Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Accidental Sorbet

I panicked because our ripe chopped-up peaches had started to ferment, so I put them in the blender with some orange juice, frozen ripe bananas, prunes (that had been stewed in Earl Grey tea) and slivers of lemon with the rind and buzzed it all. It was instant sorbet thanks to the frozen bananas! Fabulous.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Spinach Salad

Spinach and mushroom salad with hardboiled eggs and artichoke hearts and chic peas with turkey bacon is so good. I cooked the turkey bacon in a skillet (with a big fan blowing smoke out the window) and crumbled it onto the salad. You don't even need a dressing!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fruit Smoothies

Take your over ripe bananas and peel them and then freeze them! You can buzz them at your convenience with ice cubes, orange juice and over ripe peaches! Even better when you use home made yogurt!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Purple Plum Pie

3 cups fresh purple plums
3/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter
Whole wheat oil pastry for double crust pie

Preheat oven to 425. Then, rinse and halve or quarter the plums, discarding the pits! Combine sugar, flour and cinnamon (I like to use my hands!) and sprinkle mixture over the fruit. Make a pie crust pastry and line your favorite pie plate. Fill with sugared + spiced plums. Sprinkle with lemon juice and dot with butter. Roll out and place top crust. Seal edges with fork and poke a decorative vent in the top. Bake at 425 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown.
This is delicious, and simple. You can even increase the plums to 4 cups and adjust the rest of the ingredients by 1/4 too, if you have a mathematician nearby to help! Use a large pie tin.

Fruit Soup

We had over-ripe bananas and peaches and a few prune plums and we buzzed them with ice and orange juice and home made yogurt in the blender. Delicious as a meal or a snack.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Asian Delight

Cube a brick of extra firm tofu slicing three times on each side. Then add sprinkles of soy sauce and apple cider vinegar (equal amounts) and toss and set aside. Heat wok or skillet with olive oil and sesame oil and freshly chopped garlic and freshly grated ginger and red chili flakes. Add chopped cauliflower, chopped green beans and chopped red peppers or any chopped vegetables you choose. Then add the marinated tofu with the marinade. Cook until tender stirring occasionally. Enjoy!

Rainbow Chard +Tofu

We made this last night. We copied recipe from the New York Times food page this week. It was fabulous. Our market didn't have red chard so we used rainbow chard with one cubed beet!
Stir-Fried Tofu With Red or Rainbow Chard from NYT-Martha Rose Schulman

I love the pink color that tofu takes on when cooked with red chard. Beet greens would also do the trick. In this recipe, blanching the greens is part of the prep.

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chopped or grated fresh ginger

3/4 pound firm tofu, sliced 1/2 inch thick, into 1- by 2-inch dominoes

1 large bunch or 2 smaller bunches red chard (about 1 1/2 pounds), stemmed and thoroughly cleaned (retain the stems)

Salt to taste

1 teaspoon dark sesame oil

2 tablespoons canola or peanut oil

2 large garlic cloves, minced

1. Mix together the soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of the ginger and the sugar. Toss with the tofu in a bowl, and set aside. Marinate for 15 minutes or longer. Refrigerate if not using right away. Meanwhile, fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Fill a bowl with ice water.

2. When the water comes to a boil, salt generously and add the red chard leaves. Cook the chard 1 to 2 minutes, until just tender, and transfer with a slotted spoon or deep-fry skimmer to the ice water. Drain and squeeze out the water (you don’t have to squeeze it completely dry). Chop coarsely and set aside.

3. Trim the ends of the chard stalks, clean them well and slice crosswise, about 1/4 inch thick.

4. Heat a large, heavy nonstick skillet or wok over high heat until hot enough to evaporate a drop of water on contact. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil, swirl to coat the pan and reduce the heat to medium-high. Lift the tofu from the marinade, and add to the pan. Stir-fry for two to three minutes, until lightly colored. Add the chard stalks, and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil and the garlic and remaining ginger, and stir together for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Stir in the blanched red chard, and stir-fry with the tofu for one minute. Add the tofu marinade and cook, stirring, for another minute or two, until heated through and fragrant. Remove from the heat and serve, with rice or noodles.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Pesto Hummus

I just took pesto I made and added it to a bunch of freshly cooked chic peas and buzzed them in the food processor. Pesto hummus! Delicious with raw vegetables cauliflower, string beans, cukes, carrots and delicious on bread or pasta!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Local Festival

St. John's Baptist Church located at 501 East School Street at the corner of Elbow Street is having their annual outdoor festival picnic Sunday Sept 20th at noon until dusk. This morning while walking Lily I saw a group of men putting up the big white tent which will become the outdoor dining room. We go every year to say hello to everyone and eat the amazing food. It's a lot of fun and we love the home made spinach pies, lamb kabobs, big shiny black olives, feta cheese, coffee, pastries, and music!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Make your own Cream Cheese!

Buy or make plain yogurt. Pour it into a papered cone coffee filter propped over a wide mouth jar. Let drain for a few hours. The yogurts liquid (whey) drains out and what remains is yogurt cream cheese. Keep the whey in the refrigerator for using when making breads, pancakes, waffles or soups. You can even freeze it! Don't waste it! It's full of vitamins! You can sweeten the yogurt cream cheese with honey raisins and cinnamon or make it savory with chives, salt and pepper or just enjoy it plain like sour cream or cream cheese. I like to use local milk! This is really fun and easy for a young child to do.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Last night I made Caponata! It was so fast and delicious - perfect for a hyper active impatient cook! I sauteed chopped onions, cubed eggplant, chopped kalamata and regular black olives, tons of fresh garlic cored and chopped-in-salt, sprinkles of red chili flakes, a large can of diced tomatoes, freshly chopped basil, 2 bags of fresh spinach. I usually add chopped celery and Job Lot capers too. I simmered it in my Dutch oven, uncovered, on the stove top. We ate it as a stew for supper with fresh bread and chunks of Romano cheese.

From Wikipedia

Caponata is a Sicilian aubergine dish, a cooked vegetable salad made from chopped fried eggplant and celery seasoned with sweetened vinegar, and capers in a sweet and sour sauce.

[1] Numerous local variations of the ingredients exist with some versions adding olives, carrots and green bell peppers, and others adding potatoes, or pine nuts and raisins. There is even a Palermo version that adds octopus, while an aristocratic Sicilian recipe includes lobster and swordfish garnished with wild asparagus, grated dried tuna roe and shrimp.[2] However, these last examples are exceptions to the general rule of a sweet and sour cooked vegetable stew or salad.

Today, caponata is typically used as a side dish for fish dishes and sometimes as an appetizer, but since the 1700s it has also been used as a main course.

Caponata is an example of the aubergine-tomato combination that is found in many Mediterranean cuisines, such as Provençal ratatouia, Catalan Samfaina, Maltese kapunata and the different moussaka found in the eastern Mediterranean.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Gazpacho Variation

I took my refrigerated leftover yogurt cucumber, red onion, horseradish, raisin salad and mixed it with my cooked spinach pie guts; mushrooms + garlic + spinach, red chili, kalamata olives and I added them together with a quart of leftover steamed kale stock + a large can of diced tomatoes. Fabulous, and best enjoyed at room temperature!


I have been thinking about waffles for a few days. This morning I made them and they were great.

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of sugar
1 1/2 cups of milk
1/3 cup of oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

While the waffle iron is pre-heating whisk wet ingredients in a bowl, and measure out and stir the dry ingredients separately, and then combine them. Share the extras with your dog! Or freeze them to plop in the toaster on a rainy day.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Stone Soup

Anyone can make a great meal with an ample budget! I call them "wallet cooks". We all know what money can buy! I am much more interested in the ingenuity of resourcefulness; stone soup! Techniques poor immigrants have passed down to each other for years; saving stock, cooking in quantity, making soups from bones, cooking with beans and hearty greens, making noodles and dumplings, never wasting a thing. Authentic kitchen ecology! I love finding those family-run markets in the low rent parts of town, with makeshift beef drying on racks, those dangerous-looking places full of authentic, inexpensive, and interesting ingredients.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Asian American Market

Asian American Market
122 North Main St
Woonsocket, RI 02895
(401) 356-0675

A fabulous inexpensive market run by a very sweet family. We love to buy their 25 pound bags of jasmine rice, the 5 heads of garlic for a dollar, fresh ginger root, bouquets of fresh cilantro, limes, Napa cabbage, bean sprouts, gunpowder green tea, bananas, fresh noodles, home dried beef, interesting candies and homemade goodies, fresh tofu! Open every day until 8PM.

Baroody Middle East Bakery

580 Chalkstone Avenue
Providence, RI 02908
(401) 274-0899

We love to go to Baroody's because when we walk in we are in the Middle East! We love to get fig jam made with anise and sesame seeds. We admire the big jars of sesame tahini, large tins of Earl Grey tea, sheets of halavah, troughs of shiny and wrinkly black olives, and the hookas! We love the little Lebanese pizzas and the big blocks of feta cheese. We even check out what music they recommend. It's fun to go at Christmas time to buy holiday gifts.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sanchez Tortilleria

I love to see how things are made! I once went to Sanchez Family Tortilleria, my favorite Mexican market and tortilleria on 802 Atwells Avenue in Providence, and asked them if I could see the tortilla machine which is nearly always running, making batches of hot fresh tortillas. They took me in the back, and it was amazing to see! There's a conveyor belt running around the room like a large train set. The unbaked tortillas are squeezed out of what looks like the cement mixer you'd see on a truck, but the size of a cow rather than an elephant. The aroma is magnificent. Huge bags of masa harina are piled high! Next time you're there ask to see the back room and while you're there buy some fresh tortillas and Mexican cheeses and chilies. At Christmas time we always ask what traditional Mexican music CD's they recommend and pick up a few of the Sanchez family calendars for the New Year. It's worth a visit!

Apple Season!

An apple pie without the cheese is like a kiss without the squeeze.
-an old saying

Spinach Pies

I found this fabulous review of Jeanette's Pastry (by Eric G, on Yelp!) They make the best spinach pies in RI! I am duplicating them from memory in my kitchen today with some variations. I use whole pitted kalamata olives. I use red hot chili peppers and tons of salted fresh chopped garlic. I buy tons of fresh spinach from Fernandes on High Street Woonsocket, and rinse it and add it to the sauteed garlic and chopped mushrooms. Sometimes I add raisins or balsamic vinegar or chopped onions or leftover red wine for sweetness. if you go to Jeanette's peek in and see their antique built-in wall oven, just like the oven Palmieri's Bakery on Federal Hill used to have!

Jeanette's Pastry
348 Branch Ave
Providence, RI 02904
(401) 521-1440

I love it when tough girls call me "honey".

Any of the short, tomato stained women working here are tough enough to kick your ass, and they all call you "honey". It's sweet and I love them for it.

Spinach Pies and Calzones to die for.
These are loaded with spinach, cheese, garlic, pepperoni, sauteed mushrooms, and a host of other goodies. Several different varieties available. Bonus points for not being pussy with the garlic.

Helpful tips:
They sell out fast! This place is busier than a half-price crackhouse. Try to call ahead. Or pad your schedule so you can wait 20 minutes for the next batch to come out.
Always have a second choice in mind because they might have a run on one item. I saw one lady come in for 20 spinach pies!
Try to get their hours and daily schedule. It can be unpredictable.
Don't get nervous that the interior looks like a front for a bookie joint.

Voted Best in the state, and they earned it.

Mushroom Secret

If you wrap fresh mushrooms in a cloth to go in the refrigerator, they're able to breathe and will last longer. Any cloth will do; an old tea towel, a cloth napkin, a clean orphaned cotton sock, or a cotton pillowcase. Sweet dreams!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Fernandes Market

Fernandes Market in Woonsocket is a cozy little produce shop located on 273 High Street behind Market Square. They are open Monday through Friday 7:30-4:30 and Saturday 7-2. They have a friendly staff and the best and freshest produce at bargain prices. They also sell milk, eggs, meat, and cheeses and have a deli counter. You can special order vegetables too. They recently added a coffee bar. If you live within a 10, 20, or 35 mile radius I urge you to come here to shop!

Butcher Shop Update

My painting, Blind Date, which was hanging in Jamie Sullivan's butcher shop, has been sold! I'll have to fill the gap with another one. Stay tuned!

New Variations

I aim for the least amount of fussing when I bake and cook! Maybe I am also impulsive in the kitchen! For example, last night I cooked two bunches of fresh kale by rinsing, chopping, and tossing them into my large pressure cooker with the steamer tray and a quart of water. I added a few generous dollops of Job Lot extra virgin olive oil and then I threw in a head of garlic whole, unpeeled! I sliced some leftover lemon and threw it in skin, seeds, and all.

After 5 minutes of the pressure regulator rocking, it was cooked. The lemon had spread its flavor throughout. I squeezed the garlic out of the paper skins and stirred the garlic mush into the greens. It was exceptionally delicious, especially with a sprinkle of salt. I saved the liquid for soup!

This has been the summer of coleslaw! I love cabbage! It's cheap and plentiful and delicious to eat, raw or cooked. Last night I made my regular coleslaw but I spiced it up. I added horseradish, chopped roasted red peppers from Job Lot, sliced pepperoncini (also from Job Lot), pimentoed green olives, raisins, and carrots to the mix. It was fabulous!

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Celery, raw
Develops the jaw,
But celery, stewed,
Is more quietly chewed.
-Ogden Nash

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Quick Curry

Last night I made another one pot meal using everything that was in my house! I threw it all into the pressure cooker: 3 frozen boneless chicken breasts, 1 cup of raisins, 1 small package of curry powder from the local Asian-American market (made of saffron, chili, cumin, ground cloves, ground coriander seed, and ground anise seed), generous bloops of olive oil, 6 fresh whole cloves of garlic peeled, 1 can of diced tomatoes, 1 bottle of beer, 1 cup of brown rice, a slice of lemon with the rind, a quart of water, 9 red potatoes cubed, and a cup of toasted almonds. I brought it up to steam for 30 minutes. The flavors were very intense, so I added my 4 cups of cold leftover home-cooked chic peas with the liquid for balance. Then I added salt. It was fabulous and it tasted like it had simmered all day!

Thursday, September 3, 2009


It's peach season in New England. On Sunday we visited The Big Apple in Wrentham Massachusetts and got a half bushel of peaches for a bargain (seconds). We've kept them in the refrigerator so they won't ripen any further. I've been chopping up two at a time and then warming them in the microwave for a minute and adding a teaspoon of honey if they need sweetening. Delicious!