creamy lemon & thyme pasta bake

Ahhh… back to our favorite combination, cheese & a starch. Before we went gluten free, I had a favorite italian pasta place I used to eat at where I always ordered the same ravioli dish time & again. It had an amazing cheese & lemon filling, with thyme & a creamy sauce. However the place fell victim of the curse that seems to be plaguing me… the very same curse that is causing all my favorite places to close down. I need to stop picking favorites it would seem.

…I don’t want to get into making homemade ravioli with gluten free flours just yet, I’m lazy & it’s going to take a lot of experimenting. So I’ve taken a different approach to get a similar result & this is what I came up with.

– Mel

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Champagne Thursday: green tea cocktail

I’ve had a DIY overload.

I mean there has been the painting of our new chicken coop (yes, we did it blue & white to resemble the traditional way of painting island houses). There has been the cutting down of old dead trees with our brand new chainsaw. Slicing, sanding & painting of the wood from the trunks of the fallen trees. Beginning the work for an up coming designed cake for the son of one of my kindred spirits, she wants the cake topper to be an elephant. Baking, always more baking. And last but not least, packing for my trip to Boulder, Colorado. All of that has happened today.

ALL THAT DIY in ONE DAY!

Yes, I’m tired & I want a drink.

Thank goodness it’s Thursday, that’s all I have to say.

Say it with me now… “Thursday”.

I’ve got an interesting one for you today. I was trying to combine the relaxing effect of a warm cup of tea, with the cooling effect of adding a little lemon & ice to really help me unwind from all that hard work.

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salmon & poppyseed salad

Sometimes, you want something delicious & you want it in under 10 minutes. It’s as simple as that. Realistically, when you’re starving… if you don’t act fast then the entire contents of your fridge can be devoured in the time it takes you to throw together a meal. At that point, was throwing together a meal even worth the energy?

Here’s the good news. You can buy those wonderful packs of pre-mixed salad, a pack of smoked salmon, & then make your own delicious poppy seed vinaigrette, and voila! You’ve got something mouth-watering, filling & completely satisfying in no time at all.

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smokey eggplant dip

This dish is found everywhere in Greece and the smokey eggplant flavor steals the show. It’s in simple dishes like this that the basic flavor of an ingredient can shine and therefore the quality of the produce must be top. Paired with a rustic farmers style bread a few olives and feta cheese you get a perfect example of Mediterranean flavors. Sure you can bake them with the feta cheese, layered with some tomato and onion but trust me less is more.

– mel

burnt aubergine salad

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Hünkar Begendi

…which translated means sultans delight, which is basically a stew on a rich aubergine puree. Traditionally this is made with lamb but i tried it here with beef and it wasn’t a bad substitution at all. This is a dish with a long history and many stories tell the tale of its creation. In the end, all stories have a common happy ending… the sultan liked it, hence the name. Given the intertwined history of Greece and Turkey, the dish has flavors that are very common in this part of the Mediterranean. The roasted aubergine technique used here, is basically used for many recipes like eggplant salad which anyone having visited a Greek island will have tried. The simple tomato beef stew by itself is very common here also, and often enjoyed with either pasta, rice or my favorite… grandma’s extra crunchy fried potatoes and feta cheese.

– mel

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