Sleeping Baby Chick

Have you ever seen how baby chicks take naps?  It’s very funny.  They tip forward on their little chins and pass out.  I kept thinking the chickies were dead, but when I touched one it would pop right up and start running.  I took this photo when they first came home.  This is Lucille (Lucy) looking like a fall down drunk.  I just LOVE LUCY!

Lucy sleeping

I’ve renamed the chicks.  I will share their names and breed types here soon. 

Advertisements

“A New Earth” at Alki Beach in Seattle

alki bakery

My partner worked in West Seattle very close to Alki Beach for the past few weeks.  I love Alki Beach.  I think it is one of the most romantic views of Seattle.  You may remember the view from “Sleepless in Seattle”.  I also have lots of memories of hanging out at the Alki Bakery. When I attended college –a brief one year stint. I used to love to go there to study chemistry.  I hated chemistry.  Alki had a way of unwinding  the stress surrounding atoms, elements, and ions (oh my!).

Written April 21, 2008

Rainy days and Mondays always get me down….

Well, most of us know the lyrics to the famous Carpenter’s song.

I have to admit, I don’t enjoy rain as much as I do a nice clear sky filled with sunshine, but I’m not going to allow weather or a day of the week contaminate my attitude today.

As I drove through the heart of the city today, on my way to West Seattle, I noticed the traffic was heavier than usual.  The Dalai Lama is in town, so thousands of people are gathering for the “Seeds of Compassion” conference. At first, being in traffic made me think, “Oh my God, this sucks!”  Then, I decided to create a better space for myself and I felt my body and paid close attention to my breathing.  As I did I became aware of the slow moving bumpy road beneath me.  It reminded me of the old wooden roller coaster my sister and I used to ride in upstate New York at “Rose Land Amusement Park”. The trains slow ascension up the track made the same bumping noise and vibration in my body.  I remembered how exciting the ride was, and all of a sudden, I moved into the moment, I thought, “Ah ha! Why not enjoy the ride?”

I looked around and saw the Space Needle and a few huge cranes swinging around at quite a good speed. Before long, I was at my destination.  I picked up Mark and we drove to the Alki Bakery for tea and hot chocolate.  Right away we started talking about a friend and the friend’s problem, and we tried to figure out why said friend is the way said friend is .  In the middle of our discussion I flashed to Eckhart Tolle’s message written in his latest book,  “A New Earth”, and it brought me back to the moment, and I realized we were creating our own misery by focusing on the negative, and worse yet , feeding our pain bodies in the process.  Mind you, this wasn‘t a matter that concerned either one of us personally, so it was a non issue–ever notice how most of what people talk about are non-issues?  There we were sitting in the middle of a beautiful beach town, inside a lovely bakery, drinking hot cocoa and looking at the web site I am building and we were talking about some other person’s perceived problem!  The ridiculousness of our discovery made us laugh.  We opted to focus on the beauty around us. I even snapped a few photos.

 I’m writing this from Alki Beach. The view is beautiful and peaceful. Not everybody can spend a few hours watching tug boats and listening to waves rush in and out while seagulls call out from above.
 

seattle alki 

Rainy days and Mondays can be quite a blessing.

alki tugboat 
 
Enjoying the “Now”.

 

Ina Garten’s Espresso Ice Cream

 

Another excellent Barefoot Contessa recipe (not from her Paris cookbook!). A friend at a cookbook

group had once made this and it was so good I decided to make it myself.

If you dont have an electric ice cream maker, you have to get one before summer. The prices on these babies have dropped since I bought my first one. My second came from a moving sale and it had never been opened! $5 for a brand new Cuisinart ice cream machine is hard to beat. I like to have two in order to make two different ice creams at once. Or you can make gelato and sorbet as well.

It is going to be a Seattle style scorcher here today74 degrees (or so they say)and in Seattle, we love our coffee and espresso, so I think it is only fitting that I made Espresso Ice Cream this morning. 

BAREFOOT CONTESSA’S ESPRESSO ICE CREAM

Makes 1 quart

Note: Be sure you use finely ground espresso beans, not instant espresso.

3 cups half-and-half
6 extra-large egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
2 1/2 tablespoons ground espresso coffee beans, decaffeinated or regular
1 tablespoon Kahlúa liqueur
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 ounces (1/2 cup) chocolate-covered espresso beans, chopped

1. Heat the half-and-half until it forms bubbles around the edge of the pan and steam starts to rise. Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks, sugar, and salt until mixed. Slowly add the hot half-and-half until combined. Wipe out the pan and pour the mixture back into the clean pan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 5 minutes, until it’s thickened and the cream coats the back of the spoon.

2. Pour the cream through a fine-meshed sieve into a bowl. Add the ground espresso beans, Kahlúa, and vanilla and refrigerate until completely chilled.

3. Pour the espresso cream into an ice-cream freezer and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Mix in the chopped espresso beans, spoon into a container, and allow to freeze for a few hours. Soften slightly before serving.

 

These work great!

 

I still cover it with a kitchen towel to give more insulatation

NOTE: I spin in my ice cream maker for 25 minutes. 

The bottom photo shows my ice cream before I have placed it in a container and freezer for 2 hours.  In two hours it will be hard ice cream.  I prefer to serve it after it has been in the freezer a few hours so that my guest don’t end up with soup after their first bite.

 I found milk chocolate covered espresso beans at a candy shop, and they also sell them at the larger super markets.

Warning: This ice cream is high in caffiene and will keep you up like regular espresso! Use decaf if it is an issue.  Next time I will cut back on the amount of espresso.

This was originally posted on My Live Journal in 2006 

 

Homemade Pasta and Bolognese Sauce

Papa

ABOVE PHOTO Left to Right: My Papa (Joseph Pusateri), Great Grandpa Pusateri, Great Grandma Pusateri, Uncle Leo, and Uncle Frank.  Uncle Tony and Uncle Mike are not shown in this photo, but they are just as loved.

Making pasta is fun and easy!  Don’t waste your time on the electric pasta machines–they’re junk and the cleanup and product are not worth it.  The Atlas Italian Pasta maker is the way to go, and you can find them most kitchen stores or a thrift shop (just make sure they are in excellent shape and have all their parts).

One of my favorite cookbooks is “Cooking With Grace”by Grace Pilato.  She doesn’t get as much publicity as chefs you see on the “Food Network”, but the lady knows Italian cooking.  If you’re shopping for an Italian cookbook, I highly recommend this one.

The other day I pulled out my Atlas Pasta Machine, which is made in Italy and very affordable.  I made the Egg Pasta from Grace’s recipe:

2 1/2 c flour (unbleached all purpose only)

5 lg eggs, beaten

1/2 tsp salt

Tbsp. ex virgin olive oil

And it follows the basic egg pasta recipes.  Grace’s recipe is different in that she uses more eggs and she adds the EV Olivie Oil.

Final product looks like this:

drying.jpg

I served it with Bolognese Sauce, and it was unbelievably yummy.  It was also fun to make, and cooks in boiling water in a just few minutes.

served.jpg

The bolognese sauce is :

Angelninas Bolognese Sauce

¼ yellow onion, finely chopped

rib celery- diced in ¼ in pieces

sm. Carrot- 1/4 in diced

3 tbsp butter

3 tbsp olive oil

clove garlic, minced

1/3 cup chopped mushrooms

¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Heavy-bottomed sauce pot over medium high heat. Saute, stirring occasionally till veggies lightly browned about 10 minutes. Add garlic, crushed pepper flakes, and mushroom till starts to sizzle.

1 lb. ground beef

½ lb. ground veal

4 links Italian sausage (removed casings) approx. 1 lb

Add meats, breaking up with wooden spoon. Continue stirring until meat has no pink.

2 cups dry white wine

Add wine and cook and stir till almost evaporated.

1 cup whole milk

1/8 tsp grated nutmeg

Add milk and nutmeg, stirring occasionally, until milk is mostly evaporated

28 oz can whole tomatoes

14 oz can crushed tomatoes

Coarsely chop tomatoes and add to pot. When it starts to boil, turn heat very low till barely simmering. Cook uncovered for 3 hours stirring occasionally. If all liquid evaporates add ½ cup water as needed. Make sure all liquid is evaporated before you remove sauce from heat.

Ladle of rigatoni pasta, and sprinkle with fresh grated or shredded parmesan and serve.

Don’t forget Italian Bread and Dry Red Wine!  Now,  “Mangia Mangia!”

NOTE: Vegetarian As you know, pasta can be served with meatless marinara sauce too!  I will be posting my marinara sauce this week.  I make a huge batch of it and freeze it in individual containers.
I know many people do not eat veal.  I don’t like to eat it either, so I add more pork or beef in place.

Banana Muffins ~ Spring is in the Air

Banana nut Muffin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can’t think of anything better than a fresh banana muffin on a spring morning.   Toss in some chopped pecans for protein and crunch and a few chocolate chips for medicinal reasons and you have a great start to your morning.  Of course, I have been known to use them for a great start to my afternoon, early evening, late evening, and midnight snacking time.

muffin

“Somewhat Lighter” Banana Nut Muffins

½ cup butter  (I used 1/4 cup butter and 1/4 cup Light Smart Balance)

3/4 cup brown sugar (or 1 cup white) 

2 large eggs

2 large very ripe bananas, mashed 

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup lowfat buttermilk (or add 1 tbsp. vinegar to regular milk = buttermilk)

 

1/2 cup chopped pecans

2 cups flour

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

 

Preheat oven to 350°.  Beat together butter and sugar at medium speed until light & fluffy.  Add egg, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in bananas until smooth.  Mix together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.  Alternately stir flour mixture and buttermilk into egg mixture until dry mixture is just moistened.  Stir in nuts and vanilla.  Do not overmix batter; it should not be completely smooth.  Spoon batter into oiled muffin pan or cupcake liners; filling 2/3 full.  Makes about 1 1/2 dozen.  Bake until lightly golden, 15-18 minutes.

 

NOTE: Optional- add about 6 chocolate chips to top of each muffin if you like.

 

 

It’s a Chick Thing

Chick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Three and a half years ago, my husband, Mark and I bought our first house.  It’s a modest ranch style home built in the late 1970s.  Our dream home?   No, not really.  Our dream home would be ten miles from the nearest neighbor, sit on 50 acres+, include a wooded area, a pond or stream–complete with tire swinging on a rope, and lots wide open space to roam, an orchard, several gardens, and lots of farm animals.  We might be able to survive off the land, but here in the real world, we need a real job to pay for the land we are surviving off of.  Commuting to the city requires time and money.  Neither of which we have, in abundance, at the moment.

Slowly, over time, in the past three years, I’ve added a little bit of country to our lot.  Our place gives the feeling of seclusion, but in reality we have neighbors on three sides.  Our third of an acre sized lot is something I are grateful for. I’m not complaining.

I started with a raised vegetable garden, followed by barrels of herbs, bees balm, a fountain (gives the feel of a pond with waterfall), and some raspberry canes.  Yes, the raspberries need help.  I didn’t realize the original owners had plastic down under the bark on the entire front area of the drive, which means, my raspberries aren’t producing very well.  I’ve decided to build a raised bed for them this year.  I will also be building another raised vegetable garden alongside them.  Soon, I will cut the front lawn out and create a large L-shaped raised bed. I don’t understand the point in keeping a perfectly manicured lawn, versus creating a yard that gives back to you.

On a limited income, I have no choice but to build slowly.  My costs will the wood for the raised beds, seeds, starters, soil, and manure.

Throughout the past three years, one idea has played on my mind–backyard laying chickens.  If I can create my own fertilizer and grow my own eggs, I’ll have two expenses taken care of.  I may only break even after feeding my chickens, but truth be know, I’m a chicken lady at heart.  I raised chickens when I was in late elementary school.  We kept some for their eggs and the remaining chickens were for eating.  I remember running inside the house when it was time for dad to kill the chickens.  One time I watched through the kitchen window as he grabbed two chickens at the same time.  Holding them by their heads, with his arms outstretched at either side he gave a quick jerk in a swinging motion and snapped their necks.  I was horrified and swore I’d never eat those chickens.  We were poor–needless to say, I ate those chickens, and they were damn good.

I won’t be eating my hens. Mine are pets and will give fertilizer and eggs.  I chose hens that are great layers.  All of their eggs will be brown.  I love brown eggs.  There is something “earthy” about eating a fresh brown egg.

 

chcik2

Photobucket

Photobucket

Retro Dinner Ware and My Life as a Vagabond

Photobucket

ABOVE: Another thrift store find

As a child, my family moved so often, I practically grew up in a car, stopping at roadside diners and truck stops to eat. The cups in the photo above remind me of those cafes. I remember my parents would sometimes try to drive straight through from the west coast back to New York. On a few moves they would stop at midnight–or later–to have coffee. I usually ordered a hot chocolate. Searching for my shoes in the dark and climbing out of a loaded car into an often freezing cold night, made sitting in a warm, well lit diner, feel like a special treat. I suppose my attraction to diner ware has something to do with those memories.

My mother and I sat down one day and wrote down every move we had ever made. I just looked at the list and see she forgot to add Houston, Texas.

The old photo below was taken on one of our 66 (possibly 67) moves.

I’m the girl standing up on the back seat holding something that resembles food in my hand. I have no idea what it is. I often stood while we drove. Remember when seat belts were just those hard metal things that hurt your bum when you sat on one? I just kept trying to shove them out of the way or stuff them under the back seat cushion. Times have changed.

Photobucket