Watermelon Chaat

Cool salad for a hot summer’s day. So refreshing!

I found this recipe in the New York Times. The reporter writes:

“This recipe for watermelon chaat, a savory fruit salad dressed in toasted cumin and dried mango powder, comes from Malika Ameen, a cookbook author whose Pakistani-American family in Chicago makes infinite variations on fruit chaat in the summer. You could swap out the watermelon for a mix of what’s in season, whether it’s stone fruit, berries or cubed apple and pear. It’s an ideal dish to break the fast during Ramadan, full of flavor and hydrating, and quick to put together.”

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds watermelon, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • ¾ teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon amchur powder (dried green mango) (I didn’t use this.)
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (a generous pinch if you like heat)
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 orange, clementine or mandarin, juiced to make approximately 1/3 cup juice
  • ½ teaspoon finely chopped jalapeño pepper
  • 3 to 4 fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced (I used Chocolate mint.)
  • 1 small cucumber, halved, seeded, thinly sliced (My addition.)
  • 5 pieces of dried mango, thinly sliced (My addition.)

Preparation

  1. Place cubed watermelon in a wide platter with sides or in a large baking or serving dish and spread into a single layer.
  2. In a small pan, toast whole cumin seeds on medium heat for 3 minutes, until fragrant. Remove and coarsely grind with a mortar and pestle. (You can also grind in a spice grinder, but be sure not to grind to a fine powder as the coarse grains of the spice add a wonderful texture.)
  3. Transfer cumin to a small bowl and add all remaining spices and salt. Add citrus juice, jalapeño and mint and mix well. Pour dressing over cubed watermelon and mix to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate for 1 to 6 hours. Serve chilled the same day.

 

Pasta with Artichokes and Pancetta

So delicious!

Based on a recipe from The New York Times, Melissa Clark.

Ingredients

  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • 4 medium artichokes, or 8 to 10 small or baby artichokes (I used a box of frozen artichokes. I sliced each in half.)
  • 8 ounces short tubular or corkscrew-shaped pasta (I used fresh 
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
  • 6 ounces pancetta, diced
  • 1 large leek, halved and thinly sliced (I used one large shallot as I didn’t have leeks.)
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, more for serving
  • 2 tablespoons dry (white) vermouth or not-too-dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives
  • ¼ cup parsley or mint leaves, chopped
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, more for serving
  • Fresh lemon juice, for serving

Preparation

  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil, then cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water, then drain.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in pancetta and cook until browned and crispy, stirring occasionally, 8 to 12 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer pancetta to a paper towel-lined plate; leave fat in pan.
  3. Drain the artichokes, shaking them well to remove excess water. Raise heat under pan to medium-high, and stir in artichokes, shallot, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and cook until golden brown and tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Reduce heat to low, and stir in vermouth, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of skillet.
  4. Stir in cooked pasta, pancetta, chives and parsley. If the mixture seems dry, add pasta water, a little at a time. Stir in more salt to taste, Parmesan and lemon juice to taste.
  5. Transfer to serving plates and top with a drizzle of oil, more black pepper, and more grated cheese.

A Sunday Sermon: A Recipe for Self-Improvement

I read the following a few days ago and I found it inspiring. Food for thought, if you will. Susan gave me the magazine last week. She had been talking about reading spiritual books with an older man in the parking lot of a nearby shopping center. He had said to her that was what he was doing. And he gave her a few copies of Turning Points Magazine & Devotional.

For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful.
2 Peter 1:8

Recommended Reading: 2 Peter 1:3-8

Aldous Huxley, the twentieth-century British author, said, “There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.”

What area of your life do you want to improve? Just take a moment and think about that. In what area would you most like to grow? With God’s help, you can improve your one corner of the universe. What it really takes is the power of God in our lives, and there is a passage of Scripture on this very subject.

The apostle Peter wrote, “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness…. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness… knowledge… self-control… perseverance… godliness… mutual affection… love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive” (2 Peter 1:3-8, NIV).

God will do His part (“His divine power has given us”), but we must also do our part and “make every effort.” Find an area of your life to improve, and start right now.

~From Turning Points Magazine & Devotional

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

ROOTS

I had my DNA analyzed.
I analyzed my DNA.
I had expectorated into a test tube
and sent it off to Ancestry months earlier.
I was hoping for a surprise.
I was hoping to learn 
I had ancestors
From a country I did not know
About. But there was
No surprise.
Italy.
Great Britain.
Scandinavia. 
Maybe there was a surprise.
I see Scotland.
So maybe, just maybe
The following story is true:
Mary Queen of Scots
 
It is rumored from whom
 
I am descended, it says here
 
Questa famiglia originaria della Scoizia
 
E nobilissima in molte citta,
 
Ed e divisa in molti rami
 
The Barone family, my family
 
Originated from Scotland
 
Mary’s son King James VI of Scotland
 
Became King James I of England
 
King James great grand daughter married
 
The King of Itlay
 
It is noble in many cities and
 
Is divided into many branches it
 
Had many fiefs and illustrious men in court
 
In the magistrature, in the army
 
And in the church it was
 
Conferred high chivalrous honors and
 
Was vested with the holy orders
 
Of Malta from the 15th Century
 
It includes, as branches, the Counts
 
Of Casola and the Marchesi di Liveri
 
The title was granted in 1710
 
To the celebrated literary figure Domenico
 
Director, San Carlo Opera, Naples
 
Praised even by Giambattista Vico
 
In an assembly of praise of him
 
Made by the Academitrician in 1735
 
The family is listed in the Registry of Neopolitan
 
Feudal families and numbered among
 
The patricians of the Republic of Marino
 
The Republic was represented in Lisbon
 
By the Court of Casola and Marchese di Liveri
 
By Napoleon Barone son of Marchese Pasquale
 
Who had as his grandmother Maria Filomarina
 
Of the Principality of Bocca
 
Title to Alfrede Domenico Barone
 
Held from 1869-1952 also as the Count
 
Of Casoli in the Registry of Nobility
 
Melchizadek descendant of Pasquale
 
And likewise Alfred my father
 
Or so the story goes there is
 
A castle and a title
 
Or at the very least a story
 
That belongs to me in Italy
 
I write to know

 

 

Black Pepper Chicken Thighs with Mango, Rum and Cashews

Colorful and delightful. Delicious! I might cut back on the pepper next time as I woke up a few times during the night very thirsty.

Ingredients

  • ½ teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • Pinch cayenne
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup salted cashews
  • 1 ¾ pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup finely chopped scallions
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro stems
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum
  • 1 large (15-ounce) mango, cut into 1/4-inch cubes or use 2 small mangoes)
  • 1 to 1 ½ teaspoons cider vinegar, to taste
  • cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Preparation

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and cayenne. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cashews and sugar-spice mixture to the skillet; cook, stirring, until nuts are golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape nuts into a bowl.
  2. Wipe out skillet with a paper towel. Season chicken all over with salt and remaining 1 teaspoon pepper. Return skillet to medium-high heat and add the remaining 3 tablespoons oil. Add scallions and cilantro stems; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add garlic and chicken. Cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is golden and cooked through, about 12 minutes. Pour in the rum and cook, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until the rum evaporates, about 1 minute.
  3. Remove pan from heat and immediately add nuts, mango, vinegar and cilantro leaves. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.

From The New York Times, Melissa Clark

Oh My COD!

Doesn’t get any easier than this.

And any tastier!

For two: 

One pound Cod. Combine 1/4 cup mayo, 1/4 teaspoon coriander, 1/4 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 teaspoon paprika. Apply this to Cod. Top with Panko bread crumbs. Sprinkle juice from 1/2 lime on top. Bake for 25 minutes at 400.

Yum!

Earth Day 2018

Reading from today’s Daily Word:

Earth Blessing
I live in harmony with the earth.

In 2004 Wangari Maathai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work in Kenya through the Green Belt Movement. In her acceptance lecture she said, “We are called to assist the earth to heal her wounds and in the process heal our own—indeed, to embrace the whole creation in all its diversity, beauty, and wonder.”

I am part of a beautiful web of life; intricately woven so that my actions impact the entire web. I am a good steward of the earth’s resources as I am a good steward of my own body. Centered in divine wisdom, I use what I need in ways that support the renewal of the earth. I experience a sense of peace living in harmony with the earth.

And there is this:

“I’m very conscious of the fact that you can’t do it alone. It’s teamwork. When you do it alone you run the risk that when you are no longer there nobody else will do it.”
― Wangari Maathai, The Green Belt Movement: Sharing the Approach and the Experience.

The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good.—Genesis 1:12

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Miso-Glazed Cod

My wife and I love Cod. Hey, we live in Massachusetts and Cod is like New England’s fish! And we, well me, love Miso. And this recipe based on one from Ellie Krieger is so easy to prepare and delicious!

Ingredients

  • 2
  • S

Directions

Rinse fish fillets and pat dry with paper towels. Combine miso, brown sugar, sesame oil and mirin and stir well until brown sugar is fully dissolved.

Marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 1 hour. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake fish for 20-25 minutes until top is slightly charred and glaze has caramelized. Remove fish from oven and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Cook an additional 5 minutes, until fish is flaky but not overcooked.

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Gnocchi with Cannellini Beans and Kale

This is based on a recipe from Taste of Home. Simple to prepare and delicious!

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (I used one shallot.)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 package (16 ounces) potato gnocchi (I used Rana gnocchi.)
  • 1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) Italian diced tomatoes, undrained (I used 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes.)
  • 1 package (6 ounces) fresh baby spinach (I used kale. You could also used swiss chard, mustard greens, etc.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan

Directions

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook and stir until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Add gnocchi; cook and stir 5-6 minutes or until golden brown. Stir in beans, tomatoes, spinach and pepper; heat through. Sprinkle with cheeses; cover and remove from heat. Let stand 3-4 minutes or until cheese is melted.

 

If you are looking for beautiful portrait, wedding, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.  Photography and Prints meant to last a lifetime! For more details about having an amazing and fun photo experience, please contact me.