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tapas week

Have I ever told you how much I completely and totally L-O-V-E it when someone cooks for me? Actually, they don’t even have to cook for me.

What I meant to say is “how much I love it when someone feeds me.” It can be a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or an elaborate 5-course meal. Honestly, either one is a huge treat!

seasoned with loveJust about the worst thing you can say to any cooking professional is, “I could never cook for you, I’d be so intimidated.”


We, of all people, know the love and work that goes into preparing food for another. Don’t leave us out – we need love too!

One of my friends who understands this is Peggy. She never hesitates to cook for me. As a matter of fact, Peggy invited her sister Terrie, Anne, and me over for dinner the weekend before last. Well, we thought it would be dinner, instead it turned out to be tapas – even better!

As always, we had fun catching up, laughing up a storm, and just being together. And the food? Fantastic, of course!

3 tapas

Peggy made all four of the dishes from one cookbook: Tapas – Tantalizing Small Plates from the Mediterranean by Pamela Clark. Funny thing is, she thinks she may have gotten the book from me when I had THIS party.

I’ll share the recipe for each dish over the coming week. Today, I’m sharing my favorite of the four.

Oh yes, all the recipes are altered slightly from the original version. For instance, I doubled the relish and more flour was needed for a better consistency fritter batter. Plus, salt was added, the fritters really needed SALT! There wasn’t any in the original recipe.

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August 12, 2013   2 Comments

absurbly yummy asparagus

Asparagus is one of our family’s favorite vegetables. It’s nearly always available in a 2-pound package at Costco, for a great price.

pancetta from Trader Joe's

Trader Joe’s sells asparagus’ perfect match, pancetta, in the perfect size container, already cut into the perfect size dice. It doesn’t get much easier than this.

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August 5, 2013   1 Comment

package dinner

thighs and veggies

It’s hard to get back into the groove of making dinner after a 3-week trip away from home. This all-in-one meal was the perfect “ease into it” dinner to get me up and going again.

lots o rain

I had planned on cooking the chicken and vegetable foil packets outside on the grill, but we had torrential downpours all day long. Not that I’m complaining! We LOVE rain in AZ and using the oven worked just as well.

carol's porch

Yes, we love rain in the desert, even when it floods our backyards and patios – as it did at my neighbor, Carol’s, house. Carol posted this on her Facebook page yesterday and graciously allowed me to use it.

I was out driving around in the flooded streets, determined to get to Sweet Salvage this month. More on that tomorrow.

AZ arial

I not only love rain, I also LOVE coming home, no matter how wonderful a trip we’ve had. I try to get the window seat on the plane because it brings me complete joy to look at my beloved Arizona and my hometown when we fly over it. Yep, it may be cliche, but there really is no place like home.

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July 22, 2013   2 Comments

asparagus = spring


Asparagus season and Easter come at the same time and what a perfect pairing that is! They are both happy signs of spring.


Plus this lovely green vegetable pairs wonderfully with both ham and lamb.


We had all three for our Easter brunch; ham in the Herb Crêpes Eggs Benedict Florentine, Pomegranate Molasses Lamb Chops, and this lovely asparagus dish.

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April 6, 2013   6 Comments

poach, blanch, roast


I’m using three different cooking methods to make a simple salad. This will infuse as much flavor as possible into each ingredient without adding fat. This is achieved by;

  • Roasting cherry tomatoes
  • Poaching chicken breast
  • Blanching asparagus

As an added bonus, the poaching/blanching broth may be saved and added to soup on another day.

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March 14, 2013   2 Comments

meyer lemon pasta

This was my horoscope on Tuesday.


How perfect is that? Oh, here are the last few words you can’t see, “… nourishment and warm feelings.”

It’s perfect because I already had on my calendar two dinner parties this week.

Peggy and Anne were over last night and my dear friend, Karen, who was a bridesmaid in my wedding 27 years ago, and her husband Bob, are coming over for dinner tomorrow night. Got to Love It!

Are you ready for the onslaught of Meyer lemon recipes? I hope so, that is what I’ll be making for quite a while now!

Don’t have Meyer lemons? Not to worry. You can use regular lemons in any of my recipes that call for Meyer lemons.

meyer lemon pasta in trifle bowl

I saw a photo of a version of this salad on Pinterest and was inspired by the use of a trifle bowl to serve it in. I created the recipe from scratch but stole the visuals and serving idea. If you don’t have, but have always wanted, a trifle bowl – Crate & Barrel always has them in stock.

It’s so pretty and springtime fresh and it turned out to be a delicious main course salad. I’m sure Peggy and Anne will attest to that. It would be lovely as a side salad on a buffet too.

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January 17, 2013   2 Comments

open says me

When one of my two brilliant children was young, he or she thought that when someone said, “Open Sesame” that they were saying, “Open Says Me.”  I won’t reveal which one of them it was, but how cute is that?!

Open Sesame is the magical phrase in the story of “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” and it opens the mouth of a cave in which forty thieves have hidden  treasure.

This asparagus recipe is magical and your brain will be telling your mouth, “Open Says Me” when you make it!

This was one of the recipes this past Wednesday night at the first of my 3-week series of classes at Les Gourmettes. That’s why you’ll see a photo a several plates lined up. They were still awaiting the chicken and polenta… a recipe I’ll post in a day or so.  The asparagus and accompanying mayo were a big hit. And…. it’s “easy breezy” to boot!

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November 17, 2012   3 Comments

bonus salad and bonus pics

I am naming this “bonus salad” because while creating it, my intention was to include it in the “Take your Lunch to Work Week” that I just wrapped up for my sweet Marissa. But once I got into it, I slowly came to the realization that this takes far too much time and effort than required for an easy lunch to brown bag… that is unless you use it as leftovers… from dinner the night before. In that case, it’s perfect!

I made this a week ago Sunday and, as with most Sundays, we had my dad over for dinner. Dave and Dad devoured this thing. They loved it so much that they each had not only seconds, but thirds!

If you are lucky enough to have leftovers and want to brown bag it the next day – here is what you do: Pack the greens and the feta together in one container or zip-lock. Pack the mushroom-asparagus-rice mixture in a micro-wave safe container. Nuke the mushroom mixture to just warm it through. Place your greens and feta on a plate and top it with warm stuff. Yum… makes me wish I would have leftover of my own last Monday. :-(

The “bonus pics” in the title refers to some iPhone pictures of a few of the beyond delicious courses we had at Binkley’s last night. How I love that place! You’ll find them below the recipe.

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May 5, 2012   3 Comments

more asparagus

I failed to mention while posting the asparagus soup a couple days ago, that the main reason Sharon asked for the recipe was because asparagus is a smoking deal at Bashas’ grocery stores this week. Gorgeous pencil thin bunches for .99 a pound! You only have today and tomorrow to run out and pick it up before the sale ends… hurry – grab your keys and leave now – get it before it’s gone! And in case you are like me, and can’t let a good deal pass you by and you pick up a couple more pounds than needed for the soup… here’s another healthy recipe using asparagus.

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January 31, 2011   1 Comment

loyal followers

One of my most loyal and longest followers requested this recipe by email. Sharon C. has children who attend LPG every summer and she and her daughter, (along with another mother/daughter duo who are their BFF’s) always leave lovely comments, which I appreciate immensely! So this is my shout-out to Sharon and Sydney C. & Debbie and Kelsey Q! Thank you, and I hope to see you again this summer!

Tip: One of the downsides to asparagus soup can be the color. When asparagus gets cooked this long to make it soft enough to puree, it fades a bit. The solution?  Add a few handfuls of fresh spinach to the pot a minute before blending. The spinach will not be noticeable in the taste, but will boost the color by leaps and bounds.

My mother-in-law was born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin and is a life-long Green Bay Packers fan. She arrives next week, on Super Bowl Sunday, for a visit. I think I’ll freeze some of this lovely green soup and serve it while we watch “The Pack” bring home the Vince Lombardi Trophy!

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January 29, 2011   3 Comments