Boo! Scary or Cute?

I had the great fortune to be a judge at a Halloween-themed Dips and Desserts contest at work during lunchtime.

Oh, the sugar high!  My colleagues can cook!

There were many great dishes and two distinct themes for Halloween:  scary and cute.  I’m with my friend, the cupcake maker:  I don’t like scary.

Cute: fudge cupcake owls with Oreos and Reese’s Pieces

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Aren’t these Halloween owls friendly and smart-looking?  The fudge icing was incredible.

Scary: Brain cake (red velvet with fondant “icing” covered in raspberry jelly)

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My colleague who took this photo of the brain cake said she’d have declined to taste it – but it was actually really good! Very moist red velvet cake.

What’s your Halloween theme:  scary or cute?

Empty Nester’s Halloween: Scotch and Cookies

Trick-Or-Treat-Halloween-Silhouette.pngWe haven’t had trick or treaters here at Glover Gardens for years; our neighborhood doesn’t have many families with small children, and its wooded, winding, narrow streets are not conducive to packs of Halloween revelers.  Our own little trick or treaters are now out in the big world; one works at SpaceX and the last one is a freshman in college.  We still buy candy, though, hopeful each Halloween that we’ll see some cute little witches and warlocks – only to end up eating it ourselves in the first few days of November.

This year, I’m rolling the dice and foregoing the purchase of supermarket candy.  Five years in a row with no trick or treaters seems like a pattern, don’t you think?  But we won’t be totally bereft of Halloween celebrations, because our friend Amy has gifted us with decorated sugar cookies.  Amy, a very wise lady, says, “Cookies are love,” and we agree!  We’re going to enjoy this Halloween love on a plate with a couple of wee drams of single-malt Scotch and dream of the day when we have trick or treaters again.

Halloween: the Empty Nester Version.

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We’re all set for the Empty-Nester Halloween nightcap
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Amy’s photo of her cookies: aren’t they festive?

Amy uses the Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix and says that it is better than scratch.  They taste like homemade-all-the-way.  Her icing is powdered sugar and milk.

Happy Halloween!

Simple Autumn Side: Baked Acorn Squash

acorn-squash

It’s a beautiful Saturday morning here in Southeast Texas, and we’re headed out to the Farmers’ Market to see what bounty it holds for us.  A recent trek yielded acorn squash, which resulted in a marvelous side dish for roast chicken.

So delicious, even the vegetable-loathing Grill-Meister will eat it!

How’s that for a tag line?  The squash has an almost creamy texture, and the touch of seasoning and brown sugar gives it a lovely fall color. Even vegetable-haters can tolerate it! And in addition to being just plain good, this dish is EASY. Remember that old phrase, “set it and forget it”? Well, even if you don’t, it will make sense to you when you make this acorn squash. It’s a perfect side for roasted meats, and also works well for a luncheon dish alongside a soup, a salad, or a sandwich.  You could pair it with the Lentil Soup for a very filling vegetarian meal, or with a Panini for a quick weeknight family supper.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 1 medium acorn squash
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. light brown sugar
  • Old Bay or your favorite all-purpose seasoning mix (my Zippy Southwest is also very good, if you want a bit of a kick)

Cooking Instructions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil.  Cut the squash in half, crosswise. Scoop out and discard the seeds. Slice each side of the squash in half again.
Set squash quarters on prepared sheet, then drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle with seasoning and brown sugar.

Bake until squash is easily pierced about 30 minutes. Serve warm, adding salt and pepper if desired.

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The finished product is a hearty side dish

Copyright 2016, Glover Gardens Cookbook.

Found Recipe: Fabio Viviani’s Short Rib Lasagne

One reason I love to travel is the exposure to different foods, cultures, ideas and people.  A case in point is the food discovery from last night at a business dinner in Chicago:  short rib lasagne.  Wow!  It was a blustery, windy, rainy night, and the sadly, the Cubs didn’t win, place or even show in their first World Series appearance in a zillion years, but the kitchen at Bar Siena on Chicago’s near west side was on its A-Game.

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It’s a hip and trendy atmosphere at Bar Siena, and the food is as rockin’ as the decor

fullsizeoutput_c7Let’s set the stage – the big ballgame was on, the place was packed with hungry and loud Cubs fans, and my dinner hosts were foodies.  We ordered a selection of cicchetti (Italian for “little bites” meant for sharing).  While the octopus with a chili vinaigrette and grilled shrimp with artichokes were wonderful, the short rib lasagne adorned with roasted garlic béchamel and taleggio cheese was the meal’s most valuable player.

This dish is now pretty high on my Must-Learn-How-to-Make List, and I found the recipe on the first page of Google search results.  The owner of Bar Siena is Fabio Viviani from Top Chef, and he shared his recipe with the world on Rachel Ray’s show.

With the windy weather and the World Series, autumn was in full swing last night in Chicago – and this dish really hit the spot.  We’re not quite there yet here in Southeast Texas, but once the chill sets in, I’ll be making this “warm up your bones” dish.  If you get to it first, please share the results!

Links:

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The lasagna before we attacked it

 

 

Haiku for Game 2 – Let’s Go, Cubs!

one game down is not
the end of the world (series).
lose the blues, Cubbies!

In 1984, the Chicago Cubs made it into the postseason for the first time since 1945, climbing as far as the National League Championship Series before losing their chance to go to the World Series to the San Diego Padres. It seemed like the whole nation was rooting for the Cubs that year. During the post-game TV wrap-up after the Padres had clinched it, an tear-streaked elderly woman bedecked with Cubs gear from head to toe summed it up for all of us, saying:

They wouldn’t be our Cubbies if they didn’t break our hearts.

That’s bittersweet fan loyalty at its best!  But this is a different year.  Shake it off, Cubbies!

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Signs like this are all over the Windy City

Note:  the references to the lyrics of Chicago, immortalized by Frank Sinatra’s version, are for my Dad.

Copyright 2016, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Found Recipe: Churrasco’s Chimichurri

I love to create in my kitchen on weekends, take a bunch of photos, and then recreate the yumminess in posts here in the Glover Gardens Cookbook blog.  Alas, there are no kitchen creations to post this weekend, as I have an early morning flight for a business trip tomorrow and am busy preparing and packing.  I do have a recipe to share, though:  Churrasco’s chimichurri sauce.  Have you had chimichurri before?  It is sooooo good – a foodie-worthy sauce that is very simple to make.  Churrasco’s is a Houston-based South American restaurant chain, and they deliver the real South American goods.  “Churrasco” means beef, or more generally, grilled meats, in both Spanish and Portugese.

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Photo from Food and Wine

That green sauce on the steak is chimichurri sauce, and it is wonderful.  Fresh, green and garlicky in its olive oil base, it brings a brightness to the steak.  I can’t get enough chimichurri, and it is good on so many other things!  Scrambled eggs, fajita tacos, grilled chicken, as a dip…the possibilities are endless.  In addition to topping steak with it, Churrasco’s serves chimichurri with dried plantain chips as an appetizer.

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Whenever I go to Churrasco’s, I bring home plantains and chimichurri sauce, to continue the South American party at home.

There are lots of chimichurri recipes out there, but I am loyal to this one from Churrasco’s, published in Food and Wine magazine.  Simple and delicious, it has only four ingredients and can be made in less than five minutes.  Although the recipe calls for curly parsley, flat-leaf parsley is also excellent, and you can substitute cilantro for a different south-of-the-border flavor.

Ingredients

2 bunches curly parsley, thick stems discarded
1/3 cup garlic cloves, crushed
3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.  Refrigerate, but allow to come to room temperature before serving.

Here’s a link to the recipe in Food and Wine, which also has instructions for the steak.  Another of my finds at Churrasco’s was the Pisco Sour.

Cat Haiku, and Pictures, Too

I thought, erroneously, that there might have been enough cat pictures out there to satisfy cat picture needs for generations to come.  And then I posted a picture of my cats in this blog (see Two Live Cats and a Talavera One).  From the views and clicks, apparently new cat pictures are still very much the thing.

So here you have a haiku inspired by Godfrey, a 6 year-old tuxedo cat (and family member) who nibbles on his tail, is afraid of his shadow, and is also the sweetest lap cat EVER.  And of course, some pictures, too.

Haiku for Godfrey

Godfrey, in repose:

because the world doesn’t have

enough cat pictures.

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Kitty beefcake by the arch
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Poised and ready to attack that falling leaf
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On red alert
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A little snoozy
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In repose by the hot tub, watching for birds
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Dreaming of a world where we all just get along
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Godfrey in his noble, “I’m a future leader” pose

Godfrey is named after the lead character in My Man Godfrey, a wonderful screwball comedy movie from the 1930s.  Read about it here.  We watched the movie, about a millionaire posing as a “forgotten man” and accepting a job as a butler, the night before we welcomed Godfrey into our family.  And of course we had to name our new tuxedoed family member after the William Powell character.  You can see the resemblance, can’t you?

williampowell

Copyright 2016, Glover Gardens Cookbook

The Bee Poem, by Steven Harvell, Age 5

My brother Steve was the cutest child ever.

He was younger than me, and I treasured him like a brilliant little pet. He was sweet and shy and peculiar. There never has been, and never will be, a person like him. He is gone from us now, but lives on in our hearts.

When Steve was 5, he submitted a poem to Highlights magazine (a children’s publication), and the whole family was proud and astonished when it was published.  I have always loved this poem for its clarity and directness and simplicity.  I have been accused of helping to write it, but I will only admit to being an 8-year-old editorial consultant.

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The Bee Poem, by Steven Harvell, Age 5

I am a bee, so look at me:
My stripes are yellow and black.
They’re on my head,
And on my neck
They’re even on my back.

For more Steven Harvell memories, you might click here: How Far is Heaven? Remembering Kim-n-Steve