Cooking is fun. Eating is funner. I cook, photograph and write these recipes.
Everything I post on this blog I make from scratch using fresh wholesome ingredients.. I've been cooking since I was a little kid.

My recipes are based on trial and error, along with studying cookbooks, family recipes, blogs and cooking shows.

Some of the veggies and herbs I use are grown in my garden. Yay sustainability!
I'm working on making my yard into an edible landscape. It's really fun to go out in the garden and pick your veggies for dinner!
I'm helping as many people as I can to plant edible gardens in their yards too. It's hard work but it's really fun!



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    Fruit salad grows on my block.

    This fruit was harvested in our neighborhood today. My husband and I took the fruit picker with us on a dog walk this morning and gleaned (stole) from trees overhanging the sidewalks, which is not really stealing according to local law. We picked two sweet apples from trees on the next block and several oranges from a tree up the street that’s loaded with hundreds of oranges. This orange tree is so sweet right now, covered in fruit that’s ripe and just perfect. The lemons are from a huge lemon tree on the south corner, which is covered with lemons so big they look like grapefruits. The blackberries, blueberries and strawberries are from our garden. My husband bought the nectarine last night when he went out for groceries. I don’t know where it grew but it was delicious in this fruit salad.

    Smokey Andouille Red Beans and Rice

    This sausage and two bean stew is delicious. I used small dried red beans that are sold in bulk or in a bag, and 1 can of organic red kidney beans. The small red beans are creamy and amazing when they cook down, and the kidney beans have a nice meaty bite. This is delicious and cheap and tastes even better the next day. This recipe makes a lot of stew so you can share it with your friends. We used smokey andouille sausage to build the flavor. If you don’t eat meat, use veggie sausage or just omit it. It’s easy to build flavor with paprika, chili powder, celery salt and fresh veggie stock. From the garden we used parsley, fennel, celery, and our first poblano pepper in this dish. Fresh garden vegetables have the best flavor. 

    Wash and sort dried red beans, cover with water and soak overnight. Soaking overnight helps them cook faster. Make veggie stock by simmering onions, celery, carrots, fresh fennel and garlic for 40 minutes or so. Strain stock and set aside. Or use a carton of purchased veggie or chicken stock. Or use both. 

    Sear sausage in a heavy bottomed stew pot and set aside. In the same pot sauté chopped veggies: 1 small sweet onion, 1 bell or poblano pepper, 2 celery stalks and 5 cloves of garlic in 2 tblsp olive oil. Rinse the soaked beans and add them to the pot with about 3 or 4 cups stock, 1 can of rinsed, drained kidney beans and the sausage. Season with 1 tsp smoked paprika, a little chipotle chili powder, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1/4 tsp cumin, and fresh ground black pepper. Turn heat to low and cover to simmer.

    I don’t salt at the beginning of the bean cooking process because I’ve read that it makes the beans take longer to cook. Once the beans soften a bit, after about 1/2 hour or 45 minutes, add celery salt to taste. Continue to cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until the beans are creamy and the gravy is thickened. Serve with parsley rice. 

    I cook rice in an unconventional way and it comes out almost perfect almost every time. I cook it sort of the way you cook pasta, in lots of water, then quickly strain and cover to steam. Rinse 1 cup Basmati rice in a sauce pan a few times until the water runs clear. Add 4 or more cups cold water and 1/2 tsp salt. Bring to a boil. Turn the heat to medium low and keep an eye on it. After simmering for 6-8 minutes or so, taste a few grains for texture. Once the rice is al dente, drain in a mesh strainer, add it quickly back to the pot with 2 tblsp chopped parsley and a little butter or olive oil and cover to steam. To make the fancy rice & beans presentation, ladle the bean stew into a soup dish, press the rice into a small bowl sprayed with olive oil spray, then turn it over on top of the bean and sausage stew. Yum! 

    Wish I lived in Idaho for this sale tomorrow, this is so awesome! I want to be pals with these people.

    New Potato, Leek and Chard Frittata 

    We made this Potato, Leek and Golden Chard Frittata mostly from the garden. It was so fresh, bright and delicious. Both my husband and I couldn’t stop saying how good it was with every single bite. There’s nothing tastier than freshly picked food. The eggs, bread, bacon and cheese are from the grocery store, but the leeks, new potatoes, Swiss chard and cherry tomatoes have been growing in our garden since winter. The cherry tomato plant is in a pot near a south facing wall. It never died all the way down, and now it’s come back to life and is giving us a few tomatoes each day. The blackberries are from our thornless blackberry vine which is three years old and has started producing lots of fruit this year. This is the biggest harvest we’ve gotten so far and the berries are so delicious. We have several pots of Swiss chard growing. It’s delicious and mild, easy to grow and very versatile. And don’t get me started on how much fun it is to grow potatoes. Because I won’t stop. It’s really fun and easy to grow potatoes. And free organic potatoes. Harvesting them is like winning a prize. Congratulations, you win potatoes.

    Here’s how to make a Garden Chard Frittata:

    Heat oven to 400. 

    Cook some bacon until crispy and set aside on paper towels. Bacon. 

    In a skillet, sauté sliced leeks (or shallots or onions) in a little olive oil or butter. Add diced new potatoes, about 1/4 cup or 1 small potato. Cook together, season with a little salt and pepper. Once the potatoes start to soften, add washed and spun chopped Swiss chard, stems and all. Once the greens cook down, about 4 minutes, add 4 scrambled eggs, a few chopped cherry tomatoes, and your favorite grated cheese. Place in the oven until the eggs firm up and the cheese melts. Serve with crumbled bacon on top and a side of toast and fruit. 


    Edible Landscape Update, May 15, 2014

    Here are some shots of my back garden from yesterday. It was a scorching hot day! The temp was 105 on the “sad dog” thermometer that’s hangs on the shed in the shade of a Crepe Myrtle tree. The other thermometer, with a picture of happy speed boat people, read 120. That one is on the garage, in late afternoon sun. So hot.

    There’s a pool in the middle of our back yard. Sitting with your feet in the pool while drinking a cold beverage on a hot day is good times. Around the pool there’s a path and then planting areas that go from the path to the fence line. Our perennial food plants in that area include blueberry shrubs, 2 kinds of grapes, Passionflower, which just started blooming, a Pluot tree, a Pomegranate shrub, and Artichokes. We swap out annual vegetables seasonally. When we first moved here, I planted palm trees and tropicals, which have big, tough roots. So, in amongst the tropical items we have pots and containers with greens and vegetables growing. There are also two raised beds, one with summer vegetables, the other with a crop of potatoes that needs straw mulch. 

    The last of the red and gold beets got pulled, about 20 or so in various sizes. They were so delicious, and the beet greens were delicious too. I split the harvest with my sister, who is my awesome garden partner. In the raised bed where the beets were growing, we added compost & fertilizer and planted peppers, tomatoes, parsley, eggplant, California Poppy, zucchini, and a few cucumber seeds next to the trellis. We started seed trays with bush beans, a hibiscus called Thai Roselle, basil seeds from the basil plant that went to seed, Cherokee Purple and Sun Gold tomatoes for succession tomato growing, and Arugula seeds from plants that went to seed. The Arugula seeds sprouted in about 3 days. Arugula is awesome, it’s very easy to grow and so peppery and delicious.

    We’re harvesting fava beans, which are time consuming. You seed the beans from the pod, then give them a quick steam, and peel the tough outer white skins before eating the tender little beans inside. They’re so delicious though! Fava beans set nitrogen in the soil, some farmers grow them as a cover crop. They grow in cool temperatures, so they’re just about done for this year. When they come out, I’ll cut the plants down at soil level, and keep all that nitrogen infused soil to help the peppers, tomatoes, etc which are planted close by.

    We have kale and cabbage growing everywhere, mostly in pots. The tough leaves of the cabbages and kale are hardy in the dry heat. I keep them watered and they keep giving me big delicious leaves. When I see aphids on them I spray them off with the hose. Artichokes are still growing, blueberries are still bluing, strawberries are good, I need to fertilize them. The potted Rainbow Chard is doing great too. I think it’s going to be my breakfast in an egg dish with some of that Tarragon and leeks from the front garden. 

    Happy Gardening Everybody!

    Here are more easy and delicious Mexican dishes from my archives including enchiladas, tacos, margarita chicken, chimichurri steak, tortilla soup and empanadas. Yum!

    Baked Sweet Corn Chili Rellenos

    Happy Cinco De Mayo everybody! Today is a celebration of Mexican heritage and a win against some pesky French soldiers in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Mexican Independence Day is Sept 16th.

    Today’s not an official U.S. holiday, but don’t tell that to all the happy people you’ll see driving around my neighborhood. I love holidays and holiday food, and spicy, delicious Mexican food is my favorite. I made this Chilis Rellenos casserole the other day and it was amazing. The combination of melted cheese, crunchy sweet corn and smokey peppers is perfection. You can use tortilla chips to scoop it up, or just eat it with a big salad from the garden. This is easy and you can make this recipe for just a few bucks.

    Here’s how to make this delicious dish:

    Turn the broiler on and char the skin of 4 or 5 Anaheim chili peppers. I also used a couple Jalapeños. Once the skin on the peppers is blistered, put them in a bowl and cover with a plate to steam.

    In a skillet saute 1 small diced onion in olive oil. Add chopped garlic and sauté 1 minute more, set aside to cool. Mix the cooled onions and garlic with 1/2 cup Queso Fresco cheese, 1/2 cup shredded cheddar or Monterey jack, 1/2 cup corn kernels, a little chopped cilantro, and 1 small can diced green chills. Season with celery salt, 1/2 tsp coriander powder, a sprinkle of Ancho chili powder, and fresh black pepper. In a separate bowl combine 1/2 cup milk or cream with 2 eggs. Peel, stem and seed the Anaheim chills. Place in a buttered casserole and stuff with the cheese and corn mixture. Pour the eggs and cream over the top and add a little grated cheese. Bake at 350 for 20 to 30 minutes until bubby. Garnish with a squeeze of fresh lime or lemon and a little more chopped cilantro. Serve with chips and salad.


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