Playing with bugs

Playing with bugs
Here I am taking a picture of my niece’s pet cutworm. (Photo by Gavin.)

In my family, we grew up fascinated with — and playing with — bugs. My niece and oldest nephew seem to have inherited the Davis love of bugs. (It’s too soon to tell with the youngest nephew.) It didn’t occur to me until I joined the Doughtie clan that bug love might not be a universal childhood trait.

I remember the first time I suggested to my youngest stepson that he turn off the electronics and go in the back yard and play with some bugs. He looked at me with gentle, puzzled concern. There might have even been a little bit of pity in his eyes. It was the sort of look I might get from another adult if I suggested out of the blue that the other adult go in the back yard and find some insects to play with. It was an “Are you sure you’re feeling okay? Is everything going all right for you?” kind of look.

Bloody Mary two ways

Two Bloody Mary recipes

Bloody Marys are a long standing Christmas morning Doughtie tradition, and we West Coast Doughties we make them two ways: the hard core Clamato version, which is a recipe handed down from Gavin’s mom, and the Spicy V-8 version, which comes from a friend of mine. One day, I may reach Clamato-level Bloody Mary enlightenment, but I’m a beginner Bloody Mary drinker, and the Spicy V-8 version goes down easier for me.

* * * * *

Bloody Mary (Clamato version)

  • 1 (32 oz.) jar clamato juice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 oz. celery salt
  • 1/2 oz. Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 oz. lemon juice
  • Angostura bitters
  • Tabasco sauce
  • 1 tsp. onion juice (very optional)

Combine first four ingredients. Add Tabasco and bitters to taste. To obtain onion juice, squeeze 1/4 med. onion in a garlic press and use juice and pulp to get 1 tsp.

Mix all ingredients together with a whisk or spoon. Pour over booze and ice and squeeze a fresh lime wedge over the top. Garnish with a celery stalk.

* * * * *

Bloody Mary (Spicy V-8 version)

  • Ice
  • Vodka
  • Spicy V-8
  • Fresh bright green celery stalk
  • Tabasco sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh horseradish
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 lemon
  • Fresh pepper

Fill glass half-way with ice.

Fill glass 1/3 of the way with vodka.

Pour Spicy V-8 over the vodka to fill glass a total 5/6 of the way full.

Add a minimum of 9 shakes of Tabasco (or more to taste).

Add 1 tablespoon fresh horseradish.

Add 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce.

Squeeze juice from 1/4 lemon into the glass, then drop squeezed lemon into glass.

Stir with a fresh, crisp, bright green celery stalk.

Sprinkle with pepper.

Adjust to taste.

Originally posted on The DHX.

Chocolate chip cookies


Chocolate Chip Cookies (the Nestle Toll House recipe with a few notes)

  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour (My mom taught me never to scoop the flour out of the jar with the measuring cup, but to spoon the flour lightly into the measuring cup, and then to use a knife edge to brush any flour that pokes above the top of the measure cup back off into the flour jar. She also taught me never to pack the flour into the measuring cup.)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened (Softening the butter — getting it out of the refrigerator a few hours before cooking and letting it come to room temperature — makes a big difference in this recipe. They come out soft and thin, with chocolate chips poking out in little bumps, and they stay soft, which to me is chocolate chip cookie perfection.)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar (dark brown sugar is especially good)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • (This recipe also calls for 1 cup chopped nuts, I don’t like them so I leave them out.)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Sift or wisk flour, baking soda and salt together in a small bowl. Beat butter, sugars and vanilla extract in a separate large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in flour mixture a little bit at a time. Stir in chocolate chips. Put rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

Platonic marinade

Coals on the barbecue
Hot coals on the barbecue

This is based on a James Beard recipe Gavin’s mom found years ago when he was a kid. They liked it so much, they called it platonic marinade, and it’s been a family favorite ever since. Gavin barbecued chicken for me with it when we first started dating.

Platonic Marinade

  • 1-1/2 cups canola oil
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbs. dry mustard
  • 1 Tbs. pepper
  • 1/2 cup wine vinegar
  • 1 clove (or more!) garlic
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice

Blend all ingredients in blender or food processor.

Marinate chicken breasts or steak overnight. (Flank steak works especially well with this recipe.)

Grill. Brush marinade over grilling meat, and, if you like, simmer remaining marinade long enough to kill germs and then serve as a sauce alongside the chicken or meat.


Originally posted on The DHX.