Wednesday, June 22, 2011

cool kitchen: open faced prosciutto + plum sammiches

during the hot summer nights, it's nice not to have to heat up the stove. we try to grill a lot during the summer, but summer storms sometimes get in then way. tonight I'm starting a collection of "cool kitchen" recipes perfect for the summer months!

tonight's dinner was inspired by a recipe in Cooking Light this month and only required the heat of a toaster.

as I tend to do, I made this one my own with what we had on-hand, plus what I remembered to pick up at the store.

4 slices of whole grain bread
6 slices of thinly sliced prosciutto
2 ripe plums
3/4 cup apricot preserves
2-3 tablespoons soft cheese
1/2 cup of arugula, torn into small pieces


llightly toast the bread on each side. while bread is toasting, slice the plums into thin wedges.

once bread is toasted, evenly spread apricot preserves over each slice of toast. then spread goat cheese over preserves (if you prefer crumbled goat cheese, slightly pressing it into the bread will make it easier to eat). top the spreads with the plum slices.

after the plums are in place, tear a slice of prosciutto into smaller pieces (about 4-5 per slice) and place on sandwich. repeat for each sandwich. i used 1 slice per sandwich, which gave me 2 extras. one is a chef's treat (enjoy!!!) and the other is split between the 4 sandwiches.

after the prosciutto, top with torn arugula. voila!

serving suggestion:
we served with a side salad of mixed greens, red onion, alfalfa sprouts, fresh pecorino cheese, black pepper, olive oil & balsamic.

prep time: 20 minutes
servings: makes 4 open sandwiches, so 2 servings in my house


what are some of your fave summer recipes to keep the kitchen cool??

Friday, June 17, 2011

it's all in the family

i'm sure the suspense has been killing you since i mentioned i was holding a here goes. the secret's out!

my mom is getting hitched.

[mama bride-to-be, sister bride-to-be, + me]

yep, my mom. and she says it'll happen sooner than later. which means we may have TWO weddings this summer. wow wow wow!

i'm super excited for my mom. i know she's been struggling since she + my dad split up after 30 years of marriage a few years back. understandably she's been facing mixed feelings of loneliness, anger, rejection, confusion, renewal, independence, freedom, and who knows what else. i can only imagine how it feels to break up with your best friend, prom date, the father of your children, your life partner. mom has definitely made the best of it and found a renewed sense of self in the process. i'm so freakin' proud of her. i've always thought of my mom as one of the most amazing women i've ever known. and i used to think it mostly from a business + mom perspective, but the lessons i've learned from her lately-- as a woman figuring out her own skin-- are immense + invaluable.

and now she's found love. i always thought it'd be weird to have parents remarry. but since i know the Mr. so well, it's really not weird at all.

actually, i grew up sleeping over at his house. not in a creepy way, you perves. his widow was my Camp Fire Girls leader + his daughter C and i grew up together since 3rd grade. i grew up camping with them, making macaroni art, and watching C's disney movie collection. i always thought they were such a cool family. i was always a little jealous of my soon-to-be stepsister. not jealous, but envious in a respectful way. or, maybe you could call it a girl crush. from her seagreen honda civic, to her artistic talent i certainly lack, to her eclectic style + bubbly personality. amidst all the high school girl crap, she never took on the "mean girl" role. she was always so accepting of everyone, even when she didn't have to be. actually, and i think i told her this a few years back [after a cocktail or two, i'm sure]...she's one of the few girls from high school i most hope to remain friends with over the paths our lives may take. do you think God was smirking at me when i said that?

i remember being at C's wedding back in 2003--which was AMAZEBALLS--with my mom. kinda weird to think about it in retrospect, i suppose. i think she invented the now famous grand sparkler exit. i'm gonna give her credit for it, nonetheless.

anyways, C's mom passed away several years back from lymphoma which is, well, a bitch. it was so sad to lose such an amazing person. her mom was incredibly unpretentious, loving, approachable, + just a lovely woman overall. probably one of the most real people i've ever known. and i guess it's not a surprise that the Mr. found love with my mom. i'd say there are a lot of similarities.

it's so cute to see your mom in love. i remember sometime around my own wedding, the Mr's name came up and she was just a-blushing. i'm pretty sure she used the word "cute" to describe him. awww. and she always gets so excited when he sends her flowers. i can't tell you how many photo texts i have of the beautiful bouquets!

so there's gonna be a weddin', y'all. we kids think it should happen somewhere exotic + they should foot the bill. they think it should be small + uneventful. which means no beach, i presume. either way, i'm ecstatic they'll both have each other to share the ups + downs, laughs + cries, wins + losses that life still has to offer them.'s the net of it:
  • mom gets a mate. 
  • we get a stepsister--who i LOVE. 
  • we get a stepbrother-in-law, who cricket + i both adore. (did i mention that he serenaded C with a guitar solo at their wedding? uh huh. he did. set the bar awfully high for any fella in that room.) they live up the road in nashville--it's about time we get siblings within driving distance dammit.
  • we get a stepbrother--who is the perfect # of years older that an older brother should be. i don't know him all that well, but he did marry the big sister of another childhood friend. can you tell i'm from a small town? hah! 
  • we get a stepsister-in-law, who i also grew up around since she was the older sis of another high school friend. 
  • oh, and we get a stepniece, too. is that a word? not sure. but last time i saw them at Christmas service, she was a cutie-patootie, so i don't mind claiming her. but i think lula's still the first-born grandchild, just for the record.

so how does dad feel? very good question. and a big concern of mine for sure. i got a sweet note from him this week after he + mom talked. they're civil, even friendly, these days. my only requirement is that they continue to be at liv's wedding in august. and it seems they shall. i'm hoping this development gives him any sense of closure he may need to move on with his life and pursue his other interests in life. he's been seeing a lady for a while, and if there was any reason of him holding back, i hope this helps to alleviate that.

[my folks last spring--i'm blessed they're able to be friends AND color-coordinate their outfits]

all this girl wants is for her parents to be happy. if they can be in love in the process, even better. so,  if the future grandkids have extra arms to hug + hold them, and the grandpups have extra hands to rub their bellies + extra faces to smother with kisses, then everyone wins. beat that charlie sheen.

the sad part will come when mom sells her house--our amazing house--and sets up a home with the Mr. i don't blame them for wanting a clean slate, but it'll be sad to see it go + to know that my future kids won't get to experience all that it was. but there will be new memories, right? i'm sure there will be more posts as that transpires.

so, has anyone ever been in a similar situation? parents remarry? old worlds collide with new? merging families? any advice?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

family news

so I got some family news this week. not allowed to discuss it just yet. yeah, yeah, I'm an adult. but when your mama says "mum is the word," well, mum IS the word.

can't talk about it. yet. kinda killing me. it's exciting. it makes me happy. it makes someone I love really happy. it's weird too. strange for all sorts of reasons. probably brings awkward implications and future situations. good for all sorts of reasons too. a little sad, perhaps, if you're a cynic. but 99.7% exciting and all things good.

wish I could elaborate, but that will get me grounded for the rest of my life. and I refuse to miss prom.

maybe soon the vault will open.

Monday, June 13, 2011

fruits of the raised garden labor

Lookie here!!!

I'm happy to say the toils of building the raised garden beds is paying off!

We've been enjoying the spoils of basil for a few weeks, and it's going strong. I saw a WW recipe today for buttermilk-basil sorbet that I've gotta try, so stay tuned. if you have any basil faves, do tell!

The squash plant is outta control, so I've pruned it back a bit--hopefully not ruining it in the process. some of the spinach seemed to dwindle, so I popped in an okra plant. OH YEAH. faux fried okra here we come! okay, maybe we'll splurge on the real thing with our very own okra. the hard work's gotta pay off, right?

The bell peppers are off to a slow start, but we have one poblano so far. Maybe we'll have salsa soon! I don't know how to tell when the onions or cukes are ready, anyone know?? They're hiding under the soil from me cuz they know their fate.

The citronella plant actually seems to be effective, much to my surprise. it gives off a gentle scent--not as awful as the candles, and actually works. no greasy sprays, no melted wax, no smoking tiki torches. Not bad for a $4 plant.

very happy to make Modena and Toney proud!! who knew I inherited a green thumb? it probably helps that I married someone who remembers to water the plants.