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Daisey, just about the sweetest pug ever and Izzy and Nando’s best friend passed away on Friday. She had cancer and was such a brave little girl. The photo was taken last weekend. I am so happy that Daisey was able to visit us. It made Izzy and Nando very happy and Daisey also. When you lose a pet you lose a treasured member of the family. I pug sat many times for her, she was the most wonderful well behaved little lady and was a member of our family also. I remember she would not leave my side when she stayed here, she missed her Mom desperately but was happy and comfortable in my home with Izzy and Nando. She would always let me know she wanted to be petted by gently nudging my hand with her paw, she was saying come on don’t slack off keep petting me.

The photo on the side of the 3 pugs includes Daisey, it was one of the times she stayed with us while her Mom was away. Daisey was a puppy mill rescue, my friend does not know exactly how old she was, the vets think maybe 9 or 10 years old, they do know that she was used for breeding and had many litters of puppies. Thank God she was rescued and adopted by my friend where she enjoyed a wonderful very happy life. Rest in peace sweet Daisey. I will miss you, my heart is broken and you will always be remembered.

May 2012

May 2012

Daisey and Nando

Daisey and Nando May 2012

Summer Vegetable Cous Cous With Feta And Pine Nuts For Fiesta Friday #26

Cous Cous loaded with Vegetables

Cous Cous loaded with Vegetables

I wanted a quick side dish that didn’t require standing over a hot stove, I had some great vegetables that I needed to use and some cous cous in the pantry and thought this will go nicely together. The vegetables I used are tri color small peppers, orange, yellow and red, yellow squash and sweet heirloom cherry tomatoes, I cranked the oven to 400 degree’s prepared the vegetables, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper and they were done in 15 minutes. The cous cous is so easy, I’m sure you know what I mean, boil some water, pour it over the cous cous, cover and let sit. I wanted to make this more interesting so I ran to my garden and got some parsley and mint which I chopped, thought well something crunchy like nuts would be nice and I remembered I had some pignoli in the freezer, I quickly toasted them on the stove top. To finish the dish I mixed it all together with some olive oil and the juice of lemon, sprinkled with more pine nuts and crumbled fets on top. Voila, easy, quick and delicious side or meal.

Fiesta Friday #26 is in full swing and I hope you all like my cous cous dish. Angie @The Novice Gardener is always there to make sure things are running smoothly and the co hosts this week, Prudy @Butter, Basil and Breadcrumbs and Jess @Cooking Is My Sport seem to have eyes in back of their heads keeping everything organized and in order. Great work everyone!


So pretty and nutritious

So pretty and nutritious

Here is what you will need for 4 servings:

1 summer squash, cut into bite size pieces

10 cherry tomatoes

4 small peppers with seeds removed and cut in half.

1 cup cous cous

1 cup water boiled

pine nuts about a cup toasted

feta for crumbling

a handful of parsley and mint leaves

salt and pepper

1 lemon juiced

olive oil

Roast the vegetables in a hot oven 400 degrees for approximately 15 miniutes. Remove from oven, you can at the same time toast the pine nuts ( I didn’t think of it at the time but in retrospect it would be a good idea, just watch them carefully stirring frequently or they will burn.

Make the cous cous, when it’s rested the requisite time according to package directions fluff with a fork. Place cous cous, roasted vegetables about 3/4 of the toasted pine nuts,herbs, a little olive oil, lemon juice, season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Sprinkle the remaining pine nuts and crumble feta on top and serve.

Fiesta Friday

Fiesta Friday


A True Craftsman

Gorgeous Cutting board

Gorgeous Cutting board

I love buying things for my kitchen or that are used to prepare or serve food, hand crafted items made by artisans are some of my very favorite things that I treasure. I found Michaels blog, Michaels Woodcraft & Blog about a month ago, Michael is an artist, a craftsman and does the most beautiful cutting boards, rolling pins, ice cream scoops and bird houses that I have seen. Each one carefully and lovingly made by hand. You can tell he loves what he does, it shows in his work. I saw that he had a giveaway, a gorgeous cutting board so I left a comment hoping for the best but never expecting to win. Well, I won the board, I got it yesterday and it’s the one pictured here. Isn’t it beautiful??? Michael uses natural hard wood, you can actually choose what wood you want for some boards and I have to say his prices are so reasonable. I love my board and can’t wait to use it. You all know how much I love ice cream and when i saw that he makes ice cream scoops also you know I had to have one. There were several different varieties of wooden handles but I asked Michael to surprise me and oddly the one he sent is the one I picked for myself. Follow the link above to visit Michaels blog, I highly recommend his products, they make wonderful gifts as well. Stay tuned for a giveaway here very soon!!!

ice cream scoop

ice cream scoop

Cutting boards

Cutting boards

Round cutting boards

Round cutting boards

Rolling Pin

Rolling Pin

My Request…

Re blogging this from Prudy at butter, basil and breadcrumbs. Lets send this sweet little boy lots of birthday cards. The story breaks my heart.

butter, basil and breadcrumbs | simple. rustic. delish. recipes.

There is no recipe tonight…. just a simple request.

I cannot tell you how much all of the love and support that you gave to Mike and me…after I told you about his illness… meant to me. While I’m not surprised, because over these last few months, I’ve come to know that there are so many, many good people in this world…I am deeply touched by the kindness that you showed to the both of us.

I know that many of you are moms too, so I know you feel what I feel. I would give my son anything that would make him happy (within reason…I’m not buying him that $30K truck that he wants!).

Like I told you, we are blessed. Michael has the disease, but it’s manageable. He can live a long life.

Last night, I was watching the news…and there was a short segment about a…

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Pepper and Pancetta Toriglioni | From Italy to Iran: Con Amore! (Viva Italia!)

I have to reblog this, it was such a wonderful night and I didn’t blog about and I am so thrilled that Azita did. I LOVE Francesca and Stefano and everyone that was there and I wanted to share this great pasta recipe with you from Francesca (Floras Table)….

Fig & Quince

Tortiglioni Pancetta closeup of Pasta Pepper Italian food on beautiful floral pattern china Check out the gorgeous china! I covet these, Francesca! I covet!

Hi all! This glorious pepper and pancetta toriglioni pasta concoction is a yummy guest post by my treasured Italian friends Francesca (who wrote the recipe and the story) and Stefano (who did the photography.)

Many of you fellow bloggers already know and are fans of this talented Italian power couple, but for those of you not in the know, borrow two feet in addition to your own two feet (rough translation of a Persian saying, ha ha) and run and check out their food (authentic Italian cuisine & riveting storytelling), wine (reviews and inspired pairings – Stefano is a certified sommelier) and photography (outstanding nature and wildlife shots) blogs. I was already entirely “in like” with Francesca and Stefano as bloggers (I just really dig their vibe, you know, Italians and Iranians do share many cultural sensibilities believe it…

View original post 1,077 more words

Gluten Free Cherry Crisp

cup of crisp

cup of crisp

Crisps or Cobblers or buckles or whatever you want to make are a really simple and delicious way to enjoy summer fruit or berries. I have been wanting to try working with some different flours other than wheat and bought some barley flour. This crisp is so simple and quick to make and I must say the crumble or crisp part is wonderful, I used oats, barley flour, almond flour, butter and organic brown sugar. I bought already pitted and preserved sour cherries, I don’t have a cherry pitter. It took almost no time at all to put this together and I had it for breakfast this morning, don’t judge, think about it, grains, fruit, why not? It would also make a smashing dessert!! I’m also very excited that this is my 300th post!!

Crisp or Crumble

1 stick salted butter softened

1 cup oats (I used Bobs Red Mill, certified GF)

1/2 cup barley flour

1/4 cup almond flour

1/4 cup organic brown sugar

Mix until it’s all incorporated and set aside.

The cherries and make the crisp:

1 quart cherries (I used sour)

Scant 1/2 cup brown sugar (If using sweet cherries only use 1/4 cup)

2 tbs tapioca starch

pinch of sea salt

Pre heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix cherries, tapioca, sugar and salt together and pour into baking dish. I used a rectangular approximately 8×11. Distribute the crumble topping on the cherries, sprinkle with a little course brown sugar (like demerara or Hains organic brown. Bake for approximately 40-45 minutes or until crumble topping is browned and the fruit is bubbly.

I like to serve with a little heavy cream poured on while it’s hot.




Cold Roasted Summer Vegetable Soup Shots For Fiesta Friday #25

Sumer Vegetable Soup

Summer Vegetable Soup

I’m not much of a soup person when it’s really hot out, however a cold or room temp soup is perfect summer fare. I had an over abundance of vegetables that I bought at the farmers market that I needed to use and I love roasted vegetables, I put them in salads, eat on their own or as a side they are delicious and very versatile. When I say I had a lot of vegetables I mean a lot, I roasted two 1/2 sheet pans of assorted vegetables, some I ate the others I thought I would make into a soup. This soup is a mix of asparagus, green beans, carrots, red scallions and summer squash. It takes a short time to roast and then you are done with the hot oven and all you will need is your blender or food processor, I simply put the vegetables in the processor, added salt, pepper,creme fraiche and vegetable broth.  I garnished with mint and garlic that I fried in some olive oil. You can of course use whatever vegetables you like or have on hand. There really is no recipe. you puree vegetables and add liquid until it’s the desired thickness, I don’t use any spices if you like to add them I think it would be wonderful. Serve warm, cold or room temperature.

Week #25, my how time flies. Well this week our always glowing host Angie@The Novice Gardener has asked two bloggers that were the very first co hosts for Fiesta Friday,  Hilda @Along The Grapevine and Julianna @Foodie On Board. We are in good hands my friends



Here is what I used:

1 bunch asparagus, cleaned and woody stems snapped off (make sure to really clean the heads they can contain sand)

approximately 2 cups green beans stem end snapped off and cleaned

6 small carrots roasted whole with about an inch of the green stem left on

4 yellow summer squash cut into large chunks

4 large red bulb scallions cleaned ends cut ( I didn’t use the long green stems only about an inch above the bulb)

vegetable or chicken broth (enough to thin the soup to desired consistency)

creme fraiche or kefir I added about 1/2 cup

salt  and pepper to taste

Mint cut chiffonade

garlic sliced very thinly

Roast the vegetables in a 375 degree oven, I roasted the carrots, squash and onions longer than the asparagus and green beans. About 30 minutes for the carrots etc and 15-20 minutes for asparagus and green beans.

Remove from oven and place in processor with some stock, process until smooth. Pour into bowl and add the creme fraiche or kefir, salt and pepper, do all of this to taste and desired thickness.

In saute pan coat with olive oil, add garlic and when it just starts to turn a light brown add the mint, saute until mint is crisp and garlic is a nice light brown, remove to paper towel. When serving sprinkle some on top of each serving you can also add a dollop of sour cream.

Roast summer vegetable soup

Roasted summer vegetable soup

Fiesta Friday

Fiesta Friday



Black And White Orzo With Roasted Cherry Tomatoes And Ricotta Salata

Orzo Mediterranean Style

Orzo Mediterranean Style

When in Whole Foods last week I saw in the bulk pasta section several different types of pasta that are all locally made (Brooklyn) die cut and organic, I loved the look of the black and white orzo so decided to give it a try. Now I love orzo, I remember a Greek friend used to make a baked orzo dish with tomatoes that was wonderful. This is not baked and it’s not Greek but it does have Mediterranean flavors. It’s simple to make and can be served hot or cold. No recipe needed make it according to taste, if you don’t have black and white orzo use whatever you have available. I had some heirloom cherry tomatoes grown on a rooftop in Brooklyn, the basil and parsley came from my garden, I think the ricotta salata is Italian in origin but for the most part this dish is made with ingredients made or grown locally, I love that! You can add whatever herbs you like, I chose basil and parsley. This is simple to make, no recipe required, tailor to your tastebuds and is good hot or cold.

Makes 2 servings

12 (approximately) cherry tomatoes

2-3 cloves garlic skin removed

1 cup orzo

handfull basil and parsley

ricotta salata (a little less than a cup cubed or broken into small pieces)

olive oil

salt and pepper


Heat oven to 375 degrees, lay parchment or foil on 1/4 sheet pan, place the tomatoes whole on the sheet pan along with the garlic, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, Roast for 20-30 minutes or until tomatoes are soft, a little caramelized and have given off some of their juices, the garlic should also be soft. Remove from the oven to cool. While tomatoes are roasting boil the orzo, I like it al dente it took about 15 minutes. Drain and put in bowl, chop the basil and parsley and ricotta salata and add to bowl, Smash the garlic with a fork and mix with the tomatoes, add to the orzo and toss to combine. Before serving check for seasoning and drizzle some good olive oil on top.

Black Forest Cake In A Jar For Fiesta Friday #24

Black Forest Cake

Black Forest Cake

It has been years since I’ve had Black Forest Cake, it’s so wonderful I really don’t know why I haven’t made one in such a long time. Honestly, you don’t hear them mentioned very much anymore. A Black Forest Cake is chocolate cake, cherries and whipped cream, pretty simple really, decorate with chocolate shavings and you have a wonderfully delicious cake. In the US and some other parts of the world the cake does not contain alcohol but in Germany they use Kirschenwasser or Kirsch a fruit (sour cherry) liquor, I happened to have some on hand so I macerated the cherries in some Kirsch and sugar.  I thought it would be fun to make individual cakes in jars for the party, they are portable and neat. The cake is a chocolate sponge cake, the cake will hold up well with the moist cherries and whipped cream. I didn’t have sour cherries but did have some beautiful Rainier cherries so I used those and whipped cream of course. Very simple and very delicious.

Fiesta Friday #24 is hosted by Angie@The Novice Gardener and just a little shout out you have to see what she brought, AMAZING and so creative. This week is pretty special because we have three wonderful co hosts Indu @Indu’s International Kitchen, Selma @Selma’s Table, and HHilda @Along The Grapevine. I really love FF not only is there an amazing array of delicious food but the company is stellar, I don’t know about you but I love getting to know my fellow bloggers and what is happening in their kitchens and lives, its great to see what they are up to and get idea’s for my next meal. A really big thank you to Angie for making all this possible.

Cherries,cake and whipped cream in every bite

Cherries,cake and whipped cream in every bite

Black Forest Cake In A Jar

Makes about a dozen (depending on the size of your jar)


2 cups pitted cherries sliced in half

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup kirsch

Combine the cherries, sugar and kirsch, give them a little bit of a mash to help them along, gently. Refrigerate covered for about 2 hours.

The Cake:

1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 large eggs at room temperature
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Note: I find the amount of batter varies every time I make this, I never like to fill the pan to the rim, it’s better to leave a small space so the cake can rise. If you have leftover batter make a few cupcakes.

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Place milk and butter in glass measuring cup and microwave for 45 seconds or until butter is melted. Using stand mixer with wire whisk or electric mixer whip the eggs and sugar on med/high for approximately 8 minutes or until the mixture is pale yellow, tripled in volume and thick, with the machine running slowly add the heated milk and buter. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Fold into the egg mixture, there should be no lumps. Fold in the vanilla. Grease a 1/2 sheet pan, lay parchment sheet and grease the parchment, and sprinkle with sugar. Pour batter into the pan, spread so that it is evenly distributed and bake for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes in the pan run a knife around the edges to loosen then invert onto wire rack, remove parchment and let cool completely.


This makes about a dozen small jars, I used a weck small tulip jar you can use whatever you have, mix and match.

Make your whipped cream. You will need approximately 1 pint of very cold heavy cream. Pour into cold bowl and whip with hand held or stand mixer until it thickens, add some sugar (to taste) and instead of vanilla I used some of the syrup from the cherries, about 2 tsp. If you use vanilla add 2 tsp. Whip until thick and billowy.

Break off small pieces of the cake and place in the bottom of each jar, spoon some of the cherries and the juice on the cake, add a dollop of whipped cream and repeat. End with whipped cream on top, add some chocolate shavings. Enjoy!



Fiesta Friday

Fiesta Friday