Eating is a necessity. However, we choose what to eat. The choices we make reveal a great deal about us. The food you eat can tell quite a bit about your heritage, your family, your fears, your sense of adventure, your attitude toward yourself and others, and a myriad of other personal tidbits to anyone paying attention. Everything about eating is a glimpse into your soul.

I hope to reveal a little bit about myself to you through my food. I enjoy cooking. I enjoy eating. I find pleasure in bringing pleasure to others. I hope that by sharing my recipes I bring you a little bit of joy.

Cook my food. Feed it to the people you love.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Monte Cristo

My husband and I went to Las Vegas this Christmas. Las Vegas has some of the best restaurants in the country.  One of my favorites is Bouchon, a French bistro located in the Venetian. Bouchon is one of Thomas Keller’s restaurants.  He has won many James Beard awards (best chef in America 1997) and his restaurant French Laundry is on my bucket list. While not the French Laundry, Bouchon is still delightful.  The bistro itself is beautiful. Everything is muted and elegant.  And even though it is very high end, it is unpretentious.  They serve French fries.

We had brunch there after sleeping in one morning. I had Eggs Benedict and my husband had the Croque Madame. The Croque Madame is a ham and cheese sandwich, dipped in egg and toasted, then topped with a fried egg and Monray sauce. We washed brunch down with champagne, because we were in Las Vegas at a Lyonnaise restaurant and that’s what you do. Decadence with style.

The food was so good that I began to research the Croque Madame and found out that it was the sister sandwich of the Croque Monsieur-same sandwich, no egg. These two French basics have an American cousin, The Monte Cristo.  Remember those things from Bennigans? Fried cheesy goodness, sprinkled with powdered sugar.  Okay, they aren’t health food.  But they are yummy. I decided to make a Monte Cristo.

Most of the recipes I saw called for dipping the sandwich in plain egg.  But I remember the Bennigan’s sandwich as being battered. So I made up a savory batter. When I make this again, I might cut the edges of the sandwiches off right before dipping them.  Having even edges would have made this easier to cook. Even so, this was delicious.

Servings: 2-4 (2 sandwiches)
Time:  Prep: 15 minutes         Cooking:  8-10 minutes per sandwich
Hardware:  A cutting board and knife, measuring spoons and cups, 2 mixing bowls, a whisk, a large deep skillet, a spatula, a paper towel covered plate

Ham, Cheese, Turkey, and Powdered Sugar

  • 6 slices of bread
  • ⅓ (5 oz.) turkey cold cuts, sliced thin
  • ⅓ (5 oz.) ham cold cuts, sliced thin
  • 4-1 ounce slices emmenthaler or Swiss cheese
  • 1-2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • Oil to fill the pan ½ way
  • Powdered sugar, red current jam
Monte Cristo
  1. Start with 3 slices of bread. Spread mustard on two of them. Place a slice of cheese on each of those. Pile half the turkey on one and half the ham on the other. Spread mustard on both sides of the third bread slice. Place that third slice on top of the ham and then flip the turkey over onto that slice to create a triple-decker sandwich. Press it down a little to compress it. Now create the other sandwich following the same instructions.
  2. Mix the flour, baking soda and salt together in one bowl. Whisk the eggs and milk together in the second bowl.
  3. Fill the skillet half way with oil and heat it over medium. 
  4. While the oil is heating, stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Press the sandwiches down again. Dip each sandwich into the batter. Turn to make sure the sandwich is covered. Then place the sandwich into the hot oil and fry until it is golden brown.  This takes about 4 or 5 minutes. Then flip the Monte Cristo over and fry the other side for 4-5 more minutes.  Remove the Monte Cristo to the paper towel covered plate.
  5. When the sandwiches are cool enough to handle, sprinkle them with powdered sugar. Cut them diagonally and serve warm with current jelly for dipping.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Shredded Beef Tacos

Shredded Beef Tacos
I am busy, busy this weekend.  Because I am a procrastinator I have about 1 million, papers to grade.  But we still need to eat.  The slow cooker to the rescue.  I just add a few ingredients, dropped in the roast and waited.  6 hours later, we had yummy tacos.

The sauce is very spicy. Very. However, when you shred the beef and add the other toppings, the tacos are perfectly piquant.  If you really don’t like any heat, replace the chili peppers with green pepper and the chipotle peppers and adobe with tomato paste.

Servings:  8-12 tacos
Time:  Prep: 15 minutes Slow Cook:  5-7 hours,
Hardware: knives & cutting board or a food processor, measuring cups & spoons, a can opener, 4 quart slow cooker, a spatula, un-powdered latex gloves, and a large bowl


  • 2 ½ -3 pound top blade beef roast
  • 1 large onion (8 ounces or 1 ½ cups)
  • 2 jalapeño peppers
  • 2 serrano peppers
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1-7 ounce jar of chipotle peppers in adobe sauce
  • 1 cup low sodium beef stock
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • Juice from one lime
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin

Corn tortillas, shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, chopped Spanish onions, guacamole, sour cream, chunky salsa, Salsa Verde, shredded cheese and fresh cilantro

  1. Roughly chop the onions. Wearing the gloves, seed and chop the peppers.  Crush the garlic.  Chop the cilantro.  Remove the chipotles, reserving the liquid and chop them. The smaller you chop everything, the better.
  2. OR add the onion, seeded peppers, garlic, cilantro, and chipotle peppers-sauce and all- to the food processor and pulse until almost liquid.
  3. Add all of this, including the adobe sauce to the crock.  Stir in the remaining ingredients.
  4. Add the roast fat side up to the crock, cover, and cook on low for 5 to 7 hours. I had a 2 ½ pound roast and it was ready in 5 ½ hours.
  5. When the meat is fork tender remove it from the liquid.  Wearing the gloves, shred the beef.  Discard any fat or gristle. 
  6. Place the shredded beef into the large bowl and spoon on two tablespoons of the liquid from the crock.  Stir (or toss) to make sure the meat is covered.
  7. Build the tacos by placing the meat into warmed tortillas and then allow your guests to top them as they please.