Guest host Shane Francescut says go photograph a stationary subject from three different angles. Check out his photoblog The Weekly Minute, it’s so inspiring.

Where Creativity Meets Good Taste 

This is the ultimate cooking school and party space near me in Tequesta, Florida.  It’s Foodie Heaven. And Lenore is its Goddess.

She has a swellegant demonstration kitchen where you can learn new techniques, improve your skills, or just sit back and watch. She offers hands-on interactive classes and demonstrations. I attended the demo ~ Lenore did all the cooking, I did all the tasting.


In The Kitchen serves real food.  Fresh, natural ingredients.  Seasonal, local, organic.

For you gardeners and farm share holders, here’s my idol, Lenore, with a timely demo.



Toni 9/2/15



Gardening with herbs, which is becoming increasingly popular, is indulged in by those who like subtlety in their plants in preference to brilliance.”

Helen Morgenthau Fox



Ah, basil. I stand amid the waist-high plants and tear off leaves.  Stormy winds and chilly nights are coming and I’m not taking any chances. My basil is besiegingly lovely. Beyond Utterance. A bull moose bumper crop of Biblical measure.

Basil was so revered in ancient civilizations that only kings and priests could gather it.  My Italian grandmother taught me to tear basil and Never Ever cut it with a knife.


In ancient Rome, basil was called Basilescus, meaning the Basilisk~  a fire-breathing, half-lizard, half-dragon creature with a fatal piercing stare. This creature had the head of a rooster, the body of a serpent, and the wings of a bat. Basil leaves were said to be the only cure for its bite as well as its withering breath, which could kill plants and animals. The Romans ( and my father) believed you needed to rant and swear while sowing the seeds in order to get the most potent plant possible.


There’s good basil and bad basil.  Basil was considered a powerful protector, planted around temples and laid with the dead. But, in Sicily, they say that basil dropped between two bricks transforms into a scorpion. (I recently learned that babies have something in common with basil.  Listen to the candidates take on the issue of anchor babies. There are good babies and bad babies? Dropped, not born? Sigh.)

I say escape the stormy political hysteria.

Get yourself some basil.

Make pesto.

Cheering effect guaranteed.


2 ounces of parmigiano reggiano cheese

1 garlic clove

1/2 cup pine nuts

2 cups packed fresh basil

some parsley

1/4 cup olive oil

Place the cheese and the garlic in a food processor and whirr until fine. Add the basil and pine nuts and drizzle in the olive oil slowly until the pesto is thoroughly processed.

Add the pesto, a little pasta water, and a few grinds of black pepper to the serving bowl mixture and toss well.

Pounding fragrant things — particularly garlic, basil, parsley — is a tremendous antidote to depression. But it applies also to juniper berries, coriander seeds and the grilled fruits of the chilli pepper. Pounding these things produces an alteration in one’s being — from sighing with fatigue to inhaling with pleasure. The cheering effects of herbs and alliums cannot be too often reiterated. Virgil’s appetite was probably improved equally by pounding garlic as by eating it.”

Toni 8/29/15


It’s Julia Child’s birthday. oooh, Butter cake.


Thank you, PBS, you make me happy. I cook along with Julia and learn plenty. Julia says fix your mistakes or learn to live with them. And she does – with savoir faire.


Julia’s an expert plucker, skinner, and boner. I watch her cut up a chicken, loosen skin from flesh, and pull the bones out of a goose. She stirs two pots at a time and has such a jolly time doing it that I, too, cook with a spoon in each hand. Her humor and appetite for la cuisine francaise is contagious.

As much as she is devoted to the “rules” of French cooking, Julia revels in culinary exploration. Her sense of wonder and inquisitiveness inspire me whenever I reach for a copper pot. As her recipes grow bolder, so do mine – tender escargot bobbling in garlicky butter and musky truffles redolent of earth. Pure Flavorful Heaven. Ouf!


But Julia is more than the Master of French Cooking. She is A Writer. No stranger to the arduous writing process, the cut-and-dried business end of publishing, the seven hundred pages that need pruning. Mastering the Art of French Cooking is her labor of love.


Julia’s tome needed a good final edit.  So when Julia’s editor said her book was unpublishable – too big, too expensive, too elaborate – she murdered some of her darlings. Tons were ‘killed’ but not discarded. Julia saved those foolproof recipes for subsequent books. Limaces to be used another day.

Don’t slugs sound lovelier in French?

Julia inspires legions of cooks like me who muck about in the kitchen. We do so care what she made for lunch, however daunting it seems.

Some of us cooks also like to play here at WordPress where millions of bloggers inspire legions of writers to hit the publish button.

photo credit George, The Off Key of Life


So today, WWWW is taking a breath, backing away from the stats (yes, we eyeball ours, just like you do ) to introduce you to Friend/Follower #3313, George, at The Off Key of Life. He isn’t cataloguing his pantry shelves or obsessing over finding the perfect microplane. He’s just mucking about with words. Bon Appétit.

Toni 8/15/2015


WP designer Brie says get up close and personal with your subject this week.

Percebes at the Festa do Marisco de Vigo

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Percebes are tube-shaped crustaceans that cling to the granite rocks of the storm-bashed Galician coastline. Pollicipes cornucopia, or goose barnacles, are cartoonishly inelegant but fearfully tasty.  Ask Spanish gourmets.

Knife and fork are not required for this impossibly ugly, extremely expensive delicacy. You pinch the foot between your thumb and finger, pull the inner tube out of its scaly case, twist off the claw, and eat the flesh.

Harvesting percebes is hazardous business.  Collectors, called percebeiros, have to maneuver down steep rocks or jump from boats in crashing surf to reach them, risking death. The very best goose barnacles are found on the Costa da Morte — the Coast of Death — in north-west Galicia. Not likely to be confused with the Costa del Sol.

These punks of the crustacean family thrive in violent waters. Watch  daredevil percebeiros torqued to the limit. Click hereHoly percebes!

My first encounter with briny-sweet percebes was in the fishing port of Vigo during the Festa de Percebes. Everyone tucks into mountains of this exotic gourmet gold accompanied by plenty of Albariño, the local white wine.


The best of the sea in a mouthful.

Quite the swashbuckling swallow.



Toni 7/28/15


Whether you say ‘tomato’ or ‘tomahto’, what passes for Lycopersicon esculentum in stores these days is a mad huge disappointment. Unless the genetic engineers fix the tomato they have broken, I say let’s call the whole thing off.



The supermarket faux-tomato is crossbred for resistance to pests and diseases, to have firm flesh and thick skin. It’s picked when it’s green and ripened in a warehouse with ethylene gas. Flavor? It tastes more like cardboard than fruit. Researchers have discovered one reason why: a genetic mutation, common in store-bought tomatoes, that reduces the amount of sugar and other tasty compounds.

The Dunn Farmers Market is open every Saturday during the summer to offer fresh, locally grown produce.

I grow my own tomatoes and vegetables and shop the farmers’ markets for berries. I visit farm-to-table cafes and talk to locavore chefs who love to share their newfangled takes on classic, and not-so-classic, vegetables. I cannot tell a lie ~ I’m a gawker who trolls the glossy pages of seed catalogs. And quirky garden websites.


Got a culinary obsession? I do. Tomatoes that taste like, well, tomatoes.

redbrandy1Humble heirlooms grown without crossbreeding. And, if they happen to look like Jesus, it just might be a sign.



Singer/songwriter Kate Campbell thought so when she saw this on a roadside in North Carolina.


I bought a pack of seeds
Tennessee Bradleys
The best homegrown you’ll find
How it happened I don’t know
Must’ve been the Miracle-Gro
Oh, I could not believe my eyes
In my tomato bed
A holy image blood red.

Have a listen.

Click on playlist in the upper left hand corner, then click on the third song down, Jesus and Tomatoes Coming Soon.

The Tennessee Bradley tomato in Campbell’s song was released in 1961 by Dr. Joe McFerran of the University of Arkansas.


Dr. Joe named this tomato in honor of his father, Bradley. It’s perfect for a ‘mater sandwich.

fall fields fog sun

Farming is no romp ~ it’s a sweat job to take care of the land, plant the right seeds in the right places, and be the engine for the delicious revolution going on. Farmers constantly tinker with plants to improve the taste and nutrition of what we pluck from store shelves. Organically. Responsibly.


Love corn? Right this minute, they’re stalking the perfect ear, the best homegrown from heaven what rises up from the dirt.



It’s difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato.

-Lewis Grizzard



Toni 7/16/15