Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Latkes - JESSt for you!

From preschool to my senior year of high school I went to Catholic schools.  First Elizabeth Seton Elementary School (ESES baby!) then Our Lady of the Sacred Heart High School (OLSH).  When I was very young, I thought there were 2 types of religions - Catholic and Public - based on the school systems!  So for 14 years I wore uniforms, tucked my shirt in, tried to wear my skirt shorter than my fingertips, hid my gum chewing, stood up and greeted my teachers with "Good Morning Mister/Miss/Sister ____", took religion classes, went to mass once a week, learned all about Catholic guilt, etc!  It was certainly a great way to grow up, although sometimes those religious fanatics, and their 8 bothers and sisters, can get kind of annoying :) 

Finally, at age 18, I made it to Penn State for college where I was introduced to so many people with varying religious beliefs, lifestyles, etc.  It was a welcome change from the bubble of Catholic school.  One of the funniest memories of that year was when my roommate at the time asked me why people's foreheads were dirty on Ash Wednesday!  Try explaining that one to someone with no religious beliefs without sounding nutso...

One of my dearest friends, Jessica, is Jewish, mazeltov!  We lived together senior year and even threw a "Christmakkuh" party with red cups for Christians and blue cups for Jews, a Christmas tree, a menorah, and dreidel spinning!  We tried to convince our hovering landlord that it wasn't a party, but a religious gathering - HAHA!  

So this year I decided to celebrate Hanukkah in honor of Jess with a traditional Jewish meal, latkes!  Better known as potato pancakes.  I followed a combination of latke recipes so I'll just go over the basic steps.  They were delicious - Happy Hanukkah! 

Prepping for the latkes - taters, grater, water bowl...

Once the potatoes are grated let them soak in the water, then drain them and put them and the chopped onion into a dish towel and SQUEEZE out all the water.

Mix the potatoes and onions with egg in a large bowl, then portion into little pancakes and cook on the stove top.

Flip 'em over!

We had ours with sour cream, but applesauce is kosher, too.  (Pun intended!)

We added broccoli for a side and it was a great little meal!  There were leftovers from dinner.  When I went to gobble up the remaining latkes for breakfast the next day I found only one...  Bryce had gotten to them first for a midnight snack!  

Maybe I'll try something a little more exciting/challenging for the next Jewish holiday!  Jess, just let me know when that is and what I'm supposed to make :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Dinner at Chef Mavro

Back in September I found an amazing online coupon offer: a $100 gift certificate to Chef Mavro restaurant for $50!  I bought it immediately with "our Christmas dinner" in mind.  Since Bryce and I don't spend Christmas together we usually go out to a fancy dinner before we part for the holidays.  I didn't know too much about Chef Mavro, although I knew I wanted needed to go there!  

After some research I found out a few things:  
  • Chef Mavro is Greek and "Mavro" is short for Mavrothalassitis!  
  • The cuisine is French inspired with lots of (Hawaii) local influences and ingredients
  • The menu changes quarterly and is prix fixe, beginning with 3 courses
  • Finally, $100 won't go very far! 
It was supposed to be a surprise to Bryce, but I couldn't hold in my excitement and told him we were going and that I'd pick up the first $100 if he'd pick up the rest of the tab!  He agreed and for the past few months I've been studying the menu and anticipating this wonderful meal.  This week was our big night!  So we got all dressed up and posed by the tree (pause for AWWWWWWWE moment!)


I was a little nervous because the restaurant was so fancy and we were clearly the youngest people there, but once we got settled in I was so excited and happy!  Since the wine pairings would have set us back another $100 and nobody agreed to pay for that we each ordered just one drink - I had chardonnay and Bryce had a rum and coke.

We'd already decided what we wanted to order long before we arrived but we pretended to look at the menu for a while, then told one of our many helpful hands/waiters/men with water refills what we wanted - the 4 course menu, mine as-is and Bryce's with lamb instead of pork.

First came the soup, which I hadn't expected because it's not on the menu, but it was a welcome surprise!  I don't know exactly what was in it, definitely apples, then spiced carrots and almonds on top.  Very good!

Course 2: DAY BOAT CATCH BOURRIDE "MODERNE" medallion (ours was red snapper, although the table next to us got something else with a larger course menu) poached in bourride, leek and onion étuvée, aïoli sabayon sea asparagus tempura.  This was delicious!  The snapper was so moist and flaky I didn't even need to use my knife.  My favorite part was the crispy sea asparagus tempura and the foamy sauce.

To cleanse our palates we had these fancy little honeydew melon and mint gelatin things.  They were so refreshing :)  The best Jell-O you've ever had.

More dessert?  Tiny macaroons with green tea filling, a super dark chocolate bite (left), and a salted caramel!  Tiny, cute, and so yummy.

I was thrilled to meet and get a photo with Chef Mavro!  I even spoke Greek to him - yassou - which means hello, is the only word I know.  He was excited to hear it and it was a great conversation starter, even though I don't actually speak Greek, but he doesn't either so it was funny!  He was very nice and if we can ever afford to go back to his wonderful establishment we certainly will!

Happy and full after our fantastic dinner, Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Candy Jackpot

Some work days require candy.  After packing and eating a boring lunch and 1 or more cups of home brewed coffee, sometimes you just need a fun afternoon pick me up.  Since alcohol is out of the question (right?) I turn to candy.  During lunch I ran to the store for a few things and couldn't resist the impulse buy of some sugary treats.  I'm a big fan of gummy candy - Sweedish Fish, gummy bears, worms, peachy rings, etc.  For just 99c I quickly added this bag of fruit slices to my order and hurried back to the office.  Later when I pulled the bag out to snack I realized I had hit the candy jackpot!  In my bag was a majority of red candies, everyone's favorite!  Sometimes it's the little things in life :)

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It's the most wonderful time of the year, there's no denying that on any level.  The Christmas season is magical and fabulous.  Part of what makes it so wonderful is the food!  Just take a look at this spread of candy, cookies, cupcakes, brownies, pie, fruit & dip from a friend's holiday party over the weekend.  I didn't make or bring dessert since the ever famous Broccoli, Chicken, Cheddar Braid was requested, but I sure did eat many of those sweet treats!

This is also why most people resolve to eat healthy each new year!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Brunch Pie

I can't quite remember how I found the "Brunch Pie" recipe on Food Network's website, but it has quickly become a favorite of mine for breakfast/brunch-y foods!  (You'll see there are 2 reviews of the recipe - 1 is mine and the other is my Mom's!)   It requires a ton of ingredients and pre-cooking prep and it's all worth it in the end.  Once it's assembled you pop it in the oven and you're done.  The mixture of all the different ingredients and flavors is great, each bite is usually a little different from the one before.

I first made this for Easter and it was a hit!  I made it again a few months later when my parents came to visit me.  We knew we'd be heading out early in the morning so we had everything prepared and just assembled and baked in the morning, then ate leftovers for a few days!  I'm getting ready to go home for Christmas and this will most definitely be on the menu for Christmas morning!

    * 3/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
    * 1/4 cup chopped garlic-stuffed green olives - I used green olives with pimento
    * 1/2 cup chopped plum tomatoes
    * 2 tablespoons chopped scallion
    * 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
    * 1/2 cup chopped white mushrooms
    * 3 cloves garlic, minced
    * 1/2 cup chopped marinated artichoke hearts
    * 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
    * 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
    * 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
    * 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano
    * 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
    * 4 large eggs
    * 1/2 cup reduced-fat milk
    * Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
    * 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
    * 10 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed - Crescent roll dough is easier to find and use!

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Mix the kalamata and green olives, the tomatoes, scallion, onion, mushrooms, garlic and artichoke hearts in a large bowl.  Stir in cheeses, basil, oregano and thyme; set aside, 20 minutes. Meanwhile, beat the eggs, milk, and salt and pepper in another bowl.

Brush a 10-inch glass or ceramic pie dish with some of the butter.  Position crescent roll dough along the bottom of the pie dish - I trace mine with the pie dish and cut it to shape, first.

Spread the olive mixture evenly in the dough dish, then pour in the egg mixture.  Layer more crescent roll rough on top of the pie - for this step I keep the pre-cut triangle shape of the dough and layer it that way.

Bake until the top is golden and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 1 hour - usually more!  Let rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Veteran's Day, Deserts, and Desserts

To help you remember how to spell dessert (yummy after dinner sweets) versus desert (a warm sandy location) here's a trick - dessert has more s's because you always want more! 

Bryce and I met in August of 2008.  Three months earlier he'd completed his time in the United States Marine Corps: 4 years of weekly haircuts, camouflage, yes sirs, 1 tour of Iraq (speaking of the desert), some time as an MP, pecker checker, you name it, he did it!  OOH RAH.  For our first Veteran's Day I threw him a little shin dig: we had machine guns, sand storms, terrorists... kidding!  We had name tags, printed menus (AMERICAN cheeseburgers, FREEDOM fries, and Wave Your FLAG Cheesecake), toy Marines, Veteran's Day print outs, and activities - Bryce had to come up with a list of Military slang terms for us civilians to decode!  Blanket party anyone?!  We were brand new and it was super cute, awwwwwe :)  You'll notice his lack-of-weekly-haircuts in the photos, he went through an "I'm a civilian now and I'm NOT cutting my hair" phase for quite some time.  

I made the flag cake again in 2009 so this year it was getting old and un-fun.  Plus, that recipe is time consuming!  This year I decided to try out those scrumptious mini cheesecakes my Mom has been making my whole life, since the others I've tried this year hadn't turned out so well (remember the Mini Orange and Chocolate Cheesecake ordeal?)  I topped them with red strawberries, white Cool Whip, and blue-berries and they were ever so adorable as much as they were patriotic.  

12 vanilla wafers
16 oz cream cheese - softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs

Place foil liners in each muffin tin & one vanilla wafer in each liner.

In the mixer combine cream cheese, vanilla, and sugar.  Then add eggs, mix well, and pour over wafers, filling each compartment 3/4 full (which I can never seem to do evenly).  

Bake for 25 minutes at 325*

Chill, then top with desired fruit, nuts, chocolate, etc.  My Mom usually does cherry pie filling, MMM! 

In all seriousness, Veteran's Day means so much more than silly parties and red, white, and blue desserts.  I am so proud of and thankful for Bryce, and of all our Veterans, for sacrificing their lives for our country's freedom.  The land of the free because of the brave.  Thank you! 

And just for fun, here's civilian Bryce in 2009 with the cutest little boot camper I've ever seen in my life, aka USMC Bryce in 2004.  

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Turkey Time & GBC

It's the most important meal of the year - Thanksgiving dinner!  The turkey begins the defrosting process early the day before and must cook all day long, the many, sumptuous side dishes are prepared with care: stuffing, green bean casserole, candied yams, mashed potatoes, etc.  Of course, the cranberry sauce is BEST fresh out of a can, still intact in the can shape, if you ask me!  Don't bother trying to make the homemade kind because the processed cranberry jelly thing is perfect.  There are always far too many desserts but hey, it's Thanksgiving and we'll over eat if we want to!  Pumpkin pie, cookies, trifles, strudels, I'm salivating just thinking about it.

Typically this is a holiday spent with family, but since I decided to move 5,000 miles away from home (Sorry Carol & Mike!) it's one of those days where our friends become family here in Hawaii.  Us 20 and 30-somethings try our best to do the holiday justice.  We've got all the recipes and cooking under control - sure it takes several calls to each of our mother's - "Hey Mom, you know that casserole you always make for Thanksgiving...", but we pull it off!  We dress nicely, say grace, and have a real "grown up" Thanksgiving dinner.

My specialty for Thanksgiving, and one of my favorite recipes, is green bean casserole - GBC for short.  Sure the canned green beans with the mushroom soup is good, but I take it up a level with Paula Deen's recipe using home made green beans cooked in chicken broth, fresh onions and mushrooms, mass amounts of cheddar cheese, and of course those delectable little fried onions.

* * *
Update: I've since improved upon and perfected this recipe! Here's the link to an even better variation of Green Bean Casserole.

* * *

Here's Paula Deen's Green Bean Casserole recipe y'all!  (With some notes from me, too!)

Green Bean Casserole
From Angela at Aloha: Yinz Mangia

  • 2 - 4 tablespoons of butter 
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 of a cup of fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups of fresh green beans, cut to your desired length
  • 3 cups chicken broth (or water, or a combination of the two for boiling the beans in)
  • 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can of cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 (2.8-ounce) can of French-fried onion rings (original or cheddar flavor!)
  • 1 cup of grated Cheddar cheese
  • Salt, pepper & garlic powder
  • Optional addition: Bacon!
Boil the green beans in chicken broth/water for 10 minutes, then drain. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a large skillet. Saute the onions and mushrooms in butter.  To the onion/mushroom mixture add the green beans, mushroom soup, Cheddar cheese, and salt, pepper & garlic powder to taste and stir well. Spray a 1 1/2-quart baking dish with non-stick and add the delicious mixture. Bake for 20 minutes, then top the casserole with the onion rings (and cooked bacon?!) and bake for 10 minutes longer, until the casserole is hot and bubbly.

Who's ready for Thanksgiving?  I am!
Last year's GBC in the works: on the left are the beans, soup, and cheese, on the right are 'shrooms & onions and far less butter than PD calls for!

My GBC front and center, followed by baked macaroni, corn, stuffing, mashed potatoes, candied yams...

...dinner rolls, gravy, and salad.
The star of the show - TURKEY!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Supermarket Sweep

No... not the game show, unfortunately!  For my job, often times I am tasked with grocery shopping for in-store sampling events and sweep the shelves clean.  Who doesn't love a free sample while grocery shopping?  I'll take as many free, tasty, tidbits as I can get!  So when the time rolls around - I have to shop for 5 events, each of which expect several hundred sample grubbing shoppers.  I like working with food and get to select the recipe for the events, based on the time of year, seasonal products, sale items, etc.  So the recipe needs to be fairly simple and easy to distribute.  Just this week I went shopping for the ingredients for 70 batches (1 dozen each) of Raspberry Kisses from Kraft - which includes 15 boxes of Nilla Wafers, 37 tubs of Philly Cream Cheese & 10 jars of raspberry jam!  It's always a great day when I'm able to find all of the ingredients in just one store, and just that I did this week - SUCCESS!  Shopping in bulk like that is such an awkward thing to do, the looks from the cashiers and the other people in line are hilarious!  And the answer is yes, you can get in front of me if you only have a few items!

This week's order: 37 tubs of cream cheese, 10 jars of jam, and 15 boxes of Nilla Wafers!

Another day - making pies with Cool Whip, milk & pudding!

I hope nobody needs Oreos!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pierogies N'at

Pierogies are a big deal in Pittsburgh.  

My trusty friend Wikipedia says: "The origins of pierogi are difficult to trace".  

I say:  They're from Poland, brought to Pittsburgh's "Polish Hill", and the 2 have been in love ever since.   

What are they?  

Wikipedia says:  Half circular dumplings of unleavened dough, stuffed with mashed potatoes, cheese, cabbage, sauerkraut, meat, mushrooms, spinach, or other ingredients.

I say:  It's like a ravioli, but instead of ricotta cheese inside there's mashed potatoes, and sometimes other goodness like cheese - I don't eat any of that other crap! :)

So when I moved from Pennsylvania to Hawaii I discovered that you can buy frozen, pre-made, Mrs. T's Pierogies here!  Instead of a whole freezer case dedicated to them, you have to hunt for them and usually can only find 1 variety, but that's ok as long as I can have them every once and a while.  Bryce had never heard of or eaten pierogies before and I've since gotten him hooked on them, too!  We eat them on a regular basis.

If you're familiar with the Pittsburgh Pirates, the worst baseball team in the league, you'll know that there's a "Great Pierogi Race, N'at" at all of the games!  My BFF Jamie actually got to be in the race when she worked for the Pirates (She was Saul and she didn't win, boo!).  

Here what Wikipedia says about it:  The Great Pittsburgh Pierogy Race N'at, commonly called the Great Pierogi Race, is an American promotion between innings during a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game that features four contestants racing in giant pierogies costumes: Jalapeño Hannah (green hat), Cheese Chester (yellow), Sauerkraut Saul (red) and Oliver Onion (purple). 

I recently became friends with another yinzer, aht here in Hawaii, Deanna.  My good friend Jon, also a jagoff, planned to be here on vacation over Halloween, too.  The idea to be the pierogies for Halloween came out of left field, pun intended!  It took 2 days to make them and they turned out FAB!  We ate pierogies before going to the Halloween party, of course!  Not wearing the costumes, though, that would be cannibalism.

After our first day of costume making:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

BBQ Bliss

Our friends have a house on the North Shore (of Oahu, that is) and they invited us to a weekend-long celebration for several recent birthdays.  The house is smack-dab on the beach and could not be more perfect.  There's a huge deck with a hot tub, spectacular view, and plenty of tables and chairs for relaxing, eating, and playing drinking games around.  We spent the weekend playing survivor flip cup, beach volleyball, laughing around the campfire, and sleeping in tents on the beach, it's fabulous.

Lindsay and Pat, our hosts made a trip to Costco and bought enough food for the masses.  I didn't cook a damn thing, although I did take this awesome picture of the burgers literally sizzling on the grill behind a huge stack of cheese!  Take that vegetarians.  This perfect photo sums up the equally perfect weekend.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

3 nights, 2 dinners, 1 trip to the grocery store

Night 1 - Dinner 1:

Monday night we had minimal amounts of food in the fridge so I had to get creative. (Do I start entries like this often?  I think so!)    I created what I've named a Sloppy Joe-Zone!  I chopped some onion and garlic and softened them over the stove, then added some leftover ground turkey meat, chopped tomatoes, BBQ sauce, some ketchup (Heinz 57 made in Pittsburgh, of course), and mozzarella cheese.  I popped open the amazing-cardboard-container of Pillsbury Dough, which is always a fun process, and laid it flat on a Sil-Pat/baking sheet.  The yummy mixture went right in the middle of the dough then I wrapped it up like a calzone and added some asiago cheese to the top.  Just like the mailman in Good Fellas, into the oven it went!

The result was good, considering the circumstances!  Since both sides of the dough were piled on top of the meaty mixture there was a lot of bready goodness on top and just a wee bit at the bottom, but that didn't stop us from scarfing!

The Sloppy Joe-Zone
2 pieces - I made 'em extra sloppy for ya'!
Night 2 - Trip to the Grocery Store:

It was so necessary.  Armed with a list, some coupons, and Bryce, too (who was happy once he dumped a 5 lb bag of cereal in the cart!) it was a quick and fairly inexpensive trip.  Have you seen the grocery prices in Hawaii?  If you haven't, don't look - ignorance is bliss.

Night 3 - Dinner 2:

"You live in Hawaii, what do you have to complain about?!"  There I beat you to it... Here's what I have to complain about, other than grocery prices, slow mail.  My Food Network Magazine arrives 3 weeks after my Mom's!  So I'm still working with the October copy.  I love the "Week Night Cooking" section and found a recipe for Sausage-Cauliflower Spaghetti there.  Surprisingly it's made with turkey Italian sausage, which surely is better for you than real sausage, and that made me happy.  The 6 cloves of garlic seemed like overkill, but honestly it could have used more!

The dish was delicious - just the right amount of meat, veggies: cauliflower and scallions, cheese, and pasta!  I ate seconds, even though we were watching the Biggest Loser while eating dinner and Bob's trainer tip was to wait 20 minutes after eating to see if you're still hungry.  Sorry Bob!
Sausage-Cauliflower Spaghetti

We're ready for our close up - Said the Jack-O-Lantern!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Basil, basil, basil!

Our neighbor Sissy has a green thumb and filled the yard with flowers and plants including strawberries, tomatoes, and basil.  She always let us take as much basil as we pleased, which was awesome!  When she moved she left us one of the basil plants to keep.  I do not have a green thumb - I'm not sure what color thumb you have when plants die upon your sight, but that's what I have.  I've been trying my hardest to water that little plant and keep it alive.  I also bought an eggplant plant, which I water daily along with the basil, but have no snacks thus far!

I declared it 'Basil Week' a few weeks ago.  (Our usual, boring, routine goes as such: chose recipes for the week, buy all ingredients at the store, try to use common ingredients so the fridge doesn't end up filled with old, unused, smelly food.)  We chose 3 recipes all using basil.

Of course cave-man carnivore Bryce wanted a burger.  So we made these Turkey Basil Pan Burgers.  They were really flavorful and delicious!  It's almost like a meatball since there are breadcrumbs, garlic, cheese, and of course basil, mixed into the burger.  The basil adds a very fragrant, wonderful smell and taste.  We had salad and oven "fries" with our Basil Burgers.


Basil week recipe #2:  Shrimp Pizzas - shrimp, cheese, tomatoes, fresh basil, and onions MMMMM!  They're supposed to be an appetizer, but we ate them with salad and called it dinner.  There's no sauce but it was not missed.

Third and final basil recipe: standard Chicken Parmesan with pasta and... BASIL!  I should have made more sauce, the recipe doesn't make much as you can tell.  The chicken was cooked perfectly and so yummy :)

As long as I can keep the basil plant alive you'll be seeing more recipes with basil!  Anybody have suggestions?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My First Kitchen

Check me out!  This is a picture of one happy kid.  Clearly it's Christmas morning, I have my Cookie Man slippers on, and I got a kitchen and apron from Santa!  So sassy with my hand on my hip :)

I wonder if I thought about blogging about what I was making back then...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

It Ain't Easy Being Cheesy


I like to cook nice dinners on Sunday nights.  Now it's football season and most Steelers games take place at 7 am in Hawaii, so I spend my morning drinking bloody marys, eating fatty and delicious restaurant food, and screaming at the TV.  After mornings like that, a relaxing dinner is usually the perfect way to end the weekend.  (I miss the days of Sunday dinners in Palolo!)

There is a scene in Julie and Julia where Julie makes bruschetta and it looks amazing.  I've eaten bruschetta before but never made it, so I dug out my new BFF, the Better Homes and Gardens cook book and gave their bruschetta recipe a try.  I used some fresh basil from our plant - which our neighbor gave us when she left.  The fresh chives added a little kick and the contrast of cool veggies with the crunchy toast was perfect!  Keeping the stuff on the little slivers of bread was a challenge and a mess, making dinner more fun :)

The main dish was homemade macaroni and cheese, sorry Cheesasaurus Rex!  Last year for "our" Christmas dinner together I made a different homemade mac recipe for Bryce and I and it left something to be desired...  This recipe used cheddar, asiago, and parmesean cheeses, was easier to make, and tasted MUCH better.  The toasted breadcrumbs on top are the best part.  We ate the leftovers all week long!  It ain't easy being cheesy!

Bruschetta with basil from our plant!

Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pap Pap's Birthday

Let me tell you a little bit about my Pap Pap (Grandfather, in case you didn't know) - he loved food!  I'm pretty sure he's to blame for my food obsession :)

He passed away in January of 2007, but I still think of him everyday.  Most of my fondest memories with Pap involve food:
  • The cookie tin in his living room that was never off limits
  • Sharing Klondike Bars - I ate the chocolate, he ate the ice cream
  • Eating olives while walking around downtown with him, but secretly spitting out the purple ones!  Later when he spent time in a nursing home I'd bring him olives when I visited, and shortly after he passed away I'd tear up at the olive bar in the grocery store (I still do some times).
  • Thinking he was crazy for scraping the salt off of a soft pretzel and eating tomatoes right out of the garden like an apple (I've since gotten over my hatred for both purple olives and tomatoes!)
  • Eating the biggest crab legs you've ever seen in California at Uncle Joey's house
  • He loved chocolate and preferred it because "You can't see the dirt!"
  • His room was always stocked with secret snacks:  Pringles, Bugles, nuts, etc.
  • Pap and my Dad (his son-in-law) both share a birthday, September 19, and also were forced to celebrate Father's Day together.  Both holidays always involved seafood fests which stunk up the house and/or cabin!
  • Eating calamari - another sharing experience, I'd eat the rings and he took care of the (yucky!) legs.
  • There's a certain place in Pittsburgh that sold tripe (cow's stomach) and we'd always pick it up and he'd eat it in the car, gross!  The smell would make me want to hang my head out the window like a dog!  He always tried to get me to try some but I never did.
  • He had a fig tree in his yard and I was always dying to get my hands on them as a kid.  He'd tell me "they'll be ready when it's time to go back to school!"
While he was in the hospital I was home from college for Christmas break.  We tried to make sure someone was always there with him throughout the day, so one night I took over for Mom and was there with Pap for his dinner.  I fed him his salad, coffee, chicken sandwich, and canned peaches.  He was totally loopy from what I thought was the medicine, but I should have known it was something bigger when he threw his chicken on the ground!  The man who ate the leftovers off of my plate for my whole life threw food on the ground!!!  Mom came back later that night and I left.  Pap passed away at 4 a.m., that dinner I fed him was his last meal.  This post has gotten TOTALLY sad and I apologize!  My point is this:  I was happy to be there with him to give him his favorite thing, food, for the very last time.

So, fast forward to this week: what would have been Pap's 88th birthday.  Drinking in his honor is dumb, the man drank 1 beer a year.  So I honored him with a good, Italian meal:  Italian turkey sausage with onions and polenta - and my favorite dessert ever - cannoli.  Happy Birthday, Pap!

Turkey Italian Sausage & Polenta


Pap & Me