Holding the OCT Issue of GOURMET Magazine in my Hands!!

Just got it. Its so great. What.... Ruth, Kempie and all. Did you read our minds? Its almost as though you channelled our inner food desires. We cannot wait to cook absolutely everything in this edition. The list is perfect. The magazine is lovely.

Oh.  BTW. We are ordering those three amazing sounding Chef cookbooks tonight. One evening in October will be devoted to a dinner based on these.

Hey readers. You too will drool when you read the "line up" in the October mag. Friends living near by: take a look and send us a request . Maybe you can drop by for dins one night. While you are at it....have you ever checked out ? An endless array of ideas,choices and temptations . ( No, I don't work for the magazine, I just have been a devoted reader and follower for years !!! )

A quick note on the pictures now added to the blog. A professional photographer I AM NOT. Neither is my wonderful Bacon Boy. So we will just try our best to add a little extra color on the site. And occasionally attempt a little humor ( check out the spilled chili jar by the Shrimp-as-big-as-your-head) Not certain how successful we will be, but our hearts are in the right place ! Also about the blog design. Just to say, I'm on it. Don't know why the ability to show stuff on the right hand side disappeared. TBA....

A post script on the photos and humor. We had this shot of the October magazine with a reflection of Don Draper ( AMC's Mad Men heart throb, for those of you not in the TV know) on the TV screen in the background. It made us chuckle and we almost used it but then noticed these candlesticks in the way .  Major amateurs !

Let October 1st arrive and the cooking begin.

Thrilled beyond words. Hugs to all.


Bacon Boy's Shrimp-As-Big-As-Your-Head

First I want to make these comments about Bacon Boy's favorite foods. Aside from bacon, he enjoys a huge list of delicacies . First there's STEAK. Then comes TUNA. Next.... STEAK. And he loves TUNA. Oh. Did I mention STEAK?

I tell you all this NOT because its true. It isn't. But B.B. hates it when I say this about steak and tuna. And there's nothing I like better than to drive that man of mine a little bonkers teasing the dickens out of him. He actually has a much broader repertoire of menu preferences. Well ....ok.....

Let me put it this way. We are in Paris. Jet lagged. Bacy is very hungry. Sitting in a bistro. Lots of delicious and tempting items. He orders? Steak frites. And hey. Nothing wrong with that. I'm a big fan of that carnivore/potatohead delight as well. But send Bacon Boy an email and ask HOW MANY times he ordered steak frites while in Paris last July for 10 days .... I rest my case.

But back to my title and "Shrimp". B Boy has a short but dependable list of guaranteed successes in cooking. He doesn't profess to be a gourmet cook. But those items on his list that he cooks....he cooks well. And look, he is a guy,so of course a number of those focus on the barbecue. But I'm not complaining.

Last night he made one of my favorites. Shrimp-as-big-as-your-head. These are his instructions for making them :

First he bought a frozen bag of 8-12 count raw shrimp ( shells still on and only partially split open). Note: the ones in the photo are butterflied. Those work too but if you have a choice get the non flattened version....

 He let them thaw ( except they seemed to go from frozen solid to no trace of ice very ,very quickly.... so I think he might have "hastened " the thawing process somewhat.... don't ask..)

Next he put a 1/2 '' layer of Italian flavored bread crumbs in the bottom of a pie plate. He covered that layer with about 1/2 " of olive oil. ( Hmmm, almost sounds like a carpenter,building something.....) Then he mixed it up with a fork. And ya know..... I can't say if it was a half inch for certain or not of each ; B.B. is sketchy on the details. But go back to the ol' eyeballing technique and make yourself a paste of crumbs and oil that you can roll the shrimp around in and pull 'em out with a uneven and light coat of crumbs and oil stuck to the surface.

And before you dunk your RAW,DEFROSTED, PATTED DRY shrimp in that odd mixture,make sure said mixture is,well....."mixed"( as in stirred,mushed up).

Now cook the critters on a hot barbecue. Bacon Boy sez about 4 minutes each side. But watch out. It will depend on your grill. And you just want to barely cook these suckers. Besides I'm questioning B.B.'s stated time frame. So experiment with one shrimp first.( Hey, I heard that.... look, this isn't my recipe...) The advantage of the "test first" method is you get one more to eat than everyone else.

Last night B.B. served these to me with a wedge of lemon along side a lovely salad of arugula, avocado and slivered almonds. Allow me to add that they ( the shrimp NOT the arugula) were perfectly cooked. They tasted SO good. And remember he used NOTHING but the prespiced, prepackaged crumbs and olive oil ! Go figure.

He dressed the salad with sprinkles of olive oil and very aged,very syrupy balsamic vinegar. He topped the plates with the most amazing, teensy, orange colored, grape tomatoes fresh from the farmer's market. Not too shabby treatment from my steak eatin' baby,huh?

Also. One time he made those gigantic shrimp and served them on a humongous platter with a bunch of mini bowls filled with a slew of condiments. We called that free for all " Shrimp-As-Big-As-Your-Head-With-A-Million-Dipping-Sauces" .

Those sauces were too numerous to mention in their entirety. But some were store bought. Like Fire Hot Thai Red Chili Sauce. And a Peanut Sauce. He mixed a little curry with some mayo for: you guessed it: Curry Mayonnaise. He did the same with some dried chipotle . And wasabi. He wanted to do that Onion Soup /Sour Cream thing and I said "No way, Jose." He also had something lemony and another limey thing. But I can't remember now what was in them. We had 12 people for dinner. All shrimp were happily consumed . We had a great night. Drank fabulous wine. And really....the sky's the limit. Pick your sauces and go crazy.

Enough for now. The very serious cooking stuff starts in "19" NINETEEN days from now. OMG.

Hugs from


Cheatin' Cookin'

Cheatin Cookin in a minute. But first......" Ta Da !!! " The clock is ticking. TWENTY ONE days to go before the four of us start to cook our way through 12 entire issues( entire , I say) of GOURMET MAGAZINE . Launch date: October 1, starting with October 2009 issue .

The four of us love to cook as a hobby. So cook we will. Sometimes together. Sometimes apart. Sometimes the same recipes. Often,different recipes. Until the month is over and every recipe in that magazine for that month has been cooked. Then on to November. And so on. Until the end of September 2010.

Were we inspired by Julia Child and Julie Powell of Julie and Julia? Absolutely. ( But at least we chose to cook from a different set of recipes). And what better choice than the fabulous Gourmet Magazine. Thank YOU Ruth Reichl.

We have now planned a "kick off" dinner at my place on the evening of October 1. For the 4 of us and our spouses/partners. Babette and I ( as in me, Saucy ) plan to do the cooking. We are "treating " Gary and Ace. Ace just embarked on a long distance relationship with Katie,so she will be there in spirit only. Martin or mmmmmmMartin (attached to Babette) will be there. Note...often we will refer to Martin as M&M. Think yummy. Bacon Boy ,my sweet patootie, will be in town. And Annie,married to Gary....well her name has now changed to "Sexy Mary" and yeeeeeees,she will be there.

Oh, did I mention that October 1 is my birthday? Birthday MONTH in my books. Saucy's "National Holiday Month".

Today I found the greatest suprises for Babette,Ace and Gary. To be presented the night of October 1. No hints.

So now.... "Cheatin Cookin"( CC). That is my current solution to a bunch of cucina dilemmas. Only because I will be cooking my 'lil 'ol fingers to the bone starting October. And for now I'm taking it "eas"on myself. So I am finding ......"shortcuts" to some very tasty dishes. Truth be known, I kinda like these "compromises" from time to time. And thinking of Julia C. and omelettes for a moment.......I say" if no one asks....well,why tell....?"

For instance. Try my "CC" "homemade " baked beans . Get yourself a can of Clark's yellow eyed baked beans with pork (or another brand,but I like Clark's) . In fact, there was a time they used to be packed in a brown glass jar.

Empty the can in a bean crock or a nice covered glass baking dish... anything suitable to beans. Then fry up a slew of chopped bacon. Brown it. Drain it. Add to beans. Use some of the bacon fat to saute chopped onions( till soft). Add to beans. Need more sauce? Add in some molasses,water,dry mustard,s&p. Careful now. Add only a bit at a time so you can eyeball it and make those beans taste and look just like Grandma's. Heat up,keep warm and serve. Goes nicely with thick sliced, buttered brown porridge bread.

Or try my "CC" barbecued baby back ribs. Buy some frozen and fully cooked with sauce from your supermarket freezer. Try one rack first. I like a brand called "Stampede".

Take 'em ,still frozen, out of the plastic wrapper(inside the box). Let 'em thaw or....cook from frozen but ya know that means an increase in the cooking time. These might say "fully cooked" on the box but trust me.... they are not YET "fall off the bone". So.... wrap those baby backs in tinfoil. Two layers,seal tight. Put on a baking sheet and bake at 200 F for about 1.5 hours. Check to see if tender enough. If not,rewrap and bake maybe 20 to 30 minutes longer. Then finish them off briefly on the barbecue to crisp them up a bit on the outer layer. Or...if you leave them in the oven a bit too long, the barbecue will NOT be necessary and they will still taste great. Play with this method a bit to get your own rythym. But I gotta say, once you perfect it, sometimes the prospect of the task of making ribs from scratch might become a stretch...Need more sauce? Pour some Bull's Eye Traditional Barbecue Sauce into a glass dish....

A glass dish is important. Cheatin Cookin relies on you to dispose of any and all "store bought" evidence. That includes bean cans,rib boxes and sauce bottles.

You like this? My little occasional short cuts? Well then, ask me sometime about "CC" Key Lime Pie. It'll take you all of 5 minutes after leaving the grocery store....

Wait,you say. This is written by a woman who fancies herself a good cook? A chick planning(with the help of 3 great buddies) to cook her way through Gourmet Magazine for 12 months? What's going on here?

Relax,I say. Nothing is black or white. What's wrong with cutting a few culinary corners every so often? Don't we all have a teensie-weensie list of recipe short cuts that we pull out of the mental file box when time,work,family,energy level or sheer devilishness overwhelms us?

I'd love to hear your comments

Big hugs