Friday, January 22, 2010

Fridays, Feasting With Friends- Featuring Judy Trapp

“One of the delights of life is eating with friends, second to that is talking about eating. And, for an unsurpassed double whammy, there is talking about eating while you are eating with friends.”  

~Laurie Colwin 'Home Cooking'

Anyone who has tasted my mom's cooking understands how amazing she is. I owe my whole love of cooking to her.  She taught me all the basics- how toss a salad, bake cookies, the secret to a perfect hard boiled egg, the trick to creamy mashed potatoes, and how to prepare and stuff a turkey.  She had such a wonderful way of teaching how to do something.  It was completely hands on.  She would tell us what we needed to do and then just let us do it.  I am sure we ate lots of lumpy mashed potatoes until I learned how to make them just right- and she never complained.  She knew that if she critiqued too much we wouldn't gain confidence in the kitchen.  Instead she would just guide our hands in the right direction knowing we would get it in time.  Even today, having a house of my own, she is still the first person I call when I need some direction on a recipe.  And to this, Mom I thank you!  

So for this segment of Fridays, Feasting with Friends I bring you no other then my mom, Judy Trapp.  She is a woman I feel more people definitely need to learn more about!  She is humble, modest and the most sincere person I have ever known.  What a wonderful example God gave to my sister and I of a Virtuous Woman! I am proud that as I am growing up into motherhood I am becoming more and more like her.  I love you Mom!
Judy Trapp

My mom and Jackson when he was just 5 months old.  
  • What is your favorite thing to cook? I love to bake, especially breads.  But for favorite foods I guess I would say "comfort foods".  Roast Chicken, pot roast, pork and saurkraut, etc.  I also love making soups of all kinds. 
  • What is your least favorite Thing to cook?  I have to say appetizers.
  • What is your favorite restaurant and are there any you are dying to try?  Can I say two? Number one all time favorite is Pier W.  My next closest to #1 would be Mallorca.  Dying to try?  I'd have to say one of Michael Symon's restaurants.  
  • Where did you learn to cook and at what age did you start cooking?  I learned most of my cooking and especially baking from my sister, Mary Ann.  She is a wonderful cook and baker.  I spent a lot of time at her house when I was young.  There wasn't anything she didn't try and perfect.  
  • What would you choose to be your last meal on earth? Anything Shrimp!  Or also scallops.
  • What are you currently reading?  I've been reading Rhett Butler's People by Donald McCaib and Twelve Extraordinary Women: How God Shaped Women of the Bible, and What He Wants to Do with You by John MacArthur and I'm almost finished with Bordeaux Betrayal:A Wine Counrty Mystery by Ellen Crosby.  This one is about wine country in Virginia.  
  • What is your favorite Kitchen Gadget?  That's a toughy.  I have quite a few.  One is an appliance gadget- the egg cooker.  One's I use the most are the cheese grater, herb gratter and zester and also my garlic mincer.
  • Do you have a signature go-to dish?  I don't know if it would be a signature dish but I bake scones for special occasions with a homemade clotted cream and jam.
  • What is your favorite thing about Cleveland?  I love Cleveland.  We have a beautiful Metropark system that very, very few cities have.  The West Side Market.  The cultural aspect of Cleveland with the Orchestra, museums, operas and Theater District is second to none!  
  • Do you have a favorite meal from your childhood and do you still cook it at home?  Pieroges.  One memory is going to St. Peter and Paul Church somewhere in the now Treemont area of Cleveland.  I went there with my father and waited in line for them.  If you were "real good" while waiting in line you got a nice warm, butter dripping pierogi for free!  Now we go to one of the several churches that make them, usually St. Josaphat.  And when we get in the car we eat several of the nice, warm, butter dripping pierogies!  Also my sister, Mary Ann would make a cream shrimp dish with hard boiled egg and served it over mashed potatoes- real yummy.  I had it once when I went to visit her in Florida and made it for you and your sister one afternoon for lunch.  It was still very yummy like I remember.  
  • Top 3 Movies of all time?  #1 Gone with the Wind #2 Godfather 1,2, and 3 #3 Moonstruck.
  • Where do you do your grocery shopping?  Mostly at Giant Eagle, Heinen's, Marc's and Super Wal-mart.  Each one of these stores has their purpose.
  • What is your favorite guilty pleasure when it comes to food?  Chocolate.  Chocolate cake and Godiva liquor at special times!! 
  • Do you have Culinary Resolutions that you would like to accomplish this year? Master a good healthy whole wheat whole grain bread
  • You have an amazing herb garden in your backyard and I was lucky enough to have you help me with mine.  My only woe with having a garden is I can't clip from it now that it is blanketed with snow!  What is the easiest way for me to preserve and dry herbs so I can enjoy them year round?  Having an herb garden outside your backdoor in your own yard is a real joy.  Nothing is better than picking and using them fresh.  Unfortunately living where we do once a frost comes not many are left.  Thyme and Rosemary are there under the snow, but that is about it.  I found trying to dry them and keep their taste is very difficult.  They need to be dried quickly to keep color and flavor.  I do all my drying in the microwave.  Put a cup of water in the back of the oven. You don't want to blow out your microwave.  On white paper towels (no prints) place a single layer of clean, dry herbs and cover with another paper towel and set the oven to 30 second intervals.  Keep timing until the the herbs are crisp.  Let dry in air before packing away.  I used jars.  Also herbs to put in sauces or soups you could pack in ice cube trays and fill with water to freeze.  As you need some, take a cube out.  About one teaspoon will fill a cube.  But always remember when it comes to herbs- Fresh is Best.  Tiny herbs like Thyme simply air dry and they dry quickly.  There is so much more but limited to space and time, so these are the basics.  
Gourmet Tomato Soup
3 Quarts of tomatoes
2 Cups chicken Broth
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/4-1/2 Cup cream or Half and Half 
1 clove garlic, minced

Saute carrots, celery, onion with garlic until soft but not brown.  Add tomatoes and begin cooking until they soften and add the chicken broth.  Bring to boil and then simmer until all if soft.  If you want a creamy soup, mash the veggies and tomatoes with a potato masher.  Add the cream and season with salt and pepper.  If using half and half, don't boil.  You could season with basil or dill.  Also you could add shrimp or rice or even a pasta, tortellini is good.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese when ready to serve.

Thank you so much mom for taking the time for this interview!  I loved reading all of your answers!  I made this soup last weekend when I was craving a grown-up grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup dinner and I was incredibly happy with the results.  It is a very simple recipe but the flavor is amazing.  This was one of those times cooking when the recipe came out exactly like I remember my mom's tasting.  It was a proud moment!  Please everyone stay tuned next Friday for my interview with my dear friend Tera Pepper!   


  1. Your Mom is beautiful and sounds like a wonderful woman! she seems like a great cook...I LOVE SOUP! TOMATO is my FAV.! I am going o try her recipe for sure!

    Tera Pepper

  2. Your mom, my "most favorite" Aunt Judy and her sister, MaryAnn, my mom, are both beautiful and wonderful women. They are both superb cooks who continue to share their knowlege with us. How lucky we are. This soup is great and super easy to make. She gave me the recipe when I was home in August and I have made it several times since. Tomato soup with grilled cheese is one of my favorite lunch choices. Her gardens are amazing -- so beautiful and tranquil to look at when sitting on the deck or in the kitchen. About drying herbs -- listen carefully to what she says about drying them in your microwave -- I did blow one out during an afternoon of drying! That is my favorite way to dry them because they keep their color so much better - but I am really really careful now.

  3. Thanks for the advice Kathleen. I will pay close attention when I do it this year- goodness knows Scott would not be happy if I blew out of microwave!



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