Monday, September 27, 2010

For The Love of Squash! (and Fall...)


"Delicious autumn!
My very soul is wedded to it,
and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns."
~George Eliot

Coffee tastes extra rich this morning, extra comforting, and I am reminiscing on how in years past, by this time in Taos, I would have already completely and utterly fallen head over heels into Fall ~ like a kid who has just raked a massive yard of leaves, and then turns around with arms wide open plunging backwards into the pile of crunchy delight.....As surely as the sun rises, Fall has a way of seducing me with its sights and smells year after year - this is truly my favorite season. The changing colors all around, the crispness of the air, the smell of chile roasting and fires burning - I especially love the way Aspen leaves flutter back and forth in the wind, dancing for me, and the way the sun peaks through them casting light and shadows all around as if I were looking through a kaliedascope.

Sudden urges to bake a hot cinnamon-y apple pie dripping with carmel and nuts - fluffy marshmallows melting in a huge oversized mug of hot chocolate - long hot baths - colossal sized bowls of soup - slipping on my favorite hats and scarves in bundling bliss...

Of course this is also birthday time of year, so that makes the Fall even THAT much MORE special ~ don't ya think?

Personally, I'm an avid beliver in not just "birth-DAY" but rather "birthday WEEK" - which seems to have caught on nicely over the years....
but...between you and me.... 
I am still pushin' for "birthday month." 
so far I have been unsuccessful.
maybe you can put a little pressure on 
and help me get birthday month 
passed into "marriage law" around my house - 
whaddya say? hook a sista up....
In the meantime, would love to share two squash recipes that bring much comfort to me, especially this time of year.

This delicious side dish is extremely popular in New Mexico and deserves to be better known around the rest of the county as far as I'm concerned. I also use this mixture as my favorite "go to" filling for veggie burritos, tacos, and enchiladas - and - I love to stuff it inside of phyllo dough for pastry puffs, or inside homemade calzones.

2 Tbsp of canola oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 medium onion, sliced (i like to use a purple onion)
2 medium yellow squash, sliced
2 medium zucchini, sliced
the niblets from two large ears of corn shaved off (or a small can of corn is ok, drained of course - even frozen would do)
2 to 4 roasted green chiles, peeled and diced (less if you want less heat, more if you want more)
salt and pepper to taste
shredded sharp cheddar cheese (or colby/jack, or mexican blend) to top according to your desired amount

In a large heavy skillet over medium high heat, saute garlic & onion for just a minute or two, salt, then add squash and zucchini, salt and pepper to taste, and saute for a few more minutes. Add green chile and corn, mix well, cook for a few minutes longer until heated through. Remove from heat, add shredded cheese on top and serve. (The photo above was taken just before the cheese was added, and before the battery died :( LOL)

This recipe is my daughter's favorite, she calls it her "soupie" - it's really just a hodgepodge of whatever veggies I have on hand, but always includes squash, zucchini and potato. It is so hearty and cozy in the belly, but, I also love to eat it cold in the summer time!!!

Sophia's Soupie
3 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 medium yellow squash, sliced
1 medium zucchini, sliced
1 large potato, diced
the niblets from one large ear of corn shaved off (or a small can of corn is ok, drained of course - even frozen would do)
if I have on hand, i dice fresh asparagus tips or fresh green beans and throw it in as well.
1 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes
16 oz. chicken broth (or veggie broth if you prefer)
2 handfuls of pastina (or orzo - really any tiny pasta will do, ditalini, etc)
1 handful of fresh basil, slivered
salt & pepper to taste

In a large pot over medium heat, saute garlic for just a minute or less, then add potatoes and saute for 2 or 3 minutes. Add the squash, zucchini, and corn (asparagus and/or green beans if you have on hand) - continue to saute for a few more minutes, add diced tomatoes, cook for another minute, then add the chicken (or veggie broth) - cook for just a few minutes and add in your handfuls of pastina - cook about 8-10 minutes more - if the consistency is to your liking, add the fresh basil, remove from heat, and serve - if it is too thick, feel free to add some water to thin out - sometimes I'm in the mood to eat it a bit thick and "ghoulash-ie" - sometimes I'm in the mood to eat it thinner and "soup-ie." Serve hot in the fall and winter, serve cool in the spring or summer.

Mangia Sweet Bellas!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Farfalle w/Gorgonzola Cream Sauce...

"The ordinary arts we practice every day at home
are of more importance to the soul
than their simplicity might suggest"
~ Thomas More

I love to celebrate the little things.

Like when the weekend rolls in.
When BOTH kids are napping at the same time!
When I finally get to talk to an old friend after playing several rounds of phone tag.
When the Pittsburgh Steelers start the season off right! **hehe**
Like when a recipe is so easy, yet so luxurious,
that it tastes as though I've
been slaving all day long in the kitchen, laboring to exhaustion,
pouring every ounce of love, sweat and tears to prepare such a delicacy
spent much more time on it than I actually did.
oh how i cherish the simple pleasures...

NOTE TO SELF: splash a little water on the face to give the appearance of sweaty exertion, may increase brownie points.


I simply boil the pasta in salted water according to the directions on the back of the box, typically 8-10 minutes until al dente, and drain well. I prefer to use farfalle (bow tie pasta, as pictured), but a penne would certainly be a lovely choice, or anything along those lines. Meanwhile, I put 8 oz. of gorgonzola crumbles in a medium sauce pan with 1 cup of heavy cream, stirring frequently, and adding some fresh ground pepper to taste. Once melted, remove from heat - and voila! Your sauce is done. Add your pasta to that incredibly delicious creamy goodness, toss, and plate - pretty easy so far, yes? Top with sliced steak* or chopped bacon - garnish with some fresh diced tomatoes, purple onion, and italian flat leaf parsley** - that's it!

* I prefer to serve this dish with sliced steak, cooked medium rare to medium, such as a nice Rib Eye or NY Strip, using appx 2-3 oz. on top of each plate, however, I didn't have any on hand, so I opted for the bacon this time around
** as you may have noticed, I like a lot of parsley :)

Sweet Bellas, it rarely gets much simpler than that...
so go on, take out the "good china"
turn on some lovely music
put some fresh cut flowers in a vase
pour a glass of vino
serve some farfalle with gorgonzola cream sauce


Monday, September 6, 2010

He + Me = We...

"Love is not love that alters
when it
alteration finds"

WE are celebrating 14 years of marriage today.
Two unconventional spirits always ripe for a new adventure.
Living and loving...
probing and absorbing...
walking hand in hand
side by side
along our shared journey.
So many exciting changes sweeping us away right now i can hardly stand still -
and yet at the same time i'm in perpetual chill mode
just soaking it all up
riding the wave
savoring every moment
even the tiniest things seem so glorious
gravity: pushing to pull us in closer
free as the wind
We still sense Divine purpose in this season of our lives.
Endurance is needed...perseverance...patience...
whatever the case, I'm lucky to be in love with my best friend...



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