Sunday, October 16, 2016

Scary Spiders and Chocolate Mice

Spider Queenby Mistiqarts

Halloween is my favorite holiday. I love to decorate. And every year I search for inexpensive dramatic decorations that cost next to nothing. Every year I find new creations on the Net. 

Spiders are a theme. One year, chicken wire Ghosts were all the rage. I think Spiders are really scary and that, after all, is the point. 

Go HERE for a Giant Spider Web made out of trash bags. I am making this for my front door.

Sure you can pay $12.00 and get a web ready made but where is the fun in that? Why shop when you have the makings of giant spiders at home already.

Last but not least, make Spider Web Cupcakes. You can find a recipe for them and Chocolate Mice at Food and Wine's Halloween Desserts. 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

365 Days a Year - Quick Pie with Music

This is the quickest pie I ever made. I had to try it. When you have to cook for your dear ones 365 days a year, you look for fast and good. This pie was delicious. It works. I am dreaming blueberry filling now.

The recipe comes from Kitchen Kapers a community fundraising cookbook published by St. Luke's Parish Association in 1976.

To be fair, you could just call this a Cobbler. You tell me. Do not overbake. If the edges get too brown, the pie will not slice easily. I used butter.

I give you the recipe verbatim. Vintage cookbooks tend to be terse. Musical accompaniment by Marvin & Johnny 1954.


1 stick Oleo
1 cup Flour
1 cup Sugar
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1 cup Milk
1 can Cherry Pie Filling

Melt Oleo in the baking dish. Mix well Flour, Sugar, Milk and Baking Powder. Pour over the melted Oleo; do not stir. Then pour over the can of Fruit. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Pumpkin Pie Cake

I love all the orange vegetables that come into season in the Fall. Pumpkin anything is divine.

Photograph taken in Bucks County Pennsylvania at Trauger's Farm.

This cake recipe meets all my requirements: simple ingredients, easy to make, tastes really good. I am republishing this from last year in case you missed it the first time.

I made this for a family party and even those who "do not like pumpkin" had seconds. Serve warm or cool with whipped Cream or Ice Cream.

Recipe comes from one of my go to recipe resources All Recipes.

Bea Gassman's Pumpkin Pie Cake

(18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix        
1/3 cup butter, melted 
1 egg
1 (29 ounce) can pumpkin
1/2 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup milk
3 eggs
2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup butter, chilled
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.

Set aside 1 cup of cake mix. Combine remaining cake mix with melted butter and 1 egg and mix until well blended; spread mixture in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. 

In a large bowl combine pumpkin, brown sugar, milk, 3 eggs and pumpkin pie spice; mix well and pour this mixture over cake mix mixture in baking dish. 

In a small bowl with a pastry blender, or in a food processor, combine chilled butter and white sugar with reserved cake mix until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over pumpkin mixture. Sprinkle chopped walnuts over all. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, until top is golden.

Saturday, October 1, 2016


Click Me to Learn Halloween Animal MakeUp

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! See pet costumes HERE

Warning - some of the costumes at the linked site seem less than dignified and a bit cruel. However, most are funny and make you go AWWWW! Take your silly pictures, laugh if you must and get that damn costume off your long suffering pet ASAP. 


October's Bright Blue Weather

Helen Hunt Jackson
Fall is my favorite season. Time to make Pumpkin Pie and enjoy good Soup. Halloween will soon be here..

The colors of Fall are so rich - eggplant purple, bright blue sky, bright orange squashes. Time for children to dive into piles of golden leaves with abandon. Life is good.

October’s Bright Blue Weather
O SUNS and skies and clouds of June,
And flowers of June together,
Ye cannot rival for one hour
October’s bright blue weather;

When loud the bumble-bee makes haste,
Belated, thriftless vagrant,
And Golden-Rod is dying fast,
And lanes with grapes are fragrant;

When Gentians roll their fringes tight
To save them for the morning,
And chestnuts fall from satin burrs
Without a sound of warning;

When on the ground red apples lie
In piles like jewels shining,
And redder still on old stone walls
Are leaves of woodbine twining;

When all the lovely wayside things
Their white-winged seeds are sowing,
And in the fields, still green and fair,
Late aftermaths are growing;

When springs run low, and on the brooks,
In idle golden freighting,
Bright leaves sink noiseless in the hush
Of woods, for winter waiting;

When comrades seek sweet country haunts,
By twos and twos together,
And count like misers, hour by hour,
October’s bright blue weather.

O suns and skies and flowers of June,
Count all your boasts together,
Love loveth best of all the year
October’s bright blue weather.

by Helen Hunt Jackson

Friday, September 30, 2016

Football Food - Clam Dip

Unlike a great number of Americans, I am not a football fan. However, a number of football fans hang out at my house on football days. And I feed them snacks and things. And lots of good beer. 

William Flagg's Clam Dip from The Clam Lover's Cookbook. is perfect Football Food.

I might buy this cookbook. In it is a recipe for Mushrooms stuffed with Whole Clams, I am told. I love Clams. 

Clam Dip (sic)

2 packages cream cheese (3 oz each)
1 Tbs Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced or 1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbsp Horseradish
1/4 tsp mustard powder
1 Tbsp minced onion
3 drops Tabasco sauce (or more)
2 Tbsp clam juice (reserved from canned clams)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 can minced clams, liquid reserved
1 tsp chopped chives

Place all through Tabasco into mixing bowl. Use electric mixer at low speed until blended. Add clam juice and mix. Add sour cream, mix until consistency of whipped cream. Add clams, blend at low speed. Add chives, blend only until mixed. Pour into serving dish and mound up. Chill half hour. 

Sprinkle with paprika. Garnish with chives, parsley, pimento, sliced onion or small whole clams. I sprinkle paprika and call it good.

Serve with potato chips. Recipe says saltines or potato chips, but who are we kidding? Hell, I can eat this with a spoon. Forget the chips!

English Cottage Pie

This is another recipe from Sadie Dell. She writes
 “Proper English Cottage Pie is a delicious, very traditional mince pie topped with mashed Potato. Serve with garden or mushy peas.”

1 pound lean ground Beef
1 Onion, diced
3 Carrots, diced
2 tablespoons all-purpose Flour
½ teaspoon ground Nutmeg 
1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Parsley
1 ½ cups Beef Broth
1 tablespoon Tomato Paste
Salt and Pepper to taste

4 Potatoes, peeled and diced
¼ cup Butter, softened
1 cup Milk
Salt and Pepper to taste
¼ pound shredded Cheddar Cheese


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place a large skillet over medium heat. Crumble in ground Beef and saute one minute. Add Onion and Carrot and continue to saute until Meat is no longer pink and Onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes.

Mix in Flour, Nutmeg, mixed Herbs and Parsley. In a small bowl, combine Beef Broth and Tomato Paste. Mix together and then add to the Beef mixture. Add Salt and Pepper to taste. Lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until almost all of liquid has been absorbed. Spoon the mixture into a 9 inch pie plate.

Place diced potatoes in a medium saucepan. Cover with water and boil until potatoes are tender. Drain. Mash Potatoes until smooth, and then add Butter and Milk. Whip until fluffy. Add Salt and Pepper to taste. Spread potatoes over Beef filling. Sprinkle with Cheddar Cheese. Bake for 25 minutes until top is browned and Cheese is bubbly.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Delicious Jewelry

I was selling homemade toys at a Fall Festival in Philly. There was live Jazz and all sorts of crafts. Seated right next to me was a jewelry maker. Her name is Zoe.  She makes the most attractive jewelry out of food. I cannot tell you how charming this jewelry is. Judge for yourself.

Here is Zoe's website:

And a link to her Etsy shop:

I think this costume jewelry is modern and fun. A perfect gift for the contemporary Foody in your life or anyone who loves lighthearted modern costume jewelry.  Note. I receive no payment; I just love her stuff.

Java Sweet and Hot

Coffee is good and good for you. Hallelujah! I am celebrating with a cup of Poor Richard's blend coffee from Reading Terminal Market. Life is good.

I was so happy to read this article. How much do we love coffee? We love coffee so much that we write songs about coffee. Coffee songs below.

Good to know that our love for that first cup in the morning is not in vain. And that drinking another two or three cups may have health benefits.

The illustration is a vintage tin sign. You can find more signs of this type HERE.

Why Coffee Is Good for You
Kris Gunnars, Authority Nutrition

It is more than just dark-colored liquid with caffeine. Coffee actually contains hundreds of different compounds, some of which have important health benefits.

Several massive studies have now shown that the people who drink the most coffee live longer and have a reduced risk of diseases like Alzheimer’s and diabetes. Read more ..

Friday, September 23, 2016

Halloween Gets Devil Sauce and a Soul Fondue

I have a charming small cookbook entitled The Gourmet Fondue Cookbook by B. Arthur Paull. This cookbook was written in the 70s during the Fondue craze. It was sold at Fante's here in Philly.

I am bringing Fondue back for my private little Halloween Party.  Mr. Paull's recipes are not long on quantities and procedure. They are terse. I produce them verbatim. The intrepid Foody will not be deterred. These two are adventurous and very good.

This is a savory Fondue in which the bits of food (chunks of bread, shrimp, cheese, tofu, veggies etc.) are individually cooked by the diner.

Soul Fondue

1/2 cup pureed Chicken Liver
1 minced Onion
1 teaspoon Cayenne
1/4 cup Brandy
1/2 cup Butter
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 cup Tomato Paste
1/2 cup Cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
Salt to taste.

Pan fry onion in butter. Add flour and stir fry 5 minutes. Add tomato paste, salt, cayenne, Worcestershire, chicken liver and cream. Stir constantly for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and add cheese. Stir until cheese melts. Add brandy.

Devil Sauce

Combine tomato sauce, vinegar, sugar, horseradish and garlic. Pour into a serving dish, cover and chill.

Mrs. Austine Sutton's Cider Sauce

“Up until Prohibition, an apple grown in America was far less likely to be eaten than to wind up in a barrel of cider. (“Hard” cider is a twentieth-century term, redundant before then since virtually all cider was hard until modern refrigeration allowed people to keep sweet cider sweet.)”
Michael Pollan, The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World

Mrs. Austine Sutton's Cider Sauce for Ham or Pork Dishes

3 tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 tablspoon Corn Starch
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon ground Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground Cloves
1 cup Apple Cider
1 tablespoon Lemon Juice

Thoroughly mix Sugar, Corn Starch, Salt and Spices together. Stir in the Cider and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring all the time. Remove from heat. Let mixture cool until it is thick and clear. Then stir in Lemon Juice. It is then ready to serve.

This recipe comes from Simpson-Fletcher's Soul Food Recipes.

Roasted Pumpkin Guts

I am seeing beautiful pumpkins in the market so I am doing this again. Note: you can roast the seeds of any hard Winter squash.

When I was a child, you could buy a box of roasted Indian Brand Pumpkin Seeds at the corner candy store. The box the seeds came in had a beautiful illustration of an American Indian in full Chief's headdress.

When you get done carving that pumpkin for Halloween or just to make a pie, you can roast your own pumpkin seeds. Roasted pumpkin seeds are so good.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

1 and 1/2 cups raw whole Pumpkin Seeds
2 teaspoons Butter, melted
Pinch Salt

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).

Toss seeds in a bowl with the melted butter and salt. Spread the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown; stir occasionally.

This recipe comes from - for my money the best recipe site on the net. Cooks share their variations on the recipe and their opinions of the recipe's quality.

Cooks also share practical tips for recipe execution like this tip below. There are a lot of creative cooks in the world. This tip is from Valerie's Kitchen.

If you've never roasted pumpkin seeds before here are my tips. When you carve your pumpkins scoop the seeds into a colander and the guts onto newspaper. Inevitably some of the guts will be mixed in with the seeds but when you run water over them it's separated out pretty easily. After you drain the rinsed seeds, pour them onto a large, dry cookie sheet and let them sit for 24 hours or so to dry out. Now you can pick out the remaining pieces of pumpkin stuff that didn't get pulled out earlier and they will roast better if they are not wet when they go in the oven. My family prefers them seasoned with garlic salt in place of regular salt but you can use whatever suits your taste. So good!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Sacred Gardens

I must make amends for my long absence, Cher Readers. I have been recovering from a bad fall. I offer you a look at the work of a Sculptor, Gardener and Mystic. I think, given the beauty of the work, I will consider myself forgiven.
Gardens and how we honor the Divine. I have taken the challenge of doing industrial strength Gardening, I see it from every angle. Being a Sculptor, I have created what I believe to be living spaces where Earth is as Important as the work.
Please visit my instagram feed at @jkott333.
A Story of Healing 

Date Pie

This Pie recipe comes from Simpson-Fletcher's Soul Food Recipes. Seems like the perfect Pie for Winter when there is no fresh native Fruit.

Dates have been a staple food of the Middle East and the Indus Valley for thousands of years. Date Palms are believed to have originated around Iraq, and have been cultivated since ancient times from Mesopotamia to prehistoric Egypt, possibly as early as 4000 BCE.

Miss Melvina Price's Date Pie

1 cup chopped Dates
3/4 cup of Sugar
2 Eggs, separated
1/2 cup chopped Pecans
1 cup Butter
1/4 cup Milk
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 unbaked Pie Crust

Cream Butter and Sugar together until light and fluffy. Add beaten Egg Yolks. Blend in milk. Beat well. Stir in Pecans and Dates. Beat Egg Whites until stiff. and fold into the Date mixture. Bake at 350 degrees until set and browned. This Pie is good served with Whipped Cream, Ice Cream, or Custard Sauce.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Zucchini Bread and Butter Pickles

I love Bread and Butter Pickles. I have always made them made with Cucumber. This is the perfect recipe for those who have so many Zucchini in the garden that the neighbors refuse to take anymore and hide when they see you coming. 
The origin of the name and the spread of their popularity in the United States is attributed to Omar and Cora Fanning, a pair of Illinois cucumber farmers who started selling sweet and sour pickles in the 1920s and filed for the trademark Fanning's Bread and Butter Pickles in 1923 (though the recipe and similar ones are probably much older). The story attached to the name is that the Fannings survived rough years by making the pickles with their surplus of undersized cucumbers and bartering them with their grocer for staples such as bread and butter. - wikipedia
Zucchini Bread and Butter Pickles 

1 large Onion, sliced 1/8 inch thick
6 cups small Zucchini, sliced 1/8 inch thick
1/4 cup Salt
2 cups Cider Vinegar
1 cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Turmeric
1 teaspoon Celery Seed
1 teaspoon Mustard Seed 

Place the Zucchini and Onion in a large bowl. Salt thoroughly.  Cover and leave overnight. Combine all other ingredients and bring to a boil. Add Zucchini and Onions  to the pickling brine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Pack pickles into hot sterilized pint jars. Fill jars to 1/2 inch of the top with pickling brine and seal. These pickles make excellent bread and butter sandwiches.

Peanut Butter Pie for National Peanut Day

George Washington Carver was an American botanist and inventor. The exact day and year of his birth are unknown; he was born into slavery in Missouri, either in 1861 or January 1864.

Carver's reputation is based on his research into and promotion of alternative crops to cotton, such as peanuts, soybeans, and sweet potatoes, which also aided nutrition for farm families. The most popular of his 44 practical bulletins for farmers contained 105 food recipes using peanuts.

I found this recipe in Simpson-Fletchers Soul Food Recipes. Thank you, Miss Moore for saving it for us. 

Miss Agnes Moore's Peanut Butter Pie a la Carver

1 1/4 cups Chocolate Cookie crumbs
1/4 cup white Sugar
1/4 cup Butter

1 (8 ounce) package Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup Confectioners Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
1 cup heavy whipping Cream
1 cup creamy Peanut Butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine Cookie Crumbs, Sugar, and Butter; and then press into a 9-inch pie plate. Bake 10 minutes and cool.
In a mixing bowl, beat Cream Cheese, 1 cup Sugar, and Vanilla until smooth. Then beat in the Peanut Butter in small amounts until well mixed. Whip the cream and gently fold into the peanut butter mixture. Spoon filling into crust. Garnish pie with chocolate or cookie crumbs if desired. Refrigerate for several hours or freeze (best choice) before serving.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Pickle Soup

Polish people love pickles. We use crushed pickle puree to season dishes like sauteed mushrooms. We even make Pickle Soup.

You can find many Pickle Soup recipes on the Net. This recipe comes from Treasured Polish Recipes for Americans published in 1948 by the Polanie Club.

It would be silly to publish a Pickle Soup recipe without publishing a recipe for Polish Dill Pickles. They are delicious and easy to make. So look for that to be posted next. I have three volunteer cucumber plants. So I will be making lots of pickles.

Babcia is translated as GrandMother.  My Babcia made Pickle Soup at Easter with the broth left from cooking the kielbasa for the cold breakfast that breaks the Easter fast. I wondered for years how she got that unique savory flavor. And then I found my vintage Polish cookbook.

I have to make this. If you, Cher Reader, make it before I do, let me know how it goes. I will update.


3 large Dill Pickles
3 tablespoons Butter
Meat or Vegetable Stock
1 cup Sour Cream
2 tablespoons Flour

Slice the Pickles and saute in Butter and Flour until thoroughly wilted. Add the Stock and simmer slowly for half an hour. Strain and add the Sour Cream. Serve with Pierozki.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Texas Weiners

July is National Hot Dog Month.

I am not a sports fan. I am often surrounded by sports fans who, on crucial game days, require sustenance that is easy to make and goes well with beer. Hot dogs are also called wieners. 

I serve Texas Weiners with this sauce and chopped onions. This sauce is HOT so exercise discretion. For a milder sauce, omit the Cayenne Pepper.

This recipe comes from a chef who posted on the old AOL Comfort Food Board named Big Saab Guy. He actually lives in Texas. It will dress about 2 dozen hot dogs. I give it to you as he gave it to the board. You can keep the Sauce and the Hot Dogs warm separately and the sports fanatics can assemble and eat at will. Give lots of napkins.

The sign on the right comes from Plainfield NJ. It hangs on one of the original Texas Weiner joints in business since 1924. The Texas Weiner was actually created by a Greek in Paterson NJ.

Texas Hot Dog Sauce

1 pound finely ground Beef
3 tablespoons Chili Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Cumin
1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Thyme
1 teaspoon White Vinegar
2 cups Water

Very thoroughly brown Beef and drain. You want the pieces to be as small as possible. Really work to break them up as you brown them.

Add the spices and mix well. Add the Water and simmer for one hour, uncovered, stirring often. It should be the consistency of something like tomato soup.

Stir in the Vinegar. Then serve as follows: put a thin smear of Yellow Mustard on both sides of an open hot dog roll, then insert the Hot Dog, then a layer of finely chopped Onion, then drizzle the top with about a tablespoon of the Sauce.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Trashcan Potatoes - Guest Author La Motocycliste

Over the weekend, I tipped over the trashcan, and harvested enough French Fingerling potatoes for a good meal for two.

Growing potatoes in a trashcan is fun and easy. In case you think, "Potatoes are cheap, why do all this work?" price heirloom varieties at Whole Paycheck sometime.

A lot of communities have gone to high tech trashcans that can be emptied by an automated garbage truck. This leaves the householder with old trashcans, which can be used for low tech urban potato farming.

The first step is to locate a sunny spot. Potatoes are not really choosy, but they do like sun and water. If your sunny spot is over a patch of dirt, cut the bottom off the trashcan with a Sawzall or a hacksaw. If your sunny spot is over concrete, drill drainage holes in the bottom of the trashcan. If the trashcan is really disgusting, clean it up a bit.

Next, put your trashcan on your chosen spot and fill it with four inches of cheap potting soil with a handful of bone meal mixed in. Head off to choose your potatoes. You need about a quarter pound organic potatoes per trashcan. Look for potatoes with nice big prominent eyes. If you have potatoes that have started growing in your pantry, use those.

Cut up the potatoes so you have one or two eyes per piece. Many people leave the potatoes out overnight to skin over, but I have never bothered. Put the pieces about six inches apart on top of the dirt in the trashcan, then cover with another couple of inches of potting soil and another handful of bonemeal. Don't bother to tamp down. Water so that the dirt is as wet as a wrung out sponge. Cover the trashcan with a piece of chicken wire or an old screen to keep critters out.

Keep the dirt moist, and in 2-3 weeks you should see sprouts. Potatoes grow along the stems, so when the sprouts are 8 or nine inches tall and have nice glossy leaves, shake some more dirt along the stems. The plants will grow towards the light, so keep covering the stems as they grow. Keep them watered and the potato plants will grow for about three months. Eventually they will die down. Stop watering. When the plants are deceased, knock over the garbage can and pick out your potatoes.

Note: Reposted from dkos. For those who learn more easily from seeing than reading:

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Hen and Chicks

UPDATE: I have discovered where one can learn about Succulents in Philadelphia. Hen and Chicks is a Succulent.
The Philadelphia Cactus and Succulent Society was founded in 1942 to exchange knowledge of and experience with succulents among its members. Membership is open to anyone with an interest in growing and learning more about succulents. There are more than 100 members at all levels of expertise - beginners and experts, collectors and growers.

Gardening is a lot of work. I am a lazy gardener. I like plants that are easy to grow, good to look at and fill odd spots in the garden that would be otherwise filled with pesky weeds.

Hen and Chicks meets all my qualifications. It is easy to grow, fills odd spots, drives out weeds and is so good looking.

The plant will grow in partial shade and not much soil - both good qualities in a city garden or on a sunny window sill in Winter. Hen and Chicks produces flowers when the Hen reaches maturity. The flowers are as odd looking as they are beautiful and rare.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

City Chickens

I was searching for an old time recipe for a dish called City Chickens. My friend Grace Persichelli made it for me long ago and it was so yummy. I typed the phrase into google and I got back this delightful and informative site about raising chickens in the city. If you are as interested in urban farming as I am, you want to go to there. The City Chicken. 

Even though I got such a happy result, I still wanted to find a good recipe for this old dish. So I typed in "city chicken" and I found this dish has a wikipedia entry all its own.

After diligent searching, I found the definitive City Chicken recipe. It comes from Simpson-Fletcher's Soul Food Recipes published by Simpson - Fletcher United Methodist Women and Fundcraft Publishing. We can thank Sue Delaney for providing the recipe. The Church has a Facebook page. I sent a message to find out if this regional cookbook can still be purchased. It may be out of print. I will let you know if I get more information.

City Chicken

3/4 pound Pork, cut in one inch pieces
3/4 pound Veal, cut in one inch pieces
1 cup Cracker Crumbs
1 Egg, beaten
5 tablespoons Shortening

1/2 cup Flour
1/2 cup canned Milk
Salt, Pepper and Paprika to season the Gravy

Alternate, very closely, Veal and Pork on wooden skewers. Dip each skewer into the beaten Egg, and then into the Crumbs. Continue to alternate this dipping until the meat is well covered and resembles a chicken leg. Brown the skewers on all sides in hot Shortening. Place skewers side by side in an oiled roasting pan, cover and then bake in a moderate oven until the meat is very tender. Baste occasionally with drippings. Remove the City Chicken from the pan. Add Flour, Milk and Seasonings to the drippings. Stir until brown and thick. This is a gravy for the City Chicken.

Note: Put your Crackers in a bag and bang them with a rolling pin to make the Cracker pieces fine.

Bees on a Roof Means Money Honey

I found a most amazing Japanese eco-creation. Gives me hope for our foody future. And Bees.

In 2006, the Ginza Honey Bee Project set up hives on the top of a multistory building in central Tokyo. A decade on, the project is a regular supplier of honey to local businesses and continues to provide food for thought on the relationship between the urban and natural environments.
“I wondered if we might be able to produce something locally, right here in Ginza, in the center of the city. Since the Edo period, this has never been anything but a commercial district. By using bees to turn it into an agricultural production site, I thought it might be possible to raise the consciousness of people in the area. Ginza has always been receptive to the latest trends. Anything that is out of step with the character of the district is weeded out, and whatever remains accumulates as an element of the neighborhood’s culture and traditions. We decided to see whether the project could make it through the Ginza filter. The first thing was to have a go at it and see how people reacted...Ginza may seem an unlikely place to be tackling environmental issues, but it’s becoming that sort of neighborhood.” - Tanaka Atsuo

Weighing the Philadelphia Grocery Tax

I oppose it. You are taxing the wrong folks. Tax the Suits, not the poor and middle class. 

Tax the sugary drink and snack makers who make beaucoup money and socialize the costs of doing business. Convenient and disposable? Their detritus is on every street corner for the people and the City to clean up. Got the courage to sue Nestle Coke etc., Mayor Kenney? It will make you famous. Come on, Dude. This is Filthydelphia. Let us lead on this. 

I am tired of cleaning up the chip bags and drink containers that flow downhill from Frankford Avenue and clog the sewers and filthy the sidewalks. It costs our City money to collect this garbage. Make the Suits pay. 

Pay attention. Reality is. These folks will tell you all about what is happening to our watersheds. It is not good. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Cinnamon Pecan Tea Cakes

These Tea Cakes are exquisite. The recipe makes one dozen. These little cupcakes are so good I would take them to tea with the Queen.


3/4 cup Sugar
2 cups Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Butter
1 Egg, beaten
1 cup Milk
3/4 cup Raisins

Topping Ingredients:

1/2 cup light Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped Pecans

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, Cream the Sugar and Butter together. Add the beaten Egg and mix well. Whisk or sift the dry ingredients together. Add the dry ingredients and the Milk alternately to the creamed Butter mixture. Stir in Raisins.

Thoroughly combine the topping ingredients. Spoon the batter into greased muffin cups and sprinkle with the topping. Bake 20 minutes or until done.

Notes: I have taken all kinds of liberties with this simple recipe. If I do not have nuts, I use oatmeal. My children hate raisins, so I use dried cranberries or leave the raisins out. These cakes still turn out delicious. You can keep this batter in the refrigerator covered tightly and it will keep three weeks. I never keep the batter because these cakes disappear as fast as I can make them. Just be sure to leave the butter out until it is really soft and all the rest is easy.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Tutti Frutti Pie

Vintage Pie recipe from Simpson-Fletcher's Soul Food Recipes

My Aunt Carrie (rest in peace you Great Cook) made Tutti Frutti Pie often. It is good and inexpensive. Best of all is no need for fresh fruit. Pie from the pantry.

Miss Maxie Gaine's Tutti Frutti Cream Pie

1 cup Sugar
2 cups Milk
1 tablespoon Corn Starch
1/8 teaspoon Salt
1 tablespoon Butter
2 Eggs
1 tablespoon Flour
2 tablespoons Sugar
1 cup canned Fruit Cocktail, well drained

Heat one cup Sugar, Milk and Butter together. Make a smooth paste of Flour, Salt and Corn Starch with a little Water. Add this gradually to the heated Milk. Separate Eggs. Beat Yolks well; blend into the Milk mixtures, stirring constantly to keep smooth; cook 5 minutes over low heat until mixture becomes thick. Remove from heat and fold in well drained Fruit Cocktail. Pour into a baked Pie Shell. Beat the Egg Whites until stiff and blend in two tablespoons of Sugar until very smooth. Spoon onto the Pie filling. Place in a 300 degree oven until light brown.

Best Party Meatballs

No matter how elegant a buffet I turn out, these delicious bites are always the first to be consumed. Mildred Albert did everything well. And her recipe for Sweet and Sour Meatballs is an example of her culinary and social talents.


1905 – 1991

“M.A.” and “The Mighty Atom,” as Mildred Albert was called, charmed the fashion world as an international fashion consultant, lecturer, columnist, and radio and television personality.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Makes 75 to 85 Meatballs

1 clove Garlic, minced
2 pounds ground Beef
2 Eggs
3 tablespoons Chili Sauce
2 tablespoons dried Parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Pepper, divided
1 quart (32 ounces) cocktail Vegetable Juice (V8)
1 box (1 pound) light Brown Sugar
1 cup white Vinegar
3 cloves Garlic, halved
30 prunes, pitted

Mash minced Garlic with ground Beef, Eggs, Chili Sauce, Parsley flakes, Salt and 1/4 teaspoon Pepper. Shape the mixture into 75 to 85 meatballs.

Combine Vegetable Juice, Brown Sugar, Vinegar, split Garlic cloves, and remaining Pepper. Bring the sauce mixture to a boil.

Drop Meatballs into the Juice mixture. Reduce heat to low. Cook at a low simmer for 40 minutes. Add prunes to the sauce and cook 30 minutes more. 

Drain off most, but not all, of the sauce before putting meatballs and prunes into a chafing dish. Serve hot with toothpicks.

Make these a day ahead, refrigerate and skim fat from surface before serving. I find if I use a very lean grind of meat, there is hardly any fat.  I also add 1/4 cup of very fine dry bread crumbs to this mixture. It makes a difference if you use fresh parsley. However, both are optional and to your taste. You can increase the recipe to 115 to 125 meatballs by adding 1 more pound of ground Beef to make a total of 3 pounds. But be sure to leave the sauce ingredients as they are. Do not increase the liquid. Use exactly one quart. 

Honey Bees

Honey Bee Suite
I have a small garden in my Philadelphia backyard. I grow a few peppers, herbs, tomatoes, flowers. I have been very sad because the Bees seem to have gone away. We need Bees, so go here for some pet Bees if you like them. Most of the really good stuff we eat needs pollination by bees. No bees means less food.

On Sunday, I saw my very first Bee of the Summer. I was out in the garden, poking around in the Dill without my glasses. I was glad to learn that my eyes still work and I am not crazy. I saw a Bee. The Bees are coming back.

Bees are smart. They know who is growing those flowers. I have been given, while gardening, an affectionate bee nudge more than once. The Bees are making a comeback in Illinois too.
Native bee species spotted for first time since ’90s
 By Sandi Doughton 
Bee enthusiasts beat the bushes Sunday to see if the colony of rare insects is still active, and biologists are planning conservation efforts.
More information is available at If you would like to be involved in our citizen science project moving forward, you can sign up at

If you think you have observed the western white tailed bumblebee, please send a photo and site information. Please note that we cannot verify sightings without a photo, so please include one with your email. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Foodys Helping Foodys or the Sour Cream vs.Yoghurt Evaluation

I published the best recipe I know for Banana Cake and it generated the following discussion. I heart my readers. I am thrilled to have foody pen pals.

Banana Art by Zazzle

Sour cream substitute by pdh

It's Sunday morning, & I'm suddenly feeling a need for McGovern-inspired banana cake ... but I have no sour cream. I have some plain yogurt, & will substitute that ... should work according the intertubes.

My concern is more profound, though. Since you are a student of the politics of food, can you tell me if the substitution will be politically correct?

Please let me know how it goes by Yours Truly

Politically correct. But there is something about the fat in the sour cream and the taste of sour cream that makes it essential, I think. However, I am a fan of experimentation. I look forward to your analysis of the sour cream situation.

So I need two cakes, I guess by pdh

Actually, I think I will try the experiment. Today, with yogurt ... then with sour cream after my next trip to the market. I will let you know my opinion after a proper comparison.

Drain the yogurt by UnionJok

Years ago, a native of the Middle East showed me how to "thicken" yogurt for use in the standard recipe for baba ganooj and hummus. The traditional process consists of removing the whey by placing the yogurt in a cheesecloth-lined strainer over a bowl. The result is pretty much the same as "Greek" yogurt, and the whey can be used for other things. Even when made from fat-free yogurt, the texture and taste of the result make it a good substitute for sour cream in baking, salad dressings, dips, or desserts.

More convenient, if somewhat less effective, is to dig a well down the side of the container with an iced tea spoon, periodically pouring off the whey accumulating there. In this method, the top layer of yogurt becomes thick and creamy.

The denouement by pdh

Some time ago you posted the McGovern Banana Cake recipe to DailyKos.
I inquired about substituting plain yogurt for the sour cream which I
did not have available. Another dkos poster suggested draining the
yogurt in a cheese cloth to get a more appropriate texture, which
sounded like a sensible thing to do. So I prepared a banana cake with
the drained yogurt, & found it quite satisfactory.

Not trusting my memory of the taste of banana cakes past, I prepared
two cakes the same day, & sampled them both at the same time. It was
very close, but the sour cream did seem to give a slightly better
result. I expect that the flavor added by the sour cream counts for
more than the fat since there is 1/2 cup of shortening already in the
recipe, but didn't test any other variations. Next time I think I'll
add some chopped walnuts, though.

So my conclusion is that Dannon yogurt (plain whole milk kind) drained
in a wire mesh strainer lined with a paper coffee filter is a
satisfactory substitute for sour cream in recipes where the sour cream
is not a main ingredient. One would not slather a baked potato with
the densified yogurt & expect a sour cream experience, though.

I almost always keep some yogurt around because one of my favorite
snacks is yogurt with berries. In fact, I've prepared little single-
serving sized packets of whole berry cranberry sauce for the freezer
for those times when fresh berries are scarce. I'm sure I'll be
repeating the McGovern cake ... & using the pseudo sour cream in other
places, too!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

"Asparagus inspires gentle thoughts." - Charles Lamb

Homegrown Asparagus becomes available in Pennsylvania April through June. It is at its best in May. A list of pick-your-own farms in Eastern Pennsylvania can be found HERE. 

Every Asparagus lover has favorite ways to eat Asparagus. This recipe for Chinese Asparagus Salad is one of my favorites.

The photograph comes from Petr Kratochvil. 

Chinese Asparagus Salad

2 pounds fresh Asparagus
1/4 cup Soy Sauce
1/2 teaspoon Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Vinegar (Cider or White Wine are good)
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoons Sesame Oil

Some folks peel Asparagus and you can if you want to. I never do. I just snap it. Wash the Asparagus well. Cut the spears diagonally across in 1 1/2 inch lengths. Cook the pieces of Asparagus for one minute in boiling water. Then drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Mix all the other ingredients (soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, salt and oil) together in a large bowl. Add Asparagus and toss.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Irish Potato Candy is a Philadelphia Tradition

Irish Potato Candy is a Philadelphia tradition made every Spring. Delicious. Indeed, Philadelphians created the candy, some of whom may have been Irish.

You can buy O'Ryan's made Irish Potato Candy at the market or online. Potatoes can also be purchased at Christopher's Chocolates.

Or you can make this simple candy at home. The recipe is fun to do with children. No hot stove. No special equipment. No exotic ingredients. If you want the recipe made with real potatoes, you can find it HERE.


1⁄4 cup softened Butter
4 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
1(16 ounce) package Confectioners' Sugar
7 ounces sweetened flaked Coconut (2 1/2 cups)
2 tablespoon ground Cinnamon
2 tablespoon Cocoa

NOTE: Be sure to use regular cream cheese, not whipped or reduced fat type. Leave it out to come to room temperature for easier creaming. 

In a large bowl, cream together the Butter and Cream Cheese. Add Vanilla and Confectioners' Sugar. Beat until mixture forms a ball. Stir in Coconut with a spoon.

Roll the mixture between your hands to form small potato-shaped candies or roll into small balls. Place Cinnamon and Cocoa in a shallow dish and roll the balls in it. Place the balls on a cookie sheet and chill for about 1 hour or until firm. If you prefer "dirtier potatoes" roll the candy a second time after they have chilled. You can also add a few chopped Nuts to look like 'eyes' if you want to get really artistic.