Saturday, August 8, 2009

~Linguine With Roasted Grape Tomato And Basil Marinara Sauce~

This is a simple and delicious recipe that is great as a meal or as a side paired with your favorite main dish.


1 lb dried linguine
2 pints grape tomatoes
1/4 tsp salt for sauce, more is needed to salt the pasta water
1/4 - 1/2 tsp coarse ground black pepper, to taste
1 small to medium onion sliced thin
2 cloves garlic finely minced or grated
1/2 cup fresh basil chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped
1/3 - 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese or your favorite hard Italian cheese
olive oil
balsamic vinegar


Fill a large pot with salted water, bring to boil and cook linguine according to package directions. Reserve one cup of pasta water for use later if needed. Heat up broiler. Place grape tomatoes in a baking pan (that fits in your broiler) with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, salt and the pepper. Broil the tomatoes , shake once or twice to get more even cooking, until the skins are split and they have a nice char, usually about 15 minutes or so. Put approximately a tablespoon of olive oil in medium sized pot and slowly cook the garlic, and onions until they are soft and translucent, do not brown. If they need a little more moisture use a bit of the reserved pasta water. Add the roasted tomatoes, basil and parsley to the pot and cook on a low to medium heat approximately 5-10 minutes stirring occasionally. Toss with the linguine. If needed add some of the pasta water to lengthen the sauce. Serve drizzled with balsamic vinegar and topped with the grated Parmesan. Enjoy!

Monday, August 3, 2009

~Encouraging Words~

A few of my favorite ecouraging and inspirational quotes are...

"When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up though the pace seems slow--
You may succeed with another blow,
Success is failure turned inside out--
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit--
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit."
~ Unknown

"God provides the wind,
but man must raise the sails"
~Saint Augustine

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore,
is not an act but a habit."

"Every artist was first an amateur."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Have a great day! :)

MckLinky Blog Hop

Sunday, August 2, 2009

~Curried Cucumber Spread~

This a cool flavorful spread that is great on hearty multi-grain or wheat crackers. A good choice for a summer time snack!

8 oz. softened cream cheese
1/2 red onion chopped fine
2-3 tbs. mayonnaise or sour cream
1-2 tsp. curry powder, adjust to taste
1 medium to large cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped fine

multi-grain or wheat crackers

Combine cream cheese, mayonnaise or sour cream, and curry powder until creamy and smooth. Fold in onion and cucumber. Chill for several hours in refrigerator, then serve with crackers.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

~Honey Deep Dish Pizza Dough~

This is a recipe that I use when I'm in the mood for homemade deep dish pizza. It has a traditional flavor and a robust hearty crust perfect for loading up with your all of favorite toppings, sauce and cheese or it can also be kept simple and finished with pesto or sliced roma tomatoes, herbs and parmesean...or whatever you come up with! This recipe makes the equivalent of two 11x15x1" pizzas.


3 cups warm water
1 package dry yeast
8 cups all purpose white flour (approximately)
1/4 tsp sugar
2 tbs salt
5 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup honey

2+ tbs vegetable oil


2 very large plastic or glass bowls (I use 8 quart plastic bowls for this)
1 stiff handled plastic or wooden spoon
1 kitchen towel or cloth large enough to cover the top of your bowls
1 basting brush


Place the water, it should be warm but not hot, into the plastic or glass bowl and stir in the yeast with the wooden or plastic spoon until dissolved. Sprinkle sugar evenly on top and let stand for 10 minutes.

Begin adding flour a cup at a time until a very wet and sticky dough forms (not a liquid but also not stiff) this usually takse about 4 cups. Cover the top of the bowl with a kitchen towel and let this stand for a minimum of 1 hour and up to 3 hours. At the end of the 1-3 hours what you have is a "sponge", it should actually look like a sponge with small bubbles and holes evenly spread through the surface. I always try to go as close to 3 hours as I can so that the sponge can fully develop.

When the sponge is ready stir in the salt, honey and olive oil. Begin stirring in remaining flour 1 cup at a time until you can no longer stir. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead in more flour until you have a dough that is still very soft and pliable but not sticky.

Put 1 tbs or so of the vegetable oil in the second bowl and place dough on oil, turn to coat and cover with the kitchen towel. Place this in a warm spot for 3 hours or until at the dough has at least doubled in size.

Remove towel and gently punch down dough, replace cover and allow to rise again for 1- 1 1/2 hours. When "punching down" you should just push your fist once into the center and then a few times around the sides of the dough so that you end up with a crust that is crackly and crunchy and an interior that has lots of irregularly shaped holes, over punching will lead to a dense heavy crust.

Turn dough out onto floured surface and punch down gently again. Divie dough into sections for desired size pizza (I use two 11x15" cookies sheets )place onto pans oiled with the vegetable oil and slowly pull dough into desired shape. This my take a few minutes as the dough will be very springy. I generally work both pizas a the same time pulling each a little bit by turns so that one is "resting" as I work the other until both fill the pans.

Brush dough with remaining vegetable oil and top as desired. Bake in 400F degree oven until toppings are cooked and crust is a beautiful golden brown, usually around 35-40 minutes. Remebmber that alltitude, temperature and humidity level will affect cooking time for all doughs or baked goods so watch closely after 25 minutes or so.

Remove from oven when done and allow to cool slightly, cut and enjoy!

Monday, July 20, 2009

~One Of The Unusual Zucchini Recipies I Use...But Good!~

~Zucchini Custard Pie~
This is a creamy dreamy pie with a delightful holiday like aroma that is very simple to make.


1 3/4 -2 cups zucchini, peeled, seeded and sliced very thin
10 oz evaporated milk
2/3 cup white sugar
1 large egg
3 tbls flour
3 tbls butter or margarine, softened
1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract ( use the real stuff not the imitation)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
dash of salt
1 unbaked pie crust from the freezer or your own recipe


1. Boil zucchini slices until tender, drain, cool, and squeeze out excess moisture.
2. Place all ingerdients except the cinnamon, nutmeg and pie crust into blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
3. Pour into pie crust and sprinkle with nutmeg and cinnamon.
4. Place pie into pre-heated 425F degree oven and bake for 5-7 minutes. Reduce heat to 350F degrees and bake until set, approximately 35-40 minutes. Set is when only the very center is loose if the pan is giggled.
5. Allow to cool and finish firming up then refrigerate.
6. Enjoy!

~How To Oxidize Sterling Silver Using An Egg~

I was recently asked how to use an egg to ozidize sterling silver and I thought I would post my method here so that anyone who is interested has an opportunity to read it!

Okay, here goes for using an egg to oxidize...

First you will need well, an egg! Plus a small pot with a lid to boil it in, water, a butter knife,tongs or a large slotted spoon, some sort of oven mitt that isn't too bulky and a freezer type zip lock baggie. There are other incidental things you may want to use but let's get started... :)

Place the egg in the pot with enough cool water to cover it by about an inch or so on the stove and boil it, watch closely!...burnt eggs are gross! When the yolk (this is where we will get our sulfur fumes) is very cooked and solid, usually about 5 minutes longer than you would hard cook an egg to eat, you are ready for the next step...

Have your zip baggie open with your jewelry piece in the bottom!

When the egg is done turn off the flame, remove it from the pot with the tongs/spoon and replace the lid to hold in the heat, this is a heat process so save your heat!

Crack the egg in half with the butter knife and using the mitts squeeze the yolk (remember it needs to be very hard cooked) into the baggie, remove the excess air quickly and zip the baggie. Place it back in the pot with the lid and watch for the oxidizing to take place! Now we wait for the water to cool some but not become cold...tick tock!

Watch to see how dark your piece is becoming. One egg will normally be enough to oxidize a ring, pair of earrings or a small to medium sized all depends on the silver content of the piece. If your piece appears dark enough remove it and polish the "high" spots back to a brighter silver color. If it didn't become very dark remove the baggie, re-simmer your water and pop the baggie back in after removing the pot from the flame...tick, tock again!

This is to some degree trial and error but really a simlpe process !

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A Brief History of Ancient Jewelry Wire

I was curious about the earliest evidence of wire use in jewelry so I did some "digging" and here is some of what I found.
Although the art of wire wrapping is often credited to the Phoenician Empire, about 1000 BC, there is evidence of wire use in jewelry far earlier.
Biblical scholars have identified wire sculpting as an art form dating as far back as 1446 BC,nearly 500 years before the Phoenicians. They site the event in Exodus 28 of Moses being instructed to create Aaron's breastplate. The breastplate included gold rings and chains as well as 12 gemstones: ruby, topaz, beryl, turquoise, sapphire, emerald, jacinth, agate, amethyst, chrysolite, onyx and jasper. These gems were all set with gold filigree.
Merriam-Websters dictionary defines filigree as " ornamental work especially of fine wire of gold, silver, or copper applied chiefly to gold and silver surfaces."In ancient times filigree was made from gold, silver or copper that had been hammered into fine thin sheets. These sheets were then cut into narrow strips. The edges of the strips were filed smooth thereby creating the wire. This method is generally recognized as the earliest technique for creating wire. There is later evidence of these strips being pulled through holes in stones or shells causing the strip to curl onto itself becoming a thin tube that was then used as wire.
Predating both the Phoenician Empire and the creation of Aaron's breastplate were the Sumerians of Mesopotamia during the Ur Dynasty dating approximately 2560 BC. Some of the jewelry artifacts from this period clearly show the use of wire. The British Museum, the University of Pennsylvania Museum and the Iraq Museum have pieces of jewelry found in the Royal Cemetery of Ur(Iraq) that include gold sheet, beads and gold wire coils and hoops. Both men and women wore large amounts of jewelry in Mesopotamia as well as using it to decorate idols. Mesopotamian jewelers also practiced other techniques such as granulation, filigree, cloisonne, engraving and the art of carving gem stones.
The Ur artifacts were excavated between 1922 and 1934 by C. Leonard Woolley.Photos of many artifacts from this excavation along with the impressive Sumerian headdress of the Lady Puabi can be viewed at the University of Pennsylvania Museum website in the online gallery "Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur".
Recently a 2000 year old gold wire earring, set with emerald and pearls, was found in Jerusalem. It was discovered in excavations conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority in the Giv‘ati car park at the City of David, in the area of the “Walls around Jerusalem National Park”. A photo of the earring and excavation site can be viewed at the Israel National News website.
I hope you found this brief look at early wire use in jewelry interesting. I know I did.