|Early bloom. Let's hope we have a fighting chance of harvesting the fruit.|
|Signs of early spring--cherry blossoms on display.|
|Compact, moveable, collapsible kitchen cart to give us |
a little extra prep. space when needed
|One of my favorite new posters. Amen!|
|Curb-surfing score you might recall for a long ago|
blog post. Now there will be no surprises for dinner.
Over the weekend we got away from the mess--the house is still in spring cleaning mode to remove the layer of remodeling dust everywhere--and just breathe away from the city for a while. Not to mention we were LOOOOONG overdue in visiting some dear friends and farmers northeast of Madison in Fall River--just outside of Columbus, WI in Columbia county. They run both a Scottish Highland cattle farm and bed and breakfast on 280 acres, which include a 60-acre restored tallgrass prairie and wetland. I met farmers John and Dorothy nearly 10 years ago when I was a chef intern at Michael Fields Ag. Institute. None of us can believe how that time has passed so quickly! They provided beef for our wedding rehearsal dinner in 2006 and attended our celebratory but we'd only seen them once since then. Getting together last weekend felt like we'd never parted. They welcomed us into their home--through the back door like family--we shared a couple of delicious homemade meals, caught up on the last few years' events and introduced them to Vera. Other than a brief day-trip to Madison for the Dane County Winter Farmers' Market, a brief jaunt to the Madison Children's Museum, and lunch at a restaurant sourcing local food--including beef from our friends' farm--we kept it low-key back at the ranch where Vera met the cows and steer and we spent time reading and relaxing in the parlor.
|A little treasure I found at the farmers' market. Local oil!|
|Lego mania at the Children's Museum|
|Upcycling bottle caps on a pillar|
|Recycled art area. The more I looked at it, the worse I felt about things I'd|
tossed out. Could be bad or good!
|What a great use for an old bread strap. Might be a find|
at the flea market this season.
|Upcycled plastic shopping bags make a great valance|
|I want to put one of these painting windows on a fence|
in the yard this summer
|Wicked awesome crawling adventure!|
|Setting out for a farm tour|
|Beautiful Scottish Highland out in the pasture|
|Could be straight out of Ireland/Scotland|
|V and her farm cat buddy she named "Ferdinand"|
|Can't leave the poor thing alone|
|Picture window in the barn|
|Ben and farmers John and Dorothy getting the lay of the land|
|The "ice cream farm" where we stopped on the way home|
|Yum--Farmstead Ice Cream|
My little one has been super helpful in the kitchen this week. In fact, the past two evenings after quietly looking at picture books for a good 15-20 minutes, she crept into the kitchen to sweetly ask "can I help?" Though I'm not planning to teach my kid cooking solely via the food processor, it's currently a small appliance she can safely manage and greatly enjoy. Plus it genuinely moves me forward with meal prep. We're sharing a recipe from the vegetarian meal we prepared the other night. I didn't think I'd be super excited about the convection option on my new range, but Monday night it helped us get a home-cooked meal on the table and into our bellies with time to spare before heading to a meeting. The potatoes were stored on our cellar rack and the golden beets were from our CSA Farm--another set of dear farmer friends (we keep realizing over and over how many farmer friends and couples have enriched our lives!)
Golden Beet and Potato Gratin (Gluten-Free)
Adapted from a recipe I found in "Every Day with Rachel Ray" that I "borrowed"
from the gym. I used the taco shells in place of breadcrumbs partly b/c I had some stale ones in the pantry and partly to provide a gluten-free alternative. Placing the shells in a bag for Vera to crush with her small rolling pin, having her crumble the cheese and grease the baking pan (with a butter paper) were great ways to get her involved. She also did fine at the helm of the Cuisinart with the slicer blade.
1 bunch scallions or 1 large leek (root and dark green parts removed), sliced
5 T. butter
Salt and pepper
1 lb. potatoes, scrubbed
1 1/2 lbs. golden beets, peeled
1/4 c. all-purpose gluten-free flour
1 c. vegetable broth
3/4 c. half-and-half or heavy cream
2 c. blue corn taco shells, crushed (one could just use breadcrumbs as well)
3/4 c. crumbled cranberry Monterey Jack (could sub. feta, goat cheese, or other favorites)
|Mmm, Cheesy Beets!|
|Little Friends I'm finding around the house. Gotta love the special touch|
only a little one can add to your life.