Blue Iris

I work part time in my home in New Mexico. My granddaughters, ten and eleven, come over after school. My Corgi-Beagle dog Cristina always makes me smile. I love to garden.

  • Location: Rio Rancho
  • Favorite foods: Anything made with good ingredients and love. I learned a lot when my mom cooked her way thru Julia Child. At home (Pennsylvania) we gardened, canned tomatoes and applesauce and pickles, made bread every other day.
  • Last bite on earth: The very best of fruit and cheese, and a key lime pie made from the recipe in an old edition of The Joy of Cooking.

Latest Comments

Horchata de Arroz

Thanks for the recipe! I would love to know how to treat the almonds. Grind and strain? Is the whole thing heated up before it is cooled? I know it needs to be really cold to taste best.

We love horchata from a local Mexican drive up place. I have made a fake version for the granddaughters with 1/2 whole milk, 1/2 ice water, vanilla and almond extracts, organic sugar. Not the same but pretty good.

Cinco de Mayo Poll: Mild, Medium, or Hot Salsa?

Go, Toad! Of course I make salsa when I can get decent tomatoes, but I'm not ashamed to have Pace Chunky Medium around for quick snacks and enchiladas/quesadillas made with what's on hand. That's better after school snacking than most kids get.

Keeping herbs in the fridge

I like those green bags and no wet paper towels. The green bags aren't a miracle but noticeably better than regular plastic bags.

To Bean or Not to Bean?

@Amandarama: It does work like a charm as Kitchenista says. I take it with the first bite as the instructions suggest. Have never tried taking it 30 minutes before.

To Bean or Not to Bean?

I use three kinds of beans, usually white, pinto and kidney.

@dhorst; I agree that the creamy mouth feel from well cooked beans is part of the not-Texan chili experience.

For meat, I use 'chili grind', a coarse ground beef we can get here in New Mexico.

Poll: What Kind of Cheese Do You Like on Grilled Cheese?

Cheddar on homemade sandwich bread. In summer, add a tomato slice and just a sprinkle of fresh herbs of your choice.

To save calories and time, I find that I can toast the bread (brown but still soft) and microwave the sandwich to just melt the cheese. Not quite the same but delicious and good for 'tween granddaughters after school.

Spice & Easy on FN

No blends used other than the Chinese five spice. I hate most blends -- they are often full of, guess what, salt! I also liked that she didn't use fancy appliances.

stinky watercress

I don't know the Midwest well, but watercress is common on old farms in the Northeast where it is grown in spring runs or even in really little streams. If you are in an area where there are springs, you might find watercress at a farmer's market.

Suggestions for cooking for many at the beach

You might make and freeze at home pasta sauces, soups, stews etc -- things which taste even better after the flavors "marry" in the freezer. These are often budget dishes.

If it is going to be very hot where you are going, roasted chicken to use cold in a salad or just sliced, and meats pre-marinated for the grill (as Jerzee Tomato did) might be more appropriate.

Happy Earth Day!

Apologies if you think this is off topic: compost fruit and vegetable scraps if you are able. In my tiny yard, I simply stick the stuff under any mulch.

Cook the Book: 'In The Green Kitchen'

how to have every dish ready at serving time.

Ideas For Roast Chicken Pan Dripping

Similar to dhorst's suggestion, separate the fat and use it for home fries. It's not French fries made in duck fat, but it's far better than the home fries at your favorite breakfast place. Except for the spatters, I don't mind if a little of that brown juice is in there too.

when to freeze bread dough?

About freezing the loaf, I sometimes take bread or rolls out of the oven at the stage where they are like 'brown and serve' things you can buy -- still pretty white but fully risen. I freeze them but not for long, maybe a month maximum. Thaw completely and brown at 275 - 300 degrees. I often brush them with butter during the baking. This works best when you have guests who will finish the loaf or rolls because 're-baked' bread dries out very fast.

The smell in the house is nice but not like the real thing.

there's a hole in my bread!

I make sandwich bread regularly. After I cut the dough into portions to make each loaf, I roughly form the loaf and then smack, I mean SMACK, that loaf down on the counter. Then form into a loaf and seal. Let rise in pans.

If there is still air in there, you can sometimes look at the dough in the pan and notice a high thin spot where a bubble is forming. Back to step one. Good luck!

Salad Dressing Help

I also make it one day at a time in the bowl the salad is going into. Give it a whisk and let it sit in the bottom. Toss just before serving.

You'll never buy the bottled stuff again and you'll save a lot of money even if you use fancy oils.


My daughter who became an Mickey D-ite as soon as she got her own wheels is baaaack. What happened? She's pregnant and feeling queasy. "Mom, I've haven't been eating anything except fruit, salad and yogurt."

Some of it is not being able to keep greasy foods down. I hope some of it is thinking about her baby.

Cook the Book: 'Osteria'

Pork loin and sauerkraut with mashed potatoes.

Bodily Functions at Serious Eats

What bodily functions? Either they went over my head (poor choice of metaphor) or I wasn't offended. That said, we do love to laugh here and sometimes get a little crazy. In a good way. Let's move on!

My bread dough is rising too fast(?)

Like dmarina, I wonder if you had rapid rise yeast. I hate that stuff.

Will you succumb to Girl Scout Cookies?

They aren't bad for mass-produced cookies. I ducked them this year because I don't usually have cookies in the house and when they are there I eat too many too fast!

Measuring Cups - Difference between wet and dry?

@db: mumble mumble MENISCUS. Saying it is fun for the tongue.

S.O.S. (...on a shingle): Way or No Way?

WAY! When I was little (40's in Pennsylvania) "creamed hamburg" on toast was one of our standard breakfasts (creamed dried beef less often). It is one of my standard comfort foods. Just had it for dinner (actually I still call it supper) two nights ago after a tough day.

@Karencooks: this in how I make it, and how my mother made it: Crumble ground beef in a cast iron skillet. I use 80/20 chuck for good flavor. As soon as it loses its red color sprinkle with flour (I use Wondra these days) and stir it until you see no flour. Keeping stirring to brown the flour a bit but don't burn. Add whole milk and let simmer for about 10 minutes to get rid of the raw flour taste. Add salt and lots of ground pepper. Serve on toast on a warmed plate.

With the dried beef, I use the kind from the jar, torn into bits. Because it is fairly lean, melt some butter in the skillet first. At the end be careful with the salt as the beef is pretty salty.

I never heard the SOS name until I was grown even though my dad had a foul mouth. Maybe that name came out of the military.

Relish Tray: Way or No Way?

I sometimes use mine on hot summer nights for various cut veggies with one pickle section. Serve with, say, crackers and cheese, or chicken salad, and sweet tea. And a forties floral tablecloth. My granddaughters find it very exotic and elegant.

Seal the Deal Meals

Homemade bread did it with my ex. The bread is a better deal than he was!

What are your everyday breads?

I make a half bread flour/half whole wheat bread and use it mostly for toast. Sometimes I add kamut (posts about that last fall), leftover oatmeal, cooked cracked wheat. Once in a while I make dinner rolls, the soft buttery kind for fancy dinners, more rustic ones for stews and soups.

You guys who don't make bread should give it a try, machine or no. The house smells so good. Just follow a good recipe to start. It doesn't take a lot of time but there are several steps separated by an hour or more, so do it on a day when you will be home anyway.