Friday, December 21, 2012

Today, after I returned home from visiting my Mom, I fixed a Bailey’s and coffee, grabbed a few sugar cookies, put my feet up and watched one of my favorite movies.I had a completely, totally, absolutely relaxing afternoon, finally.
The movie was one of my very favorites, Something’s Gotta Give. Even though I have seen it a dozen times, I watched it again. Not only is it fun and entertaining with a great soundtrack,  I love the cast, I love the story, I love the locations and I love the humor. Spending the afternoon with Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton, Frances McDormand (and the Bailey’s) was just what I needed!
The beautiful beach in the Hamptons made the snow outside my window seem not so cold and difficult. And the house on the beach was a dream. It was all shades of white, with a blue and creamy white striped rug, and magnificent paintings! I bet I could write a much better blog if I had a desk in my bedroom overlooking the white sand beach just like Diane’s. .............Diane Keaton did solve one of my dilemmas.... it has to do with sleeping alone in a bed made for two.

I mentioned our snow....first we had rain, then about 3 inches of snow that was whipped into deep drifts by 40 mile an hour winds. I don’t mind snow as long as I can get the car out of the garage and it doesn’t interfere with my schedule. But this morning Zeus the Moose and I went out for a walk....that changed my idea of snow. We made it across the street and suddenly Zeus was up to his chin in a drift. Did he bound out of the cold white stuff? Did he leap with joy across the neighborhood? No.....he burrowed down and proceeded to cry....more like a whimper. Poor little guy, he had snow and ice packed around the little pads of his feet. His little paws were freezing! He had had enough of the White Christmas thing. I carried him home.

It looks like Mom will not be joining the family for our annual Christmas Eve celebration at Tom and Vicki’s house. As a matter of fact, Mom has already stated she is not going to be there. We will miss her terribly. Mom taught us all how to have a perfect Christmas. She and Dad made sure that Ann, Tom and I had fairytale holidays as children and continued to perform the same Christmas miracles with her 8 grandchildren and then her 15 great grandchildren. The little lady has always been amazing. We will all take turns visiting her, a few at a time. Hopefully we can give her a memorable Christmas.

I wish all of you a Merry Christmas. Be safe, be happy. I shall return with the New Year.
Buon Natale!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

I am a true cheese lover. As the old saying goes ”Never met one I didn’t love”. So, yesterday when the Smithsonian eMagazine arrived on my screen, I was enthralled!
Check it out.

"December 12, 2012
New Discovery of 7000-Year-Old Cheese Puts Your Trader Joe’s Aged Gouda to Shame

New evidence indicates cheese was invented as far back as 5000 BCE, although ancient cheeses wouldn’t have been as varied or refined as the cheeses we have today.

My note: Sadly, I had to look up what BCE stood for. I knew BC stood for “Before Christ”, but the E was new to me. Here it is….”The meaning of AD is Anno Domini or Year of our Lord referring to the year of Christ’s birth. The meaning of BC is Before Christ. CE is a recent term. It refers to Common Era and is used in place of A.D. BCE means Before Common Era.”

Are you still confused? Could it possibly be another attempt to “not offend anyone”?

Back to cheese…..
Archaeologists have long known that cheese is an ancient human invention. Wall murals in Egyptian tombs from 2000 BCE depict cheesemaking, and Sumerian tablets written in cuneiform text (? okay, I'm confused again) seem to describe cheese as well. Our distant ancestors, it seems clear, knew about the wonder that is cheese.

Today, though, cheese lovers have cause to celebrate: New evidence indicates that the invention of the utterly delicious and at times stinky product actually came thousands of years earlier. As described in a paper published today in Nature, chemical analysis of prehistoric pottery unearthed from sites in Poland shows that cheesemaking was invented way farther back than originally believed—roughly 7000 years ago.
A team of researchers from the University of Bristol, Princeton and a group of Polish universities came to the finding by examining an unusual group of artifacts from the Polish sites: clay shards that were pierced with a series of small holes. Struck by their resemblance to in modern-day cheese strainers, they chemically tested the material around the holes, and were vindicated to find ancient traces of the kinds of lipids and fatty acids found in dairy products. These ceramics are attributed to what archaeologists call the Linear Pottery culture, and are dated to 5200 to 4900 BCE.
Researchers tested these perforated ceramic fragments and found ancient dairy residues, indicating they were used as cheese strainers.
“The presence of milk residues in sieves, which look like modern cheese-strainers, constitutes the earliest direct evidence for cheesemaking,” said lead author Mélanie Salque of the University of Bristol in a statement. “So far, early evidence for cheesemaking were mostly iconographic, that is to say murals showing milk processing, which dates to several millennia later than the cheese strainers.”

Although different cheeses are made by a variety of processes, nearly all start with the separation of milk into liquid whey and solid curds. This is typically accomplished by adding bacteria to the milk, along with rennet (a mix of enzymes produced in animal stomachs), then straining out the liquid from the newly-coagulated curds. These perforated pots, then, seem like they were used to strain out the solids.

The researchers also analyzed other pottery fragments from the site. Several unperforated bowls also had traces of dairy residues, indicating they might have been used to store the curds or whey after separation. They also found remnants of fats from cow carcasses in some of the ceramics, along with beeswax in others, suggesting they were used to cook meat and sealed to store water, respectively. Apart from being capable of making a complex food product like cheese, it seems that these ancient people also created different types of specialized ceramics for different purposes.

The authors of the paper believe this ancient cheese making goes a long way in explaining a mystery: why humans bothered to domesticate cows, goats and sheep thousands of years ago, rather than eating their wild ancestors, even though genetic evidence indicates that we hadn’t yet evolved the ability to digest lactose, and thus couldn’t drink milk. Since cheese is so much lower in lactose than milk, they say, figuring out how to make it would have provided a means for unlocking milk’s nutritional content, and gave prehistoric humans incentive to raise these animals over a long period of time, instead of slaughtering them for their meat immediately. Making cheese also gave these people the ability to preserve the nutritional content, since milk spoils much more quickly.

That leaves one more pressing question—what did this ancient cheese actually taste like? Without abundant access to salt or knowledge of the refined heating and ripening processes that are necessary for the variety of cheese we have today, it’s likely that the first cheeses were pretty bland and liquidy. Like ancient Egyptian cheeses, these were probably comparable in texture and taste to cottage cheese, Salque and colleagues noted" So, it all boils down to this....the origin of cheese is probably what is now Poland?  All I really care about is, yes, we have cheese!  So, as you are putting together a lovely cheese selection for your holiday  Christmas party, remember cows, sheep and goats have been working hard  for 7000 years so you could enjoy cheese.

Monday, December 10, 2012

So I returned to blog again, then I disappeared. My Mom has been very ill. She is a little better, but we had to move her to the Care Center and then empty her apartment,  so time has been a difficult thing to hang on to.  Always a list of things to do....blogging never had a spot on that list.
But, I am back for now.....but way behind when it comes to our fast approaching holiday.  This may be yet another Christmas when I don't do baking, don't entertain,  don't do shopping.....time will tell.

While sitting in the waiting room at the hospital, I picked up a copy of an Italian cooking magazine.  I was pleased to find an article on cicchetti.
Cicchetti (chee-keh-tee)
What a great word….cicchetti…..In Italy, particularly Venice, there are very special places where you can go to get cicchetti. You can also get an ombra. Getting an ombra and some cicchetti is a good thing!

So here is the scoop….both of these things are available to you if you go to Italy and find a bàcaro.  A bà a small place that sells ombra, a small glass of wine and cicchetti, little bites of wonderful food, not unlike the small plates we are becoming familiar with here in the United States. Cicchetti is the Italian relative of the Spanish tapas.

Bàcari are small, dark establishments, down dark little side streets where you can go get a simple little plate of food and a glass of wine, something to hold you over until dinner time, which is much later than here in America. Actually you could go there and get the same to hold you over until lunch! Maybe even breakfast! They are open all day!

The wine is always local, and the food is always as fresh as it comes. The idea of the Slow Food movement was born in Italy. Always fresh, always local, always sustainable.

Are you wondering what kind of cicchetti you might find in a bàcaro ?
Try these….and of course, don’t forget the ombra.

Polenta Bites with Caramelized Mushrooms
about 50 spoonfuls

Polenta Bites with Caramelized Mushrooms
photograph by Napa Style

For the polenta:
3 cups heavy cream
2 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon finely ground sea salt, preferably gray salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 cup polenta
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish

For the mushrooms:
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound button or cremini mushrooms, cut into quarters
Finely ground salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley leaves

Cook the polenta: In a medium, heavy pot over high heat bring the cream, stock, salt, and nutmeg to a boil. Add the polenta gradually, whisking constantly. When the mixture thickens, switch to a wooden spoon and adjust the heat to maintain a bare simmer. Cook, stirring often, until thick, smooth, and creamy, about 15 minutes. Add the Parmesan and stir. Keep the polenta warm over low heat, stirring occasionally. If the polenta gets dry as it sits, stir in about 1/4 cup of warm stock or cream.
Saute the mushrooms: In a medium skillet over high heat, heat the olive oil. When the oil is hot, sprinkle in the mushrooms in a single layer. Don't stir them! Let them sizzle until they have caramelized on the bottom, about 2 minutes. When the bottoms are caramelized, toss them once and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Continue to cook without stirring for about 5 minutes. Season mushrooms with salt and pepper. Add the butter and cook until it begins to brown, then add the garlic. Continue to cook until the garlic begins to brown. Add the thyme and cook for about 10 seconds. Add the lemon juice and cook until the liquid evaporates. Add the wine, and simmer until the mushrooms are glazed with the sauce. Add the parsley. Then stir and remove the pan from the heat.
Place or pipe about 1 tablespoon of warm polenta onto a spoon. Place about 1/2 teaspoon of the mushroom on top of the polenta. Garnish with grated Parmesan. Serve immediately.

Polpette (Meat Croquettes)
1/2 cup milk
2 slices white sandwich bread
1 1/2 lb. ground veal or pork
2 cups mashed potatoes
2/3 cup finely chopped parsley
8 eggs
2 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Canola oil, for frying
1/2 cup flour
1 cup plain bread crumbs

Pour milk over bread in a bowl; let soak for 10 minutes. Squeeze bread to drain milk; discard milk. Place bread in a bowl and mix with veal, potatoes, parsley, 4 eggs, garlic, and salt and pepper. Shape mixture into about thirty 1″ balls; place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and chill. Pour oil to a depth of 2″ in a 6-qt. Dutch oven; heat over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 350°. Place flour, remaining eggs, lightly beaten, and bread crumbs in three separate bowls. Working in batches, dredge each meatball in flour, coat in eggs, and coat in bread crumbs; fry until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

Peperoni con Acciughe (Stuffed Cherry Peppers)

SERVES 10–12
5 oz. canned tuna in olive oil, drained
8 anchovies in oil, drained
1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
2 tbsp. capers, minced
2 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 32-oz. jar red, hot cherry peppers, drained, rinsed, and stemmed (jar reserved)

Finely chop tuna and anchovies; mix with 1/3 cup oil, bread crumbs, capers, parsley, and salt and pepper in a bowl; stuff each pepper with tuna mixture. Transfer to reserved jar; pour remaining oil over peppers. Chill for at least 8 hours to marinate.

I think Kay's bàcaro will have to be open one evening during the holidays. It is a great way to entertain!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Here we are....the election is over and the many ridiculous political gaffs have embarrassed us enough; it is time to think of something more Thanksgiving. Having been raised in a home with major holiday celebrations, I am quite capable of doing the whole big turkey and cornbread dressing deal....but at the request of 2 of my 3 children, we will not be having turkey. No, not this year. Instead of turkey, we will be dining on enchiladas, tamales and tacos! That is fine with me...we all love the south of the border flavors. But I have been concerned about desserts. Do I go traditional with pumpkin pie? Do I go south of the border with churros (deep fried pastry strips rolled in cinnamon and sugar)? Or do I make our nation’s very favorite....Apple Pie?

As the chef for Somerset Ridge Vineyard, I made Apple Slab Pie for several Harvest Events. I would make it in half sheet pans, usually three of them. Making traditional 9” pies to feed 80 to 100 people was simply too time consuming, and serving them would be a nightmare! Cutting squares is so much easier, and you have much better portion control. Apple Slab Pie quickly became a favorite of the harvest crews.
Conveniently, while I was planning my menu for our family dinner, King Arthur Flour’s blog was posted ( and wouldn’t you know it....their recipe for today was Apple Slab! The photographs grabbed me right of the bat. I thought that was caramel icing drizzled across the top crust, when in fact it is a cinnamon glaze. I’m debating myself on which glaze I will use....cinnamon or caramel, but I’m pretty sure caramel is going to win.
Here is their recipe and one of their photographs. If you can turn your back to them, you are a much stronger person than I!

Apple Slab

2 ½ cups King Arthur Perfect Pastry Blend Flour ( KT...or any all   purpose flour will do in a pinch)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons buttermilk powder
¼ cup vegetable shortening
10 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vinegar, cider or white
6 to 10 tablespoons ice water

1 cup Panko bread crumbs, or other coarse dry bread crumbs; or 1 cup coarsely crushed cornflakes
8 cups peeled, cored, and sliced Granny Smith or other tart, firm apples, about 6 large apples
2/3 cup cinnamon sugar ( KT...Use 3 to 1 ratio when making cinnamon sugar. 3 parts sugar to 1 part cinnamon)

1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/3 cup boiled cider* (KT...I used thawed frozen apple juice concentrate)
small pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon milk or cream, optional, if necessary to thin the glaze

*Substitute 1/3 cup honey, if desired; or 1/4 cup thawed frozen apple juice concentrate, or maple syrup

To make the crust: Whisk together the Perfect Pastry Blend Four, salt, baking powder, confectioners' sugar, and buttermilk powder.
Add the shortening, working it in till the mixture is evenly crumbly.
Cut the butter into small (about ½") cubes. Add the butter to the flour mixture, and work it in roughly with your fingers, a pastry cutter, or a mixer. Don't be too thorough; the mixture should be very uneven, with big chunks of butter in among the smaller ones.
Add the 1 teaspoon vinegar and 4 tablespoons water, and toss to combine. Toss with enough additional water to make a chunky, fairly cohesive mixture. It should hold together when you gather it up and squeeze it in your hand.

Divide the dough into two pieces; one should represent about 40% of the dough, the other, about 60%. If you have a scale, this is easy; the smaller piece of dough should weigh about 8 3/4 ounces, the larger piece, about 13 1/4 ounces (if you've used about 7 to 8 tablespoons of water in the dough). If you don't have a scale and/or aren't good at math, eyeball it: the bottom crust needs to be larger than the top crust.
Shape each piece of crust into a rectangle; you're going to be rolling them into rectangles, so might as well give yourself a head start. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes, till thoroughly chilled.

Take the larger piece of pastry out of the fridge, and put it on a floured work surface. Roll it into an 11" x 15" rectangle. Don't worry about the ragged edges; they'll disappear under the top crust.
Place the crust in an ungreased 9" x 13" cake pan. Patch up any holes by pushing the pastry together with your fingers, or adding a pinch from the excess on the sides. Push the pastry up the sides of the pan a bit, to make a shallow pastry container for the apples.
Put the crust in the fridge while you get the apples ready. Start preheating your oven to 350°

Spread the bread crumbs or crushed cornflakes evenly over the crust.
Spread the sliced apples atop the crumbs.
Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the apples.
Roll the remaining piece of pastry into a 9" x 13" rectangle. Again, don't worry too much about ragged edges.

Lay the top crust over the apples. Yes, apples will poke through. Seal the edges of the two crusts as well as you can. There'll be places where they don't quite meet. That's OK. If the whole thing has become warm and sticky and hard to work with, pop it in the fridge for 15 minutes to firm it up.
Just before baking, slash the crust 6 or 8 times to allow steam to escape.
Put the slab in the preheated 350°F oven, and bake it for an hour. Remove it from the oven; it'll be golden brown, and the filling should be bubbling. Remove it from the oven, and allow it to cool completely before glazing.
To make the glaze: Combine the confectioners' sugar, boiled cider, cinnamon, salt, and enough milk or cream to make the mixture "drizzlable." Don't have boiled cider? Use plain milk or cream, maple syrup, honey, or thawed apple juice concentrate. Start with 1/4 cup of any of these; if you've made this kind of icing before, you know it's easier to add more liquid, than to try to take it away. Add enough liquid to make the glaze pourable.
Drizzle the glaze atop the slab.
Yield: 16 to 24 servings, depending on size.
KT.....if you are making the day before, do not cover or it will turn into gooey glob.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Have you ever felt like a complete fool?  I have....just last night. And all because  of Halloween.
It all started about a year ago when the cutest family moved in next door.  Mom and Dad and two of the most beautiful children I have ever see in my entire life! At the time they moved in, I had just gone through my 5th Halloween night without even one cute little Trick or Treat-er. I live in a rather quiet, fairly new area that seems to attract older, more sedate when the little family moved in  next door, I knew that Halloween 2012 would bring costumed, joyful little folks to my front door!

Two days ago I made my way to Target to purchase the candy. I had considered making my sugar cookies, but pictured them smashed into a  crumbly mess in the bottom of their loot bags, so decided to buy candy instead. I bought a giant bag of M&Ms,
Reeses and Snickers. all individually wrapped in bright colors.
Yesterday afternoon I chose just the right basket to artfully arrange the goodies in. I placed it on the table by the front door and Zeus and I sat down to wait for the doorbell to ring.
Right at 5:30, like my Grandmother Ogg's mantel clock striking to announce the half hour, the bell rang. Zeus was off like a streak, so thrilled, jumping with joy at having someone at the door.
I opened the door and there stood my two little, adorable next door neighbors, dressed in beautiful American Indian costumes. Smiles went from ear to ear, light danced in their eyes...oh my gosh, they were so precious!
Zeus greeted them with much vim and vigor, dancing around like a crazy dog, while I reached for the basket of treats. As I turned back towards them, it hit me like a bolt out of the blue! Every last treat in that basket had PEANUTS in them! How could I be so stupid? I asked the two little Indians if either of them were allergic to guessed it....sadly they looked up at me with such sad little faces and said "yes". I know my face was just as sad as theirs.  How could I do that to children? I know about the allergy to peanuts! Why didn't I think of that at Target? Why didn't I make sugar cookies?
I had intended to take their photograph, but in my sorrow at seeing those two children looking so sad, I didn't have the heart to say "Smile!"
Yes, I feel really stupid!
Today I  am making them a batch of sugar cookies.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I suppose some people hate to see the autumn leaves floating to the ground, a sure sign that winter is coming soon. While the autumn reds and golds fill my imagination with plans for some future canvas, I too dread the winter. The crisp winds, making those leaves crackle under foot, make me walk faster during my morning walks with the Mighty Zeus. They chill me to the bone; they make me dream of warm, comforting foods as we scurry back  home. How I would love to open the door to the aroma of fresh baked bread,  bacon sizzling on the griddle,  warm maple syrup....but alas, we go to the kitchen and I bring out the Kibble and Bits while Zeus does  his version of the River Dance around his little bowl. What can I life is exhilarating.

As for that fresh baked bread, the sizzling bacon, the warm maple syrup....what I really wanted after this evening's last walk of the day,was a bowl of warm creamy polenta. You know how you have a special food that just fills the bill, no matter what that bill might be? For me, it is warm creamy polenta. It always makes everything okay.

I know many people who want a comfort food from their childhood...something their mother made for them. Others want a traditional or regional food. I know a man who wants cornbread crumbled in a bowl with buttermilk poured over it. It must be an Alabama thing; I personally can't imagine that concoction making anyone feel  anything but nauseous,certainly not comforted!
Curiosity got the better of me, so I started asking around "What is your favorite comfort food?" I, of course, got the usual answers...."my Mom's potato salad", and "meatloaf and mac and cheese" and "fried chicken"....but I also got such answers as "A simple rice bowl dish called oyako donburi. It's just chicken and egg over rice, with onions and a light broth" from a Japanese woman and how about "Jaeger Schnitzel"? German, of course. So, I suppose geography has a lot to do with it. I wonder how many people here in Kansas City would answer with "Barbecue!"
What was the number one answer? You probably guessed it.....
            Grilled Cheese Sandwich  
           and Creamy Tomato Soup!
Here is a great Grilled Cheese recipe for you so when you are cold, lonely, down in the dumps, try it. It is from a blog out of  Canada
  It's called Closet Cooking.
Jalapeño Popper Grilled
Cheese Sandwich
A jalapeno popper inspired grilled cheese sandwich with roasted jalapeno peppers, cream cheese, jack and cheddar cheese and crumbled tortilla chips for a bit of crunch
2 jalapeno peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded
  2 slices sour dough bread
  1 tablespoon butter, room temperatur
  2 tablespoons cream cheese, room temperature
  1/2 cup jack and cheddar cheese, shredded
  1 tablespoon tortilla chips, crumbled

1.Place the peppers on a baking sheet with the cut side facing down.
2.Place the baking sheet on the top shelf in the oven and broil until the outer layer of the skin has blackened, about 8-14 minutes.
3.Place the peppers in a zip-lock bag or other sealable container, seal and let them cool until you can handle them, about 20 minutes.
4.Remove the skins from the peppers. The skins should easily "pinch" off.
5.Butter the outside of each slice of bread and spread the cream cheese on the inside. Sprinkle half of the cheese on the cream cheese of one slice of bread, top with the jalapenos, crumbled tortilla chips, the remaining cheese and finally the other slice of bread.
6.Assemble sandwich and grill until golden brown and the cheese has melted,
about 2-3 minutes per side.
Darn! I'm still thinking about Polenta!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Why do they treat little old ladies like little old ladies? My 6 year old PC is about 5 year old laptop is getting more stubborn everyday. So, when I heard about the new Microsoft Surface, I thought maybe I should investigate. Well, it looks just as technical as the Apple products! You know what that means don’t you? This little old lady is going to have to learn some new tricks. I hate that.  I’ve just mastered the art of texting (almost, sort of,  except for the strange abbreviations...I'm just not clever enough) . Now I have to learn that thing with dragging things around the screen, stretching it, shrinking it, ......I’m nervous.... It seems to me that if I save and budget for several months to be able to pay for this new computer, it ought to be simple to use. Maybe I will just nurse these old Dells along for a month or so.

Great News!...the Somerset Ridge Painters are self-publishing a cookbook! There are 9 of us and I can’t imagine a more inventive bunch of women. Our intention is to publish a series of cookbooks. I think I’ve gained 10 pounds just typing the recipes! We are working fast and furiously to have our first cookbook ready for the shelves before Thanksgiving!
I can’t say any more....but stay tuned, I will tell you more very soon.

Happy Birthday Mom!
My Mom just celebrated her 94th birthday. Lots of get-togethers and some of my favorite relatives came to help her party. My sister Ann and her husband Bruce, came from North Carolina. As usual, genealogy crept into the conversation. I mentioned the old cassette tape with the interview of my grandfather saying his “mother’s people came from the Lake Como region in Northern Italy”, but that I had no luck in finding who was the first Estes to leave Italy. Ann said she remembered hearing the part about how an Estes had left Italy for Scotland after trying to invent dynamite back in the 1800s and accidentally blowing up the village there by the lake. He had to flee not only the village, not only the region, but apparently, the country! I figure if he actually blew up the village, he must have indeed invented dynamite....but credit for the invention was given to Alfred Nobel (of the “Nobel Peace Prize”) stating it was the first safely manageable explosive stronger than black powder. Ahhh, I see the difference......Just think, if he had been more careful, they would be awarding the “Estes Peace Prize”!

So, if you had just blown up a village on Lake Como in 18-hundred would you flee Italy and escape to Scotland? That is a long way to walk! Looks like I have my work cut out for me. Too bad I can’t go to certainly would  be easier.

The Tyrol

When my ancestor left Lake Como, he left behind some of the world’s greatest food. Northern Italy isn’t known for tomato sauces....not in the land of butter and cheese! The hills and mountainsides around beautiful Lago de Como are dotted with herds of dairy cattle. To the east across Northern Italy is the Tyrol, a beautiful area with an amazing blend of Italian, German and Austrian foods.


One of those foods is a smoked ham known as speck.
This recipe features pasta, speck and heavy cream.....heavenly!

Creamy Tagliatelle with Speck                       serves 4
3/4 pound fresh tagliatelle or fettuccine (store-bought is fine)
4 scallions, including some green part, cut into thin rounds
1/4 pound speck thinly sliced, and the slices chopped (see note)
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Set pasta water to boil, and when it does salt it and cook the pasta.
In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a large deep skillet and saute the scallions and the speck briefly. Stir in the cream, check seasoning, and keep the sauce warm until the pasta is done.
Drain the pasta when it's done, and turn it into the skillet. Turn the heat up to high and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Serve at once.
Note: purists will frown, but you can use either lean pancetta or bacon (thinly sliced, and low in sugar) if you cannot find speck. If you use bacon, crisp it briefly and drain away some of the fat before adding it to the scallions because bacon is fattier than speck.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Hello again. I have decided I’ve had enough of a break for now, and besides, I have a blog that is anxious to be posted. So, I have placed myself at the computer once again.

Not that I have been away from the computer….the Somerset Ridge Painters are doing a cookbook (artists are almost always fabulous and very imaginative cooks!). I volunteered to do the typing. My typing teacher at Wyandotte High School must be rolling over in his grave! I was never able to pass the 20 word a minute test….sad, but true.

So, back to blogging…..

Today, October 25th , Col. Arch Tucker would have celebrated his 86th Birthday. At one point in my life, I would have considered that really old…..Today, not so much. After all, age is all about how you feel; your outlook on life. Arch had a special way of looking at his life. I truly think he thought of himself as a 22 year old fighter pilot for most of his adult life, and he had the personality and, shall we say the “zest for life” to pull it off. He always had that wonderful robust laugh; a laugh that could make everyone in the ballroom stop and turn his direction. Yes, it was loud, but most important, it came all the way from his toes! When Arch laughed, everyone laughed.

The Colonel was at his finest when he was telling one of his many Air Force stories. Arch was in 3 wars, but could always find a fun way to tell you about it. I suspect most Fighter Pilots are the same. I have met hundreds….I’ve listened to them tell their stories….they are all great story tellers (and I suspect they are all great story embellishers).

Arch and his F-86
 So, Happy Birthday, Arch! I will open a bottle of Flyboy Red and remember all of the wonderful times with you.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dear Friends....just a note to more or less "sign off."  I apparently have run out of things to say! So, goodbye for now.  Thanks for reading and following my blog. I can't tell you how amazed I have been to hear from readers in Japan, Germany, South Africa, France and Italy as well as all over America!  That is pretty exciting for a little old lady in Kansas!
Thank you one and all......
Kay Tucker

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Back when I was a chef at Crown Center here in Kansas City, I worked with the finest foods. Each and every day was exciting, yes, but also exhausting. Long hard hours standing on concrete floors,  the air heavy with heat, steam, and a overwhelming noise of orders being shouted out by the sous chef, pots and pans, plates and bowls clanking together, and calls to the utility men to bring more ingredients. At the end of the evening, when all the food was marked and stored, when the  floors  were scrubbed, and the ovens and broilers were cooled, I went home, took a relaxing hot shower and crawled in bed with a mug of Campbell's Cream of Tomato Soup and a warm, gooey, golden grilled cheese sandwich.
I was extremely proud of the food that I sent out to our customers, but the thought of eating any of it after preparing it all day, was simply not appealing. I wanted to be coddled and babied, but alas, Arch and I had not fallen in love, I had to rely on my comfy bed, tomato soup and grilled cheese. It worked!

You know I try to pass on what I feel are great food ideas and recipes. You also know I read hundreds of food blogs each week. Sharing some of my fellow food bloggers recipes  is an honor, and today I am sharing a recipe for a magnificent grilled cheese sandwich.
I have to tell you that the photograph of that sandwich grabbed me immediately! I could taste that sandwich, I could smell the aroma, I could hear the buttery crunch as I took my first bite....all that from just looking at the photograph! I was in love!
Now, let me give credit where credit is due...... is written by a young man, Kevin Lynch, who lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  Thank you, Kevin!
So, dear friends, check out this blog and search for grilled cheese. It will change your life! I swear it will! His list of his Top 10 Grilled Cheese Sandwiches offers you such things as Jalapeno Cornbread Grilled Cheese with Chipotle Caramelized Onions, Refried Black Beans and Guacamole How could that be anything but Wonderful!

Now, here is Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwich
from Closet Cooking

What better way is there to enjoy perfectly ripe tomatoes other than smothered in melted cheese along with some fresh homemade basil pesto in a sandwich that is grilled to perfection?

Servings: makes 2 sandwiches

4 slices bread
1 large ripe tomato, room temperature, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 ball fresh mozzarella, room temperature, sliced 1/4 inch thick
4 tablespoons basil pesto
pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil

Assemble sandwich and grill until golden brown and the cheese has melted, about 2-3 minutes per side.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Zeus the Moose,  Zeus the Wonder dog,  the Zeus Man,  Zoosie the Smoochie....yep, he has all of those names. But never have I considered calling him Zeus the Grump. He is always up, always happy, always glad to see me.............until today. His normal schedule consists of sleeping until 9am,  dining on adorable dog food for small dogs, then taking a stroll around the neighborhood, whizzing on choice blades of grass, seeking out areas where other male dogs  have marked their territory, and methodically topping them with his very own,very masculine,very special mark.   Uh......that may be over.
Today I woke him up (literally pulled his blanket out of his little bed and unwrapped a very sleepy dog) at 7am.  He stretched, strolled into his very special bowls....and they were gone! He looked at me like I had stolen his breakfast when actually I had not  prepared his breakfast.
I attached his leash and  we went for a quick  walk around the block. He obviously thought his breakfast would be waiting for him when he returned home....wrong. Zeus didn't know it at that moment, but his day was going to plummet to the pits! Today was "snip, snip"day for my little buddie. We arrived at the vet's by 7:30 and Zeus showered the vet with kisses.  It was like they were old buddies!
I was told to call at 1:00, after lunch with my friend Winnie.  All was well, he was awake, wagging his tail, appeared to be happy,according to  the vet.  When I arrived to pick him up, I said in a normal indoor voice"Hi, I'm Kay Tucker here to pickup Zeus".  All hell broke loose!! A howling that sounded like the Hounds of the Baskervilles started up back in the kennels. Zeus had heard me! I thought to myself, "Bless his heart, he is so anxious to see me!"
Getting him to the car took both the vet and me....Zeus was what we might call "madder than hell!"  The vet layed him in the backseat, on top of his very own soft cozy blanket. I thanked the doctor, said goodbye and turned to pet Zeus, my lovable little 9 pound Daschund.  Lovable! Ha! No more! He looked at me and growled! Zeus is PISSED!
To make matters worse, he doesn't get food or water until tomorrow.

A few minutes ago he slowly wandered out into the living room, looked at me with the most pathetic expression,  snarled at me, turned slowly and staggered back to bed.

           How long is Zeus going to hate me?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

I woke up this morning with a feeling of....well, not quite "doom", but not light hearted and anxious for my day to begin either. There was this shadow hanging over my head; a shadow over my heart. I stayed in bed, thinking about what could have me in such a funk before my feet even hit the floor. And then it dawned on me....the primaries are over, now is the time for all out political crap! The next 2+ months will provide us with more lies than anyone should have to deal with.
 I have been sick and disgusted with politicians for a long time. Here we are, closing in on yet another national election.....and what will it accomplish?  Nothing, just more of the same. I know I sound defeated, I am feeling just that, defeated.  I'm not talking one party over the other, I am talking about the disgusting people we Americans have sent to Washington DC for decades...You know who I am talking about. All of those men and women who have padded their bank accounts, their benefits, their futures....and they have never suffered any loss, have never given up one damned thing. I, of course, realize  "Gabby" Gabrielle Giffords gave up an unbelievable amount, but that is a different kind of giving. No one, no matter what position they are in, should be attacked by a madman.
 Our elected officials act like they are so over worked if, after doing nothing productive for months at a time, they have to stay an extra day or two in Washington to pass a bill that can keep America working for another 90 days! Keeping America working is their damn job!  
Watch this short video and hear a common ordinary man's opinion...I am not alone.  Trust me, he hits both parties.

The way I am feeling this morning might call for peach schnapps in my orange juice!

Monday, August 6, 2012

                            The magazine of South Johnson County

                             Most Fabulous 2012

Editors’ Picks

We like to treat ourselves every now and then ... just a little self-reward. These are perfect mini-indulgences. Dive in.

Best Place To Drink A Glass Of Award-Winning Kansas wine:
Somerset Ridge Vineyard!
Yup, we have award-winning wine from grapes grown right outside the city limits. This über-charming family-owned winery has a picture-perfect background for wine tastings and when you want to uncork yourself from the rat race.
(913) 491-0038
Somerset, Kan.

Last year, the Great Midwest Balloon Fest was held just south of me. Huge crowd, lots of activity! This coming weekend, the fest will be held at the
Great Mall of the Great Plains in Olathe….
certainly no parking problems this year!

Make sure you visit the Wine Tent….
Somerset Ridge Vineyard’s wines
are the ONLY wines chosen for this event! Drop by and say hi to Cindy and Dennis Reynolds,
 the owners and winemakers!

EVENT DATE/TIME Aug 10, 2012 to Aug 12, 2012


Great Midwest Balloon Fest

Come to this family-friendly event for a thrilling weekend of spectacular hot air balloons, non-stop activities, delicious food, the Kids Zone and entertainment. Activities include balloon and tethered rides, Fort Riley Mounted Cavalry Show, skydivers, giant kites, face painting, Disney performers and much more!

COST Adults $15, Children 6 to 12 $5,
Under 5 Free

LOCATION The Great Mall of the Great Plains
20700 W. 151st Street,  Olathe, KS

Saturday, August 4, 2012

I am really enjoying the Olympics.  Zeus and I spend way too much time in front of the television, but we just can't stop. The Olympic Games began over 2,700 years ago in Olympia, in southwest Greece. The Games were part of a religious festival. The Greek Olympics, thought to have begun in 776 BC, inspired the modern Olympic Games (begun in 1896) The Games were held in honor of Zeus, king of the gods,  and my Zeus obviously feels the connection! 
I have never been to London, so  I find the aerial views, the "royals" in the stands, the tour about town on the double decker bus, all very interesting.  History is a fascinating subject.

As I sat listening to a discussion on traditional English Afternoon Tea, I was horrified to hear that it costs an average of 40 British pounds per person you know what that is in our dollars? Right now, The English pound (1.00) is worth $1.56,  so afternoon tea in London will run about $62.00!  I certainly hope the cucumber sandwiches and tiny cakes are amazing....and I don't want to see a tea bag from Lipton anywhere near my cup!

Buckingham Palace
I realize that  it is an experience, not just a cup of tea.....but really? $62.00? And don't get me started on the etiquette that is expected.Now mind you, I am all for good manners and traditions are absolutely necessary in a civilized world, but some of them are  over the top! I will say this, if by some chance Elizabeth invites me to Buckingham for tea, I will be on my best  behavior.
Now let's discuss clotted cream.  Does that name bother anyone else, or is it just me?  I've had clotted cream and it is  actually very good. It was British Clotted Cream but I had it in Italy.  Yes, I did enjoy it, but I would have loved it if it had been called anything but "clotted"!
Alton Brown has a recipe for making your own, but you can buy clotted cream at Whole Foods. Alton's recipe is simple and straight forward, but does require up to 8 hours of draining and clotting time.

Alton's Clotted Cream

2 cups pasteurized (not ultra-pasteurized) cream
Set a coffee filter basket, lined with a filter, in a strainer, over a bowl. Pour the cream almost to the top of the filter. Refrigerate for 2 hours. The whey will sink to the bottom passing through the filter leaving a ring of clotted cream. Scrape this down with a rubber spatula and repeat every couple of hours until the mass reaches the consistency of soft cream cheese.

So, are you ready to make the scones for your clotted cream? There are millions of recipes out there, full of all sorts of things, so your best bet is to do a little research and find a scone that sounds good to you.
Here is my favorite scone. I prefer it with just butter.

Strawberry Rosemary Scones


2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup strawberry jam
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, from 1 large lemon
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon water (1 to 2)

1. For the scones: Place an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar, baking powder, rosemary, salt, and butter until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Gradually stir in the cream until the mixture forms a dough. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 1/2-inch thick, 10-inch circle. Using a 3-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out heart-shaped pieces of dough and put on the prepared baking sheet. Gently knead together any leftover pieces of dough and roll out to 1/2-inch thick. Cut the dough into more heart shapes and add to the baking sheet. Using an index finger or a small, round measuring spoon, gently make an indentation in the center of each pastry heart. Spoon a heaped 1/2 teaspoon of jam into each indentation. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Transfer the cooked scones onto a wire rack and cool for 30 minutes.
3. For the glaze: In a medium bowl, mix together the lemon juice and powdered sugar until smooth. Gradually add the water until the mixture is thin enough to spread. Using a spoon, drizzle the glaze over the scones. Let the glaze set for about 30 minutes. Serve or store in an airtight plastic container for 2 days.
4. Cook's Note: The dough can also be made by hand by stirring together the flour, sugar, baking powder, rosemary, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter. Using your fingertips or a pastry blender, work the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Gradually stir in the cream until the mixture forms a dough.


Friday, August 3, 2012

I just got home from an evening of Sangria….Red Sangria, White Sangria, Blush Sangria……Sangria with Brandy, Sangria with Peach Balsamic! And even a Buffalo White Sangria Granita!

Tonight, Cindy Reynolds of Somerset Ridge Vineyard, opened her Wine Tasting Bar at the Tasteful Olive in Downtown Overland Park and taught a class on not only how to make perfect Sangria, but gave some excellent reasons why we should make Sangria. After all, it is one of the hottest summers on record!

Cindy and her team led the class through all of the tastings, telling the possibilities with each….can you imagine Peach Balsamic in a Sangria? Chad of the Tasteful Olive encouraged everyone to try it, and the class members were amazed….Try it, you will love it!

My part of the class was offering everyone a Buffalo White Sangria Granita. I have kept my trusty Cuisinart ice cream maker mighty busy this week! Tuesday I made Homemade Peach Ice Cream, and Wednesday I started preparing the Granita for tonight’s class.

Sangria Granita
Here is the recipe which is also available on the vineyard’s Facebook page,

Somerset Ridge Buffalo White Sangria Granita

1  750 ml bottle of Somerset Ridge Buffalo White Wine
1 cup peach nectar
3 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate
1 tablespoon frozen limeade concentrate
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all ingredients and pour into you ice cream maker. Follow machine’s directions, and freeze for approximately 30 minutes. When thick and icy, transfer to a container for the freezer.

If you do not have an electric ice cream maker, you may pour the mixture into a 9” x 13” metal pan. Place pan in freezer, and every hour for 4 hours, scrape through the freezing mixture with a fork to create the crystals that transform the mixture into a granita.

Actually, this recipe can be used with the vineyard’s Flyboy Red Wine for a Red Sangria Granita. It is pretty tasty!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Jimmy Buffet
I was just listening to one of Arch’s favorite songs… sure brought back memories. Sirius Radio has a Jimmy Buffet station called Margaritaville, and in my car, it is hard to not break into song, just as Arch did. That crazy man I was married to was one of the original Parrot Heads, a group of people who are interested in the music of Jimmy Buffett and the tropical lifestyle he personifies.

So what was Arch’s favorite? None other than Pencil Thin Mustache. I recently tried to download this song as my ringtone on my phone. I thought it would be great to have that little bit of Arch each time my phone rang…..well, I finally gave up. After numerous attempts and much frustration, I cancelled that idea.  Sometimes life is just too hard! And then there is the fact that I am getting older every day…..maybe downloading is a thing of my past.

Anyway, back to Arch and singing. Arch sang like Foghorn Leghorn, that lovable old rooster in Looney Tunes cartoons. Both Arch and Foghorn were loud and off key.
Arch loved to sing, much to the distress of those around him! I never minded however. I thought his gravely old croaking and crowing (there is simply no other way to describe his voice) was charming.

Arch, singing at his
80th Birthday Celebration.
 We didn’t have Sirius Radio in the Saab back then, just a cd player. We traveled with a stack of our favorites and while I drove, Arch played DJ. Jimmy Buffet was always with us, but then, so were Frank and Dean, Nat King Cole and Patti Page, Pete Fountain, and of course, the Everly Brothers.
We were known to throw some clothes in a suitcase, drive to the end of the driveway, and then decide which way to go. In the summer of 2000, we drove east to North Carolina, west to Las Vegas, Nevada, North to Duluth, Minnesota and south to Corpus Christi, Texas. Thousands of miles and I bet he sang Pencil Thin Mustache well over a hundred times. When it was time for the chorus, Arch kicked it in to high gear (extra loud and extremely off key!) And he grinned the whole time!

“I wish I had a pencil thin mustache
The "Boston Blackie" kind
A two toned Ricky Ricardo jacket
And an autographed picture of Andy Devine

I remember bein' buck-toothed and skinny
Writin' fan letters to Sky's niece Penny
Oh I wish I had a pencil thin mustache
Then I could solve some mysteries too”
(the chorus to Pencil Thin Mustache, written by Jimmy Buffet)

I think my favorite song that Arch sang, was  “It Had to Be You”. He held my hand and always ended with a wink. Arch Tucker was quite a character….and yes, usually off key.

Any tips on downloading ringtones?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Have you ever wondered if your child heard and understood a very important lesson you tried to teach them? It seems that more often as not, they remember the things you would rather they not remember at all….but occasionally it turns out well.

Yesterday, my youngest child remembered a lesson I taught her many years ago.

Betsy is no longer a child; as a matter of fact, she has two children of her own. Driving lessons are still at least 5 years away for her kids, but yesterday, Betsy suddenly remembered a moment when she was 15 and behind the wheel of my car. We were going to have a lesson on highway driving....her first.

As she pulled onto the highway, I said to her “if a dog runs out in front of you, do not swerve to avoid it.” I explained that at highway speeds, loosing control of the car will end up with us being in a serious accident. Sure enough, within a few miles, a dog ran out in front of the car. Betsy swerved.

It took what seemed like a lifetime for the two of us to get the car under control and avoid an accident that day. I'm sure I scolded her,maybe even said a few  bad  words, once I could speak again. It is a moment both of us remember, even after all of these years.

This morning I received this email from Betsy.
“I don't want to over-dramatize the situation saved my life tonight. I was driving home from Nashville (in my 3 day old car) and a deer ran out in front of me. I was on a tree-lined, two lane, rural, 45 MPH highway. I had time to contemplate my reaction, but not much. I remembered you teaching me to drive, the dog in Paola, etc. I remembered it all. And I plowed right into the poor thing. But I am 95% sure I wouldn't be emailing you right now had I not learned NOT to swerve.

So, thank you. And yes, my poor 3-day-old car is toast. But it could have been very different had you not taught me that.

Much love and appreciation,


So, you see, they do listen, they do learn. Thank God.

I suppose this isn’t the time for an absolutely delicious method for preparing a venison roast…, I’ll wait on that one.

Drive carefully!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

We don’t have a name. We don’t have a plan, schedule or statement. What we do have is a love of food that taste delicious and looks beautiful, and a desire to try different ethnic cuisines. We are a group of women from Colombia, South America, one from India, one from Iran and 8 just regular old American types, with some pretty interesting genealogies The majority of us are artists, but we have a couple of models, a cosmetic specialist, and a wine maker, and a realtor. Ada began pulling us together several months ago for a dinner of Indian dishes, prepared by a friend of hers, Jyoti Mukharji. It was a lovely evening. Next, Ada invited some friends to join her for an evening of Iranian food prepared by Sara from Iran.  We dined outdoors on Ada’s lovely patio and then learned Iranian dancing!  You can find the recipes and photographs on my blog for May 5th. It was such a great evening.

Vicki and a refreshing
Cocktail Santa Marta
  Maria, the wonderful artist from the Caribbean coast of Colombia invited us to her home for a typical Colombian dinner. We had so much fun!  We were greeted with icy cold Santa Marta cocktails served in martini glasses with garnish of fresh pineapple and cherries and a tiny umbrella! I am a light weight when it comes to alcohol, but I must admit to having “more than one!” of Maria’s Cocktail Santa Marta
“Traditionally in the Caribbean we like to drink Beer, Aguardiente and Rum. Either white rum or dark rum. We also love to welcome the tourists with cold cocktails that are made with our tropical fruits and rum."

Cocktail Santa Marta
Mango Juice and Guava Juice (Ceres)
Orange/Mango/ Passion fruit Sparkling soda
Dark Rum
I froze in a tray one of the juices to make it very cold before blending.
Blend the two Ceres juices in a blender.
Then add the Sparkling soda and rum.
Garnish with pineapple and maraschino cherries.
Definitely an umbrella!

Our Colombian menu included several small plates of appetizers, beautifully presented by Maria. As she served each appetizer, she explained how it was made and why it is typical of Colombian cooking..
One of our small plate appetizers was
Chorizo with Queso fresco and caramelized onions
Maria's directions:
"Saute Chorizo either chopped or out of the casing. I use two types of chorizos, a Mexican version for crumbling and a dry Spaniard version. They both have close flavors to our typical chorizo.
Then sauté Red onions either chopped or sliced and add sugar.
Serve on a small plate with the queso fresco. This cheese is the closest to our farmers dry white cheese that we use in the coast.
All the ingredients can be found at Wal-Mart. The chorizo and Queso fresco are in the same section.
The Spaniard chorizo: The brand is Abuelita and is sold at World Market."

For our main course, Maria made her favorite dishes that her mother, Ana, taught her.
Maria's recipe:
Carne en Posta con salsa Semi dulce
A la Ana
(Beef Roast with Semisweet Sauce)
Beef Chuck 2 pounds
Brown Sugar 4 Tbsp.
Mustard 2 Tbsp.
Garlic, 1 Clove
Salt and Pepper to taste
Whole Cloves 10 cloves

Cooking time about 2 HoursRub the chuck with mustard, salt, pepper and garlic.
Brown all sides in a deep pot, then remove and brown other pieces.
Insert the cloves in the meat and turn everything back in the pot.
Add water until covered; add a bag with cloves and 4 tablespoons of brown sugar.
Cook for about 1 ½ hour or until the meat is tender.
When cooked: Take meet out of pan. Slice thin,
Add a ½ cup of cold water with a tablespoon of Flour and add to the sauce reduction.Then pour the sauce on the meat.
Arroz con Coco

White Rice
Coconut Milk 2 cans

Cooking time about 1 hour 15 minutes
Place 1 can of regular Coconut milk in a pot with 3 tablespoons of sugar.

Stir on medium high heat often and careful not to burn too fast. This process will
take 25 minutes,until it becomes caramelized and completely reduced. The key is to scrape the bottom and the let it brown more, then scrape again.
Add 2 cans of coconut milk and 1 of water plus raisins, let
simmer for 5 minutes.
Add 1 ½ cup of rice, and 1 teaspoon of salt.
Cover on low temperature and let cook for 20 minutes until the water starts to dry. Uncover, and let it dry. on low temperature.

Before we go onto the dessert, here is a slideshow of our dinner. 

Now, on to dessert.....
I volunteered to help Maria with her dinner and it was decided I would prepare the dessert. Maria explained dessert inColombia is usually fresh fruit or picking up a frozen fruit treat, similar to a Popsicle, as you walked along the beach. She asked that I make the dessert fresh and organic, so I decided to make a pineapple sherbet.  I bought my pineapple and made the sherbet, but did not taste the pineapple before I used it.  It was dreadfully bitter! Therefore, the day of the dinner, I had to remake the sherbet. Short of time, I found it necessary to use the following recipe which used canned pineapple. I was embarassed! But the sherbet was pretty darned good!
 Pineapple Sherbet with a Pineapple Banana Rum Sauce
serves 4
for sherbet:
2/3 cups sugar
2 cups buttermilk
1 can crushed pineapple (8 ounce) drain and reserve juice for sauce
for sauce:
½ cup pineapple juice drained from canned pineapple
½ cup sugar
¼ cup Banana Rum
for garnish, fresh edible flowers, blueberries, fresh mint
To prepare sherbet, drain juice from Pineapple, reserving juice for sauce.
Place crushed pineapple in a bowl, add the buttermilk and sugar. Stir well to dissolve sugar. Add to your ice cream maker and process for 25 to 30 minutes. You may also pour the mixture into a shallow container that will fit into your freezer. Freeze one hour then stir well, breaking up frozen chunks. Return to freezer until serving. As I said, I much prefer the creamier texture of that made by an ice cream maker over the icy crystallized sherbet made in your freezer.
For the sauce, place the reserved juice in a small sauce pan. Add the sugar and stir well to dissolve sugar. Heat to simmering, then continue to simmer until a syrup of the thickness you want your sauce to be.I prefer it to be about the same as Maple Syrup. Remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes. Add the banana rum and stir to blend. Cool completely, store in the refrigerator.
When serving, place a scoop of sherbet in each bowl. Drizzle with sauce, the garnish with flowers and mint, or with fresh fruit of your choice.

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