Snippets from the RoadThings I Love



Let’s start with the gratitude first.  My family is healthy, we have everything we need and are employed.  For that we are truly grateful.

Sunday, April 19th, should have been the first day of our Italy trip — starting in Rome.  Obviously that could not happen.  In addition to traditionally traveling with the hubby after the normal end to tax season, we were bringing our kids to celebrate their 30th birthday’s — Sam’s last August and Hannah’s this December.  Rome/Florence/Venice/Milan — their first and our fifth trip to this magical country.

So how to soften the blow (which I know CANNOT compare to what many others are experiencing)?  Bring Rome home.

Italian tablescape: Lavender, lemons, tomatoes

My go-to cook for Italian food is often Lidia Bastianich, so I used her pizza dough and sauce recipes.   Along with the pizza, I composed a platter of caprese salad, proscuitto, parmesan chunks, etc.  For dessert, I searched the internet for a classic Tiramisu recipe and settled on this one.

Dough divided into three balls (15 oz each) after initial rise. Two were used.

Finished product
As good as it looks. I used Kahlua; no rum ..

When life hands you lemons, drink limoncello!  Cin Cin — Italy, we’ll see you as soon as we can …

A good Barolo with dinner – Elio Grasso 2008
Things I LoveThings You Should KnowWining/Dining


am having a blast with fall foods.  Pretty much every Sunday morning, the Hubby and I head down to the Studio City Farmers Market to see what’s in season.   We don’t linger like lots of families with toddlers in tow, but rather are in and out before the crowds get really large.  We have our favorite vendors with whom we chitchat for a few minutes and are on our way.


Delicious late-season plums
Such glorious colors! Love these sweet peppers


One of the delights is seeing what’s coming in and saying good-bye to others until next year.  To me, summer melon season is always too short. But having the good fortune of living in So Cal means never going without wonderful produce all year long, so absolutely no complaints!


I am so thrilled with my own Fuji apple tree!  The fruit is nearly ripe and plentiful due to netting and  sprinkling with ground pepper to keep everyone away!  
Small but delicious (below)


So what am I buying and cooking now?  Well, here’s a few items that are so delicious I buy them and then think about what to do with them.
The sweet peppers (shown above) became one of the ingredients in a frittata, along with onion, fennel, leftover corn on the cob, eggs and cheese.  Instructions follow below.



Saute onions in butter using cast-iron skillet; add fennel, pepper & corn – cook
for a few minutes; add beaten eggs (I used 9) and sprinkle with mozzarella; cook 
in the oven at 375 until set (20-30 minutes) 




Before cooking above; after below
 I cut the frittata into wedges (below); great to pop in the microwave
 for a quick and easy meal.
AS for the apples, I made a delicious crisp as seen below.  I skip any type of flour in the crust in favor of a dollop of vanilla ice cream later on.  The slow-churned flavors from Dreyers are relatively low-cal and terrific.




Directions: Mix the topping: 2 cups oatmeal, cinnamon, 1/2 cup brown sugar and enough room-temp butter to moisten the dry ingredients.  Chop the apples. Spread topping over the apples and bake at 350 until the top is brown and the apples are soft.  


The aroma in your house will be amazing!


Things I Love



Pretty much any home gardener will tell you that there are frustrations … most particularly going outside to pick something and all that’s left of what you had JUST SEEN is a half-eaten something. Wouldn’t it be lovely if one didn’t also have to clean up after those darn varmints???


Thus, one can only imagine the sheer joy I recently experienced when not only did enormous heirloom tomatoes stay on the vines (more about that later), but they actually ripened and were duly picked for use. Waiting and watching can be a painstaking effort and I freely admit to being an early picker.


My only Santa Rosa plum!

This season has not been without it’s “fruits” … I have been enjoying some delicious Sungold and Black Cherry varieties (shown above). But the big ones have not been a success in the past.  In fact, earlier in the season in my “kitchen garden” — so called for it’s placement just outside my kitchen door, with pots of tomatoes and herbs — my pesky perpetrators thought nothing of high-jacking tomatoes just about before my very eyes! The gall!!  My revenge? A generous sprinkling of freshly ground pepper. Everywhere.  Other than my sneezing, it proved a terrific solution.

First-year production of berries has been steady
Without further ado, I present a recent bounty of 6+ pounds picked at once with a couple more pounds left ripening on the vines.  Here’s how I multiplied them to enjoy at a future time while still maintaining that homegrown taste …

Top Row:  Saute chopped onion in good EVOO then saute chopped garlic briefly (I add shredded carrots for sweetness); add coursely chopped tomatoes

Middle Row:  Add good quality jar of marinara (Rao’s or Silver Palate are my faves) and simmer for an hour or so — I add salt, pepper and oregano at this point (all to taste); Tomato skins peel away easily after simmering
Bottom row:  Immersion blender (“boat motor”) is used for blending; Leftover scraps headed for compost bin


Two large batches of sauce above and separated for freezing below; to date 9 containers of 4-5 cups each!