Melon and Mozzarella Salad with Honey, Lime, and Mint

Melon and Mozzarella Salad with Lime and Mint |

Here’s a post from the archives, originally published in 2010. There are delicious fresh local melons still available just about everywhere, including in my garden, so I thought the timing was right for this simple little salad to make another appearance. 

I bought a delicious Crenshaw melon at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday and after eating a few slices for breakfast yesterday morning, decided to turn the rest of it into melon balls.  I had no particular reason for wanting to do this, it just seemed like a fun thing to do.  And we all know that food tastes better when it’s cut into fun shapes, right?

As I was scooping out the flesh with the antique melon baller that has been in my family for as long as I can remember, I thought about the half-empty container of fresh mini mozzarella balls in the refrigerator.  I had never combined melon with mozzarella before, but the melon balls and mozzarella balls were the same size and shape and the more I thought about it, the more it seemed like they were destined to end up in the same bowl. Continue reading →

Southwest Macaroni and Cheese Casserole

Easy Southwest Macaroni and Cheese Casserole |

It’s been at least a few years since I’ve stocked boxes of macaroni and cheese in the pantry, but we visited Grocery Outlet for the first time recently and Phil insisted on grabbing a couple boxes of Horizon organic mac. This stuff was apparently one of his kitchen staples before he went and married a food blogger and there’s something about Grocery Outlet that makes you put lots of random things in your cart, whether you need them or not. Continue reading →

Sourdough Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Sourdough Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting |

I know that some of you looked at the title of this recipe and thought sourdough chocolate what? Or perhaps you thought it was a typo and that this is actually a sour cream chocolate cake. Actually, it is a sour cream chocolate cake, but the recipe title is also correct. This chocolate cake includes a cup of sourdough starter in the batter, which is awesome for those of us who keep sourdough starters for bread and are sometimes looking for ways to use up the cup of starter that gets discarded when feeding our bubbly little pets. If you don’t have a sourdough starter, don’t worry, this cake can easily be made without one and it will still be an absolutely delicious chocolate sour cream cake. Instructions for doing this are in the recipe notes. If you would like to experiment with sourdough, here are my instructions for creating your own starter. Continue reading →

Artichoke Cheddar Squares

Artichoke Cheddar Squares are an easy and delicious classic appetizer made with canned artichoke hearts and shredded cheddar cheese.

I’ve been feeling nostalgic lately, craving comfort foods, making lots of casseroles, and thinking about recipes that were popular during my adolescence– those fabulous decades known as the eighties and nineties.

It was in this spirit of reminiscence that I was drawn to a familiar recipe called Artichoke Squares that I found while flipping through one of those spiral-bound fundraising cookbooks that someone left in the kitchen at our cabin. I can’t remember my mom ever making artichoke squares and it’s not something I’ve ever made myself, but I can certainly remember eating plenty of those delicious little bites at parties and potlucks. Reading the recipe instantly transported me back to my youth when all things were improved with the addition of marinated artichoke hearts (or sun-dried tomatoes, of course). Continue reading →

February Garden Update

Gnome in Garden at Pinch My Salt

As always happens here in central California, spring sneaks up on us in February. Every year I see the blossoms on the trees and think that it’s way too early for spring. It’s especially jarring when I see photos of ice storms and piles of snow all over instagram in the evening then wake up to a beautiful sunny day and admire all the tulip trees in bloom while walking the dog. It’s weird, but it’s happening. Spring is most definitely here. Continue reading →

Cranberry Orange Scones

Cranberry Orange Scones at Pinch My Salt

Bursting with cranberries and bright orange flavor, these sweet buttery little scones are my new favorite winter treat. They are easy to put together and perfect to share with friends and family. Continue reading →

The Sugar Snap Peas are Back!

April CSA Box

As if the scent of roses, lilacs, and orange blossoms wafting around our yard hadn’t been enough of a clue, the arrival of sugar snap peas in our CSA box is a sure sign that spring has definitely, absolutely arrived.  While I know that the weather hasn’t been very pleasant in other parts of the country, it’s been mostly warm and beautiful here punctuated with a few brief bouts of much needed and prayed for rain.  It’s actually sprinkling on and off as I type this.  It’s one of those strange and beautiful early evenings where the sky is dark and stormy but the setting sun is low enough to break through and brighten everything down below.  It’s a striking contrast and especially beautiful since everything is wet and sparkling from the afternoon showers.

For the last month we’ve been working around the yard and slowly getting various beds in shape for planting.  My dad helped us put in an absolutely beautiful raised bed on top of an existing bed in the middle of our patio.  He designed it and did most of the work but Phil helped and I offered to help but mostly just documented the process with my iphone and went on lunchtime taco runs. Below you can see some before, after, and construction photos courtesy of my Instagram account.

New Raised Bed

Picking up dirt from the ranch

New Garden Bed

My uncle was nice enough to load us up with some great dirt out at his ranch yesterday so we’re all ready for planting.  The first thing to go in was a Tarocco blood orange tree.  This bed will be mostly flowers this year but I may stick a few herbs in at the corner closest to the kitchen.

Well, it’s time to get in the kitchen, unpack this CSA box, and make some dinner.  If any of you have started planting gardens already, leave a comment and let me know what you’re growing.  So far I have a couple tomato plants in, but I still need to decide what else I want to put in the ground.  I’d love to hear what everyone else has planned!

After the Rain

Mini Succulent Garden

Meyer Lemon

cecile brunner rose





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