Thursday, March 31, 2016

Do the Dough Thang

I set my bucket o' dough to rise in the foyer. It did! Now it's in the fridge cooling down for the night. I plan to bake it tomorrow.

Asparagus, Noodles and Peanuts IMPROV Dinner

I bought two bunches of asparagus today and decided to steam them with leftover multigrain spaghetti and peanuts. I added soy sauce olive oil and red chili jam. I used chick pea broth to steam everything. Fabulous!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Southeast Asian Canned Salmon & Rice Cakes with Sriracha Mayo

Lately I've been looking to add more healthy seafood to my diet without breaking the bank, and while canned fish will never have the allure of a fresh filet, today's good-quality canned salmon is not the fishy, bone-studded mush you may be picturing. The boneless and skinless fish — once flaked and mixed with brown rice, cilantro, shallots and lime juice — cooks up into crisp-edged cakes that make an easy and satisfying weeknight meal, especially when topped with a dollop of Sriracha-spiked mayonnaise.

The fresh flavors of Southeast Asia season these cakes, making them a little different from the usual mustard- and celery-studded fish cakes. In addition to cilantro, lime juice, and minced shallot, a bit of fish sauce adds depth and savoriness to the mixture. But I think it's really the Sriracha mayonnaise that takes it over the top, whether dolloped over each cake or served on the side for dipping.

It's one of those condiments that tastes so much better than it ought to, given how simple it is to make. Mix bottled Sriracha sauce with mayonnaise. Done. Yet the subtly spicy sauce that results is so much better than plain old mayonnaise, it's difficult to not slather it onto everything. I have my friend Lydia of Apples & Onions to thank for this magic condiment; she made it for the bánh mì bridal shower she and some friends hosted for me a couple years ago, and I have found many excuses to make it since then.

And while these cakes don't take much time to mix together if you have cooked rice on hand, they hold together a little better if they are allowed to rest in the fridge. This makes them easy to assemble ahead of time — either in the morning or the night before cooking — for a quick, healthy main dish that feels fancy enough to forget it's actually budget-friendly.

Makes about five 2-1/2-inch cakes (Serves 2)

2 6-ounce cans boneless skinless pink salmon
1 cup cooked short-grain brown rice
1 large egg
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon grapeseed or canola oil

For the mayonnaise:
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
3/4 teaspoon Sriracha chili sauce

Before cooking cakes, place a large cast iron or other oven-safe skillet in the oven. Preheat to 400°F.

Combine the salmon, rice, egg, cilantro, shallots, lime juice and fish sauce in a large mixing bowl and mix with a fork until thoroughly combined. Using your hands, shape and lightly squeeze the mixture into cakes about 2 1/2 inches in diameter and set aside on a plate. If you have time, cover and let rest in the refrigerator. (See note below.)

Remove the hot pan from the oven with oven mitts. Coat pan with oil and place cakes in pan. (Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to cook in batches.) Return to oven and cook 5-7 minutes, until lightly browned on one side. Flip and cook for another 5-7 minutes.

While the cakes are cooking, whisk together the mayonnaise and Sriracha in a small bowl. Dollop mayonnaise on top of cakes or serve on the side for dipping.
Additional Notes

Refrigerating the cakes for at least 15 minutes or up to one day before cooking will help them hold their shape better. Otherwise, just handle them more carefully as you cook them.
Short-grain brown rice has a sticky texture that helps hold the cakes together better than long-grain brown rice. (The cakes will still be delicious if made with long-grain brown rice, but they will fall apart a bit during cooking.)
You can also cook the cakes in a skillet on the stove over medium heat until browned on both sides.
Try cooking the cakes in coconut oil for another flavor variation.

Salmon Burgers

1 pt. jar salmon, drained and flaked
1 c. crumbs (bread or cracker)
1/2 tsp. dill weed
1/4 c. shredded Swiss cheese
1 egg
1/4 c. mayonnaise
2 drops hot pepper sauce
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. oil
Hamburger buns, toasted and dressed with sweet pickles (I like red onion)

Or use 1 (16 oz.) can red salmon, drained and flaked (or tuna, no bones or skin).

In bowl, combine the salmon, crumbs, dill weed and Swiss cheese. Beat the egg, mayonnaise, hot pepper sauce and Dijon. Add to salmon. Shape into 4 patties, 1/2 inch thick. Heat large fry pan and add butter and oil. Add patties and gently saute 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Serve on buns.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Pub Dinner at Home

Home made bread toasted and sliced into strips dipped into homemade hummus, Greek yogurt and spicy homemade tomato sauce. Great with RAVENOUS brewery Woonsocket's finest beer.

Honey and Cashew Butter Yogurt Ice Pops

Makes 6 (1/2-cup) ice pops

2 cups plain Greek yogurt
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup creamy cashew butter
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon fine salt

Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and whisk until completely smooth. Divide the mixture among ice pop molds, insert the sticks, and freeze until completely solid, at least 8 hours.

To serve, run the molds briefly under running hot water until the pops loosen from the molds.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Waffle Day March 25th

1⁄2 cup sourdough starter
1⁄2 cup whole wheat flour
1⁄2 cup any whole grain flour
1 cup 1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
2 tablespoons oil or 2 tablespoons butter
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda

In a large bowl, stir together the starter, flours and buttermilk. While you're waiting for the waffle iron or pancake pan to heat up, mix the egg, oil, and salt into the flour mixture. Just before cooking, stir in the baking soda.
Using a quarter or half cup measuring cup ladle the batter onto the hot pan. For waffles cook according to the waffle iron directions, usually around 5 minutes, for pancakes flip when the edges start to bubble and the surface loses it's gloss.
Notes- You can use your choice of whole grains. I like rice flour, available at Whole Foods or health food stores. It adds a light crunchy texture to waffles. I've also used quinoa, barley, spelt, and coconut flours with great success. (If you use half cornmeal it makes a most excellent supper when topped with chili or beans n cheese!).
This recipe doubles or triples beautifully if you're feeding a crowd.
This recipe doesn't call for sugar, as I've found that using sugar in waffles makes them stick to the waffle iron. Without sugar they never stick (no need to grease the iron) and with the sweet flavor of whole grains you truly won't miss it. For pancakes you can add a tablespoon or two of sugar if you must.
A teaspoon of vanilla in the batter makes them smell terrific as they bake but we don't notice much difference in the taste, so I save that for company.

Six Sourdough Boules Rising

Lately I have been using loaf pans and letting my bread rise in the cold oven. When the desired poof has been reached I turn on the oven to 450 F and bake them starting from a cold oven.

Don't try this technique with lobster like my Brighton Beach Brooklyn grandmother did. She put two lobsters in a vat of cold water and turned on the gas burner to high. They crawled out! She stood on a kitchen chair screaming for my grandfather.

Don't say it. I know what you're thinking: that apples don't fall far from the tree. True. When we first moved in I woke up my husband one Sunday morning to see the scariest bug alive. He came downstairs and picked it up. It was made of plastic.

Waffle Day

Tomorrow is waffle day. I'm going to join in the fun with mixed grain sourdough waffles, for breakfast.

Delightful Spaghetti Sauce

We enjoy living on this.

It's very simple to make.

Simmer all day in slow cooker:

fresh garlic sauteed in extra virgin olive oil

3 large cans of crushed tomatoes

2 cans of chopped black olives

1 small can of tomato paste

3-6 stalks chopped celery

3-6 chopped carrots

2 bay leaves




red chili pepper

optional: A splash of robust red wine if you have it.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Hummus to live for

The secret to great hummus is soaking and cooking your own 1 pound bag of chick peas and then drain the excess liquid and SAVE IT for soups or breads. Add freshly squeezed lemon juice, (three lemons worth) and fresh garlic cloves, some powdered cumin, kosher salt and sesame tahini. BLEND. Use a potato masher or blender or food processor to merge the ingredients. Enjoy with pita bread or carrots. You can freeze the extra for another day.

Woonsocket: Cupcake City

Brainstorming with librarians about decorating cupcakes for April vacation. It would be great to get the public officials involved. The Mayor's Cupcake, the Fire Chief's Cupcake, the Building Inspector's cupcake, the Chief of Police's cupcake. You get the idea. I've volunteered to photograph them.

Triggers and Cravings

“Triggers are the same for everyone,” says Martinez. “These are stress, boredom and anxiety.” You may be binging to soothe yourself, but you’ll suffer after you finish. Identify your triggers and make a plan to deal with each of them. For instance, if you eat when you’re bored, structure your time more by deciding what you’ll do next before you start the task at hand. For stress and anxiety, try using coping mechanisms like meditation, walking, talking with a friend or reading a book.

Delish Fast Lunch

Tuna and small white beans and robust red wine vinegar. Delish and fast.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Peanut Brittle

1 cup Agave nectar
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda

Measure agave and coconut oil into a small to medium sized pot. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the peanuts. Stir continually for 20-30 minutes until you’ve reached hard crack temperature (300F). Remove from heat and stir in salt and baking soda. It will be very frothy so be careful that it doesn’t bubble over. Pour onto a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Put into freezer for two hours to cool. Once cool, break into pieces. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.


Starts and Ends

I have discovered I like Nutella on toast or a digestive biscuit for breakfast with coffee.
I also like a small jam jar of home made India Pale Ale before supper.
I know what you're thinking.
It's all downhill from here.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Dawn Lerman's Love in a Bowl of Soup


Hazelnut Joy Churros

I finally bought NUTELLA yesterday at Job Lot and spread it on my toast at 4AM this morning. My friend Andi told me about it. It was excellent with coffee. It was like Spanish churros.

BORSCHT: Black Beans and Beets

We're still eating the crazy borscht I made from bok choy and beets and carrots. I added it to the back beans and rice and turnips. Yum!

Snow Day: Second Breakfast

Smashed twice-baked olive oil and vinegar potatoes with fried eggs hatched on our street and BARRY'S Irish Breakfast tea.


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Impatient Almond Joy

Toasted almonds, sweetened cocoanut, and semi sweet chocolate morsels.

Spaghetti and Home Made Red Sauce

Home made tomato sauce on top of old fashioned white pasta was so delicious we ate it for dinner two nights in a row.

Borscht and Humus!

A colorful lunch.

Friday, March 11, 2016


I prefer daylight wasting time.

This is how it goes:

Woke at 3:00 because alarm goes off at 4 Lily comes in to wake us. After making Bill's breakfast and lunch I walked Lily. I came home and boiled soaked black beans and then dumped all the leftover rice and spinach and roasted veggies in with olive oil and it became a soup. Then I boiled the soaked chick peas and took them away from the liquid for making humus (later). I boiled 4 pounds of beets in the chick peas broth. SMELLS LIKE DIRT!! I baked six pounds of potatoes to SMASH and add salt and olive oil and pepper and malt vinegar (a knish without fussy pastry!) Baked four fennel herbed flat bread to crisp-crackers. Hazards of work at home. I hope to BICYCLE to grocery store for lemons.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Ravenous Runners Saturdays at Noon

Woonsocket Rhode Island

Shepherd's Pie on Saturn!

Tonight I took all of my leftovers and layers them into a shepherd's pie. The bottom layer was leftover cooked rice and wheat berries, the next layer was roasted root vegetables, and the top layer was spinach roasted garlic sun dried tomatoes and white beans goop. A shepherd's pie on Saturn!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Picnic Freak

I am a picnic freak. I don't go far, just into my backyard but eating and writing outdoors is my "retreat".

Gordon Ramsey's Scrambled Eggs are a Hit

I use Greek yogurt in place of creme fraiche.
We've made them three times since learning last week.

Tuna Melts in the Oven

Tuna Melt Burger

This recipe comes to us from The Texas A&M University System’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Drain tuna and break the meat apart with a fork.
Wash and chop the celery and dice the cheese.
Mix tuna, celery, cheese, light mayonnaise, dried onion, salt and pepper into a medium mixing bowl with a wooden spoon.
Spread tuna mixture on 6 of the pieces of whole wheat bread and place a single slice of bread on top of each (making a total of 6 sandwiches).
Put each sandwich on a square of aluminum foil, then wrap the foil around sandwiches, folding edges securely.
Bake about 20 minutes or until hot in the middle. Cool slightly before serving.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Reviving the Flaming Tea Ceremony by Miriam Leberstein

Article by Miriam Leberstein

Chef Michael Smith's Slow-Baked Salmon with Honey Mustard Glaze


Flatbread Friday

Lately every time I set up my dough in loaf pans I also set up pizza dough in pie pans. We LIVE ON BREAD and I blend flours

Flatbreads: Scrumptious Sustenance From Around the World
May 22, 2012

Cooking with Master ChefsIn COOKING WITH MASTER CHEFS, Julia Child visits sixteen nationally acclaimed master chefs in their own kitchens. Each chef demonstrates distinct techniques, regional recipes, and culinary tips which guide home cooks through their favorite recipes. Expertly preparing each dish and teaching with passion along the way, the master chefs offer the viewer a unique and inspirational learning experience.

While some think of “flatbreads” as exotic, hard-to-make crackers from foreign lands, many bread-loving culinarians realize that there are plenty of quick and delicious snacks from within all the varieties that are becoming rapidly available in U.S. markets and bakeries. The truth is, flatbreads have been popular for centuries all over the world simply because they are easy to produce and even more delicious to eat. From ubiquitous Italian pizzas to lesser-known Indian chapatti, the one food that connects almost all culinary cultures is the simple but flavorful flatbread.

In their infinite variations of shape and form, flatbreads share more than just the delicious aroma of sweet baked grain. Varying in thickness, but typically less than 2 inches high, flatbreads range from fluffy leavened breads to translucent crisp wafers. A substantial part of daily nourishment in many cultures, flatbreads are rustic, irregularly shaped slabs cooked in mass, rather than individually polished loaves reserved for the sophisticated elite. Flatbreads are cooked with a variety of different methods, and each type has its own unique flavor, from the clay-baked, smoky naan to the yeasty, oil-laden focaccia prepared in a conventional oven. While all are flavor-packed and filling on their own–some crisp and crunchy, and others soft and spongy–the unique shape of flatbreads makes them perfect hosts for flavorful dips, spreads, and toppings. A complete flatbread experience gives food lovers a taste of faraway lands without ever boarding a plane.

Developed during some of the earliest ages of mankind, flatbreads reflect the modest resources available around the globe at the time. Heat sources, grains, and techniques differ in neighboring countries. Where the sun is extremely strong in Algeria and Tunisia, flatbreads are sometimes baked in slabs buried beneath the dessert sand. Other cultures prefer open flames, cast-iron skillets, or more conventional ovens. Unlike most breads which rely solely on wheat flour, flatbreads are commonly made from a variety of grains, including corn, rye, oats, millet, rice, and buckwheat. In areas with harsh winters and poor harvests, such as Finland, rye flourishes where other grains would not grow and lends itself well to the bakers’ ovens. Adaptable to any environment, flatbreads remain a reliable source of sustenance for even the most rugged regions.

Flatbreads may seem intricate and exotic, but most of their recipes are quick, simple, and easily translated to succeed in modern home kitchens. Like conventional breads, flatbreads are prepared by combining a few common household ingredients, including flour (of varying types), liquid (in most cases water), salt, and sometimes yeast to create a malleable dough. When the dough is yeasted, it’s likely that it will go through the typical proofing and resting periods of most breads. Doughs without yeast–like traditional Israeli matzoh or Mexican tortillas–never proof, skipping directly to the shaping process before entering ovens or skillets. When it comes to baking, traditionalists may prefer indigenous stone or clay ovens for preparing authentic flatbreads, but standard ovens can easily suffice. Baking naan without a Tandoori clay oven? Home chefs can insert quarry tiles into their everyday ovens to reach the desired smoking-hot temperature necessary for this scrumptious snack. Even easier, Indian chapatti or Mexican tortillas cook easily in a cast-iron skillet or non-stick pan. Originally created as an economical food source in a world with an ever-present fuel shortage, thin savory flatbreads cook quickly, making them wonderful, wholesome snacking solutions for our modern, time-starved culture.

The staff of life in many foreign lands, flatbreads are cropping up in American households. The recipes have survived hundreds of years of baking heritage not only because they’re economical, but also mostly because they’re versatile and great to eat. Fast, easy, and nutritious, there are few snack foods that match flatbreads in convenience, flavor, and historical significance. Pick up a pita, nibble on some naan, or munch on some matzoh–remember, the whole world is with you on this one!

Twice-Baked is the Secret to Life!

Twice baked foods are my favorite:
toast is technically twice baked--( biscotti)
potatoes, (Chef Michael Smith's smashed potatoes)
spaghetti (spaghetti pie)

Friday Baking Day

Happiness abounds. I just made my multi-grain sourdough and herbed flatbread dough. Will bake them all later. I can't wait to make Chef Michael's smashed and twice baked potatoes again. It's my addiction I could LIVE ON THEM Especially today when it is 30 degrees out and raw and cloudy. Snowing on Martha's Vineyard. Those lucky ducks. I feel snow deprived.

People always remark at my love of food versus desserts when I am at a party or a banquet. I love real food over desserts any day. Eggplant, Spinach pie, Hummus, Guacamole, Salsa, bring it on.

Fast Pizza

Toast terrific bread preferably homemade sourdough, lather slices with Greek yogurt (as cheese) on top, chopped red onions, olives, freshly ground pepper, cholula, salt.

Sexy Scrambled Eggs

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Fast Winter Day Salad

Tuna, white beans, kidney beans, celery, red onion, Adobo, olives, roasted red peppers sliced small for color, honey mustard vinagrette, frozen corn. Sometimes I add sundried tomatoes.
Delicious, fast, healthy. COLORFUL!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Chef Michael Smith Lemon Fennel Slaw

I tell everyone to watch Chef Michael on PBS and get his books. He is AMAZING. My favorite Chef.

Lemon Fennel Slaw
Chef Michael Smith By Chef Michael Smith

This salad really shows off why fennel is one of my favourite vegetables. It’s loaded with crisp sweetness and subtle licorice flavours. Try it. Its simplicity will blow you away! It’ll soon be one of your favourites too.

Yield: Serves 2 - 4

1 bulb fennel
1/2 lemon, zest and juice
1 tablespoon honey
a few splashes olive oil
a sprinkle or two sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Remove the stalks from the top of the fennel bulb. Cut the head in half through the core. Carefully trim out the woody core and then slice the remaining bulb as thinly as possible. Alternatively, shred it through the large holes of a box grater.

Whisk the lemon zest and juice, honey, olive oil and salt and pepper together in a nice salad bowl. Toss with the fennel and then grab some forks!

Specialty kitchen stores sell a fancy French slicing tool known as a mandolin which the pros use to slice fennel, onions and potatoes paper thin. It’s nice to have one, but if you don’t 'no worries' the salad still tastes awesome.


For lots of fresh herb flavour, toss a handful of cool mint leaves, sharply sliced chives or aromatic basil leaves into the salad. You can also toss in the feathery fronds from the top of the fennel. This salad may be made well in advance and tossed again at the last second. Its texture will soften a bit but it will still be bright and vibrant.
This recipe:
Side Dishes Vegetarian Veggies

Recipe by
Chef Michael Smith
I’m a FoodTV host, cookbook author and official food ambassador for Prince Edward Island, more importantly I’m a Dad and passionate home cook!