Monday, April 9, 2012

My friend Dena

Over the years living here in Charleston, I have grown to have more friends than I probably had in my entire life before.  Friends have grown from the Low Country Golden Retriever Rescue, work at World Market, Saint Stephens Episcopal Church, The Elks and goodness knows where else.  Friends bring more friends and I remember hearing that "A stranger is a friend you have not yet met" or something like that.

A few years ago Michael and I started going to St. Stephens.  He had been to many churches when he moved down here and couldn't find one that was right.  I was a Catholic who had wandered away from the church, probably due to some slight disagreements (like birth control, and woman and gays in the church to name a few), I had also been married to a man who I think really has no belief.  It is so strange to type that, to actually realize that someone that you were married to for over 25 years never expressed a belief in God.  After we separated, in an attempt I think to get me back, he told me that he had started reading the Bible and had found God.  I thought, He was never lost but whatever floats your boat.  Our daughters hold varying religious beliefs and I respect that, religion is a deeply personal thing and no one can decide that for

Anyway, through some friends at St Stephens we were introduced to this remarkable lady named Dena.  Now Dena is a live wire, you had best be ready when you met her, she is involved in so many thing it exhausts me just talking to her.   The most important thing about Dena though is that she is loving and the second most important thing about her is that she is a fantastic cook (and a great friend).

We spent late Easter afternoon at Dena's house for dinner.  Now dinner there is not just dinner and we all contribute to the meal (my job yesterday was appetizers).  I do not think I could have possibly eaten another bite, I hardly touched my dinner for all the wonderful snacks (including lamb chops which no were not my contribution) that we had earlier.  While we were there we had the pleasure of meeting Kimberly Brock Brown who I believe is the ONLY Black Female Executive Chef in all of South Carolina.  She delighted our taste buds with a wonderful cheesecake.

Dena is probably the person who inspired me to try new cooking techniques, to try new and exciting foods, to try (when the budget allows) to buy organic.  She is a avid gardener and has as awesome variety of plants in the ground already.  She introduced us to ushering at Spoleto (I will tell you about that another time). 

I think the one thing I love about my friend Dena is that she is not afraid to speak her mind.  One day I hope to grow up to be just like her!

In the mean time for brunch yesterday we had the most delicious, healthy (somewhat) meal that is from the Eating Healthy website.

Artichoke Scramble Eggs Benedict


  • 8 canned artichoke bottoms, (1 1/2 cans), rinsed (see Shopping Tip)
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano, divided, plus 4 sprigs for garnish
  • 1/3 cup chopped pancetta
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 6 large eggs
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-fat cream cheese, (Neufchâtel)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Toss artichoke bottoms with 2 teaspoons oil and 2 teaspoons oregano. Place them top-side down on half of a large baking sheet. Spread pancetta in an even layer on the other half. Roast until the artichokes are just beginning to brown and the pancetta is crispy, 12 to 14 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk mayonnaise, yogurt, lemon juice and water in a small bowl until smooth. Beat eggs and egg whites in a large bowl.
  4. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the eggs and cook, folding and stirring frequently with a heatproof rubber spatula until almost set, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and fold in cream cheese, the remaining 1 teaspoon oregano and salt.
  5. To serve, divide the artichoke bottoms among 4 plates. Top each artichoke with equal portions scrambled egg, crispy pancetta and creamy lemon sauce. Garnish with oregano sprigs, if desired.


Per serving : 282 Calories; 19 g Fat; 6 g Sat; 7 g Mono; 333 mg Cholesterol; 9 g Carbohydrates; 17 g Protein; 3 g Fiber; 737 mg Sodium; 171 mg Potassium
1/2 Carbohydrate Serving


  1. Dena sounds awesome. I had a friend named Dena one time! Well, she's still my friend, we just haven't seen each other in eons!!

    And girl, I think we should plan to meet at the EWF concert!!

    1. I think you are right! Now to figure out how to find each other in the mass of humanity!