Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!
Our happy Jack-O-Lantern is awaiting the few ghosts and goblins that come by 765 for treats this evening. The happiest about the festive night? Our chicken Annie - pumpkin insides are the absolute best to that little lady! And for a little flashback, a picture of Bert and Ernie from the younger days.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Library Finds

A bit of perusing at the local library turned up some awesome pieces of 765 history. (Definitely one of the perks to living in a historic district.) According to the real estate listing from 1956 you should 'Be Prepared For Happiness' for only $850 down and $90/month. Wow! 
The giant pines are no longer around, the bricks were painted, and it looks like there was originally gutters on both sides of the house. The bottles sitting on the porch might explain why we found the canning jar lid. And with all those changes our house numbers on the pillar are still exactly the same!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Lights: Installing

Our pendant lights I found while market hunting finally arrived, so we got busy installing them while master electrician Uncle Dennis was in town. Of course, in an old house nothing actually goes that smoothly, so a few trips to Home Depot have since ensued. We've got the three foot extender for the drill and hole in the wall for the switch - you know what we'll be doing this weekend!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Birthday Cake

I came home from an afternoon out shopping to quite the birthday surprise: a homemade cake. Travis spent the afternoon in the kitchen making a chocolate cake with espresso butter cream frosting and chocolate chips. He even managed the double layer - seems he's inherited more than just the birding skills from his grandfather! Quite possibly the best birthday breakfast, err, dessert ever!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Cover-to-Cover Challenge: Shrimp Scampi Meatballs

A blog that is on my regular reading list is The Bitten Word, two guys that cook recipes from monthly food magazines. They recently posed an awesome challenge: to cook every recipe in a single issue of a food magazine with the help of their readers. The response was so amazing they ended up assigning the recipes in SIX food magazines, a whopping 350 recipes! I couldn't pass up a chance to make something new alongside hundreds of others - I immediately signed up.

My assignment: Shrimp Scampi Meatballs in Garlicky Broth from Everyday Food

I was glad to be assigned something I probably would have never chosen out of the magazine to make. Travis is a meatball fan so I was hopeful it would be another option to add to our dinner menu, though I was afraid it might be too involved to be cooked on a weeknight. It turned out to be incredibly easy, especially for a dish that packed such a flavorful punch. Paired with some roasted asparagus, it was a perfect meal. We both decided it would be requested again, but I might work on creating a thin sauce instead of the broth to make it a pasta dish instead of a soup.

A huge thank you to the guys at The Bitten Word for putting this challenge together - can't wait to see what everyone else made and looking forward to the next challenge!

Shrimp Scampi Meatballs in Garlicky Broth
Serves 4 / Active Time: 25min / Total Time: 25min

coarse salt
1/2 pound spaghetti
3/4 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined, roughly chopped
1/2 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1/2 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest, plus wedges for serving
1/4 pound ground white-meat chicken
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

1. In a large pot of boiling slated water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain
2. Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse shrimp until finely chopped. In a large bowl, combine breadcrumbs, red-pepper flakes, and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir in milk and 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest. Fold in shrimp and chicken until just combined. (do not overmix)
3. In a large pot, melt butter over medium. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add broth and 2 cups water and bring to a rapid simmer.
4. Drop shrimp mixture by heaping tablespoons into broth. Cook meatballs at a gentle simmer until opaque throughout, about 5 minutes, turning halfway through. Divide pasta among four bowls and top with broth and meatballs. Combine remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest with parsley and sprinkle over soup. Squeeze lemon wedges over soup and serve.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Vintage Botanical Prints

The landscape architect in me has always had a soft spot for botanical prints. Then last week Curbly posted about free vintage botanical prints that could be downloaded. Does it get any better? It does: A free vintage botanical print of an orange tree. I immediately downloaded and ordered a 12"x18" print that I'm anxiously awaiting arrival in the mail. Our big bathroom has an empty nail that's been waiting for something to hang from it. Done and done!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Farm to Kitchen / 1 - Garlic Dill Pickles

Pickling cucumbers are plentiful at our farmers market, so I figured it was time to take my first shot at just that, pickling. I found this recipe for Garlic Dill Pickles and thought it seemed pretty fool-proof. It turned out to be incredibly easy - the hard part now will seeing how long we can let them last.

Garlic Dill Pickles
(From: Food In Jars)
Makes approximately 8 pints (total yield varies depending on size of cucumbers)

2 overflowing quarts of pickling cucumbers, sliced into fat coins*
4 cups apple cider vinegar
4 cups water
5 tablespoons pickling salt
16 garlic cloves, peeled (2 per jar)**
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper per jar*** (2 teaspoons total)
1 teaspoon dill seed per jar (8 teaspoons total)
½ teaspoon black peppercorns per jar (4 teaspoons total)

Wash and slice the cucumbers.
In a large saucepot, combine vinegar, water and salt. Bring to a simmer.
Arrange jars on counter and dole out the spices to each. Pack the cucumber slices firmly into the jars. You don’t want to damage the cukes, but you do want them packed tight.
Pour the brine into the jar, leaving ½ inch headspace.
Wipe rims, apply lids and rings and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
When 10 minutes are up, promptly remove the jars from the pot and allow them to cool on the countertop. When the jars are cool, check the seals (by pushing/tapping on the lid).
Pickles can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to a year.
If you want to skip the boiling water process, these pickles are also wonderful as refrigerator pickles. Just pop the jars into the fridge once they’re cool.