Sunday, November 8, 2015

Jasmine Liqueur and Organic Rum

We entertain more in the Winter Holiday Season and we go to more parties. I like to bring a unique hostess gift and make interesting new cocktails. So I am repeating this.

Corporate distillers use additives that ordinary folks would not use, if we made our own spirits. An excellent cookbook which has a chapter on home liqueur making is Spoonbread and Strawberry Wine. Making liqueur at home used to be common in American life as this scene from Arsenic and Old Lace attests:

Greenbar Organic Distillery makes their own Vodka, Gin, Tequila, Liqueurs and Bitters without additives, using classic distillery techniques and all organic ingredients. 

A bottle of anything Greenbar makes would be a welcome hostess gift. I have nothing to gain from any transaction you make with Greenbar beyond the success of the company. Quality counts.

TRU Jasmine Martini

1 1/4 oz TRU vodka
1 oz FRUITLAB jasmine liqueur
1/4 oz simple syrup
Glass Types: (Martini/Coupe)
Shake + strain into a martini glass
Garnish with an edible flower

Philadelphia Opera Company - Musical Interlude for Attitude Adjustment

There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats. - Albert Schweitzer
I shop at Reading Terminal Market weekly for fresh ground coffee and real bread. Iovine's for fresh produce. The Amish butcher for breakfast sausage and honey. Then I eat lunch at Pearl's Oyster Bar. Music and good food is Paradise.

I love the City of Brotherly Love. You never know when a random act of culture by the Philadelphia Opera Company may appear. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Orange Bread

This Orange Bread is delicious all by itself or spread with Cream Cheese or Peanut Butter. Quick breads are generally easy to make. This one requires cutting the flour into the shortening which is an extra step. Worth the work.

Orange Bread

4 cups Flour
3 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Shortening
2 Eggs
1 cup Milk
1 cup Candied Orange Peel
1/3 cup Syrup from Orange Peel

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flour, baking powder, sand and sugar. Cut the shortening into the flour mixture. Beat eggs thoroughly and add milk to them. Mix with flour mixture and stir in candied peel and syrup. Fold into loaf pan and bake 45 minutes.

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.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Simpson-Fletcher's Soul Food Stuffings

I love Philadelphia. If you poke around in corners of the city, you can find unexpected treasures. I found Simpson-Fletcher's Soul Food Recipes at the Tacony Library Book Sale. 

Find out about the Church that created the cookbook here if you want to know more about the particulars. Just scroll on down past the chicken coop.

Simpson-Fletcher's Soul Food Recipes devotes a whole chapter to Stuffings. I produce the recipes verbatim. I am making the Fish or the Capon. I hate Turkey. Happy Thanksgiving!

Sweet Potato Stuffing the Jamaican Way
from Ms. Thelma Graham

1 and 1/4 cups mashed Sweet Potatoes
7 slices toasted Bread cubes
6 links Pork Sausage
2 tablespoons Water
1/4 teaspoon crushed Marjoram leaves
1/2 cup finely chopped Celery
1 finely chopped Onion
1/4 teaspoon Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Sage
1/2 teaspoon ground Thyme
2 tablespoons Butter
1 and 1/2 teaspoons Salt

Combine toasted Bread cubes and Celery with mashed Sweet Potatoes. Mix and set aside. In a frying pan, put Sausage links and cold Water. Cover and cook for 10 minutes then pour off any fat and break links into small parts. Add chopped Onion to the pan and cook until Sausage is browned and onions are clear. Remove from heat and add all the seasoning. Mix well. Now add Sausage mix to the Sweet Potato mixture. Blend well and stuffing is ready for stuffing a large Capon.

Sweet Pickle Stuffing for Baked Fish
from Albert the Chef

2 cups Rye or Whole Wheat Bread crumbs
1 cup Sweet Pickles, minced
2 Celery Stalks, chopped
2 tablespoons Onion, minced
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Sage (optional )
2 tablespoons melted Butter

Mix all the ingredients thoroughly. Toss the crumbs so they are well coated with melted butter. Stuff the Fish cavity. This is enough for a 3 pound Bass or Trout.

Wisconsin Bars

I found this recipe in a regional cookbook entitled Cooking Wisconsin Style published by the Wisconsin State Journal. It was published in 1985 as a compendium of 30 years of the Journal's collected recipes. I do not know if one can still obtain a copy.

Wisconsin produces about a quarter of America's cheese. I am not surprised that this apple dessert contains two kinds of cheese and butter. And if cut in larger portions, is best served with iced cream. Wisconsin is the Dairy State.

This recipe courtesy of Mrs. Lawrence Eberle of Lone Rock. The painting is by Dennis Plamann, a Wisconsin Artist, and it is entitled Frank Fox's Farm.

Wisconsin Bars

1/4 cup Sugar  
1 cup Butter
2 Egg Yolks
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 cups Flour
4 cooking Apples, medium sized
1/2 pound Cheddar Cheese
1/4 cup Flour
1/2 cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
2 Egg Whites
1 and 1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
1/4 cup Cream Cheese

Combine the butter, egg yolks, baking powder, salt, flour. Blend until a crumbly mixture is formed. Put half the mixture in a 13x9 inch cake pan and press it down. Reserve the remainder.

Grate together in one bowl the apples and the cheddar cheese. Discard the cores and only the larger pieces of the apple peelings. Add the sugar, flour and cinnamon. Mix well. Spread this mixture as the second layer in the cake pan. Spread the remaining crumbly mixture to form the third layer.

Whip egg whites until peaks are formed. Gradually add powdered sugar and cream cheese, beating continuously. Spoon this topping over the contents of the cake pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown. Yield 3 dozen bars. 
Note: These can be cut into bars or served in larger portions with ice cream or whipped cream.

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!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Poor Man's Turkey

“People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.” ― Abraham Lincoln
This recipe comes from Karen Rock and Recipes of the Liberty Bell Chapter #266 - Vietnam Veterans of America.

This might taste awfully good on those days when you are sick of leftover Turkey and you have some stuffing left. I never have any stuffing left. And I hate Turkey. Might have to improvise.

I suppose you could make some stuffing just for this dish. Might by yummy. I like the whole idea.

Poor Man's Turkey

1 pound Ground Beef
1/2 cup Bread Crumbs
1 Egg
1 small Onion, chopped (optional)
2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 cup cooked Stuffing
1 slice raw Bacon (optional)

Combine first five ingredients and form into one loaf. Cut in half lengthwise and insert Stuffing into the middle of the loaf. Put back into shape and bake one hour at 375 degrees. Place strip of Bacon on top of meatloaf to keep it from drying out. Serves 4.

Monday, October 26, 2015

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!

Happy Belated Birthday Lord Ganesh

 I am so happy to have found a fine blog Simple Indian Recipes. I was looking for Pumpkin recipes that could be entrees or candy perhaps. Fall is the time to eat Squash and Pumpkin. I share my find with you, cher Reader.

I found an entire page of Pumpkin recipes that truly go from Soup to Nuts. You want to go there if you cook for Vegans and Vegetarians at Holiday time. I plan to make a Curry.

I am so happy to share Lord Ganesh made in Pumpkins for your enjoyment. See the dancing at the festival 2015 below:

Simple as Pie - Cranberry Walnut Thanksgiving Pie

Every year this recipe saves this cook's life. So I republish it every year at Holiday time so someone new can find it. Enjoy.

When I first encountered this recipe, I scoffed. Nothing this easy could be all that good, I thought. The easy in this pie is no pastry to make. I was so wrong. Make this once and it will become a holiday favorite.

This recipe meets my standards (simple to make, no exotic ingredients, dynamite result). The sweet tart taste is divine. The pie has a texture like a soft shortbread cookie with fruit.

For cooks who have to turn out good food for their family on short notice in a regular kind of way, this recipe is a godsend. I found this recipe in a regional cookbook. It came from Mary Yeaple of York Friends Meeting. Mary Yeaple says of this recipe "I always make two pies at a time because they don't last long."

Cranberry Walnut Pie

1 1/4 cups fresh or frozen Cranberries
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1/4 cup chopped Walnuts
1 Egg
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 cup all purpose Flour
1/3 cup Butter, melted *

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9 inch pie plate and layer cranberries on the bottom. Sprinkle with brown sugar and nuts. In a bowl, beat egg until thick; gradually add sugar, beating until thoroughly blended. Stir in flour and melted butter; blend well. Pour or spoon over the cranberries. Do not stir. Do not worry if the batter does not cover each berry and nut. The high butter content and lack of leavening make the batter relax and become more liquid when heated. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Cut into wedges and serve with ice cream or whipped topping. English custard sauce would be good too.

* Note: 5 1/3 tablespoons to be exact - I eyeball it with the help of the little tablespoon marks on the butter label. Be sure to use a 9 inch pie pan. Do not take the pie out too soon or it will be too soft. Let it cool completely before slicing. A pie server is useful.

Holiday Hospitality and Party Punch

The Holiday Party Season has arrived with Thanksgiving. Punches are elegant and perfect for Celebrations of all kinds.

These Party Punches come from Charleston Receipts. I heartily recommend this cookbook. It is the encyclopedia of Southern comfort. Proceeds from the sale of Charleston Receipts cookbook go to many worthy community projects of the Junior League of Charleston. I receive no payment.

Never forget that Punch stock should be poured over a block of ice and served cold cold cold. The only exception is the Coffee Punch below.

Coffee Punch

1 gallon strong Coffee
1 quart Cream
2 quarts Vanilla Ice Cream
5 teaspoons Vanilla
5 tablespoons Sugar

Chill Coffee. Whip Cream, add Sugar and Vanilla. Place Ice Cream and whipped Cream in punch bowl and pour Coffee over it. Mix well before serving. ( If block Ice Cream is used, slice it into thin slices before placing in the punch bowl. ) 50-60 servings.
– Mrs. S. Edward Izard Jr. (Anne Kirk)

Otranto Club Punch

1 pound loaf Sugar
1 quart strong Green Tea
Juice of 12 Lemons, strained
1-2 quarts carbonated Water
1 pint Peach Brandy
1 quart heavy or light Rum
2 quarts Brandy or Rye Whiskey

Dissolve the Sugar in the Tea; add Lemon Juice, Peach Brandy, Rum and the Brandy or Rye Whiskey. Use an abundance of ice, adding a liberal quantity of carbonated Water. 50-70 Servings.
- Louis Y. Davison Jr.

Cotillion Club Punch

1/4 pound Gunpowder (Green) Tea (makes 5 quarts)
1 quart Cherries
2 dozen Lemons, juice
1/2 pint Fruit Syrup
12 quarts carbonated Water
6-8 quarts Rye Whiskey
1/2 pint Rum
1 pound Sugar made into thick syrup

Pour 5 quarts boiling Water onto the Tea, bring this to a boil; remove from fire at once and let stand until strong enough. Strain and, when cool, add juice of Lemons, Syrup from the Cherries and also the Rye and Rum. Sweeten to taste with any Fruit Syrup; add Sugary syrup and Cherries. Bottle this stock and keep on ice until ready to serve. Pour over block of ice, add one quart Carbonated Water to one quart of stock. This stock can be kept indefinitely if bottled and sealed. Yield 275-300 servings.
- A Charleston Gentleman

Saturday, October 17, 2015

World Food Day Poster Contest for Children 2015

These are my favorite posters. You can pick your favorites by going HERE. You can also find out how your child or your classroom can participate at the WFD website.

The 2015 World Food Day theme is:

“Social Protection and agriculture: breaking the cycle of rural poverty”

Social Protection has been chosen as the theme of this year’s World Food Day (WFD) to highlight its importance in reducing rural poverty and granting access to food or means to buy food.

Social protection can be defined as a range of solutions, often combined with each others, —such as work opportunities, provision of food, money and services— that are designed to support the vulnerable and help the poor in society move out of hunger and poverty. If you click HERE, you can see other World Food Day winners.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Halloween Gets Black Joe Cake

Old Black Joe is a parlor song by Stephen Foster (1826–1864). It was published by Firth, Pond & Co. of New York in 1853. I posted the song below sung by the Paul Robeson in mighty voice. I think the name of this cake is a pun.

Joe is American slang for coffee. I do not find this cake recipe in modern cookbooks; I find it in old regional cookbooks from the 30s and 40s. I think the omission is deliberate. You cannot sell cake mixes if making a scratch cake is this easy. This cake is not too sweet. I like a slice for breakfast right out of the fridge. Trust me, you will too. Black cake for a black and scary night. Boo!

 Black Joe Cake

Mix together:
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder

Make a well in the dry ingredients and then add, then mix with a spoon:
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1 cup milk

Add, then mix again with a spoon: one cup black coffee. 

Pour into two greased 9 inch layer cake pans or 10x13 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about forty minutes for large pan, 15 to 20 minutes for 9 inch layer cake pans. Be sure to test for doneness and do not overbake. If a knife blade comes out clean: it is Done! This batter is too loose for a tube pan.

Serve Black Joe Cake with sweet vanilla flavored whipped cream. If you want to get really fancy, make the layers and fill the space between the layers with raspberry jam and fresh raspberries.

Frost Black Joe Cake with Chocolate Frosting Helen Evans Brown:

Helen Evans Brown was a food writer in the 1950s. If you can find one of her coookbooks, buy it immediately and never let it go. This icing sets up fine when cool, never hardens and remains glossy. It is a wonder frosting. Sometimes I add a teaspoon of vanilla or dark rum.

Melt one 15 ounce package of milk chocolate or semi-sweet chips in a bowl over warm water. Blend the melted chocolate with one cup of sour cream.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Mrs. Austine Sutton's Cider Sauce

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.

Scary Spiders and Chocolate Mice

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. 

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

Go HERE to learn how to make the Spider Crown. I am making this for a grown daughter. 

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, September 26, 2015

Chicken Mushrooms

Mushrooms are beautiful and they taste divine. We have a brand new urban farmer and food purveyor in Philly and you can see their logo on the right.

Their blog is Chicken Mushrooms. If you go there, you will learn more about Mushrooms than you ever thought you wanted to know. 

You will find recipes for Mushroom delicacies there. You can buy a kit to grow Mushrooms. You can find out about Mushroom Seminars teaching how to find wild edible Mushrooms and how to grow your own at home.

I love Mycopolitan's Statement of Purpose:

In short we’re building Philly’s first mushroom farm where we plan to:

1-Grow gourmet varieties for local restaurants and a retail establishment or two

2- Grow and make stuff for hobbyist mushroom growers of all levels

3- Research new varieties such as the namesake of this blog which hasn’t had much press lately

4- Research new agricultural and environmental applications for fungi

5- Go wherever the mushrooms lead us.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Halloween Decorations

Halloween is my favorite holiday. How could it not be so? The air is crisp, the harvest is home and dressing up your hearth or porch.. Here are some pictures and websites to help you plan your decorations and help you celebrate. 

The Zombie Brain Pumpkin comes from 

Pumpkins can be carved and they can be painted, etc.

Oil based glossy house paint works the best, especially if you want to put your pumpkins outside on the porch. Oil based paint is durable, glossy and adheres well to pumpkin rind. A decorated pumpkin will last without rotting from Halloween through Thanksgiving.

Glossy acrylic paint is a good choice if you are working with children. It washes off.  Do not buy small containers of hobbyist paints unless you are only going to paint one or two pumpkins. Go to an art supply store for premixed acrylic paints in a wide variety of exotic colors in a generous size.

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.

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: 
Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter

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.