"If life gives you limes, makes margaritas." - Jimmy Buffet
What if life gives you blackberries AND limes? Definitely make margaritas!
Fall officially started this week, which delights me to no end. Like many others, fall is the season that speaks to me the most. However, here in Northern Colorado, mother Nature hasn't quite gotten the memo as we are experiencing pretty hot, dry weather. Truthfully, that is pretty par for the course around here. It's a (soon to be not) well kept secret that Colorado actually has pretty fabulous weather almost always.
It's also been kind of a challenging week. I am growing weary of life on crutches.Trying to keep a house clean that is for sale while on crutches is not nearly as much fun as it sounds. Everything is taking me twice as long, if not longer, to do. My shoulders are starting to bear the brunt of life on crutches. So just hoping a healed stress fracture doesn't lead to a torn rotator cuff. LOL! My hubby was also experiencing a pretty rough work week and so the gorgeous weather and the fact that a potential buyer looked at our house today, seemed like cause for celebration! Love to hear what you think if you try them!
Blackberry Margaritas- Makes 4
1 cup simple syrup, cooled or chilled*
2/3 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup Cointreau or Triple Sec PLUS enough fresh-squeezed orange juice to equal 2/3 cup
1 cup Tequila, your favorite (I like Patron Gold)
2 - 6 ounce packages fresh blackberries
Place all ingredients into blender jar. Mix on high speed until smooth. Strain through a not too fine strainer just to remove the seeds (if you have a BlendTec or Vita Mix Blender, you may be able to skip this part), if desired. If making ahead, cover and chill. To serve, pour into ice-filled , salt rimmed glasses and garnish with a wedge of lime and fresh blackberries.
Combine equal parts granulated sugar and water (e.g. 1 cup each) in a saucepan. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, gently swirling pan to mix. DO NOT stir. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Allow to cool. Keep leftovers refrigerated for up to 10 days.
“Home is the nicest word there is.”-Laura Ingalls Wilder
For me home conjures up only the best and nicest of memories. I had a wonderful childhood of simple pleasures, nothing extravagant. I knew both my parents loved me. I had normal sibling relationships of fighting like cats and dogs and laughing together until milk came out of our noses. We had memorable holidays with traditions we could count on and look forward to. We had simple but delicious meals made of fresh foods from nearby farms or farm stands in the summer that we would ride our bikes to to get corn for supper or strawberries for breakfast.
As an adult now, I treasure more than ever the kind of childhood I had as it was a simpler time. It seemed in fact, that there was time for everything, compared to now when time seems to be the thing I am always fighting against. However, one thing I have brought with me to adulthood, to my marriage and to my family, is the idea that a meal, freshly prepared and shared together is something to treasure and to savor. I have professional culinary experience and a reverence for ingredients, but neither are really necessary to cook food from the heart for those I love.
When I saw that Jeanne Oliver, one of my artistic and entrepreneurial role models, was joining with some of her creative friends to offer an on-line course called Art of Home, I was instantly excited to see what it would be. I signed up, not so much for the recipes or the ideas, but for the content of their hearts that would be shared. I am drawn to authenticity and trueness. Jeanne Oliver's network of artists and makers always seem to come from a very authentic place. I value the feelings and insight I can gather from other women's experiences, especially those who are not out to impress me, but rather who are doing small acts of love and kindness the best they can to build something important that matters. They just may touch and encourage you, too. Right now to celebrate the launch of the course, there is a fabulous giveaway to boot! Let's celebrate the art of home together, not as a quest for perfection but for connection to those that matter most to us.♥
"Cooking well doesn't mean cooking Fancy." - Julia Child
Yesterday I told you about roasting some tomatoes I bought from my local farm stand. I love to do this because they are really a versatile ingredient to have on hand. Roasting them concentrates the flavor and firms them up a bit, but not so they are leathery and chewy like a sun-dried tomato. No, these still remain supple and easy to chew. I like to snack on them out of the container, but here are a few ways to use them to jazz up other things:
1. Add them to a roasted turkey and avocado sandwich.
2. Substitute them for (or use them in addition to) fresh tomatoes in a BLT.
3. Use them as a topping on a bowl of fresh polenta sprinkled with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
4. As soon as they come out of the oven, toss with a little more Extra virgin Olive oil, some shredded fresh basil, salt and pepper and toss with freshly cooked pasta.
5. Garnish grilled chicken or firm white fish with them.
6. Make the best grilled cheese and tomato sandwich with them
Ok, let's make grilled cheese! For each sandwich take two slices of good quality artisan bread. Lightly spread mayonnaise on one side and Dijon mustard on the other. Top the mayonnaise side with sliced white cheddar cheese (sharp or extra sharp) and add the Roasted tomatoes. Top with another slice of cheese and place the Dijon mustard side facing down on top of the tomatoes. Lightly butter the outsides of each side.
Preheat a frying pan or griddle to medium. Lay the sandwiches in the hot pan, and cook until golden brown. Flip sandwich and continue cooking until the second side is perfectly golden (I like to cover my pan so the cheese melts more quickly). Remove the sandwich from the heat, slice and serve. Yum!
“Home grown tomatoes, home grown tomatoes. What would life be like without homegrown tomatoes
Only two things that money can't buy-That's true love and home grown tomatoes.”
-John Denver, 'Home Grown Tomatoes' (written by Guy Clark)
I recently discovered a little gem of a farm nearby. It is on the site of what I thought was a dairy farm. However one day I was driving by and there was a sign for chemical- free produce and fresh eggs. I had to stop! Inside they had tables stacked high with freshly picked produce, beautiful eggplants, heaps of kale, piles of summer squash and box after box of gorgeous tomatoes of all colors. I bought several pints of the small ones in every color they had. It's true that there is nothing like a home-grown tomato. The flavors are more complex and you can taste the sunshine in them. Puts a grocery store tomato to shame every time. Now that's it's late summer, they are all ripening and it's prime time to grab some.
Last night I decided to roast some of the bounty, which is so easy. I washed and halved the tomatoes and lay them on a parchment -lined baking sheet. While my oven was preheating to 350 degrees, I drizzled them with extra-virgin olive oil, sprinkled them with kosher salt and topped them with fresh thyme sprigs. Then I roasted them for about 40 minutes. They keep covered in the fridge for several days and have lots of uses (that's assuming you don't just eat them right off the tray first)!
When they are done, they look like this. That caramelization is the good stuff-lots of concentrated flavor.
Tomorrow I'll share some ideas on how to use them in your kitchen! Bon Appetit!
"And suddenly you know: It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of new beginnings".
I have had this domain name and blog space for months now. Today, Labor Day 2015, I finally sit down to create my first post. I have to admit facing the blank page is scaring me to death. I don't consider myself a gifted nor eloquent writer. I am not even sure what my exact intention for this blog will be. I consider myself to be on a creative journey. I love cooking and baking, exercise and health, nature and the changing seasons and in the last 20 months have started an artistic journey consisting of sketching and painting. I started that journey scared to death, too, so unsure of my abilities or even my worthiness to create. Who did I think I was trying to do art at my age? Never mind that all I ever did as a child was create something-music, drawings, crafts, food. So I began as a very tentative beginner. Now I am getting more and more comfortable trying new things and seeing where I get. It has been so much fun! When I am lucky enough to have something turn out well, I surely am filled with wonder and gratitude. Are you a beginner at something, too?
So just to introduce myself, my name is Lynda. I live in Northern Colorado where I live a pretty active life (except for right this moment as I am experiencing an "emerging" stress fracture in my left fibula-no fun!) And talk about wonder and gratitude, try feeling indifferent to life (not to mention quite small) at the summit of a peak that's over 14, 000 feet above sea level. Not possible!
Thank you for stopping by. I'm honored.