Tag Archives: seasonal

{maryland crab cakes – food and foto style}

5 Nov

a little ramble to preface this post…

i just love living in maryland once again! this is my home. i’ve traveled all around this country and lived in several different states, and yet i came back here… so i feel like there’s something to be said about that. one of the things i love most about maryland is the seafood! every time i lived anywhere else, i was always trying to recreate the seafood experience that exists in this region. i remember one time when i was in colorado, i actually paid to have some maryland crabs shipped to me because i was craving them so intensely! at the time, i was working for a specialty market that was able to hook me up, so that was awesome!

i swear i could eat steamed maryland blue crabs every single day… 24/7/365! during the summer months, i splurge a little and treat myself to them once or twice a month. now that the season is ending, i’m feeling a little sad and will miss enjoying them on the regular. that said, i was gifted some crabs last week by some loving and generous people, so i ate some {most!} and picked the rest and saved them for crab cakes. actually, i was going to save the meat and freeze it for making some crab soup over the winter… but i decided to whip up these crab cakes instead. i guess that means i should eat crabs one more time before the weekend so i can save the meat for winter! {do you understand my logic?! ;)}

did you know that late summer / early autumn is actually the best time for enjoying steamed maryland blue crabs? it’s mostly because they have beens swimming around and eating all summer and getting bigger and therefore more full and delicious!

i used to be so intimidated by making crab cakes because it is the ultimate maryland delicacy and i felt like there was no way i could make a good one. and then on a random sunday, i just went for it! i kept the recipe simple, as you know we like to do around here, and they turned out terrific! typically i don’t eat a lot of fried foods, but in this case i prefer the fried crab cake over the broiled or baked. at least when i make them at home… it just seams to taste better that way.

here’s a little foto story about my recent crab cake making journey…

i started with about 2 cups crab meat {that i hand-picked}, one egg, and roughly 1/2 cup bread crumbs, 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup mustard, and then i heavy-handedly sprinkled in some old bay…

i gently mixed the bread crumbs, old bay, and crab meat together… then mixed the egg, mayo, and mustard together…

i gently blended the wet and dry ingredients {don’t want to over-mix, need to keep it lumpy!} then put the mixture in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes…

finally, i created two patties and fried them in vegetable oil until crisp and golden brown on each side. i served with a mayo/mustard combo dip and old bay garnish.

may i just say i am SUPER proud of myself for doing this?! these crab cakes turned out so delicious and i am glad i got beyond my fear because now i have one other dish to add to my recipe repertoire and to share with those i love!


do you like crab cakes? or seafood for that matter? comment your favs below!

{autumn is for all things pumpkin!}

31 Oct

particularly on halloween, right?!

as you know, i prefer to eat seasonally so i’m on my squash and pumpkin kick at the moment. the farmers markets are closing this weekend or next, so i want to get out and stock up before they are done for the season.

contrary to popular opinion, i don’t do pumpkin lattes. they are too usually sweet for me. i do, however, tend to eat my weight in pumpkin seeds!

i simply cut a pumpkin open, carefully dig out the seeds, soak them for about an hour, then toss them with some olive oil and S&P and throw them in the air fryer for about 15 minutes. they don’t last long… they are so crispy and delicious! this was the firs time i tried making them in the air fryer. i have always baked them, but i’m so glad i tried it because they turned out amazing and in less time! i am eager to make more.

once i’ve devoured half of my pumpkin seed supply {haha!}… i scoop out the roasted pumpkin guts, add a little water, blend in the vitamix, pour in a large pan with some homemade veggie stock, add some spices, and serve with pepitas and mini toasts… NOM NOM!

i made a huge batch of this soup and so i froze some, canned some, and shared some…

both of these recipes are on par with my motto – KISS – keep it seriously simple. they are also healthy and support the 100-mile diet concept. i hope you enjoy and please comment if you try or have ideas of your own to share!

oh, and here’s the costume i wear every year – my “pumpkin king” onesie!

happy halloween!

{funky fungi}

6 Oct

speaking of mushrooms and fungi – check out this fantastic wild funky fungi that was recently gifted to me. apparently it’s edible, but it was just a little passed its prime when i got my hands on it. this amazing thing grows wild on a tree in a friend’s backyard. i wish i could remember the name. perhaps she will remind me before i decide to post this blog. another good friend of mine said it looked like a brain – haha. {he’s constantly saying silly things like that}

i love the golden colour! it reminds me of {yummy!} chanterelle mushrooms, but i was informed that this is technically a fungi. so now i’m curious about which is which… how to distinguish the difference, if there is one?! i think it may have something to do with the underside – the gills?! i’m going to do more research, and i welcome any insight from my amazing readers and/or forager friends!

so without further ado, here are some artistic fotos i took of this fascinating creation from our incredible earth.


update 03/17/22 : i am pretty confident that this is a “chicken of the woods” mushroom”… 


 

it does kind of look like a brain in this foto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

{simple (rainbow) pasta salad}

22 Sep

as you probably know by now, i like to eat with the seasons as much as i possibly can. i enjoy it for lots of reasons. i always look forward to eating whatever vegetables or fruit are best during that particular time of year… and it makes me appreciate them more.

that said, i often struggle with “transitional” times of year – such as the month of september. i find myself unsure about what to wear, what to eat, when to go to sleep. it’s kind of funny but it’s true. {this also applies in the month of may.}

anyway, because i find september to be a transitional month, i also find myself eating transitional foods. i made that term up, but my point is that i’m not ready to start eating soups and squash, but i’m also done with light foods like salads and such. during this transitional time, i usually prepare foods that can be enjoyed hot or cold. and pasta salad is one of those dishes i could enjoy every day during transitional months.

i also really love orzo and i don’t use it often enough.

i whipped up this simple {rainbow} pasta salad and made a huge batch to take to work for lunches.

it’s so easy and so i thought i’d share the recipe… even though i didn’t measure anything, as per usual… but it’s so simple – just chop and toss!

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simple pasta salad : 

  • cooked orzo
  • diced summer sausage
  • chopped tomatoes
  • sliced olives {black & green}
  • diced red onion
  • diced banana pepper
  • diced green pepper
  • diced cucumber
  • roasted garlic
  • crumbled parmigiano reggiano

homemade dressing :

  • olive oil
  • apple cider vinegar
  • spices :
    • oregano
    • sage
    • parsley
    • comfrey
    • basil
    • dill
    • tarragon
    • garlic
    • onion
    • salt
    • pepper
    • bit o’ parm reg

 

i like to serve mine at room temperature and i sprinkle crumbled italian breadsticks on top…

SO GOOD!

 

{happy (belated) asparagus season!}

18 Jun

i’ve been getting my fill of delicious organic asparagus!

it is a marvelous food to eat in spring because it is very cleansing to the body and blood. asparagus is also in season during the spring, which just further proves how awesome and intelligent nature is! 🙂

i like to enjoy asparagus raw or lightly sautéed in grass-fed butter with a dash of himalayan pink salt and black pepper. sometimes i like to add it to risotto with wild mushrooms. when i lived in the mountains years ago, i had a lot of fun foraging for asparagus because it grows wild on the western slope of colorado. pretty cool, huh?!

a tip for keeping asparagus : treat it like fresh-cut flowers. keep the ends trimmed and leave them in a little water in the fridge until ready to use. 

do you love asparagus? how do you like to prepare yours?

{thirsty thursday – octoberfest time!}

12 Oct

hey friends!

it’s been a while… and i have lots to fill you in on. for now, i wanted to share some of my favorite beers with you. i’m discovering more all the time, as north carolina has some great microbrews!


although you can catch me drinking sam adams’ octoberfest beer pretty much all the way through thanksgiving, i have a few other kinds of beers i like to drink this time of year…

flying dog does a great belgian-style IPA, which helps me transition from summer to fall…

this was an interesting ale… i haven’t seen it since this one time i tried it…

Continue reading

{first asparagus of the season}

9 Mar

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fresh from the farmer’s market! 🙂

looking at the different shapes of this asparagus, had me thinking similar to when i looked at all those cool seashells

i love asparagus so much and i only eat it when it’s in season.

did you know that asparagus is loaded with fiber and actually aids in cleansing our gut and also offers awesome detoxifying benefits? i think that’s so cool, considering it is in season in spring and that is a perfect time to prep our bodies for cleansing and switching gears to lighter foods. furthermore, asparagus is a natural diuretic… which may be TMI, but hey, it’s just a fact.


on a different note – i’m so ready for the time change and gaining more evening light! i am so super excited to start a garden this year!!

 

{solstice “prosperi-tea”}

22 Jun

hey gang, happy summer!

i hope you are enjoying the season, wherever you may be reading this.

here in colorado, it has been very hot… like in the high 90s and even 100 degrees! yesterday, to officially kick off summer, i walked to my local pool for a dip. it was the perfect way to welcome in the new season!

another fun thing i did to celebrate summer and the solstice, was make this beautiful solstice summer tea… or as i named it, “prosperi-tea” … cuz i’m cute and nerdy like that. plus, it sounded super magical.

the idea came from an online source that suggested putting various herbs and flowers in a pitcher and sitting it out in the sun during the day of solstice. here’s what i put in mine :

fresh lettuce leaves, pea shoots, roses, lilies, strawberries, succulent, snapdragon, various flower petals, mint, and tons of sage.

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all of the ingredients came from my local community garden… the pea shoots and lettuce came from my plot! 😀

here is the finished product :

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someone said to me, “it looks like perfume!” which made me giggle. in a way, it IS like perfume in that it is made from beautiful summer flowers! 🙂

this lovely “prosperi-tea” was so easy to make and it was delicious, too! it was light and soft and refreshing. i also love the colour it developed! i put a lot of love into this tea as well, which i believe makes a big difference! 😉 ❤

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what did you do to ring in summer?

 

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{it’s asparagus season!}

20 Apr

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{radical red kuri squash}

15 Dec

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i’m kind of obsessed with this stuff. and it makes an AMAZING risotto!

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{thirsty thursday – oktoberfest : from sierra nevada!!!}

1 Oct

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it’s that time of year!

don’t you just LOVE autumn?!

the colours, the crisp air, the leaves falling, the clothing, the smell of pumpkin everywhere…

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and it’s the time of year during which the only beer i’ll be drinking is oktoberfest! {pretty much}

and usually i’m sippin’ on some sam adams, cuz i just love that stuff. but i literally squealed with excitement when i discovered this sierra nevada oktoberfest!

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i’m somewhat obsessed with sierra nevada. however, i only recently starting drinking their beers… and my goodness are they ahh-mazing!

a friend of mine told me that sierra nevada has been tested/known for their extremely clean water… and in my opinion, this greatly effects the taste of their brews. i don’t know quite how to explain it, but there is something distinguishably different about sierra nevada beer, and not just this wonderful oktoberfest. it makes sense to me that it could have something to do with the natural cleanliness and quality of their water.

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furthermore, i love SN’s oktoberfest because it was brewed in collaboration with an old-school 19th century german brauhaus, using their recipe!!! the brewery is one of the oldest in the country… and i mean, it doesn’t get much more authentic than that!

and this stuff tastes incredible!

sierra nevada claims this is a ONE TIME ONLY release – so get your hands and taste-buds on some as soon as you can!

SLAINTE!

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are you a sierra nevada fan?! and if so, do you agree with my theory regarding their water?!

 

{cherry season!}

14 Jul

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cherries are so good for your heart, your muscles, your skin, and a myriad of ailments. they are in prime season right now – go out and grab some!

nom nom!

{red kuri squash risotto}

3 Dec

it’s comfort-food season!

i will preface this post by saying that this dish, albeit exquisite, took a little time to make. typically i prefer my meals to be a little more “easy breezy” to prepare… however, this one is oh-so-worth the time and effort!

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and let me reiterate – this dish is absolutely DIVINE! i totally love risotto any way i can get it, really… it’s one of my staple dishes, for sure. when i discovered this new squash, i was inspired to fuse it with some risotto and eventually make it into risotto balls.

risotto is hearty and filling while still being gluten-free, which i kind of love. the red kuri squash is in its prime season right now and it is just beautiful! full of vitamin a {that lovely colour!} and potassium [like most squash}, it added so much flavour to this amazing dish!

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red kuri squash is delicious on its own, too. the flavour is reminiscent of chestnuts, and the flesh has a rich and creamy consistency when cooked.

risotto itself is very simple, it’s just a little time consuming to make. the ratio for making risotto is about 1:4 – one cup rice to 4 cups liquid. you can use a blend of water and broth or just water or just broth.  i tend to mix it up a little, but typically i use broth. the key {and magical} ingredient in making risotto is white wine. you can use any ol’ wine – cooking wine, cheap stuff at the liquor store, whatever.  but it must be dry and it must be included! the wine gives the risotto TONS of flavour and really rounds out the dish. Continue reading

{seasonal eating : wild chanterelle mushrooms}

27 Oct

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i looooooove mushrooms, did you know this?!  it was amazing to discover that some mushrooms grow WILD up here in the high country. morels, boletus, and chanterelles, to name a few. and they are all something special.  when we received some wild chanterelles at the store, i eagerly nabbed some up so i could try them for the first time.  they are only available for a short time, and many of the “professional” foragers are extremely secretive about their “finding spots”  – and who can blame them!!?? – they sell for upwards of $20.00 a pound! we had a very rainy august here in the valley, and that made for some ideal mushroom hunting-and-gathering!

the peak season for chanterelles is in the fall… we have had a little frost in the mornings lately, so i’m kind of assuming they’re done for the year… but i could be wrong. i’m also just a little late in posting this blog 😛

i most likely have had chanterelle mushrooms at some point in my life and not realized it.  i’m sure at some fancy dinner in NYC, i had a couple in a dish once… but i wanted to truly truly taste the mushroom – being a purist and all – so i simply sauteed them in some awesome local pasture butter.

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i sauteed the golden fungi for about 15 minutes, until they were nice and aromatic… then poured the whole mixture over a yummy baked russet potato…

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it was a taste of heaven…

do you like mushrooms? have you had chanterelles? what is your favourite mushroom?? 

{sunday brunch for judi – and a very happy mothers day to EVERY WOMAN out there!}

11 May

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i miss my mama.  today and all week. i’ve missed her since april 14th of the year 1993.  this time of year is hard for me – i won’t sugar coat that. sometimes randomly, i’ll think of something that reminds me of her and it will be hard. it never gets easier. however, i find comfort when i spot a penny on the ground, or when i catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and do a “double take” because i look so much like her… and i find great comfort in knowing that i am now living in her favourite part of the world.  she was absolutely in love with these rocky mountains – and it’s an honor to live here… for her and for me.

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if my sweet mother judi were alive today – i would make her this simple and amazing brunch… which i’ve been eating every day for like a month now. i buy the ingredients from a local store here in town and it’s all organic, fresh, and farm-grown – you know, like how REAL FOOD SHOULD BE!!!! 😀

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sunday brunch for judi : 

– farm fresh organic eggs

– asparagus

– cippolini onions

– garlic

– bacon cubes

– colourful cherry tomatoes

– herbed goat cheese

– fresh fingerling potatoes

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this dish is perfect for one – what with my cute little ramekins and all… but i do have a second one, and would love NOTHING MORE today than to be cooking for my mama and using the other one.

i lined the bottom of my ramekin with avocado slices, to start… Continue reading

{meatless mondays : a simple spring recipe – creamy bok choy with sauteed garlic scapes}

14 Apr

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have you ever used garlic scapes?! they are also referred to as “green garlic”…

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first of all – how fun and wild-looking are they?!  …reminds me of my hair in the mornings 😛

you can start to find them popping up in some specialty stores, organic grocers, and maybe even at a farmer’s market…if you’re lucky to live where you can shop at one now!

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i just love garlic scapes!  they are not nearly as strong as garlic itself, and provide a fun texture to a dish. the “scapes” are the “flower stalks” of the plant, and are typically pruned or discarded in gardening practices.  however, this foodie knows better and has learned that they can be an amazing substitute for garlic itself. Continue reading

{fresh and crumbly parmigiano reggiano – it’s that time again!}

1 Apr

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whole foods cracks a brand new fresh wheel of this crumbly gold every year around this time… and i always try to nab some up.

i look forward to it every year. there just isn’t anything like freshly cracked parmigiano reggiano.  did you know in order for it to have that “stamp” or seal that says it’s the real deal, the cows can only graze on certain pastures in certain parts of italy.  and that those cows are the only cows used to milk and create this wonderful cheese with?!

ain’t no fake stuff here! 🙂

nom nom…

{glorious golden beets}

25 Mar

another beautiful piece of produce i picked up at the cutest organic store in town….

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have you ever had golden beets?!  i just loooooove them!  i am pretty sure you can keep the skin on – so long as you scrub it pretty thoroughly.  i just peel mine.  these were so cute and little!

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love the colour!

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i usually just steam mine.  i find them to be so delicious, i don’t even add any S and/or P.  i think they have the most unique flavour. i just love to put them in salads or just munch on them alone… so good! beets are loaded with vitamins and minerals and they are just an all around amazing vegetable!

{cherry sweet-tart vitamix smoothie}

22 Mar

i’m a little late on posting today – it’s snowing here in colorado… and, sigh – i’ll just go ahead and say it – i’m over it!  can we please be in spring now?!  i’m just dying to put on my sanuks and put away my wellies.

i’ve been making a smoothie every morning since we are ‘officially’ in spring now – but i admit it’s just not as satisfying first thing in the morning as a warm cup of coffee or tea.  but i’m determined to start cleansing my body out, preparing it for a different season, and lots of different veggies to compliment!

in the meantime, here’s another smoothie recipe.  i created this one in mind as more of an evening smoothie. tart cherries and tart cherry juice are good for insomnia, remember?!  i call it “sweet-tart” because i used sweet frozen cherries and tart cherry juice… and it turned out rather delicious!

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cherry sweet-tart vitamix smoothie :

– frozen sweet cherries {1/2 cup}

– 3 frozen strawberries

– 3 frozen pineapple chunks

– 1 pitted date

– 1/2 cup coconut milk

– 1/2 cup tart cherry juice

{specialty produce : fingerling potatoes}

4 Mar

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tell me you’ve tried these before?!  i’m pretty sure i’ve mentioned them at least once or twice on this here blog of mine… they are definitely a staple in my home!  what’s better than colourful carbohydrates?!

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i was a little surprised and way excited when i spotted this multi-coloured pack at the market. my favourite way to prepare them is to simply drizzle them with tons of olive oil and S&P and roast them in a 400 degree oven for about a half hour…

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the finished product is a sheen, tender and sweet potato ready for poppin!

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they make an excellent side dish, and are also great in soups.

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