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

Monday, November 30, 2009

Turkey Stock Soup

The turkey carcass simmered in my big stainless steel pot all day! Then, I strained the skin, scraps and bones through our wire mesh strainer and cooled the liquid in the fridge. After it was cool I skimmed the fat off the stock and heated it up adding freshly steamed kale and frozen corn and salt and pepper and ground coriander voila! The best soup in the world!

Loving Leftovers

I love leftovers even more than the original meal! 'Tis the season of leftover pie for breakfast; pumpkin, mincemeat, apple, and blueberry! And for lunch and supper leftover turkey, corn, mashed potatoes, collard greens, and stuffing. This year the turkey disappeared too fast! Maybe I will roast another turkey (outdoors) in May. Today I am dreaming of baked ham and lamb. And I'm dreaming of making a chocolate almond biscotti. But maybe first I'll make spaghetti and meatballs or meatloaf for a change of pace. Share your meals with hungry friends. Teach a young person the joys of cooking and sharing a meal together at the table.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Onion Delight

Take a huge white onion and chop it up and saute in a bit of olive oil until translucent or even slightly browned. Then, scramble two or three beaten eggs, add some diced tomatoes (canned is fine) and a splash of soy sauce! Stir until the eggs are done. In this dish the cooked onions are playing the role similar to cellophane noodles in Asian dishes. It's a fast and delicious meal!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

I Do Not Understand

I do not understand cake mixes.
Like sex with a blow up doll
all the fun is taken out.
For me, the fun part is taking out
my big brown earthenware bowl from the cupboard,
scooping the powdery flour, salt, and baking powders,
and leveling each scoop with a knife.

The scent of the vanilla wobbling on the teaspoon,
like an eye with the reflected light its pupil.

As a kid I used to hypnotize myself at lunchtime.
I'd move my head in circles over the oil globes floating
in my chicken soup,
a dozen eyes orbiting in unison, watching me,
kitchen moonlight overhead.

Mixing up the cake batter with my hand-held mixer
vibrating like a sex toy,
then lovingly licking the bars of the beaters
one at a time
while standing over the sink.

I have never understood ham sold in a can either.

-Emily Lisker

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Some 300 chefs were involved in preparing Saturday's massive ceramic plate of hummus in a huge tent set up in downtown Beirut. The white-uniformed chefs used 2,976 pounds (1,350 kilograms) of mashed chickpeas, 106 gallons (400 liters) of lemon juice and 57 pounds (26 kilograms) of salt to make the dish, weighing 4,532 pounds (2,056 kilograms).

And I thought I made hummus in huge quantities. Imagine calculating a portion for two from this recipe? I'd like to see the machinery used in making this. Did they use a sterilized back hoe from the highway department for mashing and mixing chic peas? I sure hope so!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Greg Brown Song

Slow Food

People want that slow food
Two minutes and they grouch
But give me ham baked all day long
And help me to the couch
Help me to the sofa
Put the quiet music on
I will lie and think about that ham
Long after it is gone.

I want some slo-o-o-o-ow food.

I don't want no food with cute names
No neon on a sign
A man can't live on advertising slogans
And conceptual design
Let somebody else go surf and turf
Someone else go carry out
Me, I want my food to know itself
Before it knows my mouth.

I want some slo-o-o-o-ow food
With all the love cooked in.

Why don't we start it in the mornin'
Leave us plenty of time for lovin'
Weekend homemade hot fresh bread
Make the whole house smell like an oven
And let it all just simmer
Cook in the good juices and the greases
Then we'll sit down at the table, baby
And slowly tear it into pieces.

I want some slo-o-o-o-ow food

-Greg Brown

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Live It

I read today about the breakthrough:
A doctor prescribes the six cookie diet.
He insists on six cookies!
His own cookies of course, baked in his white coat laboratory,
chock full of amino acids and proteins that only he can sell.

America wants to eat cookies and grow thinner.

How about no die-its.
How about living well?
Live it!

Play with your children,
do not plop them in front of a screen
in the name of Einstein.

Make food together,
Break bread together.
Eye contact,
I contact


We are in a new time.
Our First Lady hula hoops 142 revolutions
on the White House lawn
and all the planets notice.

-Emily Lisker

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Grits In Songs

If I don't love you, baby,
Grits ain't groceries,
Eggs ain't poultry,
And Mona Lisa was a man.

-Little Milton

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Coffee Milk

I love to drink hot or cold coffee with equal parts skim milk. The skim milk sweetens the coffee but doesn't mask the flavorful coffee oils.

Warm Jam

I never realized it until today, cold jam out of the fridge is not as tasty as room temperature jam. So today I warmed my Joblot sour cherry jam and enjoyed it on an open face peanut butter sandwich on my home made sourdough whole wheat bread! I recommend it.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sunflower Seeds

We buy raw shelled sunflower seeds in a ten pound box from J.A.R. Bakers Supply in Lincoln RI. We store them in the fridge and the freezer. I love sunflower seeds with raisins as a travel snack, or sprinkled on cooked oatmeal (with the raisins cooked in). Sunflower seeds have a rich crunch and they taste earthy. They are jammed with vitamins and minerals and good-for-you oils.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Song to Grits

Song to Grits
When my mind's unsettled,
When I don't feel spruce,
When my nerves get frazzled,
When my flesh gets loose -

What knits
Me back together's grits.

Grits with gravy,
Grits with cheese.
Grits with bacon,
Grits with peas.
Grits with minimum
Of two over-medium eggs mixed in 'em: um!

Grits, grits, it's
Grits, I sing -

Grits fits
In with anything.

Rich and poor, black and white,
Lutheran and Campbellite,
Jews and Southern Jesuits
All acknowledge buttered grits.

Give me two hands, give me my wits,
Give me forty pounds of grits.

Grits at taps, grits at reveille.
I am into grits real heavily.

True grits,
More grits,
Fish, grits and collards.
Life is good where grits are swallered.


-Roy Blount, Jr.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sweet Stock

I made lentil soup and used the broth from the pig-roast stock we made this summer. It came out so good. It was so sweet that it tasted like molasses.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Charles Dickens

Some years ago, a temporary inability to sleep, referable to a distressing impression, caused me to walk about the streets all night, for a series of several nights. The disorder might have taken a long time to conquer, if it had been faintly experimented on in bed; but, it was soon defeated by the brisk treatment of getting up directly after lying down, and going out, and coming home tired at sunrise.
-Charles Dickens

Fabulous Leftovers

Spread one layer of pressure-cooked potato salad into a Pyrex dish, and pour in 6 beaten eggs. Bake and broil until firm.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Smothers, Beard, Gussow, Allen & Trillin

Red meat is not bad for you. Now blue-green meat, that’s bad for you!
-Tommy Smothers

A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch.
-James Beard

As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists.
-Joan Gussow

Condensed milk is wonderful. I don't see how they can get a cow to sit down on those little cans.
-Fred Allen

The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found.
-Calvin Trillin

Estonian Proverb

An empty belly is the best cook.
-Estonian Proverb

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

M.F.K. Fisher

There is a communion of more than our bodies when bread is broken and wine drunk. And that is my answer, when people ask me: Why do you write about hunger, and not wars or love?
-M.F.K. Fisher

The first thing I remember tasting and then wanting to taste again is the grayish-pink fuzz my grandmother skimmed from a spitting kettle of strawberry jam. I suppose I was about four.

We spent most of our time in a stream under the cottonwoods, or with Old Mary the cook, watching her make butter in a great churn between her mountainous knees. She slapped it into pats, and put them down into the stream where it ran hurriedly through the darkness of the butter-house.

Oretta Zanini De Vita

The nuns taught the girls that their tortellini dough was thin enough only when they held it up to the window and could see the nearby Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca.

For centuries “pasta was a luxury, you ate it only inside vegetable soup,” Ms. Zanini DeVita said. In the southern Basilicata region it was eaten “once or twice a year: for Easter, Christmas and Carnival.” Flour was for the rich. “The poor wouldn’t even see it in paintings,” she said.

- from the New York Times article "So You Think You Know Pasta" by Rachel Donadio

Friday, October 9, 2009

Healthy Crunchy Candy

Take natural peanut butter, raw sunflower seeds, granola, raisins, salt and a splash of orange juice or honey. Mush together with your fingers in a small bowl and eat like a healthy crumbly candy!


Today I chopped up a bowl full of cucumbers and sprinkled them with raisins. I ate them together with my fingers while I was at my computer! I could really taste the fact that cucumbers are in the melon family. The cucumber tasted like honey dew. Try it!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Potato Poem


Inside one potato
there are mountains and rivers.

-Shinkichi Takahashi translated by Harold P. Wright

Halloween Candy

Halloween! I love candy corn, real black licorice, and miniature peanut butter cups. I think I'll go get some now!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Southern Style Pot Au Feu

Take dried blackeyed peas, cover with water, add bloops of olive oil, and bring to a boil for ten minutes. Then turn off the heat and let the peas sit for an hour. Come back and simmer the beans for 2 hours without salt (because salt will toughen the beans at this stage).

Then, add a 4-6 stalks celery chopped, add a big chopped onion, 2-4 strips of bacon chopped, a bag of fresh spinach, a green jalapeño pepper, chopped, seeds and all, and four cloves of garlic smashed and chopped coarsely. Add salt, and your favorite spices and a splash of wine if you have it. Let it simmer for a bit. Delicious!

Cumin Garlic Crackers

Cumin Garlic Crackers
with permission from NYC attorney Katy Atlas' food + fashion blog called Sugarlaws

1 3/4 cups 100% whole wheat flour
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup canola oil
Olive oil, for brushing the top of the dough
2 tbsp fleur du sel
2 tbsp poppy seeds

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the
ingredients and mix together until the dough comes together and is smooth,
kneading as necessary.

Divide dough into 3 pieces and roll out each piece into a 12" by 18" sheet,
which should be very thin. Brush the top with olive oil and sprinkle with
poppy seeds and fleur du sel, and then roll lightly once over the toppings
with a rolling pin to set them into the dough (otherwise the salt will fall
off after the crackers are baked).

Place the sheet of dough on a silipat or parchment-lined baking sheet and
bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack and then break the
sheet of crackers into pieces. Repeat with the other two thirds of the

Makes about 40 crackers.

Horseradish Bender

Ever since I read that horseradish and vinegar open the lungs I have gone full tilt in my cravings. I am naturally drawn to things that make me take a sharp breath; jumping into ice cold water, sipping hot tea, playing my saxophone, and eating horseradish and pepperoncini with everything!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Savoring the Savory

I still prefer dinner to dessert. My real loves are fresh vegetables, whole grains, and toasted nuts and seeds, but a bit of spice is a fun treat. I even use meat as a spice, like cumin or black pepper. When I was a child my mother would take us out to Cook's for ice cream cones and I would ask if I could order a hamburger instead! Now that I think of it mashed potatoes with garlic and olive oil would be my idea of an ideal dessert, in a garlic cracker cone!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Pot Au Feu

I rarely have a plan when I cook. I just start doing stuff when I am hungry and see where it leads. Today I sauteed two chopped onions in olive oil in my Dutch oven and added a cup of Israeli cous cous. I added the two jars of leftover bean stock I had in the fridge and I chopped up three stalks of celery and added sprinkles of red chili pepper flakes. Then I added salt and my leftover beet, potato, and cabbage salad. I chopped up a few strips of frozen bacon and dropped them into the hot pot. It simmered, bubbling gently for 30 minutes, thick and pink from the beets. I have had three small bowls of it while waiting for my husband to arrive home. It's the best pot au feu I have ever made.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Cucumber Yogurt Soup

I copied this recipe by Martha Rose Shulman from the New York Times because I love to make meals with homemade yogurt and fresh cukes! Enjoy!

Bulgarian Cucumber Soup With Walnuts

Before the weather becomes too chilly for cold soups, try this one. Bulgaria once was well known for the number of centenarians in its population, which some scientists attributed to the daily consumption of Bulgarian yogurt. Now, both the yogurt and eating culture in this mountainous country have changed for the worse, and so have local lifespans.

2 to 4 garlic cloves (to taste), peeled, green shoots removed
Salt to taste
2 cups thick plain yogurt (Greek style, or drained)
2 tablespoons walnut or olive oil, or 1 tablespoon each
2/3 cup (2 ounces) shelled walnuts, finely chopped
1 European cucumber, about 10 inches long, or 3 Persian cucumbers, cut in very small dice
1/2 cup ice-cold water, preferably spring water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper

For the garnish:
Ice cubes (optional)
Finely chopped walnuts
Extra virgin olive oil
Finely chopped fresh dill or mint

1. Place the garlic in a mortar with 1/2 teaspoon salt, and mash to a paste.
2. Place the yogurt in a large bowl. Stir in the oil, garlic and walnuts. Whisk in the water and the lemon juice. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Chill for one hour or longer.
3. Meanwhile, season the cucumbers lightly with salt, and allow to drain in a colander for 15 minutes. Add to the yogurt mixture and stir together.
4. If you wish, place an ice cube in each bowl, and ladle in the soup. Top with chopped walnuts, a drizzle of olive oil if desired, and a sprinkling of dill or mint.
Yield: Serves four.

Advance preparation: You can make this several hours before serving it. Keep the soup base and the cucumbers separately refrigerated. The longer the soup sits, the more pungent it will become.

-Martha Rose Shulman


Recently I made caponata with beets in place of tomatoes! It was great. I also made my pressure-cooker potato salad adding beets + cabbage into the mix. Both dishes were delicious and very colorful.

Israeli Cous Cous

Last night our friend toasted Israeli cous cous in a pot with sliced onions and olive oil, blackening the onions. Then he added chicken broth and simmered until completely cooked. Fabulous! I believe the path to world peace is through shared food + music!

Roasted Cauliflower

Last night our friend took two heads of cauliflower and chopped them into small florets and then chopped up a bunch of fresh garlic. He placed the florets in two oblong Pyrex dishes with the fresh garlic and some olive oil sprinkled over them and roasted it all under the broiler, stirring every ten minutes, until slightly blackened. We enjoyed them sprinkled with salt. It was outstanding!

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!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Toasted Almonds

Toast whole almonds in a cast iron skillet at 250 degrees for 45-50 minutes. We buy them in a 25 pound box, wholesale at JAR Baker's Supply in Lincoln RI. We store the raw almonds in the freezer. Try toasting them with a splash of tamari too!

Delicious One Pot Meal

Saute onions and celery and garlic in olive oil. Then add two cans of diced tomatoes and three boneless chicken breasts, and fresh basil if you have it, add 1-2 quarts of stock or water and 1-2 cups of uncooked brown rice. Pressure cook on medium heat for twenty or thirty minutes. You can also bake this in a dutch oven at 350 or stew slowly in an electric crock pot or simmer on the stove top but it will take a bit longer than the pressure cooker. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Soak a one-pound bag of chicpeas (garbanzos) overnight. Rinse them and cook them fully immersed in water, in a pressure cooker with a few dollops of olive oil, for 20 minutes. The oil is essential to keep the bean foam from clogging the vent pipe of the pressure cooker. You can also cook the chic peas on the stovetop or crockpot or bake them in a dutch oven, 45 minutes to an hour. Please don't add salt until they are cooked or they will never become tender!

After they are cooled, drain most of the liquid (save it in case you need more liquid later). Use a food processor or blender and pour in a whole can (15 oz) of Joyva sesame tahini. Blend it for a few seconds until smooth and then pour out half the amount back into the can and refrigerate it. Then squeeze four lemons and add the juice and pulse in the food processor or blender. Add the chickpeas to the tahini/lemon mixture and blend. Add more chickpea liquid if the mixture seems dry. Then add a few fresh cloves of garlic, cored, and a pinch of cumin and cayenne and parsley and salt. Pay attention to the magic Lebanese trio - the salt/tahini/lemon balance. Enjoy! This makes a lot of hummus! You can freeze the extra or share it with a neighbor.

Lemonade Iced Tea

This is the time of year when I buy frozen lemonade and mix it with a freshly brewed pot of Red Rose or Tetley tea and dilute it all with water and ice. It's the perfect summer drink especially if you've been dancing all night! You can add sprigs of mint too.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Hard-Boiled Eggs

I love to try to get double use out of things. The other night when making spaghetti I saved the salty boiling water in a new pot as I was draining the noodles into my colander. Then I took our a half a dozen eggs and lowered them into the pot of hot water and let them sit for 15 minutes. Hardboiled eggs!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Butcher Shop

I now have three paintings hanging up in Jamie Sullivan's fabulous SHAW'S MEATS butcher shop on North Main Street in Woonsocket Rhode Island. This makes me feel that Woonsocket loves me as much as I love Woonsocket! Come on by!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Apple Iced Tea

Brew a pot of black tea and then add equal parts apple cider and lots of ice cubes. Add fresh mint leaves if you have'em! Enjoy!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Vanilla Granola

I just love the taste of vanilla raisins and oats.

10 cups rolled oats (or combination of rolled barley, rye, wheat, and oats)
1/2 cup corn oil
1/2 cup honey (or 1/2 cup of sugar with a little extra water to moisten.)
A splash of tea, apple juice, or plain water to moisten
1 teaspoon vanilla (or more if you love vanilla!)
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 300
Combine the oil, vanilla, honey and salt, over medium heat to dissolve them. If you use sugar it might not completely dissolve. Then in a big bowl pour the mixture onto the oats and coat them like you are tossing a salad! Use your hands! Add the splash of juice or water to moisten if it seems to need it. Bake in a shallow Pyrex baking dish or cast iron skillet. Stir every twenty minutes using a wooden spoon or spatula. The oats become golden when baked and they will become crisp after they cool.
Add raisins and toasted almonds after the oats have cooled. Store in a big glass jar!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Big Yellow Cornbread

If you love corn you'll love this cornbread! I've been making this recipe for years baking the batter in big round cast iron skillets and when baked I cut the bread into triangular wedges. This weekend for the first time I made this cornbread in my cast iron Bundt pan! It baked for an extra ten minutes. It usually bakes for 45 minutes in a skillet. This recipe was originally a muffin recipe but I doubled it and never looked back! I find that the bread is nice and moist when you bake it as one bread rather than as muffins. In the summer I keep the bread in the fridge to prevent spoiling. This cornbread is fantastic with tea and is a great travel + picnic food. We spread slices of the cornbread with peanut butter and sometimes we eat it with sharp cheddar cheese and apples. I use medium grind whole wheat flour that I buy in 50 pound bags from JAR Bakers Supply in Lincoln RI but some folks may prefer half white flour and half whole wheat flour or all white flour. If using a lighter flour blend you may want to use less salt. I have also baked this bread with a few chopped apples added to the batter or chopped onions which become very sweet when baked. Try adding dried cranberries! Replace some (or all) of the milk with yogurt for a tangy treat. All the variations are delicious!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix up batter in a big bowl with whisk, fork or wooden spoon.

4 eggs
2 cups milk
1/2 cup corn oil
2 cups yellow corn meal
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons sugar
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons baking powder

Grease your skillet or pan with vegetable shortening. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes if using a skillet or shallow pan, longer for a deeper loaf pan. A skewer should come out clean, and the top should be lightly browned. Let cool for 15 minutes and then turn out onto a rack to cool further.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Granola Bars

I love the taste of oats and raisins eaten together but store-bought granola bars are always too sweet. This is it!! A wholesome, simple, delicious, and crumbly granola bar. Perfect for breakfast, dessert or snacks. I bake mine in a square Pyrex 8" by 8" pan.

Mix 1/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup corn oil, and a couple of teaspoons of real vanilla extract, with a whisk. Then add a few cups of rolled oats (use old-fashioned oats, not quick oats). Add about a half-cup of whole wheat flour, and a dash of water to lightly moisten the whole thing. Add sprinkles of salt to taste, and some raisins. Then press into a greased pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees. Next time I will measure the oats, flour, and water!


Monday, June 8, 2009

Sally Sampson

Cookbook author Sally Sampson has published another fabulous cookbook! It's called the 100 Calorie Snack Cookbook. Check it out! It's full of ingenious ideas.

Chocolate Cake

I made this cake last night. The original recipe for my chocolate cake was cut off of a box of cocoa 20 years ago but I've adapted it over the years. The pumpkin is something I tried last night for the first time because we had some leftover in the fridge, and I love how it came out!

1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup corn oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla (or more)
1 1/2 cups pumpkin
2 cups whole wheat flour
2/3 cups of cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins or chocolate chips
dash of cinnamon + ginger (optional)

Beat the sugar oil and eggs with a whisk add vanilla and pumpkin and mix in all the dry ingredients. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 50 minutes. I baked mine in a greased and preheated cast iron Bundt pan. Let cool for 15 minutes before turning it onto a cooling rack. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Pumpkin Spice Cake

Your home will smell so good when you bake this cake. It is very good and a gorgeous orange color. I bake it in my pre-greased cast iron Bundt pan. This pan is nearly 20 years old and it's finally perfectly seasoned! This cake is basically a gigantic muffin!

Preheat oven to 350.
Beat the eggs and oil together with a whisk, then add the vanilla and pumpkin. In separate bowl mix dry ingredients, then mix all ingredients together in a big bowl by hand or with a mixer.
Pour into the pre-greased, pan and bake for an hour!

2 eggs
3/4 cup of corn oil
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 cups of canned pumpkin*
3 cups of whole wheat flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
1 cup of raisins or dried cranberries or a mixture of both! (optional)
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
sprinkles of ground cardamom, allspice, and cloves

*This is an adaptable recipe. You can use applesauce in place of pumpkin puree or mashed bananas or even blueberries! You can add walnuts or sunflower seeds too. The batter should be the consistency of thick mud! If the batter is too dry add a splash of orange juice. Bake at 350 for 55-60 minutes. Insert a broom straw! It's done when it comes out clean. Let cool for 15 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack. Enjoy with hot tea or coffee!

Friday, June 5, 2009


If I could teach a class to teens on the verge of living on their own it would be called survival cooking! We'd make rice, beans, bread, yogurt, and other delights. It's great to know how to feed yourself and it's really fun too!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Time is the secret ingredient in most delicious foods!
An olive won't ripen any quicker,
however much you mess around with it.
-Tuscan proverb

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Take Stock

Today our friend Tony Makalinaw roasted a whole 90 pound pig outside on our street for a fireman's party. He used hardwood charcoal and a home made rotating rotisserie that he welded, engineered and constructed himself. He calls his rig the oinkmaster! Tony started cooking at 7AM and finished roasting the pig at around 3PM. Bill and Lily and I walked over and watched the process and sampled the goods! The meat was amazing and had different taste depending on what part of the pig it was from. At the end of the day Tony offered us the whole pig carcass and we carried it home in a gigantic heavy bag. Now I am boiling it all up in two vats on my stove! We are the bottom feeders and proud of it! This will be amazing soup-stock and will get put in containers and frozen, feeding us throughout the year.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Apple Rhubarb

Today I spotted gorgeous magenta rhubarb stalks at Fernandez Market. We bought some and sliced them and cooked them with a few cored and chopped apples, (with skins left on) simmering them for 20 minutes in a bit of water in the in the Dutch oven. I added honey and it was delicious with leftover pumpkin ice cream.

Coffee Coolata

I took some of the leftover pumpkin and vanilla ice cream flavors we made and put it in a glass of leftover cold coffee the next morning! I made a coffee coolata for breakfast!

Lemongrass Ice Cream

Margaret Higginson's Lemongrass Ice Cream
Bring 2 1/2 cups milk to a boil with 3 stalks of lemongrass, cut up. Take it off the heat and leave to steep while you get on with other things (I think I left it in there for about an hour). Strain, to remove the lemongrass. Mix 6 egg yolks with half a cup of sugar. Meanwhile, warm the milk up again. Temper the egg yolks with the warm milk, then stir everything together. Let cook over low temperature (don't let it boil, and stir frequently) until it coats the back of a spoon and you can run your finger through it without it running together (does that make sense?). Off the heat, add a splash of vanilla. Let cool in the fridge for a day, then freeze!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Pumpkin Ice Cream

Last night we made pumpkin ice cream! It's my favorite ice cream!
Here's the recipe:
1 egg
1/4 cup honey (or 1/2 cup of sugar)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ginger
dash of ground cloves
1/2 cup of milk
3/4 cup of cream
1/2 to 3/4 cup of canned pumpkin
Beat egg and honey together using whisk or electric mixer. Add pumpkin, spices, and milk. Fold in cream.

Vanilla Ice Cream

Yesterday we made vanilla ice cream and ate fresh blueberries with it.
2 eggs
2/3 cup of sugar
13/4 cups of milk
2 cups of cream
2 teaspoons of vanilla
Beat eggs and sugar with whisk or electric mixer, until thick. Add milk, cream, and vanilla. Mix well. Makes a quart!

Sunday, May 24, 2009


The peppermint is growing like crazy in my garden. I keep going outside and snipping hand fulls with scissors and harvesting it to make pots of mint tea. I drink it hot with honey. It's delicious with a few bittersweet chocolates.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Home Made

I have this theory that if you make it yourself with love, then it's good for you! No matter what it is. So I am going to make chocolate chip ice cream and an apple pie!

Sausage Stuffing Machine

Yesterday we visited our butcher Jamie Sullivan and he showed us how he makes sausages using his 200 year old hand-cranked sausage stuffing machine. He mixed up ground chicken, roasted red peppers and fresh basil leaves and pressed it through a yard-long piece of casing from an actual hog's small intestine. He filled the casings in seconds and then twisted it into 6" links all in a few minutes! I was impressed! He has invited us to bring him a recipe and make our own.

Grilled Beets

Last night we fired up our Weber grill using hardwood charcoal. I ran in the house and sliced a bunch of beets into thin discs with the skins left on. We threw them on the grill for 5 minutes and then flipped them, brushing their dry sides with a mixture of olive oil, soy sauce, and balsamic vinegar, and then grilled them for another four minutes. Fabulously sweet and crunchy! Then I sliced big white onions the size of grapefruits into discs and grilled them too! I threw green beans into a skillet of water, doused them with the same olive oil, soy sauce, and vinegar mixture, and put that on the grill to steam. I filled another cast-iron pot with black beans I had cooked the day before, and brought them up to boil, uncovered, on the grill. We threw on some sliced sourdough bread slices and toasted them. Then we shaped two pounds of chuck into 7 beef patties and grilled them. Everything was so good we ate the leftovers for breakfast and lunch this morning!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Simple Supper

Last night I made a simple supper; collard greens steamed with olive oil, garlic, soy sauce, cheap port, red pepper flakes, and salt, eaten with steamed sliced Yukon gold potatoes. Delicious!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Pumpkin Doughnuts

I made pumpkin doughnuts today! Here's the recipe.

4 1/2 cups of flour (I use whole wheat)
4 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
3/4 cup of sugar
a dash of cinnamon
1 small can of pumpkin
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/4 cup apple cider to moisten the batter

Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients separately in another bowl. Then combine them and mix by hand or with a mixer. Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured cutting board. Flatten to 3/4 of an inch. Cut with a doughnut cutter or cleaned empty tuna fish can. Make a hole in each one! Use scraps to roll more until all used up. Fill a pot or skillet with three inches of corn oil, and heat it to 370 degrees. If needed, use a candy thermometer to check the temperature. Fry three at a time! Drain them on paper towels and sprinkle them with confectioners sugar.

I used my electric Presto crock pot with the deep fryer basket (It uses a thermostat to maintain the temperature). I loaded three doughnuts into the basket at a time and cooked them until they were golden. My whole wheat batch took 5 minutes to fry each round of three doughnuts, turning them once. The cooking time may be more or less depending on your ingredients. They're delicious, especially with hot coffee.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Tonight we walked by our butcher's shop just before closing and I bought a pound of stew beef! I put it in a bowl with cheap port, soy sauce, sesame oil, a sliced lime, blobs of peanut butter, hunks of ginger root, smashed cloves of garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, and a bloop of molasses. I'm marinating it overnight. It makes me feel productive to marinate or incubate things while I'm asleep. I keep telling my husband he should teach me how to make beer so I can be the Ale Wife!

Garlic and Sapphires

Ruth Reichl's book Garlic and Sapphires is great fun!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


I just made a vat of vegetable curry with every vegetable I had; eggplant, red + green bell peppers, jalepeno peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms, onions, celery, ginger root, green olives sliced, lots of freshly chopped garlic, leftover vegetable stock and whey, and a few sliced chicken breasts thrown in. It all started with making a pot of short grain brown rice. Now I'm thinking of making pumpkin cardamom donuts. Spring is sensory overload to me. A joy to cook, feed, eat, and be alive!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Lunch With a Star

I was so nervous and excited that I couldn't sleep for four days leading up to my lunch with Marion Cunningham and Judith Jones. I had illustrated a cookbook for them, 150 black-and-white illustrations on short notice for "Cooking With Children." Judith had suggested I come to NYC to meet Marion when she visited from California. The day I was to take the bus to NYC in early April 1996, it had been raining so hard that cars I could see from the highway in CT were 3/4 underwater. I was worried that I wouldn't make it in time. My bus left at 7:15 AM from Providence due to arrive in NYC 11:15. But the roads were jammed with traffic because of the floods.

When I finally made it to the city, I took a subway uptown. I stepped into Knopf's Cookbook Publishing offices at 12:30 on the dot. Whew! Judith was behind her large wooden dining-room-table-like desk covered with piles of papers and books, and Marion was seated opposite her. They were obviously great friends. Marion was beautiful with her silver hair pulled back and kind blue eyes. I liked her immediately. I was still terrified, feeling naked, haunted, and sleep deprived. I wondered, where was my appetite? Can I make intelligent conversation with these matriarchs of the cookbook world? The more I admired them the more foolish I felt.

I've never had luck eating during business lunches in NYC. My stomach always flies up above me, and hovers about 2,000 feet in the air and lands days later when I'm back home and have calmed down to my regular life. I ordered iced tea. Judith suggested "Oh, do have something a bit more daring." Iced tea was fine, with lemon and sugar, and my stomach promptly filled with air bubbles and cramps. I watched as they ordered platters of food, one of everything, on three tiered platters. We all shared. They discussed every bite. I said virtually nothing, hoping they wouldn't notice.

After the meal, Judith hailed a cab for us. We all ducked in and sat in the back seat. I was in the middle! As soon as we sat down we noticed the ceiling of the cab had a million trinkets attached to the loose gray cloth lining. We all oohed and ahhed and laughed and pointed. It was an unguarded moment for me, and the best moment of the whole visit!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Vat of Sauce

I'm making a vat of tomato sauce in the huge pot my pal Andy gave me. It's oval and cast iron with a cobalt blue enamel exterior. He showed up one day with it, placed it on the porch, rang the doorbell, and tried to run. We caught him and had a little porch visit! I think of him each time I use it, which is every few days! For my pasta sauce I sauteed in olive oil a big onion the size of a grapefruit; 5 ribs of celery, chopped, with the celery-top leaves; one eggplant, diced; a can of black olives, chopped; fresh garlic chopped in kosher salt to absorb the vital juices; a bouquet of fresh parsley, chopped; a cup or so of the cheapest port wine; chopped mushrooms; and a green pepper, chopped. Then I added a gigantic can (the size restaurants use) of Isabella diced tomatoes, 4 bay leaves, and dried oregano and basil. I threw in one seeded chopped jalapeno pepper too! It has been simmering away uncovered. I have already "tested" a few bowls full! It will be delicious on sourdough bread toasted (as a bruschetta) and on pasta. We love to grate Asiago cheese on top. It's locally made in Providence! Mangia!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Pickle Sandwiches

I got a 5 pound bucket of Bronx made half sour pickles last week from Fernandez produce and they are nearly gone. I fear they will laugh at me when I go in for another bucket this week! I love simple pickle sandwiches with mayo on my bread, toasted!

Craving Burgers

Sometimes I make a burger because nothing else will do. I get my butchers fresh ground chuck and shape a small thin patty and grill it in my ridged cast iron pan. Then I turn on all of the fans in the kitchen to vent the smoke! I eat it on my toasted sourdough bread, slathered with mustard, and sliced half sour pickles, ketchup, red raw onions and anything else that will fit!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Home Made Yogurt

Use a double boiler to heat milk or rig up a big pot with a steamer tray in it. Fill clean glass canning jars with milk and place on the tray and immerse in a few inches of water. Heat the whole thing until the milk is up to 180 Fahrenheit. I use a candy thermometer to check the temperature. You can find them for a few bucks at most kitchen stores. Then I cool the milk to 110 degrees. It takes ten minutes to cool down if you immerse the jars in cold water. Then I add a teaspoon of starter (plain live active yogurt) to each jar. Close the lid, shake a bit, and then put in a warm place to incubate for 4-6 hours. I place the jars above my oven and cover with a tea cozy. In the winter I put it on the metal covering on my boiler. Some folks use an insulated picnic cooler with a few jars of hot water. I have a friend who incubates her milk in a thermos. I never stop being amazed by growing my own culture! Save a little bit for the next round. By the way, heating the milk is necessary because it enables the enzymes in the milk to be more receptive to the yogurt culture. Cooling to 110 is so you don't kill off the culture. Have fun! Enjoy! In India women culture their milk every night before bed to enjoy fresh yogurt for breakfast in the morning.

Yogurt Cream Cheese

The way I worship cows in my urban life is by visiting the nearby Wright's Dairy Farm which is only three miles away! I buy milk at the farm and walk home carrying the milk in my back pack. I make a few quarts into yogurt. Sometimes I strain a pint of the fresh yogurt through a coffee filter (cone style) overnight in the fridge and the next day it's yogurt cheese! I add chopped onion grass, red onions, or raisins. The plain yogurt whey is a delicious to drink by itself.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Rachel's Roasted Ratatouille

My pal Rachel Nguyen is a fabulous writer, drummer and cook. She said her latest kitchen joy is making roasted ratatouille. Here's her recipe.
It's so lazy:

Chop the veggies. I use eggplant, zucchini, red pepper, onions, mushrooms and tomatoes, all diced to about 3/4 of an inch. Toss with a little olive oil and dump the whole pile into a roasting pan. Sprinkle thyme, salt, pepper, oregano. Roast at bitchin' high heat (450) for about 40 to 45 minutes, or until everything starts to carmelize. Stir. Roast another half hour at 350, just to get everything really gooey and concentrated.

Serve with chopped kalamata olives and crumbled feta. SO incredibly delicious.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I just sliced a handful of asparagus out of the backyard and ate it with bread and mustard and green olives. Fabulous!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Quote of the Day

A significant part of the pleasure of eating is in one's accurate
consciousness of the lives and the world from which the food comes.

-Wendell Berry

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Supper Pie

Last night I made a vegetable pie and it came out great! First I made the quick press-in oil crust using one cup of whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup corn oil, 1/4 cup cold water, salt to taste, 1/4 cup sugar (acts like glue) then I stirred it all with a fork and pressed into my clay pie dish. Then I sauteed, in olive oil, three onions and two stalks of celery with their top greens. I added a cup of leftover pumpkin puree and a leftover boiled potato that I sliced. I added salt and dried red chili pepper and then I grated cheddar cheese to cover the whole top of the pie and baked it at a preheated 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Delicious.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Bake Barter

I'm looking to give one of my sourdough breads or homemade cakes to anyone who can help me transport a few box loads of free cow manure from the nearby dairy farm. Pickup trucks work best!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Wheat Pimp

My friend Brittin Eustis, whom I affectionately call the Wheat Pimp, supervises and cultivates the growth of organic wheat and other grains in the United States. I asked him why whole wheat flour + whole wheat pasta taste so much better than I remember it tasting when I was first starting to bake bread in the 1970's.
To answer your question about the changes to organic whole wheat pasta, in the 70's the pasta was largely made from organic hard red spring wheat which originated from Ukrainian Steppes. The traditional pasta is made from semolina which is milled from durum wheat, and that wheat came from North Africa and Mesopotamia. Hard red spring wheat is mostly for bread making and has strong gluten characteristics as well as high protein. It is not necessarily suited for sourdough fermented breads unless it meets certain characteristics. It is great for making bagels. Durum is suited for pasta, is yellow in color, and has a translucent endosperm. Semolina is a granular meal that is milled from the endosperm of the durum kernel. When it comes to whole wheat products made from these grains, the taste difference is largely due to the ratio of bran to endosperm. Hard red spring wheat has a larger proportion of bran to endosperm because the kernels are smaller. The flavor of the hard red spring wheat is distinctly more "grain like" because of tannins and phenolic acid in the bran layers. Whole wheat durum flour is much lighter in color and taste due to the higher ratio of endosperm to bran. It also has lower levels of tannins.

The best flour for making whole wheat pasta is made from kamut, a grain that is actually a precursor to modern day durum. The kernel is very large, and it has strong gluten and protein. I understand from my friend Bob Quinn, who started the breeding program in the US for this variety of wheat, that kamut makes a really nice sourdough bread, and it is very popular in Europe.

Here are some references for you:
North Dakota Wheat Commission
Kamut Korasan Wheat

Best regards,
The Wheat Pimp

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sally Sampson

When my friend Jenny turned me onto Sally Sampson's books I immediately fell in love with her writing. Her voice is intimate, poetic and honest in the tradition of my favorite food writers; Marion Cunningham, Laurie Colwin, MFK Fisher. She lives in New England and has published over a dozen cookbooks. Have a peek, and enjoy! Sally's website

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Wood Flour

I went on a tour of the mill in Groveton and they made this stuff called wood flour. Now I thought it was pulp for paper and I asked the manager and he said no, our biggest client for this stuff is McDonalds. And he said what do you think they put it in? And I thought oh my goodness, the bread, the meat? He said non-dairy shakes. He said why do you think they're nondairy?
-Jack McEnany

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Poetry is the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits.
-Carl Sandburg


What I say is that, if a fellow really likes potatoes, he must be a pretty decent sort of fellow.
-A. A. Milne

Simple Sweet Rice

Rinse two cups of short grain brown rice, cook in salted water in a heavy iron pot for an hour simmering on low. Enjoy with honey and cinnamon.


According to the Spanish proverb, four persons are wanted to make a good salad: a spendthrift (for oil), a miser for vinegar, a counselor for salt and a madman to stir it all up.
-John Gerard, Jesuit Priest (1564-1637)


Life is a combination of magic and pasta.
-Federico Fellini

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


On my walk to the dairy farm the other day I saw a garden with upside down clear plastic liter soda bottles strategically placed in rows in the soil. The bottles were serving as miniature greenhouses each one was covering a seed for growing peas.


Ceviche (also spelled as cebiche or seviche) is a citrus-marinated seafood dish, popular mainly in Latin American countries. Every so often I get a craving for the clean fresh taste of Cod!
Try this recipe! You'll love it.

1 to 2 lbs. firm, fresh white fish such as Cod, cut in 1/2 inch chunks.
Juice of 12-15 limes freshly squeezed, enough to cover the fish!
1-10 cloves garlic, minced
2 to 3 teaspoons salt (to taste)
1 small hot pepper, seeded and minced
1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro
1-2 large red onions, thinly sliced or chopped
serve with toast, home made crackers, popcorn or slices of cold cooked sweet potato, or fried green plantains.

Layer the fish, salt, onion, pepper, and garlic in several layers in a glass bowl or empty quart canning jars. Pour the lime juice over mixture to cover. Refrigerate for three hours or overnight. The lime juice cooks the fish. Keeps well. Serve at room temperature on crackers, with popcorn, corn nuts, sliced cold sweet potato, or fried green plantains. Very colorful!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Colorful Quiche

Last night I started out making a whole wheat oil crust for an apple pie but changed my mind and made an onion quiche! For the crust take three tablespoons of water and whisk with 1/4 cup of corn oil. Add salt to taste. Add a cup of whole wheat flour and mix it gently with a spoon or your fingers, and then press it into a clay pie dish. Done! It's that easy! Look in your fridge to see if there are any leftover vegetables and cheeses and meats to use.
I chopped four onions and placed on the unbaked crust. Then I whisked 8 eggs and added Adobo seasoning. I poured egg mixture over the onions. Threw in a handful of pitted green olives (with pimentos) and a handful of chopped carrots for color! I baked it for 45 minutes in preheated 375 degree oven. Play! Have fun! Invent! Enjoy!

Eggplant Tomato Sauce

This sauce tastes meaty! Cube one average-sized eggplant, salt it, and let it sit in colander while you get started on everything else. Chop two ribs of celery, a few white onions, and a few cloves of garlic and saute in a big pot with olive oil and some dried red chili peppers crumbled. Then rinse the eggplant, shake it dry and add it to the pot. Cook it all a bit then add three cans of diced tomatoes and a splash of cheap port or leftover red wine for sweetness and flavor. Add dried or fresh oregano, a bay leaf, and some fresh basil and parsley if you have it. If you like capers you can add them too. Chop up some pitted black olives. This sauce will be fabulous on whole wheat pasta and even better the next day and progressively better through the week! So when you make a lot of it you'll be glad you did! Grate Asiago, Romano or Parmesan cheese on top. I like the sauce at room temperature eaten on a cracker or eaten on a slice of toast with grated cheese on top as bruschetta!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Wholegrain Pretzels

4 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/3 c. warm water (wrist temperature)
1 package of dry yeast (rapid rise)
1 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoons coarse salt or kosher salt

Preheat oven to 425°F. Grease large baking sheet. Proof yeast in water and honey. Then add flour and salt. Add enough flour to make moderately stiff dough. Knead 5 -10 minutes. Cut into 12 pieces and roll each into a pretzel; place on greased baking sheet and sprinkle the coarse salt on top. Let dog into the back yard and play fetch for a few minutes. Come back in and bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove pretzels from cookie sheet to wire rack. Serve warm and, if desired, with prepared mustard.

Wholegrain Bagels

I love whole grains, and blending flours with seeds is fun too. I am a dough head! There's not much you can do wrong with dough, it's not an exact science. It's a forgiving one! Just dive in and PLAY! No matter what, these will taste great and smell great! We buy 50 pounds of flour every month from JAR Bakers Supply in Lincoln RI. It's only 14 bucks for 50 pounds! We get the medium grind whole wheat flour. It's so fresh and good. If you think 50 pounds of flour is too much for your household needs, consider asking a few neighbors to share the bag. You'll be glad you did.

1-2 teaspoons or 1 package of Fleishmann's active dry yeast
1 golf ball sized blob of sourdough starter (optional)
2 c warm water (wrist temperature)
2 tsp sugar or honey to feed the yeasties!
3 1/2-4 c whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt (or more to taste)
You can always add more flour, rolled oats, wheat bran, and cornmeal. You can also add sesame, poppy, and flax seeds and even grind them up together and add them. Try raisins or sunflower seeds too.

Dissolve a package of yeast in warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5-10 minutes. It might get foamy. Then add sugar or honey, stirring well. Stir in 2 cups of the whole wheat flour (or the flour blend) and 1-1/2 teaspoons salt; mix well. Add starter blob if you have it. Gradually stir in the rest of the flour to make a dough. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 5 to 10 minutes, turning and dusting with more flour as needed. Place dough in a bowl, cover with towel and let rise in a warm place 1-2 hours or until doubled in bulk. Punch dough down, and cut dough into 12 equal pieces. I use a bagel/donut cutter because I love kitchen tools. Otherwise roll each blob of dough into a smooth ball and punch a hole in the center of each ball. If you have an apple-corer that works well for making a hole too.

Bring about 2 quarts of water with a teaspoon of salt to boil in a big pot or Dutch oven. Boil bagels about 3 minutes on each side. Use a slotted spoon or slotted spatula for scooping out the boiled bagels. Place bagels on your lightly greased baking sheet, or directly on your hot baking stone. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 1 dozen. Eat some warm! Let the others cool on a rack. The flavors will "land" and they will taste fabulous the next day toasted, buttered, and sprinkled with cinnamon and honey. I also like them just plain. They taste like soft pretzels. I break them apart and dip them in kosher salt. They are a great travel food and they freeze well too. Enjoy and share with those you love.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Sharing Starter

Bread deals with living things, with giving life, with growth, with the seed, the grain that nurtures. It's not coincidence that we say bread is the staff of life.
-Lionel Poilâne artisan baker

I am going to learn to make bread to-morrow. So you may imagine me with my sleeves rolled up, mixing flour, milk, saleratus, etc., with a deal of grace. I advise you if you don't know how to make the staff of life to learn with dispatch.
-Emily Dickinson

I've been sharing my sourdough starter with friends and I am so excited for them to discover the joys of baking their own bread. I tell them it's like farming in your own kitchen!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Fifty Gallons

My pal singer songwriter guitarist gardener Rodney Maxwell told me he is making maple syrup. He said it takes fifty gallons of sap to make a gallon of maple syrup! I immediately thought that's about the same ratio as writing.

Safe Sampling

I am making a variation on chicken Marbella with the ingredients I have in the house. Port in place of white wine, black olive taupinaude in place of green olives, white sugar in place of brown sugar. I wanted to taste the marinade since I had done so much improvising but I had already put the raw chicken breasts into it. So I took a few tablespoons of the marinade and put it in a tiny glass dish with a cover (preventing splatter) and heated it up in the microwave to cook it. Then it was safe to taste test it, adjust the recipe, and repeat. You can also heat the sample on the stove top or in the oven. Just be sure to bring it up to boiling and you're safe!

Saturday, March 28, 2009


Kasha is buckwheat groats. It is a fabulous grain. Take a cup of kasha and rinse it, put it in an ovenproof dish, add 2 cups of water, a pinch of kosher salt, and bloop of olive oil, and cover. If you're putting this in a cold oven, cover and bake for an hour at 350 degrees. In a preheated oven bake it for 30 minutes.You can also simmer it on the stove top for twenty minutes just like a hot cereal. In a large skillet saute a few sliced onions in olive oil, then add a splash of cheap port and soy sauce, then add the cooked kasha. You can combine it with leftover rice or noodles too. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Potato Salad

This recipe is a 30 year old favorite. It was in a little yellow cookbook that came with my first Presto pressure cooker. I still have my beloved cooker and I still make this potato salad a few times a year. It is good hot, cold, and luke-warm. Double the recipe - you'll want leftovers. This is always a hit at summer picnics too.

4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1/2 teaspoon celery seed (optional)
1/4 cup vinegar (I like red wine vinegar)
1/2 cup water
1 large onion, chopped
6 large potatoes diced (red potatoes or Yukon gold are my favorites)
Add a few ribs of chopped celery and raisins if you have them handy.

Add ingredients to cooker, mix well, close cover and cook 5 minutes with pressure regulator rocking gently. Cool cooker at once. If you don't have a pressure cooker I'm sure you can bake this in a Dutch oven or cook it on the stove top in a heavy lidded pot. Save the leftover flavorful seasoned potato stock for adding to cooked beans or using as soup stock.

Lemon-Sesame Chicken

Years ago, during college, I worked in the kitchen of Leo's, a local restaurant and bar (now defunct). They served fabulous food. I am proud to say that is where I met my husband, and where I learned to cook. It was the best kitchen job I'd ever had.

I made this Lemon-Sesame Chicken recipe for Bill on our first date. I brought him over to my little third floor apartment on Oakland Avenue on Smith Hill. Unfortunately I had marinated the chicken for three days and (as he recalls) I served it in the marinade (not wanting to waste anything!) It was dreadful, it tasted like it was marinated in Mr. Clean! Bill never complained, being the gentleman that he is, but I was horrified! If you make it right, it may lead to marriage! And if you make it wrong it may too!

Lemon-Sesame Chicken

1 bunch of fresh scallions, chopped
8 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and minced or thrown in the blender with marinade
1/2 cup sesame tahini
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (it's worth making your own!)
salt and sugar to taste
4 skinless and boneless chicken breasts halved

Mix tahini and lemon juice with whisk or buzz in a blender (if you use a blender or food processor you can add the raw garlic cloves to this). Place the boneless skinless chicken breasts in a bowl, pour the mixture over, cover, and marinate for 5 hours or overnight in the fridge. Grill or bake in 350 degree oven until done. Sprinkle with the fresh scallions!

Chicken Marbella

At Leo's, waitresses were instructed to say "fruits" rather than prunes when we had Chicken Marbella as a special. Why not say plums? Chicken Marbella is amazing.

From the famous Silver Palette Cookbook.

4 chickens, 2 1/2 lb. each, quartered (I use boneless skinned chicken breasts)
1 head of garlic, pureed
1/4 c dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c red wine vinegar
1/2 c olive oil
1 c pitted prunes
1/2 c Spanish green olives
1/2 c capers with a bit of juice (Job Lot has them for cheap!)
6 bay leaves
1 c brown sugar
1 c white wine
1/4 c chopped parsley

Combine all ingredients except brown sugar and white wine, and marinate overnight. Arrange chicken in pan, spoon marinade over, and sprinkle with brown sugar and wine. Bake 50-60 min at 350 degrees, basting often. Enjoy this meal with those you love! Serves 10. The leftovers are even better cold over brown rice or whole wheat noodles.

Blob Sharing

I wish I could give all of my readers blobs of my Woonsocket sourdough starter so they could bake their own sourdough bread. Of course you can make your own starter but if you live nearby I am happy to give you a blob!

Fast Baked Beans

Take some leftover home cooked pinto beans and add some apple butter (like Musselman's) and heat, it's Boston baked beans in a pinch.


It's so easy to make. When I babysat the kids on my street growing up I'd make this with them but in a much smaller quantity. Feel free to shrink down the recipe to suit your family. We buy 50 pound bags of thick-cut oats and store them in our cold cellar in gigantic tins.

1 cup corn oil
1 cup regular Barbados molasses
sprinkle of Kosher salt
1 Tablespoon of Job Lot's real vanilla
4 or five empty (quart) yogurt containers filled with rolled oats.

Heat oil, molasses, salt, and vanilla, in a large pot until it dissolves into to a soupy liquid. While stirring, add oats. Mix thoroughly, then spread over two baking pans and bake at 300-350 degrees. Fill up the corners of the pan well so it won't burn! Stir oats from edges of baking pan every 10-20 minutes. The oats are done when they are golden brown. (three or four 20 minute sessions) Let cool and then put in sealed container.
Carry a bag of this granola with raisins with you and you'll never starve!