Category Archives: cooking

Grab That Cash With Both Hands

First of all, when I saved this recipe for stuffed poblano peppers with cashew chipotle sauce I figured I would most likely never get around to trying it. However, we had company this weekend and I gave it a shot and I am here to report that it is terrific and worth the effort. If nothing else just make the sauce and heed the commenters who warn that three chipotles in adobo are very spicy. I just used one. You could also make your life easier and mix a big can of roasted chiles with the rice and pour the sauce over it.

– – –

At the freeway off-ramp where the bus gets off to go to the park-n-ride there is almost always the same couple holding up a sign asking for money. They are young, maybe 20. I tend to frown at them because they have cigarettes and fast food and leave all their trash around.

The other day there was a regular looking woman standing at the off-ramp in the grime and exhaust wearing nice clothes and sandals. She looked like your friendly neighbor who always says hello when she’s out walking her golden retrievers.

She held a sign that said: Don’t give my kids money for heroin.

It breaks my heart to think of all the terrible things that have happened to motivate her to do that.

Posted in cooking, doing it wrong | 2 Comments

Crows, Wardrobe Failure and Recipes

Yesterday when I got off the bus (7am, dark) I noticed that the trees along the transit mall were filled with cawing crows. It was both amazing and creepy. I have been noticing the sidewalks paved with bird crap in the daylight but I never saw any birds. There was a local news story that said that it’s normal for urban crows to sleep in big groups during the winter.

Anyway, the traffic light was changing to I took a few jogging steps to get to the curb and I realized: I’m not wearing a bra.

I do not go braless, even at home, except for sleeping.

For a second I was in a panic because I thought maybe I somehow forgot to finish getting dressed.

After a quick check I confirmed that I was wearing everything I intended to wear, except for a bra.

How the hell do you forget to put on a bra?

When I told my husband, he suggested I put on some Grateful Dead music and dance in a circle with my arms waving over my head.

When I told my sister, she told me that Linda Ronstadt never wears a bra.

At first I was going to go buy one but I decided to live dangerously and got through the day just fine.

Meanwhile, terrific recipes. Cauliflower macaroni and cheese — sounds like a joke, right? Nope it was terrific, however I did use about twice as much cheese as the recipe calls for. Also, I thought it was a bit too mustardy and would adjust that next time.

Also, roasted pumpkin soup. I didn’t bother with the brown butter and I didn’t want to run across the backyard to get fresh thyme so I just added some dry to the soup. I used the Baby Pams. Delicious.

Posted in cooking, doing it wrong | 3 Comments


If nothing else, I recommend spatchcocking because it’s fun to say.

I thought I was so clever putting plastic wrap over my keyboard. I needed my computer for my spatchcocking slideshow. It turns out it’s tough to work the trackpad. But not impossible. The plastic was all ooky by the time I finished.

Here’s that spatchcocked sucker.

Here’s an important piece of information: if you think that dinky pair of poultry shears that you got in that wooden knife block for your wedding however many years ago, 16? 17?, is going to snip the backbone out of your turkey, you are going to be in a world of hurt. By the time I realized how inadequate they were for the job, it was too late. I’d taken a big enough gouge out of poor Butterball that I was committed. It was pure brute strength, a lot of bad words and an adult beverage that made that happen.

And then when I was done mine didn’t look like the picture and for a second I thought, “Oh shit, I cut out the wrong backbone.”

I got it all figured out.

The other thing you should know is that you are going to be deep up in your bird’s business. I’m not especially squeamish and I had a few moments of doubt during the process.

The final result, which I failed to get a photo of due to a complication explained below, was fantastic. I’m going to buy a pair of industrial shears and try it on chickens, too.

The dinner turned out great. The only snafu was that I nicked the tip of my thumb during the last hour. If you’ve ever been near a kitchen during the last hour before serving Thanksgiving, you know that a lot has to happen at the same time. Having a thumb that wouldn’t stop bleeding made it extra challenging. There aren’t a lot of work arounds when you can’t use your thumb.

Bob helped and I developed a pattern of do something, blot, do something, blot. We had dinner on the table only 20 minutes later than planned.

I’m off to find my first piece of pie of the day.

Posted in cooking, doing it wrong | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Living Off The Land

Here’s the results of yesterday’s project. I always make canning into a bigger deal than it is. It was somewhat labor intensive and made a lot of dirty dishes but it really isn’t that bad. I need to remember to start earlier because I end up bumping into dinner time.

I have enough apples left for one more pot of apple sauce that I won’t can. Then I’m going to be done with the apple tree. There are still apples out there but they get to be compost.

I thought I was so organized already doing Thanksgiving planning. Thanksgiving is already the weekend after next.

I’m sticking with traditional this year: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie (from pumpkins I grew myself.)

No yam dish. No rolls. Maybe. I love the rolls but simpler to skip and no shortage of food with the above.

I want a green vegetable and I’m feeling a calling for spinach so I’m going to dig through my recipes and see if anything pops out at me. 

I’m also probably going to make a chocolate haupia pie because three people really need 2 pies.

Posted in cooking, doing it wrong | Tagged | 1 Comment

Unpack Your Adjectives

Lake Vancouver

Yesterday afternoon Bob came home and said: I’m a verb. I’m always in motion.

I said: I’m a noun. I like to sit still.

Bob said very pointedly: You’re an adjective because of the way you do things.

It is nice to have that settled.

Remember the pumpkins? The smallest two I used for Thanksgiving. I made a pie and put the rest in the freezer.

The big one has been sitting on the counter and I could tell it was getting a little hinky and was going to have to live out its days in the compost if I didn’t do something with it stat.

Last weekend I processed it and made a pie. (this one) and I got a bar of dark chocolate and chopped it up and sprinkled on my blind-baked crust. Before I poured the pumpkin in I used a spatula to spread the melty chocolate around. It was extremely delicious. If you haven’t before, try this.

I also made pumpkin chili and I had a recipe for pumpkin cornbread but at that point if I had to do any more dishes I was going to punch someone in the teeth so I skipped that one.

I still had plenty of pumpkin and I didn’t want to freeze it since I already have lots in the freezer. So I made Bob’s Red Mill 10 grain cereal and stirred a bunch into that. It was amazing. We added blueberries from our freezer and finished the whole pot.

I still had pumpkin leftover so I made a pot of lentil and coconut soup (substituting wuss peppers for the peppers in the recipe because really hot peppers frighten me) and stirring in the last of the … pumpkin! Also super delicious.

So the lesson is, you can be very creative with pureed pumpkin.

I have a ton of notes here for posts I want to write but I’m on a huge writing roll. I haven’t missed a day since October. So priorities in other places. Plus, things are going to be busy for the next few weeks and then guess what starts March 12, 2012? Did you guess Timbers? You win!

Posted in cooking, doing it wrong | Tagged | 2 Comments

Apples and Pumpkins

For the first time our backyard apple tree not only has tons of apples, it has tons of pretty ones (relatively). Last weekend I picked two giant bowls full and canned applesauce.

It really isn’t that much work but I timed it poorly so I was trying to cook dinner and keep track of my canning which involves lots of things boiling at the same time. It all worked out and now I can have a stash of applesauce.

I thought it would be funny to label it all 2005 so when we pull it out in February we can gasp and wonder how it had gotten lost in the cupboard for so long. The canning specialists tell you to eat it within a year but I’m here to tell you I’ve let stuff go way longer than that and no one died.

I have a recipe for slow cooker apple butter and I was thinking of doing a quick batch of that since I have tons of canning jars. But I already have 10 other projects going this weekend and canning would probably push me over the edge.

Check out these pumpkins Kent gave me. His are the two big pretty ones. The sad little one is mine. Babe the pig is there for perspective.

I gave him some seeds a few years ago and now he likes to grow them, too. He brought them to work and I walked over to pick them up. I put one in a backpack and carried the other one. Everybody smiles and says hi and makes chitchat with you when you’re carrying a pumpkin.

Some guy asked me for directions to a place that was completely in the opposite direction. I pointed in the direction he needed to be going and told him it was a hike. He shook his head and said I must have misunderstood and then very carefully enunciated the name of the place he was looking for. “Yup, it’s still the other way,” I said. He said he must have just overshot it and would backtrack. He’d overshot by about 12 blocks.

Posted in cooking, doing it wrong, garden | Tagged | 3 Comments


I was too busy watching the cooking to take many photos and half the photos I took I had the camera setting goofed up. Here’s a blurry photo of our host. I found out last night his name isn’t really Pete.

Yesterday we went to a paella party at a farm a few exits north of our house.

Paella Pete is a regular at the farmer’s market and we’ve taken home his food on many occasions for a simple and delicious dinner.

This was was our first time at the event so we weren’t sure what to expect.

Paella cooking. Fettuccine in the background. That’s just one of many jugs of cream he added.

It was fantastic. He’s so passionate about what he does. He taught us how he makes his paella. He showed us what spices he uses and told how he does the chorizo. If I learned anything it’s that I’m way too timid with spices.

I couldn’t believe how much garlic he put in there. I’m heavy handed with garlic but nothing like this. I woke up last night feeling like I’d become the garlic. I exercised this morning and sweated up nice garlicky fumes.

The food was fantastic. The company great. There was flamenco music and dancing. And it was the perfect summer night, warm and clear.

I woke up at 3:30am to rain. Not a refreshing cheerful sprinkly rain that’s nice after a warm day. It was a cold thudding summer is finished rain

Posted in cooking | 3 Comments

White Chocolate – Raspberry Pie

I had two really busy weeks and didn’t have 5 minutes to go out and check up on the yard. When I finally went out there Friday morning it was madness. All kinds of weeds and tall grass. There were flowers tangled everywhere. Some of my garden stuff had bolted. The peas were finished.

I picked about 2 pounds of raspberries and there was at least another pound that was overripe and no good. Raspberries are a part-time job.

But I finally had the time and the berries to do my first invented pie.


Your favorite 2 crust pie dough.

5 cups raspberries
3/4 to 1 cup sugar
1 T orange zest
1 T lemon zest
2 tsp. lemon juice
8 oz. white chocolate chips (I suspect a dark chocolate would work great, too. I’m going to try that next.)

Combine everything except the white chocolate chips together. Don’t skip the citrus zest, that’s what makes the flavor extraordinary. I was worried that the raspberries would be tart and I used the full cup of sugar. The white chocolate provides plenty of sweetness. Next time I would use less sugar.

I baked the bottom crust for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees and then spread the white chocolate chips in an even layer. Initially I thought I was going to let them melt a bit and try to spread the melted chocolate but I ditched that step.

I kept forgetting that I was documenting my baking process so there aren’t many photos.

Gently scrape your raspberry mix into your pie plate and cover with top crust. This makes a very juicy pie so you’d be wise to set the pie plate on a cookie sheet before putting into oven.

Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes then reduce heat to 350 and bake another 30-40. If you’re not lazy you might brush a little milk on the top crust before baking to help it brown. I sometimes use foil on the edges of my pie but I didn’t this time and had no problems. Use your judgment.

Those white-bits don’t look especially pretty but the pie is delicious.

Posted in cooking, garden | Tagged | Comments Off on White Chocolate – Raspberry Pie

Beg-A-Thon Week #2 Update

Words written: 5450 (goal 3000)
Stories submitted: 1 (goal 1 during the write-a-thon)

Yeah, I still look like an over-achiever. Believe me I have had some pitiful weeks of writing this year. I made-up for my poor showing at the beginning of June so I could hit that goal. And I’m going to submit at least one more story during the write-a-thon, maybe two if I get crazy.

Actually, I working like a maniac now because after this weekend the rest of the month is insanely busy so I’m trying to get the work done while I can.

It’s not too late to make a donation. Even $5 would be hugely appreciated. I’ve got some donations but I still don’t even have my first $100 to match.

Here are all the instructions for donating or you can go directly to my donation page.

Thanks everyone who made a contribution.

Jeld-Wen Field. I mistype that as Jelf-Wen every time. I’m just going to start calling it that.

Tonight is the first of six home games this month. SIX! Half of those are exhibition games and to be honest, I don’t understand the point of so many exhibition games in the middle of MLS season. But I’m going to show up and eat my pizza and drink my beer and not complain.

I did not plan to make a pie this weekend. In fact, I was planning to make lemon buttermilk ice cream and exploit the giant bag of lemons we were gifted with this week.

However I saw this 10 minute lime cracker pie. I still had limes and heavy cream leftover from previous pie making adventures. I didn’t have crackers but one of the comments mentioned graham cracker crust and I still have graham crackers from an earlier pie. Let me tell you, this thing is so sweet it will put hair on your chest. I think the graham cracker crust is too much. I think it would work better with the crackers. And I might just try it when we visit the family next month.

That’s it for now. I need to weed and bathe and nap and get ready for my game tonight. Timbers!

Posted in Clarion West, cooking, TIMBERS! | Comments Off on Beg-A-Thon Week #2 Update

Gingered Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

I wasn’t overwhelmed with the last two pies I tried so I was on the lookout for something good and the NYT delivered last week with this recipe for Gingered Strawberry Rhubarb Pie.

Big giant hit.

I screwed up and forgot to buy fresh ginger for the crust so I skipped that part. To be honest, I didn’t read the recipe that carefully in advance and didn’t notice it until I started baking and it was too late to drop everything and run to the store. I also didn’t use the egg for glazing the rim. That’s the sort of step I consider fussy.

Rhubarb is funny because when you’re buying those big giant stalks it looks like a ton and when you start chopping it up and measuring it, it goes quick. I had a scant 4 cups. I threw in a few extra strawberries and didn’t have any shortage of filling.

The recipe calls for zest of an entire orange and I’m not a huge citrus person and especially not orange but I went ahead and put it all in and it was brilliant. It added just the right tang with the strawberries and rhubarb.

I was also concerned about the streusel topping because I thought it would be too sweet. Nope. It balances perfectly with the filling. And I ended up not having as much candied ginger in my stash as I thought so my topping was skimpy on the ginger. Next I make it I’m going to make sure I have tons of candied ginger.

One hundred gold stars for this pie.


I don’t think I ever posted the URL for Forevertron. The photoset is here.

Posted in cooking | 3 Comments