Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Yellow Apple Tree

At noon I walked down the street to the yellow apple tree with Lily and my apple picker and a big canvas bag. John my friend the grounds-keeper came out. "That's cheating," he said when he saw my apple picker. It was fun to use it. It was good to see him. I kept reaching for the challenging apples, the big ones way up high that were the size of grapefruits. "The tree got pruned last year," said John. "I remember, I bet that's why the apples are so big, the tree is happy." I said.
"Come back with your wagon," he said. "I will," I said, standing with the heavy bag, "This was fun." I said, leaving. When I got home I had lunch and took a long walk with Lily. Then I walked back to the tree carrying the picker with the wagon in tow. The first apple I tried to pick was huge and it came right down and bounced off my forehead. Wow, I thought. I couldn't have done that if I tried. I resumed. I listened to the birds and the trucks and cars driving by. Nobody seemed to notice or care what I was doing. I filled all three three bags in my little red wagon. I even rescued the apples that fell and rolled into the street. They got bruised but I figured I'd chop the bruises off first. When I came up the driveway with my overflowing wagon two kids asked to have an apple and I let them pick out a few. They wanted the largest ones they could find. I hope they liked them.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Licensing Effect

Drop a bunch of kale into your cart and you’re more likely to head next to the ice cream or beer section. The more “virtuous” products you have in your basket, the stronger your temptation to succumb to vice.

Such hedonic balancing acts are neither unpredictable — who, after all, hasn’t rewarded themselves with a piece of cake or an extra beer after a killer workout? — nor inherently bad. But an emerging body of research into what psychologists call the “licensing effect” suggests that this tit-for-tat tendency is deeply wired in us, operating even when we’re not aware of it. And in a world where we’re bombarded by pitches for an endless array of health-boosting products of dubious efficacy, that can be a problem.

So how can we maximize our chances of coming out ahead? Psychologists have identified a few tactics.

One is to focus on the process of living healthfully rather than the goal of being healthy. A recent University of Zurich study tracked the progress of 126 dieters and found that, as predicted by licensing theory, the more weight the subjects lost in any given week, the less weight they would lose (or the more they would gain) the following week. But this rebound effect was weakest when the subjects homed in on the process of changing their eating behavior rather than on the outcome of losing weight or improving their appearance.


Susan Olson's Corn Oil Pie Crust

pie crust recipe:

Basic 9 inch pie

3 Cups King Arthur unbleached flour
3/4 Cup Corn oil (I find it should be corn oil)
6 T combination of milk and water - or just cold water if no milk around
Mix lightly and form into two balls
(I'd add a teaspoon of Kosher salt.)

Roll between wax paper, Put in pie pan - if things are off, patching is easy as dough is quite moist and pliable.

Put fruit in crust - add 1/2 C or a little more sugar depending upon desired sweetness. If apples - just sugar - If berries or peaches need to mix sugar with some flour.

Dot with butter
Add top crust - cook at 425 for 40 or so minutes - until brown and bubbly.

Also see KING ARTHUR RECIPE below for one crustsource.

1 1/2 cups (6 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup (2 3/8 ounces) vegetable oil
3 to 4 tablespoons (1 1/2 to 2 ounces) water or milk

Eggplant Drama

At the market I bought two gigantic eggplants. When I got home I sliced them as thin as I could and salted them to extract the bitter juices. An hour later I rinsed them and drained them in my colander placing a heavy weight on top. This morning in a panic I remembered the eggplant in the fridge. By seven am I was layering the eggplant slices with my tomato olive chick pea sauce in my glass baking dish. Another dish is layered with my spinach garlic ginger sauce. I still have half a bucket of eggplant.

I can rarely cook at dinner time. I have to bake and cook in the morning or the afternoon when I am hungry and optimistic and then warm it up later, when I am tired, hungry and grouchy.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Beauty Would be So Proud

I just finished reading My Fat Dad, a memoir by Dawn Lerman, and I COMPLETELY loved it. My Fat Dad is a memoir centered on food, the food she grow up with, the food of her relatives. I learned a lot about my own upbringing from Dawn's writing - reading her book was like catching up with a long-lost cousin. In some ways our childhoods were identical. We must be nearly the same age and both of our fathers were in advertising in midtown Manhattan. There were so many parallels. I want my brothers and sisters and cousins to read this book. I was grateful for having read her story, and she told it so well.

I woke up this morning thinking about how important Dawn's grandmother Beauty was to her and how Beauty fostered, inspired, and nurtured a love of cooking in Dawn. She received everything Dawn shared with her with wisdom and compassion. This love was carried from Beauty to Dawn to Dawn's sister April. With Dawn's urging and help April was cast as Orphan Annie in a production that traveled around the country.

I empathized with Dawn's feelings of emptiness and abandonment in an environment of privilege. Dawn's life-saving grandmother Beauty made me think of my own grandmother Sophie. It was heartbreaking to imagine Dawn's distracted parents, the atmosphere of benign neglect. How could one not completely love and adore this child? Dawn described her upbringing with sincerity, clarity, and grace. She grew up in a particular time and place which I recognized completely.

I loved this memoir. Dawn is a warrior telling her truth. She found her voice and she used it beautifully and compassionately. As with the best books I was nourished having read it. Beauty would be so proud.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

King Arthur Pat-In Oil Pie Crust

Many members of our Baking Circle swear by the convenience and quality of their pie crusts made with vegetable oil. They also like the fact that they can have a crisp, tasty crust with no trans fats or cholesterol. If you're intimidated by the idea of getting out the rolling pin, this is the crust for you. Mix it right in the pie plate and pat it into place.

This recipe makes enough for a single deep dish crust; to make a two-crust pie, double the recipe and take out 1 1/4 cups of the mixture; this will become your top crust. You can add cinnamon, sugar, even a bit of chopped crystallized ginger if you like. After you fill the bottom crust, sprinkle the topping evenly over it. It will bake into a crispy, flavorful crumb crust as the pie bakes.

1 1/2 cups (6 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup (2 3/8 ounces) vegetable oil
3 to 4 tablespoons (1 1/2 to 2 ounces) water or milk

Whisk together the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder. This can be done right in the pie pan, if you like. Whisk together the oil and water, then pour over the dry ingredients. Stir with a fork until the dough is evenly moistened. Pat the dough across the bottom of the pie pan and up the sides. A flat-bottomed measuring cup can help you make the bottom even. Press the dough up the sides of the pan with your fingers, and flute the top. Fill and bake.

Start with the Blend

WICN Worcester FM radio THE BLEND at 6:AM with Michelle Willson. You won't be sorry!

Spicy Garlic Peanut and Vegetable

I love any and all vegetables sauteed with fresh garlic +fresh ginger and red-hot chili peppers sauteed in olive oil.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Pickle Jars

Every week I buy the glass gallon jar of pickles. I'm not sure which I like more the jar or the pickles. I do love slicing them thin and making sandwiches with them or chopping them into tuna salad. We hope to perform as our friends pickle band someday but the hitch is he's in Seattle and we are in Rhode Island.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Spicy Peanut Ginger Garlic Broccoli

I just made this Chinese Broccoli improvisation and it was so good. First I trimmed and cut the broccoli florets. Then I took a 2 hour walk. When I came home I heated my 12" cast iron pan with olive oil, small dried red chili peppers, freshly chopped ginger root and freshly chopped garlic. I threw in the broccoli florets and salty peanuts and stirred. Then I splashed some soy sauce on it. I covered the mess for a minute and then splashed some water on it. When the broccoli was bright green but slightly tender I served it. Yum!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Opera on the Radio

I love opera. I used to say to people I must've been adopted because I love opera and sauerkraut.

Baking a Marinara Sauce

I am a lazy cook. I love to throw everything in a pot and bake it slowly at 225. Today it was fresh garlic, celery, tomatoes, onions, black olives, olive oil, garden basil, oregano, and a dash of Adobo. The aroma is amazing especially after walking downtown in the cold dark. The streets were pretty empty because it's a Sunday. I walked around with my dog, with a flashlight dangling from my neck.

Pumpkin Bran Bread

updated recipe October 20th!

1 heaping cup whole wheat flour
2 cups wheat bran
1 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
cardamom +cloves sprinkled in too, if you want
freshly chopped ginger root!
2 eggs
sugar 1/4 c (or omit!)
molasses 1/2 c
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup canned solid pack pumpkin
2/3 cup corn oil

Preheat oven to 350°F
Bake in Bundt pan for one hour or until a wooden skewer comes out clean.

Rice and Pickled Vegetables for Breakfast

I think I'm turning Japanese
I really think so


Friday, October 16, 2015

Colorful Pickle: Love the Leftovers

I love leftovers for lunch. I reheated rice with a leftover stew of lentils and chicken scraps, ginger root garlic and corn on top. Ate it with a home made colorful pickle salad: sliced pickles, sliced red onion, sliced roasted red peppers from Job Lot. Colorful and delicious.

My Nose Knows

I leave the kitchen coffee pot on for a comforting scent. Yesterday I smelled alcohol on a lady walking down the street. A man slips by me at an art opening last night, and I smelled Shower to Shower baby powder. Arriving home I smelled a molecule of cat pee in the yellow bath tub. I cleaned it with lemon soap. I can smell a sliced red onion in a sandwich a mile away. I am my Labrador Retriever and she is me.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A Happy Bakers Day

This morning I baked 4 whole wheat sourdough loaves, and while it was baking I made a batch of molasses granola and while the oven was hot I whipped up a batch of banana bread and baked it in my cast iron Bundt pan. Then I washed my clothes and the dog bed and hung it outside. Then I took out all of the recycling and trash to the curb, and I vacuumed the kitchen. Some days benefit from a good night's sleep.

Cranberry and Vanilla-Yogurt Scones

adapted by Emily

, no-butter, sweet Scones made with a delicious vanilla yogurt and ruby red cranberries.
Author: Katerina Petrovska
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: English
Serves: Makes 8 Large Scones

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
⅓ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
⅓ cup olive oil
⅓ cup milk + more for brushing the tops
1 5.3-ounces yogurt + ½ teasp real vanilla
½ cup dried cranberries or raisins (you can use fresh cranberries, too, but cut them in half)
½ tablespoon turbinado sugar, optional


Preheat oven to 400.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt; whisk until combined.
Make a well in the center of the flour-mixture and add milk into the well; add olive oil and yogurt.
Using a wooden spoon, stir all the ingredients just until the dough comes together.
Using your hands, add cranberries and knead the dough around about 4 to 5 times.
Transfer dough to previously prepared baking sheet.
Flatten ball into a disk; using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 8 wedges.
Brush tops with milk and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
Separate each wedge, leaving about an inch in between each scone.
Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until golden brown.
Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes or until cool enough to handle.

Bon Appetit: Pumpkin Scones with Cinnamon Butter

Pumpkin Scones with Cinnamon Butter
There is no holiday house guest in the world who wouldn’t want these for brunch.

Cinnamon Butter

¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon kosher salt


½ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
¾ cup (1½ sticks) chilled unsalted butter
½ cup chopped fresh (or frozen, thawed) cranberries
1 large egg
½ cup canned pure pumpkin
¼ cup buttermilk, plus more for brushing
2 tablespoons raw sugar

Recipe Tips

Important: A Scone Is Not a Biscuit

Mix butter, maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl.
Do Ahead: Cinnamon butter can be made 4 days ahead. Cover and chill.


Whisk granulated sugar, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, cloves, baking soda, and 2 cups flour in a large bowl. Using the large holes on a box grater, grate in butter, tossing to coat in dry ingredients as you go; toss in cranberries. Mix in egg, pumpkin, and ¼ cup buttermilk.
Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and pat into a 1½”-thick disk. Cut into 8 wedges; transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze until firm, 25–30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400°. Brush scones with buttermilk and sprinkle with raw sugar. Bake until golden brown, 25–30 minutes. Serve with cinnamon butter.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Everything Stew

Everything leftover combined has made a perfect slow cooking stew: potatoes, onions, leftover tomato sauce made with green bell peppers and onions, home made chicken broth, carrots, olives, plums, and beef.

Baking Banana Bread Bundt Cake

The house smells fantastic. The City is alive with AUTUMNFEST and perfect October weather! Leftover pot roast for lunch.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Kitchen Zen

I told my neighbor everything I cook tells the story of everything I have ever cooked.

Home Made Granola and Trail Mix

This is the perfect portable band food for guys on the run.

Top Round Tsimmes

I walked by the butcher shop and bought a special top round roast on sale today while my dog waited eagerly outside. When I got home I looked at 5 different recipes and then I cut loose. I browned the roast on all sides in olive oil in my dutch oven on the stove top. I opened the windows and shared the aroma with my neighbors. Then I got out a larger Dutch oven and filled it with chopped onions and carrots and potatoes prunes and olives placing the browned roast on top. I added a quart of homemade chicken stock covered her up and set her in a 325 oven. Who knows! I just want good food and good smells in my house. The wind is blowing and doors are opening and closing on their own. Rain is expected tonight so I'd better put out the buckets and towels.

It was delicious!

Tsimmes: Big Fuss

I have the urge to make Tsimmes
Tsimmes means a "big fuss" in Yiddish and there are many versions; some contain beef. This one is meatless, with lots of carrots, sweet potatoes, pears, and dried fruits baked with orange juice and honey, meant as a side dish. You can add a beef brisket to the pot to turn it into a main course.

1/2 cup pitted prunes, halved
1/3 cup dried pitted dates, halved
1/3 cup figs, quartered
1/4 cup each dark and golden raisins
1/4 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup dried apricots, halved
About 1 cup riesling wine (mixed with a little brandy, if you like), or more if needed
Vegetable oil (for the baking dish)
6 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
6 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
4 Bosc pears, peeled and cut into chunks
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. In a large bowl, combine the prunes, dates, figs, dark and golden raisins, cherries, and apricots. Add the riesling and brandy, if using. Add more wine so the liquid covers the fruits. Set aside for at least 1 hour.

2. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Place the carrots, sweet potatoes, and pears in the dish and toss gently.

3. In a small bowl, stir together the orange juice and honey. Pour the mixture over the vegetables. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Add the dried fruits and their soaking liquid. Toss again.

4. Bake for 1 hour, spooning the cooking juices over the mixture several times. If the pan seems dry, add more orange juice. If the vegetables are not tender, continue cooking up to 1 hour more.

Adapted from Dawn LaRochelle

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Lynne Leroux and Michelle Marcotte: Woonsocket's Winning Dynamite Recipe 2008

Woonsocket's Winning Dynamite Recipe 2008

By Lynne Leroux and Michelle Marcotte

Brown: 5 lbs. of Hamburger (70/30); drain fat

Add: 12 cups of diced green peppers
12 cups diced onions

Cook: 15 minutes

Add: 1/8 cup oregano
1/8 cup basil
1/8 cup Italian seasoning
¼ cup granulated garlic powder
1½ tablespoons of salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
¾ tablespoon crushed red pepper
1½ tablespoon of hot sauce
2½ cups tomato sauce
2½ cups tomato paste
2½ cups crushed and concentrate tomatoes
½ cup of sugar

Simmer until peppers are tender
(Do not cover)

I found this recipe for Woonsocket's most famous food and used it as a guide for making a smaller quantity. I added celery because I had some on hand, and skipped the sugar and added leftover red wine in it's place. I also added more red chili flakes. You can't go wrong with this universal soul food. Make a pot of pinto beans to add mid week and turn the leftovers into a chili. Enjoy and consider sharing with your neighbors. World peace happens one meal, one song and one story at a time.

Simmering Sauce

I decided to chop up six green bell peppers and saute them in olive oil and onions and then I added crushed red tomatoes. The whole mess is simmering and the aroma is intoxicating.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Giraffe Bananas

When the bananas are ripe and look like giraffe's it's time to bake banana breads. I have two loaves baking now. They are not overly sweet or gooey. They are like pancakes in the form of a loaf.

2 eggs
3/4 cup corn oil
2 cups of buttermilk
3/4 cup of sugar
three ripe bananas, mashed
3 cups of whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons of cinnamon, and
1 teaspoon of ginger
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup of raisins

Mix wet and dry separately and then combine.

preheat oven:
bake at 350 in two greased loaf pans for 55 minutes


Friday, October 2, 2015

Simple Baked Apple

Core an apple and bake it in a small dish at 350 for 35 minutes. I used Paula Red ed and left the skin on and it didn't need anything!
Enjoy warm!


Reposted from
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Taste Memory
I just realized that my molasses granola is triggering a taste memory from childhood; Cracker Jax. Cracker Jax had molasses.

My granola recipe:

1 cup of corn oil
1 cup of Grandma's Molasses,
1 container of Old Fashioned Oats (measured as 42 OZ, or 2 LB 10 OZ or 1.19 kg)
1 teaspoon of real vanilla
1 teaspoon of kosher salt.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. In a big pot heat the oil, molasses, vanilla, and salt, stirring gently. When bubbly add the oats, stirring madly. When the goop is distributed over the oats pour the granola onto two trays. I use cast iron frying pans and I bake them at 300 degrees. Once the oats start to toast I stir them every 5-10 minutes. I use a timer because the browning happens fast. Then, when lightly toasted I let the oats cool off before I store them in sealed jars. Allow 35 minutes to an hour of baking time.

The Comforting Noodle

When I am flipped out I tend to crave the egg noodle eaten with just salt and pepper. When I worked at Leo's in the 80's there was a waitress named Tara that lived on pot roast and egg noodles. She was pencil and pale. All I want is an egg noodle with salt and pepper and olive oil.