Next??? Cable TV!

If Food Network and HGTV started a joint new show, it would kind of be my life this week!

A very jiggly batch of local, sustainably raised beef bone broth, courtesy of the Instant Pot electric pressure cooker, delivered to an ailing dog buddy yesterday, on the way to Michael’s for more paintbrushes.

Several requests for the scoop on last week’s dinner party which — Ooops! — I forgot to take pictures of. Fortunately, I needed lunch today so will include details, below.

A very vivid — read that painful — reminder of one of our old family stories on Sunday.

And a welcome hour or so in the company of the late Tony Bourdain while I waited for paint to dry last night.

First, the reason I won’t laugh at an old Dave story anymore.

Dave was 10 when we moved to Tennessee. We lived in the middle of nowhere, between Fayetteville, TN and Huntsville, AL. It was a bit of a change from Atlanta.

No pizza delivery. Minimal grocery stores. A 45 minute round trip to the KFC.

And no stove for the first 4 months we lived there.

We spent a fair amount of time hanging out at TGI Fridays and Red Lobster in Huntsville.

Other than being raised by a foodie dad, this may be one of the big factors in my journey to local food fanatic.

Anyway, one night we went to Red Lobster. I can’t remember what my junior sea food conniseur ordered but he asked for horseradish with it.

Expecting the creamy horseradish sauce he was used to at Fridays, he took an enthusiastic bite.

You’ll have an accurate grasp of what happened next if you recall the old Bill Cosby routine about belly buttons and the kid that flew around the room backwards and landed on the floor, flat as a piece of paper, with “nuthin’ but his ole eyes buggin’ out!”

Straight up, grated horseradish was clearly not what Dave was expecting.

So, Sunday, when the miracle happened and we left the dogs home while we went out to lunch, I ordered sushi at Noodle (Decatur) which is one of my favorite hang outs. Knowing that Bill wouldn’t be home for dinner, I ordered with leftovers in mind.

All was well with the world. About half a Scorpion King roll (which has a lot to do with shrimp and crab and nothing to do with scorpions) with a bit of pickled ginger, plus a hard-boiled egg * and a chopped avocado tossed with capers and trout roe**  plus a pair of chopsticks from our personal stash and I was ready for a feast.

Until a bit of that lovely, organic avocado turned out to be about a pea-sized chunk of straight wasabi.

Dave and Bill Cosby had nothing on me. I literally thought the top of my head would come off. Hence my oath not to laugh about Dave again! (Well, not about the horseradish!!!)

Last night, an awesome pot of soup with beef and pork broth plus some local artisanal sausage from our friends at Pine Street Market and leftover roasted brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and tiny potatoes. With more stashed in the fridge for feeding the Friday lunch crowd.

In the meantime, some staging help  for a friend with a charming house on the market in a great area of town. Some chair seats to recover and art to swap out. Another round of de-personalizing. And some spare linens with a relaxing, Caribbean sort of feel to them.

But, back to my favorite things from the tapas party last week.

We started with assorted French olives and some half-sour pickles from the Farmers Market. A bit of crab broth made of Florida stone crab claws, with a small scoop of rice, some asparagus and bunapi mushrooms, and a bit of trout roe**.

Little canoe shaped endive leaves stuffed with really good, Spanish, Ortiz Bonito del Norte tuna courtesy of our friends at Zingerman’s. You dress yours the way you like it. I do mine with some of the excellent olive oil it’s packed in, fresh lemon juice, finely chopped parsley stems and freshly crushed peppercorns.

And hard-boiled eggs, which I’ve finally figured out how to get right in the Instant Pot! *

Here’s how I do it, in our 8 quart Duo pot:

Add 1 c. water to the inner pot. Place one of those cool egg trivet gizmos, with 7 eggs, into the pot. We use more or less large sized, pasture raised, very fresh local eggs.

Secure the lid and set the pressure release knob to “sealing”.

Set unit to pressure cook on medium pressure for 3 minutes, with the “keep warm” feature turned off.

When it sings the little song that lets you know it’s done cooking, set the timer for 5 minutes of “natural” pressure releasing.

Prepare a bowl of ice water.

After the pressure releases for 5 minutes, switch the valve to “venting” and cover with a kitchen towel. When the little pop-up thing goes down, which will take about 3 – 5 minutes more, open the lid and transfer the eggs to the ice bath with tongs.

I’ll admit, I had to practice a while. I read lots of directions and played with the time. This is the process that leaves me with perfectly done, easy to peel eggs and time to sneak in a bit of painting between steps.

Peel eggs just before serving. I drizzled mine with garlic infused olive oil, added a tiny scoop of the trout roe** and sprinkled with crushed red pepper flakes and a bit of flaky Maldon finishing salt.

Round out your feast with some local, artisanal charcuterie, in this case copa, and crackers, as desired for your guests. I used Georgia Sourdough crackers with sea salt, thanks, again, to Pine Street Market. The gluten-free crackers with seeds work, too.

As for Tony Bourdain, he was in the Dominican Republic enjoying what reminded me of the island version of Chopinno, named for the tradition of everybody chipping in what they had. In this case, somebody had some veg and somebody had some bones and so on. It’s a really good way to eat!

For now, though, back to painting the cosmos. And, probably, me!



Magic Wands

Over the years, I’ve developed quite a collection of magic wands.

The sparkly, beaded one found me in a tiny shop in Black Mountain, NC somewhere around the year 2000. It’s been a handy teaching metaphor for counseling clients through the years though, sadly, it didn’t come with an owner’s manual.

Then there’s the paintbrush which, as it turns out, is quite a bit more useful for making magic than the pretty, moon shaped one.

And then there’s our third magic wand for today.

You guessed it! It is, in fact, a meat thermometer of the old-fashioned, non-digital, actually working sort. Perfectly designed for telling when my fabulous roast chicken is crispy and juicy and exactly done.

Bill and I made two of those chickens on Sunday which, around here, is step one of the magic known as bone broth.

Actually, it might be step two. Step one happens on local farms where my sustainable farmer friends raise chickens like, well, chickens which follow us home from Pine Street Market.


Anyway, the carcasses of those chickens, along with some miscellaneous turkey bones from the freezer, and a whole bunch of onions, garlic, and herbs, disappear into an enormous vat of water and appear, about 16 hours later, as a nourishing, healing elixir of comfort. (Which leaves lots of time for art!!!)


Several of you have asked, recently, for the roast chicken recipe. I’m delighted to oblige!

Click here! 

Fix. Enjoy. Freeze the bones. The broth recipe will be along shortly.

It really is magic. (Especially for breakfast!)

For more soup magic, check out my book:  Let’s Boil Bones… Grammy’s guide to bone broth and other yummy things!




Birthday Feasts!

Today is Bill’s birthday. He decided to skip celebrations involving dessert until the girls are here for Spring Break.

They are excellent bakers!

The choice for this day… pork products.

For brunch, a spring time tradition at our house.

Fresh roasted asparagus, local sustainably raised eggs, and “paleo” bacon, new from our friends at Pine Street Market.

Paleo bacon is pork belly cured with salt and pepper, without sugar.

An excellent thing for many reasons!

We oven roast it in a cast iron skillet (just like traditional bacon) at 400 F. for about 25 minutes, adjusting a bit as desired for crispiness.

The asparagus, tossed with olive oil and S&P, also roasts at 400 F. We like it rare… about 8 minutes.

Fry your lovely eggs in the bacon skillet.

A smidge of grated lemon rind is a delightful addition.

For dinner, one of his favorites. Sausage and peppers.

We’ll brown a rosemary scented sausage (Thanks, again, Pine Street!) in an iron skillet and finish it in the oven.

Served with organic sautéed orange bell peppers and onions, over a bed of baby arugula, it’s an easy celebration feast.

And it all supports clean local food and the friends who bring it to our table.

It doesn’t get much better than that.

In the meantime, the asparagus is taking hold in our garden.

I saw the first bee of the season yesterday.

My baby basil plant has recovered from a bit of a chill night before last and is looking forward to hanging on the deck in the sun for at least a couple of days until it gets too chilly again.

I’m plotting my next vat of bone broth. To go with our theme, probably pork.

Not for the faint of heart chef, it’s my go-to choice for so many soups we love.

Though we did get some calves’ feet in the delivery from White Oak Pastures last week which make beef broth even better…

Bone broth is, perhaps, a rather strange creative outlet but it makes me happy.

With the right ingredients, it’s over the top healthy as well as good for the budget, the local economy, and the planet.

For this moment, though, Bill’s birthday.

And time to start cleaning up the basement.

Spring break comes soon!



Frozen, inside and out!

It’s been an adventurous week in real food land!

First, there was the issue of a big chef’s knife, a handful of organic kale stems, and my left thumb. It wasn’t pretty!

Things are healing well, though the “keep it dry” bit is getting old. I’m grateful for my nurse years and a good, clean cut. Also, lots of Flexible Fabric Bandaids and Bill who ran to fetch them.

Then, just in case you wondered what local farmers are doing when it’s freezing cold in Georgia, ’tis the season for deliveries.

On Tuesday, we got a fabulous batch of dog food from our friend, Chad, as well as some gorgeous beef bones for the two-footed people.

Wednesday brought our long-awaited “pig parts” delivery from my buddy, Greg, along with a reminder that it’s not easy being a family farmer.

Weather issues and truck issues have postponed this delivery for a couple of weeks.

The delivery, itself, was a bit of a surprise! In fact, it was a reminder that being a serious local foodie isn’t always easy either.

(Vegan, vegetarian, and drive-up window friends may wish to skip down a bit. **)

My two favorite kinds of bone broth to make are chicken/turkey and pork. Really!

Chicken and turkey are fairly easy to procure. We roast chickens from our friends at Pine Street Market so often that we have a fairy endless supply of bones, along with great sources for pasture raised, heritage breed turkeys from Greg plus feet and necks from Greg, Chad and the big DeKalb farmers market. (Don’t knock the feet!)

Pork is a different issue. Humanely pasture raised hogs take longer to mature than the factory farmed, grain fed variety. They’re ready when they’re ready which, traditionally, is when it’s cold.

Finding humane USDA processors who will deal with small, family farmers is another challenge and some of them involve wandering a couple of states away and back in the middle of a snow storm.

We’ve been out of pork broth for a couple of months now, so I was ecstatic when my delivery arrived.

Until I saw it.

Let’s just say, for the sake of those who may be new to local food, that the processor apparently didn’t think I was serious when I asked him to split some large chunks in half.

**I did the only obvious thing and pulled on my oven mitts to rearrange a couple of freezers while I hatched up a plan.

I literally couldn’t have put a toothpick in either of my freezers which is both a challenge and, clearly, a blessing.

Several emails and phone calls later, I got the help I needed. Also lots of freezer paper and zippy bags! There are now manageable chunks in my freezer, as well as some more thawing in the fridge. Tomorrow is pork broth day.

In this moment, I am warmed, not only by anticipation of really good soup, but by a community of people who care about delicious, healthy, humane food that’s good for our environment, our economy, and our kids. And, if you’re looking for a place to get involved, bone broth is a great place to start!

Click here to find my e-book, Let’s Boil Bones… with recipes for most eating plans, and watch for the paperback, coming soon.

And put a few pots of herbs in a sunny window. Spring will come!

I owe you, Rusty!






Hot Tips for Mothers’ Day!

Next Sunday, May 8, is Mothers’ Day. I don’t know about you, but I have a bit of trouble keeping up with the holidays that move around on the calendar! So, here’s a fabulous hint for breakfast in bed or brunch along with a couple of ideas for last minute gifts. But first, a brief history lesson.

The story I learned, and like the best, was that early celebrations of Mothers’ Day were held for Northern and Southern mothers who had lost sons in the Civil War to come together and tend cemeteries where their sons lay in hopes of forming friendships among the women and working for peace.

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Sue Boardman, Certified Intentional Creativity®
Color of Woman Teacher & Coach