Welcome to the creative home of artist and maker Charlotte Lyons.

two cooks, their books


Tidying up this morning after the holiday meal, I found blog-food still on the table here. The cooking yesterday was a joint effort in the tradition of our holidays. Even when the girls were little, everyone picked a part of the menu and made that dish. Our own family potluck. The bar has been raised now that they are grown and such good cooks in their own right. We all have our standby favorites. Andy, our Iron Chef, cooks from the heart, remembering all the days cooking with his mother, Betty, an Irish-Italian house-chef. Cooking for 7 children and a neighborhood of visitors must have been the best training out there. He is, hands down, the best cook in our house. Any meal he wants to prepare has everyone drooling at the stovetop. Yesterday he made his own recipe of broccoli florets sauteed with hazelnuts, garlic and hoisin sauce. Everyone adores it, even no-broccoli eaters.

But he is about to be eclipsed by Maggie. She is an enthusiastic foodie and looks high and low for new dishes and cuisines to experiment with. After Martha Stewart's Everyday Food, her current bible is Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa At Home. The whole time she is cooking we hear things like, Ina, you are the coolest! You're my homegirl! ....and the food is indeed memorable. For dinner she made the Mustard-Roasted Potatoes. Fabulous! (Ina Garten and I shared the green room before our segments on CBS the year our first books came out. She is really as kind, smiling and pleasant as she appears to be on her show. Just so nice!)

Trying to stay in the game, I dusted off my seriously deteriorating interest in cooking and pulled out my old cookbooks. I was struck by the dog-eared look of them next to the pristine, carefully guarded At Home- although it's just a matter of time before that cover suffers an accidental splattering of olive oil. Made me think about how these cookbooks go in and out of fashion. Remember the days of the Silver Palate frenzy? I still love those recipes...any of them. Potatoes Fontecchio would have been my potato dish. From SP1- as we call it- I made the Apricot Glazed Ham. It was so easy, so good. 470eb2c008a0ee1d04f19010__aa240__l And from my other favorite, Private Collection from the Junior League of Palo Alto, I made Wild Rice Salad. By now, it's evolved with my own additions and alterations, but so has everything else in that book that I have tried. I think the Junior League cookbooks have some of the best recipes collected anywhere. Those girls know how to party with food! It is the best little cookbook I have.

Sorry to report that dessert was not the apple cheesecake. A guest asked to bring dessert so I was off the hook there. Already over my limit, cooking-wise anyway. Erin and Mo were not at home so we don't know what their contributions would have been. Someday we'll have our whole gang at the table again and it will be a feast of many kinds, many dishes, many hearts.  xoC

up and down

my blue egg