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Cold Zucchini Soup with Buttermilk – Too Much Zucchini, part III

Cold Zucchini Buttermilk Soup title

We have a zucchini plant in our garden this year.  Just one, as we have learned from years past that zucchini quickly becomes overwhelming.  Fried zucchini blossoms are one of our favorite summer treats, and one of the most cost-effective ways to get our hands on them is to plant our own zucchini plant.

Apparently, though, there is something mysterious in our soil because that one zucchini plant has grown to monstrous proportions.  It’s the tomacco of zucchini plants – each leaf is the size of a cocktail table.
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We are diligent about seeking out the zucchini and picking them when they’re either still flowers or at a reasonable size, and we’ve been eating a lot of zucchini fritters and zucchini bread this summer.   However, occasionally one will escape our notice, hiding under a massive leaf, until one day we discover this Godzilla-zucchini, and have to figure out what to do with it.  They’re more watery and less flavorful than the little ones, and the seeds are enormous, too.

Giant Zucchini

 

Staring at these enormous zucchini this weekend, I was struck with inspiration.  What do you do with any excess vegetables?  Make soup.  But since it is July, and it is going to be 101 degrees at my house tomorrow, chilled soup is the game.

Continue reading Cold Zucchini Soup with Buttermilk – Too Much Zucchini, part III

2013 Savour Fare Gift Guide: The Bibliophile Edition – Gift Books for Everyone on your List

books

Things have been quiet (read: busy) but it’s time to start counting down the days to Christmas. First up, a gift guide.

You’ve probably done most of your shopping already (or not. This is a no-judgement zone). But if you’re anything like me, you’re always looking for something else to round out your list. Despite my Kindle love (and I am, in fact a convert – one of these days I’ll write about my Kindle love and the library), there’s nothing like a book as a gift. Easy to wrap, lasts forever, doesn’t take up much room, and can be purchased at a cozy bookstore, which is almost never overrun with holiday craziness (or online. I admit to that, too. And if you haven’t joined Amazon Prime (2 day shipping!) now is the time to sign up for a free trial.) Here then, is my list of great gift books for 2013. (Links are affiliate links).

For your cousin who just got married and is learning to seriously cook with the fancy knives and brand new KitchenAid Mixer she has recently acquired:

The Zuni Cafe Cookbook

Why:  This book is a modern classic for a reason.  Judy Rodgers, who passed away this year, has written a cookbook that is not only a collection of (excellent) recipes, but is also a book that’s interesting enough to read cover to cover and a true primer on technique.  This book will make her a better cook – worthy of all those fancy pots.

For your husband, who follows the stock market for fun and actually reads corporations’ annual reports as if they were magazines:

Berkshire Hathaway Letters to Shareholders

Why: To quote my husband (who happens to read annual reports for fun): “You’re getting the collected wisdom of America’s greatest investor in real time.” (He also wanted me to point out that you can print these for free off the Berkshire Hathaway website.)

For your college roommate, who has been going through a tough time and could use a laugh and some empathy:


Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened

Why: Anyone who reads her genius blog knows that Allie Brosh is a wonder – she manages to be both poignant and hysterically funny at the same time.  The book is a collection of some of her best cartoons and some new material, but it’s all fresh and hilarious and so, so true.

For your gay BFF, who follows pop culture like it’s going out of style and will never leave New York because of Broadway:

Humans of New York

Why:  Anyone with a Facebook feed knows that the zeitgist has arrived, and it was photographed by Brandon Stanton

For your mother who loves to cook and who loves to travel, but tends to cook the same things and visit the same places over and over:

Jerusalem: A Cookbook

Why:  This is the best cookbook I’ve bought this year, maybe in many years.  The recipes are fresh and exciting – evoking the city that inspired them with beautiful photographs.  It’s a great book for the armchair traveler, but it’s also a great book for the cook – the flavor combinations are often surprising and always delicious.

For your curly-haired rosy-cheeked toddler, who learned animal noises before he learned any actual words and thinks every dog he meets is a friend:

Dog

Why:  with cute pictures of real dogs, a lilting, fun rhyme, and some basic pop up characteristics, this book is sure to be a hit. It also teaches opposites (big dog, little dog, neat dog, sloppy), and some preliminary counting.  In our house, it’s a great favorite, accompanied by cries of “Doggie!’ and “aGEN”.

For your precocious six year old daughter, who is balancing right on the cusp of kidhood, and is just now finding secrets to keep (and the ability to write them down):


Just for Me: My Ramona Quimby Journal

Why: Ramona is both timeless (I myself had a Ramona Quimby diary) and relatable, and you will get bonus hours of enjoyment reading your kid’s creative spellings.

For your book club buddy, who reads as much as you do, and has already read all of the obvious suspects:

The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel

Why: Gaiman gets overlooked by the lit fiction set who are all busy reading Donna Tartt and Jhumpa Lahiri, but this is a gem of a book. Part horror story, part fairy tale, part psychological insight – you’ll want to read it and then have someone to discuss it with. Plus, it’s short, so you have plenty of time to read it before next month’s meeting – even with all the holiday madness.

For anyone at all: 

One Summer: America, 1927

Why:  Who doesn’t love Bill Bryson?  Funny and smart, he’s an excellent tour guide and dispenser of trivia.  This book covers baseball, gangsters, airplanes, the stock market – all with Bryson’s trademark wit.

Low Stress Entertaining and Bagna Cauda {Sponsored}

Bagna Cauda

I used to have a lot of anxiety about entertaining.  Having people over meant at least a day, if not two, of intense work and preparation. I don’t know if I read too much Martha, but a dinner party was a BIG DEAL. First there was planning a menu and shopping. Then I had to clean the house, including finding a hidden spot for the many, many piles of books and papers sitting around (Two lawyers in the family!  Never trust a lawyer without piles of books and papers. We attract them like magnets.)  Cooking an elaborate meal (meals to make in advance!), then scrubbing the kitchen, running and emptying the dishwasher (always start a dinner party with an empty dishwasher! Finally, we greeted the guests with a sparkling house, a set table, a tray of hors d’oeuvres, and utter exhaustion.
Continue reading Low Stress Entertaining and Bagna Cauda {Sponsored}

Friday Five: Links to Love

Fwd: Madeleine + William 1 of 4
Photo: Christie Cook Photography

1. From the archives:
Father’s Day is this weekend and if the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach then the way to my man’s heart is through pie. I think Ken is going to be presented with his favorite plum pie.

2. Listen to this:
In the battle of classical composers, I’ve always been a Mozart girl, and anyone who has ever seen Amadeus knows that his final Requiem is pretty compelling. I’ve loved it ever since I sang the Requiem in college, and now I’m minorly obsessed with this version of the Confutatis sung by the band Las Rubias del Norte.

3. Retail Therapy:
My friend Cynthia knows high fashion (she has a hobby of buying and selling Hermes handbags) and she recently launched the plus-sized fashion site and marketplace Abbey Post. If you are looking for that special outfit or have one to sell, check it out!

4. Don’t confuse a buckle and a slump:
With summer stone fruit season coming into its own, many people could use a refresher on the difference between a grunt, a crisp and a cobbler. This rant from Slate reminds us of what a cobbler is, and more importantly, what it is not (hint: if it doesn’t look like cobblestones, it’s not a cobbler!)

5. Don’t skip this PSA.
With summer pool season in full swing, please read this article: How to Recognize Drowning. Then share it with everyone you know. Drowning is one of the leading causes of death among children under 15, and this might just save a child’s life.

Bonus #1:. I love these Fairy Tales for the Modern Woman. My favorite? “Once upon a time a woman was very good at her job, and she knew she had added value to the company she worked for, so even though she was nervous, she talked to her boss, and asked for a raise, and she got it.

The End.”

Bonus #2: I am amused by this tumblr listing Library of Congress summaries of children’s books. Makes you wonder what we are reading to our children.

Bonus #3: I’ve thought Henry Cavill was cute since I watched those first three episodes of The Tudors (After the first three I got a little bored because I knew how it was going to end) but seeing him in all the promo photos for Man of Steel has made me develop a full-blown crush. For the ladies (or gents who may be interested), here is some eye candy. You’re welcome.

My Dream Kitchen with Electrolux {Sponsored Post}

 

 



Tung Oil Stained Kitchen Table

When we moved into our current house, it had a very nice kitchen. Quartz countertops, cherry wood cabinets, matching blinds, built-in banquette, built in desk. It works perfectly well, but it’s not exactly my style.  It’s not in the budget right now, but a kitchen redesign is one of my top “wish-list” items for our house (I just wish I could get the husband on board.  The kitchen is really my domain, of course).   Daydreaming is one of my favorite ways to pass the time, so when Electrolux and the Clever Girls Collective asked me to write a sponsored post about my dream kitchen, I jumped at the chance.
Continue reading My Dream Kitchen with Electrolux {Sponsored Post}