What Comes First, the Chicken or the Soup?

If my mother would have ever plopped down a bowl of soup in front of my dad for dinner, well, she just wouldn’t have done it. Pork chops, yes; fried chicken, definitely. Cream of broccoli soup? Rethink it, Marg. Rethink it.

I, on the other hand, occasionally plunk down a bowl of soup in front of Bill for dinner, and he doesn’t complain. I’m sure he doesn’t think to himself Wow, in all of my hopes and dreams, I didn’t allow myself to imagine that we would have cream of broccoli soup tonight for dinner. But he doesn’t complain. He simply eats his mandatory one bowl, and then looks longingly at the freezer, hoping there is ice cream. There almost always is, by the way.

I, on the other hand, love soup. I love it for lunch or dinner. I especially love soup if it includes noodles or potatoes. Best yet, both. If my options for a starter at a restaurant are either soup or salad, and if the soup is homemade, I will almost always choose soup. My favorite lunch among all lunch choices is pho – Vietnamese noodle soup. Someday I’m going to get up my nerve and try preparing pho. Someday.

But back to Bill for a minute. There is a restaurant in our Denver neighborhood that is a Jewish deli. In fact, it’s cleverly called New York Deli News. Though their menu is chock full of good, homemade and hearty options such as beef brisket and stuffed cabbage (and a corned beef and tongue sandwich if you are so inclined), we rarely go there except on Fridays. On Fridays they serve a delicious and affordable prime rib, along with boiled potatoes and steamed mixed fresh vegetables. It really is very good. I want it right now.

Their starter options are — predictably — salad or soup, and their soups are homemade. On their busy Fridays, they offer mushroom beef barley and chicken noodle. I always get the beef barley and Bill gets the chicken noodle. And he always raves, nearly weeps with joy, over the chicken noodle soup. He has gone so far as to proclaim it the best he’s ever eaten, and I’m pretty sure he has said these words: IT’S TO DIE FOR.

Well. As a person who prides herself on her soup-making skills, and who is pretty darn sure has never heard IT’S TO DIE FOR as it relates to any of the meals I have prepared for him, I bristled the first time. Really, I said to him, settle down; it’s only chicken noodle soup. Lots of people make chicken noodle soup. I, for example, make chicken noodle soup.

And so I recently decided I would prove to him that I could make chicken noodle soup that is as good as that served at New York Deli News. I immediately chose to use a recipe I’ve had for a long time from Paula Deen.

Why did I choose Paula Deen? Two reasons, really. The first reason is that she is (to put it bluntly if quite inconsiderately) plump. Fat, really. Or at least, she used to be. I can’t say for sure anymore because she was sent packing after she admitted that she had once used the N word. Which brings me to my second reason. I relate to Paula Deen because there have been a number of occasions in which I’ve said something that I wish I could take back almost immediately. I’m pretty sure she wishes she had kept her past mistake to herself. And as for her being overweight being a reason to use her recipe, I go with the philosophy that you should never trust a skinny cook. I’m looking at you, Giada.

Anyway, I made my soup, and I thought it tasted delicious. Bill ate his mandatory bowl, sheepishly asking for some salt, and looked longingly at the freezer. But I’m pretty sure he will show a bit more restraint when praising the chicken noodle soup at New York Deli News.

Look for yourself…..

And here’s my recipe for chicken noodle soup. While I used Paula Deen’s recipe as my guide, I made quite a few changes. She adds cream, which is perhaps why she’s plump. I find cream unnecessary. Deceased Jewish grandmothers world-wide rolled over in their graves at the thought of cream in their chicken noodle soup…..

Chicken Noodle Soup

Ingredients
2-3 bay leaves
3 chicken bouillon cubes
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 2-3 lb. whole chicken, cut up
1-1/2 t. Italian seasoning
3-1/2 quarts water
2 c. carrots, chopped
2 c. celery, chopped
1 c. sliced mushrooms
3 T. chopped fresh parsley
2-3 c. uncooked egg noodles
2 T. dry marsala wine or sherry
Salt and pepper, to taste

Process
To make the chicken stock: Add bay leaves, bouillon, onion, garlic, chicken pieces, Italian seasoning, water, and salt and pepper to a large Dutch oven or soup pot. Cook for about an hour, until the chicken is tender. Remove chicken and bay leaves. You should have about 3 quarts of stock. Allow chicken to cool, and then remove the meat from the chicken, tossing away the bones and the skin, and set aside.

To make the soup: Bring the stock back to a boil. Add carrots and celery to the stock. When they are soft (15 to 20 minutes), add the noodles and cook according to package directions. When noodles are done, add the chicken back to the stock, along with the mushrooms and the parsley. Drizzle in the marsala or sherry. Cook for another 5 minutes or so, until the mushrooms are soft. Adjust seasoning if necessary.

This post linked to Grammy’s Grid.

Black-Eyed Peas: It’s What’s for Dinner and Better Than a Funeral

Sunday afternoon, I was watching an episode of Father Brown on Netflix, once again wondering why anyone would hang out with the good Catholic priest when his friends and parishioners are constantly getting knocked off by one murderer or another despite the fact that there are only 250 people in the quiet English village. The way I figure it, anytime Father Brown calls and asks if you want to hang out, you should say you would love to but you are busy washing your hair that afternoon. And, by the way, I’m leaving your church and becoming Anglican like everyone else in England. Oy vey.  Between Father Brown’s Kembleford, England and Jessica Fletcher’s Cabot Cove, Maine, no wonder young people are fleeing from small towns throughout the world!

Suddenly I heard poppity pop pop, the cheerful sound my cell phone makes when I get a text message. I glanced over and saw that it was from my nephew Erik who lives with his family in AZ. Erik rarely texts me, and I immediately began thinking about what I have in my closet that would be appropriate to wear to a funeral in AZ where the temperature remains in the range of 104 to 106 degrees in the shade. My mother would be proud that I went there so quickly.

Anyway, I read the text and it turns out my sister wasn’t dead, nor was anyone else in our family. Instead, Erik was asking me how I made the black-eyed peas I offer every New Year’s Day so that we can all have great luck in the year ahead. Given several cancer scares, a sister-in-law’s broken back, a couple of surgeries, and several hip failures so far in 2017, I am going to go out on a limb and say that relying on legumes for luck isn’t working. I can’t go out on MY limb, however, as my hip is one of them that is failing.

I responded by telling him how I make my black-eyed peas, wondering all the while how he can be planning on making black-eyed peas when 1) It’s 108 degrees outside where he lives; and 2) His wife and his kids can barely be in the same room with a legume, so he would be on his own eating the massive amount of beans the recipe makes. Perhaps he was planning on feeding an entire flatulent village. Who was I to judge?

I called my sister Bec the next day to let her know that Erik had contacted me looking for the recipe. I called her for two reasons (and I must be in a listing mood today): 1) I wanted her to tell me why Erik was seeking to cook something as, well, hearty as beans in unbearably hot weather; and 2) I wanted to tell her that 10 minutes after I communicated with Erik, I lackadaisically logged onto my Pinterest site only to find recipes for black-eyed peas on my feed.  This is the truth, hand to God. Pinterest is reading my text messages.

The answer to (1) is that no matter where you live, sometime in mid-August, your thoughts turn to autumn. And if you like to cook (as does Erik), you begin thinking about cooking things on top of the stove for a very long time. Autumn/winter cooking is all about braising. It turns out that when Erik was in college, his roommate would go home for the weekend, and the boy’s father would always send him back with a big pot of beans. The young men would eat delicious beans for a week. Erik was feeling nostalgic. Our taste buds have more muscle memory than anything else.

The answer to (2), by the way, is that we are fooling ourselves if we think we have even the littlest bit of privacy left in our lives. So really, when people start getting bent out of shape because they fear a loss of privacy, they might as well realize that the horse has already left the barn. No privacy. None.

Anyway,what this all tells me is that since Erik is jonesing  for a pot of beans and the majority of my grandkids are back in school (the Vermonters don’t start until after Labor Day), the deluge of All Things Pumpkin is about to begin. Lord, make me strong.

Here, by the way, are the instructions I gave Erik (and Pinterest) regarding my black-eyed peas…..

Soak the black-eyed peas overnight (or do a quick-soak ). Place beans, some carrots and celery diced small, a teaspoon or so of red pepper flakes, some diced garlic, a bay leaf, a couple of ham hocks or a ham bone, and enough water to cover into a slow cooker and cook all night long. Don’t add salt until the end.

Enjoy, but don’t expect good luck. And that’s all I’ll say about that.

Shoppingless Spree

In my past few blog posts, I have made vague allusions to being in Boulder with my sister Jen last Saturday. In fact, I think in yesterday’s post, I mentioned lunch and shopping in Boulder. I think it’s important to clarify something. I don’t shop.

In fact, I think it’s safe to say that any combination of my sisters and me would never go shopping the way most women go shopping. There would never, for example, be a time when either Jen or Bec would call me and say, “Would you like to go wander around XYZ Mall and try on clothes?” I think it’s safe to say that shopping for clothes is, for us, kind of like going to the dentist. It ain’t fun, but you have to do it once in a while. And you have to do it alone.

So, while Jen and I shopped, we didn’t come even thiiiiiis close to clothes shopping. Our idea of shopping is spending an hour or so at McGuckin’s Hardware Store – an amazing hardware-store-on-steroids in Boulder at which you can buy almost anything. After looking at garden supplies and various household items for an hour, I purchased a colorful rug for my kitchen…..

…..and a couple of plastic containers that I have a hard time finding, and in which I love to keep leftover soups or stews. They’re also good to take food to shut-ins. While it’s true that I don’t know a lot of shut-ins (mostly because I’m mostly a shut-in myself), I did have occasion to take food to my sister-in-law following her accident this winter. And I took it in one of those containers.

Following McGuckins, we spent the next hour at the Peppercorn, an astoundingly awesome cooking/kitchen store. We meandered through the store, touching things, reminiscing about things Mom owned, chatting about things we own but shouldn’t, talking about cooking. At Peppercorn, I bought a portable electric can opener, and came mighty darn close to buying a couple of smallish rocks glasses for martinis on the rocks, but remembered that I have a dining room table full of glasses we took out of our family room cabinets when we removed them and which we plan to take to Goodwill. I’m pretty sure if I had walked in with new glasses, Bill would have immediately called a recovery therapist.

For any combination of the three sisters, so-called “shopping” would really mean walking through a few stores and then having lunch. So we had lunch. Hapa Sushi, right down the street from the Peppercorn. We ordered what we considered to be an obscene amount of food that included a large bowl of poke for each of us, an order of shishito peppers (which are the newest Thing in appetizers and which I thought sort of ordinary, though Jen assured me that she has eaten some that were scrumptious),…..

…..pork gyozas, and a spicy tuna roll. We warned the server that we were ordering a lot of food. When we finished ordering, he looked puzzled and said, “Ladies, I hate to disappoint you, but that really isn’t that much food.”

Well, we didn’t eat it all, Mister Smartypants. Apparently he must wait on sumo wrestlers.

But, Boulder being Boulder, we were entertained by a man (who I would guess lives in Colorado NOT because of the mountain scenery but because of its herbal offerings) create “art” by putting a variety of leaves onto the side of a water feature…..

We were further able to observe a 10- or 12-year-old boy grab a bunch of the leaves and run away, while his parents looked on. While I perhaps shared the boy’s sentiment, I think I would have whooped his bottom (oops, I mean given him a time out) nevertheless. But I’m not the mom.

All-in-all, we had a very pleasant day in Boulder….

By the way, the closest we came to clothes shopping was when we talked briefly about stopping into Fresh Produce.Yeah, it didn’t happen.

And, for your consideration, here is a link to a recipe for shishito peppers.

Potato, Potahto

In the universe of unfairness, hovering right there near the top of the list is the fact that potato salad isn’t low in calories.

That injustice is right up there with the fact that I am only 5 feet, 2 inches, thereby being six inches too short for my weight; that Chip and Joanna Gaines aren’t going to do a total remodel of my house including, but not limited to, knocking down walls and installing a kitchen island and shiplap; that I don’t own a private jet that would take me on weekend excursions to Paris or Hawaii or to visit my grandchildren; or that I have 128 gigabytes of memory on my iPad Air, and not only will I never use that many gigabytes of memory, I don’t even know what a gigabyte is.

But potato salad. That’s the one that really hurts.

I mentioned yesterday that Bec made her delicious potato salad for Sunday’s Super Bowl party. It’s true that I had a spoonful of the potato salad with my burger. But anyone who has entertained a group of people – particularly if you’ve entertained a group of people after drinking two Bloody Mary’s – knows that you don’t really taste what you’re eating when you’re trying to figure out at the same time if there are enough brownies to feed everyone, and deciding to rely on the Jesus-And-The-Loaves-And-Fishes miracle.  That worked, by the way. The 9×9 pan of brownies not only fed everyone who wanted one, but there were 12 baskets to spare. Well, actually, three small brownies. Bec, by the way, also made the brownies. I really didn’t do anything except call it my party.

Yesterday at lunchtime, I scooped me up a spoonful of the potato salad that I had dutifully packaged up for Bec to take home but forgot to send with her (I’m blaming the Bloody Marys, though by the time she left, all that was left of the Bloodys was a bit of tomato juice in the corner of my mouth and the smell of the celery and bacon on my breath). My first bite confirmed what I already suspected: the potato salad was sublime. Because as good as potato salad is the first day, the second day is even better. So one scoop soon became two, and with it came the sad realization that I wasn’t going to lose weight by eating the entire remaining potato salad, even inasmuch as I would certainly have been ABLE to eat the whole bowl. You’ve heard of the grapefruit diet and the leek soup diet and the vinegar diet. You’ve never heard of the potato salad diet. BECAUSE IT DOESN’T EXIST, even in the minds of the most creative weight loss diet book authors.

Many years ago, I came across a recipe in a Bon Appetit magazine. I know. Like I actually ever read Bon Appetit. I must have been in the fancy waiting room of the place where I get my mammogram.  But, whatever. The recipe was for Roseanne Cash’s Potato Salad. Normally, I don’t think a potato salad recipe would catch my attention, as I think on the rare occasions that I ever made potato salad, I would have used my mother’s recipe. Mostly I think I let someone else bring the potato salad. But this one caught my eye because it contained diced-up dill pickles. Though this might not be an exceptionally rare ingredient for potato salad, in my world, it was. Because Mom’s potato salad had no pickles, dill or otherwise.

So I tore out the recipe, creating a big hole in the page where the next reader was about to learn the secret ingredient in Emeril Lagasse’s Banana Cream Pie.

Sometime (literally, several years) later, Bec was visiting us in Denver and had occasion to make potato salad. “I have a really good recipe,” she said. “Oh, I have a better recipe than yours,” I challenged her. “Nope, I’m sure mine is better,” she stated firmly, probably making a mental note to bring up my obstinance during the airing of grievances at our next Festivus celebration.

“Mine is from Roseanne Cash!” I said with great jubilation.

“Seriously?” she said. “So is mine.”

Further proof, don’t you know, that great minds think alike.

And just so that I don’t leave you all hanging, here is the recipe for potato salad….

potato-salad-2

Bec, Kris, and Roseanne Cash’s Potato Salad

Ingredients
3 lbs. red-skinned potatoes, unpeeled and cut into 1-in pieces
8 dill pickle spears, coarsely chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
5 hardboiled eggs, peeled and chopped
¼ c. mayo
2 T. Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

Process
Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain well and cool. Transfer potatoes to large bowl. Stir in dill pickles, celery, onion, eggs, mayo, and mustard. Season with salt and pepper.

Can (and frankly, SHOULD) be made a day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature one hour before serving.

Cry Over Curdled Milk

For a brief period of time, I tried to write a cooking blog. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned that before, maybe six or seven hundred times. I’m sure that I always added that it didn’t take me long to realize that 1) my cooking blog was competing against about a million other cooking blogs; and 2) I am really not an exceptional cook.

Here’s where I am supposed to say that despite my only being an average cook, I LOVE TO COOK. There was a time when I would have said that and would have been speaking the truth. Now I have to be completely honest and tell you that cooking is only fun some of the time. But the rest of the time, it’s just Bill and me, and he would prefer a sandwich to any kind of meal any day of the week. Unless, of course, I am frying a chicken. Then he’s all in. But have you ever fried a chicken? Enough said.

What I’m getting at is that it really isn’t that much fun to cook for only two people. And that’s why very often no matter how committed I am to eating at home, sometime around 4 o’clock I realize I don’t want to make that Chicken Florentine, or whatever it is I have planned. And so I begin making plans on where we can dine out. Sigh.

One way to combat this troubling phenomenon is to use a crock pot, as I have already mentioned in an earlier post. Because at 10 o’clock in the morning, I am still on the cooking-at-home bandwagon. And even if my Crock Pot Chicken Florentine doesn’t sound good anymore at 6 o’clock, I am cheap enough that I won’t throw it away and we will begrudgingly eat it.

This is the point where I should share a Chicken Florentine recipe. Like I would really make chicken Florentine. Ha.

But lately I have been in the mood to try making a few unusal things at home. I’m considering oxtail stew. I’ve looked up recipes for pierogis. I keep saying I’m going to try and make pho from scratch.

But I decided to start small, because a recipe for homemade ricotta cheese came across my desktop, something from the Pioneer Woman (who isn’t a real pioneer woman at all because real pioneer women churned butter and baked bread and pounded the dust from rugs. They didn’t make ricotta cheese.)

But I did. Because it looked very easy. So easy, in fact, that I didn’t even study the recipe very carefully. I just saw the words I like a four-to-one ratio when it comes to my milk and cream.

And without thinking much about it, I poured in four cups of cream and one cup of milk (because who wouldn’t want more cream than milk?), brought it to a boil, removed it from the heat, added the salt and the lemon juice, and waited for it to commence curdling. And waited. And waited some more. And then began cussing and waiting. Something I’ll bet the Pioneer Woman doesn’t do.

But it never curdled. And I began chastising myself. You are a terrible cook, I said to myself. You can’t even curdle milk properly unless you’re trying NOT to curdle it in which case it would probably CURDLE. And then I dumped it down the drain.

(While my cooking skills are questionable, I am VERY good at being hard on myself.)

At some point later in the morning, I took another gander at the recipe for making ricotta cheese. This time I actually READ the recipe from beginning to end. Oh-oh. The ratio is in fact four-to-one, but it is four cups of MILK to one cup of CREAM. Oops.

So, having inherited the stubbornness of both my mother and my father, I went to the store and bought more milk and cream, bringing the total cost to my two cups of ricotta cheese to about $15. But this time, it worked. The milk mixture curdled, and I had myself some fresh, homemade ricotta cheese….

ricotta

Which I used in my baked ziti that I made for my sister Bec’s birthday dinner last night, along with red sauce made from scratch by my sister-in-law Sami, who included – wait for it – the leftover prime rib from a recent meal. Let’s just say, as long as I have a great deal of help from others, maybe I CAN cook…..

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Ingredients
1 c. heavy cream
4 c. whole milk
½ t. salt
2 T. white vinegar or fresh lemon juice

Process
Line a strainer with a couple layers of damp paper towel or cheesecloth, and set aside in a large bowl.

In a large pan, mix cream, milk and salt. Bring liquid to a boil over medium high hieat, and remove from heat. Stir in the vinegar or lemon juice. Let mixture sit for a few minutes, and then pour into the strainer lined with the paper towel or cheesecloth. Let it drain until it is as dry as you want it, at least 20 minutes.

Makes approximately 2 cups of cheese.

Wonderful Life

As I have been madly crocheting this holiday season in preparation for gift-giving, I have watched all manner of Christmas movies. I have seen Miracle on 34th Street (the newer version), White Christmas (in which Rosemary Clooney makes being distraught an art form), Love, Actually (yes, yet again), A Christmas Story (which is now and will be forever more be my favorite Christmas movie), Holiday (in which Jack Black is an odd love interest for Kate Winslet), Last Holiday (there’s probably not another Christmas movie that leaves me feeling happier than this), and Holiday Inn (I could watch Fred Astaire’s Fourth of July solo dance a million times).

And Sunday, when I decided I couldn’t stomach watching the Broncos not have an offense any longer, I watched It’s a Wonderful Life. Shockingly, it was the first time I had ever seen this movie.

imgres

Whaaaaaat?

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I have seen bits and pieces of the movie throughout my life. Really, how could I not have ever seen the ending where Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed are embracing and all of the people are dumping cashola on the table to save his butt and the bell rings, indicating that Clarence had finally gotten his wings? I feel comfortable not having indicated SPOILER ALERT because I’m pretty sure I’m the only living person of reading age who hadn’t seen the movie.

But I had never sat down and watched the entire film from beginning to end. I had never, in fact, seen the beginning of the movie, which of course sets the stage for the whole point of the film – that George Bailey had wanted and planned on a much more exciting life than the one he ended up having. That’s pretty important context to have known about for the ending to make any sense. But Christmas movies really don’t need to make sense. Is there any universe in which Jack Black would be a love interest for Kate Winslet except in a Christmas movie?

However, it’s true that hardly anyone’s life turns out exactly as planned, mostly because as of yet, we aren’t able to see into the future. What’s that old Yiddish adage? Man plans and God laughs. Ain’t it the truth? It’s interesting to think about how I would have imagined my life in 50 years if asked to predict when I was 10 years old. I certainly wouldn’t have guessed that I would live in Denver, Colorado and have a second house in Mesa, Arizona. Since at that point I hadn’t been any further than Omaha, I undoubtedly wouldn’t have guessed that I would have been on two transatlantic cruises and seen such things as the Parthenon in Greece, the pyramids in Egypt, climbed to the top of St. Peter’s in Vatican City, and sat on the grass at the base of the Eiffel Tower.

In fact, I would have been expecting and frankly, wanting, a life just like the life of ol’ George Bailey.

We all get caught up in the preparations for Christmas. I have awakened at 3:45 a.m. on a couple of recent mornings unable to go back to sleep because I’m mentally counting the gifts I have purchased so that I don’t make that fateful mistake of having one more present for one grandchild than I have for the rest. Did I remember to set aside enough cookies to share with the neighbors who faithfully keep an eye on our house while we’re in AZ? Will Bill’s gift arrive in time?

STOP! It’s Advent. The time for quiet reflection and preparation, not for the gifts that we are going to give or receive, but for the birth of the one who is sent to save us. Advent gets lost in the sea of Christmas frenzy. Like George Bailey, we need to remember to be grateful for what we have and for those who make our lives special.

The one thing that all of those Christmas movies have in common is that life is full of surprises, and it’s not what happens to us, but who we share our lives with and how we accept our life as it has played out.

“Pinning” for You

I own a ridiculous number of cookbooks – ridiculous because I actually use a total of exactly two. Well, perhaps technically more than two. I tend to lump all of my Lidia Bastianich cookbooks into one. If I cook one of her recipes, I use the actual cookbook. Of her cookbooks, the one I use far and away the most is Lidia’s Italian American Kitchen. It has the tomato sauce stains to prove it.

20160918_140120

The other cookbook I open occasionally is my beloved Joy of Cooking cookbook that belonged to my mother-in-law who gifted it to me a number of years ago. It’s beloved simply because it’s from her. I can’t say I use it often. Joy of Cooking is a classic cookbook from which you can get recipes for practically anything. For heaven’s sake, it even tells me how to dress a deer (and I don’t mean in camouflage shirt and pants, ar ar ar). Needless to say, I haven’t actually had the need to hang a dead deer from my back porch because Bill doesn’t hunt, thank goodness. I’m not anti-hunting, mind you. Just anti-dressing-a-deer and anti-plucking-a-goose-or-wild-turkey. At any rate, Wilma’s Joy of Cooking was well-used by her, and looks much like my Lidia’s Italian American Kitchen.

dressing-a-deer

I was thinking about this the other day as I was searching all of my various spots for a particular recipe. It’s a pasta salad that I make often but have never memorized. I have it somewhere, but I can never remember where. Since the pasta salad originated with my sister Bec, I generally email her and ask her to send me the recipe.

However, when I made the salad recently, I googled the recipe. It isn’t an easy one to find, as it comes from the Crème de Colorado Cookbook (one of Colorado Junior League’s cookbooks) which isn’t online. But I put in “tortellini salad havarti salami” and eventually found it on the Better Homes and Gardens website. I don’t know if BHG stole it from the Junior League or if Junior League stole it from BHG. I envision both groups comprised of women wearing pillbox hats and white gloves and not stealing, so your guess is as good as mine.

All this is to say – perhaps randomly – that I love Pinterest. I wish I had invented Pinterest. First, and foremost, because I would likely be a millionaire. Then I wouldn’t have to worry about looking for recipes because I would have a professional chef on my staff. But second, because I would be so proud of myself for having had such a good idea.

I rarely use cookbooks anymore (see above), but that isn’t to say that I don’t use recipes. Oh my, yes I do. I couldn’t cook without a recipe. I’m not one of those. My siblings all cook without recipes. Me, I need to have someone telling me what ingredients are necessary and how much of each. Having two homes makes keeping track of my recipes somewhat difficult. As it is, I haul many of them back and forth – mostly those that were my mom’s recipe cards. But more and more, I’m able to find the recipes online and “pin” them to my Pinterest page. That way I have access to my recipes wherever I am as long as I have internet access, and I know where to find them.

I used to religiously peruse Pinterest and pin recipes, decorating ideas, crocheting patterns, and other things that are important in my life. I still occasionally will log onto Pinterest and pin one thing or another. But mostly I use it as a giant high tech recipe box. That alone makes it worth what I pay for Pinterest (which, of course, is nothing).

By the way, here is the recipe for the Havarti Tortellini Salad. It is so good that even Addie’s 13-year-old friends ask for the recipe…..

Havarti Tortellini Pasta Salad

Ingredients
10 oz fresh cheese tortellini, cooked al dente and drained
¼ c. fresh parsley, minced
¼ lb. salami, cubed
¼ lb. Havarti cheese, cubed
1 red or green bell pepper, chopped
½ c. black olives, sliced
2 green onions including tops, sliced

Dressing:
3 T. red wine vinegar
1 t. dried basil
1 t. Dijon mustard
¼ t. salt
¼ t.coarsely ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
½ c. extra virgin olive oil

Process
In large bowl, combine tortellini, parsley, salami cheese, bell pepper, olives and green onion.  In blender or food processor, combine all dressing ingredients and blend well.  Pour dressing over salad and toss thoroughly.  Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

If making more than 3 hours ahead, reserve half the dressing and toss with salad just before serving.

This post linked to the GRAND Social