Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sauteed Grouse on Wild Rice with Brandy Cream Sauce

SP has always made me gourmet meals out of the birds he kills. More often than not these birds die upon impact with his truck. Tonight we ate roadkill and it was scrumptious. I remember, when miserably sick when first pregnant with our daughter, SP made pheasant with sour cherry and blueberry sauce. Last night one male grouse made the perfect dinner for two - no marketing necessary!

1 Grouse breast
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup Cream Sherry
1/4 cup minced shallots
1/4 cup brandy
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup wild rice
handful sliced mushrooms (optional)

  • Bone breast and separate tenders.

  • One at a time place pieces between two sheets of waxed paper and gently pound into 1/4 inch thick paillard (I don't have a fancy paillard which I think is a French word for 'meat hammer', so I use an empty beer bottle- funny, I always seem to have plenty of those)

  • Make rice. Wild rice is fickle and tough to pin down regarding proportions and time. I add 1 cup uncooked rice to 3 cups water. Bring water to a boil, stir once and cover.
  • Simmer over low heat until all the water is absorbed by which time the rice kernels should crack open revealing their tender white innards. It will take between 30 minutes and one hour. If all the water is absorbed before the kernels break open, add more water 1/4 cup at a time until the rice is fluffy, cracked open and tender.
  • While rice cooks, melt butter in a 12" skillet over med heat.
  • Saute paillard in butter- about a minute per side.

  • Add Cream Sherry and saute until meat is glazed and sherry is mostly gone. Probably unnecessary but I happened to have Cream Sherry on hand (leftover from last weekend's soup) and I love the flavor.
  • Remove meat from pan and cover to keep warm.
  • Add minced shallots and saute for about a minute. My wife, your blog mistress, simply abhors mushrooms, but if you, like me, love them- add a handful of sliced mushrooms. I recommend shitakes, but use what ya got and we just happened to have some leftover int he fridge from last weekend's pizza making!
  • Remove pan from heat and add brandy. If brandy flames don't panic, just wait for it to burn out. Return pan to heat, bring to boil and cook until brandy is nearly gone- about 5 minutes.
  • Add stock, bring to boil and cook until reduced by half- about 5 minutes.
  • Add cream, return to boil and cook until reduced by half.
  • Finis
  • To serve: Place a bed of rice on plate, top with one breast piece and one tender and smother with sauce. What I did was make a plate for the mushroom hater ... ... then add mushrooms to the remaining sauce in the pan, hit it with a splash each of brandy and cream, cook until the mushrooms were tender then plate up mine (see photo at top).

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bread and Butter Pickles

I finally made a recipe for these that worked! It is straight out of my Ball jar book. I am excited to have enough of them to give away this year. The best part is that when they were done and I started to can them, the family was outside working or playing on a cool October afternoon. So I decided to bring a warm ladle outdoors for everyone to try.

Who knew that warm pickles had a spot to be hit!? It was PERFECT!
Even the baby loved them, and yes he is wearing his big brother's batting helmet.

Bread and Butter Pickles
*I doubled the recipe the first time I made it and it was perfect!

4 pounds 4 to 6 inch cucumbers, cut into slices
2 pounds onions, about 8 small, thinly sliced
1/3 cup canning salt
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons mustard seed
2 teaspoons turmeric
2 teaspoons celery seed
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon peppercorns
3 cups vinegar

  1. If you plan to use a hot water canner, fill it with clean jars and water and bring to a boil.
  2. Combine cucumber and onion slices in layers in a bowl. Layer with the salt.
  3. Cover with ice cubes. Let stand 1.5 hours (or more).
  4. Pour into colander.
  5. Drain. Rinse. Drain. Rinse. Repeat if necessary and turn batch with your hands. You don't want them to be too salty! Put aside.
  6. Combine remaining ingredients in a large sauce pot and bring to a boil.
  7. Add drained cucumbers and onions and return to a boil.
  8. Pack hot pickles and liquid into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. (warm pickles made a great snack on an autumn afternoon!)
  9. Remove air bubbles. Adjust 2 piece caps.
  10. Process 10 minutes at a rolling boil in hot water canner.
  11. Yields about 7 pints.


Macaroni and Cheese

As you know, I am just crackers for cheese. Any request for cheese demands my immediate attention. Therefore tonight, per my 10 year old son's request, we are having home made Mac and Cheese.

This recipe is taken straight out of Joy of Cooking. Tonight's modifications will be written, in honor of Halloween, in orange! I have simplified the assembly for less prep time.


Baked Macaroni and Cheese

An especially good rendition of a timeless classic. The sauce can be made ahead and blended with just cooked noodles before baking, or the entire casserole can be assembled a day in advance.

2 cups elbow macaroni
2 1/4 cups shredded cheddar, Colby or other cheeses.
bay leaf
(or mustard)
optional - chopped green peppers


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 1 1/2 quart deep baking dish.
Bring to a rolling boil in a medium saucepan:
6 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Add and cook just until tender:
2 cups elbow macaroni
Drain and remove to a large bowl.
Have ready :
2 1/4 cups Cheddar or Colby Cheese (today I used Cheddar and Mozzarella cause we had it already shredded from making pizza this weekend)
Melt in large saucepan over medium low heat:
2 Tablespoons butter
Whisk in and cook, whisking, for 3 minutes:
2 Tablespoons all purpose flour (We use whole wheat flour)
Gradually whisk in:
2 cups whole or skim milk (we use low fat)
Stir in:
1/2 medium onion, minced (I used a whole onion and pan fried it a bit before using)
1 bay leaf (I instead used some chopped green peppers, thawed from the garden store)
1.4 teaspoon Paprika (I used a teaspoon + of mustard powder - fresh mustard works even better)
Simmer gently stirring often for about ten minutes. Remove from heat and add in 2/3s of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the macaroni. Pour half the mixture into the baking dish. Top with some more cheese and a sprinkle of bread crumbs. Top with remaining macaroni mixture and top again with cheese and then bread crumbs.
Bake uncovered until lightly browned. 30 to 35 minutes.
Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

We carved our pumpkins last night and so I had to roast my seeds tonight. I sorted the seeds out from the pulp of my carved Jack O'Lantern, rinsed them well in a large colander, pulled out the bits of pumpkin guts so that you have only seeds, and allowed them to air dry for an afternoon. I spread a few handfuls out on a sheet, sprayed with oil and seasoned with either lemon pepper or Worcestershire and roasted for about 20 minutes.
Then I tried the recipe below. The roasting is a FAR cleaner process, but the taste hits the sweet tooth spot on! This recipe's seeds is shown in the round plain orange bowl in picture above.

Happy Halloween!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

a la!

  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds, rinsed and dried
  • 6 tablespoons white sugar, divided

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C). Spread pumpkin seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until dry and toasted. Larger seeds may take longer.

  2. In a large bowl, stir together 2 tablespoons of white sugar, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pumpkin seeds and sprinkle the remaining sugar over them. Stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar melts, about 45 seconds. Pour seeds into the bowl with the spiced sugar and stir until coated. Allow to cool before serving. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Caesar Salad Dressing

SP makes a fantastic mock Caesar dressing. I have asked him to write it down, but he says its impossible because he just eye balls it. We now choose this recipe from Cook's Illustrated, spring 2008 edition. It's better for saving in the fridge than his version. We made it last night to accompany the lobster and saved the extra dressing. We are using it tonight as the dressing for chicken wraps (cubed chicken cooked with a little lemon pepper, in a wrap with dressing, chopped Romaine, and shredded cheddar cheese).

1/4 cup buttermilk
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 Tablespoons mayo
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced
3 anchovy fillets (we use anchovy paste instead)
1/2 Tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 Tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil
1 ounce Parmesan cheese
  1. Mix all dressing ingredients except oil and Parmesan with a whisk until smooth.
  2. Slowly add oil in a steady stream, whisking all the way.
  3. Slowly stir in cheese.
  4. Use as wanted and refrigerate unused portion.

Maine Lobster Dinner

I highly recommend lobster for dinner right now. Icelandic banks have bankrolled the Canadian lobster processors so lobster prices are at an all time low. Last night family visited from Wisconsin and they were floored that the 6 lobsters they bought cost the price that one would back in Wisconsin. I never eat lobster but it is a regular meal in the house, particularly when there are house guests. Lobster is a New England tradition. For the longest time, lobster was so plentiful that it was a food for poor people. Colonial indentured servants staged an uprising in Bar Harbor requesting that one meal a day be something other than lobster. It's an easy meal to prepare - the bigger challenge is getting through the carapace to all the meat. Boil, steam or even grill its a great crowd pleaser. Steam until bright red and you can smell them. Serve with drawn butter and lemon wedges. Accompany with corn or potatos and a green salad. Enjoy a colonial tradition!


Cheese is a staple in my house. I am a self proclaimed fromagophile and will make a meal out of cheese if I have no one to cook for. My daily lunch is a cheese sandwich, with mayo, tomato, and lettuce, on Rye bread. A grilled cheese sandwich and a cup of tomato soup has long been my comfort food, offered by my mother when I was a young girl. I recently learned that the real word for one that loves cheese is a turophile. I don't think it has the same ring as fromagophile. Cheese is the most versatile product in the kitchen and is a valuable tool in many recipes. I think cheese is the unsung hero of diversity and I hope one day to be a cheese maker, from the milk of my own goats. For this reason, and artisan cheese holds a special place in my heart. I highly recommomend the book The Atlas of American Artisan Cheese. I am sure there will be cheese recipes to follow because winter is coming which means fondue and raclette are just around the corner!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

McGrath Easy Chicken

The McGrath Chicken was sent to me from a recipe exchange.

Easy Chicken
Frying chicken - preferably legs
garlic powder
Italian seasoning

  1. Prepare chicken by cleaning and removing skin. Leave bones in.
  2. Sprinkle chicken with seasonings and sugar.
  3. Put enough olive oil in frying pan to cover the bottom of the pan.
  4. Brown chicken on both sides on high heat.
  5. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook until chicken pulls back from the bone.
  6. Uncover pan and cook chicken on low heat.
  7. Turn chicken every five minutes. Repeat 4 times or until cooked through.

"Finger licking good!"

Artichoke Dip

This recipe is very versatile. Feel free to tinker, add, or exchange ingredients!

Artichoke Dip

4 oz diced pimentos
1 14oz can artichokes drained & chopped
1 1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 cans diced green chilies drained
4 oz Jack Cheese shredded
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Add pimentos to medium bowl (save 2 tsp)
  3. Add rest of the ingredients, stir.
  4. Spoon into 1/2 quart shallow dish.
  5. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese plus 2 tsp pimentos.
  6. Bake uncovered at 325 for 30 min. or until bubbly. Yields 5 cups.
  7. Serve with large corn chips

Three Cheese Pasta Bake

This recipe came to me from Mushy's sister in law Bev during a recipe exchange.

3-Cheese Pasta Bake
Prep: 20 minutes; Bake: 30 minutes

1 (16 oz) package Ziti
2 (10 oz) containers refrigerated Alfredo sauce - (I use Buitoni Refrigerated Alfredo Sauce)
1 (8 oz) container sour cream
1 (15 oz) container ricotta cheese
2 Large eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese

  1. Preheat oven 350 degrees.
  2. Cook the ziti according to package directions, drain and return to the pot.
  3. Stir together Alfredo sauce and sour cream; toss with the ziti until evenly coated.
  4. Spoon half of the mixture into a lightly greased 13 x 9 inch baking dish.
  5. Stir together ricotta cheese, eggs, Parmesan cheese and parsley; spread evenly over pasta mixture in your casserole baking dish.
  6. Spoon remaining pasta mixture evenly over ricotta cheese layer; sprinkle evenly with mozzarella cheese.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly. (If it's not browned slightly - I leave it in a little longer just for the color.)

Layered Asian Spread

This is a yummy and healthy appetizer. Omit the peanuts in case of allergies.

Layered Oriental Spread

¾ cup cooked chopped chicken (Canned white chicken also
½ cup shredded carrots
½ cup chopped peanuts
3 tbs. sliced green onion
1 tbs. chopped fresh parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tbs. soy sauce
¼ tsp. ginger
1 8oz. pkg. cream cheese softened
1 tbs. milk
1 cup sweet & sour sauce
Dash sesame oil
sesame seeds

  1. Combine chicken, carrots, peanuts, green onion, parsley, garlic, soy sauce, and ginger in medium bowl.
  2. Add a dash of sesame oil and mix well.
  3. Cover and chill for 4-12 hours.
  4. In a seperate bowl, combine cream cheese and milk, mix well.
  5. Spread cheese mixture onto a plate.
  6. Top with chicken mixture and drizzle with sweet & sour sauce.
  7. Sprinkle sesame seeds over the top.
  8. Serve with crackers and a spreading knife.
Because of the nature of this dish I recommend serving it on top of a larger platter in order to catch any crumbles. You can even spice it up using a drizzle of hot sauce in place of the sweet and sour.

Sauerkraut and Red Bean Soup

We have family visiting from Wisconsin and I was talking about my love of soup last night. Aunt Nancy asked if I had a recipe for sauerkraut soup. Of course I do! So here it is, mostly so that she can access the recipe when she gets home! :)

From The Ultimate Soup Book
by Julia Older

Sauerkraut and Red Bean Soup
Be sure to rinse the sauerkraut so that this substantial, easy to make soup isn't overly salty. The bacon will be salty too, so taste first before adding salt. As the soup cooks it will automatically thicken until it is almost stew like. Serve it with a dark pumpernickel or rye bread for a complete meal.

3 T Olive oil
1/2 C onion, peeled and diced
2 C turkey or chicken stock
2.5 C water
2 C prepared red kidney beans, washed and drained
1 C potatoes, peeled and cut bite size
1 C apple, peeled and cut bite size
1/4 C parsley, de-stemmed and minced
1 C sauerkraut, rinsed, drained, and squeezed by hand
6 peppercorns
1/4 t mustard seed
1 C Canadian Bacon, diced

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot.
  2. Add the onion, cover, reduce the heat, and sweat for 5 to 8 minutes
  3. Add the stock, water, beans, potatoes, apple, parsley, sauerkraut, peppercorns, mustard seed, and Canadian bacon.
  4. Cover and bring to a boil.
  5. Cook for one hour stirring occasionally.
  6. Taste for additional salt.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Caramelized Onion and Roasted Shallot Soup

This soup was passed along to me from my sister. Mushy made this as her comfort food yesterday, when we were having a rough time with our brother. When cooking soup becomes a form of therapy, clearly my mother did something right with the tradition of soup. This one is my therapy tonight!


16 large shallots
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter
3.5 lbs. onions thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar
3/4 cup cream sherry, divided
1 Tablespoon dried Thyme (or fresh)
1 Tablespoon dried sage (or fresh)
2 cups low salt chicken broth
1 cup beef broth
3 cups whipping cream
3 Tablespoons minced fresh thyme
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 Tablespoon hot pepper sauce
8 fresh sage leaves

  1. Preheat oven 375 degrees
  2. Peel shallots and toss with olive oil in bowl.
  3. Arrange shallots on a large rimmed baking sheet spacing them evenly apart
  4. Bake until golden brown, turning occasionally, about 30 minutes.
  5. Melt butter in a heavy large pot over medium high heat.
  6. Add onions and sugar and cook until onions are deep golden brown, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. About 50 minutes.
  7. Add whole shallots, 1/2 cup sherry and dried herbs to onions.
  8. Cook until almost all liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
  9. Add both broths and simmer for 25 minutes.
  10. Add cream and simmer until soup thickens - about 10 minutes. (this can be made a day ahead, cooled slightly and then refrigerated. Bring to simmer before continuing)
  11. Add fresh thyme, if desired, parsley, hot pepper sauce, and remaining 1/4 cup sherry to soup. (Mushy added 1/2 cup here because that's what you do with sherry when you are stressed)
  12. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  13. Ladle into bowls.
  14. Garnish with sage leaves if desired and serve.
Mushy reheated 1 serving and added Gruyere cheese. She said "It's a pretty rich soup already, but YUM!" I think cheese is our all time favorite comfort food.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Kentucky Black Bean Soup

This recipe is from Mima. The note from Mima says, "While Crosse and Blackwell's is very good, this is even better and not as complicated as it sounds!"

1 pound black beans, soaked overnight.
1 pound lean veal
1 knuckle of veal
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 Tablespoons salt
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire
5 chopped onions
3 quarts water
1 lemon cut in eighths
4 whole cloves, stuck in lemon sections
1/2 Teaspoon Allspice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup sherry
5 tablespoons butter
hard boiled egg

  1. Cover beans with water and soak overnight. Drain.
  2. Put 3 quarts water in soup kettle.
  3. Add meat, 2 onions, lemon, drained beans, salt, pepper, Worcestershire and spices.
  4. Simmer slowly until beans are mushy - about 4 hours.
  5. Remove lemon and meat. Strain broth.
  6. With potato masher, pound beans to a puree, pounding through a strainer. Add water if bean pulp gets too thick.
  7. Return puree to stove.
  8. Shred the meat and add to puree on the stove.
  9. In separate pan, fry remaining onions in butter until dark brown.
  10. Add onions to puree mixture and let it come to a boil again.
  11. Add sherry and stir until heated through.
  12. Serve in bowls with one slice of lemon and 2 slices of hard boiled egg on each plate.

Russian Beet Soup

This recipe, also known as Borscht, is credited to Baba.

Bunch of beets, cleaned, peeled, and grated.
stock (from prior recipe)
sour cream

  1. Cook grated beets in stock.
  2. Thicken with a roux of equal parts butter and flour.
  3. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and stir.
  4. Serve in bowls with a dollop of sour cream in each serving! YUM!

Ratatouille Nicoise

This recipe is credited to a B. Velman.

Ratatouille Nicoise

Olive oil
3 large onions
2 zucchini
1/2 eggplant
1 pound tomatoes - seedless with skins left on.
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
1 hot pepper (on a string so you can pull it back out)
lots of garlic
salt and pepper

  1. Cover bottom of frying pan with olive oil.
  2. Cup up all veggies.
  3. Add chopped veggies to oil and cook.
  4. Season with herbs, salt, and pepper.
  5. Cook over hot fire for 1 to 2 hours.
  6. Serve hot or cold with cooked rice.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Coquilles St. Jaques - Scallops in Bechamel sauce

This one was sent to me by my sister Mushy in honor of the up coming opening of bay scallop season. She said, "Living on Eastern Long Island with seafood a plenty, this recipe is great when our local sea scallops are in season. It's a late start this year, but I am looking forward to November 3rd!"

Bechamel Sauce
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1.5 Tablespoons flour
1 cup milk or half and half
salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of mace or freshly grated nutmeg.

  1. In a saucepan melt butter over low heat.
  2. Stir in flour and cook roux, stirring for 3 to 5 minutes. Do not let brown.
  3. Slowly stir in milk. Cook, stirring with wire whisk until sauce is thick and smooth.
  4. Season with salt, pepper, and mace/nutmeg.
  5. Remove from heat and keep warm until ready to use. The sauce can be made 1 day ahead and be refrigerated, covered. Reheat over low heat.
2 pounds (or more) bay scallops
2 cups dry white wine
2 shallots, finely minced
1/2 cup (I use more) grated Gruyere cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
chopped parsley for garnish

  1. Bring wine and scallops to a boil in a large saucepan.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer until scallops are barely done, about one minute.
  3. Remove poached scallops with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  4. Add shallots to wine and cook over medium-high heat until reduced by about half.
  5. Preheat broiler.
  6. Slowly stir the wine-shallot mixture into the Bechamel sauce.
  7. Stir in Gruyere and Parmesan and cook until the cheese is melted.
  8. Add scallops and remove from heat.
  9. Turn the mixture into buttered scallop shells (literally) or buttered ramekins.
  10. Broil 2 to 3 minutes until bubbly and lightly browned.
  11. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve at once.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Roast Beet Salad with Tarragon Dressing

One of my favorite plants to grow in the garden is beets. There is a variety of things you can do with beets, but unfortunately people are tainted against beets. how many of us have a horror story about tinny canned beets or God forbid the pickled ones. Beets are my friend. Welcome to my favorite garden salad - Cold roasted beets with tarragon dressing. These beets are roasted until caramelized. Yum! (and you can improvise and add carrots or onions, but plain beets works best with this dressing). Tonight's dish honors the last beets of this years crop - and they are the white ones in the picture! Enjoy!

1 to 2 bunches beets
olive oil (sprayed)
for dressing:
2 Tablespoons Tarragon Vinegar
1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
A grind of salt
1/4 cup virgin olive oil
1/4 cup sour cream
2 Tablespoons freshly chopped tarragon (the dry spice shelf stuff works fine in a pinch)
A grind of pepper


1. Preheat oven 400 degrees.

2. Wash, peel and chop beets.

3. Place beets in 9 x 13 baking dish with a spray of olive oil.

4. Cook in oven until caramelized 30 minutes or so. Chill in fridge.

5. Plate

6. Make Dressing: Stir together vinegar and mustard. Season with a grind of sea salt. Pour in olive oil in slow steady stream, whisking while you work! When emulsified, stir in sour cream and tarragon. Season with a grind of pepper.

7. Pour small amounts of dressing over salad and serve.

Potato Cream Soup

Yesterday our kids were playing in a leaf pile. I watched our 2 year old leave the pile and make repeated trips over to the stone wall. I walked over and saw that he was piling leaves and dirt on the wall. I said, "Hey! What are you making?" and he said,


I think Mom would be so proud.

2 large Idaho Potatoes
1 cup cream
stock (from prior recipe)

  • Peel and boil potatoes
  • Drain and mash with 1 cup cream.
  • Mix with stock
  • Add salt and pepper and chopped parsley to taste.
  • Reheat.
Simple, frugal, and tasty!

General Stock

This is a handy recipe to have with Thanksgiving coming!

You will also need this recipe made and on hand for some of the next soup recipes.

I love soup!

4 pounds lean meat
5 quarts water

  • Put 4 pounds lean meat and bones in a pot with some salt and 5 quarts water.
  • Boil
  • Skim
  • Add carrots and onions
  • Cover and let simmer for 5 hours.
  • Strain and pour into bowl.
I would then reserve the carrots and onions for a side dish for dinner. They must taste great!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Chocolate Whipped Cream

3/4 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons cocoa
Whipped Cream

  • In double boiler combine 3/4 cup sugar and 3 Tablespoons cocoa.
  • Set mixture to cool a bit.
  • Add the whipped cream
  • Freeze in a mold.

Zucchini Bechamel

1 cup milk
1 Tablespoon butter
1 heaping Tablespoon flour.
Grated cheddar cheese.

  • Put oil in frying pan
  • Peel zucchini and cut in half lengthwise, remove seeds.
  • Fry both sides until brown. Remove and drain.
  • Put squash in shallow casserole dish with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cover with Bechamel sauce
  1. Heat 1 cup milk and remove from pan.
  2. Melt 1 heaping Tablespoon butter in pan with 1 heaping Tablespoon flour.
  3. Gradually add milk.
  4. Add salt and 1 Tablespoon grated cheddar cheese.
  5. Melt cheese but do not let it boil.
  6. Serve hot over squash.

Chicken Burgers

Chicken burgers were for dinner tonight. It is one of those recipes which fortunately I have learned to wing - through some ingredients together with ground chicken, shape them into burgers and voila ready for the grill. Last nights burgers were inspired by ingredients I had on hand from the Crispy Yogurt Chicken a la Pioneer Woman. So while my measuring last night was far from exact, I will try to back track correctly for you.

1.3 pounds ground chicken (yup that's how Perdue's measured)
1 cup Panko Flakes (I had the Japanese kind on hand)
a handful chopped scallions
a handful diced flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup diced chives
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 small clove garlic minced
a dash of lemon juice

  • Mix Ingredients together
  • Shape into large patties as chicken shrinks a lot when cooked.
  • Grill on gas or charcoal grill
  • Serve on sliced olive bread with a piece of lettuce and the dressing of your choice (ketchup, ranch, etc.)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Pesto Chicken with Tomato Mozzarella Salad

Pesto Chicken with Tomato Mozzarella Salad

This is one of those super simple meals which we make any number of ways when we want a simple supper. We don't follow any recipe to make this dinner because we wing it every time!

1 boneless skinless chicken breast per person.
pesto (and jar will do but it's best with freshly homemade)
1 or 2 tomatoes
ball of fresh mozzarella
balsamic vinegar (in the picture I used a balsamic vinaigrette)

  1. Cover chicken breast with pesto. Save some pesto for basting.
  2. Choose method of cooking chicken (broil, bake, or grill) and begin.
  3. While chicken begins to cook, slice tomatoes and slice mozzarella.
  4. Go baste the chicken with pesto.
  5. Layer tomatoes and mozzarella on top of each other on a large plate.
  6. Sprinkle basil over each tomato pile and then add a drizzle of vinegar or vinaigrette.
  7. Go baste the chicken again. Test with meat thermometer and remove when reached an internal temp of 170 degrees.
  8. Slice breast into pieces. Dish with a few tomato stacks and enjoy!

Spoon Cornbread

Another classic dish from Baba

3 eggs well beaten
1 cup white corn meal
2 1/2 cups milk
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
large piece butter

  • Preheat oven 350
  • Melt a large piece of butter in a baking dish.
  • Mix ingredients well and pour into baking dish.
  • Bake in oven for 45 minutes
  • serve with spoon as a dinner side dish.

Egg Salad Ring

Egg Salad Ring is compliments of Baba. SP and I are partial to this Knox add! There are some good ones out there!


10 hard boiled eggs
small bunch parsley
1 green pepper
1 small onion
1 clove garlic
1 cup mayonnaise
1 envelop Knox gelatin
crab meat or shrimp (which I would omit)
salt and pepper to taste
several stalks celery

  • Grind eggs, parsley, pepper, onion and garlic.
  • Add mayonnaise.
  • Mix gelatin with a little cold water then dissolve in boiling water.
  • When cool add to mixture
  • Pour in ring mold.
  • Put crab meat or shrimp in center and surround with shredded lettuce.

Molded Halibut - a mousse - with almond cream sauce

Nothing about this recipe appeals to me except the fact that it was written by my Great-grandmother. I am sure someone would love this, but for me fish mousse is my Kryptonite. The almond cream sauce however is a keeper! I could see this making a nice appetizer for a party.

1 lb Halibut
I loaf crusty bread or 1 pint breadcrumbs
1 cup cream
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
4 eggs separated

and ingredients for the sauce (to be made while mold cooks)
1/4 lb almonds
2 Tablespoons butter
1 pint cream, 2 Tablespoons flour

  • Preheat oven 350 degrees.
  • Chop the one pound of Halibut very fine.
  • Cook 1 pint bread crumbs, from middle of loaf, with 1 cup cream to a smooth paste.
  • Add fish, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon celery salt.
  • Beat egg whites and fold into mixture.
  • Bake in mold lined with well greased wax paper.
  • Bake until firm - about 1/2 to 3/4 hour.
  • While fish is cooking, blanch 1/4 pound almonds, chop fine and blanch in 2 Tablespoons butter.
  • Make a cream sauce from 1 pint cream, 2 Tablespoons flour, pepper and salt.
  • Add nuts and butter.
  • When finished cooking, turn out mousse and cover with sauce.

Red Cabbage Salad

I of course love this one because of the artistic display involved in it. Kudos to Mima for thinking up such a thing!

2 red cabbages
1 apple; peeled,cored and chopped
1 onion peeled and chopped
1+ kippered herring, chopped

  • Scoop out the insides of one red cabbage, chop fine, and place in bowl.
  • Add apple, onion and kippered herring. Stir.
  • Add salt, mustard, mayonnaise, and vinegar stirring to desired consistency and seasoning to taste.
  • Halve the second cabbage.
  • Put first cabbage on plate, placing leaves of second cabbage around it. Fill shell with salad.
  • Serve with toothpicks and leaves of second cabbage. Put scoop in shell to scoop out onto leaves. Enjoy.

Quiche Lorraine

A classic recipe for lunch or for dinner! I like the assembly in the version and that it uses sliced instead of shredded cheese! For those that don't like Swiss cheese, I am sure you can exchange it for any other sliced cheese! Yum!

6 thick slices bacon
12 thin slices Swiss cheese
4 eggs lightly beaten
2 cups light cream
1 Tablespoon flour
ground nutmeg
freshly ground pepper
1 unbaked 9 inch pie shell

  • Preheat oven 400 degrees.
  • Cut bacon slices in half and cut cheese slices the same size.
  • Fry bacon until crisp. Drain.
  • Line pie plate with unbaked pie shell.
  • Overlap bacon and cheese slices to cover bottom of crust.
  • In bowl, combine eggs, cream, flour pinch of nutmeg and a few grains cayenne and black pepper. Beat well, strain, and pour over bacon and cheese.
  • Bake in oven until set.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Apple Surprise

In honor of our glorious apple season here in Maine, another wonderful dessert from my great grandmother! The recipe used spelling sirup vs syrup, so I have corrected the spelling but am left to wonder if this was some sort of vernacular or if Mima was a bad speller.

apples of uniform size
orange rind or marmalade
whipped cream

  • Peel, but don't core, uniform size apples.
  • Prepare a rich syrup with equal parts sugar and water and cook 5 minutes.
  • Simmer apples in syrup until they are translucent. Remove from syrup and chill.
  • Add 2 tablespoons grated orange rind or chopped marmalade for each cup of syrup.
  • Simmer several minutes, then cool.
  • When ready to serve, spoon syrup over chilled apples.
  • Serve with whipped cream

Baked Grapefruit

Apparently my brother in law loves this dish - I wonder how Mushy makes it.

brown sugar

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Fix halves of grapefruit as usual
  • Sprinkle with brown sugar.
  • Put a dot of butter in the center.
  • Bake for about 15 minutes
  • Just before serving add 1 Tablespoon sherry to each half.

Watermelon with Brandy or Rum

Isn't this the way we would sneak booze into a concert?

One round watermelon.
Rum or Brandy

  • Cut out and remove a piece of the center of a watermelon.
  • Pour in 1 pint liquor
  • Replace the piece of watermelon in it's former position.
  • Put melon in ice box for 6 hours before serving.

Marietta's Fried Chicken

I want to know who Marietta is!

Marietta's Fried Chicken

3 fryer chicken
2 Tablespoons butter
some lard
2 cups cream

  • Halve 3 fryers
  • Roll well in flour, salt, and pepper
  • Melt 2 Tablespoons butter and some lard in a deep iron skillet.
  • Fry chicken quickly: cover tightly and steam for 1/2 hour until tender.
  • Shake some flour over chicken.
  • Pour 2 cups cream over all and simmer until gravy thickens.
  • Serve hot chicken and gravy separate.

Chilled Baked Fruit with Sour Cream

I know when Mom used sour cream as a dessert topping, she would pep it up a bit with a sprinkle of cinnamon or a dash of orange or vanilla extract.

Chilled Baked Fruit with Sour Cream

Fruit - in large cubes
sliced orange
sliced lemon
brown sugar

  • Take any fruit and back in a covered glass dish with orange and lemon slices, brown sugar, and honey.
  • Add 1 cup water for every 3 pounds fruit.
  • For pears, mix red wine with the water
  • Before putting in over bring to a boil on the stove.
  • Bake in moderate oven for 30 minutes
  • Chill thoroughly before serving.
  • Serve very cold, topped with sour cream.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Meatloaf - that's what was for supper tonight! Well we also had left over salad and crispy yogurt chicken along with Ree's homemade (garlicky) ranch dressing. I love meatloaf - always have. My favorite meatloaf is the leftover meatloaf that I can make into a sandwich, both pieces of bread covered in mayonnaise and chili sauce. I never make meatloaf the same way twice. In fact this makes this recipe very hard to write out. There fore I have chosen to write it using the EITHER/OR method, coupled with a list of optional additions. Any questions, don't hesitate to ask.

2 pounds ground meat - EITHER/OR beef, turkey, pork or chicken. feel free to mix and match.
2 cups EITHER/OR Stove top stuffing or bread crumbs (*I used Stove top tonight, but Erin told me it has HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup) in it so I will be eliminating that pantry ingredient too*)
1/4 cup A1 sauce
1/4 cup EITHER/OR Chili Sauce (my preferred) or Worcestershire (# cause I didn't have chili)
2 eggs slightly beaten
1 package low sodium packet onion soup mix

Optional ingredients (adding a couple of these highly recommended (# = I added it tonight)
chopped Cornichon pickles #
chopped green bell pepper #
1 cup shredded cheese #
shredded carrots
chopped mushrooms (I will never cook with mushrooms but I know some people like SP love them)

  • Preheat oven 350 degrees.
  • Combine all ingredients.
  • Fold into two loaf pans or one 9 x 13" baking pan
  • Bake for one hour.
  • Remove, enjoy, refridgerate left overs.
  • Serve with mashed potatoes and salad, with A1 on the side.
  • Make sandwiches with cold (or hot) leftovers, lining bread with mayo and chili sauce.

Baked Salmon in Cream Sauce

This is another one of those recipes written without weights or proportions and with archaic directions that only confuse me. Unless someone can explain to me the history of using white paper in cooking, I am omitting the confusing part and replacing it with instructions about what type of dish to use. This recipe is clearly one way to take a heart healthy fish and use it to clog your arteries!

Baked Salmon with Cream Sauce


  • Preheat oven 350.
  • Take a middle cut of salmon and place it in a loaf or other fitting pan.
  • Melt 4 Tablespoons butter in 3 Tablespoons boiling water.
  • Pour butter water over the fish.
  • Cover and put in over for 1 hour.
  • To make the cream sauce, Boil 1/2 pint cream with 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Add 1 tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve piece of salmon with sauce over top. Garnish with parsley.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Crispy Yogurt Chicken

This is what's for dinner tonight. Another one from Ree. I didn't have Ian's Panko flakes. I used the Japanese ones. I hope the extra clove of garlic makes up for the lack of seasoning, because it looks like the Pioneer Woman gets some fancy looking Panko! She has the best pictures!

Crabmeat Claridge

I am unsure if Claridge refers to the famous hotel in London, but many of their more famous recipes do involve crab meat. I can just picture Baba strolling into this foyer of the Claridge, sending Lambert to the kitchen in order to get recipes for the farm! What ever it's origin, this one sounds delicious (and easy!)

1 can Campbell's tomato soup
Canned Alaska Crab meat
grated cheese

  • Make a rich cream sauce and season with mustard and Worcestershire. Make enough to make one pint.
  • Add one can Campbell's tomato soup to one pint sauce.
  • Add canned Alaska King crab meat and heat.
  • Put in baking dish.
  • Sprinkle with grated cheese on top.
  • Bake until cheese melts.

* Back in the day, "make a rich cream sauce" was probably a standard statement, but today I am sure many readers won't know the first place to start. While any good remedial cookbook should have a recipe for this in it, and I know Joy must have handfuls of recipes, I thought I should add a link to a cream sauce recipe.

Chocolate Roll

This is another Baba dessert! She wrote, "Great for a party!"

5 egg yolks beaten for 5 minutes
5 egg whites, beaten stiff
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 level teaspoon cornstarch
2 Tablespoons ground chocolate
5 egg whites , beaten stiff
1/2 pint whipped cream
sugar and vanilla to taste

  • Preheat oven 350
  • Combine first 5 ingredients
  • Fold in whites of eggs.
  • Bake in flat pan lined with paper, buttered and floured, about ten minutes
  • Turnout on board and roll up while warm.
  • Before serving unroll and spread with 1/2 pint whipped cream with a little sugar and vanilla.
  • Re-roll and slice.
  • Serve with chocolate sauce.

Chocolate Ice Box Cake

This recipe is credited to Baba again. What I would like to know is how, with all these wonderful dessert recipes, did Mom never bake?I like how this specifically calls for Hershey's.

Chocolate Ice Box Cake

30 lady fingers
4 eggs separated
3 Tablespoons water
1/2 pint whipped cream
1/2 lb. Hershey's
3 Tablespoons sugar

  • Line sides and bottom of mold with Lady Fingers
  • Melt chocolate in double boiler.
  • Add sugar and water
  • Add well beaten yolks of the eggs.
  • Cook slowly until thick and smooth. stirring constantly.
  • When cool, add beaten whites.
  • Put in mold alternating filling with lady fingers.
  • End with lady fingers on top
  • Place in ice box for 12 hours or more
  • Serve with whipped cream. Good for a party!


These cookies are credited to my great-grandmother. There are no eggs in this recipe and with some simple replacements these could even be made for Vegans. The instructions are a bit tricky but a little hands on learning always works for me. These cookies are to look like fans - the old traditional type of hand held fans. For antiquity's sake I have left her wording as is.

2 cups bread flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cups butter

  • Mix ingredients and roll.
  • Take a circular cover and cut into 4 parts
  • Crease with knife handle like a fan
  • Bake on cookie sheet.
* no temp or time is given so presume 350 degrees until golden brown.

Mexican Souffle (Baba)

This is a fantastic dessert.

1 cup black coffee
3 tablespoons butter
2tablespoons grated chocolate
3 eggs, separated. Beat yolks well with 1/3 cup melted butter. Beat whites stiffly.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Scald one cup coffee.
  • Cream 3 tablespoons butter creamed with 3 tablespoons cornstarch and 2 tablespoons grated chocolate.
  • Stir coffee into above mixture and remove from fire.
  • Stir mixture slowly into beaten yolk mixture.
  • Fold in egg whites.
  • Bake in medium oven in dish set in hot water (hot water bath) for 25 minutes.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sleepin' In Omlette (Pioneer Woman)

This is dinner tonight, and breakfast tomorrow.
I'm home alone with the kids, and this makes enough for two meals and then some!
We had breakfast for dinner!

Tonight's dinner and tomorrow's breakfast:

Pioneer woman cooks is a seperate blog. I love her use of picture led one step at a time directions

And I highly recommend her main blog, if you don't know it already:

Ham and Potato Casserole

This recipe makes me think of Scalloped Potatoes made into a meal.

Ham and Potato Casserole (Baba)

thinly slice ham
thick sour cream
sliced cold boiled potatoes
chopped parsley
celery seeds
bread crumbs

  • Preheat oven 350
  • Lay thinly sliced ham in bottom of dish
  • Sprinkle some chopped parsley, salt, pepper, and celery seeds.
  • Layer thick sour cream
  • Sprinkle some chopped parsley, salt, pepper, and celery seeds.
  • Layer sliced cold boiled potatoes
  • Sprinkle some chopped parsley, salt, pepper, and celery seeds.
  • Top it all with bread crumbs.
  • Heat thoroughly until bubbling.

Rice Spoon Bread

This recipe is accredited to my maternal great grandmother Baba. I guess writing maternal is redundant, since the bulk of these recipes were passed on to me by my mother. In fact, if rumor is correct, my father's mother wasn't much of a cook, so I am guessing the name KK will never be mentioned although I do have a memory of her, in our Bush Avenue house, making hard sauce, probably to accompany mince meat pie for one of our winter celebrations. I hope that recipe shows up sometime. Well, without further ado.

Rice Spoon Bread (Baba)
1 cup water
3 tablespoons white corn meal
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup cooked and drained rice
1 tablespoon butter
2 eggs separated
1 cup milk

  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Pour one cup water over 3 Tablespoons white corn meal and mix until smooth.
  • Add 1 tablespoon flour, I teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon sugar.
  • Cook in double boiler until thick, stirring constantly.
  • Stir in one cup drained cooked rice and 1 tablespoon butter.
  • Add beaten yolks of 1 eggs and one cup milk.
  • Fold in two stiffly beaten egg whites
  • Pour into greased baking dish
  • Place in pan containing an inch of hot water and back in moderate oven at 35 minutes

* Note: this method of cooking in a hot water container is called a hot water bath and is used to prevent scorching.

*For more information on double boilers, please see first double boiler recipe.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Delice Dauphine

This recipe is once again accredited to Mrs. Moore. Who was Mrs. Moore anyway? I am currently unable to find a good translation for this name. Dad pulled out his Larousse Gastronomique. Dauphine is a region of France that stretches along the Alps to the Rhone Valley. The area is known for it's gratin type dishes for which this recipe seems to fit. Delice in French refers to a certain type of pastry, but has no precise culinary meaning, implies that the dish is delectable or delicious.

1 un-sugared pancake
1 thin slice ham
2 tablespoons cream
2 tablespoons grated Gruyere cheese

  • Spread 1 tablespoon cream over pancake.
  • Place slice of ham on top of pancake.
  • Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon cheese.
  • Roll and place in shallow baking dish.
  • Add the other tablespoon cream and the rest of cheese.
  • Brown under broiler, up to 7 or 8 minutes.
And here begins those yummy recipes that show where my love of cheese came from.

Mom's pancakes

This is the recipe kept inside my head. I had to consult Joy of Cooking just to confirm that my proportions were right. This recipe has become a little dusty since my husband chose the Cooks Illustrated recipe over these crepe like wonders. They are simple and thin.

1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon melted butter.
1 egg
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine all ingredients in bowl and mix with a whisk. Ladle onto a hot buttered griddle. Sprinkle with berries if you have them. You can make them large or small.

Pizza Dough

Pizza is a standard Sunday night meal around here. We make the dough in the bread maker and my husband spins out the dough and makes everyone in the family their own custom pizza. The youngest gets the plain cheese, the middle girl likes tomatoes, and my oldest boy likes his as a Hawaiian. My pizza has feta cheese, capers, and sun dried tomatoes, while my husband prefers chicken pesto pizza with pine nuts. However you want to make your pizza, cook it on your hottest oven (ours is 550) on a preheated pizza stone. Yum! Happy Sunday!

Pizza Dough
(enough to make 2 large pies)

1.5 teaspoon yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
4 cups bread flour
10 oz. Luke warm water (yes his cousins name is Luke and he gave us this recipe)
1.5 teaspoon salt
2 T olive oil

Put ingredients, in order, into bread maker and start on dough setting.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Gateau de Framboises

Gateau de Framboises (translated as raspberry cake) is credited to a Mrs. Moore. I believe this was a Stonington crony, but maybe Dad can clarify that one. I particularly like this recipe because, in Maine, raspberry has it's own season. I am pretty sure my husband is inspired to make this recipe from scratch. He's been reading Julie and Julia. I wish him luck!

Gateau de Framboises
(Mrs. Moore)

27 lady fingers (*why the odd number?*)
2 cups sugar
1.5 pound fresh raspberries
1 full wineglass kirsch (*I love that measurement*)

  • Use a plain cake mold, a little deeper than the length of a lady finger, and long enough to line with 15 lady fingers just overlapping each other.
  • Put raspberries in large bowl with sugar and pour in Kirsch. Soak 5 or 6 minutes. Stir gently with a wooden spoon.
  • Line mold with 15 lady fingers - put 3 in the bottom.
  • Place layer of juice less berries and cover with 4 lady fingers.
  • Repeat and top with 5 lady fingers.
  • Leave mold in icebox for 9 or 10 hours.
  • Strain the rest of the juice through a very fine sieve and serve separately with the gateau.
I find the assembly instructions a little confusing, but once you get your hands into it it should make sense. Here's to hands on learning!

Banana Bread

For such a simple standard recipe, I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw one of the ingredients. I kept thinking, "This must be a typo!"But when I looked closer I realized there was no oil or shortening listed. Kristen helped me put it all together and sure enough such a think does exist called spry. This fact clearly dates this recipe as originating sometime between the 1930's and 1970's. My belief is that is has been outdone by Crisco.

To quote my lovely Wiki, "Spry was a brand of vegetable shortening produced by Lever Brothers starting in 1936. It was a competitor for Proctor & Gamble's Crisco, and through aggressive marketing through its mascot Aunt Jenny had reached 75 percent of Crisco's market share. The marketing efforts were phased out in the 1950s, but Aunt Jenny and her quotes like With Spry, we can afford to have cake oftener! have been reprinted in books such as James Lilek's Gallery of Regrettable Food. Though the product is discontinued there are anecdotal reports of it being used through the 1970s."

Aunt jenny is pictured above. It's fun to know that that face was a contemporary of many women in my family. Without further ado, here is Mima's Banana Bread

1/2 cup spry (* my guess is today you would use Crisco*)
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
3 bananas (but Mom wrote in 4)
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup nut meal (*I use crushed or ground nuts*)

Mix in Given order and bake in moderate oven for 40 minutes.

*to me a moderate over is 350 degrees.

Sauce Bearnaise

5 egg yolks
3 tablespoons butter

  • Beat 5 egg yolks in saucepan.
  • Add 1 Tablespoon butter, salt.
  • Stir over a slow fire until it starts to thicken.
  • Remove from fire, stir in 2 tablespoons butter.
  • Stir at side of fire until butter is dissolved.
  • Season with chopped parsley and 1 teaspoon vinegar.
A famous sauce - good on steak.

* Clearly the farm had a wood cook stove in the kitchen. I think the directions are easily enough translated into the modern stove language. I love Bearnaise on my steak, but only have steak once a month so I don't clog my arteries every time. I am curious about her using parsley and not tarragon. When I make it, it is made with tarragon.

Bankers Onion Soup - for 8

As I mentioned, soup is a huge family tradition. But any onion soup reminds me of these fall days when I want something warm and soothing on the chilly evenings. This one has a bit of a twist too it, because apparently my mothers sense of adding beverages was taught to her by her mother.

Bankers Onion Soup - for 8
(With Champagne - Blunt White)

4 large Spanish or Bermuda onions
1/4 pound (one stick) butter melted
4 cans beef stock
Maggi sauce
Worcestershire sauce
Champagne (blunt white)
croutons or toast.
Parmesan cheese

  • Slice thin 4 large Spanish or Bermuda onions.
  • Place onions in skillet with 1/4 lb melted butter and cook slowly for 30 minutes.
  • DO not really brown the onions but they should be relatively dark in shade at the end of the cooking period.
  • Add 4 cans Campbell's beef bouillon or other stock
  • Simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Flavor with salt, pepper, and Worcestershire to taste
  • This base can be used immediately, but improves with age if made 2 or 3 days in advance.
  • Add 1 cup champagne (domestic) when heating. Pour a little champagne in each cup when serving.
  • Top with croutons or a small piece of toast, covered with freshly grated Parmesan cheese when serving.
Delicious! A real conversation piece!

* I had to call Mushy about the Maggi sauce. She knew what it was right off the bat. I am surprised now that I have googled it that Mima used such a thing when I thought I knew of all her food as bland and American! Anyway, it sounds like it is a sauce thickener. Here's the Wiki link and a pic

Our favorite pancakes - Cook's Illustrated

The other day Mushy was asking me if I had Mom's pancake recipe. I said yes, it's in my head, just like so many other great recipes she gave me. She and I recalled the thin cakes the batter made, the same thinness that my husband compares to crepes. This crepe like consistency is why we don't make them regularly for the family. We have chosen instead a recipe from a free issue of Cook's Illustrated (if you don't know this magazine and like to cook, I highly recommend a subscription). So without a single alteration, here is Cook's Illustrated's Blueberry Pancake recipe. Living in Maine, we have quarts of blueberries put up in the freezer. If you are not so lucky, I highly recommend buying Wyman's canned or frozen blueberries if you can fine them. Oh and yes, this is what we made for breakfast for our family and our good friend visiting with their 3 kids! Yummy!

Blueberry Pancakes
makes about sixteen 4-inch pancakes, serving 4 to 6

When fresh blueberries are not in season, frozen blueberries are a good alternative. To make sure that frozen berries do not bleed, rinse them under cool water in a mesh strainer until the water runs clear, then spread them on a paper towel-lined plate to dry. If you have buttermilk on hand, use 2 cups instead of the milk and lemon juice. (*we like using buttermilk better*)

1 tablespoon juice from one lemon
2 cups milk
2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 - 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, preferably wild, rinsed and dried

  1. Whisk the lemon juice and milk in a medium bowl or large measuring cup; set aside to thicken while preparing other ingredients. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl to combine.
  2. Whisk egg and melted butter into milk until combined. Make well in center of fry ingredients in bowl; pour in milk mixture and whisk very gently until just combined (a few lumps should remain). Do not over mix.
  3. Heat 12-inch skillet over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes; add 1 teaspoon oil and brush to coat skillet bottom evenly. Pour 1/4 cup batter onto 3 spots on skillet; sprinkle one tablespoon blueberries over each pancake. Cook pancakes until large bubbles begin to appear, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Using thin wide spatula, flip pancakes and cook until golden brown on each side, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes longer. Serve immediately, and repeat with remaining batter, using remaining oil only if necessary (* step 3 is identical to how Mom taught me to make pancakes except we used butter in place of oil*)

Serve with real maple syrup and enjoy! Have a great morning!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Blueberry Loaf (cold) (no bake)

1 1/2 quarts fresh or frozen blueberries
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup cold water
2 teaspoons gelatin soaked in 1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons lemon juice
14 1/2 slices bread
melted butter
glass or tin loaf pan or mold
Rum (and I chuckle because again the Rum is written in in Mom's handwriting but not put into the process notes. So chefs, you are allowed to put it in where you see fit!)

  • Place berries, sugar, and water in saucepan.
  • Cover and cook until berries start to soften and there is plenty of juice (about 15 minutes)
  • Add enough hot juice in gelatin to fill cup and stir until it is dissolved.
  • Add lemon juice and mix with berries.
  • Trim off crusts of bread and brush both sides generously with melted butter.
  • Line bottom and sides of dish with slices.
  • Trim off any ends and use to fill chinks. (what a funny term for a cook to use)
  • Turn a third of berry mixture over bread and this lay more bread.
  • Repeat until you have 3 layers of berries and bread, ending with bread.
  • Place in the icebox for 5 to 6 hours. (yes she wrote ice box because that is what they had)
  • Serve with slightly beaten cream, sweet and flavored.

Sprigged Lamb

In honor of the fall round up that is occurring, from cattle weighing out west to Tom's slaughters on a small farm in CT, I chose this as my next recipe. I can recall many a family dinners that involved lamb, particularly the Easter dinners that didn't serve goose. I remember my sister's love of lamb and my dislike - I was always bothered by the animal being an adorable fuzzy little baby. If you know me well, you know I have gotten over this. Lamb is one of my favorite meats to cook and eat with Indian foods. Before I digress into the joys of Indian foods and my beloved Uncle Shani, may I present Mima's sprigged lamb.

Sprigged Lamb
Serves 8 and is very good warmed over in slices.

Leg of lamb - 5 1/2 to 6 lbs, boned and rolled if preferred.
bunch of parsley, all stems removed
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Wipe the meat with a cloth wrung out in hot water that contains a little vinegar.
  • With point of a sharp knife, make 25 to 30 incisions in the tops and sides of meaty part and insert 2 or 3 leafy tops parsley in each.
  • Rub roast with seasoning. (that's all it says but I think she meant the S and P)
  • Place on a rack, meaty side up, in roasting pan and roast, uncovered, in a moderate slow oven (325) ( *what is a slow oven?*) for 2 and 1/4 hours or until tender - allowing 25 minutes per pound.
  • Baste every 15 minutes after the first hour. (near end boil water as you will need it when the meat is done)
  • If not a crusty brown when done, turn heat up to 500 degrees for 5 minutes (* let me insert that DH and I are fans of Barbara Kafka's high temp roasting methods*)
  • Remove meat to a platter and add boiling water to the pan to make as much sauce as you desire. Bring to a boil stirring around edges. The juice is so delicious it seems a pity to make regulation gravy.
I love that and it brought tears in my eyes to write out her words. Even my Grandmother was a nonconformist in the kitchen!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Orange Marmalade Souffle

My father in law loved marmalade. I wish I had made this for him while he was still alive. I know my father likes marmalade too so maybe on my next visit I will choose this for his dessert. Oh wait... I can't I took his double boiler. Ho hum YUM!

Orange Marmalade Souffle
Ingredients and materials:
6 egg whites
1/2 cup orange marmalade, finely chopped (plus more for garnish)
1.5 quart double boiler with lid, buttered and sprinkled with sugar


* Beat egg whites
* Fold in marmalade and turn into double boiler.
* Cover and cook over not too rapidly boiling water 1 hour.
* Turn out on a serving platter
* Serve with marmalade sauce (chopped marmalade heated with a little water)


This recipe is clearly from the years before Metamucil. I remember days in the old house on Maher Ave, sitting at the counter, being fed prunes against my will. I too have put those little packaged prunes into my children's lunch boxes. We've settled on the chewable fiber supplements. But as you will see from this simple recipe was meant to get your G.I. motor running fast! This recipe does not deserve a bon appetit either!

Prunes (credited to a Mr. Charles Simmons)

Buy large pitted prunes. Cook in strong hot coffee. Let cool in coffee.

(The recipe says nothing more. I will let my readers decide for themselves!)

Peanut Butter Soup

As I said, soup was and still is a huge tradition in my family. This recipe goes back at least 4 generations. The problem I have is that in this generation, my eldest child hates soup. At the very mention of soup he cringes and screws up his face as if it were some despised potion used to turn him into a spider. The best part is, he loves this soup! Imagine that! But then again, my grandmother wrote in the composition book, "Really very good. If the children like Peanut Butter, they'd love this!"

Enjoy - with love from all the women in my lineage!

Peanut Butter Soup
1 teaspoon minced onion
1 Tablespoon butter
3 Tablespoons peanut butter
2 Tablespoons flour
3 Cups scalded milk
salt and pepper
and in my mothers own handwriting is written, Sherry and parsley or coriander to garnish. The only problem is she didn't write the Sherry into the directions. But my guess is you cook the onion in it with the butter.

  • In a soup/stock pot, cook onion in butter.
  • Add peanut butter and cook 5 minutes.
  • Add flour and stir until smooth
  • Add milk slowly, cook 20 minutes in a double boiler.
  • Season to taste
  • Ladle into bowls and garnish with parsley or coriander.
Now some of you might wonder about scalded milk. Others may wonder about a double boiler (which I finally have now that Dad sold the house and dismantled Mom's immaculate kitchen).
Let me start with the scalded milk. Never fear - Google is here and I got me some Wikipedia!

And now onto what to do if you do not have a double boiler. The simplest remedy is to ignore that part of the directions - just continue cooking it in what ever stock or soup pot you were using to being with. But if you are "epicurious" like we are, you would want to know why it calls for a double boiler and how to make do when you lack such a kitchen tool.

This is what a double boiler looks like:

For info about what a double boiler is:
And let me quote from that site about how to improvise:

"If a recipe calls for a double boiler, there is rarely an alternative method. Cooks without an official double boiler can improvise one with two sauce pans or a large pot of boiling water and a Pyrex bowl. Most double boiler models have a single lid, but many sauce recipes require constant stirring. If a cook is using an improvised double boiler, he or she needs to be careful around the steam. The two elements should be kept separated -- if the inner pan touches the bottom of the outer pan, the result could be a counterproductive direct heat."

I can not stress the importance of caution. Please, when improvising, be careful of steam and or imbalance. My makeshift double boiler was not a perfect fit once and things cascaded on me. Be careful please!!!

Enjoy with love from my Mothers mother!

Crockpot Meatballs

Through out my documenting the family recipes, I will of course be adding our nightly dinner recipes. I also haven't said it yet, but it goes without saying that any of the crock pot recipes are the modern recipes. I don't think Mom owned a crock pot and her idea of slow cooking would have been the ritual of chutney making every winter. Then again maybe it would have been HER meatballs that she made for every Christmas Eve Cheer. These meatballs are NOT those meatballs, so if that is what you are wanting you can stop now. In fact this recipe calls for frozen meatballs, but you COULD make your own. It just defeats the point of this recipe - quick and easy and perfect for kids. The meatballs come from a friend, one that encouraged me to get a crock pot just so I could make these. They are simple and perfect for a busy night with hockey! It is versatile and proportions are highly dependant on what you get in your grocery store. My 10 year old had a rough day at school, and these were his comfort food request. Beef meatballs - this is what's for dinner!

Ingredients and Materials
Frozen meatballs - tonight I used two 16 ounce bags Wolfe's Neck Farms Italian style All Natural beef meatballs.
1 10 ounce jar Polaner all fruit grape jelly - organic works too we just don't use High Fructose Corn Syrup in our food.
1 jar organic ketchup (again we don't use HFCS). Start with 1/2 use more along the way.
I 20 ounce can diced pineapple
tonight I added some diced green peppers, fresh from our garden (not a usual ingredient)

Combine all ingredients in crockpot. The sauce should be enough to cover the meatballs, but they are not soaking in sauce. As the meatballs thaw and cook, it will soften up. You can check and stir once an hour. Cook on low 4 to 6 hours, or on high 3. Can serve on own or with pasta but there is not a lot of sauce.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Sopa de Ajo (Garlic Soup)

Soup is a H U G E tradition in my family. We used to play "Mystery Soup" at every big family meal. During these meals, such as Thanksgiving or a Birthday, only the chef knew what kind of soup it was. The prize was being the first to accurately guess it - we just all had to take our first tastes at the same time. The chef will always try to keep the soup a secret and many a garbage has been checked for revealing ingredients or remains.

The title of this recipe has always given me great pause because no one in my family is Spanish. If I didn't know they came over on the Mayflower, I might have thought that they got this recipe from Columbus - he was kind of Spanish right?

This recipe is a favorite over many years. I know my father would request it for Mom to make, but I am hoping that my sister Mushy will help fill in some of the stories of our grandparents. This seems like the perfect first soup for my blog. Many many more soups to come - in fact my next recipe is a soup!

Happy Autumn!

Sopa de Ajo (Garlic Soup)
5 cups beef stock
1 cup sherry
1 garlic set
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
French Bread
Parmesan Cheese

  • Heat stock and sherry. Bring to a boil.
  • Peel, slice and dice the garlic.
  • Heat olive oil in pan and saute the garlic until golden brown.
  • Add to boiling stock with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Simmer 30 minutes.
  • Strain out garlic and reheat.
Serve hot with slices of French Bread toasted with Parmesan Cheese.
Here's to you Mom!