Mystery curry

Some days things don’t go as we plan. Imagine my horror when, after taking a bite of freshly seared steak, it tasted like freezer burn. This was no cheap cut, it was pricey and free-range from a local farmer’s market. There must have been an error in their packing, because I’ve never had this problem before.

This happened a few days ago and the cooked meat sat in my fridge, glaring at me defiantly. ‘Go on, throw me away and waste all that money,’ it seemed to sneer. I knew there must be another way, and sure enough, curry sauce came to the rescue!

As an emergency dish, the recipe is a bit slapdash – a bit of this, a pinch of that.


  • Green rice (here’s my version)
  • Mystery meat (or beans as a vegetarian alternative)
  • Veggies like corn, summer squash, potatoes – anything sturdy enough to stand up to strong flavors and some heating
  • Your favorite jar of curry sauce


  • Saute the meat and vegetables in a pan until warm (mine were pre-cooked)
  • Add lavish helpings of curry sauce
  • Heat the rice in a pot or microwave until warm

It turned out quite nice over leftover green rice from yesterday’s meal along with the last drops of the Torii Mor 2010 Pinot Noir from Oregon – bright, tangy and almost flowery, but with a lasting finish. It was probably a little young to drink but it was delicious.

I followed it up with a flaky almond croissant filled with chocolate, mmm!

Bon appetit!

Rosemary lemonade for summer days

For some reason I don’t like drinking plain water, but during the summer I definitely need more water. At a charity event, I discovered a delicious drink featuring lemonade + gin + rosemary. I adapted this to make a rosemary lemon water, but you can also use mint, other herbs or no herbs.


  • 20 ounces of water
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1-2 stems of rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon agave syrup (or other syrup)


  1. Mix lemon juice and agave syrup together until they are well blended
  2. Add the water and stir, then add the rosemary
  3. Slice the lemon and add a few of the pieces

This is a lemony flavored water, if you want real lemonade then use 3 lemons and 3 tablespoons of syrup.

If guacamole had been invented by the French…

My lazy attempt at making Green Goddess dressing was a success more as a dip than as a salad dressing. First off, I didn’t have quite all the ingredients called for and secondly, I was not in a mood to haul out the blender and then wash it afterward.

But I stand behind the word “success”… a tangy, fresh-tasting creamy guacamole-like dip as I imagine it to be interpreted by the French.


  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 3 tablespoons yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh chopped tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 fine chopped garlic clove (I used half a clove and then added a pinch of garlic powder)
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon agave or other syrup
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


  1. Ideally, use a blender or food processor.
  2. If you’re doing it manually, add the ingredients to a bowl and whisk them to a creamy consistency.


Mile high lemon meringue pie

The mile high lemon meringue really is mile high when you make it from Cook’s Magazine, a great magazine that not only tests recipes but details what they tried and the results.

You’ll need 1 (9-inch) pie shell, fully baked and cooled.

Lemon Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup of lemon juice (from 6 lemons)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 8 large egg yolks (reserve 4 whites for meringue later)
  • 2 tbsp. grated lemon zest
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces

Meringue Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 egg whites
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Filling directions:

  1. Whisk sugar, lemon juice, water, cornstarch and salt together in a large non-reactive saucepan until cornstarch is dissolved. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking occasionally until mixture is translucent and begins to thicken, about 5 minutes.
  2. Whisk in yolks until combined. Stir in zest and butter. Bring to a simmer and stir constantly until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 2 minutes.
  3. Strain through fine mesh strainer into the baked and cooled pie shell and scrape off filling from the bottom of strainer. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the filling and refrigerate until set and well chilled, at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Combine water and sugar in saucepan. Bring to a vigorous boil over medium high heat. Once syrup comes to a rolling boil, cook for 4 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and set aside while beating egg whites.
  4. With electric mixer beat whites in large bowl at medium low speed until frothy, about 1 minute. Add salt and cream of tartar and beat gradually increasing speed to medium high, until whites hold soft peaks, about 2 minutes.
  5. With mixer running, slowly pour hot syrup into the whites. Add vanilla and beat until meringue has cooled and becomes shiny and thick, 5-9 minutes.
  6. Using a rubber spatula, mound meringue over filling making sure meringue touches the edges of the crust.
  7. Use spatula to create peaks all over the pie.
  8. Bake until peaks turn golden brown about 6 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and cool to room temperature and serve.

Recipe copied from

Chocolate hazelnut drops

In my quest for delicious cookies, I’ve found that eggs are often present. While I salute the egg cookies, I wanted a naturally egg-free recipe. As opposed to one where I’d wrangled with the cookie until it wearily submitted a less tasty version of itself.

Imagine my delight to open the pages of Homemade by Clodagh McKenna to find an egg free cookie. The first opportunity to make these arrived today. The ingredients seem pretty similar to scones.


  • 2 sticks of butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup superfine sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup good-quality dark chocolate drops
  • 1/2 cup raw hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon milk (optional)


  1. Cream together butter and sugar until pale and paste-like.
  2. Mix in flour and baking powder.
  3. Add nuts and chocolate, and mix to form dough.
  4. If the dough is too crumbly, add a tablespoon of milk.
  5. Form cookies on a cookie sheet and cook for 13-15 minutes until browned on top.

Next time I would try to skip the milk and deal with the crumble factor, but these tasted great and I will be making them again soon.

Poached rhubarb and nectarines

It’s summer time once again, and that means all the fruit is here. I’m a big fan of quickly pulled together cobblers for dessert now that I can no longer have eggs or cow’s milk. I love combining rhubarb with nectarines or peaches, which are less sweet and traditional than strawberries.

You can eat the poached fruit directly, use it in oatmeal or put a very thin pastry of flour, oats, butter and sugar on top and bake for 25-30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.


  • 1/2 cup white wine (use dessert wine if you want it on the sweeter side)
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey or agave syrup
  • 3 stems of fresh rhubarb, 1-inch across, chopped (if the rhubarb is not chopped into same size pieces, smaller pieces will be more mushy, but still tasty)
  • 2-3 ripe nectarines or peaches, sliced


  1. Mix wine and sugar over low heat
  2. If the nectarines are not fully ripe, add them first and cook for 3 minutes
  3. Add rhubarb and drizzle with honey or syrup
  4. Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring often, until the fruit is soft (if you’re going to make cobbler, cook for only 10 minutes so it finishes in the oven)
  5. Remove fruit with a slotted spoon (or a potato masher if that’s what you have on hand)
  6. Turn up heat to medium-low and cook for 5-10 more minutes longer to thicken
  7. Strain the remaining liquid and set aside to mix in drinks, yogurt, etc.

I must admit that it’s difficult to do step #7. I end up drinking it straight.


Frozen lemon or chocolate waffle cookies

A dessert made with only 3 ingredients? And just as few steps? This recipe for frozen lemon cookie bites looked so good, I knew I had to try it.

First, I made my own lemon curd and substituted the eggs since I can’t eat them anymore. Second, I bought only cookies that did not contain eggs. Third, my significant other pretty much only likes chocolate sweets, I decided to make part of the batch with chocolate instead of lemon.

The nice thing about this recipe is that you could just make one or two cookies. Thicker waffle cookies hold up to the freezer well, the thinner almond crisps tasted great but were a little soft.


  • 1-2 boxes of waffle cookies (depending on how much filling you want, you need between 10-14 cookies)
  • 4 oz goat cheese (I used a Spanish mittica that had much less tang than most goat cheeses, it’s pretty close to cream cheese)
  • 6 oz lemon curd or 4 oz melted chocolate
    • I use E. Guittard because they retain their milky flavor but still melt extremely well

Ingredients for egg-free lemon curd:

  • 1 1/2 cups of lemon juice + zest (5 large lemons, preferrably Meyer lemons)
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup of sugar
  • 3 egg yolks or egg substitute (I used 1 teaspoon xantham gum)

Lemon curd directions:

  1. Place chevre on the counter to soften
  2. Melt 1/2 cup butter in the microwave on low for 1 1/2 minutes
  3. Zest and then juice lemons
  4. Mix sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of xantham gum
  5. Add melted butter and lemon jest to the sugar, mix
  6. Slowly stir in lemon juice
  7. Microwave for 30-60 second increments, whisking frequently
  8. Add the second 1/2 teaspoon of xantham gum only if needed – too much and it will become gummy
  9. Wait for lemon curd to cool

Cookie directions:

  1. Mix the lemon curd or melted chocolate with the cheese
  2. Put mixture in the microwave for 5 seconds to warm if it won’t cream together
  3. Spread evenly in the center of a cookie, then gently press the second cookie on top (which will squish the filling evenly)
  4. Optional: place fresh, ripe raspberries on top of the mixture before topping with the second cookie
  5. Store in a freezer-proof container and freeze for at least 2-3 hours or until frozen

When you serve, cut into smaller pieces unless your guests want big cookies. Lasts about a week in the freezer if well-wrapped.