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Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Sunchoke and Sausage Soup

I adapted this recipe from one I found on multiple internet sites. I'm not sure who to credit. I saw one post that claimed the soup was an attempt to copy a dish served at Vermillion Restaurant in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.


Sunchoke and Sausage Soup

Serves 6

4 slices bacon, diced (it can be pork or turkey bacon)
1 pd sausage, turkey or Italian (if you have links, remove the sausage from the casings)
1 pd sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes) peeled, halved and cut into 1/2-in slices
6 small white potatoes, peeled and halved 
3 stalks celery, diced
1/2 large onion
1 leek, white and light green parts, chopped
3 c fresh spinach or swiss chard, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 quart chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 c chopped parsley
2 T chopped fresh basil
2 T chopped fresh oregano
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1/4-1/2 teas sweet paprika
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 c water

Cook the bacon and sausage, onion, celery, leek in a large saucepan or Dutch oven until the bacon and sausage are browned and the onion and celery are softened. Add the sunchokes and potatoes and pour in the stock. Stir in the parsley, basil, oregano, cayenne, paprika, and salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, covered. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook slowly for 30 minutes.

Put the flour and the water in a small bowl or container and stir vigorously until no lumps remain. Pour into the soup and continue simmering, covered for 10 minutes. Stir in the spinach (or chard) and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes until the broth is thickened and the greens have wilted. 


I harvest sunchokes when garden herbs have frozen. I have used dried oregano and basil as a substitute and it is still good. 

Consider brightening with lemon juice or a bit of wine vinegar.

Monday, December 19, 2022

Salmon with Rhubarb Sauce

This dish seems more spring like, but because you can buy frozen rhubarb, it can be served any time. 


Salmon with Rhubarb Sauce

Source: Ellie Krieger
Serves 4

1 T olive oil
2 medium shallots, diced
1 1/2 inch piece ginger root, minced
8 oz rhubarb (red is the prettiest, but green tastes just as good), diced
1/4 c orange juice
1/2 c white wine
2-3 T honey
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 teas salt
1/8 teas freshly ground black pepper
4 6-oz salmon fillets, skinless if you prefer
1/3 c fresh basil leaves

Add shallots to heated olive oil in a 10-inch skillet or a medium saucepan. Cook until softened and add the ginger, cooking for about 30 seconds. Pour in the juice and wine; bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until the liquids have reduced by half and stir in the rhubarb. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer all until the sauce is thicker and the rhubarb has softened. Stir in the honey, cayenne and half of the salt. If the sauce is too thick, add a splash of water to loosen it a little.

In the meantime, heat up a skillet or a grill pan to cook the salmon. Heat to medium high and spray with cooking spray. Season the salmon with the remaining salt and pepper. Place the fillets in the skillet and cook for a total of 10 minutes per inch of thickness, flipping once, after the top has browned.

Cut the basil into ribbons and when the salmon is done, stir it into the sauce, except for a couple small portions for a garnish. Place about a quarter cup of sauce onto a serving plate and top with a salmon fillet and the garnishing basil.

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Lemon Bread

I used to go to cookie exchanges when I lived in Marquette, Michigan, so long ago. I picked up this recipe one year and baked it many holiday seasons.


Lemon Bread

For my high altitude (almost 5000 ft) I made the following adjustments:

have eggs at room temp
subtract 1 1/2 T sugar
add 1 T lemon juice with milk
use half buttermilk and milk
add 1 1/2 T flour

Yields one 8X4 loaf pan

1/2 c butter, softened
1 1/4 c sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 T grated lemon peel
1/2 teas lemon extract
1/2 c milk
1 1/2 c flour
1 teas baking powder
1/4 teas salt
1/2 c chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted

Prepare loaf pan by greasing and flouring it well. 

Combine butter and sugar and mix well. Add eggs, lemon peel, extract, and milk. Add flour, baking powder and salt, stirring just until moistened. Fold in nuts. Pour into loaf pan  Bake at 350F for 50-60 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in pan and remove. Allow to cool on a rack. Serve with with Cherry Cheese Spread.

Cherry Cheese Spread

6 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 T chopped maraschino cherries
3-4 teas maraschino cherry juice.


I used about a third wheat flour, in this instance kamut.

In the above photo, the cream cheese was mixed with frozen raspberries. I like it both ways, although the maraschino cherries make for a sweeter spread.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Wild Rice and Mushroom Dressing



Wild Rice and Mushroom Dressing

Source: Bon Appetit
Serves 10

1 c pecans
2 c wild rice
salt to taste
1/4 c red wine vinegar
2 T orange juice, preferably fresh
2 T honey
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 large leeks, white and pale green parts, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
12 oz mushrooms, torn or cut into large pieces (a variety is nice)
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 teas chopped thyme
1/3 c chives, optional

Toast pecans until somewhat darkened and fragrant. My favorite way to do this is in a microwave for a minute (that works in mine; test yours the first time you use this technique). Cool and chop coarsely.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the wild rice until most of the grains have split and all are tender. Drain and run under cool water. Allow to cool in a colander and return to the pot.

In the meantime, place the vinegar, orange juice, and honey in a small jar and shake vigorously until combined. Add the crushed garlic and let sit for 10 minutes. Remove the garlic clove. Add to the rice and toss until coated.

In a large skillet over medium heat, start 1/4 c olive oil. Place the leeks in the warm oil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are slightly browned and tender. Stir in some salt and add to the rice and stir. 

Wipe out the skillet and heat another quarter cup of oil over medium high heat until the oil begins to shimmer and comes close to smoking. Spread the mushrooms in the skillet in a single layer and cook without disturbing until the bottoms are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and turn and keep cooking until brown all over. Reduce heat if needed and toss often. Mix in the thyme and add to the rice. Stir in the pecans and the chives, if using.

Serve at room temperature or reheat briefly if you prefer it warm. The dressing can sit on the counter (covered) for about 3 hours on the day it is served.

Components can be prepared ahead if needed and combined on the day you plan to serve. I stored the rice, leeks and mushrooms, and orange juice dressing separately in the fridge and combined just before serving.  

Tomato and Pomegranate Salad

I feel lucky that I still have some cherry tomatoes and pomegranates from my garden. But both are available from the grocery store, as are the herbs, so you don't have to wait until summer.


Tomato and Pomegranate Salad

Source: Yotam Ottolenghi on NYTimes Cooking
serves 6

2 pints mixed small or cherry tomatoes, of varying colors if possible
2 teas za'atar spice mix 
3 1/2 T olive oil
1/2 yellow or red bell, pepper, seeds removed and very thinly sliced
1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced
1/3 c loosely packed fresh basil leaves, torn (optional if you can't find it)
1/3 c loosely packed fresh mint leaves, torn (optional if you can't find it)
1 1/2 teas freshly squeezed lemon juice
sea salt, as needed
3 1/2 oz of feta cheese, crumbled

Cut the tomatoes in half  and place in a salad bowl. Mix the spice mix with half of the olive oil and set aside.

Add the pomegranate arils, sliced pepper and onion, herbs, lemon juice to the tomatoes. Stir and then add the remaining olive oil and some salt. Mix the salad gently and sprinkle it with the cheese. Spoon the za'atar mixture over the salad just before serving.

Note: If you absolutely can't get your hands on fresh herbs, use some dried versions. If you don't have any basil or mint, you can substitute oregano but use about one third as much, or to taste.

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Canned Oven-roasted Marinara

A flavorful sauce for the nights a pantry meal is called for.


Canned Oven-roasted Marinara

Source: The All New Ball Book of Canning and Preserving pg. 204
Yield: about 8 pints or 4 quarts

20 pounds plum tomatoes
1 1/2 c chopped onion (about 2 medium)
vegetable cooking spray
1 c dry red or white wine
1 T salt
1T dried oregano
1 tsp black pepper
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
2 tsp Ball Citric Acid or 1/2 c bottled lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375F. Wash the tomatoes. Cut them into halves or quarters, as necessary, to create uniform size and arrange in a single layer on large rimmed baking sheets. Bake, in batches, at 375F for 45 minutes or until tomatoes are very soft and beginning to brown. Cool.

Spread onion on a separate large baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375F for 20 minutes or until onions are golden brown, stirring occasionally. 

Press tomatoes, in batches, through a food mill into a large bowl; discard skins and seeds. Place tomato puree and caramelized onion in a large stainless steel or enameled stock pot. Stir in wine and next 5 ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 15-20 minutes or until reduced to desired texture. Remove and discard bay leaves. Stir in citric acid or lemon juice.

Ladle hot marinara sauce into a hot jar, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rim until completely clean and center lid on jar. Apply band and adjust to fingertip-tight. Place jar in boiling-water canner. Repeat until all jars are filled. Ensure that there is at least one inch of water over the top of the jars. Bring water to a full boil.

Process jars 40 minutes adjusting for altitude, (adding 10 minutes for 4000-5000). Turn off heat; remove lid, and let jars stand 5 minutes. Remove jars and cool. Ensure each jar is sealed and store. 

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Olive Oil-Walnut Cake with Pomegranate

 Here's a gorgeous and tasty cake which takes advantage of pomegranates, the most beautiful food.


Olive Oil-Walnut Cake with Pomegranate

Yield: 10 servings

Altitude adjustments for 4,000-5500 ft.:

Add 1 T flour
Subtract 1 T sugar
Decrease baking powder to 1 1/2 teas

For the cake:

1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil
1 c AP flour (I used half kamut flour)
1 c walnuts, toasted
2 teas baking powder
1/4 teas salt
4 large eggs, separated
1 c granulated sugar
1/2 c buttermilk
1/2 teas vanilla
2 teas orange zest

Preheat the oven to 350F. Oil (or spray with cooking spray) the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan or a 9-inch cake pan. Place a circle of parchment paper in the bottom and lightly oil it as well and set aside.

Grind the walnuts in a food processor until they are finely chopped. You want this to be like almond flour. Add the flour, baking powder and salt. Pulse a couple of times to mix. 

Whip the egg whites and set aside. Use a stand mixer and set them aside in a bowl or plate while mixing the batter or whip them with a hand mixer in a separate bowl.

Place the egg yolks and the sugar in the stand mixer's bowl and whisk on low until the sugar is dissolved. Then whisk at a higher speed until the mixture is pale yellow and thick, 3-5 minutes. Occasionally, scrape down the sides.

Add the buttermilk, vanilla, and orange zest and beat until combined. Gradually add the flour mixture with mixer at low speed. Beat until combined, one or two minutes. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and use a rubber spatula to fold in the egg whites, first adding about a third to lighten the batter, then folding in the remainder until combined.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan, place it on a cookie sheet and set into the oven on the middle shelf. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Test with a skewer or toothpick and when it comes out clean remove the cake and cool on a rack. If you used a cake pan, invert the cake onto a plate or cake platter. If you used a springform pan take the cake out. I'll admit that I liked the looks of the cake baked in the springform pan.

For the syrup:

1/2 c granulated sugar
1 c orange juice, freshly squeezed from 3 oranges
1 1-inch cinnamon stick
3 whole cloves

While the cake bakes, stir these ingredients together in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat about 10 minutes until slightly thickened. Remove the spices and allow to cool. The original recipe suggest you spread the cake with half the syrup and the spoon more over the cake at the time of serving. I just allowed diners to drizzle the syrup over their cake. 

Serve the syrup topped cake with Créme Fraiche, lightly whipped cream, or Greek yogurt and top with pomegranate arils. 

Monday, October 17, 2022

Chicken Curry Stew

A tasty cold weather option. 


Chicken Curry Stew

Adapted slightly from

2-2 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into roughly bitesize pieces
2 T olive oil
1 1/2 T curry powder
1 medium onion, diced
2 teas minced garlic
2 teas fresh thyme, or a good-sized sprig
1/2 teas paprika
1/2 c coconut milk
1 teas tomato paste
2 c chicken broth (this can be adjusted if you want more liquid)
1 lb red or yellow potatoes, scrubbed and cut in 1/2 inch pieces
12 oz carrots, sliced 
12 oz red bell pepper, cut into bitesize slices
2 T parsley (optional)

Season chicken with salt and pepper and set aside. Then heat oil over medium heat in a large pot. Saute chicken until slightly brown, about 8 minutes. Add curry powder, onions, garlic, thyme, and paprika. Stir for 5 minutes, to allow the flavors to blossom. 

Add coconut milk and tomato paste, and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the broth, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes. 

Add the potatoes and carrots, and cook until the vegetables are almost tender, another 10-12 minutes. Then add the pepper and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add parsley, if using. Adjust the liquid level if desired, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve and enjoy!

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Chopped Carrot Salad with Fennel, Orange, and Nuts

Here's a great salad for when summer heat slows down lettuce production. It's also good in cool seasons, too.


Chopped Carrot Salad with Fennel, Orange, and Nuts

Source:  Cook's Illustrated 
Serves: 4-6

3/4 c hazelnuts, toasted and skinned, or you can use pecans and skip the work of skinning
1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
2 T white wine vinegar
1 T honey
1/2-1 teas salt 
1/2 teas freshly ground pepper
1/4 teas grated orange zest plus 1/3 c juice
1 fennel bulb, stalks discarded, bulb halved and cored, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pd carrots, trimmed, and cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 c fresh chives (or as much as you can come up with

Cook's Illustrated suggests you leave the peels on well-scrubbed carrots because they add flavor. 

Place the nuts in a food processor and chop coarsely, about 10 pulses. Remove to a small bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, mix the oil, vinegar, honey, salt, pepper, and orange zest, and juice. In the empty food processor, chop the fennel coarsely, 10-20 seconds, and scrape the work bowl if needed. Place the chopped fennel into the large bowl with the dressing. Then chop the carrots in the food processor, running it 10-20 seconds. Place the carrots in the bowl with the fennel. Stir well. Add half of the chives and nuts and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed. Transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle with the remaining chives and nuts. Or divide the salad among individual plates and top with the chives and nuts before serving. 

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Corn and Cucumber Salad

Nice for summer time, especially when it gets so hot that the farmer's markets have a lower supply of lettuce. The very flavorful dressing recipe could be used for other salads.


Corn and Cucumber Salad

from Cook's Country Magazine
Serves 4-6

1/2 c olive oil
4 ears corn, kernels cut from cobs
salt and pepper
5 T lime juice (3 limes) (or you can substitute lemon)
1/4 c sour cream
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
1 jalapeno chile, stemmed, halved, seeded and sliced thin (optional)
1 English cucumber, halved lengthwise and sliced thin
3 oz. feta cheese, crumbled (3/4 c)
1/3 c fresh basil leaves, torn or cut in chiffonade (thin strips)

 In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat bring 1 T of the oil to the point that it shimmers and add the corn, 1/4 teas salt and cook, stirring occasionally until the kernels become tender and display some brown spots. Transfer to a large bowl and place in a fridge to allow to cool completely, about 45 minutes. If you don't have that amount of time, spread the corn on a baking sheet to cool before placing in the fridge.

In the meantime, in a small bowl whisk the lime juice together with the remainder of the oil (7 T), another 1/4 teas salt, and 1/2 teas pepper. Reserve 1/4 c of the lime mixture in a separate bowl and add the onion and jalapeno to what's left of the mix. Stir well and allow the onions and jalapeno to sit for at least 15 minutes while the corn is chilled. To the reserved vinaigrette add the sour cream, stir well and set aside.

When the corn is chilled and the onions have rested, mix the cucumbers into the corn, add the onion-jalapeno mixture (including the juices) and toss until all ingredients are coated. Taste for seasoning and add salt and/or pepper if needed. Stir in basil leaves. Plate or serve, passing the feta and the sour cream dressing.


The amount of dressing is small so allowing diners a free hand may delete your supply before it makes it around the table. 

The magazine suggests serving this salad from a platter which allows you to top with the feta and the dressing before passing it to diners. If you know you won't finish the salad in one meal and hope to save left overs, don't add the basil, feta, or dressing. Refrigerate with those ingredients held separately, although you should wait to cut the basil until just before serving.

Zucchini, Chard, and Onions

This is a good time of year for this tasty side dish. 


Zucchini, Chard, and Onions

Adapted from: Deborah Madison's Vegetable Literacy
Serves 3-5

The zucchini can be cut in large chunks or into logs. Using zucchini of varying colors results in a very attractive dish.

3 T olive oil, plus oil to finish
1 onion, sliced a scant half in thick
1 large clove garlic, thinly sliced
2 T chopped marjoram or oregano
1 1/2 pds zucchini, cut into 1-inch chunks, or logs about 2-inches in length
salt and freshly ground pepper
8 chard leaves, stems removed and leaves chopped, coarsely
1/4 c water or stock
Lemon wedges for serving

Use a wide pan that can hold a good deal with a tight fitting lid. An 11-12-saute pan works great here. Over medium heat, cook the oil  for a minute or two and add the onion, garlic and half of whichever herb you chose. Stir occasionally while it cooks for a few minutes until softened. Place the zucchini chunks into the pan; add  half a teaspoon of salt and a quarter teaspoon of pepper to taste  and stir until the oil coats the zucchini. Lay the chopped chard on top of the zucchini and season it with a couple of pinches of salt. Pour in the water and cover the pan.  Lower the heat to medium low. 

Cook at a gentle simmer until the zucchini is tender, 20-30 minutes. Stir the chard into the squash taking care not to smash things up. Add the remaining herb and cover and cook for another a couple of minutes. Serve with the lemon wedges. If you prefer, you can squeeze lemon juice right in the pan.


The original recipe called for a half cup of water which left me with swimming vegetables, so I have reduced the amount called for. You may want to check it half way through the cooking time to see if you need to add a little more.

Consider experimenting with other veggies.

Use fresh dill and dill seeds in place of marjoram or oregano.

Add a handful of small halved grape tomatoes in the last few minutes.

If you want a contrasting texture, top with some toasted bread crumbs.

For a main dish, add some cooked pasta or tortellini.

Savory Crunch Topping

I like this to use on a savory breakfast such as Greek yogurt and cucumbers or avocado toast. It would be good on a savory oatmeal, too.


Savory Crunch Topping

The creator of this recipe calls it "Decidedly Not-Sweet Granola"

Adapted from Alison Roman's Dining In

3/4 c rolled oats
1/3 c finely chopped walnuts
1/2 c raw sunflower seeds
1/2 c raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 c buckwheat groats
1/2 c flaxseeds
1/4 c black or white sesame seeds
2 T nigella seeds (if unavailable, use more black or white sesame seeds)
2 T fennel or caraway seeds 
1 T Aleppo pepper, optional
1/2 teas freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1 large or extra large egg white
3 T olive oil, peanut oil, or grapeseed oil
2 T maple syrup
1 T soy sauce
1 1/2 teas kosher salt

Heat oven to 325F. Oil a baking sheet. 

Pile the oats, walnuts, all the seeds and spices in the middle of the baking sheet. Give it a stir. 

In a small bowl beat the egg white, oil, maple syrup, soy sauce and salt. Drizzle over the top of the mix on the sheet and with a rubber spatula mix until everything is coated. 

Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 45-55 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool on a rack and break up any large clumps. I store half of this in the fridge and try to use it in a few weeks and the other half I keep in the freezer until I move it into the fridge.

Yogurt Saffron Sauce for Trout or Halibut (and probably others)

My favorite way to eat fresh trout is to panfry them and drizzle the cooked fish with a melted butter with a pinch of saffron. Saffron and trout are a match made in heaven but I am limiting how much butter I consume. I was happy to find an alternative sauce which may be somewhat healthier. 


Yogurt Saffron Sauce

Source: NYTimes Cooking
Yield: about a cup, I usually half the recipe for the two of us

1 c plain yogurt, preferably full-fat but homemade low-fat works well, too
salt and pepper
1 large pinch Aleppo pepper or a small pinch cayenne
1/2 teas saffron threads
juice of 1/2 lemon, or more to taste

Place the yogurt into a small bowl and add salt, pepper, Aleppo or cayenne pepper, and the shallot. Stir. 
Crush the saffron with your fingers and stir it into the yogurt. Set aside while cooking your fish, or about 20 minutes. It can sit in the fridge for up to 2 hours. Add the lemon juice just before serving; stir and taste and add seasoning if you need to.

Hot Chicken Salad

I recently sorted through my old recipe card files as well as my mother's and was reminded of dishes that once were served regularly at my table. But as kids grew up and my interests changed some dishes faded from my memory. It was a reminder of how time pressures and the tastes of a larger group directed my cooking in the past. Here is one vintage dish that was a favorite for a while; I believe it was the potato chip topping that tasted best to kids. It's quick and easy and a one dish meal if you figure celery counts as your vegetable. 


Hot Chicken Salad

This was served to me at a church ladies' luncheon and probably originated with Martha Johnson, my good friend and mentor.
Makes a 9X13 pan

4 c cooked chicken, cubed or shredded
4 c chopped celery
1 3/4 -2 c mayonnaise (I prefer the lower amount)
1 c sliced almonds (or slivered if that is what you have)
1/4 c fresh lemon juice
4 teas grated onion
1 c grated cheddar cheese
2 cups crushed potato chips

Preheat your oven to 400F. Combine the chicken, celery, mayonnaise, almonds, lemon juice, and onion and place in a buttered  9X13 pan. Top with cheese and then with potato chips.

Bake for 15 minutes until heated through. The celery will be quite crisp-tender. If you prefer the celery to be softer, cook a bit longer.

Note: In January 2022, NYTimes Cooking published a very close rendition of this recipe along with an article which gives the antecedents of this old recipe. If you are interested, here is a link: Hot Chicken Salad

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Roasted Leeks and Cauliflower

 A yummy cauliflower variation.


Roasted Leeks and Cauliflower

Adapted from: The Washington Post
Serves: 4

2 medium leeks, (white parts only), trimmed
1 medium head cauliflower (about 1 pd)
1 teas brown mustard seed
1 teas caraway seed
1/2 teas salt, or to taste
freshly ground pepper, to taste
3 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed

Heat the oven to 425F.

Cut the leeks in half lengthwise and place under running water to rinse thoroughly so all dirt is removed. Cut into quarter inch slices. Spread on a kitchen towel to allow to dry as much as possible while you prepare the cauliflower.

Core the cauliflower and cut into bite-size florets. Spread over a rimmed sheet pan. Add the leeks as well.

Place the mustard and caraway seeds with the salt and a pinch of black pepper in a mortar and pestle. and coarsely crush them. Sprinkle mix over the vegetables and drizzle with the olive oil. Mix well to coat the vegetables. Place in the oven.

Roast until the cauliflower is slightly charred and the leeks have browned about 20 minutes. Halfway through, remove the pan from the oven, turn the vegetables over with a spatula and return to the oven reversing the pan's position.

If desired, season with more salt and pepper and drizzle with more olive oil.


If you don't have leeks, this can be cooked with diced onions (large) but it isn't quite as good nor is there any contrasting color. If onion is what you have, top with chopped chives when you serve it.

If you have a larger head of cauliflower, increase the amounts of oil, seeds, and seasonings.

If you can't bring yourself to heat your oven in the summer, you can use these seasonings on cauliflower that has been pan fried, steamed, or boiled. The texture of the vegetable changes, but the seasonings work well whichever way you cook it. 

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Spiced Black Lentil Salad with Potatoes and Fish

Main dish salads are wonderful any time but, for me, summer is the best time to eat them.


Spiced Black Lentil Salad with Potatoes and Fish

Source: Alison Roman's book Dining In.
Serves about 6

The original recipe calls for good canned tuna which is how I usually make it. Once, though, I had some smoked trout in the freezer and used that. This salad is delicious either way. If you don't have all the ingredients you can leave some out or substitute with what you have in the fridge. I used red bell pepper instead of radishes.

 Begin with the lentils (these can be used as a side dish or in other recipes):

1 c black beluga lentils (or Le Puy or French green lentils), picked over and rinsed
1/2 c olive oil
2 teas coriander seed, crushed
1 1/2 teas fennel seed, crushed
1 teas cumin seed, crushed
1/2 teas crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 lemon
6 small scallions, cut into 2" pieces
Freshly ground black pepper

Bring water to boil in a large saucepan and add lentils and a couple teaspoons of salt. Cook until the lentils are just cooked through 20-30 minutes. Drain them and set aside on the counter.

In a smaller pot, combine the oil with the spices and the garlic over your stove's lowest heat. Cook the spices and garlic in the oil until it is fragrant and the garlic has started to brown, approximately 15 minutes. Peel the lemon skin with a peeler in strips and add them to the pot along with the scallions and cook for another 5 minutes or so. Remove it from the heat.

Place the lentils into a bowl and toss with 1/4 c of the oil, strained if you think you won't like the texture of the seeds. Add salt and pepper to taste. Take the skinned lemon and squeeze half of it through a strainer into the lentils and stir to combine everything. Serve with the remaining oil to pass. Or use these lentils in the following recipe:

For the salad:

2 boiled and peeled eggs (or more if you prefer), halved
1/4 pd fresh green beans (I used home-frozen)
1/4 pd small potatoes (purple are particularly pretty, but any boiling potato will do)
1 T lemon juice
freshly ground pepper
lentils and oil from above recipe
6-8 oz good oil-packed tuna or smoked trout, broken into chunks 
4 radishes
1/2 c dill, cilantro, tarragon, and/or parsley, tender stems and leaves (any combination)
lemon halves

Blanch the green beans for a few minutes in a pot of boiling water, cooking for 4 minutes. Scoop out of the water and drain and place in a large bowl.

In the same water cook the potatoes until tender, 10-15 minutes add water if necessary. You can also steam the potatoes if you prefer. When they are tender, remove from the water, allow to cool and cut into bite size pieces (again your preference) and place in the bowl with the beans.

Add the lentils to the bowl. Add the herb leaves and stir. Top with the fish, radishes and egg halves. Serve, passing lemon halves and any remaining spiced oil.

Monday, May 16, 2022

High Altitude Chocolate Raspberry Muffins

My local grocery store has had a long run of cheap flats of berries this spring (see Recently I bought raspberries, thinking my boys would help me eat them, but instead I had to come up with ways to use them because I couldn't eat a whole flat by myself before mold began growing. This recipe was so delicious that they disappeared within a day and I had to make a second batch. A double batch of the chocolate raspberry oatmeal here was devoured within days as well! 

This recipe comes from Dough Eyed, a baker in Colorado, and will work at elevations for 4,000-6,000 feet. I can't vouch for what will happen at sea level. 


High Altitude Chocolate Raspberry Muffins

Yields 12 or a few more muffins, depending on how full you fill the tins

2 c flour
1 teas baking powder
1/2 teas salt
3/4 c sugar
3/4 c unsalted butter, melted
2 T vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1/4 c sour cream
1 1/2 teas vanilla
1/2 c buttermilk
1 c mini chocolate chips
1 pint fresh raspberries, washed and dried gently

Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar together in a large bowl. Whisk together the melted butter, oil, eggs, sour cream, vanilla, and buttermilk in a medium bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and fold together gently, until there are a couple of flour pockets remaining. Stir in the chocolate chips and raspberries until just barely combined. Cover, then let the batter rest for 20 minutes. 

Preheat oven to 375F and prepare the muffin tin by lining with paper liners. (I didn't, and wish I had. the berries stuck to the pan, even though it was greased generously.) After resting, fill the tin generously with muffin batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. If you can stand it, let the muffins cool a bit, then enjoy! 

Monday, May 2, 2022

Chocolate Chip Coffee Scones

I discovered this recipe in a Cuisinart food processor manual which is ironic since cook's aren't instructed to use a food processor at all. Instead bakers are told to cut the butter in small pieces and use a stand mixer to mix it into the flour. When Betsy and I first baked these while at an Airbnb in Tennessee we had neither a food processor or a mixer so grating the cold butter was our only option. I find I prefer this method of incorporating butter into the flour so I'm modifying the instructions. 


Chocolate Chip Coffee Scones

Adapted from Cuisinart Instructional Manual
Yields 8 scones

Ingredients for sea level follow. I found the recipe worked at my altitude (5000 feet). 

2 c AP flour
1/2 c sugar
1 teas baking powder
1/4 teas baking soda
1/2 teas salt
2 T  fine finely ground coffee, optional
1/2-1 c chocolate chips (I used dark chips, but you can use semi-sweet or milk)
1 c roasted chopped pecans 
8 T unsalted butter, cold (frozen or straight from the fridge) grated on a cheese grater
1/2 c sour cream (or Greek yogurt)
1 large egg
1 T vanilla extract
1 egg white 

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, coffee grounds, chocolate chips and pecans in a bowl. 

Stir in the grated butter and lightly mix it into the dry ingredients.

In a liquid measuring cup mix the sour cream, 1 egg and vanilla together. Stir this into the flour mixture with a fork, stirring until a ball forms.

Drop the dough onto a floured counter and form into a 3/4 inch thick 7-8 inch circle. Cut into 8 wedges and place on prepared baking sheet.

Whisk the egg white until loosened and brush some on the top of each scone. Then sprinkle with sugar or turbinado sugar. 

Place into the oven and bake 15-20 minutes until they are golden brown. Place on a rack and allow to cool. You can eat them after a 5 minute cool-down or allow to completely cool and drizzle ganache over the tops. You may simply melt chocolate chips for a thick smear of chocolate but if you want something thinner, heat 2-3 tablespoons of half and half cream in a microwave and stir in an equal amount of chocolate chips. Allow them to sit in the hot cream until they melt. Drizzle over the top of each scone.

Friday, April 22, 2022

Beet and Carrot Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

 A truly beautiful salad. 


Beet and Carrot Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

Serves: 6-8

This salad stores well in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. However, I added the herbs, pistachios, and feta just before serving. 

1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
1 shallot, minced
2 T white wine vinegar
1 T maple syrup
1 teas table salt (or to taste)
1/2 teas freshly ground pepper
1 teas grated orange zest plus 2 T juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teas ground coriander
8 oz raw beets, trimmed and peeled
1 pd carrots, peeled
4 oz  (1 c) goat cheese, crumbled or feta, divided
1/2 c salted, shelled pistachios, chopped, divided (I used roasted, unsalted pistachios)
1/2 c fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 c fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped

Place the olive oil, shallot, vinegar, maple syrup, salt, pepper, orange zest and orange juice, garlic, and ground coriander in a small jar and shake vigorously to emulsify. Set aside and shake again before adding to salad.

Shred the beets and carrots. This is easiest if you use a food processor but can be accomplished with a box grater. Place beets and carrots in a bowl and mix until combined. Pour over the amount of dressing you prefer. The original recipe uses the entire amount. I used about 3/4 of what I had and saved the rest for a green salad later. Mix well and allow to sit for 30 minutes. 

Top with the cheese, pistachios, cilantro, and mint, either over the entire salad over individual servings, especially if you are planning to refrigerate leftovers. 

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

What is it about ricotta that makes everything taste magical? I generally don't like pancakes but these are light, bright, and tender. Also, it's spring and my grocery store has had cheap flats of strawberries. I pureed some and added a bit of sugar for a thick fruit syrup, which was a perfect complement to the lemon. I think these will be my Easter breakfast tomorrow. 


Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

Source: New York Times Cooking

The amounts are doubled from the original, because I'm cooking for a crowd every day.

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
3 teas baking powder
1 1/2 teas fine salt
1/2 c sugar
2 lemons
3 teas vanilla extract
6 large eggs
1 1/2 c ricotta (whole-milk is preferable)
1/2 c buttermilk
2 T unsalted butter, melted, plus more for cooking and serving

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Place the sugar in a large bowl. Use a microplane to grate the lemon zest right into the sugar. Gently rub the zest and sugar together using your fingers. Using your fingers, gently rub the zest into the sugar. Then add the vanilla and whisk to combine. Add the eggs and whisk until foamy. Add the ricotta, buttermilk, and butter, then whisk until blended. Mix in the dry ingredients and stir lightly until the flour is incorporated. 

Melt some butter in a griddle or skillet over medium heat. Cook pancake batter until the tops are bubbling, then flip to finish the other side. I had some trouble with the pancakes being undercooked in the middle, but I used more batter than the recommended 1/4 c so make sure you cook bigger pancakes longer. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Cast-Iron Skillet Brownies

Made with melted whole marshmallows and baked in a skillet, these brownies have a chewy edge and a fudgy point. When baked in a muffin tin, there's lots of chewiness for those on a chewy brownie quest.


Cast-Iron Skillet Brownies

Yield depends on how wide you cut the wedges. I cut 14. Baking in muffin tins yielded 21.

Adjustments for altitudes of 4,000-6,000 ft:

Subtract 2 1/2 T sugar
Add 2 T flour

2 oz. marshamllows (about 8 large marshmallows)
1/2 c plus 2 T warm tap water
4 T unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine
1/3 c Dutch-processed cocoa powder
2 1/2 c sugar
1/2 c vegetable oil
2 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks
1 3/4 c AP flour
1 teas table salt
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped (You may substitute bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips but they won't melt as much inside the brownie.)

Place your oven rack in the lowest position and preheat the oven to 350F. Use butter or baking spray to grease a 12-inch cast-iron skillet.

In a large bowl, combine marshmallows, warm tap water, butter, unsweetened chocolate, and cocoa. Place in the microwave and  run at 50 percent power until chocolate is smooth and fully melted. Stop microwave and stir occasionally. Let sit on counter and cool for 5 minutes.

Mix in sugar, oil, eggs and yolks, and vanilla with a whisk until completely combined. Gently stir in the flour and salt until just incorporated. Stir in the bittersweet chocolate or chocolate chips.

Use a rubber spatula to place the batter into the prepared skillet. Smooth the top and place into the oven and bake for 33-38 minutes until a toothpick test into the center of the brownie comes out with just a few moist crumbs and a little batter. Try not to overbake since the skillet will be so hot after removal that the brownie will continue to cook. Rotate the skillet approximately halfway through baking. Place the skillet on a wire rack and allow to cool for 30 minutes. You may want to place a kitchen towel or a hot pad over the handle so someone doesn't accidently grab it while the skillet is still hot.

Let cool for 30 minutes and serve with vanilla ice cream while the brownies are still warm. Or allow to cool completely for more precise wedges. These brownies are very tasty on their own.

If you prefer round brownies (and I do) grease the cups of two muffin tins and fill the cups about 2/3c full. These will cook faster, so start checking at about 25 minutes and remove when the toothpick test shows just a few crumbs. 

I found the brownies seemed to soften up during storage. Freezing and using them as needed helps with this, if you see it as a problem. 

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Kale, Clementine and Hazelnut Salad

Technically a quick and easy winter salad, this recipe will work year round using any citrus that's available.


Kale, Clementine, and Hazelnut Salad

Source: The Washington Post who adapted it from The Asheville Bee Charmer Cookbook
Serves 6


1 pound curly kale, stemmed, washed and dried (you may sub other types of kale)
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1T fresh lemon juice
1 teas kosher salt
4 clementines or mandarins, peeled and segmented
1 c hazelnuts (walnuts would work, too)


3 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 T fresh lemon juice
2 T honey, can be reduced (orange blossom honey is recommended but any will be fine)

Tear the kale leaves into bite-size pieces and drop into a large bowl. Add the oil, lemon juice and salt and massage, gently, into the kale for a couple of minutes. It will look like you've got half as much as you started with. Add the fruit and the nuts and toss.

Mix the dressing with a whisk or shake in a small mason jar until emulsified. Drizzle the dressing over all and toss to coat completely. I had a bit of dressing left over because I prefer a lighter coating.


If you can't find clementines or mandarins, use oranges cut into chunks.

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Chocolate Revel Bars

Chocolate, oatmeal, and almonds make a yummy bar cookie. 


Chocolate Revel Bars

Makes a 9X13 pan

3 c old-fashioned rolled oats 
2 c AP flour
1 1/2 c packed brown sugar, light or dark
1 c raw unsalted almonds, chopped
1 teas baking soda
16 T unsalted butter, melted, plus 2 T unsalted butter
2 large eggs
2 teas vanilla
2 c (12 oz.) bittersweet chocolate chips
1 c sweetened condensed milk

Place the oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 9X13 pan with aluminum foil using enough foil that you can use it as handles when you remove the bars from the pan. Grease the foil once it is in place.

In a large bowl, place the oats, flour, sugar, almonds, baking soda, and 1 teas of salt. Stir to combine. In a second bowl, or a large glass measuring cup, mix the melted butter, eggs, and vanilla together. Pour the butter mixture into the flour/oatmeal mixture and stir until a dough forms. I found it easiest to use my hands to complete this step. Remove 1 1/2 cups of this dough for the topping and set aside in the bowl or measuring cup you used to melt the butter. Drop the remaining dough into the prepared pan and press to cover the bottom evenly. 

Place the chocolate chips, condensed milk, 1/2 teas salt, and remaining 2 T butter into a glass bowl and microwave at 50 % power until the chocolate chips are melted. Stir occasionally to ensure the mixture is fully combined. It took about 2 and a half minutes in my microwave. The chocolate will continue melting as you stir, so take it out of the microwave before all the chips melt away. This will look like fudge or thick chocolate frosting.

Spread the chocolate mixture evenly over the oatmeal crust. Using your hand, crumble the reserved oatmeal dough over the chocolate layer. Place in the oven and bake until the topping is golden brown, approximately 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and place the pan on a wire rack to cool until the bars are set, about 6 hours. Use the foil overhangs to carefully lift the bars out of the pan. Cut into bars  the size you prefer and serve.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Grandma Betty's Popcorn Crisp

 This was one of my mom's favorite treats and she made it frequently. After her death my dad continued making it and often gave it as his Christmas gift to neighbors. 


Grandma Betty's Popcorn Crisp

Source: Betty Peterson who got it from her friend Glenneth Wilson

These temperatures are for sea level but I imagine my mother adjusted for altitudes in her various homes. For every 1,000 feet feet above sea level, reduce your target temperature by 2 degrees Fahrenheit.

1/2 pd. popcorn
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
1/2 c plus 1 T white Karo syrup
3/4 c water
1 c raw Spanish peanuts
1 t salt
1 t  baking soda
1 t vanilla
1 cube (1/2 c) melted butter, kept warm

Pop the corn and place it in a large kettle or roasting pan in a warm oven (275F) so both the popcorn and the pot will be warm when the syrup is ready. 

Mix the sugar, corn syrup and water and cook to 231F and add peanuts. Cook to 281 degrees and add salt. Cook to 291 degrees and the syrup is golden brown. Remove from the heat and add the butter, soda and vanilla stirring well. 

Moving quickly, but carefully, pull the kettle of popcorn out of the oven and scrape all of the hot syrup into the corn and stir well until all the popcorn is lightly coated. Pour out onto 2 baking sheets and spread out to cool. 

Alternatively, this may be made into popcorn balls but you'll need to butter your hands, and work fast. You may consider wearing gloves. 

Friday, March 4, 2022

Kale Salad with Smoked Almonds


Kale Salad with Smoked Almonds

Adapted from Milk Street Magazine
Serves 6

2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
5 T sherry vinegar
kosher salt
2 T honey
8 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided
ground black pepper
1 c smoked almonds
4 oz. chewy white or wheat bread, cut into 1-in cubes
2 teas fresh thyme leaves
1 T sweet paprika
2 bunches lacinato kale, stemmed, washed, spun dry and thinly sliced crosswise (10 c)
1 c fresh mint leaves, chopped

In a pint mason jar or a small bowl place the sliced shallots, vinegar and 1/2 teas salt. Let rest for 10 minutes. Add the honey, 5 T of the olive oil. Shake it in the jar or whisk all ingredients in a bowl.

Chop the almonds in a food processor until coarse, about 8 pulses and move to a large bowl.

Place the bread cubes in the processor bowl and run about 20 seconds until they are in coarse crumbs. Add the thyme, the remaining 3 T oil, paprika, half teaspoon salt and half teaspoon pepper. Process about 10 seconds until all is incorporated. Pour the crumb mixture into a large skillet over medium heat and cook until browned and crisped, stirring often. Place on a plate or quarter sheet pan to cool.

Put the kale and mint into the bowl with the almonds and massage the greens. It will take about 10-20 seconds to get it to a softer, darker texture. Pour the dressing and crumbs over and toss to combine. Taste and season if necessary.

Note:   Smoked almonds are usually quite salty. Next time I'm going to use plain roasted almonds and substitute Spanish smoked paprika, to achieve a smoky flavor with less salt. I'll report how that works.

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Slow-Cooker Roasted Beets


Slow-Cooker Roasted Beets

Adapted from The French Slow Cooker by Michele Scicolone 

I have loved cooking beets in a slow-cooker since I first stumbled on the idea. Beets seem to take so long in a hot oven and although a slow-cooker takes longer, I appreciate how it doesn't heat up my kitchen. I've roasted as few as 3 (thanks to a grocery delivery) and as many as 8 at a time. I think more can be cooked, especially if you have a big appliance.

When trimming them, leave about an inch of  roots and the tops attached so that they retain their juices. 

Olive oil for the insert
6-8 medium to large beets (about 2 pounds), scrubbed and trimmed

Use your hands or a pastry brush to coat the insert of your slow-cooker with olive oil. 

Place the beets into the insert and replace the lid. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or until the beets are tender. Text with a sharp knife tip.

Turn off the slow cooker and remove the beets. Let rest until you can handle them, about 5 minutes. I use a paper towel to rub the skins off. The beets are ready to be sliced or cubed and served with a vinaigrette or in salads or in any way you prefer.

Variation: Put an equal amount of medium or small onions in with the beets. If quite small they can remain whole but half or quarter larger onions. 

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Roasted Winter Squash with Browned Butter

This is a rich and filling treatment for a vegetable; but yummy.


Roasted Winter Squash with Browned Butter

Source: NYTimes Cooking
Serves 4-6

1  butternut squash, 3-4 pd
3 T extra-virgin olive oil
salt and black pepper
3 T unsalted butter
1 teas apple cider vinegar, plus more, if needed
1/4 teas red-pepper flakes, more or less
1/2 c fresh min leaves, optional
or 1/4-1/3 c pine nuts
flaky salt, optional

Place a rack at the bottom of the oven and heat to 425F. You may want to put a pizza stone on the rack, if you own one. This will help brown the squash.

Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds. Peeling is optional (keeping the peel on keeps the squash from falling apart). Cut crosswise into 3/4 inch thick slices.

Place the squash on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with the oil. Spread and toss to distribute evenly and then sprinkle salt and pepper over all. Ensure the squash is in an even layer and place in the oven on the low rack. Cook until browned 20-25 minutes, depending on your oven. Flip and roast for another 5-10 minutes until browned on both sides and tender.

While the squash is cooking, make the brown butter by melting the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Swirl the pan occasionally until the foam subsides and the milk solids turn golden brown. It will smell nutty and delicious. Remove from heat and add the vinegar and red-pepper flakes. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. If you are roasting your squash in a range oven, you can keep this from hardening by setting it on the stovetop. If you've got a wall oven, make the sauce later in the roasting procedure. 

Cut a little squash off and dip into the butter mixture. You can adjust the vinegar (I added more), the salt and both peppers if needed. If it tastes good to you, spoon the sauce over the squash and top with mint leaves.

If you use pine nuts, as I did, let them brown in the browning butter.

Friday, February 25, 2022

Braised Zucchini with Cherry Tomatoes

This quick recipe may not be truly seasonal at the moment but we can almost always find zucchini and cherry tomatoes in the supermarket. Of course, in few months, it will be seasonal.


Braised Zucchini with Cherry Tomatoes

Serves 4

4 zucchini (8 oz each), scrubbed,  quartered lengthwise and cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c water
2 springs fresh basil or substitute 1/2 teas dried oregano
2 garlic cloves, sliced thin
1/2-1 teas salt 
1/4 teas freshly ground black pepper pepper
1/4 teas red pepper flakes
3 oz (1/2 c) cherry tomatoes, halved (if you use grape tomatoes, you may leave them whole)
lemon wedges to serve

It's recommended you don't use zucchini larger than 8 ounces because they can be overly seedy, more watery and less flavorful. If you grow your own and have just picked them from the garden you may find them to be just fine in spite of their size. 

Place the zucchini, oil, water, basil sprigs, garlic, salt, black pepper, and pepper flakes to boil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to medium and cover. Simmer. Use a rubber spatula to stir the mixture every 3 minutes or so (the rubber spatula will be more gentle with the zucchini which tends to break apart). When the zucchini is fork tender (approximately 8-10 minutes) add the tomatoes and cook, uncovered for a couple of minutes until they have softened. Remove the basil sprigs and serve, passing lemon wedges. You can drizzle the finished dish with lemon juice if you prefer. 

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Farmhouse Chicken Chowder

Michael recently traveled to Idaho for steelhead fishing. When he's away, the kids know to expect lots of pasta and other high carb dishes. We discovered this soup last year during one of his trips, and it has become a staple of the "when Daddy is away" menu. 

The silky mouthfeel of this creamy soup is a main selling point for me, and the bacon and onion garnishes are a tasty addition. 


Farmhouse Chicken Chowder

Adapted slightly from Cook's Country:

6 slices bacon, chopped
6 scallions, white parts chopped fine and green parts sliced thin
2 carrots, peeled and sliced thin
1 celery rib, sliced thin
Salt and pepper
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 pound red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
~3 c rotisserie chicken, cut or shredded into bite-size pieces 
1 cup half-and-half (or 1/2 c cream and 1/2 c milk)
3/4 c frozen corn

Cook the bacon in a dutch oven until crisp. Remove the bacon and put on a plate lined with paper towels. Spoon out all but 1 T bacon fat. Add the scallion whites, carrots, celery, and 1/2 teas salt and cook until softened, 5-7 minutes. Add the flour and stir frequently for a minute or two, until the flour is golden. 

Add broth and potatoes, then bring to a boil. Simmer on medium-low under vegetables are tender, 10-15 minutes. Add chicken, half-and-half, and corn and cook for a couple of minutes until the chicken and corn is heated. Season with salt and pepper, then garnish with scallion greens and bacon at the table. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Roasted Chicken with Peaches, Basil, and Ginger

I'm always too busy cooking during peach season to post recipes so here's one to help me remember bright summer meals as I wait for the end of winter. 

Use crusty bread to soak up the delicious juice. 


Chicken with Peaches, Basil, and Ginger


This is about what I make for my family of 6, though the amounts are flexible. 

1 1/2 lbs peaches (firmer fruit is easier to cut but softer peaches will taste just as good)
3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
6 T extra virgin olive oil
6 T dry sherry or dry vermouth
6 T chopped basil
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 3-inch piece ginger root, peeled and grated
1 1/2 teas salt
1 1/2 teas pepper

Preheat oven to 400F. Halve the peaches and cut them into 1/2 inch slices. 

Toss together all ingredients except for half of the basil on a sheet pan. Roast for 20-25 minutes, until the meat is cooked completely. Sprinkle with the remaining basil. 

Quick Butternut Squash Soup with Apples and Bacon

Michael makes fun of me for eating soups primarily during cool weather and salads in the summer, but I stand by my seasonal eating habits. There's nothing quite like warming up from the inside out. Though this weekend will feel like spring, it's still winter for a couple of months, and this recipe is a quick option for butternut squash soup. 

I love that the technique in this recipe does not require cubing the squash, which takes forever. And, though you might not think bacon goes with allspice, the soup's flavors are delicious. I will sometimes garnish my bowl with toasted walnuts and chives, in addition to the bacon. This is lovely in a bread bowl!


Quick Butternut Squash Soup with Apples and Bacon

Source: How to Cook Everything Fast by Mark Bittman

8 slices bacon
1 medium butternut squash (1 1/2 pounds)
2 large apples
1 small onion
1 teas allspice
1/4 teas cayenne (1/16 teas for Betsy)
salt and pepper
5 c chicken stock
1 c cream

Prepare the squash: peel it, scoop out and discard the seeds, and cut into pieces that will fit well in a food processor. Bittman's instructions for peeling work well: "Cut the squash in half around the equator, stabilize the flat side on a cutting board, and work downward with a chef's or paring knife to slice the skin from the flesh, turning the piece as you work, then trim off the ends."

Cut the bacon into 1-inch pieces and begin cooking it in a large pot over medium heat. When the bacon is done to your desired crispiness, remove it from the pot and place it on a plate lined with paper towels, leaving the rendered fat in the pot.

While the bacon is cooking, peel, quarter, and core the apples. Then trim, peel, and quarter the onion. Shred the squash, apples, and onion in a food processor using a grating disk.

After the bacon is removed, add the shredded vegetables to the pot and turn the heat up to medium-high. Add the allspice and cayenne, along with a sprinkle of both salt and pepper. Stir and cook for about minute, until the spices are fragrant.

Add the stock and cream. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat so the soup simmers. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until the squash is tender. Turn the heat off and use an immersion blender to puree the soup.

Adjust the seasoning, if necessary, and then serve, garnishing with bacon.