Roasted Turkey BLTomato Jam

Awe the sandwich! What is more American? Everyone loves em’ and the sandwich can be suited to any taste. When making a sandwich the most important part is the ingredients, one of which is bread. I am using Franz’s Western Hazelnut bread…its amazing, and has all kinda of interesting seeds and things, also it is a local company! Next player in our sandwich is a whole roasted turkey breast! None of that pre-sliced, salt liquid stuff, real deal cut it yourself turkey breast! Bacon, nuff said, I’m going to use baby arugula as my “L” and for the “T” I am going to make a roasted tomato “jam”…I don’t really like raw tomatoes…something about the under ripe grocery store variety of my youth has turned me off on them. Many tomato jam recipes call for sugar…I will be leaving that out…basically I roast tomatoes with garlic and onions and mash it with a fork…presto! On a baking sheet lined with parchment, place 5 sliced vine ripe tomatoes, 4 cloves garlic, 1 onion or 2 shallots sliced, 2 springs of thyme, drizzle with olive oil, sea salt and pepper. In a 375 degree oven cook “jam” ingredients for an hour, after an hour stir, then turn oven to 450 for about 10 minutes. Let cool,add 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar,mash with a fork…put in a mason jar…donzo.

Before roasting
Before roasting
after being roasted
after being roasted
add balsamic and mash with a fork
add balsamic and mash with a fork
put in a jar, ready to serve
put in a jar, ready to serve

That is the hardest part…haha! While your tomatoes cook throw your bacon in on a sheet pan and cook for about 25 minutes or so (check often) when crispy, drain, set aside. Toast your bread (if you like it that way) and assemble! Easy and elegant! SAMSUNG

Look canned soup….it not me, it you! Vegetable beef barley, get outta that can and into my pan!

IMG_4350We’ve all done it….I was basically raised on the stuff, you might still have a can or two in the pantry right now…(horror movie suspense music..dun dun dun!) Canned soup! Those chubby lil’ Campbell’s soup kids staring at you…so cute, nothing unsavory could be lurking in that aluminium can…right? Wrong. In September 2012 a cancer advocacy group released a study that found Campbell’s soup cans to have the highest levels of BPA’s then any other soup brand. BPA (bisphenol A), a commonly used additive in food packaging, mimics human estrogen and is thought by some health advocates to be harmful to health, after a great deal of consumer backlash, Campbell’s never admitting any wrong doing, begrudgingly took BPA out of the can linings. Now if that isn’t enough for you let’s consider the sodium and quality issues….if you buy your own ingredients, you control what you and your family eat. Less processing means healthier and more nutrient dense product. Now if you know how to can at home this would be a great recipe to do that with…keep in your pantry and heat and eat your own soup anytime! The pan I made was so popular with my family that I didn’t have any left to store, kids love this soup! This recipe can also be altered for all diets with a change up in proteins or vegetables, I was chatting with a vegan mom on the playground the other day and we were discussing how in other cultures meat is condiment not the focus of a meal, this recipe is a great example of that concept. Shall we begin? I think we shall.
Mise en Place:

1lb lean ground beef, preferably natural
1lb lean ground beef, preferably natural

brown in a large pan
brown in a large pan

1 cup each frozen vegetables (here I have corn, beans, green garbanzo beans, and some carrots)
1 cup each frozen vegetables (here I have corn, beans, green garbanzo beans, and some carrots)
I will use frozen vegetables for some things…they are harvested at their peak and if you buy the organic variety they are full of nutrients.
the aromatics!  Always use raw on these...I usually include carrots as well but I had some frozen ones I wanted to use up.
the aromatics! Always use raw on these…I usually include carrots as well but I had some frozen ones I wanted to use up.

shallot, celery hearts, garlic, fresh thyme, and a tbsp of dried Italian seasoning.  About 1 1/2 cups for the aromatics
shallot, celery hearts, garlic, fresh thyme, and a tbsp of dried Italian seasoning. About 1 1/2 cups for the aromatics
add these in when your beef has browned
Beef and aromatics
Beef and aromatics
1 can of diced tomatoes, 1 large potato (I like the starchiness of russet for this)IMG_4343next in the mix goes your frozen veggies and a quart of good beef stock, or veggie, as long as its a good quality most varieties should work. Add your pre-cooked pearl barley (put 1 cup of barley in a rice cooker with 3 cups of water, I also like to add a few tablespoons of dried porcini mushrooms to add depth and flavor, also you could use porcini as your “meat” flavor if you wanna make this vegetarian)
Plate of pearl barley cooked with dried porcini, and a bag of dried pearl barley
Plate of pearl barley cooked with dried porcini, and a bag of dried pearl barley
simmer soup for twenty minutes or so. Turn off the heat and add the “toppins”
"toppins" 1/2 cup frozen peas, and 4 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley.  Add these at the end to keep the lovely green color
“toppins” 1/2 cup frozen peas, and 4 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley. Add these at the end to keep the lovely green color
viola!  Delicious, healthy, try it you'll love it!
viola! Delicious, healthy, try it you’ll love it!

IMG_4348Makes about 10 servings and as always use this technique to create your own favorites! This was the classic I wanted to upcycle and I’m sure if you try this you will have great results! Kick them Campbell’s kids to the curb!

Martha Stewart helped make me the person I am today! And why that is “a good thing”.

Martha and her perfect, home grown lilacs .

Damn that Martha Stewart! In the 90’s Martha Stewart was the prima culinary goddess of the mass media (t.v) with the burgeoning internet playing a role, she became a lifestyle brand superstar. She also did sometime for white collar crime…which gives her some thug cred…kinda cool. I recall watching her program and feeling like “who’s life is really that perfect?, Who’s biscuits are so golden?, who can cut paper and make a flower vase?” in other words inferior….I would sit and yearn for just a ounce of her organization skills, a pinch of her garden prowess, and her collection of cast iron. Martha’s homestead, ever so fabulous, with just a hint of shabby chic, who can forget her “Macgiver”-like repurposing skills! Of course I later realized that you can’t believe everything you see on T.V. and that she had 45 interns cutting paper and polishing her pans. Look at how food has become a pop culture interest, I think Martha Stewart was a big player in making the “homemaker” something that can be marketed and shared with others. Homemaking has become a interest and is taken seriously(look at the popularity of the homemaker blogs)! Home cook talent shows have become rather popular and being able to cook is viewed as a “cool” thing…I think a lil’ thanks for this should go to Martha…perfect bitch! Ha ha!


Amber Glass

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Amber Glass is one of my favorite things.  It’s basically glass that has been tinted using a mixture of sulfur and iron oxide.  The color can range from light yellow to deep ruby amber.  I’ve been collecting it for a few years now, getting all my pieces from different thrift shops all over.  My mom is great at finding many pieces that she sends up to me.  Foods that are pale in color, eggs, poached meat, dough items look great on amber glass.


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Many of these pieces are from the seventies, but a few are older and reflect that Art Deco style that originated in Paris in the 20’s then in the states during the 30’s and 40’s.  I think plates and food receptacles can say a lot about who you are as a cook.  I usually go with white for most impact, but there are certain foods that look especially sexy on smokey amber glass.  Yes I think I just called food “sexy”…..but I think you get the idea.  I think there are artful qualities to all things really, and why not make something more interesting?  Especially things you have to do on the daily.  My maternal grandfather used to collect all kinds of  things one of them being glass, my mom has a nice colored glass collection as well as a mini bottle collection, and an awesomely creepy doll collection (that is a post in itself…for another day, grasshopper) so maybe this is a genetic thing.  I know many folks that collect china, and stem ware.  I guess this is just another thing that interests me….looking at it makes me happy, and gives food a little bit of a smokey, French, facade…is that too much?  Haha….anyway, try plating on some colored glass.

Art Deco Bowl
Art Deco Bowl
Spanikopita wrapped chicken on amber glass plate
Spanikopita wrapped chicken on amber glass plate


Wings?! We don’t want no stinking wings! (poulet “Legs” aux Buffalo stylie)

Teriyaki and Traditional "buffalo" legs
Teriyaki and Traditional “buffalo” legs

Okay so I have cooked, cut, sauced, tossed and eaten my fair share of “buffalo wings”.  The worst thing about them is washing a sink full of wing plates at 11pm at night…you get a greasy hot sauce line up to your elbow, and you basically need to exfoliate to get that off.  Anyway, most chicken wings are fried, then placed in a variation of the classic “Frank’s red hot” and butter.  The possibilities are endless!  The wing as a pop culture food phenomenon has grown to where the whole point in using them (as a way to make mass profit from a cheap protein, and cut the booze in your system) has become quite counter intuitive.  With most trends….the wing has been played out…what used to be $1 a lb are now up to $4 a lb.  For about 5 years or so I have toyed with and perfected….the oven baked…sauced….inexpensive CHICKEN LEG!  Yes I said it….I decided to try this first of all because I’m on budget….second because my husband only likes the “drumettes” and not the joint of the classic wing and thirdly (not an actual word, but should be) I like me some pub grub.  Anyway you dice it Chicken and “frank’s” is a hit.  Now don’t go and buy leg quarters (thigh attached) unless you want to hack off the thigh and use for something else (which I totally do if the price is better), you can buy NW raised, all natural “value” packs of legs at our Fred Meyer’s here for sometimes 99cents on the dollar….or go to “New Seasons” and buy the “classy” chicken for about $2.50 a lb….let’s say you are going to a kegger….or a church outing whateves….and you need to feed a bunch of folks (hopefully not a Vegan convention….im sure you could do a tofu version though and use smart balance instead of on tangent must return) buy 5lbs of chicken legs and follow my simple non-fried approach to “bar food” gluttony.


  • 5lbs of chicken drumsticks
  • sheet pans or a big roaster…I use a roaster to  get a faux “confit” type of fall of the bone thing…think poor mans confit…sure yeah.
  • 400 degree oven pre heated
  • 1 Cup of franks (or if you are a “mild” opposed to “wild” ..BBQ sauce, I really like using teriyaki sauce then top with sliced scallions and sesame seeds)
  • 1 stick melted butter (margarine if you are gross, or vegan and think that using hydrogenated oils (scientifically modified fat chains) is healthier then a natural product from a critter….it’s your world we are just living in it!) Skip this if you are using a pre-made sauce
  • and a few tablespoons of honey to taste.

YOU DO NOT NEED 20 INGREDIENTS TO MAKE GOOD WINGS (legs)!  Simple is better, cheaper, and lower on labor.  Dry your chicken with some paper towels, this ensures the skin will be nice and crispy.  We are not salting our chicken…it draws water out and won’t be as moist. I took out the frying cuz it’s messy, fattening (we are already dipping them in butter), and not efficient with two small children.  Set your dried chicken on your sheet pans, you are using dark meat, so it contains natural fat, doesn’t need greasin…you can if you want cuz they do stick, but if you have a good metal spatula you will be fine…you can put foil underneath for clean up…but I don’t do that because aluminum is a non-renewable resource, but to each their own.  Put those puppies in the oven and cook the life outta em’ (about an hour, to 90min).  Mix your butter, hot sauce and honey in a large bowl, toss chicken legs in sauce….put on a plate…or if you want to leave em in the bowl and put the garbage can next to you while you sit on the couch and watch “Lifetime” movies that is totally fine (I have a non-judgmental blog).  Serve with all your fav (dressing, carrots, celery, BEER) and viola “I feel like chicken tonight…like chicken tonight!” (commercial from the 90’s).  Look ladies take these to your favorite bachelor, wearing a trench coat, and even birkenstocks and romance is on the agenda…..if you want that or just sit at home eat them for yourselves and be glad you are not one of the “Dance Moms”.  Don’t be a leg hater!  Try chicken wing’s, cheap and voluptuous cousin…once you try that you won’t ever go back!  Prost!


Beautiful organic multi color carrots.  White one was outta this world!  Celery and some apple I was snacking on while chopping
Beautiful organic multi color carrots. White one was outta this world! Celery and some apple I was snacking on while chopping

Oven braised Corned beef and Roasted Cabbage

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Another Saint Patrick’s day has come and gone, the classic dish was boiled and served to the masses.  Now I don’t really like food coloring in my beer or an entirely boiled till its gray mass entree.  Maybe i’m no fun, but if I am going to take three hours to make something I want it to be beautiful and tasty at the end.  When I was kid, we had a bar/restaurant and my mom always served this dish, every year, then later she would make it for the family.  I love her version, she makes colcannon with kale, and she boils the cabbage and beef.  Many people don’t like cabbage because the only way they’ve had it, is in boiled form.  I like it boiled, but I love it roasted.  As with most natural foods, cabbage has natural sugars in it, this gets lost when you boil it….not to mention the slippery texture offends the pallets of some.  When it’s roasted cabbage becomes a whole new experience, texture, and flavor.  I picked up a beautiful, all natural, locally sourced and brined brisket (no flourescent pink finish on this one).
To braise beef:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees, in a large dutch oven place corned beef fat side up with seasonings, cover half way with water, cover, cook three or so hours, the last 45 minutes or so the cover can be removed so that the fat side caramelizes and gets a golden brown color, you can add potatoes the last hour or make colcannon with some organic “dinosaur” kale.
For cabbage:
2 lbs of organic cabbage….I cut it into wedges,placed it on a half size sheet pan, and seasoned it with salt, pepper, garlic, and a nice smokey Spanish paprika, add herbs….add what you like in the amounts you prefer, if you try to avoid salt etc, drizzle with oil (I used olive oil) add butter if you want a richer dish, and put in the oven, mine was at 325 cuz that was the temp I used to braise my corned beef.  Check the cabbage after about 20min it should be golden and beautiful.  This method can be used for all types of veg…..I think I will roast a head of cauliflower next and top with capers and lemon.  I hope you will try this method with some of your less then favorite veggies and realize how great they can be….gluten free, low carb, vegan….it can really elevate all diets and its easy!

Best cabbage ever
Best cabbage ever

Dandelion Greens….Tis the season.


So I’ve been wanting to do some gardening this year….yesterday I went to assess my garden spot; there in the composted, weediness, sat green and lush the most appetizing looking dandelion greens I’ve ever laid eyes upon.  So there I went a foraging and found one of my favorite things, for free, in my backyard.  My Mom used to take us in the Spring to find all the tasty dandelion greens while they are edible…once they flower…no bueno.  This tradition is one Mom stumbled onto from my Dad who grew up very Greek, “horta” are greens, served warm or cold with olive oil and lemon.  Horta are a super food and can contribute to a longer life and many other benefits….if you are in this for the health reasons…its worth a google.  Personally, I just like em’, some would say it’s an acquired taste….not for me I’ve always just loved greens.  I must say Oregon has some amazing weeds….I have never seen such lush and emerald dandelions in my whole life!!!  This is one of those times when I wish I could beam down to UT and show my Dad my bounty.  When harvesting, make sure you cut right at the root, and rinse, rinse, rinse!SAMSUNG

I rinsed mine three times…..first in hot water, then cool water, then repeat till there is no more dirt or worms…that can ruin a meal.  Next in a large pot, boil  salted water….add greens, cook 20 minutes or till tender (remember these take longer to cook, then chard or spinach).  Drain water, add olive oil, juice of one lemon (I lucked out and found some “in season” meyer lemons) salt and pepper….you can add a teaspoon of granulated garlic while boiling if you like.  Serve today or tomorrow with bread!  Seriously one of my favorite foods, so instead of covering dandelions in pesticides…try eating them!




Dolmathes, or stuffed grape leaves are one of my favorite things to make, maybe its because my mom used me as child labor starting from age 8 or so to help with labor at our restaurant.  During my formative years, about age 3 to age 14 my parents ran a restaurant/bar, perhaps this explains much of my oddness in general.  If you’ve worked in the “industry” it attracts a special group of folks, an awesomely bi-polar group of misfits, especially in Utah in the 80’s and 90’s, the food biz didn’t make you a rock star like “chefs” are in the now times.  Cooking was a job for the troubled soul, the criminal, the outcast, and this is perhaps why I am so fond of those types in general.  Myself and my sisters would sit at the bar or later in the back by the walk in at our place on 33rd and Washington, and roll dolmathes or stab souvlaki for hours, honestly I hated it at the time…now I would go back in a heart beat just to sit and listen to “Rollin’s Band”, talk with our staff, and argue with my sisters while I flipped marinade at them.  Good ole’ days.  Anyhoo, I am sharing this recipe…its honestly a little hard for me to do, as I am attached to it and never given it out.  Shall we begin the potion of amore?  Yes I think so:

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Ground meat of choice: about two pounds or so, I used Ground beef 85/15

1 cup long grain rice, you can use quinoa or another fast cooking grain if you wish….make it yours.

1 jar grape leaves in brine, if you live on a wine vineyard in Napa or something feel free to use fresh leaves, just salt and blanch beforehand.

a tsp each: Salt, pepper, granulated garlic, dried oregano (I used dried herbs d’ provence), dried mint.

2T fresh parsley

1 tomato

1 large shallot diced

Grab a bowl and combine above ingredients, get in there and show that meat who’s the boss, kinda like Tony Danza…..once mixed it’s time to let the good times roll.  One does this by taking a grape leaf and putting a “fat fingers” worth of filling in and rolling it “burrito style”.

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Once your lil’ buddies are all rolled put them in a heavy bottomed pan, use a plate placed over them to weigh them down, then add 3 cups beef stock, cover, bring to a boil then turn down to medium low for about 30 minutes.  When finished cooking, squeeze juice from one lemon over dolmathes, whip 3 eggs till light, temper in 1 cup of the cooking  liquid and heat on low till lightly thickened……pour over dolmathes and serve!  They are dangerously addictive and can make a hermit become a people person.  Use wisely and well.

Thrifty….the new rich?

I’ll tell ya, growing up in Ogden, UT…I’ve done a bit of “thrifting”, second hand shopping for those not in the know…haha!  Now when I was salvaging good will (DI…Utah natives will understand) it was not considered “cool”.  You see much of my youth was spent in the consumerist 90’s where accumulating mass produced items new and often was the chic and yuppie perspective.  I was neither chic, nor yuppie, quite the opposite…my moo-mu clad mother would load us up in whatever “pimp mobile” car from the 70’s that my dad had gotten from Breaktime Bob on the cheap and school clothes shopping was done at “Savers” or “Vintage Thrift” .  Nowadays that would be cool….back then….we would hide our faces when my mom dropped us off in the “Aspen”.   But I digress…..This is about thift store shopping not my upbringing in a hyper-conservative place by an ubber liberal pair of parents.  I still remember my super awesome “Nirvana unplugged” look a like sweater that my sister “Tex” found for 69 cents.

Unbelievably not cool in the 90’s.

In the current market however, perhaps due to a more competitive global market.  “Thrifting” has become cool, some mainstream brands actually have a “vintage” line where they send out their “stylists” to raid thrift stores and charge you 10 x what they paid for it!  Portland is thrift Mecca, my favorite spot being “Better Bargains” it’s old, huge, unorganized, and all those things make it a goldmine!  Great for finding vintage items because after many years of people dropping off what they don’t want the stock piles and many things dropped off in 1982 don’t get opened and sold till 2012.  Beautiful.


The less cool it looks the better…steer clear of anything with “hip” decor or being in a “cool” part of town.  I do have a great consignment shop by my house…but if you wanna get the super duper under appreciated awesome….go dirty.  Proud to say my high chair $3, double jogging stroller $40, and Gianfranco Fierre resort dress from the late 70’s $12, Keen’s for Ava $3 were all purchased and found at Better Bargains.  I bought 50% of Ava’s school clothes for pennies on the dollar, and most of Ari’s clothes that aren’t “hand me downs”.   Buying good quality items used, is like upcycling in the best possible way, it benefits everyone!  Money can’t buy ya happiness, and so much of our culture is based purely in commerce, it is necessary I agree, but I also think conservation is necessary.  When I was a kid upcycling was instilled in me, and now it’s actually a fashionable activity!  So weird….its like that pair of shoes you bought in the height of a trend, then 10 years later you see high schoolers rocking em….I love nostalgia and maybe that is why I love thrifting so much.  I never thought I would feel this way but I am so incredibly glad my mom raised me to be so “uncool” , the funny part of life is that in one’s lifetime many things come full circle.  Being wealthy for me isn’t spending the most….but being wealthy in life experiences.  With our blown out economy, and changing global vernacular “Thrifty” might just be the new “Rich”.  Next time you are browsing “Urban Outfitters”, get some ideas then get out and buy it in your local goodwill….chances are something cooler, cheaper, and full of nostalgia will be waiting for you, and with the money  you save you can do something awesome with your family, whether it be a vacation or simply an outing for ice cream.

Note: the other baby is Ava's doll, get a lot of weird looks when we load the doll in this fashion.
Note: the other baby is Ava’s doll, get a lot of weird looks when we load the doll in this fashion.


$1 vintage sunglasses
$1 vintage sunglasses






Lettuce wraps easy, breezy, carb freezy.

wrapsSuch a fun and easy way to make a carb free and seasonal meal, anyway with you dice it, you can make these fit your tastes, I do like to use baby romaine leaves they are easy to pick up so they are great for fork free eating!  Use what you want, use what ya got!

I stir fried on medium high 1lb ground pork (chicken works great too), 1 small onion chopped, 2 cloves garlic, 1 small can water chestnuts (drained and diced), 1 red bell pepper, 1 seeded Jalapeno (you can leave some seeds if you want it hotter, but for my five year old I have to mild it out), 2tbsp hoison sauce (international foods aisle). Cook till the meat is brown and veggies are still crisp. Sauce, 1 tbsp peanut butter, 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar, 1 tsp chili paste (international aisle as well), 1 tsp chinese mustard, 2 tbsp sesame oil, 1 tbsp soy sauce (use temari wheat free if you are trying to avoid all gluten) whisk together. Serve in lettuce leaves and top with sesame seeds or almonds or whatever you like….this recipe is great cuz you can use whatever you have around…and change the flavors to suit your own tastes…works well when you grill and you can always buy like a sesame ginger dressing you like pre made, or thai peanut sauce if you are short on time!