The Boston Marathon tragedy touched so many lives and hearts. The ripple of anguish and anger spread across the country, but the stories of humble heroes who helped saved lives grounded most of us with a sense of the true American spirit.
As I’ve reminded others—and myself—there are so many more good, kind, loving people in this country and in this world than there are bad guys. So let’s make sure to recognize the good guys. My hope is that kindness will prevail.
My baking beauty friend, Michelle Medley, suggested baking Boston Cream Pies to deliver to my local first responders. And so I baked last night. Thank you to the Milwaukee Police Dept., District 6, for doing your job day after day after day.
Boston Cream Pie is actually a cake, but it is believed that it is called “pie” because early bakers used pie tins to bake cakes in before cake pans were created.
My Boston Cream Pie recipe was a combo of a homemade buttery sponge cake and a “cheater” quickie filling and an amazing chocolate ganache. The cake was published in Cook’s Illustrated several years ago and called Wicked Good Boston Cream Pie. I used the semi-homemade filling from Kraft’s Boston Cream Pie (instant vanilla pudding mix plus, dare I say it, Cool Whip).
Didn’t quite nail the ganache. I poured it on a little too soon. So I’ll try againt this weekend and make sure the ganache is a little cooler and thicker before I pour it on.
I highly recommend sharing with first responders. Make sure you get to know them first since they may not be excited about accepting homemade packages from strangers.
It’s that time of year. Deviled eggs. All over the place. I concocted this deviled egg recipe a couple of years ago. I love smoked salmon. And capers. And deviled eggs. Almost ate all of them before company arrived. They are that good.
Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs
6 large hard-boiled eggs, peeled
3 tablespoons Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons chopped smoked salmon (lox), divided
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 teaspoons drained capers, divided
2 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic scapes, green onions, or fresh chives, divided
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste (optional)
1. Cut the eggs in half. Put the yolks in a small bowl and mash with a fork. Stir in the yogurt, 2 tablespoons of the smoked salmon, the mayonnaise, the mustard, 2 teaspoons of the capers, and 2 teaspoons of the garlic scapes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
2. Spoon the yolk mixture into the egg white halves. Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
3. Garnish before serving with remaining smoked salmon, capers, and scapes.
Makes 6 to 12 servings
I rolled out of bed this morning, pulled on my shoes (and a few other items of clothing) with the goal of tackling my upper body at the gym. I want guns like Michelle Obama. It’s free-weight day, baby.
Holey moley. Got to the gym and the weight area was mobbed with burly, scowling and grunting muscle-bound men with can’t-look-away tattoos. Was it he-man day at the fitness center? Yup, it appeared so. They all had those cliched meaty paws that could easily double as snow shovels. One guy was pummeling the heavy bag with his bare fists.
What could I do but extend my warmup on the elliptical, thinking they’d leave soon.
After 30 minutes they were still there.
I was kinda hungry by then, so thought about skipping my upper body workout and heading home for bacon and eggs. But, hey. It’s MY gym too.
So I MUSCLED my way in and grabbed a couple of impressive 8-lb. weights and grunted along with the body builders. When I increased my poundage while flat on my back on the bench, I struggled a little to pick up the hand weights from the floor next to the bench. Embarrassing!
Suddenly the burliest of the tatted-up, intimidating guys came over and bared his teeth. (I thought he was about to let out a mwahahahaha laugh.) But, nooooo. He offered a shy smile. And offered to spot me.
Lesson for the day: Intimidation is all in the mind. The book cover does not always reveal what’s inside. Keep an open mind and an open heart.
Because I’ve had an exhausting week and it’s Cocktail Friday, I’m sharing my friend Chad Johnston’s latest concoction. Chad likes to play bartender. And all his friends are happy to be taste testers. Except for the time he attempted a drink that included an infusion of fresh plum and onion. But this ready-for-spring Darlin’ Clementine Cocktail is definitely a worth toasting.
Darlin’ Clementine Cocktail
ala Chad Johnston
Zest of 1 lemon
Fresh rosemary (1 sprig)
1/2 oz. simple syrup
1 1/2 oz. orange liqueur (Heartbreak Recovery Kitchen is partial to Cointreau.)
3 oz. vodka
3 oz. fresh squeezed clementine juice
Splash orange bitters
1. Combine lemon zest with sugar. Moisten rim of martini glass with clementine juice. Dip rim in lemony sugar.
2. In a cocktail shaker, muddle rosemary sprig with simple sugar and orange liqueur. Fill the shaker with ice. Add vodka, clementine juice and orange bitters. Shake. Shake. Shake. Shake. Shake. Strain into the sugared martini glass. Add a fresh rosemary spring.
Yes it is. Time for a warm bowl of amazement to wrap your chilly little hands around. It’s salmon chowder time. Or you can call it a creamy, chunky seafood soup. But first:
Lesson #1: Fish should never taste or smell fishy. I always ask for a sniff when I’m buying fish. The request typically causes raised eyebrows. Don’t care. Just want good fish.
Lesson #2: Frozen fish is often best. Unless you live on the coasts, fish often is flash-frozen and shipped to markets across the country…which is thawed before being displayed on ice. So buy your own fresh-off-the-boat flash-frozen fish and thaw it when ready.
Lesson #3: There is a Seafood Watch list of fish to avoid. For alternatives, get the scoop from Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Lesson #4: Make this Salmon and Bacon Chowder.
Salmon and Bacon Chowder
Makes about 6 servings.
¼ lb. bacon, chopped (about ¾ cup)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped (1 cup)
½ cup chopped carrot
½ cup chopped celery
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup chopped coarsely chopped new red skin potatoes or Yukon gold
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or stock
1/2 to 1 teaspoon Grey Sea Salt with Five Pepper Blend or The Chef’s Miracle Blend (or salt, pepper and 1/2 teaspoon thyme)
2 cups coarsely chunked fresh salmon (altho I suppose you could use canned salmon, but you’ll get a different result. Canned salmon is stronger flavored than fresh.)
1 cup fresh or frozen corn
1 cup half and half
Chopped cooked bacon (optional)
1. Cook bacon in a Dutch oven or big pot until crisp; remove and set aside. (I like to scoop it onto paper towel to soak up some of the grease.) To the same pot, add olive oil, onion, carrot and celery. Cook and stir until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, stir for about 30 seconds, then add flour. Cook and stir for 1 minute more. Stir in potatoes and broth. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes or until potatoes are just tender.
2. Stir in the bacon you’ve set aside, salmon, corn, half and half. Cook gently (do not boil) for 5 minutes or until salmon is cooked through. If desired, sprinkle individual servings with additional cooked bacon.
What kind of music makes you happy? Any kind, say Penn State researchers. Study subjects felt better after listening to whatever music they liked best—from Jason Mraz to Bruno Mars to Yo Yo Ma to Mozart.
The Bloody Mary, whose history seems as cloudy as the cocktail itself, is often tied to Ernest Hemingway, who rather enjoyed imbibing with his fellow writers. At his behest, legend has it, the bartender at Hem’s favorite Paris bar—Harry’s—created the drink to either soothe a Hemingway hangover (hair of the dog, you know), or to concoct a beverage that could not be detected on his breath and distress his wife (might have been Wife #4 whose name was Mary).
Nonetheless, the beverage has evolved dramatically from the 1920s concoction Hemingway swilled—tomato juice, vodka, Worcestershire sauce plus seasonings. Today’s Bloody Mary is a moveable feast, taking on various iterations and descriptive names. It’s an appetizer and a drink in one and can be loaded up with arugula sprouts, sugared bacon, crab claws, chunks of cheese and pickled vegetables including okra, Brussels sprouts and green beans.
At Sobelman’s Pub & Grill in Milwaukee, the Bloody Masterpiece was created on a whim to make fun of some of those over-the-top toppers. There are 13 of them on the Masterpiece: a bacon cheeseburger slider, celery, sausage, cheese, olive, pickled Brussels sprout, asparagus, shrimp, green onion, mushroom, cherry tomato, a bit of fresh lemon and a pearl onion.
“I made it as a joke, took a picture and posted it on Facebook asking if it was too much,” says owner Dave Sobelman. Apparently it wasn’t. Last week about 175 Bloody Masterpieces were served every day. “I had to hire new staff just to help prep and skewer everything—and order more and more buns. The sliders are made and added at the last minute.”
In comparison, the Chubby Mary is an exercise in restraint. Sort of. It’s the signature drink at The Cove in the small, but swanky fishtown of Leland, Michigan. Fresh lemon and lime juice, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce, celery salt and cracked black pepper make for a lovely, but standard Mary, but the garnish puts it on the map: a smoked chub (a fish found in the Great Lakes) goes tail-first into the drink, so you are face to face with its shriveled fish eyes as the server ceremoniously places it on the table before you. Off-putting though it is, the smoky little fish soaks up the sweet-citrus-spice flavor of the drink, making for an oddly addictive nibble. Here’s a Chubby Mary recipe and photo that appeared in Midwest Living magazine.
Hemingway, being the fisherman that he was and having spent time in Michigan, would have approved.
Or try my bacon-flavored Bloody Mary. It makes one serving.
Bloody Mary with Bacon
2 lime wedges
Bacon Salt or coarse sea salt
1 cup tomato juice
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dill pickle juice or olive brine
1/4 teaspoon horseradish or hot sauce to taste (some like it hot)
Freshly ground pepper
2 ounces of Bakon Vodka (worth the splurge here) or vodka
2 crispy-cooked bacon strips
Rub lime wedge around rim of 2 glasses. Dip rims in Bacon Salt. Combine remaining ingredients, except bacon strips, in a large cocktail mixer and shake. (Or put ingredients in a small pitcher and stir.) Pour Bloody Mary into 2 ice-filled glasses. Lay a bacon strip across the top of each glass, or crumble on top.