Thursday, October 22, 2009

Twisty Turny = Yum, or the "Left-over Breakfast Burrito" Phenomena

The other night I made a slightly inventive fall stew. It was not the best dish I'd ever made, but none-the-less it was yummy.

Using what I had in the fridge and pantry:

butternut squash - such a handsome fella

I roasted some butternut squash, onion and garlic, greased up with olive oil and seasoned with white pepper, salt and a pinch of cumin.

veggies going in to the sauna

Meanwhile I sauteed up the ground turkey with more onion & garlic and a squeeze from the handy tomato paste tube, then seasoned with s & p. Mixed in a can of diced tomatoes (I know, so lazy when the front yard is abundant), a can of garbanzo beans, and a 1/4 cup of water. I seasoned this with chili powder and cinnamon.

Once the the meat was all brown and the tomatoes were looking bubbly, I added in the roasted veggies and let it all meld together for a couple minutes. Spooned into a bowl with a glob of sharp cheddar on top - this dish made me want to pour a glass of red wine and light up the fireplace (so I did! But minus the fireplace since we don't have one).

So this was all good, not shabby - but Vince and I agreed that it needed a twist. We thought about it ... but not too hard.

The next morning Vince, with his man-ingenuity, gave this fall stew it's needed twist.

"Hey Elyse, come try this".

"No thanks, Dear. You know I only like coffee for breakfast".

"Fine, I didn't really want to share anyway".

I walk into the kitchen to find a fall stew with scrambled eggs and cheese and hot sauce breakfast burrito.

I ate it a l l regardless of my coffee-only breakfast rule.

And it was..........

soooooo yummy.

See for yourself below:

Excessively Southern Californian? Eh, who cares! It was good!

I suppose you could call this the "left-over breakfast burrito" phenomena. Even I, EHo, will break my coffee-only breakfast rule for a breakfast burrito made from last night's goods. Try it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Foodie Things

Three topics for today's blog entry:

1. Has everyone heard that Gourmet magazine has shut down shop?
Just last week I was telling Vince, "You know Dear, I am a real foodie now and need a real high class magazine to accompany this status. Thus, I need a subscription to Gourmet for Christmas!" I bet Gourmet magazine might have changed their minds had I subscribed sooner...

Sad, sad loss for the food magazine world.

2. I found this very entertaining and motivating article about the Naked Chef, Jamie Oliver and his most recent project. I have always been ambivalent about him, but I now have a greater appreciation. Plus it totally addresses the ever relevant Public Health topic! Check out the article:

Putting America's Diet on a Diet

3. Today our landlord/next door neighbor told us to help ourselves to her harvest- she just can't eat it all fast enough. To this I said, "OKAY!!!"

Tonight's dinner is consisted of tomatoes and basil from the back (and front) yard.

Next week I start consuming the Japanese eggplant and red peppers! Suggestions?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Welcome to my new kitchen!


We have uprooted ourselves from perfect San Diego and ended up in Santa Monica - a not so shabby little nook of Los Angeles - while I attend grad school at UCLA. We now live in half of an old Craftsman-style home not very far from the beach. The duplex has old funky quirks and lots and lots of hardwood!

The kitchen is smaller than I was used to, but that's not saying much!

The weather has just barely started to cool down, so I think tonight I'll roast up some garlic and beets - and maybe even a batch of pumpkin bread!

Procrastinating studying? Yes.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Refrigerator Revelations

Does this look messy or cluttered to you?

Because sometimes I feel that way; that I should strip my frigde clean and have a blank slate to look at before I ponder dinner. But this evening when I was lingering over ice cubes I noticed that I love my fridge! And what I love about it is the little notes and pictures and invitations that I have left up to remind me what a wonderful community and family I surround myself with.

Below you can see that I decorate my fridge with beloved photos of my sweet nieces and nephew, invitations from fantastic weddings (Todd and Erin's) and memorable 40th anniversary parties (Mom & Dad). Most these items are suctioned to the fridge with a set of italian poetry words that Rachel gave us one Christmas. On this fridge I also have the Monterey Bay Aquarium's sustainable fish list (good find, check it here) which reminds me of my 5 year anniversary road trip up the California coast with Vince; an angel magnet my mother gave me one year that makes me smile every time I see it; a Homel family contact card - fantastic back story, another entry!
But as I stood there this evening, while refilling my ice tea, I thought to myself - look at all these wonderful people. I looked down the list of names of Homel family members (on the contact card) and it brought a huge grin to my face to think about each person. I have an amazing family and I feel so blessed to be able to clutter my refrigerator with their faces and the knick-knacks that remind me of memorable times.

I also have some other items up there that should probably come on down, but I hate removing an item from the fridge because... well, because I am just sentimental like that!

What does your fridge look like?

Monday, August 24, 2009


I have seriously been carrying quite a bit of guilt about my lack of posting for the past month - maybe two?! So, without further adieu, let us get back to where I left off.

Vince proposed and I practice being a good faux-Sicilian fiancée:

This vegetable I am holding is called a Cucuzza (pronounced "koo-koot-zaa"). It is a Sicilian long squash; similar to zuchinni, but milder in flavor with a hard outer skin. This one is small by all comparisons, since often they grow to be 4 or 5 feet long. This cucuzza was grown by Vince's father, who got the seeds from plants his father brought over from Sicily nearly 50 years ago - cool, huh? When you plant the seeds, you also have to install a trellis over them (check it out here) so the vine can grow up and the vegetable can drop down.

The only way I have eaten this vegetable is in a super simple, but oh-so-delicious soup. Below is how I made it:

Chop the cucuzza into manageable sections and with a vegetable peeler, peel the skin off.

Cube into mouth-sized chunks.

Also chop up onions (in this case 3) and garlic (for my preference, about half a head).

Sauté all three together, season with salt & pepper until soft & translucent.
(I like it a little spicy, so I also added a pinch of crushed red pepper).

Add either 3 fresh home-grown tomatoes, peeled and seeded - then chopped (yum!) or the equivalent in a can. Add the tomatoes and 4 cups vegetable broth. Bring the soup to a boil and then simmer for at least 30 minutes to develop the flavors. Right at the end add a handful of broken spaghetti, and cook until al dente.

To serve: Add a heaping spoonful of grated parmesan, slivered basil and crusty bread on the side - oh! don't forget a glass of vino!

Buon Appetito a Tutto!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

My frontal lobe.

One's frontal lobe (of their brain) is said to reach full maturity by age 25. This means, that until age 25 one is developmentally considered a teenager.

I am a few days early, but I think my frontal lobe just reach maturity.

I was sitting here thinking about how I need to write a blog and was considering writing one on the garbanzo beans I made for dinner last night and then turned into hummus. I was about to write all that when a group of seven preteens rode (on their trikes) past my condo.

I hear them yell out a saying I particularly despise. I step outside onto our patio to observe, and they say it again!

I pipe up and tell them firmly, "hey kids, why don't you tone it down."

"Fuck you bitch" - YES THEY SAID THIS! (sorry for the foul language Mom, but remember I am just quoting).

And then it happened. My frontal lobe matured past teenagedom and said,

"I will find your mother. And I will -"

I get cut off with laughter and the preteens bicycle away.
I almost laughed at myself. I will find your mother?? Oh geez!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Today I learned...

That when chopping peanuts, you pound - not chop!
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Thursday, June 11, 2009

This is a cucchiaino.

Say, "coo - key - i - eeno".

This is my favorite word that I learned in Italian on our Italian vacation. It is a little spoon, used for lots of good things, such as, stirring caffe or eating gelato.

Me piache cucchiaini.

This is a phrase you hear everywhere. This is my least favorite word from Italy. While I agree, Italia is bella and the Lago is bello - I do not want to hear these two words for a while. EVERYTHING is bella/o in Italy, and sometimes I just didn't agree. The word bella and the word bello are not belli.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Last, but not least!

My new mantra is, "I am not jet-lagged, I am not jet-lagged".  And I almost believed myself until I realized that I have been falling asleep earlier than my baby niece Izze for more than a week now.  This is the first night since getting home from Europe that I have been awake past 830pm!

And without further explanation, I would like to formally blame the tardiness of this entry on the jet-lagging.

Imagine me waving my hands and magically turning back time a week and a half

Hi People! We just left Sicily, via airplane, and arrived in Venice.  Best idea ever!  We arrived in under two hours and headed straight for St. Mark's square.  We found a fancy hotel and rented out the smallest, teeniest, tiniest hotel room (made for one person, squeezed in another) for two nights.  We found that Venice really sucks during the day - one too many king kong sized cruise boats dropping off hoards of crazy tourists to really enjoy.  Venice by night however is just magical.  To avoid this tourist-madness we took a day trip to the island of Murano and bought lots of gifts.  Then came back and enjoyed a peaceful, tourist free, evening in Venice.  Our favorite activity in Venice was getting lost.

canal ways instead of alleyways.

"Feed the birds, tuppence a bag..."


From Venice we hopped on a train and rode west then north to Lago di Como - the best place on earth.  No - seriously.  Lago di Como (also know as Lake Como) is the most picturesque, serene place we went the whole trip.  It really felt like the 'sit back, relax and have a glass of wine while you enjoy the view' kind of vacation we hadn't yet experienced.  We stayed in a small town called Varenna, but kept confusing people by calling it Ravenna - derrrr.  This little town is directly across the lake from Bellagio.  Our hotel was up the hill and had PERFECT lake views.  The lake is not only perfectly blue, but then is also surrounded by tall peaking, snow capped mountains and those are layered with green lush trees. I am nearly shedding a tear right now for how much I miss Lake Como.

Varenna - Ravenna?

Ugh. Italy was waaaaaaaaaaaay better than work.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Sicily is great for many things, but not for internet reception.

Apologies to my devoted readers (Nicole, Allie and maybe Lindsay and Rachel?), I have left you curious of my whereabouts and happenings for over a week!

We left from Salerno last week on an overnight train to Palermo. We woke to the sunrise, ocean & mountain views, and the smell of cigarettes from the old man smoking in the cabin next to us. Glorious Sicily welcomed us with a smile and the prospects of not carrying our bags again for a week.

We jumped on the first train out of Palermo to Bagheria and the first bus from Bagheria to Aspra, the small beach town just east of Palermo where Vince's father was born and raised. We didn't want to be a burden on any family still living in Aspra, so we figured we get a hotel and then go find them. Well... We found them first and they refused to let us stay anywhere but in their extra home above their store with perfect ocean views. Their generosity went far beyond this with family dinners, day trips to perfect beaches, boat rides around the coast, and LOTS of gelato (one cousin owned a gelateria and I was in heaven!)

Vince's father's cousin took us in and his children showed us the best time, only one gimmick - they spoke nearly zero English! Vince got to practice his Sicilian and by the end of the week I was even sleep talking in Italian!

We were totally immersed in Sicilian culture and we soaked up every minute of it. We ate lots of seafood, homemade vino and felt right at home. Vince even got to see his grandfather's farm - quite significant if you know Vince.

Added bonus to an already perfect trip : Vince took me to the top of the local mountain and once we had a view of the ocean and Aspra - he asked me to marry him! Happiness followed :)

Next blog entry on our brief but enjoyed stay in Venice.

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Then we went to the island of Capri

Just 20 minutes off the coast of Sorrento is the beautiful - I mean bella - island of Capri. We traveled by boat there and back, but in between rode the ski lift up the mountain for spectacular views, zipped around tight corners on small cobblestone roads in an oversized bus and laid out/played on a pebble-y beach. Ahhhh the good life!
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Saturday, May 30, 2009

More ruins.

By popular demand - aka Nicole - I bring you an entry on Pompeii.

I, like a turd, forgot to take photos on my phone of the other ruins we saw in Rome, but captured some at Pompeii. I am admittedly not a history buff. In fact the only class I failed in college was Western Civ (ok...maybe some others too in my "dark ages" era, don't tell my parents). This being said, a trip to Pompeii felt a little obligatory for me. BUT! Pompeii was super cool!

Walking through a complete city, ruined yet preserved, of seriously ancient times was so fascinating. When my child studies European / Roman history I will take them to these ruins! If money permits :)

Highlights included, but were not limited to:

- ancient roman style fast food restaurants
- massive roman baths
- mosaic "beware of dog" welcome mats
And my favorite (tee hee hee)
- brothel, with pictorial menu on the ceiling

If you get the chance, when in Rome do like the Pompeiians did....

PS : the pictures are as follows,

Pompeii ruins with ominous Vesuvius in the background

Bodies formed from pouring plaster into the space preserved around bones

all other photos on Vince's camera ... Sorry!

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