Impromptu “things” lunch

This is Angelique & Marty’s term, and usually it involves more items to be “things”. However, Bill worked from home this morning, and I found myself throwing together a different lunch than the planned salad. Salad was going to take more time than we had for Bill to leave on time for afternoon at work.

Amazingly, it feels very fancy. Thin wheat crackers, semi-soft cheese (just those Laughing Cow “Babel” rounds), prosciutto, and an orzo, spinach, feta & olive salad. Plus, I had picked up a bottle of sparkling white jasmine tea.

So lovely, and nice for the two of us to share!… Continue reading →

[27] Chocolate Pinwheels

Cover of The Complete Book of Cookies, edited by Deborah Gray

I baked these for two reasons. One, we’re pretty far behind on our ratio of “recipes cooked” to “days into the challenge” to “number of recipes needed before I can buy another cookbook”. At the time of writing (not of baking), for those who are interested, the ratio is 32:79:2531.

I’m never buying another cookbook, am I?

Well, futile though this quest may feel at this time, I might as well keep working at it. Also, if I keep working at it, I get a lot of new and delicious recipes to try. Well, and some flops. Such is the nature of the beast.

This recipe was neither delicious nor a flop, at least with regards to taste. Overall, however, I would call it a flop.… Continue reading →

[26] Rum Raisin Cookies

Cover of The Complete Book of Cookies, edited by Deborah Gray

I made these cookies for a friend who had been having a rough time recently. I figured it’d be fun to joke about having some rum without actually having some rum (so she could have a cookie and then still do other things, like teach). Though, I have to admit, I mailed them to her, so I don’t know that she joked about rum before class. I hope she did.

It was also nice because I had almost all the ingredients on-hand. I had to run out and get some raisins, but that was quick and painless.

I don’t know how the recipient felt the cookies tasted. I thought they needed the rum flavor to come out more. Bill felt they were super tasty, and has already requested a second batch.… Continue reading →

[25] Beef Stew Variation 1

How to Cook Everything, Revised Edition by Mark Bittman

Beef stew isn’t really considered your average summer dish. I wouldn’t typically make it in the summer any more than you would. I think of beef stew as a deep winter dish, full of warmth and flavor, and no small amount of fat. It’s most certainly not “summery”, “light” or “refreshing”.

However, guess when none of that matters? When it’s the middle of summer, you have most of the ingredients on hand, and you accidentally thawed stew meat instead of beef chunks for stir-fry. At that point, you make stew and be thankful you can get a blog post out of it!

Actually, it turned out quite nicely, and I’m looking forward to making it again when the weather cools off. And given we live in Chicago, Bill and I should have plenty of cold weather in which to repeatedly make this dish.… Continue reading →


Yesterday I thawed about a pound of “tri-tip steak”: that Bill had purchased at the farmers’ market a couple months ago or so. It was big and beautiful and nicely lean. NONE of our cookbooks had a recipe for making it delicious. I forgive the vast majority of them (especially the vegetarian ones), but I was surprised that “_How to Cook Everything_”: and “_Joy of Cooking_”: didn’t have anything. And, if you look at the Wikipedia link above, you’ll note that there’s a few names for tri-tip. None in either book.

Maybe there are yet more names. I don’t know them. I do know, however, that Bill threw that steak on our new friend, Rob’s loaner grill, and made something delicious. While keeping our five-year-old guest entertained and unburned.… Continue reading →