For some believers, Christmas only begins December 25. I’m one of those or rather, I work at it. The world often conspires against me, I think. Still, the tree stays up until the Wise People arrive on January 6 (Epiphany) and you can bet there are still Christmas movies for husband Dave and me to watch until then. (We still have “Christmas with the Kranks,” “Christmas in Connecticut,” and “Fred Claus” — at least — to go.) So while other folks have frozen their hambones and relegated the Christmas lights to the dusty garage attic, there is still a (no longer quite so fresh) plate of cookies on the counter, holiday candles lit nightly, and we are committed to enjoying it all for a few more days. As one of my favorite cook-writers Dorie Greenspan said in yesterday’s NYTimes Magazine, introducing her recipe for Mulling-Spice Cake with Cream-Cheese Frosting, “Like most people, I’m sad this year.” I get it. Me, too. I was so glad for Christmas to come along in the midst of all the angst and division and fear — even if it arrived without all the regular bells and whistles. I guess I want it to last as long as it can. For there to be candy canes, inflatable Santas, cheese spread with crackers, and carols booming for just a bit more time. To look out on my deck and still see the colored lights if I wander up in the middle of the night…Continue reading
Christmas breakfast should be, without a doubt, nearly carefree. That being said, it must also be delectable, desirable, and delightful all the while taking care of itself while you open gifts, listen to A CHRISTMAS CAROL, or zoom with the family or friends. Egg breakfast or brunch casseroles — also known as stratas — fit the bill perfectly and are endlessly adaptable to ingredients on hand. This bacon (ham? sausage? veggie crumbles? chorizo?) version topped with brightly colored chopped peppers (mushrooms? tomatoes? jalapeños? zucchini? fennel?) provides six or eight servings but is also perfect for a smaller group who also might enjoy leftovers. That would be us. Though we are rarely at home alone for Christmas, we are this year as are many people all over the world. We’ll make our brunch dish a day ahead, of course, bake it on Christmas morning, and enjoy it over the whole weekend. We might even freeze a couple of pieces for an easy weekend brunch in January.
Serving one? Halve the recipe, which works perfect in an 8 or 9-inch square casserole dish. Relish for a couple of days, share, or freeze.Continue reading
When my husband Dave and I became empty nesters several years ago, we began to eat brunch out on Sundays after church and rarely cooked it at home except on holidays or special occasions. Then came COVID-19. No church except online. No restaurants open until recently. (We’re still not going, though we did go to our local dive drive-in for ice cream the other day.) We immediately hopped to and began cooking brunch at home again–just like in the old days. We shared the work–Dave making eggs, etc. and me happily baking a goodie like the Blueberry Buckle below, which I hadn’t been doing in eons. We’ve taken turns on what we now call our Cheep A** Bloody Marys (more on that later) and now eat brunch BEFORE church for the most part. We’ve even gone way old school and made Dave’s mom Lorna’s comforting egg casserole a time or two as it provides excellent lunch leftovers. (Recipe in photo below.) Could we ever have imagined all this? No. You probably hadn’t either.Jump to Recipe Continue reading
Since the first person made wine, there have no doubt been myriad variations on that theme. Additions, subtractions, trials, errors…even wine made from water if you include the wedding at Cana, Jesus’ first and always best miracle. I’m not in the habit of quoting anyone’s scripture on the blog, but this is my very favorite Bible story ever, of course, so bear with me:Continue reading
It’s a drink, it’s an appetizer, a first course, a meal, or all of the above. Definitely cool and summer stunning in chilled, heavy on-the-rocks glasses with a crostini side-car, this Spiked Gazpacho with Crab would eat happily out of small bowls, coffee cups, wine glasses, or … …
Happy Mother’s Day
to everyone who had or knew a mother!
|Grapefruit Margarita by Cat Cora|
On the journey with fellow food bloggers through Gourmet Live’s 50 Women Game-Changers in Food, we’re heading on fast toward the finish line with number 48, Cat Cora (b 1968.) Each week, we feature one special woman who has made an impact on what goes on the table when we sit down to eat. Some we’ve know well; others have been new to some of us. If you’re interested in the celebrity food world, you’ve heard of this week’s Cat Cora (Iron Chef, Around the World in 80 Plates), who hailed from Jackson, Mississippi where she was raised in a Greek restaurant family. Soon after college she found her way to New York and the CIA for culinary school. Training further in first-class kitchens in France and New York, she finally found her way to California where she now lives with her partner and four sons.
|Order Cat Cora’s Classics with a Twist|
In June 2010, Cat joined First Lady Michelle Obama as part of her Chefs Move To Schools campaign in an effort to provide nutritional guidance and education from professional chefs to schools nationwide. Cat is presently working on adopting an elementary school near her home in Santa Barbara, CA. (courtesy catcora.com)
But first, mix up this heat-beating grapefruit cocktail as a trial run for your Memorial Day cook-out. I am not much of a spirits drinker (as a foodie I’m into wine–it goes with food!), but I do drink the occasional finger of island Scotch come January in St. Paul, a shot of Asbach-Uralt if I’m stuffed up with a cold, or the ubiquitous summer margarita on the patio. You could say I’m a medicinal drinker! I do like the idea of something different with a nod toward healthy (has grapefruit, right?) and so had my husband and friend Jim whip these up for us to try last weekend. That’s right, I didn’t even make these babies; I’m fessing up. I don’t grill outdoors and I don’t make cocktails; I don’t want to learn. I do make great sangria and will make you some if you come to dinner in the summertime. So there. Try these:
cat cora’s straight up grapefruit margaritas makes 4 cocktails
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups fresh squeezed grapefruit juice (from about 2 large grapefruit)
- 3/4 cup tequila
- 1/2 cup Triple Sec
- 1/2 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice
- 2 Tbs superfine sugar (plus extra for rim)
- 4 cups crushed ice
Taster’s Notes: I thought these a tad sweet for my taste and would increase the lime juice next time. Otherwise–a beautiful, refreshing start to our Mother’s Day cookout. We also made a non-alcoholic version with grenadine and grapefruit juice.
Heather – girlichef, Miranda – Mangoes and Chutney, Amrita -Beetle’s Kitchen Escapades ,
Linda A – There and Back Again, Nancy – Picadillo, Mireya – My Healthy Eating Habits
Veronica – My Catholic Kitchen, Annie – Most Lovely Things, Jeanette – Healthy Living
Claudia – Journey of an Italian Cook, Alyce – More Time at the Table
Kathy – Bakeaway with Me, Martha – Simple Nourished Living, Jill – Saucy Cooks
Sara – Everything in the Kitchen Sink
|Mother’s Day Dessert|
|Making the shortcakes–I did the ice cream, too. May blog the whole thing!|
|Baked a glazed Korobuta ham–Bourbon-Orange Glazed— Wednesday for my choir’s last rehearsal. Berkshire pork is worth the price and this is my new go-to recipe (Fine Cooking) for big groups or holiday ham.|
|You see where they are–getting the tablecloth full of dog hair!|
|Allium in my west garden–everything is way ahead of schedule.|
Egg Salad on my Dinner Place Blog (Cooking for One) this week :
“An Egg with a Few Greens for Supper”
Sing a new song,
Share with someone you love!
Happy New Year, friends………….as you sing any new or “auld” song,
Alyce–Could there be anything better leftover? Add a little butter.
Well, of course, I had the idea and, truthfully, had done something like it before, but I had to flesh out the menu and, naturally, try it all out. And, while I adore Thanksgiving, I know it can get out of hand. You don’t know it’s gotten out of hand until you start the dishes and are still washing glasses the next day. Mostly, it’s worth it. Occasionally, though, you want a holiday to BE a holiday for everyone, including you. Well, you and one other person, a special one.
- Starters:Olives and Pistachios–set out in small bowls with wine
- First course: Pumpkin or Butternut Squash Soup (bought from deli)
- Main course: Turkey Roulade, stuffed W/ Proscuitto/Sage/Onions/Garlic
- Sides: Oven-Roasted Root Vegetables with Fresh Rosemary
- Brussel Sprouts (pan-roasted) w/ Parmesan & Pumpkin Seeds
- Home-made Spicy Cranberry Sauce w/ Apples and Lemon
- Bread: Corn Muffins from the bakery
- Dessert: Pumpkin Ice Cream, purchased from grocery OR Pumpkin Custards baked the day before and refrigerated (Use any pumpkin pie filling recipe and bake custards in pammed ramekins about 30 min. at 350—No crust)
- Drinks: Wine: A to Z Riesling and Sineann Pinot Noir- Have both! Coffee: French Roast, laced with Cognac and Whipped Cream
Why do we shy away from inviting a group-any size, really- of people to eat at our table (or sit on the floor) and warm their hearts with us? What stops us? Larger parties just put people to shaking their heads and sort of pulling their lower lips to one side, gritting teeth, thinking about the need to paint the house, clean the carpet, re-do the bathroom, install new lighting fixtures, buy all new dishes, pots and pans and wine glasses, and, as my husband says, “alphabetize the spices.” In other words, we want to do everything that ever needed to be done (preferably in one week/day? or less) in the last five years. (Above and below photos-favorite family/friends come visit for the chicken salad taco party in honor our our daughter’s college graduation.)
Once, many years ago now, we were having our good friends, Susan and Charles (with kids) over for a Christmas night buffet. Early that afternoon, my lovely guy decided it was time to pull apart the kitchen chairs and re-glue them. Oh, boy. (I did stop him.)