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 6, 2010

Pears to you, Anthony Bourdain...

Somehow in the past few weeks, amidst the heat of summer, the "back to school (thus work) blues, and the absence of any recent travel adventures, I lost my appetite to cook, bake and blog.  I'm now 3 weeks into school, it's cooled down just a bit, and still no real traveling in store for me.  But what has prompted this newest journal entry, didn't really have anything to do with the aforementioned, but instead, a combination of just two things.

First of all, I was given several beautiful home grown pears last week. I watched them turn rosy as they sat on my counter, but came to the sad realization that I just wouldn't have time to make a lovely Pear Tarte Tatin that day or the upcoming weekend, (we were off to our cabin for a couple of days). So I did something I never do, and popped them in the refrigerator Friday afternoon with the promise that I'd rescue these perfectly ripe pears on Sunday evening when we returned.

My next big motivator, was Anthony Bourdain.  Now, not to say that Anthony himself isn't motivation enough for this foodie girl to do pretty much anything if he asked, but I turned on the No Reservations marathon first thing Monday morning, and the first show that I caught was the episode filmed in Sardinia. The visuals had me hooked.  The countryside and surrounding towns were incredibly beautiful, and as I stood there with my mouth open, watching Anthony and his lovely Sardinian wife, Ottavia share a meal, I think I actually drooled. The food was glorious and delicious (Anthony said so), and I could just about taste the fresh ricotta with local honey...oh, if only.

I admit, it doesn't take much to make me happy.  The simple combination of watching a top rate, beautifully photographed food/travel show and 5 pears, is what got me back into my kitchen.

It's late in the afternoon now. The tarte is cooling, Anthony Bourdain is now eating his way through the south of France, and enough said... tomorrow's another day

Thinly slice 3 pears, sprinkle with lemon juice

Role out puff pastry~Cut out a circle with a medium dinner plate

Fan the pears in a cast iron or heavy non stick pan over cooked caramel

2 T. water
1 1/2 tsp. cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
2 T. butter

Blend the first 3, cook undisturbed over med-low heat for 10 min, add butter.

Cook the pears in the caramel until dark golden brown, about 10 min.

Lay the puff pastry over the pears~ cover the pastry with a lid~Put the pan in the oven
Bake at 375~10 min~ Remove lid~ Bake another 15 min. until golden brown~Let it cool 15 min~
Run a knife around the edges~Flip over onto a plate

Voila! Tarte Tatin de Poires !

I do love this beautiful tarte tatin, but I love these petite cheris even more. They are sweet and crisp and buttery and beautiful...what more could a girl ask for?

Use a metal one cup measure to cut circles from the left over puff pastry.  Spoon a little of the caramel (make sure you save a little bit) fan 3 pear slices over the caramel, and drizzle a bit more on top.  Pop them into the (375) oven until they're golden brown and bubbly, about 15-20 min.

Tartellettes Poire Mini


  1. Must. Taste. Pear thing that I cannot pronounce. Will trade fresh apples for....????