My Story

I've always loved being in the kitchen. Isn't that the gathering place at parties and get togethers! That's where the action is, where delicious smells come from, and where I go to create some really great stuff! My Grandma was my inspiration. She lived her life in Baltimore and she was ALWAYS in the kitchen (or down at the VFW for a crab feast and beer) but Alice created so many wonderful meals for our family. I remember there was always soup before the meal, usually a steaming bowl of crab soup with a rich tomato broth and lots of vegetables. Her crab cakes were incredible, a recipe I use today, and undeniably the best. I would challenge ANY other crab cake recipe to match my Grandma Alice's. The first meal I made for my mom was macaroni and cheese from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook back when I was about 7 years old. I was very proud of it, and it was really good..a creamy white sauce combined with good old cheddar and shells sprinkled with toasted bread crumbs..yum. So off I went through life, cooking and baking, and came to realize that baking was the shizzy. I loved finding a great recipe and making it even better. Funny my kids didn't like sweets much, so I showered friends and neighbors with treats. Later down the road, when some real decisions needed to be made, I decided to attend the baking and pastry arts program at The California Culinary Academy. I was 47 years old and had no idea what I was in for (another blog). So I mastered the art of baking thanks to a dedicated and talented team of instructors. I did a gig in the basement of well known pastry kitchens and had a wonderful time working for a small caterer cooking with a great bunch of gals. But here I am now, still cooking, still baking and loving it, in my own kitchen where I can share my love of this sport with the world. I take all my own photos (another passion) and I hope you will have patience and stay with me in this newest adventure. So thank you Grandma Alice for all those delicious memories, stories and inspiration. Stay tuned..

Friday, August 6, 2010

from this to that..

In our travels this past weekend, my husband and I stopped in Clovis to see a friend's garden. That Central Valley soil, along with the heat of the summer (actually it's pretty warm there year round) creates prime growing opportunities for a bounty of summer veggies.

This gal doesn't have alot of space in her back yard since they designed and put in a lovely pool and sitting area, but she's designed the yard for optimum use, included in the design,
a little putting green!

Instead of one contained vegetable garden, my friend has put her veggies and herbs around the perimeter of the yard that gets the best sun.

There's a bounty of tomato's along the fence, basil next to the pool (yes! they can smell it while they swim!) Italian peppers tucked next to the lavender and squash basking in the sun sharing a space with a rose. As we strolled around the yard chatting, she grabbed a fist full of peppers, a healthy looking yellow squash and passed these gems on to me.

So, home once again, I plucked the two banana peppers in my garden and perused my books looking for a delicious idea on what to do with the peppers and squash, and this is what I came up with:

Tessie's Italian Peppers
  • Take a handful of Italian peppers, slice up a shallot, whack 6 garlic cloves
  • Grab a large skillet, add a generous pour of your favorite olive oil and turn up the heat
  • Add the peppers, garlic and shallots, a good dose of salt and pepper
  • Cover with another heavy (but smaller) skillet to weigh it all down
  • Cook for a few minutes then check for caramelization (you might want to pull the garlic out..don't let it burn!) While the pepper mix is browning, slice the squash 1/4 in or so
  • Continue to brown the peppers and shallot, then turn and do the other side
  • Remove the pepper mix to a plate (don't forget the garlic!) and slide the squash into the pan
  • Throw in some salt and pepper, turn up the heat a bit and let the squash caramelize
  • Turn and do the same for the other side
  • Throw in some bread crumbs if you have them, a little more s and p and there you go!

1 comment:

  1. This would be something I would never of imagined to do! Sounds great. I loved reading the description of your friends yard with the pool. Would be neat to see those photos too. I like yard plans and ideas, especially water features or pools.