Wednesday, December 21, 2011

And so this is Christmas

To all my readers (you know who you are)

Merry Christmas and may the New Year bring you all the health, happiness, love and peace you can bear.

I know I have been mostly absent from the blog world for sometime now. Please know that I continue to read your blogs and laugh, cry, and cheer you all as you progress in your individual journeys and adventures.

I am moving forward, making plans for a new future for myself, albeit not one that I planned or anticipated but moving forward (sometimes with baby steps) nonetheless.

Blessings to you all as we step out of 2011 and into 2012.

More recipes soon.


aka The Good Cook.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Missing The Laughter and Pineapple Salmon

I realized today that the one thing I miss the most is the everyday laughter that the TBHITW and I shared.

Everyday we laughed.

From the heart, and the gut.

Just good old fashioned laughter. It wasn't attached to anything specific. It just was.

We were happy.

We laughed.

We joked.

We made each other double over. And told each other to STOP.

To an innocent bystander our laughter was probably lame. Maybe even a bit inappropriate. Perhaps even on the politically incorrect side.. most certainly, absolutely stupid to most. But to us, our repartee was funny; hysterical even.

I miss that. Laughter. Just because we were we.

I love salmon. It is versatile, healthy and easy to make. Salmon lends itself to so many versatile flavor profiles. This evening I added a bit of terriyaki and fresh pineapple and had a refreshing, light, yet satisfying meal. It didn't make me laugh, but it did make me smile and that's a start... right?

Salmon with Pineapple and Terriyaki: serves 2

Two boneless Salmon portions
Four fresh (or canned in pineapple juice) pineapple rings, reserve two rings for salad
Three tablespoons pineapple juice
Three tablespoons terriyaki sauce
One tablespoon brown sugar
One tablespoon butter
One tablespoon cooking oil

A half hour before cooking the salmon take the portions out of the refrigerator. In a shallow bowl combine terriyaki, pineapple juice and brown sugar. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add the salmon portions and two pineapple rings, turning to coat both sides and let marinate for 20 minutes.

Melt butter and oil in a saute pan large enough to hold the salmon and pineapple rings. Add salmon and pineapple to the pan and saute over medium heat (about 3 - 4 minutes per side).

Plate each salmon portion with a pineapple ring on top.

I served this with a spinach side salad that complimented the flavors of the fish.

Fresh spinach leaves, washed, rinsed and torn into bite size pieces
Two pineapple rings, cut into eights.
Half a red pepper cut into bite size pieces
A handful of matchstick carrots
Toss with a simple vinaigrette.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Another Season

Thanksgiving is past now.

The food is eaten, leftovers stored or gobbled up over the long weekend.

A new season has begun.


TBHITW's favorite time of year.

The Friday after the "feast" was his official "let the yuletide begin" period. Carols would miraculously begin playing on the stereo. His car radio would be tuned to the 24/7 station that played Christmas music; continuously.

Lights would come out. Decorations would be hung.

Jim's tastes (in holiday decor) leaned toward... how should I say? .... bizarre? no.. cheap? no... they cost us a boatload over the years... eclectic? ... I can't quite put my finger on the word... perhaps this picture says it all?

This is the first fragile (pronounced FRA-GEL-EE) artifact I pulled out of storage today. It sits proudly in our bay window in full view of anyone walking or driving by. I do believe it is my favorite Christmas decoration of all time.

Blessings to all of you this holiday season and if you care to take a moment during the hectic shopping, cooking, planning stages of the coming days, please take the time to STOP. Just STOP and remember what is truly important. Family. Friends. Love. Hope. Peace. and perhaps someone, somewhere, who is hurting, lonely, sad and maybe, just maybe... you can make a difference.


The Good Cook.

More recipes soon.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Pain Now

"The pain now is part of the happiness then". - CS Lewis

Would you give up yesterday for the pain today?

For me the answer is no. I would not give up one second of our life together. 

Tonight for no reason (and every reason) I cried. And cried some more. 

At the the 15 month mark I can say that it is a bit easier, a bit saner, a bit less shaky. But I think of my husband and miss him daily. 

At almost 15 months I have come to accept he is not coming back. Jim is gone. Our life together is done. There is no more "we". 

And that is why I cried tonight. 

More recipes soon. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Apple Cinnamon Loaf

I'm still on my apple kick. The stores and road side stands are spilling over with every variety of apple. Green, yellow, gold, red.. just like the colors of the turning leaves.

This recipe comes from Sarabeth's Bakery in New York. You may be familiar with her preserves. People line up at the bakery to buy this bread and at her restaurant she turns it into french toast. If you make it at home people will line up at your table for a slice. I promise.

Sarabeth's Apple Cinnamon Loaf: makes two big loaves

3 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/3 cup water (105-115 degrees f)
3 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup milk (her recipe calls for whole milk but I used 2% with stellar results)
1/3 cup cold water
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus additional for the bowl and pans

Apple filling:
2 large Granny Smith apples (about 1 1/2 pounds) peeled, cored and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

To make the dough sprinkle the yeast over the warm 1/3 cup water and stir. Wait 5 minutes for the yeast to dissolve. Pour into the mixer bowl. Add the milk, 1/3 cup cold water, sugar, egg yolk and vanilla and whisk to combine.

Fit the mixer with a paddle attachment and on low speed gradually add half of the flour, then the salt. One tablespoon at a time add the butter. Gradually add the remaining flour to form a rough dough. Replace the paddle attachment with a dough hook and knead on medium low speed adding more flour if needed until the dough cleans the bowl. Continue kneading until the dough is soft, smooth and elastic, about 6 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead briefly to check the dough's texture. The dough will be slightly sticky. Butter a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise until doubled in volume, about 1 1/2 hours.

When the dough has risen prepare the apple filling. Mix the cut apples, egg yolk, sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl.

Butter two 8 by 4 by 2 1/2 inch loaf pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper and dust the sides with flour. Set aside.

Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Roll or stretch the dough into a 16 by 12 inch rectangle. Spread the filling over the dough and starting at the top begin to roll up the dough, jelly roll style.

Using a bench scraper or large knife, cut the dough into 1-inch-thick slices.

Now cut these slices in half. It is going to look like a big mess. Don't worry it's going to be great.
Now pile up these pieces of dough and apple into your prepared pans.

Choose a warm spot in your kitchen for proofing the loaves. Place the pans on a cookie sheet. Fill a glass with very hot water. Place the pan with the loaves inside a big plastic garbage bag, place the glass of hot water in the bag, inflate the bag by waving the opening up and down, then close tightly. This will mimic a professional proofing oven. You can also just cover the loaves with a towel and set in a warm place but the proofing oven method works beautifully.

Let stand until the loaves have risen to the top of the pans (the dough will look lumpy) - about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the glass from the pan, then the pan from the bag.
Bake on the center rack (on the cookie sheet) for 35 minutes. Cover the loaves loosely with foil and bake for another 25-30 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and an instant read thermometer reads 210 degrees F.

Transfer the loaf pans to a wire cooling rack and let stand for 5 minutes. Unmold the loaves onto the rack. Remove the parchment paper and turn the loaves right sides up and let cool completely.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Apple Season: Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Apples and Easy Apple Turnovers

When the weather turns brisk it's time to go apple picking. TBHITW and I went every year. When the kids were littles, hay rides, pumpkins, apple cider and donuts were part of the ritual of apple picking. Once they hit their teen years they lost interest in the family ritual but TBHITW and I still went together.

And yes, we still went on the hayride, picked pumpkins, drank apple cider and ate donuts. When we got home I would whip up a few treats using our stash of freshly picked apples.

Here's two recipes to get you started.

Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Apples: serves 4

The sweetness of the apples is balanced with the onion and the rich, lean pork loin. The orange juice and zest adds a nice acidity.

One 1 pound pork tenderloin
Two apples (your choice) peeled, cored and cut in half
1/2 of a sweet onion (such as Vidalia), sliced
olive oil
salt pepper
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped.
1/2 orange, zested and juiced
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Rub the pork loin all over with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and put in a greased (use a light coating of olive oil) shallow roasting pan.
Arrange the onion slices around the roast.
Arrange the apple halves around the roast, on top of the onions.
Squeeze the orange juice over the apples and pork loin.
Sprinkle the thyme and orange zest over both pork loin and apples.

Cover and roast for about 30 minutes or until the pork registers 150 degrees on an instant read thermometer.
Remove from oven, remove cover and turn up the oven to broil.
Sprinkle the brown sugar over the apples.
Return to broiler for 30 to 60 seconds to melt and carmelize the brown sugar on the apples.

I serve this with simple steamed carrots.

Easy Apple Turnovers: yield 10 

1/2 package (1 roll) prepared Fillo Dough, thawed
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
4 apples (your choice) peeled, cored, halved and sliced very thin
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Sprinkle the apples with lemon juice and toss with the sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.

Unroll the Fillo dough with the long side facing you. Peel off two pieces and brush lightly with butter. Lay two more pieces of dough over the buttered pieces and butter them also. Repeat one more time with two pieces of Fillo, brush a final time with melted butter. You will have six pieces of stacked Fillo dough.

Using a pizza cutter cut the dough in thirds starting from the top of the dough piece straight to the bottom (the piece near your stomach).

Place a scant 1/4 cup of the apple slices on the end of one of the strips of fillo dough. Fold up in a triangle being careful to close any open seams. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and brush the top with some melted butter. Repeat until all the apples are used.

Back at 350 degrees F on the middle rack of your oven for 20 - 30 minutes (check at 20 minutes) until the tops are crisp and golden brown.

Cool on a wire rack. When cool drizzle the sugar glaze over the tops. Store at room temperature.

1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 to 3 teaspoons milk

Using a small whisk mix the milk into the powdered sugar a teaspoon at a time until pourable. 

Do you have any autumn rituals?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Happy Day

My grandlitte, Jillian, turned four years old.

Her favorite movie is "How To Tame A Dragon". She LOVES dragons.

Jillian also knows how to get her Nani (that would be me) to do just about anything. She asked me to make her a dragon cake for her big day.

Sometimes, you just can't help but smile the big smiles.

It's good to be four.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sleep and Floods

Sleep evades me tonight like so many nights since TBHITW passed on.

It is hard to believe that a year of "firsts" has come and gone.

I find it difficult to cook. The one thing that has always brought me solace. Peace. And nourishment eludes me.

My tiny town has been devastated by Hurricane Irene. So many people's homes and lives have been forever altered. Yet, I remind myself that it is just stuff. Thankfully no one lost their lives in my community. Yet so many others up and and down the east coast are just beginning the grief journey. A road full of twists and tormented turns that they will have to travel alone. Even with the help of wonderful friends and family they will have to find their own route. Mothers, fathers, children, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews, co-workers, grandparents.. so many people touch our lives that it is hard to imagine how many grieve when someone leaves this world.

For every one person gone, a village weeps.

I have forever changed my opinion on death. At one time when I read or heard of someone passing on I would think "poor thing.. so young, or so tragic or too soon". Now - I think of the survivors and what they have to bear. The sadness sometimes threatens to take my breath away.

I spent 36 hours defending my home against Irene. Thirty-six hours of my heart beating out of my chest as the winds and rain battered our home. At one point my youngest son and I  bailed water for 3 hours -from one in the morning until four am. Arms screaming with the exertion. Water coming in through the laundry tubs and sump pump faster than we could bail. I prayed. I bargained. I asked both Jim and God to help me. And my prayers were answered. Unlike 50% of my little town my home suffered just minor damage. A cracked chimney. A downed tree. Some water damage to the ceilings. Others were not so lucky; they had to be evacuated from their homes, walls collapsed as did foundations. Cars were washed away along with precious family memories. But they survived. And I survived, albeit lonely, scared, and wishing every minute TBHITW was here to help us.

Now the clean up begins. Power was finally restored to our town. The community will rebuild, fix, move forward. Like grief, the torrent recedes and everyone moves forward.

Life goes on.

Monday, August 15, 2011

One More Step

Today I did what I could not do for the past year. 

I cleaned out my husband's dressers and closets. 
I saved a few things that will always remind me of him and who he was. The rest is nestled into 5 large contractor bags and is being donated to a homeless mission that my sister-in-law is a director of.

I saved all of my husband's running shirts and will make quilts out of them for all the kids. Lots of cutting, sewing, piecing, tears and memories but I think they will love it. 

I don't know how I feel right now. Not happy, not altogether sad. Maybe a bit numb.

How is it possible to reduce someone's life to a few packages? 

Suits, ties, and dress shirts remind of the wonderful formal times we shared. Weddings, dinners, the cruise we took and sat at the Captain's table... 

Work clothes remind me of his love for his career. He really felt he made a difference in this world, and he DID! Jim left this earth a better, cleaner place for generations to come. 

Casual clothes remind of his laid back manner, fun filled days and nights just "being us". 

All his winter wear find me picturing him flying down the snowy slopes of some mountain. Poetry in motion on skis. Family vacations, cold hands and warm mugs of coffee laced with a bit of Bailey's Irish Cream for us, hot chocolate for the kids.

Sweatshirts from college; torn, tattered but still he wore them in the fall to rake leaves. I can still see him, baseball hat on his thick head of black hair, and 30 year old sweatshirt (it's an oldie but goodie just like me he would tell me). 

So many people wrapped into one. Husband, father, son, brother, boss, so  many hats to wear and he wore them all so well with a humble humor and zest for everything in life. 

I will smile this winter when the cold winds blow knowing that someone, somewhere, will be warm in a coat, a scarf, gloves, perhaps a pair of his fine wool boot socks.

Perhaps someone will wear one of his suits to a much needed job interview. 

Maybe one of his caps will shield someone's head from the hot sun. 

I wish it wasn't so, but it was time and the clothes never really made the man. He was all he ever needed to be all by himself without any dressing up.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Prayer

Dear God,

Help me get through today with Grace and Gratitude.


The Geologist and the Giant Potholes. A happy man.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

36 Hours

In 36 hours (one year ago) my husband died.

This morning (one year ago) I kissed my living, breathing husband goodbye for the last time. 

He was to return to our beach house in 36 hours to continue our family vacation. He had a doctor appointment on Monday, August 9th. and a big drilling job to complete on Tuesday, the 10th. He was going to rejoin us Wednesday morning, August 11th.

We walked the dog on the beach Monday morning, as was our ritual, then had coffee and breakfast before he headed out for the one hour trip back home and work. I remember standing in the driveway of the beach house and he kissed me goodbye. I remember saying to him that "that was no goodbye kiss and did he want to go back in the house" LOL.... 
I know, I know, too much information - but we were in love.

I wonder if somehow he knew. Somehow, on a cellular level, did he sense that we would never see each other alive again?

It took this picture of him that morning of our walk on the beach. You may remember. 

No footprints in the sand. 

 In 36 hours (one year ago) I would fall to my knees and scream out his name. Over and over again. 

I would go numb with disbelief and despair and I would begin a journey that no one (if you have not lost) could imagine.

In 36 hours I will mark the one year passing of the love of my life; the father of my children, my best friend, the man who adored me and I him (beyond reason).

In 36 hours I will honor his memory and remember our life together. I will marvel that I have survived. I will wonder what comes next. 

In 36 hours I will begin another chapter. The end of the "firsts" and the beginning of a year of unknown territory.

In 36 hours I will once again thank God that I have had the support of family and friends who have set their own lives aside to sit with me, to hold me, to insist I come with them on some journey or adventure or family BBQ or get together. To hold me in my grief, to cry with me. To understand. To help me to breathe. To mention his name when no one else wants to. I once again thank my friends and family who understand my need to talk about TBHITW - to remember, to laugh, to cry and then to laugh again. To embrace his life and sit through my endless recounting of it. Thank You. I love you. I could not have survived without you.

In 36 hours I will crumble into myself for a bit, then rise again and thank the god's (or GOD as you know Him) that He gave me this amazing man - for a least a brief moment in time. A man who loved and honored me and his children and his family above all earthly things. A man beyond imagination. A man (and a human being) who was taken too soon, but from whom we could all learn a lesson in loving from. 

Recipes Soon. I promise. 


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Happy Birthday

July 7th. 1958
August 11, 2010

Happy Birthday TBHITW. Our first without each other.

I remember:

When we were dating we spent your birthday with an incredible dinner out in "the city" (that's NY for anyone who lives outside of the NE) and then running in the "Firecracker Four Miler" the next day.

I remember instituting "Birthday Week" once we were married. Birthday week meant every day for a week a special something every day. Perhaps it was a croissant for breakfast, or a card secretly tucked into a briefcase or a favorite meal - maybe even just a cookie - just for you, but a special small remembrance of a life that everyone wanted to celebrate. Especially me. Because I loved you. Because I wanted to celebrate the you that made you you.

Tonight I will pour two glasses of wine. One for you and one for me. Sleep well love and Happy Birthday.

Last year on his birthday.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Journey

I spent a few days at the ocean this week.

What is it about the soothing ebb and flow of the waves? What is it about standing where the sky meets the sea and sand that calms the heart and opens the mind?

Whatever it is I am grateful for it.

I am seeking peace and grace in my life. I have stopped asking why. I am coming to the end of one journey and tentatively beginning another. Where the journey leads is not the point. Where the journey ends is not the destination. The journey itself is the road to finding myself.

One evening I walked for a very long time on the beach. I let the surf crash over my feet. I watched young lovers walk hand in hand secure in their right to a loving future.

I drew in the sand.

And I watched as the never ending waves washed away my words.
And I cried.
And when I was done crying I brushed the sand off myself and walked on. A new journey with no destination in mind other than grace and peace.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Dear God And An In Season Strawberry Dessert

Dear TBHITW (Jim),

If I could sit across the porch from God, I'd thank Him for lending me you.

Love, me.

Strawberries are in season right now here in the Northeast. What could be more wonderful? I spent today, a glorious day filled with light and azure skies, picking strawberries with my grand littles.

I give you a  refreshing, light, and oh so good dessert; perfect for entertaining or transporting to a neighborhood BBQ.

Strawberries with sweetened cream: serves a crowd

24 fresh strawberries
One eight ounce package of lite cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup walnuts or pecans, finely chopped (optional)

Wash and dry the berries. Slice the stem end off the strawberries so that they can sit upright. Then, make an X in the pointed end of each berry. Set aside.

Using a hand mixer, mix the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla until combined.

Scoop the cheese mixture into a piping bag. Pipe the cheese into the center of each cross cut strawberry; filling all the way to the top. Finish with a flourish. Sprinkle the tops with a bit of finely chopped nuts. Serve Chilled.

As always, Bon Appetite.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I'm Going To Be Okay Because and Pappardelle's Pasta

It has been 10 months since TBHITW (The Best Husband In The World) passed from this life into another.

Ten months of the most intense feelings I believe any human being can experience. Loss, loneliness, quite introspection, rivers of tears and oceans of fears.

As I reflect back on the last ten months I realize that I have learned more about myself in this time than I have in my entire life.

I have learned that everyone has their own journey.
I have learned that everyone carries with them their own sadness. And sometimes regret. (I have a few, but then again too few to mention) Someone should put that line to music.. (wait a minute... sorry, I was just channeling TBHITW's humor)
I have learned to speak more softly. And with more kindness.
I have learned to listen more closely.
I have learned that I am stronger than I thought.
I have learned that love never dies.
I have learned that I am going to be okay. I am going to live.

I am going to be okay because today:
I laughed. At myself.
I smiled.
I did not get impatient in the grocery store line.
I talked with a good friend about very real stuff.
I forgave a good friend about really big stuff.
I began planning a party and was (and am) excited about it.
I looked at pictures of TBHITW and did not cry - I smiled at the memory and gave thanks for them.
I worked in the garden and was happy.
I looked up at the sky and gave thanks for the sun, the clouds and then the gentle rain.
I began making plans for MY future.
I am cooking again and planting again and eating again.

Recently I ate some of the best pasta I have ever eaten in my life and for the first time in a long time I ate  with gusto. I then promptly went online and ordered more.

Pappardelle's Pasta. OMG.

I discovered Pappardelle's Pasta by accident. A few weeks ago (or a few days.. time seems to blend) I attended the NJ Food and Wine Festival with my good friend Judi. It was a beautiful day, perfect for tasting local wines and food. Pappardelle's had a booth set up with their pasta wares and on a whim I bought a pound of their Lemon Chive Angel Hair Pasta.

A few days later I found myself rummaging about in my pantry trying to decide what to make for my dinner. A boiling, salted pot of water later, a few drizzles of olive oil and some shavings of fresh parmesan and I was in heaven.

If you are a pasta lover, want to become a pasta lover, think pasta is over rated or are bored with your grocery store's offerings, run, walk, google, click, do whatever you have to do to experience this eating nirvana. Pappardelle's offers a wide assortment of flavored orzo, dried pasta, fresh pasta and sauces in addition to a gluten free line. I promise on my name "The Good Cook" you will not be disappointed. Like I said (with my mouth full) OMG.

And this is how I know I will be okay. Not only will I be okay, I will survive. I have friends, I have family, I have a love in my heart that death cannot steal. And I have my passion for truly exceptional food back.

Bon Appetite.

A Cook's Notes: Pappardelle's did not pay me or offer me any compensation for writing this post. IN FACT - they don't even know I wrote it. Their pasta is just that good.  Look for more recipes in the future as I develop, taste and whisper thank you to the pasta gods more recipes featuring Pappardelle's Pastas.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Pan Seared Shrimp and Scallop with Lime Hollandaise and Jalapeno Bacon RECIPE plus one more

As promised:

Pan Seared Shrimp and Scallop with Lime Hollandaise and Jalapeno Bacon (serves 4)

4 pieces bacon, diced
1 small jalapeno pepper, split in half, seeds removed
4 collosal shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 jumbo sea scallops

Fry bacon pieces in a large saute pan with the jalapeno pepper until bacon is crisp. Remove from pan and drain. Discard jalapeno pepper. Pour grease out of pan but do not wipe out pan.

Take scallops and shrimp out of refrigerator 30 minutes prior to preparing. Dry on paper towels and sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.

Prepare the Hollandaise sauce (recipe follows)

Heat pan over medium heat and when hot add shrimp and scallops. Sear about 2 minutes per side, turn and continue to cook for another 2 minutes until firm and cooked through. Do not overcook!

Lime Hollandaise:

4 egg yolks
4 tablespoons very hot water
4 tablespoons melted butter
Zest and juice of 1/2 a lime.
1/4 teaspoon (or to taste) salt

Place egg yolks in the top of a double boiler set over simmering water. Whisk to combine eggs. Add hot water to the yolks one tablespoon at a time, whisking well after each addition. Slowly add melted butter to eggs and water, whisking constantly. Eggs will thicken in about 3 to 5 minutes. Whisk in lime zest and juice until well combined. Taste and correct seasonings with salt. Turn heat off and cover. Prepare the scallops and shrimp.

To serve:

I make tri-colored couscous but rice or regular couscous is just as good. Spoon the starch in a shallow bowl or small plate. Top with one shrimp and two scallops, sprinkle with bacon pieces. Drizzle Lime Hollandaise over seafood and serve immediately.

Not thrilled with bacon, jalapenos and lime? Try making this dish omitting these ingredients and substituting orange juice and orange zest. Melt a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil in the pan you will cook your seafood in. Pour off the excess fat but do not wipe out pan.

Bon Appetite everyone.

Bacon and Jalapeno cooking



Monday, May 16, 2011

Pan Seared Shrimp and Scallop with Lime Hollandaise and Jalapeno Bacon

Thank you all for the beautiful and inspiring comments on my last post. Some of you sent me private messages of encouragement, others offered up a prayer. I will never be able to express how much that means to me. I DO feel stronger and I am lifting my face to the sun more often. Thank you.

When the wave of grief threatens to drown me I try to immerse myself in creativity. Here is my latest creation:

Pan Seared Shrimp and Scallop with Lime Hollandaise and Jalapeno Bacon

Recipe to follow tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Nine Months and No Recipe


If I was having a baby the nine month mark would be the grand finale. Instead, it is a tick on the calendar. No new life. Nothing to celebrate. 
In two hours, nine months ago, you died. Nine months ago I heard your sweet voice for the last time; as usual I said I love you, and you said I love you back. And then there was sleep. The official date of your death is August 11th. but we know you died about 9:30 on the 10th; but you were officially pronounced dead in the AM hours of the 11th. 
How am I doing since you left? Well, spring finds me overwhelmed. The yard, the gardens, the cleanup after a long, hard winter has me working and working and working. I miss your presence with me in the gardens, in the yard. I'm doing the best I can. 
I had the pond opened. All the koi and goldfish survived the cold winter but no baby fishes this year. Perhaps it was just too cold. The pond looks beautiful. I set the two chairs out near the pond's edge but it hurts too much to look at them, let alone sit there. I remember the warm nights we would carry a cocktail out and sit in the midst of the soothing sound of water, the soft glow of the lights under the ripples of the waterfall and enjoy each other. 
I planted tomatoes and basil and eggplants and green beans. Not as many plants as before, it's only me now. The asparagus survived the winter and I will soon be cutting fresh green stalks. 
I've been working on the flower gardens, cleaning up, pulling weeds, raking out the last vestiges of leaves. We will have sunflowers and daisies and cosmos and gladiolas and dahlias and butterfly flowers and zinnias and bachelor buttons and petunias and geraniums; just like always. But it won't be just like always will it? 
I miss you. I struggle everyday, in every way, to move forward. I am grieving as fast as I can but I wonder where I am going. Where does it all lead? Does it lead to you? 
I miss you. I miss your gentle humor, your great puns, your helping hands. I miss your smile, your strong arms when I needed a hug, a hole dug, a weed pulled. What part of me were you not a part of? None. You, my love, you were my everything. 
I miss you Jim. I miss you with every bone in my body. You've been gone from me for 9 months now, how is that possible? How is that sane? How could the universe not know that this would be impossible? 
I love you sweetheart. I think of you everyday. EVERYDAY. I am trying, really trying to make a life without you, but truth be told it's not much of a life. Breath in, breath out. Wake up. Go to sleep. Not much to write home about. I hope where ever you are it is a happy place. Better than here. 
I miss you. What else is there to say?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Little Kittens and Saffron Scented Cornish Hens

When our daughter Julia was a little girl, around 8 or 9 years old, she arrived home from school one day and as was her habit, asked what we were having for dinner.

I replied, "Cornish Hens". Confused, she asked me what Cornish Hens were. I replied, "Oh, they're little chickens", to which she started to cry and told me she would never eat that.

I reminded her that she liked chicken.

Through tears she agreed, yes, she liked chicken but there was no way she was eating dinner tonight.

She thought I had said, "They're little kittens" instead of "little chickens".

I was reminded of the Little Kittens story as I was preparing last night's dinner.

From that day forward we always called Cornish Hens, "Little Kittens"

Little Kittens (or more commonly known as Saffron Scented Cornish Hens) serves two to four, depending on appetite size.

Two Rock Cornish Hens
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
freshly ground pepper
Two tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Wash and pat dry the hens. Sprinkle the cavity with salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a small bowl combine the saffron threads, ginger and salt.

Rub the skin and under the skin on the breast meat the saffron / salt / ginger mixture. Set aside.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Or prepare the rotisserie. (I prefer the rotisserie, especially at this time of year).

If you are using the oven, place a rack over a rimmed cookie sheet. Place the hens breast side down, brush with butter and roast 20 minutes per pound, turning breast side up half way through and brushing breasts with butter.

If you are using a rotisserie, arrange the hens on the skewer, place on rotisserie and brush all over with butter, basting every ten minutes until cooked through.

I served the hens with steamed asparagus (the first of the season), tri-colored couscous and lots of memories.

If you are serving four people, simply split the hens in half and serve breast side up.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Daniel Radcliffe, NYC and Lemon Gnocchi

I spent a wonderful day in New York City on Saturday. Surrounded by friends, I had lunch out and caught a great show starring Daniel Radcliffe ( of Harry Potter fame).

After the show we meandered about the city until finding a good Irish Pub for dinner.

Refreshed, we scrambled to make the train home and once home finished the day with late night snacks, cocktails and some laughter.

What would I do without the women friends in my life who continue to hold me up, scoot me along, hug me when necessary, recount good memories, discount the bad and generally remind me to keep breathing. All of this and a beautiful spring day.

Speaking of spring, it has been almost one year to the day since I last made this recipe: Gnocchi with Lemon Ricotta and Fresh Spring Peas.  Well I happened into my favorite small grocery store today and lo and behold they had the first batch of beautiful fresh English Peas.

Tonight is my night to cook for my women's dinner group and I'm going to make the Gnocchi, I may pronounce it No-Key in honor of TBHITW. More memories, good food and wonderful women to remind me of all life's blessings.

Bon Appetite and Happy Spring.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Quilt of Dreams

If you have been reading this blog for sometime you know that a little over a year ago I started a quilt. The quilt was meant for TBHITW and my new home. The home that we had been dreaming about. 

On over 12 acres of pristine land.

A log home located on land with a federally protected trout stream; clean water, fresh air, room to roam.

And a garden and animals.

But some dreams are not meant to be.

But a quilt was started nontheless.  On February 8th, 2010 to be exact. And completed today, March 22th. 2011.

Quilt update.

I remember in March of 2010, as I was beginning the actual quilting of the fabric, after all the cutting and piecing and sewing, asking TBHITW to add just a few stitches to the quilt in his own hand, him balking.. after some coaching, he finally did. I am so pleased that those two random stitches exist in this completed homespun creation. It will warm me for years to come. Just two random stitches, guided by my hand and my needle and my thread.. who could predict that a single thread could mean so much.

Old time quilters will tell you that you have to name your quilt. I named mine:
Photo Edited by Linda (TBHITW'S Wife)

Tonight, I sleep under a thousand stitches in time. The most beautiful stitches made by TBHITW.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sweet and Salty - Fudgie Brownies with Salted Caramel Frosting

Spring has finally arrived here in the Northeast.

The change of the season from winter to spring, although much anticipated, has brought back a flood of memories of springs gone by. Leisurely walks, holding hands, spring clean up. All the things we did together are now done alone, no hand in mine. The sweetness of memories, the saltiness of tears.

Fudgie Brownie Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting: makes 8

For the brownie cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
Line a cupcake pan with 8 papers.

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder

In a heavy saucepan, over very low heat melt the butter and chocolate until smooth and combined. Remove from heat and add the sugar, egg, salt, flour, vanilla and baking powder. Stir with a wooden spoon until thoroughly mixed.

Scoop batter into the cupcake liners.
Bake for 18-20 minutes. Do not overbake. Cool on a wire rack.

In the meantime, make the caramel:

1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and heat to boiling point over medium high heat. Do not stir. Watch the pot carefully, when the mixture begins to turn amber, give it a swirl and continue to cook until golden brown. Remove from heat. Add the vanilla, cream and salt very, very slowly, stirring with a wooden spoon until smooth and completely blended. Set aside to cool.

For the frosting:

1 stick (8 ounces) salted butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 2 tablespoons milk or cream
kosher salt

Beat the butter, sugar, vanilla  and milk or cream until just combined. Beat in the caramel and salt and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Taste. You should get sweet and salty in the same bite. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt if necessary and beat to incorporate. Spoon the frosting into a pastry bag fitted with a large round tube.

Pipe onto cooled brownie cupcakes. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts (optional)

Savor every sweet and salty moment in your life.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Shrove Tuesday, Fast NOT

I originally posted this recipe last year - just in time for Fastnacht Day (Fast Not).

Tomorrow is the day before the official start of Lent. A traditional time of fasting in many communities. Whether you follow this tradition or not I promise this is a sweet treat to savor on any Tuesday.

Fasnacht Day

May the lean days of Lent lead you to a spring surplus.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Pan Seared Pork Tenderloin and Roasted Golden Beet Salad Dressing

I was staring into my refrigerator on Sunday morning trying to decide what to do with a fresh pork tenderloin. Still undecided I retired to my office and began reading emails. A comment from The Mother @ The Mother's Handbook caught my eye and we began a quick chat via email. She mentioned that she had made my recipe for sage crusted pork chops and I mentioned my indecision on how to prepare today's pork tenderloin and she mentioned that she marinated her pork tenderloin in orange juice and soy sauce and well... the wheels started turning in my head and the gastric juices started to churn and voila:

Pan Seared Orange/Soy Pork Tenderloin was born.

As an extra bonus I discovered the last two golden beets from my summer CSA hiding out in the vegetable bin underneath the carrots. I decided to roast them and make a salad dressing from one of them; saving the other to slice onto fresh Boston lettuce, carrots and feta cheese. Hungry yet?

Okay. Let's get started.

For the tenderloin:

1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, smashed
salt and pepper

Salt and pepper the tenderloin and rub with the smashed garlic cloves. Place the orange juice and soy sauce in a zip lock bag or shallow bowl and add the tenderloin. Marinate for 20 minutes or up to an hour. Did you know that most of the flavor profile is transferred in the first 20 minutes of marinating? Ten minutes if we're talking fish. Anyhoo....

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

When finished marinating, remove from bag and dredge in Panko bread crumbs. Heat a small amount of olive oil in an oven proof saute pan until oil is shimmering. Add the tenderloin and brown on three sides. Turn onto the unbrowned side and immediately place the saute pan and tenderloin into the oven. Roast for about 15 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 150 degrees F. Remove from oven, tent and let rest 10 minutes before slicing.

dredged in Panko

A quick sear browning

Finished and ready to enjoy
Roasted Golden Beet Dressing:

Wrap 2 golden beets in foil and roast in the a 400 degree oven for 45 to 60 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center of the beet slides in easily.

Let cool and slip skins off. Slice beets into half moons. Set half of the sliced beets aside. Take the other half of the beets and place in blender or food processor. Add three tablespoons of sherry vinegar and process until almost smooth. With blender running, drizzle in by the tablespoon 7 to 9 tablespoons of high quality extra virgin olive oil. Blend to emulsify. Correct seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. The dressing will be very thick and fluffy.

Arrange torn fresh Boston lettuce leaves on a large platter, sprinkle with matchstick carrots and feta cheese. Arrange the rest of the golden beets on top of the greens. Add dressing and enjoy!

A Cook's Notes: If you don't have golden beets, red beets will work just fine and are absolutely just as beautiful and nutritious.

I want to thank all of you who comment on my blog, send me emails of encouragement and keep me and my family in your thoughts and prayers. The season is changing and so am I.. slowly, slowly, I am coming out of the fog. I still have my days and nights where grief brings me to my knees but thankfully they are not as frequent and seem to pass a bit faster. I pray that spring will be a new awakening for us all.
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