Tomato Salad with Green Beans and Basil and Peach, Rhubarb & Ginger Crisp YUM!

Well, it's been another week of late winter in Oz.  We grilled on Saturday night and I tried two great new recipes. 

Here in Queensland we can pretty much grill year round. We knew we were going to Costco on Sunday so we pulled out lots of meat to grill (I'll bring it for lunch all week...the fish, anyway).  So we grilled pork and steak and swordfish and salmon.  I made flat bread on the grill and we had some left-over rice. You know it's much better for you if you let your rice cool and re-heat it. Makes a lot of the carbs unusable by your body. Then I tried my new recipes.


The first was a Tomato Salad with Green Beans and Basil.  My husband always says he likes salads, then doesn't eat them, but he gobbled this one up!  I couldn't find romano beans at our local veggie market, so only used green beans. I only used one lemon and two heirloom tomatoes because only two of us were eating, and I left the cherry tomatoes for another time because I thought I had enough tomatoes already.  A great thing about Queensland is that we can grow basil year round, so I harvested a few leaves off all my basil plants and the result was delicious!  The beans were crisp and lemony. Basil is always wonderful. A complete hit!


Tomato Salad with Green Beans and Basil 
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 oz. green beans, trimmed
8 oz. romano beans, trimmed
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 lemons, zest and juice
4 medium heirloom tomatoes (half sliced 1/4" thick, half cut into 1/2" wedges
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1/2 cup basil leaves, preferably a mix of regular and Thai basil, torn
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; cook green and romano beans until bright green and yellow, 1–2 minutes. Drain beans and transfer to a bowl of ice water until chilled. Drain beans and spread on paper towels to dry. Whisk vinegar, olive oil, lemon zest and juice, salt, and pepper in a bowl until combined; add reserved beans and the tomatoes and toss to combine. Arrange beans and tomatoes on a serving platter. Drizzle with olive oil; sprinkle with basil leaves 
salt, and pepper.

The next recipe is a Peach, Rhubarb and Ginger Crisp. That didn't last long. And it was easy breezy to make!  Of course, you need to like Rhubarb, which my hubby and I do.  (Did you read about the bear who broke into the bakery and ate every pie except the strawberry-rhubarb pies? What was wrong with that bear?)  I used sugared ginger pieces instead of crystallized and ate too much of it before I made the pie. I'll try to save more for the pie next time.  And for the 1/4 cup brown sugar, I used 1/2 brown sugar and 1/2 a mixture of Stevia and molasses. Better for us.  We were good and left half of this dessert for breakfast. Delicious for both supper and breakie.

Peach, Rhubarb & Ginger Crisp
2 cups sliced peaches or nectarines (1/2-inch slices), fresh or frozen, peeled if desired
2 cups sliced rhubarb (1/2-inch slices) or blueberries, fresh or frozen
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon minced crystallized ginger
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup white whole-wheat flour (see Note)
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon minced crystallized ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon canola oil

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch shallow glass or ceramic baking dish with cooking spray.
2. To prepare filling: Toss peaches (or nectarines) and rhubarb (or blueberries) with brown sugar and crystallized ginger. (If using frozen fruit, let stand for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, to thaw the fruit before transferring to the baking dish.) Transfer to the prepared baking dish and spread in an even layer.
3. To prepare topping: Combine oats, pecans, flour, brown sugar, crystallized ginger and salt in a medium bowl. Drizzle butter and oil over the mixture and stir until evenly moistened. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit.
4. Bake until the fruit is bubbly and the topping is browned, 35 to 50 minutes. Let cool for about 20 minutes before serving.
It's also been an exciting week for my art. First, I work up Saturday morning to discover that one of my Tulsa pictures had sold. Always a great way to start a day. So it will be hanging in some home or office back in Tulsa. I'm glad they loved it.

I starting poking through an old external hard drive and found some Photoshop files I've been looking for forever.  They are art works I created years ago, but had misplaced the original files. I went through all layers on all of these pictures and updated them. I'm much better at Photoshop than I was years ago....

This picture, based on a map, was inspired by the following Rudyard Kipling poem. Doesn't it set your heart on fire? On the road to Mandalay, Where the old Flotilla lay, Can't you 'ear their paddles chunkin' from Rangoon to Mandalay? On the road to Mandalay, Where the flyin'-fishes play, An' the dawn comes up like thunder outer China 'crost the Bay!

I also created two new artworks that I love. One is the center of a rose that should be displayed very large. Don't you think?   

And the other is a fantasy historical picture. It's origin is the photograph of a minstrel girl that I took at a Medieval Faire a few years ago, but I also used some photographs of  some actual medieval elements in the background and it turned out quite well, I think. What do you think?


Spicy Roasted Chickpeas and a video from Down Under

So, do you like my new necklace?  I made it. I think it's the best one I've made yet!

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live at the bottom of the world where it's currently winter and Christmas happens in the middle of the summer?
In some ways, it's not that different from the United States and in some ways it's very similar. Here's a little video of my drive from the Central Business District (CBD) of Brisbane, Queensland, where I drop my hubby off each morning to Windsor, north of the city, where I work. 

While I'm here, I'm taking as many pictures as I can to store up the memories of this beautiful, friendly land, and making art from them.

Here are a few that I've posted recently:

Photography PrintsPhotography Prints Photography PrintsArt Prints

And now here's my recipe of the week, which is inexpensive, easy, healthy and delish! I didn't have to buy anything. Everything I needed was right there in my cabinet.

Spicy Roasted Chickpeas


2 cups cooked chickpeas, or 1 (15 oz) can
1½ teaspoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¾ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
a dash of cayenne pepper

And the directions

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2. Pat the chickpeas dry between two paper towels and be sure to remove any loose skins.

3. Pour the chickpeas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat and mist with olive oil. Use your hands or a spoon to toss the chickpeas. In a small bowl, combine the seasonings and whisk to combine. Sprinkle the mixture onto the chickpeas and toss to coat. Bake for 25 minutes, stirring the chickpeas at the 15 minute mark.

Worth the Wait

 I actually chose a later date for my knee replacement surgery so I could attend the last two last weekends' gallery openings, and I'...