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Brown Sugar Asparagus

25 Aug

My run of Les Mis started this past weekend. Opening night had a few bumps, naturally, but it was still a fantastic show. That meant that performance number two could only get better, right? Well, let’s start the morning off with trying to saw through a bagel…and my pinkie. Awesome. Five stitches and a tetanus shot later, my finger was wrapped in so much gauze and tape, I looked like I had sprouted another limb. I asked the doctor if I could take it off for the show (we actors are more than a little vain I suppose – I just could not fathom wearing that monstrosity on stage). He was hesitant, but said it would probably be fine if I just wore a regular bandaid. Hooray! Victory…ish. I took off the bandage just before curtain (I was being good and waited as long as I could), and nearly passed out from the process. I’m a boob. But the stitches got stuck on the gauze, it was all swollen and bruised…and I couldn’t even get the dumb bandaid to stay on right. In short, I ended up rewrapping the darn thing. I did cut the size down by about half, so it wasn’t so in-your-face-I-almost-amputated-my-finger kind of bandage. My mom could tell I had it on (she was looking for it because she told me I was crazy for only wanting to wear a bandaid – mom’s are always right), but my neighbor came and said she couldn’t see it from the audience. I’ll take it! Because I have to wear it for the entire run of the show. 😦 The good news? The show was awesome – none of the glitches from opening night – I figure I absorbed all of the bad luck…and then bled it out all over my kitchen. I’m all about taking one for the team!

Asparagus…you don’t have to use a knife to remove the woody ends (I’m a little wary of knives these days) – just give them a good bend, and they snap off themselves. Don’t skip this step in attempts to avoid wasting a perfectly good spear of asparagus (I have never done this…ever). It tastes bad and it’s impossible to chew, so you’ll end up throwing it away anyways. This is my favorite way to prepare the good ends though! A perfect combination of sweet and salty, and oh-so-tasty!

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Ingredients:

1 lb asparagus spears

2 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp firmly packed brown sugar

3/4 cup chicken broth

Snap off woody ends of asparagus and discard. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until melted. Stir in brown sugar. Cook, stirring continually until sugar dissolves. Add asparagus to brown sugar mixture, turning to coat. Saute for 2 min. Add the chicken broth to the skillet. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, until asparagus are crisp-tender.

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Candied Carrots

6 Nov

My two sisters had a carrot battle a few years ago. They both said that their carrots were the very best, which lead to the ultimate carrot smack down. In all honestly, there wasn’t a clear winner – both carrots were very tasty – however, in our family cookbook, there was one recipe strategically titled, “Better Than Haley’s Carrots.” Cheap shot? Maybe. 🙂 But these girls take their carrots seriously! To be fair, I’ve kind of combined the 2 recipes. I don’t want to be accused of playing favorites.

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Ingredients:

1 lb peeled baby carrots

2 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp firmly packed brown sugar

3/4 cup chicken broth

Heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until melted. Stir in brown sugar. Cook, stirring continually until sugar dissolves. Add carrots to brown sugar mixture, turning to coat. Saute for 2 min. Add the chicken broth to the skillet. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, until carrots are crisp-tender.

*Substitute carrots for asparagus – also very tasty!!!

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Homemade Salsa

29 Aug

I helped my neighbor’s daughter sew her wedding dress a few weeks ago. Now, there is one thing you should know about me – I am slightly obsessed with wedding dresses. My husband made a separate account for me on Netflix just so that he could filter out the shows he likes from my wedding shows. I used to have a huge stash of bridal magazines, but I decided to get rid of them when we moved into our current house, having had a sudden desire to purge anything that I could avoid packing. I regretted it almost immediately. I regretted it even more when my sister got engaged and I had nothing to go to for inspiration. Luckily, my mom’s neighbor took pity on me, and since she happened to get a couple of different magazines for free, my stash started to grow again…I am never throwing them away again. If I could convince my husband to marry me every year (not that he wouldn’t marry me again, he just doesn’t love wedding stuff quite as much as me :)), I might die of happiness getting to have a new wedding dress for every year of our marriage. Sigh. I love wedding dresses. But that’s another blog for another day…

So any who! Because I helped with the dress, my neighbor, who has a stellar garden, paid me in produce. I really just did it for love of wedding dresses, but I took the produce gratefully! I ate the entire cantaloup by myself – I’m not kidding either. Everyone else got one bite. To be fair, I did warn them that if they didn’t take advantage of such a delicious cantaloup then I would eat it all. And I did. I did the same to the honeydew. The peppers and tomatoes I got a little stuck on. I’m the only tomato eater in my house, and I knew I couldn’t eat 6 tomatoes plus a ton of cherry tomatoes all by myself before they went bad. And what do you do with 8 jalepeno peppers and a big bunch of banana peppers? I am a wuss when it comes to spicy things, so I have a hard time doing anything with peppers. After looking at all this beautiful produce sitting purposelessly on my counter for way too long, I knew it was time…time for some serious salsa improvisation. This recipe is super loose because I honestly can’t remember what exactly I put in – but it turned out so much better than I expected. As long as you have some great garden goods and stick to the seasonings in this recipe, you can use your creativity and taste to customize your own salsa.

Homemade Salsa

Ingredients:

8 jalepeno peppers (for spicy, keep seeds – for mild, remove seeds and inner membranes)

5 banana peppers

1 pt yellow cherry tomatoes

6 smaller tomatoes

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground cumin

1/2 cup cilantro

1/2 Tbsp lime Juice

Chop peppers and tomatoes so that they blend easier then combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until you reach the desired consistency – less if you like chunky, more if you don’t like the chunks. Chill and serve.

*Adapted from original recipe: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2010/01/restaurant-style-salsa/