Apple Pickle

Apple PickleIn An Apple Pickle
You may remember a few weeks ago I talked about going apple picking at my brother-in-law’s house. Well, fast forward till now and I am still trying to make my way through all of those apples. We’ve made a pretty big dent in our harvest but we still have a ways to go.

The problem is, we’re kinda getting tired of consuming apples in the usual forms. Eating them straight, as part of a pie, as applesauce, or using the applesauce to make muffins is getting boring. Apples and pork are a no-brainer dinner combination. But, you can’t eat that every night. And, let’s not forget that, recent rainy days aside, it’s still pretty warm out. So, a slow-roasted meal is not the first that comes to mind in 90-degree heat.

I came across this recipe in the New York Times cooking section and I was beyond intrigued. After doing a little research, I was surprised how common apple pickle is. Considering how often I eat and or prepare Indian meals, you would think that these pickles would have crossed my path before now. But, apple pickle is a first for me.

The biggest hurdle to making these was the asafoetida. While we do try to stock as much variety as we can here at the store there will always be things that we just don’t carry. In this case, it’s asafoetida powder. So, I made a trip to my favorite spice shop and picked some up. I love spice shopping so “having” to go is actually a treat.

I made some changes to the original recipe based on research I did with a number of the Indian cookbooks I have in my collection. It’s pretty exciting to make these if only to get a break from the sweet side of apples…

Apple Pickle
Adapted from NY Times Cooking Read more…

San Diego Livin’

San Diego Livin'Traveling the World…Series…Kinda
Ahhh, vacation. Nothing like getting away to unwind and relax, right? As you read this, I am enjoying all that is beautiful on the shores San Diego…sort of.

In actuality, I am probably sitting in a chair or in a bleacher seat with a cooler full of water watching my dudes play baseball in the World Series. This is what our family vacations have become. The funny part is that this is the second leg of our World Series tour. Our daughter had hers last week and I have to be honest, I prefer this week’s venue by the sea to the hot dusty fields of the Central Valley. Don’t get me wrong, I love watching the kids play—and certainly playing at this level. But, you have to have a sense of humor about the fact that you’ve traded a vacation week on the sand in Cabo for vacation sitting in the stands on the diamond.

The upside is that we get to explore San Diego which is a place where I have not spent much time (outside of a few random food shows over the years). Needless to say, I have researched where we want to go, what we want to see and, most importantly, where we or should I say I want to eat. That is really the first thing I look for when heading to a new destination. Where do you find the good eats? Where do the locals go, etc.?

Of course, it goes without saying that I will be on the hunt for the best Mexican food I can find. And let’s not forget the seafood. We will be on the ocean after all.

I plan to squeeze as much fun and relaxation out of the time we have down there as I can because the minute we get back? School is back in session.

For those of you who are also squeezing as much out of the summer as you can, here is a list of San Diego inspired recipes to help you out. Read more…

Pork Rillettes

Pork RillettesBeach Bites
Hitting the beach in the summer is awesome…the sun…the surf. There is nothing better than kicking back at the beach and relaxing. And, you’ll need it because as great as a day at the beach can be, the schlepping of all of the stuff you need is not.

I admire those people who can throw everything they need for a day at the beach into a cinch-sac and head out the door. I am not one of those people. I would like to be—but I am not. I require a chair and an umbrella at a minimum. And, of course, a cooler full of tasty food and refreshing drinks.

Of all the things you need for a day at the beach, I think the food it the hardest because it actually takes some preplanning. Because we head to the beach every summer when we go to Tahoe, my sister and I are now a well-oiled machine when it comes to packing lunch for 10 of us. But, you better be okay with a sandwich and some chips for lunch. That is just our routine at Tahoe.

Before we got married and even for some time after, my husband and I used to spend our weekends sailing the bay either on our own or with friends. Our favorite place to stop for lunch was on Angel Island and I always tried to pack something good to eat. Sometimes we hiked around to the south side and ate on the beach there. (We did that once for Fleet Week. The Blue Angels flew right over our heads. It was fantastic.) More often than not though we would find an empty picnic table or sometimes just eat on the boat. It goes without saying that whatever we brought had to be compact. The sailboat wasn’t that big. And, if you had to haul your lunch around an island, you didn’t want to bring a big heavy cooler. So I got good at making what I call snacky lunches.

Snacky lunches are basically picnics made up of a bunch different things that when you choose a little of this and a little of that make up a rather lovely lunch. They usually consisted of a fresh baguette, a variety of cheeses, assorted charcuterie, cut veggies, some dips or spreads, fruit, and something bite-size and decadent for dessert. Sometimes, if we had a bigger group I would add on an orzo or tomato salad.

Occasionally I would make Rillettes because it is the perfect picnic food. You can spread it on a fresh baguette or crackers and you store it in a mason jar for easy transport. If you are planning on hitting the beach in the near future, give this a try…

Pork Rillettes
Yields about 5 cups Read more…

Baked Rhubarb with Earl Grey Tea, Cardamom, and Orange Zest

Baked Rhubarb with Earl Grey Tea, Cardamom, and Orange Zest

Tea with ‘barb
About two weeks ago, I was walking through our produce department and noticed that the first bright red stalks of rhubarb were piled on the shelf. Naturally, I had to buy some—though I had no idea what I was going to do with it when I got it home. This type of thing happens a lot, usually when I am driving through the valley and see a farm stand. I am a visual shopper.

Like most people, when I think rhubarb I think pie. But, I don’t always have the time, or energy, to make a pie crust. Then I go the easy route and make it into a crisp ‘cause I always have oatmeal. And, let’s face it, you could put that topping on anything and make it taste good. It should come as no surprise that I ended up doing just that…and it was fantastic.

At least the few bites I got were fantastic. My family of vultures ate it all before I had a chance to get my fill.

Because of this, I have been on the lookout for something different to do with the rhubarb we have downstairs in the shop. When I came across this recipe for Baked Rhubarb, I was fascinated. Earl Grey is my tea of choice. I drink it all day, every day. So, I am very familiar with its citrusy flavor. And, I get why this recipe would work, rhubarb and citrus complement each other nicely.

So this experiment will be happening this week and I will be hiding my own stash in the fridge. I am looking forward to finding out what it will taste like when it is mixed in with some yogurt…when no one is looking!

Baked Rhubarb with Earl Grey Tea, Cardamom, and Orange Zest
Adapted from Food 52 Read more…

Favorite Marinara Sauce Redux

Favorite Marinara SauceBest Laid Plans Of Mice And Mom
You know those Pinterest fail websites that show what the project should look like then they show how the project actually came out? That basically describes the last two weeks of my life.

See, I am a situational planner. What is that you may ask? I am not a big day-to-day planner. But, if something different or special happens, stand back. Before any event, large or small, my mind starts to spin with all of the possibilities. Having people over for dinner? I immediately pull out the cookbooks to start planning the menu. Going on vacation? I’m in charge of the research and planning of the itinerary. Some of you may not see this as a problem. It’s always good to have a plan, right? Here’s why it is a problem. The vision in my head tends to be more like those perfect Pinterest projects. The reality? Not so much…

Some of you may not see this as a problem. It’s always good to have a plan, right? Here’s why it is a problem. The vision in my head tends to be more like those perfect Pinterest projects. The reality? Not so much…

My husband has been on a business trip for the past two weeks. Before he left, I had pictured in my mind what those two weeks would be like for me and the kids. I had activities planned, must-see movies to watch, and wonderfully healthy meals planned. This included a pasta taste testing where the kids and I would try all of the different gluten-free pastas to see which ones we thought was best. It was a beautiful vision of a happy family, free of dirty dishes and piled up laundry, complete with singing birds and cute and fuzzy bunnies.

The reality was two weeks of algebra homework, practices, clothes on the floor in the laundry room, dishes sitting overnight in the sink, and orders from Door Dash.

That pasta taste test that I had planned to talk about this week? Yeah…that didn’t happen. I was a tired, drooling fool by the time my head hit the pillow every night. Single parents, I have nothing but the utmost respect for what you do every day.

Thankfully, the craziness is about to end as my other half returns at the end of the week and who knows? Maybe we’ll get that taste test done.

If we had been able to get to the pasta, this Favorite Marinara Sauce is what I would have used. If you have the time, I encourage you to try the different gluten-free pastas that we have on the shelves, both fresh and dried. I think you will be impressed with the variety and quality available.

Favorite Marinara Sauce
Using fresh herbs makes all the difference in this quick and easy marinara.
Serves 6 Read more…