Dad’s Classic Cook-off Chili!

The Queen gave me a great cookbook for Christmas some years ago that was full of the “Best Recipes of 1999,” according to someone. About the only thing I’ve made more than once is a chili recipe, although I’ve played with it to the point where it’s now a classic item in Dad’s Recipe Box. You, too, can play with it to your heart’s content. Just make sure to include the most special ingredients and techniques, and you’ll have everyone ooohing and ahhing for more.  (more…)

Yams Richard (ree-shar)

New Orleans is one of our favorite places. On our first trip there, in the 70s, we visited – through pure luck – two of its greatest restaurants: Antoine’s, where we had pompano en papillote (in a paper bag) and Brennan’s, for its famous breakfast. We took away two Hurricane glasses and The New Orleans Restaurant Cookbook along with a devotion for New Orleans food. (more…)

Brussels sprouts are the new green beans

For holiday feasts, that is. I have nothing, exactly, against the standard green bean, mushroom soup, onion things casserole. But unless you make it from scratch, it just doesn’t compare, for flavor with this easy and candy-esque treatment for b’sprouts. One of the secrets, of course, is bacon. The other is to cook the heck out of the sprouts until they are the kind of candy you like. (more…)

Dad’s Holiday Cranberry Relish

My first cook book was the Craig Claiborne classic, The New York Times Cook Book. My now ancient, paperclip bookmarks tell the story of why I bought it. Thanksgiving. Bookmarked are “Turkey,” “Basic Bread Crumb Stuffing,” “Mashed Potatoes,” and “Cranberry Relish.” I have referenced the last one each year that I’ve made Thanksgiving dinner.

This version uses cooked berries, not raw, and lots of sugar. Get over it. It’s just great. (more…)

Pumpkin Cheesecake
Crumbleburgers

During my Cub Scout and “church kid” years, we all loved it when the moms made “crumbleburgers,” my very favorite food for a summer picnic. I don’t know if crumbleburgers are exactly the same thing as “sloppy joes” or not. More important to me than their aliases is how they tasted. My mom’s approach was simplicity itself – ground beef and Heinz Chili Sauce – simmered together until it was scrumptious. (more…)

Easy Southern Green Beans

A friend, Betty Lou M., who grew up in Richmond, Virginia, says she has made this recipe ever since before she was a young bride 60+ years ago. These beans are very easy and mighty good, a great side for any occasion. We think they would probably be even better with fresh, local green beans, but we’ve been too lazy to try this. We’re pretty sure these beans are close to the ones at Cracker Barrel. (more…)

Leftover impasta
Learn to make cake
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Made from scratch, right in Dad’s kitchen.

Cake from scratch is one of those recipes where you can always taste the difference from store-bought or even cake-from-a-mix. My recent coffee crunch cake and chocolate cake experiments, having turned out so well, make me want to try more!

Here’s how I did one of my all-time favorites: two-layer yellow cake with chocolate frosting….

Pecan Bar Thingies

Pecan BarOK, this recipe is the most decadent, delicious and delightful dessert recipe you’re likely to find here on DRB. The Queen (it’s all her fault) brought this recipe home from someone who brought these little devils to a church potluck. You may know those church potluck cooks…they feel no guilt making their most delectable, diet-wrecking, downright tasty dishes to church potlucks when they’d never make them for their foodie friends. God love ’em.

Anyhow, let’s say you are looking for a pretty-easy dessert you can serve to anyone (who’s not diabetic) and get a “Wow, this is fantastic!” reaction. OK, get ready…. (more…)

Dicing onions

yellow_onionsSo many recipes start with diced onions…chili, pasta sauces, casseroles, you name it. So, knowing the standard and very effective way to dice an onion will save you lots of time and possibly angst, as well as make you feel like you’re really getting better at the basic cooking tasks that help you become a more competent, confident cook. I’d have done my own video, by can’t think of how to improve on this one. (more…)

Coffee Crunch Cake

Coffee Crunch Cake is the Queen’s absolute favorite birthday treat. Picking one up at Stickney’s restaurant in Palo Alto (sadly, now gone) was part of the drill for her big day each year. But now, Dad (not much of a baker), has finally made one from scratch to help us celebrate, although now far from California. (more…)

Dad’s Roasted Red Potatoes
Teach Your Children Well
Where Has All the Cooking Gone?

“…if it weren’t for the vibrant but dwindling community of bloggers, we’d hardly see actual cooking discussed at all.” So says Mark Bittman in a recent column.  The transformation of FoodTV into yet another reality show-driven channel (where people pretend to be living for real) is a disappointment for sure.

Seems like only yesterday that cooking was simple; grocery shopping was simple; getting fat was simple. Now, eating, like everything else, is another learning moment. And a topic for small talk with old friends and new. Where has cooking gone? Mainstream.