summer sauce

I made this yesterday and everyone keeps asking for the recipe. There isn’t one per se but here’s how it evolved:

2 lbs of ground sausage sautéed in olive oil with 2 sweet onions, 6 mild/medium chili peppers, 2 long hot peppers, 5 cloves garlic minced, 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes from the garden halved, sea salt to taste.

Next I added a huge handful each of fresh basil and oregano from the garden and a 10 ounce package of fresh crimini (baby bella) mushrooms chopped up.

Cook on medium low and stir a lot until sausage is cooked through.

Add two cans (28 ounce) of canned tomatoes- what I had on hand was crushed, add 1 small can of tomato paste (6 ounce size), and a good dash of red wine or red wine or balsamic vinegar.

Reduce heat and allow to burble on the stove, stirring frequently for at least another hour. Adjust for salt and pepper if needed. I didn’t find it needed it.

This is the kind of sauce that if I had fresh eggplant, that would have been peeled and chopped up and added as well.

It’s not complicated and it’s easy to make your own homemade sauce. The chili peppers came out of the garden as well and the end result was a flavorful but NOT a spicy sauce. It just tastes fresh. It will be dinner later this week over spaghetti or some shape pasta. Serve with a salad and you are good to go.

Easy summer dinner.

Leftover sauce can be frozen.

summer chili

Yesterday since it was rainy, I decided to make chili. I was thinking about this chili that someone who was the father of a girl I knew growing up made.  It had corn in it.  I remember having it on a rainy August night in Avalon when I was in about 6th grade. These people used to rent this house that looked like a red Victorian farmhouse. It had a big, dark kitchen with a rickety wooden table.

So yesterday I decided to make my own summer chili.  The ingredients:

1 pound ground pork

1 pound ground lean turkey

4 chili peppers all chopped up (my were Hatch red and green that I grew myself)

2 red bell peppers chopped up

2 jalapeño peppers chopped up

2 red onions chopped up

1 small bag frozen corn (plain, no “sauce”) or fresh kernels off of 4 ears of fresh corn.

1 lime zested and juice of same zested lime

A good handful of cilantro chopped

A handful of basil and oregano chopped

4 garlic clothes minced

2 large  carrots grated,

1 28 ounce can of tomato purée

1 28 ounce can of strained crushed  tomatoes,

3 15 ounce cans of white beans – Cannellini ,Navy, Great Northern. ( I used 1 can of each type)

1 15 ounce can red beans (Kidney or even Pinto)

And lots of chili powder and salt and pepper to taste.

First I sautéed the garlic and onion a few minutes in olive oil.  Then I added the peppers (all of them) and cooked everything down a few minutes more.  Then I added the carrots, ground pork, ground turkey and some salt.  As the pork and turkey started to look cooked through  I added the beans, and cooked that all together for a few minutes, then added the chili powder (I have no idea how much I added, I kept dumping).  After that I added the tomatoes, the zested lime and juice of one lemon followed by the fresh herbs and the last ingredient: the small bag of frozen corn.

I then bought my pot to a simmer and it just simmered low and slow for probably a couple of hours.  I stirred every half hour or so, and remarkably nothing stuck to the bottom of the pan.

I can tell you that my husband and son ate SO much of the chili that there was only two 1 quart bags for freezing and 1 quart container left over. I made this chili in my 8 quart Great Jones “Big Deal” pot, and it was 2/3 full as you can see from photo at bottom. As a related aside, I absolutely LOVE this pot and highly recommend the Great Jones company.

Thanks for stopping by!

cool summer pop-up you DO NOT want to miss this sunday, august 11 in glenmoore!

Looks inviting doesn’t it? That is because it is!!!

So what are you doing tomorrow Sunday, August 11 between 12 noon and 6 PM?

You should be going to Glenmoore PA. Just put 1941 Creek Road Glenmoore PA into your GPS or maps program and go! Trust me, it’s a beautiful drive into the country and you will be glad you did! I sure am!

Today I had my BEST score in a long time! Cool vintage dairy sign from the Vintage & Vine Preview POP-up at Glenmoore Deli (1941 Creek Rd Glenmoore PA)

This new venture being introduced to us by two of my pals Kristin Smith and Christie Keith is something you don’t want to miss!

Seriously? Go tomorrow! If you’re going to church you can go after church. It’s a nice weekend and here is the menu:

This burger was fresh and AMAZING!

Salad with fresh mozzarella and a balsamic glaze.

Sun Tea with fresh herbs and flowers!

Old-fashioned fair lemon 💗

All of the food is locally sourced when possible (obviously we don’t have any citrus groves in Chester County) and is super fresh! Amazing produce and some was for sale in the store as well.

iThe eclectic mix of vintage, antique and more modern treasures was so much fun! Including to my surprise a fabulous jewelry line out of Washington DC created by a woman born and raise in Chester County! Yes, Diament Jewelry by Libby Diament.

Libby has a store in Washington, DC and started making her jewelry while living and working in NYC. Libby travels around the country hunting for vintage parts and jewelry that can be brought back to life. It’s sort of like finding treasure!

Diament Jewelry has been worn by celebrities including: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Elle Fanning, Cher Lloyd, Rachel Bilson, Giada de Laurentiis, and Meredith Vieira.

Bar earrings from Diament Jewelry

I had been looking for a pair of bar earrings for a couple of years. But I didn’t want ones that look like everyone else’s. So I was super psyched to discover the ladies had Diament Jewelry in their pop-up today. I also bought a pair of small studs that look like glittery slices of quartz or fools gold. As I get older I like wearing study earrings more than I have in a long time and there’s a nice variety for sale along with some adorable dangle earrings like a pair of wishbones! There are also in a locked case some of Diament’s lovely ethereal necklaces.

To check out more on Diament Jewelry visit their website or better yet read the article Forbes Magazine wrote about Libby Diament!

You will also find lovely local raw honey by Hound Dog Honey and soaps and lip balm by Vellum Soap Company and unless they sell out these to die for soft caramel candies by Dave’s Delectable Delites of Glenmoore.

But have I raved enough about the menu? So good. So fresh. Christie Keith is a genius in the kitchen! That is the best part about this menu everything is fresh nothing is frozen. It makes all the difference in the world in taste.

I love to cook as everyone knows, and Christie Keith is one of those people that I will have cook for me any day!

Take a drive in the country tomorrow. Have lunch, find a treasure!

what I do for fun….gardening, gardening, and some more gardening….

Butterflies in the Joe Pyle Weed!

So what’s a rabid gardener to do when one of her favorite growers announces it’s SUMMER SALE TIME?

Why buy more plants (of course!) and then roam around the garden for the perfect spot. Which in my garden right now, is easier said than done.

So what did I do? I reimagined and enlarged an existing small flower bed.

And then I indulged. Red peonies, red echinacea, red daylilies, and one Next Generation Pistachio Hydrangea.

On Friday, I dug out the bed. I enlarged it and marked all around how the shape was going to go and then I dug. And dug. It’s hot so it was a lot of work and I added a giant bag of sand and a big bag of compost and humus. I am also really glad that when I stopped at Home Depot I also picked up more bricks for edging.

….And then Friday over dinner my sweet husband asks me why I didn’t use the rototiller…..whhhhhhat!!!! Ok I forgot we own one. Oh well.

Saturday the plants arrived. From Applied Climatology at The West Chester Growers Market. I was originally going to plant yesterday (as in Saturday) but then another forsythia massacre was required and I have to pace myself in the garden and not just go go go go go.

As an aside, I can’t believe anyone willingly plants forsythia. It looks good for maybe a week to 10 days and then you kill yourself keeping it in check. I have cut down, cut back, and physically removed a lot of forsythia bushes. My forsythia dates back to the early 1960s so it is ….entrenched. Kind of like the pachysandra which I also do battle with.

Oh and before I forget! I also staked up my blackberry bushes on Saturday. I had bought thornless blackberry bushes a couple of years ago along with a raspberry bush and gooseberry bushes to plant on a small hillside going to the edge of our woods on one side. It’s a terrific location, sometimes a little tricky to get to when everything grows in, and I wasn’t sure how to handle the exploding raspberry and blackberry bushes. The gooseberry bushes seem to grow more logically for lack of a better explanation.

So yesterday morning while I was drinking my coffee I was watching my favorite gardening show Gardeners World. It’s a BBC production and I get it via streaming services because cable doesn’t carry it in the US. As a matter of fact the US would do well to have a gardening show like this. It’s actually real gardening. It’s not creating an outdoor living room or a fire pit show.

Anyway… on yesterday’s episode that I watched they gave tips for dealing with blackberry bushes. And it was so simple. All you need to do is get some big garden stakes, put them in the middle of your blackberry bushes and tie up the wandering canes. So I did. And I applied the same theory to the raspberries and it looks so much better! In the fall I will take a look at the bushes again and decide if anybody is getting a little haircut before next spring, but the way they look now they’ll be fine in the spring!

Swamp Milkweed peeping up from behind hydrangeas.

This morning after my coffee I went outside and I deadheaded and I weeded a little, watered my pots and got down to the business of planting my plants in the newly enlarged planting bed.

First I laid the plants out and arranged them. You will notice that I do not buy giant sized plants from the nurseries. I find it much easier to establish plants that are smaller. Everything grows, you just have to have patience.

After laying the plants out and moving them around a bit I dug them in. Then I watered them and fed them with kelp/seaweed extract.

Then I went to wood chip mountain next to the shed and filled up my garden cart with perfectly aged wood chips. This batch of wood chips is about a-year-old now so it’s the perfect consistency and broken down and it’s hard wood chips from my own trees. (Yes my arborist does this and I use Treemendous Tree Care and they are awesome! Real arborists, expert and champion climbers.)

Now I wait for the plants to settle in. In the fall I will plant daffodil bulbs in between these plants I planted today. And when everything grows I will have color from spring to fall!

And yes… I do love my reds in this particular garden. But they have to be a blue red not an orange red.

I will also share with you my favorite kind of gardening gloves. Gauntlet gloves. I garden with roses and sometimes other prickly things so I like my arms to be protected from thorns as well as an inadvertent brushes with poison ivy, oak, or sumac.

I found this brand of gloves on Amazon a couple of years ago. I just bought my second pair. The first pair is still going strong but I would to have a pair and a spare pair.

  • As August arrives, I will just pretty much do garden maintenance until the fall. When fall arrives I will be adding the following plants to different areas of my garden:
    • Swamp Azalea (white)
      Rosebay Rhododendron
      Pink Truffles Baptista
      Alexander’s Great Brunnera
      Avante Garde Clematis
      Bellicent Lilac
      Hydrangea radiata
      Hydrangea Sargentiana
      Hydrangea Shinonome
      More daffodils and other bulbs

    I know I know people think I’m crazy but this is fun for me. Some people like to buy designer handbags and shoes all the time, I like to garden. That’s not to say that I don’t appreciate a beautiful purse or an elegant pair of shoes. But gardening is my thing.

    I will not be putting any more plants in until fall because it’s just too hot. I can plant now, but the plants get so stressed out. If I hadn’t found a good sale on what I planted today I wouldn’t have planted.

    And yes, it’s me who does the planting. I don’t point at a team of gardeners and say “put it there!”

    I research my plants and I pay attention to what I see in my gardening magazines or on Gardeners World or the shows BBC 2 produces out of England’s flower and garden shows produced by the RHS like Chelsea, Chatsworth, Hampton Court, and Tatton Hall. The thrill of the plant hunt is half of the fun!

    Tomorrow I am going to hear a garden lecture given by a British horticulturalist named Annie Guilfoyle at Terrain in Devon.

    British gardeners and horticulturists are wonderful speakers. And Annie Guilfoyle has quite the amazing gardening pedigree, so I am really looking forward to it!

    Well that’s all out of me for the garden today. And no I’ve told you what my planning ahead will consist of. And that’s the thing about gardening as I have said before – your garden evolves. You look at what you have planted and then you get more ideas.

    Happy planning and planting and thanks for stopping by!

    happy 25th anniversary to the west chester growers market!!!

    IMG_6363I missed all the political fanfare early this morning, but I did make it to the 25th anniversary of the West Chester Growers Market.

    State Senator Andy Dinniman and Chester County Commissioners Michele Kichline and Terrence Farrell were there at the opening of today’s market to celebrate with everyone and present citations and proclamations.

    But where oh where were the officials of West Chester Borough? Borough Council? I mean it is NO SECRET they have been discussing the lot on the corner of Chestnut and Church Streets again right?  And what developer and hotel owner want in on whatever is discussed, hmmm?  Oh the irony that they just discussed this again, what? This past week?

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    And no one from the Borough could come to the West Chester Growers Market in an official capacity to celebrate their 25th anniversary? The County and State felt they should be there, so why not the Borough?

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    Photo courtesy of County Commissioner Terrence Farrell’s Facebook Page.  He and Chester County Commissioner Michelle Kichline presenting a County citation to Paul “Bud” Hauser, an inspiration behind and one of the four original growers who founded the West Chester Growers Market 25 years ago. I think this is fabulous that they did this!!

    Oh and my opinions are my own, by the way.  And sadly I think West Chester Borough needs to appreciate the organizations which bring people into the Borough weekly for 25 years, don’t you? The West Chester Growers Market brings people and farms and small food producers together. In a world filled with ugliness, this is something genuine and nice.

    Today the market was bustling in spite of the crazy heat.  And the vendors were nice enough to have lots and lots of water on hand for customers. And ice cream!!  And balloons and face painting for kids!

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    I love the West Chester Growers Market and it is pretty much the only one I patronize at this point since East Goshen seems to have given up on their farmers market which I think is a huge mistake since they have one of the most awesome locations.

    The photos I took today were my own.  I am not compensated in any way for posting about the market. I post about the West Chester Growers Market because I love it and think it’s fabulous.

    And if West Chester Borough Council gets their knickers in a twist because I do not feel in my opinion that they appreciate the market in all it’s fabulousness, tough noogies and am I wrong?

    HAPPY 25TH ANNIVERSARY WEST CHESTER GROWERS MARKET!! 

    WE LOVE YOU IN CHESTER COUNTY!!

     

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    going to france for dinner via chester county

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    We have this sort of unofficial supper club with some of our Chester County residing Shipley friends. Last night, we were treated to dinner at the home of one of these friends.  We all went to France via Chester County because another guest at the table was renown local chef, (an actual honest to goodness amazing French Chef)  Sylvie Ashby.

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    Chef Sylvie 

    Chef Sylvie lives in West Chester. She was born and raised in Normandy, France. She always wanted to share the love and passion for French cooking and comfort food the French traditional way by only using seasonal fresh produce and meats from the local markets.

    Last evening’s dinner was one of my favorite meals ever.  I grew up on bœuf bourguignon or beef Burgundy or bœuf à la Bourguignonne is not some ordinary stew, as delicious as they may beef.  It is elevated far beyond that and if done properly like last night, the meat does not disintegrate but melts in your mouth. Last night, it was probably hands down the best I have ever had.

    We started with hors d’oevres of belgian endive boats piped with a light and fluffy goat cheese, goat cheese toasts, and one of my favorite purely French treats I have never made, gougères!Related image Gougères are these fluffy puffs of warm pastry made with Gruyère cheese.  (Check out this recipe for gougères from Alain Ducasse.)

    After our main course of bœuf bourguignon we had a marvelous salad with fresh greens and a delightful vinaigrette with an amazing blood orange infused olive oil from a Taste of Olive in West Chester. And the bread? Amazing as always from La Baguette Magique in West Chester.

    The beef and cheese were also locally sourced.  I forget whose goat cheeses we had, and

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    Chef Sylvie Courtesy Photo

    I do not know the farm name for the beef but for some reason I think it was from down near Landenberg.

    And dessert? Channel your inner Julia Child, it was Floating Island! Floating Island is a light as a feather dessert consisting of meringue floating on crème anglaise.  The crème anglaise is custardy and delicious.  Chef Sylvie finished the dessert with a light caramel drizzle.

    This dinner was a true mini vacation to France.  I love when we get together to have dinner with our friends, and we loved being introduced to Chef Sylvie.

    And guess what? You too can hire Chef Sylvie to bring the taste of France to your home for intimate gatherings.  Chef Sylvie specializes in French country cooking, bringing France to the comfort of your own home for private dinner parties.  And her prices are emminently reasonable. She also will cater events like birthday parties, Girls ‘night out, Crepes bar party, Book Clubs, Wine Clubs…her website is cuisinedesylvie.com . You can also find her on Facebook Cuisine de Sylvie.

    One thing I did not ask her is if she teaches cooking classes.  I think that would be super fun!

    Stay safe in the snow and ice!

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    fall dinner….mmmmm

    Fall cooking. The humidity is finally gone and the temperatures have cooled enough that I don’t feel like my kitchen is a sweatshop.

    I have thawed one lonely beef shank we found in the freezer, but it’s not enough for dinner, but I decided it was going to be dinner and decided to get it a companion. So off to Worrell’s Butcher Shop in Malvern Borough I went. They had beautiful fresh beef shanks!

    I continued along King Street to Kimberton Whole Foods in Malvern. There I picked up the produce I wanted to add to this recipe plus a few other things. (I would’ve gotten adorable little pumpkins there to except they were $2.99 a piece and I thought that was a bit expensive for pumpkins that were literally very small, but I digress.)

    So the ingredients – 2 to 3 beef shanks, Crimini mushrooms, Shitake mushrooms, leeks, shallots, celery, carrots, 2 red hatch chilies from my garden , red wine, two 8 oz. containers of Pacific vegetable broth, one 14.5 oz. can of Muir Glenn fire roasted diced tomatoes, sweet paprika , smoked paprika, 4 cloves of garlic diced, dash of cumin, salt and pepper, fresh rosemary, two bay leaves, fresh thyme.

    First I start by dredging the beef shanks in a little flour and kosher salt. I toss into a Dutch oven on the stove with olive oil heating. I brown each of the beef shanks ( I ended up with three for this recipe.)

    Then I add about a third of a bottle of wine and let that simmer as I am slicing up my vegetables.

    As I am adding my vegetables beginning with the garlic, shallots, and leeks I also add one of the 8 oz. containers of vegetable broth.

    After I add the garlic, shallots, and leeks I add diced up Hatch chilies, followed by carrots, celery, and the mushrooms.

    Next I add the fresh herbs and a little more kosher salt. (I don’t start with a lot of salt I can adjust it later so I really am being judicious with it.)

    Then I add a dash of cumin, smoked paprika, sweet paprika, black pepper, the can of tomatoes, and finally another third of a bottle of wine.

    Now my beef shanks are ready for the oven. They will cook in a low oven for 3 to 4 hours.

    People like to serve these over mashed potatoes, I also like to serve them over rice. And I like brown basmati rice, or a wild rice mixture.

    My apologies that this recipe is it more exact, but it just isn’t. I think people need to judge for themselves the amount of herbs and spices and salt and pepper they want in a recipe.

    Anyway beef shanks and mushrooms are a wonderful and hearty fall meal. Slow cooking it means the meet will be fork tender.

    Bon Appétit!