I just love summertime!  Walks after dinner, swimming on the weekends (and sometimes after work if I play my cards right), but one of my favorite things about the season is the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables.  We’re blessed to live in a region that appreciates food and there are several farms and tailgate markets where we can shop.

zuc pie

Zucchini makes an excellent base for a main dish.  My brother makes an awesome zucchini parmesan, a recipe he concocted when the squash were coming in fast and thick.

Here is one of my favorite summer dishes but beware, however, several of the ready-made frozen or rollout pie crusts have LARD in them.  So read labels carefully, or make your own crust. I have determined I prefer the rollout variety.

Makes a good meatless main dish for a light supper. Leftovers are wonderful for breakfast or lunch. Can use a couple of yellow squash for color. This recipe was included in the 2012 limited edition Cookin’ Sistas cookbook,

Zucchini Pie

1 – 2 largish zucchini (or more smaller ones), sliced

1 onion or 3 spring onions, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced



1⁄2 – 1 cup cheese, grated

2 eggs, beaten

1 pie shell

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Sauté zucchini, onions and garlic in butter until tender Add oregano while cooking. Drain in colander if needed. Place squash in large bowl. Add cheese and eggs and gently mix. Unroll pie shell into Pyrex pie pan. Spread bottom of pie shell with Dijon mustard. Add squash mixture, taking care to distribute evenly. Bake at 350° for about a half hour, until pie is firm.


Firecracker Salmon


Since resuming eating meat after Easter, we’ve not wholeheartedly jumped back into our former dietary practices, but have, indeed, enjoyed eating salmon again.  We prefer wild-caught Alaska salmon over farm-raised, because it is free of artificial colors and hormones.  Salmon is rich in Omega-3 oils, high in protein and low in fat.  It is our preferred meal the evening before a race combined with a fresh green vegetable and whole grain.

The following recipe is from Lee Wahl, one of my mom’s besties, who was a confirmation instructor of mine back in the late ‘70s.  We use the same ingredient measurements, but for 1 ½ pounds fish.

Firecracker Salmon

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

1/3 cup catsup

1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger

1 tablespoon fresh or dried parsley

3 cloves garlic, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

4 pounds unskinned salmon fillets, rinsed, patted dry and divided into 8 portions

Combine all ingredients, except salmon, in a bowl and mix well. Place salmon and marinade in glass pan.  Turn to coat each piece well.  Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours. Place in foil packets and cook on hot grill.


Six Weeks Meat-Free: The Denouement


As I start to write, the sun is just dipping below the mountain to the west.  It is not quite sunset, but it is very close to the end of the day.  And that, mon chere, brings us to our mot du jour.

I had the very best English teacher in high school, and while we were reading and discussing and learning about great American novels, we were introduced to the idea of denouement.  The word comes from a French word meaning untie. In a novel, it is the time after the climax and before the end.  Instead of untie, think of it as the tying up of story lines or a working out or understanding of outcome of characters or events.

With Easter Sunday 5 days away, I am in the denouement of my blog, or what I had intended the blog to be.

We have learned some things during our six weeks meat-free.  We don’t eat that much meat, but missed it for the variety.  We were a little surprised at how good we feel.  I did not gain weight, which I was afraid of with all the pasta and beans.  Blogging is consuming and takes time and attention.  Sort of like that mistress you acquired and are ready to part with, but need to keep around for reasons that you continue to ponder.

I am keeping the Six Weeks Meat-Free blog, and with the coming of spring can write about farm markets and road trips.  I have more recipes to share. If you are reading this, thank you.  Celebrate living.  Celebrate life!

Tempeh, it’s what’s for dinner


Tempeh burger with oven roasted root vegetables and vegetable trio.  See those sexy sprouts on the burger?  I bet you do!  

We just love veggie burgers.  Some are better than others and they vary in calories, fat grams, sodium and satiety.  The other day Mr. C. was feeling particularly jiggy, and he purchased some tempeh at the grocery store.  We were both proud and a tad perplexed.  What do we do now?

Well, I just cut that two-and-a-half-serving-sized piece of fermented soy and stuck it in some marinade (which pretty much means salad dressing around here) and cooked it up in a cast iron skillet. I think I cooked it in a little bit of oil, or maybe the residual sheen.  The second time I made this, I just put a little water in the skillet and steamed the marinated tempeh. Both times I served it up on a skinny bun. The result was a delicious, nutritious and filling veggie burger without a lot unknown additives.

If you are feeling inquisitive, click here to learn more about tempeh.

If you would like to see a clever and delightful ditty about a cast iron pan click here.





Mushroom Crust Quiche

This recipe comes from the Measure for Pleasure cookbook published by the Bethany College auxiliary.  Bethany is a small Lutheran liberal arts college in Lindsborg, Kansas, which is otherwise known as Little Sweden, U.S.A. Jah!  I attended Bethany (when people use the word “attend” it really means “did not graduate”) back in the ’80s.  Anyhow, Lindsborg is the place for all thing Swedish like Dala Horses, Smorgasbords, and lots of Eriksons, Swensons, and Lindstroms running around town.


This recipe is a tad tedious to make, but worth having every once in a while because it is delicious and the crust is a treat. I got a line on some locally raised eggs over in Black Mountain, otherwise known as The Little Town that Rocks.

Mushroom Crust Quiche 

1/2 pound mushrooms, coarsely chopped

5 tablespoons butter

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Melange: Do it any way you wanna


Melange of turnip greens, onion, quinoa and plant meat, which is made in Asheville by No Evil Foods.

We started making melange when we had a garden. Each morning or evening we would collect the day’s bounty and saute it into a meal.  The vegetables might include squash, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, okra in any combination.  We could add a store-bought onion and what ever spices desired.  I keep a wide selection of them on hand.

Now for protein, when we were eating meat, we would serve it with chicken strips or shrimp. Meat-free options include tofu, tempeh, or any variety of plant meat or meat substitute. Melange is mixed with or served over grains, another mix and match option. Rice, quinoa, freekah, cous-cous (which is really not a grain, but more of a pasta) or any of the wonderful whole grain mixtures available.

The options are limitless.  Remember that old People’s Choice song from the ’70s??    Do It Any Way You Wanna.


Mac & Cheese


When I was younger, I threw some fabulous parties.  They might not have been large or extravagant, but good friends got together and ate good food and discussed ideas and shared news and we enjoyed one another’s company and had fun.

At once such gathering a conversation transpired about macaroni and cheese.  Neighbor Rose, who was a participant in said conversation, made a fine mac and cheese and was always quick to point out that she used four varieties of cheese.  Reporter friend Cate added to the mix when my bestie, Babydoll, declared, “Oh come on, the best recipe is on the back of the Mueller’s macaroni box.” She has a strong personality and has no qualms sharing her opinion.

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Serendipity: Sweet Potato Chili

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Each fall I buy a box of swee’ ‘taters. This year I got them over in Marion. It was a mixed box of white fleshed and orange fleshed. These are the white.

So you might remember a month or so ago I cooked some kidney beans in the crock pot.  I used half for kidney bean salad, and froze the other half. Well I found them last week and found a recipe on A Year of Slow Cooking blog, Sweet Potato Chili.  If you click on the title of the recipe, it will take you to it.

I had all ingredients already for this chili, other than the smoked paprika and the smoked chili powder.  I used regular chili powder and regular paprika, and I am so proud that at the last minute I threw in a cinnamon stick.

This is so delicious and filling, and I had everything right here.  That’s the fun of Six Weeks Meat-free, trying new things.

The Big Salad

I know many of you are or have been fans of Seinfeld.  Back when I watched a lot more TV, I watched those reruns before Jeopardy. I probably watched the show when it was in prime time, but that was a long time ago.


Anyhow, the show, which was sort of a show about nothing but a comedian and his friends living in NYC, became a birthing ground for pop culture references.  My personal term for a generic senior citizen community is Del Boca Vista, after the Florida-based neighborhood to which Jerry Seinfeld’s parents retired.  Terms like shrinkage, low-talker, and puffy shirt are part of our modern lexicon, as is the term Big Salad.

The phrase Big Salad was introduced by the character Elaine Bennis, the slick-dancing, Baltimore transplant who always finds herself (as all on Seinfeld do) on the tedious side of existence. The idea of a big salad is not novel.  It’s a salad that will fill you up, one that is a meal. Elaine, however, was the first to give it a name and to describe what salad lovers crave on a menu.

So last night was Ash Wednesday, and for the first evening of my Six Weeks Meat-free, I had a Big Salad, with some beets on the side and some cheese on top.  Mr. C. had some leftover bean soup with his big salad.  Then for dessert we had Stephanie W.’s homemade granola bars.

Peace, love, and salad. Make them green, make them yours, be creative but most important make them big!