Tag Archives: #ImAChef


I continue to enjoy cooking homemade meals. (I mean, come on . . . of course I do!)

From top, pork schnitzel with potatoes and carrots. Homemade peach and toasted almond ice cream. A Dutch baby with blackberries and fresh lemon curd. And firecracker meatballs on rice with green beans.

Getting Hello Fresh, and two new cookbooks for soloing — well, my repertoire is invigorated, and my creativity in the kitchen refreshed.

Random ramblings

I have a new mask for use when I’m at school and in the same room as others, teaching a class or teaching a lesson.

I shan’t be on campus all the time, but this mask will allow me to breathe more easily at least.

My HelloFresh adventure continues. This meal was a huge taste-bomb of happiness and spice and zestiness: panko- and Parmesan-crusted chicken cutlet (with sour cream to add a bit of bite, and hot paprika to add kick; plus roasted carrots tossed in lemon zest, and couscous with garlic and the whites of green onions.

Nelson spent two hours at the office on Saturday, since Queen Jean (my once and always best-ever assistant) and I were measuring rooms and putting down social-distance markers. He had a fun time running the very empty lobby of the Loretto-Hilton Center.

Those markers:

On Saturday, before heading to the office, I watched a live-stream of a concert by the choral group Ensemble Pro Victoria. The concert took place at St. Mary’s Bourne Street in London, the last church I attended in the UK two years ago on my most recent visit there.

The concert was wonderful, with music that I find deeply attractive.

The leader of the group is Toby Ward, who I met on a visit to Gloucester Cathedral in 2012 (I think that’s the right year). I was on a Howells research trip. Toby was singing tenor in the choir on a gap year before starting college. He complimented me on my glasses. And then the choir sang an all-Herbert Howells Evensong.

The squirrels know.  They know that winter is coming.  Damn squirrels!  Rooting in my window boxes….

This belated birthday present came from the Gregg family. I’m sporting it proudly on Mariele the Volvo:

Thanks to a very handy handy-man, I am now wired at home for two ethernet ports, one by my desk in my home office, and one by the piano.  I shall henceforth be hard-wired into meetings at home, rather than relying on wi-fi!

Hello Fresh

Using a Groupon coupon, I tried HelloFresh delivery service recently.

And I was quite pleased.

The packaging was minimal and mostly recyclable or compost-ready. The directions were clear. The portions were large (three meals easily, our of what they said would be two). And the food truly delicious.

Tuscan chicken breast with garlic mash and lemon zested carrots.
Creamy Parmesan chicken spaghetti with roasted Roma tomatoes.
Pork burger with caramelized onions and pub fries served with a spicy mayo.
Pork tacos with charred corn, pickled shallot and pepper, and spicy crema.


Pork burger with sauteed mushrooms and mozzarella, plus potato wedges.
Chicken breast with balsamic fig sauce, roasted potatoes, and roasted green beans tossed in lemon zest.

#TBT: July abroad

I realized the other day that I have spent quite a few days of July abroad in recent years.  Here are a few photos from July excursions to Europe.

Scenes from Montreal, Vienna, London and every one of the countries in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Stockholm, Antwerp, Prague, Berlin, Amsterdam, Florence, other points in Austria, and Paris.  I think that’s it.

Travel was by jet, plane, car, bus, train, and bicycle!

Many of these adventures were with my friend Kevin Cherry, or with the choir from Grace & Holy Trinity Cathedral, Kansas City.  I’m grateful to Webster University for the Messing Award that allowed me to spend three weeks in Vienna in July 2018 for curriculum development.


So many people are corona-baking. I am as well.

But I’ve started this year’s canning early, and am spending time over the stove every weekend.

In the past few weeks:

  • Two batches of blackberry preserves
  • A batch of raspberry preserves
  • Harissa
  • Chermoula
  • Passionfruit curd

This weekend it’s been sweet pickle relish, from scratch (English cucumbers, onion, red pepper, garlic, salt, white vinegar, sugar, turmeric).

And a few quarts of my famous lime pickles.

I have been ordering produce from SunFarm Produce, a wholesaler who is selling to the public. Two days ago they delivered a $107 order, since the neighbors and I went together to place an order.

They had pickling cucumbers. I ordered 10 pounds.

I pickled. Simple.

But the homemade sweet pickle relish? Heaven! I could really learn to like this stuff. As usual, though, I’m giving most of it away.

(The photo is from previous pickling sessions.)

This week’s menu

Back the menu-making for a couple of weeks before traveling again . . . .

Sunday, 9 June (sourdough day)
Homemade buttermilk biscuits with homemade jam and marmalade
I’m craving Tex-Mex for lunch
Chicken in a white wine/lemon sauce, couscous, salad

Monday, 10 June (make a vanilla cream pie)
Bacon and eggs and fresh sourdough toast
Ham salad and fruit
Dinner with my sister Beth

Tuesday, 11 June
Bacon and eggs and toast, fruit
Lunch meeting at the office
Brisket, Dauphinoise potatoes, salad

Wednesday, 12 June
Bacon and eggs, fruit
Ham on sourdough toast, fruit, pie
Brisket and such

Thursday, 13 June
Sourdough French toast, fruit
Leftover chicken, pie
Brisket, beans, and a cooked apple

Friday, 14 June
Sourdough French toast and bacon, fruit
Lunch on the run
Steak, salad, and pie

Saturday, 15 June
Sausage roll and eggs, fruit
Lunch with a former student at Southwest Diner
Brisket, beans, salad

Grocery list:

  • Brisket
  • Lard
  • Potatoes for fries
  • Apple
  • Chicken
  • Yogurt
  • Tonic water