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!



I’m firmly convinced that ESP exists.  I’m not altogether positive that human beings have this esoteric power, but I would be willing to swear that machines have it.  Otherwise, how would they know when the warranty was up so that they could have a nervous breakdown?
This week I awoke to the sounds of our refrigerator gasping as if it had just jogged ten miles up hill with a full freezer.  When the repairman arrived and told me what was wrong, I told him to go ahead and fix it.  He reminded me that I would have to pay cash as they didn’t extend credit. “No sweat,” I replied and handed him the warranty.  He had difficulty holding back the smirk as he handed me a bill for $375.00 along with the warranty that had expired the day before.
Two days later our washing machine tried to duplicate the deluge in our laundry room.  If there is a water shortage this summer, I’m afraid that I will have to take responsibility.  Since we got our refrigerator and the washer at the same store, we were unfortunate enough to get the same repairman as before.  As he sloshed through the garage and into the laundry room, I told him how glad I was that I had taken the extended warranty offered on the washing machine.  “Hmmmm,” was all he said.  Later I was stunned when he gave me a bill for $235.92.
“Extended warranty is only good for the motor,” he grinned, “You lost the pump.  Ain’t that funny?”
I’d have hit him, but I learned early in life that when you’re my size and a 6’5”, 300 pound person makes a joke – no matter how feeble – you at least smile.
After he left I went to my file cabinet and pulled out the WARRANTIES file.  Since it hasn’t been cleaned out for nine or ten years, it provided a glut of information about when we had purchased appliances and the length of time they were under warranty.  When I compared this to checks to repair shops, a pattern began to evolve.
The computer chipped out one week after the warranty; the printer printed its last three days after expiration and the plasma television managed to hang on for nearly a month after the guarantee lapsed before it blacked out.  The microwave nuked itself three weeks after the warranty  and the dishwasher wiped out six weeks after any chance of financial aid from its manufacturer.  I don’t think that American industry is clever enough to have planned obsolescence this well programmed.  I do think it’s the machines’ way of getting back at us for making them do all of our work.
One major exception to this is my car.  The warranty expired a year ago and the car continued to operate just fine.  My last payment was yesterday and today, on my way home from the grocery store, the transmission fell out.

Friday, July 29, 2011



This was a complete experiment.  We got up late one Sunday (well, we actually were up at 5:30 to walk the dog and give our diabetic cat his insulin shot, and then went back to bed), and were hungry for something a bit different for brunch.  Larry remembered we had some left over crab from two days ago from a recipe we tried and we had left over corn tortillas from making pork enchiladas for the freezer, so he started with that and from there it became a 'clean out the fridge' recipe.  

Now, Larry is not one for 'fishy' tasting things and Elizabeth is not overly fond of scrambled eggs, so we  tossed a couple of ideas out the window, and just started looking for leftover foods and going from there.  Here's what came about:
(Please improvise on amounts and ingredients.)

Chopped onion (I had 1/2 of a medium onion left over and chopped it.)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
1 semi-ripe tomato (or just about any tomato from the grocery store.  Don't use one of the really good ones from your local farmers' market, unless that's all you have) seeded then coarsely chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
hot sauce to taste (5 - 6 drops)
3/4 cup crab meat 
4 corn tortillas
1 cup coarsely shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
1 can mild enchilada sauce
1 can re-fried beans
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to300 °.

Place about 1 tablespoon butter in a 10" non-stick pan.  Melt.  Add onions and cumin seed and saute about ten minutes until onion is soft.  Add chopped tomato.  Cook 5 minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Add chili powder and hot sauce to eggs and lightly beat.  Place corn tortillas on a cooking sheet and spray each side of the tortillas.  Place in oven for three minutes, remove and turn oven up to 350°.

Pour eggs into vegetable mixture, add crab meat.  Cook until eggs are well set, turning gently several times.

Spoon egg mixture onto warm tortillas and fold each side in.  Lay folded side down in oven proof serving dishes.  Pour enchilada sauce over the tortillas and top with a bit of the cheese.  Place in oven for 10 to 15 minutes until bubbling.

Heat re-fried beans in microwave for 2 -3 minutes.

Remove enchiladas from oven, sprinkle with chopped cilantro.  Put a generous spoonful of beans on the plate, top with a bit of cheese and some cilantro.  We served it with some frozen grapes.

Serves 4 lightly or 2 servings for a hearty brunch or dinner.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011



This is a variation on what, for some strange reason, used to be called Swiss Steak in the 50's.  It's pretty easy to fix and will tenderize a tougher cut of meat due to the long, slow cooking.  It's very good and would serve as a nice company dish as you can prepare most of it in advance.


Olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced, and separated into rings
1 lb. top round steak cut about 1/2 " thick and cut into four equal pieces.
Kosher salt, to taste
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1/3 cup coarsely chopped celery
1/2 tsp. Italian Herb Mix
12 small new potatoes, cut in half

Green beans
Italian Herb Flavored butter  (1 tablespoon of melted butter with a sprinkle of Italian Herbs.  Let sit and then reheat when ready to use.)

Coat a large heated frying pan with olive oil.  Add the onions and cook until soft.  Remove onion.  Salt and pepper meat and sear until nicely brown.  Return onions to pan, add celery, tomato sauce and Italian Herb mix.  Cover and cook over low heat about one hour.  Turn and adjust seasoning, add new potatoes and cook until potatoes are done, about 30 minutes. 

Serve with green beans that have been cooked but are still crunchy and then tossed with hot, Italian Herb butter.

(Note:  This is also very good if you add 1/2 of a green pepper, thinly sliced at the same time as the celery.)

Monday, July 25, 2011



Elizabeth has been making this mixture for over fifteen years.  She believes it may have originally been in the Los Angeles Times, but she has searched the newspaper's archives and has been unable to locate it.  Over the years we have given this as Christmas gifts and as a part of wedding gifts.  Inevitably we will get a call six months later asking for more.

Use this on vegetables, on meats and chicken, in soups, pasta recipes, salad dressings,  in stews, sauces, even a dash in egg or tuna salad.  Try it in just about any thing.  It is a wonderful addition to anyone's kitchen.

I hesitate to mention Penzeys again, but please buy the best available dried herbs for this.  It makes a tremendous difference. 


3 Tbs dried Turkish or Greek oregano
3 Tbs dried marjoram
3 Tbs dried rosemary
3 Tbs dried savory
3 Tbs dried sweet basil
1 Tbs dried thyme
1 Tbs dried sage

Combine all ingredients.  Keep in a tightly sealed container.

Saturday, July 23, 2011



If you're like a great deal of the mid-west and the east, you need some relief from the unrelenting three digit heat wave.

Try this:  Buy some nice sweet grapes.  Wash and place in the freezer on a sheet of waxed paper.  Freeze (about 2 hours) until solid.  Eat like mini-popsicles.  If there are any left, place them in a plastic bag, but don't leave them too long in the freezer.

Filling your swimming pool with ice cubes is reputed to help as well, but we have neither a swimming pool nor that much ice, so for now will stick with a/c, fans and frozen grapes.

Friday, July 22, 2011



Okay, we live in Kansas and Larry is a huge fan of the Wizard of Oz movie.  He doesn't cook (or eat, for that matter, horse ... well, once in France) so he couldn't do a horse of a different color, thus the chicken of a different flavor).  If you don't understand this, don't worry ... it has nothing to do with the recipe.

We both love BBQ, but sometimes get tired of the sauces.  So many times with BBQ chicken, the taste is sauce and smoke (or was that a play by Tennessee Williams?).

One Saturday morning about 10:00 some neighbors stopped by and coffee turned into sangria and was beginning to lean toward champagne and wine and we knew we were going to have to feed the group something before the moon rose.  Being in no condition at this point to do anything elaborate,like drive to the store, Larry cut up a chicken that was going to be most of our food for the coming week, chopped up some herbs growing in pots, let it marinate and then cooked it slowly on the grill along with some thawed bread dough.  A little salad and everyone was sober enough to either walk home or crawl to bed.   The chicken has turned into a favorite.  The bread was a creation of a friend of our who owns a couple of beach houses in Baja.  Once when we were down there and planning a little fiesta on the beach, our friend drove into the tiny pueblo near the houses only to discover that is was some holiday and the local bakery was closed.  She remembered she had a loaf of frozen bread dough in the freezer and turned it in to what we now refer to as Baja Bread.


1 4-5 pound chicken, cut into pieces (free range or organic, if possible.)  
1 Onion coarsely chopped
A large handful each of rosemary, parsley, sage, and thyme.
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Vegetable oil (about 1/4 cup)

Mix together, cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator.  After about 3 hours, mix, recover and put in refrigerator.  Remove about 45 minutes before grilling.

We haven't used a gas grill in years, so I'm no help on grilling with gas.  Build a good size fire with charcoal and when you can hold your hand over the grill for about a minute, it should be ready.  The secret to this, no matter which type of grill, is slow cooking, covered.  You don't want to dry it out or burn it.  I baste it quite often and put the herbs, onion, pepper and celery right on the chicken.  This will help to keep it moist.  I find the chicken usually takes about 45 minutes, depending on the fire.  It should have an internal temperature of 180° when ready.  As the smaller pieces get cooked, removed them a cooler area of the grill.

This chicken is also excellent served slightly cooler than room temperature and would be an ideal main course for a picnic.


1 loaf of frozen white bread dough
Finely chopped fresh herb or herbs of your choice.  Rosemary is a favorite of ours.
Olive oil.
Coarse sea salt or Kosher salt.

Defrost bread.  We put it in a loaf pan that has been sprayed with cooking oil and then cover it with plastic wrap that has also been sprayed.   This can be a bit tricky because you want the bread to defrost and rise, but not rise too much.  (If it gets out of control, which we've had happen a few times, sprinkle the herbs on it, mush it a bit and let it start to rise again.)  Just before cooking divide it into four pieces and sort of mold it into mini-pizza shapes. Scatter some herbs on each side.  Brush with olive oil and about 20 minutes before the chicken is done, place the bread around the edges of the grill and cover.  Keep and eye on it.  Turning it is up to you; I've done both and its good either way.  Brush a little more olive oil on it if you want.  We sprinkle a little bit of salt on it the last minute or two.  This is not a difficult recipe.  If you've grilled a little, it's easy to handle and if you don't burn the bread (actually, even if you do a bit, it's still good.) you can't really hurt it.  Like the horse and the chicken, it's a bread of a different taste!

Thursday, July 21, 2011



OMG!  These are unbelievable.  Elizabeth had to convince Larry to even try real fried "fried green tomatoes", and once he tasted them, he was hooked.  He says they almost taste like a custard.  Then, one summer we went to visit a friend of ours in Illinois who had just adopted a child.  She's a nurse, lives in a farm house that is over 100 years old and has a continuing battle with weight.  She introduced us to these healthier baked "fried" green tomatoes and there was no turning back.  You MUST try these.  


1 heaping tablespoon of flour
1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/2 cup Italian style breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten
2 or more green tomatoes, sliced 1/3" thick, ends discarded
Enough Olive oil to lightly cover the bottom of a jelly roll sheet.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Stir together the flour and the two different types of breadcrumbs.  (Increase or decrease the amounts of flour and crumbs, depending upon the size and number of tomato slices.)  Dip slices into the beaten egg and then into the flour and crumb mixture, making sure all surfaces are well covered.

Lightly coat a jelly roll sheet with olive oil.  Arrange breaded tomato slices on the pan and bake approximately 15 minutes.  Turn and cook for about another 15 minutes.  The tomatoes are doned when both sides are brown and the tomato is soft, not mushy.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


This is part of a series of short essays that Larry has put together commenting on life in the 21st century.  We hope you get a chuckle out of this.


The supermarket I shop at is an amazing place.  They handle over 35,000 items.  They stock beer from eleven different countries and I once counted 97 different kinds of cheese.  They have white cheese, yellow cheese, moldy cheese, goat cheese, yak cheese, hot spicy cheese, smoked cheese and some artificial stuff that contains nothing that ever lived.  

With all of these wonders from around the world, why do they never have what's on my shopping list?

Recently Elizabeth gave me a list of three things to pick up at the market:  whole black peppercorns, toothpicks and cat food.  Nothing very exotic.

At the store I headed toward the section marked "SPICES".  Under "P" they had lemon pepper, barbecue pepper, and roast pepper seasoning.  There was ground black pepper, ground white pepper and whole red pepper corns and something called pepper exotica.  But no whole black peppercorns.  Nearby was a clerk stocking the gourmet food section.  I asked her about whole black peppercorns, but she informed that she only stocked "gourmet" and "cheese" and that I would need to find either the manager or the spice stocker.  Amazing!  Specialization has even hit the stockers!

I finally found the store manager who was supervising a display of out of season fruit that had price tags with prices greater than I paid for my car.  I inquired about whole peppercorns.  The manager paged the spice stocker who told me they were out of whole peppercorns, but that they had ground pepper which was the same thing.  "Maybe to you," I said, "but not to our pepper mill".

I than asked where toothpicks were located and was guided to the housewares aisle.  At first glance it looked like what in my youth was called a Five and Dime store.  A glance at a price tag told me that looks were deceiving.

I asked two customers if they had seen any toothpicks among the paper plates, party napkins, plastic glasses, balloons, party noise makers and other assorted marvels.  I don't know how I could have missed them -- a veritable plethora of toothpicks.  But I couldn't find one box of plain, ordinary wooden toothpicks.  

I stopped a passing stocker and asked if he could help me.  He told me he only handled frozen foods.  I should have guessed.  He was dressed in a parka and it was 103° outside.  He did offer to send the Housewares Stocker over, however.  Guess what?  It was the same person who stocked spices.  I guess he's working his way up the Corporate Stockers' Ladder.  I explained my problem.  He handed me a box of party toothpicks with little pieces of colored paper glued to one end.  I shook my head.  "Plain," I said.  He glared at me and handed me a box of colored, plastic ones.

"Look," I smiled.  "I like martinis.  I put olives in my martinis.  My wife gets very annoyed if I try and pluck one out of my drink with my fingers.  I keep the olives on plain, ordinary wooded toothpicks.  I don't want little pieces of colored paper floating in my martini.  That would remind me of New Year's Eve and I loath New Year's Eve.  I don't want colored plastic toothpicks because a chemistry professor once warned me that plastic and gin is lethal.  I want plain, uncolored wooden toothpicks."

"We're all out," he exclaimed as he slid out of sight.

I found the cat food aisle all by my self.  They were out of the only brand of cat food our cats will eat.

When I returned home I had ground black pepper, tooth picks with tassels, and six cans of cat food that our cats won't touch.  Elizabeth looked at me questioningly.

"Senility," I replied.

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A small note on the serious side:

In our posts we recommend various stores and products.  Please be aware that we receive nothing for this.  We merely are mentioning something that has worked for us.  We will be doing product reviews in later posts.  Again, we are not being paid or receive products for any review.

Sunday, July 17, 2011



We have nothing against rice a roni or any packaged Mexican rice except one thing ... SALT!  They always taste as if someone thought the rice needed to be pickled to be preserved!

This is based on a recipe we found in MEXICO, THE BEAUTIFUL COOKBOOK with recipes by Susan Palazuelos.  This if a wonderful book full of great recipes and lovely photographs.  A must if you love Mexican food!

This recipe may be adjusted to make it spicier, but we've left it pretty traditional.


2 cups long-grain white rice
2 ripe tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed (not ground cumin!)
1/4 cup Olive oil
1/3 Onion, in chunks
3 whole cloves garlic
4 cups chicken stock (low sodium)
1 sprig of parsley
3 whole Serrano chilies
1/2 cup green peas
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
1 can chopped chilies drained

Soak the rice in warm water for about 5 minutes then rinse and drain.  Puree the tomatoes in a blender or food processor and strain to remove the seeds.

Warm a skillet and add the cumin seed.  Toast slightly until it just starts to turn a rich brown and becomes very fragrant. Add the onion and whole garlic and saute for two minutes or until the onion becomes soft.  Add the rice and saute, stirring, until the grains separate and the rice begins to turn translucent.  

Add the tomatoes and cook for four minutes.  Add the stock, parsley, whole chilies, carrots, peas, and drained canned green chilies.  Bring to a boil, cover and cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender.

Sprinkle with cilantro and squeeze some fresh lime juice over it prior to serving.



We love tacos, enchiladas, mole, and just about any Mexican dish.  Larry has been trying for years to come up with a spicy pork recipe and is pretty satisfied with this one ... for the moment.  (He is always changing and experimenting ... he has a chili recipe he's been working on for over thirty five years and still isn't satisfied with!)  This recipe was originally done in a pressure cooker but since many people don't have pressure cookers (a shame, as the new ones are very safe, unlike Larry's grandmothers which decorated the walls of her kitchen with beans when it malfunctioned) he tweaked this for a slow cooker.  (Note:  If you want to try this in a pressure cooker, place all ingredients in the cooker, double the water and cook for 90 minutes on high.)

This makes a good deal of meat.  Ideal for a party OR ideal for a small number with lots leftover.  We will deal with how to save this AND how to have enchiladas ready to take out of the freezer, plop in the oven and be ready in 30 minutes ... which is what the picture is right below (recipe for the rice is in the next post):

4 pound pork shoulder roast
salt and pepper to taste
1 onion, sliced
12 ounces Mexican Beer  (We use Pacifico)
6 ounces Water
1 Green Pepper, seeded and chopped
1 Red Pepper, seeded and chopped
1 6 1/2 ounce can diced green chilies
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
3/4 teaspoon Mexican oregano (see note below)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, halved
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon ground ancho chili pepper
1 teaspoon grond chipotle peppers

(Note:  Again, we want to refer people to Penzeys Spices.  There is a BIG difference between Mexican Oregano and Turkish Oregano.  Only the goddess of spices knows what you are getting in those little jars that are sold in the spice section of the grocery store.)

Add all ingredients to a large slow cooker.  Cook on high for six hours or until meat is very tender and is falling off of the bone.  Remove meat and allow to cool.  Place all of the remaining vegetables and liquid into a large bowl.  Allow to cool, cover and place in the refrigerator.  Cut meat into large chunks, place in a separate bowl, cover and place in the refrigerator.   We like to let everything rest for two days, but overnight will do just fine.  

Skim any fat off of the liquid and remove any big pieces of fat from the meat.  Place the meat in a large dutch oven and add about one half of the vegetable and liquid.  Cook over low heat, stirring often to avoid burning and using a fork begin to shred the meat.  Continue cooking until nearly dry and then add the remaining liquid and cook slowly until most of the liquid has evaporated and the meat is in small pieces.  

It is now ready for tacos, enchiladas and whatever other use you can think of.


Taco Meat
6" Corn Tortillas
Cooking spray
Lime sections
Toppings as desired

We like simple tacos at this point to show off the meat, but these can be dressed with any of the traditional taco toppings:  salsa, lettuce, tomato, cheese, jalapenos, etc.

For a delicious soft taco, place 6" corn tortillas on a cookie sheet.  Spray each side lightly with cooking oil and place in a 300° oven for 2 to 3 minutes until soft and pliable.  Spoon meat mixture on each tortilla and squeeze fresh lime juice on the meat (this is important, it brings out the spices) and top with a bit of cilantro, if desired.  Fold in half.  Serve with rice, beans and fresh fruit, especially pineapple.

Prepare tortilla shells as described above.  Place a little over one tablespoon of meat on the shell and roll the meat up in the tortilla.  Wrap in plastic wrap and place in freezer.  When frozen, put all of the enchiladas in a freezer proof bag or wrap in foil.  

When ready to use, preheat oven to 400°.  Place one or two unwrapped enchiladas in an individual serving dish like a gratin dish or something similar.  Put the frozen enchiladas in the oven for about 5 minutes until they start to turn a toast color on top.  Remove and reduce temperature to 350°  Add Mexican rice on one side and refried beans (we use canned Old El Paso) on the other side.  Pour 1/2 can Old El Paso Enchilada Sauce around the enchilada and sprinkle with shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese (not authentic, but oh so good).  Cover with foil that has been sprayed with cooking spray to avoid sticking.   Place in the oven for about thirty minutes.  Remove, place dish on plate and serve.  OH, BOY, OLE!

(We place any unused taco meat in easily usable portions and place in small freezer bags and toss in the freezer.)

Sunday, July 10, 2011



We had lunch at The Mandarin in Beverly Hills sometime in the mid 70's and had a Chinese Chicken Lettuce Leaf Wrap.  We experimented and changed and made more changes and eventually came up with our take on this dish.  Here it is served as a salad, rather than a wrap, but one can use Boston Lettuce leaves:   place a spoonful of the meat on one and wrap it up.  In the picture, the turkey is served on mixed greens and served with freshly cooked baby beets and Japanese cucumbers and rice.  You can also add Won Ton Crisps.  Cut won ton in half, diagonally to form triangles, and then spray with cooking spray on both sides. Place on a cookie sheet in a 350° oven.  When brown, turn and brown other side.  If served in the Spring, one can add nasturtium leaves and blossoms to the plate.  They are attractive and, if not sprayed, tasty.  

2 Tbs of Vegetable Oil
1 lb ground turkey
2 carrots, peeled
1 zucchini, unpeeled
4 green onions, including tops
2 gloves of garlic
3 Tbs sesame oil, or to taste
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp Chinese 5-spice powder, or to taste
shredded lettuce, mixed greens, or Boston Lettuce Leaves

Crumble and brown ground turkey in vegetable oil.  Drain well and set aside.  Finely chop carrots, zucchini, green onion and garlic in a food processor.  Lightly coat bottom of pan with sesame oil.  Add vegetables and cook over medium heat for two to three minutes adding more sesame oil as needed until carrots are softened.  Add turkey, soy sauce, sugar and Chinese 5-spice powder, stirring until mixture is hot and flavors have married.

Serve with Asian Sweet Chili Sauce or Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce for a spicier taste.


This is an excellent use of a small amount of left over Roasted Chicken (see previous post) or just about any type of left over poultry, including duck or turkey.
    Will serve six as a starter, ten as an appetizer or four for a light lunch or dinner.   For a dinner, serve with Cold Satin Soup, a fruit salad and gelato for dessert.
    (Note:  If you lick your fingers it cuts down on the calories!)


(Adapted from a vegetarian recipe from
Preheat over to 450°

1 Tbs olive oil
1 shallot (minced)
1/2 pound asparagus cut into 2" pieces
1 sheet puff pastry (thawed)
1/2 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
3/4 cup finely chopped cooked poultry
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 egg yolk mixed with 1/2 teaspoon water

Heat olive oil in a medium size non-stick skilled.   Being careful not to brown the shallot, saute until tender (1 to 2 minutes).  Add asparagus and cook over medium-high heat until asparagus is tender.  Remove from heat.

Cut a piece of parchment paper large enough to cover a 10x16" baking sheet.  Place the parchment paper in the baking sheet.  Put the puff pastry on top of it and gently press and pat it until it nearly covers the parchment paper.

Spread the ricotta cheese (again, I used my hands ... it's easier!) leaving a small border of about one inch.  Spoon the asparagus mixture over the ricotta.  Sprinkle the chicken over the asparagus and add the cheese, covering everything except the border.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Brush the edge of the tart with egg and water mixture.

Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.  Let cool slightly, cut into desired sizes and serve warm.

Saturday, July 9, 2011



This is based on Glamour Magazine's Engagement Chicken recipe, so called because if one fixed this for your intended, you would be married.  We've dressed it up a bit and added some touches that came with experience, so we call it Anniversary Chicken.  It is one of the juiciest chickens I've ever tasted and has a wonderful crisp skin with a rich lemon flavor.  If you can manage to save a small amount, it makes a wonderful asparagus, cheese and chicken tart which will be tomorrow's post.  

Serve the chicken with roasted, parsley potatoes and Margaret's Italian Squash (see below)


Place a rack in the lower third position of your oven and preheat to 400°

1 whole chicken, washed and patted dry. (please do your taste buds a favor and buy either a free range chicken or an organic chicken.  it's worth the extra money!)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, plus 2 whole lemons
Kosher or coarse sea salt, to taste
freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 sprigs of rosemary
4 sprigs of sage
8 sprigs of thyme
1/4 cups chopped flat-leaf parsley

Coarsely chop the herbs.  Season the cavity with salt and pepper.   Place 3/4 of the herbs into the cavity of the chicken and rub vigorously all around the inside of the chicken.  Gently pull up the skin of the chicken and place the remainder of the herbs under the skin.  

Prick two whole lemons three or four times in different locations and place them deep in the cavity.  If one doesn't quite make it inside, it will be happy sticking out a bit.  

Place the chicken BREAST-SIDE DOWN on a rack, place the rack in a pan deep enough to hold the juices. Pour the lemon juice over the chicken and season the outside of the chicken with salt and pepper.  Pat down to secure the seasoning.  Put in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 350°.  Cook for 15 minutes.  

Remove the roasting pan and turn the chicken breast-side up.  Return to oven and continue to cook for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes.  (Internal temperature should be 180°).  Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes.  Slice the chicken and pour the juices over the sliced chicken.  If desired, garnish with fresh herbs and a few lemon slices.  


Larry's mother used to make this when he was a teenager and was quite reluctant to eat any vegetable except corn, peas, and ... oddly enough, canned spinach (there is no accounting for youngsters tastes).

Easy to fix, delicious left over ... what more could one ask of a veggie?


1 Tbs. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced or crushed
4 medium zucchini sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce
4 ounces of extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded.

Heat the olive oil in a small dutch oven or large, deep skillet.  Add the onion and saute until soft.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 to two minutes to marry the flavors.  Add the zucchini and the tomato sauce.  Cover and cook gently for about ten minutes until tender.  Stir in the cheese and let melt.  Cook for a few additional minutes.  This dish improves if you let it sit for a bit and then reheat it just before serving.  

Monday, July 4, 2011


This is a wonderful soup for a starter on a hot summer day.  Serve it cold, in very small amounts (about 1/4 cup).  Use any small decorative containers to serve.  We've used my Grandparents  Sherbet glasses here, but use your imagination and anything colorful growing in the garden for garnish.

The recipe calls for heavy whipping cream, but one may substitute half and half for all or part of the cream if need be, but it is really better with all the calories ... naturally!  Don't use a hot Madras curry powder;  we use Penzeys' Maharajah Curry Powder.


1 cup frozen petite peas, thawed and drained
1 cup russet potato, diced
1/4 cup green onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon curry powder (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon celery salt (or to taste)
1/2 pint whipping cream.

In a sauce pan cook together the first four ingredients for about ten minutes until potatoes and peas are soft.  Put in a blender for about thirty seconds until smooth.  Pour into a bowl, add the remaining ingredients.  Fold together until thoroughly mixed.  Chill.  (Lick spoon after serving!)

(Note:  If you haven't tried Penzeys spices, do yourself a tremendous favor and look at their on-line catalog at Penzeys Spices)