Category Archives: Food: Recipes and Stories

How One Thing Leads to Another: Caramelized mushrooms, Kat’s Swiss Chard, Moroccan Chicken, Brussels Sprouts with Almonds

We were talking the other day about surprise combinations in recipes. The subject came up because we picked up some baby Swiss chard at the Farmer’s Market and Kat shared her secret Swiss chard recipe that combines chard, bacon, garlic and (drum roll, please) raisins. Marge Ann mentioned her favorite surprise combination, which is diced lemon rind (the whole rind, but not the meat) in a tossed salad. Her cousin Arlene, whom we invite to visit because she’s such an extraordinary cook, puts blueberries or strawberries and Gorgonzola cheese in tossed salads. Neither of them uses carrots in a salad, though, so what do they know? Marge Ann also taught me to squeeze the juice of a whole lemon over a pound of sliced fresh mushrooms and sauté them in butter until caramelized. Yummy over steak. Continue reading

The Zucchini That Ate Asilomar; Tomatoes Stuffed with Garlic; Tomatoes Stuffed with Corn

This is the time of year when friends, neighbors, relatives, and people you never met and maybe didn’t even want to meet come knocking on the door with extra zucchini and tomatoes they grew in their home garden and can’t eat fast enough. Some of them have sad tales of mutiny by family members. Some have a faint green tinge to their skin from eating so many squash.

It gets to the point where I’m afraid to answer the door. When I come home from errands, I always have to sneak up on my front porch for fear someone left me a “present.” Continue reading

Green Salsa Fresco and Mondo Chicken Enchiladas

My motto as a firehouse cook was “Good for cheap.” Now that I’m living on my fire department retirement and can’t depend on my stock investments any more, it is also a personal motto.

I read the grocery ads religiously. Tuesdays you’ll find me picking up the last of the expiring specials so they’ll be fresh longer, and on Wednesdays I’m there when the store opens to get the first of the next week’s specials.

I’m not too proud to pick up produce that’s about go to off or to check the bin for butcher’s daily specials. If it’s for dinner that night, why would I care how long it will last in my refrigerator? Her Editorness gets a little picky about bananas sometimes, but she’s like the guys at the firehouse: If I’ll do the cooking, she’ll do the eating and dishwashing. Remember the old Utah Phillips song about the moose, the pie, and the cook on the railroad crew? Well, that’s us. The first one to complain about my cooking is the next cook. Continue reading