Sunday, June 27, 2010

Emergency Latte Kit

ever had one
of THOSE mornings
you know
deep down somewhere
that a latte would fix everything
except you have to get up
and get dressed
in a presentable manner
to go into the outside world
down to the café
…. SMILE ….
and order your latte
this is why you must have
at all times
an emergency latte kit
I keep soy milk
boxed prepared chai
cinnamon and vanilla
always on hand
no one is watching
you put in as much
milk and tea or chocolate
even coffee
if you feel capable
enough to brew some

add cinnamon and vanilla
or not as you choose
nuke on high for 120 seconds
if stuff is cold
but where is the foam
you cry?
take your trusty whisk
between your palms
stick it into the glass
and twist back and forth
until you have enough foam
go back to bed

© 2010 Sandy Vrooman

Not Your Mother's Ham and Cheese

unless your name is Zoe

it has been said
grilled cheese sandwiches
were accidently invented
when a careless workman
left his lunch box
with bread and cheese
too close to a heating source
oh, the myriad
of variations since then
Café Zoe opened
in Menlo Park, CA
in June of 2008
the owner Kathleen Daly
had customers sample
many different menu items
and kept the favorites
one of my best picks
is a ham, pear, brie pannini
the flavors meld
in such a fashion
that a new taste sensation
is created.

© 2010 Sandy Vrooman

Cafe Zoe
"a place for peace, hope & community"
1929 Menalto Ave.
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Kathleen Daly, owner/creator

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Cream Puffs

growing up
on Chicago’s south side
we ate what my mother cooked
meat and potatoes
with canned vegetables
and little else
until I discovered the bakery
with all those wonderful
cakes and cookies
I couldn’t talk her
into buying a cake,
but occasionally
I could talk her into
buying me a cream horn
filled with a light marshmallow mix
later when Grandma
would give me candy money
I would go for a cream puff
a lighter than air confection
with a crisp shell
containing sweetened cream
whipped to a froth
as a young adult
I learned how to make these
I still wonder how one
could know in advance
that eggs, flour, and oil
cooked in a sauce pot
then baked could
get so fluffy

© 2010 Sandy Vrooman

Friday, June 25, 2010

Tortilla Española

which came first
the omelets
or the wrapper?

in Spain
everyone knows
tortilla as an omelet
a small tort
with potatoes
and each cook
makes it differently

Linda’s mother in law
from Vigo Spain
just above Portugal
makes the version
I know and love
or is it Linda’s version
that comes to mind?

you need potatoes
eggs, red bell pepper
a sweet onion
a bunch of fresh cilantro
lots of
really good olive oil
and a cast iron frying pan

chop and rinse potatoes
peel if you desire
fry potatoes until soft
in olive oil
covering them
speeds up the cooking
while the potatoes
are occupied
beat eggs with salt
if desired
cut up the onion,
cilantro and red pepper
add onions and
cook until they are
add pepper and cilantro
add more olive oil
lower heat and
add eggs
mixing slightly as they cook
when the omelet is set
you are supposed
to flip it over in the pan
I turn it out on to a plate
then slide the omelet
back into the pan
to cook the other side
slide back onto a
plate and serve
I guess you had
to be there
about two potatoes
and five eggs serve four

© 2010 Sandy Vrooman

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


a Native American teaching
says we are all capable
of doing a bit of magic
if you brighten someone’s day
you have accomplished
a small magic

today we take many things
for granted
flying to the moon
is no longer magic
or is it?

just because we understand
how something works
doesn’t mean
it wasn’t magic
the first time it happened

I wonder if the first person
who found that if you knead
yeast and flour together
that you get bubbles in bread
was considered a sorcerer

now we know if you knead
bread dough, you stretch
the gluten molecules
which trap the gasses
made by the yeast

leave it to the French
to figure out that layers
and layers of butter
folded into a yeast dough
would give you a croissant

© 2010 Sandy Vrooman



what would Italian cuisine
be like without Marco Polo?

there would be no pasta
no macaroni extruded
in unusual and
sometimes amusing shapes
no ravioli filled with
unimaginable delicacies
no fusilli for sauces to cling to

my favorite pasta sauces
were influenced by
La Pastaia Restaurant
in San Jose, California

the secret was
using a light hand
probably made fresh
per order
have everything ready
before you heat the wok
very good olive oil
a sweet onion
sliced into threads
with some diced garlic
herbs of choice
a pinch of bullion
capers to taste
and a splash of white wine
you have to work fast
put the oil, onions, garlic
and herbs into the wok
in that order
when onions are transparent
splash in the wine and cover
turn off heat
uncover and add cooked pasta
and capers
my favorite combination
is fresh linguini
and smoked salmon
using basil

© 2010 Sandy Vrooman

La Pastaia
2323 West Santa Clara St.
San Jose, CA 95113
Chef Forrest Gingold

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Kate's Sandwich

what should one consider
as the food of poets?

friend Kate’s
comfort sandwich is
a mouth watering
her own invention
the colors and the flavors
merge to make
a scene for a painting
and a treat for the pallet
start with
a piece of dense
heavy rich brown bread
like pumpernickel
used as a trencher for
emerald green spinach
with garlic
(liquid removed)
followed by
a slice
of smoked salmon
of a sensuous color
whose origins
I will leave to
your imagination
and a dollop of
rich white sour cream
I would add some
capers and enjoy

© 2010 Sandy Vrooman

Monday, June 21, 2010

Santa Clara Valley

before it was silicon valley
it was covered with orchards
cherries and apricots mostly
a few small heritage plots
may exist here and there
but for the most part
the orchards are gone
I used to go and pick pears
at what is now
pear tree estates
there is nothing like
fruit just off the tree
warmed by the sun
the intensity of flavor
is matched at no other time
there still are orchards
outside the urban area
and fruit bought
at one of their stands
runs a close second
because the fruit
has not been chilled
which may preserve the fruit
but not the flavor

© 2010 Sandy Vrooman


the best scones
are made with
whipping cream and
cream of tartar
the French weigh
all their ingredients
with measuring flour
by the cup
one encounters
which can be adjusted
by feel
all measured flour
should be well sifted
sift together
two cups of flour with
a teaspoon of baking soda
two teaspoons cream of tartar
two tablespoons powdered sugar
cut in a couple tablespoons
of fresh unsalted butter
mix well one egg and
half cup of whipping cream
add to flour butter mix
mixing oh so gently
kneed slightly
bake on greased pan
or a scone griddle
at 450 degrees for
about fifteen minutes
or until brown
have more butter
and orange marmalade
ready to put on
hot split scones

© 2010 Sandy Vrooman

On Bread

it is difficult to find
a time before bread
evidence in ruins of
neolithic man
show crushed grain
formed into a patty
what I would call bread
I’m thinking of
a warm golden loaf
hot from the oven
smeared with butter
melting into
nooks and crannies
add cheese
and you have
the sandwich
perhaps as old
as bread

© 2010 Sandy Vrooman

French Toast

on the first day of summer
find yourself four slices
of a rich bread
brioche or challah will do
inch thick slices are best
if the bread is a bit dry
this is even better
whisk together five eggs and
an equal amount of milk
flavor with nutmeg and vanilla
to taste
let the bread
soak up all of the liquid
keep turning the slices
place all in a buttered pan
top with sliced ripe peaches
the kind whose color
has captured the sweetness
of the sun
sprinkled with
brown sugar and cinnamon
bake and serve
you can add syrup if you desire

© 2010 Sandy Vrooman

coconut tapioca

those sometimes indelicate
delicacies served to
sick children
tempting them
to take some sustenance
warm tapioca pudding
now too sweet
lactose rich
we adjust things
a ritual of soaking
pearl tapioca overnight
draining it in the morning
mixing the coconut milk
with the egg yolks
and cinnamon
cook delicately
until it begins
to boil
carefully whisk in
stiffly beaten egg whites
and vanilla
serve in a pretty bowl
with a small spoon
and the cosseting is complete

© 2010 Sandy Vrooman

a sun kissed glass of wine

driving homeward
trying to make
the weekend longer
one runs into a small winery
heretofore unknown
tucked carefully into
a nook along
the back road to home
sun is beginning
its lazy descent
and there is a slight haze
engulfing you
in a Maxfield Parrish light
the wine sparkles
in Helios light
can any nectar have
tasted better
you take a bottle with
but it never is the same

© 2010 Sandy Vrooman

Flakey Cookies

there are those cookies
that require an effort
in dental calisthenics
and then there are those
that melt in your mouth
a perfect blend of
flour, butter and sugar
mixed with a delicate hand
that’s the secret
saving the flour until last
gently blending it
into the thoroughly mixed
base ingredients
for peanut butter cookies
take equal parts of
white and brown sugar
cream an amount of butter
equivalent to half of the sugar
when thoroughly blended
add one egg
and a cup of simple
peanut butter
no extra sugar or salt
add vanilla to taste
sift about one and a half
cups of flour with
a large pinch of salt
and baking soda
carefully delicately
blend in
your flour mixture
as an added taste treat
put one dark chocolate kiss
in the center of each cookie
before baking
do not hesitate
to increase the flour
if the first baking
results in thin cookies

© 2010 Sandy Vrooman