Coffee in the morning

Food Through the Pages

“How do you brew klava?”

“You don’t know?”

She smiled. “I can serve it with the best, but I’ve never needed to learn how to brew it.”

“You press coffee through a filter made of eggshells and wood chips with vanilla bean, then reheat it so it almost boils, then you pass it through a cloth to remove any oils brought out by the reheating.”

-Issola, by Steven Brust


Not being an every day coffee drinker, I tend to think Turkish coffee is already superior to the average cup of morning joe. But put through this process, it transcends the bounds of ordinary beverages, and becomes something near ethereal. Each of the different flavors is discernible, from the earthiness of the woodchips to the sweet subtlety of the vanilla bean. The cream thickens the already dense coffee into a silky, decadent drink.

Fun Fact? The eggshells help decrease the bitterness of the coffee. See?…

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Now this person was resourceful and really wanted blueberry pie! 🙂

Three Clever Sisters

Cooking in an unfamiliar kitchen is always a bit of an adventure.  You never know what you’re going to find, what “obvious essentials” will be glaringly absent, what will need to be improvised, and whether you’ll rise to the occasion.

Vacation Blueberry Pie (10 of 12)

Last week, our family all rented a house together in Cape Cod.  And I should say extended family–not just us three sisters and our parents but various generations of in-laws and of course my two sons to lap up all the attention.  While we made sure to eat plenty of fried seafood, ice cream, and pizza, we also made use of the kitchen, which came fully stocked with all sorts of pantry items of varying age (how old exactly were the three 16 ounce jars of ground nutmeg?) and provenance.  And because the rule of the house was that anything you use up has to be replaced by the end…

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Mmmm, this has my adventurous side.thinking about other fruits to use for this recipe… Pear vinegar anyone?

222 million tons

As I entered supermarket last Saturday, I was greeted by a stack of dark red cherries just begging to come home with me. I had just seen pickled cherries (something I’ve never tried before) used on the five and spice blog (which rocks), and was really intrigued by the idea. Growing up, we sometimes had cherries preserved in brandy or jam – something I was never tempted to make myself (we don’t eat a lot of sweets) – but cherries in vinegar, with maybe a little bit of hot spice? That sounded like the perfect way to enjoy the fruit throughout the year, perhaps with some cheeses or curry.

Bonnie Lee (she’s the brains of the operation) suggested that we add a little Thai twist to the pickle. Brilliant. So, that’s the way we decided to go. The results are in the picture below.

We ended up with about ½…

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Mmmm, Mexican meets hummus. Going to have to give this a try. Maybe with jalapeno peppers, since I have those on hand.


The word macho is a curious one.  In popular culture, we associate it with acts of great strength and physical prowess – lifting heavy objects, exerting one’s force over another.  Think Vin Diesel and professional wrestling.  We apply it to the rest of the animal kingdom as well, to explain bizarre physical and behavioral traits that would otherwise seem senseless.  Think peacock tails, lion manes, and 300-pound gorillas beating their chests.

The origins of the word, however, suggest a slightly different meaning.  Macho is derived from the Spanish and Portuguese word machismo, which translates as “male chauvinism” and refers to the age-old assumption that masculinity is inherently superior to femininity.  So it’s even more politically charged than our already-chauvinist culture would have us believe.  Great.  But before we get carried away with emotional accusations of political “correctness,” let’s take a look at another possible meaning.

In the ancient Nahuatl

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Romesco sauce

Grilled Vegetables with Romesco 3 Ways This sauce goes well with grilled chicken. Cafe Express, a restaurant in Houston serves it with chicken garlic mashed potatoes, and sauteed spinach. Now that I have a recipe, guess what I will be making this weekend?? !!

Baker Bettie


The big stuff…

How much I love and appreciate my family and friends.

The realization of how much I could be affecting my client’s lives.

The realization of how much my clients are affecting my life.

Trying to figure out what I REALLY want to do with my life.

My attempt at trying to find a level of compassion and understanding with each person I meet.

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Watermelon rind is food too

Watermelon rind is food too.

via Watermelon rind is food too.

I have made the watermelon rind preserves (see blog post) before, but this chutney sounds so much better!  Next time I pick up a watermelon, this is what I am going t0 do with the rind!


Pear Pie


In the Houston area pears are plentiful.  So instead of making apple pie, we make pear pie.

Pretty much the same recipe as an apple pie, but using pears instead.

Today, I have to admit, that I did cheat, I used store bought pie crust instead of making my own.  Yes, I was lazy, and I really wanted to make this pie.  🙂

Pears, little bit of sugar, ( doesn’t need much because the pears are sweet) cinnamon, little bit of nutmeg, 1 tablespoon of tapioca ( a friend shared this secret with me, using tapioca instead of flour or corn starch as the thickening agent for the juices).   Mix it all together, put it in the pie shell, top it with another pie pastry, and bake.  10 minutes at 450*, then turn down to 350* and bake another 30 minutes.