Category Archives: Inspire Your Appetite

Recipe of the week

On A Stick with Matt

Matt Armendariz, from Matt Bites, first of all, has the most amazing job, and I wish I was his assistant.  But, secondly, has been gracious enough to have Eric at Quirk books, send his fellow foodie bloggers a free copy of his new book, On a Stick!

I was so excited when the post man delivered me the package, that he may as well had tied a large, red ribbon on it! There are so many wonderful recipes in this book, and I relish in the fact that there is everything from frozen cocktails, to Vietnamese street food to deep fried candy bars to entertain with.  After perusing the book a few times, I have put together 3 different, 5 course meals that I can’t wait to make for dinner this week.

And the mojito melons……well, you’ll just have to find out for yourself.

I must admit though, the first recipe I decided to try was the ice cream sandwich on a stick.  The weather here is getting very warm, and what’s better than a homemade ice cream sandwich in hand, and on a stick.  The stick really helps keep your hands clean, and is rather fun to eat off of too.

Since my strawberries have been very prolific this year, I decided to make some strawberry ice cream as the filling, and sandwiched it between orange sugar cookies which were peppered generously with candied orange peel.

Go ahead….take a bite….you know you want to!

This book should be in everyone’s summer entertaining repertoire, and you can buy it here.  I hope all of you enjoy making fun food on a stick as much as I do.


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Filed under Inspire Your Appetite, Your weekly mouthful

Sweet New England

A few years back, I had a dear friend who always asked me why I referred to the North-Eastern states as ‘New England’ all the time, instead of just saying what state I was talking about.  Well, if any of you have ever been to the New England states, you should understand that it is a collective place rather than individualizing the states.

The states of New England hold a special place in my heart, and are as much of a feeling to me as they are a place.   The quaintness of towns, cool breezes, foggy rain,  sea ports and fisherman, wild and vast mountains… even their clothing has its own culture there.

Well, I was perusing the markets the other day, and came across these adorable dishes…

As soon as I saw them, I instantly wanted a cup of New England chowder.

I love that a simple piece of pottery can immediately take me to a place, or strike a memory that makes me associate it with a food.

So, in honor of the cool, rainy Spring  weather we have had this week…I made chowder, cheddar and chive scones….

…and some fried cod to go with it.

The cod came from a local company here, and was super fresh and sweet to the taste.

I found a simple cod batter recipe, and deep fried the pieces for about 3-4 minutes.


I like to make my chowder with a bit of a bisque flavor by adding the sherry and nutmeg.

Feel free to omit these two ingredients if you are not fond of that flavor.

Potato Corn Chowder

4 slices of bacon, cut in 1″ pieces

2T unsalted butter

1 rib of celery, diced

1/2 yellow onion, diced

1 1/2t fresh thyme

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 bay leaf

4 ears fresh cut corn, or 1 Cascadian Farm Organic frozen 10 oz pack

2 small russet potatoes, diced with skin on

3C milk

2T sherry

pinch nutmeg

salt, fresh cracked pepper

1.  Heat the bacon pieces in a 4Qt pot over medium heat, and cook until crispy. Remove all pieces but 2 tablespoons worth and set aside.

2.  Add butter, celery, onion, thyme, garlic, and bay leaf.

3.  Cook until onions are soft, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes

4.  Add in your corn, milk, and potatoes.

5.  Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 20 minutes.

6. Take the lid off the pot, and let it boil for 5 minutes to reduce the liquid a little.

7.  Add in the sherry, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

8.  Take a potato masher, and mash some of the soup to make it a bit thicker.

9. Serve with reserved bacon bits and  fresh thyme on top.



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Meatrix Interactive



You’ve all seen the videos, now get interactive with the farm.  If you click on any of the pop-ups, within the interactive sight, that look interesting to you, it will take you to the main website so you can educate your little hearts out and start helping to make a difference.

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Mediterranean Spiced Meatballs in a Fragrant Sauce

The weather today is just gorgeous.  Early this morning, I went for a six mile hike with the pup.  We were trudging through mud and snow about 7:30am, then as the morning progressed, the sun continued to magnify, and it warmed up significantly.

Days like this are perfect for “transitional foods.”  This is the exciting time of year where it is still cold enough to keep making those crock-style dishes, yet is warm enough to add a little spring flare to it.  Edible flowers and “weeds” are starting to bloom, and gardens are ripe for the pickin’ of spring greens around here.

My Egyptian Walking Onions are at a nice tender age right now, and would be perfect seared in butter and smashed into some red-skinned potatoes.

This is one of my favorite meatball and sauce recipes.  I adapted it from an old cooking magazine, that I am not even sure exits anymore.  It is so fragrant and spicy, with a hint of fresh squeezed lemon and orange juices, fresh herbs, and garden vegetables; that you really get the flavor of a Mediterranean summer.  I serve it over Israeli cous cous and basmati rice which is also peppered with fresh herbs and citrus.

Mediterranean Meatballs in a Fragrant Spiced Sauce


1/2 lb.  ground pork

1/2 lb. ground chuck

1/4 C onion, grated

1 egg

1T olive oil

2T cornstarch

1/2t each kosher salt, cracked pepper, fresh ground coriander seeds, fresh ground cumin seeds

1/4t each red pepper flakes, allspice

3T olive oil for sauteing


1C diced onion

1/2C  carrot, shredded

1T tomato paste

2t smoked Spanish paprika

1t each dried thyme, fresh ground cumin, ground ginger

1/2t cinnamon

1- 14.5oz can San Marzano tomatoes

1/2C chicken stock

1C zucchini, shredded

3T fresh squeezed orange juice

1t salt

Cous cous & Basmati:

1C dry Israeli cous cous, cooked

1C  dry basmati, cooked

3T extra virgin olive oil

1T lemon juice

1T lemon zest

1t orange zest

1 clove garlic, minced

1/3C fresh chopped parsley

salt and pepper

1. Meatball: Combine all ingredients in to a ball.
Shape in to 24 meatballs
* Heat remaining 3T of olive oil in large pan over medium heat.
*Brown meatballs on all sides, remove from skillet with a slotted spoon.
2. Sauce: Using the same skillet, over medium heat, saute
the onion and carrot until soft.
*Stir in the tomato paste,paprika, thyme, cumin, ginger, and cinnamon.
* Add the tomatoes, with their juice, zucchini, the meatballs, and the chicken stock.
*Cover pan, simmer for 10 minutes.
*Stir in orange juice and salt.
3. Cous cous and basmati: Cook cous cous and basmati, separately,
according to manufacturers directions.
* Toss both grains together in a pot, add the rest of the ingredients.




Basmati Rice

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Pork Scallopine & Juniper Berries

I have to admit, I am in love with Mediterranean food.  The copious amounts of sun soaked olive oil and produce picked from the yard moments before you eat it sets my heart a flutter.

One of my favorite quick meals in the fall and winter is pork scallopine and juniper berries.  The juniper berries lend to a nice peppery spice in the dish.  Normally, I like this dish with some fat buttered noodles, but this time I used up some millet I had in the pantry.  The millet was nice because the small granules soak up the sauce and become very flavorful and moist.  Millet is also a nice gluten free alternative that is very healthy.


Pork Scallopine & Juniper Berries

4-6 pork escalopes, trimmed
1T balsamic vinegar
1T salted butter
1T olive oil
6 cloves of garlic cut in half
1/4C cream sherry
3 sprigs of rosemary
15 juniper berries, crushed lightly
S & P
*Serve with buttered noodles or cooked grain, and green beans
 and shallots sauteed in butter and sprinkled with smoked salt

1.  Boil the cloves of garlic for 5 minutes to
 soften; drain & set aside
2.  Meanwhile, brush the pork with some of the
balsamic vinegar and sprinkle
with salt and pepper
3. Melt the butter and olive oil
in a large pan on medium heat
4.  Add the pork and sear until brown, about 3 minutes,
 turn over and cook one more minute
5.  Add the sherry, remaining balsamic, rosemary sprigs,
 garlic, and juniper berries
6.  Simmer for 2 minutes, remove pork, and simmer
till slightly thickened
7.  Spoon sauce over pork, serve with noodles and beans

Pork on FoodistaPork

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Filed under Inspire Your Appetite, weekly dinner ideas

Winter (Summer) Vegetable and Chorizo Stew

Ever wonder what to do with all those luscious summer vegetables that you put in your freezer to use later, but only forgot about?


This stew if perfect for a super fast, rich, and filling dinner without being too heavy.  I adore all the smoky and spicy flavors that come out of the chorizo and soak in to the vegetables.

I REALLY love how quick and easy it is.  I can chop some veg, stew it with the chorizo for 20 minutes, bust out some yoga, throw the cilantro on and call it done!  It is even EASIER if you already have the vegetables chopped and ready to go in your freezer from summer harvest.

I  also love this dish because it gives me the perfect intro for talking about Winter Sun Farms.  Winter Sun will harvest all year, clean, portion, package, and freeze the produce, then either deliver to you or have a pick up spot for you to get your CSA package from them.

How great is that?

Local, fresh-frozen, happy, healthy produce for you to enjoy in the cold, dreary months.

Best part is….

you don’t have to wait for berry season to roll around again, just open your freezer and you will have neat little containers of all the farmers’ finest right there at hand.

MMMMmmm…. berry pie anyone???

I really have to give Winter Sun kudos.  They are keeping summer stock alive and not having product go to waste, plus, they are promoting farmers and local foods all year round—exactly what we need in this economy.  It is nice to know where your winter food comes from as well as your summer food.

Winter Vegetable and Chorizo Stew

7C butternut squash, in 1″ cubes
1/4C olive oil
8oz chorizo
4C onions, sliced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2t salt, more to taste
2t fresh cracked pepper
1-14oz can tomatoes, diced
1/3C beef stock
1 hot chile, minced
2T mexican oregano
2T paprika (smoked is nice too)
1 lb of green beans, cut in half
1C corn kernals
1 /4C minced cilantro

1. Peel the sqaush with a peeler, remove seeds, and chop in to cubes.
2.  Heat the oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot
3.  Remove chorizo from casing, drop in to pot, and break up pieces with a spoon.  Cook on medium until browned
4.  Stir in onions, salt and pepper, cook until soft and starting to brown
5.  Add garlic, and cook for one minute
6.  Add in squash, tomatoes, stock, hot chile, and spices.
7.  Cover and cook for 20 minutes, until squash is tender
8.  Add in corn and beans, cook another 5-10 minutes

*Garnish with cilantro and serve



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Italian Olive and Lamb Pasta (Tagine dish #2)

Last Fall, my husband and I went touring around Italy.  Sienna and San Gimignano were some of my favourite towns.  The olive bushes were everywhere throughout the town of San Gimignano.  The leaves of the bushes are a beautiful silver green like a sage or a salvia bush.



The Tuscan landscape was everywhere you looked as well.


It was rainy, and quaint…a perfect day to enjoy some afternoon pleasures such as the local wine and cured meat plates along side a window view of the Tuscan valley.

At home, we enjoy this lamb dish a few times a year during the cold months.  It has a rich sauce that the pasta seems to drink up, and is warming with the red pepper flakes and large chunks of garlic.  The olives pair well with lamb and rosemary….I only wish I had some of those exquisite fresh olives from Italy.

You can pick up some lamb at your local farmers market or direct from the farm.  Around here, we are bountiful with local meat farmers.  East Fork Farm has wonderful lamb for purchase.

Italian Lamb and Olive Pasta

1.5 lb leg of lamb in 1" cubes
2T olive oil
sea salt/cracked pepper
3 sprigs of rosemary
3 cloves garlic, in large chunks
1/2t red pepper flakes
2T balsamic vinegar
1/2C sherry or chardonnay
10 large green olives
  1. Heat olive oil in tagine or medium skillet over high heat
  2. Saute lamb until brown, add in salt and pepper
  3. Add in garlic and red pepper flakes, turn down to medium heat
  4. Add in balsamic and cook for a few minutes until it starts to caramelize and thicken
  5. Deglaze pan with sherry/wine, add in olives and rosemary, cover with lid and cook 20 minutes until tender.
  6. Serve with butter and garlic pasta noodles



Filed under Inspire Your Appetite, weekly dinner ideas