cooks warehouse

Cooks Warehouse Midtown

Ok, so last night was a really fun girl’s night out at the brand-spanking new Cooks Warehouse in Ansley Mall. After seeing the movie Julie and Julia this summer, I organized a group of fellow foodies to partake in a cooking class featuring a few of Julia Child’s well-known recipes.  Mmmmmmm…it was good. And fun.  We all brought our own wine, donned our aprons and set to work in teams in the new, huge, 5-station kitchen. There were several assistants on hand to help out with technical details such as how to turn on the newfangled stovetops, where to find the correct pots and pans, how to remove the covers off the knives, and proper band-aid placement. (true to form, i was the first (only) one to cut myself–a PAPER CUT-how humiliating).

After an hour or so in the kitchen, we were seated and served the fruits of our labors, starting with a Frisee Salad w/ bacon and croutons. The main course was (more…)



Brrrr….today has been a cold, nasty, rainy day here in Atlanta. This is exactly the kind of day that i want to curl up on the couch with the puppies and stare at a blazing fire. It is also the perfect kind of day to make a big batch of home made soup. Something warming and thick, hearty enough to be the main course.

Pulling out my recipes this morning, i decided on the Creamy Spiced Bean and Pumpkin Soup that HK and I both love. It’s perfect for a late October day, the colors in the soup combine the golds and reds and browns and greens that stare at me through the windows.   I’d like to share my recipe as part of my “Sharing the love of Food” recipe entry. I’d love for you to share a favorite soup recipe with me.

Creamy Spiced Bean and Pumpkin Soup

1 med. pie pumpkin OR 2 C. canned pumpkin

1 med. onion, 1 red bell pepper, 2-3 chili peppers, 2 garlic cloves, all finely chopped

2 tsp. curry pwd.

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/8 tsp. allspice

2 C. chix stock

couple grinds salt and pepper,

1 tsp worcestershire sauce

2-3 C. kidney or pinto beans, drained

2 T. cream sherry, (or more)

roasted pumpkin seeds (for garnish)

Cook pumpkin at 400 30-40 min., or open can. ; D

Sautee onion, peppers, garlic in veg iol til soft.  Stir in spices.  Remove from heat. put vegs in food processor w/ some of the stock and pumpkin.  Puree until creamy. Continue to puree vegs and pumpkin.  Turn soup into large saucepan. Add beans and sherry. Heat for at least 30 min.  Add pumpkin seeds and a little plain yogurt before serving.

snack bars

snack bars

I readily admit that I am a snacker.  It is exactly 3 1/2 steps from my computer desk to the snack cabinet. (This, admittedly, was extremely poor planning on my part when we designed this house.) No amount of self discipline can stop me from making my way to that corner of the room when I have hit a rough patch in writing, or browsing, or facebooking, or watching TV on my computer.  So I realized that since I will continue with this habit, there should be something healthier over there than my steady supply of gummy bears and chocolate.

Leafing through the old recipe file, which now seems like a fossil with bookmarks on and, (to name just a few), I flipped to the snacks/desserts section looking for one that I vaguely remembered.  Found it! Yay!   So this morning I made (more…)

baked, stuffed artichoke

baked, stuffed artichoke

I love artichokes.  Always have.  When I was a kid, I thought they were called “heart and chokes” because they had a heart (my favorite part) and that hair that could choke you. It wasn’t until I went away to school that I learned that they were actually Artichokes. (Did you know the plant is actually a thistle?) The only way I ever prepare them is by boiling them and dipping the leaves and heart in mayo. It’s what I learned.
Last week, while visiting my friend Denise, I walked into her kitchen to the most delightful aroma–garlic, olive oil, parmesan cheese….you know, that itallian cooking smell.  OMG–my mouth was watering. “Please, stay for dinner”, she encouraged me. It was her daughter Nicole’s 17th birthday and, being Itallian, (and Nicole a vegetarian), they were cooking up a feast for a small gathering. Stuffed artichokes, eggplant parmesan, home baked bread, an awsome dessert.  Nicole and her sister, Veronica, call  me “Auntie Jules”, and even tho we are not related by blood and only see each other half-a-dozen times a year, we share a special bond. Our get togethers typically (more…)

It’s finally “sweater weather” here in the South, and we are loving it!  The leaves are changing and there’s a chill in the air. Time to make soups and chili. And time to get your garlic in the ground. WHAAATTTT???? You’ve never planted garlic? Well, shame on you! It’s easy as pie and sure is special in the late spring when you pull it up, mix it up with your homegrown basil and tomatoes and make a big old batch of pesto. YUM!

Just go and buy a head or two (or more) of garlic, (organic, preferably) and plant it about 2 or 3 inches deep in well-amended soil in full sun. Place the pointy tip up. Cover with good soil and mulch.  Come late spring/early summer, the tops (green growth kinda like a scallion top) will start to turn yellow and wilt.  when it is 3/4 yellow, pull it up and you’ve got homegrown garlic.

Make sure you water it like you would other flowers or shrubs, and place an organic fertilizer on it in the early spring.  If you live in the deep south, plant in jan. or Feb.  If you live up north, you’re too late. Bummer!

This past weekend, we headed to the North Ga. mountains and Lake Burton with some friends for some leaf-watchin’.  Honeykins and i took the puppies on a 9-mile hike at black rock mountain state park–it was a moderately strenuous trail with some nice waterfalls and streams–important when you hike with dogs.

Hiking in North Georgia

Hiking in North Georgia

I had prepared a big ole pot of my Award-Winning chili and it was just the thing. If you like it hot, this is the chili for you!

1 red bell pepper,1 sweet onion,1 jalepeno pepper, 3 cloves garlic, –all chopped

Saute in 2 T. olive oil, in lg. dutch oven til sorta soft-8 min.     Add the rest of the ingredients-stir well.

1-5 canned chipolte peppers in adobo sauce, depending on how hot you want it. i used 5 and it kicked our ass.

1 whole roasted smoked chicken-cut into pieces or shredded (from deli) OR  2 lb. mixed chicken parts, roasted and cut into pieces.

2 cans zesty chili-style diced tomatoes, 1 can each navy beans and black beans,rinsed and drained

1 can beer

1 envelope white chicken chile seasoning mix.

Serve with Sliced limes, cilantro and sour cream. Drink LOTS of beer!!!!

NOTE: Shout out to the HANKSER, who had to leave unexpectedly to have his eye removed–he’ll be the perfect pirate for halloween!!

The Hankster

The Hankster

When I was just a minnow myself, i love, love, LOVED “minnow cheese”. There was this fossil of a woman at the country club kitchen that used to make it, and i could eat that stuff til it was practically coming outta my ears! Even on Family Night at the club, when Irene would cook turkey and gravy or meatloaf, all i wanted was her ‘minnow cheese. Then after I got sent off to reform school (ha!) i sort of forgot about it, because they didn’t serve pimento cheese in the cafeteria there-(did they, pete?)

So now i’m all grown up and reformed, (ha, again) living in Atlanta, and guess what people like to bring to pot luck parties?  You got it–Pimento Cheese!!!  YEAHHHH!!!! However—none of it is quite as good as I remember.  So i’ve been messing around with recipes, and i think I’ve got it. No, I think I have actually improved on it!! Here’s the recipe.  And listen to me–double it!  THIS SHIT’S GOOD!!!!!!!!!

              Damn, This is GREAT “Minnow Cheese!

6 ounces cream cheese,

1/2 cup Vermont extra sharp white cheddar cheese, grated,

3/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated

1 cup Monterey jack cheese, grated

1/2 cup mayonnaise (Dukes)

1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

4 ounces pimientos, chopped

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon paprika (hot works best)

Couple dashes hot sauce 

fresh ground black pepper

beat cream cheese til sorta fluffy.  add other stuff, mix well.  cool in ‘fridge. share.

Shout out to my girl, Stef, who came over for lunch yesterday (‘minnow cheese, of course), and stayed ’til 4:30! Man, time’s fun when you’re havin’ flies!

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