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

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)

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.

We’re all set for the Empty-Nester Halloween nightcap
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


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.

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.

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!


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!

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