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what we talk about when we talk about lasagna

October 8th, 2012


(Photo by Steve Rawley)


Man, what a good weekend. We saw Bag & Baggage’s production of “Of Mice and Men” in Hillsboro on Saturday. Went canoing on the Tualatin River Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Heard Greg Brown and Bo Ramsey play at the Aladdin Theater in Portland on Friday. Every time I go hear some live music I ask myself, Why do we never go hear live music anymore? Then I balance the checkbook and it’s zeroed out again and I think, Oh yeah. That.

We caught a Bag & Baggage show last season… Dangerous Liaisons… so good. And I’m not just saying that cuz our friend was in it. We can’t afford season tickets to the Blazers (or the Winter Hawks), the opera (or the symphony), but occasionally we can pull off buying a ticket or four. Usually it’s one or two. But the season tickets were really reasonable for Bag & Baggage, so we went for it. Saw this crazy version of Titus Andronicus that they did this summer… Kabuki Titus. One of the most inspired and craziest shows I’ve ever seen.

It kind of freaked me out.

That’s not a bad thing.

The upcoming season is going to be good, so I’m looking forward to it. There’s a new exhibit up of Greek and Roman art, at the Portland Art Museum. It’s on loan from the British museum and is supposed to be quite good. The kids get in for free, so I’m psyched to go to that one, too. I love taking them to stuff that I never really took part in as a kid (other than the occasional school field trip).

What’s new in your world, artwise or otherwise?

Have a great week!



Tuesday Recipe Club: Spaghetti Pie & Pico de Gallo

September 25th, 2012

plumping up

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

One of the beauties from our garden.

Spaghetti Pie

leftover cooked spaghetti
marinara (recipe)
more cheese

The recipes I found online all call for eggs, meat and cottage cheese, and we didn’t have any of that in the house. Also we don’t eat meat, fish or chicken, so we never have that in the house, anyway. The recipes sound good, like some kind of spaghetti lasagna?, but weren’t really what I had in mind.

I took a deep casserole dish and put the noodles in it. First, I turned the oven on 350, cuz it takes forever to preheat. Next, I made a white sauce with butter, flour and milk, and added grated mozzarella. I stirred that into the noodles, then ladled on a layer of the marinara Steve made over the weekend. (So many fantastic tomatoes this year. The plants are loaded and everything is ripening nicely.) Next, I sprinkled more grated cheese and some parmesan on top. Baked it for a long time (45 minutes, I think) until the cheese was oozy and bubbly on top.

We let it set for 15 minutes and then ate it up. Bon appetit, babies!

And… here’s Steve’s recipe for Pico de Gallo. I (heart) tomato season.

Monday Recipe Club: Grilled Zucchini a la Tony

September 10th, 2012

Grilled zucchini:
* zucchini sliced lengthwise
* salt
* black pepper
* paprika
* garlic powder
* Parmesan or Asiago cheese, or both combined; string cheese also works

* Olive oil
* Balsamic vinegar
* Crushed fresh garlic
* Salt
* Black pepper
* Cilantro

Grill the seasoned zucchini slices without the cheese.
Brush chimichurri on them
Flip ‘em over and continue until they are darkened (to taste)
Add cheese on top and grill until melted

Bon appetit, babies!

Tuesday Recipe Club: Broiled Fruit Shakes, Lottie’s Peanut Butter Pie… and more on Granny’s Cookbook

August 14th, 2012

Broiled Fruit Shakes

Stay with me here. I know it sounds weird, but this is a chilled drink I tried a couple of weeks ago at that crazy New Seasons Market, and it is quite good. It tastes like a Fruit Crisp milkshake.

3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
2 cups coarse-chopped fruit (nectarines, plums, apples or whatever you would like)
2 cups ice cream or frozen yogurt (your choice of flavor)

Preheat broiler to high. Combine first five ingredients in a bowl and whisk. Add fruit; toss to coat. Spread the fruit in a single layer on a jelly roll pan lined with foil. Broil 5 minutes or until bubbly. Allow fruit mixture to cool. In a blender, mix 2 cups of ice cream or yogurt with a few scoops of the fruit mixture. Blend until smooth and enjoy.

Lottie’s Peanut Butter Pie
(This one is in Grandma’s handwriting, on a “Here’s What’s Cookin’” card that’s decorated with pictures of lemons. I’m writing it exactly as I found it. Lottie and her husband Darrell were dear friends to my grandparents for years – they met when they were young married couples, before their children were born.)

1 – 8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup crunchy p. butter
½ cup sugar
1 – 12 oz. Cool Whip

Blend in blender.

Pour into crust.

Choc. cookie crust,
Plain crust,
Graham cracker crust

Bon appetit, babies!

OK, back to writing now. Did I already mention that I was done with my Late, Dear Granny’s cookbook and memoir, and then I came across three more of her cookbooks?

Yes, I did.

Found the cookbooks, that is. As for already telling you this, who can remember?

My point is: They all had her handwritten recipes inside, and well. What is a girl to do? Of course I have to type them all up. Those of you who knew my Granny (i’m looking at you, Cuz 7), know that it was just her style, wasn’t it? To say, Wait, wait, looky here. No, looky. This is what you need/should do/want to take home with you. Do it!

That Nike motto, Just do it!? I think she invented that for them.

At first, I was a little stressed out. Because no offense but I am ready to be shut of this project. I have turned into my Granny’s Girl Friday. I can’t even find my desk anymore it’s so covered with scraps of paper, books and photos. But then I realized… it’s my Grandma.

OK. Back to work, and I’ll let you know when it’s done so you can buy a copy. (PS, I think I’m going to call it, “How Are You, Sugar?” You like that?) (PSS, If you still haven’t purchased a copy of my novel, well, what’s stopping you? lol.) I’m hoping today and tomorrow will be it for typing/writing. My mom is allegedly going over the photos and figuring out captions. Then Steve will do lay-out for it and we’ll be ready to roll it out.

I’ve loved working on this project, but I don’t want it to be the only project I do for the rest of my life, y’know? Besides, as my wise daughter put it: “Think how good it will feel to say, ‘Ah, my book is done!’” Only in this case, it will be “Ah, her book is done!”



Friday Recipe Club: One-Pan Rice & Beans with Collard Greens; Fresh Tomato-Corn Casserole; Chocolate Brownie Pie and… Banana Bread

July 27th, 2012

Now, dammit, Steve is going to get all excited thinking I’m fixing all this for dinner. Gah. I don’t think so, buddy. But I might send out for Chinese for us. #peoplewhowritecookbooksdontalwayscook



From my bro-in-law:

One-Pan Rice & Beans With Collard Greens
1 8-ounce bunch collard greens
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 medium green bell pepper, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup long-grain rice, uncooked
2 cups canned vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
1 15-ounce can red beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons hot sauce

Wash the greens and shake off excess water. Remove the tough center ribs of each leaf. Roll the leaves up in a tight cylinder and thinly slice them crosswise. Roughly chop the greens and set them aside. (You should have about 4 cups chopped leaves.)

Heat the oil over medium heat in a 3-quart sauté pan with lid. When the oil is hot add the onion, bell pepper and celery, and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 45 seconds. Add the greens and stir with tongs until they’re wilted, about 5 minutes.

Add the Cajun seasoning, salt and rice to the pan and stir to coat the rice with the oil. Add the broth and bay leaf and stir to combine. Increase heat to high and bring to a simmer. Sprinkle the beans over the top of the rice mixture in an even layer. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook without stirring until the rice is tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Gently fold the hot sauce into the rice mixture and serve.

Fresh Tomato-Corn Casserole (from my Late, Dear Granny)
Makes 6-8 servings
6 cups corn cut from cob (10-12 ears; or substitute 3 10-ounce packages frozen corn)
6 medium tomatoes, sliced 1/4” thick
1 cup flour
Salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons sugar
6 tablespoons oil
1 ½ cups toasted breadcrumbs

If using frozen corn, set aside to thaw. If using fresh, slice off the kernels, then scrape any remaining milk into the bowl with the kernels.

Dredge the tomato slices in a mixture of the flour, salt, pepper and sugar. Heat the oil to hot in a large skillet and fry the tomatoes until just golden in color.

Butter an overproof 2-quart casserole and sprinkle the bottom with some of the breadcrumbs. Layer tomatoes, corn and breadcrumbs, ending with tomatoes and crumbs. Season with salt and pepper as layers are formed. Bake in a 325-degree oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Serve hot or cold.

Chocolate Brownie Pie (from Granny)
4 eggs
¼ cup margarine (melted)
1 bar (4 ounces) sweet chocolate (melted)
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup Bisquick
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup chopped nuts

Grease pie plate. Beat eggs, margarine and chocolate until smooth. Add brown sugar, Bisquick and sugar.

Press into pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Sprinkle with nuts.

Updated on Sunday to say: I honestly was going to make all this for dinner when I posted on Friday. I was teasing about sending out for delivery. I have these fits of domesticity, as you may or may not know. Only we were out of collards. And corn (fresh or frozen) and, uh, yeah. No chocolate, either. So we had scrambled eggs or spaghetti or something, I have no idea. But today… oh, let me tell you about today… We had gone shopping, I had everything I needed (except chocolate, which is fine, cuz I wanted to make Banana Bread, anyway.) I made the corn casserole and the greens and beans dish, and they both turned out great. Steve added a layer of fresh basil leaves to the corn casserole and oh my gosh. Yum.

So go for it, enjoy, and tell me what you think. Also, if you make the Brownie Pie recipe… hmmmm. Do you think my Dear Granny mixed up the Bisquick, like from the recipe on the box?, then made a crust and then poured the brownie mixture in? I have no idea. I do remember an awesome Chocolate Pie she used to make, but it was her go-to pie crust, not Bisquick.

If you experiment with that recipe, please advise.



an oldie but goodie… Saturday Recipe Club: Fruit Buckle

July 14th, 2012

This originally ran 9/13/06. Tonight we made it with fresh blueberries from our garden, and sliced, fresh, almost over-ripe peaches. Will serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Have a great weekend, everyone!

– wm

Speaking of u-licious, here’s a recipe for you. It calls for canned peaches, but who needs canned when you have fresh, juicy, organic nectarines and plums? (That’s how I made it last night — so good.) One of my girlfriends makes it with canned cherries and it is so rich and yummy. Fresh peaches (or canned) would be great, too. Some people call it a cobbler, but I prefer buckle, because that’s what it does — the cake batter rises and buckles around all the fruit. It’s great by itself, warm or cold, or with ice cream or whipped cream. Enjoy!


1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup milk
4 cups fruit

Melt butter in 350-degree stove in 9 x 13 baking dish. Mix flour, sugar and baking powder; add milk. It will be the consistency of thick pancake batter. Chop up fruit. When the butter has melted, pull pan out of stove and pour batter over butter. Use a wooden spoon and mix it in a little bit. Layer fruit on top.

Bake for 45 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

food! Sunday recipe club: Corn & Bean Quesadillas with Yum Sauce, plus Bean & Cheese Enchiladas

June 10th, 2012

bee with wild rose

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

Honey is not vegan, fyi.

I saved this article from Thee O last summer. I like how writer Grant Butler has been covering veganism. He’s uncovered and shared some good recipes, including these. We made the sauce and quesadillas last week — they turned out great. I skipped the brownies recipe, cuz I made Mexican Wedding Cakes (with miniature chocolate chips stirred in) for a thing at school. (You can make those vegan, by the way, by subbing margarine for the butter.)

OK, where was I? Fresh corn isn’t available yet, so I subbed frozen. It was fine. We left out the sweetener, too. After the quesadillas were served up, we topped with avocado slices and sour cream. Also I used Monterey Jack cheese, not fake cheese. So technically, they weren’t vegan.

Vegan Policeman #2: [whips out notepad.] 12:47 on February 1st: You knowingly ingested gelato.
Todd Ingram: Gelato isn’t vegan?
Vegan Policeman #1: It’s milk and eggs, bitch.
Vegan Policeman #2: [still reading.] On April 4th, 7:30 pm, you partook of a plate of chicken parmesan.
[Envy gasps, then glares at Todd.]
Todd Ingram: [feeble.] Chicken isn’t vegan?

— from “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”

But they did come pretty close to tasting like our favorite sincronizadas from El Palenque and mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm indeed.

With the leftover filling, I made enchiladas. Super good, especially with the chili paste I made awhile back and kept in the freezer. (Recipe: My girlfriend sent home a big bag of dried red chiles with us last time we were in L.A. Here’s what I did with them: Remove stems and seeds; put in a big bowl and top with boiling water. Let steep 20 minutes or so? Then puree in blender or food processor, with as much water as you need. Freeze. To make sauce, blend up a can of whole tomatoes or a bowl full of fresh tomatoes. Add as much chili paste as you would like; blend again. I might have put a little cumin, salt, pepper and sugar in, too. Voila!)

(Here’s my enchilada recipe, but good luck finding it.)

Summer Succotash Quesadillas With Nacho Mmmm Sauce

Makes 4 to 6 servings. Dunk, dip or drizzle. Just don’t forget about the sauce.


1 sweet onion, sliced
1 ear fresh corn, kernels cut from cob
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice
1/2 teaspoon maple syrup or agave syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup salsa, store-bought or homemade
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup raw almonds
1/4 cup canned garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried cilantro or 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
8 whole-grain tortillas
1 cup shredded nondairy cheese (such as Daiya pepper-jack)


To make filling: Place a large skillet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray or lightly coated with oil over medium high heat. Add onion and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, until softened and starting to brown.

Add corn, bell pepper and zucchini to the pan with the onion, along with garlic, water, lemon juice, maple or agave syrup and cumin. Cook the succotash down for an additional 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To make sauce: In a food processor or blender combine salsa, water, almonds, garbanzo beans, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, garlic, salt, chili powder, cumin and cilantro. Blend until smooth. Refrigerate until serving.

Place another large skillet sprayed with cooking spray or lightly coated with oil over medium high heat and add one tortilla. Top with 2 tablespoons cheese. Add about 1/3 cup of succotash filling. Top with another 2 tablespoons of cheese and another tortilla.

Cook for several minutes on both sides, until tortilla is crisp and cheese is melty.

Repeat with remaining tortillas, cheese and filling. Serve with Nacho Mmmm Sauce.

PER SERVING (based on 6): calories: 363 (28% from fat); protein: 19.4 grams; total fat: 11.1 grams; saturated fat: 1.8 grams; cholesterol: 0; sodium: 900 mg; carbohydrate: 51.6 grams; dietary fiber: 7.1 grams

From Sarah Matheny

ps Here’s Sarah’s blog.

Sunday Recipe Club: Mother’s Day Brunch Menu

May 13th, 2012

man, steve is a sweetie.

Thursday Recipe Club: Steve’s recipes for Masala and Dalchini Pulao

April 26th, 2012

River Birch

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

I’m writing these exactly how he scribbled them on little pieces of paper. Because little pieces of paper are hard to keep track of, but recipes on a blog are not. (Yeah, he cooks like a maniac, in addition to taking lovely photos. No, you can’t have him.)

– wm

1 part each cumin, coriander, turmeric, chili plus
2 parts garam masal
tomato salt

Dalchini Pulao
1 pound rice
4 teaspoons ghee
2 cinnamon sticks
1/4 teaspoon cumin
Pinch of turmeric
Pinch of salt

Fry cumin and cinnamon for 1 minute; add turmeric and rice. Add H20; bring to boil; cook.

Wednesday Recipe Club: Sugar Cookies a la Mimi

April 25th, 2012

Apple blossoms in our yard! I (heart) spring.

Apple Blossom time

(Photo by Steve Rawley)

From my mother-in-law:

Mimi’s Sugar Cookies

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
5 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Mix dough. Chill before cutting out. Roll out dough 1/4″-1/2″ thick. Bake at 400 degrees for 6-8 minutes.

Quick Icing
2 cups powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons butter
1-2 teaspoons vanilla

Add cream and mix to desired consistency.

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