Saturday, May 8, 2010

Strawberry Yields

I want to offer a warm welcome to all of my readers... I finally installed a stat counter and I am pretty shocked that so many people are reading. (Okay, so maybe it's just my 3 followers loading and reloading their favorite recipe?!) Anyway I invite you all to become followers!  I know I'm rather sporadic/erratic- but I'm having so much fun sharing with you! Grilling and herb recipes coming up... along with fried green tomatoes and more homegrown goodies. Plus, interior design progress, summer party ideas, shower decor, and more!

We visited Sweet Berry Farm last weekend for a little friend's birthday. (Thank you, Windlers, for a perfect Saturday morning- what a great idea! And Happy B-day to big two year old S!!) While my toddler and is pint-sized buddies scarfed down every berry they could get their hands on, we still managed to come home with a ton of big, beautiful strawberries.
Peak strawberry season is coming to a close- signified by their extreme mark-down at the grocery store. Whether you pick your own or pick up a box at the store, here are some recipes for strawberry yumminess!
A "freezing" tip from my friend Julia: Place fruit on a baking sheet. Freeze overnight then pop individual pieces into a freezer bag. Defrost and use only as much as you need! Thanks, J!!)

Grilled Pound Cake with Strawberries and Mint Whipped Cream (Thanks for the pound cake idea, Romy! It was so delish. As were the fajitas ya'll made... I'll have to share that too.)
Strawberry Preserves
Strawberry Vinaigrette

Grilled Pound Cake with Strawberries and Mint Whipped Cream
1 pound cake, sliced into 1" pieces
1/2 stick butter, melted
2 c strawberries, tops removed, quartered
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, cold
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp mint, finely chopped

Prepare whipped cream beforehand: Pour cream into large bowl. Using cake mixer or immersion blender, whip cream on high until stiff peaks form (about 2-5 minutes.) Gently fold in sugar and mint until combined.
Heat grill. Brush pound cake with butter. Grill 1-2 minutes per side or until charred lines appear. Serve pound cake topped with strawberries and mint whipped cream.

Strawberry Preserves (makes about 2 1/2 cups)
2 lbs strawberries
4 cups sugar
1/4 c lemon juice

Place strawberries in a large bowl. Mash until desired consistency. (I left large pieces of fruit intact.) Add sugar and toss to coat. Pour into a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add lemon juice. Continue to cook on high until mixture thickens to coat a spoon. Allow to cool slightly, then pour back in bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, then place in refrigerator overnight or up to 24 hours. Use within one week, or you may choose to can or freeze. 

Strawberry Vinaigrette

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 pint fresh strawberries, halved
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1/4 teaspoon white sugar

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Puree until combined. Complements a salad of spinach, walnuts, blue cheese perfectly!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Firehouse Design

Met with my office design client in the new space today. It's an amazing art deco building that was originally a firehouse. Let's just say that it was subject to some unsightly re-nos in the 80s and 90s.

 But with a fresh coat of paint and spruced up floors and ceiling, this place is gonna be one amazing workspace. I'm working on drawings and gathering a color palette. But here are some inspiration pics. Simply enough, Office Design Gallery is now my go-to site for innovative workplace design. Loved this office- a good springboard for this project:
Studio AV Inc Office DesignStudio AV Inc Office DesignStudio AV Inc Office Design

Menu for the Week

This week is busy so all meals belong in the 15 under 15! (Except for Friday, when we're back to slooow cookin'!)
Tuesday- Grilled Skirt Steak and Arugula Salad with Roquefort and Catalina Dressing
Wednesday- Pick up Tino's Greek Cafe
Thursday- Asparagus Soup 
Friday- Chicken in Reisling (M requested it again!)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

1809west on Facebook!

Facebook friends, you will soon be able to follow 1809west on it's very own Facebook page!
I've been using "notes" to post blog entries via my personal Facebook page, but this should be much more fun! Still working out the details, but the page is up and running!
I invite you to become a regular follower and show 1809west some Facebook love!!! (Or... rather, "like!")

Guac On!

I'm a purist when it comes to guacamole... Big chunks of ripe avocado, fresh cilantro sprigs, a little red onion, sprinkled with some fresh-squeezed lime. Add a little olive oil to combine the flavors and keep the guac from turning muddy. I've tried many variations, and this one just seems to show off the fruit in just the right way. Here's my recipe for Guac-Heaven!

My Favorite Guacamole
2 avocados, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
1/4 c red onion, chopped
1 tbsp lime juice (lemon works nicely too, and imparts a different flavor)
2 tsp olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper

In a small bowl, combine avocado, cilantro, and onion, mashing gently with a fork, but leaving some avocado chunks intact. Sprinkle with lime juice and olive oil, stirring gently to combine. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with your favorite chips, with grilled fajitas, or, simply, a spoon!

The above image is a painting by California artist, Craig Stephens... Love the lusciousness of the paint!