Tag Archives: baking


Developing Recipes Through Unchartered Waters


Dear Gary,

Hi! Hey, remember in my last email I mentioned that we planned to spend the weekend creating new recipes and cooking up a storm? Well, this is what we did and I can’t wait to tell you all about it and show you some photo’s, too!  I love having a kitchen to cook in again. I think the one thing I missed the most this past year while I was living in the hotel with you was having a kitchen of my own. I’ll bet you feel the same way, too.

Yesterday I thought that if I could live on cappuccino and cake alone, I’d be quite satisfied. Today it has become a different story — woman can not live on cappuccino and cake alone.

The recipe to sustain life goes something like this:  we need to eat to sustain our bodies and creativity to stimulate our minds to live.  We need food to eat. Food needs a recipe. Our pallates need variety. Variety needs creativity. Creativity needs our mind which is the driving force that leads us through unchartered waters to develop new recipes. We need new recipes for the food we eat to sustain our bodies to live  —  which is why Leslie and I cooked and ate all weekend! That’s my story anyway and I’m sticking to it! 🙂


We worked at the oversized table in Leslie’s kitchen, sitting side-by-side, writing and chatting away and breaking only at night for dinner. In planning the upcoming weekend we agreed to only use ingredients that were already locked and loaded in her kitchen. Luckily, we found everything we needed to create note-worthy recipes.  Recipes by happenstance.

We cultivated three seductive recipes, lip-smacking food adventures that were surprisingly delicious and satisfying, worthy-of-a second-helping dinners. This made us happy and being happy is the only way to rock and roll, right? I wish you could have been here, babe! You would have loved the food we made. It really was good.

recipesandrelationshipsOne of Leslie’s food blogger friends has developed and launched the Not Ketchup line of gourmet dipping sauces in three enticing flavors that tasted as good as their name promises. She happened to have two of the three dipping sauces on hand.  We used the Cherry Chipotle Sauce in the dressing for our LA Tex-Mex Salad we made the first night.  We used the Smoky Date sauce in our second recipe which I’ll tell you about in my next email. The Cherry Chipotle Sauce added the WOW factor to the dressing. Leslie also used the Smoky Date Sauce in her amazing  Hot Chocolate Soufflé Cake  recipe she just posted on her Bake This Cake blog.

RecipesandrelationshipsLA Tex-Mex Salad with Cherry Chipotle (by Not Ketchup) Dressing was the perfect meal and just what we needed after a week of baking and eating wonderful sweet cakes (like Leslie’s Jewish Coffee Cake and her amazing Lemon Pudding Cake).

The recipe for the LA Tex-Mex Salad is for two people (check out my Recipes for Two — a link to my Pinterest Board, which is under  development). The ingredients are:

1 cup black beans (our beans were homemade from the night before, but you can substitute canned black beans)
1 ear of fresh corn, steamed and cut off the cob (or visa versa)
1 cup vine-ripened mini sweet orange & yellow peppers, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cucumber, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 teaspoon parsley, finely chopped
1 green scallion, fine sliced
1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
1 whole avocado, cut into bite sized pieces (added after the salad is tossed with the dressing)

Cherry Chipotle Not Ketchup Dressing:
1 Tablespoon mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon sour cream
1 Tablespoon Not Ketchup Cherry Chipotle Dipping Sauce
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1 Pinch of salt

You toss all the salad ingredients together (without the avocado), add the dressing and toss again, toss the chunks of avocado right on top, serve and EAT! It ain’t rocket science, baby but it’s good! A very filling but healthy dinner for two!


Anyway, back to the email (do you want me to make our salad above  the next time I see you?) 

After that weekend it hit me that most recipes (old and new) begin with a very basic recipe as their foundation. This is especially true for sauces (which I’m prone to lean towards being my mother and grandmother were French chefs and I grew up with incredible sauces) which typically begin with a basic white sauce (flour, milk, butter and salt and, if you add cheese it becomes a basic cheese sauce).  I remember my mom taught me how to make a basic white sauce before I left home for college.  Now that I think about it, I’ll bet I’ve cooked hundreds of recipes that began with a basic white sauce and I mean for all kinds of dishes including casseroles, pasta, meat and even pizza! 

In baking cakes, using the same basic ingredients in the beginning is true almost 100% of the time — butter, sugar, cream, vanilla, eggs, flour and salt.

So Leslie and I cultivated recipes beginning with the basics and from there we added some very unlikely as well as some predictable food to the basic ingredients which were a success!

Gary, I think this is the same for us in our development of our Relationship Recipe which will always begin with the basics —  The Rules of Engagement  (which I want to talk to you about and will in my next email).  So now I’m getting really sleepy and think I’ll call it a night (and it’s early, too!) but before I sign off I wanted to share this last bit with you about Sydney.


As you already know I’ve been working very long hours which often go well into the wee hours of the morning, and our baby puppy girl, Sydney, is not on-board with these late night hours. You know how she gets those dark circles under her eyes when she’s tired and ready to go to bed? Down here, she stands in the hall staring at me (darting her eyes back and forth between me and the bedroom) with her dewy dark eyes pleading with me to call it a night so we can go to bed and snuggle. We compromise (which is a great resolution to most conflicts). She curls up on my lap to sleep while I work. I wrap her up in Leslie’s shirt (which hangs on the back of her chair next to mine) and tuck it tightly around her and tie it to me so she doesn’t fall off!

Night Candles photo by Leslie MacchiarellaLike I just mentioned, I’ve been thinking about something important which I want to talk with you about and it’s likely I won’t catch you tonight since you’re already working — which is just as well because I’m exhausted.  If I don’t talk to you tonight, I’ll talk to you tomorrow. 

Love..XOXOXO  Your girls