Friday, December 9, 2016

12-8-16 Gnocchi w mushrooms, asparagus, & sundried tomatoes in cream sauce

Dinner tonight would be Risotto with mushrooms and asparagus.  With a glass of chilled, crisp Pinot Grigio at my side, and music from my iphone filling the kitchen, I began working.  I began by preparing and cooking the vegetables before turning my attention to the rice.  Once they were “settled down” in the skillet and quietly cooking I looked in the pantry, and to my dismay there was no risotto.  There was Jasmine rice, wild rice, brown rice, couscous, barley, and some mystery stuff, but no Risotto.  Now at this point, a lesser man than me would have panicked, but the tiger in me took over, after several minutes of wailing and cursing I calmed down and went to plan B.  The vegetables would be transformed into a red creamy sauce, and gnocchi would replace the Risotto.



1.     Gnocchi
2.     Mushrooms- sliced
3.     Asparagus
4.     Leeks – thinly sliced crosswise
5.     Olive oil
6.     Garlic
7.     Oregano
8.     Basil
9.     Sweet Vermouth
10. Sundried Tomatoes – chopped
11. Tomato paste – about 1 tablespoon
12. Heavy Whipping cream – about ½ cup
13. Parmigiano cheese for grating


Cook the leeks in the olive oil until soft, then add the mushrooms, tomatoes, and garlic and cook over high heat, stirring frequently.  After several minutes add the  Asparagus, spices, tomato paste, and wine.  Continue on high heat, until the mushrooms begin to brown, then reduce to low heat.  Add the cream to the sauce about 5 minutes before adding the gnocchi to the boiling water.


Sometimes I think one could serve cardboard with heavy whipping cream and it would be delicious.  In this case the gnocchi did just as well.  It is one of those meal I want to share with others.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

11-29-16 Penne with Zucchini, leeks, and sundried tomatoes

After 4 days of turkey and stuffing, as good as it was I needed some pasta.  But saying I want pasta is like saying I want beef, or vegetables.  There are so many ways they can be prepared.  My first thought was to use some of the porch tomatoes for a sauce, but Patience requested I use them in a salad, which I was happy to do.  There was nothing in the kitchen that inspired me, and since I was planning on a trip to Midtown Market for some Provolone and Mortadella I thought I’d see what I could find there.  And BINGO, as soon as I saw the Leeks in the produce section I knew what I would do, and I did it.


1.     Penne pasta
2.     Zucchini sliced crosswise
3.     Leeks sliced crosswise
4.     Sun dried tomatoes in olive oil coarsely chopped
5.     Olive oil
6.     Garlic 11or 2 cloves crushed
7.     Fresh Dill
8.     Celery
9.     Chicken broth
10. Sweet Vermouth
11. Parmigiano cheese


Cook the Leeks and celery in olive oil over medium heat until soft.  Add the zucchini and garlic and cook over high heat until the zucchini is browned on both sides, stirring frequently to prevent burning.  About half way through this I added about ¼ cup of chicken broth and ¼ cup of Sweet Vermouth.  Continue cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated.  Add some finely chopped fresh dill.  When the pasta is ready add it to the pan with the “sauce”.  Add some pasta water if it is too dry.


What a sweet dish, literally.  The sundried tomatoes and the sweet vermouth gave it a distinct, and savory flavor.  It was fun to cook, and more fun to eat.

And the tomato salad?


Sunday, November 20, 2016

11-19-16 Front Porch tomatoes and Angel Hair Pasta

The promise of an overnight freeze led Patience and me to pick every ripe and almost ripe tomato from our porch garden, along with all the basil, dill, and parsley.  Looking at a large bowl overflowing with cherry and grape tomatoes it was clear to   me what had to be done.  And it was surprisingly simple.



1.     Cherry tomatoes – whole
2.     Olive oil
3.     Garlic – 1 clove crushed or minced
4.     Onion – ½ medium onion chopped
5.     Celery  - about ½ stalk chopped
6.     Fresh Basil
7.     Heavy whipping cream – not much, about ¼ cup or less
8.     Angel Hair pasta


Cook the onion in olive oil for 1-2 minutes then add the garlic and celery and cook for several more minutes until soft.  Add the tomatoes and basil and cook over medium high heat until they begin to break down – about 8-10 minutes.  A few minutes before the pasta is ready reduce the heat and add the cream.  When the pasta is ready drain and add to the pan, mix well and serve with grated cheese and garnish with fresh dill.    Add some pasta water if needed.


In spite of my abundance of humility I have to say this was delicious and I look forward to serving it again.  Of course Patience agrees with me.

Saturday, October 29, 2016


Dark Sky   Acrylic   24x24

Dark Sky was completed in 2011, and I have been looking at it every day in its place on the wall of my studio.  Several days ago I decided it was time for a little revision.  

Dark Sky revised

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

10-25-16 Angel Hair Pasta w Shrimp Scampi

As soon as I saw Patience’s vibrant crop of Dill in the porch garden I knew what I wanted to do.  Yesterday I bought the shrimp and last night did the deed.


INGREDIENTS:  I cooked ¼ lb. of pasta for two.  Adjust ingredients as needed.  The amounts listed below are estimates.

1.     DeBoles angel hair pasta
2.     Shrimp, peeled and de-veined
3.     Olive oil
4.     Fresh lemon juice  ½ lemon
5.     Butter 2-3 tbsp
6.     White wine ¼ - 1/3 cup
7.     Garlic 1 large or 2 small cloves crushed
8.     Fresh dill
9.     Heavy whipping cream


While waiting for the pasta water to boil cook the garlic in olive but do not allow it to brown.  Add the butter and a sprinkling of finely chopped dill, followed by the shrimp, cooking over low-medium heat.  While the shrimp is cooking add lemon juice and the wine.

Several minutes before the pasta is ready add a small amount of cream, about 2 tablespoons.  Add the pasta to the pan, mix thoroughly, and sprinkle with fresh dill.


Sometimes you hit a home run in the kitchen.  This was just that.  I can’t wait to do it again.

Friday, October 7, 2016


10-6-16   Leek – Potatoes - Asparagus & Pasta

Six o’clock, and I had not given any thought to dinner.  Fortunately Patience decided on a bike ride, so I had some time to come up with something.  A quick look in the fridge revealed asparagus that needed to be used,  leeks, and 2 potatoes, all that I needed for dinner.



1.     Penne pasta
2.     Leek- sliced crosswise
3.     Potatoes- diced into small cubes
4.     Celery
5.     Asparagus
6.     Garlic –Dorot frozen cube
7.     Basil
8.     Sweet Vermouth –about 1’3 cup
9.     Tomato paste – about 1 tablespoon
10. Heavy whipping cream – about 1/3 – ¼ cup
11. Grana Padana for grating


Cook the Leek and celery in olive oil for about 3 minutes then add the garlic cube (or one clove of fresh garlic finely chopped).  Turn the heat to high and add the potatoes.  Cook until the potatoes begin to brown – stirring frequently to prevent burning.  Turn the heat down to medium-low, and add the wine, basil, and asparagus.  Wait a few minutes and add the tomato paste.  Continue cooking until the potatoes are cooked to your satisfaction.  The total cooking time for this was about 20-30 minutes.

About 5 minutes before the pasta is ready add the cream and turn the heat to low.
When the pasta is done add it to the pan and mix thoroughly, or use a separate bowl.  Serve with grated Gran Padana cheese.


I have to credit Patience for introducing me to the unlikely combination of potatoes and pasta.  She created a dish for us several years ago, and I have borrowed heavily from that ever since.

Try it and you will not be disappointed.  Obviously there is room for any number of variations, but the key is getting the vegetables brown over the high heat

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

9-20-16 OLD & NEW

As usual, I left dinner planning to the last minute, which explains why I was staring at the open refrigerator scratching my head.  I saw several pieces of grilled chicken tenders and a small container with the half can of diced tomatoes, both remnants of last night’s dinner.  Next I checked the freezer and saw a package of shrimp, and knew immediately what I wanted to do.


1.     Pasta
2.     Grilled chicken
3.     Shrimp
4.     Onion – garlic – celery – Basil
5.     Diced tomatoes
6.     Sweet Vermouth
7.     Butter
8.     Heavy whipping cream


I began by preparing the Soffrito – cooking the diced onion, celery, and garlic in olive oil over med-low heat.  Next I added the tomatoes, basil, and wine, lowered the heat slightly, and cooked for about 15 minutes.  I diced the twp chicken tenders and added them to the pan.  I knew the pasta would take about 10 minutes to cook, so I waited until the pasta was in the water before I added the shrimp to the sauce.  About 5 minutes before the pasta was ready I added the butter and cream.


What a delightful dinner!  I think it could easily be repeated, using Sun Dried tomatoes in oil in place of the diced tomatoes. I started using celery in the "make ready" stage and enjoy the added flavor it gives to the sauce.  It is definitely a do over.

Monday, September 12, 2016



1.     De Boles artichoke wheat Capellini
2.     Asparagus
3.     Peas
4.     Artichoke hearts
5.     Olive oil
6.     Onion
7.     Garlic
8.     Basil
9.     Tarragon
10. Butter
11. Heavy whipping cream
12. Fresh lemon juice
13. Dry white wine
14. Vegetable broth
15. Salt & pepper
16. Grana Padano cheese


I had no predetermined plan when I started tonight’s dinner.   With a limited pantry, I settled on the ingredients available: Asparagus, frozen peas, and frozen artichoke hearts. It began like almost all of my meals – sautéing onions and garlic in olive oil.  I cut the asparagus into 1” pieces, partially thawed the frozen peas and Artichoke hearts in the microwave and added them to the pan, along with a cube of frozen chopped basil, about 1/3 cup of vegetable broth, and some dried Tarragon.  Several minutes later I splashed in some dry white wine (Pinot Grigio), and a few minutes later some fresh lemon juice.  Everything simmered over low heat while waiting for the pasta water to come to a boil.  While the pasta was cooking I added a small amount of heavy whipping cream - no more than ¼ cup.  The pasta was added to the sauce, and served with a sprinkling of Grana Padano cheese.


This was as much fun to cook as it was to eat.  With my usual objectivity I am giving this a 10+.

Monday, August 29, 2016

8-28-16 Tortellini in fresh Roma Tomato sauce w coconut cream



8 Roma/plum tomatoes peeled and chopped
One half medium onion sliced of diced
2 Dorot garlic cubes
one cube of fresh frozen basil in olive oil
Olive oil
Red pepper flakes
Asparagus – about 8 slender stalks cut into 1” pieces
Sweet Vermouth
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Small can of coconut cream


Make a small cruciate incision on the end of each tomato and place in boiling water for several minutes. Remove and cool under cold water, and peel away the skin.  Chop them into roughly one inch pieces and set aside in a bowl.  (Seeds do not have to be removed.)

Cook onions in olive oil until soft, then add the pepper flakes, garlic, and basil and cook until the cubes have melted.  Add the tomatoes and cook, covered, over medium-low heat, smashing occasionally with fork of spoon, until the tomatoes have broken down - about 30 minutes.  After 20-25 minute add a splash of wine and the aspargus.

In the meantime bring a pot of water to boil and add the tortellini (or other pasta).  And at this time add the butter and coconut cream to the sauce and continue cooking uncovered over low heat until the past is ready.


This is ten plus!  It is open to a variety of options:  pasta, no asparagus or a different veggie, cream instead of coconut cream, shrimp or crab meat, and more.

Saturday, July 30, 2016


LOOKING OUT  acrylic  16x40

Several months ago I began working on a series of paintings focused on the river that has given life to the city of Paducah.  The Ohio River is joined by the Tennessee River at the shores of our city, before moving on to the Mississippi River a few miles away.  A brisk morning walk easily gets me to the riverfront, only 8 blocks from our home.  From there I can see the river boats either slowly pushing their long line of barges up and down the river, or parked along the shore line, waiting their turn for whatever they wait for.  I have not figured our why they are called tugboats, since they push their loads rather than pull them.

So far one small area of the riverfront – about 4 blocks long – is providing me with more than enough visual material to work with.  My goal is to create a body of work, in a variety of media and sizes that can be exhibited in the next 6 to 12 months.  Of course they are also available now to any interested buyer.

ALMOST THERE  watercolor media  12x20
 The  portfolio - to date -  can be seen on my Facebook page.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

7-28-15 Basil Fettuccini with tomato/butter sauce.

Usually I do not enjoy cooking for myself when my dear wife is out of town, but tonight’s experience my change that.  After feeding the canine crowd at 5 o’clock I walked down the street to a reception of new work by the visiting artist at A.I.R. Studio, and returned about an hour later.  Standing in the kitchen, I was sorely tempted to reach for the peanut butter and jelly, when I saw the two Roma tomatoes on the counter.  They were almost a week old, and were beginning to show their age.  I knew if I didn’t use them tonight they would end up in the trash, and wasting a fresh tomato is something I would never do.  And I knew in an instant what I was going to do


1.     Fettuccini
2.     Roma tomatoes, peeled and chopped, seeds included
3.     Olive oil
4.     Shallots, thinly sliced
5.     Garlic, one clove pressed
6.     Basil
7.     Sweet Vermouth
8.     Mozzarella
9.     Butter
10. Oregano



While the pasta water is heating, cook the shallots in olive oil until they become soft, then add the garlic and basil, followed by the tomatoes.  Simmer uncovered over low heat for about 5 minutes before adding about ¼ cup of the sweet vermouth.  Cook the sauce for about 15-20 minutes.  Add the butter – I used about one generous tablespoon – several minutes before the pasta is ready.  I added the pasta directly to the pan with the sauce, but it could be mixed in a separate bowl.  Mix in the mozzarella and serve, garnished with some fresh basil and oregano.


This is the way I love to cook, making something happen with whatever is hanging around the kitchen.  It was delicious, and I’m sure I will do it again. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Linguini w fresh tomato sauce

7-18-16   Linguini w fresh tomato sauce


There was never any question about tonight’ dinner. Looking at all the fresh tomatoes from Patience’s porch garden, the obvious choice was pasta with a light, fresh tomato sauce.

1.     Linguini
2.     Fresh tomatoes from Patience’s porch garden – grated on the large teeth of a hand held cheese grater. 
3.     Tomato paste
4.     Fresh basil
5.     Parsley
6.      Olive oil
7.     Garlic
8.     Onions – ½ medium onion thinly sliced
9.     Garlic 1 large clove minced
10. Sweet Vermouth
11. Oregano, salt and pepper
12. Mozzarella cut into dice size pieces.
13. Kalamata olives.


Cut the tomatoes in half, remove the “heel”, and grate the tomato over a bowl to collect the pulp.  Set the skin aside.  For the 2 of us I used 6 medium sized tomatoes
Cook the onions in the oil until they begin to soften, then add one large clove of garlic through a garlic press.  Cook for several minutes before adding the tomatoes.  As the sauce is cooking, add a splash of Sweet Vermouth (or a red wine of your choice), a handful of Kalamata olives, fresh basil leaves, parsley, and oregano.  Continue cooking to allow the sauce to thicken.  A tablespoon of tomato paste can be added if needed.

Note – I decided to add the tomato skins to the sauce while it was cooking, and removed them before adding it to the pasta.  I don’t know if this is necessary, but thought I would get all that I could out of the fruit.

Place the pasta in a large serving bowl, mix in the sauce, and add the dice mozzarella.  Garnish with Basil and serve.


This is a great summer recipe.  It is easy and quick and can be a last minute week night dinner.  Any fresh tomatoes can be used.  I’ve done this before with Roma tomatoes. 

Patience and I gave this a 10 plus.