Friday Fish — Fish Taco Salad


My husband is nuts for fish tacos and, in an effort to provide a more fun Friday night meal, I made them a couple of weeks ago.  (I usually take Friday afternoons to create something gorgeous and time-consuming that requires a knife and fork to eat.) Fun to him means protein between big pieces of some sort of grainy holders or, alternately, anything that gets dipped or is spicy or is slathered in bacon and barbecue sauce.  These tacos were so good that I then made them at work and brought leftovers home. While leftovers from work aren’t typical, they are when the weather is as it’s been for the last week.

(below: look closely–Tucker’s watching a doe in our yard)


Days of snow and cold drove us indoors where we were sustained by those leftovers followed by vats of barley soup I’d frozen ahead and no small amount of nightly red wine.  When the tortillas were gone, I made a salad we maybe liked better than the tacos.  Maybe.  If you’re eating fish on Fridays for Lent or if you’re just looking for a tasty healthy dinner, try this salad. Even if it’s as cold at your house as it’s been at mine. You’ll have room for dessert if you do! Continue reading

Friday Fish — Asian-Style Salmon on Fennel, Celery, + Onions with Ginger Asparagus


Friday Fish is a big thing in Saint Paul, Minnesota where Dave and I lived for a few years and where Irish Catholics built the town.  All year ’round, there are Friday Fish Nights at local restaurant-bars, but during the season of Lent, they sometimes become ALL YOU CAN EAT FRIDAY FISH, including at the iconic Groveland Tap,which was just 1/2 block down from our old house.  Currently the all-you-can-eat fish is just over $11 and includes slaw and fries.  Beer’s extra. Sigh.

If, by chance, you’re interested in Lent, you might like to visit my day-by-day Lenten Journey, “Praying in Saint Paul.” There is a post for each day in the season.  For a particular day, click the word CLASSIC in upper left corner and then click on SIDEBAR; the list of each of the 40 days will appear at left.

Stop in at The Groveland Tap:  Fairview/St. Clair — Saint Paul, Minnesota

Living in Colorado Springs, I don’t see this, but perhaps I don’t know where to look.  If I showed up at a bar near one of the big Lutheran or Catholic churches, maybe I’d see a good fish fry. I’ll keep my eyes peeled.  In the meantime, I thought I’d serve up  fish each week of lent just because.  This week salmon caught my eye at Whole Foods, where you can buy individually cryovaced (sp?) packages of salmon fillets for a really good price.  Wild salmon is out of season, so if this is how you get your salmon fix.  (Skip most farmed salmon for health reasons; we’re encouraged to eat it only on the rare–uh–occasion.) Our regular grocery store often has a side of frozen wild salmon, as well and that’s a bargain at $11.99 per pound. See if yours has this good deal.

Belated note:  Upon further investigation, it looks like TONY’S BAR on Tejon in downtown Colorado Springs is serving Walleye and a Draft for $9.95 on Friday nights.  Go Tony’s! I love Walleye, mid-western girl that I am. BTW: I think Tony’s is closer to the Methodists and UCCers than to the Catholics or Lutherans. (below:  courtesy Tony’s)


 Anyway, try my….

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Chinese/Lunar New Year Dinner: Just Make These Hot or Cold Sesame Noodles



If you’re wondering how the French cooking class turned out, see the post before this one; I added a few pics from the class so you could be part of it all.  Cook that meal!! It was such a fun day. Many thanks to a great group of students.   Come back soon.

A tip-top Asian cook, I’m not. Dave has always been the wokker in our kitchen. (Is “wokker” a word? I fear not. Maybe it’s “wok man?”)  But in recent years, as his work load keeps increasing, he often defers to me for a little blast from China, Viet Nam, Thailand, etc., or a reasonable melange from a couple different lovely Eastern cuisines.  He and daughter Emily always insist they must go out for a Chinese lunch alone because “Mom doesn’t like Chinese food.”  (Whatever the reason, daughters and dads should have lunch alone.)  There’s nothing farther from the truth.  I just don’t like greasy Chinese food or huge bowlfuls of deep-fried whatever the nugget it is covered in slimy-sweet orange sauce.  Now I’ve really got your tastebuds going, right? I’d just rather make it in my own kitchen unless I’m near a fabulous restaurant I’m sure of.  (In Colorado Springs, I’ve been to really few, but am partial to Saigon Cafe downtown or Bhan Thai on Centennial.)


If I have to say what my favorite Asian dishes are, I’d have to go with noodles or soup… or soup with noodles even.  The comforting heat and fresh herby fragrance wafting up from the plate make me swoon.  This combo noodle-chicken-vegetable dish arrived on our table after I’d seen a very popular, though couple-year old BON APPÉTIT recipe for Sesame Noodles with Chili Oil and Scallions and was dreaming about something scrumptious for Chinese New Year Dinner.  At first I didn’t pay close attention to the amounts of Szechuan pepper plus crushed red pepper, nor did I (silly girl) read the COMMENTS, which indicated a “too much vinegar” feeling. (Not at all for us.)  No tears here, I loved the idea, knew we couldn’t stomach all that heat once I read the recipe thoroughly, and wanted a much more rounded dish at any rate.  Here’s what I came up with…  We ate it warm for dinner, and then ate off it for a couple of days cold. You could have very happy lunches. Heaven.  (above: Rosie and Tucker hoping  for a piece of chicken) Continue reading

Simple French 3-Course Meal to Make at Home for Valentine’s Day

IMG_5300On occasion, or when someone requests it, I teach a short course on making a simple French or Italian meal at home.  Sometimes it’s quiche and salad, complete with learning how to make a crust and vinaigrette from scratch. For the Italian cooking session, it could be learning to make your own pizza and/or crostata.  Other times it’s something like this soup-fricassee-mousse meal where all my food fantasies merge into one happy morning/afternoon and lunch or dinner.  Soup, chicken, chocolate, paired wines: what more could you want for a short French menu class or for Valentine’s Day at home?



 This Saturday’s class is full.  I might repeat it if enough students are interested. Let me know if you are by leaving a note in the Comments, on fb, or via email.  I’m currently looking at a 3-month series at home beginning next September — one Thursday night or one Saturday per month focused on basic French menus.  I’ll keep you posted.

For those enrolled in this Saturday’s Valentine class, here are recipes and a few basic instructions with photos.  I’ll have the whole deal printed off for you–no need to copy and paste from here.  We’ll take some photos together and I’ll replace these as needed or make another post just for grins and giggles.

Bon appétit, mes amis!  I can’t wait to cook with you. Continue reading

Frozen Pot Roast Slow-Cooker Dinner in 4.5 Hours + Leftover Beef-Vegetable Soup



If you wanted a slow cooker pot roast recipe, I doubt you’d look here.  (I don’t do a lot of slow cooker.) Maybe you wouldn’t look anywhere; you’d just put your meat and vegetables together into the pot with your wine, broth, or herbs and turn it on.  That’s what I do on the occasions I make this meal.  I decided to blog it, though, because I had such good luck getting a big frozen piece of meat cooked and on the table quickly using a slow cooker.  No more excuses if you’ve forgotten to unthaw your meat and the morning has disappeared; you can still make a great no-watch meal in a short afternoon.  The rest of the time is yours to take a bath, watch the dogs sleep, read the paper, garden, call your daughter, or binge-watch Downton.  So put this one in your back pocket for when you need it…

(Below:  Right after the Super Bowl.  All worn out.




FROZEN POT ROAST SLOW COOKER DINNER with horseradish, carrots, and onions  IN 4.5 HOURS

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BBQ Pork Sloppy Joe Sliders with Cilantro Coleslaw and Crispy Onions–Fast Super Bowl Food



Next Thursday, 2/5- 5-7pm Make an Easy French Dinner at Home Class at Shouse.  Still have a few openings.  Message me or leave a comment.  Home class on 2/14, 10-12, is full, but I’m taking names for a wait list.  Now for the sliders….

I’ll just be waiting for the puppy commercials; you know me. I might look at the score a time or two…


or I’ll be leafing through the NYT, digging into the book reviews with my feet up and a glass of zinfandel at the ready.  I’ve got a Louise Penny book I’ve been saving; that’ll be on the table, too.  But the game will be on, Dave and a couple of friends will be drinking a few beers and at the end I’ll know who won. I hope.

Just so I can enjoy it all like everyone else, I’ve got these quicker than the extra point (like I know what an extra point is) sloppy joe sliders that are ready and waiting.  I’m making the meat and barbecue sauce today–a double batch since I’ll take some to the Jenn-Air kitchen at Shouse tomorrow– freezing the meat, and will only have to heat it all up, chop the cabbage for coleslaw, and make a batch of Sangria for our “cocktail.”  Try this: Continue reading

Lemon Salmon on Sautéed Vegetables and Barley + Leftover Salmon Frittata


Still have openings in my EASY FRENCH 3-COURSE MEAL FOR VALENTINE’S DAY AT HOME:  2-HOUR COOKING CLASS @  SHOUSE APPLIANCE- THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 5:  5-7PM.  INTRODUCTORY OFFER 2 FOR 1.  $50.00 for two students–includes food, recipes and ideas for wine pairing. Email me or leave me a message. Can’t wait to cook with you!  (Will repeat class at home 2/14 10a-12p–that class is full.) Ok, now on to that salmon. 


Friday evenings I nearly always cook an end-of-the-week hooray dinner. Dave has many times traveled all week or just worked very hard squirreling away down in his home office.  I like to put the menu on the board… (below)


..and I like the menu to be quick or easy or both even though we’re setting the table no matter what the meal. (Below)  I’m often cheffing the next morning and have been prepping for that during the day or at the very least doing the shopping, organizing, and recipe writing. Continue reading

Slow Cooker Lemony Bacon-Lentil Soup or I Love Lentils, I Do, I Do



Yesterday the dogs and I were stuck in the kitchen (snow’s got us here again)…


IMG_7150 IMG_7151

as our staircase was being overhauled.  Out with the ?-year old carpet, in with hardwood, in with new in-code metal railing.  All in all, it’s a two week project and worth every minute of it. Just to think I never have to try and clean carpet on stairs again. (Whose idea was carpet anyway?)

I had a bunch of reading and research to do for my upcoming “Cook and Easy 3-Course Meal for Valentine’s Day” Cooking Class (spaces available 2/5; 5-7pm) and settled on a slow cooker meal to make life simple.  I threw it together and had the rest of the day to do as I pleased.  I do not use the slow cooker for cooking very often, though when I do I have no idea why I don’t pull it out more often. (The words “pull it out” give you a clue.)  I use it regularly to keep things hot at holidays or to take meals to potlucks. If you’re a big slow cooker fan, you should visit Kalyn Denny’s Slow Cooker From Scratch blog for lots of wonderful recipes from around the web–or buy America’s Test Kitchen’s Slow Cooker Revolution- it’s just what it says and is worth the $21 investment; used copies are available, too. Continue reading

Mustard Glazed Pork Tenderloin and Sautéed Cabbage, Leeks+Fennel with Caraway and Bacon–Cooking in a Fear-Filled World



I still have openings in the EASY FRENCH 3-COURSE MEAL FOR VALENTINE’S DAY AT HOME:  2-HOUR COOKING CLASS @  SHOUSE APPLIANCE- THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 5:  5-7PM.  INTRODUCTORY OFFER 2 FOR 1.  $50.00 for two students–includes food, recipes and ideas for wine pairing. Email me or leave me a message. Can’t wait to cook with you!  (Will repeat class at home 2/14 10a-12p–1 opening left.) 

In the midst of worldwide violence and fearour daily lives somehow continue albeit with increased anxiety and perhaps prayer. Like many, I’m not sure whether or not to turn the television on and, if so, to which channel? I’m grateful for a daily subscription to the New York Times.  If we are able to discuss the state of our fellow people globally, what do we say? Are we even educated enough to talk about it?  

I have decided to stick to love…Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches

I once had the honor of reading a good portion of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in church on MLK Sunday; I’ll never forget the privilege and the burden of just repeating those famous words within the framework of Sunday worship. Today I’m dreaming of world wide peace and reciprocal acceptance of oppositional beliefs.  And the table waits… Continue reading

Shrimp Fried Rice and Sesame-Ginger Chicken Meatball Lettuce Wraps–Game Food Worth Winning For



EASY FRENCH 3-COURSE MEAL FOR VALENTINE’S DAY AT HOME:  2-HOUR COOKING CLASS @  SHOUSE APPLIANCE- THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 5:  5-7PM.  INTRODUCTORY OFFER 2 FOR 1.  $50.00 for two students–includes food, recipes and ideas for wine pairing. Email me or leave me a message. Can’t wait to cook with you!  (Will repeat class at home 2/14 10a-12p–1 opening left.) Ok, now on to football food…

I have this sad, old, worn-out, and tired collection of game food recipes.  I nearly hate football; I take the Sunday New York Times to Super Bowl Parties and only look up when the food’s served or people are screaming at such a pitch that I’m frightened out of my reverie.  Anyway, because it’s just not my thing, I make whatever someone asks me to (once I made gorgeous gingerbread cupcakes-see below ), or if we’re home, I make Dave’s -GAG- hot sausage dip (recipe at bottom) followed by a very-healthy-indeed-chili with a six-pack of beer and call it done.  Last year, our son Sean was home and made a half-dozen gorgeous rah-rah dishes including some sort of really hunky stuffed potato skins; he loves football and he’s an ace in the kitchen.  Breathe out. This year he’s in his own home and I’m up to bat all alone. Ok, not up to bat; I’m up to the goal line all by myself. Yuck.


So  I decided this week to figure out a couple of fun and healthy game day picks ahead of time. I tried out two of them today and I have to say they make me want Sunday to come.  No, not really. This  Sunday there are football games all afternoon and all evening.  (I’ve saved a new Louise Penny book for the long haul.) I’ll say the thought nearly makes me want Super Bowl Sunday to arrive (one game only), which, if you don’t know, is February 1.  I had to look it up. Honest.  But I absolutely cannot wait to cook and eat this meal again. Continue reading


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