Saturday, January 31, 2009


For those interested, I posted Mom's recipe for English Muffin Bread over on my other blog because it has a wider audience with which to share the joy.

Baking. The mood is here. The family is smiling, eating cautiously, moderation in everything, even tasty treats.

Almond Puff makes another appearance in the Kitchen of Cherie after over two decades in hiding.

Except for chocolate cupcakes which will probably disappear long before my camera clicks their picture, I'll be switching gears for Super Bowl Sunday. I have no idea who's playing this year. I do know that it's an excuse to have friends over to play awhile. I'm told some of the commercials are going to be in 3-D. We picked up a bunch of free 3-D glasses from Safeway for the occasion. How strange and silly we'll look! I'll bet we'll be smiling though.

Besides the cupcakes, I'll be making chili today and cornbread muffins tomorrow.

Will I be cooked and baked out by next week, I don't know. There's a huge bowlful of freshly made beef stock in the fridge that is begging to be made into something fine. Is French Onion Soup made with beef stock? I have to consult some recipe books. If I burn out, I'll freeze the stock so it can live to be cooked another day.

Happy Super Bowl Sunday, however you choose to spend it!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

English Muffins

Mom used to make these long, long ago. And they're easy. Why do I wait so long between batches?

Risen dough ready to punch down.

First side on the griddle cooking and browing.

Flipped over. Second side cooks.

English Muffins for breakfast!

With jam, anyone?

How I wish you guys were here! I'd LOVE to share these with you.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Two Delicatas and a Beefy Butternut

Beautiful sunny day! Running errands in thirty-two degree weather Tom and I found we had dressed for fifty degrees. Sun fooled us. A brisk walk with Sammy left us rosy-cheeked, invigorated, and laughing.

Not ready to go indoors, Tom washed two of our cars while I cooked up a storm in the kitchen. Besides our big meal of the day I cooked up some of our CSA squash from last fall.

I smokey-salted, peppered, and steamed two delicata squash then served them with butter and basil next to fresh pasta covered with garlic roasted chicken in a wine-alfredo sauce I concocted myself. Green beans from last summer's garden brightened up the meal.

Delicata squash

Seasoned and ready to steam


While the squash cooked I picked the seeds out of the scooped pulp. Finger-painting has always been pleasurable for me and this was not much different. I toasted the seeds and we sprinkled them over our pasta at lunch. Gave a good crunch!


...and after.

After the big butternut cooled I scooped and then pureed it. Some I let drip for awhile for pie filling. The rest becomes soup tomorrow, along with the liquid given up by the pie-squash.

Roasted and cooling butternut



Squash draining in cheesecloth

Reserving liquid for soup

Tom will be happy to see this 'pumpkin' pie when he gets home tonight, though we won't enjoy it until tomorrow.

The Joy of Squash!

Monday, January 19, 2009


In the spirit of holiday we ventured into the brisk sunshine for a hike.

I wanted to 'borrow' this... get closer to this...

...but hiked on without getting my feet wet.

Tingly-legged and red-cheeked we returned to our home where I prepared winter foods for hungry bellies. While the chicken and root veggies were roasting I took my inspiration from friend, G (you know who you are;) and sauced the last of my locally harvested apples.

Peeling in the quiet, aromatic kitchen gave me a slice of time to myself.

No one bugs me when I'm doing a task they don't really like. I do enjoy the process, so it worked out perfectly.

From the box to the pot took less than 20 minutes.

With our herb roasted meal we enjoyed fresh applesauce.

With frost from last night still slicking up the shady spots, the oven-warmed kitchen was a pleasant place to meditate while doing a very human task - providing food for my family.

A pleasant day all the way 'round.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Times Three

"Compassion is a weakness your enemies will not share with you."

"That's why it's so important. It separates us from them."

~~ from Batman Begins

Verification came in threes for me this week. A movie. A book. A lecture.

Forced into a situation where compassion was the hard road to take, I felt deep in my soul that any road besides would ultimately be worse.

Compassion is easy to know when lovingkindess is all around, when humility, ability, and gratitude accompany need.

But in the face of human evil - yes, evil - compassion can become less a calculation, a simple obligation, a societal trophy, or a natural reaction to innocent need, and more a test of courage, of ethics, of conviction, of personal integrity, and mostly of comprehension.

Compassion struggling to flicker amidst the dank, black fury of what is unholy - and continuing to burn, however faintly - does more than survive, it proves.

I always thought that compassion was a natural reaction to hurt, need, tragedy. Now I realize that yes, most of the time it is that. But, too, there is compassion that must be discovered in a place of deepest contemplation, soul-searching. Measured against the spirit and the temporal this conviction takes not the easy way but the hard.

When those few point and sneer, slander and scheme, still the listening heart knows there is more, so much more than the acceptance of mere human beings.

There is understanding.

For all have sinned.