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Posts from — July 2011

“Save Me, San Francisco”

Last day of July! Hard to believe, summer is almost over, at least in most of America. In Arizona it will last another 2 1/2 months, but here in San Francisco, it feels like autumn. Heaven!  Here is Marissa on the beach, which is less than a mile from her new home. Yes, she is in her new HOME! So exciting, and it is so cute, and big!

Oh, and if you want to watch the Train video “Save Me, San Francisco” CLICK HERE

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July 31, 2011   No Comments

last of the figs

Fresh Fig Ice Cream


2 pounds fresh figs, ends trimmed and each cut into 6 to 8 pieces
1/2 cup of water
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
Purchased caramel sauce, if desired

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July 30, 2011   No Comments

woman vs. wild

While I may be on the road in a U-Haul, towing a VW beetle behind, I still want to share with you some more of the fig recipes I created to use up the harvest from my tree.  The figs for this recipe and another one coming up tomorrow, were all that I had left after I fought off the birds to get the last few.  While I was out picking, there was this one little finch who was mighty angry that I was stealing his figs.  I’m serious, he was acting like he planted, waters, and prunes the darn tree… and I was stealing from him! The nerve!  OK, honestly I don’t prune the tree, my yard man, Tony, does.  But hey, I am the one who pays Tony, so take that you selfish (and pretty darn cute) little bird!

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July 29, 2011   No Comments


Moving is a pain. No two ways about it. And moving in July, in Arizona, in 107 degrees is… I won’t say it out loud.

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July 28, 2011   No Comments

crazy lady

bouquets garnis

A cassoulet, which originated in the south of France, is a hearty cold-weather meal filled with meats and baked in a thick stew of beans and vegetables.  So why am I making a cassoulet when it is 109 degrees outside?  Answer – because I’m crazy, that’s why! Actually along with the craziness there is a practical reason.  I had just less then a pound of leftover lamb cut from a shank that I used for THIS RECIPE.  And I know, without a doubt, that if I tucked it into the freezer and waited till fall to make the cassoulet, it would be lost forever in the depths of my freezer and eventually thrown away.

Cassoulets generally take between 6  – 8 hours to prepare… plus the overnight soaking of the beans.  I’ve pared this down to about 3 hours and with only 1 hour of bean soaking time.  For that reason I am calling this a quick cassoulet, although 3 + 1 hours isn’t exactly quick, I know!  Bookmark this for winter and you’ll enjoy having the kitchen all warm and aromatic for that length of time, I promise. This recipe can be easily doubled or even tripled to serve a crowd.

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July 27, 2011   1 Comment

3 weeks from today…

… is the 2nd birthday of Les Petites Gourmettes’ blog. And we are going to celebrate!

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July 26, 2011   1 Comment

lamb – Spanish style

Dave invited a colleague over for dinner one night last week. The only inspiration I needed while deciding what to serve was the new-found knowledge that our guest was of Spanish ancestry. Perfect, I love Spanish cuisine!

For the “1 pound meaty lamb bones” needed for in the sauce, I purchased a small lamb shank that was just under 2 pounds. I trimmed off the meat, which weighed in at 12-ounces, and was left with the perfect bones.  The bonus was the trimmed meat, which was later used for a little lamb cassoulet for 2.

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July 25, 2011   1 Comment

homeless no more!

It’s been 5 weeks and 1 day since I put my 23 year old daughter on a plane to San Francisco to begin a new job in a new city, without a place to live. What a wonderful and caring mother I am! She has been homeless ever since. OK, not living on the street-homeless, thank God! But sleeping on a friend’s couch for what will end up being 6-weeks-homeless. I also thank God for her very good and kind friend, Amanda, who’s couch she sleeps on! xoxoxoxo Amanda, can’t wait to meet you.

And I will meet Amanda next weekend when Dave and I pull up in the rented U-Haul, pulling Marissa’s VW bug behind, to her new home. Marissa, Amanda, and a new friend, Jessica, found a place to live together. This was the plan all along; it’s just taken all this time to find the place and wait for it to be ready. Sleeping on a couch for 6 weeks, wasn’t part of the original plan, but I’m forever grateful that it was an option.

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July 24, 2011   4 Comments

“It’s raining…” … figs?

Don’t you just love that song?  “It’s Raining Men! Hallelujah! – It’s Raining Men! Amen! I’m gonna go out to run and let myself get Absolutely soaking wet!…”  Good song! But unfortunately, it wasn’t raining men over here at my house, it was raining figs.  My tree produces at least twice a year and it’s impossible for me to use them all, so the local birds feast well at the Hopkins’ house.

Three disclaimers for this post:

#1 – I didn’t use pork tenderloin. In its place – a pork rib roast I had in my freezer.  But I’ve written the recipe for tenderloin, so you use that, it’s quicker and easier than dealing with a rib roast. 

#2 – I only made half of the onion and fig mixture, since there are only two of us. 

#3 – Something is set wrong on my camera, so all the indoor pictures turned out with a nasty yellow hue. I tried to correct the problem in Photoshop, but the color isn’t quite right, sorry about that. You’ll just have to imagine better color.

The good news is that the birds and I ate well and enjoyed our figs.  If you live nearby, give me a shout, and you can have all the kadota figs you want… before the birds eat them all.

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July 23, 2011   1 Comment

crafts 101

My son is an artist. My daughter is a writer. I am a cook. And my husband…. well, he is really super-duper good at math. Three out of four creative people in the same family is not bad!  But when it comes to crafts, we are all worthless.

Here is a little example story I will share with you. Many years ago my friend Lorie and I were shopping and saw these gorgeous votive holders covered in glass stones… you know, the little glass stones that look like marbles, but with a flat side. They were expensive, and we said to each other, “We can make those ourselves!” Don’t you say that all the time too – when you see something you like but can’t afford?  I do, and then I never end up doing it or forget about it by the time I get home.  Anyhow, we bought all the supplies to make the glass covered glasses. Did you know that it is very difficult to glue glass to glass! You need really heavy-duty epoxy and a ton of patience.

We invited our friends, Peggy and Anne, to make the jars with us (because misery loves company!) and we all gathered at Lorie’s house. We sat around Lorie’s kitchen table making our little glass covered glasses and we laughed and cursed and talked, and cursed and laughed some more.  The little glass pieces would look like they were sticking just fine, and then suddenly they’d begin to slide down the glass jar all at once! Aggravating, to say the least, but we prevailed and each ended up with pretty little jars.  We cleaned up and piled into my car, jars in tow, and headed home.  About three-quarters of the way, I came to the realization that I was high, high as a kite!  Stupidly, I went on, dropped of Peggy and Anne, and by “the grace of God” made it home in one piece. High? How did that happen? I was drug free – seriously! I honestly didn’t know the answer until the next morning with a clearer head … it was the really heavy-duty epoxy and no ventilation!  Did I mention this was in chilly December or how I (we, in this case) have a tendency to not read warning labels, and that we laughed and laughed?  I have no idea where my little jars are today, somewhere in this house, I’m sure. Point of this little story? I am not a craft person.

But this time is different! This time I easily prevailed in a craft project and I am sharing my victory with you, because if I can do it – anyone can do it! Guaranteed!

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July 22, 2011   11 Comments