home cooking

New Year, No Resolutions!


Isn’t that the most gorgeous bunch of flowers you have ever seen?  They’re peonies from the garden, which I left in the old garden!  Not to mention it’s the least Christmas/New Years of photos.  I am just about over all the tinsel and glitter and stuff!

Of course I am cooking tonight.  I am making a lovely French Onion Soup, a la Jacques Pepin.  And like Mr. P, I use nothing but onions, salt, pepper, water and garlic.  That’s right folks, it’s vegan!  And it’s the actual traditional recipe his mother used.  Isn’t that something?  I’ll post a few photos tomorrow, but I wanted to get this one in under the wire for national blog post month, on BlogHer, which I must say I failed miserably at.  So, Happy New Year to you all, may your year start and go along as you would want it to!  And here’s hoping it bring love, health and well being.  The happiness is something only you can determine!



home cooking

Merry Christmas!


I would normally be very non-denominational and say happy holidays. But, since Hanukkah is over, I can say it without offense!  Happy Christmas to you all, dear readers, and here’s to a lovely week, during which we all blog our stratosphere’s off!

I am hoping to have some great food posts this coming week, once we get back to Michigan from New York!  Let the New Years extravagance begin!


My Favorite Christmas Cookie

When I was a teenager, I met my friend Linda.  She lived a few blocks from my house, and we met in high school.  I still talk to Linda, and she lives in Georgia now with her husband and two (now teenage) boys.  Her mom did something my mother didn’t, she made plates and plates of Christmas cookies!  My mom leaned more towards making Irish Soda bread and these awesome Yule logs with holly from the trees in our backyard, so don’t get me wrong she didn’t slack!  There was one cookie that Linda’s mom made that I absolutely fell in love with, and as an adult, I now made them every Christmas.  My version is a little different, I add lemon to mine, both the cookie and the icing.  The recipe is fairly easy, but oh so delicious!

Lemon Ricotta Cookies

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
15 oz ricotta cheese, preferably fresh
Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
4 grams fine sea salt (about 3/4 teaspoon)
450 grams confectioners’ sugar (about 4 cups)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup milk, as needed

Using an electric mixer, cream 2 sticks butter with sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add ricotta, lemon zest and 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla and beat well. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Scrape the sides of the bowl down with a rubber spatula, then beat in flour, baking soda and salt. Cover dough and chill for at least 2 hours and up to a week.

Heat oven to 350 degrees and line several cookie sheets with parchment paper or nonstick liners. Shape tablespoons of dough into balls. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheets and bake until pale golden on the bottom, about 15 minutes.  They will spread a good deal, but when I say golden I mean the merest coloring.  Ideally they should be very pale.

While the cookies are cooling, melt remaining tablespoon butter. Whisk confectioners’ sugar to break up any large lumps, then whisk in melted butter, lemon juice, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla and enough milk to make a spreadable icing. Spread icing on cooled cookies, then let set for at least 20 minutes before serving.  I find dipping them in helps and makes it a great deal less messy.

Linda’s mom used to put a little piece of candied peel on each of the cookies, and it really does look and taste fabulous, but I just let them dry completely and then I stack them on a plate.  You might want to put some parchment or wax paper between the layers.

Chef Greenhill, Detroit, eggs, Not for Profits, Philanthropy, pork belly, Uncategorized

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

I attended the second Pop-Up Restaurant this past Friday at The Children’s Center, in Detroit.  What a wonderful time we had!

The chef was, again, Chef Brad Greenhill, and he really outdid himself this time!  He wasn’t the only one though!  The folks at the Children’s Center really stepped up!  The decorations were charming, the menu was eye catching, not to mention mouth watering and the message was compelling!

photo 1

Just look a this lovely centerpiece!

photo 4

And this creative use for marshmallows!

photo 2

It seemed, when I arrived on a very chilly evening in the D, that this was going to be a United Way reunion night.  There were many current, and several former co-workers, which kind of made the night feel like an unplanned holiday gathering!  I was truly impressed though, at how many of my fellow attendee’s were there because they worked and/or volunteered with the Center.  It does such wonderful work, I am so proud of the people I know helping out there! (More about the Center a little further down in the post!)

I don’t know if you can really see the menu so I will give it to you here.  So yummy!

Carrot Soup, with harissa, hazelnut dukka and yogurt

Charred cauliflower, with fennel, pomegranate, mint and walnut

Maltagliati, with mushrooms, melted leeks, truffle and yolk

Porchetta, with cannellini beans, arugula, lemon and horseradish

Olive oil cake, gelato, citrus and almond

Let me start from the beginning, with the carrot soup.

photo 3

Isn’t it pretty?  It was fairly surprising, the harissa, which for those of you that haven’t tried it is a Tunisian hot chilli paste, really gave it some perkiness, and the nuts were just wonderful and crunchy against the smooth sweet soup.  I think it was my favorite dish of the event.

Next up was a delicious charred cauliflower salad, with the very fresh combination of mint and pomegranate, it was sweet and savory and tart all at the same time, delicious, and pretty to boot!

photo 5

The next course puzzled some people, and my inner bossiness came out right away.  It was a pasta with what I would say was something like a carbonara sauce, except the egg yolk hadn’t been incorporated.  The hot noodles were enough to cook the yolk and make a creamy sauce, along with the cheese, but you had to stir the yolk in right away, rather than waiting for everyone to be served.  Several people were wondering, I think, why I was rushing them, but it was worth it in the end.  Very silky and tasty!

Before stirring

photo 6

And after stirring


The main course was porchetta (stuffed and roasted pork, Italian style) which I love, although some people were a bit put off by the rind.  I gobbled it up.  There was a lovely fresh parsley and garlic stuffing, and it was topped by a tart arugula salad, which set off perfectly the fatty roasted pork.  Hidden under the pork was a little gem, a lovely stew of cannellini beans, which was exactly the earthy touch the dish needed.  All in all a success!

photo 7

Last, but sincerely not least was a lovely little surprise.  Any time I have had olive oil cake, it’s always been a yellow cake flavored with orange.  This was a delicious hot chocolate cake, topped with a melted vanilla bean gelato.  It was the perfect end to the dinner, a little chocolate, a little creamy gelato.  So delicious!

After our dinner, Chef Brad came out to take a bow. Can you see him behind the marshmallows?

photo 8

The other, truly wonderful thing about the evening was that there were art pieces by the children who come to the center.  Some of it would break your heart, for example, there was a painting by a boy who had no friends, and was bullied.  It had a big red X painted over it, but he wished that one day he would have a friend!  The artwork was both eye catching and beautiful, as well as making you realize that even today, in this society, children are abused and neglected, sometimes right under our noses.

I signed up at the end of the event for a tour, and I really encourage anyone in the Metro Detroit area to do the same.  The information for The Children’s Center is below.  I hope you have it in your heart to tour the facility and get involved.

The Children’s Center
79 Alexandrine West
Detroit, Michigan 48201

M-TH: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
F: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
S: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Immediate Assistance
M-F: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

A big thank you to The Center for the invitation, and for the wonderful company, as well as the chance to see the children’s artwork.  I truly was touched!



Another Pop-up Dinner Coming Up to Benefit The Children’s Center, Friday December 13!


I am attending another pop-up dinner with Chef Brad Greenhill, to aide The Children’s Center.  If you read my blog about this last month, you may want to join us.  I can’t describe the fantastic food, but even more importantly, you’d be helping out an extraordinary organization do some truly wonderful work!

Here is the menu and the link to purchase tickets.  I really hope to see some familiar faces there!

Chef Brad Greenhill and Team Detroit are cooking up a four course Pop-Up dining experience (INCLUDING BEER & WINE) to benefit The Children’s Center of Wayne County on December 13th from 6 – 9 p.m.


CARROT SOUP (harissa, hazelnut dukkah, yogurt)

CHARRED CAULIFLOWER (fennel, pomegranate, mint, walnut)

MALTAGLIATI (mushrooms, melted leeks, truffle, yolk)

PORCHETTA (Pork Roast, cannellini beans, arugula, lemon, horseradish)

OLIVE OIL Cake (gelato, citrus, almond)

**for the vegetarians sub FARM EGG (cannellini beans, arugula, lemon, horseradish)

TO PURCHASE YOUR TICKETS WHILE SUPPLY LASTS: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/pop-up-restaurant-to-benefit-the-childrens-center-tickets-8875208989?aff=erelexporg

BONUS: Art produced by children through their participation in art therapy will be on display for guest viewing and enjoyment.