Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Salmon with sugar snap peas

IMG_0420, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

I saw this recipe on the cover of Bon Appetit (April 2010) and had to buy the issue...just for the cover. I made it once with beet greens because that is what I had but after finding the pea tendrils along with the fabulously fresh sugar snap peas at the Farmers' Market I made it again. The sesame oil, flavored vinegars, ginger and soy sauce really give these vegetables a great flavor and on top of the salmon...divine. I am posting the link for the Bon Appetit recipe:
Bon Appetit!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

April at the Farmers' Market

The second thing I do on Sunday morning is to go to our local Farmers' Market. Besides becoming more and more popular and helping our local farmers sell directly to their neighbors, it's a wonderful source of inspiration for the coming week's menus. I was planning to pick up my usual organic strawberries and fresh "happy" (that's free range & organic) chicken and eggs. And the hand made chicken tamales with salsa verde is a given. But today I was hoping to find pea tendrils and snap peas for a fish dish I want to make. Not only did I find the pea greens but also fresh tender arugula, artichokes for $1 each and these gorgeous squash blossoms. I hope I get to paint these beauties before I eat them and I'll really be lucky if I get to do both. I hope you all have a local Farmers' Market to shop from each week.

Squash blossoms

Squash blossoms, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

soon to be filled with goat cheese and herbs

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Eden rose in the morning

Eden rose, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

First bloom of the spring. Ah! I love this rose. Four months ago I dug this 15 year old rose out of its home in the soil in hopes that I could transplant it to a container ( a very large container) and then eventually to a new home. I was not too sure it was going to work. I cut back this climber so that I could handle it, cut off almost all of the thorns on the 3 remaining canes and hoped for the best. Early this morning this bloom greeted me and made me smile. I hope it gives you joy, too.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Yellow beets

yellow beet, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Besides the rich red colored beets there are also these gorgeous yellow ones and if you are lucky you can find chioggia which are candy striped. I buy the yellow ones when they are available. They are rich with a different group of vitamins and minerals than the red ones but equally nutritious. When you slice beets you see the wonderful rings inside which show up nicely in a salad

Beet salad with blue cheese and walnuts

Beet salad, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Final destination: a lovely yellow beet salad. I think I have posted this recipe before but here goes again:
roasted beets, sliced about 1/4 inch
blue cheese, crumbled
walnuts, toasted
greens, tossed in Balsalmic vinegar and olive oil, save a little to add to the top of beets.
Bon Appetit!


Sophie, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Last week I was talking to a patient of mine about dogs. She offered to show me a picture of hers which was adorable as most al dogs are. I was embarrassed to say I had no pictures of my Sophie. So the other day we had a photo shoot in the Zen garden. Sophie chose her spot in the sun and then wondered what the heck I was doing. Sophie has been my "best friend" for almost 8 years. When I first brought her home she fit on my forearm and that was the way we went places together. Now she is just under 100lbs and if she happens to sit on my foot it hurts. (She used to be 122lbs!)
We start every day with a 3 mile walk which today caught us in the middle of a downpour of rain but Akitas have a double layer coat and well, I had a windbreaker and a hat.
With the exception of a few years of married life I have had a dog since I was a young child. My mother and I used to have collies and show them professionally but as an adult I am a one dog girl. Akitas get a bad rap sometimes for their aggressiveness but with good training, regular excercise and lots of love they can be wonderful family companions. Sophie is the best dog I have ever had. I thought she deserved a post of her own.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Crystal Cove

IMG_0322, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Crystal Cove beach cottages

Crystal Cove beach cottages, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

I walked into the secluded area, found a place for my beach chair and started to sketch. Many of the cottages are trimmed in this beachy turquoise blue

Crystal Cove cottages

IMG_0313, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Just south of Corona del Mar is a beautiful strip of coastline called "Crystal Cove". A little community of beach cottages is nestled below Pacific Coast Highway where up until a few years ago the cottages were occupied. The Irvine Company, owners of this coastline property, would not renew the leases and all occupants were forced to vacate. Then the cottages sat empty and neglected. Bad Joan Irvine,,,,,,,bad, bad, bad! A group called Crystal Cove Alliance has a mission to restore these old shacks to the point that they can be rented out. The group is also dedicated to preserving the historic uniqueness of this commune. These cottages are again "hot" property. If you are interested in vacationing here will tell you more. It is about as easy as getting a cabin reservation at the Ahwahnee hotel in Yosemite. But it is do-able. It just may take you back in time a bit like it did for me today

last cottage south

IMG_0315, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

There are many that need to be restored before they fall down.

The dive shop

IMG_0318, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

and some of the cottages have been beautifully renovated and are rented out.

Shake shack

IMG_0323, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

and then up the stairs to the Shake Shack, famous for their date shakes and easily noticed by the bright yellow color. A few years ago "Ruby's" bought the famous landmark and painted it blue and white. They serve sandwiches, chips and, of course, shakes.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Radish frenzy

radish, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

I have a lovely day off today and since I filed my taxes over two months ago I have time to enjoy my day. If you know me or if you've been following my blog you know that the 3 things I love to do the most are paint, garden and cook. Today I did all 3.
I have been crazy about radishes lately. Last weekend I found these gorgeous big ones at the Farmers' Market. They have given me much inspiration and brought back fond memories of my childhood when it was so much fun to grow these little guys and even more fun to eat them....icy cold, fresh and crisp.

Planting radish seeds

IMG_0305, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

I grew up in an area that was used prior to post war building as dairy farms and orange groves. The dirt was fertile and it was easy to be a successful gardener. I think that I became a passionate gardener 5 days after I planted my first radish seeds. After just a few short days the seeds will germinate and send up their little sprouts. So out to the garden I went today to plant some radish seeds....not in the ground.....I am going to try a wide shallow terra cotta pot. I'll be hopeful in 5 days to have little baby radish sprouts and 28 days after that....crisp and juicy radishes. Out to the garden I go

radishes with herb butter and bread

IMG_0301, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

and then I get to create something in the kitchen with radishes: taking inspiration from Ina Garten in her "Barefoot in Paris" cookbook I decided to make an herb butter from the herbs in my garden and have sort of an open face radish and butter sandwich.......tres Francais! and tres delicieux!
Here is the recipe for herb butter:
1 cube unsalted butter
fresh herbs:
1Tbs chives
1Tbs tarragon
1Tbs parsley
1tsp dill
1Tbs fresh lemon zest (Meyer lemon)
1/2 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper
In a mini cuisinart mince the herbs until very fine, add the lemon zest and juice, then add room temperature butter, salt and pepper and mix until blended well.
Bon Appetit!

Don't have fresh herbs or a mini-prep Cuisinart? I don't believe I know you.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Root vegetables

carrot, onion, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Oh Spring! Sunday at the Farmers' Market there were so many beautiful vegetables....spring vegetables. The red onions, including their stems were beautiful as were the tender young white turnips and the radishes. Did you grow radishes as a child like I did? They are sew easy to grow from seed and are ready to harvest first. I have been trying to search new ways to eat them but I always come back to whole or in a salad.. This painting is 12" by 15" too large for my scanner so it is in 2 parts.

radish, turnip, carrot

radish, turnip, carrot, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

I really wanted to do the radish but it resides on the left side of the painting

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunflowers, no sun

sunflowers, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

I took some time to paint today. It was planned. The time was set aside. I found sunflowers at the Farmers' Market. All was in line. Except the sun never came out today. It was too cold to paint outside and it just wasn't the same indoors. Sunflowers search for the sun and their lovely faces are turning towards it during the day. Maybe the sun will come out tomorrow!

Italy: dress rehearsal

IMG_0295, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Last week I purchased my flight to Italy. Yea!!!! I have been advised to stick to carry-on size luggage, coordinate and layer clothing and pack light. Also for my art classes I need a portable chair (stool), my paint supplies and a sunhat. We will be walking a lot as you usually do in Europe and jumping from plane to train to bus and who knows what else. Of course I have to have a book, my phone and my iPod so here I have everything laid out. (except my maps, chargers and hair dryer. OK here goes...

Trial run: ready to go

IMG_0300, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

and lo and behold all of this stuff fit into 2 carry-on pieces meeting the size and weight requirements. Now I just have to decide which cashmere pashmina, lime green or lavender.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

Easter egg hunt, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

I hope you all had a "hoppy Easter". After church we came home to find the Easter bunny had hidden dozens of eggs filled with surprises....mostly containing sugar. The girls had fun finding them and placing them in their baskets. Then we settled in for a yummy brunch: the ham was from Trader Joe's. It was perfect. The side dishes we made at home. The potatoes were made last night and the egg casserole before we left for church. I hope you can try each of them.

Chili egg casserole

Chili egg casserole, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

This was our egg dish. Whitney has made this several times and it always comes out delicious. It's nice because it is crustless and has a Mexican flare because of the cheese and chilis.

10 eggs, beaten until light and fluffy
2 cups cottage cheese
1 pound Jack cheese, grated
2 small cans of chopped green chilies
1/ 2 cup flour
1/2 cup melted butter
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Place in a buttered 9" x13" baking dish
Bake at 350 degrees for
35 minutes
Try variations: for Kate's birthday we made a second one with sausage and hash brown potatoes

Scalloped potatoes

Scalloped potatoes, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Who doesn't love these:
4 potatoes, peeled and sliced (1/4 inch thick)
milk, 1 cup
water, 1 cup
bay leaf, 1
In a sauce pan cook potatoes in milk/water, bay leaf and salt until tender. Drain
I cup onions sauteed in butter until golden
1 1/2 cup Gruyere cheese, grated
garlic clove
2/3 cup milk
Rub a fresh clove of garlic In a baking dish and then rub with butter. Place half of the potato slices in the bottom of the pan, layer with half of the grated cheese and half of the onions. Grate fresh nutmeg and pepper on this layer. Add the rest of the potato slices and the rest of the cheese and onions. Pour the 2/3 cup cream over the layers and place in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour until bubbly and golden.
Bon Appetit!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

In the kitchen with Nana

Kate is 3, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Kate is visiting me for a week with her sister and Mom and Dad. Kate is the first up in the morning and also the first ready to fix breakfast. She suggests pancakes this morning.....the third morning this week. Since Kate recently turned "3" she is proud to wear her new shirt I made for her to wear for another 50 weeks. Thank for the help in the kitchen, Kate.

making pancakes, the movie

making pancakes, originally uploaded by cabanagirl.

Sorry you have to either turn your head 90 degrees or your laptop a quarter turn.