Monday, April 23, 2012

Last night my family all gathered around my dining room table for a farewell dinner for my daughter and son-in-law, Betsy and Ben Nanson and their children, Zoe and Bing, and last, but not least, Lincoln, my furry buddy.
Tuesday morning the moving van arrives to load up everything they own and off they go to their new home in Memphis, Tennessee! Ben is an architect and has just accepted a position with a wonderful firm in Memphis. It was a fun and happy evening….no tears, just happiness for them and their new exciting life! I just keep thinking that it is only an 8 to 10 hour drive from Kansas City. I used to drive to visit them when they lived in Denver. No Sweat!

 I am painting most of the time now, even waking up at 4 AM and jumping out of bed, anxious to get back to my easel! Part of me is greatly relieved to be excited about painting again, yet there is that other part that can’t decide if what I am paintingis good enough to hang! It is so difficult to remain positive!
There are two important events coming up; one in May, one in June. I must have MANY new paintings to show!
May 12th, the day before Mother’s Day, I will be showing my paintings along with the other 8 Somerset Ridge Painters. We will be featured at Somerset Ridge Vineyard. We will be out in the vines with our paintings! The other Painters are Ada Koch, Audrey Benskin, Vicki Johnston, Winnie Davis, Maria Johnson, JoAnne Carlton, Kristin Goering and Patsy Brown.

Please come and see us! It is a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon!

I will be returning to the vines in June for the Vineyard’s 4th Annual Art in the Vines! I can't believe we started Vines 4 years ago! There will be 25 artists participating this year, bringing Kansas City’s finest local artists together for a two day event in one of the Midwest’s most beautiful settings. For further information, go to There you will find dates, times and driving directions. Please Join Us!

Are you getting your menu ready for a big Cinco de Mayo celebration? I am having a little gathering at my house, just to be together with
friends and to eat and drink our favorite Mexican dishes and beverages! It is a day for Tamales(!) Enchiladas (!), tons of melted cheeses and Sangria! Today, as I was going through my collection of Mexican/Southwestern recipes to come up with an interesting menu, I realized I wanted all of them! There is something about Mexican food that just plain HITS THE SPOT! All those cool crunchy vegetables, all of those hotter than hell peppers and spices, all of that warm gooey cheese…, oh my….I do love them!

Here is a great recipe for you to try. Hope you enjoy it. It is from one of my favorite blogs, Lisa Fain’s Homesick Texan .The wonderful photo is from her also.

Queso Flameado
3 cups shredded asadero cheese
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack

Queso flameado

1 poblano chile
1/2 cup Mexican chorizo

1. Heat the poblano chile under the broiler for five minutes on each side or until its blackened. Place the chile in a paper sack, close it and let the chile steam for 15 minutes. After this time, rub off the skin, remove the stem and seeds and cut into strips.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
3. Break up the chorizo and cook it in a skillet until it's done, about five minutes. Lightly grease a medium-sized cast-iron skillet or a casserole dish and add the cheese. Top with the crumbled, cooked chorizo and poblano strips and cook for 15 minutes or until bubbling.
4. Spoon out the melted queso flameado onto tortillas. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I have mentioned more than once that I am the grandmother of 6 amazing people. Each one is brilliant, beautiful, talented…..all those things.
Go ahead and laugh, but trust me, they truly are among the finest in the whole world!
Take, for instance, grandchild number 3. She is about to graduate from high school. Not only is she breathtakingly beautiful and brilliant, she is adorable.  #3 is, in my humble opinion, perfect in every way.
Let me tell you a little story. About 12 or 13 years ago, she was a tiny, beautiful blond child. She asked her mother if she could give me a “too-a” of the “vin-yad”. (She had the cutest way of not pronouncing her r’s!) After some instruction from her mother, she was given permission to take me for a “wide awound the vin-yad”. This child, no bigger than a minute, climbed behind the wheel of a little motorized vehicle and asked me to slide in beside her. Off we went.
As we toured each section of the vineyard, she told me what varietal of “gwape” was planted there and how long they had been in the ground. As we approached the dam on the backside of the pond, I wondered if I would need a lifejacket, but she was calm and relaxed, both hands on the wheel. Halfway across the dam, she stopped, took the little 4 wheeler out of gear, applied the brake, and stood up. She was wearing these tiny little flip flops on her feet. She raised up on her
tiny, pudgy, pink toes, placed her hand above her brow to shade her eyes from the sun and said….. are you ready?......she said
“Mimi, the 'vin-yad' is my 'few-cha”
as her blue eyes scanned across the ever expanding rows of beautiful grape vines. While I was sitting there with tears in my eyes, trying not to sob,  she sat back down, released the brake, put it in gear. We drove on.

I will never forget that day as long as I live!

So, why am I telling you this story today? My little granddaughter just celebrated her 18th birthday, and is still absolutely beautiful! That is her in the photo above. I am so proud to tell you she has received a wonderful scholarship to attend the University of California at Davis. In September, she will enter the school of Viticulture and Enology…the study of growing grapes and making wine. That tiny little girl knew at the age of 5 that she would someday become a winemaker. I’m thinking, she definitely does not take after her Mimi. At 70, I'm still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I'm a little slow. Then it dawned on me, thanks to my children , Cindy and Dennis,  Chuck and Michelle,  and Betsy and Ben, I am what I want to be....
just Mimi.
Congratulations, Holly!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Over the last few weeks, Zeus, the Magnificent, has enjoyed a field of  big yellow dandelions. I didn’t spoil his pleasure by telling him they were weeds…. bad weeds!
For some reason. walk time this week, has had Zeus turning right at the end of the driveway, instead of his usual left. We've met lots of new neighbors, the 4 legged variety. There is Maxwell, Jackson, Lily, Edgar, Fritz, Sasha, Molly…..lot’s of dogs.

By turning right, we haven’t been to the large vacant lot with the dandelions, until this evening. Zeus pranced down the street, headed for the lot. As we approached, there they were….the dandelions had gone to seed….millions of seeds! The ears perked up, the nose went up….the sniffing began. He dived into a big mound and the seeds and their white feathery mode of transportation exploded into the air! Zeus was obviously amused and amazed by the explosion because he bounded from one clump to the next, creating what looked like a severe snowstorm! There in the middle of it all, stood the Mighty Zeus, looking very much like the Easter Bunny! The seeds had covered Zeus' nose, mouth, and ears. It was adorable, and I didn’t have my camera! Again!

We bounded (actually, he, I don't "bound" well) through the dandelions, making sure we didn’t miss a one. I’m thinking I need to call the lawn service and have them bring lots of weed killer. The yards across the street are soon going to be covered with Zeus’ pretty yellow flowers. He used to be a favorite here in my neighborhood …..that may very well be a thing of the past!

I brushed him off out on the porch. It took me a while to pull the seeds from his mouth, a tedious process he did not enjoy. Now if I could just train him to blow his nose.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Art in the Vines 2012
Great news!  Somerset Ridge Vineyard and Winery will hold their annual Art in the Vines in just 2 months. You should see the list of artists that are participating this year! It is going to be a wonderful event. But the BIG NEWS is it is now a two day event! That’s right….it will be held both Saturday and Sunday!
The dates are June 9th and 10th.
In case you have never been to Somerset Ridge Vineyard and Winery, it is just 20 minutes south of Overland Park. The first vines were planted in April,1998, and today there are close to 9000 vines! Dennis and Cindy Reynolds are the owners and wine makers, and they hold a wide variety of wonderful events at the winery.
Art in the Vines 2012 is the 4th annual art show to be held in the vineyard. The artists display their work in the vines…..just imagine you and someone special spending the afternoon wandering among the vines with a glass of wine, finding just the right painting! Chatting with all of the artists and enjoying the beautiful day is just a small part of the pleasure you will experience.

So, right now, go to your calendar, turn to June and in the squares with 9 and 10 up in the corners, write ART in the VINES! I will be there with my paintings and I hope you come by and say hello!

Please have a wonderful holiday this weekend. Here is a lamb recipe that you might want to try….and it includes Somerset Ridge Vineyard’s Port!

Herb and Mustard Rack of Lamb with Ruby Port Sauce

4 racks lamb (21/2 lb)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp grainy mustard
1 tbsp fresh thyme (or 1 tsp/5 mL dried)
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp dried rosemary, crushed

1 tbsp olive oil
2 large shallots, diced
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup Somerset Ridge Vineyard Ruby Port
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp softened butter and all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper

1. Halve racks to make 8 racks of 4 bones each. Trim excess fat, leaving thin layer over meat.
2. In measuring cup, pour oil over garlic and microwave on High until warmed through, about 30 seconds.
3. In small bowl, combine mustard, thyme, pepper and rosemary; whisk in garlic oil until smooth. Rub mixture into lamb; cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
4. On greased baking pan, place racks, bones up; cook in 425F (220C) oven until internal temperature is 145F (63C) for medium-rare or 150F (65C) for medium, 20 to 25 minutes. Let stand on cutting board for a few minutes; slice between bones and arrange on plates. Sauce: In large skillet, warm oil over medium heat; cook shallots until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in stock, port and thyme; bring to boil. Cook until reduced by half.
5. Blend butter with flour to make paste; whisk into sauce and cook until smooth and slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with lamb.

serves 6
I would probably serve them with

Creamy Havarti Grits

1 can chicken broth (1 2/3 cups)
1 cup water
4 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper
1 cup quick grits
4 ounces Havarti cheese, shredded or cut in small cubes

Bring heavy cream, chicken broth, and water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add butter, salt, and pepper. Slowly whisk in grits and reduce heat. Cook 15 to 20 minutes over low heat, stirring frequently. Stir in shredded or cubed Havarti cheese; continue to stir until well blended and cheese has melted. Serve in place of rice with shrimp, pork tenderloin medallions, lamb chops, or other meat or poultry.

Serves 4 to 6.


1 cup heavy cream

Monday, April 2, 2012

So, I am sitting here, trying to relax, to remain calm.
Our KU Jayhawks are playing Kentucky for the National Championship in New Orleans. It is early  in the game and I am already very nervous! My only comment so far is....why in a city like New Orleans that has more than its share of musicians, why oh why did they choose "The Fray" to sing the National Anthem??????????  I guess I am too old to have the anthem ruined by some clown.  But then, I am the one who ranted here in my blog over Christina Aguilera's butchering of our anthem at last year's Super Bowl. I'm thinking I may never hear it performed as it should be, ever again. Sad.
Make me feel better, Jayhawks!

But on to the blog....
There is a great blog called Proud Italian Cook. I can truly say I  have never been disappointed in her posts. Today's post really excited me! I am a huge fan of Italian cooking, and their pies and tarts are always right up  my alley!
Here is today's blog,  Please visit Proud Italian Cook soon, I know you will  like it! While you ae there, check out the Lemoncello Tart!  Go to

From Proud Italian Cook, Monday, April 2, 2012
Italian Easter Bread
There are many forms of "Easter Breads" and every family has their own special recipe and tradition, some might be sweet and others might be savory.
In my family, Easter wouldn't be the same without my mother and aunt making their traditional "bostone" as they called it, Other names for this savory meat, cheese, and egg filled "pie' would be pizza chena, Easter pizza, pizza rustica. I have no clue why they called it bostone but it's probably because all the filling is encased within an eggy bread like dough.
This recipe is not for the faint of heart, there's eggs galore, lots of meat and wonderful cheese, it's meant to be made and eaten once a year, each slice is a meal in itself!
I was always told that the key ingredient in our Easter bread was the Tuma cheese, it binds everything together so well when melted, yet it still stays nice and chunky. In my area you can only find Tuma cheese at Easter time.
Many recipes you see on the web show a variety of meats used like salami or capicola and ham, but my mother and aunt always used straight up Italian sausage, preferably hot. Don't be afraid to use hot sausage here because the filling is so dense you'll hardly notice, it will just have a nice spiciness to it.
Where I purchase my sausage, the medium is hot and the hot is super hot, so I mixed them together and the heat was just right.
I would suggest prepping ahead of time, boiling your eggs, browning your sausage, chunking up your cheese and preparing the dough.
This recipe makes two very deep loaf pans filled to the brim, or one 9x13 deeper than normal pan, and believe me they are heavy!
I love to slice it right from the fridge and eat it cold, other family members like to warm it slightly, either way it's amazing and the smell just brings me back to my childhood!

Here's the recipe.
Julie and Eileen's Bostone
8 cups flour
9 eggs beaten
1T salt
1 t. black pepper
1/2 cup of vegetable shortening
water to get it to the right consistency.

Use a giant bowl and add flour, salt, pepper. Work the shortening in next, then add the 9 beaten eggs and mix until well incorporated, use water if necessary to make dough nice and smooth.

4 lbs of browned hot Italian sausage, casings removed
2 lbs of Tuma cheese diced, if you can't find it use mozzarella
1 doz hard boiled eggs, chopped
2 cups of Pecorino romano
3 raw eggs
salt and cracked black pepper.

Just mix everything together in one big bowl.
Roll dough out to fit in pan and let it overlap slightly, then add your filling pressing down and adding more. Save enough dough to place on top, then roll the sides up to meet the top. Brush with egg yolk for a beautiful shiny gloss.

Bake at 325 for around 1 1/2 hours or until very golden and hollow sounding when you tap on top. Place the pan or pans on a baking sheet to cook.

Proud Italian Cook blog is out of Chicago. 
Thank You Proud Italian Cook!

Have a wonderful Easter!

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