Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Question: What would Xmas be without a pine tree and snow?

Answer: Just another day in Florida

In Florida, where every day is pretty much like the day before, I lose my bearings. I become ungrounded when Sunday and Wednesday are interchangeable. Tennis and relaxation only go so far. I miss Colorado where it is 32 degrees and snowy today. So I make the best of it. I make sugar cookie snowmen because today is Tuesday and Grandma's sugar cookies is this week's Tuesdays With Dorie recipe. The dough spends a lot of time in the frig because the outside temperature is about 82 degrees. Only crazy people bake after 10 am. My cookies are patiently waiting to be decorated & hope that they don't end up looking like a chicken with buttons, like their buddy in the photo above. Not to worry fellas !

Notes: Some of the cookies are sugar cookies & some are linzer cookies - last week's recipe. They are more or less anatomically correct for tonight's ladies' only party. Did I mention that I used gel colors straight from the tube for the trim? See how our hostess has green teeth to match her outfit? Very chic.


Monday, December 8, 2008



Having a full cheese drawer comforts me. Parmesan of course, but versatile goat cheese (omelets, salads, appetizers) plus some stilton with apricots (great contrast against the bite of arugula), maybe a little queso (quesadillas & dip) and let's not forget figs and prosciutto on the side. My favorite goat cheese: Haystack Mtn. Peak, from a Boulder County (Colorado) dairy.

Having a Costco or Whole Foods nearby helps feed my habit. I just stocked up on a bid wedge of gorgonzola, some Rosy Goat cheese from Spain with a rosemary rind plus fresh mozzarella. I'm spending less on wine given the economy but I haven't given up my cheese habit. What about you? Show me your frig !

AND NOW THE MORAL PART: We spent over 4 hours today at a hearing protesting a tax bill. Incredibly, we reached a compromise that will save us $. Was it worth our time today plus all the prep time, the $15 protest fee, the parking tab, the 2 Starbucks we had while waiting and the sweater I bought while we had coffee? No. But it was a moral victory.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


What do Linzer Sables and squash have in common you might ask. Squash makes a perfectly good substitute for a rolling pin. I am all about making substitutions while I am in Florida. Substitutions may not be allowed when ordering the early bird special, but they are allowed by the Tuesdays with Dorie bakers. One of the fun things about this group is sharing ideas and comments about the weekly recipe without straying too far. I have strayed across the country from Colorado to Florida and cooking down here is very different, nothwithstanding my lack of cooking equipment.

This week's recipe is Linzer Sables and I have baked my cookies on time. I've substituted pecans for almonds (having failed at last week's pie, I've got lots of pecans to use)and my food processor does not know the meaning of the word "fine." The cookies are not quite Linzers and not quite pecan sandies. But they are good.

My dough needs to be kept really cold in order to roll it successfully. Even so it is kind of sticky. A glass makes a fine cookie cutter and that squash comes in handy. My finger makes a hole in the middle of every other cookie so my rasberry jam can poke through. I only bake my cookies for 8 minutes. Maybe my new stove is off - things seem to cook faster than I expect. My turkey was done in a record 3 hours.
Next week's recipe is sugar cookies and Rick will finally be happy that I joined this group. Besides ice cream, sugar cookies are his favorite dessert. I guess I will need a rolling pin since the squash is on tonight's menu.

List of things to buy: rolling pin, oven thermometer, shaker for powdered sugar, almonds. Plus wine. In Florida, they whine alot.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Thanksgiving is the only day of the year when I eat 4,000 calories at one meal. I don't eat anywhere near that number of calories even when I bake the recipe of the week for Tuesdays with Dorie. Not even if the recipe is Thanksgiving TwoFer Pie, a layered pie that is creamy pumpkin pie on the bottom and sweet/crunchy pecan pie on the top. Not even if I lick the bowl.

I prepared to tackle the TwoFer Pie with my new stove and an apron that belonged to my grandmother. I started by emptying my mom's cabinets of baking supplies since she has given up baking. Her record was about 10 banana breads in one week and her fame was such that neighbors left their old bananas on her door step. I fill bags with pans, cookie sheets, flour, sugar, vanilla, nuts, Pam and oil. In exchange, I organize her cabinets. I also scrub the pantry after a container of Hershey's powdered chocolate spills downward through her wire shelves. But what I don't have is shortening, which is not a real food anyway. Shortening helps make a crust flaky & tender when combined with butter. I decide to substitute oil and hope for the best. But what is that yucky taste? The raw dough tastes awful & reminds me that, as a kid, I drank some cooking oil in a brown bottle assuming it was apple juice. (To this day I hate apple juice.)

Maybe Mom has done it to me again. The crust may bake up fine but the oil could be past its prime, like me. How long do food products last in the Florida heat? My logic tells me that expiration dates in hot Florida and cold Colorado should not be the same, but I will write to "Ask Marilyn," for confirmation because she is an actual mensa member who answers readers' questions in her syndicated column. I'll also ask my sister because she graduated Phi Beta Kappa in math from Cornell and our mom once told me that her I.Q. is higher than mine. I am not sure I would have let my sister borrow my clothes had I known this fact.

On the other hand, longevity runs in our family and when we are 94, Iris and I will be even because she sends me great birthday gifts. I forsee a future where we play bridge and double date. This is because about the time other folks start drooling on themselves, the women in my family start dating again. Grandma and Mom were both 86 when they met a new feller. I guess nothing beats having a guy pull out your chair at the early bird dinner. But I digress.

The plan for Thanksgiving is that I will cook the food and take it to my mom's for dinner. We are 3 couples. Mom and her beau, my uncle and his fiance, and us. It's a pretty traditional menu with an emphasis on low fat (mashed potatoes with chicken broth and a bit of sour cream are awesome). But the guests are uncertain about two of my dishes. Mom thinks the sauteed green beans with shallots, garlic and toasted almonds aren't done. She suggests the oven roasted sweet potatoes need more cooking as well. I explain that mushy vegetables are out except at Denny's or Country Buffet. She accepts this explanation but pretty much sticks to mashed potatoes, peas and stuffing. For dessert, we have pie from the store as I have given up on TwoFer Pie.

It has been hard to bake with the TWD group while in Florida. Heat and lack of cooking equipment have been major set backs. My new oven has arrived and I will buy some shortening. I've missed the TwoFer Pie but I have plenty of pecans in the pantry. I shall commit myself to baking the next recipe: Linzer Sables, a jam-filled almond cookie that sounds delish. Except that mine will be more like pecan sandies.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


It is about time I do some baking, but I don't even have a hand mixer, let alone sugar, spice and everything nice. Or flour for that matter. That's what happens when you travel. So here's a poem in recognition of the word part of my blog. With any luck, I'll be baking with my mom this week. She is the banana bread queen of Wynmoor, Florida.


Mommy sits at my breakfast bar
I see her reflection in the shiny black granite
That covers my new kitchen cabinets
She is small but her back is straight
She eats her food one bite at a time
The granite mommy does the same

I watch her as she gracefully eats
The good food we have prepared
There are fresh vegetables and
Little bowties like my father once wore
My heart is full of love and yearning
I want to take care of her forever

Stay here, I plead to the mommies
Who shake their heads in unison
Affirming their independence
Much the same as I once did

Monday, October 13, 2008


Every October, Boulder artists open their studios to the public. This self-guided tour lasts two weekends, but it was 3 pm on the final day when I joined the parade of people looking for yellow "open studio" signs. And oh, the studios and secret gardens I saw!

Behind one small house, I found painter Elizabeth Black in a trailer. The stone path to her studio opened to a huge garden & grape arbor as well as a Christmas tree orchard. I could buy her art or a jar of her honey (take a jar & leave your money in the box). What a delight to find this magical garden in the middle of town.

The light rain didn't deter me or anyone else for that matter. It was hard to park and the small studios were crowded. But, people were enjoying the day and buying handcrafted items fresh off the shelf. It was a wonderful distraction from the bad economic news.

Artist Linda Faul, one half of the spagetti sisters, lives on a mountain top just outside of town. Linda paints landscapes and buffaloes (Univ. of Colorado mascot) and she's been commissioned to paint the holiday star that shines over Boulder each winter. I buy a small painting to go with the eggplant parmesan that she is serving at her open house. Linda and her sister Claudia come from a big Italian family and their recipes have been handed down from parents and grandparents. Linda's kitchen is filled with comfort food, family and friends. When she calls "mangia," I obediently eat two plates of eggplant parmesan.

This is like the food I ate growing up in N.Y., not far from the town where Linda & Claudia lived. Our neighborhoods were filled with 2nd generation Italians and Jews, and the Nanas and Bubbes still cooked for their families. My grandma would arrive with jars of stuffed cabbage & borscht and squares of rice pudding that my dad pretended to like. For me and my sister, there were treats like rugelach, Barton's chocolates and apple pie-cake.

My sister, Iris, is amazed that I remember the name of my grandparents' apartment building (the Mira Mar) in Brighton Beach. She finds a picture in the Brooklyn Library archives. The building, adjacent to the wide boardwalk that leads to Coney Island, had two small shops where my dad bought us Italian ices and steaming hot knishes: potato, kasha and his favorite, cherry cheese, wrapped in white paper. They were almost too hot to hold and when you did take a bite, the flaky strudel-like outside broke apart releasing a sweet or savory filling that I haven't tasted in 40 years. No wonder I remember the building so well.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Heads Up !

I want to thank Allison Marshall for her creativity and the time she spent designing a new header for my blog. She's done beautiful headers for other bakers and I am pleased to pass her name on to you. Her website is: allisonjstudios.webs.com


Two Boulder chefs will compete on this season's Top Chef. But, they are not only from the same town, they handle kitchen duties at restaurants owned by the same chef & restauranteur, Dave Query. So if you are in Boulder, Colorado, check out Hosea Rosenberg' fare at Jax, a too-noisy seafood place on west Pearl. Nevermind that your table abuts that of other diners - take a look at what they're eating for an idea about what to order. On the same block, Melissa Harrison is sous chef at Centro Latin Kitchen. Get a table on the bustling outdoor patio.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


It is pretty clear from advance posts that making caramel is risky business. Your sugar mixture cooks longer than the suggested time, fails to turn deep amber, and so you give it a quick stir. Instantly, you turn to stone. But didn't Dorie warn against stirring in her recipe for Caramel-Peanut Topped Brownie Cake?

Sure she did, but part of the fun of baking with Dorie is experimenting with her recipes. Like the blogger who made a white chocolate brownie cake or the baker who topped her cake with pecans.

My cake, baked in an 8" square pan (Dorie suggests 8" springform), came out dry, especially around the edges. It caved in the middle, but Dorie warned about that. I baked it for 40 min (Dorie suggests 40-45). I cut all the edges off & decided to make 4 individual cakes. That left lots of trim for tasting - not that I wanted more after the first few bites. The cake is only mildly chocolately. There are much better cakes out there and I decide not to bother with the caramel topping given the mixed reviews on this cake from other bakers. (For a good chocolate cake see my post from September 19, 2008: "Talk Like a Pirate Day.")

What could I do with my mini cakes? I checked Dorie's book for inspiration - no help there. But I recently bought a book for $9.99: "The Essential Dessert Cookbook" from Murdoch Books (no author credited). Great recipes, gorgeous pics, and chapters on pies & tarts, ice cream, fruit & baked desserts like creme brulee. The instructions, tips & photos make this book a real steal, particularly because there are 4 pages devoted to caramel including decorations like spun toffee. I could tackle caramel with this book as a guide and so can you. But what about the organic raspberries I just bought at Whole Foods for $3.00? Do they really go with caramel?

Wouldn't it be better to fill my little cakes with raspberries and frost them with chocolate mousse? Like so:

My dessert cookbook has a beautiful picture of Hazelnut Roll with Rasberry Cream. The filling is simple to make:

Whip 1 cup of whipping cream until stiff (it helps if your bowl and beaters are cold)
Set aside half of the whipped cream.
Fold the following into one half of the whipped cream:
8 mashed fresh berries, 1 T of sugar & 1/2 tsp vanilla

Make chocolate mousse using the remaining whipped cream:
Melt together: 2/3 C of semi-sweet chocolate and 1 T of unsalted butter
Stir 2 heaping T of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture to lighten it up
Let it cool for about 10 min, then fold in the remaining whipped cream


Tip: keep the filled cakes and the whipped cream in the frig as you make this recipe, so they hold their shape.


Tuesday, September 30, 2008


This weekend, Dorie and I visited my sister in Chicago. I got an aisle seat but Dorie traveled in baggage with tomatoes, chard, basil and arugula from my garden. Adding more weight were a super-sized zucchini and my Dimply Plum Cake. The plan: 1) I'd cook a fabulous dinner for my sister & her husband, 2) we'd eat the DP Cake, and 3) we'd bake a TWD recipe together.

We did all the fun things sisters do. We had morning coffee with pumpkin bread, took a bike ride, shopped at Nordstrom's Rack, had pedicures at a fancy salon (the best foot massage I've ever had), walked & talked. We took a mini-tour of downtown Chicago on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon & checked out niece Emily's apartment with views of the city & nephew Mike's (& Steph's) cool loft-style space in a converted pencil factory.

We did our share of eating, including dinner at Cafe Ba Ba Reeba http://www.cafebabareeba.com/), a bustling paella - tapas bistro in downtown Chicago. Great service - our waitress was attentive & other servers hovered about our table bringing endless tapas & signature dishes of chicken paella plus calderos, a rustic soup-like stew of rice & mushrooms.

Did I eat too much? Sure. This was a two-handed dining experience. White sangria in one hand and tapas in the other. Tapas of note: calamari, riojo short ribs, eggplant with goat cheese. I did not think I could eat another bite, but a real baker wouldn't pass up a slice of birthday cake from Dinkel's. Dinkels has been a Chicago institution since 1922 & is still run by the same family (with computers now). This was a deep dark chocolate experience with alternating layers of chocolate cake, thick fudge and whipped cream with strawberries.

This being Chicago, we watched sports with my brother-in-law. But, what were they thinking when they built that saucer-like stadium inside Soldiers' Field? We also watched the 1st Presidential debate, candidate interviews (real and fake), and all the bad news on the financial crisis. When the news became too depressing, we made apple cake and rugelach.

Rugelach (p.150) is a family tradition. My grandmother made hers with yeast dough & apricot filling. Dorie's cookies are smaller so you can eat more and equally tasty. We made a double recipe and 2 kinds of fillings: a) chocolate/walnut/rasberry jam filling, and b) chocolate/gourmet nut-fruit mix/apricot jam filling. I was surprised that we all preferred the apricot version. Seems that Grandma had it right all along!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


My 1st blog award !

The bakers at TWD have decreed that it is time to bake Dimply Plum Cake. It would be poetic justice if the cake with the worst name in the cookbook received high praise. But, no. Bad things happen to good people. Bad names beget bad cakes. There are dimply thigh jokes & bad reviews of this cake. When Tuesday arrives, I make sushi and post a picture of Nancy's cake. Nancy at Dogs Eat The Crumbs loves this cake. She made 2 cakes (peach and plum) and I figure that she is my surrogate baker.

But Nancy encourages me to bake this cake. Because she has given me a blog award, I cannot let her down. I will bake the cake making a few changes suggested by other bakers. I will bake it an extra 10 minutes, use cinnamon instead of cardamon, add 1/2 tsp almond extract and use white & wheat flours. I also add 1/2 C of ground almonds and 3 T of fresh OJ. The batter tastes soooo good. I have no idea about the cake itself. I'm flying to Chicago tomorrow for my sister's birthday. She has a new coffee maker and I'm bringing the coffee cake & the same birthday card we have exchanged for years.

In her book, Dorie says the cake is best eaten the day it is made, that the texture changes on day 2, but it becomes moist again on day 3. I'm shooting for day 3.

Hot out of the oven

50 minutes earlier

60 minutes earlier

An extra 10 minutes to clean the pantry !


Tuesday, September 23, 2008


That's not me in the photo - I am taking pictures

There are plenty of foods that do not require use of a fork. Like apples, bananas, corn-on-the-cob, Dimply Plum Cake*, egg salad sandwiches, figs and granola bars. But my favorite no-fork food is SUSHI. Forget about California roll, I like my sushi in hand rolls and snake-like formations with soft shell crab, salmon roe, avocado, designer sauces & cool names like Sex on the Moon.

*Dimply plum cake is this week's pick from the bakers at Tuesdays with Dorie. As a member of the group, I am required to write a post about this cake TODAY. I believe I have done so in spirit if not exactly in deed.

Sushi (like Dimply Plum Cake) is best eaten the day it is made. It's also pretty pricey. This is a good good reason to take a sushi class. There's one tonight and it is only $20. It is offered by Sunflower Market, but the instructor is a sushi chef at Whole Foods (!!!). He is funny & very good. My sushi also turns out funny and good.

We start with a practice roll of rice, avocado and veggies. The technique is to:

1) Cover a sheet of nori (sea weed) with a thin layer of sticky rice,
2) Sprinkle the rice side with sesame seeds and turn it over,
3. Put a row of rice lengthwise down the middle of the "blank" side,
4) Put strips of avocado, cucumber & carrot on either side of the rice,
5) Roll up lengthwise and cut into 8 pieces.

Sticky rice: Cook 2 cups of regular or brown rice with 2 cups of water. Let rice/water sit for 20 minutes before cooking it. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover & simmer for 10 min. Turn off heat & steam for 20 min. Place rice in a large bowl & sprinkle with 1/4 C of rice vinegar & 1 tsp salt, mixing lightly with wood spoon (not metal). Optional: dissolve 2 T sugar in the vinegar.

Good luck getting a nice tight roll. Even if you do, the avocado will probably slip out when you cut it crosswise into pieces.

Having mastered the not-so-tight roll, we move on to the good stuff: eel, tuna, salmon & crab. I am making a basic spicy tuna/avocado roll when I see that one student has gone creative. He made a handroll with the assistant chef and they are working on a roll with salmon & avocado on the outside. With help from the assistant, I make a decent rainbow roll, too. We finish it off with a squiggle of teryaki sauce & some sesame seeds. Turns out, she has only been making sushi for a few months. She's new to Colorado and worried about driving in the snow. I try to reassure her that it can't be worse than driving in Minnesota where she used to live. But then again, there are no mountains in Minni.

Handrolls may look easy but avocado comes shooting out of my roll. The chef kindly comments that the winter avocado we are using is not nearly as good or cooperative as the summer kind.

My sushi is almost finished

Chopsticks, anyone?


Two polar bears are sitting in a bathtub. The first one says, "Pass the soap." The second one says, "No soap, radio!"

Two elephants are sitting in the bathtub. One elephant says to the other, "Please pass the soap." The elephant replies to the other elephant, "What do I look like, a radio?"

No soap radio at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_soap_radio


Cake by Nancy at Dogs Eat The Crumbs

Friday, September 19, 2008


Today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. The holiday was conceived by two Oregonians, John Baur (Ol' Chumbucket) and Mark Summers (Cap'n Slappy), who in 1995 proclaimed that Sept. 19 would be celebrated with outbursts of "Arrrg" and "Avast!" Last year, as I surfed the net for food blogs, I ran across Talk Like a Pirate Day. That makes today my one year anniversary as far as pirate day goes. So in honor of pirates and the wenches who love them, I will either buy a t-shirt at http://www.talklikeapirate.com/ or finish off the devilishly good chocolate cake I made yesterday.


3 oz good chocolate chopped (I also added 1 oz. semisweet chocolate)
1.5 C brewed hot black coffee
3 C sugar
1.5 C flour
1.5 C cocoa powder (not Dutch)
2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking pwdr
1 1/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
3/4 vegetable oil
1.5 C buttermilk
3/4 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 300, grease two 10" pans lined with wax paper or parchment.
Combine chocolate & coffee, mix until melted & smooth.
Sift together: flour, sugar, cocoa, bsoda, bpwdr, salt.
In mixer, beat eggs til thick & lemon color (3 min), then slowly add buttermilk, oil & vanilla, beating until well combined. Add chocolate mixture & combine well.

Add dry ingredient mixture & beat on medium just enough to combine well.
Pour into prepared 10" pans. (If using 9" pans, do not use all the batter. Also bake 3-4 cupcakes)
Bake approx. 1 hr at 300 degrees.

When cool, remove from pans & frost with chocolate ganache or buttercream frosting. This is a rich fudgy cake. I served one layer - with ice cream. I froze the other layer, unfrosted, tightly wrapped. To defrost, remove from freezer, do not unwrap, let thaw.

But if you don't want to bake a cake from scratch, take a look at this Betty Crocker video that shows exactly how to make a pirate cake using packaged cake mix & canned frosting. It's enough to make you say Arrgh!!


Of course, if a real pirate, like Captain Ron, is coming to dinner, you'll walk the plank if you don't serve rum cake. Dark rum is said to be best. But, it is a good idea for the cook to try several kinds of rum before baking. Use the rum that gives the best buzz. That is either the best rum in the group, or the last rum you drank.


1 c. chopped pecans or walnuts
1 pkg. (2 layer size) yellow cake mix
1 pkg. (4 serving size) Jello brand vanilla flavor instant pudding & pie filling
4 eggs
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. oil
1 cup sugar (for glaze)
1/2 c. Bacardi dark rum (80 proof)

Or use pudding included yellow cake mix; decrease water to 1/4 cup.
Sprinkle nuts evenly in bottom of 10 inch tube or fluted tube pan that has been greased and floured or sprayed with Pam pure vegetable cooking spray. Combine remaining ingredients in large mixer bowl. Blend, then beat at medium speed for 4 minutes. Pour into pan. Bake at 325 degrees for about 1 hour or until cake begins to pull away from sides of pan. DO NOT UNDERBAKE. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Prepare glaze. Invert cake onto serving plate. Prick with cake tester or wooden pick. Carefully spoon warm glaze over warm cake.


Combine in saucepan:

1/2 c. butter
1/4 c. water
1 cup sugar

Stir until mixture comes to a boil; boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in 1/2 cup rum; bring just to boil.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


SPRUCE CONFECTIONS 9th and Pearl St, Boulder
What a gorgeous day for a latte with a peach scone. Spruce Confections is a charming little store front with outside seating. Whatever you don't eat, you can give to the birds that hop around at your feet, hoping for your crumbs. Of course, the dog wants his bite, too. So I guard the peach treat knowing his propensity for devouring entire peach pies. He gets a homemade biscuit from the jar at the register. This is a lovely morning & the temperature promises to rise above 80 degrees.
It is a morning worth remembering so I will post it.

Dogs who like peach scones and pies also like the following:

Mix together 3 1/2 cup unbleached flour, 2 cup whole wheat flour, 1 cup cornmeal, 1/2 cup skim milk powder, 1 tablespoon (1 package) dry yeast, 3 1/2 cups lukewarm chicken or meat broth. Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm chicken or meat broth. The richer this broth is, the better your dog will like the biscuits. Let yeast broth mixture set 10 min. Then stir in flour mixture. Roll resulting dough out 1/4" thick. Cut dog biscuit shapes from dough. Brush biscuits with egg wash. Bake on greased cookie sheets at 300* for 45 min. Then turn off oven and leave in overnight to finish hardening. Makes 60 medium-sized biscuits. Recipe from a newsgroup post by: Jill Faerber

Friday, September 12, 2008


Everything is coming up tomatoes....and squash. So what's a girl to do but make soup, of course. The best soups are the simple ones, full of fresh flavor from the garden vegetables. Go wild with the garnishes if you must. For tomato soup, I carmelized a chopped onion & 2 shallots in olive oil, added about 15-20 assorted tomatoes cut in 1/2 (seeds and all). I cooked that down for over an hour on low heat, covered. For flavor, I added some fresh basil and cilantro as well as 4 large garlic cloves, peeled. Once the tomatoes were tender and very soft, I removed the skins by pushing the mixture through a colander into another pot. I then added 1/2 cup of half & half, one T of sugar, a pinch of thyme, a handful of shredded fresh basil, and S & P to taste. I cooked this for about 15 minutes to meld the flavors. A dollop of sour cream and some shaved parmesan reggiano cheese was all I wanted, but I served bowls of Jasmine rice, pine nuts, pecans, shredded basil, and cilantro to round out the topping bar. My version was inspired by a recipe in Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, by Deborah Madison. Her Summer Tomato Soup is on p.216:
Melt 3 T butter in a soup pot over low heat;
Add 1 C of diced shallots and cook for about 10 minutes;
Add 5 Lbs juicy tomatoes cut in big pieces;
Add 1 tsp salt and 1/2 C water to pot;
Cover & cook for 3-4 hrs. Strain, add S&P to taste, serve.
Deborah suggests a splash of lime juice & diced avocado.
I'd add shredded cheese, cilantro & sour cream & serve with
fresh tortillas heated 'til slightly crispy in a buttered fry pan.

But what's soup without a samidge? We're hooked on BLTs, although my personal choice would be a BCT. I love the way the cheese oozes out when the sandwich is perfectly grilled. The browned butter in my pan adds a nutty taste and the toasty bread crunches when I take a bite. This is a sandwich with a lot of bang for your buck. Its chewy texture gives me a mouthful of cheesy/salty goodness that sticks to my teeth and keeps the flavor going long after each bite.

And speaking of toast, we watched an old episode of Two & Half Men last night. Jake, precocious kid that he is, came up with the perfect crime. Death by toast. You just eat the evidence.

Squash soup with the fixin's.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


I planned to skip this week's recipe for health reasons. Chocolate Whopper cookies call for 2 cups of Whoppers, 1/2 bag of chocolate chunks/chips plus a cup of malted milk powder or Ovaltine. That's pretty high on the sugar scale. The other problem is that whoppers make me sick. A lot of people feel the same about whoppers. It is probably because you can't eat just one.

I've been on road trips with a carton of whoppers at my side. The kind of whoppers that come in a milk carton sort of box. A thin chocolate coating that probably isn't real chocolate at all. An hour into the trip, I have that yucky feeling that comes with too many whoppers.

But just in case, I buy some whoppers in bulk at Sunflower Market, which is next to McGuckin Hardware. McGuckins is a Boulder institution. There are smiling men & women at every turn and they all want to help you. "Nuts and bolts" is such a friendly aisle that I share my whoppers with staff & shoppers alike. We are having a grand old time until someone points out that eating too many makes you sick. This pretty much kills the party in aisle 7.

On the way home, I buy more whoppers. I buy chocolate ones & yogurt-covered ones. The latter are white and may not be real whoppers anymore than white chocolate is real chocolate. Nevertheless, I used them both in my cookies with good results. The only other change I make is to use Nesquik, as suggested by some TWD bakers, instead of malted milk powder. (My research on the net fails to come up with a healthy alternative.)

This is my second Tuesday baking with Dorie and I've enjoyed eating the results. I'm not sure what's next, but I hope it involves zucchini. My garden is full of them.