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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

See the bumper crop of wild garlic/onions Connie picked from our yard?  That's only a small fraction of the wild stuff  growing wild around our place.  Once again, we made bottles of Chef Daniel Orr's wild garlic vinegar.  That stuff is seriously good!  My friend Eliot from Eliot's Eats has been enjoying a bumper crop of wild garlic/onions too.  Look at all of these yummies!  Pickled wild onions with honey and rosemary.  Tempura fried wild onions with romesco sauce.  Wild onion baked omelet.  I'm not sure where to start with these but am thinking the pickled wild onions may be the first step.

Wild Garlic Vinegar


1 qt white vinegar

1/4 c sugar

2 t salt

15 black peppercorns

2 bay leaves

1 tsp red pepper flakes

10 wild garlic plants, washed

Stuff a sanitized bottle with the wild garlic/onions and the seasonings.

Boil the vinegar, sugar and salt. When it's cooled a bit, add it to the other ingredients. You'll want to use a sanitized stoppered bottle. Make sure you use the stems and bulbs of the garlic and cover all the ingredients with vinegar. I used a bit less vinegar but the same amount of seasonings.

adapted from FARM Bloomington by Chef Daniel Orr

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Grady's Deli

I wonder how many of us have an undiscovered gem of a deli close to home?  We certainly did.  For the last four years I've driven by Grady's Deli once or twice a week.  It's in an old Arby's and the sign outside says they have great soups.  Did I ever stop in?  Nope. 

It was time to take a friend to lunch and I wanted to go someplace new.  Connie and I brainstormed and had a list of several options.  Grady's won. 

We took a look at the menu and weren't too certain.  And, it's not fast food.  Far from it.  Grady makes all the sandwiches himself.  He also makes the soups and the sauces and the potato chips.  And, it is worth every minute of waiting. 

All three of us loved our meals.  I got the half barbecue beef and soup - which was an amazing corn and shrimp chowder.  Connie got the half Grady's special and the roasted tomato bisque.  Nancy got the turkey.  We all split an order of the housemade chips.

Then, on the way back to the office today from an appointment with my friend and colleague, Patti, I suggested that we stop for lunch.  I told her it's the kind of place where you take a bite and say, "Mmmmmmm."  About halfway through her broccoli cheddar soup and half cajun turkey sandwich she laughed and said, "It certainly is the kind of place you take a bite and say MMMMMM!"  We split an order of the chips.  They come with a sauce that's just a bit spicy.  It's perfect for chips!

This time I got the half Grady's special and the broccoli cheddar soup.  I brought Connie the same and got to listen to him going MMMMM through the sliding window that separates our office.

Here's what my lunch looked like:

If you're in the Indianapolis area, I hope you'll visit Grady's.  These are really good folks who make one heckuva sandwich!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Hot Fiesta Dip

It's Secret Recipe Club time again :-)  This month I got SteakNPotatoesKindaGurl.  I knew from the title of her blog that she was my kind of person!  Steak rules!!!  Desi is one busy lady.  She's engaged to be married, just bought her first house AND is working on her masters in psychology.  Plus, she writes a very engaging blog.  I looked at a ton of recipes I wanted to try and finally settled on the Hot Fiesta Dip. 

Since the start of tax season we've barely been home to eat.  This past week we actually ate at home three nights because we had company.  Ah, a perfect excuse to fix an appetizer that we'd otherwise not fix for ourselves.  I'd gone back and read this recipe several times and loved the fact that it sounded super easy and could be made with pantry ingredients.  Perfect for last minute company.  So, I decided to try it out on our not-last-minute company.

What did we think?  I thought there'd be leftovers for the next evening.  I thought wrong.  Everyone inhaled this.  Now, here's the admission.  The family room computer still was dead.  The one in the kitchen wasn't happy.  And, I didn't want to leave our friends who we'd not seen in about four years and run upstairs to turn on the computer, log onto the office, find the email from Angela with Desi's url, go to Desi's site and print the recipe.  Nope, I could remember it just fine.  Uh huh.  I know what you're thinking.  Did it have more than three ingredients?  Then, why in the world would you ever think you could remember it, Kate.  I know. I know.  It wasn't exact.  But, it was close enough for us to know that we'll make this again and again.

Now, if you're new to the whole Secret Recipe Club deal, here's how it works.  About a year ago, SRC was born.  The idea was that you'd be assigned a blog and you needed to blog about a recipe from that same blog.  Kind of a secret pal for recipe bloggers.  SRC has grown exponentially.  I think if they had double the number of participants they'd still have a waiting list.  And, no wonder.  You meet the greatest folks.  And, some of the best cooks around.  The best part for everyone is that Amanda has all of the links on SRC's website.  You can search fantastic recipes to your heart's content.

So, without further ado, here's the recipe the way I made it.  Thank you so much Desi!

Amanda's Hot Fiesta Dip


1 14 oz can refried beans
fill the can with salsa or picante sauce
10 oz whole kernel corn
2 T chopped green onions
1 4 oz can chopped green chilies
1/2 t chipolte chile powder
2 c shredded cheddar or mexican cheese


Mix the first six ingredients together and pour into an ovenproof baking dish.  Sprinkle the cheese on top.  Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes or until the dip is bubbling.  Serve with chips.  We used Tostito's Baked Scoops and they were perfect.

adapted from SteakNPotatoesKindaGurl

Sunday, April 22, 2012


Three new restaurants in three days.  Company visiting for four days.  Tax day with the last contribution to a SIMPLE for about 10 employees arriving about 10 minutes before the cutoff time.  Perfect spring weather then a freeze warning.  A new computer for the family room that's almost ready to go.  A conference table computer that's on its way out.  All in all, it made for a wild week!

Saturday, as you'll recall, our dear friends Mary and Fred arrived for a visit.  Their daughter, Julie, was going to be in town to attend a conference and she was going to bring their grandson, Keaton.  You heard about Saturday evening's meal with Giada's asparagus soup.  We tried another new recipe that evening but I found it fussy to make and not my favorite way to eat asparagus so I'll not post it...

Sunday, we were lazy bums.  The intent was to get up in time to go have breakfast before they headed to the airport at 10:30 to pick up Julie and Keaton.  Not happening.  Connie and I headed to the office and they were off to the airport by the time we all got up and showered and turned into humans.  Connie needs coffee in the morning.  Just saying. 

That evening, dinner was at our house for the whole crew.  I'm totally crazy about my grandkids but have never been all that fond of other kids.  Never wanted any of my own and am so glad I didn't have any!  So, spending a bunch of time around Keaton wasn't something I was looking forward to.  Boy was I wrong.  That kid is one smart young man.  He's got great manners and a wonderful personality.  He and his mom were a total joy and delight to have at our home.  I just wish they lived closer so we could see them more!

(really and truly, Mary smiles a LOT - just not in these photos!)

I used my favorite pork marinade of 1/3 each spiced pear liqueur, brown sugar and Kikkoman teriyaki sauce for pork specials.  Those went with individual sweet potato gratins and Doris's green beans.  Those are the green beans that we had at Doris and Jeffrey's house and I thought about for four days after.  They were spectacular.

Doris' Green Beans


 1 1/2 pounds haricots verts
1 1/2 T olive oil
2 medium red bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1/2" dice
3 T butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 c pine nuts, toasted


Lightly steam the haricot verts. 

You can use any slender green beans.  Take it from the voice of experience here... This doesn't taste nearly as good with big, clunky green beans.  Set the beans aside and prepar the toppinigs.  Saute the red bell peppers in the olive oil in a large skillet. 

When the peppers are just getting tender, add the butter and garlic.  Saute all of that for about a minute, being careful not to burn the garlic.  Finally, add the haricot verts and saute everything until the beans are heated through.  When I served this, I put the cooked beans on the plates then topped them with the pepper mixture followed by the toasted pine nuts.  It allowed for a more even distribution of the topping... 

adapted from Doris McKee, originally from

Dessert was a new recipe.  I"ve talked a lot about what a wonderful baker my friend, Liz, is.  She wrote a post a bit ago about a favorite kidhood dessert she'd been unable to recreate to her satisfaction.  Then, she got a recipe from a friend and viola.  I'm here to tell you that if you love coconut, your eyes will roll back in your head.  I watched everyone else when they took their first bite of these fabulous bars.  Everyone leaned their head back and closed their eyes and went, "MMMMMMM."  This is my new favorite dessert.  And, it's easy.  It doesn't require measuring so many ounces of flour and mixing just until.  No, it prety much requires the dump it in method.  My kind of dessert to make and eat!  Please head over to Liz's blog to see a fantastic photo of these:  ThatSkinnyChickCanBake.

Liz's Mounds Bars


1 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick), melted

1 can (14 ounces) Eagle Brand sweet and condensed milk

7 ounces coconut

6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (I used Ghiradelli bittersweet because I prefer that to semi- sweet)

2 tablespoons butter, cut in pieces

1/2 cup cream


Preheat your oven to 325F.  Mix the graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar and butter.
Pat them in the bottom of an 8x8 cake pan.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Mix the coconut with the condensed milk.  Liz's recipe called for warming the condensed milk.  Due to no available burners on the stove I skipped this step...  Pour this mixture over the baked crust.  Bake for another 15 minutes.  While the bars cool, make the frosting.  Put the chocolate, butter and cream into a microwave safe bowl.  As I noted above, I used bittersweet chocolate not only because I prefer dark bittersweet chocolate to milk or semi-sweet, but because the real Mounds bars are covered with dark chocolate.  Microwave on low in 30 second increments, stirring after each 30 seconds, until the chocolate is melted.  It'll look rather like a mell of a hess once it all melts.  Take the bowl out of the microwave and stir like crazy.  All of the sudden, you'll have this gorgeous ganache.  Pour that over the cooled bars and pop the pan into the refrigerator (if you've got a few hours until you serve them) or into the freezer (if you've only got an hour or so.)  Cut into squares and serve.  (And, hide some for yourself for later because you'll want some so badly!)

adapted from ThatSkinnyChickCanBake - Thank you Liz!

Our adventures will be continued...

Friday, April 20, 2012

Giada's Asparagus Soup

Our friends, Mary and Fred were here for a visit.  Many years ago they came to a financial planning class that I taught.  Over the years we became fast friends.  Then, I met Connie and he enjoyed their company as much as I did.  They did trial runs of a few locations before deciding on a retirement spot in Bellingham, WA.  Over the years we spent a weekend with them in Grand Rapids, MI and a long weekend with them in Queen Creek, AZ (actually a suburb of Phoenix.)  We've not been to their new home in Washington but did visit when they owned a home up in the mountains.  They were the first to know when we got engaged back in December of 2005.  So, we've shared a lot of history.  Needless to say, we miss seeing them!  When they found out that their daughter was going to be attending a conference in Indy and could bring one of their grandsons, they asked if there was room at the inn. Always!

So, Saturday evening they arrived.  I'd planned a hodgepodge of dishes.  No one theme.  Just things that sounded good.  And, without thinking about it, it was virtually vegetarian.

First we had a fantastic appetizer.  You'll have to check back on Monday, April 23 to see that since it's my Secret Recipe Club dish.

Next, we tried our first new recipe from Giada's new cookbook:  Weeknights with Giada.  If everything in the cookbook is as good as this was, it's a total winner.  This was asparagus soup.  The recipe called for basil.  I had tarragon.  So, I substituted.  Basically you cook the asparagus with leeks in chicken broth.  Then you puree it.  Up to that point it's pretty plain pipe-rack asparagus soup.  Then, the difference maker.  You make balls of herbed goat cheese and drop them on top of the soup.  Wow!  The creaminess of the goat cheese just takes the soup to another level.  It's fantastic!

Our entree was eggplant involtini.  This is a go-to dish for Connie and me.  He's been asking for it for a few weeks now.  We typically have it several times over the summer when our eggplant plants are producing like crazy.  Mary and Fred had never had anything other than eggplant parmesan so this was a new concept for them.  As usual, I used Rao's Roasted Eggplant Sauce beneath the involtinis.  It's expensive but worth the splurge a few times a year.  And, if I can find it on sale, I stockpile it!

Last, but not least, another round of my friend Liz's White Chocolate Creme Brulee.  This is what we had on our birthday dinner weekend.  And, it was the first thing Connie requested when I said Mary loves desserts.  It is so easy to put together and looks and tastes so incredible.  Here's the link so you can hop over to Liz's blog and check it out.  She is an amazing cook so I hope you've got some time to explore her blog. 

Giada's Asparagus Soup with Herbed Goat Cheese


2 lbs asparagus, woody ends trimmed, cut into 1" pieces
2 T butter
1 leek, white part only, chopped
basil or tarragon
4 c chicken broth (I used homemade stock)
goat cheese
basil or tarragon


Saute the leek in the butter.  Add the asparagus and chicken broth along with fresh herbs of your choice.  Cook until the asparagus is VERY soft.  While the soup is cooking, you're going to make goat cheese balls to go on top.  Finely mince the fresh herbs you want to use.  I used tarragon instead of the basil the recipe called for but I'd think pretty much any herbs would be good here.  You could even mix it up a bit and add some pepper or other spicy bit.  You'll want about a tablespoon of goat cheese for each serving.  When the soup is ready, puree it either with an immersion blender or a blender - being very careful to vent the lid just a bit to let the steam escape.  Serve hot topped with the dollop of herbed goat cheese.

adapted from Weeknights with Giada

Monday, April 16, 2012

Nacho Normal Hamburgers

Friday evening was burger evening.  We were making cat food and found that the package of hamburger from Sam's has been changed from six pounds to five pounds.  That meant I had to buy another package.  Some of the excess got frozen and a pound of it got turned into burgers.  I hunted through my burger recipes to try and nothing sounded good.  There were some avocados that were perfect so I wanted something that'd go with guacamole.  You see, there was yet another recipe in Entertaining with Booze that I wanted to try:  Ole Mole Guacamole.  Finally, I decided nacho burgers were the way to go.  I was going to have half a can of diced tomatoes from the guacamole anyway.  Into the burgers they went.  Along with about a cup of grated cheddar.  And, a good dash of Worcestershire and Tabasco.  Then, I set about building my nachos.  And, grilling the burgers.

What did we think?  We loved these burgers.  They were nicely charred on the exterior which gave a totally different flavor to the nachos.  They were very flavorful and juicy.  And, the overall dish worked perfectly together.  Why haven't I ever thought of this before???  The tequila was a great touch with the guacamole.  I did kick it up just a bit with some ground chipotle powder. 

Now before I get into the recipe, I've got to show you one of the reasons we love having Annie (aka Hoover) around.  I managed to spill the strainer with the rest of the black beans...  Here's the before and the after:

Nacho Normal Hamburgers
makes three burgers

for the burgers:
1 pound hamburger
1 can diced tomatoes, divided
1 c grated cheddar cheese
Worcestershire sauce

for the guacamole:
3 avocados
2 T gold tequila
1/2 c finely diced red onion
1/4 c chopped cilantro
1/4 c sour cream (their recipe didn't call for this)
chipotle chile powder
1 clove garlic
3 T lime juice

to assemble:
sliced cheddar cheese
black beans
baked Tostitos scoops
picante or salsa
sauteed red onion


For the guacamole, peel, seed and dice the avocados.  Set one aside.  Mash two of them with the sour cream, lime juice and tequila.  Add the diced red onion, half of the tomatoes, cilantro, a dash of Tabasco, chipotle chile powder and garlic.  Mix well.  Gently mix in the third diced avocado.  Set the guacamole aside. 

For the burgers combine the ground beef, the other half of the tomatoes, the cup of grated cheddar cheese, Worcestershire sauce and a good dash of Tabasco.  Heat your grill to very hot and grill the burgers til they're nice and charred on the outside and your preferred temp on the inside.  We like ours medium rare.

To assemble the dish:  Pour about a cup of Scoops into each bowl.  (Use large, wide bowls - like pasta bowls.) 

Sprinkle them liberally with black beans. 

 Top with a burger,

then drizzle liberally with picante sauce or salsa. 

Top the burger with the sauteed onions,

then the guacamole and serve.

guacamole adapted from Entertaining With Booze

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Life is all about balance, isn't it?  Right now I'm up in the sitting room on the alternate computer since the one I normally use is no longer working.  The good news is that with the loads of bedclothes and rugs and regular clothes, we've probably got 10 loads of laundry to do this week.  We've got company coming in next weekend so all of that's got to be done.  The laundry room is next door to the sitting room.  This means I don't have to traipse up and down stairs to change out the laundry.  YAY!  One bonus.  Convenience balances out in-convenience...

It's our busy season and as Connie said today, he doesn't remember a busy season being so busy - ever.  Neither do I.  We both wake up in the morning talking about which dreams we had about the office.  As my buddy Bob from my banking days always said, I can't tell whether I'm pitching or catching!  How true.

So, we've got a house that's a mell of a hess, a to-do list at the office that's huge, plus we've had this lovely early spring and the weeds are just taking over.  Oh, and did I mention that Mom's decided she's going to move from her condo to independent living?  Time to clean out her condo and get it on the market.  She's like us - tons and tons of pictures on the walls.  Most of them need to be taken down and then the walls need to be spackled and sanded and painted.  We've set a date to do that.  She's very upset to be leaving some well-loved things behind.  I think most of us are that way.  I have a lot more clutter than Connie likes and it's not going to get better.  The good news is that we've got the ability to store a lot of things for my niece and nephew.  But, there will be plenty of things that come to my house - her china cabinet and a couple of side tables are the primary big things.  Goodness knows where we'll hang all the pictures!  Two wing chairs will go to the waiting area at the office.  Into all of that, toss in a board meeting in Chicago for a couple of days, a due diligence meeting for a couple of days and a family vacation.  I'm feeling more than a bit overwhelmed.  That's when I'd typically bust out the cookbooks and try a bunch of new recipes because cooking does soothe me when I'm overwhelmed.  But, there's been little time to even do that. 

That's why tonight I made a concerted effort to try something new - banh mi sandwiches.  I first read about them on Sommer's blog - A Spicy Perspective.  Then, I'd catch blurbs here and there.  They sounded great.  Finally, last weekend on our way to our friend Judy's 70th birthday party I saw an article in Indianapolis Monthly about the Super 46 Sandwiches.  We just hosted Super Bowl 46 and one of the things that happened was state-wide voting for the favorite sandwich.  Well, a Banh Mi Thit Nuong from Saigon Restaurant was listed.  Here's the description, "This standout brings together hunks of sweet grilled pork, thinly sliced pickled veggies, daikon, carrots, springs of cilantor and bits of fresh jalapeno that are stuffed inside the bun for the perfect contrast of flavors."  We have a ton of cilantro in the herb garden and I've been itching for something to use it in.  Next, I opened the new Food and Wine.  There was a banh mi sandwich from Luke Nguyen.  I combined ideas from both to make our sandwiches. 

What did we think?  As soon as we were done eating and Connie'd left to go play bridge, I headed to the kitchen and grilled the rest of the pork slices and sliced veggies so we can have these again for lunch tomorrow!  You'd think with all the strong flavors that something would jump out and take over, but nothing did.  Everything played nicely together.  I love the fact that there's very little meat and a lot of fresh veggies.  This will be a regular at our house!

Banh Mi Sandwich
serves 2


8 thin slices pork tenderloin
1/4 c Asian fish sauce
1 T honey
2 T sugar
1 t freshly ground pepper
6 scallions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 long, soft rolls, split
hoisin sauce
Siracha chile sauce
1/3 cucumber, seeded and cut into matchsticks (peel it if you'd like - we didn't)
handful of snack carrots cut into matchsticks
daikon radish, cut into matchsticks
handful of cilantro


In the blender, prepare a marinade with the fish sauce, honey, sugar, scallions, pepper and garlic.  Add the thinly sliced pork and marinate it in the fridge for 2-4 hours.  When you're ready to put the sandwiches together you can either skewer the pork slices and grill them or toss them in a pan and broil them like I did.  The grill will give you all the lovely grill marks and beautiful brown edges - and one less pan to wash, Christiane!  The broiler has the benefit of being VERY quick and you don't have to mess with the skewers.  Now, to assemble the sandwiches, you need to drizzle on the Siracha sauce.  It's hotter than blazes so drizzle accordingly.  I had a few dashes of the stuff on mine.  Connie had a full drizzle on both sides of his sandwich.  Then, you schmear hoisin sauce on.  I decided to schmear only one side of the bread so we wouldn't have too much of one flavor.  Next, lay your pork slices on the bread. 

Top them with your veggies

and finally with a big bunch of cilantro.  Press the sandwich together well and serve. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Penne a la Vodka

My photos are stored on the family room computer at home. That's typically where I sit to do my blogging. I love the sitting room where the other computer lives but it's upstairs so not terribly convenient when I'm running back and forth between the kitchen and the computer. Or, when I want to listen to The Cooking Channel while I work. It's also got a wireless keyboard that's kind of finicky. If it's not pointed in just the right direction you wind up typing a bunch of white space. So, the fact that the family room computer has been on the fritz for two plus weeks has made for some interesting times.

Our computer guru diagnosed a video card. Connie looked up the specs on the computer and took the info to Fry's hoping that they still stocked parts for antiques like ours. The salesclerk found what we needed. Connie took the antique apart and blasted it with compressed air. Did I tell you that the one room in my house that I've dusted in the last six weeks is the dining room? So, guess where he blasted the computer? Uh huh. My formerly clean dining room. Best of all, the new video card didn't fit. So, off he went, back to Fry's and see if by chance they actually had the right card. Nope. So it's time for a new computer. UGH! I guess I shouldn't gripe. This one is probably 8-10 years old so I've gotten some good mileage out of it.

Now, I do back up my photos on the server at the office. But, they're not neatly organized like those at home. At home I download photos to a general directory then make folders and put all of the photos for that dish or activity into the appropriate folder. Then, once I've blogged about it or shared photos with family or friends or decided I'm not going to do either, the folder gets cut and pasted into a final directory like Kate's Cooking or Doing Things Together or Family or Garden. The download program at the office lumps photos into a general directory in date folders. And, to rearrange, I've got to get to a different program then move the photos. It's a major hassle and since everything's already organized at home AND most importantly since I have plenty of REAL work to do at the office, photos and blogging don't normally happen there.

Whew!  That all means that blogging has been a bit challenging lately. That doesn't mean we haven't been eating some fun new food.  One of the cooking magazines we both enjoy thoroughly is Cooks Illustrated.  It's a bit expensive but worth every penny in our book because they tell you why things work the way they work.  Why you should use a water bath when cooking creme brulee.  Why some sugar in a rub is a good thing.  How changing a recipe might make a difference.  The best recent example is the salad with bitter greens and figs.  The article explained how the addition of a sweet fruit softened the bitterness of the greens.  Usually their recipes are spot on.  So, we had high hopes for the penne a la vodka.  Alas, it was jsut a bit above average.  Now, the next day it was much better.  Which leads me to say next time I'll make the sauce the day before it is needed.

Penne a la Vodka


28 oz can whole tomatoes, drained with liquid reserved
2 T olive oil
1/2 small onion, minced
1 T tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes
1/3 c vodka
1/2 c heavy cream
1 pound penne pasta
2 T finely chopped basil leaves
4 oz thinly sliced pancetta
freshly grated parmesan cheese for serving


Puree half the tomatoes and dice the other half.  When you're dicing them, be sure to discard the cores.  Put the tomatoes in a 2 cup measuring cup and add reserved liquid to total 2 cups.   Saute the onions in olive oil until translucent.  Add the tomato paste and cook until the onions are light golden.  Add the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes.  Stir the mixture for about 30 seconds.  Add the tomatoes and the vodka.  Cook the sauce for about 10 minutes.  You want the alcohol bomb flavor to cook off and end up with a nice, mellow alchohol note.  About the time you add the vodka, cook your pasta.  You'll be adding it to the sauce to finish cooking so do not overcook it.  While you're doing that, saute the pancetta in a small skillet until it's nice and brown.  Drain it well on paper towels.  About a minute before the pasta is done, add the cream to the sauce.  Drain the pasta, reserving the pasta water in the event you need it.  Toss the pasta with the sauce.  If it's too thick, add a bit of the pasta water.  Serve topped with the pancetta and freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Non-Diet Birthday

When you're a foodie and on a diet, a birthday is a wonderful thing.  It means a day totally away from ye olde diet.  Boy oh boy was it ever fun!

Breakfast started out with leftovers.  Leftover Eggs Benedict, that is.  The morning before I finally got to meet a wholesaler face-to-face.  He'd been the internal wholesaler for a fund company in Vermont and we'd corresponded via email for years.  Recently, he and his family moved to Cleveland so he could take over this territory.  He was as delightful in person as he'd been via email.  We met at a place called Lincoln Square that's close to the office.  It's got consistently wonderful food.  We both ordered the Eggs Benedict and I took half of mine back to the office intending to give them to Connie.  But, I walked in and he was munching on cereal and yogurt so I got lucky and had leftovers for the next day.

On Friday, once I'd finished my leftovers and printed my calendar and moaned over the plethora of emails sitting in my inbox, I called the crew together for our staff meeting.  Amber showed up with birthday "cake."  It's a yellow cake, cherry pie filling, crushed pineapple and Cool Whip.  And, it is GOOD!!!!  I took some to Mom and she loved it as much as I do.  Jess has requested chocolate cake for her version in May.  Sounds great to me.

Lunch was at Kona Jacks with Mom, brother John, Connie and me.  I had gumbo and a house salad.  These folks have a killer soy ginger dressing that I could just eat plain.  No lettuce necessary, just give me a spoon.  When I get a salad over at their sister restaurant next door (Daddy Jack's) I always ask if they'll get some of the soy ginger dressing from Kona's.  

After lunch we stopped and ordered our mulch.  Connie was looking forward to an evening of yard work.  I was kind of hoping for a leisurely evening.  The weather was looking out for me.  We had severe thunderstorm warnings so had to stay inside.  Darn the luck :-) 

At Kona Jack's fish market, we'd bought two scallops.  All I knew was that I wanted truffled scallops.  And, I just wanted a taste, not a full serving.  Once we got home, it was off to the internet to see what I could find.  I printed a couple of recipes off and asked Connie to choose.  Turns out it needed a bit more butter than called for but I can turn the leftovers into some killer garlic bread. 

The rest of dinner was stuff we'd had before.  Steak House Sear steaks with morel dust.

Asparagus from the garden.  And, individual potato gratins.  Except I replaced the red potatoes with sweet potatoes.  And, the gruyere with blue cheese.  Major YUM! 

Then, there was dessert.  Please head over to That Skinny Chick Can Bake!   You'll see a recipe and photo of the most decadent creme brulee.  OMG was that stuff ever good.  Liz certainly can bake.  And cook.  And, she's a wonderful human being.  Lucky me to count her as a friend.  Let's go back to the creme brulee for a minute.  It's made with white chocolate.  And, it's smooth and creamy.  And, it is amazing.  Right now it's all I can do to not go down to the refrigerator and finish it off.  But, I made half the recipe and that means three ramekins.  And, I told Connie I'd share the 3rd with him.  He's walking on the treadmill.  I'm blogging.  He'd never hear the fridge door open.  But, alas, I'd know I'd taken his share.  Gosh darn it but a conscious is sometimes a real pain in the tookus :-)

As for the scallops recipe, I'm going to print it just as Rouxbe had it.  Then, you can adjust according to the number you're serving.

Seared Scallops with Truffle Beurre Blanc


1 T shallots
1/4 c white wine
8 T unsalted butter, cold
kosher salt to taste
pepper to taste (you can use white if you'd like)
lemon juice (optional - I don't recommend it)
12 medium scallops
truffle salt
1 T grapeseed oil
1 T chives, finely chopped
truffle oil to taste


First you're going to make the beurre blanc.  In a small skillet, add the shallots and wine.  Simmer until the wine has reduced to almost a glaze.  Whisk in the butter about half a tablespoon at a time.  You'll want the heat on the stove at a very low setting.  Once you've incorporated all of the butter, drizzle in some truffle oil to taste. 

It's pretty powerful stuff so don't go overboard.  Finally, stir in your chives.  Keep the skillet on low while you cook the scallops.  Dry them with a paper towel.  Sprinkle them lightly with the truffle salt. 

Use a skillet that works for the number of scallops you're cooking.  I had two so used a really small one.  Heat the grapeseed oil so that when you toss a drop of water in, it sizzles.  Cook the scallops for one to two minutes per side.  You don't want to over cook them.  We used sushi grade scallops so we undercooked them.  Serve the scallops on a small puddle of the beurre blanc.

adapted from