Archive for June, 2010

Well… as close as it can be. Ryan and I only get 7 months a year to mark our anniversary because we got married on the 31st of a month (you know… 30 days has September, April, June, etc.). So today, the 30th, is as close is we’re going to get to a true 6 month anniversary.

And, while I really wish I could celebrate today by digging into the rest of that Italian Cream Cake sitting in my freezer, I’ll commemorate with posting a few more wedding pics. Special shout out to Pat’sFloral Designs, Eric Stamer Catering and Festive Fare for helping me pull together the wedding of my dreams and a rockin’ New Year’s Eve party to boot!


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Okay… it’s not mid-week yet, but the fact that I’m calling it that speaks for itself how slowly I feel this week is going by! Here are a few pick-me-ups!

Here’s a peek inside my market basket from Saturday morning. Fresh basil, chives and arugula.

Here’s a picture of the market from the outside.

And, lastly here’s a pic of asparagus from last night’s dinner. I love the combo of the greens and purples, it just might be my ultimate favorite color combo… ever!

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Friday Flowers

After last night’s ravaging storm, everyone here in Cville could use a little sunshine, including me! Thanks to my sweet husband I now have gorgeous Friday Flowers to look at. Happy Friday!

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I just had to have some guacamole today after watching Ina Garten make it a few days ago. Here are some pics and quick tips:

1. Avocados- I bought a “bag” of avocados… something I had never done before and was very skeptical of. But, I was very pleasantly surprised. All four of the avocados were perfectly ripe and none of them were bruised.

2. Onions/ Garlic- I’m not really a fan of either of these two things when they’re not cooked and in big chunks, but my friend Allison Dodson taught me a great trick for them. I throw them into my mini food processor attachment (that came with my immersion blender- my most favoritest kitchen gadget!) with a few tablespoons of lemon juice and the result is very fine mincing that looks sort of like a slushy.

3. Lemons- A word about lemons: They are so much better in guac than limes!!!

4. Mashing- A tip from Ina: Instead of mashing the guac with a fork, use a knife to slice through the avocados. It’s easier and cleaner!

5. Cilantro/ Seeded Tomates/ Red Pepper Flakes- Finish off the dish! Yum!

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My “Ode to Pesto” got me thinking about Pablo Neruda, the Chilean poet and Nobel Peace Prize winner who is famous for his odes to ordinary objects and actions: artichokes, bird watching, criticism, sleeping house, gentle bricklayer, bees.  As Margaret Sayers Peden says in the introduction to the book of Neruda’s odes that she translated, ” The poems sing of elements and evoke nature. They praise fundamental and essential subjects.”

I checked. He doesn’t have an ode to pesto, but he does have an ode to summer. It’s so wonderful to think of summer as fundamental and essential. Not just in the sense of seasons and cycles, but to us, to Neruda. Below is a passage of the translation of Neruda’s  “Oda al Verano.””

“Ode to Summer”

in the greenness, lips
of wild plums,
of soft dust,
copper drum,
and in the afternoon
the fire
the air
makes clover
dance, invades
the desert furnace,
a cool
in the somber
in the crackling
though unscorched

* Special thanks to Rach, if my memory serves me, for giving me this book or poetry years ago.

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Ode to Pesto

Nothing says summer to me like pesto.Every year on our birthdays (mine is July 31, my brother’s is July 12), my mom would make us a special meal— whatever we wanted. I would always choose pesto. It’s so ingrained in me. I just can’t separate the taste of pesto from the thought of summertime.

Here a few pictures from a recent batch of pesto I made. Can’t you just taste it?

Here is my mom’s pesto recipe:

2 cups fresh basil
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. walnuts or pine nuts
2 cloves garlic
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
* Sometimes I add a squeeze of lemon (not enough to taste, just enough to help the basil keep it’s bright green color)
* I’ve also experimented with substituting Panko for walnuts (in the case that you’re allergic or your don’t like walnuts or pinenuts)

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My dad is the youngest of seven kids. I am the second-youngest of I- don’t-know-how-many grandchildren my Grandma and Grandpa Kosut had. I say I-don’t-know-how-many because, it’s true, I don’t know how many. I haven’t met all of my Kosut cousins.

You see, my dad’s oldest brother, George, died before I was born while he and his family were living in California. I guess that family just lost touch with the rest of Kosut side of the family. And, living in Virginia, I only got to see the relatives on my dad’s side of the family about once a year. So, I guess meeting that part of the family just never happened.

I don’t know much, and have even less, to remember my grandparents by. I remember their house, so well. I remember my grandfather’s gruff voice, my grandmother’s slow chuckle, and I have the stories that my dad tells.

My grandparents didn’t have much of value but they had a lot of stuff. When it came time to move my grandmother to a nursing home, several years after my grandfather’s death, my dad and his brothers and sisters cleaned out the house that they grew up in, the house that my grandfather, so the story goes, built with his own two hands. I’m sure they gave away what they could but I’m also sure much of it was just thrown out.

As far as inheritances go, being second-youngest of I-don’t-know-how-many grandchildren doesn’t exactly earn you a prime spot for a family heirloom. But, cleaning out the house, my dad was able to snag a few things of grandmother’s for me that I’ve come to cherish. Scarfs.

Scarfs. The after-thought of an outfit. Such an unlikely, pedestrian thing to become an… well, heirloom. Maybe she bought them on clearance. Maybe they just sat in her drawer unworn. Did she ever think that someday, fifty years later, her granddaughter would be hanging on to them, trying to hang on to her?

Here are some of the scarfs.

Here’s a picture of my grandfather, grandmother and my dad’s oldest brother George in Niagara Falls. The year is 1936. They were both 22.

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