Butter Day

Thank you Taryn, for the photo.

Perfect harmony? Butter and Blini.

Happy Butter Day all you Russians.

In Russia, масленица, or Butter Day starts April 7, and the observance lasts all week. My brother, who lives just outside Moscow, writes that Butter Week usually involves lots of pancakes, aka blini.

Getting a jump on the celebrations

Here’s good news for those in the U.S. who took to heart misguided dietary guidelines in 1977, warning us off fat. Butter is back in our good graces. Scientists have discovered cutting out saturated fats does not make people live longer. Consumed in moderation, butter is fine for most of us.

For more on Russian food, what it’s like at the dacha in the summer, and Russian winters, check out Dan Brooks’ new blog:


Cool interpretations of this week’s photo challenge:Harmony

Thanks to Stu Spivack for the featured header image.



Heavy on root vegetables and brussel sprouts

Carrots, squash, beets and cabbage grown here this time of year are very nice, but the siren song of vegetables from south of the border better match my February state of mind. Bring on the spice and color.


Corn and Bean Salad

Serves: 6 servings
• 7 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
• 1 fresh tomato, chopped
• 1/2 to 1 green bell pepper, chopped
• 1 cup frozen corn or fresh cut from the cob
• green onions, sliced, to taste
• 1 /4 – 1/2 fresh jalepeno pepper (or Anaheim for milder flavor), ribs and seeds removed, minced
• 1 small clove garlic
• salt and pepper to taste
• 1/4 – 1/8 cup fresh lime juice
• 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard teaspoon fresh-ground pepper
• ¼ cup olive oil
• ¼ cup vegetable oil

Fresh spinach or other greens

1 Place the beans, tomato, bell pepper, corn, onion, and jalepeno in a large salad bowl.
2 Mash the garlic and salt together to form a paste. Whisk together the mashed garlic, lime juice, mustard and pepper in a small bowl. Add the oil in a slow, steady stream while whisking. Continue whisking until smooth. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Serve immediately over fresh spinach, or for a better blending of flavors, chill overnight.

For other interpretations of this week’s WordPress Photochallenge: State of Mind


Sending a care package to our daughter, who is serving as a Peace Corps volunteer on the island of Ambae, in Vanuatu. Asked if there was anything she particularly missed? Herbs and spices.

Which ones? Anything  you like, she said.

Probably not winter weathered parsley. 


A luxury

Settled on a new favorite workhorse, Spike Natural Seasoning.


Ought to go well with fresh (really fresh) chicken roasted over an open fire.

278 Jan 17

For more on this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge: Seasons



Asparagus season. Coming soon.

“Seduction of Destruction” Thomas Lerooy. Bronze, patina, silver and glass, 2014. Exhibited in Petit Palais, Paris.


Thank you Kirsteen for Asparagus Ballet in Battersea Park.

For more on this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge: Life Imitates Art

Ariana’s, and a Blast from the Past

Bone marrow is associated in my mind with childhood and doing dishes.

Competition for leftovers among my five siblings was fierce, right down to the meat juices. Kitchen duty, however, meant that the roasting pan was all mine. When no one was looking. I sucked on bones and soaked up pan juices with bread.

I assumed that, as with many of my secret pleasures, it was an uncouth, maybe even disgusting, indulgence.

But wait! Boldly featured this winter on the decidedly high-class menu of Ariana Restaurant in Bend:

Marrow with crispy toast

As good as I remember it. After a day of skiing, hot, rich, drippy marrow spread on toast was — heaven.

For me, anyway. My husband could barely watch me eat it. Marrow isn’t for everyone.

No matter. Everything we tried was delicious — salmon, chorizo shrimp with creamy polenta, salads.

Best of all? Dessert.

Mozza’s Boudino. Italian butterscotch pudding, vanilla caramel topping, crème fraîche.  

Out of this world.

Excellent service, a cool, old Craftsman-style house, full service bar. 

Ariana Restaurant and Bar, 541-330-5539.

More posts on this week’s WordPress photo challenge: Time