melting mozzarella meatball sandwich

sandwich2I must have been Italian in a past life….Italian food is my favorite and with dogs named Rocco and Dolce, it must be true.  Most Sundays are for revisiting my past life, this is the day that I linger in my kitchen and cook my family’s favorite Italian pasta dishes.  However, this Sunday I decided on forgoing the pasta and instead, cooked these amazing gooey mozzarella meatball sandwiches.

Oh, this isn’t your ordinary meatball sandwich, take a bite out of these delicious moist meatballs and out oozes melted mozzarella. A delightful surprise to whom ever you serve this hot sandwich to. My family devoured them and my husband couldn’t get enough helpings of the simple tomato basil sauce that the meatballs were quickly braised in.

Use left over baguette or bread and soak in water to moisten before starting your meatball mixture.  The bread helps to hold the meat mixture together when forming the meatball.meatball

I cut the mozzarella balls in half and my meatballs still turned out large in size. Sample with a flattened meat patty and cheese ball to determine the size of meatballs you desire.

Summer is the best time of year to take advantage of the warm evenings and serve dinner outdoors.  This Sunday night, we enjoyed our meatball sandwiches on the patio.  The early evening was still lit up by an orange sunset and a calm breeze.  I start to get a little sad when thinking that summer is almost over.  Luckily, I have captured a lot of our summer on Instagram and can go back later in the year to reminisce over the fun times that we had.

This is what happened on Malibu Kitchen’s Instagram this summer….

instagramEnjoy the rest of your summer and for a simple rustic Italian dinner, try this scrumptious melting mozzarella meatball sandwich.

sadwich3

melting mozzarella meatball sandwich

Adapted from The Cheesemonger’s Kitchen

Serves 6 to 8

For the meatballs:

8 oz stale baguette, sliced

½ cup fresh basil, chopped

1-pound ground beef

1-pound ground pork

1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese

2 eggs, beaten

1-teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper

10 to 20 bocconcini di mozzarella cheese, based on size – larger sized mozzarella can be sliced

Lay bread slices evenly in an 8 x 8 pan and barely cover with cold water. Soak for 1 minute on each side, then removing and squeezing dry. Tear bread into small pieces and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the basil, beef, pork, cheese, eggs, salt, and pepper. Mix together with clean hands.

Form the mixture into twenty small patties, 2 inch in diameter. Lay a single bocconcini ball on each patty and then mold the meat mixture around the cheese to form meatballs. Place meatballs on a cooking sheet lined with wax paper. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. You can prepare meatballs a day ahead if desired.

For the sauce:

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 small yellow onion, minced

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 28-ounce can roma style tomatoes crushed

¼ cup fresh basil, chopped

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

1teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Heat the oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven, over low heat. Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a few seconds until fragrant. Add the tomatoes, basil, red pepper, salt and pepper. Increase heat and bring to a boil.

Lower heat and simmer sauce, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring often.

For assembling the dish:

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

6 to 8 French or sourdough rolls

To assemble the dish:

In large frying pan, heat oil until hot but not smoking. Brown the meatballs, a few at a time, turning them from time to time to sear all around. Be careful not to crowd the pan, which will reduce the temperature and prevent a good searing. Transfer browned meatballs at they are finished to a large plate and continue until all of the meatballs are browned.

Add browned meatballs to sauce and simmer for 10 minutes.

Toast rolls if desired and add meatballs and additional sauce. Enjoy!

You might also like:

sour cream blueberry coffee cake

Imagine a moist coffee cake with a slightly crunchy blueberry topping and sweet glaze. If that sounds scrumptious, you’ll love this cake. It’s perfect for packing and taking on a trip for an easy, delightful breakfast treat. That’s exactly what I did with this cake. We spent the weekend on our boat in Catalina Island and I baked this cake the night before and packed it up for the trip. Not only did we enjoy it for breakfast, but it made a delicious mid-day snack as well.

This gorgeous blueberry topping of fresh blueberries, pecans, and cinnamon bakes right into the moist cake.  Speaking of a gorgeous topping, have you noticed my new blog header?  It was artistically designed by Shay Bocks Creative Services. Check out her site and services if you are considering a fresh new look for your blog or website.

blueberry coffee cake 2

My beautiful daughter Melia loves blueberries! I’m always so happy to cook something containing blueberries for her. This coffee cake was a wonderful blueberry treat with the precise combination of sweet and tart.

blueberry coffe cake collage

Here are a couple of pictures from our weekend in Catalina.  My favorite is the picture of Melia with our dog Rocco.

The sour cream blueberry coffee cake quickly disappeared…this was my piece

blueberry coffee cake last

sour cream blueberry coffee cake

Ingredients:

For the Coffee Cake:

1-½ cups flour

1-teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened

3/4-cup sugar

2 eggs

1-cup sour cream

1-teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Topping:

1-pint blueberries

½ cup chopped pecans

¼ cup brown sugar

1-teaspoon cinnamon

For the Glaze:

1-cup confectioners’ sugar

4 teaspoons milk

Directions:

To prepare the coffee cake, mix the flour, baking powder and salt together. Cream together the butter and sugar for 2 to 3 minutes until fluffy. Add the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add the flour mixture gradually and mix well. Spoon into a lightly greased 8-inch spring form pan.

To prepare the topping, crush ¼ cup of the blueberries in a bowl. Add the remaining blueberries, pecans, sugar, and cinnamon, and mix gently. Sprinkle over the coffee cake batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes. Place on a serving plate and remove the side of the pan.

To prepare the glaze, whisk the confectioners’ sugar and milk in a bowl until smooth. Using a tablespoon, drizzle over the coffee cake.

cilantro-lime grilled chicken

This is a perfect dish for a summer night when you don’t want to be in the kitchen cooking. On weekends, I like to prepare this authentic flavored Mexican marinade with chicken breast prior to heading out to the beach for the day. Chicken breast marinate in the refrigerator during day, so all that I have to do for dinner is make some of my fast pico de gallo and maybe some Mexican rice pilaf, while hubby grills the chicken.

cabochicken2

Within minutes we have a delicious fiesta-in-our-mouth chicken that is so moist and tender.

beach

I took this picture during an early morning bike ride on the strand.  It was nice to be able to come home from a long day at the beach and make an easy grilled chicken dinner that was so full of mexican flavors from marinating all day in a cilantro and lime marinate.

cilantro-lime grilled chicken
Adapted from Entertaining at Home Cookbook Ingredients:

4 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken breast

¼ cup fresh limejuice

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1-½ teaspoons firmly packed brown sugar

1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

1/2-teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Fresh fast pico de gallo, sour cream, and tortillas for serving

Directions:
Lay chicken in a single layer and cover between two sheets of plastic wrap or place in large zip lock bag. Using a mallet, lightly pound chicken breast to 1/2-inch thickness.

Place chicken in a new 1-gallon zip lock bag or in a shallow dish prior and set aside while preparing the marinade.

To prepare the marinade, in a bowl, combine the limejuice, olive oil, garlic, chopped cilantro, brown sugar, salt, cumin, and pepper and whisk until thoroughly blended. Pour the marinade over the chicken and seal the zip lock bag, or if using a shallow dish, cover. Allow chicken to marinate in the refrigerator for a minimum of 1 hour or up to 8 hours. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling.

Prepare charcoal grill, or preheat a gas grill on medium.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and drain off the excess marinade. Brush the grill grate with vegetable oil. Grill chicken uncovered for about 5 to 8 minutes on each side, until tender and the juices run clear when the meat is pierced with a knife.

Remove the chicken from the grill and transfer to a platter. Spoon some fast pico de galloover each portion, followed by a dollop of sour cream. Serve immediately with corn or flour tortillas and enjoy the fiesta-in-your-mouth!

 

 

skillet pineapple upside-down cake

pineapple cover

Recently, returning from a family vacation in Hawaii, home of the pineapple, left me craving for pineapple upside-down cake. Deciding on a time-honored method, I baked my pineapple upside-down cake in a cast-iron skillet.

bowl full of cherries  A bowl full of cherries.

As far back at the late 1800’s, the first pineapple upside-down cakes were cooked in cast-iron skillets, and referred to as skillet cakes. Ovens were not as reliable back in those days. Cakes were often made in cast-iron skillets on stovetops.

pineapple topping

Pineapple topping is cooked stovetop in a cast-iron skillet.

Skillet pineapple upside-down cakes are moist white cakes topped with a caramelized brown sugar and butter topping with sweet, gooey pineapple. As soon as the cake was pulled out of the oven and converted from skillet to platter, spoons were handed out to my family and everyone dug into the scrumptious cake all at once. Only remnants of the cake remained.

photo[1]

I took the above photo of a picture hanging in the historical section of the Royal Hawaiian Resort Hotel in Wakiki.  The photo was taken in the 1800’s, when Wakiki was quickly becoming a famous beach location for tourist from Europe and the United States.

Pineapple 1

skillet pineapple upside-down cake

For the pineapple topping:
One 20-ounce can pineapple rings, with their syrup or juice
6 tablespoons butter
¾ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
10 maraschino cherries

For the cake:
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup milk
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1 egg
1-teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the topping:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Drain the pineapple well, reserving 2 tablespoons of the juice or syrup for the cake batter. Melt the butter in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat.

Remove the pan from the stove, and sprinkle the brown sugar over its buttery surface. Carefully place the pineapple rings on top of the scattered brown sugar topping, arranging them so they fit in a layer. Place a cherry in the center of each ring, and set the pan aside.

To make the cake:
In a mixer with whisk attachment, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt, and quickly mix until blended. Add the milk and butter, and beat well with a mixer at medium speed, scraping down the bowl once or twice, until you have a thick, fairly smooth batter. Add the egg, reserved pineapple juice/syrup, and the vanilla. Beat for 2 minutes more, stopping once or twice to scrape down the bowl.

Carefully pour the batter over the pineapple arranged in the skillet, and use a spoon or a spatula to spread it evenly to the edges of the pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 to 40 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and springs back when touched lightly in the center. Cool in the skillet for 5 minutes on a wire rack or a folded kitchen towel. With oven mitts, carefully turn out the warm cake onto a serving plate by placing the plate upside down over the skillet, and then flipping them over together to release the cake onto the plate. Serve warm, or cool to room temperature before serving, and watch it disappear.

 

 

smoked salmon and dill spread

salmon 2

Appetizers can be encouragement for guests to start engaging in conversation when they arrive to your home. Often, when an appetizer is served that includes an interesting combination of flavors and appetizing presentation, it quickly becomes the topic of conversation. Most likely, your guests will want to know the recipe.
My lovely in-laws were recently guests for dinner in our home. Typically, the moment our guests walk through the front door, they enjoy gathering around our kitchen island, and start engaging in conversation. Honestly, there is no better way to start off a dinner, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. For this dinner, I wanted to begin by serving a simple appetizer prepared ahead of time, and placed on the kitchen island, ready for everyone’s arrival. This appetizer needed to be full of flavor, but not too filling. I opted for a smoked salmon spread and it worked perfectly, creating a great kick off to our family dinner. And guess what? My sister in-law asked for the recipe!
salmon 3
The blending of smoked salmon, tangy capers, and fresh dill specks in smooth cream cheese, creates a perfectly creamy pale pink spread that can’t be beat. This dip is perfect to serve with bagel chips. It is simple to prepare, yet elegant to serve.
The key here is to purchase good-quality smoked salmon in a vacuumed–packaged plastic at your local grocery market. When you buy the packaged salmon it is already sliced, so you need only to lift the slices from the package and place into the food processor.
After sixty-five years of marriage, my in-laws still have a deep love for one another. Both my husband and I admire their loving and affectionate relationship. We too hope to have such a life long bond. I feel blessed to have such amazing in-laws who are inspirational role models in marriage, and as parents and grandparents. They truly are the most in love couple that I know.

smoked salmon and dill spread
Adapted by At Blanchard’s Table: A trip to the beach

Ingredients:
12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2-cup sour cream
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced
¼ cup capers, rinsed and drained
8 ounces smoked salmon, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
Pinch of salt
Dash of fresh ground pepper
Fresh dill, for garnish
Bagel chips for serving

Directions:
Puree the cream cheese, sour cream, and lemon juice in food processor. Add the scallions, capers, salmon, chopped dill, and salt and pepper, and pulse to blend. Garnish with dill and serve at room temperature with bagel chips.

pizza with prosciutto, arugula, and mozzarella

Have you tried the latest craze of having your pizza topped with salad?  I know, it may not sound very appealing to a pepperoni and sausage pizza lover.  Just like most new crazes, it may take some nudging to get others to try. Trust me, this maybe the pizza to change their minds and yours too.

Imagine a warm flat bread fresh out of the oven, brushed with olive oil and covered with hot melted bubbles of mozzarella cheese, topped with sweet balsamic vinegar drizzled over peppery ribbons of arugula, mounds of salty prosciutto, and a sprinkling of parmesan.  Are you ready for your pizza and salad now?

Fortunately, I benefit from having a wood-burning pizza oven in my backyard.  But you don’t need a wood-burning pizza oven for this pizza; rest assured that this pizza could be made in a conventional oven.  Below, you will find that I have included cooking directions for both

pizza in oven 1

pizza in oven 2

cheese pizza

For those who regularly make pizza at home, I recommend investing in a pizza stone and paddle; they make a big difference in the authenticity of the crust and overall quality of the pizza.  But in a squeeze, a baking sheet will do.

If you don’t have time to make homemade dough, you can make this delicious pizza with any good store-bought pizza dough.  I didn’t have time and purchased ready-made pizza dough from my local grocery market.  It didn’t disappoint and I will do it again.

pizza dough

oilive oil on dough

A simple, devoid of pepperoni and sausage, pizza never tasted so scrumptious and fresh.  I love this new craze!

pizza pizza

pizza with prosciutto, arugula, and mozzarella

Adapted from Wolfgang Puck Makes It Easy

Using store-bought pizza dough:

Allow refrigerated dough to come to room temperature before working with it.

Roll the dough out as thinly as possible before adding toppings.

If you’re not using the dough right away (and it hasn’t already been frozen), freeze it, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, within 2 days of buying it.  It will last for up to 1 month.  Thaw in the refrigerator, about 3 hours.  Bring to room temperature before rolling out.

Ingredients:

1 recipe or store-bought pizza dough

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1-tablespoon balsamic vinegar

2 cups grated mozzarella cheese

1-cup baby arugula

6 ounces prosciutto, cut or torn into strips

½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Gently separate balls of dough (if needed) and place on a lightly dusted work surface.  When you flatten the balls, gently press out the air but do not pack the dough.

Using a rolling pin, roll out the pizza dough into a circle to roughly 12 inches round and ¼ inch thick.  Dust a pizza paddle with cornmeal and working very quickly, place the dough round on paddle, brush the dough lightly with olive oil, next sprinkle on the mozzarella cheese.

If using a conventional oven, preheat the oven with a pizza stone set on the middle rack for 30 minutes at 500 degrees F.  When heated, Lightly slide pizza onto the baking stone and bake it until the crust is nicely browned, 10 to 12 minutes.  Remember that the oven is very hot and be careful as you place the pizza in the oven and again as you take it out.

If using a wood-fired oven, place the pizza in oven, away from the fire, and let bake for several minutes.  Turn the pizza 180 degrees and continue baking for another few minutes or until crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly. Pizza cooks very quickly in a wood-fired oven.

While the pizza is baking, toss the arugula with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Transfer the pizza to a firm surface and arrange the arugula, prosciutto, and Parmesan on top.  Cut the pizza into sliced with a pizza cutter or a very sharp knife.  Serve immediately.

 

 

rustic peach and raspberry cobbler

 

cobbler 1

Two summer favorites, peaches and raspberries, combined into a traditional Southern dessert, creating a glorious rustic cobbler.

fruit

Peaches are at their peak this time of year. Ripe fruit so sweet that you can’t bite into one without the juices running down your face. My favorite of all fruits, a bite returns memories of childhood summers spent in Texas.

peaches with knife

A splashing of raspberries provide just the right amount of tart, and a flaky crust hugs the fruit filling. The look is rustic and not meant to be perfect.

rolling pin

Yellow or white peaches can be used.  I chose white peaches for this cobbler.  A perfect summer’s night is having a peach and raspberry cobbler topped with vanilla bean ice cream for dessert.

cobbler 1b

cobbler 4

What is your favorite childhood memory of summer?

rustic peach and raspberry cobbler
Adapted from The Vineyard Cookbook

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, sifted
¼ teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
¼ cup vegetable shortening, chilled
4 or 5 tablespoons ice water
6 ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and thinly sliced
1-cup fresh raspberries
3/4-cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Lightly butter a 7-by-9-inch baking dish.

Combine the flour, salt, butter (5 tablespoons) and shortening in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Slowly add the ice water, one tablespoon at a time, and process until the dough begins to hold together and gathers on the blade.

Shape the dough into a ball, working in a little more flour if necessary. Wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes.

In a large bowl, add the peaches and raspberries. Sprinkle the sugar over the fruit and toss together. Set aside at room temperature for approximately 15 minutes to give juices time to accumulate and sweeten.

On a lightly floured surface, using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a rough 10-by-12-inch rectangle. Line the buttered baking dish with the dough, allowing the excess to hang over the sides. Spoon the peach and raspberry mixture evenly over the dough and dot it with the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. Fold the overhanging dough back over the fruit. It will not cover the fruit but will form a decorative edge.

Put the cobbler on a center rack of the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 425 degrees F. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the fruit is bubbling hot.

Spoon the cobbler warm or at room temperature into bowls. Swerve with whipped cream or vanilla bean ice cream, if desired.

Enjoy your summer!

 

 

 

 

lemony lemon bars

lemon 1

When life gives me lemons, I make lemony lemon bars. Lemon bars are the perfect treat to make during the summer months. These luscious square bars have a buttery shortbread crust with a tangy citrus topping. They are perfectly refreshing on a hot summer day.

Lemon Bars 1

We have several lemon trees in our yard and during the summer, when lemons are abundant, I enjoy picking them off the trees and making these fresh lemony lemon bars. These bars are really simple and can be quickly whipped up.

picking lemons

My daughter, Gigi, had one of her girlfriends, Izzy, over to our house, so I made them lemony lemon bars. They helped me pick some lemons off from our lemon trees.  The tress are still a bit sparse with lemons, since it is only June, but there were more than enough (3 to 4) for these lemony lemon bars. Lemon Bars2

Grate the zest from the lemons prior to juicing them.

Lemon Bars5

I cut my lemony lemon bars into large squares. After everyone has eaten their bar, my hubby then recuts them into smaller ones for himself. Maybe he thinks that he isn’t eating as much if they are smaller, but somehow every square disappears.

lemon 2

Once cooled, I take a small strainer, usually one use for tea, and sprinkle lots of powdered sugar on top.

Lemon Bars3

Meet Izzy, a few of her favorite things are friends, food, books, the ocean, and laughter.  She is a bright, spunky, and beautiful girl.  We just love having her over to our house.

Lemon Bars4

Meet Gigi, a few of her favorite things are the beach,Instagram, the TV show Nitro Circus with Travis Pastrana, and Rob Dyrdeks Fantasy Factory  Gigi is very intelligent, super sweet, and gorgeous! She is a very special person in my life.

Both Gigi and Izzy ate their lemony lemon bars and quickly took off to meet up with their friends, leaving me with recollections of my younger teenage years with my friends during the summer.

lemon 5

Lemony lemon bars
Adapted from Cookies and Brownies, by Alice Medrich

Ingredients

For the crust:

1 stick unsalted butter
¼ cup granulated sugar
1-teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8-teaspoon salt
1-cup all-purpose flour

For the lemon topping:
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3-tablespoon all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
½ cup strained fresh lemon juice (approximately 3 to 4 lemons)
1 to 2 tablespoons powdered sugar for dusting

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven.

Line an 8-inch square pan on the bottom and up all 4 sides with foil or parchment paper.

In medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add the flour and mix just until incorporated. Using your fingers, press the dough evenly over the bottom of the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the crust is lightly golden.

Meanwhile, stir together the sugar and flour in a medium bowl until well mixed. Whisk in the eggs. Stir in the lemon juice and zest.

When the crust is ready, remove from oven and lower the oven down to 300 degrees F. Carefully pour the filling over the hot crust and return to oven.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the topping is puffed at the edges and no longer jiggles in the center, when the pan is tapped. Chill to cool completely. With a knife dipped in hot water, cut into 3 rows by 3 rows for large bars or 6 rows by 6 rows for smaller sized bars.

Serve and enjoy!

chilled avocado soup

soup 5

This time of year, ripe avocados are abundantly available in Southern California. We actually have a large avocado tree on one side of our house, which is very common in this area. Unfortunately, none are ripe at the moment. Even if we do get avocados, it is very likely that a possum will get to them before we can.  Luckily, the markets are full of ripe avocados this spring and have lowered their prices on them as well.

soup 4

I take pleasure in the flavor of avocados and enjoy making and eating guacamole. But one can only eat so much guacamole. So, after buying so many avocados on sale, today I decided to use them to make a chilled avocado soup instead of guacamole.

This soup is one of the easiest soup recipes that you will ever make. It’s made in a blender.  I will warn you though– do not use a cuisinart instead of a blender.  I made that mistake and once I poured in the broth and started pureeing, the soup came running out of the bottom. I lost almost half of the soup. What a mess!  You have been warned. The best advise that I can give you when using either a blender or even a cuisinart (for any recipe other than this one), is to start with solids and add liquids last.
For best result, use only ripe avocados for this soup. If you are unlucky in finding ripe avocados, you can easily place them in a paper lunch bag with an apple, which accelerates ripening, for a day or two.

I prefer this soup garnished with crème fraîche, chopped cilantro and edible flowers.  Try lumps of cold crabmeat for a more elegant approach.

Not only are avocado’s abundant this time of year, but so are hummingbirds. Our yard is buzzing with them right now and one hummingbird couple decided to make their nest in one of our smaller palm trees.

humingbird eggs
I had to stay very still to take these pictures, only to start shooting my camera as soon as I heard the buzzing of the hummingbird’s wings. They aren’t the best pictures, but I think that they are pretty cool. Hummingbird’s aren’t the easiest of subjects to photograph.
humingbird 3
In the above photo, the mama hummingbird is coming in for a landing onto her nest.  The daddy hummingbird hung around too.  I’m really not sure if they were trading off nesting duties, since I can’t tell the two apart.  But there are definitely two of them flying about around our yard, so I’m assuming they are partners.
hummingbird 2
You have to look very closely, in the center of the tree, to see the hummingbird actually sitting in the nest.  This gives you an idea of how tiny these delicate birds are.  Only for seconds will she sit in her nest.
Hummingbirds are one of my favorite species of birds. I looked up pictures on hummingbirds and the ones in our yard looks most like the Anna’s hummingbird. The Anna’s hummingbird (Calypte anna) is the most common hummingbird found in Southern California gardens and is also the largest of the species.
I hope that you are enjoying your spring as much as I am and are eating plenty of healthy and delicious avocados.
soup 4
chilled avocado soup
Ingredients:
2 ripe avocados
1 apple, cored, peeled and cut into chunks
1 cup plain yogurt ( full-fat works best)
1/2 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 cups of chicken or vegetable stock (you will need salt if you are using sodium-free stock)
salt to taste
Directions:
Cut each avocado in half from top to bottom, following the contour of the pit in the center.  remove the pit and scoop out the avocado.
Into the blender, add the avocado, apple, yogurt, chili flakes, lime juice, and stock. Puree until the soup is very smooth.  If the soup is too thick, add more broth to correct the consistency.    Transfer to a bowl, cover, and chill in refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours.  If you are in a hurry, soup can be put into the freezer for 30 minutes.
Adjust the seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.
Garnish soup with creme fraîche and chopped cilantro or garnish of choice.