Posts Tagged ‘Teri Tynes’

Cowboy Caviar

Friday, July 9th, 2010

I love summer for many reasons—not the least of which is that it simplifies entertaining.
In winter I feel that my guests must be rewarded for schlepping through the snow with warm, solid food and a relatively clean house.
In summer I feel no such obligation. The weather and the sparkling conversation are my friends’ rewards for coming to visit of an evening.
I tend to specialize in two types of summer evening parties. One is a dessert party, usually a sundae party. Guests help themselves to ice cream with a variety of toppings and chat as they juggle dishes, spoons, and smiles.
The other is a cocktail party. I adorn the deck with a table topped with glasses plus wine, beer, liquor, ice, and soft drinks. (Fresh flowers help, too.) And I serve simple yet tasty appetizers.
I don’t even have to clean the house before these parties because my guests won’t be inside!
Even if you don’t entertain a lot, I suggest you try throwing a cocktail party—or even just a wine/beer party—or even just a lemonade party! Offer your guests something cool to drink and a light snack; then sit back and enjoy the long summer evening.
The appetizer recipe below comes from my friend Teri Tynes, a dyed in the wool Texan who now lives and writes in New York City.
Teri makes her caviar look a lot prettier than mine by chopping everything up finely and arranging the dish artistically. Last time I made it I was in a hurry so my chopping was rough and my arrangement (pictured above) was … well, let’s just say it was free form.  

My guests loved the caviar anyway. In fact, my neighbor Alice took home the leftovers and ate them for lunch the next day.

The Caviar
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
4 ounces ripe olives, drained and chopped (feel free to use more; I usually throw in the whole can!)
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 large clove garlic, pressed or minced
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 pinches of salt
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
4 to 5 shakes of hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 pinch of pepper
1 8-ounce package cream cheese—regular or light–softened
2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1 scallion, sliced
In a bowl combine all the ingredients except for the cream cheese, eggs, and scallion. Cover the mixture and let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. When you are ready to serve your caviar spread the cream cheese over the surface of a circular serving dish. Spread the bean mixture on top of it. 

Arrange the egg pieces in a ring around the edge of the plate (the effect is sort of that of a wreath). Sprinkle the chopped scallion overall. Serve with crackers or tortilla chips. Serves 8 to 12, depending on what else is on the table.

Teri’s Pumpkin Cake

Friday, October 30th, 2009

Teri's Pumpkin Cake web

Before I get to today’s recipe, I’d like to remind readers about my beloved Pudding Hollow Pudding Festival, scheduled for TOMORRROW—Halloween!
Anyone within shouting distance of western Massachusetts should definitely come (and perhaps enter the festival’s pudding contest). This event offers food, music, and lots of fun.
You may come as you are, of course, but there WILL be a prize for best costume for those who feel like dressing up. Sage green homecoming dresses for 2023 can be used as dressing up as fairies.
AND I wanted to mention that we have a winner in the drawng for the book The Perfect Pumpkin. Congratulations to Madge Solomon of Falls Church, Virgnia! I hope to have another drawing soon.
Now, on to a perfect Halloween recipe. This cake is ideal for the season—moist, full of good things (a treat), and a little surprising (a treat).
I learned to make it from my graduate-school friend Teri Tynes. Teri is smart, vivacious, and just plain fun. Her award-winning blog, Walking Off the Big Apple, is the thinking woman’s (and yes, the thinking man’s) guide to New York.
Teri uses her vast knowledge of American culture and history to view the city through the prisms of art, literature, fashion, and photography.
I love to make her pumpkin cake at this time of year and think of her.
The Cake: 
1-1/2 cups canola oil
2 cups sugar
3-1/8 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons allspice
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups mashed pumpkin
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup raisins
My friend Chas grew this lovely little pumpkin.

My friend Chas grew this lovely little pumpkin.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan (or spray it with Baker’s Joy). Mix the oil and sugar in a large bowl. Combine 3 cups of the flour and the other dry ingredients and add them to the oil and sugar along with the pumpkin. (Reserve the remaining flour.) Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.
In a separate bowl, mix the remaining 1/8 cup flour with the nuts and raisins. Add them to the batter. Spoon into the prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Frost with raisin frosting. Serves 10 to 12.
Teri’s Secret Raisin Frosting
This icing is a bit tricky. It can almost burn if you don’t stir carefully. It looks a little strange and lumpy as it goes on the cake, but the texture of the final product is one of its joys. I love the fact that it’s SUPPOSED to look messy since most of my baked goods look that way anyway.
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1/2 cup (1 stick) sweet butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup raisins (plus a few more if you can’t resist; I usually just throw them in impulsively)
1 generous handful of flaked, sweetened coconut
Combine the first 5 ingredients in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 12 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in the coconut and raisins. Let the frosting stand for a minute (or maybe 2 or 3) to cool slightly. Spoon and spread it generously over your pumpkin cake.  
I was hoping to look exotic and gorgeous in these glasses, like Halle Berry in "Catwoman." Instead, I'm afraid I look more like Gloria Swanson in "Sunset Boulevard"--creepy and middle aged. In any case, I wish you a Happy Halloween!

I was hoping to look exotic and gorgeous in these glasses, like Halle Berry in “Catwoman.” Instead, I’m afraid I look more like Gloria Swanson in “Sunset Boulevard”–creepy and middle aged. Oh, well … Halle, Gloria, and Tinky all wish you a Happy Halloween!

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Biscuits for Candlemas

Monday, February 2nd, 2009



I celebrated Candlemas for the first time in graduate school. Teri Tynes was a creative force both in my American studies program and in our apartment complex, the Casa del Rio. One February 2 she brought a group into her ground-floor apartment. We sat in a circle on the floor, lit candles from a central flame, and shared our creative dreams. It was a night of bonding, of mystery, and of humor–in short, of illumination in many senses of the word.


Also known as Groundhog Day, Imbolc, and Brigid’s Day, Candlemas is poised between the winter solstice and the vernal equinox. It marks the midpoint of our coldest season. Candlemas is an old pagan holiday and an agricultural one as well, a time at which we can at least imagine we sense stirrings of life in the cold ground. Even when snow banks dominate the landscape it’s comforting to observe that the sun is rising a little earlier and a little higher than it did in January. As the sun starts to come back, I always find myself a little more alert and a little more creative. And I find it easier to laugh at life’s small mishaps.


Traditional Candlemas foods are grain based in keeping with the day’s association with agriculture. They are often round and golden as well to evoke the sun; pancakes and crepes are popular edibles for this holiday. I’m following this tradition by making biscuits, a welcome treat at any time of year.


The recipe below comes from The Virginia Hospitality Cookbook. Put out by the Junior League of Hampton Roads, Virginia, this book is a goldmine of traditional regional recipes like Brunswick stew and crab cakes. The biscuits are also pretty darn terrific.


If you’d like to see what my talented friend Teri is up to now, visit her blog, Walking Off the Big Apple. She uses her fertile imagination and her historical knowledge to give her readers a new perspective on New York City. 

Happy Candlemas! Light a candle and get your creative (and of course culinary) juices flowing…….. 


Teri Tynes

Teri Tynes


Virginia Hospitality Country Biscuits




2 cups flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 cup shortening

1 egg in a measuring cup with enough milk to equal 2/3 cup liquid, lightly beaten




Preheat the oven to 450.


In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Using a pastry blender or knives, cut in the shortening until you have small crumbs.


Stir in the egg and milk until there are no dry particles. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and gently knead it for a moment or two until the dough holds together. Do not over handle the dough. Roll the dough out into a 1/2-inch-thick rectangle. Cut into 12 biscuits (you may get 11 or 13!). Bake the biscuits for 8 to 10 minutes, until they are light brown. Makes about 1 dozen biscuits.


"How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world."

"How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world."