Category Archives: In the Kitchen

Recipe: Tasty “Superhero” Muffins



Shari brought these muffins to our post-run brunch at Suzanne’s and I thought they were the most delicious muffins I’d ever tasted.  I couldn’t wait to make some too!  They are full of delicious ingredients like nuts, raisins, zucchini, carrots, oatmeal and gluten free! Yesterday,  I picked up the ingredients at Trader Joe’s to make a batch at home and even my teenage boys loved them!

The recipe is from Olympic medalist Shaleen Flanagan’s Run Fast.Eat Slow website and cookbook.

Yield: 12

These muffins were designed for superheroes like you. They’re packed full of veggies, and are sweetened with maple syrup instead of refined sugar. In addition, almond flour and whole-grain oats replace nutrient-stripped white flour. These are Shalane’s go-to muffins—nourishing and sweetly satisfying for an easy grab-n-run breakfast.

And don’t fear the butter. Fueling up with healthy fats is a great way to start your day. Fat helps transport important vitamins throughout your hardworking body and will help keep you satisfied longer.

As a bonus, these muffins are gluten-free.


  • 2 cups almond meal
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (use gluten-free if sensitive)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup currants or raisins, optional
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup grated zucchini (about 1 zucchini)
  • 1 cup grated carrot (about 2 carrots)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup Grade B maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • paper muffin cups

Arrange a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper muffin cups.

In a large bowl, combine the almond meal, oats, walnuts, currants or raisins, if using, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, zucchini, carrot, butter, maple syrup, and vanilla.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.

Spoon the batter into the muffin cups filling each to the brim. Bake until the muffins are nicely browned on top and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 25 to 35 minutes.  


Tip: Keep a batch in the freezer for a sweet grab-n-run breakfast. Simply defrost on low power in the microwave


Making Lacto Bacillus Serum (organic fertilizer) to Fortify My Garden



Do you want to learn about a super easy way to increase the productivity and health of your garden?   This fertilizer called “labs” for short is easy to make and the results are amazing.  I learned about making lacto-bacillus serum from the head horticulturalist at the Denver Golf Courses who also heads a very productive donation garden at Harvard Gulch Golf Club in Denver.

The term Lacto-Bacillus Serum sounds fancy but in truth, this simple to make recipe provides a workhorse of beneficial bacteria for your garden and has multiple other applications including :

  • Speeding decomposition in the compost pile
  • Unclogging drains
  • Treating powdery mildew on squash plants
  • Eliminating odor in animal bedding
  • Improves growth of plants when applied as foliar spray and soil drench.
  • Improves their efficiency in absorbing nutrients so naturally, growth is enhanced.

“With the use of these microorganisms, the nutrients you spray or drench to feed your plants become more bio-available and are more easily absorbed by the plants. Technically, you can say that plants do not use organic nutrients directly. Microorganisms convert organic nutrients to their inorganic constituents which the plants utilize. Utilizing microbes, you will notice better plant growth and health.”   –The Unconventional Farmer.

Labs Recipe:

Ingredients:   rice, water, milk


  1.   Day One:  Immerse a cup of rice in a quart of water.   Drain the water into a canning jar – filling it about 3/4 full.   Discard the rice.   Cover the jar with a paper towel but it should not be airtight.   Store it on top of the refrigerator and after a few days, the liquid will separate.
  2.  Day Three:   Siphon off the center layer adding 1 part serum to 10 parts milk and put in another container, cover tightly and let sit for another few days.   Once curds appear, you can strain the liquid with a cheesecloth (the curds can be fried up and eaten).
  3.  Day 5-6   For the Garden  Add 1 part serum to 20 parts water to spray in the garden.   Use on plants weekly Store in the frig or add molasses to store at room temperature.  Stable for about a year.

Sources of information:

The Unconventional Farmer:

Build a Soil:

Making Crepes with Guimillau Morel from Lyons, France

Making Crepes with Guimillau Morel from Lyons, France

Guillimau Morel teaching us how to make crepes. July 2017

One of the highlights of hosting exchange students is that they are often eager to teach us how to make a native dish.  This week our latest guest, Guimillau Morel, from Lyons, France showed us how to make crepes.   Guy (his American nickname) shared that he makes crepes almost every week at home and they are very easy.   And I agree!

My son Tristan along with his cousins Elizabeth and  Max joined in for the cooking lesson.


  • milk
  • flour
  • eggs
  • butter for skillet
  • powder sugar to sprinkle on top
  • fillings:  Nutella, berries, bananas, chicken, etc.

Without a recipe to follow, Guy made the batter by feel.  He cracked two eggs in a large bowl and whisked in several cups of milk.   He alternately added flour and milk to make a thin batter — much thinner to the pancake batter we are accustomed to making.  After melting butter in a 10 inch skillet,  he added a soup ladle of batter and rolled it side to side to cover the entire bottom of the pan with batter.   The crepe cooked for several minutes over medium high heat until the edges became dry and slightly brown.  Then, he tucked a spatula under the edges of the crepe all around and once the entire crepe was loose, he flipped it.   The bottom of the cooked since had some brown spots and cooked another minute or so until removed from the pan.

The finished crepes can be stacked on a plate and kept warm in the oven or stored for a few days in the refrigerator.   With eager tasters, the kids started filling the crepes with Nutella and strawberries as soon as they came off the stove.   Guy told us that in France, there is a tradition that boys fold their crepes and girls roll them.   Who knew?

20170726_103710 (1)

In France, boys fold their crepes and girls roll them.

After three crepes each, we were all happily stuffed. Guy shared that crepe parties are popular in France and that his family has a special pan designed to cook multiple crepes at the same time.  I am now sure I want one of those pans so I can make lots of crepes and host a crepe party too!

Crafting with Birdhouse Gourds


Last year’s dried gourd next to the newly harvested one.

Inspired by our garden neighbor Marilynn who grows birdhouse gourds for Earthlinks, my garden partners and I started growing them several years ago.   We found that these gourds are easy to grow with prolific vines that produce close to a dozen study green fruits every September.   After harvesting the crop each autumn, we divide the haul and suspend them with twine to dry from a kitchen pot rack or the ends of curtain rods.   This drying process takes at least six months, sometimes more.   Fast forward several years and we’ve amassed quite a collection of hollow brown gourds.   So this year, we finally got a date on the calendar to turn these garden treasures into art.   We were especially fortunate that our newest partner on the garden team, Suzanne Buntrock, took the time to do some research about paint, design and construction before our long anticipated get together.

Susan, Suzanne and her daughter Clare and I gathered at the kitchen table with the pile of dried gourds and various paints, tempera and acrylic.   After my husband Dave graciously agreed to drill out the holes – a 1 inch round one in the side and a small one for drainage on the bottom, we proceeded to remove the seeds and dried membrane from the gourds and saved most of the seeds.    We wondered if these seeds would produce the same gourd next season or had they cross pollinated with another species — something to research this winter.

After laying down newspaper, setting up paints and brushes and checking design ideas on Pinterest, we embarked on our artistic adventure.   Suzanne and my son Dylan tried various tempera paints but found after it dried a bit that the paint starting flaking off.   Susan and I worked with acrylic paints and found that the paint seemed to stay on better.   We had read that the final step should be a layer of polyurethane to protect the gourd from the elements.   Unfortunately, even the addition of this layer did not prevent the tempera paint from flaking off.   In the end, we got the project rolling and although some of us still need to add detail to the solid first coat on our gourds, we made some pretty cool birdhouses.   Here are some highlights of our creative afternoon.

11046223_10206598218027569_1421031906365243517_n 12046814_10206598219667610_6139920712798821838_n

My Heirloom Garlic Stash

My Heirloom Garlic Stash
Talking About Heirloom Garlic and Its Health Benefts for the Smith Club of Colorado

Talking About Heirloom Garlic and Its Health Benefts for the Smith Club of Colorado

In preparation for a garlic talk I gave for my local Smith Alumnae Club, I was lucky enough to get one of each type of heirloom garlic grown at my community garden this year — freshly harvested, cleaned and dried.    There are 13 different types and I am determined to get to know the unique qualities each one offers.   Most of them are hardneck varieties which are very flavorful and have a shelf life of 4-6 months.   I will plant some of these and eat the rest.   Rosedale Community will have all these varieties for sale at their annual sale in September.   The garden is also planning a garlic tasting event for October.  For more information, check out the website at

Although I am a garlic lover and use it frequently in my cooking, I am not yet an expert on which varieties to use for what dishes.   Like wine, there is a whole frontier of garlic variation to explore.   Right now, I do know that Thermadrone is very popular in French cooking for its mild Dijon flavor.   And, Spanish Roja is very popular in the U.S.

As a start, I have been growing heirloom garlic in my garden for several years — although the tags on my 2014 planting faded during the winter so I am not sure which is which.   I will attempt to compare my newly harvested bulbs to the ones I got from Rosedale and if possible, make a taste comparision.   In any case, growing my own organic garlic is a step up from buying the usual California Late and California Early available at the local grocery store.   Its my mission this year to move up into the ranks of garlic afficionado and share some of my new found knowledge with my friends and family.   I would love to hear about your experiences growing and eating different varieties of garlic.   Go!!

Here is what the individual varieties look like close up:


IMG_4878                  IMG_4879

IMG_4881                IMG_4880

Between Harvest and Kitchen


11834934_10206248836413247_1252265432375814819_oSeveral months ago, I had the opportunity to attend an awesome 2-day workshop entitled “Garden Troubleshooting” at the Denver Urban Gardens headquarters.   We learned about good bugs, bad bugs and a variety of plant diseases and disorders and how to address them.   Many of those lessons have come in handy for me this summer.   But now that its harvest time, I find myself referring to the section on when and how to harvest and how to store my produce.   Thanks to Carol O’Meara of the Colorado State University Extension in Boulder County, I have a better handle on how to harvest and store my produce.   Here is some of what she shared with us in the her workshop, “Between Harvest and Kitchen”.

Three Golden Rules:

  • Keep it cool
  • Keep it wet
  • Handle with care


Too Much Cooling is a Bad Thing and can cause high respiration, uneven ripening, off flavor, pitting, premature rotting, discoloration or woody tissue, fungal disease

Chilling Injury Thresholds

  • 45 F:           beans, cucumbers, peppers, eggplant
  • 45-50 F:     melons
  • 50 F:           tomatoes/winter squash
  • 55 F:            sweet potato (put in frig for 2 weeks to make sweeter)

Curing:  a short time in a warm, dry place which toughens the skins, dries surface, improves flavor and texture and heals cuts.

  • potatoes, pumpkins, winter squash (is sweeter later); except for acorn squash which gets stringy
  • onions need 5-7 dayss at a dry 70-80 F
  • sweet potatoes need 5-7 days at 80-85 F and humid


Snap Beans

  • pod diameter, not length determines quality
  • harvest after dew evaporates
  • avoid tearing or damaging pods; don’t squeeze them
  • keep harvested pods out of the sun
  • cool within 2 hours of harvest
  • store in refrigerator with humidy pad (damp paper towel)


  • water consistently
  • heads should have dark or bright green closed (no yellow) florets

    Broccoli is ready to harvest.

    Broccoli is ready to harvest.

  • compact, firm to hand pressure
  • steams bright green with no discoloration
  • rapidly cool and store cool

Brussel Sprouts

  • spouts found at base of leaf
  • harvest at 1-2 inches diameter
  • sprouts mature form bottom of stalk up
  • harvest individually
  • front sweetens flavor, but avoid letting them freeze
  • cool


  • green husk, dry brown silk
  • loses sugar rapidly in heat
  • pick in early morning, cool immediately
  • eat soon
  • store at 32 F in humidity for up to 5 days


  • before seed matures
  • look for firm, glossy pods
  • when pressed with fingernail, indentation remains
  • fresh, green calyx


  • cut water when leaves brown
  • harvest when leaves are 2/3 brown

    I waited for the stems to dry after clipping off the garlic scapes several weeks ago. Ready to dig up the garlic cloves.

    I waited for the stems to dry after clipping off the garlic scapes several weeks ago. Ready to dig up the garlic cloves.

  • don’t wash bulbs with water — will ruin
  • cure garlic in dry, warm location for 7-10 days
  • cut stems to one inch
  • can freeze in glass, leave papery outer skin


  • Count the days.   roughly one month after the plant flowers, melons begin ripening.
  • should be full -boidied and heavy for their size; some changes in fruit color yellow to tan
  • muskmelons slip from the steam easily when ripe
  • watermelon belly turns cream or yellow and the tendrils closet to fruit wither
  • cantelope:   neeting, count days from flowering, fruit behind bloom female once flower closed — 40 days
  • muskmelons slip:   smell it, stem will have crack 2/3 around (slip stage); time to sling if trellised.


  • harvest young 1/4 inch to 1 inch for fresh use; 1- 1/2 for pickling or when tops have fallen over and necks are shriveled for storage
  • air dry in single layers in shade for 3-4 weeks; remove tops
  • don’t wet, wait a day to cure
  • storing — onions vary in storage capability, more pungent types with high soluble solids contents store longer, mild onions with low soluble solids contents are rarly stored for more than a month,
  • store at 32-50 F or RH 60-70%


  • clip from plant
  • more susceptible to sunscald, water loss and heat damage after harvest
  • store at 40-45 F, high humidity
  • paprika is a dry blend of peppers, remove seeds


  • stop irrigation 2-3 weeks prior to harvest
  • remove vines before digging tubers
  • cure for 2 weeks in 45-60 F dark room – this will set skins
  • prevent sun exposure which will green skins and is toxic
  • can store up to 10 months in proper conditions
  • store at 39-45 F, 95-98 percent RH, air circulation

Root Crops


  • clip tops for storage at 33 F in high humidity
  • mulch carrots for fresh pulling into winter, hill a foot of straw over shoulders after ground cools in fall
  • dig and store before ground freezes
  • parsnips like to get cold
  • can use carrot tops in salad


  • harvest at 1.5-2 inchues, pull fall planted beets before first freeze
  • clip tops to 1 inch before refrigerating up to two weeks
  • do not store in frozen ground

Parsnips, horseradish, turnips

  • improve in flavor with light freezing
  • at temps 28-34 F starch converts to sugar
  • mulch with straw and leave in ground into winter
  • pull and use before Spring


Harvesting Tomatoes

  • harvest when fruits are uniformly red, but before end softens
  • ripe fruit sinks in water (useful when gauging ripeness of green tomatoes)
  • when to let the season end — frost protection works best on tomatoes already coloring up, green ones are harmed by chill
  • if there is a run of cold nights, pick off green tomatoes and leave the blushed ones on the plant

    Tomatoe ready to pick.

    Tomatoe ready to pick.

Speed Up Ripening

  • thinning — immature fruit won’t size up or ripen by season’s end, so snip off blossoms and young fruit to leave the plant’s energy to full-grown tomatoes
  • new shoots and overloads of mature tomatoes also slow ripening prune off suckers and young stems, then pluck a few green tomatoes for ripening on the counter
  • on run of cool nights, pick off green ones to let blush ones ripen
  • cut back water to the plants to hasten vine ripening
  • pull the plant from the ground and hang it upside down in a dry, sheltered area.   Fruit should be harvested before completely ripe and allowed to finish on the counter or it may fll from the vine and create a mess

When Frost Hits

  • once hit by frost, tomatoes break down quickly and are not suitable for canning
  • cut off the bad spots, then use immediately in your favorite recipes or chop and freeze them for winter dishes

Green Tomatoes for Storage

  • pick green tomatoes for strage from healthy vines or pink ones to ripen on the counter
  • prevent problesm from rot:   harvest when plants are dry, avoiding fruit that is diseased or has insect damage
  • clip tomoatoes from the wine, many heirlloms have “knuckled” stems that tear
  • mature green tomatoes stores best — those that are full-sized, glossy light green to white with a whitish star on the blossom end
  • tip:   dark green tomatoes are immature and should be used right away as fried green tomatoes, in relish or stewed

    The final tomatoe harvest before the hard frost.

    The final tomatoe harvest before the hard frost.


  • breakers:   should your tomatoes begin to color at the blossom end, know as a “breaker”, it will continue to ripen quickly for you on your counter and taste close to vine ripened
  • pinks:   colored up but not fully ripe will ripen on the counter
  • sort tomatoes into groups that will ripen at the same speed — mature green, breakers, pinks and red

Countertop Holding/Ripening

  • at room temperature, red tomatoes are ready within a day or two
  • pinks (3-=60 % colored) will be ready in 7-10 days
  • mature greens and breakers, up to 14 days

Storing Green Tomatoes

  • clip stems short, wash gently and pat dry.  Store in a box with good ventilation at 55-68 degrees (frig too cold)
  • check tomatoes frequently for spoiling
  • to store longer, wrap tomatoes in newspaper and place 1-2 layers deep in a box.  Keep in a cool, 55-60 degree room, out of sunlight.

Winter Squash

  • speed ripening by cutting back water to the plant slowly over a few weeks so you don’t interrupt growth of young squash
  • pluck blossoms from the plant to allow the plant to pump energy into the fruit
  • watch for signs of maturity, such as stem drying out or the rind turning a deep color
  • harvest when the skin toughens and isn’t dented by pressure from a fingernail; stem turns tan
  • cut stem from vine with sharp knife, leaving stem attached to squash (w/o stem, squash decays around stem scar)
  • cure 10 days in dry room, 75-85 F

In Garden Storage

  • beets, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, cauliflower, celery, endive, cos or romaine lettuce, kale, leeks, and onions can withstand the early light frosts store for several weesk under a heavy (1 ft. mulch)
  • Pits/Mounds:    dig a 6-10 inch deep trench, layer 3-4 inches of straw, place cabbage, carrots, beets, celeriac, kohlrobi, rutabagas, turnips, and winter radishes on top of much, cover with 12 inches straw, then 3 inches soil; once you open mound, ALL produce must be removed and used within 2 weeks

Root Cellars

  • store potatoes, carrots, beets, turnips, rutabagas, winter radishes, kohlrabi, parsnips

Recommended Storage Temperatures and Relative Humidity Levels

COLD AND VERY MOIST  (33-40 F, 90-95% RH)

Beets, Brussel Sprouts, Carrots, Parsnips, Turnips, Rutabegas, Leeks, Celeriax, Winter Radish (Daikon), Sunchokes

COLD AND MOIST (32-40 F, 80-90% RH)

Potatoes, Apples, Cabbage

COOL AND DRY (32-50 F, 60-70% RH)

Garlic, Onions, Dry Beans


Winter Squash, Pumpkin, Sweet Tomatoes









Fresh Salad Vinaigrette Made with Homegrown French Shallots

Fresh Salad Vinaigrette Made with Homegrown French Shallots

10984497_10206154600377405_5606755223133504857_nWhen I have fresh greens out of the garden, I like to make my own salad dressing.   And recently, I had the opportunity to make a salad with the help of two sisters, Ana and Eden, who were visiting Colorado from Maryland.   The youngest, Eden, was especially eager to help harvest the lettuce and prepare the salad.   With the help of both Ana and Eden, we created a lovely salad for our lunch.    The dressing is especially delicious and made with fresh French shallots I grew in my garden.  The recipe was first prepared for me by our French exchange student, Zoe, who made it during her visit in July 2013.   Here it is:

2 tbsps minced shallot

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup balsalmic vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients together in a jar, put the lid on and shake.   Store in refrigerator of a week.

August 6, 2015 — Cooking Up This Week’s Huge CSA Share

August 6, 2015 — Cooking Up This Week’s Huge CSA Share

11834934_10206248836413247_1252265432375814819_oWe are fortunate to live right next to the farm where our CSA share is grown.    And every other Thursday for the last five years, my partner and I have enjoyed going down to the Chatfield Farm to retrieve our freshly picked local produce.   Today, our share finally hit its zenith with an impressive load of delicious vegetables. Here is a list of what I picked up today:

  • 1 bunch chives, Thai basil
  • 5 beets
  • 3 green peppers
  • 3 pounds heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 pound spinach
  • large bunch kale
  • 2 bulbs garlic
  • 2 small summer squash.

With such a large haul added to the abundance of fresh herbs and vegetables rolling in from both my home garden and my community plots, it is always a challenge to prepare and eat it all — or give it away — before its relegated to the compost heap.    Today, I was inspired to get organized and make a plan for incorporating this bounty into delicious dishes everyone in our family will eat.

Here is the menu for the next few days and some of the tried and true recipes I am using:

  • Cheddar Chive Buttermilk Biscuits
  • Roasted Kale Chips
  • Zoe’s Tomato Tart
  • Quinoa Vegetable Egg Muffins
  • Roasted Vegetables — Beets, Peppers, Carrots, Onions, Mushrooms, Summer Squash
  • Fritata with Tomato, Spinach, Basil and Chives
  • Thai Basil Pesto to put over spiralized squash noodles
  • Leftovers — puree sauted spinach and freeze to add to autumn soups,


Cheddar Chive Buttermilk Biscuits,   

3 cups flour

1/8 cup baking powder

1/3 tsp salt

4 ounces grated cheddar cheese

1/4 cup sliced chives

3/4 colf butter sliced

1 1/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat over to 425 F.  Combine flour, salt, cheese, chives in food processor and pulse until mixed.   add butter until mostly incorporated with a few remaining chunks.   Pour in buttermilk stopping just when the dough comes together.   Drop dough on baking sheet in 1/4 cup portions.   Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.   Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with chives.

11816265_10206248847813532_7984222874652612317_oRoasted Kale Chips

1 bunch kale

2 Tbsp olive oil


Preheat oven to 300 F.   Remove ribs from the kale and gently tear leaves into bitesize pieces and place in large bowl.   Toss in olive oil and salt to taste.   Spread on cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until kale is crispy.

IMG_1167Zoe’s Tomato Tart

Pepperidge Farm puff pastry

3-4 Tbsp Dijon Mustard

Gruyere Cheese, grated

3 large heirloom tomatoes, sliced thin

Fresh basil leaves

Preheat over to 350 F.   Defrost and roll one package of puff pastry.   Grease cookie sheet.   Spread dijon mustard on the surface of the pastry, then grate gruyere cheese on top.   Place tomato slices in single rows next and garnish with basil leaves.   Bake about 20 minutes.

Quinoa Egg Muffins

2 whole eggs

3 egg whites

1 cup cooked quinoa

1 cup chopped veggies

Spices of your choice, salt and pepper

2 tablespoons parmesan cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F.   Mix eggs together with a whisk and add other ingredients.   Spray muffin tin and add egg mixture.   Bake for 30 minutes.   Cool before serving and store leftovers in the refrigerator.    Courtesy of Dr. Oz.



Garden Treats for the Coffee Cart

Garden Treats for the Coffee Cart


Ana and Lerae serving up garden treats at the Sunday Coffee Cart.

Having recently started a donation garden to support the Sheridan Food Bank, Lerae and I have been working at promoting our garden project as often as possible.   To this end, I signed up to prepare treats for the Sunday Coffee Cart for the coffee hour between services at St.Philip’s Church on July 26, 2015.   I figured that by the end of July, we would have some items in the garden that could be incorporated into tasty bakery items to share with church members and garner some attention for the vegetables growing in the back lot.

After discussing the possibilities of how we could incorporate our harvest (both at home and from the donation garden, Lerae and I settled on some delicious options.   She rustled up some  rhubarb crisp and coffee cake as well as some strawberry rhubarb jam.   I made Lemon Rosemary Shortbread Cookies, Cheddar Chive Biscuits and Zucchini Bread.   My plan to bring pesto to serve with herb cream cheese on crackers failed when I ran out of oive oil.   Added to the mix were pretzel crackers, gluten free brownies and rice rolls.

For a first try, our garden theme was a hit.   The home baked goods also inspried many conversations about our bountiful community donation garden.    And, more than a few decided to go out back to check out the garden.   Feeling successful, we decided to sign up to host  again in September  but this time, we will feature more savory treats — parmesan zucchni and yellow squash rounds, pesto on crackers, tomato tart, pickled cukes and more!!!

IMG_9380[3]Recipe:    Lemon Rosemary Shortbread Cookies

1 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

3 tbs lemon juice

1 tsp grated lemon peel

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups all purpose flour

4 1/2 tsps minced fresh rosemary

1/4 tsp salt

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until ight and fluffy.   Beat in the lemon juice, peel and vanilla.   Combine the flour, rosemary and salt, gradually add to creamed mixtue and mix well.   Shape into two 12-in rolls, wrap each in plastic wrap.   Freeze for 20 minutes or until firm.   Cut into 1/4 in. slices.   Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets.   Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes or until edges begin to brown.   cool for 2 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.   Store in airtight container.


Bread Pudding to Die For — Goodbye to a Favorite Chef in Wichita



June 5, 2015.   Today is a sad day for fans of beloved Wichita chef, restaurant owner and radio personality Tanya Tandoc.   She was murdered last night by a boarder in her home.    At age 45, she had so much more to give!   I enjoyed eating the delicious soups and sandwiches on the menu at her restaurant, Tanya’s Soup Kitchen, during frequent trips to visit my sister in Wichita, KS.    Although this resturant closed in 2004, my husband and I still rave about our favorite sandwiches and soups at Tanya’s.    I treasure the recipe card collection I purchased (twice!) during visits to the converted train depot restaurant.   I often turn to them when I am looking to cook a delicious soup or dessert.

In memory of Tanya and her terrific culinary talents, I would like to share two of my favorite recipes from her collection.

Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce — The Best!!!


9-12 cups good bread, torn into pieces, 1 Tbsp Vanilla. 9 eggs, 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, 6 cups milk

Place bread in 9 X13 inch pan.   Mix the wet ingredients and sugar in a bowl until combined, then pour over the bread.   Let mixture sit 5 minutes before squishing up well with your hands.   Use your fingers to evenly pat down the pudding.   Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes or until pudding is browned and puffed.   Cool before serving with warm caramel sauce.

Caramel Sauce

2 sticks butter, 2 cups brown sugar, 2 cups heavy cream

In a saucepan, melt butter.   Add sugar and stir in cream.   Bring to boil and simmer on low heat 20 minutes, stirring contantly.   Remove from heat and serve with fresh whipped cream.

Tomato Bisque – Perfect with a Grilled Cheese, 4-6 servings


2 cans tomato paste,  3 cups water, 3 cups heavy cream, 4 fresh garlic cloves, minced fine, 3-6 Tb sugar to taste, salt and pepper to taste

Compine all ingredients, whisk well, and bring to a boil over moderate heat.   Simmer 10 minutes and season to taste.

Tomato dill:  add 1 tsp died dill weed at the beginning of cooking.   Tomato basil:  add 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil to soup at the end of cooking.   Tomato Tarragon:   add 1 tsp dried tarragon to soup the beginning of cooking.

Here is a link to her radio show on KMUW, 89.1 in Wichita: