Ladies Who Brunch.

There was an absolutely lovely party this past summer, the sort that felt like everyone who was still left in town had to have been in attendance, where at least a few of the worlds of Charlottesville collided. And as happens as these things, there was much chatter about how we – me – should invite people over for wine to continue the worlds colliding fun. Because apparently, this is a thing I do – have random gatherings with cool people where they met other cool people.

Of course I obliged, sending out an email to inquire as to when people might be free in order for us to have a ladies wine night. As it turns out, working moms are busy people and the best time for all of us to gather for drinks was Sunday morning.  And thus came the inspiration for “Ladies Who Brunch”.

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Leni and Oyster Loaves.

My friend Leni has been cooking her way through the classic Mary Randolph cookbook The Virginia Housewife“.  As part of that project, she hosted a dinner at her home recently featuring recipes from it. She asked if I would come lend a hand serving and ensuring everything went smoothly. I absolutely said yes because not only did it involve quality time cooking with my dear friend, it also meant quality time talking old cookbooks and food history with someone who shares my enthusiasm on the subject while also being incredibly knowledgeable on the subject.

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Handwritten Treasure.

On our recent visit, Pat’s mom Kathy, offered I go through a chest where she kept her late mother’s cookbooks, to see if any appealed to me. Of course I leapt at the opportunity, but seeing how I’m trying very hard to not accumulate new cookbooks, there was nothing that deemed ‘necessary’. But then I saw this:

A gallon ziploc bag full of handwritten recipes as well as recipes clipped from newspapers and magazines over the years. I was more than a little excited and when I sat down to look through it, Kathy told me I could just have it. (!!!!) Continue reading

Crazy mixed up.

A bakery here sells Panettone every December, which I tend to buy several loaves of in order to stockpile in the freezer. A traditional sweet Italian holiday bread studded with dried fruits, I happen to think panettone makes an amazing French Toast, particularly on cold, snowy mornings.  I may have once or twice lobbied the owner of said bakery to consider making panettone more than just once a year – pitching a “Christmas in July” idea – so that I could have access to this treat more than once a year. Gerry was not buying what I was selling, but, he did manage to plant a seed that I could learn to bake panettone myself.  I spent some time looking for a recipe, but most of them seemed pretty intimidating. And then this King Arthur Flour Co. recipe came to my attention.

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Fork Soup.

This is one of those family favorite recipes that not only has been renamed from its original (and rather staid), “Creamy Spinach Chicken Tortellini Soup”  but has also been completely reworked. Starting out as a quick weeknight meal that uses a number of convenience items like canned soup, at some point I had the realization it wasn’t that much harder to cook from scratch – just a little bit of chopping involved really. And because we lean more vegetarian, I started going with cream of mushroom instead of cream of chicken soup. The end result? Still really good while remaining an easy weeknight dinner. Continue reading