Friday, February 27, 2009

Simple Candy

Mix natural peanut butter and raw sunflower seeds, then add some honey and mush it all up! It's a sticky gooey mess. You can roll it into tiny balls. They are delicious.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sour and Salty Sandwich

Today I made a sour and salty open-faced sandwich. I toasted and buttered sourdough bread. Then I piled on sauerkraut and green pimento-stuffed olives. Fabulous!

Craving Hot Cocoa

Today when I came home from my big walk I wanted hot cocoa. I poked around my cupboards and found sugar and cocoa powder. I mixed a teaspoon of each using a tiny bit of hot water to dissolve it. Then I added a cup of milk and heated it all up. It was delicious. For variety I like to mix hot cocoa with a little bit of hot coffee. I never realized that cocoa has to dissolve in a hot liquid! Many times I tried to make chocolate milk in a blender unsuccessfully. You can make chocolate milk by dissolving a little bit of cocoa and sugar in a small amount of hot milk or hot water and then adding it to the cold milk.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sweet and Sour Slaw

I made this yesterday; carrot slaw meets sauerkraut. I grated about six large carrots and added a can of sauerkraut including the liquid brine, I added a handful of raisins and mixed them in. It was tart and sweet! Today I sprinkled raw sunflower seeds on top. If you love sauerkraut you might like this too.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


I made my first sourdough starter 10 years ago from a package of San Francisco sourdough starter that I got on the west coast. I know you can make your own starter from the natural yeast that is found in the air but it might not be as reliable right off the bat. So if you have some commercial bread yeast lying around, dig it out. For making your first sourdough starter mix up yeast, flour, and water and keep it alive in a covered glass jar in your fridge. Replenish the gloopy mixture with more flour and water as you use it. Be sure to leave enough starter to keep it regenerating and allow room in the jar for expansion! Try to use it (and refresh it) every few weeks. This is what keeps me baking! I can't throw out even a blob of starter, I must use it! Over time the starter will adapt to your conditions and ingredients.

When I first started using my own blobs of sourdough starter in my bread I also used a little bit of regular commercial yeast in the bread recipe as a back up. This is similar to the old dough method of making bread where you use a bit of your last dough to add flavor and age to the bread. It's like adding wine or miso soybean paste to a soup! The starter provides a great flavor and eventually I took the plunge into using just my starter as the sole leavening.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Delicious Soup

I soaked a pound of kidney beans overnight and put them in a pot this morning and simmered them for a few hours. They cooked! I found a bouquet of kale and collard greens in my fridge so I rinsed them and then chopped them up adding them to the pot. I chopped two onions and threw them in. Then I added more water (almost to the top of the pot) along with olive oil and salt and soy sauce. I let it simmer some more. Now it is a delicious soup!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Simple Sourdough Bread

Scoop 6 cups of whole wheat flour into a large bowl. Add a blob of sourdough starter, a tablespoon of salt and a three cups of water. Mix well and knead for a bit. Cover bowl with a plate. Let the dough hang out all day and all night in a warm place. Punch down the dough and shape into a ball slash the top. Let rise. Bake in a 450 degree oven for 35 minutes.

Pot Roast

Last night we visited Mary Calhoun and she made this delicious pot roast for Sunday dinner. She found the recipe in the Boston Globe and I am posting it here.
Pot Roast
serves 4
Meat cooked with mustard, Worcestershire, brown sugar, and tomatoes turns dark, earthy, and delectable. Serve this spoon-tender chuck roast with buttered noodles.
3 pounds boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed of excess fat.
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Pinch of crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 cups whole peeled canned tomatoes, crushed
2 cups water
1 large Spanish onion cut into thin wedges
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Have on hand a heavy-based flameproof casserole (about 4-quart capacity). Place the beef in the casserole.
2. In a bowl, stir together the mustard, salt, black pepper, red pepper, Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar. Stir in the tomatoes and water. Pour the mixture over the meat. Tuck the onion and garlic around the meat.
3. Bring the liquids to a boil. Cover the pan and transfer to the oven. Cook for 1 1/2 hours, turning half way through cooking, or until a fork inserted in the beef comes out easily. Remove the lid and cook for another 30 minutes (total cooking time is 2 hours; continue cooking for up to one hour more if the meat isn't spoon tender).
4. Remove the meat from the pan and and transfer it to a cutting board; cover and keep warm.
5. With a large spoon, skim off and discard the fat from the cooking liquid. Set the pan on a burner and bring the liquid to a boil. Let it bubble gently for 5 minutes, skimming often. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and black pepper, if you like.
6. Slice the meat and return it to the pan with the onions. Reheat for 2 minutes or until hot. Sprinkle with parsley. -Sheryl Julian and Julie Riven

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Brownies

On the back of the big bag of Stop and Shop semi sweet chocolate chips there's a recipe for chocolate chip cookies. I followed the recipe but I substituted peanut butter for regular butter and I used whole wheat flour, skipped the nuts and used all of the chocolate chips in the bag! The batter was dry so I added two more eggs. I pressed the batter into a round pre-greased clay pan and baked it in a preheated 35o degree oven for 30-35 minutes. When it cooled I brought them to band rehearsal in a cardboard box. They were a hit. The old fashioned Providence made peanut butter tastes great, adding an earthy taste. Enjoy!

1 cup natural peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla or more
2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
4 eggs
24 oz semi sweet choc chips (a pound and a half)

Saturday, February 7, 2009


I'll admit it I am very materialistic in the kitchen. I love kitchen tools and gizmos! I want to find a pizzelle maker at a yard sale and make these fabulous thin Italian cookies for Valentine's Day! I've only talked about this for ten years. What's the hurry?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Rise and Shine

The boiler room is toasty! Overnight my sour dough rose to the top of the bowl touching the plate that was covering it. I never stop being amazed by rising bread dough.

Lily Love!

I am drunk on Lily love! Lily and I had another few hours walking through Woonsocket towards the sun, and on the way home we played in the park she ran around in the deep snow in the empty fenced-in tennis courts. Now when I inhale her face she smells like fresh air! I love it! Her face and neck and fur are as silky as a bunny's. I'm off to see the cows, and maybe introduce Lily. She is the size of the calves! I am thinking I should grow vegetables this summer and can them so we can eat them all year.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Summer in Winter

Last night I wanted to make and eat coleslaw and there was no food in the house! So my husband and I drove to get a cabbage and carrots in the middle of the night. While we were out in the freezing air I saw a guy in a white shirt thin white cotton beach pants and sandals get into his car! He was dressed like it was the hottest night of the year not the coldest. Today while walking Lily I saw a guy in shorts walking from his apartment to his car. I saw two girls from Beacon school walking with no coats or jackets! They stopped to greet Lily. I asked them how they do it. They said their homes are so warm the cold air doesn't bother them.

If you love coleslaw and have never made it try this: chop cabbage very fine and then grate a carrot or two and chop in an onion. Add mayonnaise and mustard and red wine vinegar to make a gloopy dressing. Also add salt and sugar. Pour over the cabbage mixture and toss. It's summer food but I love it. You can add chopped apples too. I always add raisins.

I love cabbage, it's actually a very sweet vegetable. You can make a simple delicious hot cabbage dish by slicing cabbage and sauteing in olive oil and then adding salt and a bit of water to steam it while cooking.

I've never made stuffed cabbage leaves but perhaps I should try that sometime.

Four Degree Soup

It is a sunny four degrees out including the wind chill factor. I've got two sourdough breads rising in the boiler room. I am wearing my long underwear, jeans, wool socks, and hat and scarf and three shirt + sweater layers under my woolen olive green denim Carthartt vest, indoors. I am just toasty! I am making lentil soup. I've added six quarts of water, fresh garlic, a chunk of ginger root, olive oil, carrots, red pepper flakes and a pound of rinsed lentils. I added the salt after the lentils were cooked thoroughly so the salt didn't prevent the lentils from being tender. I added a few cups of pumpkin mush I had leftover in my fridge and two cups of uncooked rinsed basmati rice. I added two chopped onions and cumin and a bottle of beer. The sun is out and Lily dog and I had a big walk in the snow. Now Lily's fur smells like fresh air! The soup has made the kitchen smell good. It is thick and delicious. It's a fabulous meal for a four degree day!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Fast Blizzard Supper

I never made it to the produce market this morning because I was out having too much fun walking Lily. Then it started to snow and snow. But we did have eggs, milk, bread and pesto in the fridge. So for supper I beat four eggs in a two cup Pyrex measuring cup and added a tablespoon of pesto and mixed it in. I poured it into our hot preheated greased waffle iron. The egg puffed up in minutes and was delicious on buttered toast accompanied by a fresh pot of PG Tips tea. We ate by candle light watching our beautiful big yellow dog on her bed sprawled out, running in her sleep.

Remember the Potato

I finally took a break from basmati rice and remembered "the potato". I have a ten pound bag of potatoes in the closet growing eyes! I sliced the potatoes thinly and cooked them in my Dutch oven with an inch of water, about a quart. By the time the potatoes were done, the water had boiled away. I served them with freshly grated sharp orange-colored cheddar cheese on top with salt, pepper, and olive oil; a simple and good supper to go with leftover broccoli. I never feel poor or deprived when I have vegetables to eat.

Because it was warmer today - above freezing and the sun warm - I made my summer carrot salad which is fast, easy and colorful. To make this salad I grate a one pound bag of carrots (unpeeled), drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar on top, and add raisins. The only laugh was that there was a lot of orange color to our supper. Last week we had cauliflower and white rice and carrots - an almost albino meal. In 7th grade my home economics teacher Miss Hoenig showed us slide shows about things you should not do in the kitchen and one of them was serve a whole meal of one color. What was ironic is that she was a bland teacher.

Hot Figs

Bill discovered an amazing secret. Take a dried fig and microwave it for nine seconds. It becomes soft and extra delicious. Try it! (Bill says be careful - you can burn the fig! Let it cool off for a bit before eating.)