Our newly created tradition is being implemented, food is being lovingly made, cocktails are devilishly delightful, everyone is working and as we bring our Sunday brunch workday to a close, our neighbor pulls into their drive way.
They get out of the car and yell across the street as though amazed and terrified at the same time… “Hey??? You don’t like shrubberies and trees?”

I thought I was going to piss my pants when I heard that!

I guess to the neighbors we must look like a bunch of hillbilly crazy people, but I have to contend with the fact that I’m trying so hard to keep up with the hillbilly appearances. LOL I rather enjoy looking like a crazy loony family.

We took down all the shrubs and bushes because they are actually a fire hazard so close to our home.

The types of trees that should be planted out here in the dry southwest are trees that are deciduous and have the capability of holding a large amount of water in the branches, leaves and roots.

Right now, I fear that the shrubs, bushes and trees that are established in our front yard would only contribute to fire damage.

Especially the bush that stands well over 20 feet tall and is firmly resting up against the roof of our home! That is an accident waiting to happen.

Anyway, the junipers, the bush and all the rotted pine trees need to be removed. Its been interesting to watch the normal traffic pass by and do a double take.

Even more interesting is how I catch myself looking at the front of the house mortified that we took down such mature shrubs. Yes, I do love shrubs, but I don’t believe they should be so close to the house.

Here is a little shrubbery clip I found on youtube from Monty Python:

After taking down most of the shrubbery we were able to start planning the other things we’ll be doing with the outside of the house.

One thing that we all want is a butterfly habitat and after viewing the house from the front, I realized that the we could do a beautiful screened in butterfly room right in front of our porch.

Okay, okay, I know I got ahead of myself talking about the shrubberies and bushes so now lets talk food! LOL I did get a few really great pictures of the food and I’ll loosely throw together the recipes for you as well on each of the dishes we made yesterday…

I don’t have a name for this meal, but I guess if I had to give it a name I’d call it a “Saint Benedict.”

It’s an egg re-imagining, because after making this little beauty I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

The only thing missing from this meal were angels singing.

The  thing I’d do differently next time I make a Saint Benedict is to use a bigger frying pan so that I can keep all the over easy eggs a safe distance from each other.

I cooked all six eggs at the same time which works great when you need to get everything out at the same time, but when I used a glass to make a nice circle around each egg…well…a few of the eggs suffered in appearance.

I may even poach the eggs next time I make this dish, but for now it worked just fine over easy.

The taste of our Saint Benedict was like a delicate dance of flavors that hit you when you least expect it. The bottom layer is a toasted English muffin with a pat of butter, then fried sliced ham, then add a layer of Swiss cheese, top the cheese with some fresh arugula and perch an egg atop the arugula. Add a dollop of Hollandaise sauce and garnish with some fresh chopped chives.

Of course I can’t stop there because our Saint Benedict wasn’t alone on the plate yesterday. Next up is our bacon wrapped asparagus. In a glass or bowl mix a little white wine, olive oil, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper and coat fresh raw asparagus in mixture.

Take about six spears of fresh asparagus and wrap all six at once and secure by putting a toothpick through…this creates a single serving.

Repeat until you have enough for everyone. I cooked the asparagus wraps at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

I also basted the wraps to get all the juices together and create a punch of flavor on the asparagus.

In the photo to the right there is also something else on the plate. Its a potato pancake that Dom made. I’d tell you what its made of, but his recipe isn’t quite perfected yet. It tasted awesome, but he wasn’t pleased with it.

I have always loved working with him in the kitchen, and actually when we first met that’s exactly what we used to do…work in the kitchen!

Our working relationship never seemed like work because we were able to get into this rhythm…a food dance, if you will.

Dom is an awesome chef in his own right, so I always feel honored to have him cooking with me.

It was extra special yesterday because it was our anniversary brunch, and there is nothing sexier to me than to see my husband shredding potatoes and laughing with me as we quote and sing some of the irreverent songs of Sarah Silverman!

I think the thing that I enjoy most about Dom working with me in the kitchen is that he can hold his own and create good, honest and wholesome dishes.

Next up is a “must make!” dessert. Normally I’m not a big dessert person, but one night Dom and I were up very late watching the cooking channel (isn’t that hot?) and “The Thirsty Traveler” came on.

We caught the tail end of the show where they made these poached pears in port with a Zabaglione sauce. If you have the time, you must make this gorgeous dessert!

I altered the recipe a little since we had more than four people joining us for brunch, and also since this is a nut free home (Simone’s food allergies).

Needless to say, I thought the pears were to die for.

It took about 45 minutes for me to whisk up the Zabaglione sauce, but it was well worth the effort!

I went to the website for the Thirsty Traveler and I’m copying and pasting the recipe here:

Pears with Zabaglione

Pears with Zabaglione

4 pears
3 1/2 cups of water
1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice.
1 drop of vanilla essence
3/4 cups of sugar

Zabaglione Sauce

6 egg yolks
1/2 cup of sugar
1 1/2 cups of Tawny port (10 or 20 year old)
Lemon Rind
1 lemon halved and juiced

Caramel Sauce

1/4 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of sliced almonds
4 sprigs of mint

Timing: Prepare the pears then the Zabaglione sauce followed by the caramel sauce.
Pears with Zabaglione
Peel the pears, leaving them whole and the stalk attached.

Place pears in a shallow pan with water, one tablespoon of lemon juice, vanilla and sugar.

Cook until soft but not collapsing, approximately 20 minutes.

Place each pear, up right, in a small compote container made of glass.
Zabaglione Sauce
Using a double boiler, place the egg yolks and sugar in the pot, whisking until the eggs and sugar are well blended.

Slowly pour in the Tawny port while you continue whisking and keep doing so until you achieve a mousse-like consistency.
Add the juice from 1/2 a lemon and a 1/4 teaspoon of the lemon rind.
Caramel Sauce
In a saucepan pour in sugar and add one tablespoon of water, bring the mixture to a boil until it caramelizes.

In a frying pan brown the almonds, quickly, careful not to burn them.
Pour the hot caramel sauce over the up right pears, and scatter the browned almonds on top of the caramel. Pour the Zabaglione Sauce around the pears and garnish with a sprig of mint on each pear.

Next up is our cocktail:

Vicki made for us Nelson’s Blood:

Basic Nelson’s Blood RecipeYou need:

  • 5oz Dry Champagne or Sparkling Wine
  • 1oz Tawny Port
  • Mint Leaves (optional)
  • Sugar


  • Frost the rim of a champagne flute, if desired.
  • Pour champagne or sparkling wine into champagne flute
  • Add tawny port
  • Gently stir mixture to preserve carbonation.
  • Garnish with mint leaves, if desired.

Mixing Tip: Add a little more tawny port to create a deeper, stronger red color.

Here are some more photos of yesterday’s activities:

Vicki brushing the fence in preparation for painting

Simmi being her cute self!

Hannah’s dog Camille became Simmi’s new best friend (even though Simmi is allergic to Camille)

Simmi has no problem sitting in the dirt (and she put that dress on backwards! LOL)

This little red treasure was found under one of the shrubs…Simmi spent about 20 minutes trying to get Camille into the little house!

My dad is armed and dangerous huh? Ya gotta fear a man in slippers holding a machete! LOL

The cowboy hat helps keep Dom’s jew fro tame

All the shrubbery after it was cut down

My dad

I do have more photos, but I know that my girls wouldn’t approve of some of them.

I had some photos of Gina working on the fence, but her crack was hanging out, so I left the photo out. 😉

Hannah came for brunch as well, but she wasn’t feeling well and slept most of the time she was here.

Noah is at that phase in his young life where he doesn’t like to have his picture taken, but I must say that he takes a great photo! He needs a hair cut…that’s for damn sure!

To wrap up this long ass entry, I must say that it all went beautifully yesterday.

The food was delicious, the cocktails were awesome, and all I can say is that each week it will continue to get better!

My dad held on to the vows that Dom spoke to me on our wedding day and brought them to the brunch so Dom could say them again to me.

There were two things Dom had written and prepared for our wedding…one was his vows to me, the other was a poem. While Dom was reading these to me yesterday, I just sat there and cried like a baby because each of the following are as true today as they were when he wrote them seven years ago…I’m truly blessed:

I, Dominic, take you, Angela, to be my lawfully wedded wife,

My divine partner in life, and my beloved muse.

I promise to Love you with my heart and soul, and to be open, honest, clear and true.

I promise to honor your feelings and thoughts, and respect your mind, body and heart.

I will be your one and only man, my soul, my heart, my mind, one body many parts.

I make a covenant to become unified, one heart and one soul, and draw strength from you and eternally confide.

I promise to Love you unconditionally each and every moment, with the changing tide, at the top and the bottom of the slide, and forever as my bride.

He also wrote me a poem:

I Honor You

I feel loves soft gaze,

All of my heart’s passions ablaze.

A gentle kiss

My soul’s bliss

Two spirits unite this day.

A pair of chocolate mirrors

My body shivers.

My Heart quivers.

My soul’s call delivers.

My joyous words of commitment I say.

I give myself to you,

to share each day anew.

What a glorious blessing.

With me there is no guessing.

My entire being screams hooray.

I rejoice in a mind so bold.

With all my might I take hold.

In you I receive riches untold,

More precious than diamonds, silver or gold.

I commit to be a child with you and play.

To my wife to be,

Angela or Dhodi Li

I bow to thee,

10,000 times I bow to thee.

My friend, my lover, my wife today.