Foie Gras-The Crux of My Gastronomic Dilemma

Food Politics | August 20, 2016 | By

foie gras terrine with crostiniI never thought I would say this, but I may be “foie gras-ed out.” My friend, Jaimee, would probably come to Wisconsin to check my temperature if she read this. Maybe my friend Millie would too.

In days past, I used to dream of having more time in Chicago to dine on Graham Elliot’s foie gras lollipops. I used to hope to see foie gras on more common menus in other places. Locally, in Wisconsin, I ordered it most recently when I saw a chef’s rendition of a foie gras crême brûlée. It was beautifully done, so much so that we ordered two. It isn’t part of the culinary lexicon of most Wisconsin commercial kitchens, only the bold and higher-end establishments. Its scarcity has always made me want it more.


Wanna cookie? Pianos and Persian-style Almond Cookies

Sweet treats | August 3, 2016 | By

persian almond cookieCookies, especially small ones, remind me of Mrs. Thomas, my first piano teacher in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

By the time I was four and old enough to follow my brother, Gus, into her home to take piano lessons, she was fully white-haired. She had friendly, Mrs. Santa Claus glasses and an up-do to match. Her thin, patterned print dresses  loosely swayed around her legs whenever she answered the door. She moved slowly and very intentionally to welcome us. We might have been among her youngest students, but despite the difference in age, she understood us, our motivation, and the root of our happiness.


On Chocolate-A blog post revisited

Chocolate | July 23, 2016 | By


Chocolate in almost anything is good. I was nostalgic in looking at my old blog posts and pulled this one back up, because of how much fun I had cooking with Jules Blanc. She is a pastry chef extraordinaire. She calls me “Cocoa Bean,” one of my favorite nicknames. I’m hoping to do more pastry work someday. For now, I rely on Saucy Guy to do a lot of the baking while I chase my Saucy Boy (who is nearing 2 years old) around the house. The photo above is evidence of Saucy Guy’s genius. He put dark chocolate into the bottom of a pecan pie. He elevated the pie right into the atmosphere!


Small Things

small-things“Remember to use one green one and one red,” Bonnie said as she glanced at the peppers in the colander, “they taste different. If you don’t, it won’t be the same.” She gently rinsed them. Her blue eyes looked up, twinkled, and paused on mine. As if by habit from her work as a Long Island nurse, she spoke as though she wanted to remind me to take all of my meds, not to skip doses out of convenience. “You’ve got to have the right ingredients to make macaroni salad for Fire Island,” she cautioned, smiling.

Bonnie seemed healthy today. As she set up the cutting boards, her lively movements never revealed her body’s historic battles. To date, she had beaten cancers that afflicted her pancreas and liver.


As Above, So Below: Spending A Day Where the Sun Dances at Indian Ridge

as-above-so-belowARCHIVED FROM 2009
“In chemical farming, it’s about the plant, pesticides, herbicides and designing the plant to take it all up. The focus is on the plant. In organic farming, the focus is on the soil. You feed the soil; then you do the worms, air, microbes, sun and water … all forces of the earth working on the soil. The same thing is true of a person’s life. You can treat yourself chemically with all the ‘shoulds’, ‘oughtas’ or you can feel the soil that nurtures the spirit [organically]. You know what feeds you: good relationships, food, good music. If you live chemically, you beat yourself up.”

Ed believes in the truth of the old saying, “As above, so below.” Put simply, he proclaims, “if you nurture the soil, the dang gone seed knows how to grow.” He claims that when you start messing with the seed, things don’t turn out the right way. Undoing the hard-wiring of the seed through genetic modification and through the use of chemicals during plant growth attempts to fix something that would otherwise already work.


The Saucy Road to San Marzanos

Fruits, Vegetables | July 23, 2016 | By

saucy-road-san-marzanosARCHIVED FROM 2009 (Note: The husband I refer to is now an ex-husband, great guy. We  had an amicable divorce.) 

I am a woman obsessed. I sleep with one eye to the window and think of stories of how cowboys sleep. By the morning, I conclude that they don’t. After traveling 800 plus miles to Atlanta with my husband, we had stopped at the Motel X at 1:00a.m not wanting to disturb relatives or friends only a mile away. My husband was traveling for continuing education, but my main mission was to spend time with relatives and purchase San Marzano tomatoes in bulk at the Dekalb Farmer’s Market.

We drove straight from Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia.   After thirteen hours in our packed Subaru, we wanted sleep.

To the Edge of the Perimeter of Atlanta and the Ends of the Earth for San Marzanos

At the edge of Atlanta’s perimeter, the legendary circle that outlines Atlanta and separates suburbs from city life, Motel X looked like an ivory beachside motel with a rail-guarded concrete balcony running the length of each floor. One oversized street lamp in the middle of the parking lot towered above the main buildings’ three stories, illuminating the space like a beacon— signaling refuge for the weary at $29.99 a night. Its height dominates the scene over the clerk’s office building with its awkward, disproportionate size compared to surrounding structures.