Quinoa Pasta with Raw Tomato Sauce

It’s Raw week over at the “I Heart Cooking Clubs” web site. Raw? Hmm, what kind of inventive dish could I make that’s raw?

I launched the Mark Bittman “How To Cook Everything” iPhone app and searched for “raw” – the first recipe that popped up was “Linguine with Raw Tomato Sauce” – oh that sounded good.

I was hungry for lunch this afternoon, so I decided to make one serving for me.

simple ingredients

The ingredients and cooking steps are so simple, it’s laughable!

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My Oven Died!

Yikes, this is not the week for kitchen electronics. Don’t things happen in threes? Uh oh, what else can go wrong?

First my bread machine bit the dust (thankfully, DH fixed that, albeit temporary) and now my beloved Hamilton Beach counter top convection oven is dead. DH can’t revive it!

I used it this morning for baking bulgar wheat cereal, and then I turned it on to preheat for the apricot nut bread this afternoon. I went to bake the bread, and when I opened the oven, it was not hot. It was just barely warm, so I know it did initially start up.

I have used this oven non-stop since December 2006, when I received it as a Christmas present from DH. That’s 3.5 years of hard labor! Yeah, it would have been nice if it lasted longer, but it was under $100! What do you expect!? Ha!

So, I am definitely going to grab a new counter top oven. Don’t know if it’ll be the Hamilton Beach, but it’s definitely a contender.

I will miss you, oven! But I’ll get a new one to replace you soon!

Whole Wheat (fresh) Apricot Nut Bread

I bought a box of fresh local apricots the other day and I wanted to use them up, along with one overly-ripe lonely banana. Wouldn’t a nice loaf of whole wheat sweet bread would do the trick!

fresh local apricots

So, I googled, and would you believe most of the apricot/banana bread recipes use “dried” apricots. These were yummy FRESH apricots. Then, I thought, wait, apricots are just like peaches, so why not find a nice peach bread recipe and modify it with apricots instead.

I found what looked like a good ginger peach bread recipe over at honestfare.com – yummy, never thought of adding ginger. Great idea! So, this recipe is inspired partly by Honest Fare and partly by my other two sweet bread recipes. Of course, it’s made with whole wheat flour, and it’s got less refined sugar and more fiber than most sweet breads.

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The Difference Between Blackberries and Black Raspberries

I was curious to figure out if our backyard bush was indeed a blackberry or perhaps instead, a black raspberry bush.

After some research online (isn’t google grand?), I am now fairly confident that we have a BLACKBERRY bush, not raspberry.

The big difference is the way the stem affects the berry. A raspberry has a hollow opening when picked, the blackberry does not.

Here is a close up of some organic raspberries I bought a few weeks ago:

raspberries have hollow fruit

And here is a photo of a few of the blackberries picked a few days ago from the backyard bush. The blackberry has a white core from the stem.

blackberries have a white core

I found this web page on wikihow that explains it very well, with photos too.


Breadman Bread Machine is Finally Dying

Well I wrote about this previously, how my Breadman bread machine just stops working when I’m loaded up and ready to make dough.

I’ve now learned to check if it’s working first before I add my ingredients to the bucket. Mike has tried fixing it several times. He has to manually turn the paddles or lever so the motor turns. It must be ceased up, and he has to release it. I don’t know how long it can keep being fixed like that, so the time has come to just buy a new machine!

So, which model to purchase and how much to spend?

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Blackberries in Backyard

I don’t know why I never noticed these berries before this season. We’ve been living in our home for a couple of summers, but for some reason, I never really paid attention!

Anyway, a few weeks ago, I saw a few branches of green berries. I tried googling, but couldn’t decipher if they were unripened blackberries. I wasn’t sure when the season began for berries in New England; I assumed they should have been ripened by now, so I figured they were inedible.

But suddenly, yay, I noticed some of the berries were turning red, then a dark blue/black. I picked a couple and brought them inside. After carefully and gently washing them, I bravely took a bite. A little bit sour, but they were edible.

blackberries on backyard bush

I have picked three batches so far, picking every 2-3 days! It’s exciting to be able to gather fresh blackberries from my own backyard!

blackberries on backyard bush

Last time, I mixed them with sweet blueberries from the CSA farm, and yum! I love eating healthy. This has been the most food adventurous summer I have ever had! I have found such an appreciation for so many different seasonal foods. Summer is definitely my favorite season, but it’s going to be fun to come into autumn’s veggies too. It’s just so exciting! I am so inspired!

blackberries from backyard

Seriously Sharp – Cabot Cheeses Review

Before we left for vacation, I was browsing the cheese at the local grocery, trying to choose a cheese for our trip. I saw that Cabot offered extra sharp cheddar along with SERIOUSLY sharp cheese. I was tempted to get “seriously” sharp but I opted for just extra sharp. Next time, I’ll get serious!!! hahaa

While we were away on vacation, we visited the Yarmouth Clam Festival and Cabot had a little booth set up, with samples of horseradish, extra sharp and pepper jack cheeses. I LOVED the horseradish and pepper jack. Yum. I was hesitant to buy it before, so getting to taste it was great!

So, I was at Market Basket, grocery store this week, and I saw the horseradish cheese in the dairy case. I turned the package over to read the ingredients, and oh no! “Natural and artificial horseradish flavor” – artificial flavor? yuck! It also had the additive sodium citrate! So, I put it back down and decided to check Whole Foods for a more natural brand of horseradish cheese.

I’ll still buy Cabot sharp cheeses, but I’ll stay away from any of their flavored cheeses. Too bad they couldn’t stick to a more natural list of ingredients.

Zucchini Onion Pecorino Gratin

zucchini onion pecorino gratin

I received some lovely zucchini in this week’s CSA share, and I wanted to make some more of the yummy zucchini onion pancakes, but didn’t have the time to sit and cook pancakes tonight. I needed something that could be thrown into the oven and easily baked with virtually no assistance.

So, hmm, I thought, how about a baked gratin? yum.

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Corn on the Cob

corn on the cob fresh from the CSA farm

We got 3 ears of fresh sweet corn on the cob in the CSA share this week.

My DH was going out for the evening, and I was hungry. I couldn’t waste time cooking the corn, so I ate all three raw, as a late afternoon snack. Oh it was fabulous. Brought me back to my childhood at our summer house. My mom used to buy fresh corn at the farm and we used to eat an ear or two raw. Yum, I just love corn. I don’t believe the nah-sayers that say it’s not good for you!

corn on the cob fresh from the CSA farm