Pumpkin Seeds

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If you still have pumpkin seeds waiting for a delicious recipe, seek no more. I grew up with this recipe. After carving pumpkins as a family, my mom would grab our seeds, head to the kitchen and whip up some magic, which would always make my pumpkin seeds a hit in school the next day. They were so good, it never seemed like we had enough seeds to savor.  Continue reading

Pumpkin Seed Recipe

Pumpkin Seed Recipe

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Ingredients

2 cups unwashed Pumpkin Seeds

1/2 teaspoons of Worcestershire

1 1/2 tablespoons of Melted Salted Butter

1 1/2 teaspoons of Salt

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Tools

Baking Pan

Parchment Paper

Oven

Directions

Preheat oven to 250

Mix together all your ingredients

Pour over pumpkin seeds in a bowl or container / When fully covered and mixed together, lay the pumpkin seeds onto the parchment paper on the baking pan / Place baking pan into oven / Set timer for 2 1/2 hours /  Check and stir every 1/2 hour. During these “stirrings,” is a good time to sneak a taste and enhance the flavor if needed…I added a little more Worcestershire, salt and garlic powder throughout my baking process. *Note that the first couple half hour stirs, you may not want to taste and chew the actually seeds due to the fact they will still be pretty raw. 

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It is very important that you keep the seeds unwashed, otherwise the pumpkin

essence is lost. For spice, add (smoked) paprika / cayenne pepper :

For flavor, add garlic powder / pepper / cinnamon (not recommended together)

Back to Pumpkin Seeds Post

Pho

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It’s officially fall on the Central Coast and with that comes warm lattes, boots, jackets, and hot, comforting meals. For my birthday my Mommy Dearest gave me this Le Crueset Pot! I was so excited to receive this and add it to my slowly growing collection. For my first creation in this monster “French Oven,” as it’s deemed, I decided to make Pho, a Vietnamese noodle soup. I found a recipe and without the desire to invest a lot of time and money into stewing beef bone marrow, shanks, and fat, as a typical Pho would do, I took the easier, quicker, cheaper route…Here’s my recipe.

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What You’ll Need:

{1 liter Vegetable Broth, 1 liter Beef Broth, 1/2 liter Water, 1 yellow Onion, Ginger, Pho Bouillon Cubes, 3 Whole Star Anise, Pho Noodles, Bunch of Cilantro, Mint, Bean Sprouts, Jalapenos or Serranos, Limes, Thai Basil, Tofu, Hoisin Sauce, Sriracha, Soy Sauce}

I started off combining all my broths, the vegetable stock, beef stock, and water and bringing them to a boil. The Pho noodles don’t need much time at all to cook and by that I mean like 5-10 seconds dipped into the broth and they’re done! So, after bringing the water to a boil, flash dip the noodles and then strain them out, while keeping all the broth. I then added the onion, ginger cubed into 6, 1/2 inch chunks, whole star anise, and Pho bouillon cube. I brought this all to a high simmer then placed the lid on the pot and let it do its thing for about 4 hours. Keep an eye on it to ensure that it’s only simmering, not boiling.There’s not much prep, in the meantime because all the other condiments can be plated when the broth is ready.

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When the broth is about 10-15 minutes out, cube the tofu and throw it in so it will incorporate the flavors of the broth and warm up without getting too soft and soggy. Once the tofu is in, start plating the toppings. Slice up some limes, and chilies, leave the cilantro, Thai basil and mint on the stems. Throw some bean sprouts on the plate and you have all you need! Get your sauces out and put them on the side.

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To finish, heat your bowls up and put some noodles in them. Pour over the broth and add your toppings as needed. Enjoy!

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Cheers! -L

Rosemary and Mint Burlap Bouquets

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I talk about my garden a lot. I’m not entirely apologetic about it because it’s summer and I have a pretty rad garden. I’m in love with it and I like to talk about it! With that, I lead into my next little project…Rosemary and Mint Burlap Bouquets. These two, healthy, abundant herb plants I have are overflowing with goodness. So, naturally I feel I have to share the wealth. One day after quickly compiling these two herbs into a makeshift bouquet, I came up with a more thoughtful, personal way to give them as gifts to friends.

Start by gathering the supplies you’ll need:

~ Rosemary and Mint ~ Mason Jars ~ Burlap (of any color or style) ~ Ribbon/raffia/leather/or any sort of neutral colored ‘tie’ ~ Scissors ~

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IMG_4175After your supplies are organized, measure out the burlap that will cover the Mason Jar; simply put your jar in the middle of the burlap, measure about 3 inches from the top of the jar. Cut the burlap into the square that completes those measurements.

IMG_4182 IMG_4186After you have your square, measure your ‘tie’ device 4″ from each side of the jar top, take your ribbon (or in my case, leather), and wrap it around the neck of the jar, securing the burlap. After the burlap is secure, trim around the edge for any necessary length or unevenness.

IMG_4188 IMG_4192Now, place rosemary and mint sporadically in the jar creating a nice, full fragrant bouquet! I finished my bouquets off with a tag in which I wrote two rosemary and mint recipe ideas…Rosemary and Mint Tea, and a Mint and Rosemary Sauce.

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Cheers! -L

Garden Fresh Salsa

This summer, once my tomatoes started flowering, they took off. I couldn’t keep up with their ripeness, and kept making the typical meals in which they encompassed. Yearning a change from a salad ingredient or bruschetta, I decided to spice up an ordinary salsa recipe. Here’s how to make Garden Fresh Salsa…

Adding black beans to a salsa changes the consistency and taste. After reorganizing my kitchen, I found raw black beans I bought a while back. Never having made black beans from scratch, I thought doing so, and adding them to the salsa would be a great learning experiment.

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To make black beans soak a cup of dry black beans overnight. Put them in enough water (3-4 cups) so when they begin to expand they will still be covered.  In the morning, drain and rinse the black beans then submerge them in salted water. Bring to a boil then simmer for 30-50 minutes or until tender. I added cumin, paprika and more salt to taste. When they are done, again drain and rinse and let cool until you are ready to add them to the salsa. Oh, the salsa you ask?!

What you need:

~ 2 1/2 – 3 cups diced tomatoes (locally grown) ~2 serranos ~3 garlic cloves ~

~ 1 small yellow or white onion ~ cilantro ~ 2 limes ~ salt/pepper ~ small corn tortillas ~

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Dice the tomatoes, serranos and cilantro and add them to a mixing bowl. Squeeze the juice of one lime over the mixture and set aside. These flavors will meld together and the juices will start to extract while you move onto the other steps.

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Mince the garlic and onion next. I’m not particularly fond of raw garlic and onion so I like to soften up those flavors. After you’ve minced them, put them together in a bowl, cover with olive oil and salt. Then, put them in the microwave for about 10-20 seconds (until you start to smell the garlic). Take out the mixture, give it a stir and set aside to cool.

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Once your beans are cooled, add them to the tomato mixture and then the garlic/onion mixture when it has cooled. Give the salsa a good stir and taste. Add salt, pepper and more lime juice as needed…everyone is different when it comes to this!

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To finish off the salsa, add another homemade touch with freshly fried corn tortillas. Cut the small rounded corn tortillas into fourths. Get a pan (cast iron works great), fill it halfway with oil, and turn the stove on high. Test one quarter first to make sure the oil is hot enough. (when you put the tortilla in, the oil should start bubbling and boiling all around it). Once it’s hot enough, throw about 6-7 in at a time, consistently flipping them over. When done, lay them on a plate covered by a papertowel to let cool.

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The salsa and chips make a great summer gift for friends, or are perfect for a backyard BBQ.

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Cheers! -L

The Second Season

In California’s Central Coast, it feels as though there are only two seasons…colder sunny days with sporadic rainfall and warm/hot sunny days. Four seasons do not exist here, so saying that summer feels like it’s on the brink, seems like an odd statement. But, the air in SLO continues to feel warm and cozy, the nights are even staying comfortable for longer. I do think we will have an especially warm spring and with that, an early summer.

It makes me excited to extend and grow the garden again. Our artichoke maintains its health and wellness and despite our efforts to keep up with the production, the chard isn’t letting up. Strawberries seem to be taking a slumber from developing ruby red berries, but the leaves and size of the plants tell us we’ll soon be having a daily morning snack. My idea for this years summer garden includes peppers, tomatoes, arugula, onions, cucumbers, and more herbs. I’m sure more will make it’s way into our dirt, but until then, this is what I’m planning. Today will be a beautiful day full of weeding, turning dirt, and enjoying the beautiful sun. Have a beautiful weekend all!

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The Chard that grows and grows and turns different shades of green and burgundy all the time…

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The Artichoke plant that yielded 6 artichokes last year…hoping to get 12 (or more!) this year!

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This book is my buddy with spring so near!

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Front flower garden…I learned last winter of flowers that would bloom all through winter. They have been a great light, even on dark days.

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Backyard Calla Lily garden that grows wild, and free and beautiful.

Cheers! -L

 

 

Fresh Lemonade

Surprisingly, I have never made homemade lemonade. Store bought lemons just don’t carry the same juicing appeal as fresh picked, local lemons. After obtaining several from the neighboring house, I decided it was time to make my first batch of lemonade! I used this recipe, substituting rosemary for the basil.

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Pour over ice and top with soda water for a sparkling delight!

Cheers, Laura

 

 

 

When Life Gives You Lemons…

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Take them! Look at these GORGEOUS lemons! All for me! And my friend Al, from yoga because he eats one everyday after class (I’m not sure how, but he LOVES them) and I thought a few would be a sweet little gift, for sweet little Al.

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But really, how BIG are these?! Huge. They were free, from a neighbors tree, and MAN, they are giants. Their smell is unlike any other lemon smell…soooo sweet and citrusy at the same time. I cannot wait to make fresh lemonade and French 75s! Stay tuned for those recipes! Cheers!

Chili Verde

The Garden has produced an abundance of Anaheim Chiles. Eating them on their own are delicious, throwing them in with some Top Ramen (yes, so gourmet) is also quite tasty, but we wanted to do something bigger and better since having so many. Chile Verde was the winner! So, we picked the Anaheims, the Jalapenos, along with cilantro and onions. At the local market we got tomatillos, pork, garlic, chicken broth, heavy cream and lemons.

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Following recipes is not my forte, all the time. I like to add seasonings, vegetables, and spices that I think may add to the dish. For this chile verde, we seasoned the chicken broth with cumin, paprika, chili powder, lime juice, salt, and pepper, to taste. Skinning the chiles is an important part of this process. For an easy method, roast the chiles on skewers over the open gas stove flame then put them in a paper bag. When they’re all roasted, peel off the skin, give them a quick rinse and they are ready!

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Chop all your veggies and throw everything in a large pot filled with an already stewing broth. We used 48 oz of chicken broth and 3 tablespoons of heavy cream. Let this simmer and stew on the stove for a good 5 hours, or until cooked down into a nice, thicker broth. The flavors will completely meld together during this time, making an amazing chile verde.

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Serve with white rice, refried beans, and corn tortillas. Enjoy!

Cheers! -L

Tequila Infusion

Infusing alcohol is a great, fun way to spice and spruce up ordinary martinis or cocktails. It’s easy, fun and allows you to get creative with mixing herbs, fruits, or even vegetables. My favorite infusion so far has been a garlic, Serrano vodka for Bloody Marys. This time I chose to use tequila.

I know that Tequila is great, but it does not allow for a plethora of cocktails to be made with it. I am hoping this infusion will spice it up a bit. I had watermelon leftover from an Agua Fresca I had been making so I used that, picked some cucumber and jalapenos from the garden and went to town.

Simply put, I just sliced everything up differently to keep it visually appealing, put it all in a Corzo Bottle and topped it with tequila. Let it fuse together for at least a day in the fridge before trying it out. What are some of your favorite infusions you’ve tried or made?