Dispensing Happiness

A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness.-Elsa Schiapirelli

That's me, the magical good cook.

Borrowing from my friend Dexygus, I've created my own food blog.

Read of my exploits in the kitchen! Salivate over the descriptions of fabulous desserts and savory meals I've concocted!

No, seriously...go ahead. It'll make my day.

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Mortadella Pizza Sandwich



I confess: I'm a sucker for a sexy food photo.

So when I saw the thumbnail for King Arthur's Mortadella Pizza Sandwich, I was both seduced and confused. 

Pizza? Sandwich? What?

Watching the video cleared the confusion, thankfully, and after sharing it with Matt, it went on the menu.

I've never had mortadella. I went vegetarian...oh, god.   Nearly 28 1/2 years ago!?

I'm not convinced grocery stores in my little home town even carried the stuff back then.

In any case, I didn't encounter it until well after I'd stopped eating 'food with a face'. 
But again, now that Earth Fare is carrying plant-based deli style meats, I'm able to find something vaguely suitable for the recipe.

Matt, of course, had actual mortadella.

It's half pizza, half hot sub.  A gorgeous, long-rise dough gets stretched, lightly bathed in olive oil, folded in half, and baked in a blisteringly hot oven for a few minutes.

One last blast of heat from the broiler gives you a solid outer crust, while the interior comes out done, but softer.

Gently pry the ...bread? Crust? open, and distribute burrata over the bottom half. 

Next, add your mortadella, lemon zest and juice, roughly chopped salted pistachios, a sprinkling of red pepper flakes and flaky sea salt to the sandwich.

Close, brush the top with some olive oil, and toss on a few more pistachios.  


It's stupidly good.  And stupidly easy. The dough's hands-off for the most part, with a little bit of shaping right before baking. The ingredients aren't numerous or complicated. 

And yeah, it's damn sexy.

 Edited to add: I forgot to mention the grated Asiago!!!

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Friday, April 19, 2024

Getting Fancy



When you're only using a few ingredients, they have to count.

Alex kept getting these targeted ads for a sandwich from...I think it was Jimmy John's?

It's not a place we'd patronize, both for the lacking in vegetarian options and some social/political stances by the owners that don't align with our own.

But apparently they're now offering a caprese salami pesto sandwich, and well...that sounds pretty good, yeah?


Luckily for us, Earth Fare is now carrying a selection of plant-base deli meats, including salami.

They're all really good - I like the 'ham' in particular.

Their sandwich is 'salami and fresh mozzarella, slow-roasted tomatoes, basil pesto, balsamic glaze, oregano-basil, oil, onion and mayo, on French bread.'

We riffed a bit, using fresh but out of season tomatoes (helped along by a bit of sugar and salt to draw out the flavor), skipped the onions because...no, and a drizzle of this glorious, thick balsamic vinegar.

No need to reduce to a glaze, because this stuff is SYRUP.

With only a handful of ingredients, you use the absolute best you can get.

And this stuff is top notch.

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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Any Reason to Celebrate


 Happy National Eggs Benedict Day!

To those who celebrate...which in this house, includes exactly one Matt.

He'll 'joke' that this is a meal that's trying to kill him, but he's a willing victim. 

So I don't make it often - he's the only one who likes it, and it's a bit of work. 

But eh, the things we do for love, right? (10cc forever.)

I used this recipe from Williams-Sonoma (mostly), because I liked the idea of Gruyere and mashed potatoes in the waffles. 

I went off-book for the Hollandaise, swapping in a blender version instead.   And because Matt isn't a ham fan, smoked salmon for the protein. 

...He ate three. Quickly. 

Happy day, indeed.

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Saturday, April 06, 2024

Time Is a Construct



I overheard Alex saying that to one of his friends.   And he's right.

Matt & I were having serious 'This is Friday, right? It has to be Friday" feelings...on Thursday.

"We're having pizza!"  Which just feels like such a Friday thing to do.  


Using the glorious three-day dough recipe, everyone got a custom pie.


I'm not much a tomato sauce gal.  I'll ask for 'light sauce' if I'm ordering, or if making a more traditional pizza at home, sort of wave the sauce over the dough to impart the essence of tomato on it.


So this time, I went with a base of so much roasted garlic mixed with Fromager d'Affinois - not too much!  Just enough to cover the surface.

Next, thinly sliced already-baked potato, a nice scattering of fresh rosemary, & the oil from the garlic. 

I'd add some caramelized onions if I were to make it again.  And it'd be perfect cut into small pieces & served as an appetizer.



Alex loves pesto.  I mean, the kid loves it.

Originally, he was going to have marinara & pesto as his base.  But the pesto I usually get (Yes, I know.  I could make my own. But I'm already making three pizzas - I'm fine saving a little time with store-bought sauces) wasn't available.

However, the pesto Alfredo pasta sauce he likes was, so I suggested going with that, sans tomato. No objections.

Lots of fresh mozzarella.  Thinly sliced tomato (I cannot wait for tomato season!), some salt & pepper. 


He ate the whole thing, so I'm chalking that one up as a win.



The resident omnivore came the closest to traditional with a roasted garlic & chipotle paste-doctored marinara, smoked mozzarella, and lamb merguez (which we can now finally find at Earth Fare!).

I did say 'closest'. 

So we ate pizza on a Thursday that felt like a Friday but I'm writing about on a Saturday.

I don't know what time or day it is.  But I know the pizza was good.

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Sunday, March 31, 2024

My Weird Brain


 A couple of weeks ago, I woke up...with a recipe for a sandwich.

Fully formed.

I don't remember why dream me was making a sandwich. Only that I was.

So later that morning, I told Matt about it. 
And he wanted to try it.

It took a while before I got to it, because I'd already planned the menu for the week.

But at last, it happened.

The Dream Sandwich

Two slices of Texas toast. A slice of pepperjack, some smoked Mozzarella, then a layer Ruffles.

More cheeses. 

Secure with toothpicks because that monster is getting dunked in pakora batter!

Finally, fry until crunchy and golden.

And...it worked. As a template.

Very filling.  The chips stayed crisp!  But it needed more flavor. Alex suggested a smear of 'nduja. But the basic 'recipe' is sound.

Ridiculous? Yes.  Good? Also yes. 

Follow your dreams, eh?

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Sunday, December 10, 2023



I have baked and baked and baked.

And now I am done!

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Saturday, September 09, 2023

Time Well Spent



As we all know, recipes lie.  

"Cook onions until soft and brown, 3-5 minutes."



So, every now and then, I'll buy a bag or two of onions, slice them up, then dump into a huge pan with olive oil and melted butter, sprinkle generously with salt and sugar, and spend the next few hours slowly cooking them down until they're a gorgeous, sweet and caramel-y (totally a word). 

The above photo is the result of six pounds of onions, cooked down to just under 18 oz.  

And it was worth every minute.

Not only do they taste amazing, this one-day-every-six-to-eight-months project saves me So. Much. Time when I cook.

Instead of chopping and sweating/cooking down onions for dinner, I pull out a spoonful of these beauties, give them a rough chop, and add to the pan. 

I do the same thing with onions, celery and green peppers - cook down until soft and sweet and packed with flavor, and after cooling, put generous tablespoons into baggies and store in the freezer. 

My mirepoixpsicles. 

A half day's work that saves me hours and effort throughout the year.  That's time well spent.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Play it Again



I know I've mentioned it before, but I rarely repeat a recipe. I'm always looking for something new, trying different things.


We have our favorites.  A collection of maybe...twenty, twenty-five dishes we love so much, they show up on the menu again.

One is Persian Rice with PIstachio & Dill, which I've been making for over twenty years. 

When I first saw it in the just-delivered issue of Gourmet, I knew I had to give it a try. 

And we've been in love with it ever since.


With just four ingredients (not including water & salt), it's ridiculously easy.  And oh, my god.  So delicious. 

The washing, parboiling, and chopping are worth it for the tahdig!


How good is it?  If Matt's out shopping, and lets me know "hey, dill here looks incredible", I will rearrange the menu to work it in.  

That. Good.

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Sunday, August 20, 2023

Sometimes, You Just Have To



Have I mentioned how much I hate decorating cakes? 

Because I really hate decorating cakes. 

 But, ya know, sometimes the frustration is worth it.

 It doesn't have to perfect. I do my best, and learn to be ok with it. 


Anyway, a big 

to those promoting trans hate.

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Wednesday, August 09, 2023




For the last couple of weeks, I've had this urge to poach eggs.


I don't know why; I won't eat them (it's a texture thing).   But Matt will.  


So I slotted in a breakfast for dinner night, and planned this for him.


 Eggs Benedict, with a bit of a twist.

Instead of English muffins, I made boxty.
Smoked salmon in lieu of a ham-like product.

And on top, in addition to the Hollandaise, a thick and tangy avocado crema. 

And yes, he nearly wiped the plate clean.

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Friday, June 09, 2023

They Grow Up So Fast



Hard to believe they're not kids anymore.

Happy birthday, sis!

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Sunday, March 12, 2023

Totally Worth It



Just spent nearly 8 hours caramelizing 5 lbs of onions. 

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Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Tiny Pasta Pies



To those who celebrate National Tortellini Day.

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Thursday, February 09, 2023

This is Hell


 I touched the Devil's herb, and I didn't like it*.

I may not recover.

No matter how many times I've washed my hands, I can still smell it.  

*I needed to make sofrito for tomorrow's dinner, but I'm beginning to doubt it was worth it.

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Sunday, January 15, 2023

Brioche de Saint-Genix


 And here they are!

Lovely little brioche rolls with 'pink' praline. I think it's closer to red, but hey, still pretty.

The Biscuit de Savoie were also good, but I made the mistake of filling them before plating, and those suckers were sticky to begin with. 

Less 'biscuit' and more angel food cake-like, very light and crisp on the outside. Perfect with a cup of tea.

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Slowly but Surely


 Fun baking day!

If I ever get things rolling...

We're doing 'tea' for dinner tonight, so I'm making Brioche de Saint-Genix and Biscuit de Savoie. So far, I've only gotten the pralines ready for the oven! 

Photos to come (hopefully).

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Wednesday, December 07, 2022




As much I enjoy cooking, what I really love is baking. 


And as much as I love baking, what I haaaaaaate is decorating cakes and cookies.
Like, hate hate hate. 

I mean, I don't hate looking at it. Admiring like 'whoa' anyone with the talent, skills, and patience to do it.

But me? Not so much.

Every year at this time, I promise myself 'No sugar cookies next year'. 

And every year, I bake the darn things. 

But this year, when I saw Laurie A. Conley's (@Busydrawing on Twitter) week 1 #spookyholidaychallenge drawing of the most adorable and creepy trees, I knew I had to give them a try.


Please keep in mind that I did all my decorating using sandwich bags and a skewer, because I did not have the energy to fill and clean a bunch of pastry bags and tips, and could not locate my scribe tool.


So there you have it: One adorable and creepy holiday tree!



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Monday, December 05, 2022

It was a good (baking) day



I got a much later start on Merry Cookie Season this year, but managed to make up some time Sunday. 

I already had two kinds of biscotti made, as well as sugar cookies (still waiting to be decorated), but now the kolachy, giant spice, chocolate dulce de leche, mini chocolate chips and the (now with final touches) pistachio fingers have been finished as well.

There's dough in the fridge for the chocolate rugelach and the thin mint clones, so they'll be baked off tomorrow, as well as the sugar cookies getting fancied up. 

The smoked peanuts will get ground for peanut butter and turned into peanut butter blossoms, with tempered chocolate buttons or discs (depending on how they turn out), and finally, the Cookie of My People will follow.  Should be finished by Wednesday - yay, me!

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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

She Really Does Play Well With Food




My new thing: making chocolates. 


Matt got me a sous vide last Christmas, with the intent of using it for tempering chocolate. We finally started using it a few weeks ago, and oh. My.


What a game changer. 


Does it take time? Yes. Is it stupid easy to use? Also yes. 


I'm also finding there's less mess, clean up, and waste using this method. 


So I've been playing with food again. 



Breaking out the molds, creating neat fillings.  And with each one, I'm perfecting my technique (the hardest/scariest part was sealing them, but I think I've got that figured out now). 

More to come!

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Thursday, November 24, 2022

Chilaquiles Rojos with Fried Eggs and Cotija



Matt can't handle a large breakfast early in the morning, so before work, it's usually a couple of pieces of toast and some tea.

But weekends and vacation days, I get to have fun.

Recently, I made these chilaquiles (which took a bit more work as our broiler no longer works...sob).  

He didn't quite lick the bowl clean, but it was a near thing.

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Friday, November 18, 2022



 If you don't get flour on your clothes, are you even baking?

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Thursday, November 17, 2022

Smells Like Heaven


 If heaven is deeply-roasted garlic. 

From this recipe, a Roasted Garlic Pizza.  But with a three day rise dough, because we're all about flavor over here. 


Of course it was amazing.  Everything smelled like garlic for a day or so after, but I'm not really seeing a downside. 

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Wednesday, November 16, 2022

100% That Witch



I just really like this photo (if you ignore the clutter). 

And no, my hands aren't dirty - I was taking a break from baking!

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Saturday, November 12, 2022



 ..I think I may have added too much heat to the jollof base. 

I mean, I can taste it in the air. 

I guess I'll find out!

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Monday, November 07, 2022

Miss Me?


Earlier tonight, I made a recipe for chicken meatballs (yes, with a faux chicken version, too...nothing's changed on that front), and in addition to breadcrumbs, it wanted both beaten egg and milk in the mix. 


And I couldn't help but wonder why? Ground chicken is already gloppily wet. Hang on, shuddering at the memory.


They were so wet and sticky, I had to put them in the fridge for a few hours just to firm up enough to cook.)

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Friday, September 03, 2021

Still Here. Honest.



Happy September!

The suffocating heat and humidity appear to be on the way out, Halloween decorations are going up, and it's almost my birthday.

I baked these Smoked Pistachio Shortbreads for Matt last night, which he loves. 

Hope you're all doing as well as you can manage.  Can't really ask for more, can we?

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Monday, February 22, 2021

Love Hurts


The teen suffered a break-up recently, his first. But it wasn't just the end of a relationship - he was ghosted (I'd like to have a talk with her parents about teaching children to accept responsibility for the actions). He was crushed, unsurprisingly; they'd been involved (albeit long-distance) for two and a half years.

Ciabatta, colored black to match the ache in his heart.

With this happening right before Valentine's, I wanted to make the day as tolerable for him as possible. I mean, Matt & I don't need a manufactured holiday to show our love. We do that daily. So I decided to make an all-black dinner.

Garlic Soup with Fideos - for un-kiss-able breath.

I got a black tablecloth, and an inexpensive set of dishes and cups, for the occasion.  You can't take a theme too far.

Homemade, black, farfalle in white pesto sauce.

There was chocolate cake, made with black cocoa, for dessert. Decadent chocolate milk to drink.  

But if all that wasn't enough to show him he was loved, we also got him this (Derrynane was very interested).

Being a teenager is hard. Dating is hard. Dating while a teenager? The worst. 

I know he'll recover.  And hope he'll find someone who deserves him. But for now, all I can do is love him and do my best to make him feel better.


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Thursday, February 11, 2021

Photos Don't Do Justice



When I first heard my friend Peabody was writing a cookbook, I was delighted. She's always been a source for creative and outrageous treats, and very much my kind of person.

So naturally, I pre-ordered, and waited for the big day.

  And she did not disappoint.

 Glorious, ridiculous, and mouth-watering recipes fill the entire book.

After I read through (and I did, every single page!), I passed it first to Matt, then Alex.  They went through it with colored sticky tabs, marking everything they wanted to try. 

...It's brimming with sticky tabs, btw.

The book arrived at a busy time for me (NaNo, Christmas cookies, etc), so it took a while to finally get around to it, but when I did, I asked the guys to pick the first thing I should make. They both chose the
Cinnamon Roll Apple Pot Pies.

It's a brilliant concept: a sweet, glazed cinnamon roll plus an apple pie? I mean, why not?! 

As Peabody states in the introduction, the recipe is a bit of work, though none if it is too taxing.

You make a dough for the rolls - more biscuit-y than a traditional roll, but that works in its favor. 

There's the crust, made from ready-made dough, but ooomphed! up a bit; you treat the crust like a cinnamon roll, giving it the spiced-sugar filling treatment, and rolling it up and slicing it into smaller pieces.
Which then get rolled out flat, creating a gorgeous dough of burnished concentric circles that you use to line your (very small) baking dishes*. 

There's an apple filling, cooked quickly and simply, and smells heavenly.

That you top with one of your biscuit-like cinnamon rolls, and bake.  

Finish with a cream cheese frosting, and you have yourself one fantastic, decadent dessert. Or breakfast. Your choice. I don't judge.

And proof that Peabody knows what's she doing, that she's put in the research and testing: everything works together. The flavors and textures compliment one another. There's a balance of sweetness and spice.

More proof: From the other room, where he was gaming, Alex hollered through a mouthful, "You should definitely make this again!"

My camera died (I got a new one, but didn't have a memory card at the time), so this photo was taken with my Kindle.
In my traditionally poorly-lit house. 

But trust me when I say this recipe, this book, is a winner.

Congrats, Peabody. I'm so proud of, and happy for you.

*I discovered, too late in the game, that my dishes were an inch smaller than Peabody used. I made it work, but that's why you see less of the lovely apple filling.


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Friday, January 22, 2021

And NOW we can say, "Happy New Year!"


 Christmas Day Pasta: beet & paprika- & parsley-colored doughs, tossed with a bit of butter, and served with mascarpone, mozzarella, basil, and balsamic vinegar.

What a start to the year, eh? 

I've been meaning to swing by, do a bit of updating, but (waves arms around).  

Now that sanity and decency have returned, I feel like I can talk about things like 'what I ate!'. 

Nothing too detailed, but here's a few highlights from 2020, The Garbage Year.

 Lime Petit Fours for tea.

Halloween Murder Cake.

Lovely baguettes.  I've baked So. Much. Bread.

What's that? More pasta?  Yes.  Yes, more pasta.

I mentioned the bread, right? Naan, parathas, pita...

 Something for Matt: Carnitas Eggs Benedict with Chipotle Hollandaise


Pasta roses. Because...why not.

I still don't know how to make this configuration of blogger look decent.  Or maybe I no longer have the patience to mess with it?

It's a new year, hopefully with less AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!.  Here's to lots of tasty foods!

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