Isn't she cute?

Eighteen years ago today - my daughter Annie was born.
Amazingly enough, her head is still that pointy.

Happy Birthday!!
Love Mom


Book Review: Eat Feed Autumn Winter

I've been a bad girl for the last few months...I've been sitting on a copy of the wonderful Eat Feed Autumn Winter by Anne Bramley , published by Stewart, Tabori and Chang (who always publish rockin' cookbooks!). It's not that I didn't want to share, but merely that I was distracted by other things. Plus I really didn't want to share. There I said it! It's mine! You can't have any of these wonderful recipes!!

As we know, eating seasonally is easy in the summer, when we have lots of top quality produce just laying around at the markets, but what about fall and winter? If you have to ask that question, then this is the book for you! Anne uses focuses on what is in season during the various cold months, and ties those items in with holidays and events. And we are not just talking about American holidays like Valentine's day or Christmas. There are menus for events such as Burns' Night from Scotland or Twelfth Night , which we generally don't celebrate here. However, with these new recipes in hand, I may just have to start celebrating these holidays just so I have an excuse to make this food.

One of the things I liked best about this cookbook was the use of all different types of ingredients in a variety of new and different ways. For example, most of us don't think of beets except as pickled or roasted. How about beet fries? With blue cheese dressing on the side? What about pumpkin seeds? What if I told you that they were used in a stuffing for chicken breasts? Intrigued? I was!
If you are timid, don't let things like beet fries scare you away. There are still good solid fare for the less adventurous as well, such as a beef and
ale pie, puddings and roast beef.

And the desserts are not forgotten either. With dishes ranging from items such as traditional English puddings to the sinfully decadent triple chocolate stuffed mocha cupcakes (OMG, the photos for those made me swoon!)

Criteria number one: Food porn - Lots of porn action here. However, the book isn't just about looking good. There is a depth of content here which ensures that this book will be staying in my collection, and will be come out again and again whenever there is a nip in the air..

Criteria number two: Ingredients - Most of the ingredients are readily available - the right time of year. Remember, this is a "seasonal" cookbook. Plan on plonking down some cash for things like lamb, caviar or lobster but there are still plenty of other recipes with ingredients that are cheap in season, like mushrooms, apples, pears and citrus fruits.

Also, a couple recipes call for specialized equipment like a pudding mold. If you have one, great. If not - it would have been nice to have explicit instructions on an acceptable substitute along with photo illustrations. Sometimes a picture can be all the encouragement that's needed to try out something new.

Criteria number three: Difficulty - This book would be accessible from an intermediate beginner on up. There are not a lot of fiddly recipes that require a degree from the CIA to accomplish. I love looking in a cook book and the recipe is only half a column long - I am more likely to try something that I don't have to sweat over in the kitchen - especially when I am entertaining (IE eating like the glutinous pigs we are).

Criteria number four: Recipes - Anne covers the gambit from appetizers to desserts to drinks. I have quite a few tagged for future investigation, mostly in the main dish category, like pasty pie and chili lime shrimp. Most of the recipes are straight forward - nothing ground breaking with recipes like roasted root vegetables - but still a nice mix when pared with the holidays she details in the side notes.

Criteria number five: Author - I will confess, I had not heard of the author before receiving this book. Anne Bramley is co-founder and host of Eat Feed, a podcast that focuses on eating seasonally, no matter the time of year. She is a professional foodie - she obviously loves her craft. The books shows a certain flair for understanding the day to day workings of a home kitchen, something often lacking in other "pretty" cookbooks.

So in celebration of St. Patty's day, I decided to make the "Irish" dinner - the last menu in the book. The other reasons I decided on that was 1) the lamb shoulder chops were on sale because they were *gasp* seasonal, and 2) the recipes were easy and I had all the other ingredients on hand. (And yes - I do keep Guinness in the house at all times. It's that kinda house, baby!)

I will tell you - the hubby LOVED these lamb chops. He has been talking about paying full price for more chops just so he can have them again. That is pretty high praise in this cheap-ass household.

If you get a chance this week - please make this dish. You will not regret it one bit!

Here is the recipe for

Stout-Glazed Lamb Chops with Colcannan


Freshly ground black pepper

4 lamb shoulder chops (6 to 8 ounces each)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup stout, such as Guinness

3 tablespoons packed brown sugar

Generously salt and pepper the lamb chops. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add the chops to the skillet and brown 3 minutes on each side. Remove the chops to a platter. Deglaze the pan with the stout, scraping up any browned bits. Stir in the brown sugar until it
dissolves. Re­turn the chops to the sauce. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn and cook, covered, for another 15 minutes. Remove the lid and turn the heat to medium-high. Cook the sauce and chops for a final 8-10 minutes until the sauce is thick and syrupy and the chops are tender. Turn the chops to coat in the glaze every 2 minutes or so. Serve the chops on a bed of colcannon (recipe follows) and drizzle with the sauce.

Serves 4


(I will admit to cheating a little bit on this recipe. I did not use two pots. I put the potatoes in a large pot of water and when they were done enough, I simply added the cabbage in with them and cooked them the last . Such a cheater - I know! - R)

2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut in quarters

6 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup warm milk

3 cups cabbage, thinly sliced


White pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil Add the potatoes and cook until soft, about 20 minutes. Drain. While the potatoes are cooking, bring a medium pot of salted water to boil and cook cabbage for 5 minutes Drain. Mash potatoes with the butter. Stir in the milk and cabbage. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4


Really Sad News

I saw this in the Dispatch this morning - it breaks my heart. Not only do I feel bad for the folks losing their jobs, but Columbus will loose a wonderful aroma as well. I am not a real big fan of Wonderbread, but it still smells wonderful when it's baking.

It's just another in a long line of bakeries that have gone the way of the dodo. My parents shopped at Omar bakery off of Parsons Ave. when I was a kid. The whole South side of the City smelled like fresh bread when they fired up the ovens. In college, I lived near the Big Bear Bakery. While I still loved the smell - it was torture because I was poor and knew that I wasn't going to be eating Big Bear baked goods anytime soon...


Gettin' my Geek on!!!

My family and friends already have tickets to see the midnight showing of The Watchmen at Studio 35. If you can't make it tomorrow night, please attend opening week! Support one of our last independent theaters. It will make you feel good inside. Plus they serve beer.

You know you are a Watchman Geek if:
1) You own more than two copies of the graphic novel
2) You are wondering if you could go as Dr. Manhattan for Halloween if you started working out now and invested in a lot of liquid latex
3) You have The Black Freighter pre-ordered on Amazon
4) You plan on wearing the exclusive Comic-con t-shirt to the premier opening
5) You hope they come out with the Silk Specter Tijuana Bible - real soon....