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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Why a gluten- and dairy-free diet?

My guest blogger today is good friend Weldon Adams. He and his wife, Beth, have been gluten- and dairy-free for some time now. They began this diet for Weldon's health, but Beth has noticed a dramatic change in her well-being. They blog about their diet--and cooking experiments at

Weldon's story:

I have been a lot of things: a semi-professional clown and magician, a radio DJ, a mobile party DJ. I have managed several comic book shops. I am a published comic book historian. I was a ballroom dance instructor. I have been a game designer, a toy designer, and a sales rep for a comic book publishing company. And now I am a food detective.
I became a food detective because of my wife. She got me to start reading the labels on what we were buying. I began noticing patterns. Some of the same stuff kept turning up in almost everything. Even places where it didn’t really made sense for it to be. Specifically high fructose corn syrup. We changed our diets to be healthier and we were more conscious of what we were eating. Soon after that, my real food troubles began. September of 2009 we began to see the big picture. It took ten months to even begin to see how many diverse problems are interconnected.
Here’s a brief breakdown of those seemingly unconnected symptoms (I’ll be delicate about the gross stuff).
·         Developed a pretty bad dandruff problem by the age of eleven.
·         By high school, my eyes stayed red a lot of the time. I could appear to be high without being anywhere near anyone smoking anything at all.
·         In the mid ‘80s, I started to have symptoms of what my doctor and I would fifteen years later decide must be IBS.
·         By the mid ‘90s, my guts would churn so much that my roommate could hear them across the room.
·         At this same time, my dandruff had gotten so bad I was using the strongest shampoo you could buy in a store.
·         By 2001, I had to switch between two different shampoos each week to keep my dandruff in check. This was accompanied by occasional scaling of the skin on the ‘T’ zone of my face and in my hair line, eyebrows, and even my mustache and beard. It got so bad that Beth and I called it “corn flaking” because of the size of the scales.
·         When the dry skin came off my face, it would leave my face red and blotchy (sort of “radiation burned” looking) and sometimes it would even weep a clear fluid.
·         I had also developed an occasional skin condition on the tops of my feet that I thought at that time was athlete’s foot.
·         Around this time, Beth and I switched everything we could to “whole wheat” because we thought it would be healthier for us. (TV commercials all said it was.)
·         In the early 2000s my (still undiagnosed) IBS symptoms has gotten so bad that severe gut pains would occasionally double me over in pain.
·         By 2008 I had been officially diagnosed as having IBS. (This is done by a series of tests that rule OUT anything else it might be. This means that you don't actually have IBS, but you don’t have anything else we can find and you still have the same symptoms as IBS.)
·         In August 2009 I began to notice that my hands and feet were cold a lot of the time.
·         By this time, I had become quite grouchy and easily irritated. I snapped at Beth over the littlest things. Once I got annoyed or angry, it took a long time to calm down. I wrote that off to being unhappy with my job and being stressed.
·         By end of September 2009, my hands and feet were continually cold no matter the temperature of the room. I wore gloves all day in the house and had trouble typing because of them.
·         And then my right hand began to tingle as if it were about to fall asleep. All the time, non-stop. Every day.
·         In late fall of 2009, Beth sat me down for a talk. She had noticed my trouble focusing and that my short term memory was shot. She was worried stress getting to me. I almost broke down and cried when I confessed to her that I was scared because I was having so much trouble thinking and staying on track.
I found myself wandering from room to room in the house, unable to remember why I had come into any specific room.
      • I could not remember what I needed to do in a day.
      • If I made a list, I could not remember to keep checking the list for the next item.
      • I would find that I was in the middle of four or five different things (both work and chores) and still accomplish none by the end of the day.
      • I would forget to eat.
      • Days would go by that I didn’t even set foot outside the house.
      • I would forget to shave, shower, brush my teeth. . . I was a wreck.
We scheduled a trip to the doctor, thinking it was something that ADHD medication might be able to fix. He agreed it was a possibility (since none of us had put ALL the symptoms together yet). I took Adderall for a month and saw no improvements at all.
At the start of winter of 2009, it was cold, and my hands and feet were so cold that I was wearing gloves and socks to bed. And then they got even worse. I started using those chemical heat pouches in my gloves and sox at all times. Even in bed. They only seemed to help a little, but I didn’t know what else to do.
 At this point I said “There are just too many things going wrong with me all at once for this to not be connected in some way.” And since that sounded like the plot of almost any episode of one of our favorite TV shows, “Medical Mysteries,” we decided to solve it like they did. (You know how it goes. Eventually the wife/mother/girlfriend hits the Internet and comes up with a surprising clue that they take to a doctor and Presto! A diagnosis for something obscure that no one would have ever thought of otherwise!)
So we hit the Internet with the list of my symptoms and were overwhelmed by the number of hits we got that all pointed to a related series of ailments. Everything from candidiasis to celiac to Crohn’s disease. They are all very similar in many ways.
I was convinced I had candidiasis. So convinced , and desperate for relief, that I went on the candida diet, even before I’d seen the doctor. This diet meant no grains except for rice, no dairy, no sugar (even the sugar in fruit), nothing containing yeast, nothing containing mold, no nuts. There were so many restriction I can’t even remember them all. I ate vegetables, rice, and meat. During the three weeks on that diet, almost all my symptoms went away, or at least were improved greatly. My doctor agreed it could be a possibility. But the test for candidiasis came back negative.
But we knew that while I was on that diet, my symptoms went away. So to make what has become a very long story a bit shorter, we came to decide that it was some kind of gluten sensitivity. More trips to the doctor. More blood tests.
My IgA antibodies are 17x higher than “normal.” My DNA test is positive for celiac.
I was scheduled for an endoscopy and a colonoscopy at the same time. One trip, two procedures! I imagined they were going to string me like a pearl necklace. But as it turned out, they did one end first and then the other. (There is an ugly joke in there, don’t look for it…trust me.)
All results came back “negative.” My gastroenterologist says I have no damage from celiac. This is obviously good news. But I want a definitive answer. The closest I have is this: I am gluten sensitive. (This seems like an understatement, given what it does to me, but it’s all I’ve got.)
We decided to take me off gluten and dairy (casein), and it helps. It helps a lot. My wife says I’m a different person. It’s night and day. And we eat really well. So why would I even want to eat gluten now?
My name is Weldon Adams. And I'm Gluten-Free.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Scallops and chicken, potatoes and cookies

A cooking weekend--my kind of relaxation. This weekend my daughter Jordan and her family got the benefit of my cooking. Last night, while Christian was working, Jordan and I had scallop cakes with lime/cilantro mayonnaise. The recipe, said to serve six with sliders, called for 2 lbs. scallops; I decided to halve it--three servings would be plenty I thought. Even then, I goofed--I bought medium sea scallps when, since I was going to chop them anyway, I should have bought the much cheaper bay scallops. I told Jordan, whose nickname in some circles is "Princess," that she really was getting a meal for a princess and she countered with, "You wanted to cook it."
If you decide to go with one lb. scallops, rough chop them in the food processor and then add
1/2 medium Vidalia onion, which you have diced and softened in 2 Tbsp butter
1-1/2 Tbsp. flour - I ended up adding more
1-1/2 Tbsp. bread crumbs
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 egg, beaten--I cracked it into the edge of the bowl with the other ingredients and then whisked at it with a fork--why dirty another dish?
1/4 c. chopped chives--I have them on my porch and after rinsing use scissors to "chop" them
1.4 c, chopped cilantro leaves--I did this in my small counter-top food processor
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. fresh grated ginger

Mix above ingredients. If the mixture is too wet, add more flour. Shape into patties--I made regular size patties rather than sliders and still came out with six from the 1 lb. scallops. One was an adequate serving for each of us.
Chill patties at least half an hour, more is better.
Dust patties with flour
Fry in 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil at medium heat until golden brown on both sides--scallops cook quickly, and you don't want to overdo them.

Serve with cilantro mayonnaise
Process together,
1 peeled garlic clove, chopped
3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
A few dashes of Tabasco or similar hot sauce
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 c. cilantro

Add this mixture to 1/2 c. mayonnaise and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper

To go with these, I roasted broccoflower. You can buy cauliflower for about $1.50 a head; broccoflower is $3.99 and doesn't taste that much different, but the color is pretty. I put flowerets on a cookies sheet, tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roasted at 350 for about 20 minutes. Then dressed them with the tiniest bit of vinaigrette. Jacob refused to eat the broccoflower and had a hot dog instead of a crab cake.

Today the crab cakes made a wonderful lunch. And I still froze two!

Tonight, with Christian joining us, I made a chicken recipe I found on my favorite blog, Mystery Lovers Kitchen, courtesy Krista Davis, who got the recipe, developed by Chef Jesse Thomas, via Jaden Hair at Steamy

Baked Parmesan Garlic Chicken Legs

Well, first off, I love chicken thighs, so I used four thighs for the four of us. You'll see in a minute why they're not as suited. Sprinkled them with a mixture of
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried rosemary (I have huge rosemary bushes and never have dried rosemary, so I cut it early in the day--it dries inside just fine and becomes crumbly, but you cannot process that stuff at all)
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 tsp. cumin
Bake the chicken at 425 for 45 minutes--or since thighs are thicker than legs, maybe just a bit longer.
Before you take them out of the oven, mix
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. grated Parmesan

Remove chicken from oven and roll in cheese mixture. Well, thighs don't roll as well as legs, so I just kind of spread the cheese mixture on top. We removed it and the good seasoned skin for Jacob, and he loved the chicken.

Oven fried potatoes: for four of us, I scrubbed and thinkly sliced six medium red potatoes, added a good bit of that rosemary from my front yard, and a good bit of salt and pepper. Then tossed it all with olive oil (I used too much--be careful) and put it in the hot oven with the chicken, which was both good and bad. It cooks pretty fast at that high tempearture and some pieces were burned, though on the whole the potatoes were crisp and good.

What I didn't cook this weekend: lemon lime basil cookies. The recipe intrigues me, but I knew my family wouldn't eat it, and I don't need cookies around here. I gave the recipe to my neighbor, hoping he would cook it right away and appear at my door with samples, but that didn't work. It came from the July issue of Bon Appetit, so I'm sure you can find it via Google or Epicurious if it sounds as good to you as it did to me. And I have a nice healthy crop of basil, even some mint basil. Bet that would be good in it.

Wonder how much I gained this weekend?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Three cheers or more for The Tavern on Hulen

Last night at The Tavern I a wonderful supper--the best deviled eggs in town to begin with. Do you, like me, loved deviled eggs but hate the fuss of making them? These are superb. For an entree, Betty, my dining and exploring friend, and I split sea scallops with a field greens salad. The scallops, served in a white wine/caper sauce, were cooked to perfection--in other words, not too much. When the waiter told u s it was scallops served with salad, I said we'd probably want another salad. He advised us to wait and see how much salad there was--and my goodness, he was right. Generous doesn't even describe it. Absolutely delicious. Five-year-old Jacob had a peanut butter and banana sandwich and a huge heap of French fries which he meticulously dipped in ketchup one by one--good thin crisp fries. And he was served an ice cream sandwich on the house. This relatively new place knows how to keep kids happy. And who served us our dinner? The owner/chef himself who then stopped by several times to make sure everything was all right.
This isn't the first time we've eaten there. Betty and I ate there last week and liked it so well we went back. We chose it last week because I announced what I really wanted was a crab cake--called a restaurant that sometimes but not always has them--no luck. Called another and struck out. So we decided to just wing it. As it turned out, the chef's special was two crab cakes--delicious and meaty, with almost no, if any, filler and light, light seasoning so what you tasted was crab. And yet they held together nicely and din't fell into a pile of crab chunks on the plate. I had a tomato/Maytag cheese salad with a mild vinaigrette which to me was a perfect complement to the crab cakes. I have had their black beans as a side several times and think they're the best I've ever eaten. We began.that meal with deviled eggs, which made us realize how much we liked them--a puzzle though that they serve five halves. I would think four would be a logical serving. I can't tell you what is different about those eggs than the ones I make at home, except for surely perfectly cooked crisp bacon crumbled over them. Last night, Betty ordered an extra helping to take home to her husband.
One other time, quite some time ago, we had beef tacos--long enough ago that I can't remember much about them except they were very good and were sort of open-faced tacos on flat tortillas. Another time at lunch with someone I had the blue cheeseburger--excellent but way too much for me to eat at one sitting.
The same is true of their club sandwich, though it truly is one of the best I've had. Thick bread, sourdough, and thin layers of ham, turkey, sliced cheese, tomato, avocado and lettuce. All covered with a secret but really good sauce.  It's also too much for one serving, and I have to find someone to share it with--I can take it home, but it doesn't travel as well as say a cheeseburger. I have the bad habit of fixating on one dish at a restaurant, and I'm in danger of fixating on that club sandwich, but there are so many wonderful choices--steaks, ribs, enchildadas, pork tacos, BLT saslad, crab cake salad, fish tacos, a Reuben sandwich, and a sandwich of the day which changes according to the chef's whim. There's also a breakfast menu for Sundays--huevos rancheros, migas, roast beef hash, etc. My neighbors love it.
As I said to Betty, I think I may take all my meals there from now on. At the risk of sounding like Pollyanna, everything we've had has been delicious. I understand the owner/chef is from San Angelo, where his father was in the restaurant business. If that's true, he learned well.
I woiuld never of course ask the chef for the ingredients of that secret sauce on the club sandwich, but recently I made a sauce to try on hamburgers. It's sort of like Thousand Island dressing or the sauce you used to get on Big Macs back in the days you weren't afraid of the calorie and fat count--but better and homemade. I later discovered it's terrific on an open-faced sandwich of ham or corned beef and sliced Swiss cheese and probably would be good on a lot of other things--like crab cakes, maybe?. And so simple:

 1/2 c, mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. ketchup
1 Tbsp. dill pickle relish
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. celery salt

The orignal recipe called for a jalopeno but I left it out. Sometimes I substitute canned chopped green chillies, but somehow I didn't want even that in this sauce.
For those of you in Fort Worth, The Tavern is in the space once occupied by Snookie's. For those of you out of town, it's worth a trip to Fort Worth.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Smoked salmon for breakfast, lunch or dinner

This morning I fixed smoked salmon and eggs for my oldest son, Colin, as a Father's Day breakfast. His wife and children won't eat it, so they got eggs scrambled in the drippings of sausage. But Colin and I enjoyed a feast (one we'd both liked in Scotland). Colin grew up on smoked salmon, and his dad used to fix lox and eggs (more about the difference in a minute). I embroider on it by adding tomato and green onion, which he methodically picked out. He wanted the salmon and eggs to be the "main event."

Lox and eggs
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 lb. lox chopped
6 eggs
2 Tbsp. milk
Optional: diced tomato and chopped scallion
If using scallion, saute in butter. Add salmon and tomato. Add eggs. Stir and cook until desired consistency.

Once when Colin's wife, Lisa, was here alone we went to the deli for breakfast, and she ordered salami and eggs, expecting to get salami on the side next to her eggs. What she got was a variation on lox and eggs, with chopped salami substituting for the lox. But I digress.
On a trip several years ago to the Pacific Northwest, I ordered smoked salmon and did not get the moist, thin, smoked fish I anticipated. I got cooked salmon, in thick pieces, with a strong smoky flavor. I learned the difference between hot-smoked and cold-smoked. Hot smoked, sometimes called kippered salmon, is a chunk, steak or filet, that has been mildly brined and smoked over a hot fire. It's usually Chinook salmon and is common in the Northwest. I like Chinook better not smoked, but that's another story--and probably another post. What we get from the UK and other European countries is cold-smoked--brined and cooked longer over a lower fire. If it's Atlantic salmon, it may be called Nova Scotia or Scottish smoked salmon or some other designation, usually geographic. Cold-smoked Pacific salmon is usually just called smoked salmon. Lox is salmon brined with a bit of sugar in the brine--this is prized in the Jewish American community, especially with cream cheese and bagels on Sunday mornings--or at least that was our family tradition when I was married to a Jewish man. Gravlax is Swedish and has been smoked with a salt-sugar-dill brine and cold-smoked. It often comes covered with chopped dill and pepper. These days, smoked salmon, gravlax, lox bits, and even smoked salmon from the UK are available in affordable 4 oz. packs in some grocery stores. Sometimes I keep it on hand all the time.
Obviously, I recommend lox and eggs for breakfast. For lunch, lox and cream cheese makes a great treat, on that bagel mentioned above, though I prefer mine on rye toast. Optional: add sliced tomato and red onion. I also sometimes roll up smoked salmon around small chunks of cream cheese for lunch.
But it's in the evening that smoked salmon, as an appetizer, shines, at least in my estimation. Here are a few of my favorites:
Top ruffle-style potato chips with horseradish-cream cheese and pieces of smoked salmon.

Put smoked salmon, sour cream, chopped fresh dill, chopped shallots and capers on a large platter. Serve with crackers or bread.

Want to go to more trouble? Here's an appetizer spread:
4 oz. pkg of smoked salmon, diced
8 oz. softened cream cheese
scant 1/2 c. sour cream
1 Tbsp. lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 tsp. horseradish
salt to taste--remember that smoked salmon is a bit salty to begin with
fresh ground black pepper to taste--I prefer finely ground, because I don't like biting into a chunk of pepper when I'm enjoying the salmon
Beat the cream cheese until smooth and add sour cream, horseradish, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Then add salmon.
Serve with crackers or bread--rye or pumpernickel are wonderful accompaniments to smoked salmon. I often look for party rye at the store for this and similar dips.

Here's a cocktail-time variation on my lunchtime roll-ups:
Spread smoked salmon with cream cheese, chopped dill, salt and pepper. Wrap around sticks of hearts of palm and cut into chunks--try to buy the hearts of palm whole in a glass jar and not the cans, which can be seasoned and are often small pieces. Garnish with dill if you want. You don't really need bread for these; they are finger food but a bit messy. Put out plenty of napkins.

Another time I'll post about some things to do with canned salmon. I get mine from the same fishery where I get the tuna, and I love it. But it's harder to get.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Menu planning

Nothing delights me more than to hear my grandchildren are coming to visit. But a close second to that is hearing that someone is coming to dinner, and I can plan the menu. This morning a bonanza of both fell into my lap. My son-in-law Christian called to talk to me about tomorrow night. I was a little vague and he said, "You know. We're coming for dinner. Jordan said that was the plan." Jordan is in the Dominican Republic--a business trip--so "we" is Christian, Jacob, and Susan, Jordan's colleague who's living with them. I was delighted,
The Houston Alters--Colin and his family, will arrive Friday night in time for a late supper, and the Frisco Alters--Jamie and his family--may join us. Plus Jordan has sent word that she, Christian and Jacob will be here. And Sunday morning is Father's Day--deserves a special breakfast, don't you think?
Then Gayla and Fran, my two longtime publishing buddies, announced they're coming for a too-long-delayed pajama party Tuesday, so I'll feed them dinner and breakfast the next morning.
And then Thursday, my memoir class has its first meeting of the next session, and I've promised appetizers and wine--the rest of the time the class takes turns providing them.
Yippee! I have some menu planning to do! I immediatley got out my appalling collection.

For Christian, Jacob and Susan, I'll do a simple dinner:

Beef cutlets with lemon juice
Buy tendereized beef cutlets. Cut into strips. Coat in flour, salt and pepper (lots of the seasonings). Fry quickly until brown crust forms. Squeeze lemon juice over and serve.

Green beans binaigrette
Fry two slices of bacon in skillet. Remove and crumble. Fry sliced scallions in the bacon grease. Add a healthy amount of cider vinegar to the grease, return beans to the skillet and sprinkle with bacon crumbles.

Oven-Fried potatoes
Scrub but do not peel new potatoes (the medium-sized red ones);cut into slices;  toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and fresh rosemary (if you don't grow your own, you should--it's so easy!). Put in greased baking pan and bake at 400 until potatoes are browned and crisped--but don't let them burn.

Friday night I'll fix a ground beef casserole contributed by Riley Adams to the blog, Mystery Lovers' Kitchen. It's filling, delicious and goes a long way, though I may have to double it. Check out the recipe at and scroll down until you come to Cheesy, creamy, beef casserole

On Saturday, for Jacob's fifth birthday, there will be a huge party at Jordan and Christian's. I'll make a dip of
2 15 oz. cans corn
1 can original Rotel tomatoes
1 8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Cilantro to taste

I haven't quite figured out Sunday's Father's Day menu but I'll probably make  Colin scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, chopped tomatoes, sliced scallions, and maybe a bit of cottage or cream cheese to gie them texture. The rest of his family won't eat them, but he and I love what we then called lox and eggs. And there's always there's the abundant fresh fruit of the season to serve.

And Tuesday night? Either Beef tenderloin with tomatoes, shallots and Maytag blue cheese or sea bass en papillote with sake, soy, ginger, sugar and scallions, served with rice and asparagus. More on that later. The ladies will also get scrambled eggs with salmon for breakfast.

For Thursday night's class, Palmetto original pimiento cheese on crackers and a dip of
1 can Pisces tuna
8 oz. cream cheese
half a large can of drained crushed pineapple
1-2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
 a "thumb's worth" of minced fresh ginger.

Wow! I have a great week of cooking ahead of me. First thing, trip to two grocery markets tomorrow. Pumps me up to do this. I hope you all will enjoy one or more of the recipes.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

My "Appalling Collection"

Here it is—the debut of my food column. For me cooking and writing go together perfectly. I read somewhere recently that working with your hands engages the left brain, so your right brain is free to wander around and capture intuitions. In simple words, you might have plot inspirations while cooking.
            Thanks to Beth Knudson and Weldon Adams for naming the blog. They suggested that potluck might convey the community feeling I want. I do want to hear from you, have your contributions, be they recipes, thoughts on cooking, a guest column, whatever. Leave a comment, and if you want me to get back to you, please leave an email address.
            Let me stress that I’m a hobby cook, not a professional; cooking is my avocation. I once considered naming the cookbook I wrote, The Faux Gourmet, but an editor nixed it. So the cookbook is Cooking My Way Through Life with Kids and Books (available on or call 1-800-826.8911 or ask your local bookstore). But don’t look to me for perfection or ultimate authority, and do feel free to question ingredients and amounts and methods. This is all just fun.
            The other night I spent about two hours making two dips to take to a memorial reception for a friend’s mother the next day. After my offer of food was graciously accepted, I went to my appalling collection. My mom had an appalling collection--a black, three-ring notebook for each category of food—main dishes, cookies, salads, and so on. When we were cleaning out her house, I started to go through those notebooks and gave up. It made me sad, and I figured I already had most of the recipes I wanted. But it also made me sad to throw out all those notebooks she had carefully kept all those years—“Aunt Ruthie’s Frosting” or “Gladys Delavan’s Salad” or “Elizabeth Jackson’s Molasses Cookies,” most of them handwritten though some were pulled from newspapers or magazines and carefully pasted onto notebook pages.
            My own appalling collection isn’t quite that organized or neat. It’s in a series of folders that take up two drawers in Mom’s secretary, which now stands in my bedroom. The recipes are in five folders: Entrees Tried, Entrees Never Tried, Appetizers, Salads and Vegetables, and Desserts. My method has several problems—the file folders are stretched beyond capacity and are probably at least twenty years old, so they are fraying and falling apart and some are Scotch-taped together. And the recipes are in no order, except that the ones I’ve used or looked at most recently tend to be on top. But we are talking thick folders here. So if I want a specific recipe, I sometimes have to thumb through the whole darn file to find it. I know so many of the recipes by sight and feel that sometimes I thumb through too fast and have to go back and start over again.
            Dinner guests? No problem. Depending on my mood and how well I know the guests I may go to the Entrees Tried or Entrees Never Tried folder. The latter is so thick I will never try them all in this lifetime, but it is rich with recipes that sounded good. Sometimes, though, as I go through I think, “I’ll never fix that” and I do a bit of judicious weeding. Today I added Paula Deen’s scallop sliders with cilantro-lime mayonnaise to the Never Tried folder. I’ll fix it for Jordan one night when Christian is busy—she’d love it, and he is a beef-and-potatoes guy.
            I subscribe to three food magazines—Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, and Southern Living. When a new issue arrives, I spend a delightful hour leafing through it, idly marking recipes I think are interesting. A few days later, I go back for a serious review, tearing out the pages I want and discarding the rest of the magazine. I learned I had to do that once when I had accumulated abou six years worth of Bon Appetit.
            Cookbooks? Oh yes, I have one long, overcrowded shelf of them in the playroom—but I most often go to my appalling collection unless I want something specific from one of the books. So here are the two recipes I took to the reception.
Reuben dip
Includes all the ingredients of a Reuben sandwich. Serve it with cocktail-size pumpernickel.
4 oz. cream cheese (low fat preferably)
½ cup Thousand Island dressing—I made my own of ½ c. mayonnaise, 2 Tbsp. ketchup, 1 Tbsp. each dill pickle relish and grated onion, 1/8 tsp. each salt and celery salt
1/3 lb. corned beef – put it in the blender to shred it
8 oz. Swiss cheese, chopped into small pieces
¾ cup drained sauerkraut – leaving it drain in a colander is not enough; you’d be surprised at how much moisture you get out when you squeeze by hand . . . .and squeeze and squeeze.
Soften cream cheese and mix with Thousand Island dressing. Blend in remaining ingredients and pour into a pie shell. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Serve warm.
Got leftovers? Spread them on a piece of toast (rye is best) and broil—great lunch. I left the remaining dip with the hostess, but today I made a great open-face sandwich of sourdough bread, kraut, corned beef, and Swiss cheese, topped with the sauce.

Dried tomato dip
1 garlic bulb
1 tsp olive oil
11 oz. goat cheese
8 oz. low fat cream cheese
2 Tbsp. chopped chives—except in the dead of winter I always have a pot on the porch
½ c. sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil; drain, rinse, and chop in the blender
A pinch of salt
A pinch of finely ground black pepper—you can use fresh coarse ground, but personally I don’t like to bite down on a big piece of pepper.
Cut the pointed end off the garlic, put it in foil, drizzle with olive oil, and bake at 425 for 45 minutes. Let cool, then squeeze garlic out into mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
Serve with crudities and crackers; I used broccoli, snap peas, carrots, and some tomato-basil Wheat Thins.
I hope you’ll leave a comment. If you are a foodie, this blog is for you and is yours as much as mine.