"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" ~ Mary Oliver

a plum cake to greet the Fall in New England! . . .

I’ve been making this “plum cake” for over twenty years!

It’s a favorite for kicking off the Fall season in New England and almost any fruit can be used for the cake. I was a little surprised to find fresh prune plums at the local Stop and Shop but am glad to have them in this cake!

Please note that you don’t need a fancy pan and that the batter doesn’t need a lot of room either. I usually make it in this fluted pan which is only about 8 inches in diameter. It’s lovely with fresh peaches lined up on the top, or apples (Cortlands) as well. Turbinado sugar gives it a little more crunch, and plain vanilla ice cream is lovely served with it. – usually warm the sliced cake a little in the microwave before serving.

Happy Fall! and the Patriots won today! YAY!!

Here’s the link to the recipe:


Udon noodle stir fry with chicken, snap peas and cabbage. . .

This cool weather is such a wonderful contrast to the oppressive heat and humidity we’ve been having.

So tonight, we had a Udon noodle stir fry with chicken, snap peas, cabbage and mushrooms. A little soy, oyster sauce and sherry cooking wine.

The flat Udon noodles did well in the pan and were a nice change from angel hair or ramen noodles.

the best lunch: quesadillas!

I can’t believe I haven’t made Quesadillas before now.

I saw a short video of Jacques Pepin making them the other day and we’ve had them for lunch both yesterday and today. They are DELiCIOUS!! One of the reasons they taste so good is that I cut white Silver King corn from the cob and cook it in a little butter to add to the quesadillas. Pepin used canned corn and the sweet crispiness of the fresh cooked kernals are crunchy and tasty.

What he did use and which I followed were sprigs of fresh cilantro added to the salsa (Paul Newman mild) and shredded cheddar cheese. Honestly, it comes together in a wink of an eye, cooks up just as fast and is not as heavy as eating pizza but more satisfying in taste and texture.

Try it sometime – and use some fresh corn. You’ll be surprised, as we were, at how much you’ll enjoy eating them!

really homemade ice cream! . . .

Really homemade ice cream!~ All you need is FROZEN fruit (raspberry, peach, mixed berries, strawberries,) heavy whipping cream and a blender. Some instructions say to add sugar or sweetener but I left it out.

Here’s the first batch of raspberry ice cream! I used one bag of Trader Joe’s frozen raspberries and about a half pint of heavy whipping cream. Made it in my Nutribullet but will probably use my blender which has more room the next time.…/50050/five-minute-ice-cream/

It’s soft serve but could also be frozen. Without any sweetener, the taste of this concoction is very pure in taste, creamy and clean to the palate. Creamy sherbert?!

shrimp fried rice and hot n’sour soup . . .

Tonight’s supper: shrimp fried rice with snap peas and eggs; hot and sour soup from the other night.

Stir-fried shrimps marinated in cooking sherry wine and cornstarch, sauteed with scallions and garlic; removed from heat. Stir fried sliced snap peas until nice and green. Scrambled eggs and added a little scallion. More vegetable oil in an empty pan and softened the leftover rice until it was separated and soft. Then added back the eggs first, sprinkled salt, snap peas and then cut-up cooked shrimp. Stirred together with some soy sauce.

Reheated the leftover hot and sour soup, added a little more chicken broth and a slurry of Chinese wine vinegar, sugar and soy. A little strong, but I can dilute it if needs be. Yum!

red beans and rice . . .

Red beans and rice. Sounds pretty innocuous, right? Wrong. I decided to make it for supper tonight, mostly following a NYTimes recipe and suggestions. Apparently, it’s a specialty dish from New Orleans or Louisiana, that is.

I was surprised to learn that one of the ingredients is Cajun smoked Andouille sausage (which I found at Shaw’s!) It also requires soaking, boiling the red beans (organic, of course, not canned!) and cooking for two hours, mashing the beans at the end to thicken the pot. Alongside, rice is cooked and served in a bowl with the red beans on top.

To be honest, I wasn’t too sure about this dish as I scraped some of the green pepper out of the pot – thinking there was too much of it, and letting it cook for the allotted time. We’re about to have it for dinner tonight – late for us, but George came back in the afternoon and had lunch after 2 pm. So, I thought we’d have a leisurely Saturday night supper.

After dinner: You can knock me over with a feather! –the red bean mix on top of freshly cooked rice was SO GOOD!! There were complex flavors, enough salt and not too salty – the warm rice was the perfect foil for the red beans

In addition, I made a small apple coleslaw as a complement to the spicy sausage dish – cut up a honey crisp apple to a cole slaw mix with caeser dressing, apple cider vinegar and honey mixed together with it. Slightly sweet and cool and very tasty! WHEW!! I’m a fan now and already thinking about cooking up another batch of rice to go with the red bean leftovers!

soba noodles with cucumber and wakame . . .

Tonight’s supper: Soba noodles with Persian cucumber, Wakame seaweed and a dressing of Marukan Seasoned Rice Vinegar, Teriyaki (soy, sugar, Mirin,) sugar, hot sesame oil.

I marinated the cucumbers and seaweed with the vinegar dressing and when the Soba noodles were cooled to room temperature, added some of the Teriyaki sauce and sesame oil.. Scrumptious!

Alongside, a few choice slices of salmon sashimi with soy/wasabi dip.

making a “margherita pizza” at home . . .

As someone who likes to cook, there are a few dishes that I’ve always wished that I could make as tasty at home as they are in restaurants.

One of them is Pizza Margherita (like one that I had in Minneapolis) and some dim sum dumplings (Shray Jow and Har Gow) – water dumplings and those tiny opaque wrapped shrimp dumplings in Chinese dim sum restaurants. Japanese Bento box dishes are another on my list; maybe Asian “street food,” especially “bing” with scallions and sesame seeds; and Asia noodle dishes of all kinds: Korean, Pho, Pad Thai, like that!

Anyhow, I guess you could call this a kind of “food/cooking bucket list” – and I’ve started today by making a pizza margherita crust, using Italian “tipo 00” flour. The dough has a much finer texture than those I’m familiar with made with all-purpose flour. I’ve refrigerated two of them to keep for a couple of days and will use the other one tonight for our pizza. I also watched a video of how to stretch out the pizza dough to begin and then roll it around on your knuckles to make it larger. As with biscuits, stretching and minimal handling (not rolling it out with a pin) makes the texture of the crust more chewy, I guess.

Although I understand why people make their own pizza sauce, we’re fans of Mezzetta brand tomato sauces. I did pick up a fresh ball of mozzarella cheese and we have a large basil plant out on the deck that will provide the fresh leaves when the pizza is baked and ready to eat.

So, here’s a photo of the dough with the special flour to start – more photos to add later on when the pizza is ready for dinner. What’s on your list of food/dishes you’d like to learn how to make? Would love to hear about them!

“Shepherd’s Pie” for supper. . .

We had a small Shepherd’s Pie for supper tonight. I used a smaller amount of ground beef, a larger amount of fresh mushrooms cut chunky, onion and mashed potatoes on top. Beforehand, we split a large artichoke with curry mayonnaise. Yummy!

“nesting time” this year. . .

The end of April and beginning of May appears to be “nesting time” at our house. At least, for the last two years, we have had nests of Robins on and underneath our back porch where three blue eggs were lain and hatched, the nestlings growing by leaps and bounds, flying out about two weeks after hatching.

Last year, we noticed nests in barn where we park our cars and a family of Robins settled in there. Outside our 2nd floor bedroom, a couple of Mourning Doves also hatched.

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed little twigs and straw on the hood of my car and discovered a new nest built right beside the larger Robin’s nest from last year. George pointed out a small nest on his side of the garage perched on some 2X4’s but we haven’t seen activity there as yet – it being high up, as the other nest is.

Turns out, the new, small nest is that of a Mourning Dove who sticks out above the nest because it is so big – but I managed to get a couple of shots of it this morning – blurry, but you can see her settling in on top of the nest.

Waiting to see what appears in the other nest sometime soon! Stay tuned!