Posts made in February, 2014

Green Soup

Posted by on Feb 28, 2014 in Soup | 0 comments

In October, Cooking Light featured a Green Vegetable Soup as the SUPERFAST soup of the month.  I saved the recipe for a rainy day—finally a stormy weekend is here.  I liked the idea of a nearly monochrome soup in shades of green.








You already know recipes are a beginning point—I tampered with this one a bit.








I cooked whole-wheat orzo and made the spinach-based pesto (where the entire flavor holds up) while the pasta was cooking. Shhh. I tossed a couple of anchovies into the pesto.








This is the secret flavor punch.








Saute the leek, celery, and garlic.








The instructions ask for one extra cup of water added along with the stock.  I reserved one cup of the pasta water.








One inch pieces of hericot vert in the pot...








Frozen edamame replaced peas.  The soybeans are less sweet but packed with protein and I prefer the texture.








Make sure you taste the soup as you begin layering it together.  It needed more salt to bring out the love.








Another handful of spinach is plopped in to wilt just before it moves to the bowl.








I served the soup with Tomato Toast, toasted slices of rosemary bread, scraped with garlic and tomato.

Yes, to the soup!


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Pith and Peel

Posted by on Feb 26, 2014 in Asian and Vegetarian | 0 comments

Bon Appétit magazine featured a piece about using whole fruit (not just the juice, and or zest) in savory dishes-- in tandem with our new crop of luscious Meyer lemons.  Embracing the pith and the peel without the pips is doable because this variety is a tender thin-skinned beauty.








I matched up broccoli with humble pantry items and embarked on a new one too, anchovies.  I am not certain where the extreme distain for the little creatures began.  I know I wouldn’t dine on the tiny hairy fillet. However, they add a salty depth and a punch of unrecognizable flavor as they melt into a dish.








I peeled the sweet and tender broccoli stalks and sliced them in slender pieces attached to the florets.








The lemon slices and the garlic sauté with the anchovies until they dissolve.















The recipe suggests adding the red pepper at the end with the Parmesan cheese.  I put a pinch in with the broccoli before steaming them until tender crisp. The creamy beans bring the dish together.  I tossed in cubes of baked Hawaiian Purple Yam for color and added texture (almost like a Christmas chestnut).








There is no picture of the finished dinner plated up all chef-like because we were too hungry to wait so-- the dish ran away with the spoon.

It was a symphony of creamy, crisp, sour, and salty heat.  As we cleaned our plates all we could say was, “o͞oˈmämē/!”








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Posted by on Feb 24, 2014 in Breakfast and Brunch | 2 comments

An egg poached in a spicy tomato sauce has diverse roots.  The Italians relish a classic dish, Eggs in Purgatory; Shakshouka has Tunisian origins.  No matter how you say it—the marriage of scented tomato sauce and farm fresh eggs is a reason to keep homemade sauce in the freezer.  For us it became a late dinner after an argument, I meant a conference at church.

Begin by sautéing an onion in olive oil and adding garlic; pack your own heat with pepper flake or chopped jalapeno chilies.  Stirring cumin into the translucent onion mixture is a Middle Eastern touch.  Ladle the warm sauce into the skillet and drop farm fresh eggs on top to simmer in the fragrant tomato nest.








Tearing fresh basil over the bubbling pan with a dusting of Parmesan cheese deems it blissful.  Charred sticks of  grilled polenta are natural 'dippers' too.

Reboot Sunday morning breakfast or brunch with this simple skillet dish.




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Cole Barrett Lunde

Posted by on Feb 21, 2014 in New | 3 comments

Dear Lady Mary,

George certainly looks adorable in his 1922 ‘sailor suit’.  If I can be candid m’lady, my baby is cuter than your baby.


There is talk downstairs.  Perhaps Molesley could take a few more photos of George.











Season 4 brought costume challenges: an infant (Mary’s son) and a toddler (Tom’s daughter). “Dressing babies is really tough,” said McCall, noting the need for double costumes (George is played by twins. “The last thing you want to do is upset a child by having to change the clothes.” Sailor suits for George (dresses would have been historically correct for baby boys, but might confuse viewers) and a jumper made of vintage velvet for Sybbie.




































































Happy Birthday Cole Barrett Lunde.











Guess how much I love you?

Up to the stars and back again, and again.  Again.












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Pass the Risotto, Please.

Posted by on Feb 19, 2014 in Pasta | 0 comments







Risotto equals intimidation for most home cooks.  The warning signs and symptoms of a failed final dish (as well as the silly demand for constant stirring) unwittingly preempt the glorious passive ritual -- creating the epitome of soul worthy sustenance.


Creamy Italian rice cooked slowly, intuitively and with no worries is the perfect canvas to show case fresh seasonal fare or on- the- fly pantry staples.  Risotto-making is old school, like riding a bicycle in the driveway and then taking off the training wheels for the open road.


Make it when you have enough free time to learn the dance steps.  Then one day gather hungry friends in the kitchen to keep time with you.

Good thing I  was naïve to the hoopla and admonishments surrounding the perils of babysitting risotto.     The method requires a wooden spoon, an ear to hear and a look-see now and again.








For me, the only wild card is how much liquid it takes to transform the bits of rice to creamy carriers of flavor and cheese.

MP swoons when I announce I am making risotto (usually after a movie in the fancy seats) and usually the match-up is a combination of dried exotic mushrooms renewed with a handful of fresh sliced ones too.








The kindnesses of Lundberg Family Farms initiated my latest risotto rendezvous.  Their gift to me was a generous sampling of products ranging from the time honored go-to staples alongside newer always-sustainable essential grain blends.  The convenient zippered bag of ‘Vialone Nano’ (white Arborio rice) called to me at once.

Partner with quality products and the process not so much the recipe…








Sauté onions with olive oil until translucent (I used fresh mushrooms and chopped thyme too).








Add Arborio rice and toast until every grain is coated.








Add white wine; cook until almost completely absorbed.








Add half a cup of hot chicken (or vegetable) stock at a time; stir until absorbed, then repeat.  This was homemade turkey stock I froze at Christmastime.





















If you run short of hot stock finish the risotto to its lovely final viscosity with water.















Add butter and cheese and mix until melted.








Adjust the seasonings; stir in a handful of fresh parsley and scoop onto a plate with more cheese --if you are MP.







Fresh Shiitake Mushroom Risotto with Cranberry Turkey Meatloaf and Roasted Asparagus.

Let the comfort of it wash all over you!

Thank you Carol Hubbard and Lundberg Family--I feel totally sponsored.








Worthy of the stage, this unduplicated Morel and Scallop Risotto from last autumn.


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