Nothing to brag about here food-wise. Long story short: I bought a frozen pizza, we ate a frozen pizza (and then I bought a kneeboard). The end. For like days. Or the equivalent of a frozen pizza. Or hot dogs. Not the equivalent, just actual hot dogs. Nathans cause they are the best.
My parents and sis are scheduled to pull in Saturday so we’ve been preparing. I probably won’t be around next week. Around the blog but hopefully still kicking on this earth. Fingers crossed and assuming all the basement/bathroom reno plans go well.
The homestead where the recipe magic happens (or the burning or ruining of recipes) in the tiny, galley kitchen.
So I basically just wanted to drop in and brag about the fence cause I love it and it came in under $200. Which makes me love it more and it was our brainchild and hard work that made the whole thing happen.
Before you say something, yes, plants might eventually go in front so it’s not just mulch. No, it’s not in the budget.
Have a blast doing whatever you are doing or plan to do. Even if it’s eating frozen pizza. Which isn’t that bad. Good day.
My parents and sister (“the middle one”) are coming to visit in a week for a week. We’re very excited around here and grateful because not only are they coming to spend some much needed quality time with Greg and myself but they are coming to aid us with some home improvement projects. The ones we absolutely must get done before our big move to Seattle.
They are driving from our homestate of Indiana to Minnesota and hopefully avoiding the Chicago traffic by leaving around midnight where they will hit the Windy City around 4AM. It’s the best way to avoid traffic. We once missed that timeframe and landed smack-dab in the thick of it which added a few more hours and sitting there looking at the city on the interstate, knowing we could not stop and that out of there we’d be in Gary…which we try to avoid like the plague. Our GPS once routed us directly through it and refused to get us back to safer roadways. It was scary and sad. It doesn’t stop us from singing the song from the Music Man (one of Greg’s favorite movies). It’s “yay, we’re in our homestate” followed by “lock the doors/what is that smell” then it turns into fields and smalltowns with McDonalds or Subways as our only dining options.
But yes, a visit. I feel guilty about having them come and the big plans are to work on the basement/basement bathroom. Thrilling stuff. I actually am thrilled to get moving on this. Fixing up the basement bathroom (so we have one to use when we renovate the upstair’s bathroom) and tackling the other basement rooms are next on the list after a little landscaping and building a slat fence to hide the gas meter and window well. Just decided to build it one day out of the blue. I love it.
We’ve been busy and sick. Greg last Friday and I was on couch rest earlier this week with Nurse Vivi at my feet.
We have been collecting vintage and antique finds (like a free antique walnut spindle bed) for our etsy shop (which is empty because I’m still cleaning the items and snapping photos) and I find myself snipping the freshly bloomed peonies and buds. Parts of the house have their beautiful fragrance wafting through the air. I’m sitting by them now.
Then I made these kebabs. Something I came across at Food52 by inpatskitchen that uses what some call a “white” barbecue sauce used in Alabama. I hadn’t heard of it but didn’t doubt it existed. The white referring to the mayo-based sauce. It made for some moist, flavorful, grilled chicken. I love the addition of sambal oelek and added quite a bit but then I added Sriracha because, well, I just did and it finally reached the heat/flavor I was looking for although still not omnipresent or overpowering…but I like a lot of heat. The original recipe is great as-is. I did prep everything 4 hours ahead of chow time and used the sauce as a marinade as well as basted the chicken on the grill. This makes enough sauce, and is recommended, for dipping. Just reserve 1/2 to 3/4 cup for this purpose to avoid the woes of contamination with the raw chicken. I was good without the extra dipping sauce but then again, I’m still just not a mayo person. I like it but I don’t seek recipes using it. I will take advantage of the stuff though because of its abilities, like yogurt, to tenderize and keep meats moister. Simple and delicious.
Alabama-Style Grilled Chicken Kebabs
Makes 4 kebabs (I only had 3 skewers but 4 would be about right)
Sauce Ingredients: (makes enough to reserve for dipping)
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar (I used less-2tbsp)
1 tbsp sambal oelek (I used more plus Sriracha to my heat taste)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 clove of garlic, mashed
Whisk all the ingredients together, cover and refrigerate. Later reserve 1/2 to 3/4 cup for dipping or make more kebabs.
4 boneless, skinless breast halves, cut into cubes
4 (or 3) skewers (soak wood ones to prevent burning)
salt/pepper, olive oil
Place the cut chicken on the skewers, season with salt, pepper and olive oil. (I took some of the sauce and marinated the kebabs for a few hours but you can immediately start your grill and baste them on there.) Start your grill to medium heat and oil the grates. Place the kebabs on the grill and baste, turning, until the chicken is done. Serve with reserved sauce.
When I tweeted (this is me) and posted this pie on facebook (it’s how I keep up with family and annoy friends with pictures of food) there were immediate “please send me some of that” responses from family and friends. One person (Kris in Portland) wished that teleportation were a reality for this recipe.
I knew this blackberry dish would be one of envy because as soon as it came across my radar on Design Sponge I knew I had to have it.
Not being a person who chooses super sweet desserts (although I do crave them occasionally…made a small batch of these chocolate peanut butter no-bake cookies the other day), the combination of balsamic vinegar with tart berries and a sea salt walnut crumble had me pressing print before it really registered. Duh, I knew it would be great. (And it was all that I wanted and more.)
The harder part was that I kept the recipe in my folder with the idea to make it later and thus flipped through my recipe collection, smiling when I came to this pie, but passing over it like a weirdo who delays gratification. I am that weirdo in many areas of life who keeps and plans things for later. No instant pleasure here. Then I wonder why the hell I wait so long.
And this is that time. I should have made it several times over by now. That’s how long it’s been in my collection. Berry season is running behind here but that didn’t stop me (because I also believe the highlighted ingredient should be used in its ideal season…especially for something I put on a pedestal and waited so long to make) and bought the ones available even though they weren’t the prime example of delicious blackberries. (It was only a month ago we had a snowstorm in May.)
I did change the directions to accomodate my oven. So, the baking temp was 375F and not 400F. About 20 minutes in I placed aluminum foil over the whole thing since the crumble was baking much faster than the filling and crust. From there I just kept peaking to see if the filling was getting all bubbly then removed the foil for the last 10 or so minutes to let it brown the rest of the way. I found that it took some time to cool which helps thicken the filling and put it in the fridge for an hour or so then set it out to get to room temp. I thought the amount of crumble would be too much once I started placing it on the 9″ pie but it turned out just fine. If you want more berry flavor though you could reduce the crumble. The original creator has a pie crust recipe (follow the Design Sponge link above to get the pie crust instructions) but I found a great organic crust at my local co-op which I rely on in these busy days. (Wanna see what we’ve been up to? Check this out.)
I happened to have ice cream (rare these days) and salted caramel I’d made the weekend before-and nearly burned because I was busy wiping the cream off of myself since I knocked the measuring cup on its side when I touched the hot pan by accident and burned myself right (and I mean right) after Greg told me he enjoys watching me cook because I’m in my element so I of course immediately mess that idea up and start screaming since the burn hurt, I know the delicacy of making caramel and thought I had ruined the whole “beautiful” thing…can’t make this up/happens to me all the time-which was nice.
But the memory of that first slice, just the pie, is what sticks out pleasantly in my mind. It sincerely needs nothing.
Blackberry Balsamic Pie with Sea Salt Walnut Crumble from Adrienne at PieBox
Note: This recipe is for a 9-inch deep-dish pie. If using a smaller pie pan, you may have some filling and crumble left over.
Pie crust (I used my favorite store-bought organic)
4 1/2 cups fresh blackberries (about three 6 oz. containers)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp + 1 tsp cornstarch
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
zest of 1 lemon (great addition)
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp sea salt
4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
Place you store-bought (or homemade pie crust) on a baking sheet and preheat the oven to 375F. Meanwhile, mix blackberries, sugars, cornstarch, balsamic and lemon zest in a bowl. Turn the mixture with a spoon several times to ensure the blackberries are coated. Set aside.
In another bowl, stir the oats, flour, brown sugar, walnuts and sea salt together. Add the butter and rub into the mix with your fingertips, pressing the mixture together until clumps form.
Grab your pie crust on the baking sheet (no need to bake it somewhat first) and spoon the blackberry filling into it. Sprinkle the crumble on top, fully covering the blackberries. Bake the pie for 45–50 minutes or until filling is bubbling and topping is brown and crisp. Check the pie after 20 or so minutes of baking and cover the entire thing with aluminum foil to prevent the crumble from browning too fast. Remove the foil around the 35 to 40 minute mark to let it finish baking. Let the pie cool. I placed it in the fridge for an hour then put it out to reach room temp to help thicken it more.
Are you grilling? We try to grill as often as we can in the months that are not winter or winter-like in Minnesota (so about 2 months…ha). Whether it be on a weekday evening or throughout the weekend in these warm spring/summer days we are outside getting our grill on. (I should note you can do this in your oven too. Just put it at 400F and place your bundles on a sheet lined with foil and roast for 12 or so minutes (that will vary).
For those of you who also said yes (and eat meat), I bring you bacon-wrapped asparagus. I probably could have said only bacon and grabbed the attention of many of you.
I had a few strips of bacon and a bunch of asparagus on hand so this happened, a bit of meat wrapped veg. It was a hit but I never had doubt.
Speaking of backyard, guess who gets to bring out the cultivator (or go buy one) and tear up their yard again this year because “winter kill” wiped out most of the yard that sprouted last year? We do! Not just the back but the front yard where inches upon inches of ice killed a large section. But we’re in the midst of putting in new patio pavers and some landscape edging so we’ll be outside anyway.
Who am I kidding, we prefer to be outdoors this time of year…but not so much repairing the same thing we did last year. Dead yard doesn’t scream “good for resale” but it does have me screaming “let’s move earlier” out of frustration.
Maybe soon we’ll actually have grass to look at while we’re eating our grilled whatevers.
Grilled Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus
Makes 6 bundles
1 bunch of asparagus, about 24 to 30 spears, stems removed (I did the old snap method)
6 slices of bacon
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder (or garlic salt-just skip the salt step then)
salt and pepper
*Prep your grill for high heat. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil and garlic powder (or garlic salt) and set aside. Take 4 or 5 pieces of aspragus (depending on how many spears you have) and wrap a piece of bacon around them. Continue to do this until you have 6 bundles. Take your oil mix and divide among the 6 bundles, brushing it everywhere. Don’t forget to coat your grill rack with some oil before placing them on. Add a little salt and pepper to each bundle. Place on the grill, turning once or twice, for 10 to 12 minutes or until bacon is crisp and asparagus is tender. Serve and enjoy!
*I should note you can do this in your oven too. Just put it at 400F and place your bundles on a sheet lined with foil and roast for 12 or so minutes (that will vary).