Polar Vortex Cake


Baby boy asked for pound cake (and I don't mean the dog). And because I'm cocooning, or stress cooking, I made it.

I've had this Gourmet recipe calling for browned butter in the file folder a few years. I'm not gifted in the pound cake department. Plus I have a vivid memory of my sister (now expert food writer) attempting a dismal version in a big hair decade. But I am determined to master it. This version is worth the struggle. (Click here for the recipe)

One cooking caveat – after browning the butter, 15 minutes in the freezer is supposed to solidify it for the mixer. Mine took at least half an hour, but it was worth the wait. And your freezer might be superior to mine.

Eat – B


Meat Free Monday Pasta

In an effort to save $ I planned to use half a head of Napa cabbage shredded with pasta, cheese, and leftover cream. Plus I was parsimoniously planning to turn stale bread into crusty crumbs. But that plan bit the dust as I unfurled leaf after mildewed cabbage leaf. Gross.

That left the cauliflower. While a fan of roasted veg, I couldn't bear it again. Thus “the way better than I have any right to expect it to be meat free Monday pasta” was born. And I still got to make crusty crumbs!


At least 4 inches baguette or some other loaf, ground in food processor

4 cloves garlic, chopped fine

1/2 head large, or a whole head of small cauliflower, cut into florets

12 ounces pasta of choice

1/4 cup cream (frankly 1/2 is better)

1/3 cup Italian cheese of choice

5 tablespoons olive oil


Nub of butter (optional and not needed if using 1/2 cup cream!)

Start pasta water with a big sprinkle of salt. When water boils, add pasta. Add cauliflower when there's about 4 minutes left of cooking time. Before draining save 3/4 cup of cooking water.

Meanwhile heat large skillet with 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add a teaspoon-ish chopped garlic. When it smells good (:30) add the crumbs, sprinkle with salt and stir occasionally until crunchy. Put in separate bowl and wipe skillet.

As pasta finishes cooking, add 3 tablespoons olive oil to skillet over medium heat, plus remaining garlic. When it smells good (:30) add drained pasta and cauliflower. Toss. Adding at least 1/2 cup cooking liquid – it will keep pasta and garlic from sticking to the pan. Plus it gets absorbed. Add cream and cheese. Stir. Top with crusty crumbs.

Eat – B

BTW – It really only takes 20 minutes despite the lengthy instruction.

BBTW – why over share ingredients. My non cheese lover couldn't tell you what was in the dish.


EZ Savory Scones

Oh no! I just remembered – book club tonight! …or PTA meeting…or a last minute office bribe. That's how fast I made these tasty tidbits. If you don't have scallions, try chives, or bacon!

The ingredients are mostly pantry staples. I used cream instead of milk and cut them into two bite nibbles. That means you've got to watch the time – mine were done in 15 minutes.

Click here for the recipe from King Arthur flour.

For the record, the King Arthur test kitchen always has my back!

Eat – B


Feelin’ Chili

Two things keep you warm during a polar vortex. Chili and dogs (chili dogs are good too – technically that's three).

I didn't get a great picture of this week's ez prep turkey and bean chili, so I'm attaching a picture of two of the dogs.

I will also include the recipe full of pantry staples. It is low fat, high protein and gluten free. I will also say watching this pot is a waste of time. I went out for a meeting, had a teen stir it once or twice and kill the heat after an hour. Assembly took about 15 minutes. Chop your veg in the food processor to save time. Ingredient measurements are benchmarks.


1 lb lean ground turkey

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic chopped

14 oz can black beans, rinsed & drained

14 oz can chopped tomatoes, puréed to shield them from tomato hating teen eyes

2-ish tablespoons cornmeal

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon cumin

1/2 tablespoon coriander

1/4 tablespoon cayenne

Salt, pepper

Veg oil

2-ish cups chicken stock or water (I used water)

Add about a tablespoon of oil to large skillet over medium flame. Add turkey, season with salt and pepper and cook thru, breaking up chunks (5-10 min). Remove. Return pan to flame. Add 1-2 teaspoons oil and the chopped onion & garlic. Cook until soft. Add cornmeal and spices, plus salt & pepper, stirring to cook a minute or two. Add tomatoes, beans and turkey, plus up to 2 cups of water or stock. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook uncovered for 45 minutes to an hour. Plates to adjust seasonings. Stir occasionally. Cooking band aids: Add liquid if it dries, turn up heat if too soupy.

Eat – B


Not Fried Rice for Dinner

I'll be making this again for 3 reasons. It takes 5 ingredients, it takes 5 minutes, and it takes leftover rice noodles to an awesome new level.


2 eggs, whisked up

3 scallions, sliced

A quart of cooked rice noodles or spaghetti

Soy sauce

Veg oil

Heat an 8 inch fry pan and coat with veg oil. Pour in egg as if making an omelette. When the egg is set remove from pan, roll it and slice. Add noodles to pan (warm in microwave first if you want, but briefly). Toss till hot, add scallions, soy sauce to taste & egg.

Enough for one teenage boy or two moderate adults


Additions: red pepper flake, peas, mushrooms & just about any veg you can slice 🙂


Last Minute Butter Cookies

These are so quick to pull together, and so foolproof, they will become a baking staple. Proves the Land O Lakes test kitchen really knows what it's doing.

I even made the cookies, formed them into balls and baked a couple of hours later when I had room in the oven. Watch for overtaking – you don't want too much color on the bottom. Click here for the recipe.

BTW this counts for meat free any day!

Eat – B