Archive | July, 2012

More baseball…

11 Jul

In keeping with my baseball theme and in light of today’s All-Star Game… I give you these:

“Baseball players are smarter than football players.  How often do you see a baseball team penalized for too many players on the field?”

  ~ Jim Boulton

 

“The problem with being a good sport is that you have to lose to prove it.”

  ~ Anonymous

 

“Trying to sneak a fastball past Hank Aaron is like trying to sneak the sunrise past a rooster.”

  ~ Joe Adcock

 

“The next best thing to winning is losing!  At least you’ve been in the race.”

  ~ Nellie Hershey Smith

 

“There are only two seasons ~ Winter and Baseball.”

  ~ Bill Veeck

 

“Always play a game with somebody, never against them.  Always win a game, never beat an opponent.”

  ~ Andrew Bailey

 

“I never threw an illegal pitch.  The trouble is, once in a while I toss one that ain’t never been seen by this generation.”

  ~ Satchel Page

 

“Baseball is a slow, sluggish game, with frequent and trivial interruptions, offering the spectator many opportunities to reflect at leisure upon the situation on the field:  This is what a fan loves most about the game.”

  ~ Edward Abbey

 

  And finally (for now anyway)…

“If I were playing third base and my mother were rounding third with the run that was going to beat us, I’d trip her.  Oh, I’d pick her up and brush her off and say “I’m sorry Mom,” but nobody beats me.”

  ~ Leo Durocher

 

You gotta be…

9 Jul

As most of you know I’m a huge baseball fan (Go Halos!) and in the spirit of tonight’s Homerun Derby, I give you this…

“You gotta be a man to play baseball for a living, but you gotta have a lot of little boy in you, too.”

  ~ Roy Campanella

 

Quick Fake-Out “Stuffed” Eggplant

8 Jul

So tonight I’d tried a new recipe that I saw on Rachel Ray’s 30 Minute Meals.  As usual I made a few tweaks to the recipe to either adjust to ingredients on hand, or to our personal taste buds.  I’m providing the link to the original recipe as well as how I prepared it.

Rachel’s Quick Fake-Out “Stuffed” Eggplant

 

My version

2 large Eggplants

5 Tbl. EVOO

Salt & Pepper

1 lb. ground beef (I used 75/25)

2 Tbl. tomato paste

1 small onion, finely chopped

A medium handful of raisins (I combined both black and yellow)

1 container button mushrooms, diced

Splash of chicken stock

A handful of fresh basil leaves, torn or chopped

5 Tbl. butter

1 cup breadcrumbs

½ cup chopped parsley leaves

 

Directions:

Heat oven to 475 degrees

Pour EVOO in baking dish/pan.  Cut one of the eggplants in half lengthwise, make 2 or 3 score marks to welcome oil and dip gently in pan.  Salt & pepper to taste.  Arrange cut side down and roast until tender, approximately 20 minutes depending on size.

Peel the remaining eggplant and dice into ½” pieces.  In a large skillet over medium high heat, add 1 Tbl. of EVOO.  Stir in the beef, tomato paste, onions, garlic, diced eggplant and raisins.  Add S&P to taste.  Add the chicken stock and cook until the eggplant and onions are soft, about 8-10 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and continue cooking until they become soft.  Stir mixture often to rotate ingredients in pan.  Once done, remove from heat and add the fresh basil.

While the meat is cooking, melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat.  Add the breadcrumbs and toast until golden.  Transfer to bowl and cool.

Add half of the breadcrumbs to the meat mixture and stir.

Remove the eggplant from the oven and transfer cut side up to a serving plate.  Top each half with a mound of “stuffing” and sprinkle the remaining bread crumbs over the top before serving.  Top with fresh cut parsley.

Enjoy!

 

Here’s what we did differently…

I didn’t use the parsley but my husband did.  He said it was okay but didn’t really add anything to the dish.  The original recipe suggests you mix it in with the breadcrumbs but we saved it for the end.

Her recipe also called for pine nuts, but I didn’t see any at my market and didn’t want to go to another store in search.

Rachel’s recipe calls for either Pecorino or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese to add to the breadcrumbs as well.  I omitted that.

I had a basket of mushrooms on hand that were getting to the end of their freshness, so I added them ~ nice call!

Also, her recipe calls for raisins… I mixed black and yellow ~ another nice call.

And finally, I had to increase the butter from 3 Tbl. to 5.  I found the breadcrumbs just burned when I tried them the first time.  I threw out that batch and started over. Maybe if I had used the cheese it would have provided the necessary moisture I was lacking.

 

I really enjoyed this dish.  It’s hearty and full of flavor.  It’s also a nice recipe that can easily be adjusted for the vegetarians in my house (or yours).  Since the ground beef itself wasn’t seasoned, I imagine omitting it would still leave a filling flavorful “stuffing”.  Of course, you could also add other vegetables to make it heartier if interested.  Zucchini, squash or even tofu if you like.  Be creative; make it your own, just like I did.

Even if…

6 Jul

“Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth.”

~ Mohandas Gandhi

First Harvest

5 Jul

So I’m finally seeing the fruits (or vegetables in this case) of my labor.  I still have quite a few other veggies that I’m waiting for, but in the meantime, here’s a little snapshot of what I picked yesterday afternoon.

 

 

We have straight neck squash, an Ace tomato, jalapeno peppers and sweet banana peppers.

Any suggestions on how I should use them?  Maybe you have an old family recipe or a newly discovered one you’d like to share.  I’m always looking for new ways to cook things and tantalize our taste buds. 

Stay tuned… we still have peas, beans, eggplant, cauliflower, corn, more tomato varieties, zucchini, lemon cucumber and a few other peppers that need to do their thing. 

 

Happy 4th of July…

4 Jul

In the spirit of our Independence Day, I wanted to share a few bits on freedom and the pursuit of it.

 

“The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it.  And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender, or submission.”

~ John F. Kennedy

 

 

“Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation, and freedom in all just pursuits.”

~ Thomas Jefferson

 
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”

~ Ronald Reagan

 

“But what is freedom?  Rightly understood, a universal license to be good.”

  ~ Hartley Coleridge

 

“All great change in America begins at the dinner table. “
  ~ Ronald Reagan

With Song by Dorothy Garlock

3 Jul

Let me start off by saying that I bought this book at our library bookstore (as I do many books) for $.50 and didn’t realize at the time it was part of a trilogy.  Now I need to buy the first and third novels…

Set in the depression-era, the trilogy With Hope, With Heart, and With Song give an intriguing look at the dangerous backdrop of the Old West.

In With Song, Molly McKenzie’s peaceful world is devastated one summer evening in 1935 when gangsters kill her parents while robbing their country store.

When she hears a series of loud pops, she thinks her father is teasing her mother with the latest shipment of firecrackers, but when she looks out the front window and sees two suspicious men getting into a big black car, she begins to think otherwise. In this small town, everyone knows everyone.  When she goes downstairs, she discovers that both her parents have been killed and the store robbed.

Molly’s world is further upset by the arrival of federal agent Hod Dolan who convinces Molly to let him use her as bait to lure the men back to the scene of the crime, not realizing just how dangerous this might prove to be. While Hod knows the plan threatens all of their lives, he doesn’t know that protecting Molly will endanger his heart as well. Drawn to the pretty young woman at first sight, he finds himself falling deeply in love with her. Molly, however, is still struggling to deal with the violent death of her parents and is wary of loving a man whose occupation is fraught with danger. She doesn’t trust his intentions but Hod is determined to prove his love is real.  Bound together by their mutual determination to bring her parents’ killers to justice, the two begin to forge a relationship, but neither of them knows yet of another threat to their lives that is darker, more sinister, and much closer to home. I found this twist especially fun to read.  It gave the story more depth and creativity than most of the romance novels I’ve come across.

Molly and Hod are strong, honorable, and courageous characters whose story is balanced by colorful secondary characters and a well-developed plot.  While there are quite a few characters you’ll enjoy getting to know, I want to introduce you to a few of them here.

Aunt Bertha: Molly’s aunt who comes to help Molly after the death of her parents.  Simply said, Bertha is a kick in the pants.  Her no-nonsense approach reminded me a lot of Alice from The Brady Bunch.  She’s honest, direct and has a great sense of humor.  Aunt Bertha drives a brand new ’34 Ford.  This detail hit close to home because when I was in Junior High School a family friend owned a beautifully restored 1934 Ford that I absolutely loved.  

The Bonner Family: Humble, dignified and proud.

George and his sister Gertrude: Neighbors of the McKenzie’s, George is in his 30s, sweet, simple, devoted and misunderstood.  Gertrude on the other hand, considerably older than her brother is a mean recluse who is rarely seen. 

Charlotte: Young, full of life and living a burdened life.  Makes you wonder how many real-life Charlottes are out there.

When it comes to reading I think I’m pretty easy to please, I really don’t ask for much.  Maybe I come away happy because I don’t often stray far from my comfort zone, but I’m okay with that.  I want reading to be a relaxing, enjoying adventure, not a chore.  I enjoyed this book and the characters.  I look forward to finishing the trilogy and sharing my thoughts with you…

Love one another…

3 Jul

“Love one another and you will be happy.  It’s as simple and as difficult as that.”

  ~ Michael Leunig

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