Agora, Magdalena Abakanowicz Something struck me on a recent visit to Chicago ~ why are some cities meccas for cultural philanthropy and others are not? Everywhere I turned in Chicago it seemed, there was another outstanding example of civic leadership in support … Continue reading
The garden has morphed into this huge mass of vines and leaves. It’s almost impossible to distinguish between the lemon cucumbers and the Roma tomatoes …or are those pear tomatoes?
While we were in Chicago at the end of June we had friends – Elliott and Tom – water and harvest the garden to prevent it from dying under our blistering Texas sun. They did a marvelous job keeping the garden going as you can see. When we returned home I was able to harvest 3-1/2 cups of tomatoes, enough to make the tomato sauce I posted under Rome wasn’t built in a day. The Roma’s were a bit small so I had to cheat a little and use a few pear tomatoes to achieve the 3-1/2 cups I needed. The pear tomatoes worked very well and added a tiny bit of sweetness to the sauce.
I harvested two Ananas heritage melons before we left for Chicago, and when we left it appeared the melon vine had produced all it could this year. On our return home we were pleasantly surprised to see not only a new melon growing, but the largest one to date!
2 days before harvest
day of harvest
I am not growing basil this season – In my past garden endeavors – in Eugene, Oregon and Seattle, Washington – I never had luck with herbs, and these are the places where everything grows lush and full. So I didn’t even consider growing herbs here in Austin. My guess is that it would take planting a big crop of any herb, cover them with shade cloth and water them more than I water the veggies to be able to grow enough herbs to harvest. I could be wrong about the watering, but I definitely think shade cloth is necessary. I did buy some beautiful basil at Whole Foods in order to make the tomato sauce, and used the remainder to make a big batch my famous walnut basil pesto – which can be frozen if we don’t eat it all first.
Walnut Basil Pesto
- 3 cups fresh basil leaves
- 3 large garlic cloves
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts
- 1/2 cup walnut pieces
- 1/2-3/4 cup olive oil (I start with 1/2 and add more if necessary)
- 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- freshly ground pepper to taste
In a food processor add all the ingredients except the oil. Process for 2-3 minutes or until completely chopped. While processing add drizzle in oil until well mixed and moist enough to mix well with pasta.
Use the pesto with pasta or as a spread.
Posted in organic garden, recipes
Tagged Ananas Heritage Melon, Austin, basil, Catherine Kenyon, Chicago, cook with a view, eugene, lemon cucumbers, melon, melons, Oregon, Organic Garden, pear tomatoes, pesto, Roma tomatoes, Seattle, Tomato Sauce, Walnut pesto, Whole Foods
Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
Its easy to see that this pose helps with balance. So many of us struggle with balance. Not just the standing upright kind of balance, but the juggling of our every day home life, family, friends and work kind of balance. How many of us put ourselves on the needs list let alone at the top of it? This pose is a great opportunity to practice while you meditate on the other balancing acts in your life – let me know what comes up. ~ Nameste
Lisa Johnson of Energies Balanced showing the full expression of this asana.
This is an important pose for me to practice after having foot surgery on both of my big toes. I think it’s easy to take our toes for granted – they’re short, often covered up with socks and shoes and they’re far from our direct line of vision. But toes and feet provide us with an all important gift — balance. Once something happens to your balance (at least in my case) it’s time to give great thanks to the Almighty Toe.
Tolerance, by Barcelona-based artist Jaume Plensa along Houston’s Allen Parkway – the route of the parade.
I was in Houston last week at the American Association of Museums (AAM) annual conference. Houston has one of the strongest cultural scenes in the country, and it was great to be amidst all that creative energy for a few days. I thought I would share with you a few pictures from the Houston Art Car Parade and the Menil Collection.
The Art Car Parade should be on your bucket list if you love to laugh, to see people’s sense of creativity and humor and just want to celebrate life.
Part Airstream, part hot rod
Houston offers so much diversity. The next group of images are quite different from those of the parade, and they bear witness as previous images do of the need to create in the continuum of life . The Menil is a campus of buildings created to house the collection of John and Dominique de Menil. The collection is spiritual, inspiring and life affirming. The location, a quiet, peaceful residential neighborhood, and is as fitting as the artwork in its midst. I felt the most profound solitude walking in the neighborhood going from one building to the next. It gave me the same safe feeling I had as a child in my front yard – filled with awe and wonder and ready for exploration within the confines and safety of my parents gaze. As you can see the experience was quite personal, and I imagine that is part of the intent. I hope that you will find the time to visit this gem. I can’t wait to go back.
Outside Rothko Chapel, Menil Campus
This gallery contains 8 photos.
Each day when I go out to our little garden square I am shocked by the changes. The green limbs, vines and leaves seem to double in size every night and it reminds me of the Incredible Hulk. The Hulk … Continue reading
On April 30th, cook with a view hosted its third cooking class ~ Healthy Mexican Food. It was a great success, and the food was out of the world if I do say so myself. Below are a couple of recipes from that class that I hope you’ll enjoy. I would love to hear from you if you try one or both of these. What’s your favorite Mexican Food? Share it and let’s see if we can find a way to give it a healthy overhaul – beyond just using reduced fat cheese!
Chayote and Chile Poblano Soup
- 2 poblano chiles roasted and cleaned
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cups white onion, chopped
- 2 lbs. chayote peeled and chopped (shown in the photographs)
- 1 cup corn
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth, heated
- 1 cup Mexican cream or heavy cream
- 1-2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. white pepper
- pinch red pepper flakes
peeled chayote squash
cubed chayote squash
- Cut poblano chiles into strips and set aside.
- Place the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. When hot, add the garlic and onion. Sauté for about 8-10 minutes.
- Add the chayote, corn and broth, as well as the roasted poblano chiles, salt, white and red pepper. Let simmer for about 30 minutes or until the chayote is soft.
- Place the soup in a food processor in two parts and puree. Or use an immersion blender.
- Return to pot and add crème.
Low-Carb Option Omit the cup of corn and lower the carbs to 11 grams.
Low-Fat Option Use low-fat milk instead of the cream and lower the calories to 116 as well as shedding 10 grams of fat.
Mexican Chopped Salad with Honey-Lime Dressing Salad
- 8 cups chopped romaine lettuce
- 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and well drained
- 2 cups chopped seeded tomato
- 2 cups chopped peeled jicama
- 1 ½ cups fresh corn kernels, uncooked (or frozen or canned)
- 3/4 cup thinly sliced radishes
- Half a ripe avocado, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/4 cup crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. honey
- 2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 large scallion bulb, finely minced
Toss all salad ingredients in a large bowl. In separate bowl, mix dressing ingredients. Pour dressing over mixture and toss again. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
… and neither was our garden.
The organic garden we just installed is not exactly as I had dreamed it would be when we bought our house, but its a work in progress. It has given me plenty of ideas of what would make gardening easier and ultimately more fun. I’ll have to wait a little while before I start adding major landscape elements though. For now I am happy to have just a little plot of land to dig in and put down roots.
Starting to take shape
Here’s a little recipe to get you dreaming about fresh Roma tomatoes.
Fresh Tomato Sauce
- 1 Tbsp good olive oil
- 1/2 small red onion, diced
- 4 Tbsp garlic, minced
- 6 fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade
- 3 Tbsp red wine
- 28 oz. of fresh Roma (plum) tomatoes
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat (do not use a non-stick pan). Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onions are translucent about 5-7 minutes. Deglaze with red wine and add the tomatoes crushing them with the back of a wooden spoon or with your hands as you add them. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the basil leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer for a bout 20 – 25 minutes. Adjust the seasoning if needed.
Makes 3 cups. You can freeze this sauce for up to 6 months.
Posted in catherine's favorite things, organic garden, recipes
Tagged Austin, Catherine Kenyon, cook with a view, garden, Heirloom, organic, Organic Garden, Roma, Rome, Tomato, Tomato Sauce
Extended Side Angle Pose (Utthita Parsvakonasana)
One of my favorite asanas is this standing pose – extended side angle. Standing poses are helpful in strength, alignment, agility and they help your circulatory and digestive systems function more effectively. Standing poses help bring awareness to your posture.
Lisa Johnson from Energies Balanced
Catherine’s version of the pose. I need some work here, but it still is one of my favorite stretches.
Posted in Yoga Moves
Tagged agility, alignment, asana, Austin, Catherine Kenyon, circulatory system, cook with a view, digestive system, Energies Balanced, extended side angle, pose, Utthita Parsvakonasana
Warrior 2 Pose (Virabhadrasana)
This asana has a number of important benefits. Warrior 2 strengthens and stretches the legs, ankles, groin, chest, shoulders and lungs. It stimulates the abdominal organs and increases stamina. And it is a said to be a good pose for osteoporosis. With all these benefits, why not add warrior 2 to your daily yoga practice? Below you can see the full expression of the pose by Lisa Johnson of Energies Balanced, and below that you can compare it to my pose.
My stance should be wider (my back leg should extend farther behind me, bringing my torso closer to the ground). My right foot is turned inward too much, and should be at a right angle to my stance. My gaze is proper and my arms are in pretty good alignment. What I love about yoga is that even if my pose is not the full expression yet, I still reap great benefits. I hope you find these monthly yoga moves segments helpful. Let me know if you like them. If not, let me know how they can be improved.
Last Sunday I enjoyed someone else’s cooking. I went to Central Market for a cooking class and brunch with Gabrielle Hamilton owner and chef of Prune, a 30-seat bistro in lower Manhattan. Gabrielle has also just written a peeled back, honest memoir of how she’s made an 11-year success in the restaurant business in New York ~ and more revealing how she survived getting there. I highly recommend Blood, Bones and Butter, you won’t be able to put it down.
The brunch menu included a number of Prune’s all time favorites. To taste these items you’ll have to take a class from Gabrielle, or better yet visit Prune. She is currently on a 19-city book tour, so you may still have time to see her. I will tantalize you with the class menu, and share my own granola recipe which is similar to what they make at Prune. My recipe is an adaptation of one my oldest sister gave me years ago.
Sunday Brunch Menu
- Bloody Mary Mix (this was virgin & for those who wanted, a beer chaser was offered)
- Butter Crumbled Eggs with spicy chick peas, olive butter & smoked okra – Rick’s Picks smokra (I made this today for me and Patrick!)
- Dutch Apple Pancake
My granola recipe:
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup local honey
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
- 3 cups organic rolled oats
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (this is a Prune inspired addition)
- 1 1/2 cups of dried fruit ( I use dried cranberries and currants)
Preheat oven to 325 F
In a saucepan over medium heat, stir the oil, honey and syrup (Tip ~ measure oil first. This helps the sticky honey and syrup pour out of measuring cup easily.) In a separate bowl toss together the remaining ingredients, and pour warmed syrup mixture over dry ingredients. Mix well until all ingredients are coated. Spread evenly in large baking dish, and bake until a dark golden brown for 35 minutes (stir several times while baking to ensure even browning). Cool, and mix in dried fruit.
Cat and Gabrielle, 2011 by unknown class participant
Posted in recipes, what catherine's reading
Tagged Blood Bones Butter, brunch, Catherine Kenyon, Central Market, cook with a view, eggs, Gabrielle Hamilton, granola, Manhattan, New York, Prune, Rick's Picks, smokra