Apr 202019

Now, there is really nothing wrong with Kosher Salt except for the fact there are two distinctly different types, and if you use the wrong kind you will really mess up your recipe.

When we so to St. Louis to visit Kevin, Katy and Evan we will almost always eat breakfast at a restaurant names First Watch. I had always thought it was a small local chain, but recently found out it is a relatively large US chain.

We love the breakfasts at First Watch. They are healthy, they use the freshest ingredients, and do a superb job of providing an alternative to the sugary, fat-laden breakfasts that are typical in most places.

We went there the last time we were in St. Louis and I was delighted to find out that they have published a cookbook, which I immediately purchased.

The next week, I mixed up some special First Watch seasoning from the cookbook and proceeded to use it to re-create their fabulous roasted potatoes. With great anticipation of the potatoes on my plate, I tasted them and found that they were so salty, they were inedible.

Terribly disappointed I checked my recipe against the book and determined that I had followed the book correctly. Was it a misprint? Did they print Tablespoons for the amount of salt when they really meant teaspoons? I assumed that there was a misprint and was planning on contacting the publisher, but as usual got sidetracked with all the other demands of life.

A few weeks later, I was reading Samin Nosrats bestseller, Salt Fat Acid Heat, and got my answer. True Kosher salt is dried by a process that forms light, flaky crystals of salt that dissolve easily. The brand that most restaurant kitchens have is Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt. On the other hand, Morton Kosher Salt (the kind I had) is formed of large cubical crystals. A tablespoon of Morton Kosher Salt weighs almost twice as much as a tablespoon of Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt and thus is twice as salty. They are both pure salt, but because the Morton variety is much denser, it is twice as salty as the same volume of Diamond Crystal Kosher salt.

I am assuming that most recipes that specify Kosher Salt imply a light salt like Diamond Crystal Kosher salt, because that seems to be what most chefs use. It is also better to err by using a less salty product like Diamond Crystal Kosher salt, because you can always add more salt if the dish isn’t salty enough. If you oversalt, there is usually no easy fix.

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Apr 202019

I decided to depart from the “recipes only” format and add a section on cooking tips and techniques. Now, that the kitchen remodeling is done and we have a nice new kitchen, I am spending more time honing my cooking skills and enjoying it immensely.

Newly remodeled kitchen.
Our new kitchen.

I’ve been taking some online classes from famous cooks at MasterClass.com and learning some interesting ideas. I have also read Samin Nosrat’s bestseller, Salt Fat Acid Heat, and it’s the first book that I have read that talks in depth about balancing flavors in food.

So, I’ll periodically post some of the most useful gems that I find in this material.

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Feb 012019

We were caught in a January Polar Vortex with temperatures in the minus range and I needed to drive Natalie to work since her car wouldn’t start. I knew I had part of a loaf of multigrain bread left for a quick breakfast of toast and coffee. I went to slice the bread, but mold had beat me to it. Panic! I looked in the refrigerator and the closest thing I had to bread was a package of corn tortillas, but toasted tortillas wouldn’t cut it for breakfast. So. in a few minutes, this is what I came up with. Usually desperation cooking produces OK results, this one turned out superb, so it made the website. Unfortunately, my Spanish vocabulary is very limited.

Huevos Whatever
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2 ratings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 4 minutes

Total Time: 14 minutes

Category: breakfast

Cuisine: Mexican

Yield: 2


  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 2 medium Jalapeno peppers
  • 1 tsp. olive oil for frying
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • 4 corn tortillas, 6 inch
  • 1/2 cup Mexican cheese blend
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1/3 cup prepared salsa
  • 1/3 cup guacomole or avocado


  1. Dice the onions and jalapeno and fry in the oil until the start to brown.
  2. Beat the eggs with a whisk and add the black pepper to the mix.
  3. Add the eggs to the skillet and scramble and add 1/2 of the cheese to the mixture and remove from heat.
  4. Preheat your broiler.
  5. Wrap the tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave for 1-5 or 20 seconds.
  6. Line a small sheet pan with foil or parchment. Divide the eggs into four parts. Fill half of each tortilla with eggs and then fold over the other half of the tortilla. Put them on the sheet pan and hold it closed with a couple of toothpicks.
  7. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over and put them under the broiler until the cheese melts and starts to brown.
  8. Put a layer of Arugula on each plate and then top with the filled tortillas. Remove the toothpicks and top with the salsa. Serve a small scoop of guacamole on the side.


You can add whatever you want to the scrambled eggs depending on your preferences. If you don’t have guacamole, diced avocado with a squeeze of lemon or lime can be served on the side.

Nutrition label for Huevos Whatever
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Jan 252019

When Natalie and I travel we often stay at Marriott Couryard’s and usually have breakfast in their Bistro. My favorite item on the breakfast menu was their eggwhite frittata. They have changed their menu and still offer the frittata, but it isn’t the same as the original one. Here’s my take on their original frittata, which is a healthy way to begin the day.

Fritatta with Avocado, Cucumber & Arugula
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3 ratings

Category: Breakfast

Yield: 1 serving

Frittata with Avocado, Cucumber & Arugula


  • 2 Eggs (1 Jumbo Egg)
  • 1 tsp. Olive oil
  • 1/2 Avocado, diced
  • 1 Small lemon wedge
  • 1 Baby cucumber, halved lengthwise and diced
  • 1 Cup Arugula
  • 2 Tbsp. Shredded Mexican cheese
  • 3 Tbsp. Mexican Salsa


  1. Warm up a warming drawer, or heat your oven to about 140° F and then turn off. Put your plate(s) in the oven to warm.
  2. Peel and dice the avocado into 3/4 inch cubes and squeeze the lemon juice over them.
  3. Halve the cucumber lengthwise, and dice into 3/8 inch pieces.
  4. Beat the egg(s). Heat a non-stick skillet and pour in the egg, spreading it over the pan as you would a crepe.
  5. Sprinkle the cheese over the egg. When the egg is done and cheese begins to melt, slide the egg carefully onto the plate and return the plate to the oven or warmer.
  6. Put 1 tsp. of olive oil in the pan and saute the arugula in the pan until it begins to wilt.
  7. Remove the plate from the oven and top with the arugula. Arrange the pieces of avocado and cucumber over the arugula and top with salsa.
  8. Serve immediately.


This is not a difficult recipe to make, once you get the hang of it. The heated plate is important as the thin egg pancake will cool quickly on a cold plate. Amounts are approximate, so adjust them to your liking. You can substitute egg whites for the eggs if you desire. I prefer a salsa that has lemon or lime juice in it rather than vinegar, so read your ingredients when you buy the salsa. If you are cooking for more than one, it might be easier to have a separate skillet to saute the arugula.

Nutrition label for Fritatta with Avocado, Cucumber & Arugula
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Jul 142018

Here’s a potato salad that makes use of summer vegetables and is lighter than traditional potato salad and should hold up better in the heat because it contains no mayonnaise or eggs. It’s also delicious! I found the basic recipe idea on Food Network and modified it for my tastes. It features Castelvetrano olives which have become a favorite with me.

Summer Potato Salad With Tomatoes and Olives
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1 ratings

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 12 Servings


  • 2 pounds small red-skinned or multi-colored potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • 1 ¾ pounds Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 cup Castelvetrano olives, pitted and quartered lengthwise,
  • ½ Red onion, sliced thin
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Champagne or white wine vinegar
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh chives


  1. Place the potatoes in a large pot; cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 10 more minutes. Drain the potatoes and rinse; let cool 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Whisk the olive oil, vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt and several generous grinds of pepper in a medium bowl.
  3. Mix the potatoes, tomatoes, onion, olives, and diced celery in a large bowl and drizzle with the vinaigrette.
  4. Scatter the basil and chives over the salad and season with salt and pepper to taste.


Castelvetrano olives are a lighter, buttery flavored olive, and I would advise that you use ones from the olive bar rather than bottled. Castelvetrano olives are key to the recipe, but if you need to substitute another type of green olive, I would advise cutting back on the amount in the recipe. 

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