Posts Tagged ‘Cooking’

Norfolk Needs a Mercato Centrale

When we were in Florence, Italy in September, we happened upon the Mercato Centrale, or Central Market. Between Via dell’Ariento and Via San Antonio is a building about the size of Norfolk’s Waterside Festival Marketplace (I’m not great at spatial awareness, so don’t hold me to that), filled with row upon row of booths selling an amazing variety of fresh and preserved fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, herbs, spices, wines, oils and vinegars, flowers and prepared foods I think I’ve ever seen. I wished I could buy a week’s worth of groceries and start cooking, but we were staying in a hotel with no kitchen in the room (it had a great breakfast buffet and I stuffed myself on prosciutto, but that’s another story…)

The City of Norfolk, Virginia, is looking for a new concept to transform the aging Waterside Festival Marketplace on the Elizabeth River in downtown Norfolk. Dan and I were talking about this recently and he said, “They should turn it into a food market like the Mercato Centrale in Florence.” There’s lots of easy parking, and it’s close to I-264, not to mention the ferry from Portsmouth, to bring shoppers from all parts of Hampton Roads. The Buy Fresh, Buy Local movement is taking hold here with more and more consumers interested in purchasing fresh, locally grown and raised groceries, and the cruise ships that dock nearby bring tourists interested in taking home Virginia-grown products.

What do the rest of you Hampton Roads residents think? What do we need to do to help make this happen?

Project 365: Round II

So, last year, I started Project 365, which is taking a photo a day for a year, to try to improve my photography.

I didn’t get very far, but I’m going to try again. Here are some photos from the last few days.

Oak-leaf hydrangea leaves
Day 1, Nov. 29: Oak-leaf hydrangea leaves, from the garden

Cheddar cheese and roasted red pepper quesadilla
Day 2, Nov. 30: Quesadilla with cheddar and mozzarella cheeses and roasted red peppers

Hydrangeas
Day 3, Dec. 1: Hydrangeas: These were our Thanksgiving centerpieces, along with camellia blossoms. I tried and tried to get rid of the glare – covered the light with a lace tablecloth, then a pillowcase, changed the angle of the light – still too bright.

Tasty Tools: German Potato & Sausage Soup

Tasty Tools: Soup/Stock PotWhen we were in Germany recently, we had a late lunch in Potsdam with our former exchange students Olaf, Hannah and Josi, and Hannah’s parents, Bettina and Frank. We had seen Olaf in April when he visited the U.S. and stayed with us for a week, but it’s been a couple of years since we’ve seen the girls and Hannah’s parents. It was great fun to see them all again.

I was pretty hungry, with the time change, so while most of the group had a coffee of some type and a pastry, I had the potato and sausage soup. I was expecting something creamy; it came out more brothy, although it was thick from the potatoes being cooked in it for so long. Our first full day back home was chilly and rainy, so I found this soup online and made a half-batch. It’s so good, next time I’ll make the whole recipe, so we’ll have more leftovers.

I used my lovely Flame Le Creuset Dutch oven for this wonderful soup.

Tasty Tools: Soup Pot with German Potato and Sausage Soup

German Potato and Sausage Soup

5 pounds potatoes peeled and diced to 1/2″ pieces
6 carrots peeled and diced
1 large white onion peeled and diced
4 celery stalks chopped
2 teaspoons salt
3 pounds Polish kielbasa
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon crushed dried red pepper
1 teaspoon black pepper, coarsely ground

Put potatoes, carrots, onion and celery in a large pot then add water to cover about 1 inch. Add half the salt, then cover with lid and set on medium flame.

Cut sausage into 2” pieces. Add water to cover bottom of frying pan and cook sausage piercing skin as it starts to harden. When cooked through, remove sausage to cutting board and dice into 1/2″ pieces; add to soup.

Add parsley, black pepper, red pepper, remaining salt and garlic. Cover and continue cooking on low heat for 2 hours; serve immediately.

This is my contribution to Tasty Tools: Soup/Stock Pots, a food blogging event hosted by Joelen of Joelen’s Culinary Adventures.

Garden pix

Yay, it works! I just created a Flickr account, uploaded some garden photos, and made a slide show using this Flickr Slideshow Generator. So cool.

Our garden was not nearly this prolific this year, unfortunately. The tomatoes and peppers didn’t do very well. So this is a test of the slide show using photos from the last few years. They still look yummy, though, don’t they?

Celebrating Julia Child’s birthday

julia-childTo celebrate what would have been Julia Child’s 97th birthday, Dan and I went to see the movie “Julie & Julia” Saturday night. It was great fun 🙂

I’ve actually never been all that interested in French cooking, so I don’t have any of her books, but we enjoyed the movie. One thing I really liked was how her husband in the movie was so open and demonstrative about how much he was in love with her – assuming that’s all true, it looked like they had a great time together. Definitely worth seeing.

Like a box of chocolates …

… when you plant a garden, you never know what you’re gonna get. It seems like something different does extremely well each year. Last year, we were inundated with peppers – bell, Kung Pao, jalapeno. This year, the cucumbers have gone insane. I think there are three plants vining along the back fence – I just picked 10 cucumbers the other night. I wonder what the farmer’s market would pay for organic cucumbers?

A few someones at work got lucky yesterday.

I still have four cucumbers – might need to make this Spicy Cucumber Salad recipe again.

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