Friday, January 22, 2016

Dinner Place is Done!

We've been cooking together for quite a while and it was all due to my daughter Emily's saying one day, "Why don't  you blog recipes for one?" And that's exactly what happened.

 I loved it, but have found that I perhaps have said all I need to say about the subject--at least here.
I gave it nearly year -- just to make sure -- and know now that I'm committed to writing in just one blogging spot:

Most of you have read my other blog, and while you can always read through the recipes here on Dinner Place, I hope you'll truly spend more time at my other table!  I do occasionally blog a cooking-for-one recipe on More Time, so come on over--do.

I'm so appreciative of your support over the years and I've loved cooking with you. Thank you, thank you!

Happy Cooking,

P.S.  You can also buy my book on amazon:

Friday, February 13, 2015

Valentine's Meal for One

      Happy Valentine's Day to You!

Here's a menu you can make just for you with great leftovers. I've posted it before, but it's worth cooking again! This post features big double lamb chops that are grilled first and then finished in the oven;  a piquant tapenade tops them at the table.  Meantime, you'll oven-roast large, whole carrots laced with ground cumin.  There's a make-ahead green bean salad you'll fix again and again and I also give suggestions for wine and tiny, light desserts.  Don't want leftovers?  Cut the amounts in half for a one-time dinner.  Don't want to eat alone?  Invite a friend or neighbor; there's plenty. 
Start with a beautiful sparkler that needn't cost much.  I heartily recommend a New Mexico sparkling wine such as  Gruerather than splurging on French champagne.  Despite all, I've found sparklers do keep a day two. Or, if you'd like, choose a half-bottle of a very special sparkling wine from the wine shop.  Add some of the tapenade with baguette or crackers or a bowl of great potato chips--my favorite sparkler pairing.  Stay away from cheese; fresh vegetables would work wonderfully.  Just stick with something light; lamb is loving, but filling.

If you're cooking for just you, open the wine, turn on the music, set the table, and enjoy a beautiful night.  Afterward, get out that novel you've been meaning to read and take it to bed with you along with the last glass of wine or put on a great movie you've been saving.  You could write letters or cards to a few people you adore; make yourself post them in the morning.   Whatever you do,  have fun cooking and taking care of yourself!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Light and Lusty Tomato Soup for Right Now!

Done in under a half hour, this lusty (I almost said perky, but perky it isn't) soup just about jumped out of the pot, put its arms around me, and begged me to eat it.  Wonderful for the I-ate-too-many-chocolates post-holiday cooking time,  you can skip the fresh basil, if you still haven't gotten to the store, and add Herbes de Provence or a combination of dried oregano and basil.  Easily vegan and gluten-free (without some of the garnishes), this meal will heat everyone up despite the weather.  It's sunny, but snowy ...

I'm not eating bread at lunch today, but this would be awesome with a baguette broiled with olive oil, grated Parmesan, and lots of black pepper.   Or, naturally, with the proverbial grilled cheese sandwich. Here's how:

Stir in a little plain yogurt at the table for a "Cream of  Tomato Soup" version.

light and lusty tomato soup  serves 4 

  • 1 small yellow onion, quartered
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 carrot, cut into 2-inch pieces 
  • 1/2 fennel bulb, sliced (use a little more celery if you have no fennel)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Generous pinch each:  crushed red pepper and Herbes de Provence (see above for substitutions)
  • 4 whole garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine*
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon honey          
  1. Place onion, celery, carrot, and fennel in food processor fitted with the steel blade.  Process, pulsing, until vegetables are diced.  (Or dice by hand.)
  2.  Heat a 6-quart heavy pot over medium low heat with the olive oil, pepper, and Herbes for a minute or until fragrant.  Add the whole garlic cloves and cook for a minute or until golden; turn and let cook another few seconds before adding the vegetables from the food processor.
  3. Stir in the fresh basil leaves, kosher salt, black pepper.  Cook for five minutes, stirring, until vegetables are beginning to soften.
  4. Pour in water, wine, broth, and tomatoes.  Stir in honey.  Bring to a boil.  
  5. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 15 minutes or so until all vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.
  6. Taste and adjust seasonings.  Puree using an immersion blender, in batches in the food processor or blender, or mash with a potato masher.  Alternatively, eat as is.
  7. Serve hot garnished with one of the following: chopped fresh basil, croutons, or chopped pistachios for vegan version.  Grated Parmesan cheese or a spoon of plain Greek yogurt for Gluten-Free version.  If you're ok any way at all, choose what you'd like, though just the Parmesan and a little fresh basil are perfectly perfect.  
*Replace the wine with water if need be.

Simple pictures are best: 

Have fun cooking and taking care of yourself as you clean up your eating act,
(published earlier and happily on this blog)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Orange-Scented Apple Pancakes with Cinnamon and Walnuts

If I've ever been missing in action this long before, I can't remember when.  I hope you forgive me. I'm just about back in the swing of a new kitchen and will trot out a whole post on the process soon!

Through the construction practice, suffice it to say that most everything in the house seemed to be piled up in the wrong spot.  For instance, the clothes drying rack was in my bedroom.  My serving platters and baskets are still in my closet.  China and silver, as well as a big container of utensils, are still somewhere undetermined.  In a mislabeled box in the garage?  Lest I sound ungrateful, I'll own that I'm CRAZY about my new kitchen.  I just would never and I repeat never go through getting one again.  Waiting to exhale.  In the meantime, life goes on:  work, laundry, dog-walking, etc.  The kitchen waits for no one.  It's nearly totally functional!

I have a new job cooking at Shouse Appliance---showing off lovely things like the entire Jenn-Air line and DACOR ranges, wall ovens, grills, steam ovens, and so on.   I work three Saturdays a month and cook up dishes that are seasonal as well as foods that give a very real experience of the appliances. This week I thought I'd cook apple pancakes among other things.  Until I made them at home.  While incredibly luscious, they wouldn't give the best impression of the DACOR grill.  There's too much lag time in between customers and the griddle would be hot, warm, cooler, cold--which is exactly what we do NOT want for pancakes. We want hot, hot.  The pancakes themselves would get done and sit cold waiting for the next lady shopping for a new range to show up.  You know how you almost always throw away the first pancakes? I'd be doing that all day.  The more I thought about it, the more I nixed the idea and went with a grilled chicken-apple-cheddar panini.  Instead, I'm giving them to you....

When my kids were at home,  I made a plethora of pancakes.  Banana.  Apple.  Pecan.  Cranberry.   You name it.  I never wrote down a thing.  Geez.  So this time, I had to cook, write, test, and eat all at the same time.  Here's what I came up with.  If you do not want to make pancakes from scratch (and WHY NOT?), you can buy your Krusteaz and add the apple, orange, and cinnamon.  Use the 1 tablespoon of butter for your griddle.  It'll be lovely and a very happy Saturday.  Cook on!

Orange-Scented Apple Pancakes with Cinnamon and Walnuts
I usually throw out the first one or two pancakes.  You?   
  • 1/2 cup grated apple with peel
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated orange rind
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter, divided (3 T melted for batter, 1 T for griddle or pan)
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1 egg 
    • 1 cup unbleached, white all-purpose flour
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon*
    • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
    • 1/4 cup warmed maple syrup (do this in a pitcher in the microwave)
    1. Place the grated apple in a double layer of paper or cloth towel and squeeze dry over sink.  Stir the apple and orange rind together in a small bowl and set aside.
    2. Preheat griddle over medium-high heat.
    3. In a medium bowl or 4-cup mixing cup, mix together the 3 tablespoons melted butter with the cold milk.  Beat in the egg very well.
    4. In another bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add to the milk mixture and stir until just barely mixed. Do not over mix.
    5. Grease griddle with butter. The griddle is ready if you flick a few drops of water on it and they sizzle and jump.  Pour 1/4 cup pancake batter onto hot griddle for each pancake and top evenly with 2 teaspoons of the apple-orange rind mixture.  Let cook until bubbles form all over the cake and the bottom is quite brown. Turn and cook briefly on the other side until done.
    6. Serve hot with warm maple syrup and garnished with chopped walnuts.  Makes about 5 or 6 pancakes, depending on how big you make them.  Save some for tomorrow or roll them up with peanut butter and take them for lunch on Monday.  This recipe doubles easily if you have company.

    *If you think you'd like more cinnamon, you might try sprinkling a bit extra on a single pancake just to see and then next time double the cinnamon in the batter.

     Have fun cooking and taking care of yourself,

    Just a very sad note.  If you don't read my other blog (, you might not have read that our sweet Miss Gab (golden retriever, age 6) died suddenly a few weeks ago.  The vet thinks she picked up some meth that someone dropped in our neighborhood.  Our hearts are broken and we look and listen for her so often....  I wrote a post about it and you can read it here.  Thanks.

    Thursday, September 11, 2014

    Grilled Oregano Shrimp-Caesar Salad with Tomatoes and Crostini

    Honest is the best policy:  I was too hungry to take much time with a photo.
    While my kitchen's being redone, I thought I'd repost a blog favorite from September, 2013.  Enjoy!

    ...       ...      ...

    It seems when I'm out with friends on some version of the protein and vegetable diet, they often end up with a Caesar Salad and Grilled Chicken or Grilled Salmon, if they're lucky.  I don't eat Caesar salad in restaurants a lot because they're often goopy-- soft and unappetizing.  And, truly, I love my own salads. Even more, I love homemade vinaigrette.

    Yesterday Dave and I were at the grocery looking at fish for supper and I saw a great buy on large, gorgeous uncooked shrimp.  (Since shrimp takes two minutes to cook, why is there so much pre-cooked shrimp for sale?)  I remembered I had a bag of cleaned romaine at home in the frig, and asked for a pound of that shrimp for $9.99.  When the shrimp are large, there aren't that many in a pound; I figured whatever was leftover, we'd have the next day for a snack.

    Friday, August 8, 2014

    Favorite Posts While I'm on Vacation!

    Cherry Tomato Chicken Pasta with Basil.  Recipe HERE.  While the pasta cooks, stir up a nearly-instant cherry tomato marinara.  Fresh sauce fast!

    Every year around this time, I go on vacation.  I'm almost on my way...  I miss the blogs while I'm gone, but not as much as I miss the dogs!

    This year, we're going on a northern European cruise to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. We are two days in Rotterdam and then one day in each port with the exception of Glasgow, where we're in port for two days. A day in Amsterdam at the end and then home by September.

    Thursday, July 17, 2014

    Salsa-Egg White Frittata with Vegetables for One

    Maybe there are moments when you don't want a large, bountiful breakfast.  And those days, you grab a spoonful of yogurt or a handful of granola and go on about your business.  Maybe you try to get through the morning on coffee. (Ugh...)  But if you're truly hungry, looking for something filling and healthy, this frittata is for you.  If you've got a friend, make one, put in in the oven to keep warm, and make the second.  Frittatas also lend themselves to leftovers, so if you have some cooked vegetables, meat, pasta, rice, or nearly whatever, throw it in.

    Wednesday, July 16, 2014

    Cook the Book -- Last Week -- Tomato-Carrot Soup with Feta

    (Above:  Soup is easily vegan without the feta garnish.)
    This is the last week I’ll  feature a recipe from my new book, Soups & Sides for Every Season (click HERE to order).   Make the recipe, photograph it, email the pic to me:   If yours is the first email with a recipe photo I receive, I’ll mail you a book!  Don’t forget to include your snail mail address in the email as well as any adjustments you made to the recipe.  Now get “cooking!”  I can’t wait to hear from you.
    My first for-real book signing is Saturday, July 19 (11am – 1 pm) at Aspen Kitchens and Design Studio here in Colorado Springs:  5134 North Nevada Ave. Colorado Springs, 80918 –University Village Complex. I’ll have a few books with me, but you still have time to buy one and bring it!  There may even be some soup or something else to taste.  Come see!  Next up is Shouse Appliances at Academy and Austin Bluffs; date tba.  There'll be some cooking going on at Shouse, of course.
    Soup Book-Cover final
    If you haven't had a chance to look at the book yet, it's 174 pages in softcover and was more than two-year effort that included a wonderful team:  Patricia Miller, editor; Amanda Weber, designer; Daniel Craig, artist; and Drew Robinson, CS, sommelier.  I had a dedicated team of much-loved testers and they’re all listed in the acknowledgment section.  Read up about them!

    The book itself is divided into seven chapters:  one soup chapter for each season, and then one each for Breads and Spreads, Salads and Fast Sides, and, saving the last for best, Desserts.  The desserts are very simple recipes and only one or two require any baking.  Most are nearly instant (think individual microwave chocolate pudding cakes) and there’s a whole page of ideas for truly instant desserts (parfaits, etc.)
    But this week is the lovely, light, perky and favorite of my testers soup, TOMATO-CARROT with FETA.  I include cook's notes if you'd like to use fresh tomatoes as it IS July!  I love many things about this soup --mostly its taste -- but it also is easily made vegetarian or vegan (use vegetable broth for both; substitute croutons for the feta for vegan)  Try and it and put on your happy face:

    TOMATO-CARROT SOUP WITH FETA  and Salt and Pepper Bread with Parmesan Cheese

    Everyone loves Tomato-Basil Soup, often swooning with cream or Parmesan cheese.  This, however, is not THAT soup, despite the fact that there is basil in the soup and maybe a little cheese on the bread.  Voted one of the favorite soups by testers, Tomato-Carrot Soup is light with a touch of sweetness and most happy with a big piece of toasted bread dunked right in the middle.  Or it would kiss a companion grilled cheese sandwich because that's what tomato soup does, right?
    This soup also makes a delicious first course for special or holiday meals and could take the place of a green salad.  It can be kept warm easily in a crock-pot in the dining room while you prepare the rest of the meal. Then you'll hear, "Oh, wow!  You made soup!"
    • 2 Tablespoons butter
    • 5 medium carrots, minced
    • 6 stalks celery, minced
    • 2 medium onions, minced
    • 8 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped finely
    • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped finely
    • 28-ounce can Italian tomatoes (Cento is good.)
    • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth (Use vegetable broth for Vegetarian/Vegan option)
    • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/2 t freshly ground pepper
    • 2/3 c feta cheese, crumbled (in bowl at table)  Skip for vegan option or add croutons to serve.)
    • 4 ½ slices baguette for salt and pepper crostini  (Skip this section for Passover meals.)
    • 2t olive oil
    • 4t freshly-grated parmesan, opt. (Skip cheese for vegan option)
    • Kosher salt and pepper
    1.  In an 8-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium heat and add carrots, celery and onion. Sauté five minutes, adding garlic for last two minutes. Stir in fresh herbs and tomatoes, breaking up tomatoes with fork or knife. You could food-process the tomatoes beforehand if you'd like. Cook briefly, one-two minutes to marry flavors. Add broth and salt and pepper.

    2.  Bring to a boil; reduce to simmer until veggies are tender, 10-15 min. Add extra broth or water if soup becomes too thick. Taste and adjust seasonings.  Serve hot.

    3. Ladle into small bowls and pass feta cheese at table. Serve w/ salt and pepper crostini if serving for Easter; skip bread for Passover meals.

    SALT & PEPPER BREAD WITH PARMESAN CHEESE: Preheat broiler. Slice French baguette into ½ in slices and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Top with a dusting of kosher salt, freshly ground pepper and a little grated parmesan cheese if desired.  Broil bread 4-inches from heat, watching closely, until cheese is melted, bubbly, and brown.  Alternately, bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit on a baking sheet about 10 minutes or until toasted through.

    To make one day ahead and bring to a holiday dinner:  Cook as above.  Remove from  heat and cool to room temperature before refrigerating overnight.  Day of the dinner, heat a crock-pot full of water on high.  Just before dinner or before leaving for a  meal elsewhere, heat pot of soup on stove top.  Pour water out of now hot crock-pot and pour in soup.  Place lid on top and secure firmly with large, thick rubber bands.  Wrap crock-pot in old towels and place in cardboard box for transporting if you don't have a crock-pot carrier.  Bring feta in a separate container.

    COOK'S NOTES:  If you'd like to substitute fresh tomatoes for the canned (and it's the right time to do it), choose 10-12 lovely medium, ripe and fresh tomatoes. Dig out the cores and cut an "X" into their bottoms.  Bring a big pot of water to boil and gently lower the tomatoes into the pot in batches--say 3 or 4 at a time.  Let cook about a minute or until skins will easily peel.  Cool briefly, peel quickly with a small sharp knife and chop well.  Add the chopped tomatoes to the soup and cook an extra 10-15 minutes during the second step.

     DREW'S WINE RECOMMENDATIONS:  Red:  Nebbiolo.   Prefer white?  Sauvignon Blanc, though avoid the New Zealand wineries.
    Dessert:  Cheese plate.


    Happy Anniversary to us!! Yesterday found us celebrating at The Broadmoor---40 years of bliss.  Well, mostly.

    Sing a new song; cook a new soup,

    I somehow left off a post last week on Dinner Place for Cook the Book.  Read it on More Time at the Table HERE.

    Friday, July 11, 2014

    Spicy Shrimp Caprese with Lemon-Balsamic Vinaigrette

    Summer and caprese go together like iPhone and plug-in, Mika and Joe, ice cream and hot fudge, or pick your simile.  This is true at my house and perhaps it is at yours.  It may be more true (is that possible) if you live in the places where the juicy, sweet tomatoes appear each year -- Illinois, New Jersey, Minnesota,  or add your state here _______________.  This is not true in Colorado where our nights are cool, rain is sketchy at best, and the growing season is oh, about a month long.  Maybe two.

    Tuesday, July 1, 2014

    Cook the Book! Next 3 Weeks! + Alyce's Blueberry Muffins

    IMG_5670For the next three weeks, I’ll at some time during each week feature one recipe from my new book, Soups & Sides for Every Season (click HERE to order).   Make the recipe, photograph it, email the pic to me:   If yours is the first email with a recipe photo I receive, I’ll mail you a book!  Don’t forget to include your snail mail address in the email as well as any adjustments you made to the recipe.  Now get “cooking!”  I can’t wait to hear from you.
    If you haven't had a chance to look at the book yet, it's a soft covered paperback, 174 pages, and was a more than two-year effort that included a wonderful team:  Patricia Miller, editor; Amanda Weber, designer; Daniel Craig, artist; and Drew Robinson, CS, sommelier.  I had a dedicated team of testers and they're all listed in the acknowledgment section.

    Wednesday, June 25, 2014

    Cook the Book! Next Four Weeks -- A Free Book Each Week!

       First Up:  Spicy Cucumber with Feta and there's no cooking involved!  Happy summer soups!  Thanks for all of your lovely support during this last week.  You're helping make my dream come true.  You're wonderful!   (This blog will share some posts with More Time at the Table for the next few weeks. Enjoy.)
    For the next four weeks, I'll at some time during each week feature one recipe from my new book, Soups & Sides for Every Season (click HERE to order).   Make the recipe, photograph it, email the pic to:   If yours is the first email with a recipe photo I receive, I'll mail you a book!  Don't forget to include your snail mail address in the email as well as any adjustments you made to the recipe.    As my own stash of books is still on the way from the printer, be patient if you don't get your book immediately; it could take just a little while.  Now get "cooking!"  I can't wait to hear from you.

    Soup Book-Cover finalSPICY CUCUMBER WITH FETA

    When cucumbers are plentiful, cheap, and the weather is sultry, it’s time to make cucumber-yogurt soup.  Lebanese to start with (Kh’yaaf B’lubban) and very like the Indian Kheera Raita, Americans have made this creamy, cooling dish their own.  Perfect to eat as a cold first course or for a light meal, it’s ready in the time it takes to whir a few things through the food processor. This is also a great soup to personalize.  A bit more hot sauce? Add avocado?  Top with smoked salmon? A bit of cumin? Chopped scallions or tomatoes as a garnish?  However you make this, you’ll want it again and again.  My own version holds some heat (skip Sriracha—a Thai hot sauce-- if you don’t like heat) and includes some salty feta and chopped red bell pepper on top.  I first encountered some of the flavors from this soup in Melissa Clark’s fabulous Greek Goddess Dip (NYT, “A Good Appetite,” 2/10/10)which utilizes some of the same ingredients in a perfect herbaceous dip for fresh vegetables.  When I began to test cucumber soups for this book, I again and again returned to the combination of herbs Melissa uses in her dip.
    If you don’t have a food processor, simply chop up the vegetables as finely as possible, whisk together the yogurt and buttermilk, and mix up all of the ingredients using a spoon or large spatula.
    Serves 8  -- Or Cut in half for 4
    • 4 English cucumbers unpeeled, sliced in half, seeded (pull a big spoon down the center of each half), and cut into 1” pieces*
    • 4 tablespoons chopped red onion
    • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
    • 2 tablespoons each chopped fresh basil and mint
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 cups plain yogurt
    • 2 cups low-fat buttermilk
    • 2 teaspoon Sriracha sauce (or a few drops of other hot sauce)
    • Juice of 2 lemons (about 4 tablespoons)
    • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
    • 1 1/2  teaspoons kosher salt
    • 2 teaspoons honey
    Garnish:  1 cup each: feta cheese, crumbled, and finely chopped red bell pepper
    Cook’s Note:  If using regular American cucumbers purchased from the grocery store, please peel them before blending to make the soup; they’re often waxed.
    Combine all ingredients (except feta and red bell pepper) in the food processor and blend until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasonings. Chill for a few hours in refrigerator if you have the time.   Divide soup between the bowls and top each with a bit of feta cheese and red pepper.
    Accompaniments:  This soup is lovely all on its own, but if you have a hungry group you could add some smoked salmon and crackers to the table or even a basket of pita or naan.  If it’s not too hot, bake up a batch of your favorite biscuits early in the morning.
    Wine: Sauvignon Blanc is a great go-to wine with feta cheese, and Pinot Grigio would be good as well.  (Drew Robinson, CS)  Note:  Drew expands greatly on this theme in the book itself; I've edited it in the interest of space for the blog.
    Dessert:  I love the idea of some fresh fruit and a bit of cheese—nothing more.
    Sing a new song,

    Saturday, June 7, 2014

    Strawberry-Almond Muffins + Father's Day Brunch Game Plan

    Weekend breakfasts should be...what?  Laid back?  Slow?  Simple?  I'm not sure, but I do know they need to be delicious.  If you have someone to cook for, that's fine.  This would be lovely for Father's Day for family or friends.   If not, cook for yourself.  I often hear people say, "Oh, it's too much trouble to cook for just me."  (Or "us" if there are two.)  Au contraire.  It's simpler than cooking for a crowd and often more fun.  Hey, you get to cook things exactly as you'd like them.  And that's what breakfast is all about, right?  Everyone likes their eggs just so.  Yes!

    Sunday, May 11, 2014

    Asparagus-Wild Rice Chowder

    Evidently Mother Nature didn't get the memo that it's Mother's Day, which is supposed to be sunny and gorgeous with irises and lilacs in bloom.  (Instead, we have a snow storm.)

    Monday, May 5, 2014

    Kalamata Egg Salad with Charred Red Peppers and Corn Muffins

    A refrigerator with a few items that need to be used.
    A hungry cook.
    A small skillet.
    Little time.
    Makes a meal.  Unless you'd like bread? (Scroll down, please.)

    kalamata egg salad with charred red peppers
    2 servings
    • 2 teaspoons olive oil
    • 1 sweet red or yellow bell pepper, large dice
    • crushed red pepper
    • 4 eggs
    • kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
    • a big handful of greens -- any
    • a small handful of pitted kalamata  or other olives
    • sherry or balsamic vinegar
    • olive oil for drizzling, optional
    Heat an 8 or 9-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat with oil and the chopped bell pepper.  Let cook 5-8 minutes, watching closely, or until peppers are just charred; add crushed red pepper. Stir.  Cook another minute or two.  Crack four eggs into the pan, one into each quadrant.  Season egg yolks with a small sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Reduce heat to low.  Add greens on top of the eggs and sprinkle again with a bit of salt and pepper.  Cover and let cook 3 minutes or until eggs are cooked to your liking.

    With a plastic spatula, loosen the egg salad and tip onto a plate.  Add the olives and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, as well as some olive oil, if desired.  Using a sharp knife, cut the egg salad in half and serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.   Serve with corn muffins if you like. (recipe below)

    Saturday, April 19, 2014

    Chocolate Tortes for Easter or Passover Tortino di Cioccolato

    originally posted for Easter, 2011

    There's just something about individual desserts that make people hop around.   Think how big cupcakes have been.  How big donuts are were.  Cronuts... Creme brulee, ice cream sundaes, cookies.  Whatever's for one seems to be "in."  Or fun.  If you have an invite for Easter or Passover ( try -ahead- using ground almonds instead of bread crumbs to avoid leavened bread) and just have to bring dessert-lucky you-, you might want to try this little ditty I made from MY BREAD by Jim Lahey.  This is the book with the wonderful No-Knead bread recipe made famous by Mark Bittman in the NYT.  In fact, we visited that recipe right here in the blog not long ago.
    Remember this?

    I adore any light end to a big meal that is chocolatey without being chocolatey.  Tortino di Cioccolato (practice saying this so you sound great) is, without doubt,  bowl-scraping scrumptious and I gilded the lily by added a bit of Haagen Daz (5 ingredient) Vanilla Ice cream (not too much) and a squiggle of hot fudge (not too much again.)  You could, instead, add a tiny dump of whipped cream or creme fraiche.

    Wednesday, April 16, 2014

    Hot Cross Buns

                                                originally posted in march of 2013
     It is a tradition amongst many Christian bakers to produce a batch of Hot Cross Buns (Click to sing the nursery rhyme!) for Good Friday.  And, if not, we stop at the local bakery and see if THEY made any.  These barely sweet firm rolls, served on a day when no meat is eaten,  are hearty tea treats of the first order--complete with a light buttery hum that is almost topped by the spice notes.  The pretty "X" snipped into the top (and often emphasized with a bit of icing painted into the grooves) lets the world--and you, too-- know what kind of bread this is.  An "X"  on bread can also be assumed to keep evil away. (Or as some might put it:  the "X" lets the devil escape from the dough ensuring great bread!)

    Wednesday, April 2, 2014

    Curried Lentil Soup with Fresh Greens

    My most recent lentil love soup -- happily vegan, curried, and garnished with sunflower seeds and scallions.

    Once, while visiting my sister, I said, "How about some lentil soup?"  knowing I was cooking dinner.   She shuddered and made as if to retch, all the while saying, "I love lentil soup, but..."  Turns out that years ago, when she was still cooking for her family, a very large and delicious kettle of the soup went uneaten by anyone except by her.  Days went by, the soup remained, she kept eating until....well, you might get the picture.  If you are not used to eating lentil soup (or bean soup or beans) every day for days on end, and you embark on such a journey, you might find you are in a tad of intestinal distress.  No one can fake-retch like my sister or show a horror of food quite like her; I wish I had a picture.  I made chicken noodle or asparagus--something else anyway. Maybe we went out?

    Here's one of my oldest lentil soups.

    Friday, March 21, 2014

    Baby Kale Stir Fry

    Necessity is often the mother of invention.  For instance, a big bag of kale beginning to wilt in the fridge.  A storage container full of brown rice.  One small zucchini yelling, "Help!" from the crisper drawer.  Me, hungry.

    I am not a terribly accomplished stir fry cook, but when I need to, I can pull together a fairly happy Asian-style meal in about the time it takes to chop and cook the vegetables if I have rice made.   This particular meal is mostly vegetarian, but it needn't be.  (Skip the fish sauce or honey in the sauces if you'd like a vegan meal.)

    Saturday, March 15, 2014

    Breakfast Reuben in a Cup for Saint Patrick's Day

    Here is it out of the cup.
    Here it is in the cup.  You can eat it either way.

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Spread 2 thin, trimmed slices of pumpernickel or rye with Dijon Mustard and place in buttered, oven-safe large cup or small bowl.  (For crispy toast, bake the mustard bread in oven for 5 min. before continuing.)  No oven-safe cup?  Use a Pyrex measuring cup.

    Tuesday, February 25, 2014

    Rotisserie Chicken-Brown Rice Soup with Broccoli--Dance While You Cook

    When I was a kid, my dad often took soup in a thermos for his lunch.  He did not eat cold food unless he was out on a boat or the food was ice cream on a hot summer evening--in which case he'd have ice cream for supper.  When I started school, he bought me my own thermos and made my lunch, too.  Of course the only way that was possible was because he'd made soup the night before, intentionally making enough for lunches.  He came from a generation of country people, farmers, who knew enough about life to not waste anything.  Chicken necks and butts, bones, the ends of celery bunches, onion peels, and sometimes things we didn't want to know about, went into Dad's soup.  Waste not….

    These days, there can be an easier method, though there doesn't have to be.  I'll admit I rarely buy a rotisserie chicken, for instance, but I do on the rare occasion. The carcass or the cooked flesh itself are both good soup materials.  More often, I'll roast my own chicken or boil one up to make homemade broth a la Dad.  However you end up with a little extra chicken, this quick, nutritious, soup is a good weeknight undertaking and stretches the protein into another meal or two. You can eat off of it a couple of days or invite a neighbor, or even take leftovers to work.  Leftover takeout rice can make the soup nearly instant, though, given a choice, I like letting the soup cook with raw rice. All the elements seem to come together and the flavors marry in a way they don't with already-cooked rice.  I also give a tiny idea for a more Asian-style soup; check the notes below the recipe. However you make this, enjoy soup and maybe you'd like to….