Sunday, August 30, 2015

Green Sauce (Sauce Verte)

I made Salsa Criolla yesterday to accompany a roast.  It started me thinking about Fresh or Uncooked Sauces and how good and easy they are. I did the Green Sauce below in a food processor.

I served this Green Sauce from Silvana Franco's cookbook Salsas and Ketchups with Grilled Shrimp and Filet Mignon at a dinner party I catered. I always make it fresh before service. I discovered I had no lemon and substituted a small Tangerine. Such an inspired-by-emergency solution. So good. I believe this cookbook, published in 1995, is out of print. It is worth searching for, if only for the Banana Ketchup recipe.

Green Sauce (Salsa Verde)

6 Scallions, finely chopped
2 Garlic cloves, minced
1 Onion, finely chopped
2 Green Chilies, finely chopped
6 tablespoons chopped fresh Cilantro
6 tablespoons chopped fresh Parsley
1 tablespoon capers, well drained and finely chopped
4 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Lemon, freshly squeezed juice and grated peel (or one Tangerine)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a large serving bowl and toss together. Season to taste and serve immediately.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Toss-In-The-Crock Mustard Pickle

No cooking for me this August. It is too hot.

I love the old fashioned pickles and preserves. A table set with a variety of ‘sweets and sours’ is a Pennsylvania tradition. Many of the old recipes call for long cooking, but we have less time because many of us are responsible for work and cooking.

I am taking away my excuses because I found this old recipe. I am going to cut the recipe in half. We shall see. Enjoy your sweet and spicy mustard pickles and think of me: not cooking. At least not today. It’s 92.

Botanical Illustration by Katie Turner.

I got this recipe from Pickles and Preserves by Marion Brown. Marion Brown was a prolific cook and food writer of the 1950s. Ms. Brown contributor, Mrs. Noel Houston of Chapel Hill, tells us this recipe comes from antiquity. It’s a perpetual pickle; you eat from it and you add to it.

Toss-In-The-Crock Mustard Pickle

Choose a large crock of four to six gallons. Choose any assortment of hard vegetables that might take to pickling. Example: cucumber, cabbage, hard green tomato, string beans, cauliflower, onion, artichokes, etc. Wash and dry the vegetables and cut them in appropriate sizes. Use small ones like white pickling onions whole. Pack the crock and pour the following sauce over the vegetables. Make sure the sauce covers the vegetables in the crock completely. Weighting them down with a small plate works well.

6 quarts vinegar
1 pound salt
1 ounce each of: whole cloves, allspice, ground ginger, black pepper and celery seed
2 ounces white mustard seed
2 and ½ pounds brown sugar
1 T cayenne pepper or substitute 1 ounce each of mace, nutmeg and dry horseradish

Boil the vinegar with the other ingredients for 8 minutes. Cool. Make a paste of:

1 pound dry mustard
1 ounce turmeric

Mix mustard and turmeric in vinegar to make a paste. Mix paste with the vinegar syrup and blend well. Pour the cold sauce over the vegetables. Close the crock and let stand until pickled. Usually a few days are all it takes. Taste and see. The pickle may be continually stored at room temperature. As you add more vegetables, then add more sauce. Yes, you may use frozen vegetables in winter.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Texas Weiners

It is National Hot Dog Day!

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!

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 football 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.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

California Marrow Bones

I love marrow. It never occurred to me it could be a whole course. I just always hung over the stockpot and ate marrow before anyone else could get to it. It was my own dirty little secret.

The beauty of vintage and community cookbooks is that an odd recipe you find will open a new frontier. This Appetizer recipe comes from Los Angeles and the Farmers Market Cookbook by Florine Sikking published in 1975. Each stall in the market contibuted a recipe. This recipe is from Tunstall's Gift Shop,

La Brea Tarpits Marrow Bones

4 Marrow Bones (have the Butcher cut them in half lengthwise)
1/4 pound Margarine, unsalted
4 cloves Garlic, crushed
1/2 cup Bread Crumbs
1 teaspoon Paprika
1/2 teaspoon Salt

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine Margarine and Garlic and make into a paste. Spread the paste over the marrow side of the bone. Sprinkle Bread Crumbs, Paprika and Salt on each bone. Place Bones on cookie sheets and bake for 20 to 30 minutes until the Marrow has turned creamy in color. Makes 8 servings.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Garden Dreaming

The Green Man is an ancient Avatar, an incarnate divine teacher, whose image appears often in medieval sculpture and still appears in modern dreams and works of art.

If Green Man strikes a spiritual chord in you, you might like the book GREEN MAN - The Archetype of our Oneness with the Earth by William Anderson, Photography by Clive Hicks. The photograph of Green Man in Bamberg Cathedral is from Clive Hicks. The book is photograph and illustration rich.

I admire the garden sculpture from Mosaiculture International - Montreal 2013. I find this Green Man enchanting.

Lemurs, like the ring-tailed ones shown here, are native to Madagascar. The island country submitted this sculpture, titled 
All in a Row. © Guy Boily

Read more: 
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Rosemary Grilled Shrimp

It is far too hot to cook indoors. This is my favorite grilled Shrimp. I have a Rosemary shrub in my garden. I can pick a stem of Rosemary and pull the leaves off right into the marinade. If you have no Rosemary bush, use one tablespoon dried Rosemary. Dried herbs are more pungent than fresh.


1 cup Olive Oil
6 cloves Garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh Rosemary
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/4 cup Parsley, minced fine
1 cup fresh Lemon Juice1 tablespoon Lemon Zest
1 dozen Jumbo Shrimp (10 to 15 per pound)

Shell and devein Shrimp. Combine Oil, Garlic, Rosemary, Cayenne, Parsley, Lemon Juice and Zest. in a nonreactive bowl. Add Shrimp and toss in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. Stir occasionally.

When ready to grill, remove Shrimp from marinade. Broil or Grill about 4 minutes per side. Baste shrimp with marinade while it is broiling or grilling.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Art Deco and More at the New York Public Library

I found the New York Public Library Digital Collections. What a great resource for everyone. 

"The site is a living database with new materials added every day, featuring prints, photographs, maps, manuscripts, streaming video, and more."

The images come from the Collections for Designers - Ornament and Pattern: Pre Victorian to Art Deco. 

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Art & Architecture Collection, The New York Public Library. "1. Foliage; 2. Foliage; 3. Flowers and foliage" The New York Public Library Digital Collections.

The material in the collections is a treasure chest of graphic and abstract design. I spent a long time just poking about and I have not exhausted the resource yet.

The provenance of the abstract Tulips.

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Art & Architecture Collection, The New York Public Library. "[Multicolor tulip shapes; on purple field.]" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1930.

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Art & Architecture Collection, The New York Public Library. "Cretonne imprimée." The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1926.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Classic American Salad Dressings

Our farm stands and markets in Pennsylvania are stocked with fresh Lettuces perfect for salad. And at least five kinds of Radish. Soon it will be too hot to cook.

Here are my recipes for two classic American salad dressings. These dressings are easy to do in your blender. Yes, you can use a whisk but why?

When it is really hot, and I cannot even think of grilling, my supper is vegetables I cut up the night before, a little good cheese, and one of these dressings used as a Dip. Both these dressings keep well in the refrigerator, use common pantry items, and cost less than store-bought dressings.

Tomato based “French’ dressings appear over and again in regional cookbooks. This is my version.

Sweet and Spicy “French” Dressing

½ cup Oil
½ cup Sugar
1/3 cup Ketchup
¼ cup Vinegar (red wine is the best),
1 teaspoon Paprika,
½ teaspoon Dry Mustard,
1 teaspoon bottled steak sauce or Worcestershire sauce (optional),
1 tablespoon grated Onion
1 minced clove of Garlic

Mix the above ingredients in your blender or with a whisk. Makes 1 and 1/3 cups of dressing. You can make this dressing without the fresh onion and garlic and it will keep a longer time in the refrigerator without separating. Just substitute garlic powder to taste or 1/4 tsp. It is more than worth it to use fresh garlic.

Green Goddess Salad Dressing was created in 1920 at the Palace Hotel in California. The classic recipe contains Tarragon and Chervil. I do not always have these herbs in my pantry. If you have some Tarragon or Chervil in your herb garden, add 1 tablespoon minced. This recipe is legal on the Atkins diet and stores well in the refrigerator.

Supermarket Green Goddess Dressing

1 cup Mayonnaise
½ cup Sour Cream
¼ cup chopped Parsley
3 tablespoons chopped Onion
2 tablespoons Vinegar (tarragon or wine are the best) or Lemon Juice
4 Anchovy Fillets, minced
2 cloves Garlic, minced

Combine all ingredients except milk. Mix well in your blender or with a whisk. Use as a dip or dressing as is, or thin with milk to the consistency desired. Chill until very cold. This is an excellent dressing for seafood like Dungeness crab. Enjoy.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Brock Davis Plays with His Food

My favorite part of catering was creating beautiful tablescapes with flowers, and drapery and artistic whimsey. And I loved making the food look beautiful on the plate. That work has given me an appreciation of Food Art wherever I find it, on the canvas or on the plate.

You want to go to Brock Davis website, if only to see the Banana Peel Trucker Hat.  

Peanut Butter Pie

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.

Polish Dill Pickles

Is there a difference between a Polish Dill Pickle and a Kosher Dill Pickle? No difference, although I think a Polish pickle has much more garlic. I am sure pickle enthusiasts will disagree.

A Kosher or Polish pickle is made without using vinegar, uses a crock or glass jar (with a weight if necessary) to keep the cucumbers submerged in the liquid, and involves lactic acid producing fermentation. That sets them apart from other pickles, but these days, any pickle that looks like a deli-style pickle is referred to as a Kosher or Polish Pickle.

I was going to type the recipe and then I discovered Danny Mac's Kitchen video. Lots of good suggestions in the comments. Seeing is believing. Making Pickles is easy and you can do it even if you think you cannot cook. After four days of fermentation, you can make Pickle Soup.

There is more than one way to sour a Pickle. A charming Russian Lady gives us her system which includes Lemon and Apple Cider Vinegar. So yummy.
In my house old fashioned winter preparation starts with pickling cucumbers. So enjoy my grandmothers old fashioned Naturally Fermented Kosher Dill Pickles - Рцепт Малосольных Огурцов.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Tutti Frutti Pie from the 50s

My Aunt Carrie made this pie often in the 1950s. I loved it. I thought it was lost to me forever. I discovered the recipe for it in Simpson-Fletcher's Soul Food Recipes. 

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.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

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.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

I Love the Library of Congress WPA Posters

I cannot stop looking through them.

Support artists in the community. They make our lives better in uncountable ways. And if we support them in their work, artists may find ways of transforming our culture and person not yet clear to those of us engaged in more mundane and lucrative occupations. Van Gogh never sold a single painting and even so he transformed our way of seeing forever.
If you click on the poster at the site, you will see who created the poster and other interesting details. You can purchase prints of these posters or download them. Many of them have no restrictions on duplication.

"On March 6 in 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs an executive order creating the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The WPA was just one of many Great Depression relief programs created under the auspices of the Emergency Relief Appropriations Act, which Roosevelt had signed the month before. The WPA, the Public Works Administration (PWA) and other federal assistance programs put unemployed Americans to work in return for temporary financial assistance. Out of the 10 million jobless men in the United States in 1935, 3 million were helped by WPA jobs alone.
While FDR believed in the elementary principles of justice and fairness, he also expressed disdain for doling out welfare to otherwise able workers. So, in return for monetary aid, WPA workers built highways, schools, hospitals, airports and playgrounds. They restored theaters--such as the Dock Street Theater in Charleston, S.C.--and built the ski lodge at Oregon's Mt. Hood. The WPA also put actors, writers and other creative arts professionals back to work by sponsoring federally funded plays, art projects, such as murals on public buildings, and literary publications. FDR safeguarded private enterprise from competition with WPA projects by including a provision in the act that placed wage and price controls on federally funded products or services."

Saturday, June 6, 2015

365 Days a Year - Course Dinner in 15 Minutes by Mabel Claire

 I sing the praises, again, of my library book sale. I found a copy of Mabel Claire's The Busy Woman's Cookbook - Course Dinners in 15 Minutes published in 1925. This is a remarkable concept when we consider that all the machines and products that are sold today as labor saving and time saving did not exist in the 20s and 30s.

Vintage cookbooks are an educational peek at American culture of the period. I give you one of Ms. Claire's "15 minute course dinners" verbatim. This menu is delicious and quick. Just what a busy person needs when they have to cook dinner 365 days a year.

MENU - Serves 2

Ham and Eggs
Tomatoes, Peppers & Onions
Bread and Butter
Baked Bananas with Cream


Slice of Ham
Four Eggs
Two Tomatoes
Three Green Peppers
Half Pint Cream
Four Small Bananas
Loaf Bread
1/4 Pound Butter


3 Frying Pans

Light the gas oven. Light two gas burners. On one put frying pan with a tablespoon of butter. On the second burner heat the frying pan for the ham.

When the butter in the frying pan is hot, peel and slice into it the onions, next the peppers cut small with seeds removed, last the tomatoes, cut in dice. When these are not, cover closely and cook over moderate flame until wanted.

When the frying pan is hot for the ham, brown the slice on both sides. Cook 8 minutes. Dish on to a platter and put into the oven.

Break four eggs into the pan the ham has cooked in and cook until done to taste, about 5 minutes.

Heat the third frying pan and melt in  it a tablespoon of butter. Peel and halve lengthwise the four bananas. Saute on both sides. Sprinkle over these a large tablespoon of sugar and a dusting of cinnamon and let this melt into them. Cooking time about 3 minutes. Remove the bananas to the oven to keep hot until wanted for dessert.

Turn off the oven. Prepare the coffee. Set the table, five minutes. Ms. Claire points out that doubling this recipe for a larger family does  not increase the cooking time.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Three Sisters in the Garden

I have been a lazy but thinking gardener ever since I first read Ruth Stout's How to Have a Green Thumb without an Aching Back. Say the words "natural weed control" and I become interested. Add some Native American history to the mix and you have more of my attention and interest.

The Three Sisters planting method is featured on the reverse of the US Sacajawea Native American dollar coin. The Three Sisters are Corn, Squash and Beans.

I went hunting in Google Land. It is amazing where a good graphic can lead you. I like things simple. Keep it simple, Sweetie is my motto.

I learned that this garden is simple to do. Except for the getting dirty and doing the digging part. I cannot think of an activity that would be more fun for parents and children. My children loved digging in dirt and picking flowers and vegetables.

Making a Three Sisters Garden is an excellent teaching tool for science classes. There is an entire class lesson plan at the link.
Cultivating these companions in your school garden, a small patch near the building, a barrel, or even indoors, can inspire studies of Native American customs, nutrition, and folklore. As students dig in, investigations of plant growth and relationships will also flourish. - Creating a Three Sisters Garden
I learned a Three Sisters Garden is beautiful and became determined to put this planting into my own small backyard.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Ms. Mary Giblin's Old Fashioned Sweet Chili Sauce

Bill Giblin, Mary Giblin's son, did the technical drawings in 1938 for my Father's model airplane The Trenton Terror. People are still building the model all these years later.

Bill also played a Munchkin Soldier in the film The Wizard of Oz. He once showed me an autographed studio photograph of Margaret Hamilton he kept as a souvenir.

I used to go with my Dad to visit the Giblin's. They would make us Creamed Chicken and Waffles. Mrs. Giblin would send some Chili Sauce home with us. It is delicious with Cheese. It is savory but not hot.

Mary Giblin's Chili Sauce

6 Onions
3 green Peppers
18 medium ripe Tomatoes
1 cup Brown Sugar
2 1/2 cups strong Vinegar
2 level teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon each Cinnamon, Allspice, Nutmeg, and Mace (if you can find it)
1/2 teaspoon Cloves

Chop or grind the Onions and Peppers finely. Cut up the Tomatoes into small pieces. Cook all together slowly for 2 1/2 hours. Watch closely and stir often. Sugar makes things burn easily. Makes about 5 pints.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

GrandMa's Chocolate Crispies

P. J. Evans GrandMa's 
Chocolate Crispies

2 squares unsweetened Chocolate, melted
1/2 cup Butter (1 stick)
1 cup Sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla
2 Eggs, unbeaten
1/2 cup sifted Flour
1/2 cup Nuts, chopped (walnuts or pecans are best)

To melted chocolate add butter, sugar, eggs, flour, nuts, and vanilla. Beat well. Spread mixture on baking sheet 12x16 or in three 8x8 pans. Bake in hot oven (400F) for 15 minutes*. While warm mark in squares. Cool and break.

(Note: It will stick to the pan if it isn't done.)

Friday, May 22, 2015

Dog Days Yummy

I posted a Dog Treats recipe my dog likes.

I found this Dog treat on the internet and just had to share. The dog days of Summer will be here soon. I am making this. Picture is kind of fuzzy but the recipe is great. If my Baby Dog will not eat this, I will.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Right on Time Barbecue Sauce

I am blessed with seriously foody friends. Only a friend will give you their prize recipe for Barbecue Sauce.

Iron Pyrite's Barbecue Sauce


1 stick of Butter
1 chopped white Onion
1 minced Garlic clove
4 teaspoons of Tabasco sauce (more of less to suit taste)
1 tablespoon of Lemon Juice
2 tablespoons of Chili Powder (more or less to suit taste)
2 cups of apple cider Vinegar (rice vinegar will give a more “sour” finish)
1 32-ounce bottle of Ketchup (more or less to suit taste)
1-1/2 cups of Brown Sugar (more sugar will tend to thicken the mixture, and make more of a glaze on the meat)
4 tablespoons of Worcestershire Sauce (Lee and Perrin’s is good)
Fine ground Black Pepper (add to suit taste while cooking)

Melt butter in a large frying pan, and sauté the onions and garlic until light brown. I like to sauté the onions and garlic starting with a low heat, then gradually increase the heat up to a “medium” level, until the onions and garlic start to “liquefy” in the butter. If you choose to do this, you will have to ensure that the onions and garlic are finely chopped/minced.

Bring the heat down to a high simmer, and add the remaining ingredients, starting with the ketchup; thoroughly stir the ketchup into the mix, then add the brown sugar a few small scoops at a time, so that it will not “clump”, and continue to stir consistently.

Once all the ingredients have been added, bring the heat down to a low simmer, and stir frequently for about 45 minutes to an hour. This is time to add the “suit to taste” ingredients that you like.

Keep refrigerated - will keep well in the refrigerator.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Ms. Lissa Patton's Chili Divine

I give it to you, Cher Reader, as she gave it to me. You are going to be so glad I did.

Ms. Lissa Patton's Chili Divine

"Twelve good sized ripe heirloom tomatoes (they have an acidic taste, not like the cardboard you find in the supermarket).

Peel (I drop them in hot water for a few seconds then put them on ice, which cracks the skin and it is easily stripped). Slice in half lengthwise. De-seed. (A baby spoon works for this).

Put in food processor along with de-seeded jalapenos to taste. (Slice lengthwise and use a baby spoon again)


Put in Dutch oven.

Add two cinnamon sticks, salt and black pepper to taste. (Sometines I add a bit of white pepper).

Finely chop a sweet white onion and add.

Add beans (Kidney and black beans are what I use a pound or so of each.)

Add about two cups of chicken or turkey broth.

Brown about two pounds of pork sausage. (We have an old fashioned hand crank grinder, so we do it ourselves with white pork shoulder meat.)

Add a half cup of honey after you put the browned meat in the pot.

Three cloves garlic, finely chopped.

Heat at 220 in the oven for at least three hours, pulling the rack out every thirty minutes or so to stir.

I like it to go five or six hours the first time. Gets better every time you reheat. It’s thick, so sometimes we serve it over white rice, like gumbo.

Freezes well."

Friday, March 27, 2015

Whole Wheat Quick Bread

My Grandfather, Angelo Pietro de Angelis, was a baker for Rossi's bakery in Trenton, New Jersey. My family has sophisticated taste in bread. We travel well, breadwise. We like it all, from baguettes to pane rustica to bialys.

I went to culinary school. I can bake and braid a challah, but why? I go to Kaplan's Bakery on Third and Poplar. I will go the extra mile for a hard crusted Russian Black Bread or a fragrant golden Onion Rye.

Click Me!
I do not let them slice the bread and put it in a plastic bag. I am green. I just put the loaf in my shopping bag and boogie. Makes me feel so European. I have a bread knife and that is one less plastic bag clogging the universe. I get myself a kasha knish to eat while I wait.

Sometimes I give in to convenience and buy supermarket bread because it is there. I prefer to make the loaf below.

Although this is a quick bread made without yeast, it is not particularly sweet, slices well and makes excellent toast. Do not cut it until it is COLD. I make a simple vegetarian Green Pea Soup to go with this bread for a satisfying, comforting meal. Perfect for Meatless Mondays.

Whole Wheat Quick Bread

Mix together:
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Combine, then mix with dry ingredients. Do not overmix. It is okay if there are a few lumps:
1 beaten egg
1 and 3/4 cups buttermilk (or whole milk soured with 2 T. vinegar)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

Fold in:
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins

Turn into a greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 to 60 minutes. Makes one loaf.

Note: My children are not raisin fans. So I sometimes make this with fresh or dried cranberries to keep the peace.

Spinach Casserole for the Vegetarian in Your Life

Spinacia oleracea in Flower
It is challenging to come up with a vegetarian entree that even meat eaters will enjoy. This casserole is The One. It is simple to make and tastes delicious. I serve this to my Vegetarian on holidays every year.

Spinach Casserole

2 Eggs, well beaten
6 tablespoons Flour
1 package chopped frozen Spinach, 10 ounces
1 1/2 cups Cottage Cheese
1 1/2 cups Cheddar Cheese
1/2 teaspoon Salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat eggs and flour in a bowl until smooth. Stir in Cheeses and Salt. Pour into a greased 1-quart casserole. Bake for one hour. 

That is it. Eezy Peezy. Enjoy.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

"Asparagus inspires gentle thoughts." - Charles Lamb

Homegrown Asparagus becomes available in Pennsylvania April through June. A list of pick-your-own farms in Eastern Pennsylvania can be found HERE. 

I love asparagus so much I am already salivating with anticipation. 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. Serve chilled.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Gourmets for Mc Govern Banana Cake

I found a small hand bound cookbook entitled Gourmets for Mc Govern. It is full of charming illustrations. The only colophon reads "This cookbook has been peacefully and lovingly put together by volunteers for Mc Govern." The recipes do have attribution.

This is the perfect Banana Cake recipe because it tells you exactly how much banana to use. I hate when a recipe says "two bananas." Bananas come in all shapes and sizes. You can mess with quantity in ordinary cooking. Baking needs more precision than that. I give you the recipe verbatim.
Ms. Joan Cantor's Banana Cake
Cream together:
1 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Shortening
2 Eggs
4 tablespoons Sour Cream
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
Beat well.
1 cup Banana pulp
1 and 1/2 cups Flour
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Vanilla
Bake at 350 degrees for 1/2 to 3/4 of an hour. Cake will shrink away from the sides of the pan when done.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Ghetto Garden Fabulous #3 - Desperately Seeking Containers

When you garden in a small area like a city garden, a hi-rise building terrace or a narrow alley, one of the ways you can gain or increase planting space is the use of containers. We have even developed a phrase for this avocation: Container Gardening. Yes, you can grow potatoes in a laundry basket. 

If you go to your standard garden store and price containers, you may find them costly. I mean, it is triage. What do you want more? Exotic new plants or fancy containers?

So many choices in life. How stylish do you want to be? Some people like funk. Some people like glitz or techno. Or whimsy. 

So I thought I would present you, cher Readers, with some creative, varied and unusual containers I have gathered from a glorious google tour of the net container gardening universe.

Look at junk with a creative eye. Anything you have that will hold soil is a possible container. Use industrial horse troughs. Use those capacious old aluminum pots from the thrift shop.

Do not forget that you must punch holes in the bottom of any container you plant in. Do not drown the Petunias.

The Kitchen Fairy Garden below is one woman's answer to the Fairy Garden craze.

Now this is what I call Ghetto Garden Fabulous. Your ghetto garden may be created from necesssity or otherwise.  Maybe we are witnessing the rise of a new, whimsical and environmentally sound genre in gardening.  Whatever is happening, I like it. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Gumbo Verde Louisiana

This Gumbo works nicely in a crockpot. Serve in soup bowls with Rice and Louisiana style Hot Sauce. Easy to do and tastes fine.

Throw it together and let it simmer for hours. Yes, you can do it on the top of the stove, but why? This is more you-have-to-cook-dinner-365-days-a-year cooking.

Forgive the brevity and lack of direction - sometimes I get these recipes written down on the backs of envelopes. The Greens are the best part of this Gumbo for my taste. I double the amount.  

Gumbo Verde

1 pound smoked or garlic Sausage, sliced in bite size pieces
2 cans of Navy Beans
1 can Beef Consomme with 2 cups Water
1 package frozen chopped Mustard Greens (10 ounces)
1 Onion, chopped
1 Bell Pepper, chopped
2 clove Garlic, chopped (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Saute the Sausage with Onion, Bell Pepper and Garlic. Combine Sausage mixture with the Consomme and Water, Beans, Greens. Add Salt and Pepper to taste. Simmer slowly until the Beans become very soft and the Gumbo is thickened thereby. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Rain Gardens

Spring is here. I am ordering Herb Seeds and plotting Flowers. I am planting Milkweed for the Monarch Butterflies this year. I am getting that Happy Green Feeling in spite of the cold outside.

I have learned you can make that boggy place in your yard a thing of beauty and help clean and conserve water by planting a Rain Garden. 

Once planted, such a garden is maintained with little to no effort. And that is good news. Gardening can be hard work.

The woman in the photograph below is teaching a class in Rain Gardens and you can see the perfect sort of location. Find out all the particulars at the link.
"To select a location for a rain garden, begin by observing your yard during a good rainfall. Notice where water is flowing. Rain gardens should ideally be located between the source of runoff (roofs and driveways) and the runoff destination (drains, streams, low spots, etc.)."

The photograph on the right is a rain garden in Philadelphia, designed by Edgar David.
"Rainwater that flows from the house roof to the stone cistern is used to irrigate an intimate collection of woodland plants."
You can read more about this interesting garden HERE. 

The Philadelphia Water Department has some excellent information about making Rain Gardens. The PWD also has a rain barrel program for those of us who do not have a boggy spot and still want to utilize and help manage rain water runoff. And now it is time for a Spring song by The Velvet Fog.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Gardening as Workout

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt. ~ Margaret Atwood