Sunday, May 22

Summery Saturday dinner

Here's what I made for dinner on Saturday! 

Grilled baguette with roasted garlic and grapeseed oil
My version of caprese salad
Grilled organic chicken kabobs with Down home with the Neely's BBQ sauce
Veggie kabobs: mushrooms, three peppers, onion

 For my version of caprese salad, you will need: 
Ripe Tomatoes {I buy tomatoes on the vine}
Fresh basil
Italian seasoning
Balsamic vinegar - for balsamic reduction
Grapeseed oil {or olive oil}
 Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Slice tops off of garlic and drizzle with oil. Wrap in tin foil and place in the oven for about 45 minutes. 

Slice the tomtoes and mozerella, thick, layer the mozerella and tomato alternately, on a plate or platter. 
Wash basil and layer leaves from largest to smallest and roll into a "cigar" with the largest leaf of basil on the outside. With a sharp knife, slice into basil ribbons.
 Save the ends of the tomatoes and dice. Add the diced ends of tomatoes to the basil and italian seasonings, salt, and pepper. Drizzle generously with oil {most use olive oil, I use grapeseed oil} and toss with a spoon. Top the mozzarella and tomato plate evenly.

 Slice the baguette in long slices, drizzle with oil, and toast on the grill until desired crunchiness. While grilling, add 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar in a saucepan on medium-high. Reduce by half {1/4 c. finished sauce}  for about 15 minutes. When sauce has reduced, remove from heat and cool. When cool, drizzle moz & tomato plate generously.
Assemble on a cutting board, the grilled bread, hot roasted garlic, and caprese salad.

We also made simple veggie kabobs and BBQ chicken kabobs with Neely's BBQ sauce.
 For BBQ chicken, simply salt and pepper the chicken and grill until almost done. Then take the BBQ sauce and baste each side evenly and grill about 2 minutes each side. Always soak bamboo skewers in water for 30 minutes before using so they burn less or use metal skewers.

 Find Neely's BBQ sauce recipe here. I make a half batch and it lasts about two different BBQ grilling sessions.
 And here it is! Enjoy!

Sunday, May 1

Dijon Marmalade Glazed Ham

  • 1 (8 lb.) bone-in baked ham
  • 30 whole cloves
    { I didn't use whole cloves, I sprinkled the ham with a bit of clove powder after scoring }
  • 1 (12 oz.) jar orange marmalade
    { I used a French marmalade that had NO high fructose corn syrup. I found it to be not quite sweet enough, so I added 1/4 cup sugar and 2 T. agave }
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large baking pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Place ham cut side down in center of pan.
  • Trim any rind or excess fat from ham with a sharp knife. Score outside of ham with a sharp knife in a decorative diamond pattern (as shown) and insert a whole clove into each diamond point. Cover pan and ham with more heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake ham for 1 1/2 hours.
  • Make glaze: Melt orange marmalade in small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Whisk in Dijon mustard and 2 Tbsp. water. Bring mixture to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes, until glaze thickens. Set glaze aside.
  • Remove ham from oven and raise oven temperature to 425°F. Remove aluminum foil covering ham and brush warm glaze all over ham. Return ham to oven and bake uncovered until glaze caramelizes, about 30 minutes. { I put most of the glaze on first, but reserved some and added it after about 15 minutes of cooking without foil } Remove ham from oven, tent loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm, and let stand for about 30 minutes before serving.
adapted from

Saturday, April 30

Our Zuni Street Bloody Mary

Inspired by the Gallop Cafe Bloody Mary 
{ fun fact, Zuni Street used to be Gallop Street }


  • 3 large stalks celery from the heart, including leaves, plus extra for serving
  • 36 ounces tomato juice, such as Sacramento  {I used V8 Low Sodium}
  • 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon grated yellow onion
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 12 dashes hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco), or to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups vodka
  • Your favorite bloody mary garnishes


Cut the celery in large dice, including the leaves, and puree in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process until finely minced. In a large pitcher, combine the rest of the ingredients except the vodka. With the food processor running, pour 1/4 of the tomato juice mixture into the food processor through the feed tube. Then pour the contents of the food processor into the pitcher with the remaining tomato juice mixture. Add the vodka and chill. (I made them individually instead of adding the vodka to the pitcher) Serve in tall glasses over ice with a stick of celery and garnish to taste. I use pepperoncinis, olives, and dill pickles.

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten

Sunday, April 24

Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs!

Easter is one of my favorite holidays! I really do enjoy the celebration of spring, in our own unique yet traditional way. Geoffrey and I are in Denver without family so though we miss them all, we get the opportunity to create some pretty fun times and holiday experiences with the two of us. This year we decided to dye Easter Eggs and to do it with natural dyes. Here's how it went...
Making Dye: Boiling purple cabbage for blue dye
Making Dye: Cabbage on left, blue - beets on right, red
Coffee for light and dark brown
 Turmeric for yellow and orange
 Boiling eggs for cold dipping
 Boiled eggs with dye
 Finished eggs -  cold dipped and boiled
 So vibrant, so natural!

 Monochromatic - blue, dyed with purple cabbage
Cabbage Dye: 1 egg boiled with cabbage & water 30 mins, 1 egg left in cabbage dye 30 mins, 1 egg left overnight in dye

 Monochromatic - yellow
 Turmeric Dye: 1 egg boiled with turmeric & water 30 mins, 1 egg left in turmeric dye 30 mins, 1 brown egg left in turmeric dye 30 mins
Beet Dye: 1 egg boiled with beet & water 30 mins, 1 brown egg left in beet dye 30 mins, 1 egg left overnight in dye
 Monochromatic - earth
Lavendar "Earth" eggs 30 mins cabbage, 30 min beet dye. Brown egg = white egg left in coffee dye overnight.

These were dyed all natural free range chicken eggs, so I was able to incorporate them into our Easter Brunch!
 Dijon-Marmalade Glazed Ham - Arugula, Dutch Potato, Green Bean salad with Home Made Creamy Walnut Dressing - Annie's Organic Bunny Rabbit Cheddar Pasta

And here's how we did it!

The tradition of dyeing eggs goes back to medieval times when people made pace eggs to celebrate spring and Pasch, the original name given to Easter or Passover.

Your kitchen is full of natural dyes. Common food items such as red cabbage, onion skins, and coffee can be used to transform plain white eggs into colorful Easter gems. Kids will especially love discovering all the different colors they can create -- let them experiment using hard-boiled eggs and bowls of cold dyes.

Tools and Materials
Natural dyeing agents (red cabbage, turmeric, onion skins, beets, and coffee)
3-quart pot (or larger)
White vinegar
Small bowls
Large metal spoon
Paper towels
Drying rack

Dye Recipes
Select a dyeing agent, and place it in the pot using the amount listed below. Add 1 quart water and 2 tablespoons white vinegar to pot; if more water is necessary to cover ingredients, proportionally increase the amount of vinegar. Bring to a boil, then lower heat. Allow the ingredients to simmer for 30 minutes. Strain dye into a bowl.

Red-cabbage dye: 4 cups chopped cabbage
Turmeric dye: 3 tablespoons turmeric
Onion-skin dye: 4 cups onion skins (skins of about 12 onions)
Beet dye: 4 cups chopped beets
Coffee dye: 1 quart strong black coffee (instead of water) Cold-Dipping Method

Cold-Dipping Method
With this method, the eggs and the ingredients for the dye are boiled separately. Using a metal spoon, lower cooled hard-boiled eggs into a bowl of cooled dye, and let them soak for as little as 5 seconds or as long as overnight, depending on the depth of color you desire. Remove eggs with spoon, pat dry with paper towels, and let dry on a wire rack. The cold-dipping method produces subtle, translucent shades, but can result in uneven coloring unless the eggs are rotated vigilantly while in the dye. For hollow eggs that will last indefinitely, cold-dip raw eggs, then blow them out after they are dyed.

Boiled Method
This method involves boiling the eggs with the dye; the heat allows the dye to saturate the shells, resulting in intense, more uniform color. Set raw eggs in a pot of strained dye; bring to a boil for the amount of time specified in our color glossary. Remove and dry eggs as with the cold-dipping method.

Finish (optional)
Natural dyes tend to fade over time, so finish any eggs you plan to keep with a matte or gloss acrylic spray varnish. To create an egg-spraying stand, stick a 6-inch length of wire into a block of Styrofoam; prop a hollow egg onto the wire through one of its holes. Spray egg with a coat of varnish in a well-ventilated area, and let dry.

Color Glossary
Natural dyes can sometimes produce unexpected results, so don't be surprised if, for example, your red-cabbage dye yields blue eggs. Use the following guide to help you achieve the colors you desire.

Deep Gold: Boil eggs in turmeric solution, 30 minutes.
Sienna: Boil eggs in onion-skin solution, 30 minutes.
Dark, Rich Brown: Boil eggs in black coffee, 30 minutes.
Pale Yellow: Soak eggs in room-temperature turmeric solution, 30 minutes.
Orange: Soak eggs in room-temperature onion-skin solution, 30 minutes.
Light Brown: Soak eggs in room-temperature black coffee, 30 minutes.
Light Pink: Soak eggs in room-temperature beet solution, 30 minutes.
Light Blue: Soak eggs in room-temperature cabbage solution, 30 minutes.
Royal Blue: Soak eggs in room-temperature cabbage solution overnight.
Lavender: Soak eggs in room-temperature beet solution, 30 minutes. Follow with room-temperature cabbage solution, 30 seconds.
Chartreuse: Soak eggs in room-temperature turmeric solution, 30 minutes. Follow with room-temperature cabbage solution, 5 seconds.
Salmon: Soak eggs in room-temperature turmeric solution, 30 minutes. Follow with room-temperature onion-skin solution, 30 minutes.

Read more at Dyeing Eggs Naturally - Martha Stewart Crafts

Happy Easter! Stay tuned for Easter Brunch Recipes!