Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day Dinner

I combined two bouquets from the farmers market for my Mother's Day centerpiece.  Hom, one of my favorite vendors, saved the first peonies of the season for me.  Can you believe I got all these flowers for ten bucks?  Such a bargain!

My mom has gotten me hooked on peonies; they are one of her favorite flowers, so I knew she'd appreciate these on the table.  I arranged the flowers Saturday night, then on Sunday, my son set the table for dinner and my husband did the cooking while I took a nap.  Mmmmmmm!  He made Spaghetti Bolognese and it was superb.  Did all the dishes, too!

We first had Spaghetti Bolognese in 1992 in the dining room of the miniature hotel we were staying at in Nerja, Spain.  It was our first trip to Europe and after a few days in Madrid and Toledo, we rented a car and drove south to the Costa del Sol.  Our Frommer's Budget Travel Guide led us to the Cala-Bela hotel and for about $28 US dollars per night we got a room with a small patio overlooking the Mediterranean and a secluded cove just steps away.  Yes, it was terribly romantic. 

I would post the recipe, BUT HE WON'T GIVE IT TO ME! He says it's different every time and he has never written it down.  Here's a version from   My husband would never use as much olive oil and butter as it calls for and I do know he used prosciutto instead of pancetta and half-n-half in place of milk.  And I'm pretty sure all of the ground meat was beef.  Oh, and there was some white cooking wine in there somewhere.

Definitely a recipe worth trying and tweaking to your own tastes.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Mother's Day, Mom

Photo by Keri Blue Photography
March 2010

To my beautiful mother, who not only taught me to cook, but from whom I learned:

to make my family my highest priority,

that building a successful marriage is a noble pursuit,

that using my gifts and talents to bless my home and community is never a waste,

that "Beauty will get their attention, but you have to develop your brain to hold their interest."

and whose graciousness, refinement, elegance, sophistication, commitment, selflessness,

passion for people, and Southern charm inspire me daily.

Thanks, Mom. Happy Mother's Day.

Tea Time

With the sun finally starting to show itself for more than an hour or two, it's time to switch from my morning cup of cocoa to something ice-cold and refreshing. My favorite warm weather drinks include San Pellegrino mineral water, homemade raspberry lemonade, and iced tea.

I grew up drinking Lipton's iced tea or my grandmother's "sweet tea" which is mostly sugar. These days, I prefer a lightly sweetened caffeine-free version ( I use Sucanat, local honey, or stevia) to quench my summertime thirst.

I have tried making my own herbal iced tea using mint from my garden, but it just never tasted like "real" iced tea. I discovered this variety at Fred Meyer a few years ago and it's now my number one choice. It tastes just like black tea, either hot or cold, but it is a naturally caffeine-free (not decaffeinated) blend of herbs. They don't normally stock it anymore, but I have them special-order a case of it every spring when the weather finally warms up.

Directions are on the box. I pour 4 cups of boiling water over 8 tea bags in the 2-quart pitcher, add sweetener to taste, let steep 15 minutes, then add 4 cups cold water and refrigerate it overnight.