Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Cooking, Alpacas and Tattoos, oh my!

My visiting sister in law (Colleen) is quasi-vegetarian, so I decided that I should try making some veggie dishes while she's visiting. Colleen made an amazing veggie pizza the other night, with scratch pizza dough. She used pesto instead of marinara sauce, feta cheese, mushrooms, onions, black olives and I can't remember what else. It was delicious and filling. I'm going to get her dough recipe and experiment! I can't wait until we have some ripe tomatoes so that I can make some tomato and pasta sauce. 

I haven't taken pictures, but our green bell and jalapeno pepper plants have just started to go crazy. We have six each, and I think by this weekend we are going to be up to our necks in peppers. One of my coworkers said that you can blanch and freeze them. 

Our zucchini plant has a ton of blooms on it and I imagine that we're going to be really sick of zucchini by the end of the month. 

So in light of all of these things, including Colleen's visit, I looked up some veggie entrees.

I found this Tex-Mex Summer Squash Casserole on Eating Well:

We'll be making this slightly different, using a mix of zucchini and squash (which are practically the same anyway). Instead of using the canned jalapenos, we'll be using fresh. I think that we'll also throw in some black beans. The next thing I'm going to make is an enchilada-style chilaquiles recipe that I also found on Eating Well.



  • 2 1/4 pounds summer squash, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise (about 10 cups)
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 4-ounce can chopped green chiles
  • 1 4-1/2-ounce can chopped jalapenos, (about 1/2 cup), drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 2 1/4 cups grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, (about 7 ounces), divided
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup mild salsa
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion, for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Combine squash, onion, chiles, jalapenos, salt and 3/4 cup cheese in a large bowl. Sprinkle with flour; toss to coat. Spread the mixture in the prepared baking dish and cover with foil.
  3. Bake the casserole until it is bubbling and the squash is tender, 35 to 45 minutes. Spoon salsa over the casserole and sprinkle with the remaining 1 1/2 cups cheese. Bake, uncovered, until golden and heated through, 20 to 30 minutes. Sprinkle with scallions and red onion.


  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Reheat, covered, at 350°F for about 40 minutes. Garnish just before serving.

Oh, and did I mention that I made mayonnaise last night? I used Alton Brown's recipe. I think that next time I'll use less oil and/or another egg yolk. It tastes good but it's a little runny. I'm planning to use it to make the potato salad for a party we're attending on Saturday. I think I'll also use my homemade mayo for egg salad. 

I have to figure out what to make for book club on Friday. 

Friday is a busy day - we're visiting the Alpacas at Outstanding Dreams Farm in the morning, followed by Shore Good Farm, where we will pick blackberries and check out custom outhouses. After our busy morning, I'm sure that we'll have worked up an appetite, so we'll then go to The Market Street Public House for a tasty lunch. After lunch, we'll do what everyone does on a sunny summer afternoon - get inked at Black Anchor Tattoo. After body art, we'll either run home to prepare our food for book club, or go to happy hour at Harry's. 
At book club we will probably drink wine, show off our new artwork, and play with babies, because the book for this month wasn't all that thought-provoking. As a matter of fact, I think that my I.Q. went down while I was reading it.

My first ink in over ten years will be in memory of my dad. I've wanted to get a tattoo to memorialize him somehow. I'd been thinking of getting some sort of bird, but I came across a photo that he'd taken and have decided to have it recreated.

The photo is discolored from storage, but it will work for my purposes. Around the photo will be a quote from Carl Sagan, (from his book Cosmos) one of my dad's favorite astronomers/physicists/science champions.   

We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever.

Dad hated tattoos, but I think that even he would appreciate this one. 

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