Category Archives: Cooking

No. 4: Make Banana Flambe, Complete with Flame

I’m not quite sure why I wanted to make bananas foster before I turned 30.  Perhaps because I’ve never intentionally set anything on fire? (I’m a juvenile public defender.  I have far too many clients who do that anyway.)  So here it turns up as number four on my 30 Before 30 list.

Now, the problem with this task is that I’m actually a pretty horrible cook.  So, as usual, I teamed with Mama Judd for this task.  (And by “teamed” I mean “took pictures of her while she did it.”)

We used this recipe, which is from the restaurant that claims to have created the dish in 1951.  It was delicious!











Filed under 30 Before 30, Cooking

The Ruffled Apron That Ruffled My Feathers

I wanted to share my most recent sewing accomplishment – this rufflled apron.  (Please don’t look too closely!) This project took me forrrrrrevvvveeerrr. But now that I’m finished I am quite pleased!

You might recall that my 25th goal on my 30 Before 30 list was to sew something with a sewing machine.  Click here to see my first projects.

Now if only I cooked I could actually use it!



Filed under Cooking, DIY

The Result of Our Garlic Harvest

Last week I was already making dinner when I realized my garlic had gone bad.  (That’s what happens when you never cook.)   Before I could bolt to the grocery store, Doug reminded me that we had garlic in the garden that should probably come out anyway.

Here’s how we found it.

There was no time for researching whether the garlic was ready to dig up.  The weather, the sunshine, the happiness of summer – it’s all gone.  More importantly – dinner was on the line.  So we dug first and researched later.

Post-research, I now know that the leaves will brown and dry up when garlic is mature.  Clearly, our little garlic cloves were not ready for harvest.  But here’s how they looked:

I also learned that garlic is meant to be planted in the fall and harvested in the late spring.  I just informed Doug and he said “oh really?”

Apparently we plant first and think later.

Eager to make my meal, I washed the garlic and set it out to dry.  This was also a mistake,  as the bulbs should be hung up in a cool, dry place for about a week before they’re washed.  (Luckily I left them out to dry for several days post-wash. We’ll see what happens.)

My dinner was quite tasty but I don’t know what role the garlic actually played.  Doug’s new goal is to get some in the ground asap as it is, ahem, fall.

Any garlic growers out there?

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Filed under Cooking, Garden

Tip Jar: Quick and Tasty Dinner Recipe

Today’s tip is brought to us by our mysterious guest blogger who won’t yet be revealed!

Although it greatly diminishes my DIY aspirations, I can’t remember the last time I turned on the oven and baked something.  Perhaps that is why our guest blogger crafted this dinner recipe for his or her first tip.  It looks so easy that I might consider using the oven on a weeknight. Gasp!

. . .

Today’s tip is a recipe for a dinner so quick it’s guaranteed to arrive before Domino’s. These flat-bread paninis are a great find.  They’re actually pretty darn good and easy and let’s face it – that’s why we’re here!

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  But don’t stop there! Here’s a bonus tip: You’ll get better results if you preheat your baking sheet, too! Throw it on in.
  2. Cover your sheet in foil for an easier cleanup – there’s simply no sense in washing a pan!
  3. Slather spaghetti sauce on your flat bread.  (You’ll notice I used Ragu but, hey, it’s not bad and it’s cheap!)
  4. Sprinkle your desired cheese and toppings over the top.  I happened to have some mushrooms sitting in the fridge already cooked and just waiting to j.u.m.p. onto that pepperoni pizza. I sent them flying!
  5. Bake it for 10 minutes or until it smells good.  Is it bubbly? Then take it out and enjoy!

Want an easy side? Serve it with a bagged salad — a complete meal in seriously LESS than 30 minutes!!!

Feeling Gourmet?

What? You’ve got minutes to spare? Okay, okay, by all means pull out the alfredo sauce (homemade if you wish), the artichoke hearts, tomatos, grilled chicken, arugula, and Parmesan.  Now you have — as Emeril puts it — KICKED IT UP A NOTCH!! Yummy!


Filed under Cooking, Tip Jar

The Purple Chicken Incident

As a left brainer, I prefer step-by-step recipe instructions.  There is no improvising in our kitchen.  Improvising requires judgment and I have none.

So, even in the face of a parade of red flags, I am married to those instructions.  I have faith in the vast knowledge of a recipe writer – a far more knowledgeable source than I.

I recently took on a little ditty titled: “Pan-Seared Chicken with Merlot Raspberry Sauce.”  Doesn’t it sound fantastic?

The first red flag was raised when the sauce took shape.  The recipe called for a large amount of Merlot and a minimal time period in which to cook – Hmmm. Not nearly enough time to reduce, thought the amateur cook, but cede always to the recipe gurus.

The chicken was soon lost under a sea of boiling red wine.  It was retrieved, hesitantly, in a sad, sad state.  It was not slightly purple.  Not of a purple hue. It was simply and undeniably purple.

Pardon the poor photo – the evidence was seized on an iPhone by a conspirator who shall remain nameless…

Cue Bridget Jones Diary and the purple soup. “To Bridget, just as she is,” the friends toasted. And Doug followed suit.  He ate every last bite, including mine. I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

“How on earth did you make the chicken purple?” Mama Judd berated.  “More importantly, why didn’t you call me?”  I was following the steps, Mom. I can’t do it your way – all willy nilly.

Much education on reducing ensued, none of which I’ve retained for future use. The only lesson I’ve taken away is to avoid recipes with so much red wine.  They can’t be trusted.

A friend issued the same scolding : “Did the recipe call for hair dye? Did you put the chicken in the washer with a purple shirt?”

No. And consider any and all future dinner invitations revoked.

Any readers with brightly-colored dinner disasters? Don’t you think “The Purple Chicken Incident” would make an awesome band name?


Filed under Cooking