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Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Brie with Mushrooms

Connie accuses me of never following a recipe.  I say never say never.  LOL In all honesty, I rarely follow a recipe as written.  Either I have an ingredient I want to use up so I substitute or I just use the recipe as a suggestion and fill in the blanks myself.  That’s what happened with a recipe in Chef Recipes Made Easy.  It was for camembert with a wild mushroom fricassee.  It sounded wonderful but I had a wheel of brie and not one of camembert.  And, I just had a box of cremini mushrooms, not all kinds of fun, wild mushrooms.  And, last but certainly not least, it was going to be dinner along with a lovely bowl of room temperature ratatouille.  That meant if I was to use the sage and walnuts, I’d be introducing a totally different herb.  Fine.  A recipe had totally become a suggestion.   

What did we think?  WOW!  This was an incredible dish.  In fact, it was so good that I made it again a few days later for a pitch in.   


Wheel of brie (I used a 21oz wheel from Costco) 

2 T butter 

12 oz very thinly sliced cremini mushrooms 

1 shallot, minced 

¼ c prosecco, dry sherry or dry white wine 

1 large sprig rosemary 

½ c chopped pecans 

Pecan oil 




Preheat your oven to 350.  Put the brie in a tart pan.  This is what you’re going to serve it in also.  Melt the butter in a medium skillet.  When it’s foaming add the mushrooms and shallot and saute until they’re well softened and the pan is relatively dry.  Remove the pan from the heat and pour in the alcohol.  Put the pan back on the heat and add in the rosemary sprig.  I tucked it under the mushrooms.  Stir regularly.  Once the pan is again almost dry, add in the pecans and heat through.  Pour the mushroom mixture over the brie and put the tart pan in the oven.  Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes.  After I took this out of the oven I drizzled it with pecan oil.  Really any nut oil should work.  Serve with baguette or sourdough toasts or party rye or whatever you please.   


Adapted from Chef Recipes Made Easy 


Saturday, June 26, 2021

Mac and Cheese Quiche

Six tomatoes were sitting on the counter getting a bit old.  And, a bunch of asparagus was having the same problem in the fridge.  What to do with them?  I kept picturing a kind of quiche with a mac and cheese crust.  Couldn’t come up with a recipe on Eat Your Books or by searching the internet.  So, I decided to make one up.  By the time the box mix of mac and cheese was made I realized that using a pie plate and trying to have the “crust” come up the sides wasn’t going to work.  I pulled out a casserole dish instead.  A sprinkle of cheese on the bottom, the mac and cheese, the roasted tomatoes and asparagus, the egg mixture and then, finally, another sprinkle of cheese.  We gave this a solid four on a scale of one to five.  Connie asked during dinner if I’d written it down and I assured him I’d taken photos every step of the way and that I’d write the recipe down today.  Because this is absolutely a make again! 



1 box macaroni and cheese prepared according to the package directions.  (I always toss in a handful of grated cheese)

2 large tomatoes, quartered

1 bunch asparagus

Olive oil

6 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated

4 eggs

¼ c sour cream

1 ½ tsp Italian seasoning



Prepare the mac and cheese.  While that’s cooking, roast the tomatoes and asparagus for about 15 minutes at 450.  I drizzled them with olive oil and sprinkled them with freshly ground pepper prior to roasting.

Grate the cheese on the large holes of the grater.  Sprinkle 1/3 of the cheese in the bottom of a casserole dish.  Add another 1/3 to the mac and cheese.  Reserve the last 1/3 for the topping

Mix the eggs, sour cream and Italian seasoning.


Pour the mac and cheese into the casserole dish and even the top.

 Put the roasted vegetables on top.

 Pour over the eggs.  Sprinkle on the last 1/3 of the cheese. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.






Sunday, April 18, 2021

Watermelon, Queso Fresco and Mint Salad


Watermelon, Queso Fresco and Mint Salad


This salad is SO refreshing.  I used a melon baller since not only is it easier than trying to get the watermelon out of the rind, it also looks pretty.  The recipe didn’t specify the size of the cubes so I made both the jicama and queso fresco cubes about ¼” max.  The recipe also said to mix the dressing separately.   I didn’t do that.  And, I added the watermelon juice to the whole mix.  Then, at the table we added some Penzey’s Pico and Salsa salt-free seasoning.  That was to make up for the lack of salt in the dish.  Thanks to our low-salt diet!




8 c cubed watermelon

1 c peeled and cubed jicama

¼ c coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

¼ c chiffonade of basil

1 T freshly grated lime zest

1 T chopped fresh chives

1 T sliced scallions, white and pale green parts

1 jalapeno chile, seeded, deveined and minced

3 T extra virgin olive oil

2 T freshly squeezed lime juice

1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice

Salt and pepper

½ c crumbled queso fresco

1 T chopped fresh mint


Mix well. Serve chilled.


Adapted from Casa Marcela

Friday, April 9, 2021

Nantucket Cranberry Pie


Where has this been all of my life?  And, why did my hubby from Boston not know about this?  Well, the good news is that now Nantucket Cranberry Pie is indeed in my life.  It’s super easy to put together and so very tasty!



Nantucket Cranberry Pie


1 stick unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the pan

2 heaping cups cranberries

¾ c pecans, chopped

1 2/3 c plus 1T sugar

2 large eggs

1 t pure almond extract

1 c all-purpose flour

¼ t kosher salt

Ice cream or freshly whipped cream for serving



Preheat your oven to 350.

You can use a 9x9 cake pan or a deep pie pan or another similar sized oven safe dish.

Butter the pan.  Sprinkle the cranberries over the bottom of the pan.  Then, add the pecans followed by 2/3 c of sugar. 

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs.  Add in the melted butter and almond extract and whisk.  Next, add in one cup of sugar and the flour and salt.  Stir gently until the ingredients are combined.

Next you pour the batter over the cranberries and the pecans.  Be sure to fully cover them.

Sprinkle on the last tablespoon of sugar.

Bake for 45-50 minutes.  Test to make sure a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. 

Serve with the whipped cream or ice cream.

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Milk Bread


Milk Bread

Also known as plain, old, white bread.  I realized they were one and the same when I made the Japanese Egg Salad Sandwich.  Had one of those ah-ha moments.  Now, I’m fortunate to have a bread maker because I certainly don’t have the time to make bread from scratch.  Once I figured out that the order is wet, dry, yeast, my breads have turned out so well.  As it was for this loaf. 

This is for a two-pound loaf


1 ¼ c milk

¼ c water

2 T butter, cut up

4 c bread flour

2 T sugar

1 t salt

1 ¼ t yeast



Layer the ingredients in the bread maker according to your manufacturer’s directions.  Mine calls for wet, dry, yeast. 

adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Biggest Book of Bread Machine Recipes

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Japanese Egg Salad Sandwiches

We're usually up for trying something new and different.  For example, Japanese egg salad sandwiches.  I read an article that said that they're VERY popular in Japan.  Sold in convenience stores, grocery stores, pretty much anywhere you can get food.  The recipe looked interesting.  It called for taking the yolks out and mashing them with the Kewpie mayonnaise.  And, the recipe calls for Japanese milk bread.  I hunted through for a recipe.  Nothing.  So, on to the internet.  Allrecipes had a bread machine recipe that looked super easy.  

Next up was a trip to Sakura Mart for the Kewpie mayonnaise.  We needed several things at the grocery but Kroger online seemed to be sold out of everything.  That meant a trip ourselves.  Since we were going to a new liquor store - called Total Wine - and there was an Aldi's next door, I suggested that we see if we could find what we needed there.  Two comments here.  Total Wine is amazing.  We will NOT be buying our wine there.  There's a small, locally owned place called Cork and Cracker where we buy our wine.  Other than one wine club, that's where we buy all of our wine.  But, for liquor?  Ah, yes, we will be back.  An amazing selection.  Aldi's.  Well, I know there are a LOT of very devoted Aldi's shoppers.  We are not in that group.  We want too many odd and interesting things.  Our most recent grocery list was pear nectar, salad mix, cottage cheese, bread, duck breasts and eggroll wrappers.  We could find exactly half of that at Aldi's.  Not worth my time to go two places when one will do.  

That same shopping trip had some successes and some failures.  First the success.  There's a bookstore called Kids Ink where we buy books for our grandkids and for our niece's kids.  I wish I'd kept a list of all of the books we've purchased there.  Let's just say that when everything was shut down last spring Connie called there to have books shipped to everyone and Terri knew exactly who he was.  Not that the Boston accent hurt.  LOL.  While we did buy a bunch of restaurant gift certificates (only one of which has gone belly up - thankfully!) we spent more on books because we really want Kids Ink to stick around!  I will say it felt wonderful to walk in and see Terri in person!!

Then, the failure.  Duck breasts.  I was so sure Kincaids would have them that I didn't even call ahead.  They did but it was a pack of four - solidly frozen.  We split one for dinner.  That'd mean four nights in a row of duck.  No go.  We called two other places, hoping to shop locally.  No go.  So, when we ran by the office to do some scanning, I hopped online and ordered exactly what we wanted from Maple Leaf Farms.  Still a local, INdiana company.  But, I really wanted to buy them at a local store!

What did we think?  The bread was a good, serviceable loaf of white bread.  I'm not a huge fan of white bread but this was good.  I'll make it again.  The egg salad was delightful with one exception.  I thought it was a bit salty.  (AHHH, as I posted my photos I see the problem!  I used regular salt and not Kosher!)  Next time, and there will be a next time, I'll cut the salt in half.  Kewpie Mayonnaise is amazing.  You can taste the dry mustard in it.  Yet, it's super creamy.  And, I love the cute star on the dispenser.  It really makes it so that you can decorate with it. 

Last but not least, taking the egg yolks out and making the dressing with them is brilliant.  You know I rarely make a recipe without changing something...  Well, I didn't cut the crusts off the bread.  I know it's wasteful, but please do so.  I'm too frugal sometimes.  

Milk Bread


1 1/8 c milk

3 c flour

1 t salt

3 T white sugar

1 1/2 t active dry yeast


Put the ingredients in your bread machine in the order specified for your model.  Mine is wet first, followed by dry, followed by yeast.  Hit the white bread button and wait.  And, enjoy the lovely aroma!

adapted from

Japanese Egg Salad Sandwiches


2 hard cooked eggs, shelled

2 T Kewpie mayonnaise (you should NOT substitute here)

1 t milk or cream

1/4 t kosher salt

1/4 t sugar

2 slices milk bread

room temp butter


Cut the eggs in half and put the yolks in a bowl.  I used a fork to smash them.  

Add in the Kewpie mayo, milk, salt and sugar.  Mix well.  Chop the egg whites.  Stir those in.  Cut the crusts off the bread.  Butter the bread.  Put the egg salad on one slice and make your sandwich.  

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Palomino's Portabella Mushroom Soup and Chop Chop Salad with Garlic Bread

BC used to be Before Connie in our home.  Now it's also Before Covid.  Before our lives got upended.  We had season tickets to six different theatres in Indy and Carmel.  Had being the operative word.  When we went to IRT - which is Indiana Repertory Theatre - we stopped at Palomino's for dinner.  We ate in the bar and always had their Portobello mushroom soup and their Chop Chop Salad.  Now, not only are we not going to the theatre but Palomino is closed.  Permanently.  Makes me sad every time I walk by.  And, I really missed that soup and salad.  

Now, as luck would have it, for many years WTHR and Marsh put out an annual cookbook at Christmas.  It's a long story, but thanks to my friend, Lisa, I own all the copies.  Ok, the short version.  I was missing one year.  Lisa's wonderful mom died.  She came into town to clean out her condo.  All her friends were invited to come over and say hi.  Of course we did.  She tells me I must take something.  Wound up taking a bowl and a pitcher.  Navy blue with sunflowers.  That bowl is my FAVORITE bowl.  I love it!  And, best of all, I think of Lisa and Jan when I use it.  So, I asked about cookbooks.  Connie rolled his eyes.  I have plenty.  Jan had about a dozen cookbooks.  And, there it was, the missing WTHR/Marsh cookbook.  It too has become one of my favorites.  

Back to Palomino.  One of the recipes in the 2008 cookbook is their Chop Chop Salad.  I made it in 2008 and hadn't made it since.  On to the internet for the soup recipe.  SCORE!  It's on Epicurious.  But, they always served bread with our soup and salad.  Ina Garten's new cookbook has an outrageous garlic bread recipe that had my name written all over it.  Good to go.  

There's a lot of chopping and a lot of steps here for all three recipes.  It's not a 20 minute meal.  Not by a long shot.  But, it's worth all the time you put into it!  We gave the soup and the garlic bread a five and the salad a four.  But, it was almost a five!  Now, keep in mind that Connie is NOT fond of soup.  And, he loves this!

Palomino Portobello Mushroom Soup


2/3 c unsalted butter

8 oz leeks, white and green, cross sliced at 1/4"

8 oz yellow, onion, diced

8 oz portobello mushroom caps, chopped (I used three big shitakes)

12 oz cremini mushrooms, chopped

5 oz AP flour (I used 1/4 c)

6 oz chicken stock

2 oz dry sherry

1 qt heavy cream

1/4 t cayenne pepper

1/4 oz kosher salt



Melt half of the butter in a stock pot or dutch oven.  Add the leeks and onions and cook for about five minutes or until the onions are translucent

Add the chopped mushrooms and cook for about 5-10 minutes or until they're tender

Add the cream, sherry, cayenne and salt and let it simmer

While you're cooking the mushroom mixture, melt the rest of the butter in a saucepan.  Add the flour and cook it for a few minutes.  Whisk in the chicken stock slowly.  Then, let that simmer for half an hour.  

Take about a quarter of a cup of the warm cream from the mushroom mixture and stir it slowly into the roux.  Then, add another and another until you have a cream sauce that can be poured into the mushroom mixture.  

Let the soup simmer for 15 minutes.  You can serve it topped with some more sherry.  

adapted from Epicurious

Palomino Chop-Chop Salad


Balsamic Vinegar Dressing

2 egg yolks

2 c extra virgin olive oil

3/4 c balsamic vinegar

3 cloves finely mince garlic (I used roasted garlic)

3/4 t kosher salt

1/4 t freshly ground black pepper


3 c julienned romaine greens

1 T julienned fresh basil

2 T provolone cheese, cut into 1/4" cubes

3 T grated Parmesan plus more for serving

1 T garbanzo beans

2 T julienned wine salami (I used genoa)

1/4 c julienned smoked turkey breast (I used turkey deli meat)

2 oz diced tomato

ground black pepper


Palomino tosses this and serves it that way.  I did mine like a cobb salad, then tossed it once it got to the table.  To make the dressing, you whip the egg yolks then slowly drizzle in the olive oil followed by the vinegar.  Then, mix in the garlic and the salt and  pepper.  This will make dressing for about six of the salads.

adapted from The Sunrise Cookbook, 2008

Outrageous Garlic Bread


12 T unsalted butter

1 head garlic, cloves separated and peeled (I'd roasted garlic so I just squeezed the cloves out of one of the heads)

1 c freshly grated Parmesan

2 T minced fresh parsley

2 t lemon zest

1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 20-24" long crusty baguette (I used an Italian loaf)

fleur de sel or sea salt


You'll need to bake this at 450 so preheat your oven

You can handle the garlic one of two ways.  Ina calls for melting the butter and slowly cooking the cloves for 20 minutes.  I slice the top off a head of garlic, drizzled it with olive oil, put it in an ovenproof dish and baked it for an hour at 300.  Then, once the butter was melted,  I just squeezed the head of garlic and all the cloves popped out, nicely roasted.  At that point I added the parmesan, parsley, zest, pepper flakes and salt and pepper and let it simmer for about 10 minutes,

Next, you prep your bread.  Cut it in half lengthwise.  Put the halves on a half sheet or in a 9x13 pan.  Something to catch the drips of butter.  Because there will be drips of butter!  Then, score the bread into serving pieces but don't cut all the way through the loaf.

Slather the bread with the butter mixture.  Bake it for 5-7 minutes.  You want the top to be bubbling and a little brown.  

adapted from Modern Comfort Food by Ina Garten