Suzette Cooks

I'm makinga strata for brunch today. When I first started making these, I congratulated myself for being supercool because I was  incorporating something from another culture, something that I didn't grow up eating, into my meal plan rotation. Now I congratulate myself for being superlazy because these are so easy and forgiving to make.

I don't really have a meal plan rotation. I just said that to give the impression that I still cook on a regular basis. Which I don't.

Anyway, if you've never made one, it is like a quiche without a crust but less puddingish and more cakelike. Everybody loves it.I guess for your first one, you should follow a recipe but the basic elements are these:

  • stale bread
  • custard made from 1/2 &1/2 and eggs
  • some kind of meat or vegetable
  • grated cheese

This dish is perfect for me because I have the talent for  producing an attractive and delicious meal when faced with a larder that contains only an onion and some hot sauce. When I want to. Today I lucked out and found a plastic bag containing three small loaves of Italian bread that were mysteriously placed in the vegetable crisper. They were hard as a rock so I used them to make an onion-mushroom strata, except since I only slap in one layer of filling between the top and bottom layers of bread (sounds enticing, doesn't it?) instead of painstakingly layering smaller amounts of each, it's more of a singular strat, I guess. It doesn't matter! That is the beauty of it.

I do take care preparing the fillings. I caramelized the onions very slowly and then finished them off with some fresh thyme and 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Sami would plotz if he knew about the vinegar, but I am the decider and that is how I make them and he loves them. A professional ethicist might deem this slightly less than honest but… end, means – you know. It all works out and no one is harmed. In a seperate pan, I sauteed portabella mushrooms in butter and garlic. Now do you want some?

A little cheddar cheese, a little parmesan and a custard made of three eggs and 1 1/2 cup of milk and were ready to go. You're supposed to let this sit for 24 hours after assembly so that the bread absorbs the custard, but if I neglect to plan ahead, which is always,  I just cover the whole works with plastic wrap and weight it down with canned goods for an hour or so. I find that two Progresso soups, one  blackeyed peas and a marzipan are ideal for this step.


This is the real reason that  I like to make these. I get a secret thrill from knowing that this kind of situation is going in in my refrigerator, even if it only lasts for an hour. I like the texture of the finished dish better this way than the 24-hour sit method. This way, the bread absorbs all of the custard but doesn't lose it's structure and what you have is something cakelike in the end. If you make it the recipe-recommended way, it comes out more dense and .. I don't know, wet. Or thick. Or heavy. Something like that.

Anyway, you should google up some real recipes if you're interested in making one of these.


  • you can make filling out of anything you have hanging around
  • uses up old bread good for nothing else
  • takes good
  • is made ahead so that you can sit around and socialize right up until the last minute of presentation
  • gives you bargaining credits for "meals cooked this month" when you are making a case for Chinese food delivery


  • lots of prep dishes to wash
  • run the risk of no peace ever again if the Hub stumbles upon the discovery of the vinegar in the onions

From Our Department of Things May Not Be Exactly As They Are Reported To Be

Now updated with images!

The smartest, sexiest, most fashionable, most in love first couple ever is coming to New York today on a big date.  Plans include terrifying the citizenry with a low AF1 fly-by, taking in a Broadway play and calling room service at the Waldorf-Astoria for lobster and champaign.

I am so proud of my country! So proud that I was inspired to rework a famous song for Michelle.


Start spreading the news:
I'm brining my fork
to eat high-end shellfish in New York, New York.

These size 13 shoes
are coming your way.
We'll play the happy couple in New York, New York.

I want to wake up with Ol' Stinky, the Chrysler thief.
And find I'm most beautiful. Best mom-in-chief
A number one. Face like chopped beef.

 These painted-on brows
are melting away.
I'm watching you with my small eye – you can't get away.
Lobsters You're gonna act like
a real husband in public view
And find your ass is on stage.
Can't make a move.
Call Desiree.
Tell her that you've

Been tied to my ass
on a big ticket date.
If she wants time alone with you,
she'll have to wait.

If we can fake it now, we can drain the U.S. cash cow.
It's up to you, New York media. New York media.



Puss face

She's wearing a cocktail dress, an updo and party earrings and he's going to a Broadway show without a tie.

Sunday Photo Contest: Why is the most in-love first couple ever dressed for two entirely different events?

(a) haven't been married long enough to know they should dress in the same style
(b) left the tie at Desiree's
(c) didn't want to spoil The Bo Look of darkcoat/white chest
(d) no actual communication between them

Bonus Amusement Item:


In The Apple Doghouse: A peek into how the company scrutinizes iPhone apps.

"Last winter, Mike Browne had a great idea: create an iPhone app based on President Obama's new dog …   The original app called for Obama and Michelle to bump fists if Bo caught the Frisbee…    Apple only requests that developers avoid "obscene, pornographic,
offensive or defamatory" content but doesn't provide specific
guidelines…   a
White House lawyer denied the request."

Is there anyone who doubts that the rejection was based on those eyebrows? Offensive!  Or maybe it was because they painted some boobs onto her.

Birthday Pictures

This is the seaside restaurant where the fam took me for a nice birthday dinner yesterday. Really it is a lovely setting when the windows aren't streaked with rain
and the waves aren't violently crashing in the background. No wonder I was bummed out last night. It looks more like the opening scene of a murder mystery than a festive birthday dinner party.


This is a closely cropped picture of my actual bosom. I'm wearing a vintage silver strawberry pin on a relatively new sweater, which makes the average age of that combo 19 years. I like a big pin and I also like to think of myself as a big pin trend setter. This is the root of my irritation with MO, who absolutely does not  have what it takes when it comes to big pin style, no matter what the MSM tells you. See what I did here? I set the pin on the biatny at the corner of the square neckline for extra sauciness. Because that's how I roll.


Tomorrow is my birthday. I'm chewing an extra-strength TUMS and drinking tap water out of a plastic tiki mug.

Don't congratulate me.

This is my first birthday ever that I don't feel
happy, or at the least content. I am filled with dread. Because life, huh? Life.

MORNING UPDATE: I'm feeling a lot more optimistic today. I just checked my "Your Birthday Today" horoscope and it says, in part: 

 "It is a time when we need to let go of things that no longer serve
their purpose, and hold on to things that have a future. It is a time of
cleaning out dead wood, not necessarily for new beginnings."

This fits in perfectly with my secret plan of turning the old TV room into a den with a big desk so we can park our work laptops and piles of bills and valuable junk mail there. I can't do that until I clean out the wooden laundry racks that seem to have taken permanent residence there and let go of the wing back chairs from the parlor. Also the piano – can I get rid of that?

The horoscope also says that I'm ruled by Mars this year so look out. I would hate to have to get all war-like on your asses.

UPDATE 2: Bob Hope has fallen off the list of "Famous People Born on May 29" and has been replaced with  Melissa Etheridge and Annette Bening. Ain't that a hell of a thing?

Huffpo or Onion?

Red A popular online "news" outlet is reporting that June 3rd is National Fist Bump Day.  But which one is it – the satirical and fictitious Onion or the off-balance but utterly fascinating Huffington Post?

Why,  it's Huffington Post!  (Clicking that link will also put you in the right place for an in-depth and  contemplative review of Judge Sonia's earrings, complete with a 9-panel slide show.)

"One year after the legendary Obama fist bump rocked the world, a new
holiday will hit the mainstream: National Fist Bump Day. On June 3rd,
get ready to knock knuckles with your neighbor as the pound becomes a
new American pastime"

According to the NFBD website, that bump was " something new, something clean" and "an intensely personal and affectionate gesture of love and respect".

"For one day we are calling for Americans, and perhaps even all global
citizens, to put aside their differences — be they class, race,
religion or values — and show their respect with a little bump."

They're also calling for a t-shirt or two to be sold, but I'm sure that's incidental.

So celebrate with a little bump on June 3rd. And if you really want to get into it, maybe add something a little extra to it, like your first lady does. Slump or hump – your choice.


In Which I’m Talking To Myself Around Here

Facts that I could assemble into a story if I had any energy left:

  • I haven't worn makeup in so long, I can't find my makeup pouch.
  • My husband has always told me that he thinks I look better without makeup on than with.
  • There are certain things about my face that benefit from being hidden, enhanced or minimized.
  • A Martini Club member told me that whenever she wears makeup, she looks older the next day.
  • Maybe if the filthy TSA goons didn't steal my hand-tooled leather make-up pouch in 2007, I'd be more interested in keeping tack of the makeup in it.
  • If you're not wearing makeup, you can rub your eyes any time you want to without smeary consequence.