Holy Barbecue, Batman – Scotti’s Potato Salad and Cupcake Recipe

Since we’re heading into a serious eating holiday weekend, Scotti thought she’d share a couple of barbecue worthy recipes:

Scotti’s Old Fashioned Potato Salad


5-7 large Russet potatoes

½ cup chopped celery

½ cup chopped sweet onion

½  cup chopped dill pickle

¼  teaspoon paprika

¼ cup of chopped red or green bell pepper

1 tablespoon prepared mustard

½ – 2/3 cup mayonnaise

1/3 cup dill pickle juice

2-3 cloves of fresh garlic chopped

Salt & pepper to taste


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add whole potatoes and chopped garlic – cook until tender but still firm, about 20 minutes. Drain, cool, peel and chop. (You can discard the garlic or leave it in, your choice).

In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, celery, onion, dill pickle, and bell pepper. In a separate bowl, mix the mayo, dill pickle juice, mustard, and salt and pepper. Blend mayo mixture until it is slightly runny and well incorporated. Pour mayo mixture over potato mixture and fold well so that potatoes are well coated. Sprinkle with paprika, then refrigerate until chilled (at least two hours). Serve with your favorite barbecue dishes.

Scotti’s Sourcreme Chocolate Cupcakes


½ C boiling water

¼ C butter

1 C granulated sugar

¼ C unsweetened cocoa powder

1½ C all-purpose flour

½ tsp salt

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp soda

1 egg, beaten

½ C sour cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp black cherry extract


In a mixing bowl, combine boiling water, butter, sugar, and cocoa powder. Beat on low speed until smooth and sugar is dissolved.

In another bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, sour cream, vanilla, cherry extract.

Add sifted dry ingredients to the cocoa mixture alternately with the egg and sour cream mixture until fully integrated but don’t over-mix. Fill greased and lightly floured cupcake cups about 2/3 full. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

Cool for 5-10 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool completely before icing with your favorite frosting.

Stay safe, eat some good food, and have a great weekend.


   Coffee & Crimewhere cooking and crime come together.

How’s your relationship with food?


With the holidays upon us, there is some serious food in our not too distant futures. In fact, for many of us, it’s already started. The gift baskets are rolling in, the office break room is the busiest spot in the building, and since you’re making Christmas cookies for everybody, you might as well toss back a few too.

Where I come from, food is love. We never had much money or material possessions but there was always room for one more at the dinner table – and don’t get me started on my mom’s cinnamon coffee cake.

I started cooking at an early age and have always loved it. Have always loved feeding people, I guess it’s the way I care for people. It’s an easy way to comfort and create all in one delicious package.

But the flip side of that is that maybe I love food a little too much. Weight gain has been a problem for me most of my life and find myself loving/hating food regularly. I make lists in my head of the good foods and the bad foods. Naturally I love the bad foods and don’t love the good foods. I can’t eat a piece of cake, pie, candy or anything else without issuing a silent admonition to myself. Followed by a vow/promise that I will clean up my act later. Next week, next month, next year. And so it goes…

A new approach to your relationship with food?

Somewhere in my travels, I stumbled upon The Psychology of Eating website. According to them, you have two brains, the one in your head and the one in your gut. It sounded interesting, so I signed up for their free video series to check it out. I have to say, what these folks had to say made sense to me. So much so that I ordered the book, The Slow Down Diet, and look forward to reading it.

This is the book blurb:
The Slow Down Diet takes on all other diet books. Marc David presents a profoundly new way to look at how you eat and how you can master your metabolism in a life-changing 8 week program. You’ll learn about the hidden metabolic powers of relaxation, quality food, pleasure, awareness, rhythm, a positive inner story, and a deeper relationship with the sacred. You’ll hear cutting-edge research on body biochemistry as well as success stories from Marc’s own nutritional counseling practice that can help you find your natural weight, increase your energy, enhance digestion, and feel rejuvenated and inspired about your body and your relationship with food. Drawing on more than 30 years of experience in clinical nutrition and the psychology of eating, Marc David offers readers practical tools that will yield life-transforming and sustainable results.

I don’t know if this is something that will help me with my bad relationship with food but I’m hopeful. If it does help, I’ll probably do a follow up post about it. At any rate, I just thought I’d pass this along for anybody who may have similar problems.

In the meantime, enjoy your holidays and your many blessings.


A Thanksgiving Story

a thanksgiving storySince I first learned how to roast a turkey (courtesy of the Fannie Farmer Cookbook), I have made Thanksgiving dinner every year.  My Thanksgiving feasts have served as many as thirty and as few as three.  Didn’t matter to me, because I love to cook and I really love to cook a traditional Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings. And to tell you the truth, I was kind of legendary for my Thanksgiving soirees.

That year was no different.  For the three days leading up to Thanksgiving, I did the shopping, prepped pies, cleaned the house and every other chore that would ensure a great Thanksgiving dinner.

So on Thanksgiving Day I got up not quite at the crack of dawn but early.  Stumbled into the kitchen and made a pot of coffee and got to work.  I pulled out the bird and made sure it was completely defrosted.  I rinsed it and patted it dry.  I pulled the innards and neck bone and put in some water to boil for the pets.  I prepped the stuffing, stuffed the bird, tucked the wings, tied the legs, and rubbed it down with the basting sauce.  And into the oven it went.

Throughout the day, I checked it, basted it, tented it, and checked the temperature.  I prepped the potatoes and yams, the rolls and veggies, the salad and pies.  It was going to be awesome.

The whole house filled with the smell of turkey and stuffing and yams and all the wonderful scents of Thanksgiving.  The dogs were practically licking the air, it was so delicious.

The timer went off and I pulled out a bird that was that perfect, honey-brown and smelled of Heaven.

And finally.

At four o’clock we sat down to dinner.  My mouth had been watering for this meal for days and I was practically shaking as I raised my fork to my mouth.

And then.

The first bite.

I looked up at my room mate, still heaping his plate with all the goodies.  “Why does the turkey taste like fish?”

Roomie froze with the mashed potato spoon poised in mid-air.  “What?”

“The turkey tastes like fish,” I repeated pushing my plate away.

Roomie immediately took a bite of turkey.  Then another.  And then another.  “Yep, it tastes like fish all right.”

So it was four-thirty on Thanksgiving Day and there was no way we were going to get another turkey and cook it.  So we decided to make the best of it.

“Well there’s still stuffing,” Roomie said.

“Nope, that was in the bird,” I replied.

“There’s mashed potatoes and gravy,” he offered.

“Potatoes are okay, but the gravy came from the bird,” I reminded him.

He shrugged, “At least we have pie.”

Okay then, Thanksgiving dinner was mashed potatoes, sans gravy, cranberry sauce, rolls, salad, yams, and pie.

By about six I was ready to go to bed because I was so carb’d out but somehow managed to watch a movie first.

Since that day I haven’t cooked Thanksgiving dinner.  I’ve ordered Thanksgiving dinner and it’s been fine.  I’ve missed cooking Thanksgiving dinner but the thought of having another fish flavored turkey always makes me think better of it.

But this year.  I’ll try again.

Wish me luck and pray that I can once again channel Fannie Farmer, or Martha Stewart, or somebody who can tell a turkey is bad and shouldn’t be cooked.

Oh and Happy Thanksgiving. Gobble

Writer Chick

Copyright 2013


Thanksgiving Recipes

I can scarcely believe that Thanksgiving is a mere couple of weeks away – but it is. I don’t know about you but I love the traditional foods eaten at Thanksgiving – still, I also like to try new things… So in the spirit of something different, why not give one or two of these a try for Thanksgiving?


2 tbsp. butter
1  onion, chopped
1  potato, pared and diced
3 c chicken broth
16 oz can pumpkin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp white pepper
1/2 pt heavy or light cream
Croutons or chopped chives

In a large pan over medium heat, saute onions and potatoes for 5 minutes in butter. Add chicken broth and cook to boiling. Cover and reduce heat until vegetables are tender. Ladle 1/2 of vegetable mixture into blender; blend until smooth.  Add remaining mixture and repeat. Return mixture to saucepan. Add pumpkin, salt, nutmeg and pepper. Over high heat, heat to just below boiling. Cover; reduce heat to low and cook 10 minutes. Stir in cream; heat through.  Ladle into  soup bowls and garnish with croutons or chopped chives.


2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp  cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ginger
1 c softened butter
1 c sugar
1 c canned pumpkin
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 c chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and allspice. In another bowl cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, with electric mixer at medium speed. Add pumpkin, egg and vanilla; beat for 1 minute.  Gradually add flour mixture, beating at low speed until well combined. stir in chopped nuts. Drop by large tablespoons onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. flatten lightly using the back of a spoon.  Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let stand for a few minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool.

1/2 c sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
2 eggs
1 lb cream corn
13 oz can evaporated milk

Oven at 350 degrees. Lightly grease medium baking dish. Combine sugar and cornstarch in medium bowl. Add eggs, corn and milk and mix well. Turn into baking dish and dot with butter. Bake until center is almost firm, about 1 hour.


2 boxes frozen green beans
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tbsp grated onion
1 c sour cream
1/2 lb grated cheddar cheese
Parmesan cheese

Melt 2 tbs butter, add 2 tbs flour. Cook until it forms a paste over low heat – remove from heat. Stir in sugar, onion and sour cream. Fold in cooked green beans. Place in 2 quart casserole. Cover with cheddar cheese. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top. Bake at 350 degrees until cheeses bubble.


1 qt water
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp whole cloves
1 tsp coriander seed
2  cinnamon sticks
2 qt cranberry juice cocktail
2 c pineapple juice
4 c grapefruit juice
1 c raisins

Combine the water and spices in a large saucepan, bring to a boil, and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the juices and bring just to boiling. Remove from heat and serve.


1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 sprig fresh thyme
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut into slices
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a saucepan, heat up the cream with thyme, chopped garlic and nutmeg. In a buttered casserole dissh place a layer of potato in an overlapping pattern and season with salt and pepper. Remove cream from heat, then pour a little over the potatoes. Top with some grated Parmesan. Make 2 more layers. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes.


2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup  flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/3 cup milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbs butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 450. Lightly grease a 24-cup mini muffin pan. In a medium bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, mix the onion, milk, eggs and butter. Fold the egg mixture into the flour mixture until  just moistened. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the batter into each of the muffin cups. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the hush puppies are firm to the touch and golden brown around the edges.

Holiday Eating Tips from Zelda

more xmas cookies

So, Zelda sent me these tips and I thought I’d pass them along.


1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they’re serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It’s rare.. You cannot find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It’s not as if you’re going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It’s a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It’s later than you think. It’s Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That’s the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they’re made with skim milk or whole milk. If it’s skim, pass. Why bother? It’s like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people’s food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year’s. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you’ll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don’t budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They’re like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you’re never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple, Pumpkin, Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if you don’t like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it’s loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don’t feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven’t been paying attention. Re-read tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner. Remember this motto to live by:

“Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming “WOO HOO what a ride!”

Have a great holiday season!!