Fresh Summer Corn Salad

This recipe is courtesy of Ina Garten.


5 ears of corn, shucked
1/2 cup small-diced red onion (1 small onion)
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 tablespoons good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup julienned fresh basil leaves
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the corn for 3 minutes until the starchiness is just gone. Drain and immerse it in ice water to stop the cooking and to set the color. When the corn is cool, cut the kernels off the cob, cutting close to the cob.
Toss the kernels in a large bowl with the red onions, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Just before serving, toss in the fresh basil. Taste for seasonings and serve cold or at room temperature.

Spicy Brussel Sprouts with Mint

Found this recipe in a 2010 Food & Wine Cookbook and my Mother-Daughter book club loved it at a quarterly pot luck dinner where we caught up on our families’ activities. Can’t believe we’ve been together for almost 15 years.
The recipe is from David Chang’s Manhattan restaurant Momofuku Ssam Bar.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup Rice Krispies or other puffed rice cereal
1/4 teaspoon togarashi (Asian spice sesame seed mix) or cayenne pepper (I used cayenne, but I’d use a little less next time)
Kosher salt
1/4 cup Asian fish sauce
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 small red chile, minced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (I omitted)
2 tablespoons chopped mint
4 cups roasted or boiled brussels sprouts (about 2 pounds), halved lengthwise

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil until shimmering. Add the Rice Krispies and cayenne and cook over high heat, stirring, until browned, about 30 seconds. Season with salt. Transfer to a plate and wipe out the skillet.
In a small bowl, combine the fish sauce, water, sugar, rice vinegar, lime juice, garlic and chile and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the cilantro and mint.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet and heat until nearly smoking. Add the brussels sprouts; cook over high heat, stirring, until charred in spots and heated through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and toss with the vinaigrette. Just before serving, sprinkle the Rice Krispies on top and serve right away. NOTE: We ate room temp, but hot I think would be even better.

Dinner Party for Ten or Twelve

Over the next few days, I’ll post some recent recipes I used when I threw myself a dinner/birthday party. The highlights were the sangria and the cake, made by baker extraordinaire Hanna S. Hanna’s cake – a recipe she got from Food 52 – a wonderful food blog reposted here – was simply amazing. Definitely recommend making more than one – double it for sure.

Author Notes: This flourless cake is moist and nutty, with a hint of coconut. It’s perfect for a dinner party and even better for breakfast the next morning.  Makes one 9-inch cake

  • 3/4cup butter
  • 1cup sugar
  • 3eggs
  • 1/2cup milk
  • 1teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2cups almond meal
  • 1/2cup coconut flour
  • 2teaspoons baking powder
  1. Preheat your oven to 350° F. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs (one at a time), mixing until incorporated. Add milk and vanilla and beat until incorporated.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond meal, coconut flour, and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix thoroughly.
  4. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. The cake should be golden brown and starting to pull away from the sides.
  5. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes or so. Once cool (in the pan or out of the pan, either works), chill the cake in the refrigerator. It is VERY moist and needs to chill slightly to firm up.

Tags: almond cake, cake, dessert, gluten-free, sweets

You May Call Me Love Apple


Toe May Toe

Too May Toe

Two May tow

Tow May Tow

So red so orange so yellow

Agreeable, but in winter your skin slowly turns to rubber

Your flesh is barely tasty.

Without your sweet pungent bite

My soft lips can bite and kiss.

I miss you when the seasons change.

What dish can I make with you this summer?

Savory Luscious White Bean Soup: A Slow Cooker Favorite

Start it in the morning and eat it for dinner at night – what could be easier?  This slow cooker recipe adapted from Cooking Light can be made for vegetarians or consumed by carnivores as well. It takes only 10 – 15 minutes to prepare and 8 + hours to cook.


6 c. chicken stock

1 1/2 c. chopped onion

1 c. diced carrot

1 c. diced celery (may be omitted)

5 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tsp. dried thyme

1 bay leaf

12 oz. Great Northern white beans

4 c. kale

2 T. tomato paste

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1 c. turkey sausage crumbles (such as Jimmy Dean) – omit if going vegetarian. Any type of sausage may be used, including small meat balls. You could also add small shrimp as a variation.

2 T. lemon juice

1 oz. grated Parmesan or other grated cheese as desired

1. Place first 8 ingredients in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours until beans are soft.

2. Remove bay leaf. Stir in kale, tomato paste, salt, and turkey crumbles or other option, if using. If it’s too thick add a little water. Cover and cook on high for 30 additional minutes. Stir in lemon juice.

Divide soup into bowls, top with cheese.

Pot Luck Club with Perfect Luck

While visiting Cape Town, South Africa may not be in your immediate future, save this place as a must-go if you do go. Make a reservation well in advance because it’s a hot ticket, hotter than I knew when I booked it in October for a December visit. While scouring various blogs and reviews of places to go while there, I stumbled on Pot Luck Club and based on reviews and descriptions, I made a reservation. The very next weekend it happened to be featured in a New York Times magazine story. When we did go, the cabbie who dropped us off was adament that the only way we could have gotten in, was due to a cancellation — “but President Obama ate there!” he reminded me. Well we did, too. It’s a small place – seats about 50 people – and is on the sixth floor of a place called the Silo of the Old Biscuit Mill in an area known as Woodstock. Opened by renowned chef Luke Dale-Roberts, and presided over by the head chef Wesley Randles, pot luck is a fun place to eat in cool surroundings. Dinner is in two sittings and features a selection of tapas from five taste groups – sweet, salty, sour, umami, and bitter – and under each “taste” are a number of selections from which to choose and share at the table. The night we went standouts included fish tacos; wok fried eggs with miso bean sprouts and pickled mushrooms; prawn salad; and a selection of South African cheeses.potluck


it turned out to be our lucky day!

it turned out to be our lucky day!




Last night we went with friends to the Takoma Park, MD outpost known as Republic. Due to the noise in the main dining area, we nearly left. But I am so glad we stayed because once we were seated in the back room our amazement at the wonderful food began. Oysters from Ugly, MD and Old Black Salt, VA arrived and half were sweet and half were salty pleasing everyone at the table. Next were a variety of appetizers, sides, and entrees that the four of us shared. The standout for me was the smoked paprika cauliflower, though since everything was pretty much absolutely wonderful, it’s difficult to say what was best. The arugula salad featured roasted pumpkin seeds and bits of winter squash topped off with tangy white cheese resembling feta. The ample sides dishes included the forementioned fried cauliflower with the smoked papricka, lemon and a smidgen of parmesan that didn’t overwhelm it. The mushroom fondue was swimming in a shallow pool of marsala and tarragon and delightful. When I got to the quinoa risotto on a bed of carrot safron puree I was stunned by the various textures and tastes that filled every bite due to the addition of mascarpone, crimini mushrooms and pearl onions. The char cooked so that the skin was crispy and the fish tender sat on top of braised red cabbage with smoked bacon, fingerling potatos and a soubise that blended these various flaovers ina way that made me admire the chef who created it. Go to Republic – so worth the somewhat high prices.

Heard About Bunny Chow?

Bunny Chow from the original Durban South African bunny restaurant. No bunnies or rabbits have been hurt in the preparation.

Bunny Chow from the original Durban South African bunny restaurant.
No bunnies or rabbits have been hurt in the preparation.

My daughter is living in Durban, South Africa, doing a semester of study abroad. She keeps telling us about a food called “Bunny Chow,” so I decided to try to find out what it is. It’s a curry stew, usually made with lamb, chicken or vegetables, scooped into a hollowed out quarter or half loaf of bread.

There are several stories that claim to tell the origin of bunny chow in Durban. One is that Indian immigrants who arrived in South Africa to work on sugar plantations used the sturdy bread to carry their curry into the fields, a form of fast food that could be transported and eaten without much trouble. The other is that during apartheid the Indian immigrants, who were not able to be served with whites, would go to the back of the restaurant, where they could be served bunnies, as the locals call them, because they required no forks or plates. Roti, the traditional bread for curries, was too flimsy to carry the curry in, so the hollowed loaves replaced it and also served as a take out container. According to Food 52 blog, in both stories, “Bunny” is “a permutation of the word Bania, an Indian caste of merchants who sold the curries.”

The following recipe is adapted from the Travel Bite Blog, Madeline Grimes:

Author’s Notes: A thick curry served in a quarter, half, or full loaf of bread. South Africa’s answer to the hot dog.

Serves 4

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
2 large white onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon cumin
3 tablespoons garam masala
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
2 teaspoons tumeric
2 ground cardamom pods
2 tomatoes, diced
2 cups carrots, diced
2 cups potatoes, cubed
2 large, boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1-2 cup chicken stock or water
2 unsliced loaves of crusty white bread, each cut across in half in the middle and most of inside hollowed out like a bread bowl.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and sauté the cinnamon and bay leaves until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
Add the onions and fry until they are almost translucent. Add garlic, ginger, and all of the remaining spices and cook another 1-2 minutes.
Add the carrots, potatoes, chicken, and stock or water. Stir and bring to a low simmer. Cook and cover for about 30 minutes until chicken is tender, stirring occasionally. Remove the bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Spoon the curry inside the bread.

Eating without a Dog in Lewes, DE.

Over the weekend, my husband and I celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary in Lewes, Delaware, at a small bed and breakfast that caters to people and their dogs. Known as the Lazy L (we never did find out what the “L” stood for), it was immaculately clean, especially considering that there were dogs, dogs, people, and did I say dogs? We managed to get a room right across from a very yappy Yorkshire terrier, easily the worst behaved pooch in the house. Every single time we went in or out the dog barked, a high pitched rather annoying bark. But it was his owner I found even more annoying – why – because each time it happened she apologized for his Rufus’s behavior. What does this have to do with food? Well, it made me hungry…hungry for quiet, hungry for a bigger room, more privacy— and for a good meal. Fortunately we had Sonja with us. She could have eaten Rufus in one bite, but being a rather large red lab, retriever, Ridgeback mix, she preferred dog food…and was happy to stay in the room, alone, quietly sleeping for while after a long day swimming and fetching in the Chesapeake Bay. That’s when my hubby and I left for dinner.

In Lewes, we skipped the hour-long wait at the Mexican restaurant we’d heard was mahvelous and instead went up the street to Kindle. It was lovely. We sat inside. I have few complaints – it was a little on the warm side, but it was over 90 degrees all day so most places had to crank up the AC pretty high to keep things cool.

We each had a beet, blue cheese and frise salad with a delicious vinaigrette dressing. We also shared a Moroccan chick pea soup. It had a tomato base, lots of chick peas, and Moroccan spices that satisfied us and weren’t too overwhelming. For entrees, I chose the Princess cut Filet Mignon with Cremini and Shitake mushrooms, Arugula and Roasted Red potatoes. The preparation was top-notch and cooked perfectly rare, as I requested. More interesting was what my husband ordered — Scallops on a Gruyere Crouton, Tomato Broth, Garbanzo Beans & Braised Swiss Chard. Yes, they like garbanzo beans, but it worked. He said it was delicious and exciting to have something different that was also beautifully presented.

The evening was even romantic. The display of candles that kindled nearby and above the tables make the lighting really special. The service was excellent – not too intrusive and somewhere between fast and just right.

Glad we left the dog, who was happy to see us when we returned, (Rufus yapped) but not too sad to have time alone. No barking from Sonja was reported.