I was going to write about my father*. But the TV is on, and there is the Great British Baking Show ... Masterclass, where the two judges, Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, are doing the baking!!! And they are showing us what their secrets are. Let's see what Mary Berry does with a madeira cake. 

She adds candied lemon peel! I know how to do that. I will have plenty of lemons on the tree soon. 

But Black Forest gateau is on the list for today's episode as well; I will hold out for that.


*It's his birthday. He would have been 95 today. 

Egged On

  • 8 eggs
  • 3 sticks of butter
  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 3 cups of flour
  • 1 bowlful of apples
  • 4 envelopes of Dr. Oetker vanilla sugar
  • salt and baking powder
  • 2 pounds of beef (an "O bone roast", love that word)
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 6 or 8 carrots, however many were left
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • bay leaf, salt, pepper, minced garlic, Italian seasoning 
  • cup of red wine in the pot
  • cup of red wine in the cook
  • 1 finished Breton apple cake
  • second Breton apple cake in the oven
  • pot roast simmering on the stove
  • kitchen dirtied and cleaned up again
  • mixing bowl and spoon licked clean
  • house smelling delicious
  • Elke happy


Everybody's Workin' for the Weekend

Potato au GratinIt was a good week. I have the weekend off, yayy!, and my progress on the Quantified Diet is reassuring. I am down 4 pounds, and I'm not eating less, just better. Heck, I'm even drinking wine! (I picked the Whole Foods variant, if you're curious.)

18 days down, just 10 more to go.

Using the MealLogger app is fun, but this week I realized that my soup and salad bowls at home are DRAB. Same reddish-brown color as the table. They do not make for good photos.

So I bought two new bowls today, in order to make prettier pictures and have more fun looking at my food. I also bought a Lekué steam case - I'd been ogling these for a while in the "surly table" catalog

The last potato needed killing, so I started with the recipe for potato au gratin from the little booklet. Really easy - sliced potato, layered with a sauce of cream, egg yolk, grated cheese, salt and pepper; all put together right in the case, shoved in the microwave for 10 minutes, and DONE.

But the two major accomplishments for the week are this:

- I took the three delicious Italian chocolates that I got from a co-worker, stashed them in the desk drawer, and have not been tempted, even though I look at them regularly, and even though I think of them fondly.

- In the same vein, I bought the bowls at World Market, and marched right past all the Haribo gummy candy, again, without even being tempted.

Tactics I Intend to Deploy

  • order more fruit from the CSA and take it to work for snax
  • roast veggies and eat them for not-too-sad desk lunch
  • make largeish pots of soup and stew to freeze and keep
  • put the slow cooker to work (for beans, caramelized onions, and  ... bread?)
  • keep my stash of KIND bars around
  • fall back on salads from the cafeteria if necessary
  • enjoy that Pumpernickel whole grain rye bread
  • and some cheeses
  • nuts!

More food for thought from elsewhere:

Slow Burnin

I bought a slow cooker this week. Had been thinking about it for quite a while, and finally this post on TheKitchn (and a gift card credit at tipped the scale.

Washed the applicable bits this morning, and am ready to christen it today. What to start with? I am perusing Slow Cooker from Scratch and pondering some candidates:

Stopping at Dittmer's to get some Landjäger for a split pea or lentil soup, and some stewing beef just as a matter of principle, seems like a smart venture.


I've been eating egg sandwiches for breakfast all week, and today's version was the best one yet. I started with smitten kitchen's best egg sandwich recipe, using one egg and a pile of shaved gruyère from the block of cheese that needed killing before it turns into spongebob squarepants. And then, instead of another English muffin from my stash, I toasted two slices of the delicious caraway rye from Companion Bake Shop that I got with my CSA delivery.

I predict another go tomorrow morning. Maybe I'll even add a little bacon for a Sunday treat.

And speaking of CSAs, I am switching. I've really enjoyed being part of Live Earth Farms, but even with their smallest box, I still couldn't keep up, since I don't cook dinner every day. The winter season has just ended, and I've signed up for a trial membership with Eating with the Seasons, who have an even smaller share size and will even let me pick just the items I would like from their offerings. They also offer similar add-ons, and use the same convenient online store system (Farmigo). 


Possibilities for the week ahead:

Cucumber Smoothie-ish

I bastardized Elise Bauer's recipe for Cucumber Lime Agua Fresca, and mine didn't look anything like this gorgeous photo which is hers, but if I showed you a picture of the pale concoction that I spooned out of a bowl, you would already be on your way to the next blog. Ha! Caught you! Reeled you in and kept you here. Mwahahaahhaaaa!!!

I peeled and seeded the two cucumbers I had, picked and tore a fistful of mint leaves, juiced two lemons (since I have a lemon and not a lime tree), poured a liberal splash of maple syrup on top and blended it all. Did not bother to strain it, and like I said, I just spooned it all out of a bowl. Not really sure if it qualifies as a smoothie or a gazpachoish soup or as anything at all, but do I care? No. It was refreshing and tasty, and definitely the easiest way to dispose of the cukes.

Fennel Beef

I bought some stewing beef the other day, intending to make goulash. Had a big onion that needed using up too. But then I got my farmshare newsletter where I learned that I would receive fennel. I still had a small fennel bulb, so I decided to chop it up, fronds and all, and throw it in with the beef cubes and onions. Good move, I gotta say! It was delicious. Holly asked what I served it over, and I replied truthfully, "What do you mean, 'over'? I just ate it."


Marie-Hélène's Apple Cake

In the end, I didn't feel like making pie, so I turned to Dorie Greenspan and her friend Marie-Hélène's Apple Cake.

No, no, that's not my photo - it's from her cookbook "Around My French Table" and its listing on, where you can find the recipe if you just scroll down.

I doubled up the recipe because all these apples need dealing with, I added some lemon and orange zest to the apple bits, and I left out the rum because I didn't have any.