Dinner At My One of My Favorite Restaurants: Home

I guess I am spoiling the glamorous mystery of this food writer’s life, but, surprise! I cook at home quite a bit, both weekdays and weekends.

On weekends and days off, we start the day with sauteéd bacon or sausage, over-medium eggs, pancakes or biscuits. I admit I use Pioneer Pancake Mix and frozen biscuits. For more unique flavors in the pancakes I’ve added sliced bananas and cardamom spice, or unsweet applesauce. Occasionally I will dally into omelettes or poached eggs.

For weeknight dinners, we regularly have:

Burritos: Seasoned ground turkey, diced tomatoes with chiles, and shredded cheese. The tortillas are warmed in foil in the oven. Sides are refritos (with a little greek yogurt and cumin added for taste), or rice. A great ready-made sauce for turkey is Frontera by Rick Bayless; it’s a a quick alternative to using dry or fresh herbs.












Better Butter Chicken from Sarah Fragoso’s Everyday Paleo blogs and books, over a bed of cooked spinach. A ready-made sauce for this dish is here.

Chicken Florentine. I make a lighter version using chicken broth based sauce instead of the usual cream sauce.


Pork Chops sauteed with shallots and granny smith apple slices is another quick-dinner favorite.

Now that it’s Fall, more oven-intensive meals are more inviting option. For instance, bringing homemade chili back into the lineup. I use 3 ground meats (pork, beef, chicken or turkey), kidney beans, diced tomatoes, diced yellow onion, chili powder and other herbs, diced white onions, and unsweetened cocoa. It’s all simmered for most of an hour in a big Dutch oven pot. More seasoning is added to taste. I serve baked cornbread on the side. One thing that’s great about chili is there are plenty of leftovers if you are a small family. It’s waiting to be warmed up for lunch or dinner for the next few days.


I may also bake a whole chicken with lemon and garlic cloves in it. Rice will probably be on the side.

At least once a month, I mix and bake up a double batch of egg cupcakes, based on another recipe from Sarah Fragoso. Each time I make them, we’re covered for 2-3 weeks of a great go-to weekday breakfast in the microwave. Otherwise I enjoy greek yogurt with muesli on top, or cottage cheese.

If you are disappointed by cable networks’ personality-driven recipe books being tasty but not very healthy, I recommend Sarah Fragoso’s Everyday Paleo series, Julie S. Mayfield’s Paleo Comfort Foods, and Tosca Reno’s Clean Eating series. I am also very excited about books from PBS’ chef personalities, ‘especially the ethnic cuisines–Alamelu’s Indian, Ming’s Pan-Asian, Lidia’s Italian, and Newscancook’s Scandinavian foods. And that’s just four of many more shows that are on PBS. And if local caterer Brazilianuts ever writes a recipe book, I would pick that up as well; in covering regional charity dinners in Charleston on two separate occasions this year, I’ve learned there is so much more to Brazilian food than steak, and there’s so much more to learn about it. And I really love learning about foreign foods, especially when it manages to be tasty and healthy at the same time.

I am closing this post because I need to get cooking…

UPDATE: This post was originally created on 10/11/13. When I wrote it, I could only remember the name of the book and that the author was a really tall auburn-haired chef named Julie. Fast forward a month later, I discovered Julie Mayfield’s books had a blog so I updated that part of this post on 11/5/13.

Baking Up My First Book

Baking Up My First Book

I have a book now: The Sea Islands Dining Guide. Click here for a link to it.

Summer, summer, summer….things heat up

Maybe one day in the future all the thinking a blogger does about their blog will show as a status update without being typed in. If that were the case now, there would be a modest billion here at bakingkookys.com.

I have been living without an oven to truly call home for 2 months now. We’ve been in real estate limbo until last month, staying with family or at longterm stay hotels. It didn’t work out, they probably could and should have said something sooner, but at least we finally got some sort of answer. ‘Florida’s own Tom Petty wasn’t kidding when he said the waiting was the hardest part. But, moving on, we had a plan, it’s a good one that still makes sense for us. We’re shopping for somewhere else, and we like several places we’ve seen.

I have newer ideas to bake and post. I have a goal of being seasonal and timely on this blog. I felt awkward and I was very concerned about making a mess in kitchens that weren’t mine while we are guests; but it’s been so long now I am eager to get back in the game. I am jumping back in this weekend, and planning to take precautions. For my first venture, its something very summery, and will involve chocolate and licorice.

My last post about cookies that celebrate unconventional events is on hold, maybe I will do it in August. August is sweltering, but it’s “my month” and I hope everything is going more smoothly at that time.

In other news:

  • At this time, I have written 9 stories for Eat This Charleston’s online feature, Local Bites. All those links appear here. I’ve had an excellent time meeting new people and telling their stories for this series.
  • I am working on a recipe book that will be e-published before Fall arrives; I get ideas for novels and other books that just have to be set aside for the time being.
  • I started writing Julia Cameron‘s morning pages with my morning coffee. It is a great way to clear your head of little distractions so you can get on with your creative work. I included a link via her name so if you haven’t heard of her you can check her out. The Artists Way was originally printed in the mid-80s and its such a classic most mainstream bookstores and libraries have a copy.

So anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to.

The Kooky things I’ve been up to, Spring always means change…

I had the opportunity to interview Ryan Eleuteri of Charleston Mix Bold n’ Spicy Bloody Mary Mix, and the interview is online here. This is the first of a series of local business articles for Eat This Charleston, and I’m pretty excited about it. Next will be a baking company, cooking supply company, an ice creamery, a creole food business, and cocktails. A lot of these people are transplants and they’ve enriched our local landscape in ways we hadn’t imagined.

In other news, we are in the process of moving to a nearby island next month. This is our first permanent residence, so I am pretty excited about it too. The packing, recycling, donating, scanning and shredding has been quite an effort and the simplest of objects can bring back a host of memories.

Originally what I planned to do with the BK blog in March has been shelved for the future. And what I am doing as March slips away and April arrives will appear in the next few days. But it was inspired by my own recent events rather than calendar events.

‘Sometimes you can celebrate, or ‘kookify’, things that are not typical party occasions