easter bread 2013


This was not my favorite Easter bread to date. Of course it wasn’t only bread but also candied oranges….and then Rob accidentally stuck his finger in the risen loaf before I baked it.

To be fair the kitchen was a disaster because of course I was also trying to simultaneously compile a southern feast, complete with, from scratch, sweet potato pie.   Yes, marathon cooking on Easter Sunday. Rob did make some excellent pie dough and it was his first attempt ever: gold star.

…and we ate well, we ate very well.


basil plants and pigeons


Eat your veggies…with cream sauce and lots of cheese. recipe

I purchased a live basil plant for this recipe. It seemed like a good idea at the time.  I thought it would be in a pot out on my back porch by now giving me an endless supply of basil for the summer. It is not. It is clinging to life, still in the plastic container on my kitchen window sill.

I have two problems. One is that it is barely getting above freezing in Chicago-land. My radiators are still running most mornings.  It is not exactly excellent weather for a thriving basil plant. Second is that in the very spot where I put my herb pots on my porch… because it gets the best light. It is also the spot where pigeons have decided they love to sit….and shit.  I prefer to have pigeon-shit-free fresh herbs.

How much is a plastic owl?



In the beginning there was lamb and couscous….

I admit it. I have been a blogging slacker. I made this meal long ago in a galaxy far, far away.

What I remember is that this recipe includes a whole cup of dates…a whole cup! It was uber-super-sweet and if you like that type of thing then you will like this. Me…not so much. Makes my teeth hurt just thinking about it.  I piled on the green onions to counteract the sticky sweet dessert-ness of it. Because, as we have discussed on this blog before, I am not a big fan of super-sweet, not in food or in personalities…give me a little spicy, complicated, sharp, tangy, tart or salty with my sweet. All alone it is flat and boring. I’m just saying.

ye olde veggie lasagna


In the past I have suggested that I only select recipes from ye olde Betty Crocker cookbook that include mayonnaise on the ingredient list, but not this one. This never-ending pan of veggie lasagna with whole wheat pasta was as usual not really pretty, but it tasted really good.  I tended to eat one piece and then go back for another, ugh!

The thing with making lasagna is all the steps… make pesto, make bechamel, make cheese stuff, boil noodles. It uses lots and lots of dishes.  Now I do have to admit that the recipe suggest things like using pre-made pesto which would make it all a little easier but what would be the fun in that?  I can’t find the recipe anywhere online so here it is:

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees F

12 uncooked whole wheat lasagna noodles (it did not specify whole wheat but that is what I had)

  • cook and drain

3 cups of broccoli florets (it called for thawed, frozen…yeah right! ha!)
2 cups of coarsely shredded carrots
1 can of diced tomatoes, drained
1 red pepper chopped
1/2 green pepper chopped (it called for a whole one but that is just too much in my opinion)
3/4 cup pesto (I made my own)
1/4 tsp salt

  • mix together

15 oz container of ricotta cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan
1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped
1 egg

  • mix together

3 tablespoons of butter
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons of flour
2 cups milk

  • make sauce: melt the butter over medium heat, cook garlic to golden (2 min-ish), stir in flour. Cook, stirring until smooth and bubbly, remove from heat, stir in milk. Return to heat and to a boil, stirring for 1 minute.

3 cups of shredded mozzarella

  • layers in 13x9x2 pan:
    • 3 noodles, half the ricotta cheese mixture
    • 3 more noodles, half veggies, 1 cup of mozzarella
    • 3 more noodles, rest of the ricotta cheese mixture
    • 3 more noodles, rest of veggies
    • pour over sauce, rest of the mozzarella
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.


So I’m not sure that this is the best use of rhubarb if you have limited amounts but I enjoyed it so if you have a lot and want to try something savory this time then…

Basically you just cook down the rhubarb and mix in with your favorite bottled barbeque sauce. Now I don’t have a favorite bottled sauce so I bought Local Folks Foods Hab-a-que sauce made with habenero peppers (because I like their ketchup).   I thought the hot and the rhubarb would be a good combo. I think I may have been wrong. I liked it, but the heat took away from the rhubarb flavor a bit and I think the tart with a sweeter fruit based sauce would work well.

Anyway…the recipe was for roasting the chicken, but it is summer and I grill everything so I cut it into pieces and grilled it. The recipe also had you put some of the sauce in the orzo (with green onions and shredded carrots) This is not a good call. Orzo and veggies should not have rhu-hab-a-que sauce on them.  I would have preferred just a little little olive oil and lemon juice.

cheater, cheater pumpkin eater

Okay that saying is kind of a dumb and there isn’t any pumpkin in this recipe.

What I have to say is that I based it on a recipe in my “500” best-ever recipes cookbook and they are CHEATERS!! This recipe is in there twice. Once in the pasta chapter and once in the grilling chapter. So it is really 499 best-ever recipes….and I’m sure I’ll find more eventually. cheaters.

The names were “Angel hair pasta with garlic, scallops and rocket” and “Garlic scallops with angel hair pasta” (Obviously I had some squid ink spaghetti which I used instead of the angel hair.) The recipes are identical. Even the photo used was the exact same one.  I mean it is pretty simplistic anyway; just garlic, white wine and lemon juice on pasta with some wilted arugula in it…and grilled scallops. (sigh)

I enjoyed the meal.  I mean it is really all about how the super pricey giant scallops I bought were super yummy! Sweet with the little grilled flavor on the outside and creamy on the inside. mmm….