June 16, 2011

To Gather

To Gather: to bring together; to collect

Today my friend Kara posted this video on her blog and I think it's just great. You should watch it. One of the things I like most about Kara is her passion for food and community. I am inspired to gather people together over food, to share the warmth of a good meal in the beauty that is community, and reflect on the goodness of God and his creation.

Of Salt and Light from The Other Journal on Vimeo.

June 14, 2011

Flag Day

Every kid has a favorite song. My brother's was Frosty the Snowman. My mother sang it almost every night for about seven years.

When I was a little my favorite nighttime, daytime, really, anytime song was.... You're A Grand Old Flag. That's right. I loved it. My mother is basically a saint. Year round, rain or shine, winter or summer, Fourth of July, Flag Day or Christmas she sang Frosty the Snowman and You're A Grand Old Flag nightly.

Today is Flag Day. I love Flag Day because it gives my grown up self a decent excuse to sing my favorite song.

You're a grand old flag
You're a high flying flag
and forever in peace may you wave...

Also....it's the one-year anniversary of the day I officially started dating the love of my life. Today is a doubly good day.

June 9, 2011

Hello Tomatoes. Goodbye Ranunculus.

Remember way back in April when we did all that yard work? We planted blueberries, roses, okra, tomatoes and even some okra? That was insane. But, I'm glad we did it because the garden is taking off. Well, most of it. The part of it that Justin worked so hard on is thriving. My little plant, the Ranunculus, is dead. May it rest in peace. It's been replaced by this nice purple plant whose name I can't remember, but this plant is lucky because it was potted by Justin so she has a decent shot at making it.

Check out our tomatoes! I cannot wait for July (apparently they aren't full grown until then...although I'm still praying for a June miracle). I can almost taste the homemade wheat bread and garden fresh tomatoes on juicy BLT sandwiches. Divine.

June 7, 2011

Taste of Summer

This week in the CSA - fresh strawberries. Incredible. They taste like sunny afternoons. They taste like summer.

June 3, 2011

Radish Risotto

I already love it!
Last Saturday we received our first CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) delivery. For the next 20 weeks or so we'll find a cooler full of freshly grown and harvested vegetables and herbs on the back porch every Saturday afternoon. I'm super excited and, although this is tipping my scale in the hippy direction, I love the idea of eating food grown by local farmers that are on our table within days of leaving the ground.

One of the things that makes the CSA quite the adventure is that we never know what we're going to get. This week we find ourselves with a ton of lettuce, some asian greens, mint, rosemary, chives and radishes. The radishes had me a little stumped (another thing I love about the CSA - the challenge!), but while we were killing time in the airport on our way home from vacation we spent some time searching for radish recipes. 

Isn't this produce beautiful!

There's not a lot out there, but this one we found for Romano Risotto with Radishes on Epicurious was delish! I made a few changes, but it was a winner from the beginning.

Radish Risotto

6 cups chicken broth
2 cups hot water
3 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion finely chopped
2 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup grated Romano cheese
3 Tbs. chopped Radish tops (the green leafy part)

1 Tbs. white wine vinegar
1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb. trimmed radishes thinly sliced
2 Tbs. finely chopped chives

While bringing the broth and water to a simmer in a 3-4 quart saucepan, melt butter in a large pan over medium heat until completely melted. Add onion and cook until the onions are soft and smell amazing. Add in the garlic and chopped radish tops and sauté for a few more minutes until your kitchen smells heavenly and the onions are nearly translucent. 

Add the rice and stir to coat.  Toast the rice for about a minute, stirring constantly. Add in the white wine and stir until absorbed into the rice. Add the broth mixture one cup at a time, stirring, until absorbed. Repeat for the rest of the broth mixture. Keep the rice at a strong simmer as you go. When the broth is absorbed and your rice is a pile of steaming, creamy goodness, add the cheese and stir. Let the risotto sit while you mix up the radish topping.

Whisk together the vinegar and oil. Toss radishes and chives in the dressing. Serve risotto topped with the radishes.

P.S. I think everyone should learn how to make a basic risotto. It's probably the best base dish out there. So easy, so fancy looking. I think we're going to see a lot of improvised risotto with weird veggies from the CSA this summer.

June 1, 2011

Sunshine and Happiness

Last week was fabulous. Vacation is the best. Every year my family goes on vacation together. It's always nice but, you know, that's a lot of family time. This year I had a fiancé with me though. This is the best development in family vacation EVER.

Justin experienced his first non-rev day of air travel. He escaped unscathed with a few first class voyages under his belt.

We went to mass at the Cathedral de San Juan Bautista. It was cool and very long. We had not even had coffee yet. Do not be fooled it you are going to San Juan. If there are cool cafés there they were all hiding from me.

We drank fabulous Mojitos made by my favorite and most-handsome bartender.

We sat on our balcony and looked at the lovely ocean view.

We explored some cool forts. I know this picture isn't very fort-like, but the cool walls and benches were just beautiful and a welcome spot to rest in the shade.

We were serenaded by a mariachi band. Look at this guy. Isn't he awesome? In this case, the picture says a thousand words. Classic.

Mostly we just relaxed and enjoyed each other's company and escaped into books when we didn't. Yes, that is my mom's thumb in the corner of our beach picture. Also classic.

All in all, I highly recommend a beach vacation finding it's way onto your calendar soon. I'm already looking forward to our next trip to the sea.