Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend

Lo and Behold! Today is Sunday and we have sunshine! Is it possible that the Midwest is finally going to have a respite from severe weather? I know there are thousands and thousands of picnics planned, swimming pools opening, and of course, visits to America's cemeteries....beautiful weather would be so welcome. But even more important,  the people of Joplin and all of the other areas hit by tornadoes, need good weather to continue their searches and their cleanup. Their days ahead will not be easy.

                                Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery

If you have never visited a National Cemetery, try to do so this summer. I am a firm believer that two of the places every American should see sometime in their lifetime are the Grand Canyon and one of our beautiful National Cemeteries.  Both are true symbols of the strength of our country. If there is a National Cemetery near you, please take the time to visit. The service these men and women have done for our country should not be forgotten.

Naturally, Arch has been on my mind even more than usual. I thought I would blog today about the recipes Arch loved the most. You know, he was a wonderful cook. When I married him, he had been a wodower for years. He had learned to cook for one, learned to cook healthy. When Arch married me, I had been cooking for the masses, using all of the wonderful foods that aren't so good for you. A match made in heaven? Probably not! Our kitchen wars were interesting, to say the least.
Anyway, the foods Arch loved  the most were bread and wild fighter pilot husband was a simple man, until he was strapped into his F-86!
Arch also loved to smoke meats and fish. He made a wonderful smoked salmon. He had a rather simple smoker on the patio and he would  spend the day preparing salmon for our parties.  When he prepared a steak for himself, his favorite cut was a Kansas City Strip steak, always 1 1/2" thick. His grilling was an art, one he had perfected.
I've blogged before about Arch and bread. It made no difference to him where we were, at home, in a restaurant, at a friends dinner table.....before Arch sat down, if the bread was on the table, he had to have a bite! Rude? No, far from was just Arch.
One of the recipes I made for Arch that wasn't very heart healthy (!) was German Potato Salad. Arch was stationed in Germany twice, and he loved  German food. He was very pleased to find I knew how to prepare many German recipes.
Here is my recipe for the potato salad. This recipe is served warm.

German Potato Salad

serves 8

4 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
1 pound thick-cut bacon
1 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2/3 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons minced chives, for garnish

Place the potatoes in a medium-size pot and cover them with enough water to extend 2 inches above the surface of the potatoes. Salt the water and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Continue cooking until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 to 25 minutes. Drain and slice into 1/4-inch rounds.
Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once crisp, place on a paper towel-lined plate and crumble into small pieces. Pour off the rendered fat, reserving 1/2 cup in the pan. Turn the heat to medium and add the onion. Cook until translucent and just beginning to brown, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Whisk in the vinegar, sugar, mustard, and salt and stir until thick and bubbly. Add the sliced, cooked potatoes and toss to coat. Top with the crumbled bacon and garnish with the chives. Serve warm.

This does not require Bratwursts! It is wonderful with everything....I think it is perfect along side my Dad's Meatloaf and of course, Arch's Strip Steak!

Will I see you at Somerset Ridge Vineyard and Winery's Art in the Vines on June 11th? I hope so! Here are a few more photos of paintings you will see. Enjoy!
by Audrey Benskin

by Samantha Buller

by Audrey Benskin

Friday, May 27, 2011

ART IN THE VINES 2011! June 11th! Somerset Ridge Vineyard and Winery

Landscape  by Vicki Johnston

David Gross

An Abstract by Winnie Davis

"Boulders" by Anita Toby

Poppies by Audrey Benskin

by Samantha Buller

Don't miss these paintings and many many more!
27 Artists will be hanging their paintings among
the vines of beautiful Somerset Ridge Vineyard!

Monday, May 23, 2011

It's intervention time!

 I just emailed my fellow Somerset Ridge Painters, urging them to arrange an “intervention”…..for me! I did 2 luncheons at the vineyard this weekend, plus put in 3 and a half hours of painting on my fish painting. When I returned home this evening, I was sort of tired (!) so I sat down in my Lazy Old Woman chair, put my feet up and flipped on the television. There they were, those spoiled rotten, bleached blond, narcissistic, and I might add, aging women, more commonly known as the Real Housewives of Orange County. They absolutely fascinate me!

You know, “Narcissism” is the personality trait of egotism, vanity, conceit, or simple selfishness, and these women are true examples of all of those! Good Grief…. they fight, whine, cry, fight some more, cry some more….and I sat and watched 3 hours of it! As the last episode for the evening ended, I realized what a waste those 3 hours had been….and then checked the schedule to see when they would return to my 42” screen! That was when I figured out I needed an intervention….friends to come and talk me out of such behavior. I emailed them immediately, but no one came to my door…I think they were home watching the Real Housewives of New Jersey.
If you haven't watched these "Ladies",or haven't had enough of them yet, click on the link below and watch one of my favorite parts, Alexis planning a party to introduce her new "clothing line" to her friends. She wants it to be French....don't miss the restaurants manager's face!

I started this blog last night,  before I turned on the, I am going a different direction, a serious direction.

Tornado Victims.....
 Today I am trying to find out where to make clothing donations for the Joplin Tornado victims. I do wish I could call in thousands of dollars as my donation, but instead, I can clothe several of the women. I've googled trying to find a charity that will be collecting clothing, but may have to drive my donation down to Joplin. I am sure if I take them to any church in the area, they will find someone who needs them.
I am so amazed and thrilled to hear about all of the volunteers and donations. See, we are a great country inspite of our bad press and our own government telling the world we aren't! Americans help, Americans care, Americans love!.
Unfortunately, we have severe weather forecasts for the next 3 days. Much of Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas and Missouri will be threatened repeatedly by high winds, hail, flooding and yes, tornadoes. But we will go on with our lives, hoping and praying for the safety of those we love, family, friends and neighbors.

My first experience with a tornado was in 1957 here in the Kansas City area. We had never heard of warning sirens, our weathermen were entertainers, not meteorologists.  The tornado hit Ruskin Heights and Hickman Mills, MO on the east side of Greater Kansas City. We were on the west side of town, but information was so sketchy, all we knew was our city was being hit by a tornado. There is a lot of grumbling when our weather person stays on for hours, closely following the movement of severe weather. If the residents of Joplin had had more than a few minutes to take cover,maybe there would have been fewer deaths.
It is times like these that make watching the Real Housewives of Orange County look like a ridiculous waste of time! So, dear Painters, forget the intervention....I am cured!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

We're still here, Harold Camping!

Yep, another false alarm! Old Harold was wrong with his prediction of the world ending....thank God!

On the home front,  still working on my paintings for Art in the Vines. Last night's Third Friday in Historic Downtown Overland Park was so much fun! My Glitter Collages were and are on display at the fun Olive Branch Art Gallery at 7915 Santa Fe Drive, Overland Park, KS.  The owner, Diane McCarthy,  and her staff are delightful and had the gallery looking wonderful!  The sidewalks and participating businesses were packed with people enjoying a beautiful evening.  The food and wine were exceptional, the music was delightful! In case you can't tell, I had a marvelous time!
My collages will be hanging in the gallery for 2 more months. However, I will have some new Glitter Collages hanging in the Vines on June 11th, along with my watercolor collages and maybe a few oil paintings....if I keep painting!

Today was the 136th running of the $1 million Preakness Stakes, the 2nd race in the Triple Crown. Shackleford's victory denied Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom a chance to race for the Triple Crown, and denied the Belmont Stakes a shot at a historic race. No horse has won the Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978. Why do I know this? My darling late husband, Arch Tucker, was a horse racing addict!
The three Triple Crown races were like a holiday for Arch.  The day always began with Bloody Marys, followed by Egg Foo Yong. How this tradition began, I haven't a clue. When I married Arch, I married the race day tradition also!

Arch and Kay cooking for the family
Smith Mountain Lake, VA.
 Here is his recipe....hope you enjoy it.

Classic Egg Foo Yong 

1 cup bean sprouts
1 medium onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped cooked ham (or any other cooked meat; such as chopped sausages or shredded roast chicken)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper, white
6 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons oil, vegetable (canola or any other light-tasting oil)

Sauce Ingredients:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Hua Tiao Chinese wine (or dry sherry)
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Rinse bean sprouts in cold water.
Heat oil in a pan (or a wok if you have one) and add scallions, onion & sprouts. Stir fry using medium-high heat for about 45 seconds, or until vegetables are tender.
Add garlic and stir fry for another 15 seconds (don't burn the garlic).
Add cornstarch, soy sauce, cooked ham, salt & pepper. Mix well.
Remove to a dish & allow to cool.
In a pan, heat 2 tbsp oil & ladle in 1/3 of the eggs.
Add 1/3 of the stir-fried ingredients. Fry til golden on both sides.
Add another 1/3 of the eggs and 1/3 ot the stir fried ingredients  Fry til golden on both sides.
Add the last remaining 1/3 of the eggs and 1/3 ot the stir fried ingredients
Fry until golden on both sides.
Make the Sauce:
To make the sauce: combine sauce ingredients in small pan, bring to boil.
Simmer gently until thickened.
Serves: 3-4

Friday, May 20, 2011

So, Harold Camping, the head of a Christian broadcast group called Family Radio, has been predicting for years that the end of the world is on Saturday, May 21, 2011. That is tomorrow, Folks. I think I heard it is to happen around 6 PM. Didn’t say which time zone. I guess we had better keep tabs on Australian news. I don’t know how you feel about it, but I am proceeding with my plans as scheduled………I wonder what Harold has planned?

I am still cooking and baking…..I am still working towards my goal for Art in the Vines. My fish painting, “Catch of the Day” is still a work in progress and I absolutely plan on having it finished in time for the art event on June 11th! I am having a great time painting the scaly boys, but it is rather tedious. I notice my shoulders and neck rebel after several hours of painting little scales! My next fish painting may be a Koi pond with the fish flashing by underwater….I’m pretty sure no one would ever notice their scales.

One of my baking duties today is that wonderful Buttermilk Chocolate Sheet Cake….remember? I think it came out in the 50s, possibly early 1960. It is still one of the best chocolate cakes ever! I think I will be eating a big piece of this cake tomorrow at 6PM! And you know how well Somerset Ridge Tawny Port goes with chocolate! Have to do it!

If you haven’t made it in a while, here is one of the many recipes.

Buttermilk Chocolate Sheet Cake.
2 cups all-purpose flour
 2 cups sugar
 1 teaspoon baking soda
 1/4 teaspoon salt
 1 cup butter
 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
 2 eggs
 1/2 cup buttermilk or sour milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
Chocolate Frosting:
1 stick butter
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
3 tablespoons buttermilk
3 1/2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans, optional

Grease a 15X10X1-inch or jelly roll pan or a 13"x9"x2" baking pan; set aside. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a medium saucepan combine 1 cup butter, 1/3 cup cocoa, and 1 cup of water. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. With an electric hand-held mixer on medium speed, beat chocolate mixture into the dry mixture until thoroughly blended. Add eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Beat for 1 minute (batter will be thin). Pour batter into the prepared pan.

Bake in a 350° oven about 25 minutes for the 15X10-inch pan or 35 minutes for the 13X9-inch pan, or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. The top surface will look like a million little bubbles just popped! It is very important that you pour the warm chocolate frosting over the cake while it is still warm also. So, start making you frosting as soon as the cake comes out of the oven. Spread frosting evenly. Place cake in pan on a wire rack; cool thoroughly before cutting.

In a medium saucepan combine 1 stick butter, 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, and 4 tablespoons buttermilk. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat; add 3 1/2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until smooth. If desired, stir in 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans, but I personally do not add nuts; as a chef, I run into too many people allergic to nuts.

If all goes smoothly tomorrow and I am still around, I will let you know how my 6 PM piece of cake tasted!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Grazie! products, now available at Molly's Table!
 Guess what!  I am now producing my own line of snacks! Today I delivered my new Grazie! baked goods to Molly's Table in Paola! I have entered this snack food world with packages of my caramel corn and sugar cookies. Who knows what will happen next!  I'm thinking German Pretzels might be a fun thing to add to my line, but then, so would Brownie Pops.

Grazie! Caramel Corn

Time will tell. 

Donna Nagle of Molly's  Table is one of the nicest people you will ever meet, and a jewel to work with!
Next?.....Off to the Studio!

After Molly's, I continued painting on my fish painting. I started this painting last week, have maybe 6 to 7 hours into it now. I cannot tell you how good it feels to have a paintbrush in my hands, the smell of linseed oil wafting about me! I love it! My decisionn to paint 3 fish laying on a piece of white butcher paper is sort of strange, I suppose, but the subject offered me the opportunity to learn several new things. I am not one to do the same thing over and over, just because I can. Instead, I want to experience new things with each painting.
I will post another photo of  "catch of the day" as the painting progresses. Oh, and yes, David Gross, my studio partner, teacher and friend has been keeping tabs on me and the fish....lurking near by, aware of each and every brush stroke I make! His advice and mentoring is very important to me.

Vicki and her Poppies

Audrey and her Poppy painting

He had two other students at the studio today. My fellow Somerset Ridge Painters,Vicki Johnston and Audrey Benskin, were there.
Audrey took some wonderful photographs of poppie fields while she was vacationing in Canada. She and Vicki are both working on one of those photos. How fun is that! Somehow my fish seem out of place in a studio full of big red, pink and yellow flowers!
All four of us, David, Audrey, Vicki and I are working hard to be ready for the amazing Art in the Vines to be held at the vineyard on June 11th!
For more information, watch this blog and also, go to and sign up to receive their newsletter! That way you won't miss out on anything that is happening at the vineyard.They have an amazing summer full of events planned for you!

A reminder....this Friday is 3rd Friday in historic Downtown Overland Park! I will be showing my Dancers, a series of glittering collages, at The Olive Branch Gallery.  I will be there from 6 to 9pm.Drop by to see me!
And, of course, while you are in the neighborhood you should go several doors south to the other "olive" place, The Tasteful Olive.
Cindy and Dennis Reynolds of Somerset Ridge will be there for their brand new Downtown Overland Park  Tasting Room at the wonderful olive oil shop! Gee!...Wine, Olive Oil.Balsamic Vinegar and Art! All in downtown Overland Park! Friday night!
Cindy and Dennis both grew up in Overland Park, very near the historic part of  Overland Park.  Come and visit with them, let them introduce you to the amazing wines of their beautiful vineyard and winery. They will also let you taste my Fresh Rosemary Shortbread....a brand new product to be available soon at both tasting room locations!
I'm looking forward to seeing you!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Today was one that had my senses in high gear….might even say sensory overload! First of all, I drove to the vineyard with a car full of good smelling food. If that wasn’t enough, there was a big bundle of fresh basil in the seat beside me! I don’t know what fresh basil does for you, but I absolutely love it! Every now and then I would pluck a leaf off and bruise it with my fingertips and the car would be immediately filled with its delicious fragrance! I am 1/8th Italian according to my genealogy.....100% according to my heart!

Moving along with my day….the bachelorette party I was serving went very well; absolutely darling bride. As I left the vineyard, I crossed over my favorite creek in Miami County, "the mighty Wea". I normally go slow so that I can take in the creek from both directions, today was no different. The sun wasn’t dancing along the happy water because today is 50 degrees and cloudy! But I enjoyed the view anyway. Just as I was ready to proceed forward, a very regal looking buck with a multi-pointed rack and 2 gorgeous does came up from having a drink of Wea and slowly crossed the road right in front of me. Each turned their head and glanced my way, then slowly sauntered off towards a field on the far side. Of course I didn’t have my camera with me! No matter how often I see deer, I never fail to have that awe-struck feeling. They are such a beautiful graceful animal….even the big boy with all of his muscles and size. I must say, I think the does really liked him also.

I moved on to leave them to their dinner. Before I even reached highway 68, I was overwhelmed by a huge flock of wild turkeys that flew very low in front of me and landed in a field of Black Angus. The cattle rancher has a beautiful place; rolling hills, ponds….the vista is gorgeous. The turkeys just strolled among the herd of cattle, having a snack of grain here and there.

Hawks on fence posts are always present, a very common sight, waiting to spy their next meal, but what I saw in a tree top was no hawk….There on the west side of the road, right along a big pond/small lake I had the biggest thrill yet…It was a Bald Eagle! Even on a cloudy day, his white feathered head sparkled. Majestic and then some! See what I mean about sensory overload!

Aren’t I lucky? All of this within 2 miles of the vineyard! Is it any wonder that I love the place? Drive to Somerset Ridge Vineyard soon. You never know who or what you are going to see!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

I just received the nicest message from a member of the Wyandotte High School Class of 1959, we will call her Pat…actually that really is her name. Pat wanted to tell me how much she likes my small water color collages. Isn’t she sweet? I can’t tell you how important encouragement and compliments are to an artist, or a chef for that matter! I just replied to Pat, with a big thank you, and an invitation to our upcoming Art in the Vine
It seems strange that I am not accumulating large oil paintings in the corner of the studio. I would normally line them up against the wall, judging them with a critical eye. I would be checking each painting for necessary touchups. I would be searching for the perfect name/title for each of my babies. Then would come the most painful and difficult procedure….pricing! I have found it much easier to ask a fellow painter, my studio partner, David Gross, to do it for me. He, so far, has been right on. There must be something to his years as a professional artist…..

This year, I have my works spread out on the dining room table! Each in its own black frame, standing there at attention like colorful little soldiers! What a different world I am living in….me, in a miniature gallery….no 30” x 40” oils on canvas….strange….

I suppose I almost believe everything happens for a reason. With that tumble I took on Christmas Day, and the rotten weather we had all winter long, I had to stay at home for what seemed like months. One third of the time I was in my recliner babying my knee under a bag of frozen peas, another third was in my home studio working with the materials I had on hand (thus the watercolors). The last third of my time was spent in my kitchen, trying ideas that had been “brewing” in my mind for some time.

So, today I have a bunch of watercolor collages for “Vines”, a knee that is finally healing, and a new business idea! If you have been to Somerset Ridge Vineyard in the last month, chances are you tasted my specialty shortbread. I have had so many requests to sell my shortbread that I am going to start producing it for the vineyard and several other local businesses! Yes, I know I have been saying “I want to retire” for the last 5 or 6 years, but I do get bored if I’m not busy….so deal with it.

The shortbread should be introduced at the vineyard very soon….watch my blog and the vineyard’s newsletter for the release date! Come on out and party with me!

And don't miss the
 3rd Annual Art in the Vines!
There will be 26 local painters
hanging their paintings in the vineyard!
It is a wonderful day, so mark your calendar now!
June 11th,  11AM to  5PM!
Somerset Ridge Vineyard and Winery
for directions, check the website

Minnie Florence Ogg
shortly after marrying
William Clyde Ogg
 It has been quite a while since I wrote about my Grandmother Ogg and the Ogg Family Farm in Ray County, Missouri. I suppose my thoughts of her today are because it will soon be Memorial Day and it has been such a long time since I’ve been to the Richmond Cemetery where she is buried along with my Grandfather, 2 of their children and their spouses, an great uncle and many ancestors in another section of the cemetery.

Maybe it is because I spent so many holidays on the farm, but that house, the fields, the barn all mean so much to me. My calling it “The Ogg Family Farm” may make it sound like a huge farm with many acres when in reality, I haven't a clue.. But you must remember, my impressions of the farm were formed when I was a child. It looked huge to me. The barn looked enormous! And the stories of the “old house” were such that it sounded like a palace to me. Mom spoke of the winding staircase with such affection, I am sure she loved it, and her description left me with an impression of Southern elegance.

When my Great Grandfather, Napoleon Boneparte Ogg, left Kentucky and his family, to follow his two older brothers to Ray County, he was young and healthy. The three brothers started a mill in Raymore, Missouri. Napoleon, called “Nappy”, searched for land to buy until he found what we now call the Ogg Family Farm, between Raymore and Richmond. Soon, Nappy met and fell in love with Lou Emma Burns, they were married and they eventually found themselves the parents of 5 sons.

Lou Emma Burns Ogg and her 5 sons
shortly after the death of her husband,
Napoleon Ogg
 Tragedy struck the family when Nappy died in his early 40s. Naturally, due to the lack of medical knowledge in the 1800s, we really don’t know why he died….but with the history of diabetes in the next several generations, it is generally considered a strong possibility. Lou Emma, or “Granny” as she was affectionately called, was left to raise 5 little boys and run a farm, a task that could beat down many men. But Granny was one smart, tough woman. Standing all of 4’ 9” tall and just about as wide, she ran the farm and raised her sons to be fine young men. The oldest was William Clyde Ogg, my grandfather. Clyde was the son who stayed on the farm, eventually marrying my grandmother, Minnie Florence Joiner (don’t you just love the names?!) and caring for his mother as she grew older.

Minnie Florence Joiner Ogg
 Have you ever wished you could go back in time and visit with your ancestors? I feel like I do just that when I work with the family’s history and genealogy. Each little tidbit of information that I find gives me yet another piece to the puzzle. With each piece, the picture becomes clearer, leaving me with a profound affection and much admiration for my ancestors. The women that came before me, those that left their footprints on my path, are particularly fascinating to me. I am sure that is due to the amazing and lovely woman who I call Mom, Virginia Florence Ogg Johnston, the youngest child of the beautiful and resilient Minnie Florence.

I am never satisfied with the genealogy research….I always want more! My biggest challenge with the Ogg side of the family is Minnie Florence’s family, the Joiners. I remember when my great grandfather, John Stone Joiner, died. I was just a child and didn’t have a clue who he was, other than my great grandfather. I never had a conversation with him, didn’t get to ask him about his life. I would like to have heard his voice, heard him laugh. I love to hear a man laugh. A man’s laugh can tell you a great deal… if you are listening!

My Arch had a wonderful laugh!

I am determined to return to Richmond this Memorial Day. My Mom needs to return also. At 92, she has visited the cemetery on many Memorial Days, but she hasn’t for the last 7or 8 years. It will take some convincing, but I think it is time.

Memorial Day on the Ogg Family Farm meant lots of relatives, some cousins I would only see on this holiday each year; dark red and pale pink peonies in coffee cans covered with aluminum foil all lined up waiting for their delivery to the cemetery; tables sagging under the weight of all the food. My favorites were my Aunt Zelma’s (are you ready for this one?....Zelma Boggs Ogg!) fried chicken, deviled eggs, and one of her many beautiful cakes. Before the Bundt pan became available, she always had one cake baked in an aluminum 9”x12” pan and another baked as a layer cake, usually chocolate. She used that delicious old chocolate cake recipe on the back of the Hershey’s Cocoa can. In the 40s and 50s, you couldn’t find fine baking chocolate in Richmond, Missouri! The cake and the icing were made from Hershey’s Cocoa. In preparation for this particular blog, I contacted Hershey by email, asking for the link to their chocolate cake recipe from the 1940s. So far, I haven’t heard back from them. Unfortunately the majority of recipes call for vegetable oil, which was not available in the 40s. However, on the Hershey website, I did find this recipe which sure sounds like the one Aunt Zelma used. I have not tried it yet, I am waiting for a special occasion. I just can’t bring myself to make an entire chocolate layer cake for just me! Besides, I would eat it….all of it….sad, isn’t it?

Hershey’s Heritage Chocolate Cake

 2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
 1-3/4 cups sugar
 3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 2 cups all-purpose flour
 1/2 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
 1 teaspoon baking powder
 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
 1/2 teaspoon salt
 1-1/2 cups buttermilk or sour milk*

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.
Beat butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla in large bowl until fluffy. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add alternately with buttermilk to butter mixture, beating just until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

Frost with CHOCOLATE FUDGE FROSTING. 8 to 10 servings.
* To sour milk: Use 4-1/2 teaspoons white vinegar plus milk to equal 1-1/2 cups.


1/3 cup butter or margarine
2/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
2-2/3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter in small saucepan over low heat; add cocoa, stirring constantly until smooth.(Mixture will be very thick.) Remove from heat; pour into medium bowl. Cool slightly.
Add powdered sugar alternately with milk and vanilla, beating to spreading consistency. About 2 cups frosting.
Aunt Zelma had an aluminum cake cover with a green handle on top….I loved that cake cover….it meant there was chocolate cake!

As for her fried chicken….I’ve mentioned before how she would go out to the en house, grab a chicken with each hand, walk out of the pin, shut the gate, turn and as she walked towards the back porch, she , with one single swivel movement of her wrists, would simultaneously wring the necks of the chickens! I love farm fresh chicken, free range and all that, but I prefer to buy mine already dead, de-feathered, de-headed- and de-footed! I may have loved the Ogg Family Farm, but I suppose when all is said and done…..I’m a city girl after all.

Big doins' this weekend! Grandchild #2 graduates from Rockhurst High School! Congratulations, Blake!
He will be off to the University of Arkansas in the fall....Cross Country is his thing, and this Mimi is very proud of him!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Have you been watching the baby eagles?  Sister-in-law Vicki sent me the link. So amazing! 
Go to and watch the Decorah Eagles.

Thanks to the Navy Seals, and all American military men and women, today is a great day to watch the symbol of America's strength and freedom,  our national bird! 

The bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), our national bird, is the only eagle unique to North America. The Decorah Eagles can be watched 24/7 from atop their tree at the fish hatchery in Decorah, Iowa. Make sure you don't miss the hatching of the eggs. That first little guy looks around like "Okay, I'm here...Where's dinner?" They look so cute and fluffy now, but soon they will be absolutely regal!  Check it out!

While watching the eagles at the fish hatchery, I suddenly had the urge to go buy fish and start cooking. I truly do love fish, everything from catfish to shark,  tuna to smoked sunfish. I even like canned sardines!
My nephew, Neal,will be driving through here in two weeks with his son, Josh. Neal is what you call a true fisherman. He seems to be quite content to hang out on the dock, in the boat, or on the bank, waiting for a bite. I've watched him at Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia. He just loves to fish. He also fries up a mean batch of fish. He is quite happy, there on the bank with a small campfire, an iron skillet and a mess of fish!
Fried Catfish with homemade tartar sauce....oh my!
But not today.....instead, I want to give you a Mad Hungry recipe from last fall. 

Fish Fillet with Rosemary
serves 2
1 pound skinless white fish such as red snapper or sea bass, cut into 6- to 8-ounce fillets, about 3/4-inch thick (if your fillets are thinner, lessen cooking time)
Coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, preferably Wondra
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
1/4 cup Italian white wine, or dry vermouth
2 tablespoons pitted black olives, sliced, such as Gaeta or Nicoise
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves, plus 2 sprigs for garnish
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 lemon, cut in wedges for garnish
1.Season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper. Lightly dredge it in the flour, shaking off the excess.
2.Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until the pan is very hot. Add the olive oil. Place the fish in the skillet and cook for 2 minutes without moving the fillets. Turn and cook 2 more minutes, reducing heat if necessary to prevent browning. Pour off the fat and flip the fish again.
3.Making room in the side of the pan, add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 10 to 15 seconds, being careful not to let it burn. Immediately add the wine, olives, and rosemary leaves and swirl them around in the pan as the wine reduces, about 1 1/2 minutes. Divide the fish between 2 warm serving plates. Swirl the butter into the sauce and pour the sauce evenly over the fish. Garnish with fresh rosemary sprigs and serve with lemon wedges.
Way to go, Lucinda! You just saved us a whole bunch of calories!

Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy

Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy
oil painting by Kay Tucker

Somerset Autumn on Wea Creek

Somerset Autumn on Wea Creek
Oil Painting by Kay Tucker, Private Collection


oil painting by Kay Tucker

Kansas Storm

Kansas Storm
oil painting by Kay Tucker, Private Collection

Watercolor Collage

Watercolor Collage

Tempo al Tempo....All in Good Time

Tempo al Tempo....All in Good Time
48"x36" sculptural painting by Kay Tucker