Almond & Peach Dutch Baby with Raspberry Sauce

Call me crazy, but I’m wondering if the 24-hour day has declined into 21- sixty minute cycles. The world’s in a twirl, spinning a bit faster, can’t you tell? If Jupiter can claim ten more moons, bringing its number to 79, I can suggest each day seemingly three hours shorter.

Almond, Blueberry with Berry Sauce Dutch Baby

Now this isn’t a whine nor am I complaining. Summer has been kind to me. I’m grateful for every moment, relish the opportunities I’m offered and grateful for the many friends who share my passions. While I don’t know all you readers personally, I have to believe and hope your hearts beat with that same gladness. However, there’s no harm in wishing each day was a bit more elastic, stretching to fit our needs, plans and desires.


This week’s blog not only features photos fueled by those passions but also gives you a terrific you-can-absolutely-not-fail recipe. It’s fun to bake, and can adjust to any scenario – breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack or just because. You’ll recognize the “framework” as a Dutch Baby, an American creation of a batter-driven cross between a pancake and a popover.

the Dutch Baby “framework”

Although I’ve made Dutch Babies before, they’ve always been a bubble off – not enough pouf, too much puff, soggy bottom. For whatever reason, the recipe for this Baby responds to those risks and provides a structure to build your flavor. The recipe is below.


We moved to the tiny town of Aspen more than thirty years ago and I’ve been fortunate to collect a wonderful group of friends. Last week Dale Hollinger and I took lunch out to one of my “first” friend’s, Frances Ginsberg, who is finally on the road to healthy. It took years of Frances’ grit and determination coupled with medicine’s miracles to get there. Those smiles are genuine.

Spending the afternoon at Frances (seated) and Bob’s lovely Woody Creek home by the river is a treat.

For 27 of the past 30 years that Linda and David Stein have summered in Aspen, the “Delta Girls” have been spending a week here each summer. Linda and all these women, who now are scattered throughout the country, worked for Delta Airlines. For many of those years, Luky Seymour, the first person we met after moving to Aspen, and I have been invited to spend an evening with the Delta Girls.

Manee (L) made a delicious Thai-inspired dinner for us. Linda & David (the couple), Luky (middle). The Delta girls – Joanie, Janice, Darnell & Claudette

My favorite dish of Manee’s was this Tom Yum Seafood soup.


The Aspen Insitute, an international nonprofit think tank founded in 1949, is a nonpartisan forum for values-based leadership and the exchange of ideas. This week has been the Aspen Security Forum, an annual affair convened to discuss the key security issues of the day. In the past these forums have been quiet affairs. This year with Dan Coats, director of National Intelligence, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray on the docket, it was not. After listening to these men it’s my opinion that they are pretty straight shooters who believe in the rule of law and keeping Americans safe. Very reassuring.

FBI Director Christopher Wray and NBC New Commentator Lester Holt are ready to take the stage for a Conversation at the Aspen Security Forum.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein: “Exposing schemes to the public is an important way to neutralize them. The American people have a right to know if foreign governments are targeting them with propaganda.”


Although we do get some smoke from the fires here in Aspen, our birds seems to be flourishing.

a Cooper’s Hawk chick who has not yet fledged


Mallard Ducks, early morning at the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies

This Ruby-crowned Kinglet is trying to hide but his rising red crest is giving him away.

FIRE UPDATE: While all the evacuees of the 6,283-acre Lake Christine fire which was 43% contained returned to their homes, they were cautioned to ‘keep their bags packed.’ As I write this the fire has flared again in a particularly northern steep section of the backcountry to 8315 acres and forced pre-evacuation notices to down valley residents.

NOTE TO READERS: I understand my Subscriber Button does not subscribe properly. As I work through this issue with my web tech, please contact me at [email protected] if you wish to subscribe and receive my blog.

ALMOND DUTCH BABY adapted from Erin, The Almond

You can just sprinkle almonds and powdered sugar on your Dutch baby or you can add any combo of fruit and sauce and even ice cream to the shell.


Dutch Baby:
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole milk
2 eggs
1 tsp almond extract
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup of toasted or roasted sliced almonds

Compote: (using blueberries)
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1 tbsp lemon juice

2-3 tbsp blueberry “juice”
1/2 cup powdered sugar


1.Preheat oven to 450°.

2. While oven is heating, combine all dutch baby ingredients EXCEPT the butter in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

3. Once oven is heated, add the butter to a 10″ cast iron or oven-proof skillet and place the skillet in the oven. As soon as the butter has melted, remove the skillet from the oven, brush butter evenly all over the skillet including the sides, then pour the batter into the skillet.

4, Bake dutch baby for approximately 20 minutes, or until it has puffed up and is golden brown on the edges/top.

5. While dutch baby is baking, make the compote and glaze/saucesauce. Heat blueberries (of, fruit of your choice) and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat, using a wooden spoon to break down the blueberries. Simmer on low for 5-10 minutes, then pour mixture through a fine mesh strainer, removing any blueberry chunks. You should be left with just the liquid.

5. For the glaze/sauce, add 2 Tbsp blueberry juice and powdered sugar to a bowl and whisk. If you prefer it to be thinner, add an additional 1 Tbsp blueberry, and if you want it thicker, add 1/4 cup powdered sugar.

6. After taking the dutch baby out of the oven and letting it cool a bit, sprinkle on powdered sugar and sliced, toasted almonds before adding fruit and glaze/sauce.

Since it was Emma’s 17th birthday yesterday, I added whipped cream, sprinkles and a candle to my morning Dutch Baby snack. Happy Birthday, sweet Emma.




For the previous four winters I’ve emptied my Aspen condo of personal belongings, parking them in my down valley storage unit, and handed my keys to The Gant’s front office personnel. There’s no way to make this easy. Physically, it’s double-duty difficult, packing for a 51/2-month journey while converting my home into rental space. Mentally, it’s always been way outside my comfort zone. I just couldn’t get my head around the process.


Usually I return to Colorado, as I did last week, dreading the re-entry chores awaiting me. But this year, compared to the past, that has seemed less daunting. If I weren’t dieting, I would call it “a piece of cake.” In four years I’ve apparently morphed from hunter-gatherer to true believer, less is more, keep it simple. My mantra is if I take something out, don’t bring something else in.

MADELEINES au SARRASIN by David Lebovitz

Every year it seems my less becomes less, my simple is simpler. It may be, as someone suggested, I’ve stepped so far outside my comfort zone I’ve forgotten how to climb back in. If that translates to lightening my load, I vote yes.

SPRINGTIME in the ROCKIES (no grumbling, we desperately need the moisture).

After a 3-month hiatus from cooking, hanging out in my kitchen says Welcome Home. Since we’re into comfort zones, being inside and out, I’m thinking this blog sorta teeters on the edge. Dear Readers, when did you last do something brand spanking new? Something that nudged you outside the familiar. That’s the true test.


This blog has forced me into a deep dive of unknown recipes, techniques and ingredients. Every week it’s a learning experience with more failures than I will ever admit. In fact I’ve become quite comfortable with failing. Oops!

This week I’ve baked three newbies which I guarantee you bakers will be trying. My new bestie is buckwheat flour, not only healthy but hearty. You’ll see me using it in more recipes this summer. Although I’ve never waded through Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, I can now bake madeleines. Hooray for me. Thank you, Dorie Greenspan and David Lebovitz.

Two of my favorite bloggers, Liz, That Skinny Chick Can Bake, and Chris, Café Sucre & Farine, are the stars of two recipes. They’re keepers, both the bloggers and the recipes. It’s Cook the Book Fridays with Madeleines au Sarrasin from David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen. Here are the recipes:

CHERRY CHOCOLATE PECAN COOKIES by Liz Berg, That Skinny Chick Can Bake

Each summer I need a tasty, freezable drop cookie recipe for snacks and to share. This chunk of sweetness loaded with two kinds of chocolate, roasted nuts and dried cherries is quick, simple and delicious.

 YIELD: 36


1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup coarsely chopped white chocolate
1/2 cup coarsely chopped milk chocolate
1 cup dried tart cherries
1/2 cup coarsely chopped, roasted pecans


1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract, and beat to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
4. Mix in flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix in cherries, white and milk chocolate, and roasted pecans either in the mixer or with a wooden spoon.
5. With a cookie scoop or tablespoon, drop 2 tablespoonfuls of dough and place about 2 inches apart on the baking sheets.
6. Bake until just set and golden, about 12-14 minutes.
7. Let cool on baking sheets for about 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.

TIP: Store in an airtight container for about 3 days or freeze for up to a month

MADELEINES au SARRASIN (Buckwheat Madeleines) by David Lebovitz, My Paris Kitchen

Besides the madeleines, I also used the leftover batter to make delicious mini-muffins.

David’s take on madeleines using buckwheat flour is genius in a hearty, more healthy manner. It’s less sophisticated and refined than its white flour sister but the guys at The Gant’s front desk loved these “seashells.” In fact James told me, “My mom used to make these every Christmas.”

YIELD: 18 madeleines


8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cubed
2/3 cup buckwheat flour
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup egg whites (usually about 4 large eggs)

1 tablespoon dark honey

When crepes are made with buckwheat flour, they are called Galettes. We recently ordered this Galette at Breizh Cafe in Paris.


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. As the butter cooks, it will sputter a bit and then it will settle down. Cook the butter until it’s the color of maple syrup and smells toasty. It’s about a 5-minute process. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. (See the How-To below in TIPS.)

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in the egg whites and honey. Stir in one-third of the browned butter and gradually add the rest of the butter, including all the dark bits, without scraping the bottom of the pan. Mix until the batter is smooth.

3. In a madeleine mold, brush the indentations with melted butter. Fill the molds three-quarters full with the batter. Bake for 9-10 minutes, until the spring back lightly when you touch them in the center. Because of the color of the buckwheat flour, color is not a good indication of doneness.

4. Remove from oven, wait 30 seconds, then tip out onto cooling rack. Madeleines are best eaten warm, or on the same day they are made. Sprinkle confectioners sugar on the tips if you wish.

TIPS: Here’s a great link to browning butter 101 by Joy the Baker (Love, love, love Joy the Baker). Personally I would take my butter to a deeper brown, a maple syrup color, than Joy suggests.

ONE BOWL BUTTERMILK BRAN MUFFINS by Chris at The Café Sucre & Farine


For most of my adult life I have searched for a tasty bran muffin. I like the idea of a bran muffin and the taste. Unfortunately I’ve never met a bran muffin that isn’t dry. With that first bite, I’m always hopeful. By the third bite, dry, crumbly, no flavor. Chris’ bran muffin passed the dry test. In my opinion the honey-butter glaze is the magic. Before you glaze the warm muffins, why not poke it with three small holes so the glaze will seep through.

Here’s Chris’ link. Besides the recipe, she offers many tips, a must-read.

CooktheBookFridays is a international group virtually cooking through My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz. Join us by clicking here.



Cappuccino with a chausson aux pommes and pain au chocolat at Au Petit Versailles, called one of the top ten bakeries in Paris


Last Saturday morning I stopped by a currency bureau to exchange my US $$$ for Euros. Having been in Paris only 3 days, I prepped for the conversation needed for this transaction. As I stepped to the window, I did my spiel en français, and felt quite pleased with my performance. The young man behind the counter smiled…bigly.

“C’est vrai,” I asked. He nodded his head. He understood.

“I guess you know I’m American, huh?”

He laughed…bigly.

The first carousel appeared in France in the second half of the 19th century and quickly became very popular with the Parisians. Today there are at least 20 and one is in my neighborhood. There is also a carousel museum.

Lenôtre has a shop on Rue Saint Antoine. For Easter they are featuring a collection of Les Tortues (turtles). I think this photo of my taking a photo of “Tortue Surfeuse” is fun.

Friday at the Picasso Museum I flipped to English when questioning a guard about an upcoming exhibition.  “It’s alright,” he said. “I like to practice my English.”

“Petite fille sautant à la corde”, an assembly of found objects and scraps by Picasso

I’ve shopped so often at Monoprix, the major retail store on my block, clerks already understand my fractured French. For my first Paris meal at Au Bouquet St. Paul’s, I ordered Magret de canard aux figues et miel and, voilà, quack, quack. However, anything revolving around food and drink albeit unpolished, pas de problème. I’ll get there, my friends. Time is on my side.

I pass this gentleman every day. He seems formidable.


During the past six years I have learned to be comfortable traveling alone. If you make a wrong choice on a solo trip, you fix it without feeling guilty for ruining someone else’s day. In my six years of going solo I’ve never met a problem I couldn’t resolve into a better solution. In my opinion, traveling alone makes you braver. Inspiration kickstarts creativity, expanding your mind. Dealing successfully with the unknown gives you courage. You learn to trust your instinct.

However, as many of you understand like I do, life can turn on a dime. For now, at least, I am privileged and somewhat in a hurry to be able to push boundaries. If not now, when? This 6 weeks in Paris is all about that.

Throughout Paris, if you notice or look carefully, there are small “art” objects stuck to walls of buildings and monuments. Mysterious artists such as Jeff Aerosol, Nemo, Space Invader, Philippe Gerard and Underground Paris create these pieces. John Hamon just posts his photo! It’s fun to be on the lookout for these.

Last Tuesday morning I boarded the Aspen to Chicago flight, beginning a six-week adventure into the Unknown Zone. By Wednesday morning I was unlocking the door to my tiny studio apartment in Le Marais. Unpack. Shop. Explore. Jet lag be damned. My apartment is modest, adequate and within my budget. (Yes, I have one.) It’s safe, quiet and I have already bonded with all 240 square feet.

What is fabulous, of course, is the location, Rue Saint Antoine, a street dating from the 16th century. Directly across from my apartment is the gorgeous 17th century Saint Paul-Saint Louis church, a magnificent blend of French/Italian Baroque architecture. The 170’ July Column of Place de la Bastille, dedicated to the 1830’s Revolution, anchors one end of the area. Christian Vabret’s charming corner bakery/restaurant, Au Petit Versailles du Marais, the other. Since it opens at 7am, who doesn’t need an early morning croissant and cappuccino?

Standing by my building’s doorway I spot boulangeries (5), a fromagerie, dozens of cafes and bistros, chocolatiers (5), Monoprix, grocery stores, fishmongers, flower shops, wine/Foie Gras shops, a bookstore and more. Much more.

It’s been a happy beginning.

Bonne nuit de Paris.

“Boy, those French. They have a different word for everything.”
Steve Martin

*Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina



Drool-worthy. Potato, Feta and Basil Tortilla by David Lebovitz, Cook-the-Book-Fridays

Did I ever mention my appointment with a Des Moines, Iowa psychologist. In my mid-thirties, I was needing counseling and advice. After talking to me for 30 minutes he remarked that ‘I would hit my head incessantly against the wall to get something done.’

Heck, I smiled broadly, got all puffed up, considering that a compliment. NOT. What he meant, he patiently explained, was that I didn’t know when to ‘give it up.’

Fifty dollars for what I already knew. That fact was not a revelation. For better or worse, flaw or strength, it’s packed into my genotype. I proudly own it. ( Memo to female readers: I also recognize that trait in many of you. Send $50, please.) And at this moment in time, when catastrophe, chaos and disappointment reign, I’m determined, as best one can, to trade in “Normal Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” for “Hello Happy”. Head. Wall. Hit. There’s all kinds of Happy in this week’s post but also Life is Pain.

Make My Day – I met two snowy white Rocky Mountain goats on Crater Lake Trail.


JOY – Although our season’s not over with Leaf Peepers soon arriving, we Rangers gathered at the East Maroon Portal for our annual potluck. Since we work various trails, we don’t often see each other. It’s also a once-a-year opportunity to dig into deep-fat fried chicken! Being part of the Forest Conservancy and these mountains we cherish have healed my heart. I love these people.

Our 2017 Forest Conservancy corp can hike and cook. Following our fried chicken potluck , we gathered for a group photo.

Old-timers. Judy Schramm told me we were the veterans, having become Rangers in the 1990s. In 2001, led by Judy’s efforts, the Forest Conservancy was established. Our group has grown and the USFS is quick to say they couldn’t do their job here without us.

DISTRESS – Late last Monday I texted my Atlanta friend, Meredith, to check in. Although Hurricane Irma was reduced to a Tropical Storm, losing her powerful punch, she still visited Georgia with a withering left jab. “House intact. No power. Downed trees,” my friend reported. “Oh, wait, just heard a loud noise. Gotta go.” The loud noise, she later texted was ‘a huge tree which landed 30’ from her house.’ To everyone affected by Irma, sadness.

JOY – Our Farmers Markets are in full glory with Colorado’s bounty coming from nearby North Fork Valley.

Dot MacArthur, also a friend and Forest Ranger, worked last Sunday at the Basalt Farmers Market “Register to Vote” booth. As always when we’re together, we had fun.

DISTRESS – Here in Aspen, my friend Luky woke up yesterday to spot a bear sitting in the cage trap located in her driveway. Luky’s neighborhood is Bear Central this year as these beautiful, wild creatures search for food before hibernating. Luky’s bear had come calling before, on her property and in her house.

Last night I grabbed a pizza and stopped by my friend Ann’s house to break bread (well, pizza and wine). Guess who (thought) he was coming to dinner?

JOY – Every semester I enroll in a course at Colorado Mountain College, a network of eleven college campuses in the state’s High Country. This past summer, Music Appreciation, now this fall, Greek Mythology. Many of us enjoy mixing it up with these smart, young students pursuing 4-year degrees. Our professor and Renaissance man, Dr. Thomas Buesch, is a phenomenal scholar. We kicked off the semester after class with a soup supper Chez Moi.

Following our first CMC Greek Mythology class, we kicked off the semester with supper.

To celebrate the publication of Alice Water’s memoir, Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook,” I served Minestrone Soup from her “The Art of Simple Food” cookbook.

DISTRESS – In Rockport, Texas, ground zero for Harvey, my birder buddy Susan Foster and her husband were finally allowed to return home. Their house is intact but their property, totally destroyed, wiped clean, leaving only debris and dirt. “After being cocooned in a house with no damage,” she said, “it’s like a gut punch every time we go out into the city. I just came back from a morning walk and can’t even imagine how long it’s going to take to get back to normal.”

Mise en Place, gathering all your ingredients together, makes assembling a recipe easier.

JOY – It’s COOK-the-BOOK-FRIDAYS and David Lebovitz’s Tortilla de Pommes de Terre a La Feta et au Basilic is JOY, itself. Breakfast, brunch, lunch, snack or dinner. Work with it.

POTATO, FETA and BASIL TORTILLA by David Lebovitz, My Paris Kitchen

Serves 6-8


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes (I used Idaho)
1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt
6 scallions, white and tender green parts, thinly sliced
9 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika
4 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1 cup very coarsely crumbled feta cheese


1. Heat the oil in a 10-inch cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat. (Make sure the pan has an over-proof handle.)

2. Add the potato cubes and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the potatoes are tender and cooked through, 15-18 minutes.

3. A few minutes before the potatoes are done, add the scallions and cook until they’re wilted.

4. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees or, if using a nonstick skillet, the highest temperature recommended for your particular pan, which is usually 375 degrees.

5. Mix the eggs in a bowl with 1/4 teaspoon salt and your spice of choice (I used smoked paprika). Stir the basil into the eggs and pour the mixture over the potatoes in the skillet.

6. Crumble the feta, not too finely over the potatoes and press the pieces down gently with a spoon. Cook the tortilla until the bottom is golden brown and well set, rotating the pan from time to time (like you do an omelette) as it cooks. Don’t check it too soon or you will break the crust.

7. When the crust is browned, slide the skillet into the oven and let it cook until the eggs are set, about 5 – 8 minutes.

When it’s cooked on top of the stove enough to form a fragile brown crust around its edges, slide into the oven for the final bake off.

8. Remove the skillet from the oven. Set a baking sheet or serving plate on top of the skillet then flip both the baking sheet and the skillet simultaneously, releasing the tortilla from the skillet.

9. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature with greens and a glass of wine.

10. You can store your tortilla in the fridge for up to 2 days.

[OPTIONAL] For a more hearty tortilla, add 1 cup cubed Spanish chorizo or another cooked spiced sausage.



Tarte au Chocolat et Confiture de Lait – CooktheBookFridays

It poured last week. Rains were so heavy that 188,000 people were evacuated from a three-county area in northern California. A possible dam failure at Lake Oroville, a reservoir that supplies much of California’s drinking water, threatened to break, sending a 30-foot wall of water down its emergency spillway.

Oroville Dam is the largest earth-filled dam in our country. Standing at 770-feet tall, it’s the tallest dam in America beating out Hoover Dam at 726-feet in height. During our 8 years in nearby Henderson, Nevada, I was mesmerized by that structure and dragged my family and any somewhat-interested friends to see it. Remembering the expanse of HD, I cannot contemplate failure. Luckily the Oroville Dam held with more rain expected this week-end.

Blueberry Dutch Baby

The point is I’ve been house-bound for too many days. This “Big Question” post evolved from those stormy days. Lebovitz’s Chocolate-Dulce de Leche Tart is my CooktheBookFridays recipe. Don’t be hanging around the house when this tart is sitting on the counter. The tasty Dutch Baby always seem magical to me. Rise and flop. But I digress…..

FIsherman, Rock, and Pacific

Michael and I moved to Aspen in 1988. We knew no one, so imagine how delighted I was when our social calendar filled up during the next few months. That would be, I admit, because I joined, participated, accepted all invitations and never met a stranger. By the end of our first summer, Michael, who preferred small doses over gulps, was over it. One night, after a 10-evenings-out marathon, I walked into the bedroom to find him in bed with the duvet pulled over his head. “I am not going out for the next week, he declared.

I wailed that we were lucky to be making so many friends and he was going to ‘ruin my Life if he wouldn’t do this.’

His answer was muffled but clear. “Then, I’ll just have to ruin your life.”

The end.

The tart has been pre-baked and covered with a layer of dulce de leche before this chocolate mixture is poured over it. Sprinkle with sea salt and put in the oven for final baking.

However, what I discovered he loved, as did I, was to entertain 8 guests for dinner at our Silver King Drive home. A home-cooked supper became our means of socializing. The key to those successful parties was not only good food and drink but also great conversation. In those years the banter flowed easily, no planning or forethought needed.

After pouring the batter into the cast iron pan, I sprinkled the berries on top and will put in the oven to bake.

Fast forward to my life now at The Gant. Although living on a smaller-scale, my means of socializing remains the same. In today’s world, however, planning food and drink pales to the forethought required to insure non-combative repartée.

It may seem self-serving but when I make the effort to cook a meal, I’d prefer my guests enjoy it. If someone spends an evening with me, I’d like them to leave with good memories, not indigestion. And, frankly, I want to be smiling also.

These small California Brown Pelicans don’t seem to mind that the fisherman commandeered their rock.

As the hostess, I can manage good behavior to a degree but here’s a great conversation starter I’ve used successfully at my table. It’s called The Big Question and is a monthly feature in The Atlantic magazine. A week before the scheduled dinner, e-mail and ask all your guests to answer The Big Question. As dinner is being served, begin asking for responses. After just an answer or two, the conversation takes flight that will wander down interesting avenues and carry you through dessert. I promise. It’s refreshing and a time-time out from the day-to-day. Worth a try.

After your guests have given their answers, share The Atlantic’s responses from 5 or 6 experts, further broadening the conversation. Here are some examples:

What animal has most changed the course of history? Answers: Colo, the first gorilla born into human care; The mockingbirds collected in the Galápagos archipelago; Lucy; Martha, the last known passenger pigeon; whichever wolf was the first to slink up to a Paleolithic-era campfire; earthworms; rats.

Other questions 1) What day most changed the course of history; 2) Who was the worst leader of all time; 3) What was the best fictional meal ever; 4) What was the most influential TV Show ever;

Here’s the Link:

When the Great Blue Heron’s in full-on breeding plumage, its bill and lower legs change from yellow to orange and the area around the bill turns a bright blue. It sports long ornate plumes on its head, chest, and back.

CHOCOLATE – DULCE de LECHE TART My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz’s

Serves 10


DIRECTIONS: To make your own dulce de leche, start the process early in the morning as it does take awhile. The ingredient is a can of sweetened condensed milk. You can either boil your unopened can in a pot of water for 4-5 hours or open it up, spread it in a baking dish and bake it for 1 1/2-2 hours until dark golden and delicious.

2. This tart is a showstopper and not complicated to make. When it comes out of the oven, the tart will still be pretty jiggly. Never fear, it’s ready. After it’s cooled and, if desired, refrigerated, it will be ready.

3. Serve the tart with softly whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or just as is.

BLUEBERRY DUTCH BABY by Ben Mims, Food & Wine Daily


3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup pomegranate juice
3 eggs
6 tablespoons salted butter
1 cup blueberries

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting


Preheat the oven to 425°.
In a bowl, whisk the flour with the milk, pomegranate juice and eggs until blended. In a 10- 12-inch cast iron skillet, melt the butter over high heat until foamy. Pour in the batter and sprinkle on the blueberries. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, until the pancake is golden brown.
Dust the pancake with confectioners’ sugar and serve immediately.

CooktheBookFridays is an international group of food bloggers who are virtually cooking their way through My Paris Kitchen cookbook by David Lebovitz. To visit the group’s site, click here.



“Omelets are not made without breaking eggs.” Robespierre

“You CAN make an omelet without breaking eggs. It’s just a really bad omelet.” Steven Colbert

It’s CooktheBookFridays. This week’s recipe is David Lebovitz’s take on Omelette aux Fines Herbes. Although most countries and cultures boast their take on this beloved classic, the French were first, in 1393. Joan of Arc most likely noshed on omelettes (called alumettes). David’s is plain and simply herbs and cheese, leaving more to your own imagination and embellishment innovations.

Chinese New Year, The Year of the Rooster, begins January 28. If you’re guessing I’m intent on overworking this poultry angle, you’re egg-actly right.

Six weeks ago, before leaving Aspen for the winter, there was some moaning and whining in my parting post. “I’m adverse to risk,” I wrote, “unwilling to go out on that proverbial limb. My world turns more slowly. That’s shocking, scary and disappointing. Just thinking about what I can no longer do is cringe-worthy.”

Readers, may I take that back? I definitely laid an egg.

Saying good-bye to the resident Great Egret at Anthem Country Club before leaving for California. Facing extinction for their plumes in the 19th century, this bird was saved by the efforts of President Teddy Roosevelt. Hats off (those with plumes, at least), to The Rough Rider.

After posting those words I was shocked by the generous comments, e-mails and phone calls from afar as well as TLC from empathetic friends locally. Obviously. Struck. Nerve.

A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked.” Bernard Meltzer

In that post I had been describing a 4-month funk when here, there and everywhere, there were problems? My medical ills were fixable but in a lifetime of good health, I hadn’t needed much fixing. Pile on worries, real and imagined, and, to my mind, the dominoes were tilting. But I’m a hard-boiled egg and can’t ask for help easily. So, I didn’t.

After a 7-hour drive to Cambria yesterday, this was my Welcome Wagon haul: 1) Reserved Library Book Pick-Up (check); 2) Talley Farms Fresh Harvest Pick-Up (check); 3) New York Times waiting at the Front Door (check) BUT 4) no kids from The Gant to help me unpack (BUMMER).

Perspective works wonders. In hindsight and realizing it takes all my fingers and toes to count my many friends who have serious health problems, I feel small, with egg on my face. I’d have saved myself months of grief had I sought guidance and comfort. I’m blessed with a wide circle of friends and, in perusing that list, there’s not a one who wouldn’t have helped me. In fact, after my writing that post, they did.

“There is always a best way of doing everything if it be to boil an egg. Ralph Emerson



My 2017 resolutions revolve around this recent experience, dealing with situations better and making lemonade out of lemons-moments. In this upcoming year when so many of the values I cherish and things I hold dear are in jeopardy, my resolutions will be tested. (And, I’ll be drinking lots of lemonade!)


“This recipe is certainly silly. It says to separate the eggs, but it doesn’t say how far to separate them.” Gracie Allen

OMELETTE aux FINES HERBES BY David Lebovitz, My Paris Kitchen

Do not separate the eggs but do whip up David’s Omelette aux Fines Herbes this week. But, why put all your eggs in your morning basket? (OK, OK, READERS, that was a stretch.) Whether it’s breakfast, the norm, or lunch or dinner complimented by a green salad, it’s great for leftovers. To egg you on, Here’s a LINK to more than 50 possible omelet fillings.

Serves 1 or 2


2 or 3 large eggs (as fresh as possible)
1 or 2 teaspoons of heavy cream or milk (TIP: I used whole milk.)
2 or 3 teaspoons finely chopped fresh herbs
Sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon salted or unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons of freshly grated Gruyère or Comté cheese


1. In a bowl, stir the eggs and milk (or, cream) together briskly with a fork (use 1 teaspoon of milk for 2 eggs and 2 teaspoons of milk for 3 eggs). Reserve some herbs for garnish and add the rest (2 teaspoons for a 2-egg omelette), using the fork to blend in the herbs, a big pinch of salt and a few grinds of the pepper mill.

2. Heat the butter in a large (10-inch), nonstick skillet (or a smaller skillet if you like a thicker omelette) over moderately high heat. When the butter starts to sizzle and form a bit, spread it all over the pan with a spatula so the bottom and part of the sides of the pan are covered.

3. Pour the eggs into the hot pan and let them cook until the edges start to set, which will happen before a minute is up. Life the pan, tilt it towards you, and use a heatproof spatula to lift up the lip of the omelet closest to you, allowing the liquid, uncooked eggs from the center, to flow underneath. Put the pan back on the burner and sprinkle the cheese in a line down the center.

4. Before the omelet is completely set (depending on how you like your eggs), fold it in half and slide it onto a warm plate. Garnish with the reserved chopped herbs.

CooktheBookFridays is an online group which is cooking its way virtually through David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen. To see what others are cooking up or to join the group, Link to this site.