Sunday, June 28, 2009


I recently discovered a black aphid infestation in our garden. And, along with them, several ladybug larvae walking around. I was happy to see them, as I knew they would do a job on the aphids. But, unfortunately, there didn't seem to be enough of them to handle the task.
So, we went out & bought a container of adult ladybugs from the local garden center. Since ladybugs don't fly at night, they needed to be released after dark, to avoid their natural instinct to migrate for food.
The next morning, I was eager to see if they had stuck around. I sent Max out to the garden to check on them.

He came back inside, happy to report that not only were they still there, but that one of them was giving a friend a piggyback ride!

Bozo Picture of the Week...

Today was the end of the season picnic for Little League. There was food, games & most importantly, trophies!
It was held at Cranbury Park in Norwalk. There is the most amazing old tree there, that DH calls the "Monkey Tree"...where he spent many a day as a teenager.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is another cookie I brought for the 1st grade beach day. I love cowboy cookies & these are basically them...minus walnuts. If it wasn't for a bunch of kids I would have added them. But, with allergies & all, I decided to skip it.
This batter makes about 7 dozen 2 inch cookies.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bulgur Salad with Wilted Chard & Green Olives

I saw this salad in the newest issue of Fine Cooking magazine & thought it looked delicious. It's a perfect summer dish for picnicking, or entertaining, because it can be made ahead of time. In fact, it tastes even better the next day. Other than a bit of chopping, it's super fast & simple.

Kitchen Tool of the Week...

Stainless Steel Locking Tongs.

I have a few sets of tongs, very similar to the ones pictured here. I love them & use them often, and for endless purposes. If you are still using the old school ones, with a metal ring that holds them shut...then, get a new pair!
Be sure to get a set with silicone tips, for nonstick pots & pans.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Tate's Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love thin, crispy chocolate chip cookies. Which, is why the ones made by Tate's Bake Shop are a favorite of mine. I used to use Martha Stewart's recipe for Lexi's Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies. But, the last few times I've made them, they've been hit, or miss.
I was thrilled to find Tate's recipe on Goop.
I love baking. But, don't do it as much as I'd like...because, then I eat it. I had to make a whole bunch of cookies for Max's beach day at school. I volunteered for the job, because it was the perfect excuse for some baking.
I made them smaller than the recipe calls for & got about 60 cookies from one batch of dough.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Begin by measuring 2 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of baking soda & 1 teaspoon of salt into a large mixing bowl. Whisk to combine.

In a separate bowl, add 3/4 cups of sugar & 3/4 cups of dark brown sugar {well packed}.

Then, in a third, small bowl lightly beat 2 eggs. Add 1 teaspoon water & 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Lastly, measure out 2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Start the dough by beating 2 sticks of softened, unsalted butter in the bowl of an electric mixer.

For this recipe, you could even do this in a bowl with a wooden spoon. But, a mixer makes it quick.

Add the sugars & beat until combined. Scape down the bowl as needed.

Add the eggs, vanilla, & water & beat some more.

Add the dry ingredients & mix until just combined.

Remove the bowl from the mixer,

and fold in the chocolate chips.

Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper, or non-stick liners. Scoop the dough out by the tablespoonful & place about 2 inches apart on the sheets.
These cookies spread quite a bit, so leave enough room.

Bake for 8 minutes. For larger cookies, bake for 12 minutes. Rotate the pans halfway through the cooking time.
Let the cookies cool & then eat!

Mexican Chopped Salad with Agave Lime Dressing

Mexican Chopped Salad // The Parsley Thief
My friend, Rhoby, recently hosted a potluck dinner with some of our friends, and our kids. She was planning on making a tortilla pie and I was assigned the task of bringing a tossed salad. I wanted to go with the Mexican food theme, so this chopped salad was what I brought. I doubled the recipe for this particular occasion, but you could easily halve, or quarter the recipe for a smaller crowd. Everything was delicious. I requested that she make her tortilla pie for me as a guest blogger because it was so good!
Corn & Black Beans
To make the salad, begin by removing the kernels from 3-4 ears of corn. You should have about 1 1/2 cups of corn when finished. Next, rinse and thoroughly drain one 15 ounce can of black beans.
Chopped Veggies
Dice 1 1/2 cups of jicama, thinly slice one bunch of radishes {1 1/2 cups}, chop one sweet bell pepper {I used yellow}, and chop one large tomato. Then, chop 6 cups of romaine lettuce. Place the lettuce in a large salad bowl, and add in all of the previous ingredients.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Grilled Tri-Tip with Tequila Marinade

My BIL is really into Tri-Tip steak. We've had it several times at their place & it's always delicious.
I don't see it around in the markets much. But, I did recently, then purchased it & had no idea what to do with it. I found this great marinade on Epicurious & gave it a try. It was really good & I would recommend trying it for anything from flank steak, to chicken breasts, or even fajitas.

Start with one whole Tri-Tip roast. It's usually about 2-2.5 pounds. Place it in a resealable plastic bag.

Next, begin the marinade.
Juice several limes, until you have about a 1/2 cup lime juice.

To that, add a 1/2 cup olive oil,

and pour it into a mixing bowl.

Add a 1/3 cup soy sauce,

a 1/4 cup tequila,

& 7 cloves of garlic {minced}.

Next, mince a 1/2 cup of fresh cilantro,

and add that to the marinade.

Whisk it all up,

and pour it into the bag with the steak.
Seal the bag & marinate for at least 2 hours, or overnight. The longer the better!

When you are ready to cook, heat the grill to medium high & cook the steak for about 10-15 minutes {for medium-rare}.
Depending on the thickness of your steak, it may need longer.

Flip & grill the other side the same amount of time.
Remove from the grill, cover with foil & let the steak rest for at least 10 minutes.
Slice the steak very thinly across the grain & serve.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Kitchen Tool of the Week...

Dishwashing Gloves.

This here is the downside of cooking. I don't particularly mind doing dishes. I do, however, mind doing lots of dishes.
If I'm simply cooking dinner, I'll just toss everything in the dishwasher & call it a day. But, when if I'm doing something, hosting a party, or doing a catering job, I have to hand wash most of it.
I'll cook something & when finished, I'll need all the stuff I just used for the next thing I'm cooking.
All of this leads to some very dry skin.

People would recommend I use dish gloves. But, I used to have an aversion to the way they felt & hated wearing them.
A friend bought me a cool, retro looking pair for my birthday last summer, I started wearing them & I've loved them ever since.
They eventually wore out & I replaced them with these. I never do dishes without them now & my hands thank me.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bozo Picture of the Week...

The kids aren't the only Bozos around here.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Ranch Dip

We are having Bozo #2's Birthday Party this Sunday. This dip is one of the things we'll be serving. I found the recipe online, from Gourmet magazine. I've made dozens of different dips before. But, this one is my's always a huge hit. It's especially great for kids & so much tastier than Hidden Valley.
The recipe makes enough to serve 12 people. Here, I have doubled it. I recommend making the quantity I have here, because even if you're not serving a big crowd, it's great to have leftovers! I love this dip as a salad dressing too...I just thin it down a bit with water.
It's best to make it up to 2 days in advance, as the flavors will have a chance to meld.