My Story

I've always loved being in the kitchen. Isn't that the gathering place at parties and get togethers! That's where the action is, where delicious smells come from, and where I go to create some really great stuff! My Grandma was my inspiration. She lived her life in Baltimore and she was ALWAYS in the kitchen (or down at the VFW for a crab feast and beer) but Alice created so many wonderful meals for our family. I remember there was always soup before the meal, usually a steaming bowl of crab soup with a rich tomato broth and lots of vegetables. Her crab cakes were incredible, a recipe I use today, and undeniably the best. I would challenge ANY other crab cake recipe to match my Grandma Alice's. The first meal I made for my mom was macaroni and cheese from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook back when I was about 7 years old. I was very proud of it, and it was really good..a creamy white sauce combined with good old cheddar and shells sprinkled with toasted bread crumbs..yum. So off I went through life, cooking and baking, and came to realize that baking was the shizzy. I loved finding a great recipe and making it even better. Funny my kids didn't like sweets much, so I showered friends and neighbors with treats. Later down the road, when some real decisions needed to be made, I decided to attend the baking and pastry arts program at The California Culinary Academy. I was 47 years old and had no idea what I was in for (another blog). So I mastered the art of baking thanks to a dedicated and talented team of instructors. I did a gig in the basement of well known pastry kitchens and had a wonderful time working for a small caterer cooking with a great bunch of gals. But here I am now, still cooking, still baking and loving it, in my own kitchen where I can share my love of this sport with the world. I take all my own photos (another passion) and I hope you will have patience and stay with me in this newest adventure. So thank you Grandma Alice for all those delicious memories, stories and inspiration. Stay tuned..

Monday, September 27, 2010

Oh, You Lovely Green Beans

 I found 8 tiny, perfectly ready green beans ready to pick in my garden the other day. I had picked at least a couple of pounds of green beans this summer.  The 6 vines that we planted in June are now a giant mass of twisted vines...weaving in and out of whatever they can grab onto. I recently learned that the younger the better when it comes to harvesting the green bean. I never really managed to pick them when they should've been picked, which meant tough stringy beans...not so good.  But on this day, as I was out watering, crouched down low with my face in the tomatoes and basil, (they just smelled so good!) I looked up and spied 8 little green beans all in a row on one vine.  I sat there just for a minute or two, trying to think how I could use these perfect little beans.  What I came up with was as simple and down to earth as you can possibly get (in my opinion).  It was a perfect lunch for me...healthy, colorful and delicious.  I'm sure there might have been other perfect little green beans hiding somewhere in that tangle of delicate vines and beautifully shaped leaves, but sometimes you just have to go with what's in front of you, a good lesson as a cook and life in general.

  • So, take a handful of green beans (fresh is best) trim, then throw them into a pot of salted boiling water for 1-2 minute (depends on how much crunch you like)...put them right into ice water to stop the cooking
  • A beautiful ripe heirloom tomato was also picked that morning, chopped it up, put it in a bowl with a few leaves of chopped basil, salt and pepper...let it sit for an hour or so
  • Out came the  4 roasted fingerling potatoes from dinner the night before... they are buttery and creamy, yum...slice them up!
  • Nothing's better than sweet cherry tomatoes...I eat them like candy, so in they went 
  • I love cheese...any type, from any country...I chose feta, it would add creaminess and loads of flavor
  • Into a bowl everything goes...Chopped or sliced... A vinaigrette of olive oil, salt and pepper and the juice from the tomato/basil mix...A combination of crunch, creamy, smooth, cool...The flavor that says the very best of summer.


  1. Oh how you make food look so darn pretty! Even people that HATE green beans (and it is not me) would be tempted. I know a person that was forced to eat green beans as a little child and to this day it is a NO go. Thanks for your great posts, I look forward to them.

  2. Jane suggested I follow your blog, and I am glad I looked in. I enjoy your stories; they are familiar, gentle.