Balsamic Vinaigrette Newly Figured and Getting Ready for "The Big Night"

Are you a “Big Night” fan?  If you are, you’ll remember the end of the movie where Primo takes the TIMPANO  out of the oven for all of their friends…waiting for Louis Prima, the biggest no-show in history.  My friend Sara gave me the movie several years ago and I have watched it with numerous friends and family members.  We just keep saying,

“Let’s make that timpano, have  a party and watch the movie.”

Time passed.  I kept saying I’d buy the pan (not easy to find.)  One day, Sara gave me a website off which to order it; I still didn’t do it.  Finally, she ordered it herself, set a day to make it, and invited a small group of easy-going friends. (Plan B is ordering pizza.)

This little doobiggie is tons of pasta, sauce, sausage, meatballs, boiled eggs, etc, etc. all put into a huge pastry shell and baked til God comes again.   It’s baked in a kidding.  Sara did all the prep work yesteray, but we start today at 2:30 building this drum (timpano is Italian for timpani); people come at 6:30.  I’m making an antipasta platter and salad to keep them at bay until “the timpy,” as I’ve come to call it, is perhaps done enough to eat.  (How will we know?)  I have a case of wine and a big smile.  Watch out.

We’ll talk later when it’s done and I’ve recovered.

Meantime, I’m working on the ingredients for the antipasta…grilling vegetables, making a frittata, marinating other vegetables, rolling mortadella, sopressatta, provolone, proscuitto, and pepperoni, and so on.  But I also thought I’d get the dressing done for the salad and that’s what this tres petite blog is about.  If I don’t write down the ingredients, I’ll forget it.  And it’s good.

You know how you like balsamic vinaigrette out in really good restaurants?  I hate to admit it, because it’s become so everyday and everywhere, but as good as most of my salad dressings are, the balsamic vinaigrette eluded me.  How hard could it be?  This morning, I figured it out.  With a pencil and a pad…with a couple of measuring cups…with a food processor and here it is.  Don’t skimp on the quality of ingredients; buy the best you can afford.  It’s worth it.

Alyce’s (and soon to be yours) Balsamic Vinaigrette  makes 1 cup dressing

1/3 c fine quality balsamic vinegar (I like Masserie di Sant’eramo)
2 heaping tablespoons dijon-style mustard (Grey Poupon is fine)
1T honey
1 shallot, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 t kosher salt (or to taste–this is a cup of dressing)
1/2 tsp freshly-ground pepper
several drops tabasco

In the food processor, pulse until thoroughly pureed and very-well mixed.

2/3 c best quality  you can afford extra-virgin olive oil (I like Olio Santo (California) or Ravida (Italy)

With machine running, slowly pour the 2/3 c olive oil into the tube on top of the processor and leave running until thoroughly emulsified.  Taste and adjust seasonings.

Keeps in frig several days.  (Without shallot and garlic, will keep for weeks.)

Sing a new song; make a new salad,

Two-dog Kitch and Around the Hood
Nothing new from the dogs except they’ve hidden all of their tennis balls under the couches and have nothing to play with except us.
Around the hood:  bear watch.   Grass still green.  No rain, except an easy-to-miss sprinkle.  Folks caulking, painting, etc., getting ready for winter.  Since summer lasted until now, there’s been no rush.
Blogging fitness:  I can’t believe I promised the physical therapist (Emily!) I would do this.  Ok, I made it to the gym twice and went for a long long walk mid-week.  I lifted at home twice.  I am sticking to my long-term food habit changes (no milk or cream in my coffee except on Sundays, a green salad every day no matter what, vegetables for breakfast –I do this w/ eggbeaters in a whole grain/high fiber tortilla, red meat once a week, no soda (I cheat on this on the rare occasion-say with pizza out), and so on.   I promise you, after now nine months of physical therapy, I am getting stronger–not older!  I also invested in a pair of $150.00 walking shoes (Spira) that have made all the difference in the world on walks and on the treadmill.  Foot Solutions has a nice variety of shoes and they’ll spend the time working with you to find the right one for your foot problems.

Pancetta Lentil Soup or Croque, Monsieur

I love and adore lentil soup.  (Hint:  Don’t eat it three days running.)
When I say this to my sister, she says,

“OH NO!  I HATE LENTIL SOUP.  Though I once loved it.”

Now how could anyone hate lentil soup?  (Unless they’ve never eaten it.  I think, in my sister’s case, she ate it three days running.  That’s how I know.)

I don’t think I ever ate lentil soup as a child.  (I could be wrong.)   My mom, from the south, more than likely made bean soup or pinto bean soup.  I can’t remember where I first ate lentil soup.  We lived in Europe during the late ’80’s…maybe then.  But, I’m guessing it might have been in a restaurant.  Which one?  Your guess is as good as mine.  No matter.  The fact is, I make incredible lentil soup. 

Ok, most ANYONE makes incredible lentil soup.  And, if you don’t?  I’m here to teach you how. 

The beauty of lentil soup is thus:  Although it appears like a forever-and-a-day-cooked legume soup, lentil is pretty fast.  And if you pour boiling water over the lentils as you begin the soup, it’s even faster.  (A hint:  split pea is fast, too.  It’s a camping soup, even.)  So if you want food to look like (or taste like) you spent all day long at it, go to the mall til 4.  Rush home, start the soup, and look like a heroine at dinner.  No one needs to know you were trying on high-heeled red leather boots at 3:55pm. 

And what about the Croque, Monsieur?  I’ll tell you how to do that in a flash as well.  Think grilled ham and cheese and you’re almost done.   Really, it’s Croque Monsieur or Croque Madame (if you put a fried egg on top).. and this my take on these sandwiches; they’re very tasty.  There are other more complicated croque monsieurs and madames; you can look them up.  I like the very easy monsieur here.

It so feels like fall here…  And today the mountains are covered in Moses-like clouds.  While the heat is not on yet, it may be tomorrow.

below:  Dave enjoying some soup on the deck on October 21, 2010

Oh, and thank God for The Church at Woodmoor and for Dr. Tom’s cat Olive returning home.  Take care of my nephew John.  Amen.  There.  Thanks to all for all the incredible birthday wishes.    Now on to the soup!

Pancetta Lentil Soup
 10-12 servings

1# green or brown lentils (I like green)
3-4 c boiling water
1-2 oz pancetta (Italian bacon) diced  (or 3 pieces American bacon, diced)*
6 stalks celery, diced (You can use food processor for all of veggies-in batches-for speed.)
3 onions, diced
2 shallots or 1 leed (white part) diced
4oz mushrooms, chopped
1/4 c chopped fresh parsley
1t fresh thyme or 1/2 t dried thyme
3 qt chicken broth (low-sodium)
1 c white wine (or water)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups carrots, peeled and chopped
1 c  chopped new potatoes
15 oz can chopped tomatoes
1 zucchini, chopped
1 yellow (summer) squash, chopped
Kosher salt; freshly ground black pepper
Droplets of Tabasco (or other) hot sauce
1/2 c Parmesan, grated

Bring to a boil 3-4 cups of water and pour over lentils in a large bowl.  Set aside.

In a 10-12 qt. stock pot, saute chopped pancetta  over medium heat until golden.  Add celery, onions, shallots or leeks and mushrooms.  Stir in herbs. Saute until softened, about 10-12 minutes.  Stir often.

Add broth and wine or water and bring to a boil.  Add lentils, garlic, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes and squashes.   Season with 2t salt and 1/2 t pepper and several drops of Tabasco.  Taste and adjust seasonings. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to high simmer.  Let cook until vegetables and lentils are tender–about an hour.  (Less at sea level.)  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Serve in large bowls and pass Parmesan at the table.

above:  after adding lentils to sauteed veg
below:  after adding broth and wine, before the simmer ’til it’s done

*For another lentil soup, use chopped ham here or even sliced kielbasa.  I have often used bulk breakfast sausage for a very hearty soup.  If you’d like a veggie or vegan soup, simply saute the veggies in olive oil only, use vegetable broth, and skip the Parmesan cheese.

Lovely with Croque Monsieur sandwiches.

 Alyce’s Quick Croque Monsieur  or Ham and Cheese Grilled French Toast
serves 4
2T each, butter and olive oil

8 slices Italian bread
2T Dijon-style mustard
2 eggs
1T water
Salt and pepper
1/2# Black Forest ham (or your favorite ham)
1/4# Sliced Swiss Cheese (I like Emmanthaler)

Heat oven to 250 degrees F and place a cookie sheet in oven.

In a large skillet, heat oil and butter over medium heat.

Meantime, beat eggs and water in  a large, shallow  bowl (a pasta bowl works well).  Season with a good-sized pinch of salt and pepper.  Beat again.

Spread each piece of bread lightly with Dijon mustard.  With the mustard-covered sides facing inward, layer four slices of bread with ham and top with cheese, dividing the meat and cheese equally amongst the four slices.  Top each with another slice of bread and dip in the beaten egg-water mixture.  Turn sandwich over and wet the other side well with the egg-water mixture.

Gently place each sandwich in the heated pan.  Cook until the first side is golden brown, 3-4 minutes.  Turn over and cook the other side of both sandwiches until that side is brown. Remove to  cookie sheet in  oven to keep warm and repeat with other two sandwiches.

Serve with hot lentil soup.

                                              below:  apples and peanut butter-fall dessert

Cold weather means nothing when there’s food like this.  Lovely with an almost-cold glass of Chardonnay.

Sing a new song,

Two-Dog Kitchen and Around the ‘Hood

Alas, alack.  Skippy has been gone a couple of weeks now.  Back “home.”  Anecdotal evidence appears to indicate he misses us not…  Oh well.

Above:   Big-Mouth Gab
Below:  Grandma Melinda and Katie with baby-to-be due in November

Meantime, I’ve promised my physical therapist I’ll blog about my fitness.  So, here are a few sentences until later:  I’ve been in physical therapy for months regaining my upper-body strength, sapped by years of bad conducting practices, tendonitis, and pinched nerves.  Over the last two months, I’ve begun lifting weights and have addeed other exercises.  This month, I’ve graduated to a “Y” membership, where I’ve begun to think of myself as gymrat.  Kind of.   Dave is going, too…when he’s home.  While I wouldn’t exactly call myself a new woman, I’m certainly not the same being as before.  As I figure out how to talk about it, I’ll say more.  I will say that if you spend a half an hour on the treadmill, watching how many calories you burn go up ever so slowly, you’re less apt to over-indulge at lunch.

What’s in a name? Welcome to the world Aaron Noah Wilkerson and Pinto Rice Salad with Cilantro-Lime Dressing

You’ll have to bear with me and read a while to get the recipe for this salad.  Yum.  It needs a better name.  Be thinking as you scroll down.

What IS in a name?  I’m pretty good with words–usually.  But once in a while I’m just stuck for a name for a recipe I’ve developed.  Once it was, “What do you call a Fish Taco Salad?”  I had some great answers, but just thought “Fish Taco Salad” really told the tale.  Same thing with the pinto bean rice tunzveg salad I made for tailgating last week. 

Or, just for kicks, I threw in this photo (above) of the kid and the pumpkins.  It’s October.  I don’t know this kid’s name.  I don’t remember where I got this picture.  I’ve looked and looked.  Who is this kid?  What’s her/his? name?  It matters; it really does.  But I dunno.  If you know, tell me.

Recipe names are important, too.  They should say what the recipe is, but they should draw you in, too.  Make you want to cook, as it were.

How about here?  This is my Mom and my nephew Michael in the above pic.  Many years ago.  Mom’s been gone since 1985 and Michael’s in his 30’s, married with children.  Mom; she was my mom.  But she had a name.  Even to my kids, she was our “Mom’s mom” or “grandma.”  But she definitely was Faiery Elizabeth Denny McClendon.  Born today in 1917.  Happy Birthday, Fay.  You’re my screensaver, Mom. 

Here’s Michael today.  With daughter Allison.  Hmm.  I wish they were here!

But then there’s this little punkin.
Aaron Noah Wilkerson. 
Named for himself.
And his big brother, who’s no longer here, but is among the names God calls daily in heaven.
Nearly 9 pounds and 20 inches long.  A solid chunk of humanity.  So loved. So awaited.  So beautiful.
They knew just what to call YOU!

Welcome to our world, Aaron.  We’ll love having you here.  When you’re bigger, you can eat some of this salad.  That I’m unsure what to call.  Maybe your Mom can help; she’s good with words, too.  Good with making beautiful babies, too.  Well, Dad helped.  And everyone prayed.  And prayed.  I cannot wait to see you baptized!!

Still.  This IS a food blog.  Most of the time.  So here’s my tailgating salad.  Try it.  Put different vegetables in it.  Play with the seasonings.  I found it needed citrus–acid and then a little sweetness–the butternut squash and the honey.  This makes a LOT.  And, maybe you can come up with a name.  See this little bowl I used for photography?  You’ll need a bigger bowl than that, I’d guess.  We adored this.

Pinto Rice Salad with Cilantro-Lime Dressing  or  Here it is, Loren–you asked for it!!
12-14 servings

This was great with chicken enchiladas and sour cream.  It’d be lovely with tacos–fish  or meat.  It is also an awesome vegetarian meal…leave out the cheese for vegans.  Pretty nice for gluten-free folks, too.  WhooHoo.

3 cups cooked pinto beans (do it yourself or use rinsed canned ones)
3 cups cooked white rice
1/2 c cabbage, finely sliced
1 c cubed (small) white cheddar cheese
2 small zucchini, diced **
1 small yellow squash, diced **
3 stalks celery, diced
1 c butternut squash, cooked, peeled and diced*  (or use acorn squash)
1 avocado, barely ripe, diced
2 ears of corn, kernels cut off*  (or 1 c frozen, defrosted corn)
1 bunch green onions, chopped (white and green)
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped roughly

Dressing:  Juice of 3 limes and 1/2 c olive oil, 2 cloves finely minced garlic, 1/2 t kosher salt, 1/2 t freshly ground pepper, 1/4 t ground cayenne pepper or to taste

Juices of 1/2 lemon, 1/2 lime, 1 orange; 2T honey

1 c cherry tomatoes, cut in half

In a very large bowl or 10 qt stockpot, mix the beans through cilantro gently.  Pour 1/2 the dressing over all and mix again easily.  Taste and adjust for seasonings.  Squeeze over all the lemon, lime and orange juice.  Drizzle honey over all.  Mix again and taste for and adjust  seasonings.  Garnish with cherry tomatoes.  (Don’t mix them in; they’ll mush up by the next day if you keep any of this that long.)  Have the courage of your convictions and make this salad your own, changing up any of it.  I really just made it up as I went along, after beginning with the idea of a bean-rice salad that felt and tasted very fresh.

Eat now or chill and serve within 1-2 days.  Use remaining dressing at table or to moisten salad next day.

*Cook the corn and the squash in the microwave: 

 For the corn— Place whole ears of corn with husks and silks on dampened paper towel.  Cook two ears about 4-5 minutes total.  Remove ears from microwave and wrap in foil.  Let steam for 5 minutes in foil and take off husks/silk.  Cut kernels from corn by holding cob perpendicular to (and resting against)  the cutting board.  Slice downward, cutting between the kernels and the cob itself, moving around and turning the cob as each section falls to the board.

 For the squash–Cut squash in half.  Cook one half at a time.  Place the squash in a 8″ square microwave-safe glass container and pour about 1/2″ water in the bottom.  Cover and cook on high 5 minutes or so.  Let sit another 5 minutes and remove squash from skin to dice on cutting board.  Make your winter squash like this often and save lots of time.

**I sauteed the zucchini and the yellow squash for just a couple of minutes before adding it to the salad; you can leave it raw or cook it, even in the microwave, too–just as you like.  Another option:  throw in for the last couple of minutes with rice or beans.

Above:  Winter Squash Fast, left, and my drained beans, right.  Try cooking the beans in the microwave, too.  They get done without getting mushy.  I like them cooked up with lots of whole onions (peels, too) and a couple of cloves of well as a whole jalapeno and lots of salt and whole peppercorns.  You get a little heat without overwhelming the beans or the salad.  Don’t forget to remove the peppercorns before eating!

Happy Fall, dear ones.  Cook a pot of beans.  Make some winter squash.  Feel autumn come. 
Sing a new song,

Lemon-Scented Pear Almond Crostata or It’s Finally Fall in Colorado

Baby, it’s cold outside…  Well, not toooooooooo.  But the wind is swaying the trees and the tall flowers in the front berm are bent all the way over, kissing the ground with nearly-dry blooms.   The potted herbs made their way in from the front deck and are now fighting for space in the south dining room window, knowing that they’ll need to stand up tall and throw themselves south for sun in the morning.  It’s a bit sad to watch them come in, but it’s also gratifying to know I tended them lovingly all summer long so that I’d have them to bring in now.  I just never figured on it being the tenth of October.
There’s a bit of snow on the Peak.
Yesterday’s AF-CSU game brought home all that’s best about fall sports, which for me is usually great marching bands.
Look at that sky!
Go CSU Band!
Of course, as an AF wife, I was delighted to see AF beat CSU…but I’ve known a bunch of kids that played in that CSU band after having either sung or played with Dave or me.  It’s a thing of beauty.
A lot of the fun of the usually broiling or freezing AF games is in the tailgating.  Is there anything better than a picnic in perfect weather with the Front Range in the background?  We went with old college friends, which makes for a really easy day of being with people who knew you before you could cook and when you looked a whole lot better.    We had a rather Texan food theme with chicken enchiladas, a new salad of beans, rice and lots of vegetables with a lime-cilantro vinaigrette ( I promised to blog this later), and totally out of character, crostatas for dessert.  Oh, and of course we had sangria and margaritas.  It was, after all past 10 in the morning. 
But, back to the crostatas.  I have to make them in the fall, and this time, they’re coming up in a fall Italian cooking class I’ll teach October 30.  I thought it best to run through the recipe ahead of time.  So….
I made them for book club on Thursday…just a trial.  One apple with orange peel for perk and the other pear with lemon and almonds.  Just to see.  Took a vote and it was split.  By the time Saturday came, and it was time for another test, I had only one ripe pear and so made two combination apple-pear, one orange-scented and the other lemon.  Vote was split again.  Still.  It was fall; it was pie time.  And I guess I’m ready for the pastry portion of the Italian class.  I hope.

Option a (below) for moving pastry from board/counter to the baking sheet.

Option b (below) for moving pastry from board/counter to baking sheet:

Here is the apple at left and the pear at right.

My own winner was the pear with lemon and almond.

The pastry recipe for this comes from Ina Garten, who, I am pretty sure got it from  Joanne Killeen and George Germon in CUCINA SIMPATICA; ROBUST TRATTORIA COOKING.  Just a little detective work of mine.  Despite the provenance, it’s a tasty tidbit for fall when the fall fruit is divine (You can pick apples at Happy Apple Farm in Penrose if they’re not all gone.)  As neither one of them made pear, I feel I’ve contributed to the development of the recipe and hopefully to the happiness of your tummies.  This is tres easy, and if you’re afraid of pastry, this is a great start.  There’s no form-fitting into pie pans or making a crust look “P” for perfect.  This is a free-form, rustic pie baked on parchment paper on a baking sheet.  If it spills over or runs through, it’s just crusty-gooey and even better.  Don’t hesitate.  Pretty for Thanksgiving, too.  Oh, in France, this is a galette.  Here’s how I did it:
4 large or 6 regular servings for each crostata
Parchment paper needed for baking
pastry:  (makes 2-freeze one for later)
  • 2 c white, unbleached flour
  • 1/4 c granulated sugar
  • 1/2 t kosher salt
  • 1/2# (2 sticks) very cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 c ice water
In the food processor, fitted with the knife blade, pulse together the flour, sugar and salt.  Add the cold butter and pulse until mixture is the size of peas.  Slowly add iced water through the feed tube until dough begins to come together.  Remove carefully from processor and divide in half.  Press each into a disc.  Wrap one in foil and freeze it.  Refrigerate the other for an hour is best, but you can roll it right away if you must.  Dust the counter very well indeed with flour and roll the disc, using a rolling pin, into an 11″ circle.  Place on parchment lined baking sheet until you have the fruit ready.  (Check out the pics above where I give you two options for getting the pastry from the counter to the pans.)  You can  a. fold it up gently and  quick like a bunny pick it up, and centering it over the baking sheet, place it carefully down and unfold it or, b. loosely roll the dough back onto the rolling pin and move the rolling pin over above the baking sheet, lowering it and loosening the pastry down flat onto the pan.   This is not easy to describe; I apologize for lack of prowess as a technical writer! 
  • 1-11/4# pears (Seckel or Bosc or a mixture), peeled, cored and cut into 1″ chunks
  • 1-2t grated lemon rind
  • 1/4 c sliced almonds
  • 1/4 c ea flour and sugar
  • 1/4 t kosher salt
  • 1/4 t cinnamon
  • 4T unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 450 and place rack at center.
In a large bowl, mix cut-up pears with lemon rind and most of the almonds, reserving 1T or so for the top of the crostata.  In the food processor, make a crumb topping for the crostata by pulsing together the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon and butter until crumbly.  Remove the blade from the processor bowl, and, using fingers, pinch together the crumbs until they hold together. 
Place pear-lemon mixture onto the pastry, leaving 1 1/2 inches around the edges.  Crumble topping on the pears evenly and sprinkle with the last of the almonds.  Fold the edges of the pastry up and over the fruit, gently pleating the dough at the corners.  You’ll be leaving most of the fruit covered by only the crumbly topping; the pastry just comes up around the edges of this pie.
Place baking sheet in oven and bake 25-30 minutes (use the longer time above 5,000 feet) until golden brown and crispy.  Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before sliding pie off the paper onto wire rack to cool completely.  Will hold at room temperature a day or so and in the refrigerator for several days, though it is best fresh.
Note:  If you’d like to make an apple crostata with the other crust, it’s made almost like the above pie, but you’ll need 1 1/2 # (3-4 large Granny Smith) apples, 1 t orange peel and no nuts unless you choose to add some one your own.  If you do, toasted walnuts might be best.
Sing a new song; bake a new pie– It’s fall, isn’t it?  (FINALLY),
If you have a heart for prayer, please pray for Rowan Carr, three-year old niece of our neighbors, who has recently been diagnosed with leukemia.
2-Dog Kitchen has been off the air for a couple of posts.

Here are a few updates.  Skippy Jon Jones, share cat, has been here about two months and just returned “home.”  Seems a bit quiet without him around.

Fall Aspens or Cooking for the Homeless

I’ve lived here since 1996.  Those of you who know me well, know I think that’s way too long.  I’m  a mid-west girl, born where you can plant and grow a big garden or jump on the train and see the Cubs that afternoon.  When Alyce thinks about fall, she thinks of cold nights, cool mornings, red maples, soup and cookies.  Not 80 degree days and so little water that the herb garden wants to croak.  Hmph.  In all these years, not being a mountain person, I’ve never made it up to the mountains to see the aspens in the fall.  Let’s just say it was one of the mistakes I’ve made lately.

 I don’t like heights.  I literally cannot go on the big escalators in the Dallas airport.
  Just picture me on the drop-offs in the mountains.  No, it’s not pretty.  Glacier?  Going to the Sun Road?  That’s me, glued to the floorboards.  Does that mean I can’t cook a mean steak over an open fire in a decent campground?  No; I can do that.  I can do it well.  Especially if there’s a bottle of Cab waiting to go with it.  A little grilled shrimp for an appetizer.  But look over the edge?  Right.  That’s you, not me.  Still.  I took the pictures.  The Chicago girl.

I have to tell ya.  They were impressive.  I shouldn’t have waited so long.
The non-mountain girl.
The water girl.
The girl who loves the beach  house and won’t ski because she might hurt her hands.
The piano, you know.
At the end of the trip, we stopped at Bier Werks in Woodland Park.
I don’t drink beer, either.
Not since 1971.
But here I am.
First I’m looking at aspens and, the next thing you know, I’m calling friends in Divide and inviting them to Woodland Park for dinner.  With beer.  What’s next?
In a jam-packed week (love that expression) of re-writing music, teaching double lessons, getting the house hoed out for the carpet cleaners, writing 4 articles, and so on….it was also my week to cook for the homeless.  The church I attend (if I’m not directing a choir) feeds the homeless regularly at several venues.  I participate in the IHN venture  … Inter-faith Hospitality Network.  I’m privileged to be part of this church, even if/ like it or not/ it’s from a distance.  I’m proud of what they do.  I’m proud that I hang my hat where people sincerely move things from the gospel into daily living and make that their life’s goal.  That the table is BIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGGGGGGGGGGGG and all are welcome.  Me, too.   I miss them when God calls me elsewhere, but I stay tuned in and tied loosely by teaching piano lessons to their pastor, going on wine trips with members, and by cooking for the homeless they house in their building.
I’m probably like a lot of other Christians.  I like the sound of “feeding the homeless,” but like getting up to see the aspens, I’ve been afraid of the heights or whatever you want to call them.  The last five or six years, though, that fear has disappeared.  Not sure how.  Little by little.  First I delivered groceries and turkeys at Thanksgiving.  Got to know folks who had no pan to cook a turkey in and didn’t know what to do with a frozen big bird.  Then I took baskets at Christmas to people who couldn’t speak English, but knew chocolate when they saw it.  Next I just dropped off meals….I didn’t run back to the car, but I didn’t linger.  Slowly, I got to the point where I sat down to eat.   I knew I could be in any of the chairs at the table if I just missed a couple of house payments.  I began to go and stay.  I began to cook lovely meals.  Homemade soups.  Homemade whole wheat rolls.  (Scroll down for recipe links.) My very best desserts.  And God, wonderful creator, brought me back.
For what’s a Christian cook for?
If not to cook for people who have no food?  No home?  
Alyce’s Chicken Minestrone Soup
served with pesto and Parmesan cheese

Bill Kalbus’ rolls made new… taught to many and eaten by many more.  Including a couple of really cute little guys about 5 or so.  With Colorado honey.   Hmph.

And I’m not scared any more.  Why else did God teach me to cook? Or put me near the mountains temporarily?

Click here for my Chicken Minestrone Soup Fast!  recipe (published on
Click here for my Whole Wheat rolls post right here on More Time. 

Sing a new song;