"Place, with a trace of humanity" Photography/Photo of the Day/Pittsburgh

Posts tagged “recipe

Lebkuchen Recipe from Aunt Rhea, (Well actually from her Mother’s Father)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This recipe is from Aunt Rhea’s mother’s (Marie) father, Julius Rickel(, who died in 1933.) That’s all the info I have on the handwritten recipe.  Not much more.

How to bake a Family Favorite recipe that hails from Germany. I copied it down from Aunt Rhea. Sunday before I left Ohio I dropped into the Kroger and bought what I needed

Aunt Rhea married my mother’s brother Robert.

She’s 98 years old today and celebrating, too.

   I plan to call her up and ask if there’s anything else to know about this particular recipe.

Love to you.

pecans and citronChopped pecans and citron. The recipe didn’t say how much.

Oh yes, prepare two 8 inch pans to bake.  Fire up the over to 35o degrees

I used disposables and cut out some parchment paper

 

Pans

 

 

 

cinnamonMix the cinnamon into the flour

 

 

 

cinnamon mixed inAdd the finely chopped citron and nuts to the flour mixture to coat evenly

Beat 4 eggs and 2 cups of brown sugar together until light. I used a heavy duty mixture.Lebkuchen recipe

 

 

add the flour mixturepouring the flour in

 

 

lebkuchen batter

 

 

 

 

 

cooling lebkuchen

 

Baked  between 25 and 30 minutes

 

 

 

 

glazed lebkuhen

A light glaze on top.  The whole kitchen smella so good.

 

 


What’s Your Guilty Pleasure Comfort Food? One of a series…..

Okay, it’s not good for you.  I know it!   Beanie Weenies.  

Here’s the recipe. Cut a package of hot dogs like coins.

Throw in pan and turn up the gas flame.

Open can of beans

and pour over sizzling “meat”.

Simmer and serve.

Buttered toast on the side optional.

Yep, it’s dark outside, every day getting shorter and shorter and  the winter looms.  (actually today felt like Spring so let me think of a different excuse)

It’s easy. You have it in the house and don’t have to go to the store.

And you have a taste for something simple that isn’t good for you.  It’s on your mind.

My friend said you can go through a lot, getting to what you wanted in the first place.

 

Make it, eat it, be aware it isn’t a healthy choice.

My vegan, veg, Paleo, Primal, non-processed food, gourmet bloggers, and real- food conscious friends and family will have to avert their eyes today.

 

Weenies sliced like coins

 

I think it is the lighting from the range hood that gives it the unreal color cast.   I hope.

 

Simmer Baked BeansAlmost ready.  Don’t read any labels.  Enjoy.

Beanie Weenie SupperPut  your knitting aside.                           Try to not spill supper onto fleece robe and plaid pajamas.


Grated Grenada Nutmeg

Sunday afternoon I was getting ready to bake cookies. (Originally from Fannie Farmer Boston Cooking School)

The recipe my mother used to use  for her signature Sour Cream cookies – (baking them on my cousin Paul’s milestone birthday :-) and will mail them tomorrow)

‘d just gotten back from the store with the sour cream when I realized I did not have a container of nutmeg on the spice rack.

But wait, how abou these whole nutmegs in a little bag?  I pulled one out and began to grate it and the aroma was amazing.

The label said Grenada Nutmeg .

(Joanne, did you send them to me?)

You may already grate your own nutmeg but it was first for me.   The interior was a beautiful pattern. The smell intoxicating.

Nutmeg interior

Freshly Grated Nutmeg ready to go in to the Sour Cream Cookies

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 3/4cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar mixture on top before baking – I used parchment paper for easy baking and clean up
  • Bake at 350 for 11 minutes

Back to the Post Office after school.

 

 


Christmas Mice to Admire and Eat

Guest Blog from Euthemia where my sister is spending the Christmas holidays.

Her friend Joanne brought these to Christmas dinner . Euthemia emailed me the photo of them and then I wrote back to ask if it would be okay to post.  Directions below.  Thanks Euthemia and Joanne. photo-5

 

 

Here are the instructions for making the chocolate cherry mice from Joanne Maier of Glenmont, New York.  
They were a great hit at the holiday table.  

 
24 Maraschino cherries with stems
Waxed paper
1/2 cup chocolate chips
24 Hershey’s Kisses, unwrapped
48 almond slices (match pairs by size)
Icing – 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, 1 teaspoon of water
Black food coloring
Red food coloring
Drain cherries, pat dry. Cherries, unwrapped kisses and paired ears need to be lined up ahead of time on a cookie sheet covered in waxed paper.  Microwave chocolate chips 15 seconds at a time until melted. Be careful not to burn the chocolate.    Hold the cherry by stem, dip and swirl til covered in chocolate, put on the side so tail sticks out and on the front, push on a Kiss to make the head.  Where the Kiss meets the cherry, put in the two ears, and keep doing it until you finish.  Make icing, take a small amount and add black food coloring, another small amount for red food coloring, and the rest will stay white.  Put icing into 3 different baggies and cut a tiny hole in the corner of the bag.  Make the eyes white with a black dot in the middle, and use the pink for a nose.

Cheesecake Pie Made with Coconut Palm Sugar

Some of the family is eating gluten-free.  You might have seen the crumbled cake top from the other day (which was delicious)

And the family is trying to reduce intake of  refined sugar.  I wanted to bake something they could eat if they wanted to do so.

My mother used to make this with regular sugar when I was growing up. I just switched to the coconut palm for the body of the cheesecake pie and used a bit of maple syrup for the sour cream topping. I used FULL FAT cream cheese and sour cream. Some free-range organic eggs

I made this for Saturday night after Thanksgiving

This is a crustless pie.  Not too sweet.  It looks like it has a brown crust but it is just the butter browning the edge and the color of the coconut palm sugar.  It’s an iPhone photo today.

Here is the recipe.

Butter a glass pie plate.  Heat the oven to 325 degrees.  I baked this one at 350 and the electric oven  where I was staying is hotter and faster than mine at him and I think it was too hot for it. I think that is why it had more cracks than usual.

Mix well  2 -8 oz. packages of cream cheese (room temp)  with 3/4 c coconut palm sugar

Add 3 eggs. Beat well.  Add 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract. Mix.

Pour into the buttered pie plate.  Bake for 45 minutes.

Take out of oven and let it sit for about 5 minutes, it will deflate and a crater will form for the topping, forming a “crust” without crumbs.

Spread on a topping mixture of  1 c sour cream, 3/4 teaspoon vanilla and 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup

Bake for 5 more minutes.

Cool. Serve with sour cherries or fresh blueberries or strawberries or eat plain. Put it in the fridge when cool.

Bake until knife comes out clean in center


Pignolis- An Heirloom Recipe from a Friend’s Mother

The one thing I can tell you is, don’t mess around with the confectioner’s sugar amount as it is needed to make the cookie take shape!

Parchment paper is key, too.

You can see I should have put this recipe in a plastic sleeve. It is well used and always appreciated.  People devour them.

Thinking of how wonderful it is that Esther was so generous to share her hand written recipe at least twenty years ago.  Her daughter, Diana,  will take her iPad to show her this post on Tuesday as we have no school due to the storm winds and rain predictions.  I called and asked if it would be okay to post and Diana said, “Yes” so thank you Diana and her mother, Esther.

I baked these for Laura’s wedding last year and made them for the House Concert for my gluten-free friend.

(Smidge, this recipe is for you, too!)


Inspired by Three of My Favorite Fellow Bloggers

You’ve read their comments on my blogs.  Flat Ruthie has been fortunate to  have been hosted by all three bloggers.

I’ve posted links to their photographs and recipes for some wonderful dishes.

It’s summer vacation and I’ve a bit more time on my hands. Have a plan to try some new recipes and what better way than to experiment with fellow bloggers posts of beautiful and delicious dishes.

And my daughter-in-law’s kitchen makes me feel like I’m on a cooking show! Six burner stove and all.

When I forwarded her the recipe for Roasted Chicken Stuffed with Citrus she agreed it would be good for dinner and we had all the ingredients, including fresh tarragon from her garden.  You can get the recipe at Rufus Food and Spirits Guide  and see a great looking photo of Greg’s Roast Chicken. I am already behind as yesterday Katherine posted a Blue Crab Dip recipe and today it is stuffed zucchini. I can’t keep up!

And a nod to Chicago John as I attempted to make the garlic cloves fall onto my keyboard but was unsuccessful! (see his posts of berries and an earlier one of peas at his blog From the Bartolini Kitchens ) Watch for a future post as I make homemade pasta for the first time.

Food photography is a challenge unless I’m just shooting what I’m eating.  When I try to set something up, think too much about it and what I am trying to accomplish,  it’s stressful.

People as subjects seem easier than assembled ingredients.

 By the way the aroma alone is worth the cooking effort for this recipe.

Divine! and delicious. The kids loved it!  So thanks to Greg and Katherine and Chicago John.


Peda in the Indian Grocery Case

Peda, White

Took this photograph when I was in NYC on Spring Break and my sister was shopping in the Indian Grocery shop.

Here is a recipe for the sweet peda. Flavored with cardamon.  It is made with khoya - “semi-solid thickened milk”  One post said it is similar to ricotta cheese texture but I haven’t made it and would like to know and the recipe says to “grate the khoya” so that doesn’t possible if it is similar to ricotta.  Not enough research but hope someone will comment and fill in the gaps.  I was attracted to it in the case and I shot through the glass.


3 Sleeping After Dinner at Lala’s & See if You Can Find Murphy

Dinner at Lala’s and James’ home. Building with Lego.   I’m “grandmaing” the three youngest grandkids this weekend as the eldest is at a swimmeet in Cincinnati.  With her parents, of course.

So we watched Laura and James’ wedding video they received this week and Jack and Michael were ring bearers and Anna and Maura flower girls so they liked seeing themselves but then  Jack(4) goes in the kitchen at seven and says, ” Could someone please start making dinner!”  We were caught up in reliving the November wedding.  Laura baked some homemade pizza and I had taken a spinach pie.  For dessert I’d made the Farm Journal Blue Ribbon Banana Cake with buttermilk and real butter instead of the shortening the recipe calls for.

We piled into the van and I drove home and barely a block away and all three kids fell asleep! When we got home I  carried each one in, made a stop with them and then took off their shoes and put them in their beds.  I’d sat in the van for a moment when we got into the garage and thought to myself, okay, now what will I do with all of them asleep.  Michael really came in on his own power once I got him guided a bit.  And Murphy was so excited to accompany the family for the evening.

I didn’t have a plan of what to blog tonight and thought WordPress would have posted the Weekly Photo Challenge by this time but they didn’t and I was “on duty” with the kids so hadn’t thought about what to put up.

Can you see Murphy? He is wide awake.


The Junk Food Cookbook and a Bonus Pack of Twinkies®

T

Have you ever actually tasted a Twinkie®

 

 

Twinkies® have been in the news lately. They’ve been in existence since 1930. I saw one fried at Kennywood.  You might remember the reference the Twinkies Defense?  And now the company is filing for Chapter 11. With word of bankruptcy- the future of Twinkies unknown.

Would you believe that PBS has an Ode to Twinkies contest, haikus and all, to honor this American snack classic (from the label)?  You can click on the link and read some of them, no matter how you feel about Twinkies

Surely they could accommodate different forms- limerick, sonnet, a villanelle or sestina.

I’m not a Twinkies fan but that sure sounds unAmerican.

I’m fascinated by the snack cake phenomenon. Little Debbie, Tastycake, Drake’s Cakes and Moon Pies etc. and I am always looking for food to photograph.

The other night my friend R(who is the inspiration for this post today) was over for dinner and we were talking Twinkies®.  I showed her the recipe in my old 1979 Junk Food Cookbook.  We spoke of Urban legends.  Someone told us that a penny left in Coca-Cola for three weeks will disintegrate but a Twinkie® soaked in the same Coca-Cola the same time period, remains unchanged. Makes one want to experiment, though, just to test the hypothesis.

But Science Fair projects aside, I thought I’d purchase a pack of Twinkies and photograph them and include the wacky cookbook, too.

After school I went to the Bryant Street Market and the Hostess selection on the wire rack was slim.  One package of Snoballs, the pink rubbery marshmallow coating and coconut flakes over a half sphere of chocolate cake and white fluffy filling in the center, two wax coated paper sleeves of fruit pies and the  Bonus Packs of Twinkies with an extra cake.   Great!

Nutrition Information is an Oxymoron

440 calories from this package alone!  YIKES!

I thought it would be cool to post the homemade version out of the Junk Food Cookbook but then I read the front page and decided against it. Alas, I have zero permission from the publisher.  Copyright important to respect and no time to write to the publisher and get permission.

If you want to see a list of sightings in movies and TV shows there’s a list at this link

Interior of a Twinkie

 

Twinkie Twinkie Little Cake

How long do you take to bake?

Most of your ingredients

Sound like they are fake.

Perhaps if Hansel and Gretel had dropped

Twinkie crumbs, the birds wouldn’t have touched them

and they could have found their way out of the woods.

 


Watching Her Sisters Make Their Mother’s Nut Roll Via SKYPE

Yes, that is a bowl of melted butter used to brush on the dough

Marlene was in Virginia. Her sisters- Linda, Theresa and Georgeann were in Pittsburgh.  I dropped by with the camera to document the occasion and made a slideshow of the beginning to end effort.  I think there were fifteen long metal pans waiting for dough.  They were rolling and filling and letting the dough rise to bake.  Southwestern PA is known for perpetuating nut roll tradition.  Not to be confused with nut horns or nut crescents.

The Pans Waiting for the Yeasty Dough

 

 

 


Vanilla Buttercream on a Six Layer Cake in Winter

You might remember the  vanilla buttercream white cake on the front porch in late summer. The one I posted for Marlene’s birthday. (looks good in summer light- click here )

I made this cake by baking 1 cup of batter in 3- 8″ baking pans at a time. (350 degrees)

Did that twice to make six layers.  Vanilla buttercream icing.

The insides of the cake will be revealed another time.  I used the 1-2-3-4 cake recipe

1 cup unsalted butter, room temp

2 cups sugar

3 cups of cake flour (with 2 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp salt)

4 eggs

1 cup of milk + 1/2 cup warm water

I used the Cake Bible method of mixing all dry ingredients with the butter and then adding the vanilla, egg and milk mixture to the dry mixture. Apologies to  Rose Levy Beranbaum  as she describes it so well in her cookbook but I gave Laura that volume and so it is in Columbus now. Laura and I did Face Time and she showed me the cookbook in her hands but when she read the recipes in the back for the wedding cake proportions and the breakdown for a smaller cake, I just decided to go with my grandmother’s and mother’s old 1-2-3-4 recipe.  I couldn’t refer to the other recipes as I mixed and baked.  I will have to borrow that cookbook back and commit it to memory, too.


Spinach and White Bean Soup

Snow came to Pittsburgh. Low temps. There was even more snow in Ohio so I stayed in Pittsburgh.  Driving didn’t make sense.  Fortunately, the new oven and stove were motivational.  I baked oatmeal cookies and made this soup, and Sunday made Aunt Rhea’s BBQ recipe, and baked a 6 layer cake. It ‘s sitting on a cake stand in the dining room waiting for me to photograph it. Tomorrow. No specific recipe just the regular start of simply sautéed onion, garlic and carrots and celery. Added water and salt and pepper.  Let it simmer on the stove.  I used the immersion blender just a bit to thicken the broth but left chunks of carrots so it wasn’t purée.  (Easy to overdo with that device).  Then I added a can of drained cannellini beans and some baby spinach to finish the soup. I am sure there are fancier recipes or more detailed but I knew I wanted a non-tomato one  and what ingredients I had on hand so just  made it. Our neighbor had given a gift at Christmas – a cylinder of delicious Manchego cheese and I warmed some Pane Italiano from Breadworks Bakery.  No school Monday so I look forward to reheating the soup for lunch!

A bowl of hot soup on a winter's evening is comfort food to me.


Olga Melynchek Muraska’s Nut Horn Recipe Baked by her Daughter

My cell rang as I was in the check out at Giant Eagle. I was buying cheese and crackers and Clementines for the Photography Class reception that started in a little over an hour. Marianne said that she was baking her mother’s recipe for nut horns right then if I wanted to photograph them.  She had made the dough the night before and refrigerated it.

I looked at the time. It was 4:44.

I was in the South Side but figured I could drive to the West End and then make it to the North Side for the last class/reception.

Make the dough the night before and refrigerate

Confectioner's sugar!

When I got there she had three pans of the cookies in different stages, just like a cooking show.

I started shooting to tell the story of the making of her mother’s recipe.  I was amazed to find out that is confectioner’s sugar on the board where she rolls them out.  Not flour!

The recipe says Nut Crescents but Olga always called them Nut Horns.

Marianne gave me a half dozen in a ziploc bag. Delicious.  Remembering Christmases past.

Here is the recipe.

Remembering Olga link.


Once a Year Recipe/Ritual

The annual making of the cranberry-orange relish. I don’t make this any other time of year.I’ve heard lots of different renditions of cranberries and everyone has their favorite.  My mother used to use a metal meat grinder and screw it onto a table or chair with a woven potholder to keep the wood from being marred. Her recipe was strictly cranberries and navel orange.  I add a Granny Smith and today a HoneyCrisp as well. I used to have one of those grinders and ground relish with Mark when he was a boy in the same manner as my mother.  My friend J from Omaha gave me her MagiMix French Processor when she got a Cuisinart.  That was more than 25 years ago and it still works. It has a European plug so I have to keep a little extra piece to plug it in.  So two bags of cranberries, washed and drained, two oranges, two apples(peel on) 1 3/4 C sugar.

That is all there is to it. Refreshing and tart and sweet simultaneously.  And thanks to Susan K for the Turkey towels.  Very festive.

Happy Thanksgiving.  I will put the bowl in a cardboard box so it doesn’t spill and drive to dinner at the other Grandma’s.


Knit Yesterday, Baked Fruit and Nut Biscotti Today

Here is a bit more on knitting first. Molly showed me all of Elizabeth Zimmerman’s books and told me about the quote at the end here. Not that wedding preparations are crises but you get the idea.

“Zimmermann was the first knitter to be honored with a full obituary and article in the New York Times titled “E. Zimmermann Is Dead at 89; Revolutionized Art of Knitting.” It appeared on Sunday, December 12, 1999. Her motto was

“Knit on with confidence and hope, through all crises.” “

And on to the recipe from the NY Times.

When Matthew graduated from college in St. Paul his friend Patty’s family from Vermont, brought these biscotti. I thought they were delicious. Baking them for the cookie table. My friend Lara typed up the recipe.

I use the apricots, dried cranberries, pistachios and almond combination. The lemon and orange zest are fragrant. I bake them about 28 minutes at 350. You can slice and bake again to dry out the slices. When you make the logs, you need a bit of flour to shape them as the dough is a tad sticky and wet.


A Cooper’s Hawk and the Five Lasagnas

Usually you see a Cardinal or Blue Jay or Sparrow but not with him around!!!

Oh why didn’t I bring the 70-200 lens this weekend?  And even if I had, who could have switched it if it were in the camera bag and not on the camera body? Looked out the window to see how the weather was and what a surprise!  This hawk was sitting out on top of the swingset and as I slid the glass door open, trying to be so quiet, I was sure he would fly away.  I got two shots off and his head moved and he flapped twice and was gone in a flash.  Looked up Ohio hawks online and this one seems to be an immature Cooper’s Hawk.  He was definitely looking for breakfast.  He heard the shutter on the camera, turned his head and was gone.

And that was the planned post for Monday, already set up to go.

Then I get a comment from Joanne in Nebraska (Sunday’s Hot Air Balloons) and a special request for the five lasagnas pic so here they are and a link to the Butternut Squash Lasagna recipe by Giada Di Laurentis, 3rd from the left. We omitted the nutmeg from the Butternut Squash recipe- why?  we didn’t have any.   Aunt Mary cooked all five with some assembly assistance by Anna and Michael.  The lasagnas were accompanied by Garlic Bread and salad and fresh fruit.  Here is the ground sausage and meat recipe- omitted the sugar and the fennel seeds from this recipe.  The four veg lasagnas were the most popular! Anna wrote labels for each one.  Many guests tried a sampler of a few of them.  Butternut Squash was a favorite.

Spinach, Four Cheese, Butternut Squash, Ground Sausage and Beef, and Roast Eggplant & Zucchini Lasagna


Famous Chocolate Refrigerator Roll

My friend G’s mother in Morris Plains NJ used to make these icebox cakes in the sixties.  I always loved to eat a slice of one.  And they still sell the cookies you need to make one. I hear they are difficult to find.  I found a box on the top shelf of Giant Eagle supermarket right here in Pittsburgh and I saw them for sale in Kroger in Ohio.

We are still missing the NABISCO bakery which is now a location for Google and the new gym, Anthropologie and some other stores.  There is even a hotel in Bakery Square where the NABISCO bakery used to be.  I am not sure if they used to bake these chocolate wafers in that facility or not.   Found an article that these cookies were advertised in 1929 with this recipe suggestion!    And the author of the article is correct- these cookies are always hidden on the top shelf in the cookie aisle.   I’ve been thinking about making a Famous Chocolate Refrigerator Roll  for a long time.  So I bought the Famous Chocolate Wafers and a pint of heavy cream to whip.  Mine did not look as neat and lovely as my friend’s mother’s dessert did when we were growing up.  Once I covered it all with the leftover whipped cream it looked better. It is chilling now.  Laura is coming in tomorrow from OH and I hope she will find it amazing when we slice it and it is striped. Milk chocolate is all I had for a garnish but dark chocolate garnish would have looked better.  After you put it all together, it sits in the refrigerator and as I remember it, the cookies soak up moisture and get cakelike and soft, with the layers of cream in between. A no-bake dessert you just assemble and refrigerate.  Anyone remember eating this as a child?

If you want the nutritional information you can click here but just enjoy a single slice and have people over to share it!


Eggplant Still Life

Three varieties. White. Striated and regular.  They are going to be roasted at 500 degrees for 45 minutes. The insides scraped out after they cool.  Four pounds worth.  Then the oven reduced to 350 and the flesh mixed with 2 eggs, 8 0unces of feta cheese and one cup of grated Gruyere, 5 T of sunflower oil and a bit more for the baking dish.  4 T of matzoh meal. Mix together and bake for an hour.  Drizzle top with a bit of the oil.  The recipe from the New York Times Food column by Molly O’Neill March 30. 1997, Almodrotoe de Berengena (Turkish Eggplant Flan)

Aubergine

The names of color.
Apricot, peach, claret, sky blue.
Lavender, eggshell, all names of a hue.

Four pounds of eggplant, waiting to be roasted.


How to Relieve Stress? Make Marmalade

It was a long Monday at school.  The PSSA testing began.  Six classes of art, out of order with the schedule.  And we lost that precious hour this weekend, changing the clocks.  After school I headed for the gym.  On my way to the gym, I got an idea.   I stopped at Ritter’s Diner thinking I might photograph their juke boxes for a memories post.  I ordered a cup of Orange Pekoe tea with lemon and started to read the City Paper. And an order of wheat toast with the butter on the side.  A small plastic rectangle of grape jelly sat on the plate.   But I was sitting there in a small booth reading and on page 36 there was a photograph of some oranges  at the bottom left of the page with a recipe for Marmalade.   I wished I had it on the toast.    Cooking or baking something always relieves stress. So I thought, I have all the ingredients and skipped the gym (uh-oh) went right  home and  sliced two oranges and a lemon really thin and added 2 cups of boiling water. A full cup of sugar seemed so much  (I used 3/4 cup) and cooked it down ’til it looked like marmalade. The scent from the simmering pan was delicious.  Growing up I never enjoyed marmalade, preferring honey, strawberry or raspberry jam. My mom would make marmalade or Mrs. Burns from church would bring some to the house.  I enjoy the taste now. Tart and sweet.  Can’t wait to try it on buttered toast in the morning.  (Oh, and the juke boxes have CD’s inside of them now and a putty colored metal and or plastic, not the chrome I was seeking so did not shoot them. Evoked no memories for me.  Just the marmalade came from the excursion.

Afternoon sun hit the pan on the stove.


Steelers’ Family Preparations- Pittsburgh and Beyond

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See Maura two years ago dressed for Super Bowl 43 and now at two years + @ the piano bench,  Steelers hat by her side, ready for Super Bowl 45.              Not my house- the mansion of Fifth Ave. with the huge gold and black banners on the porch at night.

And a friend at work, Ann and I, decided to knit  obsessively and make four Steelers hats. Used a double strand of Cascade Superwash 220.  I mailed mine to the grandchildren but forget trying to get a photo. We had fun trying.  I think.

Sue B made the yellow pepper black olive topped salad for the AFC championship game and the cake was as Black and Gold as I could get it.  No one would eat a licorice cake.  A Brown Mountain cake (recipe) from Farm Journal with classic buttercream icing.    No buttermilk in the house so I soured the milk with a T of vinegar and it tasted fine.

Smiley Cookies are from Eat ‘n Park and they were on the sign-in counter so weren’t consumed by me.

Mark has a Steelers flag to fly in the daylight and a blanket to keep warm and an Official Terrible Towel.

The last shot is the snowfall today.  Hear there has been snow in Texas too. Thanks everyone near and far for the well wishes. And for putting up with the hoopla if you are a diehard Packers’ fan. (luv ya Rob)

A Longest Day

Sunday. Some things to cook.
We’ll wait for the game to begin.
Today a snowfall and weather reports.
I think I’ll knit one more hat!
The act of knitting reduces anxiety.


Laura Bakes Barefoot Contessa’s Vegetable Tian

Steve and I went to Laura’s this evening. She baked a vegetable Tian  (click here for Ina Garten’s recipe)t was delicious on a cold winter night. I lay on Laura’s couch under an afghan my Grandmother Hendricks knit .

Baked Vegtable Tian


A Bowl of Minestrone

A chill in the air, the leaves start to turn. October 4th is a good day.  My DIL was born.  She would rather eat a bowl of soup than a piece of cake. Happy Birthday Erika !  I watched  my friend Roberta make this pot of minestrone Friday night. Fragrant, nourishing, delicious. We all ate a bowl and had some Hearth Bread from Whole Foods and it was a great kickoff for the beginning of soup season.   I photographed it on my kitchen table in one of my mother’s bowls. The recipe is from The Best Recipe Cookbook by the editors of COOK’S ILLUSTRATED.  Follow the recipe to the letter and you will be surprised. It is a different method and has no garlic unless you add it in the pesto or Rosemary mixture at the end. The key to the recipe success is the real Parmesan Cheese Rind.

Feeds the soul, not just the stomach.

To DIL- Happy Birthday Erika. Soup Season has Begun! I will make some when I visit. Love you, MIL

2 small leek washed thoroughly, white and light green sliced thin crosswise

2 medium carrots peeled and cut small dice

2 small onions peeled and small dice

2 medium celery stalks trimmed and cut small dice

1 medium russet potato peeled and medium dice

1 medium zucchini trimmed and medium dice

3 c stemmed spinach leaves cut in thin strips

1 can (28 oz)  whole tomatoes packed in juice, drained and chopped

1 Parmesan cheese rind about 5×2 inches

1 can cannellini beans drained and rinsed, added last 5 minutes

ground black pepper

at end add 1/4 c basil pesto or 1 T rosemary mixed with 1 teaspoon minced garlic and extra- virgin olive oil

Bring vegetables tomatoes and 8 cups of water, cheese rind and 1 teaspoon of salt to a boil in a big soup kettle or pot.

Reduce hear to medium low simmer uncovered, stir occasionally,until vegetables are tender but still hold their shape about an hour.

Add beans and cook just until heated through about 5 minutes.  Remove pot from heat.

Remove and discard cheese rind. Stir in pesto or Rosemary mixture if desired and adjust seasonings adding pepper or more salt if necessary. Ladle into bowls and serve immediately.

If you want to add pasta be sure to cook separately, drain and put in soup bowl, then ladle soup over it so it doesn’t suck up all the broth.


Alvin and the Chipmunks Cake- Michael is FIVE

Laura just texted a photo of the cake. Then we were on the phone. James was taking pictures with his new camera so I asked him to send an image via email.  I bagged the scheduled post. So today features the combined creative efforts of guest blogger/photographer James Weaver – & the birthday cake Aunt Lala created for Michael Joseph who is five today. Happy Birthday Michael!

First time La has attempted the buttercream transfer process She says it is harder than it looks!

Frosting recipe-  3 sticks of butter, 8 cups of Confectioner’s sugar, some Wilton foodcolor, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 3 Tablespoons of milk.

For information on Alvin and the Chipmunks click here

Buttercream Transfer Process

Happy 5th Birthday Michael!!


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