You can tell how much I've been loving these fresh mozzarella "pearls" by Bel Gioioso from Costco, because I actually used a part of this container before I remembered I wanted to take a photo for the blog. I guess the fact I couldn't wait to eat some is proof enough that I'm endorsing these as one of my Kalyn's Kitchen Picks, the feature where I rave about products I'd happily buy over and over. At $3.59 for a one-pound container at my Costco, these are a great buy, with a mild, creamy flavor that just says summer to me.
There've been a lot of exciting additions to the house renovations since the last update, but I decided to start with the front steps, because after months and months of plywood steps, I'm so happy to have real steps again. There are even flowers that survived by the front porch, and today I planted a few things to fill in by the steps, hence the garden clogs in the photo.
Hummus is one of those foods I'd never get tired of eating. I'm pretty sure this particular version of hummus with lots of parsley, tahini, sesame oil, cumin, and lemon juice wouldn't be a hit with everyone, but if you like parsley and enjoy middle eastern flavors, you might love it like I did. If you have friends who like interesting flavors, make this and ask them what the seasonings are, and I doubt they'll be able to guess.
I believe there are lessons everywhere you turn in life, and right now perhaps my garden is trying to teach me that the cycle of life continues no matter what, because the garden is thriving, even though I've been doing a lot of house organizing and cleaning and not much gardening. Not only that, the weather in Utah has been rainy for days on end, but the plants seem to be loving it. Above are my first tomatoes of the year, baby Celebrity tomatoes about as big as a small grape. They aren't heirlooms, but year after year Celebrity has been a good producing tomato for me.
|This Marinated Fresh Mozzarella with Herbs is simple, but it will get gobbled up quickly at a party!|
This tasty mixture of mini mozzarella balls and fresh herbs might be the easiest appetizer you've ever whipped up, and I'm guessing it will impress your friends. After I discovered mozzarella pearls at Costco and made Tomato, Olive, and Fresh Mozzarella Salad, I heard from a lot of readers who loved the idea of the little balls of fresh mozzarella. I thought it might be fun to try another way to use them, and this recipe is adapted from one I found in How to Cook Everything. I used mostly basil, with just a tiny bit of oregano, but I'm thinking mint would be great in this, and in fact you could probably use any type of fresh herbs that appeal to you. (Edit: Thanks to Joanne from Eats Well with Others who tells me this is called Bocconicina which means "little balls" in Italian.)
(Updated and added to Recipe Favorites, June 2009.) I'm a huge fan of coleslaw, and this version with a bit of crumbled blue cheese in the dressing is unique enough to be really interesting. Blue cheese is high in fat, so I cut down the amount of blue cheese quite a bit when I adapted this recipe, and reduced it even more for this updated version, but it takes only a small amount to give this coleslaw a lot of blue cheese flavor. I've made this quite a few times since I first posted it in 2005, so I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to update this recipe with a photo, but finally this recipe is getting the spot it deserves in recipe favorites!
Today marks seven months since I started my house renovations. Of course things take a bit longer when you change the plan in the middle and decide to tear off your teeny-tiny office and add a big new part on to the back of your house. I won't say I haven't ever been discouraged, but mostly I've been feeling grateful, and all day today I've been looking around thinking, "I can't believe I live here." There are a lot of photos this time, since I'm trying to keep a record and there's been a lot of progress. I'm starting with something very hard to photograph, but I wanted to show the blinds on my back door which make it so I can turn around and see my garden while I'm at the desk. The other window shows the Hunter-Douglas blinds, which are turning out to be great for photos.
I think it's entirely possible that I'll grab on to any excuse to use pine nuts, because I love them so much I can hardly be objective about whether a dish really needs them or not. This rice dish that starts on the stove and then finishes cooking in the oven already had lots of flavor from the onions, curry powder, and lemon juice, but I loved the way pine nuts added that extra something. Of course, as I already mentioned, I'm not objective about it so you may not feel the need to add pine nuts for your version.
Today was the last day of school and the end of my teaching career, and although hugging the kids goodbye was a little bittersweet, I'm ready to move on to the next phase of my life. I'm hoping that next phase includes more time for gardening, but so far this year I haven't done much more than throw the plants in the ground and try to water them. As I mentioned in the last garden update, it's been hard to find time for the garden with so many decisions about house renovations, and the huge job of packing up a classroom after 30 years. Luckily some plants are able to flourish on their own, so I thought I'd start this update with a shot of some perennials that grow along the edge of my garden.
Currently I'm in serious countdown mode since Friday is my last day of school (ever!) and the always stressful end of the school year is being increased by the need to pack up 30 years of classroom stuff that's my personal property. I've had a table out in the hall by my classroom door for weeks and as I sort through things, I put what I don't want on the table and other teachers snap them up. Tomorrow night my gorgeous niece Alyson (who's a special ed teacher and only been teaching a few years) will come to get some of the more prized things I've been saving for her. Her mom, my generous sister Pam, is also coming with her SUV to help me move the things home that I'm keeping (plus the refrigerator that I saved a spot for in my new blogging office.)
Kalyn's favorite Phase One Recipe for May was
Spicy Cilantro-Peanut Slaw.
Spicy Cilantro-Peanut Slaw.
I've been counting down all during May, towards my retirement day and the end of my teaching career (five more days!) The end of school is always filled with stress, and this year I've had the added stress of house renovations. Even though I'm pretty committed to my low-glycemic way of eating, when I'm overly stressed I eat things I normally wouldn't touch, so I'm happy that it's time for the monthly round up of Phase One Recipes I've posted on Kalyn's Kitchen or found on other food blogs. I can see a lot of phase one foods in my future for the next month or so!