Tuesday, June 4, 2013


I got some early peaches at the farmer's market in old town Alexandria (reported to be the oldest continuously operating farmer's market in America) and thought, why not?  I mean, I like peaches and hazelnuts, and at least like fennel a little bit.  How bad could it be?  Well...not bad, not bad at all.  In fact, kind of good!

I realized that 4 June is my 29th anniversary of supporting the Marine Corps.  I am  so humbled and grateful at being given the opportunity to work with the finest group of individuals to walk the face of the earth.  I am a much better person for knowing each and ever one of them...cheers to OPP, Spooner and Herbie!

I roasted 6 peaches (small ones, after quartering them and sprinkling them with olive oil and salt) at 375 for 10 minutes.  I simultaneously roasted 1/2 cups of hazelnuts.  While they were roasting I shaved 2 cups of fennel.   I actually couldn't find my mandoline so I just chopped the fennel finely.

I chopped the hazelnuts and peeled and chopped the peaches.  I took half of a peeled peach and put it into the food processer with olive oil, vinegar and salt to make a vinaigrette.  Tossed the remaining peaches and fennel, topped with vinaigrette and hazelnuts.  Tasted fresh, kind of sweet and tart.

Pictures aren't working.  Will upload later!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Wow, this is the coolest thing I've ever made!  Even though the sour orange relish was nasty and this is the last we will speak od it.  This was such a cool challenge for the Memorial Day weekend.  We actually had a big metal box.  Josh built a bamboo rack from bamboo in the yard to elevate the pig (henceforth known as "oinkers") off the bottom of the box.  I went to BK Millers and bought a 29 lb frozen pig on friday evening.  We brined it with 14 cups kosher salt and 4 cups brown sugar in a plastic box in the kitchen until Monday, icing it on the top. and putting it in another box on the bottom.  Josh started a fire underneath oinkers to warm up the metal box, closed the box, and lit a charcoal fire on top of the box.  We re-charged the fire 4 times, going through about 30 lb of charcoal.  Oinkers was amazing, we picked him after about 7 hours of cooking.  The brine helped in that it was salty but still moist and smoky.  A once in a lifetime experience, we gave pig to all the neighbors and are still eating it, with a barbeque sauce.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Wow, this is the longest I've gone without blogging since starting this project.  I got involved with watching all the back episodes of breaking bad (too good of a show, what a pyschological drama), taking care of the puppy Tesla and working.  The tragedy in Boston was horrific.  Intersting dilemma about how much of our individual rights should we give up to catch the perps?  Tesla is very entertaining, it's cool to watch her grow up.  Working alot with the ordnance Marines lately.  I'm used to working with Motor T (holla) and they are a unusual change of pace.  Very earnest and sincere and passionate about what they do.

Made the lasagna.  Very good.  So good we ate it all before I could take a picture.  Tasted like lasagna, like you would expect, but very good.  The grand mother tomato sauce was very fresh, I liked the lemon zest, and the homemade noodles all contributed.

So, I made the grand mother tomato sauce by combining onions, garlic, tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, bat leaf, salt and pepper,  Cooked it all down for an hour.  Made the pasta from flour, egg yolks, water and olive oil.  I so love my Kitchen Aid mixer.  My motivation for getting it was the pasta recipes in this cookbook.  I sauteed Italian sausage, combined ricotta, mozz, parm reggiano, lemon zest and 1/2 cup tomato sauce. 

I made the lasagna by first putting tomato sauce in the bottom of the pan, topping it with pasta, topping that with cheese, topping that with sausage, adding tomato sauce and repeating.  The whole thing was topped by cheese and baked for 40 minutes at 375.  We enjoyed it and it wasn't labor intensive.

Promise to get back on track with the blog.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Wow! Big news, we adopted a puppy!  Miss Tesla is gracing our house with her 12 week old self, depriving us of sleep and bringing joy.  Had the day off of work due to the weather.  Lots of things I planned to do, but the puppy and back episodes of breaking bad took over.  Did make some awesome deviled eggs....

These were easy to make and delicious.  I fried up a half poundofbacon  a nd hard boiled a dozen eggs.  I mixed the yolks with 6 TBS sour cream a nd 1ts p mustard.  I added a cupofshredded ch  eddarandchivesandth e b  ac on.  Stuffed the eggs. Very good!

 New puppy Tesla!

Sunday, February 24, 2013


Long title! And maybe more than this recipe deserved.  I mean, it was good and all.  But way involved.

So, I seared a pork shoulder.  Then I sweated bell pepper, onion and garlic.  I am not sweating it because this is still ordinary. 

i added tomato paste and red chili flakes.  Easy, normal for Mike.  Stirred in chicken broth, crushed tomatos and bay leaf.  Easy day, I knew to have these on hand.  So I added the pork and cooked for an hour.

Then, I cubed 1/2 lb of potatos and kerneled 2 ears of corn.  I returned to oven for 45 minutes.  I was supposed to add the clams at that point, but all I had was a can of clams, added it.  Cooked for another 10 minutes. 

Topped with paresly and lemon juice.  Okay, but too much trouble.  Probably won't make again.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Mike refers to this as his version of disco fries!  I love it!  It was very unami friendly and delicious.  Good day, Pellegrin is back supporting maintenance and Herbie will start supporting the Marine Corps next Monday.  We took Harry the dog to the beach last Monday to celebrate his 11th? birthday and had one of our best days. 

Fun easy recipe, one of Mike's easiest and best.  I was able to find ricotta salata at Trader Joe's, otherwise this might have been hard.  I boiled potatoes for 10 minutes and drained them.  I sauteed onions, celery, garlic and bacon, added thyme and bay leaf and cooked until the bacon was crispy.  I whisked in flour and chilli flakes, and added chicken broth.  It didn't need any additional salt. 

I smashed the potatoes a little bit and threw them in two batches into the deep fryer for about 5 minutes.  They did not get golden, but got a little brown.  I removed them from the fryer and topped with the bacon gravy and ricotta salata.  Very good!

Doris in Nanty Glo!

Harry at the beach!

Disco fries!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


I don't know why I haven't blogged in a while, maybe I've been tired or busy in the evenings?  No good reason, just haven't.  Still been cooking Mike's book!  Heading to Nanty Glo this weekend to hang out with Doris and stuff.  ( used to work with a Marine who ALWAYS said "and stuff".  We used to make a (coffee) drinking game out of it in meetings. 

Made the fish fries and black mayo, after I ordered the squid ink on line through Amazon.  I thought I would run into some in my travels, but didn't so I succombed to peer pressure and bought it on line.  These were very tasty.  I remember when my ex-husband and I were in Monacco and a small boat captain was grilling his lunch of smelts aboard his boat.  They smelled amazing, so I've alwways had a soft spot for smelt.

I couldn't find fresh smelt, so I used frozen.  I defrosted it and rinsed the smelt under cold wqter.  I mixed flour, parsley, thyme and salt and dredged the smelt.  I fried it for 4 minutes in the deep fryer.  It was crispy and golden.  Easy enough!  I made the black mayo, which was egg yolk, anchovies, squid ink, lemon juice, dijon mustard, salt and oil in the food processor for one minute until it emulsified.  Not weird tasting, even though it sounds weird, kind of a more savory mayo.  Dipped the fish in the mayo and all was good.

Crispy fishies!

Another angle!

Monday, January 21, 2013


Oh wow, this was so bad!  Sooo bad, so bad.  It pains me to remember it, how it smelled, how it looked, yucko!

I think the problem was my dislike of liver, not the recipe, but that didn't help.  The kids took one look at it and told me they couldn't take a bite.

The pasta went well, it was classic flour, 3 egg yolks, olive oil, and 1/4 cup pumpkin.  It alll came together nicely with the Kitchen Aid mixer and pasta attachments (love my Christmas gift!)  It cooked well, in three minutes.

The sauce was the problem.  I put the raw liver in the food processor and ground it finely.  I soaked raisins for 10 minutes in hot water.  After melting butter, I sauteed a shallot, then the liver for a couple of minutes.  I added bourban and cooked a little longer.  Finally, I added the raisins, sage, a little reserved pasta water, and the pasta.  The texture, smell and everythingn else was bad.  I couldn't even give it to Harry the dog because of the bourbon and the raisins.  Runs from this recipe!

Solved the photo problem.  I had to upload my photos to picassa.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Surprisingly delicious!  I did not have high hopes for a recipe called sausage and peppers.  How boring is that?  The water, ketchup and bay leaf kinda made a sauce that was very nice, I just expected fried onions and peppers with my sausage.  Wish me luck on up loading pictures!''Sidenote.  My friend Pellegrin owes me lunch.  He offered me tips (good ones) on adding cilantro to the gnocchi sauce,  Hopefully he will come through.

So, I added oil to a pan, sauteed sausage, removed it and added onions and peppers.  I added the sausage back to the pan with 1/2 cup water, some ketchup and a bay leaf.  Cooked for 20 minutes, removed the bay leaf, sliced the sausage and served it on rolls.  Win!  Very delicious.  I am not a pepper fan, but they added here.  Will make again.

Still problems with photos!  I will investigate further! 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Ha!  Had to look up the way to spell GNOCCHI in Mike's cookbook twice before posting this!  Kids and Harry napping.  Had a fun day in Quantico talking about Motor Transport.  It's all in strategic planning, thinking about the future while staying focused on the present.  Leading us to...potato gnocchi!

I've always been a bit ambivalent about gnocchi, finding them a little bland and wondering what they accomplished that other pasta did not.  I'm not sure these answered my question, they tasted like gnocchi...but they were GOOD gnocchi.

I baked 4 russet potatoes and let them cool until I could handle them.  Then I boiled a big pot of water and scooped the flesh out of the potatoes.  I don't have a potato ricer so I just mashed them up.  I stirred in a cup of flour, egg yolks, parm reggiano and a lot of salt.  The dough was rolled into ropes, floured, and cut into inch long pieces.  I didn't have a problem with the dough sticcking when I rolled and cut it, maybe I was just lucky.  The pieces went into the boiling water and cooked for 2 minutes.  I took them out and served them with the Grand Mother tomato sauce.

Like I said, they were good, not exceptional, but they weren't hard to make or anything.  I could taste potato, but I don't think that was bad or anything.  I can see myself making these again.

(Having problems uploading photos!)