The number one leafy green in my garden is not lettuce or spinach, but the rustic Mediterranean green known as arugula or rocket (Eruca sativa). …. I brought the seeds from London and have tried successfully here in home. My salad below consists of arugula drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice. Toss and shave thin pieces of Parmigiano over the top.
Mason Jar Salads are the rage. The secret to a perfect salad is the order. The dressing goes first. In the salad I’m making today, pesto goes in the bottom. Putting dressing in the bottom ensures salad ingredients don’t get soggy. Over this, I’m adding marinated artichoke hearts. Next, goes anything big and chunky that protects the more delicate ingredients above such as carrots, celery, and onion. Follow with softer ingredients such as avocado, tomatoes, berries. Now for whole grain rice, beans, or quinoa. Lastly, the greens! To serve, dump onto a plate!
Then the fixings. Little things like shaved nuts, raisins, cheeses. The ingredients that you want to stay dry until juuuust before you eat it.
And if you have any leafy greens, they go in last. That way when you turn the Mason jar over and unload it all into a bowl, the greens will make the salad bed. Genius!
The Green Goddess Salad, invented at San Francisco Palace Hotel in the 1920s has become a sophisticated staple. Usually it combines fresh shrimp, cucumber, artichoke hearts and cherry tomatoes with homemade green goddess dressing. Watch out for the dressing. My low calorie recipe is just as delicious.
- 2 Tbsp fat free mayonnaise
- 2 Tbsp fat free sour cream
- 2 Tbsp chives, or green part of a scallion, finely minced
- 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely minced
- 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 average anchovies canned in oil drained, minced
All you do is mix until creamy.
I’m now tackling the first phase of edits with well known, talented editor, Sharon Pickrel, assigned to me and my book, Deadly Alliance. Yes, friends, I said first phase, and this round has to do with Tirgearr in-house preferences. With four rounds, it’s no wonder I admire the writing quality coming from Tirgearr Publishing, leading the pack in Ireland.
I’ve recovered from our far-from-restful vacation– in Vancouver where our niece works as a set designer and at the San Juan Islands off the state of Washington where we kayaked along with the whales. Both are beautiful spots, and I’ve never tasted such delicious apples and peaches as in B.C. and Washington.
As my husband Gerry worked late again in order to leave on our ten-day vacation to Vancouver and the San Juan Islands off the state of Washington, he said, “It’s good to get away.” He’s exhausted but meant it when he signed us up for a six-hour kayaking tour. I also love ocean kayaking. Orca aren’t the only whales found in the waters of the San Juan Islands. Northern minke whales also live in the inland coastal waters of Washington but can be shy of boat traffic. He hopes to see some whales up close!
My WIP hero is a retired Navy SEAL who brought home his trained war dog. I love doing research while writing. Here is a misconception about military trained war dogs. Yes, they are trained to bite, and this can result in missing teeth. They only bite on command. Replacing injured teeth with titanium (at a cost between $600-$2,000/tooth) is one way to help a dog continue its service. War dogs wear tactical body armor. A dog’s assault suit costs $89,000 with wireless cameras, radio communications. Infrared night cameras relay visuals from as far as a thousand yards away. Speakers are included so that handlers can communicate with the dogs! Approximately three thousand retired war dogs are adopted annually.
The Laser has been around a long time. When we lived in Pines Lake (Wayne, New Jersey) I raced one. Small boat dingy sailing is a test to sailing ability. Winning has to do with “playing wind shifts”.
The design, by Bruce Kirby, emphasizes simplicity and performance. The dinghy is manufactured by independent companies in different parts of the world, including Americas, Europe, Australia, and Japan.
The Laser is one of the most popular single-handed dinghies in the world. As of 2012, there are more than 200,000 boats worldwide. A commonly cited reason for its popularity is that it is robust and simple to rig and sail in addition to its durability. The Laser also provides very competitive racing due to the very tight class association controls which eliminate differences in hull, sails and equipment. Next week the Irish Laser Regatta will take place off Dublin!
Tonight I’m making a side dish, Tortellini with Grilled Veggies, to go with oven-baked BBQ chicken. Grilled summer vegetables are a good taste combination with quick cooking fresh tortellini. Add a little lemon juice, chopped green onion, and parsley to your favorite vinaigrette. Photo below is courtesy of Hector Sanchez and styling by Buffy Hargett Miller.
1 (8-oz.) package sweet mini bell peppers, trimmed and seeded
1 (20-oz.) package refrigerated cheese-and-spinach tortelloni
3 medium zucchini cut lengthwise
½ cup vinaigrette
1 cup torn fresh basil leaves
- Preheat grill to 350° to 400° (medium-high) heat. Toss zucchini and peppers with desired amount of salt and pepper.
- Grill vegetables, covered with grill lid, 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until tender. Remove from grill; let stand 5 minutes. Coarsely chop.
3. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Toss together warm tortelloni, grilled vegetables, and vinaigrette. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature; sprinkle with basil just before serving.
Something truly enjoyable when writing a book is research. In my work-in-progress. Lily’s Pad, my thirty-year-old heroine Lily owns a beach-side eatery, Lily’s Pad. She maintains a lily pond with koi fish in her shady outdoor dining area. It’s important to ground conversation into real life with sensory perceptions. She is crushing on Grady Fletcher, the new second grade teacher in Moonlight Cove. A baseball player before his accident asks if she could hostess a field trip to her eatery. In the scene I’ll write today she tells the class how she keeps the fish from eating the tender green pads by sinking the clay pots (with plants in rock) low in the water. “There’s some nibbling, but the larger pads survive just under water.” Naturally Lily tells the class it’s okay to feed them a bite of crust from the sandwiches she served them. Incidentally Grady found his calling as a second grade teacher. He’s about to be engaged to someone else… having second thoughts.
Do you enjoy the tranquility of a lily pond? Water lilies appear delicate, but don’t let their exotic aura fool you. These flowers are as tough as they are beautiful. Water lilies grow well in any USDA hardiness zone. Water lilies can be grown in a tub on the patio or in ponds of any size. They grow from tubers planted in pots beneath the water and send up stems with rounded leaves and star-shaped blossoms that float on the surface. They are daytime bloomers, blossoming in the morning and closing after sunset. The blooms last about three days before sinking beneath the surface. In winter climates hardy water lilies go dormant and can be left in the water. Tropical water lilies bloom with vibrant, almost electric colors but must be removed and stored if water temperature is lower than 70 degrees F.