We have people here who make our lives easier and more safe. I don’t believe they make much money for this duty, so when I’ve more than we can eat I often make a plate at night or cook something for the whole crew by day.

Last night the plate was grilled ribeye with a compound butter inspired by the herb garden I inspired! With scallion, basil, thyme, parsley and a bit of lime juice. I chopped and mixed the herbs, lime and butter and rolled it into a log in wax paper. Just twist the ends. Take off as much as you need at a time. After I used two medallions I just twisted it back up and placed it in the freezer.

I served it with simple scalloped potatoes, two russets peeled and sliced with heavy cream, salt and pepper (butter only if I make them with 2% milk). Also, a jicama and heirloom carrot grated slaw with lime juice and a bit of roasted poblano chile that was toasted on an open gas flame in the kitchen.

My husband leaves at noon today but will be home mid-week and work from here. It’s a blessing to have him home, but not 24/7. And I love cooking for him.

For the gent who received last night’s plate, he asked my husband “do you always eat like this?” He said yes. “You’re a lucky man.” For some reason, the simple, tasty food I make is miraculous to some.

I could never compete on a cooking show but love Top Chef and Top Chef Masters, and even Chopped when master chefs and judges are at bat.

In college I once made brownies from scratch for my roommates and several asked how I could do that because theirs were always from a box. Then I was awarded the title of “chef” because no-one could cook. I figured I’d never have to set the table, wash a dish or shop. Wrong on the last one. I sent them to find a 50# bag of potatoes and they said cans were on sale for $.20 apiece.

NOOOOOOO! I’d never had a canned potato in my life. I had five roomies and often there were several more for dinner so I cooked for an army, usually 12. Mostly healthy, inexpensive meals from scratch so after their first foray to the store Aunt Dee made a list and pushed the cart while they “fetched” what our $120/wk. grocery budget would buy. If a few dollars left, we could get ice cream.

One dish I remember from my mother. I must have changed it and haven’t made it in years. It’s just pasta with ground beef and onions, canned tomatoes and my roomies loved it and couldn’t believe it was not out of a box.

We had cheap pots and pans from the college apartment but I made do. And I only masterminded the meals, shopped the outside aisles except for rice and tomato sauce, and never set the table or washed a dish.

The only difference years later is that I want the freshest ingredients possible, do not usually have a master list, shop alone, have a pantry full of great herbs, spices, oils, vinegars, soy sauces, and many other ingredients I never would have gotten my hands on (especially Italian OO flour for my pizza dough) back then.

We have a “tech center” next to the kitchen. It looks at a blank wall. We have a wonderful view. I placed my desk by the view and we used the blank space for a huge open pantry. It’s organized by sweet, savory and other stuff and even has a power strip for a spice grinder and a molcajete for grinding stuff.

Once I asked how much to tip the staff here over the holidays and was told, “Don’t you feed them all the time? That’s more than enough!” These folks watch over me when my husband is away, if I have to take the dog out in the middle of the night. Nobody cooks, don’t worry, Aunt Dee is here. Cheers! Dee


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