Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year

It's the last day of 2012 and I have much to be thankful for. It's been a busy year with lots of accomplishments and opportunities that I'd like to highlight for this end of year post.

I don't usually do new years resolutions but I kind of have one this year.  I've decided I need to be better prepared to defend myself should something bad happen whether it's a home invasion or an apocalypse.  There's been a lot of talk about gun banning lately. I really don't think that will solve the problems we're facing and only make them worse, but I won't get into that here.  I've decided the best way to protect myself would be to purchase a handgun.  This isn't something I take lightly or am rushing into.  I've signed up for a women's handgun safety class in January with Insights Training and will be trying out many different guns before making a decision on which one to purchase.  Mark has taken me out to try his handgun collection of 9mm and .22's so I've got my first shooting experience at least.

After many years of shooting with an Olympus DSLR camera system, I've sold nearly all of it as I've switched to an Olympus micro four thirds (mirrorless) system. I take the Olympus OMD EM5 with me wherever I go and have really enjoyed shooting with it and building up my lens collection. It was with a mirrorless Olympus camera that I captured photos that grace the front and back covers of a book by Ned Vizzini called The Other Normals.

2012 was my 3rd year with Getty. Each year I sell more and more photos even though it has become more difficult to get photos submitted due to changes they've made in their processes.  I currently have 244 photos available for licensing.

I haven't been as active in the photo meetup group community this year, only making it to four photostrolls.  I hope to go on more in 2013 and go on more hikes too.  Much of this summer was spent constructing a shed in my back yard which we still need to get filled up.

This blog continues to be focused on food but I've also been invited to make blog/vlog contributions to a couple of photography sites: discovermirrorless.com and smallcamerabigpicture.com.  I post photography tips and gear & software reviews among other things.  Food isn't the only thing I photograph, I also enjoy landscapes, nature and anything else that gets in front of my lens.  I put together this collage of my most interesting photos that I posted this year according to Flickr.  As you can see there is quite a variety of subjects.  You can get a closer look at these photos in this Flickr set.

I look forward to what 2013 brings and I wish you all the best in the coming year!

2012 most interesting

Author: Paula Thomas

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Gluten Free Avocado Pesto Pasta

Avocado Pesto Pasta PCC posted this recipe on Facebook and when I saw it, I just had to try it. I eat a lot of avocados and I'm always interested in finding new ways to use them and I'd never heard of using it in pasta before. The original recipe can be found here on Oh She Glows blog.  I'm not sure if I used less pasta or maybe I used more basil but I noticed my pasta turned out a lot more green than hers did.  I really liked how it came out, very creamy. I had a lot of sauce leftover and I know leftover avocado doesn't do so well so I put the left over pesto in the freezer and hope that it will still be good when I thaw it out.

Recipe: Gluten Free Avocado Pesto


Yield: 2 servings
Total time: 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS:
6 ounces gluten free pasta
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt
1/4-1/2 cup fresh basil
1 medium avocado, peeled, pitted and roughly chopped
ground black pepper to taste
lemon zest to garnish
small basil leaves to garnish

DIRECTIONS:
1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
2. While pasta is cooking, place lemon juice, garlic and olive oil in food processor and process until smooth.
3. Add salt, basil and avocado to food process and process until smooth and creamy.
4. When pasta is done, drain and put in a large bowl, toss with the pesto and serve garnished with lemon zest and basil leaves.

Author: Paula Thomas

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sugar Free Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread

Gluten Free Sugar Free Pumpkin Bread 
I made this pumpkin bread a few weeks ago. Unfortunately it didn't turn out as well as I had hoped but it wasn't the fault of the recipe it was baker's error. All because I accidentally left out an ingredient. The main ingredient. Yeah I forgot to put the pumpkin in the batter. Who forgets to put the pumpkin in the pumpkin bread? I realized it about 10 mins into baking. I had to do something about it so I took it out of the oven and poured it back into a bowl and added the pumpkin. I poured it into a new pan and put it back into the oven.

I had no idea if it would turn out at all but I had my fingers crossed. It ended up tasting actually pretty good but the texture was not great. It wasn't very fluffy, was more a cross between a pumpkin bread and a pumpkin pie. I still have a bunch of pumpkin puree left that I put in the freezer so I really want to try this recipe again and do it the right way next time.

The recipe I used was from spaceforwellness.com. I didn't make any changes to the recipe so I won't repeat the recipe, you can find it on the site.  I went through the trouble of making my own pumpkin puree which really wasn't too much trouble.  I used a red kabocha squash, also called a Japanese pumpkin.  I had never tried one before. People say that it tastes like a cross between a regular pumpkin and a sweet potato.  I could see that and I think it works well in bread and would probably make a good pie too.

I always used to buy canned pumpkin but not anymore. It's really not that difficult to make your own and one pumpkin makes quite a bit and you can just put the leftovers in the freezer for another day.  If you've never roasted your own pumpkin or squash before try it!  Here's a video I made on how I roasted my kabocha.  Many people half the squash and roast it cut side down and that is probably the easiest but the kabocha is so hard, it was really difficult to cut in half so I decided to cut it in small pieces and roast it that way.



Author: Paula Thomas

Friday, December 07, 2012

Rack of Pork Recipe

Rack of Pork I bought this rack of pork several months ago and it's been sitting in my freezer for quite a while. I finally decided to thaw it out and do something with it.  I guess I was procrastinating for so long because I've never cooked one before.  So I scoured the web for a recipe that looked good and I came across Chef Dennis' recipe for Oven Roasted Rack of Pork. I only made a few small changes to the recipe. I didn't have any carrots and I forgot the garlic but I did add garlic to the pan sauce at the end.  I also added leeks and used a red onion instead of yellow. I didn't have any Montreal Seasoning so I made my own using a recipe I found on Food.com. I gotta say I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to make and how well it turned out.  It was cooked perfectly and was juicy and tender all the way through.  The only thing is it was a huge amount of food for 1-2 people. I've been eating leftovers of it for lunch and dinner all week.  I probably should have froze some of it.

Recipe: Oven Roasted Rack of Pork

Inspired by Chef Dennis

Ingredients:
  • 8 bone rack of pork
  • olive oil
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • Montreal Seasoning (recipe)
  • 1 red onion, quartered including peel
  • 1 leek, rough chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, rough chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Add onion, leek and celery to a roasting pan.
  3. Rinse rack of pork, pat dry and place fat side up on top of vegetables.
  4. Rub the rack liberally with olive oil and sprinkle the rack with salt, pepper and a good amount of Montreal Seasoning.
  5. Bake uncovered in oven for 15 minutes.
  6. Reduce heat to 325 degrees and roast for approximately 2 hours more or until meat thermometer reaches 160 degrees on outside of rack.
  7. Remove rack from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
  8. While rack is resting, make pan sauce by placing pan on the stove over medium heat and adding 2 cups of water and the garlic to the roasting pan with the vegetables.  Use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan and loosen any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.
  9. Strain out the vegetables and reserve the sauce.
  10. Cut the rack between the bones and serve with the pan gravy.

Raw Rack of Pork

Author: Paula Thomas