Sunday, November 16, 2008

Early Thanksgiving Dinner

Barrett won't be around for my favoritist (shut up, it is so a word!) holiday of the year, Thanksgiving. He'll be on a much-deserved vacation to Miami Beach and the Bahamas next week. So I decided to make a Thanksgiving dinner this weekend just for us. I've never made a Thanksgiving dinner in my life--it turned out pretty well, I must say!

My first pumpkin pie ever. With a pre-made crust, it was a snap.

From left to right: that green bean casserole with the onion crunchies on top (not one of my faves but Barrett loves it, so it made the cut); garlic mashed potatoes (Barrett made these); wine; turkey; cornbread dressing; and pie. Cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, and gravy were not featured in our dinner since they are our least favorite traditional dishes. Don't get me wrong--if gravy's on the table, I'll indulge! But I wasn't interested in making it. Also, please note remote controls on the couch all poised and ready to play the next episode of "Battlestar Galactica."

Here's the dinner with Colin, a.k.a. "McLovin'," doing his kneady-pillow thing in the background. I included this photo because when he is McLovin', he is beyond hilarious.

Here's Trixie and Colin, hanging out in the kitchen, waiting for their own dinner which did not include any turkey, stuffing, or pie whatsoever.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Apologies for the lagtime

Hello! I feel the need to apologize for the lack of posts in the past month. For one thing, our camera sort of sucks lately and then it went AWOL for a bit--it turned out to be in the garage. But also, I just not been in a write-y sort of mood. Election jitters? Rainy day blues? Who knows.

I have been cooking, though! I can at least list (and link, if I can) some of the recipes I've made:

1. Mushroom-Shallot Quiche: holy hell, bookmark this one immediately! I made this for the Election Night party I attended and it was out of this world. Melting Gruyere cheese with butter-sauted crimini mushrooms and fresh thyme. . . mmmmm! It was a big hit. I'm heading downstairs to make it again for lunch today.

2. Curried Honey Dijon Roasted Chicken: I made this last night. So good, so easy! I served it with a side of Sauteed Swiss Chard. Love that Swiss chard!

3. Roasted Butternut Squash with Carmelized Onion Pizza: the hits just keep coming from Kevin at Closet Cooking! This was more ambitious, to be sure, but worth it. I did NOT make my own crust, but had dough from Trader Joe's. I also didn't use butternut squash since I already had a whole roasted acorn squash in the fridge from the night before that I needed to use. And I've never fried sage leaves before, so that was fun.

4. Mainly, though, I've been cooking straight from the Cooking With All Things Trader Joe's cookbook. I've been having fun with my continuing exploration of these recipes; getting to shop at Trader Joe's is an added bonus! I can't possibly type out all of the recipes that I've used, but I will list them here. I promise to make them all again and dedicate a post for each. So far, I've made:
- Stuffed Red Peppers
- Italian Wedding Soup
- Black Bean and Ricotta-Stuffed Portabellas
- Tortellini and Chicken Sausage Soup
- California Fish Tacos
- Penne Pepperonata with Shrimp and Asparagus
- Corny-Copia Bean and Veggie Casserole (huge household fave)
- Spicy Szechuan Tofu
- Saag Paneer Lasagna
- Red Curry Halibut
- Okey-Gnocchi with Peas and Pancetta
- Chickety Chinese Chicken Salad
- Curried Chicken Pitas (this is gonna become a lunch staple, methinks)

On board for this coming week:
- Soyaki Broiled Salmon
- Vegetable Tikka Masala
- Italian Wedding Soup, again
- California Fish Tacos, again, because yum!

Oh, and I have a story to relate about the Corny-Copia Bean Veg Casserole. This is a dish that contains cumin-sauteed onions & garlic with kidney beans, plain yogurt, a jar of oil-based mixed vegetable bruschetta, and cornbread on top. Guess who decided that this casserole would be a perfect dessert to his bowl of kibble? Yep, Colin. That stupid cat ate the onion/kidney bean/bruschetta mixture underneath the cornbread (he left a hollowed-out portion), sat around feeling nauseous for an hour or so, then promptly, well, upchucked it ALL OVER THE BASEMENT CARPET. What on earth in this recipe is attractive to cats? The cumin-y onions? The beans? The bruschetta mixture? What a wierd cat.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


What more can I say that hasn't already been said a million times over by millions of ecstatic, joyful, hopeful people around the world in the past 24 hours? I am so proud to be an American today, and for that, I thank you, Barack Obama. Now let's get to work!!

(props to Barrett for poster creation!)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Poached Egg over Wild Rice, and, How To Poach An Egg

Hiya! I made this dish on Tuesday but my sorry ass hasn't gotten around to posting it until this morning. The weather is solidly autumn now and I have made peace with it. It's always easy to make peace with summer ending when it means comfort food! Soups and stews will be heavily featured here for the next few months, I'm guessing.

Here's a lighter comfort food I made recently. It's perfect if you want a hearty dish that doesn't sit heavy in the stomach: Poached Egg over Rice. I used wild rice for my dish and used up most of a bag of pre-shredded chard I had bought at Trader Joe's--I always use way more chard than the recipe calls for because it cooks down so much. This recipe could use some more spice, too, as it is a bit plain. I ended up liberally sprinkling mine with red pepper flakes. Heat works well with this.

Before egg:

After egg and before chowing down (sorry for the dark photo):

Now, let's talk about poached eggs. I have seen many online discussions about the "best" way to poach an egg. Some use a spoon, some use a poached egg device they bought at the store, and, oh, all other methods that involve a kitchen device that keeps the egg in a perfect round shape. What is the obsession with keeping a poached egg in a round shape? It must come from the same expectation that people have about wanting only perfectly-shaped fruit. I just don't get it. No matter the shape, it tastes the same, folks!

The part about the poached egg you should be concerned with is making sure the yolk doesn't get hard. It's all in the timing and the water temperature. Making the well-timed poached egg is an art form in my family, and has been passed along from hungry parent to hungry child for at least three generations. It's fool-proof and easy as pie, too, with no spoons or poaching devices needed!

The Poached Egg
  1. Grab pan. This pan should be deep enough to hold water that will cover one egg in its entirety. That is key. Fill this pan with water--again, enough to cover one egg that is laying on the bottom.
  2. If you have it, add just a tiny sploosh of apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar. Vinegar helps prevent the egg from sticking to the bottom of the pan, but regular white vinegar makes the egg taste tart. If you don't have those vinegars, no worries. Just be vigilant.
  3. Put pan on burner and crank up the heat. Now, you DON'T WANT THE WATER TO EVER REACH A BOIL. What you want is for the water to heat up until small bubbles that are forming on the bottom of the pan start to gently bubble up to the top. You don't want too many of these bubbles to form and you don't want them bubbling really fast, because then you've gotten the water too hot. Too hot = egg white cooking before the yolk cooks.
  4. Crack in your egg and do it gently. The white part will spread out and this is fine. The egg will sink to the bottom. Let it sit there for a little bit, until the white starts firming up and keeping a shape.
  5. Then take your spatula and gently gently loosen the egg from the bottom. You now want it floating. You need it floating so you can see the yolk. Why?
  6. Here's why: your poached egg will be done the very second the white part immediately surrounding the yolk stops jiggling. So, grab the pan handle and start gently jiggling the pan! Keep jiggling it, keep jiggling it, keep jiggling it.
  7. Has the white part right around the yolk stopped jiggling? Great! TAKE THE EGG OUT RIGHT NOW. Do not delay this or else your egg will have a hard yolk. You will be bereft of the yummy yolky goodness that is the hallmark of the poached egg. Remember--if you let the yolk get hard, you must eat that one. The cook always eats the screwed-up egg!
See? It's quite simple. You can have a small child gently jiggle the pan and scream out when the white egg part is firm. Kids love that job! I know I did. Happy poaching!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Potato Leek Soup

Potato leek soup is one of the most basic, simple, and delicious soups out there. It doesn't need anything more than leeks, potatoes, water/stock, and cream. There are variations, of course, but that's the gist of it.

The recipe I use most often, I got from some blog, but now I can't locate it on the internet anymore. I printed it out a long time ago. I want to give credit, but I guess I can't. So, thanks whoever originally posted it--it's my favorite variation on this soup.

Potato Leek Soup

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 4 leeks, rinsed and trimmed of the dark green part (always a big duh, but whatever)
  • 3-5 potatoes, peeled and cubed (you MUST peel them for this soup!)
  • 6 cups chicken or veggie stock
  • 3/4 cup cream
  • juice of 1 lemon (which is 5 tbsp)
  • dill, however much you want
  • salt and pepper
  1. Halve lengthways, then slice the cleaned leeks into thin, little half moons. Cube the potatoes.
  2. Melt the butter in a large pot. Add leeks and potatoes. (I also sliced up one carrot and tossed it in, for color.)
  3. Season the leeks and potatoes with salt and pepper, and toss them to coat with the butter. Saute for about 15 minutes.
  4. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Then turn heat down to medium, cover, and simmer for 30-40 minutes, until potatoes are soft. (I added some frozen corn here, just 'cuz.)
  5. Mix the cream and lemon juice together in a small bowl.
  6. Blend the soup using a stick blender or food processor. (I tend to blend but leave some small chunks of veggies for texture.)
  7. Stir in the cream/lemon mixture and dill. Keep adding salt, pepper, and dill to taste.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Chicken Chili and Sick Kitty

Hola. It's a worrisome day here in the household, as Colin is sick. We fed him his usual can of wet food at 9am, whereupon he ate half of it and pretty immediately regurgitated it. He's been lethargic and punky ever since, and was even hiding under the bed for awhile. He's now been asleep on top of the towel shelf in the bathroom for a few hours. We squirted some water into his mouth in case he's getting dehydrated--I'll continue to do that for the rest of the evening. I'm concerned about him and hope the little shaver feels better by morning.

Because of his lethargic state, Trixie has actually dared to lay next to him on the towels! This is nothing short of a miracle and proves how out of it he is, because normally he'd be nipping at her feet while holding her in a headlock. She's curious about his lack of interest in her. I got it on camera! You'll never see the likes of this again:

Here's a tranquil photo that Barrett took earlier this week of Trixie sitting in the kitchen window with some houseplants, soaking in the September sunshine:

Okay, since this is supposed to be mainly a food blog, I will throw you all a bone. Or rather, a pot of Chicken & White Bean Chili. I saw this on Crazy Aunt Purl's blog today and knew that that is what I wanted for dinner. The weather turned chilly and rainy overnight; nothing else would do. Here's a crappy overlit photo of it, as proof:

'T'was yum. I added an extra cup of veggie broth to mellow out the scalding three tablespoons of chili powder it calls for. This is a four-alarm chili, my friends!!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Purslane Salad with Garlic-Yogurt Sauce

Every summer, one of my garden beds is taken over by this weed. I pull it up but it keeps coming back. It grows at an alarming rate.

It looks like this up close.

Here, it is fighting for acreage with our strawberry plants, which also grow at an alarming rate. The lavender just tries to mind its own business.

So imagine my shock when I saw a recipe using this, this, WEED on the Almost Turkish Recipes blog. This WEED has a name: purslane. Or pigweed. Or verdolaga, if you please. And, not only is it an edible cousin to spinach, it's very nutritious--high in Omega 3 fatty acids. It's the salmon of the vegetable world! Except that salmon is expensive and this stuff is free and in my backyard. The author of Almost Turkish recipes, as well as other food blogs I've read, seem to have a difficult time finding this and when they do, it's priced rather dearly. My fellow food bloggers, you are more than welcome to come and raid my backyard! Please, I beg you. I'm drowning in purslane.

Thanks to the dismally cold and wet Seattle summer, none of my vegetables save the snap peas flourished. I am determined to harvest something, dammit! Tonight, it was the WEED. I made a Purslane Salad with Garlic-Yogurt Sauce. Here's the bunches of WEED that I yanked out, washed off, and cut up.

I sauteed a minced onion with garlic, added lemon juice & water, somesalt, some rice, and let that simmer. At the last minute, I chopped up some tomatoes and tossed them in for color. I mixed minced garlic into some plain yogurt and black pepper as a sauce to dollop on the salad. We had the WEED rice salad with tofu dogs and homemade raspberry iced tea, because that's how we roll in this house--random combinations of food that we dare to call dinner!

The verdict? Barrett was a bit hesitant on it. He liked it alright, but acknowledged its "different" flavor and said he simply wasn't used to it. I can see where he's coming from. It's bright and almost lemony, very hearty, but with a decided earth-y overtone. You can taste that this grew in soil, more than most other greens I've eaten. I understand people not taking to it. I like it. I want to try other recipes with it, like the purslane salsa recipe I spotted somewhere.

And thus ends the story of the WEED.

Postscript: we recently acquired a very very very fuzzy couch pillow that Colin absolutely adores. He adores it so much, he drools on it while kneading it. His new nickname when he is kneading on this pillow? McLovin'.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Sort of Thai-Influenced Meatloaf

Howdy! Aren't three day weekends the best? I especially love Labor Day weekend because it's relatively mellow. Barrett and I spent both Saturday and Sunday cleaning out the garage, which involved dragging almost everything in it onto the lawn into piles of: to the city dump, into the garbage can, to Goodwill, to keep in the garage, and to take into the house. It was very tiring and totally worth it. It's that much closer into being made into the band's practice space, which is the eventual goal.

Yesterday was my day to cook. I first made a pot of French Spring Soup as a filling and low fat meal to take to work for the rest of the week. As usual, I blended about half of it to make it creamier.

I also made a Vietnamese Bun Ga salad as part of a bbq potluck at my friend Gregg's later that afternoon. People seemed to like it. It is really tasty!

For tonight's dinner, I made a meatloaf. And I created the recipe myself! This is a huge deal for me--I tend to follow recipes to the letter and then tweak them after time. I don't usually make up recipes on the fly like I did tonight. Necessity was the mother of invention--I had a huge bunch of Thai basil that was starting to turn brown and decided to use as much of it as I could, along with powdered ginger and the rest of a bottle of Trader Joe's Soyaki sauce. It's delish! Thank goodness for Trader Joe's condiments.

Sort of Thai-Influenced Meatloaf

1.5 lbs very lean lean ground beef
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 large egg
2 tbsp ground ginger, or as much as you want, OR I'm sure ground jarred ginger would work
1/4 to 1/3 cup chopped Thai basil (I didn't measure it, so I'm guessing here)
1/2 bottle Trader Joe's Soyaki sauce

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Fish out your meatloaf pan and coat it with oil a bit.

2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Be sure and take off any rings you have, or else the mixture gets all caught in them and it's grody.

3. Smoosh mixture into loaf pan, making sure it's even on top so it cooks evenly.

4. Bake for 60 minutes. Take out, let sit for a few minutes, then dig in! Have seconds! Eat a salad with it!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Thai Curry with Basil, NO Eggplant, & Green Beans

Saw the above recipe on Albion Cooks and thought it would make an excellent easy meal. I was right! I made one huge exception--I didn't use the eggplant. I finally found the Thai eggplants at the Very Expensive, Hoity Toity Grocery Store (by the way, did you know there is also Japanese eggplant and Chinese eggplant?), bought the two that the recipe called for even though they were small and I seemed skeptical about their ability to contribute much towards the meal, got them home, put them on the counter, and promptly forgot about them. Fast forward to four days later to partially blackened, soft eggplants that now reside in the compost pile. So there was no eggplant in my dinner tonight. But that's okay, it was deemed worthy enough to chow down anyway!

Here's the tofu merrily simmering with the garlic and serrano chile pepper in the wok, with the red pepper slices and Thai basil standing by.

Barrett wanted to show you all his amazing flipping-the-food-into-the-air skillz. I didn't quite capture it but I love the way the burner coils turned purple and white in the flash!

Tearing hunks of chard off at the end. There's something so satisfying about tearing leafy greens up with one's bare hands.

And the final result, showcased on the homemade skeleton plate that I bought at a crafts fair back in 1992. It's my favorite plate.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Yellow Split Pea Soup for a Rainy, Cool August Sunday

After two weeks and some change of being sick, I finally took stock of house and refrigerator. Cat hair tumbleweeds grace the hardwood floors, the rugs are sprinkled with crumbs and more cat hair, the soap scum ring in the bathtub is NOT pretty, and worst of all, our fridge was empty and forlorn. I simply had to go grocery shopping today, there was no way around it.

It has been pouring rain all day and the temperature has dropped as a result. August feels like October, which is why it put me in the mood for a hearty soup. I wanted split pea soup. I have a favorite pea soup recipe, this Bourbon Split Pea Soup from the Almost Turkish Recipes site, but I craved something with greens, perhaps, and a hint of sweetness instead of liquor. And I finally found it: Yellow Split Pea Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Kale, from the Fat-Free Vegan Kitchen's website. It was the kale and the curry that won me over!

Most of the ingredients are a shade of yellow. It amused me. I amuse easily, however.

The obligatory shot of the food cooking next to the recipe on the laptop. It never turns out very well, but that doesn't stop me!

Here's Colin with a canvas shopping bag on his head, looking like a cute, furry Abu Ghraib prisoner.

It's done! I added waaaaaaay more curry powder than the recipe called for, as I felt it needed it, as well as adding some coriander just for the heck of it. I also blended the soup a little bit with my trusty stick blender. Here's the final touch, adding the chopped kale.

We slurped it up for dinner. It was all I'd hoped it would be. Put it on your recipe list for autumn!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sick sick sick

That's me. I've been sick for two weeks now and haven't been doing much exciting cooking. Lots of stuff on the grill and other easy items.

I did make this Spaghetti with Creamy Egg, Prosciutto, and Arugula the other evening, as I felt like having a light tasting but filling pasta. It's really good. I substituted red pepper flakes for the fresh red pepper. I think I also used way more arugula than it called for because I love me some arugula!

I'll return soon, I promise. Just as soon as I get better.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Zesty Shrimp and Scallops on Greens

Hi! Sorry for the posting delay--it's been a busy summer, which is how I like it! I've been meaning to snap some photos of some of the recipes I've recently made, such as this divine Zucchini Ricotta Cheesecake from the fantabulous 101 Cookbooks blog. Alas, I was in such a hurry to prepare it due to the lengthy baking time, I didn't have a moment to do anything but prep and zest. It was really really good, though!

I am very excited to introduce everyone. . . okay, whoever the three people are that actually read this. . . to a cookbook that I have been making much use of since it arrived in my mailbox in late spring: Cooking with All Things Trader Joe's! Not only is it a cookbook that uses nothing but staples and foodstuffs that can be purchased from Trader Joe's (awesome), but has some kick-ass recipes that are generally super quick to make and incredibly tasty to boot! The best part for me about this cookbook is that my dear friend from high school, Deana, co-authored it! My Deana Bo Beana wrote a book! I'm so proud of her and happy to own this.

My first read through, I immediately bookmarked a dozen recipes and made a trip out to the nearest Trader Joe's to stock up on necessities. Some recipes I've made multiple times and are on their way to becoming household staples, such as the Italian Wedding Soup and the Corny-Copia Bean and Veggie Casserole. But one in particular has captured my seafood-lovin' heart: the Zesty Shrimp and Scallops on Greens.

Get frozen shrimp, scallops, and frozen/fresh asparagus. Thaw out.

Throw scallops into pan with some olive oil. Saute until opaque, then throw in shrimp and finally asparagus (my deviation from the recipe; I like to saute the asparagus instead of adding it at the end).

Open up bottle of Trader Joe's Pineapple Salsa. Dump into seafood mixture, heat until bubbling. Have cookbook propped up artfully behind pan for crappy photo taken in bad light (click on photo in order to see actual recipe up close).

Throw spring lettuce mix onto plates, add utterly divine Trader Joe's Cilantro Dressing (found in the refrigerated section of TJ's, which, if you didn't realize as I didn't realize for about 2 months that some salad dressings live in the refrigerated section and all this time you wondered why your local TJ's didn't carry this Cilantro Dressing but then duh, one day you walk right past it as you happen to be looking up--hello!), then scoop a bunch of the piping hot seafood/asparagus mixture on top, realize you forgot the chopped fresh cilantro AGAIN, but oh well, you're so hungry that you just inhale this salad, THE END. It's really that good.

Deana and Wona, I declare thee geniuses. This won't be the last time I blog about one of your recipes.

Zesty Shrimp and Scallops on Greens (Cooking With All Things Trader Joe's, 2007 ed.) Prep & cooking time: 15-20 minutes. Serves 2 as an entree, or 4 as an appetizer.

- 1/2 (5 oz.) bag Organic Baby Spring mix
- 2 Tbsp refrigerated Cilantro Dressing
- 12 spears of fresh asparagus or refrigerated Fire Roasted Asparagus, cut in thirds
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper

- 1 cup (1/2 lb or 1/2 bag) frozen Medium or Large Cooked Tail-Off Shrimp, thawed
- 1 cup (1/2 lb or 1/2 bag) frozen small or medium scallops (such as Chinese scallops) thawed and pat dry
- 1/2 cup Pineapple Salsa
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F, if using fresh asparagus.

2. If using fresh asparagus, toss and coat asparagus in 1 Tbsp olive oil, season with salt & pepper, and spread on a baking sheet. Roast asparagus in the oven for 10-15 minutes depending on size of stalks.

3. While asparagus is roasting, saute scallops in 1 Tbsp olive oil for 3-5 minutes or until opaque, adding shrimp at the very end. If using raw shrimp, cook them with the scallops. Add salsa and saute for additional minute.

4. Toss spring greens with dressing and divide it among serving plates. Add several pieces of asparagus on top of the greens. Top asparagus with seafood mixture and garnish generously with cilantro.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Tinned Tomatoes' Chickpea & Tomato Salad

Upon getting back from a weekend in Portland, I opened up one of the crisper drawers in the fridge to reveal two avocados languishing in the bottom. I got those for a specific recipe, now what was it? . . . oh yeah, one of my favorite lunchtime staples: the Chickpea & Tomato Salad from Holler's Tinned Tomatoes blog! I love this simple, crunchy salad. So will you.

[Oh, I should forewarn that I'm not going to be printing actual recipes much on this site. I encourage folks to use the recipes from the original sites that I link to instead. There are so many good food blogs out there and I think exploration is fun!]

I cut up the cucumber, cilantro, and red onion, and added it to the two cans of chickpeas and the can of diced tomatoes I'd already plopped in the bowl. Yep, I used canned tomatoes for this--in short, I didn't have any fresh tomatoes on hand and refused to be set back by it. I also added a red pepper that was getting all wrinkly and lonely. Into this bowlful of goodness go the avocados!

Here t'is, all mixed up next to the recipe on my laptop.

Colin usually watches me cook while sitting on the counter behind me. It's pretty dang cute even though HE'S A VERY BAD CAT THAT IS NOT ALLOWED ON THE COUNTER, NOT EVER.

Here's my deviation from this recipe. I'm not proud of it because it is a deviation born of laziness. I use store-bought dressing for this salad. The first time I ever made it, I didn't have any honey and saw this dressing sitting unopened in the cupboard. I pulled it out, mulled it over, and decided to go for it. It was a stroke of sheer genius on my part; this dressing was made for this salad. I'm sure any brand of sweet-ish poppyseed dressing will do.

Add a few squirts in and voila! A fantastic summertime salad, perfect for my take-to-work lunches in my Mr. Bento lunchbox. What, you are not familiar with Mr. Bento or bento lunch boxes? There's a whole new world out there for you, my friend. I highly recommend them, especially if you are interested in portion control. Here's what the Mr. Bento looks like:

So this salad will fill one container. What about the rest? I ended up putting homemade mushroom soup in the largest one, a cut up apricot in the third, and cut up mozzarella and radishes in the fourth. I know, that's weird, but you have to get creative sometimes to fill them all up. One of the ideas with the bento is to fix a variety of foods, so your palate doesn't get bored and you get different nutrients, etc.

Until next time!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sher's Scallion Ginger Chicken Linguini

I first started blogging in December 2005 when I was unemployed and bored. I pretty immediately turned to looking up recipes online, to feed my new-found craving for cooking from scratch. The first food blog I fell in love with was Chocolate & Zucchini. The next was What Did You Eat? I don't remember how I stumbled upon Sher's blog in February 2006, but I fell in love instantly. My recipe bookmark folder filled up with her recipes. She didn't have much at that time, as she had only been blogging a few months herself, but enough to make me realize I'd found a kindred spirit in tastes. Later, I followed her into Weekend Cat Blogging and Colin, my new upstart kitten, became the star of my old blog.

It's 2 1/2 years and many posts/comments/emails later, and Sher has passed on. She died less than a week ago. I found out today after I clicked on her blog to see if she'd posted anything new. When five days had passed and nothing, I was concerned. I knew she was in ill health and the last time she let so much time pass without blogging, she was in the hospital. No, it was the unthinkable. There's a big hole in my heart. My kitchen is feeling that big without her.

I emailed my husband Barrett the news and his reply was, "Is there a tribute meal you wanna do together tonight?" He knows me so well.

A small part of me thinks that I should make this, since she created this recipe with me (and Anne) specifically in mind. And I will make this soon. But I truly feel there's only one tribute meal I can do to honor Sher tonight and that's the first recipe of hers I made: her Scallion Ginger Chicken Linguini. Whenever I make it, and the smell of the scallions and ginger fills the air, my kitchen doesn't feel so big after all. She's right there with me.

"What's for dinner, guys?!"

The meat inspector checks for bacteria and deliciousness.

The chopping of the greens. I adore chopping scallions.

Sher suggested one cup of scallions, but I can't resist--I have to throw in more. And yeah, jarred ginger. So sue me! I loathe peeling and chopping up roots. Besides, the pureed ginger works really well in the "sauce."

The chicken is all ready to go.

In go the green onions and ginger . . .

And then the linguini, soy sauce, sesame oil, etc.

And the final touch, one of Sher's most favorite flavorings, THE CILANTRO!

The inspector sniffs the final result and approves, despite the distinct lack of tuna in this dish.

Here's to you, Sher, you fantastic lady. You will never be forgotten. And just in case there was any doubt, check out all the tributes to you over at your dear friend Glenna's.


So, yeah, I needed a project blog. Writing about my dull, everyday life at Westering Hills just wasn't cutting it for me. I need some focus, some purpose, even if that purpose is just to add another damn food-related blog into the vast sea of existing food-related blogs.

I almost didn't do this. I came up with this idea a few weeks ago, created the account (with a different and now-discarded title) a week ago, and then sat on it. Why am I doing it? What point of view will I take? Who will give a crap? It was only after hearing about the death of a friend that I was jolted out of my penchant for over-introspection. Who cares why I'm doing it, who cares if I do or do not have a POV, and who cares who gives a crap? I here and I want to do it. End of story. Man, it takes a long time for me to realize the basics in life!

I'm not exactly sure what path this will take. I will post recipes. I will take crappy photos of the food I make and eat. I will take crappy photos of the cats poking around in the kitchen, or other parts of the house. It's pretty much a guarantee that I will be taking crappy photos period, since our camera is crappy. Also, I will be writing haphazardly and wantonly, possibly even briskly and without pause for spellcheck and grammar police. Hell, I MIGHT NOT EVEN WRITE ABOUT FOOD. As Cartman once said, "I do what I want!"

Enjoy. Or don't. Your call.