Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Chili! SJG makes her chili with a variety of different meats and beans. This week's chili has pinto beans and pork tenderloin. Try ground beef and black beans, or ground turkey and red beans as alternatives. We put chopped green onions and grated cheddar (a mild four-year Widmer) on top of each serving, with a dollop of sour cream or cottage cheese on top of that. With a piece of cornbread, this is a satisfying meal on a cold winter night. (Tuesday's high will be ten degrees above zero where we live!)

Saturday, January 19, 2008


Pizza margherita! We order pizza for home delivery every Friday, as a reward for our week of work. The last few weeks, we've tried a new, hip pizza joint but have decided that it's really only good for meat pizzas. Last night, we were in the mood for a classic pizza margherita--mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, and basil chiffonade--and for that, we prefer to order from the Italian deli in our neighborhood. They're generous with the cheese and the basil and make a nice light crust that doesn't overwhelm the toppings. With a green salad on the side, it makes a very satisfying meal.
This pizza is named for Italy's Queen Margherita, by the way, who wore the crown in the late nineteenth century and for whom Italy's earliest pizzas were apparently made. (Pizza originated in subcontinental Asia, not in Europe.)

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Galatopoureko! It's a Greek dessert made of phyllo dough filled with nutmeg-flavored custard and drizzled with honey. My sister and I shared a piece after dinner this evening at our favorite Greek restaurant in her neighborhood. In the kitchen, they make the galatopoureko when you order it and sprinkle the plate with decorative flourishes of ground cinnamon. In the restaurant, with its white and blue walls and the flowering plants all along the bank of windows that faces the street, it's like stepping into a little corner of Greece far away from the frosty cold of our city, where tonight, the air temperature is 9 below zero.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Raspberry-bran muffins! For five years, I made bran muffins every Sunday. But then I tired of it. So, ever since, it's been SJG's job. She doubles (or maybe triples) my original recipe so she doesn't have to bake every weekend, and she adds all kinds of extra ingredients that I would never have dreamed of--millet, ground flax seeds, raw sunflower seeds, oat instead of wheat bran, and more bananas than you really want to know about. I eat two every morning at my desk. They're delicious, and they do the trick!

Monday, January 14, 2008


SJG usually makes a pot of soup on Sunday for the week. She consults with me, and this week, I had a vision of red beans and rice, so that's what she made. She adds dinosaur kale, for the dark green leafies, and heads over to the other side of town for smoked ham hocks. We serve this soup with homemade cornbread, the recipe for which I've posted below.


1-1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
1/4 oil (melted butter is even better)
1 egg, beaten (2 eggs is even better)
1 cup frozen corn (creamed corn is even better)

1. Mix the dry ingredients together.

2. Stir in the buttermilk, oil, and egg. Add the frozen corn. Do not overmix.

3. Pour into a greased cast iron skillet (8-in diameter) or other low, flat baking dish of about the same size. (Greasing the pan with canola oil is good for you, but melted butter is even better.)

Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes until the top is golden and the cornbread has started to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


I start every day with a cup or two of espresso, latte style. The paraphernalia all (well, mostly all) has links to my family: the green and white ceramic mug comes from my sister; the slim white English porcelain creamer in which I foam the milk is from my mother; the silver spoon is something my father got at a long-ago auction in Missouri; and the espresso maker, well, that's standard-issue Ikea, my new favorite place to shop.

Monday, January 07, 2008


We celebrated my father's seventy-seventh birthday (January 8) this past weekend. The theme? Antarctica, heavy on the penguins. All the presents had something to do with penguins, including the cake!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

And here's my father's snow penguin onboard the Nordnorge in Antarctica!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008


SJG and I dispensed with traditional roast turkey for holiday eating this year and instead prepared Mexican feasts. For Christmas Eve, we made fajitas with beef tenderloin, and we rang in New Year 2008 last night with poblanos rellenos, inspired by a version I had in San Antonio this fall. A simple dish to prepare, it looks beautiful on the plate and tastes heavenly. Happy New Year!

Poblanos Rellenos

(adapted from The Border Cookbook by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison, 1995)

  • 6 large, fresh poblano chiles--roasted and slit from one end to the other
  • one medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1-1/4 pounds ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon regular, mild chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 3 tablespoons chopped, fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 2 cups grated Monterey jack (or other mild white cheese)
1. Core and seed the poblanos. Roast in the oven on a cookie sheet until the skins soften and begin to turn black. Set aside.

2. In a large skillet, saute the onion and garlic in a little olive oil (about one tablespoon).

3. Brown the beef in a separate pan.

4. When the onions and garlic have softened, add the browned beef.

5. Stir in the spices, raisins, cilantro, worcestershire sauce, lime juice, and half of the cheese.

6. Place the poblanos on a cookie sheet lined with tin foil. Stuff them with the spiced meat and sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the peppers.

7. Heat the peppers in a 375-degree oven for about 5 minutes, until the cheese has melted.

Serve with refried beans (with a little melted cheese and green onions on top), rice, guacamole, and chips. Delicious!