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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Breakfast Burgers

Tomorrow is the big day.  My puttanesca salad is going to be prepared by my wonderful friend, Chef Joseph, for a new public television program called Indiana Cooks.  Kim Galeaz, the host of the show, just called to say she'd made the recipe for dinner and LOVED it.  Whew! 

Originally I was told I'd get to cook on camera.  I was totally psyched.  I teach a lot of classes related to my real job - financial planning.  And, every week I've got a 10 minute spot on a radio show dealing with the same.  So, cooking on air would be fun.  Then, I found out I'm just interviewed from the audience.  Bummer.  The good news is that Chef Joseph is one of our dear friends.  He's got a fabulous restaurant downtown Indy.  HE's doing the cooking.  That's almost as good as me getting to cook.  Here's a shot of Joseph practicing the recipe at our home a couple of weeks ago.

Tonight, we tried something we keep reading about - breakfast burgers.  Hamburgers topped with gruyere, bacon and fried eggs.  And, to add a teeny, tiny bit of healthiness - a big handful of arugula.  Let me start by saying my burgers almost always have Andria's steak sauce in them.  It is SO much better than any other steak sauce I've ever had.  They'll ship and it's worth it.  Believe me.  Worth it - totally.  In spite of the howling winds (can you believe Hurricane Sandy made herself felt all the way out here in Indy????) I grilled the burgers.  Then, I cracked open a new jar of Dijon from the Mustard Museum.  You've never heard of them?  They ship too.  And, they sell this great mystery box.  This is the tail end of last Christmas' present for Connie.  Just in time too since he wants the same gift this year! 

What did we think?  These were a five.  We loved them.  My friend, Matt, had told me that he got hooked on eggs on his burgers when they lived in Texas.  Now, I know why.  Yum, yum, yum.  Here are some photos along the way:

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Coffee Crusted Pork Roast

Saturday was a pretty lousy day.  I was up all night Friday with a bad belly.  Saturday I not only felt lousy but was exhausted.  All I could get down for dinner was a fried egg sandwich.  Thanks to Connie who was chef for the night.  He toasted the bread just enough to take the smoosh off but not so much as to make it crunch.  The egg yolk was still a little runny.  And, he grated a bit of swiss cheese onto it.  It was pretty darned perfect.  And, as soon as I ate I got to curl back up on the couch and go back to sleep.  That's how to recuperate!
Needless to say, my week's menus did not get made on Saturday.  Sunday we went to the office for the morning and got home just in time for the Colt's game.  YAY - we beat Tennessee!  Andrew Luck rocks!!!  So, at 5:00 Sunday I still had no clue what I was going to fix for dinner.  My options from the freezer were not promising.  Fine.  I picked up the cookbook on top of the stack of cookbooks to mark for recipes to make.  Commander's Wild Side.  Another find from the bargain bin at the grocery store.  I want to make everything from the chapter titled, "Showstopping Dishes to Impress Your Friends."  Let's see, there's Truffled Scallps and Crabmeat wtih Caviar Vinaigrette, Creole Lobster Bisque, Crab and Brie Stuffed Flounder, Speckled Trout Napoleons with Morel Cream, Crab and Oyster Mushroom Risotto and Pepper-Crusted Beef Sirloiin with Crispy Oysters and Horseradish Cream.  Is your mouth watering like mine is? 
I knew Sunday was not the evening for a show-stopping (read long and complicated) recipe, however.  You see, Peyton's playing Drew Brees.  That we need to see.  So, I opened the cookbook to the chapter titled, "Not-So-Wild Game."  The first recipe was Coffee-Crusted Pork Loin with Fig-Bourbon Syrup.  Not only did it sound fantastic, it also sounded pretty darned quick.  Connie said there was a tub of spinach to be used up.  I found a recipe from Southern Living called Mango-Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette.  Sounded perfect together.  And, I had a sweet potato I could mash to go along.  I was off to the grocery. 
What did we think?  This was super easy to put together.  The flavors were amazing.  The crust on the pork was very thin but so packed with flavor.  The fig-bourbon syrup was perfect with it.  As were the bourbon mashed potatoes.  Those were just a large sweet potato mashed with about a teaspoon of bourbon, a quick grate of nutmeg, a couple of tablespoons of butter and a couple of tablespoons of half and half.  The salad was a great alternative to your traditional spinach salad.  All in all, we gave the whole meal a score of five on a scale of one to five.  Connie liked the pork best, while I preferred the salad.  But, there were no losers here!
Coffee-Crusted Pork Loin with Fig-Bourbon Syrup
serves 4
1 cup fig preserves
1/2 c bourbon
1/4 c finely ground chicory or regular coffee
1 T plus 2 t dark brown sugar
1 T Creole seasoning (we use Emeril's)
1 t smoked paprika
2 lb trimmed boneless pork roast, preferably loin
Mix the preserves and bourbon in a small saucepan.  Let it simmer while you prepare the pork.  I needed an immersion blender since there were some pretty big chunks of fig in the preserves.

Make the rub next.  In a spice grinder combine the coffee, brown sugar, Creole seasoning and smoked paprika.  Process it until it's very finely ground.

The original recipe called for rubbing the pork with vegetable oil prior to rolling it in the rub.  I didn't do that and it worked perfectly.  Roll the pork in the rub, coating every surface.  Allow it to rest at room temperature for 20-30 minutes.

Heat your grill.  Grill the pork for about 20 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 130F.  Make sure to turn the pork so all sides get a nice crust.  Remove the pork from the heat and allow it to rest for 10 minutes before carving it. 

Serve the pork drizzled with the fig-bourbon sauce.

adapted from Commander's Wild Side

Mango-Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
serves 2


4 thick slices bacon, diced and browned
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1 T lime juice
1 T honey
2 large handfuls fresh spinach
1 mango, peeled and diced
2 T crumbled queso fresco or mild feta


Brown the bacon and drain all but a tablespoon of the fat.  Saute the onion until it's very soft.  When the onion is done, pour in the red wine vinegar, lime juice and honey.  Stir well and keep warm until you're ready to assemble the salads.

To assemble the salads, put a handful of spinach on each plate.  Top with half of the mango, then the bacon, dressing and finally the cheese. 

adapted from Southern Living

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Lamb and Rice Stuffed Pumpkin

Don't you love watching the changing of the seasons through the food available at the farmer's markets?  We were almost out of Burton's Maplewood Farms maple syrup so it was time for a trip to the farmer's market in Broad Ripple.  There's one closer to home - and on the way to the office - but Tim doesn't sell his fabulous syrup there.  He's the same guy I've told you about who makes the rum maple syrup by putting it in barrels that'd been used for rum.  Seriously good stuff.  Here's a link to their site:  Burton's Maplewood Farm.  They've got some great recipes on their website too.  Connie and I are going to work our way through the maple mixology. For those of you who aren't lucky enough to get to chat Tim up at a farmer's market, they do ship. 

While at the farmer's market, we picked up some kale.  I'd seen a recipe in FoodNetwork magazine for an antipasto salad.  It had a base of kale topped with gardineria, cubed and cooked potatoes, hard cooked egg quarters, capers and salami with an oil and vinegar dressing.  Sounded like a perfect lunch.  It was.  I subbed tuna for the salami and added kalamata olives.  I wish I'd added just a few little cubes of provolone but that was at home...

We also got a great new cheese from Traders Point Creamery.  It's washed with Sun King Wee Mac beer.  YUM!  And, we picked up a gorgeous bunch of beets with fabulous greens.  Last but not least, we got two pie pumpkins.  Then, it was off to Kincaid's to get duck legs for confit.  Finally, the Binford market to get ground lamb patties from our friends at Viking Lamb.

Next stop.  The office.  We got oodles done but not nearly as much as we needed to get done.  So, back again on Sunday...  Now, I will confess that while at the office I looked at some recipes for baking casseroles inside pumpkins.  Nothing particularly struck my fancy.  I kept going back to the idea I'd had. 

Connie cut the top of the pumpkin off and scooped out all the seeds.  We roasted those then tossed them in a mixture of Penzey's Northwoods BBQ seasoning and Five Spice powder.  I put together the casserole.

What did we think?  Seriously good.  Now, I didn't write down measurements as I went so you'll need to gauge what's right for you.

Lamb and Rice Casserole


1 2-3 lb pie pumpkin, top removed and seeds scraped
1 pound ground lamb
1 package Uncle Ben's Long Grain and Wild rice
1 bunch kale, chopped
white wine
2 T butter
2 T flour
1 c milk
1 c shredded Jarlsberg cheese
panko bread crumbs
1/4 c shredded Jarlsberg cheese
1 T butter


Brown and drain the lamb.  Remove the lamb to a bowl.  In the same skillet, lightly brown the rice.  Reserve the spice package for another use.  Toss the chopped kale in with the rice.  Let it cook until the kale softens.  Deglaze the pan with a good splash of white wine.  In a medium saucepan, make the mornay sauce.  Melt the butter.  Stir in the flour and allow it to cook on medium for about five minutes.  It'll be lightly browned.  Slowly stir in the milk.  Keep stirring until the sauce has thickened.  Add the shredded cheese and just a smidge of grated nutmeg.  Now it's time to mix it all together

and stuff it in your cleaned out pumpkin. 

Toast the panko crumbs in the butter.  Remove them from the heat and toss in the 1/4 c shredded cheese and the thyme.  Put the cheese crumbs on top of the stuffed pumpkin. 

Bake for about 75 minutes or until the pumpkin is very soft.  It's best to bake this in a baking dish with about an inch of water in the bottom.  Bake at about 350 degrees.  You can serve this either cut into wedges or scooped out with generous portions of the pumpkin.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Pizza Steak Hoagies

Many years ago I worked at a bank branch in a very industrial area of the city.  There weren't too many good places to have lunch.  And, I was a newly-wed who was working full time and going to school in the evenings to finish my degree.  Needless to say, money was scarce.  So, I usually brought my lunch to work.  On the rare occasion when I would go out to eat it was usually up the street to a place called Greiner's Sub Shop.  They had a pizza sub that I craved.  Still do.

So, imagine my delight when I found a recipe on The Freshman Cook that sounded kind of like that pizza sub.  Turns out Teri's from the midwest and she'd had these sandwiches when she was a kid.  I had to give them a try.  She calls them Pizza Steak Hoagies.

Before I do though, let me tell you a bit about Teri.  She now lives out west in Las Vegas.  She's worked in professional kitchens.  And, she is a whiz at cookie decorating.  Now, my idea of cookie decorating is sprinkling the colored sugar on or painting them with green or red colored egg yolks.  Teri's?  She can turn any cookie into a work of art.  I kept reading and reading just to look at the photos.  That's the other thing.. She does a fabulous job of documenting her steps.

I was visiting her site because of the Secret Recipe Club.  Once a month we're assigned another blog to visit and choose a recipe to make.  Then, our group all posts on the same day.  It's loads of fun to see what everyone's chosen to make.  As is typical, there's a preponderance of desserts.  Those, I pretty much ignore.  It's the entrees and side dishes I love to follow. And, I've gotten some great appetizer ideas. 

What did we think?  These were good.  I'd go back to the shaved beef like Greiner's had.  But, I loved the mix of the melted provolone and mozzarella with the pizza sauce.  And, the addition of Italian seasoning and oil and vinegar dressing made it VERY similar to Greiners. 

Pizza Steak Hoagies

2 soft sub rolls
2 cube steaks (they may be called minute steaks where you live)
sliced provolone cheese (I grated mine)
shredded mozzarella
pizza sauce
Italian seasoning
pepperocini or banana peppers
oil and vinegar for drizzling


Pound the cube steaks until they're very thin and are at least the size of the buns.  I marinated mine with a bit of Andria's Steak Sauce at this point. 

Broil the cube steaks - about three minutes per side.   Toast the buns.  Slather the buns with pizza sauce - both sides - don't skimp. 

Then put the shredded cheeses (or sliced - whatever you're using) on both sides. 

Broil until the cheese is melted.  Sprinkle on a bit of Italian seasoning and some of the peppers.  Drizzle with oil and vinegar.  Add the cooked cube steaks and dig in!

Thank you Teri for this fun trip down memory lane!
adapted from The Freshman Cook

Now, if you'd like to see what the other bloggers chose:

Monday, October 15, 2012

Clam Pizza

Clam Pizza.  One of those dishes I keep reading about but haven't ever taken the time to really research.  I'd gone to the office for a few hours and Connie was home cleaning out the garage.  The Colts had a game at 1:00.  Well, it wasn't quite so much a game as a thrashing.  Ugh!  At any rate, one of the items I needed to clean out of my pantry was alfredo sauce.  And, I'd bought a Boboli wheat crust.  I figured I'd come up with my own version of clam pizza.

My biggest inspiration was the linguine with clam sauce at Some Guys Pizza.  It's a pizza and pasta joint about a mile away.  They have killer flatbread and salads and tomato soup and are on our speed dial when we need lunch.  When we eat dinner there I'm hard pressed to order anything but the linguine with clam sauce.  Fantastic stuff. 

What did we think  Fabulous.  This is one I'll make again.  And, it's SO easy!

How did it come together?

I took a Boboli wheat crust and sprinkled it with shredded mozzarella.  Then, I spooned on some Alfredo sauce and smeared it to the edges.  While I was doing all of that, I had a small red onion that I'd thinly sliced sauteeing in some olive oil.  Once the sauce was on, I drained a small can of minced clams and sprinkled them over the sauce.  Then, I strewed the onions on top and added about three VERY finely slice garlic cloves.  The whole deal was topped with shredded five Italian cheese blend and baked at 450 for 20 minutes.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Waldorf Salad

Secret Recipe Club is fast approaching.  We made my recipe Friday night.  No, I'm not going to jump the gun and show you!  But, I will tell you about the lovely salad we had alongside our entree...

I don't know about your grocery store, but ours tend to have bargain book bins.  After a great deal of hunting, I sometimes find a cookbook or two that I just can't live without.  My family room is littered with cookbooks I just couldn't live without.  I have to live to at least 550 to even make a dent in all the recipes I'd like to try.  Off the top of my head I can't tell you which recipe triggered my picking up Jamie's America.  It's Jamie Oliver's twists on American favorites.  Like a NY cheesecake with a meringue topping.  I know.  Go figure.  Then, I got to Waldorf Salad My Way.  Now, I've never been much of a fan of Waldorf Salad.  It's just too cloying for my taste.  Individually, I love apples and grapes and celery and nuts.  But, not gummed up with sweetened mayo.  Bleech. 

Thursday evening, we went to a retirement party for one of my favorite attorneys.  He's a great guy and truly exceptional at his specialty.  I was honored to be among those invited to wish him a wonderful retirement.  After the cocktail party we headed to the store to get everything we needed to make my Secret Recipe Club recipe.  In addition I bought a bunch of asparagus and a rotisserie chicken.  I figured that'd take care of us until Saturday when I'd had an opportunity to make out a menu. 

Friday, I had a massage.  Margi worked her fingers to the bone trying to get me to a semi-normal range of motion.  Normally, after a massage I just want to curl up in a chair and chill. Not Friday. I was raring to go. And, the Waldorf Salad had been on my mind all day. I'd had a crispy, sweet, tart Gala apple earlier in the week and it had totally hit the spot. Fine, I'd go ahead and make the menu for the week and head to the store Friday evening.  Best part about that?  Connie vacuumed the house while I went to the grocery.  I'll  take that trade-off any day. 

Another 9pm dinner.  But, I've finally found a Waldorf salad that I LOVE!  And the fabulous dressing will go with SO many salads.  BTW - when you read the ingredients I've copied them mostly verbatim from Jamie's recipe.  I love how he phrases the list.  Here's how you put it together:

Waldorf Salad My Way


4 large handfuls of interesting green salad leaves, washed and spun dry
2 seedless red or green grapes, halved
3 medium celery stalks, trimmed and sliced
2 large handfuls walnuts, roughly crumbled
a small bunch of Italian parsley, chopped
1 red apple (I used Gala,) diced
6 oz blue cheese (I used about 2 oz)

for the dressing:
1 heaped teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
good quality extra virgin olive oil
1 heaped tablespoon natural yogurt (I used Greek)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Toast the walnuts. 

Whisk together the dressing ingredients. 

Toss the grapes, celery, walnuts, parsley and apple with the dressing. 

You can either toss the greens with the other ingredients or mound the apple mixture on top of the greens.  Crumble the blue cheese over the salad and drizzle with a bit more extra virgin olive oil.

adapted from Jamie's America

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Fall is in the air. For the first time this season I'm wearing a sweatshirt. All the cooking magazines are featuring fall food. Our invitation to Pints for Half Pints said to bring a lawn chair to sit by the fire pits. And, the persimmons are falling from the tree.

When I was a little girl, my grandmother lived in Zionsville, IN. It was and is a quaint little village. My grandfather was one of the ones who organized the building of the brick main street. The library was in a lovely old home. With a persimmon tree in the back yard. Every year, Grammie and I would walk the three blocks to the library and gather our share of persimmons. She'd wash them off, then put me on a stool at the kitchen counter and let me smoosh them through the colander. Finally, all of that lovely pulp would ooze through. She'd make the world's best persimmon pudding.

I still have that colander. And, the recipe for persimmon pudding. I was just missing my own persimmon tree. Over the years I'd buy a pint of pulp and make pudding. But it was never the same. So, a few years ago, Connie and I planted our own persimmon tree. You see the problem used to be that you needed to have two to pollinate and it was difficult to tell male from female and you could easily wind up with just another couple of nice trees. Ours is self-pollinating.

Two years ago we got 13 persimmons. I hoarded them until they'd all fallen. Net result? 1/4c of pulp. Not enough to do much other than persimmon creme brulee. Humph! Last year we got a couple. Needless to say, my hopes were not high for a bumper crop this year. But, I guess the tree has finally reached maturity and is bearing a LOT of fruit. Every evening we've been going out and collecting 2-7 persimmons. I've got a bag of them in the freezer. Probably 50 persimmons. That'll be enough to make a pudding!

So, Friday night when we collected our booty, we decided to try something else. Indy Monthly had published three persimmon recipes. One for a pie. That required just too much pulp. One for a drink that only required three. And, one for a vinaigrette that required 1/2 cup of pulp but that could easily be cut down. Both would go perfectly with the short ribs that were going into the pressure cooker. Those two and Alton Brown's killer garlic mashed potatoes. We'd have a veritable feast!

For those of you who aren't familiar with our persimmons, they're very different from the Fuyu's that you typically get. Those are the Asian persimmons. Our midwestern persimmons are much smaller - about and inch and a half in diameter - and should only be eaten when they're VERY ripe. Ripe enough to fall off the tree, that is. In doing a bit of research, it seems that the trees were much more widely available many years ago. Today, they seem to be a southern Indiana specialty.

What did we think? The Persimmon Smash was amazing. We've got enough persimmon syrup left for another round of drinks. The persimmon vinaigrette was good.  The persimmon flavor was a bit overwhelmed by the ginger and orange. I'll make up my own recipe next time. The garlic mashed potatoes? MMMMMMMM. And, the short ribs?  My mouth is still watering!  So without further ado and gabbing, let's get on to the recipes:

Persimmon Smash


1 oz vodka
1 oz persimmon syrup
1/2 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz orange juice

for the persimmon syrup:

3 persimmons, chopped
1/4 t vanilla extract
1/8 t cinnamon
1/8 t nutmeg
2 c water
3/4 c sugar 


Mix the syrup ingredients and simmer vigorously until the mixture is a thin syrup.  It will be a pale brown-orange in color.  (See the photo at top.)

To make the drink, mix all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.  Strain to serve.  Kiss the one you love and enjoy!

Thanks to the folks at Indy Monthly for publishing this!  It was originally created by Zachari Wilks of The Ball and Biscuit.

Persimmon Vinaigrette


1/2 c persimmon pulp
1/4 c champagne vinegar
2 T brown sugar
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 T minced fresh ginger
juice and zest of one orange
salt and pepper
1/2 c olive oil
1/2 c canola oil


Mix all ingredients except the oils in the bowl of a blender.  Put the lid on the blender and emulsify the mixture.  Slowly pour the oils in until they're fully incorporated.  I used this on a salad with fresh greens, avocado, pears, crispy leeks, toasted hazelnuts and crumbled blue cheese.

This recipe was courtesy of Indy Monthly and was originally created by Micah Frank.

Chanteclair's Braised Short Ribs

4 servings

This recipe was published shortly before Chanteclair went out of business.  For many years it was THE fine dining option near our airport.  Since trying this recipe I've on occasion looked at the other half dozen short rib recipes in my file.  But, it's so good I've never been tempted to try another. 


4 lbs beef short ribs
salt and pepper
1 T olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 rib celery, diced
1 c red wine
5 c beef stock
1 sprig parsley
1 sprig thyme
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cloves garlic, minced


Season the short ribs with salt and pepper.  Heat the olive oil to shimmering in a large skillet.  Brown the ribs well on all sides.  Remove them fromt he heat and allow them to cool a bit.  Refrigerate them overnight.  Skim the fat from the ribs.  Put the vegetables and about 1 T more of olive oil in a pressure cooker or in a dutch oven.  Brown them.  Add the other ingredients and cook until the meat is falling off the bones.  In a pressure cooker, we do about an hour and a half.  In a dutch oven, we do about three hours.  These are fabulous served over mashed potatoes.  I prefer Alton Brown's garlic mashed - go figure :-)

Alton Brown's Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes

10-12 servings


3 1/2 lbs russet potatoes
2 T kosher salt
2 c half and half
6 cloves garlic, crushed
6 oz grated parmesan, romano or gruyere


Peel the potatoes.  Dice them and put them in a saucepan that's large enough to hold the potatoes and cool water to cover.  Add the salt.  Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat and vigorously simmer the potatoes for about 15 minutes or until they're extremely soft.  While the potatoes are cooking, warm the half and half and garlic in a saucepan.  Drain the potatoes in a colander.  Put them back into the saucepan in which they were cooked and add in the half and half, the garlic and the cheese.  Mash until they're the desired consistency. 

thanks to Alton Brown and FoodNetwork


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Basil Vodka Gimlet

Get while the getting is good!  Make hay while the sun shines!  I am sure that there are a thousand sayings in every language in the world that tell you to do something while you have the best opportunity.  How about make pesto before the frost?  In this case, we had another use for the basil and while we had a number of drinks that we might have wanted to test (look for an upcoming Pumpkin Pie Martini attempt), the days are getting shorter and soon no more basil from the garden.  Bummer!
I came across this the other day and sent it to Connie.  Again, it had no preparation instructions, just a recipe.  Whatever!  Let’s give it a shot.  What could possibly go wrong?

I give you… 
Basil Vodka Gimlet (for two)

9 large basil leaves, torn into strips
Finely grated zest of 1/2 a lime
1 ounce simple syrup (2:1)
4 oz vodka (we use Smirnoff’s)
Place the ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker.  Shake, shake, shake, strain and pour into a chilled glass.  Kiss the one you love, and enjoy!

Post mortem.  Very delicious and refreshing.  However, we wanted more basil taste.  We fished some of the basil out of the shaker and added it to the drink.  Next time we are either going to put the basil in a blender or muddle it.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Pesto Pizza

Our menu is typically created sometime Friday or Saturday.  During the summer months, Friday's the day since the farmer's markets are typically on Saturday morning.  This summer we've not had time to go to the farmer's markets since we've been working so many crazy hours.  I've really missed the fresh produce.  But, since we've had a LOT of good stuff from our own garden it's not been terrible.  That is what we can get to around the weeds in the garden... 

Annie the dog intervened last weekend.  She was almost out of lamb jerky treats.  You see, she gets one at 7:00 every evening.  If we're not going to be home until later, Connie gives her one before we leave.  All you have to say is, "Hey Mister, you got a dog?" and Miss Annie comes running.  She skids to a stop short of entering the kitchen and impatiently waits while the treat is retrieved from the fridge.  That's something else Connie's trained her to do - dogs DO NOT enter a room where a human is eating or preparing food.  She can be sound asleep in the dining room then as soon as we start carrying dinner dishes in, she's out of there and in the front hall.  She's such a good doggie!  So, you ask, why do we say, "Hey Mister you got a dog?"  That's what Hunter and Conner Knudsen would say to the folks at the farmer's market when they were trying to sell their lamb jerky.  How do you say no to an adorable little red-headed kid?  We know their mom and dad are teaching them excellent money lessons by letting them sell the jerky.  And, Annie loves the treats.  Ergo, we buy them for her.

Wow, that was a long-winded story just to tell you that we had some fabulous fresh corn on the cob in the fridge.  I'd planned on having it for my dinner Monday evening.  Connie was scheduled to play bridge.  I could come home late and just have two ears of corn on the cob and be perfectly content.

Except he didn't play bridge.  He was going to be home for dinner.  Plan B.  We'd picked all the roma tomatoes in the garden and I'd roasted a huge sheet of them.  They were in the fridge.  I was pretty sure I had some fresh mozzarella.  And, I'd bought a Boboli crust to have on hand.  What about a caprese pizza?  Sounded great.  So, I asked, "Would you like just fresh basil or fresh basil and fresh pesto on the pizza?"  Of course he responded that he'd like some pesto too.  Who wouldn't?  Turns out the fresh mozzarella was a figment of my imagination.  Fine, I had a bag of shredded.  And, there were a couple more ripe romas to be used up.  Oh, and I was frying bacon to make blt's for lunch.  There was extra...  We were in business.

How did we like it?  I've got to say this was one of the all-time best pizzas I've ever had.  Anywhere.  And, that's coming from the gal who thinks a pizza made without pizza sauce is not a real pizza.  I've changed my mind.  We had the leftovers for lunch and while not as totally fantastic, the pizza was still wonderful.  This will be a regular garden-dinner dish.  And, yes, we did have corn on the cob with our pizza...  Strange but good.

Boboli whole wheat pizza crust
Shredded mozzarella
Pesto (preferably freshly made)
Roasted roma tomatoes
Fresh roma tomatoes
crumbled bacon
Fresh basil

Here's how it went together:

Pizza crust topped with a bit of shredded mozzarella then big dollops of homemade pesto:

Schmear the pesto around:

Top with roasted roma tomatoes. (Toss halved tomatoes with olive oil, roast at about 450 for 20 minutes, remove and discard the skins.)

Next, fresh, sliced tomatoes:

Then, crumbled bacon, shredded mozzarella, fresh basil:

And, finally more shredded mozzarella

Monday, October 1, 2012

Wee Mac Connelly

We have a new furry kid.  A few weeks ago we were invited to two parties on the same evening.  Between Janie's house and Rich and Juli's, we stopped at the office to grab a jacket for me.  It felt like it might get chilly and I knew the party at Rich and Juli's was going to be outside.  I was pretty excited to be heading to their house.  The party was to celebrate daughter Kelsey beiing in remission. Remember our purple stripes in our hair?  We did those to show Kelsey we believed in her.  And, now, we've got the wonderful news that she's in remission. 

Here we are at the office. Next to our parking lot there's a pond.  It's a pretty good-sized pond.  Lots of folks fish there.  So, we're getting in the car and Connie announces that some crazy fisherman has brought his cat.  Yeah, right.  He's obviously seeing things.  Instead of getting in the car, I hike over to the fishermen.  Lo and behold there's a cute little black and white kitten rubbing their ankles.  I asked if he was theirs and they said no, he'd followed them to this side of the pond.  I picked him up and said hello then put him down and headed toward the car.  He ran with alongside me.  What choice did I have?  

Here's where those of you who are cat lovers are saying to yourselves, "Of course, that was the only choice."  Those of you who aren't fond of cats are probably saying, "You idiot."  Connie wasn't amused.  But we took the little fellow home and Connie ran to the basement to get a carrier.  From there he went to the screened porch.  Where he immediately used the litter box.  Score!  Connie filled the bowl with dry food.  Probably a cup and a half (half a cup is a daily serving for a kitten.)  It was inhaled by the time we got home three hours later. 

We went through dozens of names.  Connie wanted to call him Go Away.  I was leaning toward Henry.  You know.  OH, Henry!  Then, I told Mom about him and it dawned on me that her maiden name and Connie's mom's maiden name were pretty darned close.  I suggested MacConnelly.  One of our favorite beers is Wee Mac from SunKing Brewery.  Connie suggested Wee Mac Connelly. 

Wee Mac Connelly now is happily ensconced in the house.  He's decided Annie is fun to play with but the laser pointer is the BEST!  He's learning that humans do not like to have their toes attacked while sleeping.  He's figured out that Connie is the food guy.  In spite of his not liking cats, Connie spoils Wee Mac something fierce. He gets kitty treats when Annie gets scooby snacks.  "Hey Mister, you got a dog?" is now followed by, "Hey Mister, you got a cat?"  He's getting accustomed to the fact that George and Gracie are old cats and really do not care for kittens.  He's become the king of the family room.  Above, he is snoozing in his favorite spot - right by the door to the kitchen so he can check on us as we come and go.  By the way, he's also learned that kitties who have invisible fence collars cannot go in the kitchen or they get zapped.  One zap and he was savvy to that rule.  He is one smart little guy.  And, the best part?  He's a total snuggle bug.

Here's a pic of Wee Mac the evening we brought him home: