Monday, September 28, 2020


I haven't had the inspiration to write much here lately. (Not to mention that it is a nightmare to upload photos lately.)

I could post infinite political articles and videos but, so tired of 1) all of it and 2) preaching to the choir and 3) to what end?

Other than the daily horror show, things on the local level are not that interesting.

We left town in our tiny camper for a week in mid September. Social distancing and staying safe precluded browsing in quaint shops or eating in restaurants except for take-out.

Road trips, hiking, lounging around the campground was the extent of our activity. We walked around Antonito, Pagosa Springs, and Durango Colorado and Chama, New Mexico.

My sweet hubby, Leon...I am indeed a lucky guy

Snow in them there hills

Cano's Castle Antonito, CO
Enlarge to read about the Penitentes - San Isidro Catholic Church
Remnants of the Church

Have a beer

We had friends over yesterday for dinner...(A nice salad, green peppers stuffed with ground turkey, eggplant, and other tasty ingredients, homemade Italian bread, wine, crepes with sweetened ricotta and strawberries and peaches).

Having guests and cooking something special for them...something I've missed doing during the pandemic...we have had guests infrequently, mostly visiting outdoors on the deck. All of our friends have been very diligent, very careful almost to extremes. So we have felt both safe and, I think we have an enhanced sense of camaraderie and "family".

Back at the ranch, there has been a project I've been wanting to do and have been putting off for four or five years. Patching/resurfacing the concrete driveway which is/was cracked and crumbling. Spalling concrete is the technical term, but I think ours was a bit beyond that.

Not one to pay a company several thousand of dollars to do the job professionally, I rely on my proclivity to do it myself at a fraction of the cost or "Why spend good money to have something done right when you can do a half-assed job yourself for the price of a couple of dinners at a lousy restaurant?"

So, this afternoon, Leon and I got to work on the driveway. So far we've used five 40lb bags of Quikrete vinyl concrete mix to fix one section of the driveway. We are not quite done yet...maybe we'll try to finish up tomorrow.

I seem to take to concrete the same way I take to bread or pasta dough. Maybe it's in my blood. My maternal grandpa was a stone mason, my paternal grandpa could lay a walkway, one of my cousins is a mason.

I am an amateur do-it-myself-er. Leon assists with no complaints.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

My New Toy

*NOTE: Feeling much better emotionally today than yesterday; I was in a bad place not having slept well the previous night and watching/reading too much bad news. It was one of those days that I didn't think I could survive until election day, let alone Inauguration Day.

But here I am, playing with my new toy. I tried ordering one of these on line, but every vendor was either "out of stock" or was shipping from another vendor and delivery dates were toward the end of October.

Just what I don't need: another kitchen gadget. This one is for making tomato passata. Basically, tomato puree.

My tomatoes are ripe NOW and will be rotten by the end of October. So a few days ago I took a chance and stopped in to Bed bath and Beyond - the item was supposedly out of stock, but there it was on the shelf.

Prepping my San Marzano and Roma tomatoes. Halving, removing green parts, heating in water at a boil for about ten minutes till the skins start to loosen. Letting the excess water drain out.

Milling the tomatoes  

Basilico Genovese from the garden.

This is imported Passata. The jar is typical of the product in Italy.

This is all I got out of those tomatoes. Watch the videos to see how much passata some people make.

The skin and seeds to go into compost.

I don't can stuff. This will go into the freezer. I did a second pass with the skins and seeds and got about a cup and a half more of passata which I will use for tonight's tomato sauce.

This is how the pros do it:

My next project for the morning was to make eggplant parmigiana.

But hubby called and said that we are going camping tomorrow instead of Monday as the campground had this Sunday available, but not this coming Saturday...whatever.

So I had to change my plans for the eggplant as it would take me hours with clean-up and now I had to hustle and cook and get the camper packed.

So I diced up the eggplant with garlic, onion, baby bella mushrooms, salt, pepper, oregano, pepperoncini (hot pepper flakes), olive oil and roasted the whole thing in the oven at 425 degrees.

My new plan involves adding the veggie mixture into a tomato sauce to serve over pasta. But I will need more sauce and don't want to use up all my new passata for I reverted to the tomato paste from a can. (Kirkland organic if that makes a difference.)  Mom and every Italian aunt always "fried" the tomato paste in olive oil. It is not for me to question that wisdom, so that is how I do it too.

I added the second pressing of passata to the paste with water.

The roasted veggies ready to add to the sauce.

Fried some sausages and deglazed with a little red wine and added them to the sauce. Had some homemade turkey meatballs in the freezer, so added them as well.

So there. Can't wait for pasta tonight. Oh, and I also made bread this morning too. Baked one loaf and put two balls of dough into the freezer. We'll take one camping and have fresh bread one evening.


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