Halloween dinner

todays finds combined with the farm fresh to you box became…

What starts as a simple orange, olive and fennel salad evolved into this covered in orange juice and olive oil.

Gnocchi, oyster mushrooms, elephant garlic, pesto and parsley

My Halloween helper wookie    

The finished gnocchi
The cider../very hoppy and very un appricot
Our trick or treaters


See the hot dog boy?
This is the hot dog boys “hot dog!”


Concerned cats



Food finds 10/31

So today was more foodventure than normal…started out like a Saturday with a trip to Santa Monica farmers market…which blossomed in whole foods (a new location) and Bristol Farms which I didn’t even know what still around!

Leaving home a tad later than normal meant that Starbucks was insane so we had to hit the one at third street promenade inside Barnes and noble.

(He hasn’t had coffee yet)

Which led to me buying the new George RR Martin book and, I believe , my 30th consecutive Food and Wine magazine thanksgiving edition

Santa Monica farmers market Saturday is always one of the biggest around and the weather can’t be beat!  
This week I took some random shots of interesting things:   
Fresh peanuts, some baby jicama near the back    
I just loved the color of these…they weren’t the deep purple of all the others


Notice the quail eggs too…
Picked up some spring hill garlic jack


Kinda the last remaining non hothouse tomatoes…

I ended up with a few things…Thai green onion, garlic jack cheese, tomatoes, eggplant and that about it.   I’m still missing the avocado!!!!

Next stop was a whole foods bigger and larger than the one in downtown Santa Monica for a change…and boy was it a change!  They had things that my uber large new store in Tarzana doesn’t even have and I loved it! This is going to be our new goto Whole foods

 Look!   Mochi !  
The olive bar was large than normal and I left with Castelvetrano olives 

   And the cause of much excitement resulting in it being our dinner tonight—gluten free gnocchi! 
Somewhere I thought I took pictures of cheese–and oh yeah we bought some because this store has samples unlike ours so I end up buying any cheese I sample!

 I grabbed this for dinner or maybe a wine but I couldn’t find any decent lambrusco–last time, I ended up having a case shipped from Italy because it’s so hard to find any here that’s not Riunite…but I digress


The jackfruit faux meat is in many recipes as being yummy so we are trying it out without the elbow grease of making it from scratch  So driving onward towards the 405…I spy Bristol farms  I had no idea one was here…I thought they close down! So in I pulled



Baby cauliflower and romanesco…but 2.99 each I could buy a whole romanesco

Radishes!!!!!  It’s better than the farmers market today!
Gluten free ravioli  

The high end tequilas locked in a case….I have the Don Julio Real and am eyeing the 1942 and the 1800 milennia, and the stuff from San Miguel de Allende (my friend just moved there so I’m hoping for the peso price not the dollar price)


Holiday chocolate treats


I think there is more but I’m simply overwhelmed by the bounty and all the new finds.  We have a whole new way to venture home after the farmers market now….wow!

Lacto fermentation ?!?

okay…and we are off to lacto fermentation experiment number 1

I’ve made canned pickles like nobodies business but this lacto business is a whole new deal.   I’m trying it out with the help of Phat beets youth pickle company and their kit

I found these beautiful pickling cucumbers at Sprouts.

Pickling spice on the bottom and bay leaf (the recipe said to use and oak leaf or grape leaf for the tannins to help keep them crisp…I’m hoping the bay leaves work:-/?!  
I found this sea salt hanging about and I needed a NON iodized salt   
Hers the finished product (well finished for now)…I filled it with dasani as that was the only still water I had about.  Notice the bubbler air trap thingy in the lid.  That is filled with water as a trap for badness coming into my fermenting cucs.

Now we wait five days.

Day two: I’m not pleased that everything has floated up a bit … I think it’s supposed to stay submerged…I shook it but hey didn’t sink

So I opened it and shoved them down with a spoon


Next day

Tasted one.  Still crunchy. Extremely salty…not sure I can taste lactic acid pickle or just salt at this point.  Plus I kinda killed it with pickling spice.

Day three

Kids…the coriander is way over the top and a tad too much….but the saltiness is still high but oddly mellowed since yesterday.  I’m thinking tomorrow is when I will slow fermentation by adding them to the fridge…but we will see


A little scum today that I swept off….an interesting first try  

This arrived today to supplement the next attempts:-)

Farm fresh to you week of 10/28

Once again there is all kinds of stuff

I added on blackberry honey which is yummy but I think wildflower is still my favorite (yes, the box arrived a few minutes ago and I already have sampled the honey)

Also added is the chai current oatmeal 

As for the rest:

Delicate squash




Green beans

Fuji apple

Purple daikon…yep purple daikon


Red leaf lettuce




Tomatoes….um they are not meant to be green so I’m gonna deal with that.

Lots of good things to make:-)

Watercress salad,black bean burgers on gluten free bread with sweet potato fries

I don’t think I’ve ever made watercress in any form other than soup.   This was a hefty batch that I decided to leave as greens with a creamy dressing.

(I cut off a lot of stem…was I supposed to trim off more?)

I threw in some cheese cubes, tomato, red onion, zucchini and avocado. And dressed it with penzeys creamy peppercorn

The burgers were

 And sweet potato fries

Yep…I always cut them big which means a year to cook

And a gluten free beer for Jim in a Tom

Of Finland chilled glass;-)

Mushroom Nut Loaf

I’ve been making this yummy loaf for years.  I followed a recipe once and have winged it since.   It’s mushrooms (I used a mixture of whatever is managers special because they are getting chopped so they don’t need to be pretty) and nuts (I use what’s handy… This time was sunflower seeds and hazelnuts) chopped up (this was the first try in the vitamin so it’s less chunky then normal).

I threw a small onion and a few dried tomatoes in with the nuts and mushrooms   
Add like a cup Of breadcrumbs

  A cup of grated cheese, one egg and seasonings of choice.  Tonight I added penzeys mural of flavor, roasted garlic and Italian herb blend

Slap it in a loaf pan (ps…I don’t like this silicone one…the sides bow out if you fill it full and cooked in grease never comes off so it doesn’t look pretty) that is oiled and bake at 3:50 until it’s done.


About 1 hour and 15 minutes it was firm enough that I knew the inside wasn’t mushy and I pulled it out


Flip it out

I usually do a tomato topping like meatloaf but I’m gonna try out this gluten free gravy mix that I picked up at Sprouts


My inspiration recipe came from here



Queen Mary Sunday Brunch, Long Beach…definitely a flexitarian Sunday!

we haven’t been here in forever (since like Mother’s Day 10 years ago…) but we had friends in town for another doll convention (thankfully Jim has some limits)  in downtown long beach so the QM seemed like the perfect ace to meet up for Queen Mary Sunday champagne brunch .

The queen Mary from the parking lot as we arrived

Downtown long beach across the water

The dome….it’s just the dome…I have no idea what it’s doing.

Upon entering the queen Mary, you will see the hotel entrance (onboard the ship) , Sir winstons fine dining at the queen Mary, shops etc

The dining room for brunch is ginormous 

The famous ice sculpture dripping shrimp

The harpist who is mentioned in every review on yelp

Homemade by someone corned beef hash!  For a flexitarian, this was yummy!

Food and more food…pastas, Asian, salads, breakfast items, seafoods, a carving station, omelette station…

No, we did not get to eat at the captains table..he was busy as you can see

Omelette station

Four meats at the carving station including pork tenderloin in addition to the usual suspects

The desserts kept changing!   Rebecca say my carrot cake and when I went back there was none but chocolate covered strawberries had arrived and when Rebecca went back there was a time chocolate tart that wasn’t there before…


The price tag for this whole affair is like 56.95 a person plus parking…so this is not a brunch for just any old Sunday…..but the atmosphere is nice (come on!  It’s the queen Mary! And you are eating on the water and there are portholes for windows) and the food is pretty good and there is the harpist:-).  Then you get to wander the ship after.

After a brunch filled with numerous mimosas, you have to look around the ship.
Things like the worlds longest Lego brick model ship    

A Lego Winston Churchill     
Take in the views from the observation deck


(Look at my calves!  Now if I could trim up my waist to match them!)

And play in the phone less phone booths

Good day with good people…overall it’s a fun splurge …. 

Today’s food finds

Fall has encroached upon us and wreaked havoc on my food seeking adventures…and has left me feeling kinda unenthused about cooking.

I started my Saturday with Starbucks on the way to the  Santa Monica farmers market Saturday….upon arrival I notice there isn’t a single avocado anywhere which is sad for me who eats one daily if we are home

Lots of green this time of year….herbs chards Bok choi broccoli….a splash of color with the purple basil here…and the asparagus is now arriving  

   I did get some baby romaines but no baby butter
  Look!  Baby eggplants!!!  
It’s also squash season and I’m sure I already have more squash than Jim can handle

  Delicious dates   
Yep…I did restock on the raw goat feta and mozzarella


Jims favorite berries are way out of season but it appears that they have been preserved to sustain him through the winter months

From there we went to Penzeys Santa Monica store where I had two coupons for free cocoa and free curry plus they had a sale that you got free smoked paprika or chili 3000 if you spent 25 dollars…

My finds were:

The bags were to replenish my supply for things I know I love, of course the three free jars, then I usually try things out with the small jar, if I like it, I buy the big jar, then if we use it a lot I upgrade to the bag.

Made a trip by the Santa Monica whole foods and look what’s in season:

My mood wasn’t great today so I didn’t buy one but these guys were perfect. Perfectly small sprouts:-)

I’m gearing myself for a long boring food winter…

Tomorrow is my nutty mushroom loaf:-)

Farm fresh to you

its Thursday so my box greeted me at the door when I awoke…

Inside is the weekly bounty (fully customized by me…the standard box gets modified for my needs and tastes).

This week we had free range eggs, omnivore salt, horseradish mustard, watercress, kale, radishes, tomatoes, carrots, hothouse lettuce, oyster mushrooms, maitake mushrooms, butternut squash, fennel, cilantro, tarragon, chard, green onions, sweet dumpling squash , white turnips, and three trial apples: northern spy, spite burg, and golden russet

I’ll show you what I make!