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non-traditional Labor Day potato salad

Today is my Aunt Patty’s 60th birthday. Patty is the youngest of eight in the family where my mom is the oldest. My mom was 18 when Patty was born and she married my dad in November of that same year.

pattys cake

We celebrated yesterday with a birthday party at my Uncle Mike and Aunt Silvia’s lovely home. This is the cake that my sister, Sloane, had made at Honey Moon Sweets, for the occasion. The following recipe is one the two salads I brought. The other salad will be posted tomorrow.

Happy Birthday, Patty!

And a very Happy Labor Day to all of you.

potato veg salad

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September 2, 2013   2 Comments



On the second day after Christmas, we had no food left in the house.  OK, we had food, but nothing much to make for dinner. All I could scrounge up was the ham bone from HoneyBaked left from Christmas Eve. It had less than a cup of meat left on it.

ham bone

What to do?

I dug around and found a package of diced pancetta with an expiration date of 12/29/12. Score!

I had a few potatoes, a bell pepper, a chunk of cheddar cheese, and some leftover mushrooms that would soon be going south. Hey, this might constitute a meal, after all!

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December 28, 2012   1 Comment


The first time I stepped foot into America’s Taco Shop, I was completely sold! It was back in February when Tram and I first dropped in during a full afternoon of shopping on 7th Avenue in the Melrose District. And the most recent time I was lucky enough to eat at America’s was this past weekend, with Kim, and yes… we were shopping again.

In addition to the signature tacos, Kim and I shared an “extra” – America’s Corn (sweet white corn, lite mayo, cotija cheese, chili, and lime).

This is how it was served, which would be perfect for one. But since we were sharing, I began to use a little plastic knife to cut the kernels from the cob so we could eat the corn with chips. A server walked by and said it could be ordered off the cob too, so he took it back to the kitchen and cut the kernels off for us (most likely with a metal knife!) Wow! It is terrific – so terrific in fact – that I made it at home for my guys… who loved it too.

Cotija (pronounced ko-TEE-hah) cheese  is a hard, crumbly Mexican cheese made  from cow’s milk. Named after the town of Cotija in the Mexican state of Michoacán. It can be hard to find in all grocery stores, so a good substitute is either Parmigiano-Reggiano or feta. I used Parmesan.

The mayo-slathered corn is a common street food you’ll find being sold on corners throughout Mexico.

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September 25, 2012   1 Comment

shrimp sausage pasta

Back in early June, I told you how I was going to join a CSA.  Well, I did, and I was able to pick up a box of fresh Crooked Sky Farm produce every Thursday morning for the past eight weeks. What fun it was to be surprised by the bounty I received.

For the last four weeks of the eight, there was fresh corn. Corn is one vegetable we never get tired of. This is one of the many “easy-breezy” dishes I created to use up all that corn. Of course, many a night, it was plain old corn on the cob, always a wonderful summer-time treat!

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August 12, 2012   3 Comments

Tarbell’s knockoff

Mark Tarbell and Tarbell’s are one the many chef friends/restaurants that I follow on Facebook. A great side benefit to following these talents is that they sometimes post what is on special for dinner that night. When it looks tempting, I can hurry up and make reservations… or if we don’t feel like going out… I can try and duplicate the dish for my own knock-off “special of the day”.

This was the case late last week when I saw Tarbell’s post above.  It reads:

“A new week, a new Mr. Fish! Nantucket Sea Bass with a stew of sweet corn, summer squash, and Napa cabbage is topped with a cured tomato relish. We’re loving the veggies we’re getting from local Crooked Sky Farms!

It is a big recipe, but after not posting a recipe for a full week, a big recipe is called for!

I didn’t have sea bass, but I did have halibut. Additionally, I didn’t want to cure tomatoes for the relish, so instead I used sun-dried tomatoes as the base. Following is the delectable result.

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August 9, 2012   2 Comments

summer fresh pasta

After driving by literally hundreds of farms and thousands of acres of corn fields in Minnesota and Wisconsin, during our vacation to the North Woods, I’ve had corn on my mind.  I took dozens of photos of as many of the charming farms and barns as I could, as we sped by in our rental car.  We even came upon a flock of wild turkey on the side of the road.  I made Dave turn the car around so I could get a picture.  They took flight just as I clicked the shutter.  That, and more barn pictures are at the end of this post.

The first meal I made when we returned home was this pasta with shrimp and fresh corn off the cob.

Even though the pasta is in a cream sauce, it is still lite and perfect for a summer supper. Instead of clam juice, I used some lobster stock I had in the freezer (the continuation of my perpetual freezer clean-out!) and wow, did it make a delicious sauce! And that is the reason my sauce is a little darker than yours will be if you use clam juice.

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July 23, 2012   2 Comments

Crooked Sky Farms

Guess what I got to do on Friday morning?!?  I got to go on a private farm tour! So how did this lucky event come along for me?  As usual, it’s all in who you know. 

I met Jennifer Woods back in October 2011, when Peggy and I attended that super cool dinner at The Accidental Yard – CLICK HERE to read all about it. Jennifer is a full time mom to Patrick who is 5 and two-year-old Gretchen (pictured above), a contributor to Chow Bella (CLICK HERE to read just one of the nice articles Jennifer has written about me), and the Marketing Manager for Crooked Sky Farms. Yeah, Jennifer has a full plate!

Anyhow, Jennifer emailed me a week or so ago and asked if I’d like to tour the farm. Would I? Heck, YES!!  There was supposed to be a group of us but the others rescheduled (maybe because they looked at the forecast and noticed that Friday’s high was supposed to be 112 degrees!).  So I met Jennifer and her two adorable, outgoing, well-mannered, articulate, farm-enthusiast kids at the farm at 8:00 AM.

We jumped in the Gator, which looked something like this, but without the hay in the back, and headed out into the fields.

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June 2, 2012   3 Comments

Christmas side #1

This is one of the two side dishes we had for Christmas Eve dinner to accompany a pork roast.  I also served a pumpkin and chipotle soup. The soup, the second side, and the pork recipes will be posted in the next couple of days, but this corn pudding was, by far, the favorite dish of the night!

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December 28, 2011   1 Comment

top it!

I made this cornbread to go along with my Two Bean-Two Corn Chorizo and Poblano Chili on our “no poultry” day (the Wednesday before Thanksgiving).  But is equally delicious served with leftover turkey and gravy or with a creamed turkey mixture served over the top.

I even toasted a half slice and had a poached egg on top for breakfast, it is that versatile, so top it with anything you would like.

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November 25, 2011   1 Comment

no poultry

It’s the day before Thanksgiving, the last thing any of us wants to eat is turkey or chicken! In fact, today – the day and night before Turkey Day – is the biggest day for pizza delivery for the entire year! Bigger than Super Bowl Sunday, bigger than New Year’s Eve (we always ordered delivery pizza for our kids that night just as we were heading out the door), bigger than any other day! Why??? Because everyone is sick of cooking, the refrigerators are full, and we are all anticipating cooking and eating turkey tomorrow!

In honor of the “no poultry” unwritten rule, I’ve got some spicy chili for your dining pleasure. I purchased a package of chorizo bolita at the Mexican market thinking I was going to be trying some new and exciting style of chorizo.  After some internet research, I learned that chorizo bolita is just regular chorizo in little links. Bolita means pellets. Oh well, I tried, and it turns out it is a convenient way to buy chorizo. You can cut off as many links as you need and then repackage and freeze the rest in smaller amounts. I used 3 pellets, or about 5 ounces, for this chili recipe. Plus I really wanted to cook and slice the chorizo as links instead of cooking and crumbling it as I usually do.  Removing the casing very carefully and then cooking the links in a bit of water, gave me the exact result I was looking for.

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November 23, 2011   4 Comments