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September 28, 2013 / Tony

Two Presidential Recipes

I found a gem of a cookbook lately at a local thrift store:



This cookbook was created by the Cocoa Beach Woman’s Club of Cocoa Beach Florida in 1973.  Dedicated to “all those who have had a part in the Space Program on the Ground, or in Outer Space, or on the Sidelines”, the proceeds from the sale of the book went towards the building and maintenance of the Space Coast Community Center at Cocoa Beach.  A two minute web search provided no detail on whether this center was ever built.  But no matter, our focus is on food.  Check out these two recipes from the “Sips, Nips, and Dips for VIP’s”:




Please pay attention to the two authors, Mrs. Gerald Ford and Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson.  Given the cookbook’s publication date of 1973, President Johnson had already served as President and President Ford became Vice-President that same year.  I surmise that Mrs. Johnson needed little in the way of introduction due to her husband’s significant involvement with the space program.  I further surmise that Gerald Ford was certainly less well-known than the President Johnson at the time but he still had some stature as being the Republican Minority Leader in the House of Representatives.   All of which is to say: these were wives of two men with an interest in the public’s perception of them. 

It is that point which makes these recipes so curious-they are so very plain.  They both rely on commercially available, processed food.  They both are exceptionally easy to make.  And they must have been accessible and familiar to the average American.  I think that is in stark contrast to what kind of recipe submission we would get from a modern politician.  If I can indulge in imaging a recipe submission from Michelle Obama, one can think of semi-exotic ingredients (so as not to seem too out of touch) and an emphasis on fresh/organic/locally sourced food.  (Check out this site for confirmation of my indulgence.)

What explains this difference?  I think the answer is twofold:  First, food has improved in the U.S. since 1973 in variety, quality, and technique.  Second, food is now a way to show sophistication and class.  Whether or not food should play that role, I have to say that even now I find some kinship with Mrs. Ford and Mrs. Johnson now that I know they made and served something that my mother and grandmother would have made.  That sense of connection between “ordinary Americans” and our representatives  would certainly be something always to be desired.  Perhaps President Obama’s “Beer Summit” wasn’t as terrible an idea as it seemed at the time. 

I suppose I should talk a little bit about the recipes.  The Cream Cheese Roll seems impossible on first glance as slicing cream cheese thinly is a tall order.  But, with the addition of butter, the roll might be stiff enough to slice thinly after refrigeration.  The addition of onion juice is interesting as well.  I hope my assumption that this is a fresh ingredient is correct.  It brings to mind tomato water and the creative things chefs have done with that ingredient.  Chile con Queso is purely processed food but I was interested to see all of the suggested uses and the exhortation to use it as a flavoring ingredient in other recipes.  The modern recipe instructs the use of a microwave instead of a double boiler.  I must add that the modern suggestion to put the dip over pasta is an abhorrent idea.  


November 13, 2011 / Tony

Coconut Marinated Salmon over Refried Black Beans with Spicy Cilantro Sauce

There is a certain allure to remembering and reinventing an old favorite recipe.  One can often have concurrent feelings of nostalgia and surprise, evoking a sense of connectedness with one’s own culinary past.  Last night, I reinvented Coconut-Lime Shrimp over Black Bean Cakes.  As you can tell from the picture, it was a wholesale reinvention.  Salmon takes the place of shrimp and the black bean cake is now the simplest refried black bean.  The spicy cilantro sauce remains almost the same but I tamed the salinity by reducing the amount of soy sauce.  The result was stellar.  The heat and acidity of the sauce pairs beautifully with the cooling coconut flavor in the salmon and perks up what would have been otherwise bland refried beans.  The marinade’s basil, garlic and ginger add just enough flavor to make things interesting and infuse the salmon with enough punch to stand up to the cilantro in the sauce.  It is simply delicious.  Here’s the recipe:

Coconut Marinated Salmon over Refried Black Beans with Spicy Cilantro Sauce

Coconut Marinated Salmon

1 T dried basil

1/2 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk

2 large garlic cloves

juice from 1 lime

1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger

2 teaspoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons fish sauce (nam pla)

About 1 lb of salmon filets

Combine all ingredients except salmon in a food processor and process until smooth.  Combine the marinade with the salmon in a gallon-sized resealable plastic bag.  Refrigerate and marinate for 2 hours.

Heat a little bit of vegetable oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat.  Remove the salmon from the marinade and pat the salmon dry.  Cook the salmon in the pan on both sides until the desired doneness is reached, about 8 minutes total.  If necessary, finish the cooking in a 400 degree oven so the salmon doesn’t overbrown. 

Spicy Cilantro Sauce

3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons water

1 clove garlic

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1/2 jalapeno chile

Freshly ground black pepper

Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until almost smooth.  Refrigerate until ready to use. 

Simplest Refried Black Beans

Cooked black beans, drained if in liquid

Vegetable oil

Heat the oil in a skillet.  Add the beans and cook till heated through.  Mash with a potato masher until the mixture looks like paste.  Add water (or stock) if desired.  Keep warm until ready to serve. 


Place some refried black beans on a plate.  Shingle the salmon over the black beans and ladle with the spicy cilantro sauce.  Add a vegetable or extra sauce to the plate if desired.  Pass additional sauce on the side. 

November 11, 2011 / katelynb

A Quick Re-Cap.

I really don’t want to ramble to much this morning, just post pictures and get you caught up on our lives since we last left off.  Here we go, enjoy!

I gave Emma a hair cut to try to mask the hack job she did on her bangs:

doughnuts make me *THIS HAPPY* too!

I made a Santa hat for Sage’s Halloween costume:

then proceeded to take Anne Geddes style pictures of him:

“number munchers” … in short, a quick little game we made with an empty tissue box and some cardboard numbers.  If you haven’t checked out PINTEREST yet, do it!


Trick-or-Treating at the office:

Sage in his Sunday Best:

Lots and lots and lots of smiles from him lately!

That’s all for now … will post more later!  Enjoy the day.


October 20, 2011 / katelynb

Birthday Party + Grandmas and Grandpas + So Much More.

I have so much to catch up on!  We had a tremendous weekend visiting my family in Sauk Rapids and lots of fun this week at home.  Take a look:

Here we are at my Mom and Dad’s house playing a friendly game of “pin the spider on the web” … a game I created quickly the night before we celebrated Jordan’s 6th birthday.  I can barely believe how old she is already, I remember the day she was born!

We ran into a few interruptions since I placed the web on the backside of the door leading to the garage.  It didn’t help much that my dad had no idea what was going on when he opened the door and saw Tony walking toward him blindfolded and arms out… Ha!

I took a shot at it:

so did the birthday girl:

Grandpa Moey, Grandma Rena and Yaga came to the house for lunch too.  Grandpa Moey loves his First Great Grandson (4th great grand child):

and so does Grandma Rena! (3rd great grand child)  She was busy with a baby on her lap recording the gift opening portion of the celebration when we moved over to Country Manor to be together with Sue:

Grandpa Mike Lights the candles:

and Jordan makes a special wish:

a little family photo opp before we busted out of there in hopes to get Emma down for a nap:

and a nice squeeze from Grandpa:

then more celebrating later!  It had been so long since we’d seen my family that I came bearing gifts for Mom (birthday 8/24) Emily (9/5) Jordan (10/7) AND Dad (10/31) !!  He opened his gift that night.  Lotto tickets but not big winners:

Later that night the kids snuggled up together under blankets on the floor with Grandma while Tony saw a friend in town and Emily and I went out for some sister time.  Poor little Sage was the Turkey in the Middle!

More recently, Emma enjoyed an apple snack with caramel dip and a cute hair bow which is actually a baby bow tie from one of Sage’s outfits:

Here’s a closer look at that cute thing.  I’m thinking about clipping it to a chain and wearing it myself, as a necklace…

The kids and I hit up the thrift store yesterday afternoon.  Sage was very good, he just enjoyed being held and looking around at things.  Emma was great too, she loves to pick things up and hug them and touch things and bring them over to me and show me.  She loves to dig in bins!  She is a perfect thrifting partner and the best part… she doesn’t get attached!  She has no problem saying goodbye and putting whatever neat thing she found back on the shelf. Thank goodness for that, otherwise we would be going home with armloads of stuffed animals each time, yuck!  Here is a look at some of the things we found:

Now don’t get confused, this is NOT Santa Claus!  What a great Halloween Costume for him, eh?  Grabbed this cutie for just $2.99  This weekend I will have to work on at hat.

10” embroidery hoop for .69 (thrift stores always have TONS of these!) and knitting needles too if you are into that sort of thing.  I am using this as the base for the mobil I am making.

and last but not least, a brand new pair of Naturalizers for $4 !!!

these are so dang cute the deserve another picture:

oh yeah, I almost forgot about my cute vintage earrings that are soaking in peroxide as we speak, each pair was just .49:

Have a Happy Thursday!

October 15, 2011 / katelynb

I’ve Been a Bad Blogger!

Holy Moly I have not blogged in a while!  Here are some pictures of our week:

two quarters + 1 yard (clearance fabric from Joann $3) + hot glue = This awesome fabric covered cork board for my craft room!

more fabric I got with 40% off coupon.  I intend to cover the lamp shade and make a padded seat for the piano bench we fixed last weekend, but I will have to go back and get more of this fabric.  I thought 1 yard was enough to cover the lamp shade but it is too big… this is a good thing!  Will post pictures of these projects when they’re done.

We had friends for dinner last weekend.  Tony made an amazing German meal, I drank too much wine, we played a friendly game of Scruples, and our guests brought dessert:

more jumpy fun in the Jumperoo:

crafted a Pottery Barn knockoff Candle holder.  This basically cost me the price of the glass vase (.50 thrifted?)

Tony scores major points for thinking up a sensory project to keep Emma entertained:

fun with apple slices:

I’m trying to sneak fun into everything:

something the kids can agree on – Baby Einstein videos!

In preparation for cousin Cole’s football game last night, we did a project:

Emma was adorable waving this flag at the game:

this is a typical afternoon at our house:

Emma is still into diapering everything:

sadly, this is one of the only pictures I got from the game.  I spent most of it warm in the car with Sage.  Perfection!

October 7, 2011 / katelynb

Breakfast is Fun + Glasses for Reading.

So the other day Emma asked for cereal and milk and this is what I surprised her with:

and who needs one of those weird but handy NUK clips when you have pockets:

I picked up some readers at the store yesterday since my Optometrist is being anything but helpful… long story short… staring at a computer screen for 4+ hours each day hurts my eyes and the drops I got are not helping.  Emma wanted to try them on:

and so did Sage:

Happy Weekend!

October 6, 2011 / Tony

This Combination is Crazy Good

Homemade Basil Ice Cream and Trader Joe’s Ginger Cats Cookies for People.  Seriously addictive: