Friday, August 4, 2017

Crustless Goat Cheese Vegetable Tatin

Before going in to the oven.
This one is not just a pretty face. She packs a wallop of health and tops it with a cherry of exceptional taste.

There are certain vegetables my husband does not like. Summer squash, like Zephyr, Zucchini and Crook Neck are on the "I won't eat them, so do not cook them," list. Unless I fancy them up like in this amazing and super easy crustless "tarte."

Friday, March 17, 2017

Happy St. Patricks Day and a Brand New Soda Bread

Credit: Joan Lamoreau
Yep, I've been really, really lazy. Just so you know, blogging is hard, keeping up with life and then adding said life to blog even harder and then there is the pressure. You see something cool, you want to share something cool and then you realize laundry and groceries trump something cool.

But I'm getting back to it. Who knows how often or when or what or anything. But I'll do my best to get back to chronicling cool stuff. I have a Pin Board that is even called Basic Coolness. I like cool stuff, knowing full well that my cool is not the same as somebody else's cool, but (said with a twinkle in my eye) I know who my tribe is and they know who I am.

With that said, I am going to dedicate this post to my friend Peter. He lost his mother yesterday, and the world is a lesser place without Elaine.

Friday, November 11, 2016

New Orleans Seafood Gumbo

I promised this to you guys. But I never thought it would take 3.5 months to get it up here. Maybe the anticipation will make it all that much better when you make it at home for your family?

This my own version of New Orleans Seafood Gumbo. It's warm and comforting and super tasty. Enjoy!


1 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 large green bell pepper, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 threads saffron
1 cup rice, pre-cooked
1 bag small tail off shrimp
1 bag frozen clams
1 lemon, zested
1 tbs worcestershire
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp Zatarains Cajun Seasoning
1 tsp Crystal Louisiana Hot Sauce
2 Bay leaves
Brown/Dark brown roux


1. Sweat onions, garlic, bell pepper and garlic with the saffron
2. In a separate soup pot, make the roux: Melt 3 tbs. butter and add 3 Tbs, cook over low/medium heat until combined. Add stock to desired consistency and cook until brown but not scorched.
3. Add cooked veg to roux
4. Add Seafood and simmer on low, adding stock as necessary for the consistency that appeals to you.
5. Add lemon zest, worcestershire, cajun seasoning (it comes in a wee mesh bag - simple cut it open and measure out your seasoning), hot sauce and bay leaves
6. Lower heat and simmer adding salt and pepper to taste
7. Add rice, heat through
8. Serve garnished with bias cut green onion and crusty bread

NOLA - Partie Trois

This is the final part of our trip to New Orleans. Stay tuned because I will end this with a wicked recipe I created for Seafood Gumbo.

Day 4, Friday: We had a leisurely morning. It always takes us some time to wind down on a vacation so it was good to get a little lounging in. But we did have 9:30 reservations for brunch at Brennans. I have heard about the grandeur of this place many times and I just had to see and taste for myself.
It was magnificent. Both Bulent and I had the Eggs Benedict except I had a side of grits and he had a side of potatoes. I'm not a potato fan, but his potatoes were perfection! The hollandaise was excellent and the service, impeccable. In case you can't tell from my posts, New Orleans is an eating town!

There were charming details in this restaurant: a collection of vintage oyster plates hung from the walls in one dining room. Painted murals in another, a peacock etched on a mirror in yet another, a courtyard with a water feature that had a family of turtles living there. It was a little world all it's own. And the dubious history of the place was so evident!  The building was constructed in 1795 by Edgar Degas great grandfather and was once a private residence frequented by President Andrew Jackson.

Yep. They live at Brennans. Lucky.

Such a fancy turtle. You can see him so clearly with his cognac and cigar.

After breakfast we took a trolley ride to the garden district.

NOLA is truly unlike any other place I've been or seen. It is it's own little biome of goodness. What I mean by different is that I often hear people say that San Francisco is reminiscent of a European City (well, it isn't, it is decidedly American) but you catch my drift. New Orleans has Spanish influences and obvious French ones too. But the history is rich, eclectic and diverse.

After seeing Magazine street and the tiny shops along the promenade there our stomachs got rumbly and we hitched an Uber to Superior Seafood. 

Did I mention $.50 happy hour over there. Huz and I ate probably 50 oysters and drank champagne for 2.5 hours. It was like heaven.

We took the trolly back into town from there and headed to the hotel for a rest. Tonight was a trip to Arnaud's.

Arnaud's is the "grande dame" of original Creole dining, but we were not going for the food. We went for the scenery and a famous french 75. By scenery, I mean that many people have said it is reminiscent of The Shining. It is, sort of. It really more reminded me of American Horror Story: Freak Show.

Did you know there is a secret museum there? Well, there is. It's not really secret but not many people know about it. Chris Hammond, the gentleman bar keep told us about it and escorted us to peek at it. It was magnificent.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Cinnamon Blondies

I love cinnamon. The smell of cinnamon, the taste of cinnamon, anything (sweet or savory) with cinnamon in it. In fact, my next food post may be my Arabic Rice, which I swear,  is the reason my husband loves me, and guess what - yeah, cinnamon - main ingredient.

But for today, have these Cinnamon Blondies. 

That ooey gooey cinnamon ribbon in the middle cannot be topped. But if your on a diet, keep on moving because these ARE NOT waistline friendly. They are as rich as rich can be. Moist, flavorful, delicious. And if you love cinnamon like I do, a good quick cinnamon fix. I should call them Cinnamon Crack Blondies because you become quickly addicted and cannot stop at one.

Of course, I searched the 'ol Pinterest and came across Sally's Baking Addiction for a recipe that was quick and easily adaptable. But I did not use Sally's recipe as she had it. Oh no, you know how I love to make mischief and appropriate someone's good idea and mold it to suit me, right?

Ingredients for Cinnamon Blondies:

2 1/3 C flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
Pinch salt *see note
3/4 C salted butter, softened
3/4 C packed brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
Scant 1/2 C white chocolate chips (optional) **see note

Ingredients for Cinnamon Ribbon:
3 tsp cinnamon
1/2 C granulated sugar

Directions for Cinnamon Blondies:
  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray an 11x7 metal baking pan with Pam Baking. Alternatively, you can line the baking pan with parchment leaving enough overhang on the sides to easily pull the blondies out of the pan and cut. (This is the method Sally uses, but I'd rather not incur the hassle or the mess).
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. 
  3. Beat the butter on high speed in a large bowl until creamy. 
  4. Add sugars and beat until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl as needed. 
  5. Beat in the eggs and vanilla on high speed, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. On low speed, beat in dry ingredients until just combined. 
  6. With a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula, fold in the (optional) white chocolate chips.
  7. Spoon half the batter into pan. It will be a relatively thin layer, but try to spread it across the pan evenly. 
  8. Make your cinnamon ribbon mixture and sprinkle on top of bottom layer, reserving enough to cover the top as well.
  9. Spread the remaining batter over top of bottom layer that has been sprinkled with the "ribbon mixture." 
  10. Sprinkle the top with remaining cinnamon-sugar.
  11. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
  12. Cool completely.
*Just a pinch - literally. You already have salt in the butter.
**The white chocolate chips make these sweeties too sweet for me. I do not love a cloying mouth feel so all the subsequent times I have made these, I simply omit the white chocolate chips altogether. Feel free to do the same.