Friday, November 23, 2018

Clouds for Supper

“If the sky falls they shall have clouds for supper.”
― Charles Simic, The World Doesn't End: Prose Poems

Charles Simic

“When people ask me how to find happiness in life I tell them, First learn how to cook.”

― Charles Simic

Eggplant Rollatini


Savory Eggplant Rollatini is an easy and unexpected party appetizer. Cut each roll-up in half and serve with toothpicks for a pop-in-your-mouth bite.

4 medium eggplants Salt and pepper 1/4 cup olive oil 1 10-oz. box frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry 3 cups part-skim ricotta 3 cloves garlic, minced 2 large eggs, beaten 1 1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella 3/4 cup grated Parmesan 1 24-oz. jar marinara sauce

Step 1
Slice ends off eggplants. Cut eggplants lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices, discarding peel-covered ends. You should get roughly 16 slices total. Lay slices on a rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle both sides liberally with salt. Let stand for 15 minutes, then rinse salt off under cold running water and pat slices dry.

Step 2
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Brush both sides of eggplant slices with olive oil and place in single layers on 2 baking sheets. Roast for 15 minutes, until tender, turning eggplant slices over halfway through. Let cool on sheets on wire racks until cool enough to handle.

Step 3
In a large bowl, combine spinach, ricotta, garlic, eggs, 1/2 cup mozzarella and 1/2 cup Parmesan. Season with 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Mist a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 1/2 cup of sauce over bottom of dish. Divide ricotta mixture among eggplant slices, using about 1/3 cup for each, spreading it down the center. Roll up slices and place seam-side down in baking dish. Top with remaining sauce and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.

Step 4
Cover baking dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake until browned and bubbling, about 15 minutes longer. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

What's in the Fridge?

I just made a pot of basmati brown rice and then while that was cooking I made stuffed mushrooms: I chopped garlic, mushroom stems, celery, apples, red onion, and leftover polish smoked sausage into the skillet. I sprinkled olive oil and adobo and poured it over the (facing up) mushroom caps. I sprinkled sharp cheddar cheese on top and baked it in 400 degree oven.

Preserved Lemons


Spinach and Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms


Cranberry Curd Tart


Pumpkin Pie and Pressed in Crust

I am always adapting and tinkering with my favorite recipes. Here's the latest version of an old favorite. You can really taste the pumpkin because it is not overly sweet. We like to eat it for dinner.

Pumpkin Pie

1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/8 cup of dark molasses
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt (half if using regular salt)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (or 1 teaspoon finely grated ginger root)
2 large eggs
1 small can of pure pumpkin (15 oz.)
1 can of evaporated milk (12 fl. oz.)
1 home made nine inch unbaked whole wheat pie shell (4-cup volume)

Directions for making the pie:
Read below, prepare crust first!
Mix sugar, dark molasses, cinnamon, salt, ginger and eggs in large bowl. Whisk in pumpkin puree and evaporated milk. Pour into the (prebaked 5 minutes) crust.
Bake pie in preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F; bake for 40 to 50 more minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

Some bakers use sweetened condensed milk so I tried it but I discovered that it is cloyingly sweet and drowns out the pumpkin taste compared to a pie made with evaporated milk and 1/4 cup sugar. The evaporated milk pumpkin pie is much more like Indian Pudding and tastes like a food!

Pie Crust
(I pre-bake my crust at 350 for 5 minutes.)
1 cup of whole wheat flour
1/2 cup corn oil (add a tablespoon of cold water if needed).
3 tablespoons brown sugar (the sugar is the glue, holding the crust together)
1-2 teaspoons Kosher salt (less if using regular salt or white flour)
(if white sugar is what I have I add molasses to make brown sugar)

Mix flour and oil with fingers so it is pebbly then add a little bit more so it becomes like Play-Doh consistency. Press into pie pan with fingers. Prick dough with fork and make pressed fork pattern on edge. It is very sticky and hard to handle but hang in there, it will be delicious.

Jean's Stuffed Mushrooms

Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms II

Preheat the broiler.
Place sausage in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain and transfer to a medium bowl.
Blend cream cheese with the sausage. Stuff mushroom caps with the cream cheese and sausage mixture.
Arrange stuffed mushroom caps on a medium baking sheet. Broil in the preheated oven 2 to 3 minutes, until lightly browned.

1/2 pound ground pork sausage

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1 (8 ounce) package fresh mushrooms, stems removed

an allrecipes recipe reader writes: 1 lb Ground Hot Italian Sausage and mixed with the 8oz Cream Cheese...the consistency was perfect. I also chopped some stems and added to the sausage mixture then sprinkled Parmesan cheese on top and baked at 400 for about 10 minutes.

Classic Chocolate Egg Cream

Makes 1 drink


1/2 cup whole milk
4 tablespoons Chocolate Syrup


Pour the milk into a very cold 12-ounce glass. Slowly pour in the seltzer, then gently add the syrup. Using a long spoon, stir well and serve.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Holiday Harvest Bread

from King Arthur

No-Knead Harvest Bread

Plan ahead for this easy bread—an overnight or all-day rise gives it terrific flavor. For the best crust, bake in a ceramic bread crock, or a covered clay baker.

1 loaf


3 1/4 cups High-Gluten Flour or King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup King Arthur Premium 100% Whole Wheat Flour or King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1 3/4 cups cool water
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts


Mix the flours, salt, yeast, and water in a large bowl. Stir, then use your hands to mix and form a sticky dough.
Work the dough just enough to incorporate all the flour, then work in the fruit and nuts.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let it rest at room temperature overnight, or for at least 8 hours; it'll become bubbly and rise quite a bit, so use a large bowl.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and form it into a log or round loaf to fit your 14" to 15" long lidded stoneware baker; 9" x 12" oval deep casserole dish with cover; or 9" to 10" round lidded baking crock.
Place the dough in the lightly greased pan, smooth side up.
Cover and let rise at room temperature for about 2 hours, until it's become puffy. It should rise noticeably, but it's not a real high-riser.
Using a sharp knife or lame, slash the bread in a crosshatch pattern. Place the lid on the pan, and put the bread in the cold oven. Set the oven temperature to 450°F.
Bake the bread for 45 to 50 minutes, then remove the lid and continue to bake for another 5 to 15 minutes, until it's deep brown in color, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers about 205°F. Remove the bread from the oven, turn out onto a rack, and cool before slicing.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018


Its raining. I am sipping tea after my big swim. The bread dough is rising. The animals are with me. This is the definition of home.

Loaves of Love

I just set up multigrain sourdough in 8 loaf pans to rise for their final rise before baking. My latest mixture is coarse grind whole wheat flour, bread flour, pinhead oats, coarse cornmeal, and rye flour with sourdough starter, Fleishmann's instant yeast and kosher salt. I prep using a lot of water so the batter is the consistency of oatmeal. I let it rise in buckets then I punch it down and refrigerate the dough, it rises again and then I shape it placing the dough in greased loaf pans. It rises for a final time in the pans and I bake it at 450.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Colorful Supper

In the fridge I had good leftovers; homemade brown basmati rice, homemade chick peas and black beans. I also had farm fresh peppers.

I sauteed fresh garlic in olive oil in my 12 inch pan. I added chopped collard greens, red peppers, a big chopped red onion. I added the precooked (leftover) brown basmati rice and some hot (rooster) sauce and soy sauce and Adobo. Then I added the leftover chick peas and their liquid and some leftover black beans. It was colorful and delicious. It was like a vegetarian paella.

Friday, November 2, 2018