Review & Prevew: 7/24/16

Review & Preview is a weekly post that features a review of last week’s blogs, a preview of upcoming posts and a random assortment of food-related thoughts, discoveries, and experiences that happen between posts. My hope is that this will serve an “in case you missed it” purpose, as well as give you a glimpse of what will be in store for the week ahead.

Mothers-in-law. Oh the jokes and stories that start out with these words. I’m not going to lie … I had a few of those. This past week, however, I chose to highlight one of my fondest memories of my mother-in-law. The key, I believe, to getting along with your mother-in-law (or anyone for that matter) is to find common ground. Ours was books. Cookbooks to be exact. A particular set that I received as a Christmas gift and the Hot Italian Roast Beef recipe from one of them were the subject of my first post last week. I typically make soup from the leftovers, but since we are in the middle of July’s nastiest heat and humidity, I experimented with pizza!


Italian Roast Beef
Banana Peppers
Sun-dried Tomatoes
Kalamata Olives
Fresh Mozzarella


Even my husband, who is a pizza purist, said it was delicious. Because it was without traditional pizza sauce, he doesn’t think it actually counts as “pizza”. Whatever.

I let my son/editor, Nick, take over the blog for our Summer Sangria! He may question my curiosity over trying a pineapple-jalapeno sangria next time, but I am pretty sure I can make him a believer!


TCSC101Fresh, Bloomy Rind, Washed Rind, Semi-Soft, Firm, Hard, Blue … the seven types of cheese that C.J. from The Cheese Shop Des Moines featured in his Cheese 101 class last Monday (clockwise from the top of the plate). Samples came from here in Iowa, the west coast, east coast, France and Italy. Served with a wedge of La Mie’s ciabatta, a couple glasses of wine and a great sense of humor, our host shared his passion for quality and variety.


img_3788I have all kinds of pepper in and on my cupboard, but if I had to keep only one, it would be Coarse Ground Black Pepper. The peppercorns are not ground as finely as typical table pepper so the flavor is more concentrated. You can find it in any grocery store. Try it on burgers and steaks, roasted or grilled vegetables, or on salads to get a “bite” of pepper. If you like subtle pepper flavor, stick with finely ground pepper. But if you like that bold hit of pepper on your taste buds, you will like the coarse grind.

My basil is still waiting to be made into pesto so that is priority number one for this week.

It also looks like this will be the week for the first beet harvest, roasting, and freezing. This means that I will be feasting on roasted beet salad with arugula, blue cheese, balsamic vinegar, and walnuts … do not knock it until you try it!

I think it’s time to open up “The Meatball Files” again. This humidity has me thinking about my relatives in Miami which leads my food-brain to Cuban Sandwiches and, therefore, Cuban meatballs!

img_3781After hosting Book Club this past week, I have the perfect opportunity to write about a group of women who are extremely special to me. We read and laughed and cried over a book called “The Secret to Hummingbird Cake” and I discovered a new favorite cake (bananas, pineapple, pecans, cream cheese frosting)! Oh, and there might have been a little wine too.



“Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife.” 
Proverbs 17:1

Crackers and cheese, chips and salsa, pita chips and hummus … keep it simple, relax with your family and guests, and give thanks.

Have a great week!

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