Sunday, June 1, 2008

Spring Weekends.....

Lazy, lazy, lazy.....gardening, a lovely lunch in Collingswood, drinks with friends, reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and cooking up the wonderful produce I got between my produce box and Collingswood's Farmer's Market


Saturday - a whole day to myself!  The day dawned and I fairly bounced out of bed.  Did an hour of yoga and made some juice and toast, then headed out the door to the farmer's market and to have my hair cut and colored at Bauhaus Gallery.  The farmer's market is growing every year, and it's so wonderful to see the community come together. There is music every week, great coffee and all the local farmers, bakers and food artisans bringing out their goods.  I spent the morning with a cup of green tea and a gorgeous croissant, strolling past the tents and buying the last of the jersey hot house tomatoes, zucchini, turnips, strawberries and basil.  I also picked up some beautiful peonies to augment the last of the ones from my garden. The light pink ones are mine and the darker ones are from the market:

Picture 056


Once I finished with the market and the haircut, I took my book and sat in the window of Tortilla Press, a great little BYOT (tequila) restaurant on Haddon Avenue.  I had the fish tacos - very different from the typical fish tacos that you get in most places around here.  It was a tilapia filet wonderfully spiced with achiote, chipotle, and just a little sea salt. The tomatillo sauce and the guac was dynamite  - I really need to get a phone with a camera so that I can capture this stuff. 

Saturday night was spent having drinks with friends and yet more Mexican food.


Sunday - I slept in, had a fuzzy head from the margaritas - I now remember why I don't drink all that much any more.   Today was gardening day, deadheading the climbing roses, tying up the creeping hydrangeas and praying that next year will be the year they finally bloom.   I inspected my tomatoes and peppers in their pots and lo and behold:

Picture 050

The peppers aren't yet out, but the plants are doing well as are the herbs:

Picture 048

The day passed lazily, talking with my daughter about drumming (her new obsession - more on that on another post) and reading.  Finally, I moved myself from my sunny spot on the porch to make some dinner. On the menu:

Stewed tomatoes and peppers with olives and beans

One large red bell sliced into thin slices
One half large vidalia onion sliced into thin slices
Three cloves of garlic minced finely
1/2 can San Marzano crushed tomatoes (can't wait until I can do it with my own!)
1 can cannelini beans rinsed
1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pits removed and chopped coarsely
1/2 cup of sun dried tomatoes chopped coarsely
1/4 cup of red wine

Heat a 2 count of olive oil in a large saute pan, then add the onions.  Turn the heat low and cook the onions for about 15 minutes until they begin to caramelize, then add the peppers and garlic and cook for another 10 or until the peppers are tender. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer until flavors blend and the peppers and onions are soft.


I serve this over grilled polenta rounds.


Wilted spinach with raisins and pine nuts:

1 large bunch of spinach (don't use baby spinach for this one)
1 large clove of garlic - slightly crushed
1/4 cup of raisins
1/4 cup of pine nuts

Wash the spinach well and tear out woody stems. Soak the raisins for 10 minutes in warm water then drain.  Toast the pine nuts and set aside. Heat a 2 count of olive oil in a saute pan and add the garlic, sauteing until the garlic is golden but not browned.  Discard the garlic and add the spinach sauteing until wilted. Add the raisins and pine nuts and toss.

Picture 041

Picture 042

I added chicken for my mother who has to have extra protein

Picture 045

Mine was the vegetarian version:

Picture 046_1


Finally, I uploaded the pictures from R's middle school play, Oliver. She played Mr. Sowerberry, the undertaker.  The play was pretty standard middle school fare, but it is a way to highlight which kids are going to go on to do more theater in high school. The high school has an incredible theater program and they are lucky enough to have use of the regional professional theater for their plays.  The pictures aren't that great, but R was wonderful, just about one of the best in the play (and I am not speaking as a proud parent, she just loves this stuff).  Anyway, here are the shots, no close ups, but R is the one in the top hat:

Picture 033_1


Picture 034_1


Spinach facts & recipes by Trevor Johnson said...

MsMVNJ, they sound like delicious and healthy spinach recipes. I wonder, though, if you and your mother are aware of spinach's protein content. I have nothing against chicken, but if it was to add protein content to her plate the same effect could have been gained with more spinach. Spinach is the highest protein vegetable on the planet. Also, all-round high nutrient density, moreso than chicken. Chicken may be good for variety or taste, but not necessary for the protein content if eaten with plenty of healthy spinach.

noble pig said...

Sounds like a wonderful, relaxing day. I am jealous and could eat those grilled polenta rounds right off the screen.