apple ramekins, HUGE fight. i kept telling him right where they were and he kept saying they are not here. i know my stuff, FINALLY, after screaming like a boxing marathon, he says you mean these green things, they are apples? they look like blobs...

apple or blob, you tell me?

this time i asked for tomatoes, he called livid saying he needed to rent a trailer... so dramatic, claimed it took him 2.5 hours to find it all. the worst part is he is color blind, he really doesn't see red or green, apples and tomatoes, OY!

he went to bed more exhausted from my dish hunt then quiting his job to start a new career~

8/23 friday

so happy scott has quit, i just know he will be in a good mood on the phone for at least a week, there is nothing there that can bother him. slept with the ferals and set them free early, with maggie locked in the room with us. they were shy and soon forgot all about her and ran like normal. maggie wanted out, but i thought it was cute. haley made a point to walk over and sit on me, out of arms reach, but she does seek me out.

took dogs for an early walk and started to cook up all these freaking apples. i mean i have blob dishes now... i made a huge apple pie, i took about 10 GIANT apples, i could barely lift it in the oven. i precooked the apples, poured them in and decorated it like a tree.

next up was sausage and apple hot pockets for scott to snack on. i was so hoping for nice weather, i took everything out to cool in the fog, hoping the afternoon would give me glorious sun again, fingers crossed.

8/24 thru 8/28 wow, how is that you can just blink and its days later... its so hard to keep a diary here when i am living here, like real life at home, which i wouldn't dream of keeping a diary there! this place was to be special and magical and filled with sea air and relaxation and marvel, instead its turning into the day to day, especially when each day is so gray you never even see the sea, so live does indeed march on...

i know scads has happened and its all just a blur, and i mean that literally, yesterday when walking the dogs the fog was so thick and blowing in my face i watched my visibility drop from 100 feet to about 40, i could see the wave of fog coming straight at me and braced my footwork, it reminded me of stories of the dust bowl blowing from kansas to chicago or a sandstorm in the sahara blinding everything in its path, never been in a wave of fog like that before, it it had been night i would truly have been lost. now i can see how jack the ripper had the advantage in those london streets...

watching a peace take over scotts face, a new calm that has been missing for many years is washing over him. his last day is friday, the next 2 weeks off will be wonderful, and then a new reality will hit.

we got direct tv. scotts thrilled, it records 5 shows at a time, thats fun, no fighting for the dvr anymore~

the kittens and mother have been let lose in the house, so far so good... well, if you call the kittens living under our bed after exiting their room and playing in the bathtub at 1 and 3 am, shredding all the tp on the floor and pulling down all the white towels on the dirty floor since they go under the vanity and drag out dust bunnies i have missed vacuuming for 2 years... as i type this the mama just make a calling sound and the illusive trio raced out from under the bed to greet their long lost mother like its been years. so far my adult cats have been good with this new group, fingers crossed it will hold, i want to go home tomorrow for scotts last 36 hours at work. leaving them alone is fine as adults, but this is like turning the house over to 5 year olds and it terrifies me!

the weather his been pure fog, breaking up perhaps only for 20 minutes before sunset, sad time to see it turn from gray to black... had a brief window of light yesterday, was at the back fence watering in new plants the cows yanked out when i hear barking seals, i was so thrilled i paused to enjoy it. it got louder and louder, i turned, only to discover it was my damn dogs barking at some passing dogs... so much for the mystic of the sea~

been working on my homework in the gray days, i am struggling for the novel bakers being away. scott brought over some props i asked for, as i was unpacking he missed about a 3rd of them... we went shopping for me to fill in the gaps, he was going to make me some treats i asked for, but found the EXACT things at homegoods on sale, not sure if he was relieved or unhappy to not be building me things that afternoon. for not having what i wanted to do my project i ended up doing the longest post in my history. i over compensated by taking the most pics ever. good thing i am easily entertained because my blog is as quiet as a church mouse, whoever comes to visit day in and day out, and i see you, never says a word. i see people comb through my blog for hours on end, day after day, but they can't say a fricking word. on the flip side what bothers me the most is seeing over a decade boil down to less 2 minutes. i think both scenarios are equally disturbing...

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

blueberry french toast souffle~

blueberry french toast souffle

white bread
cream cheese
cup of fresh blueberries
6 eggs
1/4 c maple syrup
cup of milk

grease 8x8 pan

sprinkle bread cubes, dollops of cream cheese and berries, pour liquid over and rest overnight. bake at 350 until golden, 30-40'

Monday, August 26, 2013

Sunday, August 25, 2013

brown buttered apple rosemary cake~

Brown Buttered Apple and Rosemary Cake

2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp demerara sugar plus extra to scatter over the top of the cake
1 tbsp rosemary, finely chopped
2-3 apples cut in to thin slices
1 1/2 cups (225g / 8 oz) self raising flour, sifted
3/4 cup (165g / 6 oz) caster sugar
125g / 4 1/2 oz butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup (125ml) milk

Pre heat the oven to 160C/325F

Melt the butter in a sauté pan until it starts to brown. It will start to give off a wonderfully sweet nutty aroma. Add the sugar and rosemary and cook just until the sugar is melted. Add the apples and toss gently to coat. Cook for just a couple of minutes to allow the apples to soak up all the flavours. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Place the flour, sugar, butter, vanilla, eggs and milk in the bowl of a mixer and beat until just combined as you don't want to over mix it. We want a light cake. Spoon the mixture in to a 22cm (9 inch) cake tin greased and lined with baking paper. Top with the slices of apple and make sure to get all that rosemary infused brown butter too. Sprinkle over a tablespoon or 2 of demerara sugar over the top.

Pop in the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until the cake is cooked through. Test with a skewer and when the cake is cooked a skewer will come out clean. Allow the cake to cool, slice and eat.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

pleasant memories...

when in roma...