Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Hi, my name is Charlie T. and I’m a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel although I tell everyone I’m a miniature St. Bernard.  My humans, Larry and Elizabeth haven’t been able to get their act together so I’m taking it upon myself to bring you up to date on what’s been happening around our home.

Rufus the old cat is getting meaner and fatter all the time but he lives mostly in the basement so he doesn’t bother me too much.  I’m sort of afraid of him; he hisses and growls at everyone.  Oliver, the other cat, is my best friend in the whole world.  We chase each other every day and play a lot.  I have been doing great since my double knee surgery last year although it was a long slow recovery.  I get around wonderfully and can now run and jump and I dance for my supper, and, this is just between us, I can now lift my leg which demonstrates how tough I am.

Both Mom and Dad are gone all day, they tell us they are working but I think they are just messing around.  Mom is talking about retiring which I think would be great as long as she and Dad can still afford to buy my food and toys.  She could then spend all her time with me and we could go on lots of walks and she could hold me on her lap which is the best.

For Christmas last year Dad got himself an iPad and he really, really likes it.  He uses it all the time.   He plays games and reads books and watches movies.  It’s a whole entertainment system in one little flat package.  Mom doesn’t have one but she enjoys her Kindle.  They read a lot which is fine with me as I like sitting with Mom and cuddling.  I’m her favorite.

Mom and Dad have had lots of friends over during the year which I like as long as I get to stay out and play with them.  They also like to go to the theatre in Topeka and at KU and are looking forward to seeing what is on tap for next year.   They have seen a number of shows that they really liked.  They saw Peter Pan and were impressed with how professionally a Community Theatre could do the all the flying.

In the early spring they hired a dog trainer for me because they thought I misbehaved.  I don’t think I was particularly bad but I couldn’t convince them of that.  I guess I’m better behaved now.  I still have to go to group sessions but I enjoy seeing the other dogs.  Sometimes Mom takes me to doggie day care at the groomers and I pretend I’m the Activities Director.  I insist that all the dogs run around and play.  Nobody can sit in the corner and be shy when I’m the boss.

Mom and Dad had the outside of the house painted as soon as the weather turned nice and one of the screens wasn’t fitted back properly and Oliver fell out the window.  Mom and Dad didn’t know about it for a long time and couldn’t find him for hours.  They were very upset but then they found him hiding under the deck.  We were all thankful to see Oliver back home.  He’s not very brave Iike I am and he thinks everyone is his friend.  I’m glad the fox that sometimes comes into our back yard didn’t find him.

Last May Mom and Dad both deserted us and went off to California for a whole week.  They visited Larry’s parents for a few days and then took the train from Los Angeles to Monterey to visit their friend Keith and saw his absolutely beautiful new home.  I saw the pictures and wanted to move there but they insisted on coming back to Kansas.  Rufus and Oliver and I had a babysitter who came twice a day because Oliver had to have his insulin shot.  He’s diabetic and gets a shot morning and evening.    Our babysitter works for our Veterinarian and I got to go to work with her every day where I greeted people and their pets and had a super good time.

Mom and Dad had a wonderful trip.  Keith’s house has a movie theatre and they watched movies every day.  They also got to cook in Keith’s marvelous kitchen.  One of the best things they did was go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  Mom was fascinated by the jellyfish, the seahorses and sea dragons.  She went on and on and on and I got really bored.  I’m much more interesting than a lot of fish.

During the summer we didn’t do a lot because it was really hot although we went to the doggie park in Topeka several times.  I like it there because the big dogs are in another fenced area and I’m not intimidated by them.  In August Elizabeth was transferred from her branch office in downtown Lawrence to an office that is only five minutes from home.  I am very happy with this arrangement as she can come home for lunch and we can take a real walk not a quickie trip to the back yard.  I don’t think at first she liked it much because she didn’t know the customers and not much was happening but she likes it now.

In September Larry went to California to visit his parents on their birthdays.  Mom stayed home with us which was nice.  Then in November Dad once again went to see his parents.  This time he and Mom cooked and froze a bunch of food, then they packed it in dry ice and Dad checked it on the plane.  It was an experiment.  They are going to ship another package of frozen food as a Christmas gift.  I hope Larry’s parents like what they get.   Mom and Dad learned a bunch of stuff about doing this and what works and what doesn’t work.  They hope to find a number of dishes that can be frozen and shipped easily so that Larry’s Mother doesn’t have to work so hard.  They have a food sealer that sucks all the air out of the bags and seals them flat so they can get a lot in a box.   It makes a nice noise.  I like it.

Our vacuum cleaner died and they got a new one.  It is the enemy.  I am trying to kill it but it keeps attacking me.  I’ll work it out though.   They are talking about making a lot of changes in the house.  Mom wants to have the basement hall and laundry room floor finished in polished concrete, and they want the Master Bath painted and maybe have the living room and dining room floor replaced with hardwood.  They have found a wonderful handyman which is great.  He is nice and likes me.  I have been helping him with a lot of his jobs around the house.

At Thanksgiving Mom and Dad went to Elizabeth’s sister’s house to see Cindy’s children, in-laws and grandchildren.  It was a nice visit and they were very glad they had a chance to see everyone.  I didn’t get to go because I love Cindy a whole lot and won’t let her alone for a single minute.  I get locked in my pen when she comes to my house to visit.  It’s not very polite because it is my house but I don’t complain, much.  We didn’t have our Thanksgiving Dinner until the weekend as both Larry and Elizabeth had to work on Friday.  I never, ever get people food, except for carrots, but I got three pieces of turkey.  A miracle!

The Sunday after Thanksgiving we set up our Christmas tree and decorated it and Elizabeth got out her collection of Nativities and set them around the living room.  She has a bunch of them but only put out a selected group.  Oliver and I have been extremely busy since then rearranging the ornaments on the tree as high as we can reach.  Larry and Elizabeth are really good humans but they aren’t very artistic.

Oliver has been good this year and hasn’t stolen a single baby Jesus from the Nativities, a new record for him.  

We don’t have any presents under the tree as of yet but I’m not losing hope.  I’ve arranged a few of my favorite worn toys around the tree in hopes that Santa will peek in and see what needs replacing.

I’ve been glad that we haven’t had any snow as of yet and hope that we don’t get a lot this year. Last year was terrible.  I actually got buried in a snow bank when I jumped off the deck.  It scared me silly and I’m not a sissy.  I’m a pretty tough guy but even so Mom had to go out and trample down the snow so I wouldn’t disappear.   Even my friend Owen, who lives next door and is a huge dog didn’t like all that snow.

I think that’s all our news for the year.  Larry and Elizabeth and Oliver and Rufus and I wish you all a wonderful holiday and a happy New Year.

Happy Holidays to all

Charlie T. Hovey

Oliver was really, really tired after helping decorate the tree!

Being a decorator is very, very hard work ... my favorite spot in the world!

Rufus the Terrible ... he thinks he's boss!

It was hard work, but it was worth it.

Happy Holidays to all and may you have a wonderful 2012!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011



As a child, as a teenager, as a young adult, as a middle aged married man and as an old fuddy duddy, one thing Larry was never Thankful for at Thanksgiving nor asked Santa for at Christmas was Cranberry Sauce.  He loathed it.  However, now that he's a food fuddie, he has found cranberries that he likes.  He says it's because they have brandy in them and everything goes better with brandy.  

Trust Larry, if you've never liked cranberries (and even if you have) you will love these!  They are delicious!


1 Whole Orange, finely chopped in food processor
1/2 cup water
2 Cinnamon Sticks
5 whole Cloves
1 pound raw Cranberries
2 cups Sugar
1/2 cup Brandy

Mix together the chopped orange, water, cinnamon sticks and cloves.  Bring to a boil and allow to boil for ten minutes.  Add cranberries and sugar.  Cook at a good simmer until cranberries pop.  Remove from heat, add brandy.  Cool and refrigerate.

Sunday, December 11, 2011



If you haven’t tried any of the Rancho Gordo Heirloom beans you are missing an enormous treat.  If you can’t find them in a store in your area you can order them online at  With most of the Rancho Gordo beans we have tried you don’t need to do anything fancy.  According to Steve Santo, Rancho Gordo’s owner, soak them for 4 to 7 hours then cook them on the stove top mixed with chopped onion, chopped garlic and a little olive oil then covered with the soaking water.  Yummy, but Elizabeth wanted more ergo the baked beans, and they are delicious.

1 pound Rancho Gordo Yellow Eye beans or Great Northern beans
1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
3 slices thick-cut Applewood smoked bacon, coarsely chopped
¾  to 1 cup unsulfured molasses
2 tablespoons heaping, packed dark brown sugar
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
Pinch ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
3 teaspoons dry mustard powder
¼ cup dark rum (optional)
Pinch of sea salt, preferably Maldon

Pick through the beans discarding any debris or discolored beans, cover them with water, about 2 inches over the top of the beans and let them soak for 5 to 7 hours.  The Rancho Gordo beans do not need to soak overnight like the dried beans from the supermarket. Drain the beans, reserving the soaking water if desired.

Put the drained beans in a bean pot or baking pot large enough to hold them plus enough water to cover by about 2 inches.  Add all the ingredients and mix together pouring the soaking water over all.  If you prefer you can discard the soaking water and use fresh water.  Cover the pot and put in a cold oven set at 400°F.  Cook for 3 hours checking once or twice to insure the beans are still covered with water.  Reduce heat to 375°F and again check to make sure the beans are still covered with liquid.  Remove cover and continue to cook for 1 to 2 hours until beans are soft and creamy and a nice crust has set.  You don’t want the beans to dry out so add more water if necessary to keep them moist.

Sunday, November 13, 2011



These are a great morning treat, especially if you have overnight house guests, or need a quick jump start in the morning.  They are easy to fix, easy to store, and easy and quick to reheat from freezer or refrigerator either in the oven or in the microwave.  Not very, very healthy, but very, very good.  (Note:  Spicy Turkey breakfast sausage may be used instead of the Jimmy Dean Hot.)


1 lb. hot pork sausage
1/2 cup diced onion
1 cup Bisquick baking mix
1/3 cup milk
1 egg
1 can minced green chilies
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese.

Cook sausage and onion together in a skillet.  (This may be done in advance and the mixture either stored in the refrigerator or frozen.

Mix Bisquick with milk and spread in a 13x9 inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.  Spread the sausage and onion mixture over the Bisquick. It will not be very thick and needs to be patted down with the hands or a spatula.  Mix together the egg, chilies and cheese and sprinkle over the top.

Bake in oven 20 to 30 minutes.  Cut into squares and serve hot.  If making in advance, cut into squares after baking and freeze or store in refrigerator.  Bake at 350 until heated through. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011



We don't remember where we got this recipe.  Larry thinks it was from his Mother, but he wouldn't swear to that.  We've had the recipe for years and years and years; well you get the idea.  It is one of our favorite soups and if someone is sick with the flu or a nasty cold, believe us, this will help.  A friend of ours who is not overly fond of doctors swears by it.  She once said that if a drug company had invented this, it would cost a fortune.  Enjoy and be healthy!


1/3 cup oil
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
4 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 garlic clove minced
1 6 ounce can tomato paste
1 10 3/4 ounce can beef broth
9 cups of water
1 cup coarsely chopped cabbage
2 carrots sliced
1 cup green beans, cut into 1" slices
1 cup macaroni
2 teaspoons of salt (We use less)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon sage
2 16 ounce cans kidney beans
(We use 1 can red kidney beans, 1 can white kidney .. Italian .. beans)
1 zucchini sliced
FRESHLY GRATED Parmesan cheese 

Heat oil in a large pot with a lid.  Add onions, celery, parsley and garlic and cook until tender.  (Be careful not to brown the garlic as it will turn bitter.)  Stir in tomato paste, beef broth (or chicken broth or Vegetable broth), water, cabbage, carrots, green beans, macaroni, salt, pepper and sage.  Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes to one hour.  Add beans and the liquid in the can and the zucchini.  Cover and cook another 10 to 15 minutes.  Serve topped with freshly grated cheese.  Is great with a hot roll.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Grilled Tri-Tip Roast

Grilled Tri-Tip Roast

This was a recipe that a friend of ours, Erik, gave us about twenty years ago and has been one of our favorite grilled meats ever since.  

The meat is tasty with the mix of onion, garlic, beer and seasoned salt.  Add some mesquite chips to the grill to give the roast a nice smokey flavor.  Serve with corn on the cob and potato salad for a late summer treat.


1 Tri-tip roast
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp seasoned salt (We like Lawry's)
Ground pepper, to taste
1 bottle of beer (We like to use Pacifico, but any good beer will do just fine)

Mix the onion, garlic, seasoned salt, pepper and the beer in a large bowl or resealable plastic bag.  Add the roast, 'mush' it all together and put in refrigerator for 24 hours.

One hour before grilling, remove the marinade and roast from the refrigerator and let stand.  Reserve the marinade.   Prepare grill with one large pile of charcoal to one side as in indirect grilling and a few coals on one side to sear the meat.  Place meat on the hot coals and sear then move meat to one side.  Add mesquite chips and cover grill.  Baste meat about every 10 minutes using the onions and garlic as well as the liquid. Turn after 20 or 30 minutes.  Continue to smoke for about thirty minutes until internal temperature is 145°.  Let stand for about 10 to 15 minutes before slicing.

Saturday, October 1, 2011



I have been a chili affection ado since I went to High School in Texas.  I used to be a purist.  Chili MUST have beef, it MUST have pork,, it MUST have beer, and it MUST have beans (I know, I know, there is the  Bean and No Bean school of Chili, but I am in the Bean school).  It must be thick and red.  For nearly 30 years I have tried to duplicate the Chili made by Chasens (now closed) in Los Angeles, which Elizabeth Taylor used to have flown to her by jet where ever she was.  

A few years ago we had a Chili dinner at work and one of my co-workers said she was bringing a Turkey Chili. I could hardly stop the sneer, "Turkey chili is like making ice cream with 2% milk.  It may look like ice cream, and it may freeze like ice cream, but it ain't ice cream."  My co-worker, Sandy, just smiled and said, "You'll see."

Well, I had a come to Turkey Chili meeting.  I saw the light.  I converted (well, I still sin once in a while with the old time religion, but I'm a convert).  This chili is spicy like chili should be; it's rich and filling, like chili should be.  No beef, no pork, no beans ... what is this world coming to.

Here it is.  Make it.  Lust after it.  Enjoy it ... even if you're on a diet (if you don't overdo).  Hallelujah!  Let's hear it for the Turkey Chili!


1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, diced
1 medium yellow pepper, diced
1 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
1 pound ground turkey
1 glove garlic, minced
1 14 ounce can crushed or diced tomatoes
1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes with green chilies or jalapenos
1 14 ounce can reduced sodium chicken stock
1 can sweet corn
2 Tbsp ground cumin
2 Tbsp mild chili powder
1 Tbsp Mexican oregano
1 Tbsp dried basil
black pepper to taste
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 dashes of hot sauce (optional)
Chopped cilantro and green onion (optional)

Saute the onion, bell peppers, jalapeno and garlic in a small amount of olive oil until tender.

Add ground turkey and brown until completely cooked.

Add spices and corn.

Add the cans of tomatoes, chicken stock, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce, if desired.  Simmer on medium-low heat for 30 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.  Simmer on medium-high heat for another 30 minutes.  Toss in the chopped cilantro and green onion in the last 10 minutes of cooking, if desired.

The chili should thicken slightly towards the last 15 minutes of cooking.  Refrigerating overnight also helps it thicken and the flavors blend for a better taste.  (We often leave the cilantro and onions off and add them just before serving.)  Serve with corn bread muffins and a small green salad or fresh fruit.



This is one of the best shrimp dishes we have ever had.  It's spicy without being too hot and although Larry is not overly fond of hot shrimp, he really enjoys these.  We once served these as an appetizer for a dinner party and two of our guests ate so many they couldn't eat dinner!  Warning:  They are messy and are definitively a 'hands on' dish.

We are lucky that we can buy shrimp in the shells that have already had the shell sliced and the main vein (intestine) removed.  They do come that way in bags in the freezer section of most major stores, so you should be able to find them.  The larger the shrimp, the better.

1 Tbsp orange zest
1/3 cup orange juice
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup oil
2/3 cup lime juice
1 1/2 cups cilantro sprigs, loosely packed
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes or more or less to taste
36 large shrimp (1 to 1 1/2 pound depending on the size of the shrimp)
18 lime wedges
cilantro sprigs for garnish

Mix orange zest and juice, garlic, honey, oil, lime juice, cilantro, soy sauce and red pepper flakes in a food processor until cilantro is minced.  (Note:  if you like REALLY spicy you can add a dash of cayenne and/or a dash of hot sauce to the mix as well!)  

Set aside 1/4 cup sauce for basting and remaining 1/2 cup sauce in a separate bowl and pour remaining marinade into a plastic bag.  If you weren't lucky enough to get the pre-cleaned shrimp, snip shrimp shells down the back using kitchen shears, leaving shells intact.  Devein under cold running water.  Blot the shrimp with paper towels and add shrimp to marinade and mix well.  Close bag, pressing closed to remove air.  Marinate in refrigerator for 1 hour.  (Note:  Don't marinate much longer or the shrimp will become mushy as the fruit juices tend to 'cook' the shrimp.)

Soak 6 wooden skewers in water 30 minutes before using. Thread 1 lime wedge on 1 skewer then thred each of six shrimp through top and onto the skewer.  Thread another lime wedge on the skewer after shrimp, pushing shrimp together as necessary to fit on skewer.  Repeat with remaining five skewers.  (Note:  If you have a vegetable grilling basket that works well in lieu of the skewers.  Just put the shrimp and limes in it.)

Grill over hot coals and a few soaked mesquite chips until seared, about 2 to 3 minutes.  Brush shrimp generously with some of the reserved 1/4 basting sauce and carefully turn.  Brush top side with additional basting sauce and cook until opaque, about 1 minute.  DON'T OVER COOK.  THEY WILL BECOME MUSHY.

Serve the shrimp or skewers on platter garnished with cilantro sprigs and lime wedges.  Divide reserved 1/2 cup sauce between small ramekins, one for each person to use to dip the shrimp.  Serve hot or a room temperature with a plethora of napkins.  A bit of rice and tomato is nice if this is to be a main course.  

Tuesday, September 27, 2011



These wraps are a tasty treat that have grown on Larry over the years.  Elizabeth has always been the adventurous one going to Japanese Curry Houses, Sushi bars, and (Larry is positive) restaurants that serve monkey brains.  Larry used to find Denny's adventurous ... and, well, in a way it is!  Mystery eggs and strange tasting ham, Sam I am.

Elizabeth made these wraps in Los Angeles and by the second time she prepared them, Larry was a convert.  He even has grown to like the Kim Chi (a definite acquired taste; see below) that may served with it. 


1 1/4 pounds boneless beef sirloin tip, eye of round, or tri-tip.  Tender is the key here; don't worry about flavor, the marinade does that.

1/4 Soy Sauce (lower salt, if you prefer)
3 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp dark sesame oil
2 Tbsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp sliced green onion
2 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 head soft lettuce, such as Boston or Bibb, leaves, separated

Slice beef across the grain into very thin slices.  (For ease in slicing, place beef in freezer for 1 hour.)  Place between two pieces of plastic wrap, pound with flat side of meat mallet until very thin.  Cut slices into 3 to 4 inch square pieces.  (NOTE:  We've gotten so good with the thin slices, we just cut it very thin and then cut them in half.  Time saver.)

Place beef and all remaining ingredients except vegetable oil and lettuce in large resealable bag, seal bag and turn to coat evenly.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours, turning occasionally.  (NOTE:  We have found 2 to 3 hours is best, otherwise the soy and sesame seeds become a bit overpowering.)

Heat wok or heavy large skillet (iron skillet) over medium high heat until very hot.  Add 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil; heat until hot.  Add beef in small batches along with a bit of the marinade; cook 30 to 60 seconds or until browned, turning once and adding additional oil, if necessary.  Place on platter, pour any pan juices over beef.  

Serve with lettuce leaves, sushi rice (sticky or Oriental or Japanese rice), and small cucumbers.  Place a bit of rice, two or three pieces of beef and a tiny cucumber over lettuce.  Wrap into a small package.  Pop into mouth.  Savor and enjoy.  

This is good served with Kim Chee.  Kim Chee is a national dish of Korea.  It is a VERY spice garlicky cabbage with red pepper.  You can buy it at most large grocery stores.  It is in the refrigerator section and comes in jars.  Start off with the mild.  You won't be sorry.  If you start off with the hot, you may be sorry ... but it is different and good.  If you are a sissy (or you can't find it locally) serve with cold slaw.  

Sunday, September 18, 2011



When Larry was a child his Grandmother had a pressure cooker and she used it a lot to can fresh vegetables from the prolific garden maintained by his Grandfather in their yard.  When it was on the stove the pressure cooker would hiss and the tiny valve perched precariously on the top would rock back and forth as the steam escaped allowing tantalizing odors to escape into the air.  

One day this idyllic venue erupted into a bomb!  Larry was just about to enter the kitchen when there was an enormous "whooooof" sound followed by whap, splat, whomp, splat, splat, splat.  When Larry walked into the kitchen the walls and ceiling looked like a Jackson Pollack painting covered with what we refer to as the drip and splatter school of art.  Only this was beans.  Beans on the ceiling, beans on the walls and beans on the windows and counter top.  Beans all over.  Larry's Grandmother ran to him to make sure he hadn't been parboiled by the erupting liquid.  Larry swore on the spot that no matter what, he would never, never allow a deadly weapon like that in his kitchen.  

Flash forward forty years. 

Cooking show.  Featuring a Pressure Cooker.  Larry was about to turn it off, when Elizabeth said, "Wait, they say it's explosion proof."  Larry replied, "Yeah, that's what they say, but I don't believe it.  Death by beans will not be in my future."  Elizabeth went on and on about all the wonderful meals we could make in a nanosecond  and it would be really good for us as we both worked and really didn't have time to cook during the week and it was on sale and we could return it if we didn't like it and we got a free cookbook with it and wasn't it really cute and it kept all of the nutrients in and .... well, you get the idea.  Three days later the doomsday machine arrived.

It was a Fagor Pressure Cooker and worked on the stove.  It had a safety lock on it so it was impossible for it to explode.  The first recipe we did was spaghetti sauce.  Larry refused to be in the kitchen until it was done and then ran in, removed the cooker from the stove and ran out of the kitchen until the pressure returned to normal.  It worked like a dream for over fifteen years.

Now, years later the Fagor Cooker is now replaced by a larger electric Cuisinart; pressure cooking is no longer a 'run for the bomb shelter' event in our family.  We have made many a wonderful meal in these safe to use appliances.  Food cooks amazingly fast.  Cheap cuts of meat become tender and the variations of what can be made in these machines is astounding and food comes out tender, flavors married like old folks celebrating their 60th anniversary.  We can not recommend them enough.  Do your self a favor and buy one.  Use it safely and in good health.  They are no longer an excuse to repaint the kitchen when the beans explode.

Following is the first thing we made.  Spaghetti meat sauce that tastes like it's been cooking all day at a slow simmer and yet it is ready in 8 minutes! Perfect for quick meals.  (We suppose one could make this in a slow cooker; we have just never tried it.)  Here's the recipe that started it for us and is still one of our very favorite Spaghetti meat sauces recipes.  Vivo Italiano (or something like that)!


1 Pound ground beef (We prefer the 97% fat free, but that's for health reasons ... the 80% is just as good.)
1 large onion chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1 green pepper, diced
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup water (We use 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup red wine)
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp parsley flakes (2 tsp fresh parsley, finely chopped)
1/2 tsp Greek Oregano
1/2 tsp sweet basil
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp thyme
2 tsp sugar
6 drops Tabasco sauce
1 6 oz. can tomato paste.

Heat cooker and brown meat in a tiny bit of olive oil.  Stir in remaining ingredients, except tomato paste.  Close cover and cook for eight minutes once cooker has come to high pressure.  Turn off and let pressure return to normal.  Stir in tomato paste and simmer uncovered to desired thickness.  Serve over pasta (we like the extra thin spaghetti).
Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  A word to the wise here.  Buy a block of Parmesan and grate it just before using.  (You will never use that canned stuff again!)  When the rind is left, put it in a bag in the freezer and throw it in with meats or stew.  Remove before serving.  Gives a richness and depth to the flavor.

Serve with tomato, avocado and basil salad and some garlic bread sprinkled with fresh parsley.

Sunday, September 11, 2011



Elizabeth has been making this cake for 38 years and it is one of our favorites.  It's simple to make and we guarantee that it will never go stale ... it won't stay around long enough!  It's best to make this one day ahead, pour the syrup over it and then let it sit overnight.  It's worth the wait!


Preheat oven to 350° and heavily butter an 8"x8"x2" square baking pan.

1 cup sifted all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder (aluminum free)
1 heaping tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 heaping tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/8 heaping tsp ground cloves
1/12 sticks sweet (unsalted) butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
grated zest of two medium oranges
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups broken walnuts

1 small lemon
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 2" piece stick cinnamon
2 whole cloves
1/2 cup honey

Whole walnut halves for garnish (optional)

Sift flour then add baking powder, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and cloves.  Sift two more times onto waxed paper and set aside.

Beat softened butter with sugar in large bowl with electric mixer at high speed until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add orange rind and mix.  Stir in flour mixture alternately with milk, beating after each addition.  Stir in flour mixture alternately with milk, beating after each addition, until batter is smooth.  Stir in nuts.  Pour into buttered baking pan.

Bake in moderate oven (350°) 35 minutes, or until center springs back when lightly pressed with finger.  Cook cake in pan on wire rack 30 minutes.  While cake is cooling, prepare Honey Syrup.


Remove rind (thin yellow, no white) from lemon.  This is best done with a vegetable peeler or zester.  Squeeze out lemon juice into a small cup (about 2 teaspoons) and set aside.  Place lemon rind, sugar, water, cinnamon stick and cloves in a heavy medium sized saucepan.  Bring to boiling, lower heat, continue to cook, without stirring 20 to 30 minutes, or until mixture is slightly syrupy.  Remove from heat and stir in honey.  Pour through a strainer and into a bowl.  Sir in reserved lemon juice.  Let sit until slightly cool.

Gradually pour or spoon cooled syrup over cake letting it soak into the cake before adding more.  Spoon into the corners and around the edges, carefully covering the entire surface.  Repeat until all the syrup is absorbed.  (If possible, let stand for 24 hours.) 

 Cut cake into 16 squares or diamonds.  Garnish each piece with a walnut half to serve, if desired.

The cake may be topped with a dab of whipped cream if desired, but is rich enough without it.  When removing the cake from the pan, be very careful, as it crumbles easily.

The cake travels very well in the pan and keeps well for several days covered with plastic wrap.

Sunday, August 28, 2011



The fall semester is starting at the University of Kansas here in Lawrence and a recent article in the local newspaper about fraternity and sororities got us talking about Greek food which caused both of us to get hungry for lamb.  Larry discovered a pound of ground lamb in the freezer and Elizabeth remembered a recipe for a Greek Yogurt and Cucumber sauce (called Tzatziki) that she had on the computer and those started off a menu inspired by Greek seasonings.  PLUS, as a special inducement Elizabeth promised she would make Karithopita (Greek Walnut Cake) which she has been making for over 35 years.  That being one of Larry's favorite treats, it was off to the Agora (old Greek marketplace) to buy a few added items.

(Greek Yogurt and Cucumber Sauce)

2 Medium Cucumbers
2 cups Greek Yogurt
Juice of one large lemon
1 large garlic clove,chopped
1 Tbs kosher salt
1 Tbs finely chopped fresh dill or mint (dill is better!)
Freshly ground white pepper

Peel cucumbers and cut in half lengthwise.  Scrape out the seeds with a spoon.  Dice the cucumbers and place in a colander and sprinkle with 1 Tablespoon of Kosher salt.  Lightly stir.  Allow to sit and drain for 30 minutes.  Rinse, drain well and dry with paper towels.

Place cucumbers, garlic, lemon juice, dill and a few grinds of white pepper in a food processor or blender.  Process until well blended.  Stir in the yogurt and add additional pepper if needed.  VERY IMPORTANT:  Place in refrigerator for a minimum of two hours before serving.  Longer is even better.

The Tzatzaki wil lkeep for days in the refrigerator, but drain off any liquid that rises to the surface and stir before using.

1 lb ground lamb
1 green onion with top
1/2 teaspoon Mediterranean Oregano
2 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
1 clove garlic or 1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp fresh mint, chopped or 1/2 tsp. dried mint
Dash ground white pepper
1/4 tsp. sea salt

Mix all ingredients together and allow to sit for at least two hours.  Bring to room temperature.  Grill over medium coals until internal temperature reaches 160° for medium.


Olive Oil
1 tsp Mediterranean Oregano
2 cloves of garlic, minced or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 pound thinly sliced potatoes (We use Simply Potatoes)

Place olive oil in heated 12" non-stick pan.  Add Mediterranean Oregano and garlic and cook for one minute, stirring occasionally.  Layer the potatoes in the pan, sprinkle with salt, freshly ground white pepper and squeeze the juice of one lemon over the potatoes.  Cover and cook over medium heat until nicely browned (about ten minutes).  Turn potatoes, cover and cook until browned.  They should be nice and crispy on both sides.

The first night we each had one patty, about a quarter of the potatoes, some of the sauce and slices of fresh tomato with feta cheese.

The second meal was comprised of the lamb patties in warmed pita bread stuffed with lettuce and sliced (or chopped) tomato and a generous amount of yogurt sauce and the remaining potatoes on the side with some sliced fresh peaches.


Saturday, August 20, 2011



There once was a man by the name of Kundan Lal Gujral, a Hindu Punjabi.  He had a restaurant in Peshawar in the early twentieth century.  After India was partitioned in 1947, he fled to escape the rioting and eventually settled in Delhi.  There he developed new recipes, one of which was a chicken he cooked in tandoors, which, up to that time, were only used to cook bread (naan).  Tandoors are clay ovens that are heated with wood or charcoal and can reach extremely high temperatures (900°)!

This spicy chicken became a favorite of the first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, and it was often served at state dinners where Richard Nixon, John F. Kennedy, Nikita Khruschev and the Shah of Iran were entertained.

Chicken Tikka Masala, a popular dish in Britan and now served in Indian restaurants around the world is a direct descendant of Tandoori Chicken.

Tandoori Chicken is noted for two things.  It should be cooked in a tandoori oven and has a lot of tumeric in it, which gives it the traditional red color.  The following meats are neither prepared in a tandoori or have any tumeric in them.  Thus the "almost" in the names.  (Note:  Tandoori ovens of all descriptions may be purchased on line if you would like to be authentic.)

We recently stumbled on a recipe for a tandoori type chicken and after playing around with it, we came up with the following recipe for Almost Tandoori Chicken.  However, while we were making this I wondered how a similar type of marinade would work with baby back ribs and from that came the Almost Tandoori Ribs.  The chicken is good; the ribs are outstanding!


1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp Rogan Josh Indian seasoning (optional)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp salt (optional)
1/4 cup Frank's Original Hot Sauce (Tabasco would work as well, but you might cut down on it a bit depending on your tolerance for hot, hot, hot!)
1 cup plain non-fat yogurt
2 clove garlic, minced
3 Tbsp soy sauce
4 pieces bone-in chicken thighs with skin
Fresh lime slices

Combineall ingredients (except cooking spray and chicken) in a large bowl; stir until well blended.  Divide in equal portions.  

To one of the portions add 1/4 cup heavy cream.  Stir well.  Pour into plastic storage bag.  Add the chicken thighs.  Mix well and place in refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight.


To the remaining portion add:

1 inch fresh ginger root, peeled and finely chopped
1/4 tsp ground mustard
Juice of 1/2 lime

Remove membrane from back of ribs; cut into three portions and add the ribs to the marinade.  Store in plastic bag in the refrigerator at least 8 hours or overnight.


Remove RIBS from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for one hour.  At the end of the hour remove CHICKEN from refrigerator and set oven at 350°.  Place RIBS only on a rack and place in oven.  Brush with the marinade.  Cook for thirty minutes and then turn over and cook for another 30 minutes.  Prepare charcoal grill about 30 minutes in advance.  Coals should be banked for indirect heat.  

Place chicken and ribs on grill; cover.  Turn about every 15 minutes so they don't burn.  Chicken should be cooked for about 15 minutes on a side, then remove to a slightly cooler part of the grill while the ribs continue to cook.  Ribs will take about 30-45 minutes.  (Chicken should have an internal temperature of 165°.)  Serve with lentils and a cucumber salad or a tomato/avocado salad.  Use fresh limes to squeeze juice over chicken.


Thursday, August 18, 2011



With garden fresh tomatoes in abundance in our part of the country, there is nothing better than a BLT on a hot summer day, topped off with a nice glass of iced tea ... or so we thought.

Last weekend we were fixing a BLT when we realized that we had no lettuce, were almost out of mayonnaise and the only bacon we had was peppered bacon.  Elizabeth, being sort of British by nature ... well, her father was born on the Isle of Man ... said we would just have to make due with what we had.  So, we have arrived at a Bacon, Basil, Spinach and Tomato sandwich with a bit of a kick.  Give this a try and serve it with some of the home made pickles.

BBST for Two
(Bacon, Basil, Spinach and Tomato)

5 slices of crispy cooked pepper bacon, cut in half  (Works well with Turkey bacon, too, but add a few slices)
4 spinach leaves
4 basil leaves
1 large ripe tomato, thinly sliced
4 slices of lightly toasted Pepperidge Farm White Sandwich Bread (Yeah, but it works best for these sandwiches)
Spicy Mayonnaise  (see below)

Spread mayo on the toasted bread.  Place tomato, 2 1/2 slices of bacon on top of the tomato and top with the basil and spinach leaves.  Put toothpicks in each half to hold it in place and cut in half VERY carefully.
Serve with kettle chips and lemonade.

Spicy Mayonnaise

Two tbsp mayonnaise (please do use REAL mayonnaise!)
1/2 tsp chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (we buy a small can of them and they keep well in a container in the refrigerator) or any spicy ground Mexican pepper will do.  Add a bit, taste, and add a bit more.  You could use a dash of cayenne and/or a shot of hot pepper sauce if that's all you have.
1/4 tsp fresh lime juice

Stir all ingredients together.

Saturday, August 13, 2011



     I have four pair of shoes: black, brown, tennis and a pair of sandals.
     I asked my men friends recently how many pair of shoes they had. Here is a sample of their responses.
    “Two pair of dress shoes; a pair of gym shoes and some flip flops.”
     “Uh, why? That's a weird question dude.”
     “Probably four … maybe five.”
    Then I asked some of our lady friends the same question:
    “Dress shoes?, casual shoes?, sports shoes? … you will need to be more specific.”
    “Good grief, I have no idea … probably at least 50 or 60.”
    “I'd have to go home and count.”
    “In my closet, or would that include the fall and winter shoes in the attic and the spring shoes in storage in the garage.?”
    These questions came about because the other day Elizabeth brought home a sack with three new pairs of shoes in them … all black (or so I thought). I asked her why she needed three more pair of black shoes. I was told in no uncertain terms that they were not “BLACK”. One pair was midnight blue to go with a pair of slacks that she would someday have that were that color, but the shoes were on sale now and she didn't have any that color, so it was a good time to buy them. The other pair was ebony and they went with a purse that she bought three years ago and couldn't use because it didn't go with anything she owned, and the third pair was off-black (whatever that is) and went with a jacket she had.
    I asked her to show me her shoes. She has high heel shoes, which she admits she should get rid of because she will never wear spiked heels with pointed toes again … but, she needs to hold on to them until she finds the same color shoe in lower heels to go with the outfits that she bought the high heel shoes to go with in the first place in case she needs to wear one of the outfits for which she only has high heel shoes. I pretended to understand that.
    I asked her why she had sixteen pair of black shoes … they are grouped by color in the original shoe boxes in her closet. She very patiently explained that 1.) there were several shades of black to go with different shades of black clothes and accessories and 2.) that the shoes were of various heel heights and shapes because all of her pants were not the same length. And, since she couldn't wear white shoes after labor day (something I had never known) she might need a black pair to go with a black and white outfit. I pretended to understand that, too.
    Then I knew I had her. I found an identical pair of shoes. Exactly alike. She shook her head, “No they are not,” she explained, pointing at one pair.  “These are a size larger. If I'm going to be on my feet all day, I need to have them a bit bigger as my feet swell up and this pair wouldn't be comfortable … the other are for when I'm not going to be on my feet very long.” And, she went on, “This pair has leather soles which tend to be slippery so I can't wear them when it rains.” Again, I pretended to understand.
    “Okay,” I said, “But why don't you get rid of some of these? You've had them so long the sticker on the box has turned yellow.”
     She rolled her eyes, with that 'oh, why are men so ignorant' look. “Because you never know when a shoe may come back in style.”
    “That's ridiculous,” I said. “White plastic disco boots with stilleto heels will NEVER come back in style,” I pointed out knowing that I had finally won a round.
    “Fine,” Elizabeth said,  looking at my side of the closet,  “perhaps you can explain to me why you have approximately 80 ties hanging there. Wide ones, slim ones, flowered ones, ones with martini glasses on them, and even one with hula hoops on it?”
    “It's a guy thing,” I responded and left the closet with what little dignity I had remaining to me.

Thursday, August 11, 2011



For years Elizabeth has made her mother's pickles.  About a year and a half ago we had to completely empty our office due to a remodel on the third floor of our house.  We packed up 70 shelves of books along with four filing cabinets, two of which were filled with Elizabeth recipe collection.  Being the King and Queen of Procrastination, the books and recipes are still awaiting their future in the garage ....

A couple of weeks ago Elizabeth announced that she wanted to make her mother's pickles but the recipe was not on MASTER COOK on her computer so it must be in the garage.   I gave her my 'be my guest' look.  She picked up the telephone and called her younger sister to see if she might have it.  Cindy said she did and gave it to Elizabeth who bought it home, reviewed it and announced, "These are NOT my mother's pickles."  Cindy assured us that, indeed, their mother had given her the recipe.  Well, Elizabeth made the pickles according to Cindy's mother's recipe and when we tasted them we agreed, "These are not your mother's pickles."  (We think they are more of a slightly sweet pickle, but very good.)

So today Larry suited up and covered with spray and lotion against an army of what he is sure are deadly recluse spiders, black widows, chiggers, sixty legged bugs the likes of what have never been seen before by modern man and went down to rescue Elizabeth's mother's pickle recipe.  After a long search of about thirty seconds (we may procrastinate, but we are organized) he found the box of recipes and we now have the REAL recipe.  Evidently Nita had two pickle recipes and gave Cindy and Elizabeth different recipes. Following are both of the recipes:

Nita's Bread and Butter Pickles

2 large English cucumbers, sliced
1/4 cup salt
Iced water to cover sliced cucumbers
1 large red pepper, cored and chopped
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 1/4 cups sugar
2 cups white vinegar
2 tsp whole celery seeds
2 tsp whole mustard seeds
large pinch of turmeric

Crisp cucumber slices in ice water and salt for one hour.  Drain and rinse well.  Mix red pepper and onion with drained cucumbers.

Mix sugar and vinegar in non-reactive saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves.  Mix in celery seed, mustard seed and turmeric.  Remove from heat and add cucumber mixture.  Stir gently.

Rinse glass 'canning' jars in boiling water.  You will need two to four depending on the size.  We use one quart jar.   Once jars are cool and cucumber mixture, seal and refrigerate.  Will last several months in refrigerator.


1 large green pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
4 large firm cucumber, thinly sliced 
5 small white onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1 large garlic clove, peeled
1/4 cup salt
2 quarts cold water
14 ice cubes
3 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp turmeric

Core and seed green pepper, slice thinly.  Put green pepper, cucumber, onion and garlic in large bowl.  Sprinkle with salt.  Add cold water and the ice cubes.  Let stand two hours.  Remove garlic; drain vegetables.  Mix sugar vinegar, mustard seed, celery seed and turmeric in large kettle.  Add vegetables, bring to a boil on high heat.  Remove from heat, pack into sterile jars.  Work out bubbles by pressing down firmly with a spoon.
Makes about 3 pints or 2 quart jars.

Sunday, August 7, 2011



Dorie Greenspan has a marvelous cookbook entitled AROUND MY FRENCH TABLE. It is filled with absolutely wonderful recipes, hints, suggestions and beautifully written anecdotes about her life in Paris.  We have not tried a recipe that has disappointed us.  Do your self and your taste buds a big favor and find this book.  We think it is one of the best cookbooks of its kind to come out since Julie Child (Bless the Lady!) appeared on the scene.  

This recipe is from a recipe in her book with a couple of changes.  These are full of cheese flavor with a tad of a kick from peppers.  Serve these with a nice glass of champagne; a lush red or a fruity white.  They go with almost anything, including a nice cold beer or ale.  They fall into the category of "Bet you can't eat just one!"


8 Tbsps unsalted butter (1 stick cold, cut into 18 to 20 pieces)
8 ounces EXTRA SHARP Cheddar, Gruyere, Comte or Emmenthal (1 1/2 cups packed, finely grated)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground white pepper
1/8 tsp Aleppo pepper or cayenne (or a mixture of both)
1 cup plus 2 tbsps all-purpose flower.

Put the butter, cheese, salt, white pepper and Aleppo pepper (or cayenne, if using) in a food processor and pulse until the butter is broken up into uneven bits and the mixture forms small balls.  Add the flour and pulse until the dough forms moist little balls again or until dough comes together and everything is moist.

Turn out onto a work surface and knead gently until it blends into a fairly firm dough.  Divide in two and form each half into a log about 8" long and 1" thick.  Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for several hours or up to three days.  These may also be wrapped in foil and frozen.

Once the dough is chilled preheat oven to 350° and slice the dough into thin rounds and place the rounds on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  If frozen, allow to partially thaw then slice and bake.

Bake for 14 to 17 minutes or until lightly golden in color and firm to the touch.  Cool in a rack.




Years ago we got an invitation to spend a few days on the yacht of a Count that a friend of ours was dating.  We weren't invited because of our charm, but rather because he had heard we knew how to cook turtle steak.  Larry managed to spend the first day turning green and hanging over the railing of the ship while Elizabeth held on to his belt so he wouldn't be pitched over board.  When we found calmer waters and Larry's color returned to something close to human, the Count said that he would cook dinner for us that evening and Larry could cook the turtle the next evening.  This is when we learned that it was possible to cook salmon in the dishwasher.  The Count said that it was the easy way to cook something when he had  guests.  This is very simple and we have since discovered numerous websites devoted to this method of cooking salmon.  Here's how we learned it:


Salmon steaks or filets (one per person)
Heavy duty aluminum foil
Thinly sliced lemon
Fresh Dill
Salt and Freshly ground pepper to taste.

Lightly salt and pepper the salmon.  Place one or two slices of lemon on the salmon followed by a sprig of fresh dill.  Gently seal each piece of salmon in a piece of  HEAVY duty aluminum foil pinching the ends securely to make it water proof.  Wrap again with a second piece of HEAVY duty foil.  Place in the top rack of a dishwasher.  Turn the dishwasher on and run it through the full cycle.  VOILA!  Steamed salmon.

We have read that some people actually cook the fish and wash the dishes at the same time, but we've never been brave enough to try it.  If someone does this, please let us know how it turns out.


3/4 Cup Bourbon
2/3 Cup Light Brown Sugar
1 clove of garlic, minced or pressed
1 Tsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard

Combine all ingredients.  Heat over medium high heat until it just starts to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for about ten minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Serve as a dipping sauce.


If you are simply not brave enough to try the salmon in the dishwasher, here's an alternative.  Wash the salmon and pat dry.  Lightly salt and pepper the salmon and then place it on a non-stick cookie sheet or a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Broil for about 6 minutes on each side, until the top develops a crispy crust or until salmon is slightly flaky.  Brush salmon with bourbon mixture or use it as a dipping sauce.


For a pork roast that's a little different, We recently put a 3 lb. boneless loin roast on our rotisserie.  We had some of the Bourbon Sauce left over from salmon and  basted the roast with it about every 20 minutes.  It made a  lovely crusty top on the roast and gave a nice Southern flavor to the pork.  Use any extra sauce to top off the sliced meat.  This would work equally well doing the roast in the oven and basting at 20 minute intervals.  Roast at 325° for about an hour or until meat temperature is 150°.  Cover loosely with a foil tent and allow to rest for 15 minutes or until temperature rises to 160°.  Great served with sweet potato and fresh broccoli     

Sunday, July 31, 2011



 Larry thinks that the first time he saw a fritatta was when he lived in Spain and Carmen, their cook, made one for lunch.  Since he was a child and the dish was  meatless, he wasn't interested.  Eggs and potatoes ... no thanks. 

 Flash forward several decades to when we lived in Los Angeles and one evening we went to a theatrical presentation called "Tamara".  This was a play that took place in an Italian Villa and it was unusual in that the audience of 100 followed a character of their choice through different rooms and situations.  Larry was following a chambermaid and Elizabeth was following the chauffeur when they, along with the rest of the cast and the audience, all came together in the 
kitchen.  At the start of the 'scene' a young man begin to saute sliced onions, potatoes, tomatoes, and herbs in olive oil.  He continued to saute and slice and stir, all the while carrying on dialogue with the other cast members while adding seasonings and eggs to the mixture.  Then, he suddenly picked up the pan and with a flick of the wrist tossed the entire mixture into the air where it flipped over revealing a golden brown top.  Instant ovation from the audience ... I mean, you can have your Hamlets, but this was true talent!  He continued to cook the other side, then slid it onto a plate and deftly sliced it into pieces which he shared with the cast while they continued the complex plot of the play.  (An Italian buffet was presented during intermission, but, alas, no fritatta.)

Unfortunately, Larry tried this at home ... once.  Have you ever tried to scrape burned egg and onion off of a burner, floor, walls, ceiling and kitchen counter?  Not fun!  

About two years ago we discovered a method of making fritattas that avoided any mess and now it is one of our favorite brunches or light suppers.

(Several friends of ours who follow this blog have requested that we go into a little more detail on some recipes as they are relatively new to cooking and would like a little more direction; that's what we've done here.)

2 Tbsp Olive Oil, Divided
1 Medium onion, sliced and rings separated                      
5 Medium mushrooms, sliced
1 Medium ripe tomato, seeded
3/4 Tsp Italian Herb Mix (see previous post)
1 large russet potato
11/2 cups egg beater
1/4 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
2 sprigs fresh parsley, minced
2 - 3 ounces prosciutto, coarsely chopped 
1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Heat a 10" non-stick, oven proof frying pan over medium heat.  Add enough oil to cover bottom, about 1 tablespoon.  Add the sliced onion, stir, and cook over medium low heat until soft and translucent.  Add the sliced mushrooms, cover and cook for about three minutes, being careful not to burn. 

Add the coarsely chopped seeded tomato and the Italian Herb mixture.  Stir gently, cover and continue to cook over medium low heat for about five minutes.
Remove all the vegetables from the pan with a slotted spoon.  Turn up the heat a bit and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated then add the chopped prosciutto and brown.  Remove it and place it on top of the vegetables and set aside.
Add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan and add the thinly sliced potato.  Cook at medium/medium low, covered for about five minutes.  Uncover, add freshly ground pepper and a dash of salt (be careful here as the prosciutto is salty).  Gently turn the potato slices over, recover pan and cook for another five minutes.  The potato should be tender yet slightly crunchy.

While the potato is cooking, add the Parmesan cheese and parsley to the egg beater.  (Note:  I prefer the egg beaters to eggs.  There is no taste difference, they have less fat and they puff up and make the fritatta lighter then if made with eggs.  If you would prefer to use eggs, use six eggs, lightly beaten then add the cheese and parsley.)

When the potato is finished, add the vegetable and meat mixture back into the pan and gently stir.  We use a spatula and a small pair of tongs.  Cover and cook on medium low heat for about five minutes until the flavors have married.  

Preheat broiler and place a rack in the highest position.

Pour in the egg mixture being careful to distribute it evenly around the pan.  Cover and cook under medium low heat until the mixture has just started to set, about 3 minutes, but check at two.  Sprinkle the cheddar cheese on the top.

Place under broiler and cook for about 1 - 2 minutes until slightly brown on top.  Remove from oven to stove.  Let cool for about 2 minutes and then slice and serve.

This makes four generous servings.  Left overs save nicely wrapped in plastic wrap in the refrigerator and makes a great lunch after reheating in the microwave.

That's ONE FRITATTA.  FRITATTA NUMBER TWO would be omit the prosciutto.  Saute chopped green pepper with the onion.  Use chili powder in place of the Italian Herb Mix and a Spanish Fritatta is yours to enjoy.  And for THREE FRITATTAS MORE, use your imagination.  You can add crab or a little smoked trout to the Spanish Fritatta.  Another variation is to add bacon in lieu of the prosciutto and what ever seasoning you like.  Also good is pork sausage or turkey sausage crumbled and browned.   This is pretty hard to foul up once the basics are down.  Have fun with it!