Small Business Saturday – Buy Local

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The Saturday after Thanksgiving is Small Business Saturday, a fitting reminder to “shop small” after the Black Friday frenzy.  (I wasn’t in that frenzy, but have seen the reports.  Shudder.)

I love to head to the Tomball Farmers’ Market on Small Business Saturday and visit the vendors who have become friends during my years of “buying local” almost every weekend.

One such friend is Steve Maloof, the owner of Just Pure Flavors.  If you follow my blog, you’ve heard about his company before.  I love to cook with his fresh jams!  Steve was recently featured in the local Houston version of ShrimpTank, a podcast about entrepreneurs that the Grill-Meister occasionally co-hosts.

Click here to check out the podcast.  Steve’s story is wonderful.

Let’s all shop small – and I’ll see you around at the Farmers’ Market.

 

 

Creamy Jalapeño Dip, AKA Stephanie’s Green Dip – Great for Game Day

My colleague and friend Stephanie makes the most marvelous dip, and we pester her to bring a batch to us at least monthly.  It’s ‘formal’ name is Creamy Jalapeño Dip, but we mostly refer to it as Green Dip.  And sometimes, Crack Dip (because it’s addictive).  It’s that good!

Stephanie brings a big ol’ batch of Green Dip to work with a couple of giant bags of tortilla chips and some veggie dippers, puts it all out in a common area, and backs away slowly: then we attack it like we’ve been starved for months.

Stephanie makes the Green Dip / Crack Dip with her son Josh, and together, they won the dip category of our Halloween Dips and Desserts competition at work, a bit of team-building fun we had together last month.  Our contest was patterned after the Food Network’s show Chopped, and yours truly was a judge.  Fun!

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The award-winning Green Dip in our Halloween Chopped-style competition

A self-described “Team Mom, Stephanie is generous with her time and her Green Dip, and has provided the recipe so that I can share it with all of you.  It is PERFECT for a post-Thanksgiving football weekend (add it to your tailgate party!), and great on a turkey sandwich.  In fact, there are tons of ways you can use this dip – see the list at the end of the post.

Stephanie was the food stylist for this post, providing the photo below.  I think she might need to be a guest blogger in the Glover Gardens Cookbook!

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The “official” photo for the Green Dip

Creamy Jalapeno Dip, AKA Stephanie’s Green Dip

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1-oz. packet of ranch dressing mix
  • 1 small can diced green chilies (mild or hot, depending on your taste)
  • 2-4 fresh jalapenos (depends on pepper size and desired heat), cut into pieces; remove and save seeds and spines
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, pulled off of stems
  • Juice of 1 small lime
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 pinches cumin

Cooking Instructions

Throw all ingredients in blender and mix until smooth.  Add jalapeno seeds and spines to increase heat as desired. Serve as an appetizer with chips or fresh veggies.

And there’s more…

The best thing about the Green Dip is using the leftovers.  It will keep for about 10 days in the fridge, which is good, because this recipe makes a large batch.  Since Stephanie started gifting us with this dip (including once as a get-well gift after a hospitalization), I have used it in various and delightful ways:

  • As a spread for a turkey sandwich, chicken breast sandwich, or just about any sandwich (think Green Dip BLT)
  • Whipped into leftover mashed potatoes for a whole new take on them
  • In scrambled eggs, before scrambling – a couple of tablespoons provides a creamy richness, and just the right bit of spice
  • Swirled into creamed corn
  • As a condiment on fish tacos, shrimp tacos, any tacos, fajitas
  • Tossed with chopped chicken breast and minced red onions for a quick chicken salad
  • As a dip for boiled shrimp in place of – or addition to – cocktail sauce or remoulade
  • As a salad dressing – it’s great with romaine and crisp, brightly colored bell peppers
  • As a base for a Southwest-style white pizza
  • In potato salad, as the creamy base
  • Swirled into or dolloped on top of a vegetable soup like my Creamy Butternut Squash Soup with a Hint of Cumin
  • As a spread for my Tuna or Salmon Burgers
  • In place of mayo, plain yogurt or sour cream in a variety of other uses

The final say…

There are tons of recipes for dips like this out there on the internet, but Stephanie’s is The BOMB.  It’s the only version of a creamy jalapeño dip I need, because she and her son Josh have fine-tuned this recipe over the years they’ve been making it.  Trust me on this.

Thank you, Stephanie!

Copyright 2016, Glover Gardens Cookbook

 

A Gorgeous Thanksgiving Table; A Family Legacy from Strong Woman to Strong Woman

Thanksgiving is about food and family and memories and connections.  Sometimes those connections are new, with folks who would be family, only if they were near and known.

I made such a connection tonight, with a marvelous lady named Cathy,  from the land of Facebook in Pantsuit Nation.  She posted this picture and story about a table setting from her mother’s depression glass, and the legacy of strength and faith passed down from woman to woman.

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Cathy said that her grandmother collected these beautiful dishes in West Virginia during the depression on a meager teacher’s salary, and was a dedicated public servant, working at the voting polls every election in her community until her mid-seventies. Cathy’s mother inherited the dishes, and passed them on to Cathy when she turned 50.  She has followed her mother and grandmother in public service and is a special education teacher.  Cathy’s daughter, a lawyer representing workers who have been treated unfairly, will inherit these dishes one day. Cathy says:  “We will endure, we will create beauty in the midst of chaos, we represent hope.”

Cathy’s Facebook post about these dishes, her family and the legacy of strength, conviction and public service on the matrilineal side garnered 500+ likes in its first 30 minutes, and spawned dozens of comments from women who, like me, feel a connection with her story.  Family legacy objects like Cathy’s depression-era glass serve as a talisman to help us believe in better days, better people, better lives.  I have many such items from my grandmothers on both sides that remind me daily to do my best, try my best, be my best.

Thank you, Cathy, for your story.  The ladies in your family are role models for all of us.

How to Throw a Dinner Party Like a Parisian

 

Photo from the Conde Nast Traveler article.

 

Keep the activities to a minimum, and the wine and stories coming.

Conde Nast Traveler published an article that perfectly captures my philosophy about entertaining: How to Throw a Dinner Party Like a Parisian .

I think I must be part Parisian.

All Together Now! (Downtown Denver is cool.)

Thank you, Denver, for this wonderful sign.  It says a lot about you.

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The Grill-Meister and I had a very late flight to Denver, and still, my eyes slammed open super-early.  So I slipped out and picked up a Starbucks and enjoyed the early-morning quiet of the downtown that had almost been a street party when we arrived at 2:30 a.m.  What a gorgeous morning!  What a cool city!  What a wonderful sentiment on the brightly colored sign around the corner from the hotel.  My early morning jaunt was a gift that put me in a marvelous mood for our day, the beginning of a Colorado holiday.

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The streets were super-quiet outside our hotel, and the street cleaners had already removed the signs of Friday night revelry.  We only spent a few hours in Denver, but they were delightful.

Denver, you’ve got the right idea.  I’m glad to know you.  “All together now!”

Haiku: Beckoning Winter Sky

I am in love with our little cabin in central Colorado.  “Little House in the Rockies” inspires me to create recipes, snap photos, write essays, poems and haiku, birdwatch…in general, to revel in nature and absorb its beauty and regenerative spirit.

Here’s one from a winter night when I was pleased to wake up very early and witness the night sky just beginning to transform into the welcoming dawn.

Beckoning Winter Sky

Eerie bluish glow
Brightness pierces the darkness
Moon shadows on snow

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The most wonderful thing happened when I posted this haiku on Facebook at dawn on that lovely, moonlit morning. A haiku response popped up on my post within a few minutes:

Hush the still dark night
Darkness receding to light
Snow sparkling so bright

My friend’s contribution – all the way from Texas – perfectly described my Colorado experience that morning.

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Copyright 2016, Glover Gardens Cookbook