I don't know if I have mentioned this or not, but we had a house full this summer. FULL. Seven people came from Brazil, a combination of family and friends... for a month.
Yes, we might be a bit crazy. Maybe. But it's what you do when half of your world is, well, half-a-world away. You maximize the time you have together.
Meaning, you blow up lots and lots of air mattresses and know that your home is not your home for the next 30 days, but just home. Home to many, but home nonetheless.
This, of course, throws off your schedule greatly. As in, the word 'schedule' is probably not a part of your daily vocabulary, in English or ever-progressing-Portuguese. And your normal habits and preferences? They are replaced with field trips to Ross and then quick runs made to Target. Because every Brazilian loves Ross, and every American loves Target. You gotta keep it balanced.
Of course, bigger things happen. Road trips around California; going camping with people who have never done it before; laughter ringing out from the table that usually seats two but can seat four, yet somehow manages to seat nine when you are really trying...
In the midst of all this, life continues to move forward. Some people head off to work while others head to the pool and bills are hopefully remembered and paid on time. But at the end of the day (and a couple times before then), everyone needs to eat. A few gather in the kitchen to chop and dice, saute' and grill. You quickly figure out that feeding nine on a daily basis is a much bigger task than feeding two, while cleaning up sure does go faster when you have so many helping hands.
This goes on in the kitchen --
-- while Skip Bo is taking place in the living room with pillows falling off the couch, and a guitar is being played somewhere else while a few others sit around a computer watching a film clip in Portuguese --
-- and you realize that it's OK that you have Robitussin in the background of your food pictures and everything doesn't look so perfect. Because this is real life. And real life does not look like our food blog pictures.
(No, I don't have any finished pictures for you. After all, this was real life, so we sat, ate, and enjoyed each other's company. If you would like to see what it it looks like, you can click here to be taken to a Google search.)
10 thin slices of Silverside beef, about 5
inches wide and 10 inches long
1 teaspoon of salt
5 bacon slices, cut in half (I prefer beef bacon as I don't eat pork bacon, but you can use whatever you like)
1/2 bell pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil
In a dish, season the meat with the juice of the
lime and the salt, using your fingers to rub it into the meat. Set
Chop the tomato, onion, bell pepper, and carrot
into 5 inch-long slivers -- ten of each vegetable.
Taking one piece of meat at a time, place one
piece of bacon and one of each of the vegetable pieces. Roll like a
burrito, tightly wrapping it so each end is covered and nothing can fall out.
Secure with toothpicks (2 to 3).
Add the oil to the bottom of the pressure
cooker. Place the beef rolls inside. Cook in the pressure
cooker on medium-high heat for about 20 minutes after the pressure builds
up. When it is finished, be careful to let the pressure die down
before you open the lid.
COST: $16.70 COSTPER SERVING (5): $3.34
(Serve with beans and rice to make a complete meal, coming in under $4 per serving.)
Being out and about this summer was great. I got to do things I have never done before: stay in a B&B in the Rockies, hike the Appalachian Trail, watch Brazil play against Japan in a Brazilian bar in NYC, walk the Freedom Trail in Boston... And then I got to share places I love with people I love visiting from Brazil. Disneyland. San Diego. Santa Barbara. But with all this, I missed out on one of my favorite times of the week: going to the farmers' market.
Yes, that truly is one of my favorite times. When else, or where else, do you surround yourself with people rubbing shoulders, exchanging cash instead of swiping plastic, talking with familiar strangers?
I had plans to go while I was on the East Coast, but each attempt failed. Besides, what would I do with fresh produce in my hotel room, really? Yeah... not much.
Finally, after two months, I headed down to the market with my usual $12. I don't know where I got the number 12 from, but it has become my norm (grab a ten and two ones... I seem to always have that laying around).
I must admit, the summer selection has some of my least favorite things. I actually miss the kale and the butternut squash that winter and early spring provide. The berries and stone fruit are nice, but I never get that many. Maybe because I know my $12 won't spread very far if I buy fruit... so I pretty much stick to the veggies. (Luckily for me, we have a ton of farm stands nearby that sell fruit for cheaper than the farmers' market, even though they are many of the same vendors.) This week my bag filled up with leeks, beets, green onions, and a bunch of summer squash.
But then I had a problem: What do I do with this squash? Other than cook it and through some garlic salt on it, I had never really done anything with this vegetable...
Yay for readers who follow along on Facebook! I threw the question out there and got three DELICIOUS ideas, one of which I had all the ingredients on hand already. And so, Summer Squash Soup, compliments of Donna, was set out for dinner. Easy and fresh, the perfect way to enjoy my farmers' market produce!
I guess the farmers' market isn't the only place you rub shoulders with others...
SUMMER SQUASH SOUP
Recipe slightly adapted from blog reader, Donna. Thank you!
I cooked. And I took pictures. I guess that means I'm back.
Back from where? From ten different states, 14 different beds (plus one tent), more than 40 days away from home. From hosting seven guests from Brazil, from translating EVERYTHING, all day long... I'm back from writing math curriculum on the East Coast, being a bridesmaid in Denver, and traveling up and down the West Coast. From attending four different weddings and shooting one -- my very first.
Yup, I'm back. My husband even said so last night when he came home to a house that smelled of good ol' homecooking... "Ahh, Babe, you're back."
ounces linguini (I used Trader Joe’s garlic-herb linguini for extra flavor)
shallots, finely chopped
cups of whole milk
small package of frozen peas, thawed
sliced prosciutto, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
tablespoon fresh lemon juice
tablespoon zested lemon peel
cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook
pasta until al dente, according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup
pasta water; drain pasta and return to pot.
Meanwhile, make sauce: In a large skillet, melt
butter over medium-low heat; add shallot and cook until softened, about 5
minutes. Add milk, flour, peas, and prosciutto; bring to a gentle simmer
over medium heat. Simmer until peas are heated through, 3 to 4 minutes.
Stir in lemon zest and juice. Pour sauce over
pasta; add Parmesan, and season generously with salt and pepper. Add
enough reserved pasta water to thin sauce as desired. Serve immediately;
top with additional Parmesan, if desired.
COST: $10.45 COSTPER SERVING (4): $2.61
Information calories 338.1 •
total fat 16.2g • fiber
2.8g • sugars 4.3g •