I don’t cook that much that often anymore, a habit I’ve lost more or less since my Roger died and cooking lost its lustre. Now, I mostly just throw something together. I count on eggs, keep handy fruits ’n vegs, some bread units. Peanut butter! And dinners out and Door Dash! I get by. But! When company is scheduled to come to the condo, I go bonkers, geting into a delicious tizzy. I submit once again to the joy of cooking for someone else(s), someone to share those meals with at my table, under my roof. Much to-doing in the kitchen happily ensues.
The scheduled company is none other than Julie Holmes, my dearest girlfriend from the
Queen Mary 2 World Voyage in winter 2019, traveling from Hethersett near Norwich, in Norfolk, UK to North Fort Myers, USA. Julie is once again the intrepid international traveler, among the first in these current Covid Times to reach these shores. Seems like a modern miracle, a miracle, that is, of modern medicine.
So, yeah, I’m gonna put up a fuss and mess around in the condo kitchen. And curate this photo essay for the record in
The Muses’ Regugia for the culinary arts.
This refrigerator “art” is brought to my freezer door courtesy of three beloved girlfriends. The postcard is from Ann Tippett of Rochester, NY, and was among the first souvenirs to make it to the condo kitchen decor. It was joined years later by a refrigerator magnet heralding the joys of public libraries by friend Lori Antonacci of New York City. And the handmade yarn butterfly is from Julie Holmes, soon to be my condo guest from Norfolk, England.
I love this cookbook, which I purchased several years ago at Bookstore1Sarasota. Since then, many standby recipes from its pages are now in my regular guest meal repetoire. I always use fresh shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico. No farmed shrimp in this household!
I actually have several recipes for this dish that’s a standard guest breakfast treat (usually served with crisp bacon on the side). My innovation to the dish? I use shredded croissants instead of a French baguette. And real Canadian maple syrup is a must for topping the dish when serving.
As the recipe says…this simple crock-pot soup came to my recipe collection from beloved girlfriend Carol Cutts of Flowery Branch, GA. Carol is no longer among us, but her recipe lives on and on and on. Always a crowd-pleaser–and so easy to make. I’ll be sure to grab a shot of the steaming hot bowls, complete with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and tortilla chip toppings.
Chances are, if you’ve been a guest at Hollybrook House or the condo, you’ve been served some of my three-bean salad. The original recipe (in the recipe box up north) came to me in 1974 from the wife of the dean of my college. I used to babysit their two kids and often ended up joining the family for dinner. I was sure quick to get a copy of Carol Odom’s bean salad., which she acquired from Southern Living magazine. And I’ve been making it ever since, usually keeping a bowl on hand in the fridge, company or no company. Oh, yes, and it’s easy!
Most people call this “bean soup,” but in my West Virginia youth, it was known as “soup beans” and “soup beans” it remains to this day. The original recipe (also in my recipe box at Hollybrook House) was my mother’s. In the early 2000s, I began to use Anasazi Beans instead of navy beans. Anasazi beans are hard to come by, but worth it–the beans hold their body despite hours upon hours of simmering on the stove top. The recipe was further adapted when girlfriend Ann Tippett shared her family recipe for “bean soup”–from her native Toledo, OH. While I’ve never added sweet saussage to the conccoction, I do add the carrots–the added sweetness and color perfected a recipe that dates to the 1950s.
Where would I be without my Moosewood cookbooks. I own them all; use them all. Half reside in Brockport, half here in North Fort Myers. It’s always a treat for me to return to the condo each winter and revisit some of my favorite Moosewood treats, especially those in this cookbook, which is my favorite of all the Ithaca-based restaurant’s gems. The rest of this dish won’t come together until Julie is here, but it’ll be a breeze to complete now that all that dicing and mincing is done. Freezing the vegetable saute will enhance the herbal flavors. There’ll be plenty of Asiago on hand for finishing the dish.
Although I’ve been making chocolate crinkle cookies for a few years, it’s only been in 2021 that I’ve added a twist to them–cannabis! So, technically these are Alice B. Toklas cookies. They may be small but they’re potent. I love the combination of the mellowing effect of the cannabis with the caffeine jolt of dark chocolate. Party on, dudettes!
Happy holidays, my friends, from my kitchen to yours.