A few days ago, we awoke to another remarkable day here in San Luis Obispo.
We still haven’t gotten used to the fact that since we arrived back on July 5 we have encountered sun drenched days accented with baby blue skies and gentle breezes daily.
We took a walk from our rental to the site of our soon to be (well maybe not that soon) downtown home.
They are truly making progress, and our excitement increases with each brick we see being laid.
After our daily dose of house gazing we walked back to a small cafe very close to where we now are staying.
It is called Sally Loo’s (wholesome cafe).
For breakfast I chose the Lil Frenchie which was a toasted baguette, house made fig jam, and rosemary brown butter…how cute is that?
With a cappuccino to wash it down the day was off to a great start!
Last Tuesday morning I woke up a happy girl! As you know I have been kvetching (translation for those who need it…incessant complaining), about staying in the hotel for a month without access to a kitchen.
A few weeks ago my frustration led me to search online for a small vacation rental since our house may not be ready for another month and a half. After having no luck I was ecstatic when I came across a charming little apartment (one of two) in a duplex behind a historical bungalow on a lovely residential street close to downtown SLO that was available!
We moved in on Monday! It is small, but more than adequate, tastefully decorated with lovely views, a porch and, most importantly to me, a well equipped efficient little kitchen!
So early Tuesday morning I found myself happily scrambling some eggs for breakfast. This is as good a time as any to share with you how I make my scrambled eggs.
Sometimes the simplest things to cook are least talked about on food blogs. Scrambled eggs fall into this category. Here’s how I make mine.
Start with fresh eggs.
Monday when I ran to the nearest grocery to buy a few things I purchased a dozen Cal Poly eggs.
Cal Poly eggs are produced year round and processed by students at the Cal Poly Poultry Center. They are served at fine restaurants and sold by several grocery stores in San Luis Obispo County.
You will also need…
A good quality nonstick pan ( if not using non stick be sure to heat your pan up sufficiently and then lower it a bit before adding anything to it to prevent sticking)
Salted butter, about a tablespoon for 4 large eggs
Freshly ground black pepper
Break 4 fresh eggs into a bowl, and beat with a fork til blended. Do not overbeat.
Heat an 8 inch non stick pan on moderate heat til hot.
Add a pat of butter to the hot pan and lower heat a bit so butter doesn’t burn.
When the butter sizzles, add your eggs.
Allow eggs to sit before moving around with a spatula.
When the eggs appear to be cooking, season generously with salt and pepper, and gently fold over and toss a bit with a heat proof spatula.
Do not break them up too much or overcook them.
When you think they still look done, but a little wet, turn the burner off.
They will continue to cook on the residual heat.
Serve immediately. Simple, right?
Enjoy! And be grateful for life’s little pleasures…one of which for me is sitting down to a plate of scrambled eggs and a cup of just brewed coffee and gazing out the kitchen window!
A few days ago Dinner at Sheila’s marked its 3rd anniversary, and as impossible as it is for me to believe it, the day slipped by without my realizing it.
As we are approaching a full month here at the hotel in SLO while awaiting the completion of our new home normalcy is a descriptive that is absent from our lives. I am somewhat lost without my kitchen, and now without any kitchen for the past 30 days I’m feeling a bit desperate, but that is all about to change soon. (More about that later).
The other night we went to the Thursday night Farmer’s Market, the weekly event here in San Luis Obispo that is guaranteed to cheer anyone up! My husband and I began with roasted corn on a stick, and moved on to huge grilled tri-tip sandwiches on toasted buns.
As we maneuvered our way through the crowd we sampled the most delicious ruby red sweet strawberries at one of the numerous produce stands. At 3 boxes for $5.00 you know I bought 3! I’m certain we will finish them off before they have a chance to go bad in the hotel room.
To celebrate the completion of my third year of blogging Dinner at Sheila’s, and how much I love being able to share it with you I decided to say it with strawberries!
Thanks to all my readers!
On a recent Saturday morning I looked out the window of our hotel room to see that much of the parking lot had been converted to a large bustling farmers market, one of the many weekly markets in and around San Luis Obispo.
After breakfast I headed out to see what they had to offer.
I can hardly believe that I will now have the luxury of fresh, locally grown produce available to me at markets such as this year round!
In the East we eagerly await the opening of the farmers markets in May for the summer, only to find ourselves saying goodbye to them in October until the following spring.
I love the idea of farm to table cooking year round! Another reason why I can’t wait for our house to be completed so I can start feeling at home in my new kitchen.
Being that I am in the hotel now I had to restrain myself from buying all that I wanted to.
For now I’ll have to be content with the peaches, plums, romaine lettuce, cucumbers, and the bouquet of colorful zinnias that I bought.
Okay, it has been 2 weeks since we arrived at our hotel in San Luis Obispo. We have a suite which consists of a bedroom, bath and a small living/dining area. NO KITCHEN!
When I began looking at the availability of booking a place which would include a kitchenette of some sort I suddenly discovered much to my horror that in SLO that is pretty non-existent unless you are renting a house or cottage in the area.
This is truly a vacation area so there are none of the extended stay residences we are familiar with at home which are geared to business travelers. Hence, no kitchenettes! Oops!
Even if I wanted to make a change now I’m finding that most places are already partially or fully booked for the time period we need.
So it looks like we will have to make the best of it without a kitchen.
And making the best of it for me means I will need to prepare some meals, kitchen or not. (We do have a tiny fridge and a small microwave).
So this morning I walked over to a market nearby, and came back to the room with an overloaded bag which would hopefully satiate my desire to cook (kinda).
I knew I was going to miss preparing meals. I just didn’t know I would miss it so soon!
So with the help of a can opener from the dollar store, and a paring knife I had secretly hidden away in my bag, along with a peeler, and some dishes I am temporarily borrowing from the restaurant downstairs I was able to serve up a tuna salad.
I added some chopped up celery and apple to the tuna, mixed it with a bit of mayo, salt and pepper, and garnished it with some olives and veggies. With the whole grain bread and tomato I picked up this morning lunch was served.
And somehow it tasted way better than it probably was!
We spent the afternoon in Morro Bay, a waterfront city about 12 miles north of SLO. At the entrance to the Morro Bay Harbor stands the 581-foot Morro Rock, a volcanic plug located just offshore.
For dinner we stopped at Tognazzini’s Dockside Too, a fish market and restaurant offering patio dining, owned and run by a commercial fishing family, longtime residents of Morro Bay.
We ordered fish (cod) and chips, scallops and chips, and shared a cup of clam chowder. The fish, scallops and chips were all fried to perfection, the slaw was fresh and crisp and tossed in a light dressing, a perfect balance between sweet and tangy.
We will definitely be making a return visit to this delightful beachfront eatery.
Yesterday we drove to Paso Robles, a great little town about 30 minutes away from our new hometown of San Luis Obispo.
The Central Coast Lavender Festival was being held in their downtown park, a good enough reason for me to check out our new neighbor to the north.
It is the fifth year for this event which celebrates the lavender industry, an emerging local product.
It features lavender producers from throughout the county serving up tastes of lavender cuisine, offering samplings of lavender oils, dipping sauces, lavender ice cream, and much more.
In addition they offer tips on growing lavender and information on the many health benefits of this remarkable plant.
But, to tell you the truth, they had me at the Lavender cupcake…
Then there was the delightful Lemon Lavender Sorbet…
And the jar of Lavender Honey which I took back with me and am anxious to try in a cup of tea …
Over the years I loved growing Lavender in my own garden be it in the ground or in pots.
In fact, the new homeowners will find a few lavender plants left thriving in the back yard just waiting for someone to appreciate their wonderful scent. And I so hope they do.
I know as soon as we get settled in our new home I will be planting a big pot of lavender for my new patio.
Until then I’ll just have to make do with some lavender cupcakes.
A couple days ago we went to Shell Beach, just 15 minutes south of San Luis Obispo, this lovely area is popular for fishing and kayaking.
You can sit on a park bench and look out at the expansive ocean, explore the sandy beaches and coves or dine outdoors with a picnic basket or a take-out sandwich.
And speaking of take-out sandwiches, my husband and I shared a delicious large meatball sandwich and some antipasto from a deli there.
But my real reason for finding this deli goes back to my first trip to San Luis Obispo when we first began thinking seriously of moving here.
While exploring SLO’s charming downtown for the first time a couple of years ago we wandered into an olive oil shop. We sampled a selection of olive oils and ordered some to ship back home to Maryland.
While chatting with one of the salespersons there about how delicious fresh mozzarella cheese is drizzled with really good olive oil, he told us of an older, retired pediatrician who makes his own mozzarella cheese early every morning and sells it out of an Italian deli in Shell Beach.
I, of course, wanted to find it immediately, but we ran out of time since we were due back in LA, and were hoping to avoid traffic.
On subsequent visits to SLO we still hadn’t made it there.
Now that we are here, and staying in the hotel we have plenty of time to explore the area so lunch at Shell Beach was on today’s agenda.
We found the DePalo and Sons Deli where the famous fresh made mozzarella cheese is sold.
I brought it back to our hotel, picked up some other items on our way home at what will become “my Trader Joe’s,” and along with a couple of complementary drinks from our hotel’s daily happy hour, I set up a nice little happy hour of our own in our room. Actually, it was our dinner.
I was told the mozzarella should sit out for the first 24 hours and it is best to eat it the first day. But, it will last up to 5 days in the fridge. It really is so good!
The story of Dr. Louis M. Tedone who, at 90 years old, still handcrafts these balls of fresh mozzarella daily for the deli is even better… Here’s a glimpse of his work…
Just a quick update from my son’s computer in LA. Since mine is on the moving van it will be some time til I can get back to my regular blogging, especially since we will be in a hotel for awhile until our house is ready for us.
With help from my tech guy I hope to get some posts out through the next weeks (months?…hope not).
Anyway, we arrived in LA last evening, have spent the night with our son, and are getting ready to rent a car and drive to San Luis Obispo… but this time there is no return flight…
To say this whole process seems surreal would be a major understatement. It is still hard to get our heads around the fact that we are actually moving to our new life on the west coast as excited as we are.
Our flight was great…it turns out that flying on the fourth of July is not only a great way to get a reduced fare, the airports are not busy, and everything runs pretty smoothly.
With my husband’s recent surgery just a month ago this was even more important as he needed a wheelchair to get from check in to the gate, but the service was extraordinary.
The real surprise came when we were bumped up to first class because my husband’s headset jack was broken! As it turns out the plane was full, but we were the only ones in first class. As my younger brother said, that is a very good omen for the days ahead!
I was especially excited this past Father’s Day to have my brother and his family from New York with us. For dessert I made one of his favorites…
our Mom’s Banana Sour Cream Cake with this Fluffy Peanut Butter Frosting which I discovered online searching for a better peanut butter frosting than what I usually make.
And this was it…here’s the link to the video on how to make it…
It’s a keeper!
Fluffy Peanut Butter Frosting (allrecipes.com)
Original recipe makes 2 cups
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons milk, or as needed
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
Place the butter and peanut butter into a medium bowl, and beat with an electric mixer. Gradually mix in the sugar, and when it starts to get thick, incorporate milk one tablespoon at a time until all of the sugar is mixed in and the frosting is thick and spreadable. Beat for at least 3 minutes for it to get good and fluffy.
If you double the recipe any leftover frosting freezes well.
These days I have been spending most of my time packing. The movers come Saturday, ready or not, and I would much rather be ready when that truck pulls up.
Our dining room has turned into the staging area for packing.
I can go at it for some time, but eventually I need a break. When that happens I find myself in the kitchen rooting through the fridge, freezer, and pantry to see what I can create.
I haven’t been to the market since before Father’s Day, and so far I haven’t had much trouble coming up with something to make with what I find hanging out in my kitchen.
The other day I made chopped chicken liver (my husband’s favorite snack on a cracker).
In looking through the freezer I discovered a small amount of chicken livers. With lots of onions sauteed in a little rendered chicken fat hiding out also in the freezer, and some hard boiled eggs, lots of kosher salt and pepper I made a pretty fantastic spur of the moment chopped liver.
Along with a big fat pickle what more can you ask for?
The truth is I really liked the ratio of more eggs and onion to less chicken livers. It was really yummy!
Next up was the Blueberry Pie you see in the photo above. While retrieving the chicken livers from the freezer I noticed 2 discs of pie dough in plastic wrap hidden under some other items.
Here’s the story…Last Thanksgiving I had seen a recipe for an apple and pear pie with a walnut crust that looked great. I immediately decided to make it as one of our Thanksgiving desserts, so without hesitation I made the dough.
While the rounds of dough were chilling I looked over the rest of the recipe a little more closely only to realize that it was pretty time consuming…precooking the apples and pears, refreezing the pastry filled dough before baking, and on and on…
While this might be fine at any other time, this was the day before Thanksgiving and with all that I had to do I decided to scratch that and freeze the dough for another day when I would have time to make that pie.
Well, that day never came, and honestly I forgot the pastry was still in there until I just discovered it. So I pulled it out and thought what do I have that I could fill it with….and there was a container of fresh blueberries, not enough for a whole pie.
However, I’ve had a huge bag of frozen wild blueberries in my freezer in the garage which I have been trying to work my way through so I combined the fresh berries with the frozen and tossed them with some cornstarch, sugar, lemon juice, and a little salt for a blueberry filling.
When it came to rolling out the pie crust I realized two things. First, I had used up all of my flour recently and didn’t replenish it since we are moving. And second, I had packed all 3 of my rolling pins!
I searched the pantry and came up with a small bag of rice flour which worked fine for dusting the buttery pastry to roll it out. And an unopened bottle of wine stood in for the rolling pin.
I cut the other disc of dough into strips for a lattice crust… kind of rustic, right? I was in a hurry!
and about 45 minutes later…
After a piece of pie and a glass of milk I was relaxed, full, and ready to continue packing!
The next day for my break I found myself making Barbeque out of some extra ground chuck left over from making burgers the night before.
I simply sauteed it with onions and peppers and added my special home made Sweet and Sour BBQ Sauce, and served it on a potato roll.
And tonight we dined on a vegetable soup I threw together with some chicken stock, roasted tomatoes, veggies, barley, and farfalle pasta.
After dinner I packed most of my cookware, leaving out just a few pieces so cooking the next couple of days should be even more challenging!