The Art of the Letter Recipe Ep 29

This recipe really has nothing to do with podcast, but since it’s summer, here you go!  You can certainly cut this portion down.  It’s enough to feed the French army…if they are rabbits!

French carrot salad


  • 1 pound carrots, peeled
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, from one lemon
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 teaspoons honey, to taste
  • Heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 finely sliced scallions (or 1tablespoon finely chopped shallots)


  1. Grate the carrots in a food processor. Set aside.
  2. In a salad bowl, combine the dijon mustard, lemon juice, honey, vegetable oil, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add the carrots, fresh parsley and scallions (or shallots) and toss well. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve


Rockin to Jazz and Back Recipe Ep 28

Rockin to Jazz and Back Recipe Ep 28


Lunch with Stephanie Browning in my garden after this podcast episode.

A fresh salad for summer day served with a cold bottle of rose!

Baby spinach

Red leaf romaine

Basil, chives and parsley


Hard boiled eggs

Shredded pepper jack cheese

Fresh lemon and olive oil

Yum Dog Biscuits! Podcast Recipe: THE POWER OF DOG

This is a recipe inspired to share from my Podcast: THE POWER OF DOG

Since I don’t have a dog, I found this one on

  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup oil*
  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda


  • 2 tablespoons bacon grease, coconut oil, chicken fat, or any other fat that will solidify at room temperature, melted
  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine pumpkin, peanut butter, eggs, and oil in a bowl. Add in baking soda and whole wheat flour. Stir until a stiff dough forms. Knead dough or mix just until flour is incorporated.
  3. Roll out dough with a rolling pin and use a cookie cutter to cut out dog bone shapes, or just bake into little circles like cookies. Bake for 15 minutes.
  4. Whisk the bacon grease and peanut butter until very smooth. Drizzle over the treats and cool till glaze hardens (it does best in the fridge or freezer).
  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup oil*
  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda


  • 2 tablespoons bacon grease, coconut oil, chicken fat, or any other fat that will solidify at room temperature, melted
  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine pumpkin, peanut butter, eggs, and oil in a bowl. Add in baking soda and whole wheat flour. Stir until a stiff dough forms. Knead dough or mix just until flour is incorporated.
  3. Roll out dough with a rolling pin and use a cookie cutter to cut out dog bone shapes, or just bake into little circles like cookies. Bake for 15 minutes.
  4. Whisk the bacon grease and peanut butter until very smooth. Drizzle over the treats and cool till glaze hardens (it does best in the fridge or freezer).

My rent a pet! Ellie!

Spider’s Mediterranean Tilapia ( with Arlene)

This is the recipe that was served with Arlene Bardelle podccast

Tilapia filets

Pink salt (or kosher salt)


Garlic powder


Olive oil

Fresh arugula

Cubed feta

Black olives

Sweet red pepper cut into small pieces

Lemon juice


Preheat oven to 425

Rub the filets with olive oil and place in a shallow baking dish

Sprinkle the filets on both sides with the:

Pink salt (or kosher salt)


Garlic powder


Bake for 10-12 minutes


Toss all the other ingredients together and serve as a bed for the Tilapia!  You may want to add cous cous.


Retro Picnic: Mustard Dill Potato Salad

Here’s a bit of retro summer fare to go with podcast, LET’S GET AWAY FROM IT ALL
3 pounds small white potatoes
Kosher salt
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped red onion
Place the potatoes and 2 tablespoons of salt in a large pot of water. Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the potatoes are barely tender when pierced with a knife. Drain the potatoes in a colander, then place the colander with the potatoes over the empty pot and cover with a clean, dry kitchen towel. Allow the potatoes to steam for 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, buttermilk, Dijon mustard, whole grain mustard, dill, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Set aside.

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them in quarters or in half, depending on their size. Place the cut potatoes in a large bowl. While the potatoes are still warm, pour enough dressing over them to moisten. Add the celery and red onion, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Toss well, cover, and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Deli Platter Delight! Chopped Chicken Liver Sandwiches

This recipe is inspired by podcast:


Interview with Jeremy Kahn

1 hardboiled egg

1 tablespoons butter

1 small chopped onion

1 lb chicken livers

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Kosher salt and course ground pepper

Rye bread


Season the livers with salt and pepper

Chop the hardboiled egg

Sauté the onions in butter

Add the chicken livers and sauté until pink inside

Put it all in a food processer with the hardboiled egg and blend until smooth

Then add the parsley, and pulse a few times

Put it in bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight

Serve on rye bread and ENJOY!

Cocktails for 2

Here are some of the highlights from my Podcast COCKTAILS FOR  2!

Harry’s New York Bar, Paris


2 oz of Cognac
3/4 oz of Cointreau
3/4 oz of Lemon Juice
1/4 oz of simple syrup
Rub a wedge of lemon halfway around the edge of a chilled coupe glass and coat it with sugar. Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake until chilled. Strain into the prepared coupe.

Spider’s Citrus-tini

3 shots of Vodka

2 dashes of Grapefruit Bitters

Shaken well  with ice and serve straight up with a twist of orange


Blood Orange Perfect Manhattan

2 oz. Rye or Bourbon

½ oz sweet vermouth

½ oz dry vermouth

3 dashes of Blood Orange Bitters

Shake well with ice and serve straight up with cherry garnish.

Spider Saloff Exudes The Cool Heat of Peggy Lee

Night Life Exchange New York

Spider Saloff Exudes The Cool Heat of Peggy Lee

May 1, 2018


By Marilyn Lester**** Spider Saloff is so darn appealing you just want to wrap her up and take her home. The singer is a bubbly package of entertainment perfection. She’s poised, witty, personable, smart and most of all, in possession of a glorious voice. In The Cool Heat of Peggy Lee. Saloff chose to honor a singer whose style matches her own very well. Saloff has that same smoky, purr that was attributed to Lee. But what makes the former so entertaining and appealing beyond great vocal chops is her natural enthusiasm and animation, which make for excellent story telling.


Covering Lee from cradle to grave, she rolled out an absorbing narrative with song choices that fit the text beautifully. Peggy Lee was born Nora Egstrom in rural North Dakota, soon knowing she wanted much more than life on the plains. She headed to Los Angeles, where Saloff began with a knowing, “The Best Is Yet to Come” (Cy Coleman/Carolyn Leigh). Lee’s life was intense, with lows illustrated in tunes like the blues song “Black Coffee” (Sonny Burke/Paul Francis Webster) to the heights, such as in “It’s a Good Day” (Dave Barbour/Peggy Lee); this is a song Lee wrote with her new husband in what was to be the first of four marriages, all of them ending in divorce.

Saloff has an amazing ability to get into a lyric and live it from the inside out. Her delivery of “Black Coffee” painted a picture so vivid it was easy to picture the action and mood of the song. She brings a song to life. She’s into it, and she expresses it with the dynamic energy of her whole body, When Saloff sings “I Love Being Here With You” (Bill Schluger/Peggy Lee) the sentiment is completely believable. She is, to employ an overused term—authentic.

Lee had a small film career and a bigger songwriting career. The two were combined with the songs she wrote for Disney’s Lady and the Tramp, with Sony Burke; Lee also voiced four characters in the animated film. After a few bars of “We Are Siamese,” Saloff delivered a full-bodied “He’s a Tramp” with the jazzy kind of swing that defines her as primarily a jazz singer. She also scats and gave a taste of it on “Why Don’t You Do Right?” (“Kansas Joe” McCoy), a bluesy number that made full use of her feel for jazz. In closing, and noting Lee’s death at age 81, Saloff chose “Is That All There Is?” (Jerry Lieber/Mike Stoller), a tune closely based on Thomas Mann’s short story Disillusionment. Yet, In Saloff’s hands the Lee best-seller was not so much about disappointment as it was about triumph.

Piano man, Jeremy Kahn, is a cool jazz cat and a tremendous asset to Saloff. The two are in a groove, synced to the wide-ranging moods and tempos that comprised the set. Kahn is a master of dynamics and modulation, delivering a sprightly touch on the keys where needed, to a stronger attack when drama was required. Bassist Dick Sarpola is one of the most agile of musicians, throwing hie entire body into the rhythm. His work as the sole accompanist on “Fever” (Eddie Cooley /Otis Blackwell, under the pseudonym of John Davenport) was bright and vibrant. As a trio of musicians, all are accomplished at inserting clever musical ideas into a number, which made for a splendid evening of musical story telling about the Cool Heat of Peggy Lee.

Spider Saloff, The Cool Heat of Peggy Lee, Rockwood Music Hall, April 29, 2018 at 7 PM.

Dee and Spider’s Cocktail Time

This is what Dee Alexander had after podcast FOLLOWING THE LIGHT, that airs the week of May 1, 2018!


Pesto Chicken Salad 


4 roasted chicken thighs

2 cloves crushed garlic

1/2 cup sweet red pepper, cut into small pieces

1/2 cup chick peas

1/2 cup artichoke hearts, cut in quarters

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup black olives

2 Tablespoons Pesto

2 Tablespoons Mayo

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

salt and black pepper


Roast the chicken thighs at 350 for an hour with garlic and salt and pepper under the skins.

Remove skin and cut into small pieces.

Add all ingredients and mix thoroughly and chill.

Serve on leaves of bib lettuce.




Spider’s Special Dry Vodka Martini



Lemon juice

Lemon slices


Fill a large shaker with ice and vodka.  Add 2 teaspoons of lemon juice.  Shake until your hands can’t move.  Pour into a beautiful Martini glass and garnish with lemon slice.  Enjoy, enjoy!  Meow!




Spider Saloff is a Pod Person


Chicago Jazz Magazine


Spider Saloff is a Pod Person



Randy Freedman


Spider Saloff is an internationally acclaimed jazz vocalist based in Chicago. In late 2017, Saloff began a music, talk and comedy podcast titled Spider Saloff’s Spider’s Web. A podcast is similar to a radio program, with the key difference being that listeners can tune into their favorite shows at their own convenience and listen to podcasts directly on their personal computer or media player. The term “podcast” is a combination of the brand name “iPod” (a media player developed by Apple) and “broadcast,” the traditional means of receiving information and leisure content on the radio or television. When the two words were merged, the terms podcast, podcaster and the art of podcasting was born.


Prior to the introduction of her podcast, Saloff was perhaps best known for her contributions as cohost of National Public Radio’s Words and Music. She also participated (along with fellow vocalists Frieda Lee and Dee Alexander) in the national touring Ella Fitzgerald tribute, “The Three Ellas,” and is known for her live musical tributes to Tin Pan Alley icon George Gershwin.


The All Music Guide’s Alex Henderson wrote, “As a vocalist, Saloff has a clean, uncomplicated, straightforward approach. On ballads, Saloff can be a vulnerable, tender and an introspective torch singer; on up-tempo material, the Windy City resident can be fun and playfully swinging.


“Because Saloff has devoted entire concerts to the Gershwin songbook and obviously has an extensive knowledge of the classic Broadway theater music of the ‘20s, ‘30s and ‘40s, some have described her as a cabaret artist. But even though Saloff has attracted her share of attention in cabaret circles and has performed at some cabaret-friendly venues, she prefers to be categorized as a jazz vocalist—and, to be sure, her approach is more jazz than cabaret.


“Saloff scats and improvises—two of the main things that jazz vocalists are known for doing. The people who have influenced her the most are definitely jazz-oriented, including Anita O’Day, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Julie London. When Saloff scats, one can tell that she has paid very close attention to Fitzgerald’s scatting (which isn’t to say that she is actually emulating Fitzgerald, or anyone else). Saloff has cited the innovative Betty Carter as one of her favorite singers, but unlike Carter, Saloff isn’t part of jazz avant-garde and doesn’t go out of her way to be abstract or cerebral. Saloff’s work is much more accessible by mainstream standards.


“Saloff isn’t a native of the Windy City. She’s originally from the Philadelphia/southern New Jersey area and lived in New York City before making Chicago her adopted home in 1994.”


On her podcast, Saloff usually sings brief excerpts from the well-known and often-recorded jazz standards that she is best known for. This both avoids her the difficulty of fitting them into a relatively brief podcast, as well as having her podcast fully respect the copyright fees that the composers would then be entitled to. On one podcast though, in early 2018, Saloff sang some complete songs that she had written herself. Two of them I was very familiar with, having heard Saloff sing them both in person and on CD.


Saloff introduced them on the podcast. “The first one I want to play for you is a title cut from a CD I did


called Like Glass that I co-produced with guitarist Steve Ramsdell,” said Spider. “This song is interesting. At least it’s interesting. It’s about losing someone in your life, about someone just drifting away from you. I remember I started writing this song in O’Hare Airport, coming to me all at one time. This is what happens. I usually start with the lyric and then suddenly the music starts appearing. I remember humming the melody into my cell phone in little segments and by the time I landed in San Francisco the song is finished. So this is that song that is the title of my CD, Like Glass.”


The podcast format offers the artist and audience a chance to bond and achieve understanding beyond a typical concert format. Here Saloff can explain in whatever detail she likes, both her creative process, as well as demonstrate the fruits of her labor, with the next best thing to a live performance. Saloff takes full advantage of the opportunity to explain to her listeners the thought process that goes through each element of developing a new song as well as its meaning to the songwriter and its intended meaning for her listeners.


“This next one is also from the recording Like Glass, and it’s funny that it could be taken in a lot of different ways, but it’s basically about seduction,” continued Saloff. “It’s a warning about someone who may be out there seducing you and you don’t even realize it.” [Song starts]


You better watch yourself with that one. He’s got a way you won’t suspect.

You had better watch yourself with that one.

You won’t know what you should protect.

At first it seems like he’s the sad one, and someone left him lost and blue.

But you will find out he’s the bad one, and soon there’s nothing left of you.



Saloff has a reputation as being one of our foremost interpreters of the music of George Gershwin. She is also a personal friend of the Gershwin family. She shared some insights on her podcast. “I’ve always been fascinated by the story of George Gershwin. He came from such a poor family on the Lower East Side of New York City. They had four kids, the oldest being his brother Ira, who is very quiet and shy and very smart. George was the second in line and he was sort of a wild kid who was out getting into trouble. He was big and athletic and very outspoken. Even though they were poor, the family thought it was very important to have music lessons. One day they were bringing a piano up to the third floor where they were taking it through a window on pulleys, and Ira Gershwin was in the corner shivering in his boots because he did not want to take piano lessons. Legend has it that George came upstairs and sat at the piano and played an entire piece. They said, ‘Sorry Ira. George is the one who’s going to get the piano lessons.’ Ira just wiped his brow and said ‘Whew!’”


Saloff then explained to her podcast audience, “One of the reasons that I became so prominent in my career is because of something very serendipitous. It happened in the early ‘90s while I was still living in New York and my musical partner Ricky Ritzell and I were still performing in clubs. Through a lot of complicated circumstances we were able to meet and love Leopold Godowsky III, who is the nephew of George Gershwin. He is a wonderful man, incredibly generous. He loved what we were doing musically. Consequently, he asked me to sing at his mother’s 85th birthday party in New York. Yes, his mother being Frankie Gershwin, George Gershwin’s baby sister. Frankie Gershwin was an incredibly wonderful, candid, lovely woman, who had been a singer in the ‘20s.”


Saloff later confirmed this with Frankie when she got to know her. “I asked her if she had a debut in Paris and this was our conversation.”


“Oh yes I did,” Frankie Gershwin replied.


“Somebody really famous produced that. I cannot remember who it was,” Saloff commented.


“Noel Coward—no—it was that other one, Cole Porter,” said Gershwin.


“Well, I heard that George played for you on opening night,” added Saloff.


“He did,” said Frankie, “but then he left. I guess he had better things to do.”


“When I opened the Gershwin (centennial celebration) concert,” explained Saloff, “Frankie not only attended, but she introduced me on stage and came up and sang in a red lace dress. She was incredible, and I was thrilled to know her. And she did hail her brother George, the genius.”


Podcasting has become a surprisingly popular new mode of communication. Personally, I listen to many different podcasts each week, hosted by diverse and interesting personalities on a variety of subjects and find them stimulating. These include, but are not limited to: Chael Sonnen on mixed martial arts, Adrian Wojnarowski on pro basketball, Rachael Maddow on politics, Steve Austin on professional wrestling and, yes, Spider Saloff on jazz. I urge you to give these or many other great podcasts a listening session very soon.


spiders web

Click for Spiders new podcast