Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Friday past was a nasty looking day. Not the kind of day you'd want to go out and have a little fun on. But you have to take your "sun shine" where you find it. My dear friend Patty has Friday's off from work and she wanted to book this day for a "girlz day out".

We started with lunch at an old stand-by restaurant on our favorite Rochester street - Park Avenue. We lunched at Hogan's Hideaway. It really is hidden away. You can see the storefront from Park Avenue but it goes way back into the lot. And there's almost no parking. The restaurant is squeezed into the tiniest parcel of land with very little room left to accommodate a parking lot.

Even though we arrived before noon, the tiny parking lot was already filled. The parking attendant directed me into a spot along a wall made by the building next door. I was actually parking in the driveway which was two way and hopefully no cars would be wanting to enter while one was trying to leave. That would be a catastrophe - but that's why they have a parking attendant.

The inside of Hogans Hideaway is cozy, with lots of little rooms. We sat in a booth. You can see the outside edge of one at the bottom left on this picture. Both of us had the exact same lunch. Not on purpose. We just happen to both like the same things. We had a crabcake sandwich with remoulade and sweet potato fries and ice tea to drink. This was the best iced tea ever. (I drink ice tea all year long)

After lunch, we went next door (not the building my car was squashed up against - but on the other side of Hogan's) to the Parkleigh. It is our favorite haunt. Again, the Parkleigh  is in an old building and was once a pharmacy. It, too, has lots of rooms. Each room at the Parkleigh has a specific ambience. I'm going to let you discover it yourselves by clicking on the dots on the store map at the bottom right on this link.

The Parkleigh is like an idea factory for me. In my etsy shop, you'll probably soon see items inspired by this visit.

I did purchase a pair of earrings and a cello bag of mixed nuts at the candy counter.

When Patty and I parted, she handed me a bag with a "this is for you" and a wave. I didn't look inside until after I arrived home. Inside, I found several books I had loaned her. All by the same author who is now my favorite author. (In my next post, I'll tell you how I discovered her). Her name is Adriana Trigiani. Besides the books she returned, there was a gift book in there for me............................a cookbook by Adriana Trigiani ! I have given it a place of honor in my kitchen. I have a plexiglass cookbook stand and Adriana is ensconced right behind that plexiglass she she doesn't get splashed.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Today my CAST-teammates discussed BEETS. All ways to cook them (boil or roast), ways to peel them (before or after they're cooked) , ways to use them (in Australia, sliced on a hamburger), fresh versus canned. Make borscht, or salad, or a side dish. Eat the green beet tops or not (if they're young and tender).

On and on went the BEET discussion. It was generally agreed that beets do taste like dirt. I guess that means people like the taste of dirt. How does one acquire a taste for dirt? My thought is they ate lots and lots of mud pies out in the back yard when they were children.

I remember one of my sisters making meatballs from mud and serving them up for the playmates to dine on.

When my granddaughter was in kindergarten, she came home from school one day - all thrilled because she had made mud pies that day in school and she brought a huge piece of paper, with the recipe on it, home with her. She announced proudly when she showed it to me - "here's my "masterpiece".

Grammie's reaction: what a charming malapropism !  Sometimes the wrong word says it so much better than the right one.

She got "masterpiece" and "recipe" all discombobulated. . They do sound very much alike. Say them out loud and you'll see.

I'm wondering if she likes beets, being they taste so much like her mud pies. I'll have to ask her.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Yummy Crepe Breakfast - Lunch - or Dessert

I had company for dinner a week or so ago and made homemade manicotti for the main course. For this recipe, you don't use the store bought manicotti pasta that's sold in a box. You make very light crepes - which I will include the recipe for - then fill them with the ricotta mixture, cover them with homemade sauce and bake for about an hour. But that is another dinner. Today, we'll be talking about the crepes. I had some left over from the manicotti project. And because of that,  I invented the recipe in the title.

I took a couple of the left over crepes, heated them in the microwave for about 30 seconds, then slathered them with Nutella, layered sliced bananas and strawberries covering one half of the crepe. Folded over the crepe and drizzled chocolate sauce over the top.

I ate them just like this (the dessert format).  But for breakfast and/or lunch, you could spread a layer of yogurt over the Nutella before you layer on the fruit.

Crepe Recipe: Makes about 25
5 room temperature eggs - 1 cup of flour - 1 cup of lukewarm water. Mix ingredients together with a wire whisk in a 1 quart vessel.
Oil a small cast iron skillet or a small (8") teflon coated frying pan. Wipe the oil around the pan with a paper towel. Heat the pan on medium heat. My ancient recipe says to use a whiskey glass (1 oz.) to measure the batter into the pan  but you can use a ladle or spoon - remembering that you want a very small amount of batter in the pan because the crepe should be very thin. Quickly, twirl the pan to get the batter spread around on the bottom to make a round shaped crepe. It just takes a few minutes to cook side one. Turn crepe over to cook side two (this side takes even less time than side one.

As the crepes are finished, pile them one on top of the other on a plate. When you're finished making crepes, you can wrap the whole pile in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. They freeze well. Divide them up in serving sized batches to freeze.