Monday, November 22, 2010

STUFFING/DRESSING.....what's in a name?

I LOVE "whatever you call it"...  We call it stuffing around these parts, I know some call it dressing.   Whatever.  I've scarcely found a stuffing I didn't like.   Odd, because I can't stand Panzanella, a cold salad with wet bread and, let's face it, stuffing IS largely wet bread!
In the past here or at my political blog, I think I've admitted that I never liked my dear Aunt J's stuffing and we have Thanksgiving at their house every year, so I used to bring stuffing for the non-gizzard-loving relatives amongst us, mostly ME :-)  THIS year, Aunt J's having Thanksgiving catered....I can't wait because she uses these caterers for lots of parties they have at their home for  fund raisers or parties of their own over 50 people, etc..and they have really delicious food! (Although Aunt J is just as wonderful cook and a fabulous hostess. it'll be fun to see what the caterers come up with, I'll let y'all know)  I'll bet THEY don't put gizzards in their stuffing!  (Pray for me, will you?!)  (Now I have to 'fess up that, very recently, I actually had started to not HATE Aunt J's gizzard stuffing after about 40 years...!)

SO.................give me your best shot;   WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE STUFFING?   You don't need to put the recipe in comments, but list main ingredients, those ingredients which set it apart from another stuffing (or dressing!).



Saturday, July 17, 2010

It's SUMMER...time for GAZPACHO, OLE!

Who's got the BEST RECIPE? Please tell us what you like in yours...........I'll post some good recipes, too.
AFTER YOU! (they need NOT be red, by the way...hint hint)
Sorry I've been neglecting this blog for such a long time........time to get back into FOOD!


Monday, May 17, 2010

Breaking my rule about Mac 'n Cheese

Allow me to myself.
I've broken a rule in posting this recipe for Macaroni and Cheese because I'm a total purist and don't usually like 'stuff' in my mac 'n cheese that's not pasta and cheese and milk and know. Anyway, I found this recipe and it sounds so good I had to post it regardless of the fact it's not REAL "Mac 'n Cheese" :-)


8 slices bacon cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide strips
  • 2 shallots chopped
  • salt
  • black pepper freshly ground
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 T all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 c whole milk
  • 1 1/2 c heavy cream
  • 6 ounces Gruyère cheese grated (about 1 1/2 cups lightly packed)
  • 6 ounces Vermont white cheddar cheese grated (about 1 1/2 cups lightly packed)
  • 1/2 c freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 2 ounces)
  • 1 pound penne pasta or gemelli pasta
  • 1 c shelled fresh English peas (from about 1 pound unshelled English pea pods)
  • 2 T chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3/4 c panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 T unsalted butter melted

Cook the bacon in a heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat until golden brown about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and reserve. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings.

Add the shallots to the bacon drippings. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and sauté until translucent about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir in the flour. Cook the flour for 1 minute stirring constantly.

Gradually whisk in the milk and cream. Bring the sauce to a simmer over medium heat about 10 minutes.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and gradually add the cheese stirring to blend.

Meanwhile bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook the pasta in the boiling salted water for 8 minutes stirring often to prevent it from sticking. Add the peas and continue boiling until the pasta is tender but still very firm to the bite and the peas are bright green and crisp-tender about 1 minute. Drain the pasta and peas.

Stir the bacon into the cheese sauce.

Stir the pasta and peas into the cheese sauce. The sauce will look loose but will continue to thicken once the pasta is added. If the sauce begins to thicken too much add more milk or cream to thin it to the desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Butter 8 individual 6-inch-diameter casserole dishes or one 2 1/2-quart casserole dish. Transfer the pasta to the buttered casserole dishes.

Sprinkle the parsley over the pasta mixture then stir some of it into the pasta mixture.

Preheat the broiler. In a small mixing bowl toss the breadcrumbs with the melted butter to coat well. Season with salt and sprinkle the breadcrumbs evenly over the pasta.

Broil until the topping is golden brown watching closely about 2 minutes.

Let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes before serving.


I don't know who Curtis Stone is, but I like to credit the people I find good stuff from!
I hope one of you makes this....maybe I will soon.

As some of you know from my politics blog, I did mention that I made Alton Brown's macaroni and cheese last week for six girlfriends.......they LOVED it. Well, I'll be blogging that recipe soon (made it again for an event tomorrow, as a matter of fact) but wanted to post this as a 'teaser'!!


Monday, May 3, 2010

What food do you LOVE to HATE?

THIS is interesting!! The 10 foods people love to hate!

liver, okra, sardines, eggplant, hard boiled eggs, beets, brussel sprouts, blue cheese, lima beans and grits.

Okay...I have to admit, I do NOT like liver...but the rest? Heck yes! (except I could never really 'love' lima beans and only recently could stand eating them in mixed vegetable combinations)...

How's about YOU? Do you hate any of the above? Do you hate any other food intensely that you care to mention? Join in!!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Couldn't resist this....bird dinner!

Well, my original post said this was taken at Mr. Z's favorite fish restaurant, Brophy Brothers, in Santa Barbara, a place where we had such good times ...but I took a better look and realized I myself was 'out for lunch' and mistook the's actually GLADSTONE'S in Santa Monica on the beach.........This shot is taken by Ms Z, Mr. Z's daughter... She takes GREAT pictures and I loved this one and had to put it on my food blog! But, it is NOT Brophy Brothers. I should post a shot of that place because he loved it so, but there's always one of US in those shots and you know me and ANONYMITY! Anyway, I loved the picture and wanted to share it..


Monday, April 12, 2010

Easter Sunday was wonderful...sorry this is so late!

I hope all your Easters were as nice as mine......If you didn't see the PRELUDE to my Aunt and Uncle's yearly Easter festivities at their home, please scroll down. And, the post just below this one shows the gorgeous floral arrangements on the outside tables and the dining room centerpiece where the buffet was set out........

My aunt and I laughed at the fact that I nearly got the menu correct in my 'prelude'! She joked that she's predictable but the truth is that she's just a wonderful cook and so I put my wish list there in the original post full of things I've loved at her house. This year was only slightly different, though I got the main course wrong I got the side dishes and hors d'oeuvres pretty close....but the things I didn't guess were just delicious and I particularly wanted you to have the main course recipe which I have also made's deeeelicious and perfect for this coming summer.

Let me tell you the full actual menu first.....we started with my mother's stuffed grape leaves extraordinaire, that wonderful salami I'd hoped for, served with brined black olives, a delicious goat cheese and pita bread, a fifteen year old Cheddar from Wisconsin that was FABULOUSLY full of those little salt crystals you get when you're eating a terrifically aged cheese....stuffed eggs and I think I'm forgetting something but you get the delicious picture...all with red or white wine, of course!

My aunt emailed me the italicized list of the dinner menu when I sent her the link to the piece about her which she really enjoyed!

Or am I that predictable? You're right on ... mostly:
Grilled Skirt Steaks
Potato Salad
Ambrosia (so glad you like it ... I always wondered if anyone did)
Heirloom tomatoes with basil and mozzarella
Sweet corn off the cob in butter
Fresh peas and carrots with butter, parsley and orange zest
Artichokes with Remoulade sauce
Ice Cream bars
Date Bars (wait till you try these ... you'll be addicted)

See how close I was!? It was FABULOUS! And, oh, was she right about the date bars...they're like date cookie-bars and I will see if I can get that recipe for you, too.(Z: update: that recipe will be here soon!)


1 1/2 lbs flank steak (or skirt steak)
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 T chili sauce
2 T chili powder
2 T soy sauce
2 T oil
1 tsp honey
1 tsp grated orange peel
1/2 tsp grated lemon peel
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 medium orange, thinly sliced
Cilantro sprigs to garnish

Place steak in a shallow baking dish. Combine OJ, chili sauce and powder, soy sauce, oil, honey, orange and lemon peels, garlic, salt and cayenne. Pour over orange slices over meat. Marinate in refrigerator overnight. Preheat Grill.

Bring meat to room tep. Remove steak from marinade and discard marinade. Grill steak for 4-6 minutes per side or to desired doneness. Slice diagonally especially if you're using flank steak. Place on a platter and surround with Fresh Fruit Salsa, orange wedges and cilantro sprigs.

Fresh Fruit Salsa:
1 cup diced pineapple, 1 sliced kiwi, 1 cup chopped papaya, 1/2 tsp crushed hot red pepper flakes, 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper, 1/4 cup diced green bell pepper, 1 1/2 T's white wine vinegar, 1 1/2 Ts minced cilantro, 4 tsps sugar

Combine ingredients in a bowl, mix well and chill overnight...serve at room temperature.

Serves 4 (just multiply if you're having more, we had about 25 that day, but do not multiply the hot stuff if you don't like things really hot...) Great with grilled fish, too. AND, if you'd like to share some of the delicious things you had, fire away in 'comments' Thanks.
Enjoy...From Z and Z's Aunt and Z's Uncle, who barbecued the meat JUST RIGHT!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Here are some pictures from my Easter.....had to let you see the flowers!! Will do a little piece INCLUDING some incredible recipes...very soon. xxx Z

Friday, April 2, 2010

Easter Sunday Meal...what's yours?

Our family gathers at my aunt and uncle's for Easter Sunday Dinner.......we get there around 4:00 and have cocktails and marvelous hors'deouvres like terrific cheeses and thinly sliced Soprassata salami served with lavash bread, herbed olives, a red caviar/lemon dip you spread on little strips of pita bread, grape leaves stuffed with rice and onions (sometimes, Mom brings her fantastic grape leaves), an Armenian thinly sliced garlic beef and string cheese, etc.etc....we never know what my aunt might prepare, but we always know they'll be wonderful things that all of us enjoy with our glass of red or white wine. We love gathering at the beautiful home nestled in the hills of Bel Air, on the patio or in the den, some people chatting one on one in the living room, the older kids playing pool in the upstairs den, etc., my aunt checking on the dinner and some of us hanging out with her there to's a great time for us all to be together and that 'together' is usually about 25 relatives and, sometimes, friends of my aunt and uncle's, or one of our friends who's got nowhere to go and is graciously welcomed there.

My aunt has a lovel
y home and makes the absolute most of it with incredible holiday decorations. She's got hutches in the kitchen and shelves and ledges throughout the house laden decoratively with rabbits and baskets and flowers...all shades of yellows, oranges, pinks, blues, white ..... The dining room table will be set with hollow painted eggs on tiny stands, some of which my mother painted for her years ago...some with family names on them, etc. Sometimes, she sets a buffet in there and we eat on the outside tables under an overhang overlooking the pool, other times, she has twelve of the adults around that big dining table which is set with lovely linens and glistening silver, the less older adults around the large wooden kitchen table, and the kids somewhere else..... Tulips, hydrangeas and roses and gerbera daisies will be everywhere...Easter at their home is a treat for the eyes and the mouth!

I'm not sure what my aunt will make this year for dinner but I always try to bring something to help out. This year, I'm bringing Easter
cookies I ordered...they're shaped like eggs and iced with gorgeous pastel colors, I hope they all like them!
This year, my aunt might be cooking ham or my uncle might barbecue lamb chops...I don't know what she's serving this Sunday, but it'll be very good (and I'll report!). She makes a delicious ambrosia and always m
akes a corn dish for my uncle....there might be tomatoes with mozzarella and basil, or a special recipe for green beans or maybe she'll roast spring vegetables or have cold asparagus...maybe a potato gratin or a rice dish...or all of the above! Always delicious, always something to look forward to.

An old Armenian custom some of you might do, too, is the BREAKING OF THE EGGS! My aunt will have boiled tons of eggs and colo
red them (they'll be used as decoration before dinner, gorgeous big baskets tied with satin ribbons), some will have our names on them and we'll all take ours....and, then the fun begins. WHO HAS THE HARDEST SHELLED EGG? We go up to others and take that hard boiled egg in our fist and the opponent does the same and we tap the end of our egg on theirs...whichever doesn't crack goes on to the next opponent. It's kind of fun. One year, one wasn't boiled, boy was that a mess, but adds to family memories!

But, more important and definitely felt, on top of the chocolate Easter eggs and rabbits, and tulips and hydrangeas and baskets and ribbons a
nd bows, will be the meaning of my uncle prays before dinner, all of us standing together holding hands....

This is a home that loves food and family but loves the Lord more than all of that. And we feel it. And so, whether it's ham or lamb or potatoes or rice, Easter cookies or lemon tarts for des
sert......we all know that's not the important thing. It's not about the food (did I say THAT? :-), it's about the resurrection of Christ and His gift of salvation.

Easter Sunday at my aunt and uncle's is like a piece of candy, come to think of and family are the the chocolate layer wrapped around a rich, delicious center of God's provenance and love. I'm a lucky niece. I wish the same to you all.

And I know my whole family would wish you a very HAPPY EASTER! Do you have a special Easter menu or family tradition? Please share it with us...
xxx Z

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Want some warm bread and that smell in your house? mmmm

My friend Julia says this bread is DEEEELICIOUS...give it a try and let me know what you think!

No-Knead Bread

Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

What's SUNDAY DINNER at your house? Or, what was it growing up?

..........and, if it was good enough for then, why not NOW? :-)
Did you have a meal every single Sunday after church, for example? Mr. Z's aunt made the same exact meal every single week...pork, peas and mashed potatoes, I think it was. Do you have a family meal or two that were traditional meals every week? I love hearing about things like that...please share!
Do you call it SUPPER or DINNER? And what time was the main Sunday family meal?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Potato Peeling 101...who knew?

Have you ever tried this? It's amazing! I've got to admit I haven't tested this...but I will!

Potatoes, next to mac and cheese and white truffles, are my very favorite food. Certainly, they're my favorite vegetable...!! Do you have a better way to peel a potato? let me know if you try this!
What's your favorite vegetable? And what's your favorite way to COOK a potato? Or favorite potato recipe? mmmm

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Olive Oil.............who knew?

I can't imagine stir frying Asian recipes with olive oil, but I do quite a lot of sauteeing with it....THIS ARTICLE tells us that's even BAD for us...the article is interesting and has some good tips in it. It tells what oils to use for what............some are surprising. It omits using olive oil in salads and I believe that's one of the healthiest ways of using it. Anyway, very interesting.....Check it out! (if anybody reading here is too young to recognize the lady to your left, do NOT let me know....!)

Friday, February 5, 2010


What will you be eating during the Super Bowl? Please share it with us!!
I'll be having Chicken Tortilla Soup at my sister's........with lots of friends and family.
Have a great time, everybody. (I wish the Lakers were playing instead :-)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

good roast chicken and stock

COMFORT FOOD means "chicken" to so many of us, doesn't it? So many really great cooks, when asked about a favorite meal, will say "roast chicken and a good loaf of fresh bread with it".... Here's the simplest way to get Chicken Stock and a great bird at the same time, according to my friend, Ellen. Do you have any good roast chicken recipes or any nice memories that involve chicken dinners with family, etc? Please share them in COMMENTS!
Ellen's Bird (no basting, watching, just timing)

Oven-450 degrees

1 BIG fryer 5 lb. ++
Season inside with salt & pepper
Stuff with cut up onion
Rub outside with butter or olive oil
Season outside & tie legs together

Place on a large rack on the RIM of a non-reactive baking pan

In pan put 2 C. water & some white wine along with garlic cloves, peppercorns, celery, onion skin (if nice & dry), Bay leaf, etc. (Z: you could probably include carrots or whatever else you like to have flavoring your broth, too)

Put in oven uncovered for 30 min.

Turn temp. down to 350' & roast for another 2 hours, or until leg moves freely.

You will have perfect Roast Chicken + a great stock after you strain it. About 3 C. +-

You can do 2 at once if you have a large pan & rack. Just increase the liquids.

If you use a Sunday Best Roaster (6-7 lbs.) increase the time as needed.

So, you have a perfect roast chicken and a beautiful chicken stock all at one time! ENJOY

And thanks, Ellen, for your wonderful recipe...


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Armenian Pizza, or "Lahmajoon" mmmmm

For Mr and Mrs Cube.....but you'll all LOVE it, I promise!


2 garlic cloves
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 small green pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
1 pound ground lamb (or ground beef, but...)
1 - 6 oz can tomato paste
1 - 14 1/2 can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt and Pepper
Flour Tortillas

Heat oven to 400 degrees F.

Pulse the garlic in a food processor to mince it. Add the onion and pulse to chop, then add the green pepper and pulse to chop. Add the lamb, tomato paste, tomatoes, parsley, cumin, cayenne, and salt and pepper; process until everything is well chopped. The consistency should be wet and pasty. Spread a thin layer of the meat mxiture onto flour tortillas all the way to the edge. Bake directly on the oven rack for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the edges are browned and the meat is cooked through. If the tortilla begings to inflate in the oven, pop it with a fork from the top.
To serve, cut into the size you want, like a pizza, and you can sprinkle some lemon or a little Tabasco or add absolutely's good just as it is! (I really don't remember how much this makes but I'm thinking a dozen tortillas to a pack, so that's probably what it made....)
This can be cut in thinner slices as an appetizer with cocktails or for lunch or dinner in larger wedges....Enjoy! Z

Sunday, January 24, 2010

short ribs from Deborah

Braised Short Ribs

- 4 to 5 lbs beef short ribs
- Salt and pepper
- Flour
- 2 Tbs vegetable oil
- 1 large diced onion
- 2 1/2 cups diced carrots
- 2 1/2 cups chopped celery
- 6 cloves minced garlic
- 6 oz. tomato paste
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 1/2 cups red wine
- 1 T. pomegranate concentrate (optional - any fruit jam would probably have similar effect)
- 2 large sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1/4 cup chopped scallions
- 1 lb cooked egg noodles, for serving (serves 4-6)

• Season ribs with salt and pepper. Dredge the ribs in flour and shake off excess.
• Heat 2 Tbs oil in large dutch oven or braiser over high heat.
• Add short ribs and brown as evenly as possible. Do this in batches if necessary.
• Remove ribs and set aside. Reduce heat to medium-high and add onions, carrots, celery and garlic and cook until tender.
• Add tomato paste, beef broth, red wine and pomegranate and cook, stirring, until it is incorporated.
• Bring to a simmer, then add the ribs and rosemary. Return to simmer.
• Cover and cook over low heat for 3 – 31/2 hours until the meat easily falls off the bone. Remove ribs and rosemary sprigs.
• Stir until sauce thickens.
• Serve ribs over egg noodles and top with sauce. Garnish with scallions.

My friend Deborah ('on the bayside'), who comments at GeeeeeZ, brought the above dish over to my house Saturday's so good I thought I ought to share it! Try it, you'll love it, I promise!

Saturday, January 23, 2010


UPDATE: Well, look at THIS...Yahoo had a thing on the goodness/healthiness of SOUP tonight (I had the SCOOP, though:-)!! Here's my original post!:

A friend sent me a soup recipe that sounds terrific and I wanted to share it with you IF you share one of your favorites! You don't have to include the recipe, though we'd love that if it's not too very, very long and complicated, but tell us if you have a favorite soup. It sure feels like SOUP WEATHER around here, even in California! What sounds really good about this soup below is that most of the ingredients are probably things you have at home, or you could substitute chicken broth, you make the soup and add ANYTHING, like leftover vegetables or meats or starches to it, and you've got a great meal, wouldn't you think? Here's a recipe from Ellen:

Marylin's Andalusian Soup (6-8 servings)

Basic soup

2 TBS butter

1 TBS olive oil

1 TBS flour

4 cups thinly sliced onions (3 large)

1 can (1 lb) tomato puree or sauce

4 cans (56 oz) beef broth

1 clove garlic minced

1 TBS ea of red wine vinegar, worchestershire sauce, sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ea of pepper, oregano. tarragon. tabasco sauce

1/2 tsp cumin

In a basic 4-5 quart pan melt butter, add olive oil and onions. Slowly cook onions stirring occasionally until they are limp and slightly golden. Blend in flour and gradually stir in the broth and tomato sauce. Add rest of ingredients, stir well and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste.

Serve with a selection of condiments

meats.. chicken, meat balls, sausage, shrimp or ham.

vegetables......corn, garbanzo, pinto or kidney beans, diced tomatoes, sauteed mushroom slices, cooked diced carrots (these can be put in soup before serving)

diced avocado, green onion, shredded jack and cheddar cheese, sliced olives, (serve in bowls ). Or whatever sounds good to you.

ENJOY! Now share yours, please!?

Monday, January 18, 2010


What's THE most difficult thing to GIVE UP for that diet? DO TELL!
Mine would probably be savory (mac and cheese, for example) yours something sweet?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

You haven't LIVED until you've had white truffles.........

...........on pasta, with truffle oil. Or on anything ELSE, for that matter! :-)

Mr. Z and I were living in Munich and he was in Rome on business. He called me and told me he was eating a pasta with white truffles that was too delicious to be believed. I filed this in my food file in my brain and thought "I must do that sometime" ...oh, "...and soon." The trouble is, white truffles are only available in October and some of November.

Fast forward about a year and he called from the office and said "I have to go to Rome again, you want to come with me this time?" I said I didn't really want to... I took German classes in Munich and really didn't want to miss any. I loved my foreign language classes when I lived in Paris and Munich. I was lucky enough to have gone to Rome about 3 times by then in a fairly short period of time, anyway, so I thought I wouldn't go this trip. Mr. Z was quiet. Then he said...
"It's November. The white truffles are in season. Remember?" "Okay, I'll come...get me a ticket!" And we went. I'm no fool :-)

We flew to Rome and went, probably that night, to a restaurant called, I believe, Andreas. He ordered the pasta and white truffles for me and something else for himself....the truffle dish was about $50 a serving and this was 14 years ago. Truffles are EXPENSIVE (click on EXPENSIVE for details!!)The plate came and smelled like heaven must smell. There were a few light, beige shavings of truffle on the pasta and then the waiter began slicing more and they floated like feathers to a rest on the small pile of fettucini which glistened lightly with the white truffle oil it had been tossed with....(some restaurants literally charge by the 'shave' but I'm not sure they did that night in Rome). It's earthy and lovely and I just can't explain that wonderful, heady aroma, which became even lovelier and headier after I'd TASTED it.

I looked at my husband, my mouth full of the lovely flavor, and said "One can't SWALLOW this incredibly fabulous flavor, one should BRONZE IT!" Honestly, they bronze baby shoes and you SWALLOW THIS? Well, my mouth was full so I had to swallow, what the heck else could I do? But, all kidding was a moment of sheer and utter food BLISS. BY THE WAY: Can you imagine Macaroni and Cheese with white truffles? Click HERE!

This marvelous delicacy is delicious on fried eggs and other dishes, but that pasta plate that night will go down as probably THE BEST flavor I have ever had in my life. I hope you can try it some time. And, TRUST ME, black truffles need NOT APPLY!
(Faith, thanks for the 'it exists' link...great stuff!)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


.........and the warden says "Tomorrow is your execution. Give us a complete list of what you'd like to eat today."
One of mine, of course, is DEFINITELY MAC and CHEESE! And mashed potatoes. And white truffles on pasta. Oh, and spaghetti and meatballs. And..........well, let me hear yours, please! z

Sunday, January 10, 2010

You got a FOOD HORROR STORY of YOUR making?

There's some new show on the FOOD CHANNEL about WORST COOKS........Have you ever made something REALLY AWFUL and want to share it here?

I have to admit I made two meals (in 22 years of cooking for Mr. Z, that's not too bad, eh?) which we always laughed about. One was making lamb curry thinking I had plain yogurt and finding out I only had a couple of small lime yogurts and deciding to use it. Lime green colored lamb curry with that lime flavor is something I'd leave out of your recipe files were I you! Another was some fish that just wouldn't cook no matter what I did to it...and we had guests from Maryland in that night!

You have one or two WORST COOK moments? See that picture up there? The caption on Google Image was "Attempt at pancakes". I'd say that would rate 'worst cook', wouldn't you? !!

Friday, January 8, 2010

My birthday's tomorrow.......

.........What kind of cake would you bake for me? :-)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Your Grandmother

Did she have a dish that you think of every time you think of her? Is there a dish Grandma was known for that makes you hungry for it now, that makes you smile with nostalgia just thinking of her cooking and serving it to you?
My Dad's mother made butter icing that nobody's duplicated since....and her cream paklava could make you cry it was so delicious....My dear Sis now makes that almost as good as Grandma did.
My Mother's mother's best dishes were numerous but I have to say her macaroni and cheese knocked my socks off. I'll share the recipe with you soon.

Monday, January 4, 2010

A DELICIOUS soup for the common me!

Gail, a dear and very long-time friend reminded me in an email this morning about how she adores my mother's Greek Egg Lemon Soup. Let me tell you about it and I promise you'll make it!

Every time one of us many children got sick, Mom made her famous hot egg lemon soup. It got so that, as we met our men who became our husbands, she'd make it for them, too, if they felt unwell. Then it got so one who worked way downtown (about an hour in LA traffic) would drive to Mom and Dad's house just so Mom would make him what we all have come to call SICK SOUP. Sad name because it should really be called HEALTHY SOUP! You know what they say about Jewish chicken noodle soup....this is that delicious and healthy but SO much tastier (I promise). Come to think of it this soup also includes lemon as the star surprise ingredient as did my last post on scrambled eggs just below this post. It's an Egypt/Mediterranean thing. Actually, I also have to stop pretending this is Mom's recipe or anything to do with the place she was raised, Cairo, or anything Armenian (my heritage)...I have to give it up and admit this is AGVOLEMONO SOUP, as the Greeks, who probably invented it, call it. They deserve the credit.


Heat chicken broth (maybe the size of the smaller Swanson's boxes for 2 people) in a saucepan and throw in a little broken up vermicelli (maybe one cup?) until the vermicelli's cooked (Angel Hair pasta's fine just make sure you break it into roughly 1" pieces first). Turn off the heat.
In a bowl, break one egg and beat it. When the broth isn't quite as hot as it was, take a little bit of the broth and put it in the bowl with the beaten egg in it WHILE YOU KEEP STIRRING/BEATING...this is the key...add only a little at first or you'll get egg drop soup with curdled pieces of egg! Add a tad more broth, and KEEP STIRRING as you keep adding the broth to the egg....when you've got about a cup of broth in with that egg, then start adding that cooled off eggy broth (cooled while beating it with the egg) back into the saucepan VERY gently AND KEEP BEATING! Go back and forth very carefully and slowly, continuing to stir/beat until you've got all the egg/broth mixture into the saucepan.
Now, you've got the lovely broth with the vermicelli and egg perfectly mixed and you won't have egg drop soup (Actually, the first few times, you will get some curdling but even seasoned cooks of this soup have that happen worries, just do your best to make that mixture as smooth and curdle-less as'll be beautifully smooth and almost look like you'd added cream to it...silky and opaque from the lemon juice and egg.)
Squeeze a fresh lemon and add a bit to that mixture....and some taste. You can have the heat back on very low during this step but make SURE you keep stirring a little so you don't curdle. If it's just right with the amount of little lemon you added, drink and enjoy. If you're a tart taste lover like I am, add more lemon (which I recommend to get this flavor just right)....keep tasting.... Do not leave out the salt, it really does do a lovely thing to this soup.

I hope you enjoy it... It sounds complicated with the curdling threats but it really isn't so bad the second or third time and you just might get it right the first time...just keep stirring and let the broth cool just a bit before starting the mixing process. I hope it becomes a favorite for you. And, I swear, the combo of chicken broth (satisfying, wholesome protein), lemon (citrus, Vit C) and egg (more protein, silky texture and comfort) works wonders on a cold. By the way, you can use rice instead of vermicelli, just don't use too much of either or it'll be too starchy.

Let me know if you make this........good luck! If you, too, have a special and surprising chicken soup ingredient, let us know!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Cooking stalemates; Scrambled eggs and lemon.... an acquired taste, I'll admit it. And I love it. We grew up eating it for breakfast....scrambled hot and right out of the pan, with salt and fresh lemon juice sprinkled over it. I think it's an Egypt thing (Mom is Armenian and was raised in Cairo) . Dad was only a bacon and eggs man, but we all ate the lemon on eggs not knowing that you all didn't! I have to admit to finding catsup on scrambled eggs really unappetizing and I know plenty of people like that, so I guess it's what you're raised eating, right?

The thing about the hot scrambled eggs is that they're only good hot, not good cold. No, not at ALL. My mother was a stickler for our eating breakfast. I'm pretty sure that's why, the minute I moved out at about 21 years of age, I didn't eat breakfast again, except in restaurants if I happened to go out with friends, until I was about 30. I remember feeling so much better during the day after I started eating breakfast again at that ripe old age and thinking that Mom had been right all along. (just in case Mom reads this, I'll add "what else is new?" :-)
HERE IS THE STALEMATE: When we were little, Mom participated in carpools with other moms to get us to school. I remember hating to get up early and I figured I'd rather sleep in a bit than eat breakfast, even those nice hot scrambled eggs and lemon. I figured "Well, it's Mrs. Tucker's turn to drive this morning, so if I play it just right time-wise, I'll just HAVE to run out to her car when she honks and skip breakfast and there isn't anything Mom will be able to do about it!" Right?

Wrong. I sat down late at the kitchen table and started in on those eggs which were already cold. AWFUL. I bided my time pushing egg here and there on the plate and waiting for that blessed relief of the honk of the car outside in the driveway. Mom kept glaring and saying "Take another bite" so I had to from time to time. It's ghastly. I finally heard that HONK and started to jump up from the table........ Mom said "Sit down.....I'll drive you to sit there and finish those eggs." I couldn't believe it! She'd give up the easy way out and drive me separately so I'd eat breakfast.......who knew?

Was YOUR mom like that? Just thinking about cold scrambled eggs in lemon still makes me sick but I have to admit I still love them hot. Try a little chopped ham in there, too........mmm


Friday, January 1, 2010

I started out as a child*....loving FOOD, being amazed and awed by anything FOOD

One of my earliest memories is when I was about five or six. I was sick and doctors used to come to the house. (NO, I DID NOT live in a little house on the prairie next door to the Ingalls, you stop that!) That is the one and only time we had a doctor to the house, but I do remember it vividly!

Well, I'd had dinner (in my life, I think I've been too sick to eat maybe once) and felt very poorly and was put to bed. By 7:30 that evening, in walked Dr. Reagan, our pediatrician, black bag in his large cold hands. I lay there waiting for him to make me feel better and smooth the worried look off Mom's and Dad's faces. He lowered the blankets and started poking around my tummy, pushing down and rubbing around .......

"Hmmmm.....MEAT LOAF....." he said. My eyebrows had to have shot up. How'd he KNOW that? "...and mashed potatoes....and peas!" He described the whole dinner from feeling my stomach and that was one amazed six year old laying in that bed let me tell you. Magic, I thought! Dr. Reagan can tell THAT from doing THAT? He's brilliant! Boy, does he KNOW HIS FOOD! (or should I say MINE?!)
Later, Mom told me that he passed the kitchen and asked what we'd had for dinner. Smart doctor, huh? And I've never forgotten that.

Do you have a childhood food story you'd like to share?
*half the title of this post is brazenly stolen from a Bill Cosby album...:-)

IS anything more important than THE FOOD?

Mom and Dad used to go to some pretty swanky events. Among other things they were involved with, California's Governor George Deukmejian was a very old friend of Dad's so they attended evenings where he'd be. There could be a governor, a huge celeb like Sinatra singing, amazing guests Mom would tell me about the next day, and she'd flip her lid when I asked "What did they serve?" "WHAT DID THEY SERVE? Who cares, honey...this was quite an evening of interesting people, excellent performances and good speeches!"

"Gee, Mom. I just wondered." Are you the same way!? :-)

Any special New Year's Eve or Day foods to share?

We'd love to hear them............thanks! You have something traditional to eat with the Parade or the Games?