Family, Football, Food….3 things that go together in the Fall. Please join me on Saturday, November 2nd for my cooking class featuring classic, easy finger foods.

Miniature Taco Bowls, Pigs in a Blanket, Spinach Queso, Bacon-Pecan Mini Footballs, Texas Trash and more.

Offered through NEISD COMMUNITY ED (8750 Tesoro), this class is building on a 10 year tradition of teaching cooking and gingerbread classes at this location. Click above to sign up.


Classic Recipes from a Working Woman - Alma Hart AKA Mom or Gram
Gram – AKA Kit Hart  or  MOM  A Classic Cook

Howdy Y’all!  On October 6, 2018, I’ll be teaching a cooking class for kiddos and their parents at the NEISD Community Ed Center (8750 Tesoro).  The recipes are Mid-Century Southern Standards.  Relying on my mother’s recipes, I’ve tweaked and updated her classics with Life Hacks for the busier life style of the 21st century.

I’m attached two recipes in Mom’s own handwriting.  The original recipes are timeless, easily prepared and nutritious.  And versatile.

Yogurt Chicken is nothing more than Tandoori Chicken, American Style.  My mom would not be surprised that this basic recipe of hers is based upon Indian Cuisine.  She loved international foods.

Gram's Skinny Yogurt Chicken
Gram’s Skinny Yogurt Chicken
EPSON scanner image
Gram’s Skinny Yogurt Chicken – Back Side.

One of the things I love most about this recipe is the versatility.  The marinade works for pork or turkey as well as any cut of chicken.

Bake the chicken, either covered or uncovered.

The chicken can be baked ‘au natural’, removed from the marinade and patted dry.

Or, the chicken can be rolled in bread crumbs, crushed potato chips, crumbled  Shredded Wheat Cereal biscuits (plain not sugar coated).  Bake on a greased baking sheet.  Or line the sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat for easy clean up.

Finally, you can add or remove spices, based upon your tastes.  This dish is great grilled.  The breaded version can also be pan-fried, if you want the extra crunch.

A LOT!!  This recipe started life as Spinach Cottage Cheese Casserole.  YUCK!

1960s Spinach Cottage Cheese Casserole - Now A 21st Century Frittata
1960s Spinach Cottage Cheese Casserole – Now A 21st Century Frittata

Everything my generation ate in the 60s, especially weeknight, were Casseroles    .…..Tuna Casserole…. Chicken Soup Casserole, Cottage Cheese Casserole.  Casseroles were convenient, fast, and frequently mushy or soggy, one dish meals. BORING!!

This recipe served multiple functions:  Diet Dish, Vegetable Dish, Protein Dish, One Dish Meal.  Easy to prepare and cooked in record time.  In the time it took to set the table and make a salad (and drink the first cocktail) my mother had a nutritious meal ready.

This dish is as versatile as the Yogurt Chicken.  Add more eggs and a bit of heavy cream, and you’ve got a QUICHE.  Add a can of drained Rotel, plus a bit more cheese, and you’ve got a spicy veggie frittata, full of protein.  Cook it covered or uncovered, it is a joy to watch as it bakes.  It puffs up while baking, and later deflates when cooling.  It’s soooo easy.  My mother and Grandma Hattie are both laughing at me for ignoring this recipe for so long.

The only permanent change I’ve made to this recipe is the addition of a few grains of rice.  Uncooked rice (15-20 kernels) absorbs any excess moisture that you may have inadvertently left in the spinach.  You hardly notice the rice.  The frittata is light, yet filling.


FROM 787 Retirement to The Birth of The Alamo Cookie

In 2017 – we knew the changes were coming. We prepared for them. Two simultaneous projects were rolling along in 2017. One career ended. A potential new one is born.

Very few professions have a federally mandated retirement age. By LAW, a commercial pilot is not allowed to work on his 65th birthday. FORBIDDEN. DENIED. ITS NOT AGEIST. ITS THE LAW. ITS THE END OF AN ERA. THE END OF A PHASE OF LIFE. NO CHOICE. GOTTA GOT!!

Ten months of planning a vacation/ celebration came to an end on October 24, 2017. 23 people had planned and budgeted their personal vacations so they could fly on Flight #49 CDG-DFW -along with Captain Tym Myers, whose 32 year career with American ended with the successful arrival of the flight in DFWCaptain and Cockpit Crew Flight 49. CDG-DFW 10.24.17 Another 20 people assembled at Gate 23 at DFW, awaiting the arrival of the partying 10% of the passengers on that historic flight. View the YouTube Video of Tym’s Love Affair With The 787. Captain Tym’s 32 Year Career With American Airlines


This new year’s promise started at least a year ago. Test recipes, test cookie cutters, test cookie molds. Fussy has been working on the perfect cookie. A simple buttery, sabled shortbread with Himalayan, French and South African Sea Salt, with a touch of Belgian Sugar Pearls. The cookie is made from a 3D printed mold of our home town iconic symbol, The Alamo. Designed by Kit, executed and printed with the training from 3D designers, these cookies are custom designed for exclusive clients. Lovingly baked by hand, The Alamo Shortbread is a tasty symbol worthy of the Alamo City. 3D Designed Shortbread.

There’s more, much more ….. to be shared later.

Grandma Hattie’s Raisin Cake

Fussy love simple….especially simple recipes.  Take simple ingredients, (most of which were common supplies in a 20th century pantry or frig), boil them together and create a chemical reaction.  In the time it takes an oven to heat up, the ingredients are dumped together to create a fragrant, gooey batter.

1d06a6f3-853e-4279-9613-02c1ead65a76When this recipe was hastily written in Grandma Hattie’s kitchen, this Twenty-Something Foodie, just wanted Grandma’s magic at her fingertips available anytime the mood struck.  Fussy was tired of waiting for the ritual delivery of The Raisin Cake.

The delivery was always a ‘special delivery’. After a visit to a Texas, the cake was the special souvenir.  Wrapped in wax paper, then enrobed in two layers of aluminum foil, the cake was protected by a cardboard lingerie box.  Generally carried on a series of flights between Texas and California, Grandma Hattie’s Raisin Cake was the flavor of Texas.

No matter how well we tried to parcel out the cake, someone always managed to steal a sliver or full blown slice from the deep freeze.     The thievery and deception only made the cake more highly prized.  Fussy decided to own the prize.  Grandma gladly shared.  Hastily written on note paper from a spiral notebook, the recipe became the ‘Go To’ recipe.  Easily prepared, and greatly appreciated.  Minimal effort, maximum acclaim, that’s the kind of recipe Fussy loves.

Ignore the holiday shopping list.  Read through the blurred smudges.  The recipe is forgiving.  Ingredients need not be precisely measured.


Add pecans, add vanilla, add a splash of rum.  Leave out cloves, add some ginger. Use oleo or butter.  These things don’t matter.  Any simple recipe has at least ONE detail that matters.  It could be a single ingredient.  It could be a technique. Patience is the crucial element of this recipe.  Once the baking soda has been dumped in, turn off the stove, and stir the batter continuously until the foaming bubbles subside completely.  Don’t rush the process.  Always keep stirring  and folding the mixture until the chemical reaction stops.  Only then has the batter cooled enough for the flour to be folded in.  The photo shows the ooey gooey dark batter before being baked.  Wasn’t enough patience for photos before Fussy served the cake tonight.  Fussy believes in sharing food, in sharing love, in sharing secrets.  endblogWhen you make this family secret, enjoy, knowing that decades of tradition are part of this simple recipe. Remember, simple can be complex if not done right. Fussy loves simple.

A Texas Christmas

img_0009St Louis Church in Castroville, Texas December 1, 2016.

Seven years in a row now, Fussy’s sense of family has been tweaked.  Fussy celebrates family and the Christmas season by building with gingerbread at the Braden Keller Center next to St Louis.

This year, Bop chose to remind Fussy of her genealogical ties to the Castroville founding families.  Right next to the Peter Jungmann home stands the greatest Christmas tree ever.


img_0007Other areas rely on evergreens that take years to grow, just for the purpose of dying to be the centerpiece in a family home.  Evergreens are cultivated to become single use decorations., destined for the compost heaps.

Castroville uses what is natural to Texas, a prickly pear.  This stubborn succulent grows in a bush like form all over the rugged Texas landscape.  Its flat beaver tail paddles are covered with thousands of prickly spiny thorns that aggressively jump out at passers by..  It is the mother to knobs of bloody red juicy  fruit which sustained the life of parched animals and settlers in the early days of Texas history.

Fussy like this true evergreen, destined to give joy year after year.  It’s pure Texas ingenuity to use the resources available to practice a perennial tradition.  Fussy like The PRICKLY PEAR Christmas tree of Castroville.endblog



Friday Night in The Suburban Sunset of San Francisco.

hartgirlsHow can a simple conversion between two sisters half  a continent apart turn into a 90 minute dramatic evening?  We homebodies prefer to stay home on Friday nights, and catch up on family events long distance. But, live in the City By the Bay, next to Stern Grove, and the men in blue will put a perimeter around your quiet tree bordered neighborhood, searching for an armed gunman. Texas listened to the police scanner on the iPad, while Wawona Street kept an eye on their neighbors and the passing police and their vehicles. Suspense built when the suspect was spotted across the street running up hill toward the park. After a few flash bangs, and gun shots, the subdued suspect rode to a hospital, which led to a final flurry of texts between the two cities named for saints, 1300 miles apart.  Safe excitement for both sisters.endblog

A Tasty Twist On The Castle Doctrine

When folks get edgy, they do one of three things: Lash Out, Hunker Down or Seek Comfort.  WAY TOO MUCH lashing out lately.  Folks taking to the streets because the world doesn’t spin their way. Just ain’t fitting.

Hunker down and focus on basics.  That’s what folks in Texas do.  Thank God for The Castle Doctrine.  The Castle Doctrine, especially the Texas interpretation, is one Fussy believes in.    In The Lone Star State, we are permitted to defend our homes. With force if necessary.   A man’s home is his castle.  

It doesn’t matter if the man is made of gingerbread.  Neither does it matter that his home is highly edible.  Who could blame our little Gingerbread Man for defending his Cookie Jar home? All the more reason to defend his world.

And yet, Gummy Bears and Teddy Grahams can’t resist the temptation of a simple shortbread cookie.  Shortbread, gingerbread, candy and icing; it’s a classic conflict worthy of Hansel and Gretel.

Portraying the Castle Doctrine in  edible terms.  Hunkering down and seeking comfort in food. That’s something Fussy can sink her teeth into.  

'Castle Doctrine' Gingerbread Style
‘Castle Doctrine’ Gingerbread Style

GHEE – A Runyonesque Recipe

ahartsignatureIn a prior post, Fussy talked about A Hart and this emoji’s meaning.  Whenever you see this emoji, a recipe is close by.  The recipe is for Ghee or Clarified Butter, as mentioned in the Guys and Dolls post.

A Hart started out as Alma Mae, the second youngest in the clan.  She ended life as Gram.  In between, Gram was an Air Force veteran, the first college graduate in her family, a professional career woman, a wife, a mother, a homemaker and an adventurer.  Gram was an old school feminist, who believed that a woman should excel in every room of the house.   Including The White House.  That kind of feminism is hard to live up to.   It’s fun to try.

Family,  food and fun were Gram’s focus.  Gram knew how to cook.  She appreciated chi chi with a dose of common sense.  Boeuf Bourguignon and Vlaams Carbonade were relatives of Beef Stew.  Gram appreciated the nuanced cultural differences.  However, Gram firmly believed that decent cooks could adapt a recipe to the  ingredients on hand.  No wine.  No problem.  No beer.  No problem.  Add okra as the finishing touch and a Hart Family classic was born.  Learn, adapt, improve, simplify.  No detailed explanations were required. Notes and rating system were.

GHEE, where were we?  Oh, yes. Ghee is the term used for

Warm half a pound of butter over low heat until melted.  Turn off heat. Let the solids separate from the fat.  Pour off the clear butter.  Higher cooking temperature.  Richer flavor.  Perfect with artichokes, lobsters, and oh so much more.  Ghee.  That’s clarity you can taste. Smakelijk.endblog