Tuesday, December 22, 2009


When I discovered I could make my own Wheatena cereal I was ecstatic. The results were a million times tastier than the store bought cereal. It's so simple. Place a thin layer of wheat berries on a baking pan or in a large cast iron skillet. Put them in a preheated 350 degree oven. As they bake take a spatula and redistribute the berries so they get toasted evenly and they don't burn at the edges of the pan. Stick around, they toast fast and they can burn easily. When the wheat berries darken a bit they are toasted. Let them cool off and then grind them coarsely in a hand cranked grain mill. I don't know myself but it might be possible to grind them in a coffee grinder or a food processor. Boil the cereal in water and salt. Enjoy! You can use the toasted wheat berries in bread and soup too. You can cook up the cereal and serve with vegetables as a supper dish or make a Middle Eastern tabouleh!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Snow Bake

I had five leftover baked potatoes and a leftover cooked yam. So I sliced them all and put them in my cast iron Dutch oven with a gigantic green bell pepper chopped up, and a gigantic white onion (the size of a grapefruit) chopped up, and I added a leftover quart of milk, 1/4 cup of olive oil, Adobo seasoning, and I covered it and put it in a preheated 350 degree oven and went for a walk. When I came back it was all cooked together and smelled and tasted delicious. I shouldn't admit this but I was gone for two hours.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Snow Ice Cream

This was a childhood treat we used to make when we were visiting family friends in New England. Gently scoop a bowl of freshly fallen clean snow and pour fresh cream over it and add sweet (defrosted) frozen berries. If you love eggnog ice cream (like I do) take snow and pour on some eggnog!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Fast Chili

Last night I made a spontaneous chili. I chopped up two large green bell peppers and a huge white onion the size of a grapefruit, four cloves of freshly chopped garlic, a handful of chopped mushrooms, and I sauteed it all in olive oil in my 12" cast iron skillet. Then I added two cans of diced tomatoes, dried herbs; bay leaves, basil, oregano, three cups of my home-cooked red kidney beans, and splashes of my favorite smoky hot sauces; cholula and chipotle. It was delicious and the leftovers made a great lunch with home made cornbread. Now that it is cold out, I look for every opportunity to turn on the oven to bake breads and pots of beans.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Super Lazy Chinese Broccoli

I am always looking for shortcuts because I am often cooking while working in my office which is located right upstairs from my kitchen. I tried this yesterday and it worked out great. Take a glass Pyrex dish with cover and put in chopped broccoli crowns. Add a tablespoon of sesame oil, splashes of soy sauce and salt, a cup of water for steaming, a few smashed cloves of peeled fresh garlic, sprinkles of red chili flakes, a small chunk of fresh ginger root. Heat everything up covered, for 5-10 minutes depending on your microwave or bake covered in a 350 degree oven. It smells great! Enjoy with noodles or rice. Save the leftover broth water and garlic cloves for soup.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Local Eggnog

We bought some eggnog at Wright's Dairy Farm tonight and put it in our coffee! Sometimes we make it into ice cream too! Have you ever had their Russian tea cakes? They are excellent and very rich, delicious with hot black tea.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


The small box of wheat bran was the same price as a 50 pound bag! So we bought the 50 pound bag and stuffed it in the freezer.


Yesterday it was 19 degrees here! I bought six gigantic yams at Fernandes Produce and baked them in our oven for an hour at 350 degrees. When they were done, I sliced one and sprinkled balsamic vinegar on it and ate it. It was fabulous! The sweet potato and sharp sweet vinegar are a match made in heaven. Try it!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Gramercy Tavern Gingerbread

The use of leavening in a cake is first recorded in a recipe for gingerbread from Amelia Simmons's American Cookery, published in Hartford in 1796; I guess you could say it is the original great American cake. Early-19th-century cookbooks included as many recipes for this as contemporary cookbooks do for chocolate cake. This recipe, from Claudia Fleming, pastry chef at New York City's Gramercy Tavern, is superlative—wonderfully moist and spicy.


* 1 cup oatmeal stout or Guinness Stout
* 1 cup dark molasses (not blackstrap)
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
* 2 tablespoons ground ginger
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
* Pinch of ground cardamom
* 3 large eggs
* 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
* 1 cup granulated sugar
* 3/4 cup vegetable oil
* Confectioners sugar for dusting
* a 10-inch (10- to 12-cup) bundt pan

Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter bundt pan and dust with flour, knocking out excess.

Bring stout and molasses to a boil in a large saucepan and remove from heat. Whisk in baking soda, then cool to room temperature.

Sift together flour, baking powder, and spices in a large bowl. Whisk together eggs and sugars. Whisk in oil, then molasses mixture. Add to flour mixture and whisk until just combined.

Pour batter into bundt pan and rap pan sharply on counter to eliminate air bubbles. Bake in middle of oven until a tester comes out with just a few moist crumbs adhering, about 50 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes. Turn out onto rack and cool completely.

Serve cake, dusted with confectioners sugar, with whipped cream.

Cooks' notes:
- This recipe was tested with Grandma's brand green-label molasses.
- Like the chocolate decadence cake, the gingerbread is better if made a day ahead. It will keep 3 days, covered, at room temperature.

-Gourmet Magazine



1 cup molasses (not blackstrap)
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups milk
3 eggs

3 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger (or chopped candied ginger)

Mix molasses, sugar, oil and eggs in a big bowl. Combine dry ingredients and add to the wet milk-egg mixture. Pour batter into your favorite greased baking pan or greased cast iron skillet. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with chilled tofu whipped cream. Consider making muffins. They bake much faster!

Take a block or two of firm tofu, a pinch of salt,
a 1/4 cup of maple syrup, add a tablespoon of vanilla and a splash of water if needed. Chop up and buzz in blender! Taste and adjust salt syrup amounts if needed. Refrigerate. Enjoy!

-from Recipes from an Ecological Kitchen, by Lorna J. Sass

Rice Porridge Supper

Last night I baked about four cups of brown rice in my cast iron pot with tightly fitted lid in a 350 degree oven. I added a pint of my frozen pork broth stock, water, four carrots, two large onions, a dollop of olive oil and kosher salt. I baked it for an hour checking on it a few times. This can burn easily! When it was done I sprinkled each serving with whole home-toasted almonds. Delicious! Our oven broke this week but Mario the miracle man fixed it. We are so grateful because when it's 20 degrees out and windy, I especially want to warm the kitchen by baking. Happy Hanukkah! A friend from high school gave us a menorah and last night we lit our first candle.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Fast Mashed

I took a boiled potato and put it in a tiny ramekin with a splash of milk and fresh butter. I mashed it up with a fork, added salt and freshly ground black pepper, and warmed it up in the microwave. It was divine. It doesn't take much but it does take some!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Winter Soup

Last night at supper I was too lazy to leave the house and shop for groceries. I found a quart of pork stock that we made in August in the freezer. I put the stock in my largest pot with a quart of water, a big bag of frozen corn, four carrots and four stalks of celery and one large onion all chopped, a pound of rinsed lentils, and a dollop of olive oil. I brought it up to boil, then let it simmer. In another big pot I boiled nine potatoes. After the potatoes were done I fished them out and kept the water they boiled in.

The vegetable lentil soup got thick as it simmered. I thinned it with the potato stock, added some more olive oil, along with salt and red pepper flakes. It was out of this world. We ate it with my latest molasses raisin sourdough bread, slices of cornbread, and the naked potatoes. I looked out the window and saw an inch of snow was already accumulating on the ground. The wind was blowing hard and the wet snow clung to all of the branches, outlining them like shadows in reverse. A beautiful sight on a wintery soup night.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Bread Poem

Mother of Bread

When I mix up dough I become the mother
of fermented yeast and fresh wheat
rising in my kitchen overnight.

I bring forth loaves from my hands,
breasts and loins.

The next day loaves bake on hot stone
the aroma fills the house.
I am the midwife bringing forth the golden babies
tapping the bottom of each
listening for the hollow sound of being done.

I arrive at a dinner party with my newborn
still warm, wrapped in a blanket.
The hostess becomes shaken, frightened of her own infertility.
She snatches the bread from my arms
and burns my child in the oven.

She produces a pale impostor
made by robots on some distant planet,
something her children will prefer, she assures me.

But her children delight in the slicing and eating of a warm
homemade loaf smeared with fresh butter.
Even a naked slice is good.
There has never been a child who didn't love my bread.

-Emily Lisker 12/2/09