Cream of Artichoke Soup

Cream of Artichoke Soup

One of the better and most requested soups in my repertoire is Cream of Artichoke Soup. From my friends to my kids to my kids friends, everyone requests, Artichoke soup. Many people think that artichokes sound too exotic for them; but I have to say that they don’t know what they are missing. The soup is not heavy and has a lemony smooth flavor.

The base of this soup is chicken stock. Most of the time I make my own chicken broth and certainly every time I make chicken salad, the poaching liquid used  goes directly into  the freezer for  later use. I make Artichoke soup and Matzo Ball and Mexican Chicken soup with it. I even use the broth as a base for sauces.

After the broth is made the hardest part of making any soup is gathering the ingredients  and chopping the vegetables that go into it. For Artichoke soup squeezing the lemons requires a little extra time, but using fresh lemon juice is worth the effort Have all ingredients ready to go, as it’s a one two three kinda preparation. Enjoy!

Chopped celery and onions


  • 2 cans artichoke hearts in water (quartered)
  • 6T butter
  • ½ C finely chopped sweet onions
  • ½ C finely chopped celery
  • 6 T flour
  • 6 C clear chicken broth
  • ¼ C fresh lemon juice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 t salt
  • ¼ t pepper
  • ¼ t ground Thyme
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 C ½ & ½ cream
  • lemon slices for garnish
  • 3 T parsley chopped
  1. Assemble all ingredients needed before starting to make the soup.
  2. Saute onion and garlic in butter till soft, but not brown.
  3. Add flour stirring constantly for two to three minutes.
  4. Add chicken stock and lemon juice stirring until blended well. Use a whisk. It is easier to blend the ingredients.
  5. Add bay leaf, salt, pepper, thyme and artichokes.
  6. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes till slightly thickened.
  7. Remove from heat and add egg yolks and cream which have been mixed together.
  8. Serve with a lemon slice topped with chopped parsley and float on top of soup

Ladies Who Lunch

Absolutely delicious Birthday Cake


It was a beautiful day in Atlanta as well as the day my girlfriends and family were taking me to lunch for my birthday.

I was all set to leave and lo and behold the battery in my car was dead. Seeing as though I was the guest of honor, I figured some may worry if I wasn’t on time. But as one of my daughter-in-laws always says, “no worries, no pressure”, I called her to pick me up and ten minutes later we were on our way. Thank you Beth…of course Cate would have been there too, but she was already on the other side of town close to the restaurant. My girls could not join us that day as they had to work and I knew they would be missed.

Local Three is one of the new hot spots in town.  It is a   place the in- crowd frequent, a place for great people watching and a place you know the food will be good. I had dined there previously for dinner and was anxious to return.

Sorry, but I have to begin with the dessert first. It was a cake that was both beautiful and amazing tasting. My husband and I polished off the last piece  capping off a birthday weekend that was fabulous.  The cake’s first layer was a  thin layer of moist cake layered with a light colored chocolate mousse that somehow the pastry chef had infused bananas in. Topped off with a dark chocolate ganache, all I can say was that it was outstanding.  

Included are pictures of some of the girls’ and a couple of the delicious dishes we had. And when….. not if you get the chance, high tail it over to Local Three for lunch or dinner. Dennis the manager is a cutie pie and make sure to tell him hello for me.  A great big gracious thank you to my family and friends that made this birthday lunch a very special day!

This is my good friend Janet who planned the whole day. Thank you!

Wonderful house made chips and dip for a starter.

Deep fried brussels sprouts in duck fat and tossed in sherry vinegar and course salt. So good!

What could be nicer than a picture of my daughter-in-laws and their mom...sure do miss mine, every single day!

Try the lobster salad roll on a toasted hot dog bun and a big fat pickle or the fried fish on french or just a wonderful hamburger. Choices get a wee bit fancier at night, short ribs, more seafood choices, pork specials and one of my favs…mixed varieties of roasted mushrooms over a creamy polenta pudding.

Joining me were my two daughter-in-laws and their Mothers. How lucky I am to have  such beautiful girls who have given me my three beautiful granddaughters.


Who do I root for? LSU or Alabama?

This coming weekend, is my birthday. It is also a nostalgic weekend for me as the memories of my youth are front and center in my mind. It is the weekend that the fighting Tigers of LSU meet the Crimson Tide of the University of Alabama. Ranked number one and two in the nation, the two powerhouse teams will fight it out for the privilege of being ranked the best of the best. My query is who do I root for?

In 1964, I was a freshman at LSU. Football was big stuff and every weekend revolved around the football game. Tiger Stadium was known as “death valley” and held 82,000. People from all over the state filled the small city of Baton Rouge, Louisiana each weekend and it was a party atmosphere. My parents came up every weekend and held season tickets for over twenty years.

It was also the weekend of my 18th birthday and on the Friday night before the game. I had a date with a boy named Nomie Namie. I remember when I met him. It was my first day at LSU. I was with my roomate, Caren Nowak and we both  asked to see his drivers license. What kind of name was that? You had to have been there. Anyway….Nomie and I were off to the Cornel’s Club which was the “in” place everyone went back then. It was the place I learned to drink beer, which I had never had before. Being the sophisticate from the big city of New Orleans, beer had not been a part of my repertoire; but now a college girl, I drank what the crowd drank. Of course I drank it out of a glass not a bottle!

I was having so much fun dancing and drinking and thinking how could life get any better….I didn’t notice the big burly guy standing behind  me. He proceeded to pour an entire bottle of beer over my head. I later found out he was on the football team and if I had known that fact earlier, I would have called the coach to inform him of his player’s shenanigans.  Thinking back, someone surely put him up to it. Either he was drunk or just plain crazy. For whatever reason he did it, it created a vivid memory of my eighteenth birthday that I remember to this day.

That next year I attended the University of Alabama. I had switched schools. By the by, people poured their bourbon straight into their coke bottle…no glass…no ice. I guess I was a snob back then. I found it say the least.

I had become infatuated with the cutest, cutest boy and let us just say,it was a religious issue.  My parents were not happy with my choices and would not let me go back to LSU.

My earliest memory at Alabama was during my first week. I had walked into what was called the “soup store”, the eatery in the student union where everyone hung out. It was extremely crowded and very loud and noisy. I was talking with some friends when all of a sudden; a hush fell over the crowd. I turned around to spy all eyes on a skinny tall guy with greasy black hair who looked like a “hood”. I said to the girls, “who is that?” They looked at me and said with dreamy eyes, that’s Joe Namath! I replied, who is Joe Namath?  Well… I dropped a few points in their minds that day as stupid me didn’t know that Mr. Namath had just been drafted by the New York Jets and would go into the history books as the highest paid athlete in history up till that point in time: he had been offered four hundred thousand dollars. I kept up with the world of football from that day forward.

Football really was “king” at Alabama. The legendary Paul “Bear” Bryant was the coach and everyone said he walked on water!  A few years later I had a private audience with him and it was very exciting. What do you say to a legend? I said, LSU could really use you. Would you consider changing schools? He just stared at me…

Memories memories, but I’m still in a quandary as to who I will root for. In my mind it’s a tossup. So I say, “Let the best team win!” Roll Tide and Geaux Tigers!


Fresh fruit, vegetable and salad presentation

Just a pile of apples can tempt you when you’re hungry; but cut into a beautiful variety of fruit or spy a beautifully arranged salad or vegetable platter and your senses come alive.  Kids are back in school signaling that summer has ended and with colder weather approaching its time to get in your last tastes of ripe and juicy fruit, which only the summer months can provide. Salads are on menus daily, so keep them looking appetizing so no one gets bored.

Elevate tuna and egg salad  when paired with a fresh green salad

Shrimp salad is about the easiest seafood salad to make and it becomes special when served with ripe avocado, crisp Kirby cucumbers and a few grape tomatoes. Make it and it is the  perfect time to invite  friends over for lunch.  Presentation and good taste all on the same plate.

Tried of serving a tossed salad for dinner? Compose a selection of vegetables on a plate and you present a visually enticing new side for your family.

Fruit  is a great side with most any dish. Cut up fresh fruit is delicious as a dessert for many. The next time you serve fruit  cut it in different shapes and arrange by color on a platter.  Or use different shape containers to hold and display it. What do they say…variety is the spice of life. Enjoy!





Glass containers,different sizes, different heights…


La Suprema Bakery

Cappuchino Cake

Have you ever passed a bakery on a street you frequent and every time you see it, you say to yourself,” I need to stop there”. Well last week that is just what I did. I stopped at the La Suprema Bakery.  The bakery is a Mexican family owned business with five locations in the metro Atlanta area. Despite the Spanish name, in their own words, “our cakes have always been traditionally American”. But it was not the American cakes that I was drooling over, but the Spanish ones.

I loved everything I saw and bought a large slice of tres leche cake with strawberries. I picked from peach, pineapple and a vanilla flavored cake. I wanted all of them, but as we all know, the eyes are bigger than the stomach. I bought a couple of rolls for lunch the next day and I was off.  The cake was one of the best I had ever tasted and I was back the next day to buy more for a family dinner the next night. This time I brought my camera and spoke with the cutest young woman named Gloria who educated me on everything.

Gelatina de Frutas

Pan de Muerto

When checking out I spied the Pan de Muerto. Gloria explained it is a bread made in Mexico for Halloween and in English means “bread of the dead”. With Halloween around the corner, I’ll be back.

Flan over a chocolate cake layer


Enjoy the pictures of these fabulous cakes. I can’t wait to eventually try all of them.


International Food Bloggers Conference in New Orleans

Beignets from Cafe du Monde New Orleans

I recently attended the International Food Bloggers Conference in New Orleans. Friday was the first day of the conference and I decided to start my second day in the city with a cup of café au lait and that delicious donut N.O. is famous for, the beignet. I headed straight to Café’ du Monde on Decatur Street. Had two cups and three donuts and I would have had more; but I knew the weekend would provide more good food.

Fortified with my delicious breakfast, I went back to the Monteleone where the conference started that afternoon.  Not only were food bloggers participants at the conference, but a group of creative visionaries who create yummy foods as well as computer applications to make our lives simpler in the field of food were present. It was a day of seminars followed by samplings from some of New Orleans better restaurants. But before giving an overview of the conference that day, it is “time to eat…again!”

Starting backwards I had dessert first, which is actually where I’d like to start every meal.  I had, don’t tell… two French macaroons covered in chocolate followed by a jigger of honey covered rice pudding mousse with cardamon and pistachios. Really great desserts were supplied by Sucre on Magazine Street.  For those who don’t know, the owner, Joel Dondis is one of NOLA’s premier caterers.

The Le Petit Grocery at 4238 Magazine Street offered a chilled corn soup with Hawaiian hearts of palm and starred hotel, the Windsor Court’s Grill Room offered a Creole shrimp salad layered on a potato chip as well as a pineapple and basil crab salad served in an endive spear.

 My favorite appetizer that night was a spicy tuna tartare topped with an avocado mousse on homemade chips sprinkled with micro greens from the restaurant St. Marie at 930 Poydras Street. 

The ten month old restaurant, Sylvain on Chartres offered a chicken liver pate on a French crisp with a dandelion garnish. The owner told us he gets a lot of the movie stars that are filming in the city in his restaurant. He said they call his place their clubhouse. Their menu looks really good.

The conference presented new web based applications in the field of food that will make everyone’s life a wee bit easier. Design My Meals launching very soon will save the home cook loads of time.  The subscriber puts a listing of the items in his pantry and fridge into a database online. When he is ready to go to the grocery, he enters the menu items for that meal or group of meals and the site looks at your data of inventory and prints out a grocery list for you. How cool is that? Go to and subscribe and be ready when their site becomes live on line.

Another really great application is called Nosh. The principal of the company explained you can share what you eat with your friends and see what’s good in every restaurant across the country. You rate, review and take pictures of your food while in the restaurant.  The application has also been integrated on You can check-in and share photos and dish recommendations with friends on Facebook and Twitter. View your friends feeds to see Noshes from nearby restaurants, featured users, or the latest Noshes from all users. You can even add your home as a “private” place to show off your skills in the kitchen to your friends and followers while keeping your address hidden. So much to learn, I loved it!

The night was not complete until I met up with Bryna, Lois and Daisy, longtime friends from New Orleans for cocktails and shared a long visit just outside the Carousel Lounge in the lobby of the beautiful Monteleone Hotel. These are girls I have stayed friendly with for the last twenty plus years since moving away from the loved city where I grew up. If you can’t share time with your friends, what’s really the point? I stopped in to see another old friend, Ron Pincus, manager of the hotel. He and his wife Anne and their sons lived around the corner when I lived in New Orleans. He is always so kind and gracious; it was good catching up.

Stay tuned for Saturdays review and more good eats.


Onion Rings and Harry Connick, Jr. in the Big Easy

I’ve just returned from the International Food Bloggers Conference in New Orleans and absolutely adored another opportunity to visit the city I was raised in. It was going to be a foodie’s weekend like it always is when I’m in town, so I went straight to lunch at a very cool place close to Lake Ponchartrain, called Russell’s Marina Grill. It seems that frying any type of food is an art form in the Big Easy, so I ordered their delicious onion rings for a starter. The rings were served with a remoulade and spicy cocktail sauce. Had a great chicken sandwich, a sautéd breast of chicken layered with lettuce, tomato, avocado and grilled with a delicious hot pepper cheese. It hit the spot.

Oh Thursday night, had a kickass meal (one of my son Benjamin’s “fave words”) at Galatoire’s. Of course, the two Sazaracs I imbibed during the meal didn’t hurt a thing.

Sis Sandra took friends Joe Ann, Tommy and me  to the House of Blues to hear some music. None of us imagined what a fabulous experience it would be. Walking to the venue, my sister ran into Allen Toussaint…..a very influential figure in New Orleans R&B and that was neat!  We found out we were headed to a benefit to celebrate the opening of the Ellis Marsalis Music Center, located at the Habitat for Humanity’s’ Musicians Village, built after Katrina. Not only did we hear Ellis Marsalis on the piano, three of his four sons including Branford, jamming alongside a guitarist from Hootie and the Blowfish, we heard John Boutte and Germaine Bazile two amazing singers who have been featured on HBO’s Treme series. But the thrilling part of the evening was when I spied the next gentleman to step to the piano, Harry Connick Jr. Whoa!

Off to bed after a great day and must be up early for the opening of the blogger conference.Stay tuned more exciting events of the weekend and lots of great food.

Harry Connick, Jr. on the piano at House of Blues in New Orleans 8/25/11


Branford Marsalis on the saxaphone at the House of Blues in New Orleans 8/25/11


Mini Desserts


Desserts are my special treats. When I entertain, I like to serve a variety of desserts to give my guests choices. Wish I could claim the concept of offering “mini” dessert portions in whisky jiggers, which are so cute, and the perfect size…..but no cigar.

So many people are either health or weight conscience; but when you offer small versions of sweet confections, in an appetizing and visually tempting way, who can resist one or even two?

How would you like to offer chocolate mousse, Key Lime pie, strawberry short cake and pecan pie and brownies all at one meal?  Well look at the pictures and lick your lips because here are a few of the recipes to make it happen and ensure happy faces.

Key Lime Pie


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • 1 ¾ C graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 stick un-salted butter melted
  • ¼ t cinnamon

In a medium bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and cinnamon. Evenly press the crumbs into a nine inch Pyrex glass plate. Bake for 12 minutes or until firm. Remove the crust from the oven and reduce heat to 325 degrees.


  • 3 lg. eggs
  • ¼ t Cream of Tartar
  • two 14 oz. cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 2/3 C Key Lime Juice

In a large bowl whisk the eggs with the Cream of Tartar. Stir in the condensed milk and whisk in the Key Lime juice. Pour the filling into the crust and bake for 15 minutes (no longer).Let the pie cool. Refrigerate and serve with sweetened whipped cream.


  • 1/2 C heavy cream
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 2 t sugar
  • Using an electric mixer, whip all ingredients together until fluffy.

Chocolate Mousse

  • 8 oz. Semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 6 T unsalted butter
  • 3 egg yolks
  • ¼ C strong coffee
  • 3 egg whites
  • ¼ C sugar
  • 1 C heavy whipping cream
  • 1 oz. Triple Sec or Rum

Begin by separating eggs. In a double boiler melt chocolate with softened butter and fold in egg yolks one at a time. Add coffee and liquor. In separate bowls whip egg whites with sugar into hard peaks and whip heavy cream separately. Fold both into chocolate mixture. Pour the mousse into small bowls or wine glasses for individual service. For decoration, pipe whipped cream on top or add a slice of strawberry.

Pecan Pie

  • 2 Eggs
  • ½ Cup Sugar
  • ½ Cup Dark Karo Syrup
  • 2 T Butter (softened)
  • 1 t Vanilla
  • 2 Cups pecans (1 C whole-1 C chopped)

Mix all the ingredients together with one C chopped pecans. Pour into an uncooked pie crust and cover the entire top with second cup of pecans. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes. Filling will rise slightly.


  • 8 ozs. heavy Whipping Cream
  • 2 t sugar
  • 1 t Vanilla
  • Whip cream until it stand in peaks.




Thoughts about dinner

The best day of the week is Friday. For many years we have had dinner every Friday night where basically it is a command performance for the whole family to attend. When the kids were younger they squawked because they might miss the football game or some social event. We insisted that their presence at dinner was mandatory and then they could leave. To be quite honest, my husband and I knew that this dinner was a way to keep the family together. Everyone had the opportunity to talk about their week. They even could invite their friends and usually it was a delightful evening. Sometimes the conversation got out of hand. We have had some really bizarre conversations at the table and some have led to arguments and others border on the risqué. But for the most part, I truly believe my family have enjoyed these times together. It is also a night when the food I serve is critiqued. Sometimes that critique has been brutal. Wait till their children comment on their meals!

And now everyone is an adult and besides our children, they bring their children. The bottom line is that we hope we have set an example that  our children will continue after we are gone.  We hope that they know how important they are to one another and how important it is for their well-being to always be together.

I love Fridays because I know all my children will be with me and out of every moment in my life, these times are the very best!





Tuna Nicoise

When I was growing up my Mother would take me shopping downtown. One of my favorite memories was going to lunch with her and ordering a tuna fish sandwich on toast with lettuce and tomato, a side of French fries and a Coke. When I didn’t feel well, my Mother would make me a tuna fish sandwich and it made me feel better. My sandwich of choice…you can only guess!

As an adult, my taste turned to fresh tuna and one of my favorite ways to prepare it is a Tuna Salad Nicoise. Not only is it tasty and easy to make; but its presentation is beautiful and gets the salivary juices flowing. Let’s not forget that it is a low caloric dish; and therefore, a healthy one.

  • 1 lb fresh Tuna
  • 1  lb New potatoes (little red ones)
  • 1/2 lb Haricort Vert of plain string beans
  • 2 boiled eggs quartered
  • ¼ C Kalamata or black olives pitted
  •  tomato quartered
  • 2 C Field Greens or butter lettuce or romaine

Champagne Vinaigrette

  • ¼ C Champagne Vinegar
  • 2 T Dijon Mustard
  • ½ C extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 lemon zested
  • 1 t salt
  • ½ t pepper

Season Tuna with salt and pepper and sear in a skillet on each side. Tuna should be rare in the inside. Boil new potatoes for 20 minutes or until desired softness. Cool and cut in quarters. Blanch Haricot vert which are French green beans, till al dente (crisp to the bite) in boiling water and plunge in ice water to stop cooking and keep color. Assemble plate.