Bacon from the butcher shop in town

Bacon from the butcher shop in town

Tomaotes on my kitchen windowsill

Tomaotes on my kitchen windowsill


Ingredients for a BLT sandwich

Ingredients for a BLT sandwich

One of my favorite summertime meals -- BLTs

One of my favorite summertime meals — BLTs

Summertime means fresh tomatoes.  I miss the homegrown ones, but I find that the on-the-vine tomatoes at the supermarket are reasonable substitutes.  One of my favorite summertime meals is a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich.

Song to Bacon
by Roy Blount, Jr.

Consumer groups have gone and taken
Some of the savor out of bacon.
Protein-per-penny in bacon, they say,
Equals needles-per-square-inch of hay.
Well, I know, after cooking all
That’s left to eat is mighty small
(You also get a lot of lossage
In life, romance, and country sausage),
And I will vote for making it cheaper,
Wider, longer, leaner, deeper,
But let’s not throw the baby, please,
Out with the (visual rhyme here) grease.
There’s nothing crumbles like bacon still,
And I don’t think there ever will
Be anything, what e’er you use
For meat, that chews like bacon chews.
And also:  I wish these groups would tell
Me whether they counted in the smell.
The smell of cooking’s worth $2.10 a pound —
And how ’bout the sound?

Pairing Pears and Pasta

September 26, 2011

Still Life with Ann's Pears

You would think that cookbooks would be edging toward extinction with the easy access to recipes on the internet.  But publishers are still inundating the market with stunning, glossy new cookbooks.  I get to see and handle many of the new cookbooks in my job at the library.  Lucky me.  But I still more often turn to the internet when I am looking for recipe ideas.

This week my friend Ann gave me a bag of pears from a tree in her yard.  I started thinking about what to make for supper and wondered if anyone had created a recipe that combined pasta and pears.  So I googled “pasta and pear recipes” and found one at that I could assemble with ingredients I had on hand, plus a little tweaking.  I used whole grain spaghetti noodles instead of penne pasta, frozen spinach, no arugula, and almonds instead of walnuts.  I added a few chopped cherry tomatoes and a sprinkling of fresh parmesan cheese.  It was really very good!

Pasta with Roasted Pears

Here is the recipe copied from MediterrAsian Cooking:

Penne with Roasted Pear, Goat Cheese and Walnuts

Serves 4-6


  • 8 oz. pasta, such as penne
  • 2 Bosc pears, ripe but firm (firmer varieties of pears work best)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 3 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 cup baby arugula (rocket)
  • 1/2 cup baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • Pinch of sea salt


Preheat oven to 425° F. Slice the pear into thin wedges, leaving the skin on and removing the center core. Toss with one tablespoon of olive oil, coating lightly, then place in baking dish and roast in oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, stir again, and return to oven for an additional 5 minutes. Allow to cool, then cut into smaller bite sized pieces.

Mix together the remaining 3 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil with the balsamic vinegar and lemon juice. Cook penne according to package directions. Drain pasta and mix in the olive oil-vinegar-lemon juice mixture, then mix in the chopped pears, arugula and baby spinach. If desired, add a little sea salt to taste. Divide among plates and top with crumbled goat cheese and chopped walnut pieces.

Watercolor sketch of three pears

Homemade Snack Mix in Vintage Jars

This past summer my sister-in-law served homemade snack mix on a picnic, and I found it terribly addicting.  She shared her recipe with me, and I’ve just made a batch to keep on hand for the holidays and to give as gifts.  Here is the recipe:

Homemade Snack Mix

In a very large bowl, mix together 7 to 10 items in the following list:

  • Bugles
  • Cheez-Its or Cheese Nips
  • Ritz Chips
  • Pretzels
  • Goldfish crackers
  • Wheat Thins
  • Triscuits
  • Snack Twigs
  • Rice Chex cereal
  • Kix cereal
  • Cheetos
  • Mixed nuts

Mix together 1 bottle of Orville Redenbacher’s Popcorn Oil and 2 packages of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing (the dry mix).  Pour the oil over the dry ingredients, stirring as best you can.  Pour onto cookie sheets and bake at 225 degrees for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Cool and then store in tightly covered containers.

Mixing together an assortment of snack ingredients

Watercolor sketch of snack mix ingredients

Watercolor sketch of crackers and walnut