Paladini Potpie

Adventures within The Crust!


More Things Left in Books

Things left in booksA few days ago I found a check to Pacific Telephone for $200.46.  It was dated Jan 22, 1988.  There, in its sealed envelope, it had been tucked into a book and forgotten. It made me think of this post I wrote last year…and I thought it was worth repeating.

…There are three old black and white photographs and a utility bill from the city of Pleasanton (January, 1981 for $31.27). There’s a yellowed envelope with a letter written in beautiful spidery penmanship. (It was delivered with a five cent stamp.) There’s a boarding pass for Northwest Airlines, a lottery ticket, and 43 “official” bookmarks.

I have this pile of things I collected again this year.  Things left in books. We have a book business and buy boxes of books from estate sales. It always interests me to see what people have tucked into books and forgotten.

There’s a 1982 map of The University of California at Berkeley, a little tract from 1976 (Knowing God Personally), a birthday card, and a cigarette quiz booklet published in 1967. Most amazingly, we found 3 twenty-dollar travelers’ checks from 1964.

Did the man who lost the traveler’s checks get his money back?

Did anyone miss any of this stuff?

In this quiet week as we close 2012, I want to take some time to flip through The Book of My Year and see if there’s anything important I have forgotten.

Is there any trash I need to get rid of? Are there any pages I need to reread? I marked certain pages for some reason…

Today is a good day to look over 2012 one more time. Volume 2013 will soon be in our hands.



Perfect Prime Rib

Thumbs up from Grandpa FrankWhen you spend more than six dollars a pound for meat, you want to make sure you know how to cook it properly. This is why I have never cooked a rib roast.

It’s also why John and I stood in terrified indecision, at the butcher’s case when we saw rib roast on sale for $3.98 a pound.  John hefted a fourteen pound beauty.  It would gloriously feed our family of fifteen, with plenty of leftovers. But we had never cooked a standing rib roast before, and it was very scary.

“It’s the easiest roast you’ll ever cook.”  We heard these words over and over again from the butcher, from friends and from a few of the many recipe sites we visited on the internet.

We took the plunge.  How could we not? $3.98 is the normal price of a good regular roast beef, and we were going to feed our family prime rib for the same price!

Ray gives approvalUp to the last minute we were comparing recipes we found in books and online, and tips jotted down from friends.  In fact, our brother, Ray, had his i-phone out searching for last minute tips as we put it into the oven. (The roast, not the i-phone.) Proverbs 11:14 says there is victory and protection in many counselors, and we found that to be true.  Taking bits and pieces of advice from here and there, our roast came out perfect. This is how we did it.


1 rib roast

4 peeled garlic cloves cut in half

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons black pepper

*Do not use salt.  Some of the recipes said to sprinkle with salt, but others said it would dry the meat out.  We are salt fiends in this family, but we did not use salt this time and it was perfectly flavorful and juicy.

peppered and buttered and into the oven!Preheat the oven to 450° and be sure it is that temperature before you put the roast in.

We used a good heavy stainless steel pan; the same one we roast our turkey in. Place the roast in the pan, ribs down and fat up.  Pat it dry with paper towels and make sure it is room temperature.

Poke slits into the top with a sharp paring knife, and insert about 6 half cloves of garlic.

Rub butter on the ends of the roast where there is no fat.

Generously sprinkle black pepper over the top.

Place the roast on the center rack of the oven and cook at 450° for 15 minutes.  This will sear the outside and make the inside nice and juicy.

Lower the heat to 325°

Checking the temperatureAfter 2½ hours we began to check the internal temperature of the meat. Use an accurate meat thermometer, and be sure you insert it in the center so it doesn’t touch one of the rib bones.

I guess the rule of thumb for figuring the roasting time is 12-15 minutes per pound. The first 15 minutes should always be at 450°, and the remaining time at 325°

We cooked our 14 pound roast for 3 hours and 15 minutes. We took it out when the internal temperature was 120° and set it on the counter for 20 minutes, tented with foil, to rest.  (Every source we consulted said this “resting” is an important step.  It finishes cooking and the juices are drawn in or assimilated.)


This gave us half an hour to bake the rolls, steam the broccoli and set the table.  We had put 15 big potatoes on the lower oven rack about an hour before the time we estimated we would be taking the roast out. (Make sure you poke the potatoes with a sharp knife or they might explode.)

The potatoes continued to bake while the meat was resting on the counter, and were piping hot and ready to serve when John began to carve the roast.

Merry Christmas!


Cilantro Jalapeño Hummus

Fresh cilantro“Why would anyone eat regular hummus when they could have cilantro jalapeño hummus?”  John voiced what the whole family seemed to have been telling me.  For years I’ve made regular hummus and everyone liked it.  But for the last three big family get-togethers the regular hummus has been pretty much ignored, and this new spicy variety has been devoured.

If you’ve ever made my regular hummus, the process is pretty much the same.hummus-ingredients

This is how you do it.

2 cans of garbanzo beans

2 big bunches of fresh cilantro. Wash and trim it. It’s okay leave some of the stems on.

4 jalapeños or whatever kind of hot pepper you like

½ cup olive oil

Juice of 1 large lime


Drain and rinse the garbanzo beans and put them in the blender

Add lime juice and olive oil

Whirl to puree

Begin to feed cilantro and peppers into the mixture, blending it to a smooth texture.

That’s all there is to it!a zesty new taste

Add salt to taste (I use about 1 teaspoon)… and bring on the tortilla chips!

This is really a delicious healthy dip for all kinds of veggies too.