You’re going to want to cook this now

201409-r-skirt-steak-with-roasted-tomato-chimichurri-and-potatoes

Photo courtesy of Food & Wine

At my house, we love chimichurri and make it often to dress up grilled skirt or flatiron steak. In fact, I sometimes joke that my herb garden is a “chimichurri garden,” because I grow all the herbs needed to make a good, standard chimichurri at a moment’s notice.

I recently came across a recipe for roasted tomato chimichurri with skirt steak and potatoes and bookmarked it immediately. I made it last night with just a couple of adaptations– I used red wine vinegar instead of rice vinegar, added in a few sprigs fresh of oregano from the herb garden, and used aleppo pepper because I love it and was out of plain crushed red pepper. It also took closer to 30 minutes for my tomatoes to get a bit browned.

This sauce is beyond good– really balanced deep flavors. You get the herby freshness from the parsley, spice from the crushed red pepper, tang from the vinegar, and of course the caramelized sweetness and umami-richness of the roasted tomatoes. It was perfect paired with the steak and potatoes.

But as I was tasting a few spoonfuls for seasoning, I realized this chimichurri would be delicious on all kinds of things– drizzled over eggs, slathered on toast, and as a pasta sauce, just to name a few.

Currently loving…

image
Plummy and browned-down red polishes like this one. Exactly what I want to wear this fall.

IMG_1177-0.JPG
This leopard-spotted number with an exposed back zipper to dress up or down, and of course, to layer up when it gets chilly.

IMG_1186
The moody autumn colors of this custom handmade leather wrap bracelet from Flor de Noche Studio. I’ve been wearing mine non-stop.

IMG_1175
This mismatched set of quirky-cool geometric studs. Perfect with everything.

IMG_1196

The gorgeous color, unique details, and versatility of these ankle boots.

See more favorites on Pinterest. Happy fall!

Garden bouquet

IMG_4293.JPG
It’s been a long, productive summer in my flower garden. As usual, I learned a lot and didn’t get quite enough time just sitting on the patio staring at the beauty of it all.

This year, I learned:

  • How important it is to keep cutting your flowers. It helps plants look tidy, but it also makes a big difference in keeping the blooms coming.
  • Overwatering is almost as bad as underwatering. I have floppy echinacea, and blanket flowers that almost didn’t bloom, because I got a little carried away with the hose.
  • Bee balm, creeping rosemary, goldilocks black-eyed susans and zinnias all proved themselves worthy of their new spots in my NW garden.

One last thing, this book provided valuable information and inspiration on what to grow and how to pull together a pretty bouquet like this one.

Happy end of summer!

Chilled cucumber avocado soup for the last days of summer

IMG_1173.JPG
Here in Portland, hot, sunny days continue well into September. The cucumbers and cherry tomatoes in my garden are still going crazy. I often make gazpacho to put them to good use.

This summer, I added a new chilled soup to the rotation, inspired by the abundance of cucumbers, tomatoes and jalapeños from my garden and my love for avocados.

It’s creamy and refreshing with tang from the lime and a bit of heat from the jalapeño. Plus, the avocado makes it a bit more filling. Crusty bread, salami, or grilled shrimp (or chicken or fish) all make worthy companions. Continue reading

Cutting garden inspiration

 

20140609-215337.jpg

The Flower Recipe Book came out last spring to all kinds of rave reviews. A couple of weeks ago, I picked up this beautiful and affordable (under $15!) hardback book and read it cover to cover. It definitely delivers on how to structure a better bouquet. But maybe even better is the “ingredient chart”– it’s a ready-made shopping list for choosing plants for your cutting garden.

The ladies of Studio Choo borrowed the recipe construct and artfully applied it to flower arranging. For each bouquet, they offer a list of flower “ingredients.” Then they walk you through each step to create their sometimes sparse and sculptural, but more often lush, modern arrangements. Plus, there are lots of stunning photos.

Two summers ago, I started a cutting garden in my backyard. I love the idea of growing most or all of the flowers I need for bouquets throughout the growing season. I was hoping this book would help me fill in my flower garden, as well as create better arrangements from what I grow. It did not disappoint.

I found the ingredients chart towards the front of the book to be super useful as a sort of pantry list. I took stock of what I was already growing and compared it to their suggestions. It turns out I have lots of base flowers and secondary flowers, but need some more focal flowers, base foliage and textural “bits.” Such useful insight! And better yet, I’ll know exactly what to do with the flowers once they’re growing in my garden.