Category Archives: Garden

Marinated zucchini salad

You can find an earlier version of this recipe here from back when I first started this blog. I thought about just updating that post but didn’t want to wipe out the memory of our early garden completely.  This year we’re in a new house and our garden isn’t quite ready to give us tasty zucchini. However this no cook meal was just right to celebrate the first day of summer.

Marinated Zucchini Salad

  • 1 zucchini, sliced thinly
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Lemon juice
  • Fresh, crumbly cheese of your choice
  • Fresh herbs
  • Optional prosciutto or pine nuts

Layer thin slices of zucchini with salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice. It’s key to let the salad sit for about an hour before eating to let the lemon juice tenderize the zucchini so that it doesn’t taste raw.

Experiment with your favorite crumbly cheese and fresh herbs. Today’s version featured fresh cotija cheese and basil. I’ve made this before with feta, ricotta salata, and goat cheese.  If you want to make a heartier salad, proscuitto and toasted pine nuts are a great addition. I’d love to hear about your favorites.



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Filed under Dinner, Garden, Quick Healthy, Salad, Vegetable


IMG_0821One of our favorite things to do on a weekend is have a “cooking project day.” This past weekend a Sunday with no plans, and a ribs on sale at the market led to a rib-centered cooking project day. It was perfect to play around with a spice rub, slow cook the ribs while we did some garden projects, and enjoy a tasty meal in our clean backyard.
IMG_6488We’ve done dry rubbed ribs in the oven once before, and this time set out to actually document what went in the dry rub. We looked at a few different recipes, and went off of a tiny jar of the last batch we made, tasting and adjusting along the way. Most important is to find your preferred balance between sweet (brown sugar), spicy and salty. The rub was so good I couldn’t help but sneak little tastes along the way. IMG_6497Rub up those ribs, covering every available inch of space in spices. IMG_6521Slow roast in a 250 degree oven for two and a half hours while you go about your at home projects, baste with a “mop” sauce and roast for another half hour at 300 degrees. Finish off with a broil at the end to crisp up the crust. IMG_6528The mop sauce we made was a bit too tart for my taste, so we added some of the juices from the ribs and the rest of the spice rub, and simmered it down into a tasty sauce.IMG_6530


Dry Rubbed Oven Roasted Ribs

  • Servings: 2 half racks
  • Difficulty: Medium
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(for two half rack baby back ribs)
2 Tb brown sugar
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp dried onion
1/2 tsp smoked salt

2 half rack baby back ribs

3 Tb Mustard (or 2 TB dry mustard and 3 TB water if you find yourself out of yellow mustard like myself)
12 Tb apple cider vinegar
1 Tb honey

Take the ribs out of the fridge and mix all of the dry rub ingredients together. Rub the ribs all over with the dry rub. Pack as much on as you can, and don’t forget about the sides. Do this part early in the day so the flavors have a chance to permeate the meat. Wrap the ribs in foil, and put them back in the fridge until you are ready to start slow roasting them. Place the foil wrapped ribs on a baking sheet and roast in the oven at 250 degrees for approximately two and a half hours. Meanwhile mix together the ingredients for the mop sauce and set aside.
After two and a half hours, take the ribs out of the oven. Collect the juices from the meat to simmer down into a sauce. Baste the ribs, bone side up, with the mop sauce and put back into the oven at 300 degrees for 30 minutes. Baste the ribs again, meat side up with the mop sauce and put back into the oven HOW LONG. Baste the ribs again and broil about 5 minutes on each side to crisp them up.

Boil 1/3 c of the mop sauce with the juice from the ribs, and any left over spice rub to make a delicious sauce.

And, if your interested, some pics of the garden after a day of planting:IMG_0815 IMG_0823

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Filed under cooking, Cooking Project, Dinner, Garden, Recipes

CSA day! 

Happy Friday! And happy spring! I recieved my monthly box of fruits and veggies from my local CSA today. It’s always fun to start with a box of ingredients, and work my meal planning for the week around those.   I’m signed up with Farm Fresh to You. I love that you can go online the week before and customize your box. This was the big selling point for me since I do have a small vegetable garden, and didn’t want to be receiving duplicates from a monthly CSA box of exactly what I was already harvesting. 

This week I recieved:

  • Purple fingerling potatoes
  • Red beets
  • Gold beets
  • Frisée
  • Carrots
  • Kohlrabi
  • Baby broccoli
  • French breakfast radishes
  • Avocados
  • Lacinto kale

I see a light frisée salad in my future for tonight’s dinner, perhaps with some oranges and avocado wedges and some shaved fennel, an appetizer of radishes with butter and salt (something I discovered I loved in Paris), and maybe some garlicky broccoli. 

If you’re local to San Diego and interested in trying out a CSA box, I highly recommend Farm Fresh to You. You can sign up for a box with my referral code: SHAN1223 and get $10 off of your first box. 

I hope you all enjoy some fresh spring veggies this week.  


Filed under Garden, Review, Vegetable



A quick update on the garden, peas are exploding, radishes are ready, and we’re still harvesting tons of peppers.


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January 23, 2016 · 5:42 am

Garden Planning for Fall and Winter

We’ve just returned from a two week trip to Europe (more on that later!) and have come back to find our garden in a sad state. The flourishing tomato plants from two weeks ago are now dead, dried out, and look like they could be featured in a haunted house. The cucumber vines are all withered, and the herbs are impossible overgrown.

We spent a day cutting back and dragging out everything, resulting in a huge pile of peppers (check back on more to do with those as well) and lots of herbs to dry and replenish my spices. After getting everything more or less tidied up, we’ve come up with a game plan for the fall and winter season in our garden. Here’s a list of what we’ve planted today:

image Continue reading

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A Taste of Autumn – Oktoberfest and Apples in Julian

For those of us who live in Southern California, there is not much in the way of seasons.  Yes its October, but it still feels like June.  To get a bit of that fall color you see elsewhere (and really, just a bit) many head out to the mountains on the eastern edge of San Diego.  Which is exactly where I was headed this past weekend.

Randy and I took a day trip to Julian for their Oktoberfest.  Note to self, go a different weekend!  Julian is always crowded this time of year- like I said before, it’s pretty much the only place that remotely feels like fall – but this was especially packed!  The Oktoberfest was pretty cool.  They had music, and we got some delicious bratwurst and sauerkraut, but I think for future trips we’ll go a different weekend.

While in Julian we also picked up apple pies for the parents.  Julian is semi-famous for their apple pies, so it would be horrible to skip them.  Did a little browsing of the country themed shops, and walked around almost enjoying the old-towny feel of the place.  I say almost because of the crowds.

The best part of the day was that on the way home we stopped at an orchard.  I was hoping to get to walk around and pick my own apples, but at this point in the season they have all already been harvested.  Randy didn’t get my fascination with picking them, reminding me that we can pick fruit off of his trees all summer.  I still forget about that.  We did get to buy a bag and fill it with as many apples and pears as we wanted.  I loved that we got a chance to taste all of the apples that they offer before selecting them.  I filled up a giant basket and am looking forward to finding many apple-inspired recipes.

We finished off our day picking lemons at Randy’s house, sending me home with tons of fresh produce.

Lemon Tree at Randy's

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Filed under Garden, Travel