Minestra Maritata (The First Course of an Italian Christmas Day Dinner) with Crostata for Dessert–A Class at Home

IMG_2001My at-home cooking classes typically, though not always, involve either friends or old students of some sort. They may have taken cooking classes with me at Mountain High or First Congregational Church downtown or perhaps they were piano students or in one of my choirs. Some just live down the street. I find cooking with people — or sharing a good or different recipe — is a fun part of life. I hope my students usually go home thinking similar thoughts.

below: photo from the Make a Homemade Pizza class


Teaching is also hard work; it doesn’t happen easily despite my love for it.  Recipes must be developed, written, or chosen and reproduced. Dates must be booked. Students found. (Sometimes these happen in a different order as students may request classes!) The house needs at least a going-over and the kitchen has to be clean unless I’m teaching at a commercial location. No cleaning to do there except afterward, but there’s lot of packing up on both ends.


Ingredients are shopped for and are collected, all at-the-ready so I don’t have to dig through 3 cabinets to find a can of cannellini beans. The fridge must be in order. Wine is chosen. Dogs and family members go elsewhere or may be invited to the resulting feast if they’re well-behaved…
Continue reading

Garlic-Green Bean Egg White Frittata with Mushrooms and Tomatoes


This is for mornings when you know the evening is bringing way too many calories  and you’re hungry NOW.  Or for nights when you have some green beans left that aren’t enough for a real meal or to share for dinner. Maybe it’ll do for that special time when your dogs are clamoring for egg yolks, as do mine on a regular basis. Especially when they’ve worked up a big appetite barking at the awesome buck in the front yard. Yes, this fellow was in our yard the other day. We have a herd of does that spends a lot of time in our neighborhood, but a huge buck isn’t quite such a regular visitor. I wish I’d gotten a better photo. You can imagine I couldn’t open the door to take the picture or the dogs would have been out in a flash. And bucks don’t always like dogs.  (This was a much more pleasant animal experience than the encounter with the stinky dead mouse hiding between two blouses in my laundry room yesterday.  True story.) Continue reading

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato-Lentil Soup with Italian Sausage

After Thanksgiving, and just before the Christmas cookie baking and bingeing, it might be time for a big, thick, healthy slow-cooker soup.  If you practice the great tradition of Advent, maybe you’re cleaning your physical as well as your spiritual house in preparation for greeting God. Whatever the case, this meal is great for dinner and then to take for filling lunches and will keep you from hitting the candy machine or the chip bag about 3pm. Probably.

below:  daughter Emily baking apple pie for our Thanksgiving


Having just spent a week at the beach, it was hard for me to come back to reality. (Too much pie, of course. Is that possible?) But it was time to find something to cook for dinner and I took the easy way out:  slow-cooker. Continue reading