The Buttery and the Crowdie

spinach-filled buttery, crowdie

The “buttery” (or at least part of it) containing “Crowdie” served at the Scottish Cafe and Restaurant at the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh.                                     Photo by Laura Groch

 

 

Jack in the Box’s recent ads for their new “buttery” burger reminded me that I haven’t written anything about our Scottish adventure, and the tale of “The Buttery and the Crowdie.”

We took a wonderful trip to Scotland last September: Edinburgh, Inverness and Orkney, the last of which is very far north and off the mainland (Orkney encompasses several islands full of WWII history and ancient monoliths). The scenery and history were magnificent; the people were so friendly; and the food, Continue reading

Words of love on Valentine’s Day. Oh, and cake

Hershey's Deep, Dark Chocolate Cake

Easy-to-prepare Hershey’s Deep, Dark Chocolate Cake (shown here with peanut-butter frosting) is a delicious treat for Valentine’s Day or any special occasion. (Photo by Laura Groch)

Best wishes to everyone for a sweet Valentine’s Day — which doesn’t have to be as commercial as all the advertising that’s been surrounding us for the past two weeks. Kisses, hugs, small kindnesses and heartfelt words will have a longer-lasting impact than candy, flowers or jewelry. (Not that I’m knocking candy, flowers or jewelry.)

But telling and showing the people you care for that you do care for them doesn’t Continue reading

Beans for da Bowl? 2 hearty recipes that will also help take the chill off

marcy jiminez, mackenzie williams, lima bean festival, brownies

People come up with some amazing ideas using beans at the annual Lima Bean Festival. Marcy Jimenez and Mackenzie Willkins created brownies. (Want more bean ideas? Contact the San Dieguito Heritage Museum.) (Photo by Laura Groch)

Gray day in SoCal today, so in solidarity with our East Coast br-r-r-ethren, I think some warming foods are in order. Here are a couple of winners from the 2014 Lima Bean festival, held in September at the San Dieguito Heritage Museum in Encinitas. For the past several years, I’ve been honored to help with the judging (yes, I work cheap) of this boisterous, fun event.

Both recipes are hearty enough for chilly weather, and both would make fine additions to your Super Bowl table (you are planning more than chips and dip, right?).

BTW, if you’ve never visited the museum, or attended the festival, I can Continue reading

A chili without tomato totality (just in time for the Super Bowl)

tomatoes

I love tomatoes, but the totality of tomato in most chilis is too much for me. Here’s a chili recipe that tones down the tomato factor. (Photo copyright Laura Groch 2015)

Super Bowl season brings up visions of other ‘super’ bowls — hearty soups, stews, chilis and gumbos that can be left in a slow cooker for dishing out at halftime and beyond.

I’m not a fan in general of most chilis, finding them way too-tomatoey, which tends to knock out most of the other flavors. But hey, that’s me. My husband, on the other hand, enjoys chili with plenty of tomatoes.

What to do to keep us both happy? Well, I recently adapted a recipe that makes Continue reading

More than one turkey in this kitchen: Some of my kitchen disasters

apple-cranberry crisp

My Thanksgiving blunder yielded a sparkling clean fridge, and this warm apple-cranberry crisp. (Photo by Laura Groch)

Being an experienced cook — even of the home variety — doesn’t guarantee perfection. Memories lapse, attention wanders, and before you know it, disaster strikes.

One lesson I learned early is not to cook when I’m angry. Many years ago, my husband and I were experimenting with what was then a new food on the American scene — tofu. I couldn’t tell you today what we were bickering about, but as we argued, we stir-fried the heck out of that poor block of soy. By the time we were finished, so was the tofu — a pulverized mess. And we had to eat it, because there was nothing else.

On another afternoon (also many years ago), Continue reading

Four Thanksgiving resolutions, plus cranberry sauce

cranberries, orange, jalapeño, ginger

Want to freshen that cranberry sauce? Try adding some orange peel (left), crystallized or candied ginger (right) or a bit of chopped jalapeño pepper (top). Or perhaps a blend of all three. (Photo by Laura Groch)

Thanksgiving oughta be when we make life-altering resolutions, not the new year. I think we have a lot better chance of achieving new goals when they’re food-based, not regret- and hangover-based. So I offer my Thanksgiving resolutions:

1) Have lots of food. I attended two dinners with a hostess who doled out the Continue reading

Consolation in the kitchen

My husband likes to say that when his wife gets upset, she starts cooking, so he can’t lose. He exaggerates, of course; but when things go topsy-turvy, I admit I do find some solace in kitchen duty.

So when I recently received sad news of a friend’s passing, I found myself consulting cookbooks, looking for something to bring to the family.

In a cookbook from my early days as a bride, I found a recipe for Rhubarb Nut Bread. This friend was originally from the Midwest, so a Midwestern pie and dessert staple like rhubarb seemed somehow fitting. And I had rhubarb in the Continue reading