Sunday, September 25, 2011

Lamb & Pumpkin Quesadilla With Cilantro Sour Cream

My oh my...this was possibly the best quesadilla I've ever tasted!  I can't take credit for this recipe, it was from Cooking Close To Home by Diane Imrie & Richard Jarmusz.  I borrowed this book from the library in my quest for local eating recipes.  The authors live in Vermont, so I thought it would be a good bet that I could find one or two inspirational recipes.  I was not disappointed!

This recipe called for lamb, and after two trips to the grocery store and unable to find it locally, I used ground hamburger instead.  The other substitution I used was parsley instead of cilantro (as those of you who have graced me with your readership know, I very much dislike cilantro).  I also added shredded carrot, because, well, we all like them, I thought the flavor would compliment the pumpkin and I had them in the garden ready to be harvested.  I was looking for a pumpkin recipe as I got one at the CSA last week and wanted to try something with pumpkin that was not sweet.  This is a recipe I will make again, it's being added to my "bag of tricks" as it was a quick and nutritious meal to put together on a work night.  Give it a try, you won't be disappointed!

Lamb &  Pumpkin Quesadilla with Cilantro Sour Cream
Serves 6

1 tsp olive oil
8 oz ground lamb (or ground beef)
1/4 c onion, chopped
2 tsp fresh garlic, chopped
1 1/4 c raw pumpkin, shredded
3 Tbl fresh cilantro (or parsley, as I used)
2 Tbl water
1/4 tsp dried ground chipotle pepper (I used chili powder as I didn't have chipotle pepper)
1/8 tsp salt
4 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
6 six-inch whole wheat tortillas (or corn, which we preferred)
(I added  1/2 cup shredded carrots to the mix also)
Oil for pan

1 cup sour cream
2 Tbl fresh cilantro (or parsley)
1 1/2 tsp fresh lime juice (my addition, yummy)

1.  Heat a large saute pan over medium heat.  Add olive oil, ground meat, onion and garlic, and saute until fully cooked.  Stir to crumble lamb as it is cooking.

2.  Add the pumpkin, cilantro, water, chipotle pepper (carrots if using) and salt, and saute for 3 to 5 minutes until pumpkin is tender but still holds it's shape.

3.  Remove from heat.  Place the meat mixture in a bowl and add cheddar cheese.

4.  Lay out the tortillas and divide the filling equally between them.

5.  Spread filling in one half and fold over to form a half moon.

6.  Heat a large saute pan over medium heat and lightly oil.  Place the filled tortillas in pan and cook about two minutes on each side.

7.  In a small bowl mix together the sour cream and cilantro (and lime juice if using).

8.  Cut each tortilla into three triangles and serve with sour cream on the side.

So yummy!  The pumpkin is delicious without being overbearing in flavor and I loved using it as savory instead of sweet in a recipe.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Still, No Verdict

I know, it looks perfectly horrifying.  This is the barn that is on the house we are buying.   But, if you'll notice, the topline on the roof is straight as can be, no sagging, the hefty post & beam frame is mostly solid.  We have a contractor that has agreed to do the roof and structural issues for the modest budget we have available to us.  Our plan was to start with that, get it buttoned up as much as possible and then do the siding and such as we had the funds.  Then, the appraiser put a hitch in that plan today.

Apparently, we're going to need to have the siding done and stained as well as the front of the barn (shown above) repainted as well...before closing.  There is NOTHING as frustrating in home purchasing as dealing with the federal government to obtain the loan.  The hoops you must jump through, the paperwork that has to be submitted, the rules and red tape are the most annoying process in obtaining a mortgage as possible.  And we thought we had the ol' girl saved.  Now, not so sure, really not sure at all.  

After Music Man being unemployed for 14 months before obtaining this last job, we don't have unlimited funds to accomplish all that needs to be done.  So, now we are back to whether the barn stays or goes.  I'm beginning to mourn it as this piece of American history may, yet again, be on the chopping block.  We want so badly to save it, but as I told the old structure today, "Yer not making this easy!".

And that is without even knowing what is and isn't going to be required to be done in the house itself.  We're in a waiting pattern now (yet again!) to get the appraisal report and the underwriters requirements back, probably a week or so from now.  Closing date?   A very distant future.  Sure could use a little good news today.

As frustrated as possible, ~Peacemom

Monday, September 12, 2011

Can You Smell IT?

I woke up this morning, and autumn struck me.  There's a special smell to the air when it's becoming autumn...clearer, crisper, chillier...I dug out wool socks yesterday and smiled as I pulled them on to sit in our wonderful sun porch and have hot tea, with toasty toes.  It was not iced tea that I reached for as I have all summer, but wanted to hold the mug in my hand to feel it's warmth, to inhale the vanilla goodness, see the steam rising.  Flannel, wool socks and hot tea, perfect comfort are these.

Now, anyone that knows me, or if you've been following my blog for a time know I am totally obsessed with the Fall Equinox season.  There is something very interesting that happens to me during this time of the year.  I don't know how or why, because certainly in this day and age we've got all modern conveniences that basically totally negate this visceral reaction that I have to the cooler temps, the color of leaves changing, the need for another blanket on the bed.  The ingrained sense is's time to get the hunkering down started.  I have a drive to make sure there's wood split, the shelves in the pantry are full of canned goods, the sweaters and wool socks should be in good working order or mended if need be, the fall comforter needs to be hung on the line and freshened up.  All these things harken back to a more basic time, don't they?  But, they honestly do exist in my nature, the drive is there and starting up with full force. 

As I woke this morning to work in total darkness, I noticed that first light didn't arrive in the sky until about 5:50.  At the height of summer, it began getting light about 4:10 in the morning, so oh yes,  the days are definitely shorter.  That's sometimes a bit tough for me being the morning person that I am, I'm ready to go with first light usually.  But when first light doesn't come until almost 6:00am, and I've got to be up at 4:45 to start work...that's a tough one some mornings.  My internal clock pushes out too, and suddenly I should have been up earlier and now it's 5:30, messes up the whole flow of my day.  I don't use an alarm clock, I've got one in my brain.  It takes a little time to adjust to the fact that  I need to get up in the dark rather then the light.  And I've been doing this for over 40 years, you think I would have the hang of it by now!

 I do so love waking to a chilly house in the morning.  It's not yet the cold of winter, it's the feeling of cozy-the feeling of wanting to pull the blanket up close to my ears and rest for just a few more minutes.  That chill when it's not yet time to turn on the furnace, but time to just put on a layer or two.  Cozy is just the right word for that feeling.  And I know I'm in full autumn swing when I reach for the hot tea mug and make that the first beverage break of the morning.  In summer, I have iced tea going all the time, in fact I drink about 2 quarts a day (unsweetened, I don't muss it up with sugar or anything else), but fall/winter/spring it's hot tea all the way.  I'm not a hot weather worshipper, in fact, as you probably know, I really, really dislike being hot.  I much prefer the need to add layers of cozy clothes and blankets then get to the summer heat where there's just so much I can take off an not freak out my neighbors.

This week's autumn preparation will include harvesting the copious apples on the trees in our current yard.  They are spotty, funky in shape and multicolored, but taste great.  So, I'll be saucing and for the first time trying my hand at canning my own apple juice.  My boys prefer it and I figure if I can stop buying the organic kind in the plastic bottles for a while and have a few gallons preserved for them for winter, that's a win-win all the way. 

Wood smoke on the air this morning...can you smell it too?

Wishing you apples and wool socks of your own, ~Peacemom