Do-Ahead Thanksgiving Dinner (Part 1 of 3) — Turkey Brown Stock

Chicago’s Magnificent Mile – Perfect for Early Christmas Shopping

It is almost Thanksgiving and the start of holiday season here in the U.S.  This is when I wish the moratorium on human cloning had expired, and I could be in multiple places at once. Continue reading

Blueberry Blues

Michigan Blueberries

Inspired by one of my fellow bloggers, Cookinginsens, who shared the delicious results of her recent freezer purge, I decided it was time to clear out the basement freezer.  I was making very good progress in this endeavor.  My final task was to utilize the last of the 2011 Michigan blueberry crop.  After all, the 2012 blueberry season had arrived. Why would anyone hoard frozen blueberries from last year when there was a new crop to be had?  Time to make some blueberry muffins — best with fresh blueberries, but quite serviceable with last year’s crop — and an excellent way to use frozen blueberries. Continue reading

Michigan’s Bountiful Agricultural Harvest and a Summer Salad

Lake Michigan

I am lucky to have access to the bountiful harvest in Michigan (U.S.A). where Lake Michigan’s moderated climate, open land and the “Green Revolution” combine to support diverse agricultural production. The diversity is impressive; in the U.S., Michigan is second only to the much larger state of California.

Prevailing westerly winds off beautiful Lake Michigan cool us in the summer and warm the area in winter — extending the growing season.   Continue reading

A Science Project — Mocha Devil’s Food Cake and Oh-So-Easy Ganache

Mocha Devil’s Food Cake with Oh-so-easy Ganache

Regular readers may be wondering why, until now, I didn’t have ANY desserts posted.

No, I don’t hate sweets.   I love a good creamy bowl of ice cream, a fluffy cake, a nice soufflé or a crisp cookie.   But I do have one hang-up with making desserts.  I can’t resist turning them into extended science projects. Continue reading

Minnesota and Dad’s Italian Sausage Lasagna

Lake Kabekona, Minnesota – My Favorite Minnesota Lake

I’m in Minnesota (MN), U.S., this week.  If you’ve never been here, it is a beautiful place — referred to as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes”.  In fact, MN has many aquatic natural wonders. Continue reading

Chicago’s Love Affair with the Hotdog

Chicago River - Wrigley and Chicago Tribune Buildings (Distance)

It made me smile, when living outside the US, to hear impressions of Chicago.  Some envisioned gangsters on most street corners and wind so fierce it would blow you off your feet. Continue reading

Easy Mini-Tart Appetizers – Chard, Cheese and Smoked Bacon

These appetizer tarts meet my criteria for an ideal dinner-party appetizer:

  • a bite of complex but strong flavors that will stand up to cocktails
  • easy to make
  • colorful
  • edible without plates and utensils;  just pop in your mouth
  • can be made ahead and reheated before serving (can also be served at room temperature)
  • are easy to transport if making for a friend

So, last night, when invited to a friend’s house for dinner, I chose this tart recipe. Continue reading

Wine, Crab Muffins and a Sunset


Last year, I was missing my English golfing friends so much that I invited seven of them to visit and golf in Michigan.  Surely, I thought, they wouldn’t all say “yes”.   They had families, jobs, etc.  I would be lucky if one or two agreed to make the transatlantic trip. Right? Continue reading