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June 2013

A Clean Cook, fourth in series

Clean cook

    This is fourth in the series A Clean Cook, today we talk about clean in the sense of clean flavors. I know I use some weird ingredients but there is a method to my madness ;-) A clean palate is what I am trying to achieve. Again I know someone (who I will not name but don not worry it is not you, she never reads my blog) who throws every spice and herb in a dish. There is no rhyme or reason for what she is using. I know because I have politely asked. In the end the curry overrides the dill which overrides the caraway seeds, which overrides ... well you get the point. She is doing her dish a disservice because you almost taste nothing. Nothing is supporting each other. Plus things like spices and garnishes are meant to do that, garnish, highlight what they are spicing up. Not cover it up. If I have some perfect fingerling potatoes I just dug up from the garden, I do want to dress them up but I still want to taste their earthy qualities. Now if I have some nice sharp Cheddar I might added them to potatoes but the taste of the cheese is what I am trying to highlight, not the potatoes. I hope I am making sense. Do you think about your ingredients and what it is you want to highlight? Do you think about what flavors you are trying to convey?

Fat gives1
     Making great tasting food is not just having an edible dish, it is honoring the food it took to make it. By looking at your ingredients and how to elevate their flavors, not cover them up, you are making the most of what you have and that is A Clean Cook!

Please enjoy the rest of the series





Lavender Peach Pizza

Lav peach pizza

    Happy summer! To me this time of year means lots of veggies and fruit! I try to make the most of it but I have one problem, a picky daughter (who I will not mention her name but she knows who she is and probably so do all of you because I keep mentioning her!!). She hates cooked fruits: pies, cobblers, crisp and so on. Actually I love to make this kind of thing for breakfasts. They can be made low sugar, gluten free and are pretty healthy. Sigh … but one night I wanted an easy dessert using the case of peaches I just picked up. I also wanted picky daughter to like it, so I came up with this Lavender Peach Pizza. It is veryyyyy simple. The pizza base is made from a pie crust I had in the freezer. I spread a little melted butter, cinnamon and sugar, baked it off and it became a prefect dessert “pizza crust”. Then I smeared on some mascarpone, add sliced peaches and to dress it up a bit, drizzled lavender honey on top. Heaven! You could make tiny, individual pizzas but cutting out small circle from the un-bakes crusts. Just think how impressed your guest will be! Make sure to smear a little butter and flour on your cheek before you serve for the “full guest appreciation” effect xox

Lav peach piz

Lavender Peach Pizza

1 Sugar Pie Crust*

½ cup (or more if you like lots) mascarpone or you can use soften cream cheese.

5-7 ripe peaches

Lavender Honey, this is very easy to make. I always keep a few jars of lavender honey on hand.

When you are ready to serve your pizza, take your cooked, cooled pie crust and spread mascarpone on top. Then add sliced peaches and drizzle honey over the whole kit and caboodle, then enjoy!!

Lav peach pizcrust

*Sugar Pie Crust

One pie crust (can be gluten free), rolled out on parchment paper or greased foil. Make a little lip around the edge (like image of the un-cooked crust above) and pop in freezer for at least 20 minutes while oven is pre-heating.

⅛ cup melted butter

Coconut sugar or brown sugar



Pre-heat oven 375˚F

When oven has pre-heated, melt butter. Pull your frozen crust out and paint it with the melts butter, using a pastry brush . Then sprinkle some sugar, a little cinnamon and a pinch or two of salt. Bake on parchment 15-20 minutes, until the crust is cooked and golden. Set aside and let cook. This can be made earlier in the day.


1. The melted butter will freeze intantly when you brush it onto the frozen pie crust but that is okay!

2. Do not add too much cinnamon, you do not want to over power the taste of the lavender.

3. You could make tiny individual pizzas but cutting out small circle from the un-bakes crusts.

4. Do not have lavender honey on hand? Gently warm some honey with a couple of lavender heads (you can use the steams too). Make sure the lavender has not been sprayed with any pesticides. Do not boil your honey! After honey has warmed, set is aside for a good half an hour, then remove lavender and drizzle honey on you pizza!! Or if you have food grade lavender oil, 2 drops mixed in 1/4 cup of honey will work too (but it is not as good).





    Wow, kitchen remodeling is exhausting and we still have a long way to go, a four year plan to be exact. David tore out the lath and plaster ceiling, hung sheet rock (on a 10' ceiling by himself). The ceiling still needs to be painted and new light fixtures (we are making) hung.


    Our old stove was going and I have been watching for a professional gas range. I found a scratch and dent Bertazonni 36' range for an amazing price. Thank goodness we found her because 2 weeks before we got her put in, the old one completely died. So the timing was perfect!


    There was a lot of work to put her in. We needed a back splash that could take heat and choose honed marble. I LOVE it, it looks soo old world to me and was a pretty economical choice! David treated me by getting a pot filler and all I can say is if you get a chance to have one, DO IT. I love mine and can see it will be used a lot.



    David still needs to build a wood cover for the vent and hood. We need to paint over the old wallpaper. I was going crazy not having a stove for two weeks. It was 81 days from purchase to install :-O I was like one of those race horses at the starting get, itching to start running. It was such a relief to finally cook and I have to say I have not made one bad thing. I am amazed at how well everything cooks.


    The other cooling thing about Nerina, we got her up and running on our 25th wedding anniversary. We did not plan this (believe me I wanted this puppy up and running as soon as possible) but it seems to be the perfect wedding anniversary and a symbol of our love. For food is one of the main things that brought us together.


    I want to thank you to all of you because without Wren Bay and all of you I could never have purchased Nerina. Heck I never would have even published Wren if you had not encouraged me to be brave and not listen to my fears. So it is all love and when I cook now, I will cook with love. Hopefully I will in time be able to cook for some of you. I am thinking when the kitchen is done, maybe I could have cooking classes! So I am proud to announce the birth of Nerina. I choice the name Nerina because in Italian it mean water. With the gift of the pot filler, I think is apropos xox

A Clean Cook, third in series

  Clean cook

    Yeah, I have my kitchen back. I will share real soon. Until then, here is the third instalment in A Clean Cook!

    Well we have talking about the importance of having a clean, open work space and how that helps us to be A Clean Cook. Another way I think Thomas Keller meant to be A Clean Cook, is clean food. Well clean food in the sense of food free from antibiotics, pesticides, GMO, healthy food! I am trying to cook food as clean as possible. The less messed with the better. Made from scratch with products that are what they were suppose to be in the first place; no box items, processed as little as possible, free is chemicals. It is kind of amazing how hard it is to find clean, real food!


    I have written several posts on the chemicals that are now in our food. About how companies can claim food is in their products, like fruit in cereal, when really there is not fruit at all, just a chemical combo with artificial flavors. I am beginning to understand how these chemicals are affecting my family and it scares me to tell you the truth. With the fact that some 80% of food has GMO and chemicals, it makes it hard to avoid them. I think it takes education and one day at a time approach. For us the first thing to go was extras, no more pre-made stuff (most of the time, I want to be real with you)! Then I started looking at every day things. I make most what we eat. Also I have been researching what companies I can trust. Here is a site where you can find which products are GMO free. I am not there 100% but pretty close. My garden is producing more but still has a long way to go. I have had to let go of extras in other areas of our life, so I can put more money toward wholesome food, like raw milk and grass feed beef. I think it is just about mindfulness. The more you know, the more you can make choices that are right for you and your family. Knowledge and owning what you eat makes you A Clean Cook!

Still more to come!


Please enjoy the rest of the series





Gathering Together and You Can Be A Part Of It!!


    Good day friends, I hope you are doing well. I just popped in to say hi. The kitchen remodeling is sadly held up for a few days and I am ready to pull out all my hair! BUT I have exciting news to share. Gathering magazine has been asked by many a readers to move on to yet another venue, Gatherings in print and you dear readers can help support us so we can make Gathering a beautiful magazine that one can hold and treasure in their own home. Please check out Heather's video on how you can be apart of our Gathering family. There is only 27 days to go, so please check out Heather's video now and help us bring Gathering into print xox

PS. The beautiful music in the background is Heather's hubby.

Help, lost in kitchen remodel


    Hey there, just a quick note to say hi and that I have no post for you. Well ... technically I guess this is a post to say I have no post :-) My stove died, we are rushing to get in a new one and it has taken over my life. Think tearing out lath and plaster walls, marble, laying cement pad, pot filler and so much more. Hopefully in a week we will have it in and I can get back to posting. Until then here is a pretty picture for you and I will be back soon (with lots of pictures of what I have been up to and more of the Clean Cook series) xox