Saturday surprise, read on…

Recently my veterinarian recommended Chewy.com.  They have everything you need  including vet-prescribed food, competitive prices, discounted monthly subscription deliveries and free/fast shipping. In every interaction with customer support, (phone or email), they’re not only responsive but fun to deal with and they clearly love animals. It’s a company where enthusiastic employees make customers feel truly appreciated. Early on I’d built “profiles” on their site for my cats, Biscotti and Tipper including the option of uploading  photos of each.

This morning FedEx delivered a package which was puzzling as I hadn’t ordered anything. What was inside surprised and delighted me and I had to share this!

How can you not love a company that would send you such a sweet surprise?

Never say die…

I had great success this year in growing jalapeño, shishito and cubanelle peppers in pots on my deck. When the first freeze was forecasted a few days ago I looked at the number of jalapeños still growing and decided to bring that pot inside. Today, in spite of several frosts, I noticed that the pot with my shishitos not only still has peppers growing but is flowering. With that “never say die” spirit, I brought that pot in as well. Though I don’t imagine they’ll fare well for too long, I’ll enjoy every bonus pepper that I get!

 

Devoting a day to Basil (includes a bonus recipe)

As a retiree, it’s good to have a plan each day.  It’s also good to be able to pivot when plans change.

Yesterday I’d planned to run errands only to be foiled when the team who was to seal my driveway on Saturday instead showed up two days early.  With my car held hostage in the garage, I decided to devote a day to harvesting my basil before the imminent first frost which spells disaster for this tender herb.

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2018 was a banner year for basil.

Surrounded by the sweet fragrance of fresh cut herbal goodness, I set about the tedious task of stemming and picking only the good leaves.

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There’s about 8 cups of basil here. Now what???

Luckily the sheer volume from my harvest inspired my creative side.  First up I made a basil/walnut/parmesano regianno pesto then a beautiful basil oil and basil paste.

Feeling accomplished I quickly realized I’d used only half of the harvest.  I love compound butters (check out my recipe for my Thanksgiving Fresh Picked Herb Compound Butter) so I made a luscious Basil Butter –  add 4 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil to a stick of room temperature butter – blend together (I use a fork).  Place on a piece of plastic wrap, roll into a log shape and refrigerate, that’s it! Easy right?

Still facing down a sizable pile of basil, I decided to make another style pesto with basil/almond/lemon pesto which yielded 2 more jars of basil goodness.

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Realizing that it was nearing dinner time, it made sense to use the remaining basil in some way.  I created a delicious herb-centric pasta dish that was so good I had to share it.

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(Not shown pine nuts and crumbled feta)

Fresh Herb Fusilli

  • 1/2 lb fusilli
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 T chopped red onion
  • red pepper flakes
  • coarse ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 t anchovy paste (optional but highly recommended – this is the salt component)
  • 2 garlic cloves – rough chopped
  • 6 T of chopped mixed herbs (basil, thyme and italian parsley)
  • 1 T pine nuts
  • 1/2 lemon – juiced
  • crumbled feta

Cook the pasta as directed and drain. While the pasta is cooking, heat a large saute pan with a good drizzle of olive oil and add the onion.  Saute for 3-4 minutes, adding the anchovy paste, red pepper flakes and pepper and stir to combine.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the pasta to the saute pan and mix with the onion and garlic.  Add pine nuts and the fresh herbs and stir together for another 1-2 minutes.  Take pan off the heat, drizzle the juice from the lemon over the top.  Serve in a bowl and top with feta.

Squirrel or Acrobat in training?

In spite of the new baffle, this determined squirrel watched me fill this bird feeder with peanuts and did not delay as soon as I went inside.  I have no idea how he managed it but it’s not the first time I’ve caught him doing his acrobatic moves. I think he’s training for a squirrel Cirque du Soleil act.

And from a week ago…you have to give him credit for being determined….

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Hanging on by his back feet.