Category Archives: btw

Mama Leone’s Soup

I have never loved soup. I guess there are a few that I order on occasion, onion for one, but there is generally an appetizer or salad I want more.  However, Mama Leone’s soup, which I have only had in Portland, has changed my soup feelings. This creamy tomato based soup with chicken is ultimate comfort food in a bowl, satisfying and totally yummy. You can buy this soup daily at Market of Choice and Elephants, the non deli deli. A recipe for this creamy concoction will be in my book, “The Portland, Oregon Chef’s Table, coming out in July.  A bowl of this soup with a crusty roll is a perfect lunch or light dinner.



now that peaches are here I thought I would suggest some things to do with them other than just grabbing a dishcloth to grab the juices and eat. I would have said napkins but they are environmentally incorrect.

split, pit, and bake with brown sugar

make an old fashioned peach melba- vanilla ice cream, peach, raspberry sauce

slice and place on a pie crust. top with butter, a driz of honey and some cinnamon. bake

toss with feta and arugula and a vinaigrette

place in a blender with yogurt and blueberries

quick peach jam- just simmer slices in orange juice with some sugar. thicken with a bit of cornstarch mixed with a little of the juice, add to pot to thicken. fridge

also, to peel peaches just score the skin and place in boiling water for a minute. peel. so easy

there’s something about flan

I have two favorite desserts. Trifle and flan. Somewhat similar, both custards of a sort. The trifle is versatile and much easier than people think, and actually one can be prepared in fifteen minutes. For real.  They are very nice to look at and you can buy a trifle bowl at Kohls for 15 bucks.  A few years ago there was a trifle bowl sale and I bought about 12 of them. It was a perfect holiday gift, trifle bowl included. They were under 10 bucks each!

Flan is not hard, but you do need to master the caramelized sugar. It was daunting for me at first, but now I do it in ten minutes, sugar only, and I control the darkness of the caramel by adjusting the flame and cooking time. I tried something this weekend and it worked out quite well. I caramelized the sugar and poured it into 8 small ramekins. I immediately added sliced bananas to the not yet hardened caramel. After about 20 minutes I poured the custard over the bananas and baked them in a water bath.  When I unmolded them it was a lovely upside down banana flan. The flavors were great together.  I might try it next with grilled pineapple. Very good dessert.

an easy thing to do

when you want to make pasta and intend to add lots of vegetables and maybe some shrimp, try cooking it all in one pot. I love how the flavors blend and what could be easier. You have to think about the different cooking times, but so what. Only one pot to wash and then, when drained, toss with some olive oil and maybe a little grated aged Asiago cheese.

It is a meal you can make with out shopping. Everyone has some pasta and some frozen veg, if not fresh. Change the veg, the cheese, the herbs…it’s all good.

strawberries are in season

      When strawberries are at their peak they are one of the best fruits and need no adornment, although sour cream and brown sugar is pretty amazing. And use low fat sour cream and a bit of Stevia for a lower calorie treat.  They are tasty in salads if you like that kind of thing, though I normally don’t.  A strawberry pie is amazing, I use cornstarch to thicken, and adding some rhubarb and additional sugar is a good choice this time of year. For mother’s day, dip in melted chocolate. I love you mom.

iced coffee weather is coming

This is a quick and simple suggestion for enjoying your iced coffee this summer.  Whenever we make a pot of French Press, we make extra so that we can keep it cold in the fridge. The special tip involves the ice cubes. On a hot day it is a bummer when the cubes melt and the coffee is watered down to a particularly unpleasant tasting drink. Make a tray of ice cubes with the saved coffee. Keep the cubes in a bag in the freezer and just drop a couple in your glass. It makes a world of difference and is so easy.

keep a bag of cooked pasta in the fridge

When I was the food editor at Child Magazine, and it was for over 19 years, this suggestion always got rave reviews.


Whatever your kids favorite pasta is, cook a bunch on Sunday and keep it in a sealed bag, tossed with a bit of oil, for quick snacks or meals.

toss with tomatoes and peas and olive oil for an easy meal

toss with olive oil and grated Parmesan

bake with assorted shredded cheese and broccoli

make a pasta salad with shredded chicken and vegetables in a vinaigrette

stir fry with snow peas, zucchini and a little soy sauce