23 June 2014

Meatless Monday: Cucumber Salad with Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Cheese

Cucumber Salad with Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Cheese

I read "Gone with the Wind" when I was 11 years old, renaming my recently-cast-off Barbie doll Scarlett, and constructing elaborate dresses using embroidery hoops in the skirts. I read and reread the book all that year, and once forced myself into sleep by mentally naming all the characters, major and minor.

A bookish, somewhat solitary child, I memorized entire passages, and lived the book as much as a young girl can in the second half of the 20th century. I recall asking my father (who read everything) to name his favorite part of the book, and I recall his reply verbatim, "When they were grubbing for food at Tara - that was my favorite."

Ever my father's daughter, I have to admit: I love that part of the book, too. I love being forced to do a lot with a little. I am always up for a challenge.

These days I grub for food in my own larder, and I am rarely disappointed in the outcome of my food pairings.

21 June 2014

Herbed Mashed Potatoes with Boursin

Herbed Mashed Potatoes with Boursin
It feels strange not to be planning a trip this year.

Instead of traveling, we are sticking close to home and working on our own turf. We have a 118-year-old carriage barn that needs some major attention. It's not a big barn - about the size of a garage - and it's rather charming, but it's old. I'd like to build a greenhouse on the back of it, but that might have to wait for another year. We'll see.

We're also involved in some inexpensive but time-consuming projects around the kitchen and other parts of the house. We're about a quarter through our to-do list: The book room is done, the new shower head is installed upstairs and the powder room has a new faucet. But when you have a house, especially a old house, the work is never done.

Traveling has made me extremely frugal around the house, especially in the kitchen. I keep thinking of the conversation I heard on Boulevard St. Michel two years ago. Two American women were talking about another family, when one said, "They live simply so they can travel more often."

That's become my credo. So when I splurged on but did not finish a small package of Boursin, and then noticed I had some redskin potatoes to use up, I tried something new. New for us, that is.

20 June 2014

What to Do with Eggshells: Feed Your Garden

Eggshells soaking in water.
Life has gotten in the way of blogging lately. I have new admiration for those who manage to post something daily, even weekly.

Life is not allowed to get in the way of eating, however. I just haven't had time to eat anything blogworthy.

What I have been eating: Eggs. I've been eating baked, over easy and sunny-side-up eggs for breakfast about four times a week.

And they have been delicious. For the most part, I buy them organic from a jovial and friendly farmer named Jeff and his wife, Jo. I can taste the difference.

I can't bear to waste eggshells, however, so I follow Grandma Annie's practice of soaking the eggshells in water that I can use to keep my indoor plants moist and give them a dose of calcium. After a few days, the water begins to smell a bit eggy, if you know what I mean. And you do.