You are currently browsing the monthly archive for September 2011.

Advertisements

I like to cook with wine.

I also like to drink wine.

So, this works out pretty gosh darn nicely for me.

I buy a bottle, pop it open, use a bit in my recipe, and then sip on the rest.

Bingo Bongo!

But what if (Heaven forbid!) you don’t like wine?

Well, first… you must be crazy.

Or maybe your taste buds are broken?

You should get that checked out.

What you should not do… is let your recipe suffer.

So, here is my Tuesday Tip.

Buy these guys:

I’m not recommending this brand specifically, but rather the mini-bottle 4 pack of wine.

Rarely in a recipe will you need more than one bottle’s worth of wine.

And the other three bottles will keep nicely in your fridge or a cupboard somewhere until they are needed again.

Don’t let your food suffer by omitting the wine.

And that folks, is your Tuesday Tip.

Have a good one!

XO,

Leah

Life is sometimes ridiculously unfair.

And I find it interesting when unfair things happen that people tend to respond in one of two ways:

1. They become a victim.

2. They become a fighter.

I want to introduce you today to three amazing fighters.

Meet Alison and Shaun.

I have known Alison since I was a wee tot. We met in elementary school, and we have been friends ever since.

And this, this is Carson.

He is Al and Shaun’s son.

When Carson was less than two weeks old, this young family’s world was flipped upside down.

Carson was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.

Cystic Fibrosis is a disease that affects the lungs and digestive system. In the 1950s, children diagnosed with cystic fibrosis rarely lived long enough to even attend school. Now, thanks to research and advances in science, people with the disease can live until their 30s or 40s. However, there is no cure.

Talk about unfair.

And terrifying.

And anger inducing.

And devastating.

And talk about a time where a person would have every right to play the victim.

But, that is precisely NOT what Al, Shaun and Carson did.

The decided it was time to fight like they had never fought before.

And this weekend was just another round in their ongoing fight with this disease.

This weekend, Carson’s Crew had a huge fundraising event, and it was incredible.

Food, drinks, a massive silent auction and tons of raffle prizes.

It was an absolute blast.

And it was pretty amazing to see a room full of people joining in the fight with my friend.

See, I think that’s the thing.

Victims just lay down and let the world pummel them. And it is a sad and miserable sight.

And fighters.

Well, fighters dust themselves off, put their dukes up and they start swinging. And soon, a fighter isn’t fighting alone.

Co-workers, friends, family, neighbors- they feel honored to join the fight.

Someday soon, CF will no longer stand for cystic fibrosis. Rather, it will stand for Cure Found.

And when that day comes, Alison and Shaun will know without a doubt that they helped make that happen. And that will be a victory that I, for one, cannot wait to celebrate.

When Brad and I left the event on Saturday night, Brad turned to me and said,

“That was good for my soul”.

And I’d bet my last dollar that everyone there felt exactly the same way.

To see a community rally around a young family that is in the fight of their lives was inspiring.

And to see my friends, with smiles on their faces, fight for their son was inspiring.

Good for the soul.

Yeah, I’d say so.

Have a good Monday!

XO,

Leah

P.S. If you feel compelled to donate to CF research please, click here. Thanks.

This is my friend, Annie.

I’m the one holding the wine glass, of course.

Now, Annie is about as dear a friend as a friend can be.

But truth be told, she has one MAJOR character flaw.

It is almost enough to keep me from being friends with her. Luckily, I am full of grace.

So, I can overlook this serious issue.

I decided today was the day to confront Annie with this issue.

And what better place than to out her than here on my public blog.

You see, Annie doesn’t like Ina Garten.

I know.

I know.

I heard your gasps from where I’m sitting.

It seems impossible, but somehow it is true.

One of my goals in life is to change her mind.

I hope to be a successful missionary for Ina.

To win over Annie and the rest of the world to the light.

Today, I attempt to do just that by sharing the best chicken dish ever.

I’m not kidding when I tell you that I could eat this just about every day, and I don’t think I would tire of it.

It is SO. GOOD.

Surprisingly, I was introduced to Ina more than a decade ago by this guy:

That is my husband.

He is pretty cute, huh?

Hands off.

He’s taken.

Well, he bought me my first Ina cookbook for Christmas one year. And my life was forever changed.

And clearly, I liked it.

I recently treated myself to her newest publication:

And in that book, you’ll find this recipe for Chicken with Shallots:

And then you will make it.

And you’ll never look at boring old chicken the same ever again.

I swear.

Do yourself a favor and click on that link above.

I made this recipe for two people. Ina suggests chicken breasts with the skin still on. I didn’t have that in my fridge so I used boneless skinless breasts. You can use what ya got.

Start by preheating your oven to 425.

I don’t like a super thick chicken breast.

Call me crazy, but it tastes a little too chicken-y.

Yes, I’m aware how insane that sounds.

So, I use a meat tenderizer to flatten out my chicken. If you don’t have a meat tenderizer, you can use a heavy pan to smash your chicken down a bit.

Remember to coat your chicken in a little flour before pounding the dickens out of it- that way the chicken doesn’t get completely torn up.

Give the chicken a little sprinkle of salt and pepper.

And put some oil in an OVEN SAFE pan, and heat the pan over medium-high heat.

Once the pan and the oil are heated up a bit, place your chicken boobies (haha, see what I did there?) into the pan.

After about 3 minutes, give the breasts a flip.

And pop the whole pan into your preheated oven.

Please note that the pan is pretty screaming hot. You can see some of the oil spitting about above the pan.

Now it is time for the most amazing sauce ever.

I have adapted the recipe a bit for two peeps.

Get a sauce pan out and stick it over a burner on medium heat.

Add in 1/2 cup of dry white wine. I used a Sauvignon Blanc (that we then drank alongside this chicken).

Chop up a large shallot and drop that into your wine.

You want about 1/4 cup of the chopped shallot.

Then squeeze in the juice of one lemon.

Then, spend the next 5 minutes pulling the seeds out of your sauce.

Dang, that was a seedy lemon.

Let that mixture gently boil until it is reduced by about half.

Wine, lemon and onion smell absolutely divine cooking together. Seriously, drool inducing.

If you get sidetracked and your sauce reduces too much, simply add in a bit more wine or some water. Easy peasy.

Now for the healthy portion of this recipe.

Get out your heavy cream.

And stir in about 2 Tablespoons.

Then, make this dish even more healthy by plopping in 2 Tablespoons of butter.

Stir it up, and then turn down the heat under the sauce to low.

That chicken ought to be done about now. It should be in the oven for 12-15 minutes.

If you pounded your chicken, it will be closer to a 12 minute cook time.

If you have a big old fat breast, it will be closer to a 15 minute cook time.

Pop that chicken on your plate, and drizzle your shallot/wine/lemon sauce over the top.

Serve it up alongside some cous cous and sauteed greens.

DIVINE.

And if that doesn’t convince you Annie.

Then, you are a clown.

Have a great weekend friends!

XO,
Leah

Today, I was clipping coupons out of the weekly Red Plum ad that comes in our mail on Tuesdays.

I stumbled upon these must-haves, and I knew that I needed to stop what I was doing and share it with you immediately.

First up, these fabulous wigs for a mere $30:

Now, don’t get me wrong. Wigs can be fabulous. And for some people, they are a necessity. But would anyone buy a wig from a Sunday coupon ad?

Can you imagine these models?

I bet their agents called them excited to have landed the models a feature in an ad.

“It will be great. You are young. You are hot. THIS is going to be the ad to get you noticed.”

Then, the twenty-something model shows up and has to put on a Golden Girl’s hairdo.

Oh, Mercy.

Forget about the crocheted top that the blonde is wearing.

I mean, the girl in the middle cannot be older than 24.

And no one buying that wig could possibly be younger than 86.

Right?

So, hop online and order your comfortable and versatile wig today!

Next up must-have.

This beauty:

It’s an exclusive miniature fairy, of course.

And everyone knows that Mystical Warriors Wear Pink.

WHAT?!?

You likely aren’t able to read the fine print, so let me just share with you a little excerpt:

“Her wings are adorned with with vibrant patterns, bordered in glittery opulence, and she wears a mask that proudly proclaims her individualism and power.”

All that for only $39.99!

What shocks me is that someone is buying this. Somewhere.

My favorite line from the entire ad:

“This doll is not a toy, but a fine collectible to be enjoyed by adult collectors.”

Of course it is.

And finally, for those of you that have sisters:

Now, of the three ads, this one seems to be the most reasonable to me. I have at least heard of Thomas Kinkade, and I understand that there are collectors.

But, still.

Pretty cheesy. Sister angels with a rose basket.

Why not?

Do yourself a favor. Read the ads that are in your Red Plum coupon booklet (usually tucked into the Sunday paper). There are gems like these EVERY. SINGLE. WEEK.

It is the gift that keeps on giving.

In other news, we had a visitor in the neighbor’s yard the other day.

Keep in mind that we live in the city.

Lola was tortured to be separated from that live dinner.

Hours. She sat like this for hours.

XO,

Leah

Hi Nerds.

I’m bad at blogging these days, but I see that you are all somehow managing to survive without me.

I’ve been very busy these days on the homestead.

You see, it is harvest time at said homestead.

It is the time of year where I get dirt underneath my nails so that I can procure the crops from the past growing season.

It is hard manual labor. But, I somehow manage to get it done.

Before I share with you the backbreaking details, take a look at my crops in their full glory.

Are you impressed?

The gloriously large basil plant.

Now you understand, right?

Why I can’t be with you online everyday?

Do you think this basil is going to harvest itself?

Will it transport itself from the ground to my kitchen counter?

No.

No, it won’t.

We recently added this high tech, super efficient harvest irrigation system.

It works so amazingly well for prepping the basil for the preservation process.

After the mounds of summer basil are cleaned for their storage through the winter months, I chopped them into the smallest bits.

And then I used my customized storage system for the final steps of the harvest.

Some people may call this apparatus an ice cube tray, but I call it the herbage preserver.

I fill each section with a portion of that chopped up basil, and I pop the herbage preserver into the freezer.

After a few hours, that basil is as frozen as can be.

So, I pop it out of the freezer and out of the tray.

Pretty fun, right?

I’m left with perfect teaspoon sized additions of fresh basil for my winter meals.

I bought my basil plans for $1.99 at the beginning of the summer. I know have enough pesto and basil to EASILY last through the winter.

Pretty clever, right?

My mama is a smart lady for she taught me the proper way to harvest my herby-herbs.

Up next?

Parsley, MORE basil, thyme, and oregano.

If you have an herb garden, don’t just let them wither and die. SAVE THEM!

I much prefer the freezing method to the drying method. When added to a dish in the frozen form, it maintains a brighter and fresher (is that a word?) flavor.

Have a great day!

I’m off to do more back breaking labor in the Wise family fields.

XO,
Leah

I love words.

I love the stringing of words together that creates sentences.

And  I love people that have the gift of creating extraordinary thoughts word by word by word.

I love this:

And this:

And I love words about love… especially from writers that have mastered the language of love.

Like this:

And I love words that offer the most practical advice.

Like this:

And I love Pinterest for helping me find all of those pretty words.

Happy Humpty Hump Day.

XO,

Leah

One of my all time favorite things about summer is the Hyde Park Farmers’ Market.

I love shopping for fruits and vegetables that are grown locally.

I love buying food that is in season.

I love the bread that I buy there.

I love the sweets that are for sale there.

I love the music that is playing.

I love the crowd.

I love it all.

I’m confident that wherever you live, there is a farmers’ market nearby- you may just have to do a little looking to find it. So, start looking people.

I’m also confident that when you find that farmers’ market, they will be selling the stars of today’s meal (at least the veggies that are in today’s meal).

We are in the peak of both peach and tomato season. If you have been hanging out around here for a little while, you know that this makes my life. Plump and juicy is what I love (yes, I realize that this sounds slightly sexual- I assure you, it is not)- and both peaches and tomatoes fit that bill. Bing Bong!

Here is the one downside of the farmers’ market. It makes me feel a little too yuppie-ish. I don’t want to be a yuppie. Do I?

I just want to eat good food while supporting local growers.

Can I do that and not be a yuppie?

I can?

Oh, well then… good.

Let’s discuss the stars of the day.

One gloriously imperfect heirloom tomato. The heirlooms will NOT look like perfect blemish free tomatoes that you find in the grocery store. And they won’t taste like those maters either. Heirloom tomatoes are sweet and juicy with a silky texture- heaven on a plate. I could eat these tomatoes like an apple.

Some cherry or grape tomatoes… I think the extreme heat we have had in Ohio this summer has left us with the sweetest tomatoes I have ever tasted. That’s a fact, Jack.

Red Swiss Chard (those green leafy things). You pull the green leafy part off of the stem to eat this good-for-ya green.

Some garlic- yep even this is from a farmer. It was a little dirty when I brought it home, but I like it dirty. (Seriously, I think my  mind is subconsciously in the gutter today). Sorry.

An onion- in season too. Please. Please. Please. Just go to your farmers’ market.

And finally- some homemade herbed pasta… now, Ohio City Pasta makes and sells a variety of options. You probably won’t find them at your local farmers’ market, so just use whatever pasta you have on hand. Kay?

I’m also using some shrimp and a lemon in this recipe. I didn’t buy either of those items at the farmers’ market. You could leave both out and the recipe would still be totally delicious.

Get out a big ole’ skillet.

Put some extra virgin olive oil and turn your heat on medium-high.

At the same time, put a pot of water on to boil your pasta.

Did I mention that this recipe serves two?

I don’t think I did.

For two people, chop one small onion and 2 cloves of garlic.

Drop them into your heated oil.

The onions should get translucent. If they get a little brown, that is ok.

Toss in your chopped swiss chard.

Side note: I stole some of my sister’s Essie nail polish. Isn’t it pretty? I think it is Essie Exposure, but I’m not 100% sure.

Let the greens wilt down a bit, then toss in your grape or cherry tomatoes.

Use your pretty pink nails to drop in some salt (approx 1 t.).

Throw in some pepper while you are at it (1/2 t.)

At this point, my water was boiling.
Fresh pasta only takes about 2-3 minutes to cook, and it is infinitely more delicious than dried pasta.

Can I get an AMEN?

While your pasta is cooking, add your de-veined and peeled shrimp to the skillet.

Let them get cookin.

Stir it up, little darlin.

This would be a shrimp that is not quite cooked. It isn’t totally pink, and it is still translucent. If your shrimp looks like this, let it keep on cookin’.

And this is what shrimp looks like when it is all done.

Pink.

Opaque.

Perfect.

Drain your pasta.

And add it to the dish.

While you are at it, take 2 T. of butter and drop it in.

Q: What doesn’t taste better with butter?

A: Nothing.

Squeeze half of a lemon into the pasta to brighten it up a bit.

If you don’t have a lemon, don’t worry.

This step is totally optional.

Serve that pasta up with a fresh farmers’ market peach and your sliced heirloom tomato.

Heaven.

I’m not kidding.

Happy Cooking, Loves.

XO,

Leah

1. Remember the recipe for Strawberry Blueberry Banana Bread? Well, I had some bananas that were turning yesterday, so I whipped up a quick loaf. And because I had some perfect peaches, I cut one up and added it to the bread. I still say this is the best banana bread out there, and the peaches take it up a notch!

2. My friend Annie introduced me to this gem of a website.

Suri’s Burn Book

Seriously, who doesn’t want to know what Suri Cruise thinks of all of the other celebrity babies out there. This amazing site has entertained me longer than I’m willing to admit.

Enjoy my friends!

XO,

Leah

 

 

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 614 other followers