Cheesy Pumpkin Kale Lasagna (Lasagne Con Zucca e Cavolo)

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I’ve been racking my brain to find a recipe that felt like fall. The trouble with living in Northern California this time of year is that we are spoiled by our ‘Indian Summer’ weather. With temperatures ranging upwards of 100 degrees Fahrenheit it is difficult to look at all the amazing fall produce through the same eyes. I am dreaming of stews and lasagna in my mind’s eye and yet Continue reading ‘Cheesy Pumpkin Kale Lasagna (Lasagne Con Zucca e Cavolo)’

Wordless Wednesday – North Carolina

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A nearly Wordless Wednesday post sharing some photo out-takes from my trip to North Carolina. For the full story of ‘Farm to Fork’ and my recipe please read: Swine and Wine Italian Pork Stew Continue reading ‘Wordless Wednesday – North Carolina’

Shiver Me Pickles – The Story of A Pickle Un-Aficionado (Bread & Butter Pickles)

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I’ve never considered myself a pickle aficionado. I have liked them but not necessarily craved them. That was until I tasted my friend Maria’s bread and butter pickles. They were so fresh and crunchy; it was difficult for me to forget them. Continue reading ‘Shiver Me Pickles – The Story of A Pickle Un-Aficionado (Bread & Butter Pickles)’

I am just not ready

March 15, 2010
I am JUST not ready

I am not ready to move from the mindset change from raising young children to young adolescent(s). I am not ready to find ways to answer those challenging questions and yet I find myself in a corner. I am ill prepared and feeling awkward. While I’d like to pretend that I know it all and tell others how gracefully I’ve maneuvered and carefully negotiated the answers, the fact of the matter is the questions have been firing off more rapidly than usual and today’s question brought me to a screeching halt. I can not shield you either, so if this type of insight makes you squeamish, well then I understand if you turn away. I myself am JUST not ready but like most of the transitions in life: high school to college, engagement to marriage, single to wed, and that move to have little ones, there ARE those times that you are JUST not ready but you haven’t got a choice; life is upon you and you (or rather I am) are the deer in the headlights.

Wide eyed I ponder how to respond, in business I’ve seldom faced such a predicament. In business I find my comfort zone where I am appreciated for my thoughts and compensated for my time – parenthood, not so much in either the first or second instance. I clearly wear the mask of the novice.

Since you are still reading, let me put down a few of the most recent questions posed by the two youngins: Prima, age 9 and Secondo, age 6.5. While I can tell you my answers are usually quip and involve me having to get something ‘quickly’ in the other room to avoid further awareness of my short comings and distract them as quickly as possible – feel free to imagine what your responses might have been.

PRIMA

You know how when the dog is embarrassed his ‘thing’ appears? Well does that happen to boys and girls too when they get embarrassed? Because sometimes in school I get embarrassed and that would make it way worse.

So grown-ups kiss different then how you kiss us good-night. I’ve seen it in movies but I am wondering if they will teach us that in school or at camp?

We are alike mom because we are the same gander. {Gander? What is Gander?} Gander is what girls and grown-up girls are…it is like their – S-E-X but I don’t mean the kissing kind of that word.

You know how mom’s can give their babies boobie milk? Well I have two questions: where do they hide the switch that turns it off? If the mom drinks a coffee and then the baby takes milk, will the baby get a latte?

Yes, I think I know what priceless is…it means I am for free?

SECONDO

Would you rather have $200 or clothes? Would you rather have a lifetime supply of gummy bears or be naked for all of your life? How much gold would it take you to sell me?

When Nonno died, he was in bed right? So why didn’t G.G. throw a bucket a water on him? {because when you are dead, cold water will not wake you up, it just makes you wet}

Do you think when I grow up I should first be a doctor and then a plumber? Which do you think would be best?

If eyeball juice is coming out, that does not mean I am crying. Sometimes I just have something in my eyeball. Shouldn’t you know this since you are the mom?

Do you remember Eva? You know the one that God doesn’t love anymore? Well she made some bad choices. But Jesus’ dad was magic. Not the magic you can see but the kind that you believe in. And Margarita his mom was kinda magic too and that is how she got pregnant. Did you get magically pregnant?

When I am older will I still go to the airport to get naked down to my underwear?

………I think you get the idea and if you haven’t been there yet- stay tuned, it is coming ready or not!

This is an original post to Silicon Valley Moms Blog. When Gina is not talking tech or winking at a Campari she can be found cooking North of the Golden Gate Bridge or on her blog at http://www.bowllicker.com

Spooky Green Spider Deviled Eggs

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This is a spin on my good ‘ole spider egg recipe. It is one of those recipes that hardly feels like a recipe as most of the real work is the time spent just cutting up the olives into the right decorative shapes. With All Hallows’ Eve quickly approaching, parties are bound to pop-up, and this just might be your stand-out dish to bring to share.

In our family, Spider Deviled Eggs have become a Halloween tradition. I would undoubtedly miss seeing these annual ‘spiders’ Continue reading ‘Spooky Green Spider Deviled Eggs’

Swine & Wine Italian Pork Stew (Bourguignon)

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I was recently offered the opportunity to join a group of bloggers as guests of the Animal Agricultural Alliance, to tour three pig farms (Sow Farm on Prestage P12B/McDaniels Complex, Nursery Farm L&W Ammons and Finishing Farm C&C Top Hog)* in North Carolina. At a glance it seemed like an amazing opportunity, they would pay our expenses and we would enjoy the chance to learn something new. But I also knew it was a trip that would come with emotional and psychological risks. Without much hesitation, this part-time vegetarian decided Continue reading ‘Swine & Wine Italian Pork Stew (Bourguignon)’

Dark Mission Fig Streusel Bars

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I have a love of figs. There is something romantic about this biblical fruit; it is sensual. Maybe it is its the shape or perhaps it is the texture. Whatever it is that draws me in, it is simply an amazing and delicate fruit.

They were said to be Cleopatra’s favorite food, there is no denying that these buxom purple and greenish yellow fruits are sexy in both appearance and texture. For obvious reasons, Continue reading ‘Dark Mission Fig Streusel Bars’

Insalata Caprese

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Living in Northern California, with a generally moderate climate, I do feel spoiled by the constant flurry of good fresh foods I have access to. While I am cognoscente of it, I have an indulginest attitude. Ergo- I am lucky, I am appreciative, and I enjoy every opportunity to partake in the available local bounty. This time of year the bounty is abundant with the most succulent tomatoes and fresh herbs.

Good produce makes for great food. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be a great cook to prepare delicious food. What you need is Continue reading ‘Insalata Caprese’

Campfire Prawns & Corn Wheels

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The secret to enjoying the last of those long summer nights is a no-fuss do ahead meal with the added bonus of not having to wash any pots and pans. This is a great week night meal or fun dinner to do when entertaining. In keeping with my theme of the past few weeks, here is another easy summer meal to tuck into your “favorites” foodie file.

As I look towards Labor Day long holiday weekend, I want to keep the food aspect of entertaining my guests simple Continue reading ‘Campfire Prawns & Corn Wheels’

Fava Bean Edamame

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Fava Beans (or broad beans) although very common in Italy are not usual fare in the U.S. While they do continue to grow in popularity, they can be a chore to prepare. Fava beans, when in their pods, look like an overgrown sweet pea. Their taste is richer than most other beans; smoother and richer.

It never fails, I am suckered in each time. During the spring and summer I hunt fava beans out at the farmer’s market and I select a couple pounds of the plumpest, bright green pods I can find. Hand selecting each bean as I diligently run my hand along the exterior of the individual pods to ensure that there are nice fat beans inside. I remind myself that it is important not to go for pods that are bulging, as these are typically older and might have a slightly bitter taste. And while it always seems like a lot of beans when they are in their pods, one pound of un-peeled beans will garner roughly 1/3 cup of favas.

But I digress. Fast forward to that moment when I get home with my coveted glorious bag of fava beans and realize that I have now committed myself to peeling, boiling, shocking, peeling again and then finally cooking the scant ¼- ½ cup yield of beans. Typically I purchase them for my mom, as she loves to make a traditional Sicilian Fava Bean soup recipe that was handed down to her by my grandfather. It isn’t a recipe I would consider complex, but it is one that I always look forward to devouring. She covets them equally. Upon the arrival of the fava beans she guards these pods like gold.

Over the last few years in addition to buying her fava beans she has even managed to convince me to purchase and peel them for her before handing them over for her cookery. But this year I held out. I made a secret voyage to the Marin County Farmer’s Market and purchased a few pounds. I’ve been wanting to experiment with these beauties, so I didn’t divulge that I had purchased any. But like any mother, her antennas were up and without even trying she found out from a friend of mine that I purchased them! It was on. “Oh, I hear you bought some fava beans today,” she remarked. “Did you get some for me?” >my radio silence prevails< “Well not exactly. I was going to try out some new recipe ideas,” I explained. “Humm, so we not going to have any fava bean soup this summer? Or the pork and fava bean dish? Are you sure?” she questioned. “I’ll share my creations,” I say convincingly.

I am pleased to report that success was achieved. No need to go through the typical painstaking multistep preparation process. >drum roll PUH-leze< This is a super simple mind-blowing appetizer recipe. No shucking, boiling, shocking, peeling again and then cooking. Three steps, wash, season and roast! It’s a summer miracle- roasting the pods renders the second outermost skin edible!

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The Un-Fava Bean Recipe

Toss clean whole fava bean pods in good quality olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and toss on the upper most level of the BBQ. Cook over medium heat for 5-6 minutes on each side. The exact cooking time will depend on the size of the pod. When the pods loose their crisp firm form and become slightly browned and wilted they are cooked. Place the roasted pods on a plate or in a shallow bowl and sprinkle with kosher salt or sea salt. Encourage guests to eat them out of the pods similar to edamame. The skin is where all of the good flavors reside so it is I wouldn’t recommend pre-peeling them. However, if opting to go this skinner route then add a nice sprinkling of kosher or sea salt to the naked beans.

No BBQ? Well no problem-o. Spread the fava bean pods onto a baking sheet, in a single layer, and roast at 450 degrees for approximately 25 minutes, turning once half way through the total cooking time. Cook until wilted and tender.

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