July 5, 2009


buddies observations - i'm not as young as i used to be and i think, perhaps, that i'm pretty glad about that. of course there are days i complain - like in the morning when i get up and my heel is killing me (the shift to hardwood floors and my bad habit of going barefoot has kicked in a case of plantar fasciitis). so, the quiet gathering last night was a perfect evening. we all brought dishes, laughed on the back patio and watched the almost full moon rise over the treetops as we heard the distant booms of fireworks. (can you believe the size of these strawberries? they were humongous and so sweet)

some of you wanted the recipes for the ranch potatoes - but after making it last night, i'm not sure if i'm happy with it yet. i made some adjustments that didn't quite work yesterday so i'm going to try again. plus, i'm not happy with it's appearance - not attractive. but, wow - the goat cheese spread? soooo yummy. someone offered to lick the bowl last night. it's my friend carol's recipe and i finally snagged it when she participated in the recipe exchange we did about six weeks ago. (next time i'll take photos - but this time i didn't think about it)

ingredients: one or two logs of goat cheese, basil pesto (i used store bought because my basil drowned), one red bell pepper, one orange or yellow bell pepper, golden raisins.
putting it together: about an hour before, place the goat cheese out to soften.

one reason i've hesitated making this dish is that roasting bell peppers has always intimidated me. it was way easier than i thought it would be. put your peppers on a cookie sheet, turn your oven up to broil, and then put the peppers in the oven. (people say you can put the peppers on a fork and do this over a burner, but they drip so the cookie sheet is less messy) let the skins char (blacken) in the oven, turning so all sides are charred. take them out of the oven and immediately place in either a brown paper or plastic bag and let them cool down to room temperature. this steams the skins where they are loose and easily removed. so, peel and de-seed your peppers (if you pull the stem gently - most the seeds come away with the core). lay the peppers flat and chop into a coarse dice.

while the peppers are roasting, unwrap the goat cheese and place in bowl. add a healthy tablespoon of pesto to the cheese and stir together until mixed well. taste to make sure you have enough pesto to make you happy. stir in a good handful of golden raisins (the raisins add a sweet burst of flavor to this dish and a chewy texture; however, if you don't like raisins - you could leave them out.)

after the peppers are chopped, stir them into the cheese mixture. simple, right? if not serving immediately - refrigerate. let it soften a bit before serving so it's easily spread on crackers or bread. i am not kidding - the bowl was scraped clean before dinner.

don't even get me started on the salad nita made with the homemade lavender syrup dressing, the fresh corn salad or the homemade ice cream. serious eating my friends.


  1. Char it all sounds so heavenly...there is nothing like a gathering of friends. Those strawberries look awesome. I have been eating lots of fruit lately...love your recipes...I think I have to be more creative with my recipes so might try some of yours. Take care, cinner

  2. I'll try your goat cheese with pesto thing--sounds good and easy--I like easy. Thanks.


  3. Sounds yummy...I somehow wish there were pics to go with the recipes...I'm such a visual person when it comes to food...rarely do I make a recipe which I haven't seen an image of it.
    We moved in to a house with wooden floors and the only life saver was wearing crocs indoors...everyone in the family here has a pair of "Indoor" crocs...no more painful heals!

  4. You are always cooking up something scrumptious! This all sounds so yummy!

  5. It sounds excellent, Char. And it's good to do some serious eating on the holiday weekend.

    Glad you had such a nice time. Sounds heavenly to me.

  6. I tried goat cheese at a youth gathering once. It was surprisingly really good, although my friend thought it was horrible. I don't think she'll ever accept food from me again. :)

  7. Sounds like a perfect 4th of July gathering ... good friends, good food, good atmosphere, good conversation. Those are wonderful times, aren't they?

  8. geez...you did it again !
    I leave here so often with my mouth absolutely watering...

    and lavender syrup dressing....wwwhhhaaat ?
    do tell !

    and the pain in your heel....me too...all because of tile and hardwoods which forces me to wear shoes in the house {which I hate to do} with heel cushies, just so I can walk the next day....

    yep...aging sucks !

  9. oh and as far as only having the mojo to shoot food...cripes, those shots are wonderful, so I say do what you love to do... and right now if it's only food...embrace it with all your heart...

    I see a cookbook with all your recipes and photos to hit a bookstore near me soon :)

  10. I'm in heaven. I've made roasted red peppers for a mozzarella basil dish that was out of this world so I can imagine how fabulous the goat cheese was paired with it! And I am also curious about the lavender syrup dressing! Yowsers. and. Wowsers. I need an invite to one of your gatherings. Glad you enjoyed your 4th of July. :)

  11. Yum. I love all the descriptive glimpses into your kitchen and your dinner table.

  12. Ummmmm why wasn't I invited...I am eating chicken out of a can right now with crackers NOT Goat cheese and lavender syrup dressing...I mean wth Char you live a charmed life for sure! I am jealous :-)

  13. Yummy is right! Sounds like you had a great 4th...nothing better than laughter on the porch with friends!

  14. yum. my mouth is watering at 2 in the morning. :)

    i love the lime green color with the strawberries in this shot. this would be beautiful framed and hanging in a kitchen.

    i had so much blog reading to catch up on. and i saved yours for last. :)

    i hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend, girl. off to read the rest of the posts i've missed over the last few days.

  15. Drooling shamelessly here! That sounds yummy as all get-out!

  16. you are the master strawberry photo taker...and your menu for the weekend sounded gourmet, so happy you enjoyed!

  17. It sounds delicious, and like something I could maybe tackle! I'm not known as a "cook" in my family:). I love your photograph, too. Very much a summer pic. We're coming to the end of strawberry season already - a very sad time indeed.

  18. strawberrries?
    goat cheese?

    you know what i like...

  19. That strawberry photo is gorgeous!...and the goat cheese spread...yummy! I have printed it out already!...sounds like a perfectly delightful day...


i feel as if each comment was between us as we sat and sipped something warm....i love to hear what you're thinking.