Monday, August 6, 2012

Playing in the Kitchen

This weekend has been extremely relaxed at our house, and what a blessing that has been. I have had some time to engage in pursuits that I find enjoyable, including cooking. Saturday morning we took off as we usually do if we are in town to the Dane County Farmers Market, and picked up some fresh vegetables. As soon as we were home from the market, I started making a batch of pesto. I was so excited about it, that I went looking for a recipe to use it in, and in searching through my Moosewood Cookbook I came across a recipe for "Trenette al Pesto". It was out of the norm for the type of dish I gravitate toward cooking, so I felt challenged to make it. Here's what it looked like:

Trenette al Pesto
 I actually used the recipe as more of a guide. I included all of the ingredients listed, but changed the quantities to suit my preferences. I also cooked the potatoes and green beans a bit longer than the recipe stated. If you want to try it, here's my recipe:

Trenette al Pesto

1 1/2 lbs potatoes ( I used small new potatoes that I cut in half)
1/2 lb fresh green beans
1/2 lb spaghetti noodles, broken into short segments
1/2 C pesto (use your favorite recipe)

Boil the potatoes in enough water to cover. Add 1/4 t. salt to the water.  After 10 minutes, add the green beans.  Ten minutes later, add the pasta. Cook for 10 more minutes (for a total of 30 minutes). Remove the potatoes, green beans, and pasta from the cooking water. Reserve the cooking water. Add about one cup of the cooking water to the pesto. Add the pesto/cooking water combination to the potatoes, green beans, and pasta and stir to coat. The combination of pesto and cooking water is supposed to thoroughly moisten the potatoes, green beans, and pasta, but not make it soupy. If needed, add more of the cooking water to achieve desired result. The combination of potatoes and pasta was unusual to me, but the end result was delicious! The recipe said it made six servings, but it qualified as pig-out food at my house!

One thing I enjoy about Sunday mornings in August is that we don't have Sunday School at our church. While I love Sunday School, and especially teaching my class of 3rd through 6th graders, it is also nice to have one month of more leisurely Sunday mornings. This particular Sunday I took advantage of the opportunity to experiment with an idea I had for a frittata. Here is the end result, along with the recipe if you would like to try it.

Summer Vegetable Frittata

Summer Vegetable Frittata

2 T Olive Oil
1/4 C chopped onion
1/2 large tomato, diced
8 zucchini rounds from a medium-sized zucchini
Salt, pepper, dried basil, and granulated garlic to taste
7 eggs
3 drops worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons water
1/2 C grated chedder cheese

Preheat oven to 400°. Using a 10 1/2 inch cast iron frying pan or any non-stick frying pan that can go from the stove top to the oven, begin sauteing onion. Add diced tomatoes and seasonings. Add zucchini rounds, evenly spacing them over tomato and onions. Season lightly a second time, but do NOT stir. Cover and simmer while whisking the eggs, water, salt and pepper and worcestershire sauce. When zucchini begins to turn translucent, pour egg mixture over vegetables. Tilt pan slightly to distribute eggs but - and this is VERY important - DO NOT STIR! Cover and cook for about 2 minutes to set the eggs on the bottom. Remove cover, top with grated cheese, and move pan to preheated oven. Bake for 5 - 10 minutes, until cheese is melted and eggs are no longer glossy. Cut into pie-shaped wedges and serve. Entire cooking time is about 30 minutes. Serves 6. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

My "12 Things" List for Newlyweds

It seems to be fairly common these days to run across lists of "10 Things" or, if you are on Facebook, it might be "100 Things". They are usually fun, sometimes light-hearted, and occasionally poignant. Once in awhile, they go viral like Kate Connors "Ten Things I Want to Tell Teenage Girls", which was excellent, by the way.

In the course of my life, social events have tended to come in seasons. One year it will be graduations. Another, weddings. This past year has been one of weddings. I have had the opportunity to witness the beginning of five marriages within the past year, and it has had me thinking about what sort of advice I would give to newlyweds, based on my 33 years of experience of married life. Once I started making a list, it easily came up to twelve things. I expect someone else has had a similar idea and posted it somewhere, but I intentionally did not research it, as I wanted this post to be reflective of my experience. Some of these have a biblical basis, as I think that is important, and others are just what I've learned over time. So here are my

Twelve Recommendations for Newlyweds:

1. Be each other's family. Once you say your vows, you become each other's immediate family. What was your immediate family is now your extended family. Put each other first.
2. Be stubborn. By this, I don't mean stick to your guns in an argument. That can be pointless. What I mean is that you should be stubborn about making your marriage a success. Don't give up easily. There are many reasons why couples throw in the towel. I would encourage you not to give up when one of those things comes into play in your marriage. You will be a better person for having made your marriage work.
3. Build routines together. Routine home maintenance and cleaning is not always fun, especially if we come to it with the wrong attitude. I would encourage you early on to establish good habits for keeping things tidy. If you don't know how to do that, visit the Flylady or Totally Together. They both have some good recommendations.
4. Let your love "grow-up". Typically, relationships that lead to marriage start with romance - that sensation of being "in love." Now don't get me wrong, romance is a good thing, and well worth the effort to keep alive in a marriage, but being "in love" is different than "loving". Loving is what you choose to do when you discover that she doesn't know how to put the cap back on the tube of toothpaste, or when it becomes apparent that he forgets where the laundry hamper is when he takes off his dirty socks. It's a conscious choice, and you know your love is growing up when you choose to love despite the circumstance you find yourself in.
5. Don't go to bed angry. This is biblical - Ephesians 4:26 states "In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry." This can be difficult, especially if you are one, like me, whose anger tends to escalate easily and reverse slowly, but it's worth having a good nights sleep and not waking up grumpy and with things yet to be addressed to take care of your issues as they come up. I would also add a caveat to that - keep short accounts. Don't dig up the past when you argue - stick to the issue at hand.
6. Be each others biggest fan. I don't mean be joined at the hip, or even to do everything together. I mean cheer each other on. My husband has always enjoyed photography. I've never been particularly good at it, but I love the work he does, and I let him know that I'm proud of him and praise his work. He reciprocates with my hobbies that he doesn't actively participate in.
7. Support and defend each other. Do not let anyone else speak ill of your spouse in your presence. Sometimes it is hard enough to keep up a good attitude within the framework of marriage. Do not let anyone else add fuel to the flames of a bad attitude.
8. Keep disagreements private. Don't argue for all of the world to see, and especially not in front of any children you may have. This may seem unpleasant, but this includes supporting your spouse in front of others even if you disagree with him or her. Get behind closed doors before you vent.
9. Be ready to give 100 percent to the success of your marriage. You may have heard that marriage is a 50/50 deal. Not so. If you are not willing to give 100 percent, how will you face the situation when your spouse has nothing to give? One of the vows my husband and I repeated at our marriage ceremony included "in sickness and in health". When the time came that I was sick for two years, my husband picked up the slack. I had little to give, so he covered for us both.
10. Make memories together. Remember all those special times you spent together while you were engaged? That should not end. Keep doing the things you enjoy together.
11. Cultivate your relationship. Keep talking to each other. Stay connected. When the children grow-up, you still want to know each other and have memories together.
12. Be a student of your spouse. Get to know their likes and dislikes. There are many stereotypes of men and of women, but stereotypes are meant to be broken. Find out what is specific to your spouse, and have some empathy for them. You would want them to do the same for you.

I am sure this is not an exhaustive list, nor is it a list of ways to fix your spouse, but hopefully it contains a few kernals of wisdom that you will find useful if you happen to be newly married. And, if you are a newlywed, my hope for you is a long and happy marriage!

What have you found to be important in your marriage? Leave me a comment and tell me about it!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Few Hidden Gems in Wisconsin

So, it's been a little while since my last post. I beg your forgiveness for that. I've been in the field doing research, including a camping trip, so I'd have things to tell you about. [insert big grin, here]. Be warned - this may be a bit longer post than usual. Hopefully you will find these things interesting enough to cut me some slack.

One thing I love about living in Wisconsin - and it may be true of other places, as well, but Wisconsin is what I can tell you about from experience, is that any time you get in your car and go for a drive - and it doesn't have to be very far, you will find something interesting that is worth stopping to investigate. On a recent short trip out to Verona I made a stop at Millers and Sons Supermarket. If you haven't been there and you're in the area, be sure to stop by. While it's easy to find a grocery store in most places in Wisconsin, Miller's is it's own kind of grocery store. It's a local small business, though the store is spacious and offers a good variety of choices. The produce is always fresh and looks beautiful. They also have an in-store deli with a nice selection, and their cuts of meat are mouth-wateringly fresh and ready for the grill. The day I was there, I needed a card for a shower, and was pleasantly surprised that one small corner of the store has not only cards, but some cute crafty-type gifts if that is what you're in the market for. My final stop at Millers was at the Faygo machine on my way back to my car. Anyone who knows me knows I don't drink much soda. Frequently when I go out to eat water will be my drink of choice but, occasionally, a locally made soda tastes really good, and Faygo makes good soda. The red pop I had that day was a real thirst quencher!

Timbers Bar & Grill, Black Creek, WI

On our recent trip up to Boulder Lake, one thing I didn't tell you about was the place we stopped at for lunch on our way home. You won't find Timbers Bar and Grill in Black Creek on Tripadvisor if you're looking for place to eat, but you should still stop. They have reasonably priced bar food that is served fresh and hot. It happened to be a Sunday when we were there, and they had the Sunday lunch buffet set-up, but that didn't appeal to any in my crowd. I had the cod sandwich, and it was excellent. Norm had one of the wraps, and raved that was good. I tried a bite, and could see why. The sauce they use is light and has a really nice tang to it. Definitely worth a stop if you're up that way!

Ledge County Park - Dodge County, WI

Campsite "J" - Ledge County Park

When people camp in Wisconsin, there are many choices, most notably the beautifully maintained State Parks that dot the state, as well as many private campgrounds that typically offer more amenities. One thing that should not be discounted though, is the county campgrounds. One that is located a short drive from Madison is Ledge County Park in Dodge County. The campsites are generally roomy, and the trees help to offer a modicum of privacy. We camped from a Thursday to a Saturday, and there were only about 5 other campsites that were occupied. They have good hardwood for sale at a reasonable price if you want to have a campfire. We were also able to collect some downed dead wood to keep our fire going, which was really appreciated as the first of the cool nights hit when we were camping.

Wine bottle holder at Bugsy's Best

The cheese case at Bugsy's Best

Wisconsin has some great names for it's towns, often with native american roots. You've heard of Waunakee? It's the only one in the world, you know. Or Oconomowoc? I've heard television announcers stumble over that one. How about Kekoskee? If you haven't heard of Kekoskee before, well, now you have. And if you happen to go to Kekoskee, be sure to stop at Bugsy's Best. They carry many Wisconsin-made products to whet your appetite, and when it's as hot as it has been recently, an ice cream cone really hits the spot. I had blueberry cheesecake ice cream in a waffle cone - stupendously awesome! They also carry Wisconsin-made cheese, and a variety of other eclectic choices. Check out the picture with the home-made wine bottle holder. I just have to figure out where I'd put it if I got one of those. The building that houses Bugsy's has been in the Lechner family for some time, and has been used for other purposes, so there is a pictorial history in the building, as well as an old water wheel that you can see through the glass casing. It's a very cool place to stop! 
Beef sticks and cheese curds -
how much more "Wisconsin" can you get?

And that's all for now. Hope you're having a great summer. Leave a comment and tell me about some place unique or special that you've visited this summer.

No compensation was received for these endorsements. These are given because I visited these places and thought them worth writing about.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Independence Day!

So, what does Independence Day make you think of? For me, because of the military history of my family, it is deeply personal. I know the sacrifices we have made as a family because of time family members have given. No, our family didn't lose anyone in a conflict, but we certainly know families who have. And then, on a smaller scale, there are the birthday and Christmas celebrations we didn't get to share with loved ones. The relationships we would have liked to cultivate that didn't happen. It's for this reason that I stand and put my hand over my heart when I hear the Star Spangled banner or see the flag flying at a parade. It seems a small thing, to give a moment to remember the cost of the freedoms we enjoy. God bless you if you've given time to serve our country!

And then, of course, there is the food! I've been developing a recipe for baked potato salad, and this last week I finally documented the ingredients. Here's something a little different from the standard potato salad. Give it a try, if you like:

Baked Potato Salad
Baked Potato Salad
2 C. sour cream
1 C. mayonnaise
1 T. horseradish
1 T. brown mustard
1/2 C. milk
1 t. sea salt
1/2 t. granulated garlic (or garlic powder)
1 T. dill weed
fresh ground pepper to taste
1/2 lb bacon, fried until crisp
3 green onions, whites and greens, sliced finely
3/4 C. celery, finely diced
5 lbs potatoes, baked and cooled (I used russets, but red potatoes work well, too)

Mix the first 9 ingredients in the bottom of a bowl that is large enough to mix the entire salad in until thoroughly blended. This helps the flavors to begin blending while you're peeling and dicing the potatoes, and ensures that when you're mixing the salad the dressing gets all the way to the bottom of the bowl. Snip or crumble the bacon into fine pieces. Add bacon, celery, and onion. Stir just to mix. Peel the potatoes and dice as fine as you can stand. The finer you cut them up, the better the dressing will flavor the potatoes, but I can't always stand to cut them too finely just because it takes time.  If you're using red potatoes, leave the skin on. This shortens the work time and adds color to the salad. Sometimes we eat this right after I make it, but it's really better if you have time to refrigerate it for a few hours or overnight. The flavors meld and it becomes comfort food of the first order.

Corn Tomato Salsa
What to do if you serve corn on the cob one night, and have a few cobs left that didn't get eaten? How about this:

Tomato Corn Salsa
1 large tomato, diced finely
2 -3  cobs of corn, remove corn from cob
1/2 t. sea salt
3 T Cilantro, snipped
Granulated garlic, cumin, chili powder, and black pepper to taste.

Stir well and enjoy!

And then, of course, there is the standard summer holiday fare that includes brats. We couldn't live in Wisconsin and not enjoy brats on occasion. Since we had something else in mind for today, we had our brats last night. Doesn't this look good?

Brat and grilled veggies
The brat is a tomato basil brat that I got at Aldi's for a reasonable price. The zucchini and potatoes were sliced thin and coated with olive oil, then cooked on a foil pan on the grill. The zucchini is seasoned with sea salt, fresh ground pepper, dried parsley and basil. The potatoes are seasoned with sea salt, fresh ground pepper, and a few sprinkles of vinegar.

Verdict: all of it was really good. Only thing to improve was that the potatoes could have used a bit more vinegar.

Hope this whets your appetite for that wonderful July 4th you're going to enjoy today!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Food! It's got to be about Food!

Well, maybe it does, and maybe it doesn't. I haven't been on for a bit, due to a busy life. Last week my busy life included teaching 3 - 6th graders in Vacation Bible School. It was a lot of fun, but wearying. We did some cool projects, including making pocket pals and tooling leather bracelets. Pastor Kevin did a great job on the bridge illustration during the opening session on the last night. It was a fitting finale. All in all, I had a good time, and I think the kids did, as well.
Now, back to the food. Between Norm and I, we're always trying different things in the kitchen. One of my recent attempts involved making home-made hummus. Yes, that includes starting with dried garbanzo beans. I've cooked dried beans at various times over the years, and am most familiar with the old "soak 'em overnight" method, but this time I tried something different that I read about here. I baked them in the oven for two hours without soaking them, first. They turned out great! I used this recipe for the hummus I made, substituting an equivalent amount of cooked garbanzo beans for the canned beans. Here is the finished product:

The true test of a new recipe at our house is how quickly it gets eaten up. This definately passed the test - it was gone the same day! Tune in again tomorrow to find out what else I've been experimenting with in the kitchen.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Back from Boulder Lake

We are back from our weekend camping and rafting trip. My sincerest apologies if you've been looking for updates during the weekend. Despite my best efforts, the blogs that I thought I sent did not come through. Regardless of that, we had a wonderful time! We camped at Boulder Lake Campground  for two nights. We were concerned about finding a campsite as we traveled northward, however, when we got there we discovered that there were plenty of vacant sites, and found one with a fairly level tent pad and plenty of space for our screen tent in a somewhat secluded circle near the back of the park. There are a lot of trees (duh! that might be 
Our Campsite
why they call it a National FOREST!) which made the site feel more private. After we arrived on Friday and got our camp set-up, we took a ride over to the river and walked along it for a ways just to get a feel for what we would be up against on Saturday. We also spoke to a person at the desk about the rafting trips, and she informed us that the top part of the 6 hour trip was closed due to low water. We were also told that if we wanted to go out for longer, we could redo the 3 hour trip just by paying the difference in the cost between the 3 hour and the 6 hour trip. We thought that was a good idea, but about half way through the trip we decided that once was enough. The water was pretty low, and at least one person in the raft had to get out fairly often to move the raft around the many boulders we encountered. Some day we hope to raft it again when the water is higher.

White water on the Wolf River - with LOTS' of boulders in evidence

More white water on the Wolf River - June 2012

Wild Wolf Inn and Herbs Rafts - with the rafts

Flora and Fauna

Norm and I are always on the look-out for interesting things that we don't often see in the city when we go camping. This time we saw a couple of very unusual looking trees that were growing over some huge boulders. The formations were quite intriguing. There were also some pretty wild irises in bloom along the river bank, but we were moving too fast for me to get pictures as we went by. We did some fishing on Friday evening, and then again early in the morning on Saturday and Sunday. We did manage to catch a few, but they were mostly too small to keep. There were schools of small blue gills around the dock that we were able to watch swim about because the water was so clear. On Saturday morning we were visited by a momma mallard and her six little ducklings. I couldn't resist the photo op. We also heard bullfrogs every morning when we were by the lake, and a small woodpecker that we didn't see so I couldn't positively identify. At the campsite I briefly saw a yellow-bellied sapsucker, but he was in such a hurry to leave that again - no photo op. We also heard but didn't see a pileated woodpecker. You can always tell them by the deep timbre of their tapping.

A tree growing over a rock

Momma duck and her ducklings

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sometimes It's the Little Things that Make Me Happy

I'm so excited I can hardly stand it. I have several reasons for feeling that way, right now, but the most immediate is that Norm and I are getting ready for a camping/rafting weekend that includes a couple of my favorite nephews, Hunter and Max. In preparation, I did some shopping this morning for a few items to add to our camping gear. Nothing big, mind you, but things I've wanted and now finally have - like that cool red and white checked tablecloth that makes a campsite look so homey, and the clips to hold it onto the picnic table if it happens to be windy. Since we're planning to go rafting, I also picked up a few small items that I thought would make that more enjoyable, like a waterproof box to put my camera in - that is IF I don't chicken out and decide not to take it rafting, and a 5 gallon waterproof bag to pack our lunch in. Soggy sandwiches just don't sound very appealing to me! Norm took a group of men to Boulder Lake - the campground we are headed to - last year, and I'm trying to learn from their experience of losing items that were not attached when they went rafting, so I also picked up a package of caribiners so we can attach anything we take to the raft. The cats meow will be getting to do some fishing - I love to fish, but haven't been for several years. I fully intend to remedy that this year. I'll be happy if we catch a few pan fish. Will report back - you know there always must be a "fish" story! Well, have tons of packing yet to do, so better get to it. Oh - and you might be hearing a bit more from me this weekend, as I'm planning to try my hand at some "on location" blogging. Signing off.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Something Nice in Madison

The gazebo

If you live in Madison, Wisconsin or happen to be visiting for a day, there are a lot of possibilities for how to spend the day. You might visit the State Capitol or the Historical Museum or the Veteran's Museum. You might walk down State Street, stopping in at whatever eclectic little shop that tickles your fancy, then end up with lunch from one of the carts on Library Mall and Babcock ice cream from Memorial Union. What you might not think about doing is visiting one of the small gardens that grace the beautiful campus of the University of Wisconsin - Madison, and for sure, then you would be missing out on something special. Today when lunch time came around I took a short walk, and ended up at the Botanical Garden. Granted, it is only an acre and a half, but that just means you can take a relaxing stroll and not be in a hurry to see everything. It is a sweet little nook in which to come to rest your mind. If you have a few minutes when you're in Madison, I recommend it. Here are a few photos to give you a taste.

Water lily

Prickly Pear

Hydrangeas in all colors

Sparrow taking a bath
Goldfish in the pond

The Blossom Sculpture
Disclaimer: for those of you who are familiar with my husband, Norm's photography, he get's neither the credit nor the blame for these pictures. For better or for worse, they are my original work.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


It started a couple of weeks ago when my SECOND batch of home-made chicken stock got away from me before I could take care of it. I told my sweet darling, Norm, that I needed to cook the chicken on Friday so I would have time on Saturday to take care of it – strain the bones out, package, and freeze. That may not appear to be a lot of effort, but when life is moving forward at the speed of a freight train, it seemed like plenty. So, I planned it, and put the chicken in the crockpot yesterday morning before leaving for work, using a variation of this recipe. Then, last week when we were headed to the Dane County Farmers Market, Norm put in a request for one of his favorite foods that his Mom used to make. Now, you must understand, Norm’s parents were both of German heritage, and this dish is distinctly German. It is creamed lettuce on boiled potatoes. Since we were headed to the Farmers Market, I made sure to get the lettuce and the potatoes – couldn’t have timed it better, as one of the vendors had German butter potatoes. How totally appropriate for the dish I intended to use them for. It was a gamble to get them, though, as I knew nothing about the cooking properties of German butter potatoes. As it happened, they turned out to be perfect for boiled potatoes. Since asparagus is in season and we love it, we bought some of that, too. So, here we were with all the fixings for a “down-on-the-Farm” meal, and just the two of us to eat it. Hmmm – must be time to invite company. Then Norm’s buddy, Tom, called him on Thursday about getting together. How perfect is that? So we invited Tom and his lovely wife, Lesa, to join us, and getting into the spirit, they brought home-made corn muffins, honey from the bee’s that Tom keeps, and a marvelous rhubarb crunch and ice cream for dessert. It isn’t often that circumstances come together in such a way but what a joy and blessing when they do. Thanks, Tom and Lesa for a fun evening of mutual camaraderie! Hope we can do it again soon! Now I’d better go and take care of my THIRD batch of chicken stock!
Doesn't this look like a meal you'd like to sit down to? [the creamed lettuce is mid-right]

Check the “In the Kitchen” page for recipes for the chicken and creamed lettuce. You’ll also find a picture of the turkey on the gardening page.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Do you ever run into one of those times when you reach an end? You know the kind I mean - where you’ve finished a big project or made it through an especially busy period of your life? That’s me right now. I just finished a very busy school year and was plagued with illness along the way, and am very much feeling the need to take time to be refreshed. I’ve been asking myself what that means over the course of the past few weeks, and realized that I simply need to do some of the things that I enjoy that tend to get shelved when I take on outside commitments. So - I made a short list of summer priorities. If it’s not on the list, it might not get done. As I write this, I’m reminded of the summer after I finished taking college classes. I hadn’t had much opportunity to read for pleasure, so I promised myself that is would be a summer of reading - and it was - 11,000 pages of reading strictly for enjoyment. This summer’s priority list includes gardening and working in the yard, practicing my music, writing, 15 minutes a day of housecleaning (ala Flylady), camping and fishing. Here’s to hoping that by summers end I will feel mentally and physically restored. What do you plan to do this summer to refresh yourself? Write a comment and tell me about it.

Thursday, May 31, 2012


Most days part of my routine for preparing to leave for work includes packing a lunch. I have two primary reasons for doing so. The first is economics. I other words, I’m a cheapskate and packing my lunch is the cheapest way for me to eat. The second is self-control. By packing my lunch I can attempt to regulate my food intake. Most of the time lunch is a salad during warm weather, or soup when the weather is cold. Then there are infrequent days like yesterday when I allow myself to splurge. After a very busy weekend that included coordinating a festival for my church and attending a wedding, I felt like I was due for a treat. If you’re from the Madison area, you probably know that Library Mall on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison plays host to several lunch stands where you can purchase a variety of different types of ethnic food including Mexican, Greek, and one of my favorites- East African. So yesterday when lunchtime came around, I headed out for a stroll to Buraka. My original intention was to get some Dorowat - a spicy chicken dish that I crave occasionally - but when I got to the cart and scoped out the menu, I decided to opt for the Vegetarian Peanut Stew. As with the Dorowat, the stew tends to be a bit spicy, but was the perfect choice to warm me up on a chilly day. The Peanut Stew had potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, and onions, and is covered in a rich, creamy peanut sauce that has that wonderful yellowish tinge that tells you turmeric has been added along with the other spices. When ordering they offer a choice of rice or injera, a traditional Ethiopian bread made with teff flour that you can’t buy conveniently anywhere else. The injera has the flavor of sour dough, and the form of a somewhat thick crepe. I wouldn’t dream of going with rice, knowing that the injera is something special that shouldn’t be missed out on. Add to that a side of Ethiopian lentils, and it’s a great lunch to have for a treat! If you happen to be in the Madison area and wandering State Street, I recommend trying Buraka. In the evenings, the restaurant is also available. Check it out!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Bowtie Primevera

Sunday was a busy day as Norm and I worked on the garden, so I was looking to put together a quick meal. Having been to the Farmers Market the day before, there were plenty of options available. Since I was in the mood for pasta, this is what I came up with:

Bowtie Primevera
1 C. Bowtie pasta, cooked according to package directions
6 stalks asparagus, broken or cut in pieces
1 medium-sized fresh tomato, diced
1 T. dried basil
1/4 C. heavy cream
2 T. romano cheese
Garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste
Half a fresh cucumber, cut into wedges for garnish
Leaf lettuce, enough to cover 2 serving plates

Cook the bowtie pasta according to package directions. A couple of minutes before it reaches al dente, add the asparagus to cook lightly. While pasta is cooking, arrange leaf lettuce on two dinner plates. When pasta is cooked and asparagus is bright green, drain. Return pasta and asparagus to pan. Add the diced tomato, dried basil, heavy cream, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Stir until slightly thick. Divide into two portions and serve on a bed of leaf lettuce. Garnish with cucumber wedges. Eat! Serves 2. Prep time: half hour or less

Verdict: this was a perfect spring meal, something warm, but still had the flavors of the fresh spring vegetables and went together quickly. This would be good with diced chicken or shrimp in it.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Starting again!

So - my daughter informs me that only people from Wisconsin start a conversation with the word "so". I'm from Wisconsin - and I do it a lot - start sentences with the word "so", that is. Hopefully it won't be enough to annoy you. Anyway, so I'm back at the blogger game, in the hope of improving my writing skills. We will see what happens. Come on along for the ride!