We grew up with this blended raw vegetable “soup” and I adore it. My twist is to add shrimp as well as the croutons and extra chunks of vegetables. There’s a sort of ceviche vibe this way and makes it more of an appetizer. Sweet chunks of Crab would be fab too.

I chuckled to myself the other day when I realized I was doing that raw vegetable thing and didn’t feel like a weirdo. Eating this is like having a salad to fill you up without all that pesky chewing. The recipe follows.

Happy Summer Eating! (more…)

Messy Potatoes

Otherwise known as scalloped potatoes or Gratin Dauphinoise, messy potatoes are my favorite ‘go to’ potatoes for a side with dinner.

I have a mandolin. It’s a vegetable cutting guillotine that’s perfect for slicing potatoes thinly. Unfortunately, and no surprise here, a plastic part exploded rendering the guide useless. So I am back to using my knife skills, which are pretty decent, while I decide the de Buyer’s fate. I suspect it was bought from Wiliiam-Sonoma. And I have issues with them. I have yet to write that story but it’s a doozy.


My recipe is a simpleton’s version. But let me first share the comment and recipe from the Gourmet Cookbook.

“The scalloped potato dish is part of our culinary repertoire, and we hope it will be become part of yours too. There is something about the texture of the potatoes surrounded by creamy goodness and topped by golden brown cheese that wows people. It is perfect for a buffet supper or potluck: in our experience, it is the first thing to disappear. The technique of starting the potatoes in a saucepan of half-and-half and ending them in a buttered gratin dish comes from masterful Jacques Pépin.”

Ironically, in the book written by Jacques and Julia, he went on about using chicken stock which his wife and daughter loved. So I tried it. And it sucked.

Here’s the recipe from the Gourmet magazine for

Gratin Daupin(oise)

2 1/2 pounds  boiling potatoes, such as Yukon Gold (I use Yukons too)

3 1/2 cups half-and-half

2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

3/4 cup coarsely grated Gruyère

Cut the potatoes, heat dairy product, add spices, add potatoes. All in pan, blah blah blah, 35 to 45 minutes in a 400° oven.

Here’s what I do differently. I use 2% milk, lots of butter, and sometimes I sauté onions first in my cast iron skillet before adding everything else, heating the milk and potatoes and butter with the potatoes and salt and nutmeg, and then throwing the whole thing in the oven to bake.There’s no separate buttered pan and there’s no loads of pepper and garlic. I do not add cheese to the top but sometimes paprika.

  And when the milk is gone and the top is brown, it’s done

And the reason they’re called messy potatoes at our house is because the skillet is trashed and usually “soaks” in the sink for two days before someone is brave enough to clean it.  Enjoy this veggies eaters and meat eaters alike.





Beautiful Buttermilk Recipes

Seems both my mother and my father in-law drank buttermilk when they were kids. With pepper on it. Like, ewwh. Although I can’t stomach the thought of drinking it straight up, my appreciation for this magical dairy product has increased over the last couple years.

Somehow this thick sour liquid creates the moistest creations. In fact, I refuse to make any quick breads that don’t include buttermilk in their recipe.  By quick breads, I mean biscuits, scones, pancakes, waffles, and banana bread.  And I thought I’d share one or two of my favorite buttermilk recipes with y’all.  These recipes using wheat flour don’t suck but you have to have some white to make them work.

biscuits from


Buttermilk Biscuit Dough

From the Joy of Cooking, this recipe’s use of buttermilk and soda makes a very tender biscuit. I converted from the attempt to make flaky because these are fabulous.

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (sometimes I do a third wheat and 2/3 white flour)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup shortening or 5 TB butter, salted or unsalted
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk


Sift flours with all other dry ingredients. Cut in shortening or blend until it resembles “meal”.

Add buttermilk and lightly mix until it forms dough. Scrape out onto floured surface.

Fold over a couple times. Resist over-handling. Them press to a half inch thick, grab a glass, and cut as many rounds as you can. Reform the scraps to cut more or make monkey biscuits.

Brush with milk after placing onto ungreased or parchment papered cookie sheet.

Bake in preheated 450 degree oven for 10 – 15 minutes depending on the size.

Whole-Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes

  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup wheat germ
  • 1  tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbs light brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 3/4 cups buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Vegetable cooking spray


     Preheat oven to 200 degrees to keep the cakes warm.

In a food processor or in a medium bowl with a whisk, combine the whole wheat flour, white flour wheat      germ or oats, baking powder, baking soda, brown sugar, and salt and set aside.

Heat a frying pan over medium heat and grease the surface with oil.

Stir together melted butter, buttermilk, and eggs in a larger bowl.

Stir the flour mixture into the buttermilk mixture.

Ladle ¼ cup of the batter onto the griddle to form 4 inch pancakes. Once bubbles form on the top of the pancakes and edges are slightly dry, flip them over and cook them on the other side until golden brown  about 2-3 minutes. Transfer to oven platter. Yields 16 four inch pancakes.


A comparable Banana Bread recipe can be found here. Except cook an hour and poke with sharp knife to come clean. Overcooking takes the joy right out of it.

Hope you enjoy these recipes. I have made my own buttermilk ranch dressing which was pretty good. And I’ve used it to tenderize chicken. Except then the crunchy breading didn’t want to stick while frying. I’ve not tried the Martha Stewart blend the moss with buttermilk and smear it on the garden urn but I hear it does work. And Didn’t Annie Lebowitz take a great picture of Whoopi Goldberg coming out of a bathtub full of buttermilk? Got any other ways to use it I’ve missed?