Easy Apple-Walnut Coffeecake

Easy Apple-Walnut Coffeecake

Start the coffee when you slide this baby into the oven because it’s done in 30 minutes!

I can remember, but just barely, my dad scraping the flesh of an apple with a spoon and feeding it to me when I was a capital-T Tiny little kid. Was I spoiled? Oh, I’m sure I was. I was the fourth kid and born 10 years after the third. Did I learn to love apples? You betcha. And, because God was good (and yes, “God did make little green apples”), I grew up in the same house my entire childhood with apple, plum, and pear trees right outside one door or the other. To say nothing of a midwestern summer garden I’ve never since seen the like of. Of course that all meant work, too, even for the kids. There was planting, fertilizing, weeding, hoeing, picking, cleaning, and the final coup de grâce (crushing blow), canning. Lord, the heat. Apples, plums, and pears, but especially apples, however, didn’t necessitate those long three months of labor followed by a week of boiling jars in a steaming, no-AC kitchen. You simply watched as the trees blossomed in the spring, knowing somehow in the sweet fragrance on the breeze that when fall arrived, you could just munch away to your heart’s content by doing nothing more than reaching up to the low-hanging branches or getting your taller sister to do it for you. There was one thing, though. My mom liked to make jam and jelly, so there were still a few hot Mason jars for that, more’s the pity. She’d make it out of just about anything she could find, but because she had tons of apples in her own yard, we had apple jelly out the kazoo. If I ate a PBJ come wintertime, there’d be apple jelly on it nine times out of ten. Well. That was a lot of the same jelly, so….

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SLOW COOKER:  German Barley Soup (Graupensuppe)

SLOW COOKER: German Barley Soup (Graupensuppe)

Sliced bratwurst, root vegetables, herbs, and broth come together all afternoon in the slow cooker

Before fall arrives, Colorado usually has a day or two of winter just to keep us on our toes. Luckily he came; he went. Old man winter, you know.

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KIDS COOK FOR LABOR DAY: Blueberry-Peach Crisp

KIDS COOK FOR LABOR DAY: Blueberry-Peach Crisp

If you live in Colorado, the weather is often the topic of conversation. Like now. The rest of the country is looking forward to a warm Labor Day holiday weekend and, while we in Colorado are sort of doing the same, we also have our eyes stuck on the forecast for Monday night and Tuesday:

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Grandma Mac’s Zucchini Bread or What Memories are in Your Recipe Collection?

Grandma Mac’s Zucchini Bread or What Memories are in Your Recipe Collection?

It doesn’t matter what sort of baker you are, you’ve probably made zucchini bread. It’s that quintessential August oven project that comes up every year when there’s more zucchini than you know what to do with. Not that it uses all that much zucchini; it doesn’t. But it’s the thought that counts for this late summer pastime: I have lots of zucchini, ergo I make zucchini bread.

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Melon and Grilled Shrimp Salad with Lemon-Lime Vinaigrette

Melon and Grilled Shrimp Salad with Lemon-Lime Vinaigrette

This is best with a fresh mint garnish, though I forgot to get it on here before snapping the photo!

If you’ve been a food blogger as long as I have, you’ve been through a few different stages of the sport. At one time many of us joined in blog hops and all blogged around a particular subject, chef, or book for sometimes months on end. I belonged to several such groups over the years, but one of my favorites was INA FRIDAYS, which I organized, developed, and participated in April, 2013 – December, 2014. Our fun group of bloggers — many of whom are still blogging years later — cooked and wrote about an Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa) recipe the first Friday of every month; I have wonderful memories of the entire escapade! We all learned lots, but for me, maintaining a job, two blogs, writing a book, and keeping up the house got to be a wee much after a while. I was relieved when we decided we maybe had eaten the best of Ina after all! There’s no doubt though I’m still a big Ina fan and you’ll often see a book or two of hers next to my reading chair or on my counter anytime of year. Type in “Ina Fridays” into the search box and catch a few Ina Fridays if you like.

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Red Curry Chicken with Green Beans and Mushrooms

Red Curry Chicken with Green Beans and Mushrooms

In my next life, I’m going to take photos for laminated menus.

In 2009, husband Dave, daughter Emily –for a couple of weeks anyway– and I spent the summer in St. Paul, Minnesota so I could take a few graduate music courses at University of St. Thomas. While there, we lived in a 3rd-floor walkup apartment on Grand Avenue above a Thai restaurant named — you guessed it — Pad Thai. (See below)

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Ginger-Peach Melba Cobbler

Ginger-Peach Melba Cobbler

Colorado peaches are coming on, but there aren’t too many this year due to an early freeze. Keep a close eye out!

Typically “peaches” and “melba” and “ginger” don’t belong together in one recipe title because melba indicates peaches with raspberry sauce and vanilla cream of some sort (in other words: no ginger anywhere there) — said dessert named for the famous late 19th-early 20th century opera singer, Australian Dame Nellie Melba. Perhaps you don’t care one way or another. Or, on the other hand, you might remember her from DOWNTON ABBEY days if you were both a Downton and an opera fan:

On Sunday, U.S. Downton Abbey fans were served a double dose of divas — one from the present and one from the distant past. Viewers may have recognized Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, the creamy-voiced soprano whose radiant beauty graced the world’s top opera houses from the 1970s through ’90s. But far fewer probably know about Dame Nellie Melba, the Australian-born superstar Te Kanawa portrayed in the episode. Even some opera buffs may have forgotten Melba. But in her day she was colossal, an artist who dominated European and American music for a period, one so adored that Melba toast and Peach Melba were created in her name by famed chef Auguste Escoffier.

NPR, Jan. 17, 2014
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Salmon Cheese Spread – PLUS: How To Get More Salmon in Your Life

Salmon Cheese Spread – PLUS: How To Get More Salmon in Your Life

Fast, simple app or fun dinner. #justaddrosé

I love salmon and maybe you do, too? Perhaps like me, you still occasionally wonder about what else you could do with it despite your unwavering devotion. You could just want better quality fish or how about a better $$ deal? (More later on that.) There are times I move into the fancy-schmancy or innovative lane — mostly because some uber ripe produce is shooting me dark looks from the counter or it could be I’m dreaming of a company meal even when no company’s in sight. Like lately. I miss friends and family coming for dinner. Most of us do, I guess–even those who don’t like to cook!

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Coconut Curry Corn-Zucchini Chowder

Coconut Curry Corn-Zucchini Chowder

Since this is a corn chowder post, things may get a little corny now and then!

While folks east of the Rockies often wax poetic about miles of midwestern corn billowing in the breeze this time of year, we here in Colorado know a little bit more than that. The corn might be “as high as an elephant’s eye” in say, Illinois, (and since I was raised right where the Illinois cornfields begin south of Chicago, I know), we higher country dwellers are sold on Colorado’s own Olathe sweet corn. Come corn time, we run to heat the butter, ready the grill, put out the extra salt shakers, and even a jar of mayo and Queso Fresco for those who like their corn Mexican style. There’s a trip planned out to the Olathe Corn Festival, when possible — or at least a quick run to the grocery store when the corn first gets into town. 2020 finds us in a different spot. The festival’s canceled and we’re a little teary over the whole thing if you really want to know. I mean, great fresh produce is at a premium out here and we wait all year for our sweet corn that comes just about the same time as Colorado’s Rocky Ford melons and Western Slope peaches, and not long before our tasty San Luis valley potatoes. It’s almost too much good stuff at once!

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Salad Class: How to Up Your Game in 3 Easy Ways — Part 3,  STYLE!

Salad Class: How to Up Your Game in 3 Easy Ways — Part 3, STYLE!

Post and recipe Did you know arugula is an herb and one of the most nutritional greens to eat?

Readers’ Note: This is the 3rd and last segment (STYLE!) of a three-part blog cooking class about making your salad a better place to eat!  Click on the red links below to read the other two segments and come chopping with me to make your newest stellar salad! While this class is pretty much do-it-yourself, I welcome comments, emails, photos, etc., to keep us in closer touch — even when we’re all in our own kitchens! Salad on, my friends.

“No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers.” 

― Laurie Colwin

3. STYLE!  MAKE IT LOOK LIKE YOU WANT TO EAT IT! “Wow, that looks good!”

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