Monday, November 17, 2014

Speeding Towards The END

..the end of the year that is!  How can it be?

November is flying by, even though it has been a rather uneventful month so far!
Weather wise we know it is autumn now, with a bit of chill in the mornings and even a couple of wet days!  Hallelujah we say!  The surrounding mountains are turning green.  That velvety, beautiful GREEN!

Garbo is taking me to dog school again.  Monday mornings are now dedicated to a Rally Class.  Our Instructor Tiffanie Moyano of Dog Logic U is priceless!  She knows her stuff and she knows her dogs. TRULY!  She is one of the most positive persons I have ever met.  Making us all feel good about our efforts no matter how klutzy we are!  There will be reports of our progress... never fear!

As the days roll by with the photographer spending time at the "salt mine," not whistling while he works, let me say... Garbo and I holding down the fort.  Walking, cooking, cleaning and baking.  The latest masterpiece Baklava!  That is some dangerous stuff!  As my Maria said: "crispy fillo dough, crunchy nuts, local honey and butter!  What's NOT to like?"

One of our grandsons is on his way back from a week end visit in Santa Barbara!  Said he'd stop here on his way home to San Jose; so I am heading for the kitchen!  Enchiladas filled with mushrooms, cheese and black beans are on the menu, along with pinto beans and mexican rice!  I better get cooking. The grandson who lives nearby will join us for dinner too. We take great pleasure in the fact that they come to visit!

Then soon... Thanksgiving!  Another Food Fest with Family!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Stew Making & Bread Baking Weather

As a rule I do not post recipes!  Letting those who know how,  do it.  Those who have whit and flair for it.  Although I often talk about food, as all things related to food and cooking is my true passion.  I would much rather get my recipe fixes from food bloggers and cook book authors such as David Lebovitz, one of my very favorites and Smitten Kitchen writer Deb Perelman.

In one of David's last blog posts from his Paris Kitchen, he featured a fabulous sounding recipe for a Whole Wheat Sunflower Seed Rye Bread that I have yet to try.... can hardly wait.

David's recipe did remind me a little bit of a bread I bake often!  A dense loaf loaded with healthy grains, seeds, nuts and fruit.  A bread that is great toasted.  Super good served with a schmear of cream cheese topped with pea sprouts, arugula and a few strips of red or green pepper.  It also pairs very well with a slice of really good cheese.

This is a bread that I started baking during the years the photographer and I lived in Sweden.  In Sweden, similarly to Germany, breads are baked with REAL healthy grains and flour.  Dense, often dark loaves.  You will not find any "Wonder Bread" there!

The original recipe came to my attention in the ICA (super market) stores monthly magazine "Buffet".  A bonus publication that was and I am sure still is, full of food inspiration.

This bread might not be "The Life Changing Loaf Of Bread" but pretty darn close.  It requires no kneading and no proofing.  Dump the dry ingredients into a big bowl.  Cut the fruit, toss it into the dry ingredients.  Add yogurt and honey.  Combine and voila, there you have it!
When I make this I always double the recipe.  Keep one loaf and give the other one away!  This bread keeps well.

Taking a loaf to the post office to mail to a friend recently, the postal worker on the other side of the counter asked what it was?  I described it as best I could and she said: "bring me some!  I will give you ten dollars a loaf for it".  Maybe I should bake her a loaf ?:-)

The following recipe is adapted and translated from an old ICA "Buffet" from 2009

Buckwheat and Spelt Bread with Fruit and Nuts

Makes one loaf.  Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F in the lower part of the oven.

2      cups spelt flour ( you can mix the flour  1/2 spelt - 1/2 whole wheat for example)
1/2   cup buckwheat flour
1      cup oatmeal, not instant or quick cooking
1/2   cup flax seed, not meal
1/2   cup sunflower seed
1/2    cup pumpkin seed
2      tsp. baking soda
2      tsp. sea salt preferably, or salt of your choosing adjusted to your taste
1      apple, cored and diced
1/2   cup dried apricots, diced
1/4   cup honey
2 1/4 cup yogurt,  plain or Greek

Mix dry ingredients in a big bowl.
Core and dice apple. Cut apricot into small pieces.
Add yogurt, honey, apple and apricots to the dry mixture.
Mix to combine with a big wooden spoon.
Pour batter into a standard loaf pan, greased and dusted with flour.
Top with some chopped nuts of your choice, some oatmeal and a sprinkle of flour.
Bake in the lower part of the oven for about 60 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack and when cool enough to handle turn out to cool completely.

Enjoy sliced,  with avocado, pumpkin seed, sprouts or arugula, cream cheese or butter on top.
Well, let your taste buds dictate and your imagination run wild! :-)

Now, out with the beautiful Garbo I go...

Monday, October 27, 2014

Octobers End

If ever there was a morning I regretted not having my camera along, this morning was it.  It was not exceptionally early, when we headed out the door.  Around seven o'clock, a gray morning, we were not woken up by the normal light!

Leaving Mister Cat and the photographer, who would NEVER leave without a camera, still sleeping. As we get outside, we are met by a crimson bright and gold sky to the East, heralding an approaching storm.  A fabulous drama in the distance.  Just beautiful!

Another reason for a camera today and this time of year in particular is because our neighborhood is dressed in her October best!  With all the fun corn stalk and bright pumpkin and squash displays on many porches and front steps.  There are scare crows and spiders.  Spider webs and bats.  Gravestones and skeletons.

As we go along, this particular morning and turn to go up Mark's Lane we see a magnificent rainbow,  spanning a bridge from one mountain range to another, across the San Benito Valley.  It was breathtaking!  People coming out of their houses taking pictures with I phones and cameras... while I had left both at home!

Lucky for us, we made it home just before it started raining!  Snug now, Garbo and Mister having eaten their breakfasts, the photographer and myself enjoying a cup of coffee, a bagel with cream cheese, gravlax and slivers of red onion.  A breakfast fit for both kings and queens.

As October is coming to an end our tomato plants are ready to give up the ghost.  We have truly enjoyed those little gems for a long time.  Preparing one of my favorite pasta dishes a couple of days ago, cooking cherry tomatoes with olive oil, garlic, hot red pepper flakes, oregano and calamata olives. Adding a handful of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano before serving.... saying farewell to picking tomatoes on the back deck for a while.

Grateful to have thyme, rosemary and basil still, to stuff into soups, stews and chile con queso during the upcoming cooler season!

There are candles to light, movies to enjoy, hot tea, apple cider and chocolate to pour into our cups, or a glass of red wine to warm us up!

Come on Autumn.....  we are ready!

Monday, October 6, 2014

(some of) Our Dogs

Someone forwarded the following sentiment to us in an email this week.
A few days later I saw these same words posted on social media.
True words!

Words that tug at my and the photographers heart:

"Dogs come into our lives

to teach us

about Love,

they depart

to teach us about loss.

A new dog

never replaces

an old dog,

it merely expands

the heart!

If you have loved

many dogs

your heart




(Not all the dogs that have shared in our life are depicted here, most are.... Blackie (for one) who lived with us for 15 some years, is missing. We will feature him another day. Blackie was a small dog with a BIG life and a LOT of heart. John's best friend!)