Pie Crust Cookie Search

Friday, February 23, 2024


I love this more than any other kind of noodle or pasta but it does require some specialized equipment or a technique American's are generally unaccustomed to. If you are willing to try something unusual you'll find an easy noodle that is better than store-bought.




Serves 4

1 c AP flour
1/2 c semolina flour
1 teas kosher salt, plus more for cooking water
1 teas finely minced fresh thyme and/or fresh sage
1 large pinch freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs
1/3-1/2 c milk

Place the flours in a mixing bowl and add the salt, herbs, and pepper. Whisk together. Measure milk and whisk the eggs into it while in the measuring cup. Pour into the dry ingredients. Use a fork to gently stir together. If it is so thick it's difficult to work with add a little more milk, up to 1/2 c in total. You should have a dough that is very sticky but not too wet.

Let it rest for 15 minutes.

Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Just before cooking stir in salt.

There are a number of options for getting this dough into boiling water. I use a spaetzle press I purchased in Germany. These are available online but a bit pricey. You can use a dedicated potato ricer. (A press doesn't need to be a uni-tasker in the kitchen. I use mine for making spaghetti ice and for ricing potatoes when making mashed potatoes.) Press the dough through the hopper a large spoonful at a time right into the water, using a  table knife to cut the noodle batter about an inch long. The noodles will rise to the top of the water.  Allow them to cook for another couple of minutes. Scoop the spaetzle out of the water with a spider and place in a bowl. Repeat the process until all the dough is cooked. (You can also shock the noodles in ice water.) You can add butter or oil to keep the spaetzle from sticking to each other, although this isn't usually a huge problem for me.

Another method for spaetzle utilizes this a sheet of metal with holes that sets on top of the pot. I haven't tried it but it looks like it would work fine.

I've read of using a colander or the large holes of a cheese grater. 

Yet another method is to place the dough on the edge of a cutting board and cut bits of the dough off into the water. This might take some practice but it is doable. Here's a YouTube video for an example.

Once the spaetzle is cooked, add some butter, if desired, and taste for seasonings.  Top with finely chopped parsley. Serve as a side with brats, roasted meats, or goulash. 

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Orange, Shallot, Olive, and Feta Salad

I see recipes for salads similar to this most winters. Except for the dressing, I've just thrown salad ingredients together with no requirement for amounts. 


Orange, Shallot, Olive, and Feta Salad

Serves 2

2 teas orange juice concentrate or 2 T orange juice
2 T olive oil
1 teas red wine vinegar
pinch of salt
1/4 teas pepper

For the dressing, place the above ingredients in a jar and top with a tight lid. Shake until all is emulsified. Drizzle over plates with a mixture of the following ingredients as you like.

A mix of navel, Cara Cara or blood oranges, peeled and sliced
Kalamata olives, halved
shallots or red onions, slived very thinly
crumbled feta

Add other ingredients that you enjoy such as sliced fennel bulbs, chopped cilantro and/or chopped pistachios, if desired.

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Chai Tea Concentrate


Chai Tea Concentrate

Source:  Gimmesomeoven
Yields 4 cups

12 cardamom pods, gently crushed or split
8 whole black peppercorns
8 whole cloves
2-4 inch piece of ginger, sliced
4 c water
4 cinnamon sticks
3 whole allspice
2 star anise
1/8 t ground nutmeg
1/2-1 vanilla bean, sliced down the middle 
2 T brown sugar or maple syrup, or to taste

Over medium-high heat bring all ingredient to a boil . Cover and reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to steep for 5-10 minutes longer. (At this point you may add 4 bags black tea or 4 teaspoons loose black tea and steep 5 minutes.) Pour through a strainer and use the liquid as a concentrate mixing  equal parts concentrate with water or milk to make chai tea. Concentrate can be refrigerated for up to a week.


If the current high price of vanilla beans is too high, skip the bean and add 2 teaspoons vanilla extract to the concentrate after it has cooled.  

Friday, December 29, 2023


We have written elsewhere about my dad's preparation of taco dip on Christmas Eve every year when I was growing up. Last year my family varied from the specific tradition but kept to its spirit by having Michael prepare dinner on Christmas Eve, and we had ribs and chicken wings. He did the lion's share of the Christmas shopping this time, though, so maybe he would preferred a break! 

This year, he decided on steak, which we were lucky to grab at a Costco that was as crowded as I have ever seen it. The line went from the front of the store all the way to the milk before snaking back on itself all the way to the rotisserie chicken. For Michael's birthday we make steak at home, and in recent years this has included chimichurri, a South American condiment. We have cobbled together various chimichurris, but this year I kept notes and we now have a standard.



2 garlic cloves, peeled and trimmed
2 T red wine vinegar
1/2 c olive oil
roughly 1 c cilantro, cut from the end of a bunch
roughly 1/2 c parsley, cut from the end of a bunch
3/4 teas dried oregano
1 teas kosher salt
pepper to taste

Process all ingredients in a food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds. 

Thursday, July 27, 2023





Adapted from: Alton Brown
Yields: about 10 (I usually double since these are easy to freeze and use later)

2 eggs
3/4 c milk
1/2 c water
1 c flour. all-purpose or a mix including some whole wheat
3 T butter, melted
1-2 T sugar, if you want sweet crepes
1 teas vanilla, ditto

Place the eggs, milk and water into a blender and mix until well combined. The add the flour, butter and extra ingredients, if you are using them. Run blender until all is well mixed and smooth.. You may need to use a scraper to push flour off the sides of the blender. AB recommends letting this sit in the fridge for 60 minutes for greater ease of cooking (less tearing), but Kókó and her daddy often don't wait to cook.

Heat a crepe pan or a small nonstick skillet (or best of all, a ponnukokupanna, an Icelandic pancake pan), over medium heat for at least 5 minutes. Butter the pan and use a teaspoon full of batter to test whether the pan is hot enough. It should take 30-60 seconds to cook on one side and fewer than that to cook the second side. Use a quarter cup measure to pour the batter in the pan, pick it up and turn and swirl so the batter slides into a thin covering of the bottom of the pan. When the edges dry slide a thin spatula under and flip the pancake carefully so the other side can cook. AB says he always plans on the first pancake being for the dog so don't get discouraged if your first few are not "beautiful". They will taste good. You can butter your pan between pancakes but I don't always do so. In addition, I prefer vegetable oil to butter. I think butter tastes better, of course, but for me oil is easier to work with. 

These can be treated as crepes but also as pancakes and you can use any topping including macerated fruit or berries. My favorite involves lemon juice and vanilla sugar. Other family members are fans of Nutella, powdered sugar, or cinnamon sugar, often all mixed together!

Forager's Pasta

This recipe comes from a lovely book titled, I Dream of Dinner (so You Don't Have To) by Ali Slagle. Her recipes are in a narrative form and allow for tweaks and substitutions and are flexible in amounts, so I'll set this up the way I made it. I'm glad to have run into this recipe since I'm fond of savory dishes which include sweet spices. 


Forager's Pasta

Source: I Dream of Dinner (so You Don't Have To)
Serves: 4-7

1 pound mushrooms of any variety or several varieties, cut or torn into bite size pieces
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper to taste, remembering you'll use some of your pasta water which will add to total salt
2 strips of lemon zest and 3 T lemon juice
8 T butter, cut into 8 pieces and kept in fridge until needed
cook's choice of herbs and spices, such as 1 teas black peppercorns or fennel seeds, 1 half cinnamon stick, broken, or some fresh grated nutmeg, at least 8 sage leaves, 4 bay leaves, 3 thyme sprigs, and or 2 rosemary sprigs
3 T olive oil
12 oz short pasta but not necessarily tiny pasta

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or a Dutch oven and cook the mushrooms and chickpeas. Season with salt and pepper. Shake the pan occasionally and cook until contents are browned, 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, start a pot of water to boil. If you cook the pasta in a smaller amount of water, you'll have starchier water which will be good for your final product. But you'll have to stir the pasta while it cooks so it doesn't clump.

Coarsely grind or smash the spices you want to use and strip the herb leaves off their stems. If desired, you can chop the sage and/or rosemary. 

When the water boils, add the pasta and cook until almost al dente. Reserve at least 1 cup of the cooking water and drain.

When the chickpeas and mushrooms have finished, add the butter around the edges of the pan. Stir in the herbs and spices and cook while the butter foams and turns golden. Add the pasta to this mixture and cook, stirring while dribbling in some of the pasta water until the butter and the water form an emulsion. Taste and season if you need more salt and pepper. Pull out any sticks or stems left from the herbs and serve. 

Note: I used fennel seed, cinnamon stick, sage and bay leaves. For serving, I garnished with chopped parsley. In the summer I may garnish with basil. 

Sunday, June 4, 2023

Greek Salad

This briny salad hit the spot this week, with the start of summer. I use the recipe as a framework, adapting as needed to what I have on hand. I've used dried oregano, fresh red peppers instead of jarred, yellow onion instead of red, and whatever tomatoes are convenient. It's especially nice in the summer with my back porch oregano and mint and garden tomatoes.


Greek Salad

Serves 6-8
Source: Cook's Illustrated


3 T red wine vinegar 
1 1/2 teas lemon juice
2 teas minced fresh oregano leaves
1/2 teas salt
1/8 teas black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
6 T olive oil


1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
1 medium cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise
2 hearts romaine lettuce, washed, dried, and torn in to bitesize pieces
2 large tomatoes, cored, seeded, and cut into wedges
1/4 c loosely packed, torn fresh parsley leaves
1/4 c loosely packed, torn fresh mint leaves
1 c (about 6 oz) jarred, roasted red bell pepper, cut into strips no longer than 2 inches
20 large kalamata olives, pitted and quartered lengthwise
1 c feta cheese, crumbled

Whisk the vinaigrette ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the onion and cucumber, toss, and marinate for 20 minutes. Add lettuce, tomatoes, parsley, mint, and bell pepper to the bowl and toss. Sprinkle with olives and cheese, then enjoy.