One Reason for Our Trips

squirrel sign
There’s nothing quite like living life on the edge!

We’ll be the first to admit that we love taking trips around the country (and elsewhere), mainly because you’ll see and learn about new places. On our most recent trip to the Sierra Nevada mountains, we learned that squirrels in the area are quite vicious. Fortunately we survived, probably because we weren’t carrying any food; otherwise, well, we hate to think what might have happened.

Our trip was excellent: we drove over Tioga Pass in Yosemite National Park, then down to Mono Lake, which is just amazing; after that,  we went to see the oldest trees in the world, bristlecone pines, up in the mountains near Bishop, CA, on to Pinnacles National Park, and, finally, up the California coast on Highway 1. Whew! It was great!

Smoky, Cheesy, Polenta Wedges

smokey cheesy polenta wedges
smokey cheesy polenta wedges
Smokey. Cheesy. Polenta!

It’s been a while since we had polenta. And we love polenta. Sure, it’s a bit time-consuming to make, but it’s so delicious and versatile that we could eat it on a regular basis. After all, you can eat it as soft polenta, or chill and shape it, then fry it, or grill it, or broil it, eat it plain, or with butter, or a sauce. It seems to be the perfect food. All from just a couple of ingredients, too. What to scratch up a batch? Follow along.

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Smoky Bacon(less) Chive Dip

smoky bacon(less) chive dip
smoky bacon(less) chive dip
Five minutes! Five!

When we make things for church coffee hour, we like to mix it up a bit and have something nutritious, and something perhaps not so nutritious. This week, our mix consisted of brownies (with and without nuts) for the not so nutritious part, carrot sticks and grapes for the healthier choices, and, right in the middle on the health-o-meter (well, maybe on the low side of the health-o-meter), was this dip we made for the carrots.

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Baco-conuts (Coconut Bacon Bits)

coconut bacon bits
coconut bacon bits
Easy, salty, smoky, crispy! What’s not to like?!?

Making dishes for other people isn’t quite like making them for yourself. When you make something for yourself, you just make it however you like it. No questions asked. But, when you make up a little something for others, you normally consider their tastes, and dietary needs. Even more so when you’re making food for a large group. This can be as simple as leaving nuts out of brownies so people with nut allergies can enjoy them freely, or not making your traditional five-alarm chili that would blast the socks off anyone under six, but making something more akin to a three-alarm version, so more people can eat some without jumping up and down, fanning their mouths, and looking around desperately for anything liquid. And, in the case  of something we made for a church coffee hour, a bac’n-bit-like product that doesn’t contain any pork, yet still tastes great, was needed.

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Watermelon and Strawberry Salad with Herbes de Provence

watermelon and strawberry salad
watermelon and strawberry salad
Cool and refreshing!

We happen to love watermelon just as it is. There’s nothing quite like having a thick slice of crisp, icy cold watermelon during the heat of summer. Even so, we’re always up for something new. And, when we saw this recipe, we thought, let’s scratch it out in the test kitchen. After all, who thinks of adding what’s essentially a salad dressing to watermelon?

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Scrumptious Cherry-Almond Clafoutis

cherry almond clafoutis
cherry almond clafoutis
Scrumptious!

It’s cherry season, so let’s put it to good use and make a light, not too sweet, dessert that’s super easy: a clafouti, or perhaps clafoutis; we’re not really sure. Regardless, we know this is one of the easiest desserts to put together, and, appropriately for the heat of summer, it’s nice and light. And, we can scratch one out, from start to finish, in under an hour, including the time it takes to bake. How’s that?

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This Means Summer

weekly CSA produce share
We can hardly wait to taste a slice of that watermelon, but, first, it’s into the refrigerator to chill completely.

We should’ve parked closer when we picked up our CSA share yesterday. Between that huge watermelon and the delicate tomatoes (not to mention the eggs from Josh’s Foraging Fowls), we had to take it easy heading back to the car. But, it’s worth it, because nothing says summer like a huge slice of ice-cold watermelon dripping down your chin as you eat it in the sweltering heat. It is summer.

This week’s share included:

  • Yellow Taxi tomatoes (4)
  • Sweet corn (4 ears)
  • Amaranth greens (1 bunch) — traded for more tomatoes
  • Cantaloupe (1)
  • Fantasia Watermelon (1)
  • Red LaSoda potatoes (4)
  • Long beans (1 bunch)