Archive for May, 2011

Monday, May 30, 2011

day off


A hedge of fennel, fresh bounty from my neighbor, Paige’s garden.

My parents are visiting. Fresh boysenberries and apricots from Paige’s yard, a baguette, croissant, ricotta raspberry cake and key lime cheesecake from the farmer’s market.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Happy weekend!

I have neighbors who grow berries and flowers and share, sweet!

Neighbor Mark’s mulberries can be bought at our local Jimbo’s market in Carlsbad, labelled Mulberry Madness Organic. With the trees spanning the width of 50ft, you can say it’s a little mad over there. He has a few of these trees dotting his yard and it’s like one giant canopy of leaves, the perfect shade tree. I eat them on their own or throw some in my smoothie or cereal in the morning. They are high in antioxidants, a rich, sweet flavor.

Boysenberries from Paige’s and mulberries from Mark, cherries from the market.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

blue ribbon

Flipping through the latest issue of San Diego magazine and surprise! Blue Ribbon Artisan Pizzeria in Encinitas was critic’s pick for best new restaurant. How awesome, a well deserved accolade as they dish up some great food.

With all that’s going on with the house renos I don’t get there as often as I’d like these days but at least once a week at home I make a quick bruschetta that’s inspired by Blue Ribbon’s Rustic Bread Bruschetta with Marinated Cherry Tomatoes, Basil and Saba. It’s so simple. I serve it with some fresh mozzarella along with a salad, you can’t go wrong.

Saba is rare, it’s more expensive, the sweetener of choice in Italy. It’s made from the same grapes as balsamic vinegar but it isn’t aged or fermented. The grapes are slowly cooked down on an open fire for 2 days, just long enough to caramelize the natural sugars. Like most people, I don’t have a bottle of saba in my kitchen pantry nor is it readily available at my local market so balsamic vinegar with a smidge of honey or agave nectar works. One day I’ll get my hands on a bottle, for now this’ll do. Try it.

Bruschetta with Marinated Cherry Tomatoes

a few slices of your favorite bread or baguette, toasted

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

7 cherry tomatoes, each one cut in half

a few fresh basil leaves,thinly sliced

a smidge of honey or agave nectar

a pinch of sea salt

fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Monday, May 23, 2011

rug ideas

I’ve been searching for years now for a nice wool rug. The search made harder by the fact that I’m working with limited funds on this item, it must be a deal. To date I’ve only lucked out once, something I can live with, it’s pretty but there’s more than one room that needs a rug so I keep patiently looking. I saw these pics of one of the buyers for Opening Ceremony’s home in Williamsburg, NY and it gave me hope, pretty rugs do exist. The rug Kate Foley has in her closet is pretty, I need one just like that for my bedroom. It’s bright, different shapes, kinda abstract navajo-ish, a direction I thought I’d never go but I saw the pic and it strikes me as perfect, I love and waannt! The story behind it makes it even more special, she salvaged it from famous photographer, Patrick Demarchelier’s studio. It was used as a prop for a shoot and was going to be thrown away. Whaat? that’s crazy. Score! I’m liking the one off of the kitchen too, you can see a sliver of it below the kitchen counter, the colors and pattern are pretty as well. The rug under the dining room table is bold, it works. All pics from Refinery 29.

Friday, May 20, 2011

the shit off your shoes

Thanks everyone for checking the blog out, your comments are much appreciated, all over the map like my scatterbrain posts, they made me laugh, take note.

“Yikes! Dia you say shit a bit much, ya think?”

Potty mouth me and my husband says it’s the Winnipeg part, he’s especially humored when I punctuate my sentences with a subtle F***! That’s always received with a cringe, so very Fargo of me.

Talking of shit, this morning it’s the shit off your shoes. Well it is around here. When tv programming fails us, which it often does we always play, “Ladies and Gentlemen, The Rolling Stones.” The Stones definitely at their best!

TGIF! It’s a rain-free weekend!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


The winner for Saveur’s Best Culinary Essay 2011 is, “In the Kitchen with Grandma” by fellow blogger, Bon Appetempt. She’s a really good storyteller, well deserved! Definitely my vote, a must read folks.

Some morning rain today and I think that’s it, we are in the clear now, sunny, blue skies again. Two days of on/off rain was nice and my 300 gallon rain barrel is full again. It kinda sucked for the house though, with the roof only half way up, yesterday morning was spent wrapping it up in plastic, fun?!

My neighbor, Mark gives new meaning to “morning person,” always up at 4am, in the hot tub by 5am and my first email of the day was, “you missed it, the sky this morning.”

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

let me eat cake

Rainy morning, sunny afternoon and I met my friend, Mami at the Mira Mesa Farmer’s Market at Mira Mesa High School on Reagan Rd, it runs from 3pm to 7pm every Tuesdays.

We meet there ’cause of the cake stand, Le Rendez-Vous Bakery out of Oceanside. I’m in love with his key lime cheesecake and pastry cream anything, his baguettes are pretty awesome, throw in a croissant or two too. The baker is a Vietnamese guy who speaks english with a perfect french accent, brings you back to the days of french colonized Vietnam, Indochine, Catherine Deneuve, Marguerite Duras’s “The Lover.” Anyways, his stand is busy and it’s well worth the wait. Check it.

The cake guy is also at my neighborhood farmer’s market every Sunday from 10am-2pm at Paul Ecke Elementary School on Union Street (cross street Vulcan) in Encinitas. I always go bright and early as this market is one of the busier ones, it’s on the weekend and there’s a lot of vendors. I try to beat the crowds, always stocking up on bread for the week, the country loaf is really good and samosas from the Masala Cottage stand always makes a nice lunch, bright and early also means first dibs on fresh seafood.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

next level

Around here it’s been a full on recycling/re-purposing construction zone from day 1 as we are all like-minded like that. It’s amazing how much money you can save when you do the research. But really now, who has construction workers who cook their lunches via sun? The other morning I was driving away from the house and I notice a red pot in a box. My first thoughts were I need to remind them they have full access to the kitchen. I came back from my errand and checked the thing out, a sun oven, how awesome! Getting as hot as 350degrees, they were having chili hotdogs for lunch, next level or what?! Sun ovens cost a couple hundred dollars and in sunny SoCal, I’m sold!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


This new PJ Ladd commercial  my husband worked on for Plan B looks amazing! check it.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Cooking with Phil: Dungeness Crab Roast

My neighbor, Phil and I have lengthy conversations about food and travel and share the same love for a piece of bread smeared with garlic, spanish boquerones, EVOO, no need for words, instant friends! One rainy morning he invited me over for a crab roast lunch, claiming it was my kind of thing and I would love it. He was right.

Having spent a lot of time in northern California he came across this recipe in the SF Chronicle many years ago, it was an instant keeper. A few ingredients but just the right amount of each and we were sopping up all the juices with a toasty baguette. It was really good, thanks Phil!

Dungeness Crab Roast via SF Chronicle (serves 2)

2 live Dungeness crabs (2 pounds each)

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed

1 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. When buying fresh crab get your local fish monger to cut and clean the crab for you. Once home, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the crabs, submerging them completely and cook covered for 15 minutes.

3. In a seperate bowl combine the extra virgin olive oil, garlic, thyme, crushed fennel seeds, salt, red pepper flakes and melted butter.

4. Remove crabs from pot and place in a roasting pan. Pour all of the olive oil mixture on top of the crab, mix, making sure the crab pieces are well coated, put in oven and roast for 15  minutes. Crabs are done when hot all way through and crab shells are shiny.

5. Plate the crab and pour pan juices on top. Serve with a crusty baguette, sop up all the juices with bread.