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Posts from — June 2019

good any time of day

I made this as the starter for Anne’s birthday dinner early this month. I could honestly eat this for breakfast, lunch or dinner on a daily basis. It’s That Good!

Grilled Asparagus Toast with Poached Eggs

  • 4 large slices sourdough bread
  • Olive oil
  • 24 asparagus spears
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Allepo pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a pan of water to the boil, then reduce water to a simmer. Brush one side of the bread slices with olive oil.

Heat a grill pan over a high heat and toast the bread. Move each slice to its own serving plate and drizzle with olive oil.

Snap the woody end off the asparagus, then place on a plate and coat the spears with olive oil.

Using the same grill pan, grill the asparagus for a few minutes on all sides, sprinkle with the paprika and Allepo pepper, then divide between the pieces of toast.

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June 26, 2019   No Comments

Linda’s Tortilla Soup

In 1993, Barbara Pool Fenzl began writing her first cookbook, Southwest The Beautiful Cookbook. It was published in 1994. In the space between, I was her recipe tester. Barb would develop the recipes and then give me a stack of recipes for me to test, make suggestions, corrections and such.  My family vividly remembers it because the batches of recipes came not as a menu, but in groups of the same type of dishes. So one week I’d be making 6 or 7 salads, the next week it would be 5 or 6 desserts and so on. Honestly, we loved it.

Barb also gave me the opportunity to develop and contribute a recipe of my own to the cookbook. I decided on Tortilla Soup. The only prerequisite was that the soup should include a sauce Barb had developed for the sauce section of the book.  So this recipe uses Barb’s Red Chili Sauce. If you would rather just buy red chili sauce or red enchilada sauce, please take that shortcut. But by all means, make the soup, it is a family favorite.

The recipe also calls for four cooked chicken breast halves. You can substitute shredded rotisserie chicken if you’d like. Use 5 to 6 cups of shredded rotisserie.

Lastly, there aren’t as many in-process photos as I usually post with a recipe. That is because I made this for my final series at Les Gourmettes Cooking School, so I was only able to take photos of the pre-prep I did at home before loading it all up and taking it to the class.

Tortilla Soup


  • 2 tablespoons corn oil
  • 3 corn tortillas, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 jalapeño chili, cored, seeded and minced
  • 2 Anaheim chilies, roasted, peeled, cored, seeded and finely chopped
  • 8 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced *see photo below
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup red chili sauce (recipe below) or use store-bought red enchilada sauce
  • 2 whole cooked chicken breasts, shredded
  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and diced
Note: To seed a tomato, simply cut in half through the equator. Then, over a bowl, squeeze out the seeds and juice.


  • 4 corn tortillas
  • Pam
  • Salt and chili powder
  • 1/2 cup grated Monterey jack cheese
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Soup: Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large pot. Add the tortilla pieces, reduce heat and cook until they are golden and brown and slightly crisp.  Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes, then add the garlic and jalapeño and cook another 2 minutes.

Add the Anaheim, tomatoes and tomato paste; cook for 10 minutes. Stir in the cumin and cayenne; slowly whisk in the chicken broth and the red chili sauce and simmer the soup for about 20 minutes, or until slightly reduced. Add the shredded chicken and avocado and heat until warmed though.

Garnish: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stack and cut the tortillas into julienne strips. Spray a baking sheet with Pam, place the tortilla strips on a baking sheet and spray them with more Pam. Cook in preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until brown and crisp.

Remove from oven a spray with Pam one last time and then sprinkle generously with salt and chili powder.

To serve, ladle soup into bowls and garnish with the grated cheese, cilantro and baked tortilla strips.

Serves 6

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June 21, 2019   10 Comments

Anne’s birthday dessert

When I originally made this dessert for Anne’s birthday, I was winging it, I hadn’t tested the recipe beforehand. It needed a little tweaking. I used too much brown sugar and too much brandy that first go around which made it runny and way too strong in the alcohol flavor. It doesn’t spend that much time under the broiler to burn off all the brandy I originally had in there.  I made it again and got it just right. The photos were taken when I remade it as a single serving for my do-over, but the ingredient portions in this recipe serve four.  

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June 19, 2019   2 Comments

Anne’s birthday entreé

Halibut Asian Style

  • 2 pounds halibut fillets, cut into chunks
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • Olive oil
  • Sesame oil
  • 3 large garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 lemon
  • 5 sprigs of fresh coriander, leaves pulled off
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 fresh red chile, thinly sliced on the diagonal

Place the sesame seeds onto a flat dish, then add the halibut chunks, turning them over in the seeds to nicely coat.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and 1 tablespoon sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add about 3/4 of the sliced garlic to the pan and fry for 1 minute, or until golden and crisp, remove from heat and use a slotted spoon to quickly transfer to a plate, leaving the oil in the skillet.

Return the pan to the heat, then add the sesame-coated halibut to the garlic oil. Sear on one side for 1 to 2 minutes. Using a spatula, turn over and cook on other side for another 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Place the grated ginger in a small bowl with the soy sauce, 1 teaspoon sesame oil and the remaining sliced garlic. Add the zest of the lemon and 2 tablespoons lemon juice, then mix well to combine. Taste and add more lemon juice, if needed.

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June 17, 2019   1 Comment

most requested

Thank you for all your input and comments on which of the 8 recipes I put forth you’d like to see first. The requests were all over the board, but the jalapeño jelly had a couple more than the rest. I believe the halibut had the next most, so that recipe will be second and then I’ll go from there until all recipes are posted here for you.

I made this jelly as a take-home gift for the students in my series at Les Gourmettes Cooking School. All of the recipes from this particular class were from Barbara Fenzl’s Southwest The Beautiful Cookbook. This jelly is the perfect homemade gift or hostess gift, especially during the holidays. But I promise you, it’s would be a much-appreciated gift any time of the year.

The recipe below is written just as it is in the book, but here is a tip I’d like to add: When dispersing the jelly between the jars, use a slotted spoon to evenly divide the solids into each jar. If you pour the jelly directly in, the first few jars will end up with all the solids and the last will have none.

Once the solids are distributed, then ladle the hot liquid evenly between the jars. I used 4-ounce jars and ended up 17 with of them. That is a very satisfying amount of gifts for one quick cooking session.

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June 12, 2019   No Comments

out of time and choices

As I sit here on Sunday night at nearly 8:00, in my heart I want to put up a recipe post but I really don’t have it in me. I had a busy (work-wise) weekend but also a kind of shitty (sorry, it’s still my favorite word) personal weekend. In fact, after working the morning away, I spent all of the rest of Sunday, in avoidance, watching a great show on Netflix called “Dead To Me” Which coincidently, was picked up for a second season just this week.

I highly recommend it and I thank Lisa and Jen for recommending it to me. xoox

Choice #1 – Artichoke Dish

So how about I give you some choices for recipe posts for the coming days? I’ll show you a few photos and you can leave me comments telling me which ones you are most interested in getting the recipes for. I’m sure that eventually, I’ll post the recipe for each and every single one, but how you respond (or choose not to respond) will help me decide which to post first.

Then once I’ve posted the recipe, I’ll like it to the photo below for easy reference.

#2 Tortilla Soup

Several of these recipes are long time favorites that I featured in my last series of classes at Les Gourmettes Cooking School.

#3 Jalapeño Jelly

And some of the others are dishes I made for an early birthday dinner that Peggy and I hosted on Thursday night for our sweet Anne.

#4 – Aisan Style Halibut

In fact, TODAY is Anne’s actual birthday! Happy Birthday, Sweet Anne. I adore you! xoxo

#5 Pasta Carbonara
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June 10, 2019   10 Comments

soup all year

For me, it’s never too hot for soup. I understand why some people shy away from soup during the summer because I’m the same way about red wine. Give me white or rosé (also known as Summer Water) or nothing at all. But my love for soup is year-round.

I actually made this batch of broccoli soup on Memorial Day when it was unseasonably cool outside. I had a big bag of broccoli florets that needed to be used, time was not their friend. I also had a loaf of brioche in the freezer left from cooking classes earlier in the month which would make wonderful croutons for this soup or a salad later in the week. I always feel good about using up stuff I have on hand instead of another grocery store run.

For the mix of fresh herbs, I used rosemary, parsley, thyme and oregano. Use whatever herbs you like best or have on hand.

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June 5, 2019   3 Comments

talk, talk, talk

I have so much to tell you about this simple brown, dump and walk away turkey chili recipe. It’s so easy that I shouldn’t have anything to share, but somehow…

First thing is these chips! They are Soooo Good that I am never buying them again. I’ve made the chili twice in a week and I’ve gone through two bags of these devilishly yummy chips. Five pounds on the hips later and nope, I’m done with them! So take that, Tostitos Hint of Jalapeño.

Next is this cheese. I hope that all Trader Joe’s lovers, like myself, know about TJ’s Unexpected Cheddar. It is the bomb! It makes unsatisfied with plain old cheddar now. There is just something about this cheddar-Parm combo that makes me happy. The texture isn’t great for slicing, it is a bit crumbly, but I don’t care, I use it on Harmony Boards anyhow just to spread the love.

Now for an explanation as to why I used a slow cooker instead of my Instant Pot for this chili. Laziness, that is the simple reason. Both my slow cooker and Instant Pot are in this cupboard on the left in my garage. The day before I made the recipe for the first time, I’d bought a bunch of wood for Harmony Boards. The sanded, branded and oiled boards that are ready to go are in the rolling bin to the right. The new wood is stacked against the bin and is blocking half of the cupboard. The Instant Pot is behind that blocked door on the right and the slow cooker is behind the unblocked door on the left. That’s the reason. You could easily use an Instant Pot for this recipe and cut out the step of browning the meat in a skillet and brown it directly in the pot.

Lastly, I want to share a “Grandma Tip” that I’ve always assumed everyone knows and uses. And that is when you use canned food, such as the diced tomatoes used here, and you have a liquid that is also added to the dish, such as the water in this recipe, you pour the liquid into the empty can to wash out the can and get every little bit of the food out. You do that, right? If you don’t then your grandma or mom messed up. You need to do that. And in the case of this recipe which uses two cans of tomatoes, you add the water to one of the cans and then pour it into the other can to wash it out and then pour it into the slow cooker.

See, I had a bunch to share! Now on to this delicious recipe! I love it because the addition of tortilla chips at the end gives it a hint of tamale taste. YUM!

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June 3, 2019   5 Comments