May 2008

A friend emailed me last week to say “Isn’t your blog supposed to have knitting on it?” Yep, it is. When I started this blog, knitting was definitely one of the main subjects that I wanted to write and photograph about. That has certainly not changed. Yet with Suzy and I working everyday to bring Shivaya Naturals to the world by the end of June, my personal knitting is taking a backseat. The yarn is beginning to really get dyed, the jewelry is almost complete, the soaps and oils are hitting their final stages and our website is being built by me with a new found respect for web developers. I have a feeling that an actual rhythm to this wonderful business is not far off, but for now, almost everything else is going to have to wait. Suzy and I are actually planning to spend the afternoon today, with our needles in hand, trying to remember the lazy days that we use to enjoy before we got the grand idea to become small business owners.

Today is Friday, my favorite morning of the week because the anticipation of the weekend is so special. Do you guys have that same feeling? The feeling that the weekend ahead could hold just about anything; A hike with family or friends, a great party, an evening spent around the pool with a barbecue? The possibilities seem endless.

I promised that I would review a food blog each Friday, and I did get a few emails last week wondering what had happened. The tornado came through 8 days ago, and I just didn’t have the time to put everything together. I apologize, but here it is; Food Blog Friday with Orangette.

Orangette is a one of the best Food-Lit blogs out there. Molly’s writing is casual, but so full of emotion that, at least for me, the desire to sit in her kitchen and just chat with her is overwhelming. I found the blog just about a month ago, and I have visited it with regularity ever since. Molly and I have a similar style of cooking, and at looking at food, so it was a great jumping off point for the rest of the Internet food world.

I spent the week choosing recipes from her blog to try. Almost everything that she has made is just so delicious sounding, and it was hard to pick and choose because the reality was that I wanted to simply stay in the kitchen for the next week and cook everything on her list.

I ended up choosing her Sliced Mushrooms with Fresh Mozzarella and Thyme, and Banana Bread with Chocolate and Cinnamon Sugar. The night that I chose to have the mushrooms, we were also planning to have hamburgers with foccacia bread. At first I thought that the pairing might not add up, but I don’t think that I could have been more wrong. First, let me be honest, this is one of the best side dishes that I have ever eaten. I don’t say that lightly, I have cooked a lot of food in my 32 years. I think that the first step in taking this dish from a good one to a great one is to choose the very best ingredients possible. I used organic and local shitake mushrooms, fresh thyme and some hand turned mozzarella cheese from a local shop. the dish itself took about five minutes to prepare, and I think even less to consume. The one and only thing that I did differently was to preheat my oven to 350 and put the mushrooms into it for about five minutes before turning on the broiler. I wanted the mushrooms to be a bit more heated through then the recipe called for. The smell from the start was fantastic, the mozzarella was a gorgeous golden, and the juices flowed pretty freely. We made sure to have some extra foccacia to soak everything up with, and it was truly a feast of the senses. My husband was the first to ask for seconds, and I would highly recommend you double the recipe so that the kind of race to the plate that occured in my family for the last morsel of this dish does not happen to you.

The Banana Bread with Chocolate and Cinnamon Sugar was one of the first recipes on Orangette that made me stop and take serious notice of the site. I loved the way that the recipe sounded, mainly because I had never thought of using a cinnamon sugar combination with banana bread. I had woken early last Saturday morning to a post-Memorial Day hangover with an incredible craving for this recipe. The previous week I had made sure that we had what we needed to make this, so that when the right moment arrived, we could whip it up with out much thought. It is an insanely easy bread to prepare. Again, I think that it was a total of five minutes from mixing bowl to bread pan. The smells that permeated our home were enough to arouse my entire family out of their slumber and into the kitchen. We took our coffee and banana bread out into the back patio and enjoyed one of the first real warm mornings that we have seen this season. It was the perfect start to a perfect weekend.
As a side note, for anyone wanting to make this gluten free, you can substitute a GF baking flour like Pamela’s and this will come out perfectly.

I wish that the week had allowed for me to choose a few more recipes to sample from Molly’s extensive list, but I do plan to try a lot more in the coming weeks and will let you know how they turn out. The recipes and the writings on Orangette are world class, and I would highly recommend everyone to stop over, say hello to Molly and enjoy a few fantastic dishes from Orangette.

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A Sad Day

May 23, 2008

An F3/F4 tornado ripped through the town that we live in today. I am in a state of shock to see the devastation that has occur ed just miles from our home. I think that I always knew that Northern Colorado had the occasional tornado, but they were always mainly mild. Today, the Northern Colorado/Wyoming area experienced 10 tornadoes, and the storms have now moved east towards Nebraska and Kansas. There is little that can be said, except prayers that those that have lost their homes and their lives can find peace. As for my family, we escaped unscathed, and now it is our responsibility to lend a hand to help put the pieces back together.

This is an unauthored picture that was taken here in Windsor by someone driving by.

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