I promise 2021 will be year to blog again.

2020 has been something, we all can agree on that.

For this coming year I will get back to blogging about food.

I’ve got some new recipes I’ve been trying and would love to share. If there are requests for me to blog about a food you’d like to have made from scratch, let me know!

104 degrees weather, let’s cook!

It’s the third day in a row of super hot weather here in Northern California. The house easily reaches 94 Degrees and last night was brutal as it never cooled off.

I used my Sous Vide to make a Pork Tenderloin that got grilled. Some veggies from my little garden and we were set.

I wanted burgers tonight but Himself was not in the mood. He was however interested in a cold soup. So the idea of Gazpacho formed in my mind. If you want to not use the stove at all a 32 ounce can of stewed tomatoes works just as good.
Recipe is from Alton Brown. The only thing I did not add was Worchester Sauce because it has gluten.



1 1/2 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped

Tomato juice

1 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped

1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1 small jalapeno, seeded and minced

1 medium garlic clove, minced

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 lime, juiced

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon toasted, ground cumin

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves


  1. Fill a 6-quart pot halfway full of water, set over high heat and bring to a boil.
  2. Make an X with a paring knife on the bottom of the tomatoes. Drop the tomatoes into the boiling water for 15 seconds, remove and transfer to an ice bath and allow to cool until able to handle, approximately 1 minute. Remove and pat dry. Peel, core and seed the tomatoes. When seeding the tomatoes, place the seeds and pulp into a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl in order to catch the juice. Press as much of the juice through as possible and then add enough bottled tomato juice to bring the total to 1 cup.
  3. Place the tomatoes and juice into a large mixing bowl. Add the cucumber, bell pepper, red onion, jalapeno, garlic clove, olive oil, lime juice, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire, cumin, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Transfer 1 1/2 cups of the mixture to a blender and puree for 15 to 20 seconds on high speed. Return the pureed mixture to the bowl and stir to combine. Cover and chill for 2 hours and up to overnight. Serve with strips of basil.

I grilled large shrimp that were marinated in olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and 1/3 Jalapeno (seeded and sliced)
Once cooked I cooled them down by putting them in a Ziploc bag and putting the closed bag in an icebath.
I cut the shrimp in half and added them to the soup.

You can see Alton in action here:


Under Water.

A few months ago one of my dance friends brought chicken to a potluck.
It was super tasty, not dry and every one loved it.
I asked C. how she managed to get it this way and she told me it was done “Sous Vide”, with vacuum under water.
After that day I started to read up on it and was intrigued.
I had a lovely chat with her husband about it a few weeks later and REALLY wanted a Sous Vide machine.
But, BUT, BUT!!!!!!! that would be another appliance in the kitchen taking up space. Was it worth it?

So I did my usual hemming and hawing and shelved the idea.
I did keep reading about the cooking method and then found that you can buy a stick that you could add to any pan and get the same results.
I had a Target gift card left so I decided to at least look at it.
videThey had one on sale, but it was still $140 and I was a bit hesitant. But it would fit in the cabinet and not sit on the counter so I decided to go for it.
I started walking to the registers when my phone rang. I set my box down on an endcap.
After I hung up I saw a box, with a Sous Vide machine. On SALE!
If I applied my card the total price would be $24 plus tax. It originally was $144!
I don’t know why it was discounted so much, it has all it’s parts and is in working order.
My Dutch heart was very happy because now I felt it was justified due to the low price.

The picture explains it best.


So far I’ve made chicken twice, pork chops twice and am going to make a salmon dish tonight.


Fast forward a few weeks to September and I’m in love.
The salmon was a big MEH but since then I dove into Filet Mignon ( divine) Pork Tenderloin, more steak cuts and some more pork (Cordon Blue) and chicken.
The two only “failed” things were poached eggs and a cut of steak that became well done. It was tasty but I like my meat a little more red.

Next up is Risotto, yes you can make that Sous Vide!, and some sort of white fish.

Recipes and pictures soon to follow because right now my  phone is not talking to my computer.

Risotto for One, Please!

It has happened, we are officially Empty-Nesters.
RatherTallOne has moved out and is now cooking for himself and his girlfriend.
Early reports from her are that he is quite the chef, making me rather proud.

We found out a few months ago that he has a wheat, barley and hops allergy. In solidarity I gave up all wheat (but not beer every now and then).
Cleaning the pantry and fridge of all things EVIL wheat was the way to go sadly.
I found out that a staple we eat a lot, Risotto from Trader Joes, had wheat in it to thicken the rice.
What is a mom to do? It has never occurred to me to make it from scratch because I thought it was hard to do.

Who hasn’t seen an episode of Hells Kitchen where Gordon Ramsey screams out that the Risotto is BLAND!

If professionals can’t do it who was I to try?
I’ve been hesitant to make foods I wasn’t trained in or comfortable with. Cooking rice, piece of cake. Risotto is scary.

So one day we were wanting Risotto with our salmon and I bit the bullet.
It was amazing!
I made it 3 times since and it comes out creamy, garlicky and really good.

The next 6 days Himself is in the Netherlands so solo food it is.
I was going to eat just chicken and roasted peppers when all of a sudden I wanted Risotto as well.
Math done, here is a recipe for Risotto for One.

1 TBS butter
1 TBS Olive Oil
2 TBS chopped onion or shallot
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup Arborio Rice aka Italian-Style Rice
About 1.5 cup of chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste (don’t make it bland!)
Any mushrooms and vegetables chopped up
Parmesan cheese to taste, I add at least 1/4 cup

Saute onion and garlic in butter and olive oil on lower heat for 3 minutes
Add rice and stir for 2 minutes
Stir in broth until rice is covered
I had leftover asparagus and mushrooms I added in.
I’ve added peas and mushrooms, it’s all tasty.


Continue cooking a stirring until broth is absorbed.
Add more broth but make sure it’s absorbed before you add more.
Try the rice if it’s cooked towards the end of cooking before you add more broth. It’s not a timed process, more a “taste as you go”.
You are aiming for sticky, gooey rice as the cheese will bind it.

Once it’s fully cooked add the Parmesan and serve immediately.






My take on Macaroni and cheese, bacon style!

A few food items are always in my fridge, cheese, eggs and bacon.

A friend posted a recipe she tried last week on Facebook and I tinkered with it a little and came up with this new recipe.
I made it for The Boy and Himself and they deemed it good for a repeat.
If you can’t find the cheese I used you can substitute with cream cheese, garlic and parsley.

ETA: rinsing the pasta under cold water will stop the cooking process and also avoid melting the cheese too soon.
Also letting the meat cool off a little helps in this process.

Creamy, bacon bake.

1 box pasta (elbows, bow-ties or rotini)
Boursin cheese (not the low-fat kind)

1 cup grated cheese, I use half parmesan and mozzerella
4 slices of bacon
8 ounces of chicken
1/2 cup heavy cream

Cook pasta to almost fully cooked, drain and set aside
Cook bacon until crisp, crumble and set aside
Sautee cut up chicken in bacon grease (or in 1 tbs butter, but trust me cooking it in the bacon fat enhances the flavor)
Drain fat from chicken and mix macaroni with bacon, chicken, cream and the cheeses.
Preheat the oven at 350
Coat an ovenproof dish with butter.
Bake for 20-30 minutes until all the cheese is melted.
Halfway stir the pasta so that the cheese coats all over (it stays creamier that way)
If you have a broiler give the dish a quick broil to get a crunchy crust.




It’s starting to feel like Fall finally!

I love soup and Split Pea is comfort food for me.

It’s a slow simmer in the crock pot so once you done the prep it’s a straight shot all by itself for hours.
This recipe is how my mom used to make it, there are variations where leeks and carrots are used but it comes out too heavy for me.

Oma’s Split Pea Soup

This recipe is for 4 people with enough left over for another meal. Reduce the peas and water by half if making it for 2 people or if you want no left overs.

2 bags green split peas (or 2 pounds)
1 medium sized celery root
1 pound beef shank
1 package salted pork
1 smoked sausage

Rinse peas, place in crock pot ( I have a 6 quart one)
Clean celery root by peeling it,cut celery root and salted pork in chunks
Add celery root, salted pork and beef shank to the crock pot
Cover with water, stirring a few times to get the peas wet.
Cook on low until peas fall apart, 6 hours depending on your crock pot.Stir occasionally to prevent the peas from sticking to the bottom or sides.
Remove bone and salted pork.
Using a stick blender or food processor blend the soup until smooth.
Cut up smoked sausage and add to soup.
You can cut up the salt pork in small pieces and add it to the soup. Be aware you need to let it sit for a little bit before you add salt in order not to oversalt it.
The soup will thicken if refrigerated, when reheating add some chicken stock to it and heat it slowly.


Pumpkins and Squash, oh my!

Adventures in Food.

We joined a Community Sustained Agriculture Farm (CSA) delivery service last year.
Most of the time I remember to go on to their website the weekend before the delivery date but this Sunday I completely flaked and forgot to change my order.
So then you get what is seasonal, a total surprise most of the time.
In my box this week were 2 pumpkins, a squash the size of a small dog, a jumbo leek, celery, kiwi’s and 7 pears.


Clearly this called for a big knife. The pumpkins were  the size of a soccer ball!

I love to make soup, so I decided to use the squash and pumpkins.
I tweaked a recipe my daughter sent me.

I’ll write out the recipe for less, this yielded enough soup for 2 big containers, 3 small and a square large container.

Curried Pumpkin Squash soup.

1 medium size pumpkin
1 squash

View original post 225 more words


It took beans to have me come back!

A repost from last year, just in time for colder weather.
It will be cooked next week because I’m starting to crave more fall comfort food.

I love,love,love and ADORE My Dutch Ovens.
This started a few years ago when my incredible kids, they know my love of gadgets, bought me an orange oval Creuset pot.
I started cooking with it as soon as I could and LOVE it!

I even bought special utensils for it as not to scratch the bottom and it lived, when not in use, on top of the stove.

Then last year a friend gifted  me her orange pumpkin shaped pot which joined the oval on the stove.
And then those amazing kids gave me a round 5.5 Quart blue one!
Stove is getting a bit crowded but why hide these beauties?

Last Labor Day Himself and I were in San Francisco and visited  the San Francisco Ferry Building Market Place
And they have a Sur La Table store there.
I have a timed visit allowance at any cooking store because this is my kind of toy store.
Off the bat by the door was a display of all things Creuset.
Stopped me in my tracks!
2 walls full of pretty colors and sizes.
And a saucepan on sale for $64 made me think real hard how much more space I really needed on top of my stove.
I ended up with a cook book on cooking in Dutch Ovens for far less money.
(turns out that the pot was $264, so good I didn’t go for it)

On the ride home I read to Himself some of the recipes in it and he did his usual grumble which I think means approval. He’s the quiet type.
Opposites attract and all that.

Fast forward to Tuesday, yesterday, and still frozen chicken with dinner in 1.5 hours.
Not in the mood or position to order pizza, going to be Mother of the Bride in a few months so must fit in dress.
Opened my cookbook and saw Easy Cassoulet. Only a few ingredients and not a lot of prep time.
Haven’t had that dish in ages, maybe as far as 1982 when a then boyfriend was so cheap on our trip in France it was all we ate.

Look at my lovely pots, and bacon!



The finished dish.



My pup Tarah closely watching me cooking. I might drop something right?




After Himself and I ate.






2nd Degree Black Belt made sure we didn’t have left-overs. This made me very happy and sad at the same time.



By now you are wanting a recipe, right?

I deviated a little from the book by adding Andouille Sausage and cut smoked tomatoes but it’s pretty much the recipe in the book.

Easy Cassoulet from  the Dutch Oven Cookbook


5 slices of bacon, cut into 1/2 thick slices
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
One Andouille sausage per person
1 cup chicken broth
One 14.5 can smoked tomatoes
Two 14.5 can of white or Cannellini beans
Parsley for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400f
In a 3 1/2 quart Dutch oven add the bacon and brown. Remove from pan and set aside.
Add the onions and sauté until soft, add the garlic for 2 minutes.
Add the broth, tomatoes, beans, bacon and cut up sausage.
Transfer the Dutch Oven to the oven and bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

I served this with warm French bread to soak up the juice of the dish.

Judging by how there were no left-overs this a repeat recipe.


Shrimp Scampi, easy and healthier

A past post but worth sharing, fast and easy.

I only figured this dish out 3 weeks ago when I was stuck for a meal.
It’s so simple and fast yet very tasty.

You need for 4 people:
3 to 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
Garlic We like a lot of it, but 3 cloves is a good start.
1/2 cup white wine
Raw shrimp, I use 4 ounces per person. You can use any shrimp but the medium size is nice as it doesn’t get lost in the noodles.
Juice of half a lemon
Zest of a lemon, I got one of these neat grater thingies that also grates cheese.
Parsley Enough to make it look pretty, you can use dried or fresh. A tablespoon is a good measure.
Salt and pepper to taste

We eat the scampi with Dreamfields angel hair pasta, it’s lower on the Glycemic Index but doesn’t taste like cardboard. You can use whole wheat or your own preferred pasta.
If you are watching your carbohydrate intake you can use Shiritaki noodles too.

Melt the butter in a large pan together with the garlic, do not let the butter brown so use lower heat.
Add the wine and let it evaporate a bit.
Add the shrimp, depending on the size of the shrimp cook any time from 3 to 5 minutes until pink.(medium to large)
Add the lemon and the zest.
Sprinkle with parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.

If you are serving this with pasta follow the directions on the package.
I always start cooking the pasta when I assemble my items for the Scampi.

Should you not want noodles I suggest to add raw spinach. Fold it in at the same time as the shrimp and allow it to wilt.

We always have Parmesan cheese and fresh pepper as a topper.

Pumpkins and Squash, oh my!

We joined a Community Sustained Agriculture Farm (CSA) delivery service last year.
Most of the time I remember to go on to their website the weekend before the delivery date but this Sunday I completely flaked and forgot to change my order.
So then you get what is seasonal, a total surprise most of the time.
In my box this week were 2 pumpkins, a squash the size of a small dog, a jumbo leek, celery, kiwi’s and 7 pears.


Clearly this called for a big knife. The pumpkins were  the size of a soccer ball!

I love to make soup, so I decided to use the squash and pumpkins.
I tweaked a recipe my daughter sent me.

I’ll write out the recipe for less, this yielded enough soup for 2 big containers, 3 small and a square large container.


Curried Pumpkin Squash soup.

1 medium size pumpkin
1 squash
Medium onion
1/2 teaspoon thyme
Olive oil, for frying onion and drizzling over pumpkin/squash
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 to 1 teaspoon mild or medium spicy curry powder
1 teaspoon Tumeric powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Chicken or vegetable stock
2 tbs Heavy cream
1 tbs butter (optional)


Line cookie sheet with wax paper.
Preheat oven to 350f
Cut pumpkin in wedges, discard the seeds
Slice squash in half and then cut that half in another half
Place all on cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper  on
Bake on 350 until you can pierce veggies with a fork, turning them over halfway (it took me 50 minutes)

In a pan sauté the onions until caramelized, reduce heat and add wine and sage.
Lets simmer until almost reduced, add Tumeric.

Let the veggies cool off and then peel with a paring knife.
If you have a stick blender:
Add scooped veggies to the pan with the onions and add about 2 cups of broth.
Blend until smooth,adding more broth if needed.
If you do not have a stick blender use a regular blender and slowly add broth until your soup has the consistency of a slightly thick smooth liquid.
Taste and add heavy cream,curry powder, salt and pepper to taste.
Stir in the butter and garnish with a little splash of heavy cream.


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