April 22, 2009

for the love of avocados

Fresh-from-the-dryer jeans, comfy tank top, new haircut.
Ripe strawberries, fresh corn tortillas, and a perfectly ripe avocado for lunch.
Today it really is all about the simple things.

I might even be inspired to make my first chilled soup, in honor of the mighty avocado and of the rather warm weather we're having...

A few avocado inspirations:

Must... return... to... work. Happy eating, and happy Earth Day.

April 21, 2009

i got garden

Month 6 in our house, and we're beginning to make some progress on the exterior.

Aside from my recent acquisition of a large rope hammock and ladder ball game, here's how the front planter's looking.

I tucked in some herbs--thyme and flat-leaf parsley so far--amongst the other drought-tolerant ornamentals and succulents.

We also put in one 4 X 8' raised bed so far in the back. (Plans for a second one, time-permitting.) Here are a few photos.

Italian basil. (I harvested much of it last night for some pesto! Hope it grows back quickly.)

Eager little cucumbers.

Also put in some flowers for cutting. I have high hopes for lovely Dahlias! (Also put in a lot of Zinnias and another flower whose name is new to me and escapes memory...)

April 15, 2009

tx wine and food festival and austin's cake balls confectioner

Ahh, springtime in the Hill Country: Clear blue skies, balmy temperatures, wildflowers, and... a crazy number of food events in which my occasionally-food-blogging self wants to participate!

I've been pleased, though sheepish due to my scant number of posts this spring, to catch wind of a handful of food-oriented fetes this month. I am excited this week to check out a few events for the Texas Hill Country Food and Wine Festival. This evening, the first I was able to get to, was a reception at the new Hotel Saint Cecilia in South Austin, a boutique hotel that emerged this year from a beautiful old bed and breakfast in our old Travis Heights neighborhood.

Lovely photo of the pool, oaks, and oh-so-classic awnings by benfu.

Of the three hors d'ouevres I sampled, I really liked the watermelon wedge served with goat cheese, pickled onions, and a bit of balsamic vinegar and greens. However, I'm not even clear as to who was preparing the food: Was it the staff at the hotel? Another restaurant in town? Either I missed something, or it was just not *that kind* of gathering. Curious.

UPDATE: I realized the invite credited Whole Foods for the catering, and Bonterra and Sterling vineyards provided the wine.

So here's where I expose myself as the neophyte you likely already know me to be: I was WAY excited about the schwag bag!

The festival folks put together the nicest bag of local snacks, wine, gift cards, and goodies, the best of which so far has been a box of delectable cake balls (giggle) by Austin confectioner, Cake by Bridges. Where have I been? Has everyone known about these, but kept them from me all this time? What a great idea, but better yet, what great execution! I had a chocolate cake ball, and the cake was moist and fudgy with a hint of cherry or coffee to it. As my godfather signs all his e-mails, "Rock ON," Cake by Bridges!

These would be such a great alternative (or addition) to cupcakes, petit fours, or truffles at a party or wedding. Has anybody seen or made these before, or used Cake by Bridges for an event?

Next up, we're off to the Sunday Fair of the festival. I'll either be buying or borrowing a camera for that one. Fingers crossed for good hill-country-driving weather.