Mission Possible: Wednesday Dinner

Last week, Alex was travelling, I was working, and I had zero time to head to the store.  My well stocked pantry, along with the kale & herb remnants of the most recent garden swap came to my rescue.  Continue reading

Why didn’t I think of that?

Alex and I recently tried out a new restaurant in Tustin, Centro. They make really good, simple food, with fresh ingredients. Most of the menu is focused around a beautiful tile mosaic covered wood burning stove. Bonus: It’s a winery/brewery tasting room too!

IMG_3011They have plenty of great pizza’s on the menu, but my favorite dish was actually the bruschetta. This is what caused me to say: “Why didn’t I think of that?” Continue reading

Oh, Kale!

IMG_2197In late January, we created at tiny raised bed garden.  The only place that gets sufficient sun is on the south facing side of the house, next to the driveway.  Over the spring months, it produced a head of cabbage or two, but it has finally matured into a fully functional and productive space.  The tomatoes have just offered their first fruit of the season.  Juicy golden little gems.  Rare enough Continue reading

Mom’s Day

IMG_2020This Mother’s Day, Alex and I hosted brunch for my mom, his mom, and the rest of our family.  Having just completed my night of canning with Ashley, I had some left over cherries in need of a recipe, so inspired by our recent Breakfast Club, I made Ashley’s Cherry Clafoutis.  Nothing says brunch like a warm, sweet, tart, creamy clafoutis.  Since moms can’t live on clafoutis alone, I also made: Continue reading

Pomegranates

Alex and I were working in our front yard one afternoon.  Amy, who lives three doors down, and Erin a friend who lives in “the Castle” stopped by to ask if we wanted to join them for dinner. Amy was hosting, and her husband Tom was cooking.  Upon arrival at Amy & Tom’s Mediterranean/Spanish Revival home, we were treated to a grand tour complete with historic details. Tom is Greek, and they recently replaced the awnings with bold, bright blue canvas, so if you remove the homes on either side, and imagine the home dangling on a cliff, you might think you are in Santorini, or maybe the south of Spain.  You decide.  The blue theme continues inside the home where the remodeled kitchen has stunning blue marble countertops with Grecian inspired curtains.  Their home is filled with family antiques and unique finds from their travels.  Out back, they have the oldest pool in Santa Ana on record.  Don’t think that means it’s run down though, it’s not.  Hearst would be proud to have this lap pool at his own Castle.  It’s surrounded by fruit trees, and flowers.  Perfect for relaxing in the sun.

IMG_1736

Amy’s husband Tom loves to cook themed dinners. Apparently, their pomegranate tree was producing an abundance of fruit and Tom had devised a pomegranate themed dinner party to use it all up. Erin and Pete, Trish and Las, Rich and Tammy all joined in the pomegranate fun and every course featured a new use for the beautiful tiny red seeds. Amy’s pride in Tom’s cooking and creativity made the dinner even more satisfying. We left with some new friends, and new ideas on how to use the fruits of our garden’s labor.

 

How to be Neighborly: When life gives you pomegranates… share them.

Here’s how I use the fruits of other people’s gardens:

Wild Rice with Kale & Pomegranates

  • 1 c wild riceIMG_1737
  • 2 1/2 c chicken broth (or veggie broth if you are vegetarian)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 onion, diced
  • 2 c kale, chopped
  • 1/4 c pomegranate seeds (*)

In a sauce pan, combine rice, broth, salt, pepper, and onion.  Bring to a boil.  Once it starts to boil, turn the heat down to low, cover, and simmer for 20-25 minutes until the rice is cooked.  Once the rice is cooked, remove from the heat, and add the kale and mix until it wilts slightly.  Add pomegranate seeds, mix and serve.

(*) If you don’t have pomegranates, dried cranberries work well too.

Serves 4

 

 

 

Other People’s Houses

One of our neighbors is a pet sitter, and she seems to have stayed in half the homes in this neighborhood.  Lucky gal, right?  Oh, to see all that history.  I’d love that. She takes such good care of the pets when the parents vacation.  She walks them every day, plays with them, and talks to them.  She is a true animal lover.  She stayed at my parents’ house, and I swear they came home to a cleaner, more well behaved dog.  She’s so loved that when certain dogs are out for a walk with their parents and they see her, the dogs run toward her with such excitement, their tails wagging uncontrollably, that they drag their parents behind them.

Toby

Toby “Monster,” my parents’ oversized Aussie.

 

As good as dogs are at keeping us Company, occasionally she wants to talk to another adult.  Plus you can imagine it’s lonely staying in another person’s home without the comfort of your own home around you.  Because 1) we know several of the home owners and have been to their home before, 2) she asks permission of the owners, and 3) dogs are social animals and enjoy the company, occasionally we will visit her while she is pet sitting.   This was one of those days.  Now, this may seem odd to visit other people’s homes while they aren’t there, but for this neighborhood, it’s really not.  I would note that you have to check off criteria 1, 2 and 3 for this to be acceptable, but if you meet them, go for it.  Plus, this wasn’t a college rave, it was a group of adults, chatting over Kale & Onion Tart.  Good company, good food, good dogs… good night.

How to be neighborly: Mi casa, su casa

Here’s the tart we chatted about.

Kale & Onion Tart

 

Filling

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 c kale, chopped, loosely packed
  • 2 tbsp sundried tomatoes
  • 1/3 c ricotta
  • 1 c Comte cheese, grated

Shell

  • 1 1/4 c flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp butter, chopped into ½ inch squares
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ c water

 

Make the tart shell by combining flour, salt and butter in a food processor. Pulse until the butter is the size of peas. While the food processor is running, drizzle in olive oil. While the food processor is running, drizzle in water. The dough should start to form in to a ball. If it’s too dry, add a little more water in 1 tablespoon increments. Roll dough into a circle and press into a tart shell. (*) Keep dough in the refrigerator until the filling is ready.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sauté the onion, salt, pepper, and nutmeg in olive oil until slightly translucent but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add Kale to the onion mixture, sauté for one minute, and remove from the heat. The kale should only be lightly wilted. It will cook in the tart.

 

Fill the tart shell with onion and kale mix. Top with tomatoes, drops of ricotta, then grated Comte.

 

Bake at 400 degrees for 30 mins. Serve warm.

 

(*) For easy rolling and clean up, I use two pieces of plastic wrap placed on the counter in a square as a mat for the dough, and then another two pieces on top and roll the dough between the plastic wrap. Keeps the counter and rolling pin clean, and is easy to remove the dough from the wrap.  You could also use a store bought pie crust, but it’s so easy and cheap to make this, why would you???