Friday, August 20, 2010

Temple Pics

A friend of mine is a very talented temple photographer, in case you're ever interested ;)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Provo Farmers Market and CSA

It's not secret that I love fresh produce. And, since reading In Defense of Food, I find myself gravitating more towards organic, locally grown produce. That's why I signed up for my local CSA.

"What is a CSA?" you ask. A brilliant idea, for one. CSA stands for community shared agriculture. Essentially, you pay a local farmer at the beginning of a growing season to pay for the growing costs. Then, each week throughout the season, the farmer provides you with a box of freshly picked, locally produced vegetables and fruits. You don't usually choose what you get, but that's part of the fun, really. It teaches you to cook new dishes.

I signed up for the smallest share available which is still way too much for me. My current CSA shares are just vegetables, so I supplement with fruits from the farmer's market, another place to get fresh, local produce.

Not only does local, organic produce taste better, but it supports the agricultural culture of your area. The more we support these local farmers, the less dependent we'll be on industrially produced supercrops, which lack the nutritional quality and ecological integrity of local foods.

Oh, and did I mention how delicious they are? :)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Summertime--and tomatoes--in Utah

Summertime and the pollen is high.

I love photographing dandelions. They're so...ethereal. Especially when backlit ;) Don't they make you think of summer?

You know what else makes me think of summer? Tomatoes. And this year, I grew my own. You may remember when my first little guy budded. Well, feast your eyes upon...this!

That, friends, is my first tomato of the season. And of ever. I grew it myself. Victory tastes so sweet. My tomato plant may be dying and seeping with neem oil to control the aphids, but boy is it fruiting!

So, on my next post I hope to do a review of a book I recently read called In Defense of Food. By the time I'm through with you, you'll be begging me for some of my organic tomatoes, hahaha!

Maybe not. But, it's fun to lord over others with our produce from time to time.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

L.O.V.E. (More family photography)

"L" is for the way you look at me
"O" is for the only one I see

"V" is very, very extraordinary
"E" is even more than anyone that you adore can
Love was made for me and you :)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Homemade, wholesome pizza and more Utah gardening adventures

HAHAHA! Skeeaired? Don't be. It's not a dangerous spider. I mean, you don't want one to bite you (leaves a nasty welt, I hear), but they're good at killing bugs you don't like. Oh, and they jump. *Shiver.* But, look how fuzzy he is. I mean, in a way, isn't Harold here kind of cute? Just look into those eyes. And those other eyes...and those ones too... He's just a hardworkin' arachnid; don't hate!

It's called the Daring Jumping Spider. I ran into this cuddly little fellow yesterday as he was attempting to climb into my tomato plant. I should have let him.  My tomato plant is covered in filthy vermin! It's stressing me out. Those are my tomaters, free loaders! Yuck. Anyway, they'll soon be getting a thick serving of organic insecticide.

Ok. Now I'd like to get serious with you for a minute. Because, I'm going to show you my pizza. I made a pizza the other night and it was wonderful and healthy and you need to know about it.

So, good pizza must begin on a solid foundation. I wanted this pizza to have a kick-butt dough and I found one called Jay's Signature Pizza Crust. However, as is my wont, I Meg-ified it by subbing half whole wheat flour. That made this a pretty healthy dough since the fat is just a bit of olive oil. This crust is outstanding! Be warned: this is a yeast dough and must rise, so you'll have to start it about an hour before baking it (but it is SO worth it!)

After rising and rolling, it was time for some exceptional ingredients. I wanted simple but striking flavors, so I opted for no tomato sauce (gasp) and went with 3 toppings:

Emmentaler cheese, basil, and vine-ripe tomatoes.

Three words (and one article) for you: I am a genius.

Bahaha. But it did turn out pretty good.

Next, we threw it on my $10 baking stone and this is what came out:

And then we had ourselves a little slice of heaven. Actually, several rather huge slices.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

What I've Been Up to Lately: Gardening and Quilting

Do you see that little guy in the middle there? That glorious, green, little orb represents weeks of worry, water, and fertilizer. That, folks, is my first tomato.

That's right; I'm gardening. And by gardening I mean I have a tomato plant in a  5 gallon planter...that's currently sitting in my neighbor's yard because my tiny excuse for a half-porch doesn't get direct sunlight. And so what if I bought it at Costco? It didn't have any tomatoes yet; that part was all me. And the soil. And the fertilizer. Which both came from Costco.

Actually, I sort of feel that each little tomato popping up is somewhat of a miracle, since my plant has been flowering for over a month and has seen snow and near freezing temperatures. In case you don't know (and as I've learned), tomato plants don't like that. If I were the tomato plant, I wouldn't want to fruit either.

Want to see the rest of my "garden"?

In other news, the ongoing saga of my niece's quilt is beginning to wrap up. Only two years after it began.

Yes, I'm a master quilter as well as a farmer.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Everyone loves pork fat

Especially me.

J and I decided that there's enough garlic used on these to burst the space time continuum, which is why my hands smelled like garlic the day before I actually cooked them.

And the day of. But I think J likes when I smell like ribs.

When we eat these, it's hard not to just shove them down our throats as fast as our breathing will allow. That's how good they are. Tender, juicy, barbecue-y pork fat. Can you blame us?

I'd love to disclose the recipe, but my brother has sworn me to secrecy (he's our family grill master). So, I thought I'd just post these pictures to tease everyone.

Just kidding. I like you too much for that. But aren't they tempting?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Googly Eyes

So sorry. I've been a major blog slacker lately. But I've been having a blast.

So, you know how I know I'm the luckiest auntie in the whole world? Here's how:

And look at this one. How unfair is this face?

You want to know how I know I'm the luckiest girlfriend in the world? The other day I showed J Christopher Walken's classic gardening skit on SNL. It's one of my all time favs. Anyway, yesterday, I go to look at my tomato plant (whose name is Brad Paisley) and my bonsai (whose name is Jianli) and look what I found:

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Good Chilean Food

So, a few weeks ago, J and I went to Pantrucas, a local chilean restaurant.

Yum. Yum. Yum.

I love to cook. But sometimes, I just want to go out and be lazy. And pay a lot of money. For poor service and sub-par food.

Wait. No I don't.

That's why I like this place. It's not expensive, the service is lovely (it's run by a delightful Chilean couple), and the food is both authentic and delish! J spent sometime at a university in Chile, so he knows the real deal.

Take for instance, this golden-brown piece of heaven:
Crispy chilean empanada

When I was in college, I took an advanced logic class that drove me to the brink of insanity.  On one occasion, I remember writing out a long, extremely complicated proof that I'd done. I may have been the only one in the class who'd gotten it and I beamed with pride. However, my professor simply said,

 "It's not elegant."

After my initial rage wore off, I realized that what he meant was, because I was struggling to even solve the beast, I'd done a lot of unnecessary steps and taken a less direct route. It needed to be simplified.

This is a lesson I've taken to the kitchen. Simple does not mean boring. Simple means poignant, elegant food. Simple means work  Anyone can slop on the fats and spices to distract the tongue. The real challenge is enhancing flavor-- not covering it. And limiting you palette means you have to make every flavor count.

That's why I loved the Chilean salad. I think it was a simple concoction of fresh tomatoes, minced onion and cilantro, lime juice, and a bit of salt. But, oh the flavor! I'll never taste a tomato the same way again.

Fresh Chilean salad
J captured my Chilean food excitement:

Anyway, if anyone has any simple, yet tastebud-invigorating recipes they'd like to share, please post! I'll try to make it and put it up on here. Just know that I'm rather slow and lazy sometimes.

Before you go, check out these cute Chilean figurines:

Peace and blessings.