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worth the wait

  • Carboy – a large glass bottle, especially one of green glass, encased in basketwork or in a box and used to hold and transport liquids.
  • Demijohn – a large narrow-necked bottle usually enclosed in wickerwork.

As you know, I’m pretty much addicted to the monthly Sweet Salvage sale events. At the April weekend, an extra-large carboy caught my eye. It cost more than I planned to spend, so I passed it by.

sweet salvage storefront

It was still there at the May event – at the same price. I took a closer look and saw that it had a spigot, which is unusual for carboy or a demijohn. I asked an employee if she knew if the spigot worked. She didn’t know and since it was the first morning of the sale and the place was packed, I didn’t pursue it any further and again walked away.

You guessed it, it was still there last weekend at the June sale. This time I had to know if it was functional, so I asked Kim, the owner of Sweet Salvage and she let me take it outside and test it with a hose.

patio

It worked perfectly and now it is mine!

pool

Isn’t it a beauty?

buffet

So unique, not encased in wicker like your standard demijohn, but instead with a metal cage and with that fabulous spigot.

chairs

Plus, it’s HUGE! Just look at it next to this chair!

Okay, after hauling it all around the backyard in 118 degree weather, I’m taking it inside to show you the lovely details.

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June 23, 2016   1 Comment

Housecooling

the crew

Steve and Tram are building a new home. Their house recently sold and they have to be out in a month. They love to entertain but haven’t been in the position to do so for months now. The reason? Well, many of us know how difficult it is to keep our homes clean and ready to show at the drop of a hat. Imagine trying to do that with two full-time jobs and 2-year old twins. Talk about stressful!

last supper

Saturday night, the overachieving duo hosted an intimate dinner party. Steve was the stellar chef and pitmaster and Tram was the dessert queen.

a toast

It’s bittersweet to sell the house you brought your babies home to, so Tram lovingly called the evening The Last Supper. I call it a Housecooling, you know, the opposite of a Housewarming.

garnish picks

I created a new cocktail for the occasion, so in honor of Zak and Zoey’s first home, I’m attaching that moniker to the drink.

I’m already looking forward to the Housewarming Party!

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June 20, 2016   7 Comments

bugs and such

Well, that’s not much of a title for a cooking blog, is it? Sorry, it can’t be helped, I’ve been dealing with a variety of bugs recently.

hot tea copy

I’m recovering from my third bout of summer pneumonia. No, not three illness this summer, but the third time I’ve had pneumonia during a hot Arizona summer. Go figure! And, I know, it’s not officially summer yet but … more on that later.

The first time I was diagnosed was over the 4th of July weekend, back in the late ’90’s. I specifically remember that date because we had to cancel our annual 4th of July Pool Party. The first and only party I’ve ever cancelled.

best med copy

The second time was during the last week of summer cooking classes in 2009. That was the sickest I think I’ve ever been. I still taught the classes, but if not for my son, Connor, being my assistant and the fact that I was no longer contagious, that would have been the first and only summer session I would have had to cancel. I made a deal with my doctor; Connor would do all the setup while I stayed in bed. I’d get up to teach the 3-hour classes each day and then go back to bed while Connor cleaned up. I was supposed to stay there until the next day, but that was impossible. I had to do some of the setup and prep, but Connor did the bulk of the work that week. It was pure misery.

And here I am again. It came out of nowhere over the weekend. But three days of antibiotics and I’m on the mend. I’m not feeling great enough to cook up a storm. Not that I even want to cook – it’s too damn hot to think about anything but cold soups and salads and as many liquids as I can tolerate. Look at the forecast for the coming days. I mean … Seriously!!!

crazy hot

That’s what I’m talking about. It may not be officially summer, but in Arizona, official seasonal starts and stops make no difference whatsoever!

pom perfect

OK, so illness is not the only bug I’ve been dealing with, the other is an actual creepy-crawly bug. I have a beautiful pomegranate tree that produces big beautiful pomegranates each and every year. Sounds heavenly, doesn’t it?

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June 17, 2016   2 Comments

Watermelon Crawl

Kim sent me a video on Instagram from The Food Network. The video showed how to make a Watermelon Tiki Drink. Since Marissa was in town over the weekend for her best friend’s wedding shower, I thought it would be the perfect time to give the cocktail a try.

Watermelon Cooler

I’m calling it The Watermelon Crawl Cooler and I call it absolutely adorable and perfect for a summer pool party! I’ve even made a little movie for you. It’s at the end of the post. Oh, and be sure to turn on your volume – the song is awesome!

hand blender

You’ll need an immersion blender. The one in the video from Kim was fancier than mine. The edge was wavy and sharp and it cut into the watermelon.

press to score

Mine doesn’t have that ability, so I just pressed the hand blender hard onto the center of the watermelon to score it.

cut out

Next, I used a paring knife to cut around the score ….

remove top

… and cut out the top of the watermelon.

cut to level

Oh, and before you do any of that, check to see if your watermelon will stand or roll. If it rolls, slice a little off the bottom so that it will stand and be steady.

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June 13, 2016   5 Comments

Anne!

Happy Birthday to one of my dearest and most beautiful friends, Anne!

sweet anne

Anne is not on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter or any other sort of social media – I know, right?!?  But she does read this blog daily, so if you’re lucky enough to know Sweet Anne, please feel free to wish her a Happy Birthday in the comment area below.

virtu

To celebrate, Peggy and I took Anne to the wonderful Virtù Honest Craft in Old Scottsdale.

virtu seared orata

Anne and Peggy had the Seared Orata.

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June 10, 2016   7 Comments

LindaLand mocktail … or cocktail

When I entertain, I want everyone to feel special and loved. That means not only taking dietary restrictions and food preferences into consideration but also thinking of those who don’t imbibe. Often people think that individuals “of age” don’t drink because they have been through AA. But there are many reasons your guests may choose not to drink. A guest could be pregnant or trying to become pregnant (fun!) or it may be they’ve given up alcohol for Lent or for a diet. Or they are could just be taking a break from it after one of those, “I’ll never drink again!” weekends.

LindaLand Grapefruit & Rosemary Spritzer

No matter the reason, you want to offer them something more special than water, tea, coffee, Coke or soda water. You want them to feel like they are part of the party … because … they are!

Rosemary & Grapefruit Spritzer

I created this mocktail for just such an occasion. The best way to make all feel included is to create a full-flavored and well-rounded drink that tastes just as fabulous without alcohol as it does with it.

Not all cocktails can be turned into a mocktail. For instance, a dirty martini doesn’t make the cut. Your non-drinkers would basically be drinking olive juice with a couple of olives on a pick. That’s not going to happen!

LindaLand

This drink makes the cut and then some. I’ve named it after the nickname that Steve and Tram gave to my backyard because the main ingredients, pink grapefruit and rosemary, come from there. I’m calling the virgin recipe a Spritzer and the alcoholic version a Gin Fizz. Oh, and please don’t be intimidated by the length of the recipe. It is not at all difficult or time-consuming, it’s just my rambling instructions.

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June 9, 2016   10 Comments

the goat, the chicken and the fig

Here is a recipe that I forgot to post from a few weeks ago when Kim generously gifted me with fresh Mission figs.

junefigs

I have a beautiful fig tree of my own but I adore Mission figs and unfortunately mine is a Kadota fig tree. So Kim’s figs were a real treat. Thank you, Kim! xoxo

fig stuff

You’ll need only a handful of ingredients for this delicious and quick “anytime of the week” dinner.

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June 8, 2016   2 Comments

eggs in avocado

The peaches are all picked, given away or eaten. Makes me somewhat sad but also relieved. I can write about something else now! Plus, peach season continues at farmers’ markets, so I can always get my fix if needed.

avocado brunch eggs

How about a little something for breakfast or brunch?

avocado baked eggs

Avocado Baked Eggs

  • 2 large ripe firm avocados
  • 4 medium to large eggs
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Mama Mai’s S&P
  • Linda’s Southwest Seasoning
  • 1 medium ripe tomato, diced
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Plain non-fat yogurt
  • Hot sauce
  • Additional lime for garnish

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June 7, 2016   3 Comments

Peach pies with figs, cherries, apricots, blueberries…

peach cherry fig

It would be nearly impossible to have a “summer fresh fruit week” without a pie or two…or three.

peachy fruit pies

I’m so into the refrigerated pie crust that Connor turned me onto, that I bought a half-dozen boxes when I found them on sale at Safeway.

purchased pie crust

They are in the freezer and I’m “pie-ready” for the summer!

cherry pitter

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June 3, 2016   No Comments

grill pan dinner – fresh fruit week day 3

Kim gifted me with fresh Mission figs and sweet little plums. I know, it’s like a darn fruit stand over here!

figs and plums

I ate all the plums straight away and then worked the figs and all those peaches, ripening and being picked each and every day, into our meals.

grill pan chicken peaches figs

What follows is one of the quickest and easiest of the bunch.

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June 2, 2016   No Comments