One day it’s brats and beers on the sweltering deck. The next you’re turning on the heat along with the tv and searching for game day snacks. (Which still could be brats and beers.) It doesn’t seem as if that would be possible, but in Colorado, it often is. We could see just such a weather change several times over the course of any September. But there’s always one metamorphic day when our whole world definitely changes from summer to fall and that’s when “the mountain” (better known to the rest of the world as Pike’s Peak) looks like Brigadoon from my front yard:Continue reading
Sometimes I know a couple of weeks ahead what’s coming up on the blog. Occasionally I even cook, write a recipe, take photos, and keep a post for the next season. For the last year, however, I have mostly begun working on the next week’s food within a day or two of the last post, photographing, writing, editing, and rewriting right up until my usual, but occasionally fluctuating deadline. In this case, the “Frozen Bailey’s Mochaccino” (Did you make it?!) wasn’t dry on the page before I was making this soup. I was interested in and then thoroughly inspired by a post of Nigella Lawson’s, “Broccoli and Stilton Soup” on twitter. (I’ve just looked back at it and see she’s even encouraged readers to use whatever cheeses they have on hand — just as I do here! Great minds think alike 😉 ) There was literally and figuratively a bunch of broccoli in the fridge and broccoli cheese soup of some sort, if not totally blue-cheesy, was sounding good for Meatless Monday. Well, the soup was grand if I do say so myself. I even had the recipe written and some decent photos in the can. I did, however, forget to note a couple of key elements like the weight of the broccoli, for instance. Hello, honey!! No choice: I re-ordered the ingredients, made the soup a second time (now as a first course before mushroom pork chops on date night), followed my own recipe weighing everything, and got it all straight for you.Jump to Recipe Continue reading
|Just add fork|
Sometimes I don’t know what gets into me. I know I have something leftover and simple from which to create a meal. Say a piece of steak or two small pieces, in this case. (Neither Dave nor I could finish our dinner the night before. Is there something wrong with us?) I didn’t set out to make a homemade potato chip-steak salad…but here’s how it happened:
First, I take the steak out of the frig and begin casting around for something to go with it. Toast? I could make a sandwich. Pasta? I could cook up some vegetables to go with the steak while the water boils. Stir fry? Omelet filled with steak? Steak and eggs? I could make mushrooms in velouté sauce with cream (Supreme is the name, I think–I made it up as a young cook without knowing its name.) and Dijon mustard, add the steak and serve it over rice. How about a childhood favorite, beef hash? (Who would waste great steak on hash, Alyce?)
Instead of beginning any of those dishes, I find myself at the Cuisinart making homemade mayonnaise, using Daniel Boulud’s method:
|Who is Daniel Boulud?|
Into the food processor bowl, pour 1T good-quality white-wine vinegar (such as Chardonnay or Champagne) and 1T Dijon mustard. (I like to use the whole grain variety.) Pulse until well blended.
Through the feed tube, with the machine running, drizzle 1 cup canola oil.* Process until thick. Season with salt and pepper.
*Daniel Boulud uses peanut oil
And then I take out a skillet, heat a little canola oil and fry up very thin slices of potato for potato chips. This is coming together, I think:
|Drain them on paper towels. Salt and pepper immediately. Don’t eat them all.|
Meantime, I “boil” an egg in the microwave. (Break an egg into a greased, microwave-safe cereal-sized bowl. With a fork, poke the egg white all over several times and the yolk once. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave on high for one minute. Let sit one minute. Remove wrap, tip egg onto cutting board and chop)
Next: A large bowl comes out of the cupboard (nearly done now–pretty quick!) and I line it with
4 cups of mixed greens topped with the steak, 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese, the chopped egg, 1/4 cucumber, chopped, 2 green onions, chopped, 1 carrot, sliced, 1 stalk celery, sliced, 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley, 1/2 each yellow and red pepper sliced, and whatever other vegetables I can find–including a beautiful warm summer tomato (don’t refrigerate them ever) and even a little leftover grilled sweet corn.
When the chips are done, I put them around the outside of the salad bowl.
A half-lemon is located and squeezed over the entire salad. Salt and pepper are next. I’m generous, but don’t go overboard. After all, the salad will be dressed with real mayonnaise, right?
I slip a few pieces of baguette under the broiler. (brushed with oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper)
And dinner is served:
|I serve the mayonnaise separately; no need to over-dress this lovely bowl of goodness.
This process made enough for Dave and me. He ate two servings; I ate one. So I’d say this was about 3 servings!
two-dog kitchen and around the ‘hood
I’m tired of the daytime heat. Like the whole rest of the country, I guess. Storms often arrive late afternoon or early evening. Things blow and go; little rain arrives, though when it does, it’s incredibly forceful. I water everything daily. A beautiful part of near-mountain living is the coolness of the evening and night. While we resort to air conditioning during the day, in the evening after suppertime it’s turned off and the windows are thrown open wide to welcome the sweet breeze. All night long the air graces our rooms unlike the midwest where the heat lingers heavily.
My favorite breakfast these days…when I’m not having yogurt and berries:
|On the dinnerplace blog now: Egg+Egg White Omelet filled with Nonfat Cottage Cheese on WW Toast|
If I don’t get out early to walk the doggies (by 7:30), and sometimes even if I do, I later get in a power walk on youtube. Sometimes two! There are several walks from which to choose–3 minute for a desk break, 5 minute, 2 mile, etc. They are easy to fit into the day and I often stick up the laptop (with the walking video on and the sound off) next to the tv when a favorite show is on. I do the walk/exercise and watch Ina all at the same time.
I’m working on the soups for the cookbook almost daily. Once I develop a recipe, it must be tested several times and then I pass it on to someone else for testing. Does it work when someone else makes it? I’ve now made posole several times, shall we say. (I think I’ve got it down.) My dear friend, sommelier Drew Robinson, was to come today to taste three of the soups (and one secret very-fast dessert) in order to begin the process of pairing. Long ago, at some far-away dinner with our wine group, Drew let it be known he would provide the wine pairings for a cookbook I would someday write. Not sure either one of us believed it would ever happen, but it’s happening! Anyway, Drew forgot he has another wine-tasting tonight and we’re rescheduling. I am a bit relieved because as much as I love my new posole recipe, I’m ready for something else to eat. The next soups are a quick vegetarian bean and a cold avocado. As the book will not have photographs, I keep forgetting to take pictures….I must do it!
I play inside with Miss Gab in the afternoons for a few minutes–too hot for her to run outdoors.
|You’re throwing the ball, right?|
We’ve had plenty of time to visit with old friends and worship at First Congregational…one of my very favorite churches anywhere. Last Sunday, the ample sanctuary was filled to capacity. Nothing special occuring…and it was summer when a lot of churches are fairly empty. Why is FCC so full? While I might not be qualified to say why, I do know these things: there’s a bow toward tradition…while embracing the new. All are truly welcome and these folks are joyful; what more could you want? Except that when the table is laid and communion is about to begin, these words are said, “Come, all things are ready.” Such a breathing place.
|off to a beer festival…|
and lunches/shopping trips in the middle of the day:
Trip to Toys r Us: expensive
Smile on grandson’s face: priceless
Sing a new song,