Friday Recipe Exchange: Soups On


Well it’s been a whirlwind of activity here and I feel like I’ve made a lot of progress with the house and garden. Lots of cooking going on for friends and family because I love working in my new kitchen. It hasn’t left a lot of time for blogging. But dinner is in the slow-cooker and I have a moment before it’s time to walk Bixby, so tonight there is a recipe exchange. From the food blog:


JeffreyW and I once again had a mind-meld moment and both made a batch of Beef and Barley Soup this week. His yummy photo is pictured above.  My recipe is here and JeffreyW’s recipe is here, accompanied by great photos.

Chuck roasts were on sale this week, so I stocked up. I love a good pot roast and have a few recipe variations. I have a recipe for a Tangy Pot Roast here.  For a more traditional take on a yummy Slow-Cooker Pot Roast  including a full menu and recipes, click here. My new favorite ingredient is a dash of good whisky to deepen the flavors.  One of the roasts will be cut up and frozen for soup or stew.

The garden is still producing an abundance of ripe tomatoes, so I made a batch of Tomato-Spinach Soup, recipe here. For a vegetarian version, just omit ground beef. I make it both ways depending on my mood. Serve with grilled cheese sandwich on Easy Slow Rise Crusty Bread, pictured below and recipe here.


Another batch of tomatoes, along with zucchini, green peppers and eggplant (all garden fresh) went into a fresh dinner for guests this week, Garden Fresh Pasta, recipe here.

What’s on the menu tonight? Any fun plans for this first weekend of October?

Turkey Bean Soup1

Tonight’s featured recipe is what we’re having as part of a get-together tomorrow night. It’s simple, hearty soup that we can put together earlier in the day for a quick dinner. Then we’ll be heading out to the local historical farm for Wildlife Night. There will be owls.

Cranberry beans are usually easy to find, but if not, substitute cannellini white kidney beans – you can use dry or canned.

Turkey Bean Soup

  • 1 lb smoked turkey sausage, diced (or ground turkey, browned)
  • 1 lb dried cranberry beans (soaked overnight, drained)cranberry-beans-close-up
  • 8 cups of water (or 6 cups water, 2 cups chicken broth)
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 tsp dried Oregano
  • 1 tsp Chili powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Add all ingredients to the slow-cooker and cook for 6 to 8 hours on low. Serve with fresh hot bread and salad for a complete dinner.


That’s it for this week. I’m heading out to buy paint…starting on the living room this weekend. Have a great weekend – TaMara

Friday Recipe Exchange: Pears and Grilling

Pears Pecorino Walnuts

Pears, Pecorino and Walnuts over pasta

I am heading out for the evening, hoping this will post okay in my absence. This was one of my favorite new recipes, I’d never heard of mixing pears and cheese over pasta, but come to find out, it’s actually a very popular ravioli. I think this recipe has all the flavor without all the work. From the recipe blog:


Sometime contributor Michael Fallai shares a lot of terrific recipes on Facebook. The only hitch is they are often in Italian. Tonight’s featured recipe was one of those. If you ever want a laugh, let Google translate a recipe for you…and don’t let dissolve cheese in a water bath, or let your wine evaporate on flame lively intimidate you.

Perusing the weekly ads, I pulled together a few recipes based on what was on sale this week and headed out to the grill.

First up, Curried Turkey Burgers, recipe here. Great served on fresh pita and grill some fresh eggplant from the garden.

Collard greens were everywhere at the farmer’s market last weekend, so Collard Greens with Bacon seems timely, click here.

The dinner menu took advantage of the abundance of pears right now, Grilled Salmon in Dill Sauce with Pear Raspberry Salad. Click here for recipes and full menu.


JeffreyW and Mrs. J made some delicious looking Cream Horns (and to this Italian girl, seems the only difference between these and Cannoli is the filling). Purty pictures and directions can be found here.

What’s on your menu this last weekend of August? What garden fresh items are you enjoying right now? What are you grilling up?

Tonight’s featured recipe (pictured at top) became a poignant reminder of the earthquake in Italy. I had pulled it off the Italy site, translated it and put the ingredients on my shopping list just days before it hit.

Here is my version:

Pasta with Pears, Pecorino and Walnuts

  • 10 oz linguine pasta
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 3 large pears, very ripe, cored and cubed
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano (plus extra for garnish)
  • 4 oz cream cheese or Mascarpone, cut into small cubes
  • dash of white wine (opt)
  • salt and pepper to taste

skillet, large pot

Bring water to boil in large pot, add salt and pasta and cook to al dente.  Drain but do not rinse and add back to pot, off heat.

While pasta is cooking, heat skillet on medium heat, add walnuts. Stir constantly until lightly toasted, remove and set aside.

Add butter to skillet and melt before adding pears. Stir gently until well coated with butter. Cook until softened, gently stirring occasionally (you don’t want to break up the pears).

Add both cheeses and stir in completely. Let simmer on medium heat until lightly boiling. Add wine and let simmer away (about 5 minutes). Salt and pepper to taste.

Combine pasta, pear mixture and walnuts in large pot and mix well. Serve with extra Pecorino for garnish.


That’s it for this week. I’m sorry I don’t have a new photo of Bixby for National Dog Day.  Have a great weekend, enjoy the fading days of August – TaMara

My favorite underreported medical ethics quandary, updated

Some of you likely remember that series of scientific studies showing the most dramatic anti-aging therapy ever discovered. All you need is lots of blood from the very (very) young and, in rats and mice anyway, the worst effects of age disappear. Ergh. The good news was that researchers might have identified a protein called GDF11 that had all the same good effects as the blood of children without the obvious ethical issues.

That sounded promising, but follow-up reports suggested that GDF11 might not work as well as they first thought. Now, much more authoritative follow up studies have confirmed the point.

[W]e have now gone from the hope that GDF11 might be the factor that is lost as a result of aging, and therefore could reverse age-related phenotypes, to the finding from multiple groups that GDF11 is not decreased as a result of aging, makes age-related phenotypes worse, and is now shown to be a risk factor for human frailty and disease when it is found at high levels (Schafer et al., 2016).

On the plus side, data for very young blood still looks solid. If you consider the potential market for an actual, no bullshit treatment to reverse aging, I feel pretty confident that this will become a question people have to address sooner or later.

Here’s a picture of an Orange Bishop that I took at the National Aviary.


Friday Recipe Exchange: Cookout Favorites

Jicama Slaw Final

It sounds like many will have rain for the holiday weekend. Luckily all the recipes I pulled together work well for an indoor picnic or backyard cookout.

The first compilation I arranged was for a variety of not-your-typical Pasta Salads, click here for four very tasty recipes.


The second group of recipes (found here) I put together from the archives was for garden fresh salads. Recipes include the Jicama Slaw (pictured at top of post) that I am making for a cookout this weekend. The smallest jicama I could find was 2.5 lbs. Anyone have ideas what I can do with the 1.5 lbs I’ll have left over?

I’m also making Watermelon Granita, recipe here, but you can use the recipe to make any flavor you desire.

My new garden has quite a few ready to harvest rhubarb plants. I’ve had this recipe tucked away for just such an occasion. Click here for Rosemary-Lemon-Rhubarb Spritzers. 

Buttermilk Pie 1

Buttermilk Pie, above, is such a show stopper and foolproof to make. Click here for the recipe.

What’s on your Fourth of July menu? What food is an absolute must for your table on this holiday?

Tonight’s featured recipe takes potato salad in a different direction and I hope it inspires you to share your favorite  potato salad recipe in the comments.

Italian Potato Salad

  • 2 lbs of small red potatoes, scrubbed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 tbsp of salt
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp fresh snipped rosemary
  • 2 tbsp fresh snipped basil
  • 1/2  tsp crushed dried oregano (or  2 tsp fresh)
  • 2 tsp stone ground mustard*
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 24 to 28 oz fire roasted red peppers, drained and sliced
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 oz shaved Parmesan

Large saucepan, baking sheet, large serving bowl

In saucepan, cover potatoes with water, add salt and bring to a bowl.  Reduce heat to low boil and simmer until potatoes are just fork-tender.  You don’t want them to be soft, as for mashing, you want them to still hold their shape.

Mix together vinegar, garlic and spices.  Drain potatoes and spread over a baking sheet in one layer,  pour 1/2 of vinegar mixture over them and let cool completely.

Add mustard and oil to remaining vinegar mixture.  Add sliced peppers to potatoes, stir and then transfer to serving bowl.  Toss with remaining vinegar mixture, salt and pepper to taste and Parmesan.

*I have an aversion to Dijon mustard, but if it a favorite of yours, you can easily use it in this recipe.

That’s it for me. There will not be a recipe exchange next week. Have a safe and happy Fourth of July – TaMara

Declaration of Independence

Friday Recipe Exchange: Grilling Up a Storm

Bixby is 2 snap

This week has been the lull between storms, so I had time to do some actual cooking and recipe blogging. It’s hot as Hades here, so cooking outside seems like the only good option (the other being opting for ice cream 3 times a day). From the recipe blog:

Bixby turned two on Thursday and I felt that justified a Bixby Diaries post. So for the pet lovers, you’ll find lots of new and old photos, plus video of the Beast here. For the rest of you, it’s a grilling themed recipe exchange.

First up, Grilled Chicken and Papaya, recipe here. I noticed in the stores that mangoes were plentiful, and I can’t imagine why you couldn’t substitute – I would add a dash of lime to it all with mangoes.

Speaking of mangoes and papayas, how about Grilled Fish with Mango and Papaya Salsa, recipe here.

A couple of nice sides to round things out. But don’t think you need a recipe, fresh veggies from the garden, tossed in olive oil and grilled in a grilling basket can’t be beat.

Grilled Vegetable Salad, click here, can be a meal in itself or a hearty side.

Greek Grilled Potatoes, recipe here, are a nice, tangy change from regular potato packets.

What’s on the menu this weekend? Anything special planned for Father’s Day? What’s your favorite food to take out of the kitchen and make on the grill?

Flank Pinwheel Prep Final

Tonight, I combined two favorite recipes. I love the pinwheels because they are so showy (and tasty). I thought it would be a great recipe for Father’s Day weekend. Then I ran across my spicy sauce and thought, yum, that would work. If you don’t want spicy, here is the original Pinwheel Recipe. And if you don’t want pinwheels, here is the original Spicy Grilled Flank Steak recipe. I got you covered.

Grilled Spicy Flank Steak Pinwheels



  • 1 tbsp chili garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup orange juice


  • 1 lb flank steak
  • 8 oz sliced provolone cheese
  • 1 bunch washed and dried spinach leaves
  • 8 wooden skewers
  • olive oil

ziplock bag,

You can ask the butcher to butterfly your flank steak, which  is what I did. But it’s fairly easy to butterfly. You want the grain running up and down in front of you and then you’ll slice it in half, NOT slicing all the way through. When you’re done you’ll lay it open, flat, basically making a larger, thinner steak.

Image from Serious Eats

Once you have it laid out flat in front of you with the grain running left to right, you’ll want to tenderize it, pounding it thin.

Keeping it flat, place into a ziplock bag,  add marinade and coat completely on both sides. Marinate flat in refrigerator 1 hour. Remove from marinade and assemble.

Layer the spinach over the meat. You want it to be several leaves thick, because it will reduce as it cooks.

Next layer the provolone cheese slices, two to three slices thick, over the meat.

Now it’s time to roll.  Roll tightly in the direction of the grain. Add a skewer every 2 inches and then slice between the skewers, so you have 2-inch thick pinwheels.

Heat grill and oil grates well – alternately you can cook in a cast iron skillet (heat 1/2 to 1 tbsp of oil in it) on the grill. If using a gas grill – heat one side to high for searing, turn the other side to about medium to finish cooking. For coals – place coals toward center of the grill, leaving the edges cool for finishing cooking.

Add pinwheels to the grill, flat side down. After a minute, using the skewer (you may also need a metal spatula to get all the cheesy goodness) flip over, sear additional minute.  The usual method of waiting until the meat moves easily to flip will not work with this because the cheese is sticky. So just do one minute each side, it will be fine.

After the second side is done, move steaks off of high heat to the cooler grates  and let the steak finish for about 10 to 15 minutes for medium rare. These are thin and don’t need a lot of cooking time and you don’t want the cheese to burn.

Remove to a plate, cover with foil and let rest 10 minutes, so the cheese isn’t molten lava.

My steak made 4 large pinwheels.

That’s it for this week. I don’t know how many recipe exchanges I’ll have in me while I’m packing, but stay tuned. Have a great weekend! – TaMara

Not Friday Recipe Exchange: Catching Up

Bear Lake RMNP2

It has been a very busy week. Spent a lot of time up in the mountains searching for moose and bear (we found squirrel – marmot to be exact). One of our moose is here. It was the first one I’d ever seen. The rest of the week was spent catching up on work.

I thought I should check in and let you know there wouldn’t be a recipe thread this week, I’m not sure about next week. It depends on how house things continue to proceed. Right now it’s going smoothly, but lot of ducks to get in a row. Keep a good thought.

My plan is to do the final Authors In Our Midst this weekend.  Last call for entries.

It’s almost 90 degrees here at 7 pm and I’m sipping on a fake chocolate shake – milk, Hershey’s chocolate sauce and a tray of ice into the VitaMix. It actually pretty good – and besides it was all I had in the house.

Key Lime Pie2

You can do better, so here are a bunch of ice cream recipes, click here for a variety of flavors, styles and recipes. Pictured above is one of my favorites, Key Lime Pie Gelato. That’s the best I can do tonight for recipes.

What’s everyone up to this Friday evening? Anything good cooking this weekend? Consider this a sweet treat of an open thread.

Friday Recipe Exchange: Memorial Weekend Grilling

Bourbon Chicken Appetizers

A little early tonight because it looked like we could use a new thread. Apologies for any errors. I’ve spent most of the afternoon with agents, mortgage brokers and inspectors. There were no brain cells left for proof-reading. It has been a whirlwind of activity since the moment the house went under contract. I had forgotten how fast it all moves. So from the recipe blog:

I was going to post the recipes I’d picked out for guests next week, but then realized it was Memorial Day weekend and decided to switch it up for that occasion. There won’t be a recipe exchange next week, we’ll catch up after that.

Starting things out, Stuffed Jalapeno-Cheddar Burgers and Sweet Potato Fries, complete menu, recipes and shopping list can be found here.

Grilled Potato Packets come in two flavors here.

Click here for Citrus Glazed Baby Back Ribs.

DSC_6256 [1600x1200]

Searching for rib photos this week, I came across several yummy recipes from JeffreyW (along with obligatory mouth-watering photo series).

Spare ribs (pictured above) are here.

Braised Baby Back Ribs are here.

Click here for Country Ribs

Each one has a different rub or sauce, something for everyone.

What’s on the menu for your holiday weekend? As with every year, my father and brother will be helping to put up the impressive display of flags around town (they are flags presented at a veteran’s funeral and donated by the families for display). What summer flavor are you looking forward to most? What are some of your favorite holiday weekend recipes?

Finally, tonight’s featured recipe:

Bourbon Chicken appetizers1

I have a bottle of very fine and expensive whisky in my house. I’ve been having fun experimenting with it in many recipes, finding it really brings out the flavors in beef and adds a complex appeal to chicken and desserts.

With this recipe, it’s all about the bourbon and bacon.

Grilled Bourbon Chicken Appetizers

12  servings

  • 1- 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  •  1/4 cup chopped Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  •  1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Bourbon whisky (how much you use and what you do with the leftover is between you and your bottle)
  • 8 oz pineapple chunks
  • 12 strips of sliced bacon (should be a pound)
  • 12 short wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes before assembling and grilling*

Cut chicken breasts into 1-inch x 2-inch cubes, you should have 36 pieces (you can soak in bourbon if you like)

Mix together Chipotle peppers, brown sugar, cayenne pepper and add enough whisky and pineapple juice to make a thick sauce. Set aside about 2-4 tbsp for mopping during cooking. For the remainder, cover chicken cubes on all sides with the sauce and let marinate for at least 1 hour.

To assemble: Start with a pineapple chunk, add one end of full bacon strip, add chicken cube, then wrap bacon around the top of the cube and skewer, add another cube of chicken, wrap bacon around the bottom of that piece of chicken, then skewer, add a third and repeat with the bacon strip, you’re creating a ribbon with the bacon. Finish with a pineapple chunk.

Grill over medium high heat (if using coals, start over hot coals, then move away from direct heat for the remainder of cooking time), turning frequently. Add more sauce as desired. Cook until chicken is 160-165 degrees. Shouldn’t take more than 10-15 minutes, don’t overcook or you’ll have dry, rubbery appetizers. Serve hot.

*please don’t forget this step or all you’ll have for appetizers is flaming skewers.

That’s it for this week. I hope you have a safe and fun holiday weekend. But take a moment and remember those who have served – TaMara