1. Mediterranean Food & My Grandpa
|Here's Grandpa during WWll|
Chief Petty Officer,
Having grown up in a family whose background includes a variety of nationalities, I haven't really met a cuisine that doesn't at least interest me. I've been fortunate to try everything from Syrian to Irish, Sicilian to Croatian, Austrian to English, and that's just some of the foods of my family. One of my favorites is the Syrian food I grew up with going to my mom's parents home. My Grandpa Aziz is a fantastic cook and many a night did we spend waiting to eat until after 9:00 p.m. with the whole time knowing it would be worth the wait. Monday night we celebrated my Grandpa's 91st birthday. My Uncle John and his wife Cindy were up from California, so we had a nice dinner with Mediterranean food from Salem Downtown Market along with some amazing chicken my mom made and assorted desserts. It was fun to see Grandpa critique his meal as we knew it might be good but would no way match his. If you're looking for a recipe to try, here's one with a definite Mediterranean flair:
Makes about 4 cups
3 medium eggplants
1 large clove garlic, pressed
3 medium eggplants
1 large clove garlic, pressed
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons tahini
2 T. Zaatar (can be found at Penzey's)
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
juice of 1-2 lemons
2 T. parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp. paprika
Preheat broiler to 500°F.
Broil eggplants about 2 minutes then turn. Continue doing this until all sides are charred.
Turn oven down to 400°F.
Prick each eggplant 5 times with a paring knife. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet, then bake for 25-30 min, until the eggplants are very soft. The skin should look wrinkled.
Let the eggplants cool for about 15 minutes, until cool enough to handle. Slit them open and scoop out the flesh, leaving all the skin behind. Transfer the flesh to a bowl. Break up the eggplant so no piece is bigger than bite-sized. This should be super easy since the eggplant’s so soft. Try not to turn it into a puree.
Add the garlic, salt, tahini, 3 tablespoons olive oil, zataar, and the juice of 1 lemon. Gently stir to distribute. Taste for balance of flavors, adding more olive oil, lemon juice, or salt to taste. Serve as is, let cool to room temperature, or store in the fridge and eat cold.
Top with a drizzle of olive oil, parsley and paprika. Serve with pita bread triangles.
2. Paint chips
When my husband and I were engaged, we would often start our Friday night outings at Home Club (a precursor to Home Depot). This was mostly due to Brian starting his carpentry career, but it was also fun to dream about our future together in amongst the 2x4's and power tools. One of my favorite things to be found at home improvement store was, and still is, paint chips. I've always been fascinated by the color schemes and trying to decide what colors I would choose for certain rooms. I have a pretty good collection started, and I've even been known to use some for gift tags/cards or other little crafty items. Now, after almost 28 years of marriage, we still like to occasionally head to Lowe's (our home improvement store of choice) just to look around. And yes, I still saunter off towards those luscious colors, looking for the right one that we might just use someday.
3. Unexpected Encounters
Last Thursday I got an email from the gal in charge of the priest's luncheon that Fr. Molinari has every month at St. Joseph's for all the local priests. The lady who was supposed to cook this month ( which was yesterday) had to cancel, so she was looking for a sub. After trying to figure out if I could do it- both time and "do we have any food in the house for this.", I let her know I would be happy to. It worked out so well. I made a sausage-rice bake, green salad, homemade bread, panna cotta with strawberries (soaked in the strawberry-basil syrup I made last week) and ricotta cookies with cake spice icing. As I knew Fr. Zerr from St. Edward's is gluten intolerant, everything on the menu, except for the bread, was gluten free. There were a total of six guests, five priests and one seminarian. The unexpected encounters for me were getting to talk with a few of the dear ladies from St. Joseph's as I was trying to find a corkscrew as well as chatting a bit with Kyle, husband of my friend, Karmyn and corkscrew finder extraordinaire. I also got to catch up with Rolando Moreno, the person who helped our family come into The Catholic Church as the RCIA director. If I had said no to Bev, I wouldn't have had the unexpected encounters I was blessed with Tuesday!
4. Kendall Jackson Chardonnay 2011
After coming home tonight and starting dinner of Greek Meatballs, flatbread, tomatoes, cucumbers, and yogurt,I mentioned to Brian how I wish we had some white wine. To my surprise, he offered to go get some down at Roth's. He ended up bringing home a bottle of Kendall Jackson Chardonnay 2011, which he said would go well with dinner. As I was making the flatbread, he poured me a glass to try. Wow- it was good! With flavors of apricot, quince and fig, it was fruity but not too sweet. It went really well with dinner too. I know it's one I'll want to try again. Needless to say, Brian got a big hug and thank you out of the deal too!
I've had a cup of tea before bed the last couple of nights. Bedtime Tea from Trader Joe's has been the tea of choice both nights. Why? It's soothing and tasty, simple as that. I like my tea sweet, but I don't have to put anything in it. Even though it is a good choice to drink before heading off to count sheep, I also like it over ice. It's blend of chamomile, peppermint and other herbs helps this to be a favorite.
Be sure to check out Hallie's Five Favorites at MoxieWife.com as well as some of these: