Spring cleaning 

The war on the bunnies begins again in our yard. I have more determination this year: There’s new landscaping at stake. 

I can accept being outfoxed by squirrels, but bunnies? That’s pathetic. I’m upping my arsenal and let’s just I have found one friend who admits cooking them in a crockpot. I truly would prefer a peace accord–Suggestions welcome!

The one positive is that this definitely signals an end to winter (fingers crossed!) These long months of cold and gray are hard on me, even with trips to Vegas and Kauai mixed in. I’m ready!

The changing seasons inspired me to purge some things from my life that were holding me back and the creativity is beginning to flow again.

Soon we’ll have more fresh produce to choose from and the few months of abundance to make that effortless. I’m planting more than a dozen herbs and drooling at the thought of herb-marinated tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. 

I’m going to try planting some French lavender for a blank spot in the landscaping, hoping the scent fills the new patio area. I’ll be buying it all at the Friends School plant sale at the State Fairgrounds, which truly is an experience (Think: Black Friday for plants; people with wagons getting competitive with their finds). 

My mom recently visited Leatherwood Vinegary and brought back a sample pack. The black currant is really nice–not too sweet and it’ll be great for salads, perhaps something with a grilled stone fruit and punchy goat cheese. I’m looking forward to some true “spring mix” to use it on. Who knew there was such a thing as a vinegar tincture expert? 

And for Easter dinner, I stretched my wings a bit to make this pink cake–dense chocolate with raspberry buttercream. The frosting was fantastic!! Skip the from-scratch chocolate cake and use a box mix, and take a lesson from winter: don’t give up on the frosting….keep beating it, eventually you will prevail. Ps Thanks to my niece for the cake “deco-raisins”.

To sunny days! And bunny-free gardens.

Special ingredients=easy flavor

Especially in summer when fresh local produce is so bountiful, I love finding ways to showcase those flavors with as little work as possible. My friend Tamra, who owns the VOM FASS store at MOA, showed me some spectacularly wonderful olive oils and vinegars to do just that. Some of the uses are expected–a quick and easy salad dressing or drizzled for bread–but it’s also possible to use these flavored oils and vinegars as sauces. She even suggested adding the bright, citrusy Calamansi balsamic to bubbly water….yum!

I wanted to highlight the Chili Fig Balsamic Vinegar this week with grilled pork chops. First, I marinated boneless chops in 1/2c orange juice+1tsbp salt+1tsbp sugar+chopped rosemary for about an hour. Matt grilled them alongside some bell peppers, and zucchini/yellow squash from our CSA share. Goat cheese polenta served as the starch. The kicker to this meal was the orange olive oil I drizzled over the vegs to complement the pork, which got finished off with the chili fig balsamic. This is a restaurant-quality, weeknight-friendly meal!

I love these products because they help us make eating healthy easy, check out VOM FASS online for tasting events and more recipes. Thank you Tamra! 🙂

Photo Jul 13, 6 18 36 PM Photo Jul 15, 7 40 29 PM