Archive for May, 2008

30
May
08

Tomato Basil Salad

I’ve been craving tomatoes so badly. On Wednesday, I had the fantastic opportunity to lunch with a girlfriend. She made amazing chicken sandwiches with marinated peppers and balsamic vinegar. I made a tomato basil salad. Prior to this week, I had never eaten or made this kind of salad. It sounded so crisp and simple, though. I couldn’t help but know I’d love it. I did some research and found the basic tomato basil salad is simply sliced, salted tomatoes with basil chiffonade and olive oil drizzled on top. I also discovered that the best place to find good tomatoes are in your garden, fruit/vegetable stands, farmers markets or local organic markets. Grocery stores tend to “breed” their tomatoes for looks rather then flavor. Look for tomatoes with rich color, that aren’t too hard and not to soft. Obviously, avoid the ones with bruises and cuts. You can use pretty much any kind you like. I just stuck with regular globe tomatoes. I also picked up the fun fact of avoiding refrigeration. Apparently popping uncut tomatoes in the refrigerator will suck some of the flavor out. The best place for a ripe tomato is in a dark, room temperature place. I stick mine in a kitchen drawer with my avocados. 🙂 I sliced up my tomatoes, fresh basil and arranged it on plates. I topped it with small mozzarella balls, but you could use feta if you prefer.

The dressing I made was also really simple. I mixed a healthy glug of extra virgin olive oil with a splash of vanilla and mint extract. I also shook a smidge of ground cloves into it. Then I just shook it up and refrigerated it for a bit. Once it was cool, I drizzled it over the entire salad plate and generously salt and peppered it. I was actually pretty impressed with how delicious it turned out. It was so fast and easy to pull together and was even more refreshing then I had imagined, making it perfect for hot summer days.

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30
May
08

euphorbia

29
May
08

4 years

Today marks the fourth anniversary of my marriage to the most perfect man in the world. Well, he may not be the most perfect man in the world, but he is the most perfect for me. I know my husband isn’t really perfect, but his imperfections are perfect for me, and his perfections are just as perfect for me. And I love him.

A lot more has happened in these four years than I had expected, and in some ways, a lot less than I expected has happened. Things that I thought would be difficult have been very easy, and things that I thought would be easy have been hard. That said, the surprises that have come our way have been a tremendous blessing. Things that we thought were going ‘wrong’ ended up being a great providence that we are now very thankful for. It is humbling and encouraging to look back at the unexpected changes and see how God has provided for us and blessed us in them.

Happy Anniversary, Babe. Here’s to sixty more.

27
May
08

iced bosnian coffee

Now that the summer months are upon us, it is time to start setting aside the steaming mugs in favor of the sound of ice clinking in large twenty-ounce pub glasses. I could drink Starbucks Mocha Frappuccinos or Bucer’s Dark Chocolate Iced Mochas all day long, but that would get really expensive, so I’ve spent a little time working out recipes for home-made iced coffee confections.

One of the things that I love about Abra’s Bosnian Coffee is the fact that it is as delicious cold as it is hot, and it keeps well in the fridge for a few days. I can make a large pot of it on Monday, refrigerate what I don’t drink that day, and enjoy it on Tuesday and Wednesday (I have not noticed any compromise in the taste). This method also saves dishes, which I am always happy to do.

To make Iced Bosnian Coffee, I start with three or four ounces of milk in a large glass (I use the aforementioned 20-oz. pub glasses) and froth it up till it fills about two-thirds of the glass. I plop in a few ice cubes (I love that clinking sound), and then artistically drizzle in the chilled Bosnian Coffee till the glass is full. If you want, you can froth in a little bit of dark chocolate syrup as well to make it extra rich (a great Sunday treat). Then comes my favorite part – watching the milk foam bubbles rise to the top as the darker coffee moves toward the bottom. It’s almost like watching a poorly mixed black and tan settle into place.

Then I sit back, and enjoy.

23
May
08

Pets

Growing up, we always had pets. Lots of pets. Everything from multiple cats(Pocahontas, Buttercup, Stella, Jeeves), multiple dogs(Kieber, Tovi, Ceedra, Will), fish, mice (Kitty), frogs (Touchstone), newts. I think it’s good for kids to grow up around other living things. Growing up around other people, of course. Growing up around plants. But growing up around pets requires a higher degree of responsibility and care. Pets are like babies. You have to do everything for them at first, train them, love them. Plus, there’s the added benefit of animals unconditional love and loyalty. Jeeves was my college cat. Ben adopted Kate the cat when we were dating. When I drove to Boise to find my wedding gown, Ben got lonely in Moscow and bought a fish, Dr. Dre, and an albino frog, Eminem. After we got married, Ben bought me Oscar the cat…who turned out to need more wide open spaces then our starter apartment could offer. We had lots of fish. Salamanders. Snakes. It was good to be around life. To have something else to take care of. Then Miss Ophelia came along. We kept the fish until we moved to Maryland. We tried to get a cat. Poor Seymour. He had health troubles and our condo ended up being too small for a baby and a large needy cat. We’ve gone for about a year with snakes as our only pets. It’s been nice. They are pretty. Low maintenance. They don’t smell. But recently, I’ve been thinking we need more life around here. I can’t keep plants alive to save me (I’ve killed everything from cacti to tropical succulents.) So yesterday at the pet store, we bought fish….and a snail.

(Hoover the snail is hiding the left corner. The blue beta is named Howard and the orange dude is named George. We were going to name it Georgette, but he didn’t like that idea.)

They’ve been great. Ophelia easily added them to her ritual of saying good morning to all the snakes. There’s more movement in the house. Life. The tank is small so it makes upkeep simple. They’re cheap to feed. In fact, the fish and snail, the tank, the rocks, the fake plants and and 2 kinds of food ended up costing us about $30.00 and we shouldn’t need to put much more money into it unless we want to. Of course, I still want a cat and Ben still would like a dog. But until we have a place with more space and we have more time to train, we’ll stick to our cold blooded friends.

22
May
08

anemone

22
May
08

second time around

Here’s what I’ve been working on for the past couple of days…

Our little B has gotten the flu bug for the second time in about two months, so we’re keeping busy with laundry and movies. Until we get back into the normal swing of things, I’ll just keep posting under the ‘photography’ category.




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