Friday, June 22, 2012

Cucina Viva Review

A new little store has opened around the corner from our house called Savi Market.  Previously on this little plot of land sat an old store called Mom and Pops and it was basically a convenience store that didn't sell gas.  All we ever bought there was beer and ice; it was a little dirty.  Then it closed for a few weeks and opened with a fancy new sign and it was all shiney and they even had some little bistro tables out in front.  Well, come to find out the place is awesome now!  They sell made to order sandwiches, basic groceries and a few "gourmet" items like this risotto
I love traditional risotto and the process of it: toasting the rice, adding wine and broth ladle by ladle until it is the perfect consistency and all of that, but for a week night this little pouch of flavor that you just add broth to and simmer like traditional rice was so convenient!  It didn't have as much mushroom flavor as I would have liked, I really really like mushrooms, but over all it was tasty and did have the true risotto consistency.  This quick side paired with easy skillet chicken and a small green salad was a great dinner that came together in less that 45 minutes - I call it a winner!

Sincerely Loving Food,

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Garden Results: First Crop

We got home yesterday from a little visit to FL for the hubs birthday, he is from the Sunshine State, and when I went out back to check the garden I was so happy with what I saw.  I grabbed my pruning shears and harvested all of this:
Obviously we didn't grow the can of non stick spray...I just sat it there so you could would appreciate how freaking huge that zucchini is! The bell pepper is a little under sized, but I think that is due to the zucchini plant keeping the pepper from getting enough sun...I am going to move it tonight.  The crocked neck squash is just perfect.  We are going to eat at least 2 of these things tonight...I will be sure to let you know how I prepared it.  My tomatoes are close, but they weren't quite red enough to be cut off the vine, hopefully within the next week or two...finally garden results, not just progess updates - HOORAY!
Sincerely Loving Food,

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Garden Progress

Thanks to some really nice friends, on Saturday morning I was able to go into an old over grown garden and dig up some really nice flowers that were being choked out by weeds.  My friends rent a home in an established neighborhood in Atlanta and the previous owner of the house was obviously very into gardening, like it was beautiful at a point in time and had signs labeling the plants and had some serious money put into it.  Now that the house is being rented, the garden isn't being kept up and some of the flowers were starting to die, which is sad, so they said I could come and get whatever I wanted.  Come Saturday morning off I went armed with trash bags to line the trunk of the car, a shovel and some gloves.  I couldn't fit everything I wanted in the car...lucky for me they said I could come back whenever I wanted.  Selfish I know, but I am saving the plants so my selfishness is for the good of mother earth right...please agree and make me feel better, thanks!  I ended up with about 4 of what I think is a tiger lily that will look like this
and a HUGE clump of lambs ear that I was able to seperate and put in multi locations across the yard as it will grow back really well.  Lambs ear looks like this, and it even feels furry just like the name says it should
As a reminder our back yard has a patio level which is where most my work this spring has been taking place.  The patio would be at the top of the long part of a capital L and the side of the house/airconditioning unit at the end of the short part of the L.  Maybe this will help you get the lay of the land...

Here is what the "short side of the L" looked like in the beginning of April, sort of a mess, pieces of some old mini wood fence, weeds everywhere, just not very pretty
Here is the same area at the beginning of May, a little cleaned up, no weeds, some flowers planted are starting to grow and we added some chairs (only one is pictured for some weird reason though)
And here is the long part of the L at the beginning of May, this is right after we built the raised beds, planted some seedlings and move the pots so they get the full sun they need

And finally here is what it looks like today!  Flowers growing, no weeds, there is some new lambs ear right in the middle, slowly but surely it is becoming beautiful!  The new tiger lilies are right in front of the air conditioner, but still a little hard to see as they were a little droopy from the move.  They should bounce back in a week or two though!
Long side, zucchini, squash, peppers and tomatoes growing in the raised beds.  Lambs ear running down the right side and herbs overflowing from the pots
and check it out the other chair finally appeared
I love those chairs!  My new favorite place to sit back, read a magazine and enjoy a cold cocktail after a day of gardening - whoever invented zero gravity chairs is a genius!  Please forgive the glare from the white thighs...
And obviously I couldn't have done it without my assistant Ralph!
As happy as I am with all the progress, it is slow going.  That is the thing about gardening, there is no "quick fix."  It takes time for things to become beautiful and colorful and lush.  I can't wait until this area is full of color and vibrant and looks like the cover of Better Homes and Gardens, but I have to remember some of those gardens are 20 years in the making and this is my first spring here.  I will just keep looking for plants that need rescuing, scouting the clearance aisle at Lowe's and working in the garden on the weekends....and maybe in a few years I will make it on that cover!
Sincerely Loving Food and Flowers,

Friday, June 8, 2012

Chopped Challenge #1

The hubs and I enjoy watching the show Chopped on Foodnetwork, where the contestants get a basket of 3 ingredients that they have to use in creating a dish.  So we came up with the idea of a Chopped Challenge for dinner.  So he went to the grocery the other morning and when I got home I had this, each of which I had to include in our dinner that evening
A large MahiMahi filet, a head of radicchio and 2 packages of crackers (from which I could choose one), oh and my lovely assistant Ralph

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

So Excited!

I had an extremely fun wedding weekend.  Unfortunately this is the one picture I have of me and my true love...I hate that it is blurry & dark because I feel like otherwise it would be so cute...oh well!
On a more exciting note - The hubs went to the grocery today.  He bought one meat and two other "secret ingredients."  We are having dinner "Chopped" Style like the show on TV...I can't wait to get home and see what is in my basket.  I will let you know how it all turns out.  I hope he didn't buy cucumbers; I hate those things!
Sincerely Loving Food,