Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Outdoor Living

Thatboy and I had one of those rare weekends with no plans. And we spent LOADS of time taking advantage of that. Saturday that meant hitting up the farmer's market and loading up on lots of fruits, veggies, and baked goods. And then spending lots of time just catching up on doing nothing.

Sunday we slept in, and then vowed to spend the entire day outside. We decided to start with a hike in the preserve that we back up to. We used to do this quite a bit, but it's been forever since we headed up there.

I love that from the the trail you have ocean on one side, and wilderness on the other.

We brought Thatdog, who was very into the idea at first. Until he remembered he doesn't like being out in the sun when he doesn't eat his breakfast. He got tired out and the ground was a little hot for him. We kept rinsing his feet down with cold water.

We decided to explore some of the trails we hadn't been on before.

But we headed home a bit earlier than planned because we're good dog parents. Poor dog feets. Then we sat out on the patio eating strawberry popsicles. Well, Thatboy and I ate strawberry popsicles. Thatdog didn't want his. Which is funny because he loves sharing mine with me. Then I loaded a bowl with watermelon and we headed to the pool for the rest of the afternoon.

With the nice weather, it'd be a shame to spend time slaving over a stove, or using the oven to heat the entire house. At the same time we had worked up a bit of an appetite with the hiking and pooling that popsicles and watermelon just couldn't relieve. So something filling, quick, and that wasn't going to heat up the entire place? We're back to veal. Cutlets or veal scallopine are sliced so thin they are cooked in mere minutes. And the only thing that takes time is just the sauce. So make it simple - broth and sour cream give a creamy sauce and paprika adds some color and a bit of flavor.

Veal Paprikash
1 lb veal cutlets
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 Tbsp canola oil
1 onion, sliced
3/4 Tbsp paprika
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup sour cream

  1. Melt the butter and oil in a skillet and cook the onions until they are golden brown.
  2. Add the veal and brown.
  3. Add the paprika and chicken broth, stirring to combine. Simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  4. Add the sour cream and salt to taste. Heat through.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

How I fill a day

Some days are busier than others. I'm sure you have them too. Days where you don't get to sit
down for longer than it takes to eat a quick meal because there's so much else to be done.

Today started out with a doctor's appointment, which went well but was longer than I was expecting because I had to have a test. Bleh. Have I ever told you of my INTENSE fear of needles. Luckily I always have the best phlebotomist and this one was no exception. She kept chatting to me the entire time trying to distract me from the sharp pointy thing she was plunging into my arm.

After I headed to the mall. I had to pick up some more shirts - because now that the weather is getting warmer I have come to the realization that I have about 3 sleeveless shirts that are long enough to wear out in public without showing everyone what my stomach look looks like.

Then it was time for a little maintenance work - waxing and nails. Here's my other tip - I LOVE this new Shellac stuff. Seriously. I have NEVER had my nail polish last this long - and we're talking at least 3 weeks with nary a chip.

By this time it was 2:30 and I had a stack of paperwork I had to fill out and send in for a project. And then take Thatdog to the park (where he peed on someone's leg. SERIOUSLY someone is getting on my last nerve). We got a late start out, but at least I could justify it since Thatboy had physical therapy and would be home a bit late anyway.

On the way home from dogpark I had to stop and drop off/pick up some movies. And finally THEN I got to come home and start making dinner for tonight and lunch for tomorrow.

Seriously I'm really looking forward to sleep tonight! And I hope it's better than it has been all week. I hate not sleeping - especially when I get the left eye twitch because of it.

I'm not going to sugar coat it - tonight we had the lazy girl's version of risotto - brown rice mixed with tomato sauce and Parmesan cheese. And it was fantastic because it was easy (albeit not quick - but it's not like I'm doing a lot of work when that brown rice is in the rice cooker). But if you didn't have a run around day, and you have a bit more time I recommend dressing your brown rice up with something a bit more hearty than tomato sauce. Something like this lamb curry should do the trick - creamy, thick, and obviously stew like it's what I would have loved to have if I had the time.

Lamb Curry
1 lb lamb in one inch cubes
1 onion, sliced
3 sprigs thyme
1 parsley sprig
2 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 Tbsp flour
1 tsp curry powder
salt and pepper
  1. Heat a dutch oven over medium heat and brown lamb.
  2. Add 2 cups of boiling water, onions, thyme, and parsley and simmer for 1 hour.
  3. Remove the lamb and strain the liquid reserving this broth for later.
  4. Melt the butter in a skillet over low heat and add the flour and curry powder. Stir this mixture for a minute or so until it becomes paste-like.
  5. Stir in the lamb broth and stir until the sauce thickens.
  6. Season with salt and pepper, then add the lamb back in and heat through.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Visit to the Freezer part 1

So with another future person on the way, Thatboy are moving to a place with a little more space. Which means that I'm trying to be good about using up the food in our freezer and pantry before the big move next month.

This morning I took inventory of the top shelf of our freezer:
pork tenderloin
ground lamb
roast beef
strawberry popsicles
frozen chocolate covered bananas
chocolate chip bread

I'm trying to come up with creative meal ideas using these ingredients (and then I can move on to the bottom shelf - I'm trying not to get ahead of myself here.)

But when push comes to shove, I foresee Thatboy and I eating a lot of sandwiches this week - roast beef sandwiches, meatball sandwiches, and I can't think of an easier way to use up lamb than lamb burgers. Although, to be fair, quite often I don't need the extra bun associated with "burgers." Flavorful lamb patties speak for themselves.

I add a little extra to the mix- like chopped tomato and rosemary. Kind of a cross between a meatball and burger. But it adds some sweetness to a rich meat.

Lamb Patties/Burgers
1/2 lb ground lamb
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
salt and pepper
1/4 cup celery, diced
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 spring rosemary, finely chopped
1 tomato, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 egg white
1 Tbsp butter
  1. Combine all ingredients but butter.
  2. Shape into patties
  3. Melt the butter in a skillet and fry patties 5 minutes per side.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

How do you handle brats?

I've heard (and experienced) doggie adolescence. This is usually after you've already conquered the trials of puppyhood. Right when you start bragging to family and friends about how well behaved your dog is.

Well Thatdog has hit his "second adolescence" this week. I'm not sure what's going on but he's definitely behaving like an a-hole.

Let's start with Monday. Monday we went to dogpark and everything seemed fine. He sniffed all the regulars, did a bit of running, peed on some trees - the usual. One of his favorite roles is that of "greeter." He likes to be the first to get to the gate to greet all the new dogs coming in. I don't love this to begin with because sometimes the new dogs just want to get in before getting sniffed. Normally I make him wait to the side of the gate until everyone is in. BUT Monday I didn't get to the gate soon enough and sure enough, new dog wanted to stake his claim immediately. He growled at Thatdog, and Thatdog takes that as a personally affront and starts growling back. As soon as new dog is through the gate the two of them are on each other while new dog's owner and I are pulling them apart. Thatdog got put in time out with a stern warning to stay away from new dog. Which he was phenomenal about doing, while new dog went and growled at all the other dogs in the park. So yeah, my dog didn't start it, but I'd much prefer he not be the a-hole dog that continues it.

Tuesday on our morning run was strike 2. Lately we have been coming across another dog-runner. She and her dog seem very nice, but she's obviously faster than me (although really, these days everyone pretty much is.) Usually they pass us and keep going. Tuesday her dog really wanted to play with Thatdog. She passed us and took her dog off leash. He came running back to us. No big deal. I let the dogs say hello and we tried to get running back toward his owner. Which is when Thatdog snuck off his leash and took off with his new friend. Now granted, they only ran up ahead of us on the trail and then back, but I hate when my dog instigates a prison break. Running lady apologizes to me, I apologize to her, we hook up our dogs and continue on with our run.

The rest of the week someone was on his good boy behavior. No more prison breaks on the run, and a perfect gentleman at dogpark. Until today.

Thatdog has a very unusual habit. Habit might not be the right word, because it's not something he does on a regular basis. I'm sure you've all seen dogs assert their dominance by mounting another dog. Thatdog does this about once a year when he gets overexcited. Except, he's not very smart so he doesn't mount dogs from behind, he mounts them from the front. Yes friends, I am the owner of a head humper. Today he was running wild with a couple of puppies - a 7 month old rottie and an 8 month old pittie. And he was getting a little too excited. The next thing I know, he's got the Rottie in a love grip from the front. After 3 times I decided he was done for the day. We're going to sit him down tonight and give him a little talk about how girls don't like boys who sexually attack them.

I have no real transition between my trial of a dog and tonight's recipe. Other than to say it's a great way to woo. I wouldn't ever suggest starting off a date by grabbing your significant other and forcing your crotch into their face. This is a much better way to start off. And if you're lucky, you might get your way after dinner.

Red Wine Veal Chops
1 lb veal chops
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp oil
2 Tbsp onion, chopped
1 Tbsp parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp pancetta
1 clove garlic, cut in half
1/4 cup red wine

  1. Melt the butter and oil in a skillet. Add the chops and brown lightly on both sides.
  2. Add the onion, parsley, pancetta, and garlic. Cover and simmer 20 minutes.
  3. Add the wine and 1/4 cup water. Cover and cook 10 minutes more.
  4. Remove veal and boil down the pan juices to create a sauce. Pour the sauce over the chops and serve.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

No Sloppy Seconds

It's time to announce the winner of the Simply Bishop's cookbook. The randomly selected winner is commenter #10 Millertime Productions! Congratulations! I'll be mailing the book tomorrow.

A couple of weeks ago I saw something very interesting on a blog. They were enchiladas, but they were missing the typical red or green sauce covering them. It was a novel idea to me. I mean, the man I married likes to enchilada-size his burritos by topping them with sauce and cheese.

I figured the best way to get these to earn Mr. Enchilada-everything's seal of approval was to create an "inside" sauce. A super creamy filling that spills out with every bite, making sure you don't miss anything on top.

I started with a verde version - giving the tomatoes a little break. But I promise you won't miss them. And if you do, well it's easy enough to sub in your own fresh tomatoes for the tomatillos. Especially because we're getting ever closer to gorgeous tomato season. During which time I guarantee you'll be seeing a red version on our table from time to time!

Sauceless Chicken Enchiladas
1/4 cup canola oil
6 tortillas
1 cup cooked chicken, shredded
1/2 lb Monterey Jack, shredded
1 1/2 Tbsp heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped scallions
3/4 cup chopped tomatillos
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 can of chopped green chilies
3/4 cup sour cream

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Heat oil in a skillet. Heat tortillas in oil, turning over so it softens. Set tortillas to side.
  2. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray.
  3. Chop the tomatillos and combine with cilantro and chilies. Run through the food processor on pulse setting once, so it's nice and chunky.
  4. Stir in the sour cream, chicken, cheese, heavy cream and scallions.
  5. Divide this filling between the tortillas and roll up. Set the rolled tortillas in the baking dish and cover with foil. Bake 30 minutes.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Eat a Rainbow

Today is the last day to enter the Simply Bishop's giveaway post!
Can you believe I completely forgot to post my Eat.Live.Be. entry yesterday? I feel awful about it.

I believe the saying is "better late than never," right? This week we're offering health or cooking tips.

One of my favorite (kinda both) is the "eat a rainbow" tip. It's such a great way to ensure that you're getting a meal that includes a variety of nutrients. When cooking, the easiest way to do this is to include a bunch of vegetables. Vegetables come in so many different colors, each bringing something different and important to the table.

Take this lamb fricassee - It's easy enough to make a stew with lamb, but stews are oh so brown. So add in some color and voila! Fricassee! Don't believe me? Check it out for yourself:
Red - tomatoes
Orange - carrots
Yellow - onion
Green - parsley
Brown - lamb

Lamb Fricassee
1 lb lamb, cut into chunks
1 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp butter
1 cup tomato juice
1/2 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 sprigs of parsley, chiffonade
1 bay leaf
2 cloves
salt and pepper
  1. Coat the lamb with the flour.
  2. Melt the butter in a dutch oven and brown the lamb.
  3. Bring the tomato juice to a boil and pour over the meat.
  4. Add the onions, carrots, parsley, bay leaf, and cloves. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Salt and pepper to taste.

Next week we're sharing what makes us happy. I love light sunny topics, don't you? Now check out how the other bloggers are faring:

Monday, June 13, 2011


I decided to try a new farmer's market today. New, not just to me, but to San Diego. I thought it might be nice to patronize a new place in the hopes that it continues to grow, because otherwise there is only one farmer's market open on Mondays in San Diego, and it's pretty far north/inland.

BUT this one was a little too new. In fact, it would be better characterized as a farmer's stand, and not market since there was only one produce stand. So I picked up some cucumbers and strawberries, and headed to the supermarket to pick up the rest of the things I needed.

But oh what a terror the supermarket was!

Firstly, I couldn't enter the supermarket because there were two barefoot children clinging to a cart their father was trying to push out. (Seriously - why do your children not have shoes on? We don't live in the country and I'm pretty sure the health and safety code requires shoes around food.) They were screaming and crying and throwing a tantrum about something or other. And a line of us formed waiting until maybe this scene could move elsewhere so we could enter.

But once inside, it wasn't much better. I must have missed the memo about the supermarket giving away free money tonight because everyone and their mother was there. Would you believe the supermarket was out of broccoli? That must be where they put all the free money. The lines at the register stretched back into the aisles and I swear everyone must have been open. With my few items I went into the lines Thatdad affectionately called the "Checkout man lines" because you can ring yourself up and bag your own groceries. Even that line stretched down an aisle - mostly because I don't think people are quite competent to ring themselves up (and I don't think they're so honest about the 20 items or less).

I was thankful to get home!

If your farmer's market has more to offer than mine today, than this meal is the perfect way to make use of fresh produce. "Fries" are created by dipping zucchini and parsnip in egg white and breadcrumbs and then baking them until crisp. Fresh parsley brings out the sweet tenderness of a perfectly sauteed veal chop. (Which is obviously enhanced by the addition of butter to the pan.)

Sauteed Veal Chops
1 lb veal chops
salt and pepper
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp oil
1/4 cup white wine
1 tsp parsley, chiffonade

  1. Sprinkle the chops with salt and pepper.
  2. Melt the butter and oil in the skillet. Add the veal chops to the skillet and cook for 4 minutes per side, or until desired doneness.
  3. Remove veal from the pain and add the wine. Scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pan and boil for 1-2 minutes. Pour over veal. Sprinkle with parsley.

Only a couple days left to enter the Simply Bishop's giveaway post!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Smells like Smoke

Don't forget to enter the Simply Bishop's giveaway post? It's not too late!

Today, Thatboy and I went to the movies. Before the movie started Thatboy reached over and smelled my arm. Thinking he was about to say something sweet I turned expectantly. "You still smell like campfire" he whispered to me.

And probably I will continue to smell like campfire for days to come - because that's the nature of things.

But you're probably wondering why I smell like campfire, so let me back up a bit.

I always joke that my social calendar is feast or famine. I either having nothing planned, or multiple things all planned at the same time. That was my Saturday.

It began with H's baby shower.

Little H (h?) is coming at the end of July. Although it seemed like h might have been confused about dates, or eager to attend the shower, because there were threats there might be an early appearance. Luckily it was a false alarm.

So H was on chair-rest for the shower itself, but really, she should be waited upon hand and foot even if she wasn't! And between you and me, she looks fabulous for 33 weeks pregnant.

After the shower, I picked up Thatboy so we could head to a birthday bbq! At the shower, the sun was beating down. Of course, as soon as we got the bbq the sun went away and it got cold grey. Luckily our hosts had all situations covered and as soon as the sun set the fire pit was lit. As we all huddled around roasting smores I turned to the other guests and said something along the lines of 'You know we're all going to smell like a campfire all night." Someone should hire me for my prediction skills. Because upon arriving home EVERYTHING had to go in the wash. And even though we washed and shampooed and conditioned, that's a smell that just doesn't come out easily.

But that was the only con of the day. Otherwise, I have to say, the bbq had some amazing food. Sausages, homemade salsas, burgers, grilled veggies, lumpia, salads, and ribs that smelled so good I could tell the instant they hit the grill. And they disappeared in record time.

Maybe you don't have a firepit in your backyard, but this is definitely the time of year to invite some friends over and light the grill. The thing I love about barbecue is that everyone has a different definition, and a different preference. But me? I love all styles! I love wet drippy ribs, and sweet and smokey dry rubs. The only thing I'm partially too is charcoal over gas. You just can't replicate that flavor! This is a really easy dry rub I use for ribs and chickens. The brown sugar is key for the sweetness, but my special secret is the chipotle chili powder for a bit of smokey kick- a flavor Thatboy requests.

Sweet and Spicy BBQ Rub
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 Tbsp black pepper
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp chipotle chili powder
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 Tbsp garlic powder

1. Combine all ingredients.
2. Rub onto your meat of choice (we like it on chicken).
3. Allow the rub to sit on the meat 6-8 hours or overnight.
4. Grill as desired.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Not a kid anymore

"The benefit to working all day on a Saturday, is that you can take off a day in the middle of the week."

That was what Thatboy said to me when I returned from my morning run yesterday and my mouth dropped open to see him sitting in the living room in jeans and a t-shirt.

I was surprised for two reasons. The first is that, per schedule, Thatboy should have left for work 20 minutes earlier. (This happens when I go for runs longer than 2 miles now that my pace has slowed considerably)

The second reason was, yesterday was my birthday. And I had pretty much cancelled it. The whole "getting older" thing doesn't bother me, but my birthdays are notoriously awful and this one was turning out to be no different. My brilliant plan to share in celebration with Prez (like we do every year since our birthdays are so close) turned into me driving around our friends while they wine tasted. Not the best celebration for me. And since all our out-of-town friends came down for that weekend, they weren't planning on coming again a couple weeks later. So I started my pity party early. Then I got some really bad news last week and frankly just didn't feel like celebrating. "Let's celebrate my birthday December 9" I told family and friends. "In 6 months, I'm sure I'll be in a better mood."

So my surprise at seeing my husband waiting for me is a bit understandable. "Go take a shower while I make you breakfast." He told me. "Then we're heading to a spa for the day. Your bag is already packed. How do you want your eggs?"

So I did as I was told. I took a shower and ate my breakfast and we headed to the spa.

I had a couple of treatments set up, but we had a little time to kill so Thatboy and I changed into our robes and headed to the "Relaxation Room" for a bit.

The Relaxation Room was a pregnant woman's paradise. There were giant chairs and ottomans for me to prop my feet up. There was fresh fruit in baskets. There was hot tea, iced tea, and lots and lots of water.

I got comfy in a chair while Thatboy fixed me some tea.

We split up while I got my treatments and Thatboy headed to the sauna and the hot tub. And I was declared the most energetic pregnant woman ever based on my ability to both lie on my back during the body wrap AND sit up. Which is funny to me, because neither of those seem like especially difficult things to do.

After my treatments I headed to the pool to meet Thatboy who was doing some laps.

We had lunch by the pool. Can I just say that Rancho Bernardo Inn makes some killer lemonades? Thatboy had a blueberry honey while I had a strawberry lavender.

Thatmom came down for dinner and brought with her some pretty good presents. My loot between her and Thatboy consisted of:

Some new reading material:

A new cookbook:

A new video camera:

And that big box underneath the new camera? Why that's my brand new neon green computer!

Which is absolutely fabulous because my current computer is definitely on its dying breaths. As some of you already know because as we're chatting I'll all of a sudden disappear because my computer has unplugged and if the battery is in the computer, it won't power on. And within the last month the computer has refused to connect to the printer or allow me to reinstall the drivers. Within the last week the onboard mouse has stopped working. It was about time for an upgrade considering the last new computer I got was the summer of the Bar!

But aside from the presents, Thatmom brought down something FAR more important. My all time favorite birthday treat. Strawberry Pie.

I've never been a huge sweets person, including cake and ice cream. So growing up I always requested my mom's strawberry pie for my birthday. The past couple of years I've gotten away from that, but this year I wanted to return. And Thatmom was more than happy to oblige!

It was delicious as always. In fact, Thatboy asked if he could have a second piece, given that it was "my pie" and all.

We had some again tonight.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

I'm not an action photographer

Did you miss yesterday's giveaway post? It's not too late to enter!

One of Thatboy's favorite aspects of his job is that a couple of days a week he gets to leave the office and go work in the community. He works with the police department and gets to interact with community members in some pretty interesting ways. He's worked with elementary school kids and introducing them to the justice system. This past weekend was the big event he had been working on all year. A skate park exposition within the community.

Together with a local pro skateboarder and the police department, he organized a day at the skate park for the kids. There were demos, competitions, free food, SWAT vehicles and weapons, and of course, a ton of giveaways including skateboards, shoes, shirts, hats, games, pads, helmets... you get the idea.

I'm not much of a skateboarder (I know you're shocked). So I didn't recognize any of the big names that were there. Although they drew quite a few of the local boarders. These guys were OLD School. Some of the original Dogtown boys, if you're familiar. They began with a demo.
Kien Lieu is a jumper

While John Pope LOVES spinning on his board.

After the pros were done, they turned it over to the amateurs. It was time for competition. And competition was fierce. Just ask this 5 year old. He won ALL of us over. Even the hardcore older guys.

I'm not an action photographer, but Thatboy tried his hand at it, playing follow cam. According to him, this is what he and his friends used to do for each other back when he was younger and skatier.

Speaking of, is there anyone cuter than my husband in a yellow helmet?

All the kids who competed with the pros. There were even more who weren't competing. Just eating hotdogs and talking smack.

Thatboy, the pros, and his crew. BTW, the little munchkin in the front row, Dennis Martinez's daughter, kept me entertained almost the entire time I wasn't watching the scene. She hung out at Thatboy's booth getting more and more excited about the free stuff we were giving away.

I can't even begin to tell you how exhausted we were after the day. We had arrived before 9, and left close to 5. Thatboy spent the rest of the evening in a hot bath. There was no way I was going to cook, so we stopped and picked up food. Pictures of takeout are never as interesting, so back to the archives to share with you a super easy alternative to fast food. It's like a McNugget, but WAY better. And it stands still, so it's easier to take a picture of.

Breaded Veal Cutlets
1 1/2 Tbsp flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup bread crumbs
salt and pepper
1/2 lb veal cutlets
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp oil

1. Put the flour, egg, and crumbs on three separate shallow bowls. Mix the salt and pepper into the crumbs.
2. Dip the cutlets in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs. Let sit for 15 minutes.
3. Heat the butter and oil in a skillet over medium heat. Fry the cutlets 4 minutes per side.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Vancouver Eats and a Present for YOU!

Like the rest of our Vancouver trip, we blended our eating with old and new.

Saturday morning we woke up and headed back to Granville Island, since that was such a hit last time. We stocked up on bread, pastries, cookies, fruits, cheeses, and anything else that struck our eye. And because our trips tend to revolve around food, we headed back to the hotel to grab lunch across the street at Japadog - something I had missed out on during the last trip.

Japa dog is a Vancouver institution. It's not a huge menu, and if you couldn't tell by the name, they sell hotdogs.

But not just any hotdogs.

(Well the one on the left is a regular hot dog - that's Thatmom's) Thatboy had their brand new specialty - the spicy dog with lettuce and chili sauce.

I had the Oroshi - Bratwurst topped with grated radish, green onion, and cole slaw.

They were also debuting their new Shaken Fries. So we had to try those too.

For another new treat, we tried out Cin Cin. Although the food was delicious, we weren't won over by the atmosphere which made us feel like we were right back in Los Angeles. At one of those places where people go to be "seen" which isn't really our "scene."

Thatboy had the saddle of rabbit wrapped in prosciutto with sage, morel mushrooms, peas and
ricotta gnudi. It was amazing. Rich, tender and flavorful.

Thatmom debated between pizza and a pasta. She went with the buffalo mozzarella filled cappelletti with brown butter, prosciutto di parma and sage. She was so glad she decided on this. There is really not much better than buffalo mozzarella, am I right?

Surprise, surprise, I went with gnocchi! Specifically truffled gnocchi with peas, carrots, morel mushrooms, and pancetta. It was completely wonderful. I love the use of fresh seasonal veggies.

And speaking of fresh and seasonal, we returned to Bishops because it is one of the best restaurants I've ever eaten at. Last time we were there, I debated about buying one of John Bishop's cookbooks. I didn't, figuring I could always pick it up another time. I've been kicking myself almost two years! That book is hard to find here in the states. I'm no fool, I don't make the same mistake twice. This time I picked up a copy of "Simply Bishops."

AND I got a second copy for you! Because there's nothing I like better than sharing the love. And I seriously love John Bishop. I love how he makes guests at his restaurant feel like they are guests in his home. I love the fresh, seasonal, and local philosophy. In fact I was talking to one of the managers at the restaurant who recommended several of the recipes in this book and talked about how John is always quick with a seasonal substitute when necessary.

So how can you get your hands on my second copy? Just leave a comment. You can tell me about your favorite ingredient you're looking forward to using this summer. Your favorite vacation restaurant. Or you can just name one of the many reasons you are madly in love with me. I'll give you a week. Next Tuesday I'll pick a winner and announce it on Wednesday. Good luck to all!