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 ├╝ber-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?

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