Tag Archives: gratuitous close-up

A Maryland Summer — Crab Cakes


For dinner tonight we had a Maryland classic: crab cakes, with some pasta salad and Italian tomatoes.


And of course, a gratuitous close-up.



Recipe — Pickles

This is my dad’s recipe for pickles. It was originally adapted from The Victory Garden Cookbook although now it is very different (with help from the internets).

Pickling cucumbers
fresh dill
1-2 grape leaves, if you happen to grow grapes.

Black peppercorns
mustard seeds
coriander seeds
red pepper flakes
ground ginger
cinnamon sticks
ground mace
bay leaves

3 parts water
1 part white vinegar
1/2 tablespoon salt per cup of brine.

Bring brine to a boil.
add spices (a good pinch of each, less ginger and mace than the others)
let it boil a bit to get the flavor out of the spices

put the fresh ingredients in a crock of some sort. Glass or ceramic is best, but stainless steel will do. Anything that does not etch.

Add the hot brine, and put something, like a plate, inside to keep the cucumbers submerged.

Put another plate, or the lid if you have one, on top and let it sit for two days or so.

Tada! Pickles.

Surprisingly difficult to find a gratuitous close-up in this recipe.


There is nothing quite so quintessentially summer as BLTs with corn on the cob.
Our BLTs tend to have a little more than just bacon, lettuce and tomato, but those are still the key ingredients.

And now for a gratuitous close up of the tomatoes, which my grandmother prepared Italian style.

Recipe – Easy tacos

It is recipe time again!

Corn, black beans, cilantro, lime juice, jalepenos, and some tomatoes. That is really it. This part is easy.

For the filling, we need onions, garlic, beef and some seasoning.

Fry the onions and garlic, then add the beef and seasoning.
I used Cajun seasoning from Zatarain’s because that is what we had around.

Once the beef is cooked, remove it, put a tortilla in the skillet with some cheese and filling on it, and cook until the cheese is melted.

Voila, serve with salsa: it is time for a gratuitous close up.

Pizza — What? A New Post!?

The past semester was a doozy, and frankly, I didn’t do much cooking worth noting. So, I am back, on an as of yet undetermined schedule for the summer.

The other day we had our homemade pizza, and it was fantastic.

The pizza is made with a really good focaccia style crust, and a spicy sauce which my mother makes. Lately, we have been using fresh mozzarella and because the basil plants are doing pretty well, fresh basil.

So, my family’s pizza margarita.

Naturally with a nice salad.

And, of course, the gratuitous close-up.

Return to blogging — and some beef stew.

Well, theoretically I am back, although I still won’t be on a regular schedule for a while. However, I just had one of my most successful cooking experiments, and I had to share it.

Beef stew.

It was very simple, I took a potato, chopped it, and put it in the bottom of my slow cooker, then added a diced onion, and some stewing beef, which I spiced at this point with marjoram, paprika, salt, and a little hot sauce, because, well, I like hot sauce, as well as some spices which I had ground up into a kinda curry powder. I think it had fennel, coriander, carroway, and a little cinnamon and ginger, but I didn’t add much of this.
Now comes the interesting part, instead of just water to make the broth, I put a cup of strong, black coffee, as well as water, to make the broth richer. I learned this trick from a recipe my mother gave me for Idaho Beef Stew. I will make a recipe for that when I have all the ingredients to try it.

So, I just left this all in the crock pot for around eight hours, and it came out with a rich, flavorful broth, which the potatoes absorbed, becoming delicious, and beef so tender it was falling apart.

Good food can be pretty easy.

And naturally, the gratuitous close up.

Dinner in Courses

On Thursday, we put together a special dinner for my mother’s birthday.

The primo was Campanelle al Limone, which turned out to be really easy to make.

For the main course, I made Pollo al Vino Bianco and some fried vegetables.

For dessert, my sister made Strawberry Shortcake, the real way. It was delicious.

Here is a better picture of a pretty cappuccino.

and a gratuitous close-up, naturally.