Monday, July 23, 2007

garden marinara & pea fritters

Joe's been messing up the kitchen again ;-) This time he made marinara sauce with the garden tomatoes Brenden and Jennifer gave us. AND purple hull pea fritters from the bounty out back. They were similar to falafal but without the cumin.

Believe it or not, there's an actual Web site devoted to the wonders of the purple hull pea. Of all the recipes, fritters looked the most promising.

2 cups purple hull peas (mashed)
fresh parsley
1/2 an onion
ground red pepper
2 eggs

Drop by spoonfuls into hot oil. Turn when the first side turns golden. Drain on paper towels. I ate mine with ketchup. Joe had his with hot sauce.

They were very tasty, but the house still smells of fried stuff.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Mennonite Thai

The cookbook Joe got me at the Country Pantry (an Amish bulk food store) has a lot of recipes from around the world. One was a Thai chicken salad, pictured above.

I altered it a little:
1 pound chicken breast meat, grilled and sliced
1 big garden tomato
2 small garden cucumbers (peeled and cored and sliced)
1 cup loose packed cilantro, chopped
1 lime, squeezed
2 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs fish sauce
1 tsp ginger, grated
1 carrot, shredded
peanuts to garnish

I put mine over boiled somen noodles, but it's tasty as a salad.
The original recipe called for garlic and onions, but this version is still zingy without creating really bad breath :)

Party at the Browns'

Last week, Jennifer Brown hosted a newsroom barbecue. She had fresh-picked bouquets of Black-eyed Susans and Zinnias on the tables.
Danny was the grill master... we had grilled pork tenderloin, grilled ribs, grilled pork chops, grilled corn on the cob, grilled stuffed apples and grilled veggie kabobs.

Amish Aisles

(Food column from Wednesday, July 18.)

Amish Aisles
Country Pantry a foodie's oasis in rural Kentucky
My parents, visitors from Chicago, seem to know the food landscape of western Kentucky better than I do. They know the owner of their favorite barbecue place on a first-name and nickname basis. They know that their favorite bakery isn’t open Thursdays or Sundays. And they know just the place to get 10-grain cereal for $1.19 per pound.

During their last visit, they introduced me to the Amish-owned bulk food store called the Country Pantry.

I was expecting a rather drab store — maybe a modified room attached to someone’s home — with perhaps a dozen different healthful items akin to the 10-grain cereal. I did not expect a building packed with thousands of diverse goods rivaling the selection of a metropolitan market.

As I scanned the shelves, I found long-lost friends like Asian vegetable chips, dried shitakes, whole flaxseed and wasabi peas. There were also intriguing curiosities like Turkish apricots, Lebanese bologna, purple sticky rice, gummy penguins, cow-shaped sprinkles and fair-trade vanilla.On Saturday I talked with Mary Miller, 26, in the third aisle of the store. Miller is the granddaughter of the Guthrie Road building’s owner and niece to two aunts who own the inventory.

I told her how enamored I was with the selection, especially the ethnic finds. My personal favorite — crunchy dried carrot, sweet potato, squash, taro and green bean chips — let me relive some tasty snacking from my time living in Taiwan. Since moving back to the states, I’ve only found them at one specialty store outside Chicago. But there, standing in a corrugated metal building in rural Kentucky, I found my exotic treat for half the price.

Miller said the Country Pantry has sold the veggie chips at least since 2002, when she started working there. And she told me I’m not the only one who is excited to find them.“The customers buy a lot of them, they say they can’t find them other places,” Miller said.

Customers request new items every week. Recently, many customers have been crazy over quinoa, a round yellowish grain high in protein. Miller said people also asked for organic cheese, but they haven’t been buying much.I was a little surprised how few of the store’s items are Amish-made, and that even fewer are produced by local Amish.While they do sell country fare like shoofly pie mix, fresh churned butter, and pickled everything, Miller said they want to avoid turning their Amish lifestyle into a commercial brand.“We try to stay away from the Amish-made label,” Miller said, “Because I don’t want people to buy it because it’s Amish. I want them to buy it because they want it.”

So far that principle seems to be working. The store’s selection draws people from Christian County, Clarksville, Nashville and if you count my mom and dad, Chicago.

My husband, Joe, and I found several things we wanted, and narrowed our purchases down to a bag of veggie chips, a cast iron skillet and a cookbook by a globe-trotting Mennonite couple who served as missionaries in Bangladesh. I’m looking forward to trying the recipes for Thai Chicken Salad, Tandoori Cauliflower and Quick Praline Sticky Buns.

QuickInfo: Country Pantry Located at 9115 Guthrie Road. To get there, take Pembroke Road south to 848 East. Turn south on 181. The store is on the right. The store is open Monday through Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 pm. Phone: (270) 483-0555

Emily Parrino is a New Era copy editor. She can be reached at 887-3298 or

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


At Akemi's house we made madeleines. They're sort of a cross between a butter cookie and a muffin. We also talked about how we miss the bakeries in our respective Asian countries.

Pesto pesto pesto

Last Friday I worked a double shift and my reward was a gigantic bag packed with basil from our IT guy, Howard's, garden.

So Sunday night I was washing sprigs like clothing-- Swishing them around in a sink full of water, rinsing and then swishing again.

My recipe, roughly, was done in batches in the blender:
4 packed cups basil
1/4 sweet onion
4 large cloves garlic
3 Tbs lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 Tbs sugar
salt and pepper
1/2 cup pine nuts

I found it was easier to mix the oil, lemon, garlic, nuts and cheese, then add in the basil and the rest.

Pesto is great tossed pasta with broccoli, cauliflower, finely sliced pepperoni and chunks of grilled chicken breast. It also makes a tasty sandwich or wrap spread.

Saturday fast

Usually these posts are about food. But I'm going to switch it up a bit... Joe and I didn't eat on Saturday as we participated in a fast with several thousand other Christians at LP Field in Nashville. The day began at 4:00 a.m. for us. At 7 we joined 50,000 people for a silent march from a park down Church Street to the stadium. As we walked we prayed. The sun scorched us for most of hte day as we listened to testimonies and prayers, sang worship songs and prayed individually and in groups. We left around 4:00 (though the event lasted til 10 p.m.). It was 9:00 p.m. before I ate 3 bowls of cereal with slivered almonds and Silk.

Joe and I have been describing it as a scene from the Old Testament. Huge crowd. Crying out to God in unison, with a sense that God was present as He was with Israel. I'm more of a new testament kind of gal :-) but this definitely whet my appetite for a little exploration into how God moved then, and now.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Making Pizza

I taught Akemi and Sayaka how to make pizza using both tortillas and pre-made pizza shells. We loaded on the fresh basil,tomato sauce, mushrooms, onion, broccoli, red bell pepper, turkey pepperoni and mozzerella.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Flock of Uechis

I'm sorry, sorry, sorry that I took so long to post so many things. It's not that I didn't want to.

A week ago (Monday July 2) Joe and I were very happy to have visitors from Pittsburgh: Guy, Marianne and their clan of four children-- each who have very distinct, interesting personalities that reflect different facets of their Jesus-loving parents.

Guy and Marianne were a very important part of Joe's and my college years and they were also a big part of Joe and I becoming a couple.

I enjoyed their antics as well as their obedience to their parents and their affection for each other. These pictures show a little glimpse of it...

Goodbye, Blues!

Friday between 1:30 and 4:00, the bluebird babies fledged. When Joe stopped home after lunch, he heard the plaintive cry of one of the babies from the next box and recorded it with his digital recorder.
When I came home at 4 p.m., the box was empty save the missing blue egg, which was actually underneath babies the whole time. It was unfertilized. I listened carefully... I heard the soft "churdle, churdle" that I've heard the bluebird pair make to each other hundreds of times. I spotted a frumpy little bird on the wire.
And daddy bluebird making the call from a post in the Sivley's backyard. I'm happy the family has decided to stay in the area as they grow. Our first family (last year) were nowhere to be seen nor heard after they fledged... probably because of a certain mean and nasty robin with territory issues.