Thursday, July 25, 2013

make it: homemade chop chop dill pickles

look at that!!!  

abbie and i are total pickle peeps.  we can eat them alllll day.  

i got my first chop chop magazine (did you know they publish it in both english and spanish!?) and i couldn't wait to check out the mag's homemade easy dill pickle awesomeness.  

i will be making these over and over and over again.  cucumbers will certainly be added to the tomato garden next spring.

the fresh organic dill and garlic came in my weekly produce box and the organic pickles came from a trip to the farmer's market last friday.

abbie was anxious to swim rather than help make food, but i coerced her to help me.  you can really see her enthusiasm in the face as we start our brine and liquid measuring tutorial.

abs: "pullleeeeeaaaaaaase, can i go out to swim yet?  i'm hot and i wanna go swiiimmmmmmmm!!"

me: "yea yea yea, honey, but first, let me just show you how to get down to eye level with the water line so you know if you measured the right amount... "

abs: sighs big, rolls eyes and gives me her exhausted-with-her-nerd-mom-look.

me:  "oh abbie, i neeeeeeeeed you to help me make the brine!!!!  i can't make them without you!!!!"

abs: "i don't get what you're saying... what IS brine?

me:  "well, brine is what makes the cucumbers magically (waving my jazz hands) turn into pickles.

abs: "oh... well, can i do everything to make the pickles?!"

me: "yes, YES you can."

and so her "i want to die" face magically turned upside down.

5 cups is heavy.

too much...

just right.

measuring 2 T sea salt = the perfect time to chat about TBSP vs TSP vs T vs t.

vinegar time.  abs was so excited she hopped on top of the counter!

abs:  "omg, wow, cool, mom, look at the smoke!!!"

me:  "i know isn't it super cool!?!?"  the vinegar is vaporizing the salt!!!

boiling the brine time.

abs: "what is boiling... and how do i work the stove?"


she almost ripped the dial off.

this was abbie's first tutorial on how to use the stove safely.  i caught mac up with "stove basics" this week at dinner too.  they loved learning about how to work the dials and adjust the flame.  now they know what gas smells like!  they are not allowed to use the stove alone yet, but they'll be there someday!

tuck those little nubbins, she almost has it!  must get that thumb behind the pickle... i have a hard time with the thumb anchor too...

simple, homemade, real food loveliness.

we poured the cooled brine over the dill sprigs, garlic, peppercorns and cucumbers.  and then placed a small plate over the top to hold the pickles down.  (chop chop mag walks you through all these steps!)

yesterday, they came out looking like this.  oh yea.

homemade dillies anyone?


Saturday, July 20, 2013

it's ok to socca

without a single doubt, the hardest thing when you start cooking more is that you have're.doing.  there are a lot of "first times".  you must be an adventurous spirit as recipes usually don't go so well on the first go around.  perhaps not even on the second.  do you have enough gumption, enough backbone, enough perseverance to try again?  try try try.

tommy tried peeling a carrot for the first time.  mac kept wanting to take it from him because he struggled a bit with the peeler.  it's so hard to watch sometimes when you know you could do the job better and quicker.

here is my first try at making socca.

abbie and her girlfriend made fresh lemonade in the meantime.

socca is gluten free, full of protein and super simple to mix up.  three ingredients!!!  water, evoo and garbanzo/fava bean flour.  i found this article helpful on how to make socca.

oye on the flippage part.  hmmmmmmm, must practice that a little more:)  perhaps i'll try the oven method next time and see how that works out!

i altered the tuna salad a bit as i didn't have all the ingredients on hand.  here is what i changed about the open-face tuna salad on socca from goop:

1 jar tuna (i had tonnino brand!  wild caught, dolphin safe baby)
1/2 organic zucchini diced
2 organic dill spears diced
2 T vegenaise

simple sally.

so the socca wasn't super pretty and perfect, but you know what?  i can't wait to make it again.  i can't wait to flavor it up a bit and experiment with it.  i could even pop this in the kids' lunches this year... :)

the kids tried tuna salad and socca for the first time.

they didn't clean their plates, but you know what?

it didn't socca.

the perfect summer lunch.

thanks goop.

i like simple so i can go jump in the lake.

and chase the sun.


Friday, July 19, 2013

turning 40 at el ideas

i love his face.

he turned 40 and our little tommy turned 4 together this past week.  they share a very special day.

i planned lots o fun for the big love of my life.  we started last friday with a huge surprise party and a few days later i surprised him again with a trip to el ideas - in chicago. 12 other real foodie souls joined us for the fun.

let the adventure begin.

it's byob, so you can bring your favorite vino or drink of choice with you.  i should have followed their suggestion and just brought three types of wine.  a bubbly, a light bodied white and a medium bodied red.  i brought a tad too much.  keep it simple and just bring three.

these three little piggies were left home.

surprise honey bunches!!  you're driving in a stretch tonight baby.

we arrived a tad early, so we stopped in at the corner bar, the waterhole.  they even have a blue's bar in the back... it was a great start to the night!

how did we e.v.e.r. find this place!?  christina, kristy and i stumbed upon el ideas during our cooking class adventure.  we mistakenly went here first.  it was a very, very good mistake.  

this door sign had us at hello.  

12 unique and delicious courses.  

musical chairs amongst our party of 14.

trips into the kitchen to watch, learn, listen and laugh.  did i mention they play music?  yea baby yea. 

what did i love the most?  it is a very small restaurant.  there are only 24 seats to fill per night.  all guests are welcome to enter the kitchen and interact, watch, chat and get all HOT in there with the chefs, ovens and stoves.  i don't think they've ever had heels on their floor like yours miss briana cardone!  i could have listened to the fashionista of food talk to the boys all night.  the world of food & cooking is such a big one.  it is a thrill to know my cup will never fill up with all there is to experience and learn.   food familiar to the bizarre was all around, filling our senses into creatively plated works of edible art. what a mouthful.

and there we are, all filled up and ready to get the "el" home.  

to phillip foss, dubois, iacono, gancarz, bill, "steven seagal" and all of the wonderful chefs and staff that make it happen at el ideas, thank you so much for having us.  

it was a real food 40th to remember, forevah

i loves you, my two birthday-buddy cutie pies.  

you give me such a wonderful, big life.  

let's light the next 40 up.



"i love his face" was snapped by tanya fergus of fergus fotos.  thank you girlfriend!!

Monday, July 15, 2013

big birthday love - a top 10

today is my bunny's birthday.  these sunny flowers are for you today as you ride off into the wild wild west for the best.birthday.summer.vacation.ever.

wishing you super fun travels and super awesome real food finds out and about... that teleportation machine is on order i swear.

i hope you get to pick some wild flowers and smell them like mary katherine gallagher.

you are a big, huge bright light in my life and quite nothing has been the same since you entered into my festivas so long ago.

so without further ado, may i present a monday fun day top 10 in honor of you and my favorite galactic destination, camp1899.

a big bunny birthday top 10

10. you told me about pinterest before anyone else.  2 years ago = pin-a-what!?

9. your style hurts me.  what to wear = copy that.

8. you i spy like no other.  wait, should i be telling anyone about that?

7. you introduced us to porcupines and moscow mules (and good lord who is that woman with blond hair?!  thank heavens i listen when you talk).

6. you ride a canon like a stallion =  best.trip.ever.

5. you told me about the food documentary forks over knives first miss vegan goddess.  you and him embody a real food lifestyle.  i will never forget our first food talk in the santa fe.  thank you for waiting for me to jump off the highway in a vespa with you.

4. you and him = DIY small house love.  can't wait for my next epic sleepover.

3. you inspire me, keep me on track and light my path with porchtalk.  brave is my fav.

2. you are fierce.

1. you are loved.

happy happy birthday bunny - to the mullies we go.