How to Get Rid of Pesky Fruit Flies.

The worst thing you can do with fresh produce from the farmers market is refrigerate it.  Everything about it being fresh picked today is diminished by the process, but what do you do to keep the pesky fruit flies away?

I can’t figure out how to keep them out of my house, but I did learn this little trick.

Take a small bowl and put cider vinegar or red wine vinegar in it.
Cover with Saran wrap and poke with very small (fruit fly sized) holes.
Place on your counter.

The pests can get in, but they can’t find their way back out.  It’s somewhat unpleasant, but beats the alternative.

Farmers Market Delight, Zucchini

So much zucchini, but what to do with it?  Fried zucchini?  Delightful, but fried.  Grilled zuke? Awesome, but I am grilled out.  Zucchini fritters?  My mom makes the best so why even try to top perfection.

Here’s a super easy, equally impressive zucchini recipe.
Printable Version

2 large farmers market zucchini (or home grown.  I am still waiting for mine)
1/3 cup freshly grated Italian cheese
2/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
salt (light on the salt, especially if your cheese is salty)
garlic powder
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil

Heat oven to 400.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Mix the cheese bread crumbs and spices in a mixing bowl.
Slice the zucchini into 1/4-1/2″ rounds
Sprinkle both sides of the zucchini with olive oil
Dredge the zuke through your breadcrumb mix.  Pat on to get more to stick
Line your cookie sheet with zucchini and bake for 40 minutes.

Serve hot or at room temperature.
You can also serve with a side of red sauce for dunking or make a fresh tomato topping to serve like bruschetta.

Happy eats!

Growing Up Italian; The Curse of Your Great Aunt

Growing up Italian had many benefits. People always asking “why are you so tan”. Having a nice dark, olive base that always turned golden brown the first day of summer was awesome.  Secretly, that was more of a result of a mom who made us play outside unless it was raining, but we loved the jealous looks.

Food, food, and more food. Growing up we didn’t know that other families didn’t cook. We also didn’t know
what amazing delicacies we were treated to on a regular basis. Homemade ravioli, two types, not just one! Artichokes stuffed with Italian cheese.  And, the amazing smells and tastes of homemade bread.  Most of these recipes were never written down so my mom and her siblings set out to create a cookbook.  Since the originals were gone, and no one spoke the language many of the recipe titles are in code, like “B word” for that awesome meat stuffed with cheese and tomato sauce and “grandma’s (fill in the blank)”.

Bocce ball, pinochle, canasta… My family could play cards all night long. It was just our competitive nature.  (Yes, dear.  I come by it honestly). “One more game.”  “One more game.”  “No really, one more game……..  Has everyone else gone to bed?  I am ready for one more game.”

Growing up Italian also had its pitfalls. At dinner, you could never save the best for last because your Uncle would steal it right off of your plate. Incredulously, he wouldn’t eat it. He would just lick it and put it on his plate to torment you.

Is that a cucumber?  We always had to eat everything we put on our plate. Even if it was raw zucchini disguised as cucumber. Or, worse yet, sliced beets instead of canned cranberry sauce.  Gross!

Then, there’s kissing your Great Great Aunt goodbye. “But Mom, she’s pokey”… Little did I know speaking those words out loud placed me under an age old Italian curse. The curse of the pokies.

I found it a few years ago. There it was.

It wasn’t stray,
soft, and supple.

It was a big,
and dark,
and horrendously pokey chin hair. And, then it invited its friends to join it.  The nerve.  How maddening!

If I had a time machine I wouldn’t go back to see Elvis or Helen Keller or ask that boy out that I never had the nerve to in high school.  I would go back in time to my youth and never once complain about kissing my aunt goodbye – at least not out loud – and remove the curse.

I know, I know.  If I had a time machine I should do something more admirable like prevent a war or something, but I am just one girl who is tormented by pokies.

Farmers Market Delight; Swiss Chard

I love living in Michigan for a couple of reasons.  I love the full scope of having four seasons.  The color changes in the fall, the sparkles of fresh white snow, the excitement of spring finally coming after the wonder of winter wears out its welcome, and then there’s summer. We treated the family to an amazing spring break vacation to Jamaica this year. Our son wanted the family to relocate and make this our permanent residence, but our daughter had a pretty good argument against it. She argued, “but where would you go on vacations if you lived here?”  I love her logic. I think that Michiganders can appreciate the summer more. It’s short here and the second reason I love living here is the long summer nights. When friends visit they always marvel, “Wait.  It can’t be 10:00.  It’s still light.”  

Another love of mine is the Farmers Market (really, I am a sucker for any roadside stand).  This weekend I picked up some beautiful Swiss chard and prepared it tonight.  (Check out the link for all of the awesome health bennies). Here’s the recipe:

1 bunch Swiss chard
1 garlic clove 
1 Tbs olive oil
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup raisins

Wash the Swiss chard very well or it will be sandy.  Cut off the thick stems and discard and then chop the leaves. 
Warm the olive oil in a large skillet
Add the garlic and cook 1 minute
Add the Swiss chard and chicken stock
Season with salt and pepper
Cook on medium heat for 15 minutes
Add the raisins and cook on low until the Swiss chard is very tender

Note: Swiss chard will cook down to about 1/4 it’s original size. 2 cups uncooked will be about 1/2 cup after cooked. 

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