The Blue Gardenia

Shake, rattle and roll in the kitchen: Oooey goooey nut ring January 5, 2014 16:48


Calories? Carbs? Bring 'em on. In moderation, of course. And this delicious breakfast bread is so good that moderation means two slices. (It's also good at any time of day. Why should only breakfast be pampered with its presence?)

Sweet.CharityI adapted this recipe from one generously shared by Albuquerque
novelist Belle Sloane, Wonderwoman by day, spinner of erotic tales by night. You might want to scurry over to Amazon and get Sweet Charity. It is on my reading list, and I hear it's quite racy, just the thing to get your juices flowing on a frigid winter night and get you in the mood for canoodling with your significant other.

Oooey Gooey Nut Ring

Your favorite refrigerator bread recipe ( I used Beth Hensperger's from The Bread Bible. You'll have enough dough left over for some dinner rolls.)

2 T. butter, melted

2 T canola oil

1/2 c. Steen's Cane Syrup (You may use maple or your favorite pancake syrup. I'm from Louisiana, and I love Steen's.)

1/3 c. brown sugar

1/2 t. cinnamon

1/3 c. pecans, toasted

1/3 c. walnuts, toasted

1/4 c. pumpkin seeds, toasted

1. Make your bread dough.

2. When the dough is ready, roll 2/3 of it into a log. (You can make dinner rolls with the remainder. Just shape in balls and cook in an oiled muffin tin for 20 minutes.)

3. Slice into 3/4 inch slices and pat down with your hands until they are about the shape of a biscuit.

4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

5. Mix nuts, sugar and cinnamon together.

6. In another bowl, mix melted butter, canola oil and syrup.

7. Pour half of syrup mixture in bottom of pan.

8. Sprinkle half of nut mixture over it.

9. Place the "biscuits" in the pan, overlapping each with half of the next one, forming a ring.

10. Top with remaining sugar mixture.

11. Pour rest of syrup mixture over.

12. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until dough is golden brown.

13. Cool for one minute in the pan.

14. Invert on platter.

15. Enjoy!

Don't forget: Time is running out to get The Blue Gardenia's outstanding patterns at a discount. Don't delay. Prices rise on January 8, 2014!

End of the Year / End of an Era Sale!

Now through Midnight (PST) January 7, 2014

Spend $100 (before the discount) — get 20% off.

Spend $200 (before the discount) — get 30% off.

Spend $300 (before the discount) — get 40% off. 

Spend $400 or more (before the discount) — get a whopping 50% off.

Payment is by PayPal only, 

except for established customers, who may arrange for payment  by check.

Yes, you may buy gift certificates for that special someome —

offering sales rates honored through January 2014.

You'll be a Christmas angel in this 1940s Vogue negligee. December 20, 2013 19:27

Ahhh, Christmas morn. You have breakfast all planned. You'll serve a breakfast casserole with Spanish chorizo and ciabatta. Fresh fruit salad on the side. Some vegan cinnamon rolls for Kanisha.


But no culinary indulgement until every present has been opened and ooohed and aaahed over. What fun. You're sure you've chosen just the right gift for everyone. After all, you agonized. You sweated. You played Santa's detective.

And you just know all of your Santas will give you everything you want. Well, nearly. And even if not, being surrounded by your closest friends and family, well, that will be treasure aplenty. Absolutely.

You have already made Vogue 5382, in luscious emerald green silk charmeuse to wear for the festivities. You'll look smashing. That is a given. You and your exquisite clothes made from only the most styish vintage patterns. You love them. You do.

And don't forget (because I know you want me to be happy):

End of the Year / End of an Era  Sale!

Now through Midnight (PST) December 31, 2013

Spend $100 (before the discount) — get 20% off.

Spend $200 (before the discount) — get 30% off.

Spend $300 (before the discount) — get 40% off. 

Spend $400 or more (before the discount) — get a whopping 50% off.

Payment is by PayPal only, 

except for established customers, who may arrange for payment  by check.

Yes, you may buy gift certificates for that special someome —

offering sales rates honored through January 2014.

Inspiration Drive Chili recipe & an apron to wear while making it. December 15, 2013 13:42


Ever have one of those busy Sundays? You know the kind: ten tasks and online Christmas shopping and a million other things as well? That was my Sunday. So. No time for my usual chili recipe, adapted by the former Houston Chronicle food editor from a James Beard recipe. It takes about four hours. No. I am not kidding.

I wanted something fast, something I could use with ground beef. So I adapted a recipe my mom had adapted from the Food Network. It turned out well. And it met my requirements of quick and easy. It takes about twenty minutes of prep and an hour or so to cook.

Inspiration Drive Chili

1/4 c. canola oil

2 pounds ground beef ( I used 95% lean New Mexico grass fed)

I medium onion, diced

1 bell pepper, diced

4 large cloves garlic

1 15-ounce can black or red beans, drained and rinsed

1 15-ounce can tomato sauce

1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes

2 cups beef or vegetable broth

Seasoning mix:

1/4 c. chili powder

3 T. flour

2 T. chipotle powder

2 T. ancho chile powder

2 heaping t. cumin

1 t. sweet paprika

2 t. oregano, smushed in your hands, then added to mix

For serving:

Sour cream

Fresh tomatoes, diced

Cilantro, snipped

Jalapenos, diced

Cheddar cheese, grated

1. Heat oil.

2. Brown meat over medium high heat, then add onions, bell pepper and garlic.

3. Cook till veggies are limp.

4. Add seasoning mix. Stir in well.

5. Stir in broth.

6. Add beans, tomatoes and tomato sauce.

7. Cook 45 minutes to an hour.

Garnish with sour cream, cheese, etc. Great served with cornbread. (Yes, those cute little kitty ears are our cornbread!)

So. There ya go. This makes 6-8 servings.

And now, you'll want to protect your clothes, of course, and I know, you McCalls-1781 style goddesses, you'll want to do so with a marvelous apron. Absolutely. I suggest McCall's 1781, copyright 1953. The flower pockets and front pleat definitely takes kitchen fashion to a higher level. If you are just learning to sew, an apron is a terrific project.

Of course, this pattern is available at The Blue Gardenia, where we are celebrating the upcoming launch of our new site with an End-of-an-Era Sale. And the discounts will have you smiling. And that is something we love to see!


A spicy Creole recipe and a McCall 1930s apron to cool it down. December 10, 2013 09:26


This is a first for this blogger: Sharing a recipe. But it turned out so well, so delicious, that I musn't hoard it. So it is yours, dear readers, yours for the taking.

I adapted it from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook's Halibut Creole recipe. I didn't have all the ingredients on hand, and I wanted to make it a bit healthier as well. So here goes. Let me know if you try it.

Creole Halibut Gonzales

2 six-ounce halibut filets, washed and dried

Creole seasoning (I make my own using Emeril's recipe)

1 1/2 c. sliced pear or cherry tomatoes

2 sliced inner stalks of celery with leaves (about 15" total length)

1 large jalapeno, diced and seeded

1 small yellow onion, chopped

2 T. butter

4 T. high-quality EVOO

3 T. lime juice

1/2 to 1 T. Tabasco, depending on how spicy you like your food

Freshly ground sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Rub filets liberally with Creole seasoning and place in Pyrex or other baking dish, about 11 inches long.

3. Prepare veggies and pour over and around filets.

4. Sprinkle with more Creole seasoning and salt.

5. Melt butter in olive oil. Add Tabasco and lime juice and pour over fish and veggies.

6. Cook uncovered 25-35 minutes, depending on how done you like your fish.

6. Serve over basmati rice or with French bread for sopping (You don't want to miss any of the delicious sauce.)

7. Enjoy!

And you will want to look fetching as you cook, and how better to do McCall_506_apron that than with McCall 506, from the 1930s. This may be my favorite apron pattern ever. Absolutely.

And you may purchase this rare and so very hard to find apron at The Blue Gardenia. At a discount, mind you. How fabulous is that? Drop by our End-of-an-Era Sale and score some terrific patterns at huge discounts. The more you buy, the more you save. Yes indeedy. And prices go up in January when our new site debuts. You know, the one with all the bells and whistles.

And Thursday, you are in for a real treat: an interview with Oonaballoona! I am smitten with her. Totally. It just doesn't get any better than  that, does it? Well, maybe your own Gulfstream with Stephen Colbert as your pilot, asuming that is, he's a licensed pilot!