This week began with an early wake up call for 5:00AM so that we could watch the funeral for Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth. I have woken up early to watch all the weddings and I wasn’t going to miss this not for a minute. Let me just say that the Brits do it right. What a spectacle it was and so finely tuned you could hardly stand it. From the marching troops to the young men who had the honor to be Her Majesty’s bearer party, it was flawless to those of us watching on television. I had a few friends who actually flew over to London to be on the spot but I was totally happy with my view from my couch with a nice hot cup of coffee. So many images remain but none so poignant as the piper who performed at the service. I know I will never see the likes of this again and I’m so glad I was able to watch it.
Walking This Week
The weather was rather uncooperative for a good part of the week with thunder storms and winds on many of the days. The dogs and I did get out for one good long five mile hike in-between storms. It also got cold enough for us to enjoy a fire in the evening. Bean has not forgotten her favorite position in front of the fire after a nice long walk.
Baking This Week
Wednesday was Libby’s 17th birthday. I made her favorite blueberry muffins with Earl Grey Tea for her birthday breakfast. We planned to celebrate her birthday at the end of the week after her mum got back from her trip to Tennessee and Georgia so we gave her a couple of cards and had a small slice of carrot cake with a candle for her when she got home. She also received some beautiful flowers from her mother and her aunts. The big day was to come though.
The Birthday Surprise
After doing some major thinking and talking, Katie decided she really wanted to find a used car for Libby for her birthday. While driving home from Canada she passed a Used Car lot in Derby, Vermont that had a lot of older Volvos on it. She handed the project off to me to follow-up and to find out about the cars and what the approximate pricing was. Ultimately John and I stopped there on our way to Canada and discovered that Richard, the owner of the lot, had just returned from the auctions in Connecticut with two 2010 Volvos. Lib’s brother has one the same year that is running pretty well after 240,000 miles and these two had quite a few less. Both in good shape but both needed some parts. Well, Kate put a deposit down on one of them and it was decided that we would give Libby a card with a picture of the car in it since we couldn’t get the car until it was fixed. The above photo says it all. Wait until she actually gets the car!!! Needless to say there were a few tears in the room. Happy Birthday Libby.
A Recipe to Share
Since we have an abundance of zucchini in the garden I am always looking for new recipes and different ways to use it. The amount of work that went into this was quite something but then again rather fun. I did not have a mandolin so used a potato peeler which made the job a bit more challenging. It was delicious but I found it a bit greasy which I think was because of the pesto stuffing but otherwise it was delicious and very satisfying on a rainy cold fall evening.
Spicy Pesto and Cheese Stuffed Zucchini Involtini
from Half Baked Harvest
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 pound ground spicy Italian chicken sausage
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 can (14 ounce) crushed San Marzano tomatoes (or 2 cups tomato sauce)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (or 2 teaspoons dried)
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 2 teaspoons dried)
- 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 2 large zucchini or yellow summer squash
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1 cup shredded fontina cheese
- 3/4 cup basil pesto, homemade or store-bought
- 4 ounces mozzarella, torn
- fresh basil, for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish or dish of similar size.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the chicken sausage and brown all over, about 5 to 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add the bell pepper, tomatoes, oregano, thyme, crushed red pepper flakes, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
3. Meanwhile, using a mandolin or vegetable peeler, peel the zucchini into 1/4 inch wide strips and lay them flat on a paper towel lined counter. You should have around 30 strips. Sprinkle the zucchini with salt.
4. In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, fontina, and 1/2 cup pesto.
5. To assemble, spoon 3/4 of the tomato sauce into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Grab 2 zucchini ribbons and lay them side by side lengthwise. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of filling onto the center of the zucchini. Roll into a coil and place each seam-side down in the dish as you go. Repeat with remaining zucchini. Spoon the remaining tomato sauce over top of the zucchini and then drizzle the remaining 1/4 cup pesto evenly over everything. Add the mozzarella.
6. Transfer the baking dish to the oven and bake 15-20 minutes or until the cheese has melted and is lightly browned on top. Cool 5 minutes before serving. Serve with fresh basil and thyme. Enjoy!
Vegetarian Option: If you’d like to make this vegetarian, no problem, just omit the chicken sausage and use a little more crushed red pepper flakes for heat, if you’d like.
We had a lovely visit with a very dear old friend of John’s from childhood Judy Butler and she brought me the perfect gift. Three little vases that are sitting on the hall table in our beautiful downstairs hall under an antique mirror. There are just perfect for a dahlia or two. Thank you Judy.