double-corn spoon bread


September is the month of corn. Trucks are parked by the side of the road, heaped high with ears of sweet corn and signs saying ten for a dollar (otherwise known as “Please! Take it!”). Coworkers bring in bag- and boxfuls to work, in desperate hope that someone will be willing to deal with the overflow.

When there is extra corn in the house, but I don’t really feel like eating it straight, spoonbread is a nice option. I’m not a big fan of fresh corn in cornbread, but spoonbread is more like an informal souffle with a bit of cornmeal in it. The version I like to make has both fresh sweet corn and roasted green chiles, as well as plenty of cheese, and the effect is rather like chile rellenos, with more of the fluffy coating and less of the chile. You get both a bit of crustiness and a rather pudding-like interior, and it makes a great accompaniment to roast chicken.

charring a jalapeno

Ideally you should use anaheims, or other mild green chiles. Poblanos would be a great choice for a little more heat. On this occasion all I had were some big (and very hot)  jalapeños, so I limited myself to two so the spoonbread wouldn’t be too fiery. You can either roast them in the oven (like I do with bell peppers) or toast them over an open flame with tongs.


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my favorite cheese

The terrace at Les Florets

A number of years ago, my husband and I took a trip to France for our anniversary. We hiked across the Vaucluse wine country in ninety-degree weather, got sunburned and exhausted, and developed plenty of blisters. We also ate splendidly. I fell in love with the Provence countryside at the same time as I was discovering dry rose, salad with a poached egg on top, hot milk for coffee, and fresh soft cheese. Oh, the cheese!

sheep cheese

The French waiters always looked at me funny for this, but when they would come around with the cheese tray and offer me several wedges, all I ever wanted was a spoonful of the freshest goat cheese, more like ricotta than regular chevre. The flavor was fresh and milky, the texture slightly grainy. I had never had cheese like it, and after we came back to the States I never had it again. Until… Continue reading

bacon and egg pizza

bacon & egg pizza

It was serendipitous, really. We were already planning pizza for dinner, but hadn’t given much thought to the toppings; usually we just go with tomato sauce, pepperoni and sliced olives if nothing else is really calling to us, and we always have those on hand.

In the nick of time, though, I saw a tweet from Michael Ruhlman about a homemade pizza topped with bacon, egg and asparagus. It looked amazing, and I thought, “Why have I never thought of putting bacon on a pizza? What have I been doing with my brain all this time?” Plus I adore eggs on pizza (especially with bitter greens, like one I tasted at Serious Pie), but I haven’t ever gotten the hang of it. It was time to try again.

I did my usual crust, because I still think it’s one of the best ever – just a little whole wheat, and plenty of crunch without being crackery. I like to transfer the rolled-out crust to a hot pizza stone and top it right there on the hot oven rack, which takes a bit of quick work and gets you all hot and bothered, but is much easier than trying to move a fully loaded pizza. We didn’t have any asparagus, but we did have some diced tomato left over from last week’s kebabs, so I tossed that on with the lightly sauteed bacon lardons. After five minutes I added a raw egg and let it bake another ten minutes.

It ended up being a little overdone, due to my apparent inability to tell the difference between a nicely baked-but-still-runny egg and a completely raw one – next time, I’ll take it out sooner. But it was still a swell pizza, chewy and cheesy and bacon-y. It looked so good we had to cut into it while it was still molten from the oven, and burned ourselves extremely thoroughly – ouch. It was totally worth it though. We’ll be doing this again.

cheesy kale noodle

cheesy kale pasta

This was, in fact, an incredibly simple dinner based on an inexplicable, but very precise, craving I had for whole wheat noodles with cheese and greens. It ended up consisting of an entire head of curly kale, a quantity of ricotta cheese, and a package of loose hot Italian sausage.

I cooked the sausage and the kale together until the greens were very soft, then added the cheese, mooshed it all up together with some pasta cooking water and tossed it with Barilla whole grain rotini. It was quite excellent, very earthy and comforting. Also very filling.

cheesy kale pasta

I would definitely make this again, but I’d also like to try it more like my original idea, which was going to have bits of stinky cheese instead of the ricotta, no meat, and possibly a sprinkle of pine nuts.

What would you add to whole wheat pasta with greens?

broccoli cheddar soup

broccoli cheddar soup

Nothing fancy here, once again. Just a bowl of broccoli cheddar soup and a few pieces of really good bread. Broccoli cheddar is one of my all-time favorite soups, but I never get it anymore – it seems like the local pubs never have it on the menu these days. And when I decided to make some myself, I couldn’t find a single recipe for it anywhere in my vast cookbook collection – so I made one up. I think it worked quite well.

I sauteed a chopped onion in butter, then added flour, then chicken stock, water and broccoli stems. When the stems were soft, I used an immersion blender to puree it all up, then added the broccoli florets and let them simmer until just tender. I added a splash of half-and-half and a good handful of grated raw medium cheddar.


To go with, I bought a loaf of Samish River potato bread, which was the perfect mate: soft but crusty, with a full sourdough/potato flavor. A lovely dinner.

goat cheese mashed potatoes

 goat cheese mashed potatoes

One of our new (to us) cookbooks was beginning to pine away from lack of use, and we decided we must make something from it. As it turned out, we managed three different dishes from the book in one meal: not all exactly as written, but definitely inspired by. As a result, we’ve decided that Greg Malouf is a genius. These recipes are from Artichoke to Za’atar (I prefer its UK title, Arabesque)- now we have to get to work on Turquoise. And I really must get hold of a copy of Saha.

fennel salad
breaded lamb chop
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cabbage & cod

cabbage & cod

I thought I was being so virtuous when I thought of doing a piece of fish and some braised cabbage for dinner on Sunday. Simple, low-carb, easing us off of the rich food bandwagon. Ha.

cabbage gratin

The trouble was, I had half a head of Savoy cabbage in the fridge, needing to be used up. And since the last time I made Molly Stevens’ recipe for braised Savoy cabbage with triple-cream cheese, I’m not sure I’ll be able to do much else with Savoy (I didn’t print the recipe last time, but I’m sure going to now). And as it turned out, the only suitable cheese we could find at the supermarket was Cambozola – wowie. A mite stinkier than the Delice de Bourgogne I used before, with the added exciting feature that the bits of blue mold in the cheese remained behind as the cheese melted, creating strange little blue growths in the cabbage. Sounds revolting, I know, but YUM. Continue reading

beer and a burger


There was a fantastic tasting down at our local wine shop the other night. Instead of wine, we tasted several varieties of beer from Belgium, Poland and Germany. It was great for us, because our beer drinking tends to center heavily on the Pacific Northwest and we just haven’t experimented much with Belgian ales. Too bad there weren’t more tasters in attendance, but hey – more for us.


We ended up going home with a bottle of St Bernardus Abt 12, which was my favorite from the tasting (we also really, really liked Piraat Triple IPA – yum). We took care of it immediately with the help of some remarkably successful cheeseburgers and yam fries, which turned out to be an almost perfect pairing with the beer. Continue reading

cottage cheese pancakes

cottage cheese pancakes

I’m not normally a huge pancake eater. They fill me up too fast and give me a sugar rush, and they take my focus away from important things like eggs and bacon. Jon likes pancakes – he can eat the always-amazing banana coconut cakes at the breakfast place down the hill, and live to tell the tale. I still feel a little faint when I remember the pancake plate at the Hawaiian Style Cafe in Waimea – twice the size of the head of the person eating it! I can’t compete with that kind of pancake devotion. But there is a pancake that I will eat at any time: the cottage cheese (or ricotta) pancake.

cottage cheese pancakes

Like many cheesy items in our family’s repertoire, this comes from the original Vegetarian Epicure, published in 1972. It has many virtues: the recipe is simple to expand or reduce (we usually make a 1/3 or 1/2 recipe for the two of us), it’s very high protein and low-carb, unless you smother it in jam or syrup, and if you use cottage cheese, the curds melt and form little gooey pockets that are truly delightful. Continue reading