The Most Legendary Pie You Will Ever Meet (and Eat)

Who doesn’t like pie, honestly? Fruity sweetness. Buttery crust. Whipped cream or ice cream. Yum yum.
My favorites are Apple, Peach Sour Cream and Blueberry.

But honestly, I had never truly had real blueberry pie until my dad brought me a huge, fresh, amazing blueberry pie from downeast Maine. Oh. My. God. Amazing. This thing was legendary: huge, uber-fresh-burst-in-your-mouth wild Maine blueberries in a perfect, buttery crust, piled high with a miraculous whipped cream that always seemed to hold its shape despite the summer heat. Legendary, I tell you. Abso-f*cking-lutely unforgettable. But sadly, when I went wheat-free four years ago, that meant no more legendary pie for me on summer Maine visits. It was heartbreaking.

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Belated CSA Booty and an Improv Salad Adventure…

I’m a little late in showing off the CSA week #3 goods, but they’re so pretty, I figure late is better than never…

CSA #3!

That’s a gorgeous pile of Red Lettuce, Buttercrunch Lettuce, Mustard Greens, Mizuna, Garlic Scapes, Bright Lights Chard, Chinese Cabbage, Arugala, Garlic Scapes and the biggest Cucumber ever! This glorious stash of green meant another week of salads was in my future…

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Wake Up, Mexican Style

Cafe de Olla

The first time I tried Café de Olla, or Mexican spiced coffee, it was definitely not in the morning.

I was at a late evening dinner at Los Tres Gallos, a charming, courtyard restaurant in Cabo San Lucas, hidden amongst the unmarked Cabo sidestreets. I also confess, I didn’t even order this: my Man ordered one in an effort to battle the sleepiness that follows a day of intense sunbathing. But, I think I actually drank more out of his mug than he did. I couldn’t get enough of the zesty, spicy, citrusy, smoky sweetness.

Since returning home, I’ve made this on a couple lazy Sunday mornings. Not only does it perk me up out of my morning sleep fog, but if I close my eyes really tight, I almost feel like I’m back in the courtyard of Los Tres Gallos, nestled among the mango trees. Sigh.

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It’s like a mini, mid-year Christmas…

As some may remember, I joined a CSA this winter to ensure a steady supply of farm-fresh, organic produce for the summer, and earn a little good community karma by supporting a sustainable local farm. Ever since hitting the “Sign Up” button on the farm’s website, I’ve been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the first CSA pickup day, when I could take home my first brood of pretty little veggies.

And, it’s here at last! The long wait is finally over, and I was not disappointed with the booty:

The First 2012 CSA Pickup!

I got to take home Red Flame Lettuce, Chinese Cabbage, Bok Choy, Buttercrunch Lettuce, Mizuna, Mustard Greens, Sorrel, Rhubarb and Garlic Scapes!

The Bok Choy, Mizuna, Mustard and Garlic Scapes have already been steamed into a yummy tofu stir-fry, which was amazingly fresh, crunchy and delicious! For me, there is honestly nothing more mind-blowing than the flavor experience that super fresh food brings to the table. I can’t WAIT to make a super fresh salad with the lettuces tonight!

And, bonus, I got to take home my first pickings from the garden:

The first pickings from the Garden

Six still-warm-from-the-sun-and-sweet-from-the-rain strawberries!

What a promising start to the prettiest (tasting) time of year.

**Update: I joined a link party of CSA geeks, hosted by InHerChucks! Head on over to check out their out their weekly booty.

What’s Growing: May

Duh duh duh DAHHHH! May I present, the big unveiling of my get-your-hands-dirty project for the summer: the veggie garden.

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I managed to get my paws on a last minute plot in my city’s community garden at Fodor Farm. I think someone must have backed out at the last minute, because two days before the sign-up deadline, I received an email asking if I was still interested in the plot. “Of course!!!” I replied, and immediately wrote out my $15 check so I could scamper down to city hall to wait in line for my plot assignment.

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Yo Quiero Gordo Lele’s

I introduce…

…the best tacos ever, no joke, from a tiny little hole in the wall called Gordo Lele’s Tacos y Tortas, nestled on a nameless street in downtown Cabo San Lucas.

Over the years, I have become the princess of plan-making, so in my obsessing pre-trip planning, I figured that I should probably include some reputable restaurant choices in my over-prepared pre-trip research. Honestly, there’s nothing worse than wandering around aimlessly on hungry evenings, easy prey for the pushy, haggling restauranteurs that roam the streets of Cabo. Mi Casa, a Cabo classic, was a given, but I turned to my favorite trip planning site, TripAdvisor to guide me to other palatable places.

Ranked #10 out of #222, Gordo Lele’s Tacos y Tortas caught my eye: small, local, unknown, authentic and appallingly cheap! Perfect for a quick, real bite to eat for lunch one day. I scribbled it down on my restaurant card, and man, am I so glad I did: Honestly, one of the best tacos I’ve ever had! Here’s a little story telling to capture our experience:

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The Long Hiatus…

Hello, Blog: I haven’t forgotten about you! I’ve been wrapped up in vacation, vacation recovery and a surprise community garden plot! My photo’s aren’t ready for the full fledged catch-up posts, soon to follow, but here are two quick tastes of the pretty to come:

Pretty #1: The Man and I escaped to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico in mid-April for a week of sun-seeking, beautiful beaches and fabulous food. We visited a couple amazing local restaurants (¡con comida autentica!) which I will definitely provide salivating details on with a couple improvised recipes for your own taste of the Baja; think amazing spiced coffee, fresh shrimp tacos, chile rellenos and fresh shrimp tacos!

Pretty #2: My first week home, my name came up for the Fodor Farm Community Garden! I’ve been eagerly awaiting a plot on the waiting list since February 2011. Last spring, I was #72, and when I checked this February, my chances weren’t looking good for this season either, hence the joining of the CSA. But, surprise! – someone must have dropped out last minute, because I was bumped up right before the April 30 cutoff date. I couldn’t say no without going to the back of the waiting list, so now I am the proud tender to plot D6.

As you can see, it was COMPLETELY overgrown with last year’s vegetable remnants (onions gone to seed, bolted kale, rotting tomatoes, strawberries gone crazy, etc), so over the past week, I’ve been cleaning and digging it up like crazy so I can put some veggies in for the spring season! I foresee mountains of fresh, organic produce in my future. It may be time to take up canning, especially with my first CSA box coming in June…

That’s just two quick peeks at what’s to come in the next couple weeks. Welcome Back, me.

It’s Burger Time…

I’ve had several recipe requests for the turkey burger photo I posted on instagram recently (@tastingpretty – follow me!), and with the warm, sunny long weekend ahead, I don’t blame you. It certainly feels like the beginning of burger season.

Normally, turkey burgers kind of turn me off: tasteless, fatless, boring, blah. But, I had a pound of frozen ground turkey in my freezer, bought on sale (I’m a sucker for low-priced, qualitymeat), so I figured it was time to give turkey burgers another shot. I searched for a recipe, and this one caught my eye; I love all the flavors it mentions, and the combination seemed pretty enough to overpower the turkey blahs.

The resulting burgers were a total success: savory, sweet, salty, tangy, cheesy. I think they might even be up there with the grass-fed local beef burgers I’m so fond of come summer time.

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Sometimes, Basics are Best…

Winter has officially stood me up, and I have to come to grips with the fact there won’t be any opportune times to hunker down with a bowl of hearty soup or rich chowder anymore. Let’s have a brief moment of silence for the soup season that never was…

Moving on, that means Spring seems to be making a lovely, early appearance, bringing with it a hankering for lighter fare. The past couple weeks, I’ve been eating mostly vegetarian dishes: curried carrot soup with fava bean tartines, black rice salad, vegetable tagine, etc etc. (Clearly, I’ve been far too busy cooking to make any posts – wink, wink, whoops.) All of these dishes are super tasty and healthy, but also super heavy on the flavor. So, by the time the weekend rolls around, I don’t want anything fancy – just yummy, basic goodness.

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A Plate of Vacation

My parents and a couple family friends just got back from vacation, toting fabulous stories and suntanned skin. All seasoned sailors, they chartered a sailboat and toured Puerto Rico by sea, enjoying the various islands, bright colors, and Carib sunshine. But apparently it wan’t quite fun enough to forget the outside world, because last week I received a message from them formally requesting that I try and post this improvisational Caribbean meal they had come up with in the tiny sailboat kitchen.

Loaded with Shrimp, Mango and Coconut Rice, it sounded too good to pass up. Inspired by the improvisational nature of the recipe, I wikipedia’ed “sofrito” and winged it, while adding a few other vacation-y ingredients into the mix. So here you are – a little plate of Vacation you can make in your very own kitchen:

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Past Tastes

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