Sunday, December 18, 2011

Afternoon Open House

Hot Spiced Cider with or without Rum (Pum Pum Pum)
    An afternoon open house is the perfect party ...  No main course.  Everyone's gone by dinner time...  And folks show up because  other commitments are for evening.  Few dishes to wash.  Food that's easy to prepare ahead. Your goal:  everything out and ready for guests to help themselves.  Your reward:  To be able to enter your own party! 
Ginger cookies, Chocolate Snowballs, Date bars--Made ahead and frozen

Monday, December 12, 2011

Fave Cookies-A Repeat Post

 Raspberry Shortbread Sandwiches and Valrhona Chocolate Shortbreads 

 Last Year on Christmas Eve, I posted the recipes for these cookies.   As they are among my favorites, I thought them worth posting again!  Happy Cookying, my friends.

Merry Christmas, Friends, Family and other Loved Ones

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Homemade Tomato Soup and Fried Cheese on a Snowy Night or How's the Second Week of Advent Goin' for Ya?

The story goes that tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches....  Actually, I don't know that story.  If you do, tell me.  I just can't remember when I didn't eat that comforting, homey classic Saturday noon meal.   My kids grew up eating it, but mama's got a brand new bag.

This time around, I made the tomato soup myself.  No sugar, sweetheart.  Just a drop of honey to counteract the acid in the tomatoes. grilled cheese sandwich.  Not for me.  Dave had one.  Instead, I fried my cheese and gently topped my soup with it.

It was creamy, crunchy and fulfilled all those grilled cheesey longings while I skipped the bread on a cold, cold night with the snow flying across the piano window:


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Turkey Pot Pie or Last Ditch and Best Effort for Thanksgiving Leftovers

Turkey Pot Pie
You might have lived when pot pies were a regular feature of your mom's menus.  Maybe you had them instead of TV Dinners.  I have a sketchy memory of frozen pies from the grocery @10 for $1. This undoubtedly dates me in an unkind way.  I did not have a mother who refused to cook; she cooked a lot.   That didn't mean we never had a frozen pot pie.  I remember liking them, though I maybe haven't tasted one in fifty years.

If you go out to eat at any number of restaurants these days, you'll find homemade pot pies are on lots of menus and people order them over and over.  Definitely comfort food.  Certainly fattening.  But oh so filling and often luscious.  They're full of all kinds of things--poultry, vegetables, roast beef, sea food, etc.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Kathy's Apple Pie

Kathy's pie
My hairdresser works about a half-a-block from my house.  Her name is Kathy.  I chose her because... she works about a half-a-block from my house.  When we moved here, I cried at leaving Jen, my hairdresser of 13 years in Colorado.  So I didn't even look for anyone special; I just chose the closest "girl" and tried her.  I mean, you've seen my hair.  What could go wrong?  And, if it did, how much time would it take to grow a bit?  Luckily, everything has worked out fine.  My hair's just right.
When Kathy did it the first time, I sent Jen a pic on my cell phone.  "She's got the color spot-on, but it's a wee bit short," said Jen.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Take your Toys to Dunn Brothers and Shop OXFAM

Take your toys to Alyce's favorite coffee store:  Dunn Brothers.
  Beginning November 1st and ending December 15th Dunn Bros Coffee shops nation-wide will be drop-off destinations for new and unwrapped toys for the Toys for Tots program.Help us reach our goal of collecting 16,000 toys this Holiday Season!

Bring new, unwrapped toys or books to your neighborhood Dunn Brothers and leave them in the Toys for Tots drop-off box.

Toys for Tots Mission
The mission of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to needy children in the community in which the campaign is conducted.
Note: Some toy drive end dates will vary based on shop location
Go Dunn Brothers!



Choose from over 70 unique gifts that help fight hunger, poverty and social injustice.

Think seeds, manure, art supplies for kids, books, a healthy herd, a school meal program for one kid...and so on.

 Oxfam America Unwrapped is part of Oxfam America, a non-profit organization committed to creating lasting solutions to poverty, hunger, and injustice. We rely on like-minded people like you to help us give poor people the support they need to change their lives. By purchasing our charitable gifts, you are making a difference. Give gifts that do good...and...

Do it all with joy and sing a new song,             


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Timpano II and Other Journeys There and Back Home

I have some really good friends in Colorado. That puts it lightly.  We never need a reason to get together, but...

Last year, we had a party we called "The Big Night" after the movie "The Big Night"  starring Stanley Tucci, Tony Shaloub, Isabella Rosselini, Marc Anthony, Minnie Driver, et al.  In this cult film-lover's movie, two Italian brothers try to save their New World restaurant (and their lives) by throwing a huge party to which Louis Prima is supposedly invited.  I won't spoil the story, but while Prima is the no-show star, a dish called "Timpano" (Italian for timpani) does make an appearance and steals the dinner scene. (See my post on our first Big Night, October 29, 2010.)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Roasted Pork Loin and Hot! Cranberry Sauce

New USDA regs say it's ok if it's a bit pink.

 As a recipe tester for Cooks Illustrated, I get to make all kinds of things.  I mostly like them, but sometimes I don't.  The note that arrives with each recipe always says something to the effect of:
If you don't care for one or more of the ingredients in the dish or wouldn't ordinarily eat it, please do not test this recipe...
So, for instance, if you hate hot stuff, don't test the On-Fire Texas Chili.  I love to see the magazine months and months later to see recipes on which I've worked; I'm interested to see the final result-which may not be the recipe I saw originally.  I test recipes far out of season sometimes (I'm sure I've mentioned this before--) and adore that out of time and place experience that has us eating turkey in March.  That was one of the best turkeys I've ever eaten, by the way, but felt like it took all day to make. If you didn't buy the magazine last January or February, the recipe is online, but you must subscribe.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Curried Pumpkin Soup or Julie Used to Live Here

I adore pumpkin in nearly any form.  I think I love pumpkins because they appear during my birthday month.  Maybe not, though.  Because, truly:  I love to eat them.  Almost any way.  While I'm sure pumpkin soup has been around a long time (A quick peek at my historical cookbooks, however makes no mention of it.  American Cookery 1796 has a recipe for Pumpkin Pudding.  Fanny Farmer, 1896, lists only pumpkin pie.  The  Household Searchlight Recipe Book, 1931, has listings for canning pumpkin, making pumpkin custard, jam, and pie with cheese crust--but no soup,) I had never tasted it until 1985 when we went to live in Spokane, Washington, and my God's gift of a neighbor, Joyce Smith, made pumpkin soup in the pumpkins for a holiday meal.  Ten years later, I traveled right here to St. Paul, and good cook Lani Jordan whipped up a pumpkin-peanut butter soup for Sue's birthday lunch.  

My own soup was years later coming.  Late 90's maybe.  By now, it comes in several guises.  I sometimes blend cooked, ripe pears and apples into the mix.. or other batches contain a touch of vanilla and a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds on top.  One memorable pot was ladled into bowls with my sweet-crunch  "Go Nuts" as garnish.  I've also been known to use a mix of squashes and vegetables (also cooked dried beans) with the soup and up the heat factor, as well.

While, according to an old Craig Claiborne book, you can steam unpeeled pieces of pumpkin and later peel and mash them, I'm by now definitely attached to opening a can.  As are many women.  And...
Pumpkin anything is pretty simple if you're willing to used canned pumpkin.  I also adore butternut squash soup, but if you want to make butternut squash anything,  you have to peel and cook the rock-hard thing.  Which takes a lot of effort.  I buy a new peeler every year because the winter squash wreaks havoc with them.  Even Paula Deen gets one of her boys to peel her squash.   (My children don't seem to be waiting in the wings to peel my squash.  Where are you?)   Your other option is to pay through the nose for already cut-up butternut squash.  I'm not doing that.   But pumpkin!  Well, that's why God made Libby's, right?  (Or go ahead and roast or microwave a whole one if you have to, but after trying it once,  you'll head to the grocery store canned aisle.)  I seem to be on a pumpkin jag lately--both in this blog and in Dinner Place.    So!  Go ahead and make pumpkin soup.  Did I say it's quick?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Southwestern Turkey Meatloaf or Here You Go, Lori!

It was ready for its close-up, but does meatloaf ever photograph well?
 I have a friend named Lori.  She's smart and tall, is mom to a big hulking chocolate lab, is beautiful and talented, and does things like run a salon and also fly airplanes.  Sometimes in the same day.  Did I mention she's a runner and that she's from Boston?  She also "did" my nails for several years in Colorado Springs.  When you spend an hour and a half every three weeks literally face to face with someone for years on end, you either become friends or sleep.  Lori and I chose to become friends. (I miss her.)

So, being women and being friends, and being a foot apart so often, Lori and I talked food. (Also family, men, sports--her, not me, work, whatever)  Lori's mostly vegetarian, though she eats some chicken, etc.  And Lori makes meatloaf.  Turkey meatloaf.  It's good, says she, but she's a bit bored with it.  More than once, she asked if I had another recipe.  Recipes, now that we have the internet, are a dime a dozen, but I hadn't made turkey meatloaf in years.  I was intrigued and remembered someone saying, "You cannot season turkey meatloaf like beef meatloaf; it's awful.  You must season it like turkey."  While that brings sage, onions and celery to mind, for me it also brings hot peppers, feisty cheese, and salsa.  Living in San Antonio for four years and Colorado for 15 would do that.  Taking cooking classes in Santa Fe would definitely do that.

One day, after months of turkey meatloaf ideas perking around in my head from time to time, I decided to try it.  Wow!  Both Dave and I loved it.  This loaf is full of chiles, onions, garlic, and salsa, and I stuffed it with overlapping slices of pepperjack cheese so that when you cut it (make sure and let it sit a while or you'll have a gooey mess), there are lovely melting bites of sharp cheese right at the center.

I mean, if meatloaf is good, people adore it--right? It's filling, homey, stretches to feed a bunch, and makes great sandwiches.  Though, really, loving meatloaf isn't something everyone wants to admit.  It's not on top of the trendy list, though come to think of it COOKING LIGHT has a meatloaf article in the October Issue.  But trendy or not, if you make it, they will come.  And they'll want the recipe.  It's one of those emotional food-pingers like, "My grandma made the best meatloaf!"  Make this even if you have to invite people over to eat it.  ESPECIALLY if you have to invite people over to eat it.

Side: Mashed potatoes is the usual suspect, but I did an all-in-one sauté of sliced new potatoes, onions, garlic, and late summer squashes that comes together just before the meatloaf comes out of the oven and while it rests before serving.  Top it with finely diced fresh tomatoes and sweet green peppers for color and crunch.   That's not much for directions; let me look in the cooking journal and see if I kept amounts listed when I cooked it.  If I did, I'll include a recipe.  How's that for informality in the cooking blog?   Here's the meatloaf recipe, for which I definitely kept the list of ingredients and, uh--techniques and methods!

Here you are, Lori.  Sorry it took so long.

Here it is all dressed up with someplace to go.  Your mouth!

 Southwestern Turkey Meatloaf Stuffed With Pepperjack Cheese  serves 8  (or 2 with lots of leftovers for sandwiches)

1# each ground turkey breast and ground turkey
1 1/2 cups salsa, divided (I like Frontera Roasted Tomato, mild)
2 cups whole wheat bread, cubed
1/4 tsp each:  kosher salt freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup minced onion
2 cloves minced garlic
2 eggs, beaten
8 oz (about 1 1/2 c) sliced or chopped button mushrooms
1 4 oz can chopped green chiles, drained

1/3# Pepperjack cheese, sliced

2T olive oil, divided

Note about salt:  I do not include much salt as the salsa contains quite a bit.  If you'd like to check and see whether or not you'd like to add salt, make a small meatball of the mixture and fry it in a bit of oil.  Taste and see (great song, too!) if you'd like any salt.

Garnish optional:  Diced fresh tomatoes and green peppers

  1. Oil your biggest loaf (I used 9x5) pan using 1T of the olive oil.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Wash your hands well and take off your rings and watch.  Get a big bowl out of the cupboard and throw in everything (using only 1 cup of salsa; the rest is for later)--turkey through chiles-- but the Pepperjack cheese, olive oil, and garnish.  Put your hands down into the meat mixture and combine thoroughly.
  3. Pat about half of the meat mixture into the oiled loaf pan and place the slices of pepperjack cheese right down the middle of the loaf, overlapping, and stopping before the very end. (So that the cheese doesn't ooze out while the meatloaf bakes.)  Place the other half of the meatloaf mixture on top of the cheese and pat down to create the loaf.  Brush with the other tablespoon of olive oil.
  4. Place loaf pan on a foil-lined sheet pan and bake for about 1 1/4 hours or until thermometer registers 160.  Remove from oven and let  rest 10 -15 minutes.  Invert onto serving platter (or carve in the pan if that's easier) and top with the other half-cup of salsa.  Garnish with diced tomatoes and green peppers if desired.  Surround the loaf with  the Potato-Zucchini Sauté and serve hot.  Store leftovers tightly wrapped in refrigerator for up to two days.
Yes, it was in the cooking journal and here it is...
Potato Zucchini Sauté
  • 6-8 small (1-2") new red potatoes, sliced thinly
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1T butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 t chili powder (I like Penzey's; choose your style.)
  • 1/2 t kosher salt
  • 1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 t dried oregano
  • 1 ea:  small zucchini and yellow squash, sliced thinly
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Garnish, optional:  1/4 cup each:  diced fresh tomato and green pepper

  1. In a large skillet or sauté pan, heat oil and butter.  Add potatoes. 
  2. Cook until potatoes brown on one side.  Stir and turn potatoes.  Add onions and dust with chili powder, salt, pepper, and oregano.  Cook one minute and add squash and garlic. 
  3. Cover and cook until potatoes are tender and squash is al dente or grandma done (your choice)--another 2-3 minutes. 
  4. Serve garnished with tomatoes and peppers if desired.
Two-Dog Kitchen and Around the 'Hood
It's that time of year.  Keeping the cantata on the piano at all times (skipping my own piano lessons), planning holiday travel, getting the last of the outdoor chores accomplished before it snows, changing out the clothes, ordering wool socks, taking as many walks as we can with the doggies, and grabbing yet another bouquet out of the flower garden. This may have been the last rose of summer:
 Or maybe this one!

While very dry, the grass is still mostly green.
 Here are the pies I baked for Pops and Pies, one of the monthly concerts at Prospect Park United Methodist:  
Must be October if it's pumpkin!

This is a sour-cream apple topped with a decadent crumble.

I did make that beef-vegetable soup I mentioned (with three variations plus some ideas on how to make it a bit cheaper) and if you'd like to see how I did it, you'll need to visit where I write cooking and food articles for St. Paul.

Basic Beef-Vegetable Soup

Pumpkin Custard just for YOU
 Also, on my blog for The Solo Cook (Dinner Place), there's a great pumpkin custard topped with cinnamon-kissed creme fraiche. It's made for those who cook for one and is done in one minute in the microwave.  Your very own (crustless) pumpkin "pie."
Warm enough for flip flops yesterday.

Stubborn Tucker:  wouldn't turn around for his picture.
Happy October, my friends.
Sing a new song,

Monday, September 26, 2011

Curried Cauliflower or I Can't Play my Piano

 At Thanksgiving, when cauliflower is so very dear (and it's supposed to still be in season), I'll wish I'd bought a few extra heads in September.  Made a little gratinee with lots of garlic, cream, and Swiss cheese.  Thrown in an extra casserole for Jeanne.  Maybe even made some cauliflower soup--even though it's so very easy and is even good made with frozen cauliflower.  Once in a while I get it all done, but not this year.  The basement freezer isn't bought, though it's on the list (after paying the floor guy and the radiator repair guy) and I expect  it's not too far in the future.  But right now, we're eating what I cook and not putting much away for the winter. I did sneak a big bag of blueberries into the side-by-side and have a couple of on sale whole chickens (for chicken noodle soup) down in the bottom.
Make-do steamer.

I'm not much for raw cauliflower.  I'm not saying I don't eat it from the raw vegetable platter; I do.  But the mealy, cabbagy sensation isn't what I'm after; it's not my favorite.  But steam it, stew it, boil it, roast it, fry it and I'm all over it.  I don't care if it's a bit crispy or grandma-done; I like it.  This curried dish is a mix of two preparations.  First you  briefly steam it. Next you saute some sliced onions and garlic with curry powder.

Then add the steamed cauliflower..

Stir and cook until quite golden and nearly tender. 

Curried Cauliflower

1 head fresh cauliflower, cleaned, cored, and cut into florets
2T olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp curry powder (Penzey's has a great variety; try a couple of different ones.)
Kosher salt, pepper, and ground cayenne (if your curry isn't too hot)

Steam cauliflower in a veggie steamer (or in the microwave) for about seven minutes, until just losing its crispness.  Meantime, in a large skillet, heat oil and saute onions for 3-4 minutes.  Add garlic, curry powder and sprinkle with salt, pepper and ground cayenne, if using.  Add steamed cauliflower and stir well.  Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until cauliflower is nearly tender.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  (To increase cooking speed, add a couple of tablespoons of water to the skillet and cover for a  minute or two.)  Serve hot.


At least that's what I did.  And walked the five steps to the dining room to eat it paired with a little steak Dave and I had.  That's as far as we can go because the couch is in the dining room, too, due to floor repair and refinishing in the living room.  Where the piano is.

Can't get to the piano.  Or the bedrooms.  Or the front door.

You could call it cozy.

If I climb over the couch, and land in the perfect place, I can quickly scoot over and land on the piano bench.  If.  I haven't tried it.  If we didn't have dogs, we would be able to walk through the living room tomorrow.  If. But we do have dogs, so we're waiting until Wednesday.  Sleeping in the basement where we can watch tv lying in our great (no, really, it is) sofa bed.

Next they're tearing up the kitchen floor (6 layers?) down to the sub floor in order to lay a new wood floor.  And, yes, the stove and frig must come out for a two week period.  Ought to be interesting in our dining room; that's where they'll go.  I love fixing up old houses, don't you?

Two-Dog Kitchen and Around the 'Hood
Came home Friday to find Alvin running around the kitchen....
                          He jumped up in the window and I closed him in there.  Quick thinking, huh?   The floor guy, aka Bob,  had left the door open.  This chipmunk, aka Alvin, has been in our yard all summer, eating the painter's lunches and jumping out into the path, scaring the crap out of us.  Our painter and friend, Chris, kept telling us that chipmunk was too smart for his own good and was going to get in the house.  We laughed.  Until Friday.

Still, all was well.  We finally snuck open the bottom of the window, pushed the screen out, reclosed the window and went around outside to pull the screen out and watch him fly through the air into the still-blooming (really) day lilies.  None the worse for wear, he yelled as he passed my head, "Just wanted to see what you'd done with the house."

Still picking flowers from our yard.


Not quite the last rose of summer, but nearly.
Meantime, come sing your heart out at Prospect Park United Methodist over in Minneapolis.  We worship at 9:30 am and have coffee and then Sunday School after that.  Wander over and see what we're up to next Saturday, October 1 at 7pm when we present "Pops and Pies," a toe-tappin' evening of music followed by scrumptious pie and, of course, coffee...

Pie, me oh my:  I love pie.

Sing a new song,

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pasta with Eggplant and Pancetta

What's in your frig?  Make pasta for a cool fall evening.  Pancetta helps.
We lived for four years in Dayton, Ohio.  How at home I felt there.  The flora and fauna welcomed me warmly (and coldly) as, indeed, the atmosphere felt just like northern Illinois where I grew up.  The summers were wilting (and our air conditioning never worked right) and the winters were damned cold.  Gray.  A long period of waiting for spring was how some approached it.  I felt differently.  I adore late fall; Thanksgiving is my favorite season.  I'm entranced with Advent and greet it positively every year, knowing my walk to the stable will be a new one.  Again.

But, in Ohio, summer seemed to disappear without a trace one wet day in October.  It happened in such a way that a week or two later, you wondered what had happened.  There were weeks of cool, sunny times and God's great leaves flying.  Lovely Saturdays at the farm watching cider being pressed.  Nights on hayrides with bonfires later for hot dogs.  A morning you dug out the sweaters.  Any time, though, an 80 degree day could still pop up.  Really.  And then, one day on the way to work, you knew that day wasn't appearing.  At all.  Anymore.  It had been raining for a week or two, getting colder all the time.  It just rained itself right into winter.  And gray it was.

We're on the edge of that here.  Mostly the days are still perfect.  A light sweater or short jacket needed sometimes.  Flowers still in bloom---somewhat.  The yard is drooping mightily, though, and the window boxes have definitely seen better days.  I broke down and bought mums and pansies, but haven't gotten them all out yet.  And, truthfully, taking care of the yard (and watering) is beginning to seem like yesterday's diapers.  But today it's rainy and there's no sun.  At all.  Gabby still has her head hanging out by the window in case that German Shepherd or Black Lab has the nerve to walk by on the sidewalk.  But soon she gives up and puts her head down on the rug near my chair.  The other doggies are staying home more these days.

The oven can stay on for bread now.

What will I do with these?

Why does it have to rain, Mom?

 A bunch of green tomatoes appeared on the back porch from the gardening neighbor.  We won't have enough sun or heat to ripen them.   I go around turning lights on during the day.  Think of making a big pot of beef vegetable soup.  Planned activities are a girls' night at Scusi and then out to a movie.  Not a picnic or outdoor concert or backyard cook-out.  This morning I ordered a long down coat and tall, warm boots.  I'm looking for a freezer so I can make Christmas cookies ahead for Drop in and Decorate.  We're getting our floors redone before snow flies.  That's what time it is.


Oh, we're not at the point of storing the patio furniture.   Or of skipping Saturday breakfast on the porch.  But it's coming.  And I've just woken up to it.  I still get up and put on capris and flip flops.  Sometimes I change.  Not always.

Last night, it was cold enough for a filling and warm dinner of whatever's in frig for pasta.  I occasionally blog these instant meals (and lately I'm doing it often) because that's how so many of us have to eat.  If we can even get THAT much cooked.  I have friends who are happy to have time to pull out cheese, apples, and crackers because that's all there's time or energy for.  But listen, 15-20 minutes will give you this admirable and filling meal.  You'll be busy the whole time, but you can put on Vivaldi while you do it and you'll definitely have time to set the table in a welcoming way.
Well maybe not quite like this, but why not set an attractive table?
 If you must (and who knows?), throw all of the vegetables in the food processor (except the tomatoes) and get it done even faster.  (Note:  I keep chopped pancetta on my freezer door all of the time.  There's almost nothing it won't do.  And, yes, a bit of American bacon will work.)

As this is more a method than a recipe, I write it in steps.  Read it through to understand the process and then make it yourself.  Boil the pasta, fry the pancetta (or bacon or ham), add vegetables, garlic and herbs, put it together and serve with cheese.  So there.  Maybe you need read no further.  But go on.

Pasta with Eggplant and Pancetta  serves 2  generously with a bit leftover for someone's lunch

1.  Put a covered 10 quart stockpot 3/4 full of salted and peppered water on to boil. Sprinkle with a pinch of crushed red pepper and dried oregano.  Add  1/2 # whole wheat pasta when the water is boiling and cook about 10-11 minutes until al dente.  Drain and reserve.
2.  Meantime, in a large, deep skillet, brown about 1/4 cup of chopped pancetta or bacon.  When it's crisp, remove it to a plate lined with paper towels.   Leave fat from pancetta in the pan.
3.  Into that same pan, add 1 large chopped onion, 1 large chopped carrot, 1 chopped medium yellow squash or zucchini, 1/2 cup chopped, peeled eggplant, 1/2 sliced or whole fresh spinach leaves,  and 1/2 cup chopped red or yellow pepper.  Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (or more to taste) and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.  Vegetables can be changed to suit what's in your crisper.  I do think you need onions, garlic, something for bulk like squash or eggplant, and fresh herbs of some sort.
4.  Cook vegetables until they're softened and add 3 cloves garlic, minced.  Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Add 2 chopped ripe tomatoes (or a cup of cherry tomatoes) and 1/4 cup chopped parsley and/or basil.  Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon dried oregano and 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper.  Return pancetta to the pan and stir well. 
5. Add drained pasta to skillet.  Mix and toss well, using tongs, and taste for seasoning.
6. Serve in pasta bowls with grated  Parmesan or Romano cheese at the table.

Wine:  We had a little Barbera leftover from burgers on the grill, so we drank that.  A big Chardonnay would work, as would Zinfandel or even a Cabernet Sauvignon.  While we think of big reds as the province of big meats, they stand up and support a hearty, vegetable-filled pasta--especially if it's topped with a strong cheese like Parmesan or flavored with a warm, deep meat like pancetta.

Two-Dog Kitchen and Around the 'Hood

The singing fellowship:

Choir came to lunch Saturday.  Chicken chili, sangria, brownies.

Good bud Kim all but moved in to the kitchen to keep things going.  Love you, Kim!

Nope, we didn't sing.  Just visited and ate.  Rested our pipes.

Fall--Time for Grooming.   Didn't much like it.  But they looked good for the choir.

Exhausted after their baths and trims.  What did we have to do that for? And what's with the bandanas?
 My life is currently full of playing catch-up at work.  Reading all the fall lectionary texts so I can choose appropriate music.  Off and on for a couple of weeks, the dining room table is full of music, bibles, notes, computer, etc.  I run back and forth trying to familiarize myself with the music library at church.  What's there?  What's possible to learn (and do well) with only two rehearsals?  Listening to anthems online. Listening to the choir.  Attending one lectionary study at Cabrini Catholic church  and one Bible Study with the neighborhood women.  Praying for a co-worker, who had to undergo emergency surgery.  Looking at a choir retreat in November.  Dreaming of the cantata much later than I typically do.  And I'm sooo excited and...

 I'm so busy ...  Being grateful, grateful, grateful for the opportunity.  Thanks, God.

Sing a new song,