Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Importance of February 25th

Flyboy Tucker climbing out of his beloved F-86
after his 100th mission over Korea in 1951
February 25th was never an important date for me, until I met  Arch Tucker. No, it wasn’t the day we were married, nor was it his birthday. It was far more spectacular than that as far as Arch was concerned! Arch woke up every February 25 with a smile on his face, from 1950 to 2006.
Typical of an old military guy, every time Arch told the story that I am about to share with you, he smiled bigger, laughed louder, and, shall we say, elaborated more. I am not saying the story was not the truth, because it was, totally. It was just that each time he told the story, the better he liked telling it. There were, shall we say, a few more "flourishes" with each telling of the tale.
Arch arranged to graduate early from Wyandotte High School in Kansas City, Kansas in 1943. Lots of young men were doing it….they were anxious to get into WWII before it ended. Arch picked up his diploma and marched straight to the recruiting office. On  January 19, 1944, Arch Tucker was a flight cadet in the Army Air Corps. He always knew he was going to fly.
The war ended before he barely got off the ground,  but fly he did!
Shortly after the war ended, the United States Air Force was established. Arch left Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas on the next train. I won’t go into all of the next few months following his induction, so we will move right on to February, 1949. Arch was about to graduated from flight school at Williams Air Force Base in Chandler, Arizona.  Always being the best pilot he could be, Arch was chosen as one of the top 6 cadets in his class to do the flyby during the ceremony. This was before he had his “wings”, graduation wasn’t over yet.
The six pilots climbed into their F80-As and took off. There they were, Moms, Dads, Wives and Sweethearts, all sitting in the stands, thrilled at the sound of the formation approaching. From the right, there they were. 6 of the very best from the Class of 49A.
The way Arch spent his graduation day
That is when it happened, things turned nasty. One of the pilots nosedived into the ground, right in front of everyone. You guessed it…..

Cadet Arch Tucker did a whoops! 
He had an airspeed problem and was too proud to admit it. They say he was conscious when they rushed to the plane; according to witnesses, he was swearing like a madman!  It took a long time to remove him from the wreckage. He was thrown through the instrument panel and into the motor. Arch didn’t remain conscious very long, so his tale of the rescue was lacking details. It was probably a good thing. Arch’s back was broken in 5 places, along with multiple other bones. He was taken to the military hospital in a coma and it was thought he would not live through the night. 
Late that night, after all of the other cadets had graduated and were headed for their first assignments, Robert L. Scott, World War II flying ace (and future author of “God is My Co-Pilot”) quietly slipped into Arch’s hospital room, and placed Arch’s new “Wings” on his broken body. Scott and all of the command officers assumed Arch would never survive the night, much less wake up to see his wings, to know that he was indeed, at long last, a PILOT!
Arch always said if they had known he was going to survive, they certainly would not have given him those wings. After all, Arch had just destroyed a multi-million dollar aircraft! Arch spent the next year and a half recovering. Luckily, the spinal column was not severed. The injury was to the bones, which he was determined to heal.  He laid in a body cast for months, most of it under the influence of heavy morphine. In early 1950, he was fitted for a back brace that made him walk  like Frankenstein, but at least he was mobile, sort of. Shortly after the size of the brace was reduced to manageable, Arch was given the duty of accompanying soldier’s bodies back from Europe. They were still finding casualties from World War II.
At last, late in 1950, Arch was released for flying! Can you imagine the queasy stomach his commanding officer had when he released another jet to Arch! But Arch had no fear, he knew he belonged in the cockpit.
So, you see, February 25th was a day of celebration. Arch became known as the first jet pilot to survive a crash of a jet aircraft. He was a fighter pilot in the United Stares Air Force for 33 years. He flew in combat missions over Korea and Vietnam. He lived around the world, but no matter where he was, he celebrated on February 25th!

Arch had been retired from the Air Force almost 20 years when I met him. He loved to attend reunions with the Class of 49A. There was always at least one old buddy who would be absolutely flabbergasted to discover Arch had not died that graduation day in 1949.
So, how did we celebrate? It usually involved martinis, and meat and potatoes.
Arch was the epitome of a carnivore. His abilities in the kitchen were amazing. I could cook for 100 people, no problem. But, God forbid I should have to cook for one! Arch on the other hand was a genius at cooking for just one. He had almost as many cookbooks as I did when we got married. Mine were more beautiful, elegant foods. Arch’s were of two categories….meat and foreign meat!
As he traveled around the world, he fell in love with the foods of Europe and Asia. He collected and developed recipes as he went along. What I am about to share with you is one of Arch’s recipes, developed, corrected, adjusted, etc., through the years. It is truly amazing. I know when you read it you will see the list of ingredients and think “no way”, but when you read the directions and discover it takes up to 3 weeks, you will probably say “not only no, but Hell No!” But don’t forget this recipe. Someday you are going to need to a spectacular meal for a very special occasion. Trust me, this is the one!
Arch has been gone 5 years now, I think it is time for me to share his Wild Boar with the world!

Colonel Arch Tucker’s Mock Wild Boar
1 whole fresh ham, approximately 20 pounds
     (a fresh ham is the back leg of the pig, the same cut as  used for a cured ham, only this is fresh, not cured)
2 tablespoons black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon Accent® seasoning mix
1 teaspoon allspice
1 large bay leaf, crumbled
1 teaspoon crushed caraway seeds
3 cloves garlic, mashed
4 tablespoons salt
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 large onions
1 large carrot
2 ribs celery with leaves
1 cup olive oil
1 1/2 ups red wine (I naturally use Somerset Ridge Flyboy Red)
1 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup cognac
For the Archibald Sauce:
strained marinade from Wild Boar
2 cups Flyboy Red wine
2 cups beef gravy, homemade is best, but you can use jarred gravy
1 cup beef stock
1 to 2 tablespoons red currant jelly
salt to taste
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped green onions
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

Have the butcher remove the rind (skin) from the ham, leaving the layer of fat on the ham. With a small thin bladed knife, make small slits all over the ham. Combine all of the herbs,spices and orange zest. Rub all over the ham, coating well, making sure to get rub down into slits. Place ham in a large container.

Chop onion,celery and carrot. Saute in the olive oil. When veggies are soft, add the 1 cup of wine and the vinegar. Bring just to a boil. Remove from the heat, let cool to room temperature, then add the cognac.
Pour over the ham, adjusting the ham so as much of it as possible is covered by the marinade.

Let ham marinate in the refrigerator for 15 to 18 days, turning the ham in the marinade at least once a days, preferably twice a day.

To roast the meat: Remove the ham from the marinade. Do not dry off or try to clean off! Place on a rack in a large shallow roasting pan, fat side up. Roast in a 300 degree oven until meat thermometer reads 165 to 175 degrees. Remove ham from roasting pan. Let rest for at least 30 minutes before carving.

In the meantime, strain the marinade, squeezing as much liquid as possible from vegetables. In a large saucepan, combine the strained marinade, 2 cups wine, and beef gravy. Bring to a gentle boil and reduce the sauce by half over medium heat. Arch had a special wooden spoon that he marked the depth of the sauce before he reduced it. You want the sauce to be a little thicker than you want the finished sauce to be. This part of the sauce can be prepared as soon as the meat is removed from the marinade.

Heat beef stock to boiling, pour into the roasting pan to deglaze all of the caramelized meat juices from the bottom of the pan. Scrape bottom of pan well, then add contents of roasting pan to the sauce. Add currant jelly and adjust salt. Add pepper, green onions and parsley. Bring to a simmer for a few minutes to combine flavors.

Serve either a soft polenta or mashed potatoes with sliced boar along side, all topped with the sauce.

If you are willing to help me salute Arch on the 25th, fix your favorite beverage (Arch loved a Gin Martini, dirty) and during the Happy Hour, let us lift our glasses to The Colonel!

One of My Favorite Quotes.........................

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the
same.".....Ronald Reagan

Monday, February 20, 2012


Here we are, in the midst of Mardi Gras! I haven’t participated in this celebration since Arch passed away 5 years ago, and I won’t be celebrating this year either. But the food blogs are full of recipes, photos and menus to help you have a great time! I bet I have seen 100 recipes for King’s cake….everything is purple, yellow and green!
Not being Catholic, I didn’t observe Lent. I didn’t know all of the history and traditions of Lent. I did know pancakes were big on Shrove Tuesday, but didn’t know why, I just liked pancakes! A little research will teach you that Shrove Tuesday is also known as Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras (which is simply French for Fat Tuesday). Simple enough. Shrove Tuesday is a reminder that you are entering a season of penance, if you are Catholic.
So, if Lenten fasting means you give up rich foods as part of your penance, you need to go through the larder and use up all of the eggs, butter, etc. Therefore, the day before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, means you eat well, you eat a lot. They certainly didn’t throw away perfectly good food! Indeed not, they ate it!
Ta-Da! Fat Tuesday!
I sure hope I have that right!
So, out of all the Fat Tuesday traditional foods that I have tried, my very favorite is a Polish donut called Paczki, a rich donut usually (though not always) filled with jam (traditionally prune or raspberry). Similar to the German Bismarck or Berliner , these round rolls (pronounced "POHNCH-kee") are made with a yeast-raised egg batter. Who doesn’t love a warm, fresh from the fryer, donut? So, here is the recipe, just in time for tomorrow, Fat Tuesday. (It took me a while, but I have finally gotten to the recipe!) Enjoy! I found this recipe some time ago, I think on European Foods
1 1/2 cups warm milk (no warmer than 110 degrees)
2 packages active dry yeast (remember to proof yeast before you begin)
1/2 cup sugar
4 ounces (1 stick) room-temperature butter
1 large room-temperature egg
3 large room-temperature egg yolks
1 tablespoon brandy or rum
1 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
1 gallon oil for deep frying
Granulated sugar (optional)
Confectioner's sugar (optional)
Fruit paste for filling (optional)

• Add yeast to warm milk, stir to dissolve and set aside. In a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together sugar and butter until fluffy. Beat in eggs, brandy and salt until well-incorporated.

• Still using the paddle attachment, add 4 1/2 cups flour alternately with the milk-yeast mixture and beat for 5 or more minutes by machine and longer by hand until smooth. My grandmother used to beat the dough with a wooden spoon until it blistered. Dough will be very slack. If too soft, add remaining 1/2 cup flour, but no more.

• Place dough in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, anywhere from 1 to 2 1/2 hours . Punch down and let rise again.

• Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Pat or roll to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut rounds with 3-inch biscuit cutter. Remove scraps, and re-roll and re-cut. Cover and let rounds rise until doubled in bulk, 30 minutes or longer.

• Heat oil to 350 degrees in large skillet or Dutch oven. Place pączki top-side down (the dry side) in the oil a few at a time and fry 2 to 3 minutes or until bottom is golden brown. Flip them over and fry another 1 to 2 minutes or until golden brown. Make sure the oil doesn't get too hot so the exterior doesn't brown before the interior is done. Test a cool one to make sure it's cooked through. Adjust cooking time and oil heat accordingly.

• Drain pączki on paper towels or brown paper bags, and roll in granulated sugar while still warm. Note: You can poke a hole in the side of the pączki and, using a pastry bag, squeeze in a dollop of the filling of choice. Then dust filled pączki with granulated sugar, confectioners' sugar or glaze.

• Darn the luck! Pączki don't keep well, so gobble them up the same day you make them or freeze.

• Note: Always use caution when working with hot oil, especially around children. Have a fire extinguisher designed for grease fires at the ready.
Okay, No more blogging today. Zeus is bored.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

 She did it! Danica Pollard was named  Food and Wine Magazine's The People’s Best New Pastry Chef of the Central Region!
And, we helped!
I have received so many messages to pass on to Danica, I will be going to Lidia's for lunch soon to pass them on to Danica in person! Thank you for answering the call!
Your votes certainly counted!

Congratulations, Danica!
I bet Lidia is very proud  of you!

Tomorrow night is 3rd Friday in Historic Overland Park. I am praying for good weather, but of course, it will be warm and cozy inside The Tasteful Olive! I will be there from 6PM to 8:45PM, with samples of Blood Orange Brownies and my Wild Mushroom and Sage Savory Shortbread. Please  come join us. Somerset Ridge will be there with their wines!
The shops and restaurants will be open and there will be live music, wonderful art, and, as I said, Brownies! They are wonderful! The recipe is from the Tasteful Olives web page, along with many other delicious ways of using their amazing oils and vinegars.

4 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 oz bittersweet chocolate
1 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
4 eggs
1 T vanilla flavoring
2 C sugar
1/2 C butter
1/2 C Tasteful Olive's Blood Orange Olive Oil
1 C walnuts, coarsely crushed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 12 x 9 baking pan. On low heat, melt chocolate in sauce pan, stirring constantly. Set aside to cool. In separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt. Melt the butter, place in another bowl and add the olive oil, then incorporate one egg at a time into this mixture. Add in vanilla and then the chocolate. Fold in the dry ingredients and walnuts, but don't over mix the batter. Pour mixture into the pan, smoothing off the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes until brownies pull away from the side of the pan. Serves 12.

Hope to see you there!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Are you watching the 136th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show? Zeus and I are snuggled up in our recliner, watching the Hound category that includes the Daschund breed. The dog show is on tonight and tomorrow night, with tomorrow night’s show ending with the naming of “Best in Show”. JOY! The Wirehaired Daschund just won for the Hound group! I am looking forward to watching the miniature breeds, and I know Zeus is also.
The snow we received today sort of put a kink in our walking schedule today. Zeus’ tummy is so close to the ground, his Burberry coat was scooping up the snow; it was like walking a miniature snow plow! We left a rather strange looking path behind us.

My oven is on the blink, sort of, anyway. All of that electronic stuff offers so many opportunities for things to break, give out, just plain quit. I have turned the breaker off to my kitchen, then will turn it back on later tonight. You know, everything is a computer now, even my oven! Hopefully when I flip the breaker back on, the computer behind the controls will reboot itself and I will have an oven again. In the meantime, it looks like my electric soup pot will be put to work.
I have a package of French Lentils and a pound of Jasper’s wonderful sweet Italian Sausage, so I think I will make a French/Italian Lentil and Sausage Soup.

Sausage and Lentil Soup
• 1 medium onion
• ½ cup chopped celery
• 3 garlic cloves
• 8 baby carrots
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 lb Italian sausage, removed from casings 
• 5 cups chicken broth
• 3 cups water
• 16 ounces lentils
• salt and pepper
• 1 dash red pepper flakes
olive oil for drizzling

Place onion, celery, garlic and carrots in food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Sauté the veggies in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Remove sausage from casings and crumble. Add sausage to vegetables and sauté until no longer pink. Rinse lentils and add to pot. Add broth, water and seasonings and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 1 hour, stirring often. If soup becomes too thick, add more broth. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. When done, drizzle with olive oil, stir and serve.

Have you voted for Danica Pollard yet? Please do! She is in 2nd place as of today, so thank you very much for voting for this delightful Pastry Chef of Lidia’s of Kansas City!

Just go to and vote for Danica today! I will keep you posted on how she is doing.

Please have a wonderful Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

All you loyal readers,
I have
A Favor to Ask!
I am asking each of you to vote for
a wonderful local chef!
 Kansas City’s Pastry Chef of Lidia’s Italy


has been nominated by Food and Wine Magazine as a candidate for

The People’s Best New Pastry Chef

Voting is easy and you have until February 14th at Midnight!

2. on the map click on CENTRAL
3. Scroll down and in the voting box on the lower right side click on DANICA POLLARD
4. In the voting box, click on SUBMIT
Let’s make it a sweet victory for our favorite pastry chef on Valentine’s Day!
Thank you for supporting Lidia’s Italy Kansas City!
and, thank you for reading my blog!

Congratulations, Danica!

According to fellow blogger, Debra of, It is only 2 degrees in Rome right now. I’m thinking our 21 degrees sounds pretty balmy. However, I would jump on a plane right now for Italy, no matter what the temperature is!

With the freezing temperatures here in Kansas City, and apparently most of the planet above the equator, I am thinking the pastries of Kansas City’s own
would be pretty darned good right now with a nice warm cup of cappuccino, or in my case, a beautiful cup of hot tea. So, for those of you not fortunate enough to have a Lidia’s near by, here is a recipe for one of my favorite pastries.

Lemon Ricotta Tart
72 vanilla wafers (from a 12-ounce box)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick) melted
2 cups ricotta cheese
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons), plus 3 tablespoons lemon juice

Confectioners' sugar, for dusting (optional)

1. Preheat oven 375 degrees. In a food processor, pulse vanilla wafers until finely ground (to yield 2 cups). Add butter and pulse until crumbs are evenly moistened.
2. Transfer crumb mixture to a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Press firmly into the bottom and up the sides. Place pan on a baking sheet; bake crust until lightly browned and set, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven.
3. In clean food processor, blend ricotta, cream cheese, eggs, granulated sugar, and lemon zest until smooth. Pour into hot crust in pan; bake until filling is set and browned in spots, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack. Just before serving, dust top of tart with confectioners' sugar, if desired.

Okay now, don’t forget to vote for DANICA POLLARD
by going to

Thank You!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Zeus, the Wonder Dog, and I have just returned from a stay at Rudy’s house. Rudy is my "Nephew”, that beautiful Collie I have blogged about before. When my brother and sister-in-law spend time in the Palm Springs area, I stay with Rudy.

Zeus discovers the joy of a BIG bed!
 The 2 dogs bonded beautifully, mainly due to the loving nature of Rudy. He allowed Zeus to eat out of his bowl, drink his water, and to play in his backyard. He did become rather restless when Zeus decided to stretch out in Rudy’s very large, comfy bed…..but I soon realized Rudy’s pacing back and forth was for a very good reason and I moved Zeus to his own bed. That was our only incident which I would say is pretty good considering we were there for several weeks!
I did have a moment when I thought we should rename the boys Felix and Oscar!

 I did have one other snag while I was there. It seems that RoadRunner and Everest are not nearly as friendly as the dogs. I could not get onto the internet or my email program at all while I was there…, I haven’t been blogging. So, you have had a vacation from me. But, I have returned.

While I was “away”, I did the Pig 103 dinner along with Jasper Mirabile at his beautiful restaurant, Jasper’s, here in Kansas City. We had 45 guests who dined on all things PORK. Jasper is such a delight to work with…..he puts up with me in his kitchen just as Rudy puts up with Zeus.

My paintings at ARTichokes Gallery are coming down today. I must admit, I am rather anxious to get them back home! Becky Pashia and her team will be hanging a new show for an opening on Friday evening. The artist is Lucie Phillips of Chicago. I am looking forward to the opening.
I just received an email telling me that the jewelry of artist Ana Herrera will be featured also at ARTichokes!! I am the very proud owner of 3 beautiful pieces of Ana's jewelry! I recommend that you stop by ARTichokes to see her latest collection, Amore Mio!
Jewelry by Ana Herrera

I am also looking forward to the Kansas City Artists Coalition Annual Auction. Once again, David Gross, Vicki Johnston, Audrey Benskin, Ada Koch and I have all donated paintings for the event. It is the main fund raiser for the Coalition every year. They certainly throw some grand parties in connection with the auction. The first event is February 15th. In staying with the Valentine theme, they are having a Sweet Art Reception on Wednesday before the auction on Saturday evening, the 18th. The food and wine are excellent and I might add, in abundance! If you would be interest in one or both events, call the KC Artists Coalition at 816-421-5222 for tickets. The gallery is located at 201 Wyandotte in Kansas City, Missouri.

The painting I have donated is a 36” square oil on canvas of Kansas landscape. I call it “Home, Home on the…..”

Now that Valentine’s Day is next week, I was thinking of giving you a chocolate recipe…..but there are so many that I love, it is difficult to choose one to share.

……and then I remembered this recipe!

Does anything say I LOVE YOU more than a light, warm gooey Chocolate Soufflé? Okay, so maybe a big diamond says it better, but this is a wonderful chocolate soufflé from Jules Clancy of sydney food blog stonesoup  Since it is from Australia, some of the ingredients and directions may take you a moment to figure out, so I will try to make it simple for you.

Chocolate Souffle with Dulce de Leche

You can make the chocolate mix ahead of time and refrigerate until needed. Then all you need to do is whisk your whites and combine everything and bake. For die hard chocolate fans, refrain from using the caramel sauce and serve plain or dusted with a little cocoa powder.

150g dark chocolate, preferably 70% cocoa solids
125ml (½ cup) whole milk
110g (½ cup) caster sugar (caster sugar is a very fine ground sugar. Not powdered sugar fine, but certainly more fine than our sugar here in the US. You may substitute regular sugar if you can’t find the fine sugar. A moment or two in the food processor will help.)
3 egg yolks, lightly whisked
4 egg whites
pinch of salt
pinch cream of tartar
butter for greasing
extra caster sugar for dusting
4 tablespoons dulce de leche sauce, optional to serve (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 180C. (Here in US, 320 degrees Fahrenheit) Grease 4 tea cups or 4 large ramekins with butter and sprinkle with caster sugar, tipping out excess sugar. Break chocolate into small chunks and place in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, ensuring that the water does not touch the base of the bowl. Allow chocolate to melt gently. When almost melted remove from heat and stir, allowing the residual heat to melt the remaining chocolate. Stir through cold milk. Combine yolks and sugar and stir through chocolate. (by “stir through”, she means add, stir in.)

Beat egg whites in an electric mixer until frothy and add salt & cream of tartar. Continue to whisk until firm peaks form. Stir a tablespoon of egg white through the chocolate mix to lighten it then gently fold through remaining whites.

Gently divide the mix between the 4 prepared dishes and wrap each with a collar of baking paper that stands at least 4cm (about 1 ½”) above the rim of the dish. Tie with string. Place dishes on a baking tray and bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until soufflés are raised and the top looks cooked through.

Meanwhile warm the dulce de leche sauce in the microwave. When soufflés are cooked, dollop each with a spoonful of sauce and serve immediately.

Dulce de leche sauce

Nowadays you can buy cans of pre prepared ‘caramel filling’ but I prefer to make my own when I have the time. This sauce is delicious on its own, or drizzled over vanilla ice cream or better yet spooned in the middle of this hot chocolate soufflé.

1 can sweetened condensed milk
¼ cup – ½ cup pouring cream (heavy whipping cream)

Place unopened can in a very large saucepan and cover completely with water. Bring to the boil and simmer covered for 3½ hours making sure the can is submerged the whole time. Allow to cool in the water.

Place caramelized condensed milk in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Gradually add in cream until you have a saucy consistency. Serve as is but try not to eat the whole batch with a spoon in one sitting.

so, there you have it…Simple and simply delicious!

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