Simple food, big payoff

It is difficult to get inspired in the kitchen when the heat index outside is 105°F. Breakfast this morning was simple and delicious without much required thought. Its preparation necessitated few tools — one bowl, one spoon and a griddle. In no time, an offering of sweet, fluffy pancakes for all was prepared. No other accompaniment was needed other than creamy butter and luscious maple syrup. Fresh, tart blueberries on the side, finished the plates. My family seemed to loll our way through lunchtime sans food intake. We’ll see what dinnertime brings.

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Birds and Bees tableware makes for a happy morning!

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A Bounty of Options

Washington was finally blanketed with a thick coating of wet snow today, locking in a snow day for all. My day started innocently enough (after coffee) making fried eggs, but soon “snowballed,” shall we say, into something much more bountiful. Upon replacing the egg carton into the refrigerator, I decided to have a look in the veggie drawer. Out I pulled an eggplant, half an onion, a green bell pepper and its red cousin, a few celery hearts, marjoram and parsley. Into a hot, oiled pot the chopped vegetables went with a handful of halved piccoline olives, lots of sliced garlic, a good sprinkling of salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. A drained can of tomatoes (hand crushed), and some chicken stock were added next and a then a good stir. I let this yummy mixture simmer for a couple of hours into my version of snow day ratatouille. I will be serving this glorious concoction over soft, warm polenta.

Feeling inspired, I decided to next make some pizza dough. After a good rise, I took a portion of the finished dough and rolled it out thinly. I spread the rolled dough with spicy honey mustard and topped with the crisped and browned half smokes I had slowly frying away in my cast iron pan. The dough was rolled around the sausage, brushed with egg, and sprinkled with sesame seeds before being placed into a hot oven. The most delicious pigs in a blanket I have ever had!

Next came my all time favorite cornmeal/panko crusted chicken cutlets and then some chicken jerky for Henry. Both chicken options were happy to be placed back in the fridge for later use.

Not wanting to leave out dessert, I conducted a quick poll — meringues or brownies. The future was clear. Brownies it would be. They cool now on the counter — three big squares of warm brownie missing.

 

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The Last Stretch

A week away from summer vacation. Having already started our visits to the pool, seven days ahead seem like many. This is especially true with the bounty of kind invitations, presentations, end-of-the-year celebrations, and other sorts of occasions on the calendar. I just sent this image to a friend who kindly offered to bring my daughter home from a birthday party. This offer came after my plea for help followed by a rather embarrassing email revealing my “actual” complete lack of organization. I will not reveal the specifics but let’s just say, “Thank you, Vivian!”

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Autumnal Tummy

I can’t help but gravitate to the tastes and textures of autumnal cooking as soon as the leaves begin to turn. It has a been a beautiful Fall in Maryland and the season has inspired me and my cooking, as well. Slow-braised meats, stews, ragus, roasted vegetables paired with dried tart fruits  —  I can’t get enough.

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