I spent a good deal of my life working for cash and life fulfillment as 1. a librarian and 2. a church music director. (I taught piano, too, on the side.) Both jobs, and I sometimes held them at the same time to make ends meet, helped fuel my love of cooking because libraries have cookbooks and church choirs love to eat.
If you’re lucky enough to live in places where spring vegetables were planted weeks ago, you could already have a crop of spinach or green onions or asparagus. Our past-frost date in Colorado Springs hasn’t yet arrived; it’s June 1 – June 10. For the first time, I’ve snuck a few things in early, but am nightly ready to rush out to bring pots in or run into the yard like a crazy woman throwing blankets over newly-planted beds. (We have upcoming lows of 32 F this week, for instance.)
This week marks Colorado’s 140th birthday…and the Olathe Sweet Corn Festival! In honor of those happy occasions, a soup based on our famous Olathe (pronounced o-LAY-tha) sweet corn seemed right for dinner. While I make lots of soup come cold weather, I do still make it in the summer–just not quite as often. Continue reading
NOTE TO READERS: THE BLOG AND I ARE NOW ON VACATION UNTIL YOU HEAR FROM US AGAIN. Enjoy your summer. Eat all the tomatoes you can. Drink all the ice-cold margaritas someone else will make you. Garden as possible, hike, or walk in the park. Get to water while the sun shines and simply look at it if you’re not climbing into a kayak.
Party leftovers engender their very own meals and why not? This morning there were 10 leftover egg whites (from lots of ice cream making), a tray a veggies, pulled pork, tortillas, and salsa. A few minutes later there were breakfast tacos. I did find a little bacon to start that whole thing off. I now love pulled pork breakfast tacos.
It’s just beginning to warm up in Colorado Springs, but I’m already balking at long-cooking times and big plates of hot food.
Blooming milkweed with swallowtail in my yard. Read about it here.
Or maybe it’s time for Dave, my trusty sous and husband, to cook on the grill and give me a break.
I occasionally buy too many vegetables because I’m crazy about them. That’s pretty close to how it is. While I like fruit, I love vegetables. I really like meat; I adore fish. But vegetables just do something for me. It has often occurred to me that I’m so attracted to them because they exist in infinite variety, colors, shapes, tastes, textures, sizes, and even styles–think Thai or Japanese eggplant and see below…
Meat comes in brown.
I just had a taste for soup. A simple one-pot meal that I could eat off of for a couple of days. I don’t make cheese soups often. I’m a soup maker forever, but for some reason have usually skipped making the creamy, sometimes stringy, more-cheese-than-broccoli type soups so often sold in restaurants. The only thing like that I ever order out is beer-cheese soup in a brew pub and then it’s with a salad because that stuff will stick to your ribs.
I kept picturing the bag of Costco cauliflower florets (2 pounds for $3.79) I had in the spare fridge. And the lovely cheddar my local grocery store cheesemonger had pressed on me recently. The two needed to meet and mingle, perhaps blend and marry their distinct, but complimentary flavors. Continue reading
Done in under a half hour, this lusty (I almost said perky, but perky it isn’t) soup just about jumped out of the pot, put its arms around me, and begged me to eat it. Wonderful for the I-ate-too-many-chocolates post-holiday cooking time, you can skip the fresh basil, if you still haven’t gotten to the store, and add Herbes de Provence or a combination of dried oregano and basil. Easily vegan and gluten-free (with a few changes or lack of a garnish), this meal will heat everyone up despite the weather. It’s sunny, but snowy … Continue reading
My friend Mary Pat’s September birthday is always a reason for celebration. I often cook her a birthday dinner and find it a happy excuse to make a fallish meal after a long, long summer. (Is it fall YET? The garden’s dying, but it’s still in the 80’s. We sat out last night on the deck at 8 o’clock with a drink watching the blood moon.)
below: my front walk milkweed grown for the monarch butterflies
Here’s the menu that included her favorite dessert (after Cherries Jubilee, Baked Alaska, and Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie):
I like six people for dinner, eight at the most, so that I can truly pay attention to and hear each person. Otherwise, it’s a party–cacophony– and I approach it very differently. I also like to cook a lot of recipes that only serve eight. Continue reading
Colcannon, that adoring Irish and Scottish mash of buttery potatoes and cabbage or kale, is the inspiration for my soup that’s feisty without being overblown. The bacon is a salty, crunchy touch that you can easily leave out for a vegetarian or vegan version. You might add some toasted, sliced almonds or crispy croutons instead. Make sure you have a pepper grinder at the table–or a bottle of hot sauce — for those who like spicy. Scroll down for recipe or enjoy a few of my photos from Ireland first; there are some way at the bottom, too.
Below: At the cathedral in Down Patrick, Northern Ireland August, 2014
Below: pub in Waterford. Dave’s first Guinness in Ireland. Definitely not his last.
Below: Shredded kale (Remove kale stems and slice in 1/4-inch ribbons for soup; sauté sliced stems separately for a salad addition.) Continue reading