Only three months have passed since Pasqua, but our life has changed so much since then.  In May, my little niece was born.  She’s perfect and beautiful, and I wish I could see her more often.  In June, the news came that my husband’s company would be closing…and July brought news of its acquisition.  Our friends and family have been amazingly supportive while we try to figure out what the future holds for us.  Where he should work, where we should live.  We’re planning to buy our first house next year, which has made the process a little bit more complicated for us.

As hard as it is for me to understand why the world doesn’t just stop when we have a major upheaval, daily life continues to march along.  Some days it’s really too much, but most of the time I find peace in the routine.  Embroidery calms my nerves more than anything.  And, of course, cooking…I’ve been experimenting more and more, building my confidence and basic skills.

On the 4th of July, we made some really delicious burgers.  I mixed a pound of 80/20 ground beef with four slices of bacon (chopped) and some sauteed yellow onion, and Flavio cooked them on the grill with a little hickory smoke.  The perfect burger…moist, smoky, lip-smackingly good.

That same week, I made an eggplant “pizza” galette.  I used one of my favorite doughs…it’s made with olive oil, and it rolls out beautifully without tearing.  I sliced an eggplant into 1/2-inch rounds and salted it to bring out the moisture.  After letting it sit for about 15-20 minutes, I rinsed the salt off the eggplant and tossed it with some olive oil and minced garlic.  After rolling out the dough, I brushed it with a simple marinara and topped it with the eggplant.  I dotted the top of the eggplant with slices of fresh mozzarella, sprinkled the top with an Italian herb blend, folded over the edges of the dough, and brushed the crust with eggwash.  The galette was done after about 40 minutes in a 400F oven.  Perfection.

More recently, I’ve been obsessed with quiche.  This post from a local chef has been my go-to resource, and her short crust pastry recipe has changed my life.  I stocked my freezer with three disks this morning, and used the fourth for a zucchini & caramelized onion quiche for dinner.  It was wonderful, but the kale, roasted Yukon gold potato, & Italian sausage quiche we had a couple weeks ago was even better.  

And to deal with the month of 100F+ days we’ve been having around here, there’s been a never-ending supply of ice cold sweet treats.  Vanilla ice cream with salted butter caramel sauce might have been my favorite, but the peach melba popsicles I made this weekend are so refreshing.  Just puree 2 cups of fresh raspberries with a can of peach nectar, and strain to remove the seeds.  Stir in the juice of half a lemon and a simple syrup made from 1/2 c. water and 1/2 c. sugar.  Pour into molds and freeze…makes about 8 popsicles.

When I’m not cooking, I’m canning (salsa last weekend, blueberry jam this weekend, and peach-plum-ginger jam next weekend!), dreaming about my future garden, and reading this, this, and this.

I hope life has been a bit less topsy-turvy for all of you.  I’m going to try to start updating more often…and pictures next time, promise!

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