Less than a Month to go, before we start a new chapter in our busy lives.

Have you ever found yourself in such a tangled mess, that you can’t find the way you came in, not to mention the door outta there?
  Well this week has been mess, no. Scratch that, the past few weeks have been a total mess!! I don’t mean mess, as in a ‘bad’ mess, just Good, Bad, Hectic, Exciting, and extremely exhausting, and we all know what comes with weeks of exhausting, messy messes….. The good, the bad, & the ugly – as far as emotions go.
>>  Ok, so the events…
  We got an above ground #pool – Its not the Ritz, but it will keep us cool when need be… We filled it up, and I had fun tanning in it as it filled up, until we noticed AFTER it was completely full, that it had sunk into the ground a good two feet!! A serious bummer to say the least. We had to drain it, which took about 3X longer than It did to fill it. My awesome Dad came over one day last week, and helped me level it out… It looks pretty good, now – I just hope its dosen’t sink more.  Now, since we are getting all of these massive storm cells, and monsoons, we are leaving the task of filling up the pool to good ole’ Mother Nature. 
  And, YES!! I have already gotten a 4 hour BURN… so much for covering up those tan lines. I look like a Chamellion!! Yeah, yeah – Laugh it up. ^.^
  I was moving plants around in my torched Greenhouse, the day before yesterday, when I found a #Tiny #Diamondback #Snake in the top of one of my Rosemary bushes. Now, hear me out. . . I don’t like to purposely hurt or kill anything, unless it could hurt me. This little guy was about six inches, maybe eight inches at the most, and had already struck at me twice, when I decided to put him in a box, and make him chill out a while. Now, maybe, If I can find a lid for am old aquarium of mine, I could keep it in the house… JUST KIDDING!! He’s long dead. I checked on him today, and he’s a gonner, the Greenhouse ants are having a feast. That’s what he gets for taking up shop in MY Greenhouse, and trying to bite me. He should just be glad I didn’t have a lighter nearby, I have been known to be a bit of a Pyro.
  I have had one scheduled shoot after another these past few days. (Hey! I’m not complaining!!) Mostly Maternity & Newborn shoots, I love these types of shoots. You get to see the family’s at their most romantic times; love is such a beautiful thing.  
As you already know, my husband is a Law Enforcement Officer, or a Copper, as I like to say. He has been in Law Enforcement for nearly 19 years, and his last day is August 1st. That is prime time, he will no longer be a full time Copper, but a Reserve Law Enforcement Officer. The beginning of August he is good to Virginia, to visit family (I am staying put, its cheaper), but when he gets back, he will be attending a local (and highly rated) CDL School.


  Now, this is breaking point for both of us. I am doing my best to keep us afloat, as far as finances and bills go. I am pushing both of my Photography businesses to the next level (JFox’C Photography TM & Voluptuous Volpe TM Photography) I have a LOT planned for both of them, as well as a possible third. With that being said, I am currently looking for sponsoring; business to helpus out with articles for our shoots; and models between the ages of 18-37 (Size, Race, Height – are not an issue).


  I have already begun to build my team of experts. It can be a daunting task, but it is so #Rewarding in the end!!
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On a closing note:: I had a late lunch with a close friend of mine. We just talked about the stuff we love, recent happenings, the crazy Georgia weather, all awhile munching in Chick-Fil-a.  I miss spending time with my closest friends; something about catching up that just puts me at ease.
I hope all of you have enjoyed reading this post; I apologize for neglecting my Blog and you as my followers so. It is not intentional.

Posted from my Android ~ Ami

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Home Garden Summer Veggie Pasta

Ingredients • 8 oz (1/2 pkg) Mueller’s • Thin Spaghetti • 2 tbsp vegetable or olive oil • 1 onion, cut into thin wedges • 1 clove garlic, minced or 1 tsp garlic powder • 2 medium green peppers, cut into thin strips • 1 medium yellow or red pepper, cut into thin strips • 2-1/2 cups mushrooms, sliced (about 8 oz) • 1 can (14-1/2 to 16 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained • 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil or 1-1/2 tsp dried basil • 1/4 tsp ground pepper • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions Cook Thin Spaghetti according to package directions.Drain, cover and set aside.In large skillet heat oil over medium high heat.Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring, 1 minute.Add pepper strips and mushrooms; cook 2 minutes.Add undrained tomatoes, basil and pepper; bring to a boil.Reduce heat to low; simmer 5 minutes.Toss with Thin Spaghetti and Parmesan.

Happy Cooking!

Posted from my Android ~ Ami

Simply Perfect Add-in to any Cookout

Asparagus Pasta with Pan Fried Garlic & Lemon Cold Tomato Zucchini Pasta Salad with Sherry Shallot Vinaigrette

I created this pasta salad for my brother Steve’s Independence Day barbecue. I needed to bring a side dish that could sit out safely in the hot sun for several hours, and also fit in well with an American style cookout. An additional benefit is it gave guests a vegan option, and me an excuse to eat lots of cold pasta salad.

The vinegar base in this recipe would pair well with homemade buttermilk fried chicken, or even a store bought rotisserie chicken.

Sherry Shallot Vinaigrette 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil 1/4 cup Sherry Vinegar 1 Shallot, chopped 1/ 2 clove Garlic, chopped 1/2 teaspoon Salt Lots of fresh ground black pepper to taste

Puree the ingredients together in a small processor or blender. Set aside.

Tomato Zucchini Pasta 1 pound riccioli shaped pasta, or any favorite shape 2 medium sized zucchini, or 1 large thinly sliced into half moons 1 cup chopped scallions 3-4 ripe Roma tomatoes, chopped 1 tablespoon dried parsley 1 recipe Sherry Shallot Vinaigrette Salt and pepper to taste

1. Boil the pasta according to the package directions in heavily salted water. Drain and rinse in cold water.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the Sherry Shallot Vinaigrette.

3. Toss the pasta together in a large bowl with the dressing and the rest of the ingredients. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or store covered in the refrigerator until chilled.

Notes: Next time I might throw in some dried or fresh parmesan, and a handful of sliced olives to add another element of flavor. Shredded asiago cheese might also work well.

Posted from my Android ~ Ami

{BORROWED POST} Peach Lemonade

With all those gorgeous peaches that are out there in summer, you just gotta have to make something with them. Tarts, pies, cobblers, grilled peaches, icecream, lemonade and what not! I wish I could have made every single one of them on that list, but so far its been only the lemonade. There is still some time left and hopefully I will get to make some more. We get some really juicy peaches in our CSA box from Full Circle Farm every other week. They are so very fresh and juicy that you have to use them up within the next couple of days itself. But most of the time I never get around to making anything those few days and we end up eating the peaches as is. They are really good as it is too, so I am not complaining about that.

Last weekend we took a two day trip to Portland with my parents. It was really awesome. For the first day, we packed some food with us and picknicked at a state park on the way. It was a really hot day and we knew it was going to be a hot day, so instead of taking store bought juice with us, I decided to make some lemonade with the peaches and took them with us instead. It was soo refreshing to drink these, especially when it was a nice and hot day outside and we were travelling. It is so very simple to make that I plan to make some every now and then and store in the refrigerator. Also, this particular batch of lemonade that I made tasted a little like musambi juice, which I love and miss a lot here. Musambi is also called sweet lime which is a part of the citrus family and I have never seen that fruit here in the US. Anyone know

where you can get them here? or do you even get them here? Let me know and I will be forever indebted to you

Peach Lemonade – The Recipe

Ingredients:

Peaches ( or nectarines) – 2 or 3, depending on how big/small they are Lemon – 5 ( use more or less depending on the level of sourness you need) Sugar – about 4-5 tbsp or as per your need for sweetness Water Crushed ice

Method:

Squeeze the lemons and keep the juice aside. Peel the peaches, remove the stone and chop the peaches roughly. Puree well in a food processor with the sugar.

Mix the lemon juice with this mixture. Add water and ice as per your need. Add more sugar too if the peaches are not sweet enough or if you need your lemonade to be sweeter.

Serve to your friends at a barbeque party and enjoy the compliments you get

This is my entry to Monthly Mingle – Stone Fruit edition hosted by Sukaina of Sips and Spoonfuls. Monthly Mingle is a monthly themed food evented started by Meeta of What’s for Lunch Honey . If you haven’t yet been to either of their blogs, you should do that soon. The pictures are to kill for!

Posted from my Android ~ Ami

BITE by Michelle {Post #1}

  I am absolutely IN L.O.V.E. with this blog that I found this past week, via a comment on my post. I am so much in L.O.V.E., that I want to show off a few of her posts; so the next few posts that I put up today, will be from her site. {Your blog, “Bite”, tickles me pink! Im always droooooling and wishing our oven worked so I could re-create some of your divine recipies! You put my “Volpe Recipes” page to shame. =] @BiteByMichelle!}

 

raspberry amaretto sorbet – a tongue wash

raspberry sorbet

Raspberry and amaretto is without a doubt one of the yummiest combinations for sorbet that I’ve made to date. The amaretto is the perfect blend of nutty and sweet to tackle the sour in the raspberries. Typically I would serve sorbet, if I wanted a light dessert – however… I told you a while ago that Chef Brewer and I had been auctioned off, at the Fundy Food Festival, to help raise money for the Saint John Boys and Girls Club. We offered to prepare a seven course Italian feast for eight dinner guests. Italian by Night owner Liz Rowe bought the groceries, server Fran Menton acted as sommelier and server and Andrew and I cooked. My raspberry amaretto sorbet didn’t win the dessert position on this menu. We used it as a palette cleanser!

Eating your way through seven courses may sound like a luxurious way to spend a Sunday evening but, if great care isn’t given to course selection and size, you could end up leaving the dinner table with gastro issues – not pretty! Having fed Ralph for the last twenty five years, I struggle constantly with portion control. I have a hard time remembering that not everyone has a six foot four frame to nourish! I’m digressing… Anyway, I wanted to make sure that our guests were able to enjoy the tour we had prepared without having to have an Alka Seltzer nightcap!

Instead of opening the evening with a selection of hors d’oeuvres, I stayed with Italian tradition. At a formal Italian dinner a simple offering of warmed almonds or olives would be passed with an aperitivi. We served olives marinated with citrus, garlic and a combination of herbs and spices with icy cold Prosecco. After our guests had a tour of the stunning harbour front penthouse, compliments of our hosts John and Gail Rocca, dinner was served.

I chose a decadent fruit and cheese combo to start. There were greens on the plate but really just so that I could call it a salad. It was all about the caramelized pears oozing over the slice of Gorgonzola Dolce. This is one of those dishes that inspire you to do a face plant on your plate. I knew from the ooh’s and aahh’s that I had a group of willing foodies. It was really exciting!

Andrew

The primi piatto or first plate following the antipasta was duck lasagna. Whole ducks are slow roasted until the leg meat is falling off the bone – while carefully watching the breast meat. The meat is then used to create a sort of duck bolognese. I layered fresh pasta with fresh mozzarella and the duck sauce for the lasagna. We served small portions with a garnish of oven roasted Portobello mushrooms and fresh thyme.

Now for the star attraction. After the intensity of the blue cheese and the richness of the duck, I needed to settle everyone’s tastebuds down with a cool, tart tongue bath. In little tiny bowls with little tiny spoons, we served the sorbet. Everyone got a kick out of the Alice in Wonderland sized utensils which not only caused some lively laughter and conversation but provided an unanticipated but greatly appreciated dining pause. Andrew and I took our time plating the secondi piatto or the second plate and had some fun taking photographs.

The Cornish hens had been deboned and marinated in olive oil and lemon juice then roasted with a sprinkling of sea salt flakes, freshly ground black pepper and a crushing of dried red pepper chilies. To combat the heat of the ‘diavolo’, we served half an endive wrapped in a thin slice of prosciutto baked in a Parmesan cream. I easily could have reduced the hen to half but as I said, “it’s a struggle!”

The pavlova is one of Italian by Night’s signature desserts and although it looks mamouth – cause it is – not a lick was left over.

We were not the only gig in town offering our service for a great cause. The foodies of Saint John united, stepped up to the stove and rocked it for the Saint |John Boys and Girls Club. A great event for a much greater organization. Thanks to all…

the table

BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB DINNER

ANTIPASTA

Spring greens tossed in white wine butter reduction and topped with caramelized pear and Gorgonzola slice

PRIMI PIATTO

Roast duck lasagne topped with oven roasted Portobello mushrooms and fresh thyme

PIATTO DI MEZZO

Raspberry Amaretto Sorbet

SECONDO PIATTO

Cornish Hen Diavolo

Endive Wrapped in Prosciutto finished with cream

DOLCE

Pavlova

Espresso and Dried Cranberry and Pistachio Contucci

plating

pear salad

service

garnishing

pavlova

Raspberry Amaretto Sorbet

5 cups fresh or frozen raspberries, thawed if frozen 1 cup water 1 cup sugar ¼ cup amaretto

Place water and sugar in a medium pot over medium high heat and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Pour the syrup into a medium bowl and add raspberries, stir in amaretto.

Allow to chill for 2 hours in refrigerator

Pass mixture through a food mill using the smallest disc

Pour raspberry puree into a 2-quart ice cream maker. Freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions until almost set but still a little slushy, about 25 minutes.

Decant into a freezer proof container and freeze.

THE LOVE: This sorbet is intense. Best to serve tiny amounts with little spoons!

printable copy

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Thanks for reading.

Alternative Edibles

I just want to make clear, that I, in no way, am taking credit for this post. I borrowed this post from ApartmentTherapy.com I hope that you, my readers, enjoy this post. -Ami

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I’m a little late to the game of getting my spring seed orders in (if you hurry there is still time) and as usual I am trying to grow things that I either can’t find in the grocery store or that I think will surprise and excite visitors to my kids’ farmers market stand. James Wong is providing excellent inspiration in my hunt.

James’ first book was provocatively called ‘Grow Your Own Drugs,’ and in it he provides lots of recipes to use plants (that you can grow yourself) to relieve common ailments. His new book, called Homegrown Revolution, isn’t out yet (it it will be out later this fall), but I noticed that his website has been recently updated with all sorts of new treasures —just in time for spring planting. James is a Brit, so there is a little translation that needs to go on, but it is worth the effort to hunt down the plants he suggests. All of his suggestions are lesser known and generally not available in the grocery store, but just as fun and nutritious to grow in our own gardens.

My favorites are the cucamelons or Mexican Sour Gherkins (Melothria scabra). After much searching, I discovered that here in the USA they go by ‘mouse melons’. I ordered seed from Terroir Seeds in the USA. James suggests these cherry tomato sized cucumbers in salads and also pickled, but I am thinking that they will be wonderful as a cocktail garnish too.

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I’m also quite excited about discovering what James calls Inca Berries (Physalis peruviana) — and what are often called ground cherries in the US. I had some of these in Italy a couple of years ago, where they were not only a beautiful garnish but a tasty treat as well. James has a recipe for Buttered Inca Berry and Pineapple Jam on his site that looks extraordinary (if only I could grow pineapple in Massachusetts!). I bought a similar variety (Physalis pruinosa) from Terroir as well (they call them Aunt Molly’s Ground Cherry).

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I am still on the hunt for Chilean Guava berries (known in New Zealand and Australia as ‘Tazziberries’), but near as I can tell these would have to be a greenhouse plant for me (and not having a greenhouse….I have a little problem). But if you are in zone 9 or above you might see if you can find these. They were a favorite of Queen Victoria and are said to taste like a cross between “wild strawberries and pink guavas, with a hint of candy floss” (that’s cotton candy to us Americans).

Easy Steak Dinner {With Mustard-Shallot Sauce}

Serves 4
Hands-On Time: 15m
Total Time: 25m
Ingredients:
1 1/2 pound sirloin steak (1 inch thick)
kosher salt and black pepper 2 teaspoons
olive oil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 shallot, chopped
1 pound green beans

Directions:
1.  Season the steak with ¾ teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook in the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, 3 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let rest 5 minutes, then slice against the grain.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar, and shallot.
3. Meanwhile, steam the green beans until tender, 4 to 6 minutes.
4. Top the steak with the mustard sauce and serve with the green beans. {GENTLY BORROWED  FROM REALSIMPLE.COM; REPOSTED WITH LOVE}