Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Perfectly Perfect

****Scroll down for an UPDATE****



Martha Stewart Loves My Whoopie Pies!!!
My photo was shown on today's (April 29, 2008) episode in an early segment of the show.

"Uncapped Whoopie Pies"
(click on the photo for the greatest effect!)

Ms. Stewart highlighted a few of the cookie photos from the cookie contest she's running. Mine was the third to last one...and she said:

"Now these look really good. Kevin Sharkey, beware."


It's a good thing....the best cookie contest ends May 4!!! FINGERS CROSSED!!!


You can view the clip of my cookie on Martha's webpage now.

Click here.

Then when the page opens, click on the blue tab for "Tuesday, April 29." On the right hand side, there will be a button that says "Play Entire Show" (under the small ad). There will be a short commercial. Martha will chat for a minute. She starts talking about the cookie contest at 1:45...my cookie appears at 2:20!!!!

Monday, April 28, 2008

RayRay gives us stuff in a pan...

Not bad...

Tonight's dinner came from a Rachel Ray mélange. She gives us pasta with bacon, tomatoes and cheese. All wonderful things, by themselves...together, they aren't bad...

I don't have the recipe in front me so let's see if I can get this right.


Boil a shapely pasta until al dente.

Fry up cut up bacon until crispy. Remove to a plate to drain. In the pan, with the fat, saute one onion, diced. When soft and just starting to brown add four gloves of garlic, minced. Add a pinch of salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Add 1/2 cup of wine. Simmer until reduced. Add 1/2 cup of chicken broth and 1/2 cup of water from the cooking pasta. Simmer for a few minutes. Add a pack of grape tomatoes. Cook for a minute until they are about ready to burst. Add the pasta. Cook for a minute, the sauce will start to soak in. Add basil, cubes of fresh mozzarella (1 cup?) and freshly grated parm. Toss to coat. Serve immediately.


I received a glorious email this morning from The Kara. Emails/Comments like this make me very happy. Read on...
Good Morning, My Friend,

I cooked - yes it's true - yesterday!

Inspired by ANIMAL, VEGETABLE, MIRACLE I have been trying very hard to keep it local (at least East Coast within a distance I would drive from my house). To that end, I am SUPER excited about asparagus which is just about everywhere now. I went to Whole Foods yesterday and cannot believe how much money I spent on just 2 bags of groceries - oy! The cost of food is no joke and the cost of good food is hilarious.

Anyway, they had a recipe at the Whole Foods Market that looked pretty easy with lovely seasonal asparagus and I tried it and even fed it to my friends who concurred it was delish! It's in the same vein as the 'pudding' or whatever that Barbara Kingsolver has in her book with asparagus and morels, but thought I'd send it to you b/c the recipe is lovely AND seasonal :)

Asparagus and Brioche Strata - serves 6-8

1/2 loaf brioche (about 8 slices) or other soft bakery bread sliced
7 large eggs
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
2 1/2 cups milk (I actually used a little bit less)
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 bunch (about 1 lb.) thin asparagus, tips and tender stems cut into 2- inch pieces I was having dinner with vegetarians so I did not add the 1 cup (about 1/3lb). diced deli ham which is optional.

Halve the bread slices on the diagnol and lay them across the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish or 2.5 quart casserole dish, overlapping the pieces slightly.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, ricotta, milk, salt, pepper, and
1/4 cup of Parmesan. Pour mixture over bread and press the bread down into the liquid. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to 1 day.

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Sprinkle top of casserole with asparagus
(and ham if you did it) and press some pieces down into the bread.
Sprinkle the top with the remaining 1/2 cup Parm and bake until browned and the center is almost completely set, about 1 hour. Serve warm or room temperature.

Sending my lovees,

Thank you Kara. This recipe sounds great and I love that ANIMAL, VEGETABLE, MIRACLE has influenced you and you're trying to make it a part of your life! Bravo.

For those of you who haven't read the book, I highly recommend it. Truly an influential book, well thought out, well written and for me, life changing! I really understand Kara's comment about the price of food, especially local food right now. Even if you can eat locally, just one meal a week, you can make a difference. Find a local farmers market and pick up some ingredients on a Saturday and make them for dinner that night. Take baby steps. Eggs are a big thing right now. If you can find a local supplier, you're have fresher eggs and you can get them more affordably. The eggs I buy at the store are $3.25 a dozen. The eggs I can get from a local farmer are $3. That's a quarter savings in my pocketbook. That's $3 back into my local economy, $3 directly to a local farmer, no middle man!! That's less fuel transporting the eggs from the farm to my door.

Think Globally, Act Locally!

Sunday, April 27, 2008




You can view all the blogs that I visit on a regular basis by clicking on the "Blog Roll" link on the right side of the page.


So my head made a very firm, loud connection with the floor yesterday...and it was worth the pain I've endured since!

Yesterday was Maryland Day on the University of Maryland campus. The University opens the doors to the public who can enjoy 400+ free events. I work for the performing arts center and had a ton of great things going on. I took advantage of a masterclass with a group called 500 Clown. This group from Chicago is about physical, risk-taking theatre.

We played a whole bunch of theatre games. And it was a ton of fun. During one game we had to keep ourselves aware of what was happening and either tap a person on a shoulder, or call out someone's name. If you messed up, you had to die...a glorious stage death. Well, I messed up and I was totally, fully committed to dying...and I darn near did. I guess I felt like I was dying by a gunshot, so I leapt backwards and landed on my skull....it's possible I may have blacked out for a moment. Took me a few minutes to get back up to my feet, but once up, I gave myself a moment to balance and then got right back into the play.

But dang do I hurt...I've loaded up on advil to dull the pain...and the muscles hurt from all the physical play we did the rest of the day...at one point the guy in the plaid kilt in the photo jumped on my back while I was running around the room...it was all wonderful fun...but my day of rest needs to be extended by a bit!

Vote for me!

I just submitted this photo to Martha Stewart's cookie contest. Click in and rate my cookie!

Community Market

I think I'm going to need some help!

When we moved, I almost immediately volunteered to be a part of the Cheverly Community Market. And the first market is less than a month away!

I just added some links to the sidebar of the webpage. Click into the CCM sites, read about what's going on. Mark your calendars. And make a visit to this lovely hamlet and spend a morning buying locally grown produce.

But why do I need help? I volunteered for the education component of the market.

Although I like to think I might be smart, I'm having worries about what I'm going to be educating people about!!!

My conversations with the market manager have guided me in my thinking; but the topics are still very broad...

But for now I'm thinking of using an ingredient that will be sold at the market and providing a list of recipes featuring that ingredient, then selecting one of the recipes and highlighting it here on Eat With Me. I will provide a shopping list, step by step photo instruction and a place for feedback. I will also do what I can to come up with important facts around the feature ingredient.

What do you think? What type of seasonal/market fresh ingredients would you want to know more about? This is your chance to influence more of what will happen here on Eat With Me and what may happen at the Cheverly Community Market...please give me your ideas!

Gardening Updates...

Why not right?

A close-up of one of our beautiful peonies! I cut this Friday morning to enjoy at my desk at work. It opened up fully and was completely fragrant. Stunning. And I'm glad I cut this when I did. By Saturday afternoon, the blooms on the shrub looked like this...

Yes...they are beautiful, but they are on the verge of falling...totally open and the edges of the blossoms are beginning to wilt.

These are the giant blue hostas. We had no idea what they were going to be when they started poking through the dirt...they are stunningly large. Those leaves are over a foot wide!

Here are the lilies...I think that's what the feedback is leading me to believe. The exact type...don't know...but they are getting tall!

We haven't shared many photos from the front of the house...it's nice...but not as nice as the backyard...but our Japanese Maple tree is stunning right now...when you catch it in the afternoon...the sun is hitting it just so...fiery!

And some backyard. We have our red and pink Azaleas in full bloom. And my little tomatoes are trucking away. Woot!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Fast, Full of Flavor and Great

Not much to look at, but this was a great dinner the other night. Again, a variation of a recipe from Everyday Food, but with many more changes to the original recipe.

Toss some peppers, onions and corn olive oil, then roast in the oven. I seasoned with salt, pepper, a little garlic powder and cumin.

After the veg has some time in the oven, I added some tomatoes.

Meanwhile I poached some chicken, cut it up and prepped some tortillas. The original recipe called for corn tortillas...I had a pack of flour tortillas, so I used those. Brush with a little oil, cook in the oven for a few minutes until they start to crisp and puff. Top with some shredded cheese, the cook until melted. Top with chopped chicken...

...then top with the roasted veg. I tossed the veg one final time with a squeeze of lime juice. Garnish with some cilantro. Fresh, filling and full of lots of flavor.

You can find the original recipe HERE. I was a little skeptical of roasting salsa with the veg, so I had intended to just make my own salsa and add it on the top. Instead, I just added the tomatoes. I think it worked well. In essence we have an open faced quesadilla...the possibilities are endless...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Healthy & Fast

The other day while running errands, I picked up a copy of the most recent EVERYDAY FOOD. There looked to be several recipes that sounded interesting and I've been a tiny bit of a rut. I started with a recipe that seems pretty healthy, at least in terms of lots of veggies and low in fat.

Let's get started shall we?

I used one red pepper, 1/2 pound of green beans and a few carrots. All cut into similiar sizes, the seasoned with a little olive oil, soy sauce and salt and pepper.

I then put a pork tenderloin on top of the veggies and seasoned with salt and pepper and a drizzle of honey.

Here's half of the pork tenderloin after if spent some time under the broiler. Slice thin, plate with veggies, rice and a sauce made of soy sauce and honey. YUM.

The plate. The pork was great. Could have cooked for an extra minute. The beans and carrots were good. I didn't like the peppers. The recipe called for pea pods and green onions instead of the green beans, but this was easier for me to get at the store. And we prefer green beans to pea pods.

The Recipe:

Broiled Soy-Glazed Pork with Rice and Asian Vegetables

Serves 4

1 ½ cups long-grain white rice
8 ounces snow peas, trimmed
2 medium carrots, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced on the diagonal
2 red bell peppers (ribs and seeds removed), thinly sliced
1 bunch scallions, ends trimmed, cut crosswise into 3-inch lengths
2 TB vegetable oil, such as safflower
¼ cup soy sauce
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pork tenderloin (1 to 1 ¼ pounds), halved crosswise
¼ cup honey

Cook rice according to package instructions; cover, and set aside. Meanwhile, heat broiler, with rack set 4 inches from heat. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss snow peas, carrots, bell peppers, and scallions with oil and 2 tablespoons soy sauce; season with salt and pepper.

Place pork on top of vegetables, and season with salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon honey. Broil until pork and vegetables begin to char, 6 to 8 minutes. Toss vegetables, and turn pork; drizzle pork with 1 tablespoon honey.

Continue to broil until an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of pork registers 145 degrees and vegetables are charred in spots, 6 to 8 minutes, tossing vegetables once more. Remove from broiler. Cover with aluminum foil, and let rest, 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, make sauce: Stir together remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce and honey. Thinly slice pork, and serve with vegetables, rice, and sauce.

NOTES: As noted, I used green beans instead of pea pods. I also used olive oil instead of vegetable oil. I didn't measure any of the ingredients. This is a good recipe to eyeball what you add. And the cooking time. This could just be my broiler, but 6-8 minutes wasn't enough. I think once my broiler gets HOT, it shuts off for a minute or two to keep the temperature even. I cooked the tenderloin an extra 5 minutes, after removing the veggies...I could have gone another few minutes...there were sections in the middle that were just barely cooked. The food police would not have been happy...that said, the pork was very tender, super juicy and with the honey/soy flavors, very tasty.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Identify Me Please

(click to enlarge)

This is growing in my garden. These stalks are now about 2-3 feet high. I'm fascinated by them, but have NO IDEA what they are. Anyone have any ideas? There is no sign of buds or pending blooms, they are still just growing tall?

(Found a second photo that I took recently...ideas?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A gift...

...Look what Mother Earth gave me today on her special day.This is our Peony Bush! She's full of blossoms that are about to pop open.

And this just popped out of the ground in the past two days! I'm guessing it's a Jack-in-the-Pulpit?

(click photos for full glorious close-ups)

Blue Marble

Hello Gorgeous!Happy Earth Day.

We're doing our best to take care of you.
Thanks for all you do for us.
Enjoy your special day.

Small steps...we're trying...

*we use cloth napkins, instead of paper napkins. J-lo just brought up a good idea...we will each take one to work on Monday and bring it home when dirty...thus eliminating the use of paper napkins/towels at work. Good idea!

*we've purchased and use compact fluorescent light bulbs. We haven't gotten all the lightbulbs changed, but we have all of our lamps; next are the ceiling lights.

*we've been washing our clothes in cold water; using less energy to heat the hot water.

*we are composting our yard waste and kitchen-plant based waste. Plus it's wonderful for enriching your garden soil, making fertilizer less important.

*we're gardening. we've planted some vegetables and some bushes. They aren't trees, but they do a great job giving us fresh vegetables to eat and clean oxygen to breath.

*many house plants! house plants are a great, natural way to clean and filter your air in your home. some house plants can even remove harmful toxins from the air, such as from paint and other chemicals used in the building of your home.

*we bought an energy-star efficient electric lawn mower; no carbon based fuels.

*I've signed up for paper-less billing and get my credit card and phone bills via email.

*we have re-usable bags for the grocery store. Return them to your car, so you always have them when you are at the store.

*we have some green cleaning products; instead of harsh chemical cleaners.

*we have and use re-usable water bottles. (recently Nalgene bottles and those types of plastic bottles have proven to leach chemicals into the water...get a Sigg bottle.)

*we both have insulated travel coffee cups that we use. I probably get coffee in a paper cup once every three or four months...yet I'm getting coffee every day!

*we bring our lunches to work in re-usable/Gladware containers instead of ziptop plastic bags. We also use silverware instead of plastic flatware when at work.

*J-lo takes the Metro to work every single day! This offsets the driving that I do. BOO! Can't afford the hybrid car yet.

*of course, we recycle all materials we can. We recently got new cell-phones. We sent them to a non-profit that will repurposes them and donates them to those who need them (women who are victims of physical abuse and our young soldiers stationed abroad). You can get recycling envelopes from the post office for your phones, inkjet printer cartridges and other small electronics.

Step 1: REDUCE
Step 2: REUSE

Monday, April 21, 2008


I am officially 5 years old...
PB&J, apple (cut in to chunks and peeled) and string cheese. And the grown up in my gets the Diet Coke with vitamins...


Saturday, April 19, 2008

Grillin' stories

so I got the charcoal chimney thingy...I think it worked...

I made some fabulous grilled chicken. I marinated the chicken for a few hours in a blend of peppers, garlic, cilantro and lime juice. Very nice.

And we had some corn. Grilled of course. Served with some chili lime butter.

And while we ate, the little squirrel decided to snack on a tulip. Devil! He tried to go for another, but we scared him off.
I think Mr. Squirrel is unhappy because we're tricking him out of some fresh bird seed. I read that you can add a TB of ground red pepper to a bag of seeds, shake it up, mix it up and it's enough to keep the squirrels off the goods...so far it seems to be working. Yippee. The cardinals and bluejays will be happy to have their dinner back.

Devilish bites of Heaven!

A few weeks ago we had our open house...there was good food...

Here are the Apple Cinnamon Chip Bars...(recipe at the end)...

Cream the butter and sugar together!

Once you add all the rest of the ingredients, spread the mix into the parchment lined pan.

Bake and cool.

Make your cream cheese frosting while the bars cool.

Remove the bars from the pan. With the parchment paper, it's super easy and all you do it lift; with no breakage!

I choose to cut my bars into small bites and then piped the icing on top.

The bars were presented on an old cheap platter.

And lovely close up shot for prosperity sake. Click on it...and lick your computer screen.

Frosted Cinnamon Apple Bars (Adapted from Land O Lakes)
from Culinary in the Country

For the bars:
1 ½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
¾ tsp baking soda
12 TB unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
10 ounces cinnamon chips
1 cup chopped apples

For the frosting:
4 TB salted butter, softened
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

To make the bars:
Preheat oven to 350.

In a medium bowl, whisk together oats, flour, salt and baking soda.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter, brown sugar and sugar until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until well combined. Mix in vanilla. Add flour mixture and mix just until combined. Stir in cinnamon chips and chopped apple.

Scoop the mixture into a 9" x 13" baking pan coated with nonstick spray; or lined with parchment paper - use an off-set spatula to evenly spread the mixture out. Bake until golden and a toothpick placed in the center comes out mostly clean with a few moist crumbs attached, about 25 to 35 minutes. Remove and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting:
In a medium bowl, beat together butter, cream cheese and vanilla until smooth. Add confectioners' sugar and mix until smooth and creamy. Spread over the cooled bars.

Knock Knock

Who's there?
Banana who?
Knock Knock.
Who's There?!?!
Banana WHO?!!!!!!
Orange you glad you met me!

Oh bad jokes...sorry.

So, today...I'm going through my list of posts to do and think the best for today is dealing with oranges.

Orange Supremes to be exact...orange segments. No white pithy parts. No fiberous parts. Just juicy, sweet orange segments. Let's get started.

Pick your fruit from the market. Don't worry if you have a few blemishes on the skin, you're going to remove it anyway.

Start by cutting the top and bottoms off the orange. Cut in deep enough to expose the inside of the fruit.

See? Both ends cut off.

How we'll start to cut the rest of the peel off of the orange. Resting the orange on your cutting board, place your knife at the top of the orange, right at the edge of the fruit, before the peel begins. Carefully slice your knife down towards the bottom of the fruit, trying your best to keep the knife inside the orange and not cutting into the peel.

Continue this process all around the fruit. Then go back and remove what you can of the extra white bits that hang on. Save the peels and squeeze the juice out of those extra bits.

Now you need to pick up your orange and start to cut the segments. Look for the parts of the internal peel that delineate the segments. In this photo you see two white lines running from the top to the bottom. Place your knife as close to the inside of the white seam; cut into the fruit, roughly to the center of the orange. Repeat the cut on the opposite side of the segment.

There it is. Your first segment of orange. Now start working your way all around the orange, remove all the segments.

Here's what you'll have left when your done. Squeeze the remaining juice out and into the bowl you have saved your segments in.

These are the segments from one orange.

Here are three oranges and all the extra juice.

I don't know about you, but this is my favorite way to eat and orange. When I try to peel an orange and eat the segments, I often have trouble chewing parts of the fruit and kinda need to spit out part of the fruit. Unpleasant. But the supreme segments are just lovely. Small bites of simple, sweet fruit. The supreme segments are a great way to incorporate orange, or grapefruit into a freshing salad.