Garlic: Best cooked Outdoors

…Especially if you have some sort if outdoor kitchen. As much as I love garlic: saut√©ed, roasted, freshly chopped, I confess, I recommend cooking outdoors if you are confined to a small space. Otherwise everything you own smells of garlic. Not entirely a bad thing if you love it that much! At the very least it’ll keep any vampires away, lol. ūüôā


Garbage Day

Garbage day is Monday. ¬†How often does one go through the refrigerator cleaning it out in anticipation of ¬†the traveling dumpster’s early morning arrival; and find¬†ALL this food that you haven’t eaten yet??? ¬†On this particular Sunday I came across a couple of mangos that I’m sure I bought earlier in the week, I think. Still smooth-skinned, slightly firm and changing from an olive green to a muted orange-brown hue. ¬†I’m thinking, “must still be good” – although not very photogenic at this point. ¬†Dig around the ice box a little more… A few pork chops pulled from the freezer to thaw… Check the pantry for some grains… yep, looks like we have dinner for the next day!

Few items from the Pantry

Pork chops with a mango chutney – at least that’s what I called it. ¬†Below I used the late afternoon Western light diffused through our patio. To add some color to my white dishes, I added the multi-colored cloth beneath. ¬†I wish I would have caught the “fleck” of pork that’s sitting on the mango, but oh well! ¬†It’s all in the details from making a good picture, great, right? ¬†The dish by the way, was just yummy. ¬†The kids and hubby ate it all up!

I Like’m Sloppy

Sloppy joes that is…

Sloppy joes topped with coleslaw

SuMMer, BarBecues, bEaCh, SanD, LaZy days, FAMILY.

All images that come to my mind when craving sloppy joes. Growing up I never knew this messy goodness could be so good. Born and raised in the US by newly immigrated Filipinos, I only knew the makings of sloppy joes via a can of Manwhich‚ĄĘ¬†and a pound of ground beef! And truthfully, I still like that rendition… I would actually eat it with steamed white rice, because as everyone knows… everything is good with rice… ūüėČ ¬† But ohhhh!! the joy of a homemade, simmering hot batch of meaty heartiness that generations have made and perfected over the years… Now that’s tasty!

After summer vacations of careful observation and repeated requests for the recipe, I finally have it committed to memory. To some it probably isn’t as good as when grandma makes it, but it IS pretty darn good… Enough so, that my husband and kids gobble it all down!

Gotta get my Goetta on…


Glier's Goetta

Some say its similar to scrapple, others call it “Cincinnati’s Caviar” and many just call it plain GOETTA. ¬†Pronounced¬†g√©tt-aa,¬†ged-da or¬†get-uh, when first described to me as ground pork or sausage combined with oats as an extender and a unique blend of spices, I thought “good gracious, how could this possibly be any good?” ¬†And then a homegrown Queen City native convinced me to try it… I was hooked. ¬†It is often served at breakfast in place of the typical breakfast meats (bacon, sausage, etc.). ¬†Me? ¬†I like it with eggs and fresh sliced tomatoes, sometimes sauteed green bell peppers and onions. ¬†Add gravy and I’m in heaven. ¬†I’ve heard that it’s also scrumptious served with fresh apple butter. ¬†Judging by the ingredients, I doubt it has a high heart healthy rating… just like anything that tastes good! ¬†ūüôā ¬†The most popular and my personal favorite is from Glier’s. ¬† In the summer Cincinnati holds a festival in its honor where vendors sport their latest creative creations using goetta as an ingredient. ¬†No mealtime offering goes untouched, from goetta pancakes and apple fritters to goetta philly sandwiches and goetta meatballs. ¬†I will admit, I don’t care for all these combinations, but some are surprisingly good.

In our house, we just cook it the traditional way:  sliced and fried golden brown on either side, served with scrambled eggs, pancakes and bacon. Yummy!  My eldest daughter has been begging for goetta for the last week.  I relented, fried some up and snapped a few quick pictures of one of our favorite treats.

80mm ISO100 f/5.6


In My Kitchen: Lamb, Cherries and Mint

Lamb Chops with Cherries, Balsamic Vinegar and Mint

Well, I’ve never made lamb before. I love it when it’s prepared right. I, personally have just never had the nerve to cook it. If you’ve ever had bad lamb, you’d understand my hesitation. I was shopping the other day and came across some really good looking lamb chops. As I stood over the case looking at them, I wondered, “Can I? and Would it taste good?” ¬†Needless to say, I bought them and I figured, “Well, it will be an adventure. If it’s horrible, I’ll pull out the mac ‘n cheese!”

Searching the web, I found a recipe that looked to complement lamb’s savory meatiness with a balanced sauce of cherry sweetness and balsamic tartness. ¬†For lack of availability, I substituted the sour cherries with frozen dark sweet cherries (thawed) and omitted the 1 tablespoon sugar in the recipe. ¬†This recipe was so incredibly easy to make. My family LOVED it. The lamb was tender and delicate in flavor. ¬†The mint offers a fresh “pop” to the dish. ¬†I highly recommend this recipe the next time you want to impress.

Lamb Chops with Cherry Balsamic Sauce and Mint (courtesy of

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen (not thawed) pitted sour cherries (1/2 lb)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 8 (3/4-inch-thick) rib lamb chops (2 lb total), trimmed of excess fat
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup thinly sliced shallot (4 oz)
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint

Stir fresh cherries together with sugar and macerate while browning chops. If using frozen cherries, stir with any juices and sugar and thaw, about 1 1/2 hours.

Pat lamb dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté 4 chops, turning over once, about 6 minutes total for medium-rare. Transfer to a plate and loosely cover with foil. Cook and transfer remaining 4 chops in same manner.

Pour off fat from skillet and add remaining tablespoon oil. Heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté shallot, stirring, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add cherries with juices, broth, and vinegar and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally and scraping up brown bits, then reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste, then add butter and 2 tablespoons mint, stirring just until butter is melted.

Spoon sauce over chops and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons mint.