Goodcookbecky's Blog

Letting the juices of life (or food) drip from my chin!

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In my quest to find a new chili recipe I turned to the Food Network website.  I have to admit, I don’t like watching Guy Fieri- from the way he wears his hair, to his over the top loud obnoxious personality -to the way he pronounces his name “Fi-etti!”  I am sorry, is there a “t” in your name? He just isn’t my cup of tea, but if you love him that’s great.. he needs a fan base– and he is on TV and I am not…

But I digress!  I did however try his recipe for “Dragon’s Breath Chili” after I read the reviews.  The name (of the chili) is more intimidating than the taste and I made some changes.  I reduced the peppers and cayenne pepper for one thing, because I wanted my kids to have half a chance of eating it!  This is a good recipe with a bit of spice to grab you, but not overpowering.  I may have to change my opinion of Fi-etti yet (Nah, that’s not going to happen!)  But the guy can cook – I give him that much!  It is more involved than my regular chili recipe that I make.  I changed a few things from the cooking too… I first cooked the peppers and onions- removed them from the pot.  Browned the chuck pieces in batches so they would brown properly (if you follow the directions of the original you won’t get nice browned pieces), then cooked the ground beef and sausage together. Once cooked added the spices and then threw it all in the crock pot to cook.  Here is the link to the original recipe. For best flavor, plan ahead and make this a day in advance.  I would place this in the medium+ heat category.  My kids were able to eat it.

Dragon’s Breath Chili

adapted from Food Network (Guy Fieri)

Serves 10-12


2 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp canola oil
2 red bell peppers, diced
2 Tbsp jalapeno, minced
2 Anaheim chiles, roasted, peeled, chopped
2 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, chopped
2 yellow onions, diced
1/4 cup minced garlic
2 lbs boneless chuck, trimmed of most fat and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 lb ground beef, coarse grind
1 lb bulk Italian sausage

2 tsp dried minced onion
2 tsp granulated garlic
3 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1 1/2 (6 oz) cans tomato paste
12 ounces lager beer
1 cup chicken stock
2 (15 oz) cans pinto beans, drained, but not rinsed
2 (15 oz) cans kidney beans, drained but not rinsed

8 oz bacon, cooked and chopped
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup shredded Cheddar


Roasting peppers: I don’t think it is completely necessary, but it does add nice flavor.  How? You place the peppers on your gas burner grate above the flame (or over a barbecue) and turn it from time to time after the skin blisters and turns black.  Then while the peppers are still warm, place them in a paper bag and seal the bag to “steam” them. This loosens the skin and makes them easier to peel later.  I did this process the day before I made the chili.

Chop the peppers and onions.  Heat a large stock pot over medium high heat and melt the butter and heat 1 Tbsp canola oil.  Saute the onions and peppers (bell, chilis) until they are tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the chopped garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until the garlic is fragrant.  Remove the pepper mixture and set aside.

Add 1 Tbsp of canola oil.  Season the chuck cubes with salt and pepper and brown them in batches in the stock pot.  Remove the browned pieces (set aside), and brown the next batches. (Julia Child was right, for proper browning, don’t crowd the meat).  After the chuck is browned, cook the ground beef and Italian sausage in the same pot.  Remove any drippings.  Add the seasonings (the long list of them- it is worth it).  Stir into the meat and cook for a minute or two. Add the tomato sauce, paste, beer, and chicken broth and bring to a boil.

Carefully pour the contents of your stock pot into your large crock pot.  Add the peppers and browned chuck beef.  Add the beans and stir everything together.   Turn the crock pot on to LOW setting.    Cover and cook on low for about 5 hours, stirring from time to time, or until the chuck beef is tender to the point of falling apart when you try to shred it with a fork.

To serve: top each serving with diced green onions, cheese and crisp bacon, if desired. Serve with cornbread or corn bread pudding.

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Corn Bread Pudding

Okay, this is the world’s easiest recipe to make!  It is our favorite adaptation of corn bread.  It goes really well with Chili… which is my next post.

Every year I “enter” a chili cook off.  Okay, mostly it is good fellowship with great friends that we have known for 15+ years now.  This year my girls want to bring a chili to enter – so we will be bringing 2! 🙂  How fun it is to see my girls take an interest in cooking as well.

Back to the corn bread pudding.  It is easy as pie.. actually easier than pie! Unless of course you buy your pies…

Corn Bread Pudding

adapted from a Betty Crocker Cookbook (a friend’s cookbook, so I don’t know the year or edition sorry)

Serves 8

1 box Jiffy corn bread mix

1 stick butter, melted

1 (15 oz) can corn kernels, drained

1 (15 oz) can creamed corn

1 cup sour cream

2 eggs


Preheat the oven to 350F.

Melt the butter in a microwave for 1 minute  (cover the dish or it may splatter).

In a  mixing bowl, combine the jiffy corn bread mix, eggs, sour cream, corn kernels, and creamed corn and mix.  Add the melted butter and mix.  Pour into a square 8 inch baking dish.

Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until it is set.  Serve with Chili.

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Sausage Gravy

Wake up sleepy head!  Biscuits and Gravy will get them up and out of bed!

I found this recipe on my all time favorite site (allrecipes).  The recipe was posted by Bob Evans.  It is a restaurant chain on the East Coast that serves incredible breakfasts. I tweaked the recipe here and there.

Biscuits and Gravy
adapted from Bob Evans recipe on
Serves 8
  • 1 lb sausage
  • 2 Tbsp butter (optional)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • salt and black pepper to taste
additional ingredients:
  • 8 prepared biscuits
  • 8 fried eggs
Bake biscuits (I used the Bisquick Mix and used the recipe on the box).
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and cook the sausage, crumbling the sausage as you cook it until it is no longer pink.  Move the sausage to the side of the pan and tilt the pan to let the drippings flow to the other side.  Add the flour and about 1/2 tsp of salt to the drippings (oh this is BAD!  But I feel a tingle! I should really not be eating this, but oh it is sooo good for you –oops tasty!)  Stir the flour into the drippings and combine until there is no raw flour left.  I actually added 2 Tbsp of butter to the drippings so the flour was not clumpy.  Heat the milk up in the microwave.  I find it combines better adding a warm liquid.  Slowly add the milk to the flour mixture and whisk it into the pan.  Add the sausage back in.  Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.  Bring the gravy to a boil and allow to thicken.  If it becomes too thick you can thin it out with additional milk.
To serve, split a biscuit in half  Top with a fried egg and ladle sausage over the egg, replace the top of the biscuit and ladle more gravy over the dish.  Soon you will have all sorts of creatures (children) crawling out of the woodwork to eat breakfast (big ones too).

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Chicken Fried Steak

There is something special and comforting about Chicken Fried Steak. I think it is the sensation I have of my arteries closing up with the fat content in this dish!  I had to do something about the 5 lbs I lost in the past few weeks.  This did it! 😛 I made it before and even posted it on my blog, but it was a long time ago and my picture of it was very poor.

Here is the link to the original recipe.

The Best Chicken Fried Steak
Adapted from allrecipes     Serves 4

  • 4 (1/2 pound) beef cube steaks
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp Tabasco sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups vegetable shortening for deep
  • frying
  • Gravy:
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 5 dashes of Tabasco

Pound the steaks to about 1/4-inch thickness. Place 2 cups of flour in a shallow bowl. Stir together the baking powder, baking soda, pepper, and salt in a separate shallow bowl; stir in the buttermilk, egg, Tabasco Sauce, and garlic. Dredge each steak first in the flour, then in the batter, and again in the flour. Pat the flour onto the surface of each steak so they are completely coated with dry flour.
Heat the shortening in a deep cast-iron skillet to 325°F. Fry the steaks until evenly golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Place fried steaks on a rack over a cookie sheet to drain.  Keep warm in the oven (around 275°F) until you have finished cooking the other steaks.
Drain the fat from the skillet, reserving 1/4 cup of the liquid and as much of the solid remnants as possible.
Return the skillet to medium-low heat with the reserved oil. Whisk the remaining flour into the oil. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a spatula to release solids into the gravy. Stir in the milk, raise the heat to medium, and bring the gravy to a simmer, cook until thick, 6 to 7 minutes. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Spoon the gravy over the steaks serve with mashed potatoes.

Recipe Notes: Place wax paper between the steaks as you dredge them to prevent the steaks from sticking to each other  before frying.  I added a dash of tabasco to the gravy to give it more flavor.  Good recipe everyone liked it!

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Sweet and Sour Meatballs

My Aunt Helen gave me this recipe when my husband and I got married.  I have made it quite a few times over the past 18 years.  18 years? Wow!  My Aunt is a wonderful cook.  I lived with them briefly before our wedding and my Uncle is the Pastor who officiated over our wedding ceremony.  My children enjoy this meal as well, but now that they are getting bigger, I may have to increase the servings to keep them satisfied!  Thank you Aunt Helen!

Aunt Helen’s Sweet and Sour Meatballs

serves 5-6



  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger

For the sauce:

  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 (13 oz) can pineapple chunks or tidbits, in juice
  • 1 medium green or red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

Serve with:

  • 2 cups hot cooked rice
  • steamed vegetables


Cook the rice according to package directions.

To prepare the meatballs: combine all the ingredients listed and stir to incorporate.  Form into meatballs (I use a small ice cream scoop so the meatballs are uniform in size).  In a non stick skillet heat over medium-high heat with a little oil in the pan.  Brown the meatballs, turning them from time to time to brown them and cook them through.  Remove the meatballs to a serving dish and keep warm while you make the sauce.

For the sauce, drain any fat from the skillet you used to make the meatballs.  Stir the cornstarch into a small bowl with a little water and stir to dissolve the cornstarch.  Set aside.  Put all other sauce ingredients into the skillet and heat through.  Add the slurry of cornstarch.  Continue to heat the sauce through, bringing it to a boil, stirring on occasion.  The sauce will turn a little opaque once you heat the cornstarch and will thicken.  Pour the sauce over the meatballs and serve over steamed rice.

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Crepe Suzette

Part 4 of 4 of my daughter’s French Meal for her French Class is of course dessert.  In hindsight I should have made other crepes that do not call for alcohol.  We have children after all and my husband and I found the taste of it overpowering.  But I cannot be certain that it burned off properly.  As it turn out my daughter (14) is actually pretty good at making crepes.  Okay, we started off rough.  The first 15  or so crepes ended up in a discarded heap, but as time went on, they were actual crepes, that we could use.  I doubled the batter knowing that we would likely have difficulty making the crepes (but the recipe is the original amounts).  The batter must be refrigerated at least 2 hours before making the crepes, so plan ahead.

Crepes Fines Sucrees

(Light Crepe Batter as for crepe Suzette)

Adapted from Julia Child (Mastering the Art of French Cooking page 649)

Yield: 10-12 (6 inch) crepes


  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup cold water
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 3 Tbsp rum/orange liqueur/or brandy
  • 1 cup flour
  • 5 Tbsp melted butter


Place the items in a blender (or do as I did in a bowl and use an immersion blender to combine) and blend.  Use a rubber spatula to push down any flour that is on the sides to form a smooth batter without lumps.  Refrigerate the batter at least 2 hours or longer before making the crepes.

To make the crepes, heat a non stick skillet (or crepe pan if you are lucky enough to have one) and melt some butter in the pan.  Pour about 1/8 cup of batter into the skillet, rotating the skillet to spread into a thin crepe.  Cook until it is golden brown and flip (very very carefully) to cook the other side.  They are tricky to make, but once you get the hang of it, it does become easier. (My daughter made these remember?)

Crepes Suzette

adapted from Julia Child (Mastering the Art of French Cooking page 650)

Serves 6 (3 crepes each)

  • 18 prepared crepes

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 oranges, zest removed with a microplane
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup orange juice (without pulp)
  • 3 Tbsp orange liqueur

For Chafing dish (I used a foil lasagna pan)

  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/3 cup orange liqueur
  • 1/3 cup cognac


Combine the sugar, orange zest, softened butter and add the orange juice and orange liqueur.  Stir to combine.  Place them in a chafing dish and allow the butter to melt into an orange sauce (I didn’t have a chafing dish and placed a foil lasagna pan over a low flame on my gas burner.  Dip the prepared crepes into the orange sauce to coat on both sides and then fold them first in half and then in quarters and place to the side of your chafing dish (foil lasagna pan).  For presentation: Sprinkle the arranged crepes with sugar. Pour the alcohol over the crepes and light it on fire (make sure you don’t have anything above it- like a face, hair, microwave… I did this part on my table making sure everyone was standing well away).  While the flame is burning, ladle the sauce over the crepes with a long handled spoon.  For some reason it did not burn as much as we had anticipated and the crepes had a sharp alcoholic taste to them.  If I do make them again, I will stop short of the alcohol and just serve them like that, maybe broil the sugar to get a caramelized look to it.

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NOTES: It was part of my daughter’s French project, we were glad to get it done.  As far as making it again, probably not, but it was a good experience for us.  My daughter now realized she can make herself some pancakes for breakfast – since she has now made crepes!




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Chicken Breasts with Mushrooms and Cream

Part 3: Main Course:

  1. Chicken Breasts with Mushrooms and Cream Sauce (Supremes de Volaille aux Champignons- Julia Child)
  2. Buttered Green Beans I (Haricots Verts a l’ Anglaise- Julia Child)
  3. Scalloped Potatoes with Milk, Cheese, and a pinch of Garlic (Gratin Dauphinois – Julia Child)

We really liked the scalloped potatoes and buttered beans.  I have had more flavorful chicken, but it was not bad.  The sauce was good.  The recipe is pretty involved for the chicken, but it was certainly still in the good category.  Julia Child really explains her recipes well.  The steps are well spelled out.

Chicken Breasts with Mushrooms and Cream Sauce

(Supremes de Volaille aux Champignons- adapted from Julia Child – Mastering the Art of French Cooking pg 269)

Serves 6


  • 5 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp minced shallots
  • 1/4 lb sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 6 chicken breast halves, boneless, skinless
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pinch of pepper

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • salt and pepper
  • Lemon juice as needed
  • 2 Tbsp fresh minced parsley


Preheat the oven to 400- 425 F (I had it at 425 for the potatoes)

For the Chicken:  Heat the butter in a large skillet over moderate heat until it is foaming.  Add the minced shallot and cook for a minute or two, without browning the shallot.  Add the mushrooms and cook stirring from time to time, but not browning the mushrooms.  Season with salt.

Sprinkle the chicken breast halves with lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.  Quickly roll the chicken in the butter and mushrooms.  Butter a piece of waxed paper on one side.  Lay the paper buttered side down onto the chicken breasts.  Cover the skillet with a lid and put in the preheated oven.  After 6 minutes press your finger on the chicken breasts to test if they are done.  (If the chicken is soft to touch it still needs time to cook, if it springs back they are ready).  Remove the chicken to a warm platter and prepare the sauce.

For the sauce:  Pour the beef broth and white wine into the skillet with the mushrooms and butter.  Bring it to boil and reduce the liquid until it is syrupy.  Add the whipping cream and reduce liquid to thicken slightly.  Turn off the heat and taste adjust the seasoning with additional salt and pepper and lemon juice if desired.  Pour the sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with parsley.  Serve while hot.

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Buttered Green Beans I

(Haricots Verts a l’ Anglaise- (adapted from Julia Child Mastering the Art of French Cooking page 444)

Serves 6-8


3 lbs hot blanched green beans

salt and pepper, to taste

4 Tbsp butter, cut into pieces


Cook the green beans in a covered saucepan with 1 inch of water, and 1 tsp of salt.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover.  Steam the green beans for about 10 minutes, or until crisp tender.  Pour off the water.  Heat the beans to evaporate the excess water.  Season with salt and pepper and toss.  Pour into a prepared serving dish.  Dot the green beans with pieces of butter.  Serve while hot.

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Scalloped Potatoes with Milk, Cheese, and a pinch of Garlic

Gratin Dauphinois – (adapted from Julia Child Mastering the Art of French Cooking page 523)

Serves 6-8


  • 6-7 cups Russet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/8″ slices
  • 1/2 clove garlic, cut in two
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 4 oz grated Swiss cheese (optional, but if you do omit it increase the butter by 2 Tbsp)
  • 1 cup boiling milk


Preheat the oven to 425 F.

Peel and slice the potatoes 1/8 inch thick.  Keep them in a bowl of water until you need them to prevent browning.  Drain and dry on paper towels when ready to use.

Rub the bottom and sides of the baking dish with the slices of garlic to give it a little flavor.  Coat the baking dish with butter.  Place 1/2 of the sliced potatoes in a neat layer along the bottom of the baking dish.  Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with 1/2 of the cheese and dot with half the butter.  Repeat with a layer of potatoes, season, sprinkle with cheese and butter.  Pour the boiling milk over the potatoes and bake at 425F for 20-30 minutes.  If they are just underdone, cover with foil and allow them to sit for about 10 minutes while you finish other parts of your meal – or bake them another 5 minutes.

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Leek and Potato Soup

This is Part 2 of a series of 4 for a 4 course French meal that my daughter had to help prepare.  Our soup course: Leek and Potato Soup.  A recipe from Julia Child (adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking page 37-38).

Potage Parmentier

Leek (or Onion) and Potato Soup

adapted from Julia Child Mastering the Art of French Cooking page 37-38

Serves 6-8


  • 1 lb peeled potatoes, sliced or diced
  • 3 cups thinly sliced leeks, trim away the dark green leaves (or yellow onions)
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 4 Tbsp whipping cream
  • 2-3 Tbsp minced parsley or chives


In a large stock pot, combine the leeks and potatoes.  Cover with the water and season with salt.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer with a lid mostly on, but vented.  Cook for 40-50 minutes until the vegetables are tender.  Mash the vegetables, or use an immersion blender to blend the vegetables and broth.  Just before serving stir in the whipping cream to make it a cream soup.  Garnish with parsley or chives.

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Well, what does a mom do when her (she shall remain unnamed) daughter comes home and says she has to make a 4 Course (French) Meal for a project in her French Class — AND that it is due on Friday… and yes, today is Wednesday and she informed me on Tuesday night….  Now, my daughter has the distinct advantage that mother owns a Julia Child Cookbook and can pull off pranks like this without too much fainting.. but really.. a four course meal?  Yes, of course we did it.. well almost.. we didn’t have time to make the dessert but that will be tomorrow.  I think we did enough for today. Because it was my daughter’s project, she did a lot of the work, but I assisted her.. we are dealing with HOT ovens and burners and sharp knives (new ones at that) –

For the appetizer we made a blue cheese ball with slices of French Baguette. My daughter arranged the bread and cheese ball very nicely I thought!

Well the name of it.. I won’t begin to try to pronounce.. that will be my daughter’s job.  But let me say this: I will be making this appetizer for the next party.  It is easy to make and is very good (if you like blue cheese you will LOVE it!) My son loved it too.  He is 8, but my most adventurous eater. I halved the recipe, because it was just for our family.

Amuse-Gueule Au Roquefort

adapted from Julia Child “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” pg 196 Serves 12 appetizer servings

For the cheese ball:

  • 4 oz blue cheese, crumbled (Roquefort if you can find it)
  • 3 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 2 tsp fresh chopped chives
  • 2 tsp finely minced celery
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • dash of Worcestershire sauce


  • 1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tbsp very finely minced parsley


Combine the blue cheese, softened butter.  Add chives, celery, cayenne pepper, pepper and Worcestershire sauce.  Stir until well combined.  In a separate bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and minced parsley.  Roll the cheese ball in the bread crumb mixture until it is well coated.  Refrigerate until serving.  Serve with slices of French baguette or crackers.

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Choir Cake

It is Birthday night at our church choir, and I signed up to bring dessert, which translated into I am bringing the cake!  Oh.. the cake.. I don’t bake all that often, my heart is in cooking, but I don’t completely stink at baking, it just means I don’t enjoy it as much as cooking.  The cakes turn out fine.  I made this cake for my mother’s birthday a few months ago (link)- well, not this cake.. I made a new cake using the same recipe!  I liked the cake, but was not a fan of the frosting, so this time I made a different frosting.  It was much better.  I found the recipe on a blog named “savory sweet life” and here is the link to the frosting.  I made a 1 1/2 recipe to be sure that I had enough frosting and in retrospect I am glad that I did.  It would otherwise have been tight.

Classic Vanilla Butter-cream Frosting

adapted from savorysweetlife


  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened (not melted!)
  • 4 1/2 – 6 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 4 1/2 – 6 Tbsp heavy cream (or milk will work too)


Beat the softened butter with a mixer for a minute or two.  With the mixer on low speed, add 4 1/2 cups of powdered sugar to the mixing bowl and beat until it is incorporated.  Add the salt and vanilla extract and mix to combine.  Add 4 1/2 Tbsp cream and combine.  Add more powdered sugar to thicken the mixture, or more cream to thin the mixture out.

Frost your fully cooled cake.  Decorate as desired.  In this case I piped melted chocolate onto wax paper with a musical theme and after they had fully set (in the refrigerator) used them to decorate.