Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Rosemary Shortbread

"There's rosemary, that's for rememberance."
----Shakespeare's Hamlet to Ophelia

This was my most popular cookie last Christmas. Shortbread is traditional for Christmas and always a crowd pleaser. The idea of adding rosemary to a cookie seemed odd to me, but at the same time I was so intrigued I couldn't resist trying it. Rosemary is one of my favorite herbs and we have a nice shrub of it growing in our border garden.

Tradition says that rosemary will grow for 33 years, until it reaches the height of Christ when he was crucified, then it will die. Sprigs of rosemary were placed under pillows at night to ward off evil spirits and bad dreams. The wood was used to make lutes and musical instruments.

Scientists are now saying that the scent of rosemary is an effective memory stimulant.

All I know is I loved the beautiful aroma I experienced as I cut a few stems, brought them in, rinsed and placed them upon my cutting board, and proceeded to mince them very finely.

Rosemary Shortbread
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
2/3 cups sugar
2 Tbsp. chopped, fresh, rosemary
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar for topping

Cream the butter and the 2/3 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the flour, salt, and rosemary until well blended. The dough will be soft. Bring together into a disk, wrap, and refrigerate for about an hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 13x9 inch baking pan. Press the dough into the pan evenly, smoothing as you go. (This part is very fun so take your time.) Once you are satisfied with the eveness, prick holes all about the dough.

Bake for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking, until the edges are just becoming golden. Cool the shortbread completely before cutting into squares or rectangles, or triangles as I did.
I am sending this to Food Blogga for Susan's 3rd Annual Christmas Cookie Event

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

I am feeling so much better than I was the last time I posted.  I have even cooked a few meals. And I have baked several batches of cookies!

I haven't blogged about any of these things, even though that fish chowder was delicious and some of my cookies are beautiful, because my computer has crashed.

I am pecking this out on a tablet. I don't know if there is a way to move photos from my camera to this device and if so how.

Meanwhile, here are pictures of some of our family ornament collection which I posted last year.

Thank you so much for all your positive thoughts and prayers. They have meant so much to me.


Peace on Earth

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Where Have I Been?

When I went back to work full time, my blogging became less frequent. When I became sick, it came to a screeching halt.

I have never really talked about my personal life, here on my blog, because it is a blog about food. Not to mention that I am a very private person.  But since I have not been cooking lately and therefore have no new material to blog about, I decided to write about what IS going on and that is about my health.

Seven weeks ago, after a few weeks of being sick and a few trips to the doctor, I was diagnosed with Lymphoma.  The treatment began immediately and what a ride it has been! Of the past seven weeks, I have spent 20 days in the hospital, and yes a post will be coming about hospital food.

I will be writing a series of posts about my cancer treatment. Some things have already happened and some adventures await me.  And maybe there will be food posts popping up--I sure hope so.  But nothing morbid or depressing. No matter how sick I get, I will always have my sense of humor.

And speaking of depressing, let me just go ahead and address the subject of talking to someone who has been given a diagnosis of illness.  As word got out about mine, and boy did it ever get out, I started hearing from people.

I heard things like, "I'm so sorry to hear you are battling the "Big C" and  "I hope you are doing as well as can be expected" and "I'm so worried about you".  And let's not even talk about all the crying. Are these things really supposed to help me? Make me feel better?

I have never doubted that I will be restored to my full health and so I want to say to people: If you think of me, please think positive thoughts. If you speak to me, please speak positive words.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwich

We are at the peak of our locally grown tomato harvest. Lush, vine-ripened tomatoes, kissed by the summer sun, are flooding the markets. And how happy we are about it. We have been eating tomatoes in every way we can think.

But really, is there any better way to honor the summer tomato than a humble BLT? While the BLT offers many opportunities for experimentation and adaption, and I am as guilty of that as anyone, I always go back to the time-honored classic that I remember from my childhood.

Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwich
For each sandwich
2 slices sturdy white bread
mayonnaise or butter, to taste
freshly washed and dried lettuce
strips of crispy bacon
slices of ripe tomato
Salt and pepper

Spread each bread slice with mayo or butter. Layer one slice of bread with lettuce, bacon, and tomato. Sprinkle tomato with salt and pepper.  Top with the other slice of bread, cut in half and enjoy!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Spinach Enchiladas

We have finally gotten some relief from the heat and I feel like cooking again. I can even bake! We have been eating salads, sandwiches, cold soups for so long, I am beginning to crave cooked, warm food.

I recently made these fresh spinach enchiladas which turned out great. Pritchard Parker and I both enjoyed them very much.

I went to a local Mexican Market (Tienda) to purchase my tortillas, queso blanco, and enchilada sauce.  I love ferreting out authentic ingredients in small, family owned, ethnic markets. The prices are always good, I learn a lot, and the shopkeepers are always helpful, friendly, and grateful.

Of course you can buy your tortillas and enchilada sauce at any grocery store. If you can't find queso blanco,  substitute ricotta or cottage cheese.

Spinach Enchiladas
1 Tbsp. butter
1 bunch sliced scallions
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz. fresh spinach, steamed until barely tender, then rinsed and squeezed dry
1 cup queso blanco
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
10 (6-inch) corn tortillas
18 oz. enchilada sauce

Melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and scallions and cook for a few minutes until fragrant, but not brown. Stir in spinach and cook a few minutes longer. Remove from heat and mix in the queso blanco, sour cream, and 1 cup of the Monterey Jack.

Warm the tortillas, a few at a time, wrapped in damp paper towels, for about 30 seconds in the microwave.  Spoon about 1/4 cup of spinach mixture onto the center of each tortilla. Roll up and place, seam side down, in a 13x9 inch baking dish. Pour the enchilada sauce over the top, and top with the remaining 1 cup of Monterey Jack cheese.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in a preheated 375 degree oven, until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is melted and beginning to brown.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Chilled Persian Yogurt Soup

I was intrigued by this recipe when I saw it in Food & Wine Magazine last summer. At last I made it and I am so glad I did. I just loved this very unusual summer soup, which is filled with herbs, nuts, and raisins.

Here in the dog days of summer, I need meals which are cooling and refreshing. Served with grilled bread, this soup made a perfectly satisfying weeknight supper. Make the soup ahead of time as it needs to be served well-chilled.

Chilled Persian Yogurt Soup
(Chef Hoss Zare)
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup dried rose petals, crushed*
2 cups plain Greek yogurt
1 1/2 cups ice water
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 seedless cucumber, peeled and finely diced (1 cup)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Ground sumac*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread the walnuts in a pie plate and toast for about 10 minutes. Let cool, then finely chop.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, cover the rose petals with cold water and let stand until softened, about 20 minutes. Drain the petals and squeeze dry.

In a large bowl, whisk the yogurt with the ice water. Stir in the raisins, cucumber, mint, dill, chives, walnuts and rose petals and season with salt and pepper.  Refrigerate until very cold, at least 1 hour.

Serve the soup in shallow bowls, sprinkled with sumac.

*I ordered both the rose petals and the sumac from Savory Spice Shop.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Mini Nicoise Croissants

This heat has really zapped my appetite. All I really want to eat is fruit, and I certainly have! Cantaloupe, blueberries, peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, cherries. I can't seem to get my fill with no other food really interesting me. Nor have I had much interest in working in the kitchen (Pritchard Parker has even been cutting up my Cantaloupes for me).

I do know, however, that no matter how delicious, juicy, and cooling the summer fruits are, they do not make a balanced diet. Not to mention my husband wants and needs some more substantial foods to eat. So I have been making efforts.

I saw the recipe for Nicoise Toasts in the July, 2012 issue of Bon Appetit Magazine. It really looked pretty and appealing in the photograph. Other than boiling the eggs, no cooking was involved.

The sandwich was made with a combination of tuna salad and egg salad. I used leftover grilled salmon because I had some on hand. I made the sandwiches on mini croissants because that is the size sandwich my puny appetite can enjoy.  I love the "new-school egg salad made with cottage cheese, parsley, and capers".  The two salads layered on the same sandwich  was delicious.

For the Egg Salad:
4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
3/4 cup cottage cheese
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. coarsely chopped capers
1 scallion, thinly sliced

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mash with a fork until a coarse paste forms. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

For the Tuna Salad:
4 oz. tuna packed in olive oil
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 cup parsley leaves
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 c. pitted, sliced olives
2 Tbsp. olive oil

Toss together the cherry tomatoes, parsley, lemon juice, olives and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and add more lemon juice, if desired. Gently fold in tuna keeping it chunky.

Spread some of the egg salad on bread of choice and top with the tuna salad.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Cherry Cola Barbecue Sauce

Several years ago, I saw this recipe in Bon Appetit magazine. I made it then and have made it several times since. Everyone always loves it and compliments it. I have used it on pulled pork, ribs, chicken, even tofu and it is always delicious.

Cherry Cola Barbecue Sauce
(adapted from Bon Appetit)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 large Vidalia onions, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 (12 oz.) bottles chili sauce
8 oz. cherry preserves
1 cup Dr. Pepper
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. or more Tabasco sauce (I like much more)

Saute onions in olive oil until golden. Stir in garlic. Add chili sauce, cherry preserves, Dr. Pepper, brown sugar, and vinegar. Simmer for 1 hour.

Remove from heat; stir in Tabasco sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings. Let cool completely.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Yummy Blueberry Cobbler

This recipe arrived by email from All Recipes. I don't think I would have really noticed it, but it was introduced by the comment, "Please God. . .let this be on the banquet tables of heaven". That got my attention.

When I read the recipe, I thought, "how weird".  It started with lining a lightly greased baking dish with blueberries and squeezing lemon juice over them. Then there was a batter, then a topping, and THEN pouring boiling water over the entire thing. (That was the part I thought sounded so weird.)

The recipe calls for using a 11x7 inch baking dish, which I don't own, so I used 8x8 which worked just fine but did bubble over slightly. I should have put a foil lined baking sheet on the oven rack below.

The recipe states the batter will be thin but mine was quite thick. In fact, Pritchard Parker saw me spreading it over the blueberries and asked the question, "Is that dough or batter?"

I made the recipe, exactly as written, according to my understanding and measurements, with only one exception. I omitted the cinnamon. While I love cinnamon, I prefer it for fall and winter cooking or for savory dishes.  I don't really care for it with fresh summer fruits.

This Blueberry Cobbler really is "yummy" with vanilla ice cream.

Yummy Blueberry Cobbler
All Recipes.com

  • 3 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 1/8 cups white sugar
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup boiling water


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease an 11x7 inch baking dish.
  2. Spread the blueberries out to cover the entire bottom of the baking dish. Squeeze the juice from the lemon over them. In a medium bowl, stir together the butter and 1 1/8 cups sugar until smooth. Stir in flour and baking powder alternately with the milk until smooth. Batter will be thin. Spoon over the berries, and spread evenly.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together 1 1/2 cups of sugar, salt, and cornstarch. Sprinkle over the top of the batter. Dust with a pinch of cinnamon, then pour the boiling water over the entire dish.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Fresh Blueberry Pie with Lattice Crust

On Memorial Day, Alice wandered into the kitchen and asked what she could do to help. When I asked if she wanted to make the blueberry pie, she jumped at the chance.

The crust was already chilling in the fridge and the blueberries were washed. When she asked how I wanted her to make it, I said I was planning to make a lattice crust, but she could do it any way she wished.

With only the slightest coaching, she did a great job. The pie turned out beautiful and delicious. She brushed the finished top with an egg wash and sprinkled it with turbinado sugar before baking. The sugary crunch on the finished pie was a nice textural contrast to the buttery, flaky crust and the tender, juicy blueberries.

Fresh Blueberry Pie
6 cups fresh blueberries
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. butter

Place bottom crust into 9-inch pie plate letting the crust hang over the edges. Mix together the blueberries, sugar and flour. Pour into the crust. Sprinkle the blueberries with lemon juice and dot with butter. Top with lattice crust. Seal and crimp edges of pie.

Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 35-45 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbly.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Pimiento Cheese

I grew up on this stuff. There was never a family gathering, holiday, or celebration of any kind without the presence of Pimiento Cheese. It was there for picnics, showers, birthday parties, anniversaries, family reunions, and holidays. It may appear stuffed into celery, made into little tea sandwiches, served as a spread on toast points or crackers, on biscuits with ham for brunch.

As summer rolls in, I will be making this delicious spread on a regular basis. I love having it on hand for quick suppers when it becomes too hot to cook. Always delicious as a sandwich spread, it is equally delicious with fresh summer vegetables.

As with most simple recipes, the quality of the ingredients makes the dish. Choose an excellent quality cheddar cheese and grate by hand. Additions, such as olives, jalapeno peppers, chopped pecans, minced onions, and Worcestershire sauce are popular. I like to make a big basic batch, then add any additional ingredients to individual servings.

Pimiento Cheese is also a good way to use bits of cheese you have on hand from other recipes. I recently made a batch using the usual cheddar cheese, but I added in small bits of leftover blue cheese, swiss cheese, Parmesan, and pepper jack. It was delicious!

Basic Southern Pimiento Cheese
16 oz. hand grated cheddar cheese
4 oz. jar diced pimientos with juice
1/4 c. good quality mayonnaise (more for a "creamier" texture, if desired)
Freshly ground black pepper, or cayenne pepper, to taste

Mix well.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day & Sweet Potato Surprise

Here is a picture of my Mother taken March 5 when we met in Augusta for the birth of the twins. She would probably hate this shot but I love it. She is 84 years old and is in great health. She has always taken care of herself and still works out at the gym several times a week.

Here she is with Daddy, holding one of the twins. They are both looking at the other twin, who is in the process of being waken from sleep, by orders of the lactation nurse, to get a little more practice latching on.

(From Mama's Recipe Collection)

My Mother is a marvelous cook and loves to cook. I loved spending time with her in the kitchen when I was growing up, watching her, and when I got old enough, helping her. She is my inspiration. She still loves trying out new recipes and every time we talk, we talk about what we have been cooking.

We both love getting in the kitchen together to make feasts for family and friends. We love planning the meals, making our shopping list, and going to the grocery store. Bringing in the bags of food is a bit of a chore and the clean up is not fun, but neither of us really minds. She is better at washing china and polishing silver. I am better at scrubbing pans.

When Mama and Daddy were visiting for the week of Thanksgiving, we were watching an episode of Paula Deen. Paula made what she called Sweet Potato Balls and it evoked a memory in Mama. She said her grandmother used to make them and called them Sweet Potato Surprises.

Mama told me of when she was a girl, there would be big Sunday dinners at Granny's house. Granny had 12 children, so you can imagine the crowd once all the spouses and children were included. Mama said Granny had a huge round dining room table but it was not large enough for everyone. First the men would sit down and eat. Then the women would eat. And then finally the children got to eat.

Mama said she always prayed there would be one of those Sweet Potato Surprises left by the time she got to eat. Of course there wasn't, but her own Mother would save half of hers. And she said the only piece of fried chicken she ever got was a back.

Mama decided she wanted some of those Sweet Potato Surprises and here are the ones she made.

Sweet Potato Surprise
(A Paula Deen recipe)


  • 4 large sweet potatoes
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 cups shredded coconut, sweetened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 large marshmallow per potato ball


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake the potatoes until tender, then peel and mash them. Stir in the brown sugar, orange juice, zest and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, toss the coconut with the sugar and cinnamon. Press mashed potatoes around each marshmallow, creating a 2 to 3-inch diameter ball. Roll the balls in the coconut mixture. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Watch carefully for the last few minutes of cooking; the expanding marshmallows can cause the potato balls to burst open.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Organic Blue Cheese Burger

For several days, I kept thinking about spaghetti with meat sauce.  Every time I thought about it, I immediately thought about pink slime, which has been all over the news.  Yuck.  I don't eat much meat and what I do eat I am very particular about. Sadly, I have probably eaten pink slime. However, now that I am aware of the insipid practice, I won't knowingly eat pink slime again.

Because I kept wanting to cook and eat spaghetti with meat sauce, I went to Earth Fare, which is very close to my workplace, on a quest for pink slime free ground beef.  On my way there I thought that if I really wanted to compare the organic ground beef to what we had been eating, I should simply make a hamburger. I did both.

The taste of the ground beef in the meat sauce, even with the tomatoes, onions, and garlic, was outstanding. Apparently I had become accustomed to the bland taste of commercial ground beef (and I don't want to think any further about that closed chapter).

And then there was the burger. THE Burger. Here, the taste of the locally sourced, humanely raised, organic beef was clearly superior. I'll never go back.

I gently patted the ground meat into patties, cooked them in my black iron skillet, and melted blue cheese over the top. They were dressed with lettuce, tomato and onion, sprinkled with Celtic sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, and served on whole wheat buns.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Senate Bean Soup

After a mild winter and an unseasonably warm spring, we had a cold snap. It happens every year, so it wasn't a big surprise. But still, cold is cold. With a ham bone I had leftover from Easter dinner, I made a warming pot of Senate Bean Soup. 

When I was a Girl Scout, our State Senator hosted my troop on a tour of Washington D.C.  We went to the Pentagon, the White House, and of course, The Capitol. We got to witness a live session of Congress (from the balcony). 

But the most memorable part of the trip, for me, was riding the underground rail to the Senate Cafeteria and enjoying a steaming bowl of Senate Bean Soup. I still love a simple bean and ham soup. 

The Famous Senate Restaurant Bean Soup Recipe
2 pounds dried navy beans
four quarts hot water
1 1/2 lbs. smoked ham hocks
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper to taste
Wash the navy beans and run hot water through them until they are slightly whitened. Place beans into pot with hot water. Add ham hocks and simmer approximately three hours in a covered pot, stirring occasionally. Remove ham hocks and set aside to cool. Dice meat and return to soup. Lightly brown the onion in butter. Add to soup. Before serving, bring to a boil and season with salt and pepper.

Serve with a squirt or so of hot sauce and homemade bread with sweet butter.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Roasted Cod with Warm Tomato Tapenade

Here's an easy and healthful recipe for you. The Mediterranean flavors of the warm tomato tapenade brightens all kinds of white fish as well as chicken or baked tofu. It is also delicious served over brown rice.  The dish comes together very quickly for a pretty and elegant presentation.

I served it with orzo and freshly grated Parmesan plus braised baby bok choy.

Roasted Cod with Warm Tomato Tapenade
(Eating Well Magazine)
1 pound cod fillet
3 tsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 Tbsp. minced shallot
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped cured olives
1 Tbsp. capers
1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

Rub cod with 2 tsp. oil. Sprinkle with pepper. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and roast until the fish flakes easily with a fork, 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillet.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tsp. oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, about 20 seconds. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring, until softened, about 1 1/2 minutes.  Add olives and capers; cook, stirring, for 30 seconds more. Stir in oregano and vinegar; remove from heat. Spoon the tapenade over the cod to serve.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Apricot Chutney

The thing I love most about the Indian cuisine is the sophisticated and endlessly varied ways of cooking vegetarian fare--grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables with the help of complex blends of herbs and spices.

And I love the accompaniments to the meal, the delicious breads, sauces, raitas, chutneys, and pickles.

Over the weekend, I made this scrumptious Apricot Chutney, using a variety of dried fruits, along with generous amounts of both fresh garlic and ginger. If you enjoy the ubiquitous Major Grey's Mango Chutney, this rich sweet-sour blend will have even more appeal.

Apricot Chutney
(recipe by Madhur Jaffrey)
1 pound dried apricots
10 large cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
A 1-inch-by-three-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 1/4 cups red wine vinegar
2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 to 3/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (I used 1/2 tsp.)
3/4 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup dried currants

Put the apricots in a bowl. Pour 4 cups of hot water over them and let them soak for an hour.

Put the garlic and ginger into the container of a blender or food processor (I used a mini-prep) along with 1/4 cup of the vinegar. Blend until smooth.

Empty the apricots and their soaking liquid into a heavy stainless steel or porcelain lined pot. Add the garlic-ginger mixture, the remaining vinegar, sugar, salt, and cayenne.  Bring to a boil.  Simmer on medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 45 minutes. Do not let the chutney stick to the pan; lower heat if necessary.  Add the raisins and currants and cook, stirring, another half hour or until chutney takes on a thick, glazed look.  It will thicken slightly as it cools.

Let the chutney cool and store, refrigerated, in lidded glass jars.

Don't limit yourself to using this as a condiment to Indian meals. I love a peanut butter and chutney sandwich.  I've used it on a grilled cheese--delicious! cheese and chutney quesadillas, in chicken salad, spread cream cheese on crackers or toasted baguette slices and top with chutney.

What other ways to use chutney can you think of?

Friday, March 30, 2012

Curry-Palooza Give Away--Masala Dabba

A year ago, my friend, Grapefruit (Needful Things) and I started a curry cooking project. Grapefruit had been encouraging me and helping me find confidence cooking a cuisine not in my repertoire, but with which I had fallen in love many years ago

In honor of the 1-Year Anniversary of Curry-Palooza, I am giving away a gorgeous Indian Spice Box (Masala Dabba). I have been intrigued for many years by this way of storing often used spices. I finally broke down and ordered one for myself.  And I'm giving one away.

This box is made from stainless steel, holds 7 stainless steel cups, includes two spoons, and has a tight fitting lid with a window.

If you would like one for yourself, leave a comment below and tell me why.  What spices would you put in yours?

For another chance to win, leave a comment on my post about Apricot Chutney.

If you Pin either post, you will have a third and fourth chance to win--just let me know.

I am leaving it open for the entire month of April so you have plenty of time.

The drawing will be done on May 1, using a scientific method. All names will be written (as many times as qualified) and placed into a literal hat. Miss Toddler (formerly known as Baby) will choose the winner.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Tuna Sandwich Salad

It all started when Pritchard Parker came home with an incredible wedge of cheese. Because it was Valentines Day, he jokingly said, "Here's your Valentine Cheese".  Later, when I told Alice about it, she stated that she thought a delicious wedge of cheese is a perfect gift for any occasion. I couldn't agree more and now you know what you can get for either of us when searching for gift ideas.

The cheese was an aged Gouda and one of the best cheeses I have ever tasted. As I thought about that cheese and how I would use it, I knew I wanted it to be the star of the show, not just a supporting actor. I thought of cheese souffle and cheese soup, but ultimately opted for cheese fondue. We swooned as we dipped cubes of homemade bread into the warm, melted cheese.

Alas, this is not a post about cheese fondue and homemade bread, didn't get a single photo, but rather the next day when I was staring at a half loaf of leftover homemade bread and a handful of shrimp.

I thought of making a panzanella salad, which is best in summer when the tomatoes are perfectly ripe and full of sunny flavor.  Because I was having the first stirrings of a craving for tuna, which often manifests as tuna salad, I decided to make tuna salad sandwiches, maybe even tuna melts. The concepts crashed together in my brain as I worked, and this is the result.

Tuna Sandwich Salad
Leftover sturdy bread, cubed
Extra virgin olive oil--be generous
Canned tuna to taste
Handful of boiled shrimp, optional
Juice of 1 lemon
8 oz. pepper jack cheese, cubed
Diced celery with leaves
Chopped pickles
Sliced pimiento stuffed olives
Minced red onion
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place leftover bread into a large bowl. Generously drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and toss together. Set aside while preparing the remaining ingredients. Combine all the ingredients and let rest at room temperature for about an hour.  Taste and adjust seasonings and serve over cleaned and torn lettuce or baby spinach leaves.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What I Ate For Lunch

So many things have happened in this busy month of March.

Even when I feel overextended, even when tired, and especially after tryingly stressful days, I still cook. No matter what, I can walk into my kitchen at the end of a day, and I am rejuvenated. Cooking is my therapy. The quiet moments, the creativity, the pursuit of feeding myself and those I love with fresh, healthful meals gives me a sense of purpose I find extraordinarily rewarding. And it provides me with something I can control when there are far too many things I can't.

I almost always take leftovers for lunch at work. Here are some recent lunches.

On a recent rainy and chilly day, I decided I wanted to make a pot of beans. Upon studying my stash of dried beans, these large white lima beans beckoned me.  I cooked them with a couple of pork chops and served them with cheese toast.

Pritchard Parker came home with a cold. That just would not do because we were going, in just a few days time, to welcome new babies. Can't be sick for that, so I made a pot of healing chicken noodle soup. Here is my lunch at my desk the following day.

A couple of days that week, I ate salads in jars. Here is a Greek one, made with red onion, orzo, pepperoncini, cucumbers,  black-eyed peas, Kalamata olives, feta cheese, grape tomatoes, and spinach.

Thursday night, I made a tofu and vegetable stir-fry, using things I had on hand--broccoli, cauliflower, celery, red bell pepper, mushrooms, zucchini, and tofu of course.  Thus, lunch on Friday.