Tangelos and More

20120103-015700.jpgJanuary 2012…. Wow, time flies! Happy New Year! Looking back, I didn’t get as far as I would have liked in my photoblogging. Posting 52 times is a lot more work than I thought!  I did however, post 15 times in my freshman blogosphere, so if I average it out… I’m looking at about a post a month.  Not too bad for this first timer! My biggest accomplishment is simply that I started one! Thank you to all who’ve checked my blog out. I’m thinking this year if I don’t have the time or feel like writing, I’ll just post a photo pic or two to get me in the routine of posting. We’ll see… I’m hopeful and optimistic! And with Santa bringing more Legos and Just Dance 3, I may get some quiet time to be able to organize my thoughts and pictures! 🙂

Well, well, what’s been going on here? Evidently it’s fruit-bearing season in the desert! Everywhere I look, citrus trees are heavy with the bountiful weight of its labor. Grapefruits, oranges, tangelos… I’m assuming lemons and limes too, but I haven’t seen ’em yet. We have 5 fruit trees in our backyard: 3 orange, 1 lemon and 1 very pitiful lemon tree. The latter lemon (well we think it’s a lemon) is the last remaining citrus tree on our property when we moved in. From the looks of it, the last owner hadn’t watered it in over a year. Hopefully it makes it. All the other trees are new and with that, none are bearing fruit at the moment. I’m hoping by next season we’ll have some goodies of our own. For now, there are plenty of trees loaded with fruit where neighbors and friends are offering bags of them. It reminds me very much of tomato harvesting season in the Midwest, where in late August you simply can’t eat or give enough away!

TANgELO… (tan-jə-loh)… A cross between a tangerine and a pomelo or grapefruit. The size of a fist. The Arizona/ Californian variety is easily distinguished by its pebbled surface and bell-shaped end.  Little to no seeds. Mildly acidic, sweet and super juicy. In one word: Delicious. I’ve got a bag of here. I can only peel and eat so many! I agree, freshly squeezed juice is a bonus, but unless you have an electric juicer (I don’t), it’s alot of work. Jams, jellies, tangelic citrus salsas, citrus marinades, orange balsamic reductions over vanilla ice cream? Really? In the end, I pulled together a tangy tangelo couscous side dish tossed with garbanzo beans and sunflower seeds. It had an earthy undertone as I seasoned it with a couple shakes of cumin, salt and pepper. Topped off with a squeeze from half of a freshly cut tangelo to add an additional bright burst of flavor. Not too shabby for on the fly. It passed the test, the kids and hubs ate it!

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Garbage Day

Garbage day is Monday.  How often does one go through the refrigerator cleaning it out in anticipation of  the traveling dumpster’s early morning arrival; and find ALL this food that you haven’t eaten yet???  On this particular Sunday I came across a couple of mangos that I’m sure I bought earlier in the week, I think. Still smooth-skinned, slightly firm and changing from an olive green to a muted orange-brown hue.  I’m thinking, “must still be good” – although not very photogenic at this point.  Dig around the ice box a little more… A few pork chops pulled from the freezer to thaw… Check the pantry for some grains… yep, looks like we have dinner for the next day!

Few items from the Pantry

Pork chops with a mango chutney – at least that’s what I called it.  Below I used the late afternoon Western light diffused through our patio. To add some color to my white dishes, I added the multi-colored cloth beneath.  I wish I would have caught the “fleck” of pork that’s sitting on the mango, but oh well!  It’s all in the details from making a good picture, great, right?  The dish by the way, was just yummy.  The kids and hubby ate it all up!

Devilish Eggs

The Devil is in the eggs.  It sure is.  Love ’em.  I can never eat just one.  I googled recipes for deviled eggs… there are thousands!  But among them, it seems that they all have similar basics:  eggs (obviously), mayonnaise/ salad dressing, mustard or vinegar of some sort, salt and pepper.  From there the variations are endless!  Most seem to come from old family recipes and are distinctive in their own right.  Ever try the pre-made deviled eggs from the grocery store?  Not quite the same as Aunt Marie’s, right?  Personally, I find store bought deviled eggs to be pretty tasteless and otherwise boring.  A complete injustice to how absolutely delicious a good deviled egg can be.  Unless their homemade, they’re not worth bringing to your next potluck or barbecue, Just Saying…

So eggs… they are tricky to photograph.  It would seem that there is not much to them.  Clean lines, uniform color, singular shape. Some would say uninteresting, or as the French would say – ennuyeux, ho-hum, nothing to write about. I beg to differ.  Light from the front, back, sides?  It’s not that easy with a white egg.  It can blend in and show a lack depth.  Not as easy of an assignment as I initially thought.  Since I like using natural light, it’s taken me a few tries to find which light and setting I like best.  It helps to see the inspiration of others around the ‘net to get some ideas!

Backlit to show off it's simple shape

And beyond the white, I love seeing eggs of differing colors.  What a delight to go to your local farmers market and see the variation in hues from white to blue, green and various shades of brown.  My hubby tells me that it’s what the farmers feed the chickens that cause some of the color variations and that the size changes depending upon the chicken laying the egg.  Also too, I noticed that depending on the eggs, sometimes the yolk colors vary in intensity too.  Pretty cool.

Tick-tock... 25 minutes and the time's up!

None the less, once cracked or peeled (in the case of hard boiled eggs), the insides taste the same.  It’s up to you how you want to doctor up your favorite deviled egg recipe!  In our house, we like it with a little tobasco, pickle juice and some red pepper flakes.  I’d be curious to try out some other add-ins for our next potluck!

I Like’m Sloppy

Sloppy joes that is…

Sloppy joes topped with coleslaw

SuMMer, BarBecues, bEaCh, SanD, LaZy days, FAMILY.

All images that come to my mind when craving sloppy joes. Growing up I never knew this messy goodness could be so good. Born and raised in the US by newly immigrated Filipinos, I only knew the makings of sloppy joes via a can of Manwhich™ and a pound of ground beef! And truthfully, I still like that rendition… I would actually eat it with steamed white rice, because as everyone knows… everything is good with rice… 😉   But ohhhh!! the joy of a homemade, simmering hot batch of meaty heartiness that generations have made and perfected over the years… Now that’s tasty!

After summer vacations of careful observation and repeated requests for the recipe, I finally have it committed to memory. To some it probably isn’t as good as when grandma makes it, but it IS pretty darn good… Enough so, that my husband and kids gobble it all down!

In My Kitchen: Banana Saturday

Spring is supposed to be here.  60-70 degree weather, outdoors, windows open.  Nothing puts a damper in my springtime mood than snow! Indoors and looking around my kitchen, what to do?  Clean? Uh…  well I suppose cleaning out the fridge and pantry might count, right?

Ripe bananas  = banana bread.

This is probably the simplest recipe I could find for banana bread off of the epicurious website.  It’s a great basic recipe that you can doctor up with added ingredients like chocolate or peanut butter chips. I tried using wheat flour and thought it came out a little too “germy” for my taste.  The rest of the family seemed to like it.  It’s a good, moist recipe, but to satisfy my tastes, I think next time, I’ll try doing a 50/50 blend of wheat and regular flour rather than 100% wheat.  Plus, I like my banana bread really sweet, so I’m thinking I’ll try adding more bananas than called for to see how it goes.

Dubbed as Aunt Holly’s Banana Bread.  I don’t have an Aunt Holly, but I’ll gladly adopt the one who came up with this recipe! 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 3 to 4 ripe bananas
  • 1/4 c melted butter
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 tsp baking soda

 

 

Optional:
chocolate chips
peanut butter chips
nuts of your choice

 

 

 

Preheat oven to 350F. Mash the bananas in a bowl. Add all the remaining ingredients and mix well with a wooden spoon. Bake in a buttered loaf pan until a toothpick stuck into the bread comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Slice and Serve.

 

Such an easy recipe!  Made the house smell fantastic and made an otherwise “boring, inside” weekend, productive!

 

 

Had to break for lunch while the bread baked... PBJ, only the best!