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

Quindins de YaYa - Comida Latina

Quindins de Yaya is a Brazilian dessert made of grated coconut. It is also the name of a Brazilian song you may recognize. Yaya means "young girl" in a Brazilian dialect.

Here is the song Os Quindins de YaYa  followed by a recipe for this delightful dessert.

I found this recipe in Comida Latina, a cookbook published by Center for Latin American Studies at Stanford University in 1977. It is the simplest version I have found. Another name for these little cakes is Mae Bentas. Recipe courtesy of Rollie E. Poppino. 


3 cups grated Coconut
2 cups Sugar
1 tablespoon Flour
6 Egg Whites
10 Egg Yolks
1 teaspoon Salt
Small amount of Sugar and Butter for the muffin tins. 

Separate Eggs. Mix all ingredients. Butter small muffin tins and sprinkle with Sugar. Fill tins 3/4 full. Set muffin tins in a pan of water and place in the oven. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. 

This recipe may also be made as a single cake baked in a mold. Double the baking time but watch cake carefully. Done when a knife comes out clean. Some recipes are flavored further with the addition of Vanilla and/or Cinnamon. You will have fun experimenting, if you like. I like the plain version the best. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

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.

Wildflowers in the Garden

Wildflowers are more than beautiful. Wildflowers attract benefical insects. Those insects control garden pests without the use of poisons. And benefical insects pollinate the vegetables, flowers and herbs in my backyard garden.

Wildflowers can also help to control insect pests. No plot is too small or too large to farmscape for productivity and insect pest control. This farmscape plot looks suspiciously like a flower border

I found this glorious Wildflower site to share with you. You can sort Wildflowers by color, region, common name and a host of other qualifications. This is an invaluable guide to garden planning.
" is a resource for wildflower enthusiasts and gardeners. With a growing interest in the environment and natural gardening, our objective is to offer comprehensive information that is easy to use, and accessible for those from the casually interested to the expert."
And one great site often leads to another.

The Tulip can be found in Curtis's Botanical Magazine. Volumes 1- 63. 1787-1863.

More images like it can be found at the National Agricultural Library Special Collections Image Gallery. 

One can find the vintage covers of Japanese Seed Catalogues and illustrations from Rare Books and Posters in the Special Collections. I spent hours going through the Special Collections Image Gallery. I wish you the same enjoyment.

First Day of Spring 2015

“If winter comes, can spring be far behind?” ― Percy Bysshe ShelleyOde to the West Wind
Today is the official First Day of Spring. And the United Nations declared this is official Happiness Day.

Humbug! We are expecting 3 to 5 inches of snow today. Drat. Happy Spring all the same. I am planning my garden. It must be Spring.

The cartoonist is Jeffery Koterba. You can see more of his work HERE.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

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.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Junk Food Chicken

This is down and dirty you-make-dinner-365-days-a-year cooking.


Leftover Pretzels, Chips, Cheese Curls, Crackers, etc.
4 slices toasted Bread
1 1/2 pounds boneless breast of Chicken

Crush Bread, Pretzels, Chips, etc. in a paper bag with your rolling pin. Or a food processor. Wash and dry the Chicken. Dip into mayonnaise and then crumb mixture. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees about 30 minutes or until fork tender. Has great flavor kids love. Thank you, Mary Jean Clift

The image of the Armada Stove comes from the Old Design Shop.

Mrs. Ian Erskine's Devilled Eggs

This is not your standard Devilled Egg. The recipe comes from The Royal Blue and Gold Cookbook produced as a fundraiser by the Marchioness of Cambridge in 1974. The cookbook is long out of print. This is another glorious library book sale find.

Before World War II, Dorothy Hastings Cambridge had an idea of making a cook book using recipes from dinner parties she and George had given for their friends and guests. The Marchioness had interesting friends like Clark Gable and Joan Crawford. Dorothy was supported in this effort by Queen Mary, who donated many recipes. The book did not get published until 1974. Proceeds were donated to the Royal British Legion Women's Section. 

This recipe is verbatim. I will provide one or two of the Marchioness's creative recipes also in another section. Enough typing for this morning.

Devilled Eggs

Ingredients to serve 4

1 tablespoon Butter or Margarine
1 ounce Butter (editor's note - you may use Margarine here as well)
4 Eggs
2 tablespoons Milk 
Cayenne Pepper
1 and 1/2 teaspoons prepared Mustard
1 tablespoon Chutney
2 tablespoons Capers
2 Eggs


Melt the butter or margarine in a frying pan and fry the eggs carefully until the whites are set, but not hard. Meanwhile, melt the 1 ounce butter in a saucepan. Add the milk, the salt, and the cayenne and bring to a boil. Add the mustard, chutney, and the two eggs, well beaten. Stir the mixture over a low fire, until the sauce is like thick cream, never allowing it to come to a boil. Add the chopped capers and pour the sauce over the fried eggs. The dish may be warmed slightly under the grill or in a very hot oven for a few minutes, as it must be served very hot.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Shoo Fly Cake - Vegan Friendly

This is a simple coffeecake made of inexpensive ingredients. And it tastes so good. It is useful to take to potlucks where Vegans lurk.

Shoo Fly Cake

4 cups of Flour (2 white and 2 whole wheat is delicious and optional)
2 cups Sugar
1 cup solid Vegetable Shortening or 2 sticks Margarine
2 teaspoons. Baking Soda
1 cup Molasses
2 cups Boiling Water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, sugar and shortening to make crumbs; reserve 1 cup. Dissolve soda in water, stir in molasses. Combine mixture with crumbs. Pour batter into greased 13 x 9 inch pan. Sprinkle with reserved crumbs. Bake 30-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Note: I always reserve a bit more crumbs than a cup, as the crumb topping is my favorite part of this cake. It is a forgiving cake and hard to mess up. I also find in my oven the baking time is 45 minutes. Do not over bake. This cake gets more moist and delicious the second day. Serves 10 -12. And yes, this recipe can be made into cupcakes.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Don Marquis' Baked Beans Nirvana

Don Marquis' Very Special Baked Bean Recipe

From "The Almost Perfect State"
By Don Marquis
Doubleday, Page & Company

If you WILL eat beans, here is the way to prepare them.

First, you must have an earthenware Bean Pot, about six hands high, and of a dark bay colour. It is better if this Bean Pot is inherited from a favourite grandmother, with a porous texture (the pot, not the grandmother) that has absorbed and retained the sentimental traditions of at least three generations. But if you own no such heirloom (more precious than the rubies of an imperial crown!) a new one can be made to do.

Procure your white navy beans, and pick them over on a Friday night, not hastily or cursorily, but with love and care, one bean at a time, for this is both an art and a science on which you have embarked--it is more; it is almost a religious rite. Cast from you all split beans, all rusty or spotted beans, all too-wrinkly beans; save only such superior beans, smooth, hard, and shining, as a twelve-months' old child would love to poke up his nose.

Put these aristocrats to soak in water that has three or four tablespoonfuls of baking soda in it. Don't ask me why the soda. I am not arguing with you. I am telling you.

Some people say that after these beans have soaked all night they are ready to bake. These people lie. They are not ready to bake. They are merely ready to boil.

Boil them from ten o'clock Saturday morning until noon, in a pot with a piece of salt pork in it. And time your boiling so that on the stroke of twelve there is very little of the liquid remaining. For they must not go into the Sacred Earthenware Bean Pot, the Ancestral Amphora, too soupy or sloppy.

Put into the bottom of the Bean Pot a layer of Beans four fingers deep. Poke deeply into this one bay leaf. Put on top of this a layer consisting of pieces of just the right kinds of salt pork. On top of the layer of pork, dribble a thin layer of thick New Orleans molasses.

Put in another layer of beans. Into this second layer poke four or five slender curling strips of pungent shredded onion. Put a dab of mustard on the onion. Then a sparse layer of pork. Then another dribbled layer of molasses.

Pause and put your Ego in harmony with the Cosmic All.

Build up these successive layers of beans, pork, and molasses, alternating the subtle bay leaf with the poetic onion, until the pot is filled within two inches of the top. From time to time, a conservative sprinkle of black pepper, as you work from the bottom upward. From time to time hum a verse of "Old Hundred." Don't put in any salt; the pork salts all.

Let the top layers of pork and molasses be a bit thicker than any of the others.

Bake, slowly, in a moderate oven, from noon until six o'clock in the evening. Some say it must be a brick oven. Nonsense! Your Bean Pot itself is your bricky heat-retaining medium.

Eat from six in the evening until midnight--and without fear of indigestion. The thorough cooking has taken all that sort of thing away.

Each separate bean of all these beans retains its form--almost. Almost. Not quite. Each bean is ready to melt tenderly into amalgamation with his neighbor bean. At the touch of the serving spoon the touched beans lose their individual identity, yield up their pride, merge gently into a kind of Bean Nirvana.

Some eat them with vinegar. Very good. Others with tomato catsup. I eat them with a squeeze of lemon juice. Ambrosia!

Don Marquis Appendix to "The Almost Perfect State"

Contributor's note: I was privileged to attend in 1978 a celebration of Don's 100th birthday. Dinner included a serving of Don's Baked Bean Nirvana Treat.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Chinese Fried Chicken Neither Chinese Nor Fried

I quote the author of Country Flavor Cookbook, Haydn Pearson, verbatim.

"Here is a delicious and different way to use Chicken. The recipe is from Miss Ruth McKinlay, of the Old Crombie Gift Shop, Francestown, New Hampshire. No one seems to know how it gathered the name Chinese Fried Chicken."

Chinese Fried Chicken (neither Chinese nor Fried)

1 broiler cut in pieces
2 cups of cream in which dissolve:
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried mustard
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce.
Roll pieces of chicken in flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Pack chicken in a baking dish with straight sides. Fill cracks with pieces of bread and the liver. Pour over all the sauce. Let stand in the refrigerator for several hours. Cook one hour at 400 degrees in a covered dish. Remove top and let brown. Serves 4 to 6." 

I make this chicken regularly. My children love it. It is very rich and totally suitable for company. And it is easy on the Cook because the ingredients are simple and so is the preparation.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Straight from the Fishes Mouth

I have written about Chili in the past.  I love Chili.

Calling all Chili and Beer lovers. I give it to you straight from the Fishes mouth:

Fishtown Neighbors Association 
5th Annual Chili Cook­Off
March 29, 2015
1 PM – 4 PM
2424 York Street, Philadelphia, PA 

Prizes will be awarded. Participating restaurants include, Loco Pez (2012 Champion), Lloyd (2014 Critic’s Choice, Whiskey Pig Chili), Sancho Pistola’s, Good Spoon Soupery, Fette Sau, Cedar Point Bar & Kitchen (2014 People’s Choice), Belgrade Deli, Dottie’s Dinette and more.

Fifteen residents have also submitted chili for judging.

Beer generously provided by Philadelphia Brewing Company (Kenzinger and Pennsylvania Pale Ale), St Benjamin’s Brewing (India Cream Ale and Little Peat Stout) and Port Richmond’s Do Good Brewing (United Ale and the recently released Milk Street Stout). Metropolitan Bakery will again donate bread to sop up the chili and beer.

Advanced entry of $15 includes two beers and unlimited chili.

Friday, March 6, 2015

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.  

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Debutante's Cake

This easy cake comes from French Family Cooking by Audrey Ellis. This cake stays moist for a week. Most young cooks in France learn to make  this cake before attempting to make pastry.

The illustration is from Marjorie Torre Bevans. 

Debutante's Cake 

4 cups all-purpose Flour sifted with 4 teaspoons Baking Powder
5 Eggs
1 and 1/3 cups Sugar
1 large Lemon
pinch Salt
3/4 cup Corn Oil
1 and 1/4 cups Milk

Sieve the Flour into a mixing bowl. Make a hollow in the center.

In an other bowl, beat the Eggs with the Sugar, grated zest of Lemon and the Salt. Beat in the Oil and the Milk, adding a little of each alternately.

Pour the mixture into the flour, drawing it in gradually, then beat until smooth. Pour into two greased and line 9x5 loaf tins and bake in a moderate 350 degree oven for 50 minutes. If necessary, cover the top of the cakes with greaseproof paper or foil after 25 minutes to prevent over browning. Test with a fine skewer, cool for a few minutes in the tin and turn out.

A friend of mine makes this moist cake in a fluted tube pan. When he serves the cake, he fills the center with Raspberries and surrounds the cake with Whipped Cream all around it on the plate. Perfect.

The cake is so moist it needs no frosting. Might be nice with a tart Lemon Glaze. But there is really no reason to gild the cake as it is lovely all by its lonesome.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Banana Ketchup

This condiment is a piquant accompaniment to any sharp Cheese and broiled or grilled Chicken or Fish.

The recipe comes from Silvana Franco's excellent out of print cookbook Salsas and Ketchups copyright 1995. I found my copy at the Library Book Sale. You also will find another sauce by this esteemed Lady HERE.

Illustration by Ulisse Aldrovandi. It comes from this collection of vintage illustrations. 

Banana Ketchup

Makes about 3 3/4 cups.

10 ripe Bananas, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 Onions, finely chopped
2 inch piece of Ginger Root, finely ground
2 1/2 cup Cider Vinegar
2 cups soft Brown Sugar
2 tsp. Black Peppercorns
1 tsp. Allspice Berries
1 tsp Salt

Place all ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Cover and simmer gently for one hour, stirring occasionally, until thick and pulpy.

Strain the mixture through a fine nonmetallic strainer, then pour immediately into hot sterilized bottles. Seal and store for up to 6 months.

Bug Off Container Garden

Water is the universal solvent. Chemical pest control eventually ends up in our water supply. I try never to use manmade pesticides. Those Frankenstein concoctions are killing our bees. I am always looking for natural solutions to environmental problems.

Rob Sproule of Salisbury Greenhouse writes excellent garden articles. He is doing interesting work in the community with school gardens. Teaching children gardening is one of the better things one can do with one's time. I bet you can find a place for this container on your balcony or the patio. 
“Mosquitos are a fact of life in Canada, but dousing our skin in DEET doesn’t have to be. This container, though non-edible, is perfect to grow on your patio, in your gazebo or anywhere you like to sit and unwind in the evenings. You could also break it up into smaller pots to create a scented perimeter.” – Rob Sproule

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Ghetto Garden Fabulous #2

I have written about my scavenger's garden before. In keeping with the theme established, I have gathered some new tricks that you might find useful in your city garden.

One of the first things I did in my garden was create a path. A garden path gives definition to the garden, aids in forming garden beds and makes it possible to get at those herbs easily when you are cooking. My itty bitty kitchen garden adds a lot of good tastes to my life.

I had a source of old bricks. You may have a source of discarded pallets. One can create beauty out of nothing much.

Every time you pass up commercial pavers and other doodads for creativity with found materials, you save money to indulge in flowers, seedlings and herbs and shrubs that might be otherwise hard on your garden budget. I bought myself fig trees.

One of the persistent problems I have had gardening in the city is Cats, my own and those of my neighbors.They defecate in the exposed earth in the garden beds.

It is partly my own fault. I grow a stand of Catnip which they love to eat and roll in. I solved the problem by using twigs to make mini paths and so they are disinclined to dig.

 I am happy to share this neat tip which solves both the problem of cats and recycling plastic utensils. Go to for 19 more frugal gardening tips.

The moral of this story is: Use what you have. Save money and save the planet. Make Art.

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need."

(Si hortum in bibliotheca habes, deerit nihil.)
― Marcus Tullius CiceroLetters to His Friends, Vol 2: Books 7-12

Sunday, January 11, 2015

World Food Day Poster Contest 2014

Congratulations to the winners of World Food Day Poster Contest 2014 entitled ‘Family Farming’.

I present my favorite posters every year because the children's art is so amazing and energizing. 

Go to the link to see all the posters in the contest and the names of the artists and their ages. You can also find out how to enter your child or your class in next year's contest.