Author Archives: betsy

Welcome to the Heat Dome {CtBF}

Hi Guys!  I’ve missed you!  Due to lots of travel and visitors and lack of pre-planning, I completely skipped June with my Cook the Book Fridays friends.  It was a great month with two family graduations and my college reunion.

Proud Aunts with Nephew’s Graduation


College Reunion


Proud Aunts with Other Nephew’s Graduation

The past week, New England has been under a “heat dome” with high humidity and temperatures day after day in the 90s.  It reminds me of the weather of my childhood in Maryland, which I thought I’d escaped with my residence in New England.   Warmer summers have migrated north.  A house without air-conditioning is not always workable.  A bedroom unit helps, though not wanting to hole up there all day, the current approach involves frequent outings to cooler inside places.  Howard rigged up a brilliant mister system that works for outside time.  I figured out how to sit in the spray and keep a book dry while I read.

This week’s cooking challenge for Cook the Book Fridays Baba Ganoush (or moutabal, in French) fits perfectly in a sane cooking strategy for a hotter-than-hell week as it involves minimal cooking.  Howard charred the outside of the eggplants while the grill was fired up for some burgers.  The eggplants finish cooking in the oven.  After that, all the ingredients were pureed in the food processor for a wonderful dip to scoop up with pita chips for a snack or part of lunch.  Howard tried it, but as you know, eggplant’s not his thing.  I, on the other hand, really enjoyed this version of baba ganoush.  The recipe makes a generous amount, so one eggplant’s worth (half) might have been enough.

I never seem to make the same recipe twice, but this is a good one.  The smoky Aleppo pepper adds a subtle undertone that complements the charred eggplant.  I also liked the recommended puddle of olive oil on top.  We did the same thing with the hummus from the same book.  It’s an attractive and tasty technique.  If you’d like to give this a try, you can find the recipe on page 64 of David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen.  You can see other reviews of the recipes by following the links here.

Not all my cooking plans for this week were sane.  For some reason, I decided that homemade bagels would be the perfect holiday breakfast on the 4th of July.  What genius thought boiling water and turning the oven up to 500 degrees when it was already in the high 80s in the kitchen was a good idea?  I did follow through, with delicious results, but next time I will take the weather into account.

I’m glad to be back.  See you again soon!


Cheesy Magic?  {CtBF}

With soufflés, it seems that timing is everything. You’ve got to be ready with the rest of the meal an instant BEFORE the soufflés come out of the oven.  They don’t scare me, but I’ll admit that it all seems a little fussy to me.  Going into this challenge, I wasn’t 100% convinced about the magic of a soufflé, but I was open-minded.

This week’s recipe for Cook the Book Fridays is for cheese, bacon, and arugula soufflés.  We thrive on leftovers here, so the fact that leftover soufflé is just not a thing means that I needed to make only enough for one meal.  I opted to halve the recipe and hope that eating two soufflés each wasn’t too much.  Plus I needed to find an evening when I had time to make the recipe.  In fact, I didn’t get around to it until tonight even though I was running around all day getting ready for the garden club’s big plant sale tomorrow.

Making soufflé isn’t that hard, but there are a lot of steps.  Cooking the bacon, wilting the greens, grating the cheeses, making the roux, separating eggs, and so on.  I worked my way through it methodically, and things came together without a hitch.  The twice-baked twist on this recipe was interesting but added to my feeling that the recipe was fussy.


We ate two personalized soufflés each with a big green salad for a satisfying meal. The flavors were nice, but we both felt that it was too much like a quiche without its advantages (like more flexible timing on serving and leftovers).  My takeaway from this recipe is a new inspiration for a quiche or frittata filling.


So I’m still not convinced that a soufflé is worth the effort.

However, if you want to try, you can find the recipe of page 139 of David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen.  And you can check out other reviews by following my friends’ links here.