Lee and I have been discussing coffee shops since we met in college; we had a good one in Vermillion: Shelley’s. Actually, it’s called the “Coffee Shop Gallery,” but we never called it that. Pfft. My massive stonewear teapot is from there. I have a ton of memories from both locations we went to on Main Street. The first time I purposefully listened in to other peoples’ conversations (for playwriting class) was there. At any rate, we’re always talking about doing this or that to the house, too, and this summer I realized that what we kept talking about was making our house more like an ideal coffee shop. So we spent a few months talking about what the perfect coffee shop would be like.

I don’t know that we came to any conclusions, but we did get a house full of people and a lot of food out of it.

There were other recipes – we dropped ‘em.  Lee made espresso drinks for everyone, and mixed fizzy-water things.  My favorite was the “orangegasm.”  I’ll have to get the recipe from him. We also had a cheese/meat plate that Margie brought. I can’t remember what was on there, either, and a bunch of it was really good.

Click the links for the original recipes :)


  • Dave and Margie (and Katherine)
  • Cindy
  • Stan and Mary
  • Michelle Baker
  • Babara, and later, Joe
  • Jackie and Wendy

(Lee’s chili recipe)

This ended up just a bit too spicy for most people and had to be tamed with sour cream. Oh, the horror! But you may want to add just one chipotle chili at a time to test.

2 T dried chili pepper (not chili powder)
1 T cumin
1 1/2 lbs chorizo
1/2 lb summer sausage, cubed
1 T olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Anaheim peppers, seeds removed, diced
4 chipotle chilis in adobo, seeds removed, minced
1 T salt
2 15 oz cans pinto beans
4 15 oz cans tomatoes (2 before the cooking for a deeper flavor and 2 after for a brighter red color)
1 bottle dark beer (brown ale or stout)
2 oz mexican chocolate (for example, Abuelita brand)

Cook chili pepper and cumin over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the chili pepper starts to brown and smell toasty. Add the olive oil, sausages, garlic, Anaheim peppers, and chipotles and cook until the chorizo is cooked through. Add 2 cans of tomatoes, the salt, the beer, and the chocolate and cook over low heat for at least 3 hours (or place in a crock pot and cook overnight), stirring occasionally if on the stove. About 1/2 hour from serving, add the beans and the rest of the tomatoes. Heat through and adjust seasoning as necessary.

Mushroom Soup

The Best Mushroom Broth

This was to roll on the floor and make yourself sick for.

2 ounces mixed dried mushrooms, including some shiitakes and porcinis
6 cups boiling water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, roughly chopped
2 large carrots, roughly chopped
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, cut in half
4 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1 sprig rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups dry red wine
1-2 tablespoons miso, red if you have it (optional)

Soak the mushrooms in the boiling water while you prepare the rest of the broth. Heat the oil in a large pot. Sauté the onion, carrots, celery until soft and slightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, bay leaf, rosemary and salt and pepper and sauté for another minute or two. Stir in the tomato paste. Add the red wine and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pot to incorporate the browned vegetable bits. Add the mushrooms and their soaking liquid. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Strain vegetables from broth and discard. In a small bowl, stir 1 tablespoon miso into a half-cup or so of hot broth and then stir into the rest of the broth. Taste and add more miso if you like. This should make 4 cups, just enough for the soup, but I always end up with more. The extra freezes well and is great in risotto and veggie loaf. Or you could just make more mushroom soup.

The Best Mushroom Soup

8 ounces button mushrooms
8 ounces cremini mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup minced shallot or onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups of The Best Mushroom Broth, above
1 cup bread crumbs from about 2 slices bread
1/2 cup cream (plain) or milk

Reserve 4 or 5 of the smaller, shapelier mushrooms and chop the rest finely. Heat olive oil in a large pot. Sauté the shallot and mushrooms until they are tender and mushrooms are releasing their liquid. Add garlic and salt and sauté another minute. Add the bread and mushroom broth and simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes. Stir in creamer. Divide the soup into 4 bowls. Thinly slice the reserved mushrooms and use them to garnish the soup.

Spicy Brazilian Coconut Shrimp Soup (a la Shuga’s)

We left the tomatoes out of this for Jackie, and it was crazy delicious anyway.

2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup long-grain rice
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 cups canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree (from one 15-ounce can)
5 cups water
1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, shelled and cut in half horizontally
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
1.In a large pot, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften, about 10 minutes.
2.Add the rice, red-pepper flakes, salt, tomatoes, and water to the pot. Bring to a boil and cook until the rice is almost tender, about 10 minutes.
3.Stir the coconut milk into the soup. Bring back to a simmer and then stir in the shrimp. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are just done, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the black pepper, lemon juice, and parsley.
NOTES Variation Instead of the shrimp, use one pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about three), cut crosswise into quarter-inch strips. Cook for the same amount of time.

Beef au jus sliders

I made the beef for this the night before and, erm, just left it in the pot with the broth overnight. Good gravy, was that a good way to do it, though.

1 beef rump roast or bottom round roast (4 pounds)
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 large sweet onions
6 tablespoons butter, softened, divided
5 cups beef broth
1/2 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon brown sauce, optional (or Worchestershire)
2 large packages of Hawaiian sweet rolls (King’s Hawaiian)

Dump everything except one of the onions in a crock pot, cook until falling apart, turn off heat, and let sit overnight in the fridge.

Slice as thinly as possible. Skim the broth and add meat and broth to the crockpot again, turn on to reheat. Meanwhile, slice up the remaining onion and saute until brown, then add to warming broth.

Serve with mini rolls, mayo, horseradish sauce, cheese (harvarti or swiss or provolone, optional), and little bowls for the juice.

Nutella fluffernutters

A squishy mess that disappeared.

Mini bagels
Marshmallow fluff
Peanut butter
Raspberry Jam (optional)


Olive Salad
3 Cups Green Olives, Pitted
1 Cup kalamatta Olives (or Black) Pitted
2 Cup Gardiniera (Pickled Cauliflower, Carrots, Celery, Pepperoncini)
2 Tbsp. Capers
6 each Fresh Garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 Cup Celery, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. Italian Parsley, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. Fresh Oregano (When I have it in my garden) or 2 tsp. dried
2 tsp. Crushed red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 Cup Roasted red peppers
2 Tbsp. Green Onions, thinly sliced
2 Anchovy fillets
Kosher Salt & Freshly Ground pepper To Taste

Combine all ingredients (either by chopping them all or a food processor. Cover with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, about 1 to 3 cups (enough Olive Oil that there is a thin layer on the top of the Salad). Put into a bowl or jar, cover and let the flavors marinate for about one week.

As noted by us, the Olive Salad recipe can easily by 1/2 or a 1/3 for two of the sandwiches or kept if you like Olive Salad.

2 10″ round loaf Italian bread with Sesame seeds (Muffaletta, Chibatta or any other form of rustic round flat Italian bread).
1 Recipe of Olive Salad
1/2 lb Genoa Salami
1/2 lb Hot Capicola
1/2 lb Mortadella
1/4 lb Sliced Mozzarella
1/4 lb Provolone

Cut the bread in half length wise. Brush both sides with your 1 week old Olive Salad, go a little heavier on the bottom. Layer half of the Salami on the bottom half of the bread. Then the Mortadella. Then the Mozzarella. Then the Capicola, Provolone, and the remainder of Salami. Top this with the olive salad. Put the lid on and press it down without smashing the bread. Quarter it.

Onion dip
(Lee’s invention)

1 Sweet onion, diced
1 c Plain yogurt, Greek if available
1 c Sour Cream
1T soy sauce
1T Worchestershire sauce
1t salt

Saute the sweet onions in olive oil over medium-high heat until the onions turn black; don’t stir them much, let them stick to the pan rather than mess with them too much.

Mix ingredients together and chill for ½ hour.

Olive-garlic Hummus

2 16 oz cans of garbanzos
½ c olives–whatever kind you like
2T vegetable oil (NOT extra-virgin olive oil)
¼ c tahini
2 cloves raw, peeled garlic (smashed/minced–don’t count on the blender doing it for you)
Rice wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
Roasted sesame oil

Rinse and drain the garbanzos but don’t bother to take the skins off. In a food processor or monster blender, puree the garbanzos, tahini, and oil until the beans are as smooth as you like. The hummus won’t be the right consistency; you’re looking for something sticky and smooth, like peanut butter–but it can be chunkier.

Now, add about 2-3T rice wine vinegar, the smooshed up garlic, and about 2T sesame oil, and blend. Adjust oil and vinegar until the flavors balance; you may not want to add salt.


2 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
Pinch of salt
1 cup all purpose flour
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, cooled slightly

Powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 375°F. Generously butter and flour pan for large madeleines (about 3 x 1 1/4 inches).* Using electric mixer, beat eggs and 2/3 cup sugar in large bowl just to blend. Beat in vanilla, lemon peel and salt. Add flour; beat just until blended. Gradually add cooled melted butter in steady stream, beating just until blended.
Spoon 1 tablespoon batter into each indentation in pan. Bake until puffed and brown, about 16 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Gently remove from pan. Repeat process, buttering and flouring pan before each batch. (Can be made 1 day ahead.)
Dust cookies with powdered sugar.
*A metal mold with scallop-shaped indentations, sold at cookware stores.

Easy Chocolate Chip Biscotti

2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
In medium bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips. Add eggs and vanilla, stirring until blended. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; knead 8 to 10 times. Form dough into a log about 2-inches wide and 16-inches thick.
Place log onto baking sheet coated with non-stick spray. Bake 30 minutes; remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes.
Place log on cutting board and with a serrated knife, cut log diagonally into 1/2 inch slices, using a sawing motion. Place slices cut side up, on baking sheet.
Reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake for 10 minutes. Turn slices over and bake an additional 10 to 12 minutes until golden. Centers will be slightly soft, but will harden as they cool. Remove to wire rack to cool.

Cindy also brought…

Sopapilla Bars

2 (8 oz) packages of cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 sticks of butter, softened
1 1/2 c. sugar, divided
2 t vanilla extract, divided
2 8 oz packages of refrigerated crescent rolls
1/2 t ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350. Coat 13×9″ baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Combine cream cheese and 4T butter until creamy, then add 1 c. sugar and 1 t vanilla extract and beat until creamed.

Without separating the rolls at the preforations, unroll one package of crescent rolls into the bottom of the pan, pressing the dough down until it reaches the edges. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the rolls. Unroll the other package of crescent rolls onto a lightly floured surface and stretch or roll out to fit the pan, then position on top of the cream cheese mixture.

In a small saucepan, melt the remaining 6T of butter, stir in the remaining 1/2 c. sugar, remaining 1 T vanilla, and the cinnamon. Stir until the sugar is dissolved, then spread evenly over the dough in the pan.

Bake 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and slightly puffed. cool before cutting into squares.