Thursday, February 28, 2008

Fruity Green Salad


green leaf lettuce, washed and torn up
2 bosc pears, peeled, cored and sliced up
2 yellow tomatoes, diced up
2 green onions, sliced up
two small containers of mandarin oranges, juice reserved
(these are the kind that you take in your lunch)
2 avacados, diced


the reserved orange liquid, about 1/2 cup
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoon hunk of red onion

Put the dressing ingredients into the blender and put on full wack for several seconds. Place in a small pitcher with a ladle

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Strazberry Sauce

16 ounces of strawberries
8 ounces of respberries
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornflour
2 tablespoons water

Mash the berries and put into a saucepan with the sugar.  Bring to a barely boil.  Mix the cornflour and water and add to the hot berries.  Stir until the color turns back to bright red.  Keep on low heat until ready to serve if serving soon.  Otherwise, remove from heat and put into a bowl.

Serve over pancakes or waffles or crepes or French toast or whatever.

Makes 3 cups

Lemon Meringue Pie

This is a found recipe, so it really needs remaking to see if I wrote it down correctly.

1 baked pie shell

the filling

3-4 tablespoons cornflour
2/3 cup sugar
a pinch of salt
1 cup water
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
juice and zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon butter

the meringue topping

3 egg whites
1/3 cup sugar

Combine the cornflour and the sugar and salt in a saucepan.  Stir in the water and put over a medium low heat and stir until thick.  Stir a little of the hot mixture into the egg yolks to temper them, then stir the egg yolks into the hot mixture and stir constantly over the heat until the mixture comes to a boil.  This will be a very short time.  Add the lemon juice and zest on butter, and stir until smooth.  Pour into pie shell.

Beat the egg whites and sugar until nice fluffy peaks form.  Dollop onto the filling and smooth around, making nice little peaks with the back of the spoon.  Bake at 325 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes.

Lemon Meringue Pie II

1 baked pie shell

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornflour
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 tablespoon butter
6 tablespoons lemon juice (from maybe 1 1/2 lemons)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons milk

3 egg whites
1/3 cup sugar

Mix the cornflour, sugar, and salt in a saucepan.  Stir in the boiling water, whisking as you go.  Stir constantly over medium low heat, until the mixture turns clear looking.  Add the butter and lemon juice and cook for about 2 more minutes.  

Combine the egg yolks and milk.  Whisk a little of the hot mixture into the eggs to temper them, then mix the eggs into the hot mixture, but back on the heat and bring to a boil.  Cool slightly and pour into the pie shell.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Beat the egg whites until frothy, then while still beating, slowly add the sugar.  Beat until stiff and glossy.  Spoon over the lemon filling, making sure to get the meringue all the way to the edges.  Bake for about 5 minutes.  This can also be done at a lower temperature for a little longer.  Your choice.  Chill the pie for at least 2 hours before serving.  If it isn't properly chilled, it will fo all floppy when you try to serve it.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Apple Crisp

I'm very picky about apple crisp. I don't like it too sweet, and can't stand it when it's made with canned apple filling, and I don't like oatmeal in the topping. So if any of those things are for you this isn't the crisp for you. But it is a very popular recipe around the world. Most people who identify the source for this recipe will tell you that it is from Moira Hodgson's "Favorite Fruitcakes" book, which is true. But the fact is that Moira's book is about recipes from famous cooks and their cookbooks. So though I have not seen Moira's cookbook my guess is that she has listed the Silver Palate recipe. I could tweek the recipe to make it look like mine, but their could be no benefit in alteration. The original name is June's Apple Crisp, but since in my mind it should be the definitive apple crisp I shall just call it apple crisp.

6 green apples, peeled and cored and sliced up not too thinly
juice of 1/2 a lemon if your apples aren't at all tart

1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt (or a little less if you like)
1 stick of butter, cold and cut up.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Put the apples into any dish that they will nicely fit into, round or square or oval or what ever.
Put the rest of the ingredients into a food processor or a sturdy bowl if you are going to mix this with a pastry blender.
Then mix up the topping so that it is all nice and crumbly looking, like cornmeal. It should be a bit powdery.
Dump the topping over the apples, spread around to even things up a bit, and then tamp the dish down on the counter to coax the topping down in amongst the apples just a little bit.
Bake for about an hour. What you want to see is bubbles around the edge.

Serve immediately with a small dollop of vanilla ice cream on top if you like.

Option:  I recently made this dessert and I tossed the apples with about 1/3 cup of the topping, then dumped on the topping mixture.

Pear Tart

One day Riley came home from work and said that he had eaten a really delicious dessert. He was quite excited about it. It had been at an office pot luck, so he asked the man who brought it if he could get the recipe from his wife. Soon we had the recipe. I made it and it has been a big hit with everyone ever since. The funny thing is that at another office pot luck years later, this time with wives invited, she brought the pear tart and to my great surprise it didn't look anything like mine.

Since I haven't got a picture of my pear tart I have used a reasonable facsimile. It has more pears on the tart than mine has. Now if you wanted a lot of pears like that then use the big can of pears. And the cinnamon is not put on concentrically like mine. I will have to get a picture of mine pretty soon.


1/2 cup butter, cup up into pieces
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
3/4 cup flour
2/3 cups nuts (pecans or walnuts or almonds)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Put the sugar and the nuts into the food processor and run until the nuts are finely chopped up.
Add the rest of the ingredients and process until nicely mixed.
The mixture will be like sand or cornmeal. Don't overmix, you want the sandy look.
Dump the mixture into 9 inch tart dish.
Spread it around evenly and press down lightly. Bake for 10 minutes.
Mix up the filling while the crust is cooking


8 ounces cream cheese
1/4 sugar
1 egg
1-2 Tbls milk or cream to make the filling easier to spread.
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Turn the oven up to 375 degrees.
Put all the ingredients into a medium mixing bowl and whip up with an electric beater. I don't know how to do this part by hand, though I'm sure with a good stiff whip you can do it. When the crust is done, take out of the oven and immediately spoon the filling all over the crust in dollops. Then genly smush it all out even. The hot crust can't take any serious smushing around, that's why the dollops.


1 small can of pears, halved
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Drain the pears and carefully slice then lengthwise and place the slice concentrically around the outside edge of the tart. Then place more slices concentrically in the middle. Mix the cinnamon and sugar and put into a tea strained or very small sieve. Hold the sieve gently as the mixture will want to come right out if handled roughly. Holding the sieve over the tart and using a spoon gently tap the cinnamon and sugar onto the tart in a circular fashion. That is to say, make a circle around the outside edge, then move in a bit and make another circle, etc. Put the tart into the oven and bake for 25 minutes.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Rustic Apple Pie


I remember coming up with this recipe, but I can't remember the motivation. It's basically a somewhat small apple pie.

pie crust:

1 1/3 cups flour (about 6 ounces)
4 ounces cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 tsp salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup ice water


5 green apples, peeled, cored, and sliced cross-wise
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons flour

butter for dotting the course
2 tablespoons milk or cream
some sugar for dusting

Preheat to oven to 375 degrees. The crust can be made in a food processor or a bowl. Mix the flour, salt and sugar, then cut in the butter until the flour looks like cornmeal. Drizzle the iced water over the flour mixture and stir in with a fork if using a bowl, or short pulses if using the food processor. If you have used the f.p. dump the mixture into a bowl. Using you hands press down on the mixture until it forms a solid blob. Put onto a large piece of plastic wrap, wrap up, and mold into a nice flattish disk. Chill for about 15 minutes if you like, or if you're in a hurry, like I can be, just go to rolling out. I like to first lay out a piece of waxed paper, then I unwrap the dough and cover it heavily with flour. Roll out the dough as big as possible on the waxed paper. It will be bigger than the paper. Using the waxed paper, lift up the disc and flip it over onto a pie plate.

Now mix the dry ingredients for the filling and pour it over the apples and give the a good toss to cover. Put the apples into the crust, dot with butter, and fold up the excess dough up over the apples, press down a little to make tidy. Put the milk or cream and using a wadded up piece of plastic wrap, dab the milk onto the dough and sprinkle with sugar. I like to use a slightly course sugar. Bake the pie for about 45 minutes. Part way through the cooking check on the pie to see if it's browning too fast. If so, place a square sheet of parchment paper over the pie. The pie isn't done until you can see the filling bubbling.

Baked Custard

.I absolutely adore baked custard. It's my ultimate comfort food. My mother would make it for me when I was home sick, which for the most part only occured when I got strep throat. It feels so nice on a soar throat.

5 eggs
1/4 - 1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups of heated milk

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Many recipes call for a higher temperature, but it's been my experience that this will cause the custards to curdle, and you don't want that. Now if you were to use 8 egg yolks instead of 5 eggs you would have less chance of curdling. Or maybe even if you used half and half instead of the 1% milk I used. But mine did turn out wonderfully smooth and silky feeling.
Put the eggs and the sugar and the vanilla in a bowl and whip thoroughly.
Put the milk in a glass pitcher and heat in the microwave until just a bit warmer than lukewarm. That's a temperature you can stick you finger into but it's not so hot as to be uncomfortable. Maybe it's the temperature of a hot bath.
While whisking the eggs, slowly pour in the milk.  If you want to be completely correct you can pour the mixture through a sieve into another bowl.  This strains out any funny egg bits.

Get all the custard cups you want to use into a baking pan.  You can use any appropriate sized dish, even tea cups.  But it is best if all the cups you use are the same size, as different sizes cook at different rates.  Put a tea kettle of water on to boil.  Ladle the custard mixture into the custard cups. I use a 1/2 cup ladle.  Put some nutmeg on top of each custard. I used whole nutmeg and a nutmeg grater, but pre-grated works.

Carefully place the pan of filled custard cups into the heated oven and then carefully pour in hot water to come about half way up the cups. Then carefully slide the pan all the way into the oven.   Actually, I pull the rack out just a bit and when the water is in I slowly slide the rack back into the oven.  Bake for about 55 minutes.  Eat one as soon as your mouth can handle the heat.  But these are great warm or cold or room temperature.

Note: I made this later using just egg yolks. It was ever so smooth, but not as tasty or fun to eat. I'm sticking with the whole eggs.

Linda's Cinnamon Apple Coffee Cake


2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup butter (that would be a stick and some)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk or sour milk*
1 cup peeled, cored, and chopped green apples


1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2-3/4 cup nuts, chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat over to 350 degrees.
Butter a 9x13 baking dish.
Combine the first 5 ingredients.
Cream the butter, sugars, and egg.
Mix in the dry mixture alternately with the buttermilk into the creamed mixture.
Fold in the chopped apple.
Put into the baking dish.
Mix the topping ingredients and sprinkle over the batter.
Bake for 35-40 minutes.

* You make sour milk by combining 1 tablespoon of vinegar with 1 cup of milk and letting it stand for 5 minutes.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sweet Short Cake

This is the basis of what is called "shortcake." My mother makes the kind with no sugar, and I think she uses Bisquik. It was by accident that I ended up with this recipe. I was having a group of people over one evening, but during the afternoon I was frantically sewing something. So I asked my girls to help me out. I told them that as I sewed I would tell them what to do. Well the shortcake that evening was a huge hit, but I quickly realized that something about the cake was different. Upon investigation it was realized that the girls had misheard me on the sugar. They added considerably more than the recipe called for, but we all decided that we liked it a lot that way, and we've done it ever since.

2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter, cut into many little pieces
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Butter the bottom of a 7 or 8 inch spring form pan.
Mix the dry ingredients.
Add the butter, and using your fingers work the butter into the flour.
Stir in the milk using a fork. Don’t over mix, mix just till combined.
Put into pan and gently flatten out.
Bake about 20-25 minutes. It mustn’t jiggle.

Cool the cake, split in half and on the cake plate put cake, fruit, whipped cream, cake fruit whipped cream, and lastly a bit more fruit. I add some sugar to the fruit to bring out the juices, but not too much sugar.

Molly's Tuna Fish Sandwiches


White Albacore Tuna, drained
Sweet Pickle Relish, a little more than you think you want
Red Onion, minced, as much as you like, I like a lot
Mayonnaise thinned with buttermilk, just enough to make it all hang together,

Mix this all up with a fork, making sure not to mash things.
Put onto a piece of bread and top with another.
Cut in half or quarters.

Some actual measurements for those who need it.
This requires the use of a scale.

1 6 oz can of albacore tuna
1 ounce minced red onion
2 ounces sweet pickle relish
1 ounce mayonnaise

Molly’s French Bread


1 Tbl yeast
1 Tbl sugar
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 1/2 pound of flour
2 teaspoons salt
enough water for a nice soft dough, about 2 cups

Combine the yeast, sugar and lukewarm water.
Let sit for about ten minutes or so, until quite bubbled up.

Mix the flour and salt, and lightly stir in the remaining water.
Let sit. The flour will absorb the water.

Add the yeast mixture and beat slowly in a Kitchenaid Mixer.
Sometimes beat fast, other times slow it down.
If you have too much water, add a little flour.
If you have not enough water, add some at bit at a time. It will mix in.
The goal is a nice soft dough that does not stick to the sides of the bowl.
When the right consistency mix on low to medium for 5 minutes or so.
Turn out onto a floured board and knead for a minute.
Form into a tidy ball, place back into the bowl, and cover with a damp cloth and place in a warm place. I put mine into the warming cupboard at 80 degrees.

When double in size, punch down and form into a tidy ball again.
Let rise again. It should go faster the second time.

Prepare the bread pan by lightly greasing it with something greasy.

When the dough has risen the second time, turn out onto the board and cut in half.
Roll each half to be almost as long at the bread pan and place in pan.
Cover with damp towel, place in warm place and let double in size.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
Just before baking lightly slash the bread diagonally several times.
I use a serrated knife and run it very lightly over the bread dough.
Bake bread for 17 minutes.
When bread is out of the oven turn the loaves 90 degrees in the pan to prevent them from getting damp while cooling off.

This bread keeps well for about 24 hours. If you use milk as part of the liquid the bread will stay soft longer, but it will have a different taste. You can let it rise only twice instead of three times, but it loses some of its specialness, but is still good.

French Bean Casserole

It's been a joke with me that I can't stand the classic holiday bean casserole. The one that uses Campbell's soup and canned onion rings. But then I came across this recipe in a British magazine and it didn't use pre-prepared items and I thought I would try it. It was a really big hit. But last Thanksgiving we had the whole family over and I made this and I forgot to serve it! It's a big recipe and it needs eaters. I wrote a smaller version below. But for now you need a very big casserole dish. Also, you can use frozen beans but it won't taste nearly as good. Très ordinaire as a matter of fact.

½ stick butter
1 small onion, diced
¾ lb button mushrooms, quartered
salt and pepper

3 level Tbls flour
1 ½ cups hot milk
grated nutmeg
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 lb fresh French beans, cut in half, blanched, and drained
3 oz freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbls breadcrumbs

In advance: can be made two days in advance.

Heat 1 Tbl butter in pan and cook diced onions until they begin to soften. Add the mushrooms. Season and cook about 6-8 minutes.

Melt remaining butter in a saucepan and add the flour. Whisking constantly, pour in the milk and season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and cayenne. Whisk until glossy and smooth. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

Combine the beans, onions and mushrooms, and white sauce. Butter a casserole dish and put in half the bean mixture. Sprinkle on half the parmesan and top with the rest on the beans. Combine the remaining Parmesan with the bread crumbs and sprinkle over the top.

Pre-heat oven to 400 F. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
This big version serves at least 12 people.

Smaller Version

1 tablespoons butter
1/2 small onion, diced
4 ounces button mushrooms, quartered
salt and pepper

1 level Tbls flour
½ cups hot milk
grated nutmeg
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/3 lb fresh green beans, thin ones, cut in half, blanched, and drained
1 oz freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbls breadcrumbs

Heat 1 Tbl butter in pan and cook diced onions until they begin to soften. Add the mushrooms. Season and cook about 6-8 minutes.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a saucepan and add the flour. Whisking constantly, pour in the milk and season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and cayenne. Whisk until glossy and smooth. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

Combine the beans, onions and mushrooms, and white sauce. Butter a casserole dish and put in half the bean mixture. Sprinkle on half the parmesan and top with the rest on the beans. Combine the remaining Parmesan with the bread crumbs and sprinkle over the top.

Pre-heat oven to 400 F. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Broiled Cinnamon Toast

This is the way my Mom made cinnamon toast when I was a kid, and this is the way I made cinnamon toast for my children, especially served with hot chocolate when they came inside from playing in the snow. We all think it's the best cinnamon toast ever.

Slices of bread, buttered liberally
Sugar, sprinkled liberally on each buttered slice
Cinnamon, tapped gently onto each slice, I used a tea strainer.

Preheat the broiler
Place all the slices onto a baking sheet
Broil in an oven with the door ajar until nicely done, not burnt
I like to cut each piece of toast into three pieces, like fingers.

Grateful Pudding with Lemon Sauce

A Grateful Pudding.TO a pound of flour, add a pound of white bread grated. Take eight eggs, but only half the whites. Beat them up, and mix with them a pint of new milk. Then stir in the bread and flour, a pound of raisins stoned, a pound of currants, half a pound of sugar, and a little beaten ginger. Mix it well together, and either bake or boil it. It will take three quarters of an hour baking. Put cream in, instead of, milk, if you have it, which will be a great addition.
The London Art of Cookery, (1787), John Farley.
My pudding is somewhat different, but certainly there are similarities. 

1/2 cup sultanas
1/4 cup brandy
12 ounces white bread, bottom crusts removed, cut into 1/2 inch squares
2 cups light cream or whole milk
1 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp nutmeg or mace or any spice you like

Soak the raisins in the brandy overnight or for several hours.

Butter and sprinkle with sugar a 2 quart covered metal pudding mold, including the inside of the lid. I put a bunch of sugar into the mold, secure the buttered lid, and then shake and shake. This covers everything nicely.
Layer the bread alternately with the plumped sultanas in the mold, ending with the bread.

Beat the eggs with the sugar until light. Gradually pour in the cream. Add the nutmeg. Pour over the bread. This can now be stored in the refrigerator over night if you like. Or left to sit out on the table for an hour or two to soak and come to room temperature.

Secure the lid and place the mold on a rack in a covered kettle with enough water to come two thirds up the side of the mold. Steam the pudding for 1 hour over gently simmering water. I have also put it in the top of Nigella's big pot, with the water in the bottom, not actually touching the pudding mold. This worked quite nicely. It's all about steaming the pudding.

Lemon Sauce

3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tbl cornflour
1 cups hot water
1/4 cup butter
juice and zest of two tiny lemons

Combine the sugar and cornflour in a saucepan. Add the hot water and bring slowly to a boil. Add the butter, lemon juice, and zest and continue cooking until smooth, just a bit longer.

To serve, unmold the warm pudding onto a serving plate and serve with a bowl of lemon sauce that has been slightly heated.

Riley's Buttermilk Blueberry Muffins

Riley is actually a very good cook. He just doesn't cook all that often.

* 2 cups flour
* 1 Tb baking powder
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 1/2 tsp baking soda
* grated nutmeg
* 2 tsp Lemon zest or to taste…

* 2 large eggs
* 1 cup buttermilk
* 2/3 cup sugar
* 1/2 cup melted butter (vegetable oil will work if you are desperate,
                but be prepared to be under- whelmed)
* 1/4 tsp vanilla…

* 3/4 cup blueberries (give or take a few)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Put paper liners in a muffin tin.  If you don't have the liners, butter the muffin tin.
You can make 12 large or 24 small  muffins.

Combine the dry ingredients.
Whisk together in a separate bowl the eggs, buttermilk, sugar, melted butter, and vanilla.
Mix wet with dry ingredients quickly using a fork, don't over mix. This is one of those recipes where you can tell if it was over-mixed, so be gentle.
Then add the blueberries and barely mix.

Put batter into the muffin tin and bake for about 12-15 minutes, checking every few minutes after the first ten. When a pick comes out clean they are done.

Tamale Pie

This is a what to do with left-over chili recipe. Now I'm not one to use pre-made mixes except this one. It is pretty much as if you made it from scratch. But if you don't want to use the mix just use a half recipe for corn bread.

left-over chili
1 box of Jiffy corn muffin mix
shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to about 350 degrees.
In an appropriately sized casserole dish or pie plate put the chili. At this point you could warm the chili up a bit in the microwave. That helps in the cooking.
Mix up the Jiffy cornbread and spread it over the chili.
Top with a bunch of shredded cheddar cheese.
Bake for about 20-25 minutes.
Just be careful not to burn it.
Can be topped with sour cream and salsa.

Molly's Chili

This is cooked in a large pot like a Dutch oven.

1 - 2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 - 1 large onion, chopped or diced
2-4 cloves garlic, chopped or minced
1 pound ground beef

1 tablespoon more or less of chili powder (not all chili powders are the same, so go for the amount of heat you want)
salt and pepper
a dash of cayenne pepper if more heat is desired
1 - 1 1/2 cup(s) red wine, any kind you like or have
2 - 6 tablespoons brown sugar (sugar cuts heat if you find you made it too spicy)
3 - 5 tablespoons dried basil
1 can of diced tomatoes
1/2 can of tomato puree (if you put it all in add some water)
1 large can of red kidney beans, drained somewhat
1 can of black beans, drained somewhat
1 cup frozen or canned corn.

Fry up the onions in the olive oil until nice and soft. Add the garlic and the beef and cook.
Add salt and pepper and chili powder and cook a minute of two.
Add the wine and cook maybe five minutes. Until the strong wine smell is gone and the mixture is brownish.
Add the remaining ingredients and cook for a while, being very careful not to burn the beans.

I serve this over rice, topped with shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream and salsa if desired.

Left-over chili can be turned into a lovely chili soup using tomatoes pulverized in the blender and anything else you like.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Grateful Pudding with Lemon Sauce

We have this pudding every year at Thanksgiving. It seems most appropriate. It keeps well, so it makes a nice dessert for quite a few days along with pie.  The recipe is just a guide line, really.  It all depends on the size of your pudding mold, or how much pudding you need or want.

1/2 cup sultanas
1/4 cup brandy
12 ounces white bread, bottom crusts removed, cut into 1/2 inch squares
2 cups light cream
1 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Soak the raisins in the brandy with the lemon zest overnight.

Butter and sprinkle with sugar a 2 quart covered metal pudding mold, including the inside of the lid. Layer the bread alternately with the plumped sultanas in the mold, ending with the bread.

Beat the eggs with the sugar until light. Gradually pour in the cream. Add the nutmeg. Pour over the bread.

Secure the lid and place the mold on a rack in a covered kettle with enough water to come two thirds up the side of the mold. Steam the pudding for 1 hour over gently simmering water.

Lemon Sauce

3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tbl cornflour
1 cups hot water
1/4 cup butter
juice and zest of two tiny lemons

Combine the sugar and cornflour in a saucepan. Stir in the hot water and bring slowly to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the butter, lemon juice, and zest, stirring until smooth.

To serve, unmold the warm pudding onto a serving plate and serve with a bowl of lemon sauce.

Texas Hold'em Sheet Cake

The family loves this recipe, but I have a tendency to keep losing it. Hopefully this is the right one. There are so many of them out there. It could be that it is supposed to have coffee in it. I'm just not sure. But later when I make this one again I'll decide if it is the right one.


2 sticks butter
1 cup water
4 tbsp cocoa
2 cups flour - 9.5 ounces

2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt

2 eggs
1/2 pint buttermilk
1 tsp baking soda

1 stick butter

1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 cup rich milk
 or cream
1 box icing sugar, 16 ounces
2 Tbl brandy
1 cup chopped nuts

Put the butter, water and cocoa into a saucepan and bring to a boil. 
While this is coming to a boil, grease, paper, and grease a 11x15 inch cake pan.
Combine the sugar, flour, salt, and soda in a large bowl and stir in the boiled mixture.
Beat in the eggs one at a time, and then stir in the buttermilk.
Pour into the prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or so.

This cake can also be bakes in a bigger sheet pan, and then not baked as long.

Make frosting as soon as the cake is done.
Boil butter, cocoa and milk.
Remove and add powdered sugar, vanilla and nuts.
Mix until smooth. Spread on cake while still warm.
Cool down and cut into squares.

Note: I actually think that there is a little too much frosting in this recipe, but I haven't yet worked out what it should be. But here a guestiment: 6 Tbls butter, 3 Tbls cocoa, 1/3 cup milk or cream, 12 ounces icing sugar, 1-2 Tbls brandy, and 1 cup chopped nuts.

Molly's Spaghetti Sauce

I always serve the spaghetti sauce in a large bowl separate from the noodles when we're having spaghetti for dinner. I also use this sauce for other things.

1/2 big onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped fine (optional)
1 celery stalk, chopped fine (very optional)
olive oil for frying

4 little cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 tablespoon good chili powder (more or less)

1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 - 3/4 pound Italian sausage (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
1/3 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
1 teaspoon salt, more as needed
a nice big lot of freshly ground pepper
1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, but this adds a great kick)

1-2 cup(s) red wine - any kind you like
35 oz. can of real Italian tomatoes (San Marzano) or 3 cans of regular tomatoes of some sort, mushed in blender (children hate chunks of tomato)
6 oz. can of tomato paste
3 tablespoons brown sugar, more if needed
2-3 tablespoons dried basil (more if desired)
1 teaspoon freshly mortared Italian seasonings

In a Dutch oven (5 quart pot) fry up the onion, carrots, and celery.

In a frying pan put a tablespoon of olive oil and cook up the meat. Add the salt, pepper, and desired spices after it's fried up some and you've removed excess fat. Using a slotted spoon add the meat to the veggies, then add the garlic and chili powder and cayenne and fried for a minute. Add the wine, brown sugar and herbs.

When the wine is no longer red add the tomatoes and tomato paste. Heat up and taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper if needed. If too thick add some water. Let simmer for at least 15 minutes.  

Rhubarb Apple Crisp


3 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
16 ounces rhubarb, diced

1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbl flour
2 Tbls cream
grating of nutmeg

1 cup flour, about 5 ounces
1 cup sugar
1 stick butter, diced up
pinch of salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

350 for 1 hour

Put the apples in to a large quiche dish.
Put the rhubarb on top.
Combine the next five ingredients, and spread over the fruit.

In the food processor, combine the topping ingredients.
Mix until like cornmeal, then spread over the fruit.
Bake until a bit bubbly.

Serve warm, with ice cream if desired.

Hard Boiled Eggs


My grandmother, Nana, taught me how to make perfect hard boiled eggs, and it has worked every time. You take a pan just big enough to gently hold the amount of eggs that you want to cook and carefully place the eggs into the empty pan. Cover the eggs to just above the eggs with cold water. Place on the stove on a hot element and bring the water to a boil. As soon as the water boils turn off the heat and cover the pot with a tight lid and let sit for 25 minutes. When the time is up carefully pour off most of the water and run cold water over the eggs. Leave the eggs to cool down a bit, then transfer out of the water to whatever you want to put them in. The eggs will store nicely for several days.

What to do with hard boiled eggs

For Easter I like to dye eggs solid colors, especially blue, or an array of colors. I don’t worry if the eggs are cracked when dying them because the dyed bits of egg look terrific in egg salad sandwiches. To make the egg salad mixture I use the egg slicer to cut up the eggs. Put the egg in the slicer, slice the egg, lift up the handle, carefully turn the egg 90 degrees, then slice one more time. This gives more substance to the mixture. I then salt and pepper the eggs, and for the best eggs of all, peel and slice them while warm and moisten the mixture with butter. Otherwise, stir in a little mayonnaise, sour cream, and some Dijon mustard. 

The same two approaches can be used in making stuffed eggs. Though of course after peeling the egg you just cut it in half.  I don’t know why everyone insists upon calling them deviled eggs. I like to keep mine simple, and with the egg yolk as the main stuffing ingredient. And they don’t need to be dressed up, people like them simple.  But then, that's just how I do it.  I have been known to pipe the egg yolk filling into the egg white shells.  It makes it go faster, but it takes quite a bit of effort to clean the piping bag afterwards.

When I was a kid, and my Mom made lots of eggs for the eight of us to find, and each one of us assumed that we had rightful possession of the eggs we found. We didn’t expect the eggs to get turned into anything. What you did was peal the egg, cut it in half, salt and pepper the egg, and eat it. Well actually, I don't think my brothers bothered with "the cut it in half" part.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Potato Salad


2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, or russets, diced
4 tablespoons dill pickle juice
4 tablespoons finely chopped dill pickles
4 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 or 2 chopped green onions
1 - 2 hard boiled eggs, chopped (optional)

1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Put the potatoes in a steamer and cook until tender. Put potatoes in to a large bowl add the juice from the dill pickles, the chopped pickles, parsley, onions, celery, and green onions.
In a separate small bowl, mix mayonnaise with sour cream, sugar, pickle juice, mustard and salt and pepper to taste. Mix in the dressing with the potato mixture. Add the hard boiled eggs, and salt and pepper to taste.

Now potato salad is a pretty loose thing. One can do as one likes. You can add more of this and less of that. Maybe you don’t want any eggs at all. Maybe you want bacon, or red peppers, or jalapeños. Or how about pepperocini.

"This is like deja vu all over again." Yogi Berra

Swedish Remoulade


When I first found out that the Swedes put remoulade on their hot dogs I had the darndest time trying to figure out what that was exactly. So what I have here is the closest I could come to what it is. At our house this is put on hot dogs, and even Venezuelan hot dogs. I think that it looks a lot like tartar sauce that you put on fish. The Swedes probably put it on fish also.

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 small clove garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon tarragon
1 hard cooked egg, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/4 tsp anchovy paste
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 teaspoon sugar

Combine and chill.

Venezuelan Hot Dogs


8 hot dog buns
8 hot dogs
1 onion
1/4 head cabbage
1 regular bag of potato chips

Using a pot with a steamer basket, put the hot dogs in boiling water and set the buns in the steamer. Cook long enough to get the dogs hot and the buns nice and warm. This will take maybe 5 minutes. Be careful not to let the rolls get soggy.

While the dogs are cooking, finely chop the onion and cabbage. Crush the potato chips into very fine pieces.

On the steamed bun place the hot dog, chopped onion and cabbage, crushed potato chips, and the squirt of mayonnaise, ketchup, and mustard.

Impossible Coconut Pie


4 large eggs, or 3 extra large eggs

6 tablespoons butter, melted

3/4 cup white sugar

1/2 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 cups milk

1 cup coconut
, I use the sweetened kind
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Combine the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix in the melted butter.
Then stir in the eggs.
Mix in the milk and vanilla. Stir in coconut
Pour into a buttered deep pie dish.
Bake at 350F or gas mark 4 for 1 hour

When cooked the crust will be at the bottom,
the custard in the center
and the coconut on the top.

Lita’s Plain Fried Rice

Before Lita taught me how to make fried rice I was clueless.

You use the cold left-over rice - do not use fresh hot rice. In a saute pan, appropriate for the amount of rice to be fried, add oil to lightly cover the bottom, a tablespoon or two. Heat the oil just until you get that hint of a rainbow in the oil, but the oil is not smoking. Add the rice and smash it about a bit with the bottom of a wooden spoon. Keep pushing the rice around gently, turning down the heat if needed, until you get the consistency of crispiness that you want. While cooking, add salt and pepper. I should note that I do not put salt in the rice when I cook it the first time.  Lita told me not to salt it, so I don't.  It doesn't seem to need it the first time round.  Fried rice can take quite a bit of salt, which is the key flavor ingredient. It’s a bit like making hash-browns. You want that element of crispiness, which are known as rice crackers.

Adding to the Fried Rice

If you want to add things to the friend rice you do so after it has been fried up. I like to get the add-in ready ahead of time.

1. egg - depending on how much friend rice you have, you simply add to the finished fried rice a scrambled egg or two. The eggs are fried in a separate pan, and then kept ready to add in a small dish.

2. green onions - have then all sliced up and add to the finished fried rice. It's a pleasing thing to cut the green part on the diagonal.

3. peas &/or corn - just put some into the friend rice and they will warm up quickly. I'm talking of frozen of course.

4. leftover meat - I dice up the meat and have it ready to throw into the friend rice. If you like you can fry up the meat a bit in a separate pan, the one the egg was scrambled in for example.

5. You can put in anything you want, just make sure that when you put it into the fried rice it's pretty much already to eat.

6. Seasonings - If I'm adding extra ingredients to the fried rice then I also add seasonings like soy sauce, or sambal, or sesame oil, or you name it. Just don't be heavy handed. You want to sneak up on it, tasting as you go.

Lita’s Steamed Rice

How to Make Lita’s Steamed Rice

The modern easy way to make steamed rice is by using the rice cooker, which I think all households should have. But it is actually easy to make rice on the stove. I learned my method from my Filipino amah, Lita. Cooked rice is about three times as much as uncooked rice.

Take a saucepan that has a lid, and put rice in to it, let’s say a cup or two. My rice of choice is Jasmine. Run water over the rice, stir a bit with your fingers, pour off the water, being careful not to dump out the rice. Do this until the water is not all cloudy, but relatively clear. Then add just enough water so that when you stick you index finger straight down into the water so as to just barely touch the rice, the water will come to the first joint on your finger. Now this is not a precise science, but you don’t want to be too sloppy. Place the saucepan on the stove and a high heat. Bring the water (with the rice in it) to a boil. As soon as it boils give the rice a stir to make sure the little rices are not stuck to the bottom of the pan. Now turn the heat down to medium and do not stir the rice again. When the water level is just to the top of the rice turn the heat down to low. When the water has evaporated - there will be a little ticking noise, and when you look straight down you see no water - turn the heat off and cover the pan. Let sit covered until dinner is ready to be serve.

Chicken Adobo, Barbecued


24 chicken legs and/or thighs, skinned
2 or 3 big zip-lock baggies
1 cup soya sauce
1 cup rice wine vinegar
3 Tbl sugar
15 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbl freshly ground pepper

After skinning the chicken divide it between 2 or 3 baggies.
Add the rest of the ingredients proportionally to the bags.
Zip shut and turn to mix everything and cover the chicken.
Refrigerate the chicken. It is good to take it out of the refrigerator at lest a half hour before cooking time to take the chill off a bit.
After several hours, or over night cook on the barbecue for about 45 minutes.

Cocktail Nuts Fudge

One day I decided to teach my grandson Christian how to make fudge.  We started with the basic recipe and looked around for something else to add.  There was a big can of cocktail nuts in the cupboard.  I'm not sure where they came from as it's not the kind of thing I would buy, but they were an excellent addition.  I also added the whiskey, because all good fudge has alcohol in it.

16 oz chocolate chips
1 oz butter
1 tablespoon whiskey (we used Famous Grouse)
1 can condensed milk
8 oz mixed cocktail nuts

jelly roll or cake pan (about 9 1/2 x 13) 

Line the jelly roll pan with parchment paper sticking up like little handles.

Put all but the nuts into a glass dish and microwave for 2 1/2 minutes. Or you can melt it all in a double boiler.  Stir the hot mixture until it is nice and smooth. Add the nuts and stir. Pour into the pan and refrigerate until nice and firm.

Remove, using the sticking up parchment as handles, and place onto a cutting board. I like to cut the fudge into 1 inch squares and place each piece into little cupcake cups that I get by the 500s at the wholesale grocery store. Then put into a square tin, putting waxed paper between the layers.

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam


1 pound rhubarb, trimmed weight, in small pieces
1/4 cup water
1 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced
juice of 1 lemon
1 cup sugar

Put the rhubarb and the water in a nice big pot.
Simmer for a bit to get the rhubarb cooking.
Add the strawberries, lemon juice and sugar.
Cook on low until you like the consistency.
Be careful to not over cook!!!
Add more sugar is desired.

Strawberry Tarte


I was going to make a strawberry tarte with lemon curd on the crust, but I didn’t get around to it yet. I will some day. But I did make a strawberry tarte from scratch.

1 pie shell, cooked blind

1 cup hulled fresh strawberries, chopped up or mashed
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornflour
2 tablespoons water

3 cups hulled fresh strawberries, halved or quartered

Have the pie shell ready.
Put in a small saucepan the mashed berries and the sugar.
Heat up. In a small dish combine the conflour and water.
Stir into the hot berries and when it thickens its done.
Add to the 3 cups of cut berries, stir gently to mix.
Spoon into the pie shell. Chill about 2 to 4 hours.
Serve with sweetened whipped cream.

This dessert could also be made with a packet of gelatin instead of the cornflour, but I haven’t gotten to that one yet.

Mrs Munslow's Lemon curd

The Munslow family of Hallow, Worcestershire

(makes 1 pound)

zest and juice of 2 large lemons
2 large eggs
3/4 - 1 cup sugar( 6 - 8 oz)
1 stick butter (4 oz.) 

Beat the eggs thoroughly.
Place sugar, butter, lemon zest and half of the lemon juice into a bain marie or double boiler.
Stir slowly till everything is dissolved.
Add the beaten eggs and remaining lemon juice.

Heat gently, stirring frequently until it will coat the back of a spoon (thick cream consistency).
Pour into heated jars/ use within six weeks. Use like jam (sandwiches or in tarts).

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Chocolate Sauce


12 ounces of chocolate chips, I like dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup cream or half & half
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons espresso coffee (I use my Italian stovetop)
1 tablespoon brandy

Place the chocolate chips and cream into a glass bowl and microwave until chips are melted. They won’t look melted at first, but when you stir them you see they are melted. Maybe put them in for 2 minutes. When melted add the honey, coffee and brandy and stir until smooth.

Fresh Strawberry Sauce


1 punnet of strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 to 2 tablespoon(s) sugar

Combine, gently stir and let sit a bit to let the juiced run.