My "back porch" is my kitchen, my favorite room in the house. Come on in, the coffee is fresh, and I just made a pitcher of sweet tea. The cookies will be out in a minute. I have over 40 years of recipes to share with you, along with my opinion on everything. Oh my, you are right, it is cocktail time. What can I get you? Of course I can make you a Mint Julep! Stop by anytime, something is always cooking, and the back door is never locked.

Bon Appetit, Y'all

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Saint and Scriptures Sunday

Normally I choose a mediation from one I've enjoyed during the week.  Not so today.  This is one that I needed to read and meditate on, because I haven't really enjoyed some of the people in my life this week.  Nor did I feel loving and attentive.

When people bother you in any way, it is because their souls are trying it get your divine attention and your blessing. - Catherine Ponder

We are in constant communication with one another and with God in the spiritual realm.  No matter how singular our particular course may appear, our path is running parallel to many paths.  And all paths will intersect when the need is present.  The point of intersection is the moment when another should seeks our attention.  We can be attentive and loving to the people seeking our attention.  Their growth and ours is at stake.

We can be grateful for our involvement with other lives.  We can be mindful that our particular blessing is like no one else's and that we all need input from the many significant persons in our lives.  There is no insignificant encounter in our passage through life.  Each juncture with someone else is part of the destiny of both participants.

I will look carefully and lovingly at the people around me today and bless them, one and all.   They are in my life because they need to be.  I, likewise, need them. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012


Don't you love saying the name of this dish!  Of Germany heritage this hearty, chunky hodgepodge is perfect for weekend breakfast or brunch.  This reminds me so much of a dish my grandfather made when I was a child.  He made his with sausage.  More about that at the bottom of the post.

Serves 4
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adapted from A Real American Breakfast

4 large eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1 to 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 to 6 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium to large onion, cut into large dice
3/4 pound small waxy red potatoes, boiled until tender, then cut into 1/4-inch slices

Crack the eggs into a bowl and add the milk, parsley, salt, and pepper.  Whisk just long enough to combine; you should still see large bubbles.  Set aside.

Fry the bacon until brown and crisp in an 8-10-inch skillet.  Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve it.  Add the onion and saute' until soft but not brown, about 5 minutes.  Add the potatoes and continue cooking until they are golden with some brown edges.  Stir in the bacon, then pour in the egg mixture.  With a spatula, turn the mixture over a couple of times to combine, scraping up from the bottom, then pat the mixture back down into a thick layer.  Cover and reduce the heat to low, and cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until the eggs are lightly set but still very moist.  Don't overcook.  Spoon out and serve immediately.

Amana Hoppelpoppel with German Sausage:   Substitute cooked bratwurst or other wurst for the bacon.  Start with 4 to 6 ounces sausage sliced into very thin half-moons, friend to crisp the edges.  Depending on the sausage's fat content, you may need to use a tablespoon of oil or butter for the frying.  You want enough fat left in the skillet to saute' the onion and flavor the eggs. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Tabasco Cottage Potatoes From the Oven

With all the beautiful Yukon Gold potatoes I'm getting from David's garden, I'm making potatoes for every meal.  We have all made cottage potatoes, but I love this recipe because it can be made ahead, perfect for Saturday morning breakfast, and it comes from the oven, not fried. 

Serves 4 as a main dish or 6 as a side dish
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2 pounds Yukon Gold, russet, or other baking potatoes, unpeeled, cut into neat 3/4-inch cubes
Salt to taste
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, diced
2/3 cup diced green bell pepper
2/3 cup diced, red, yellow, or orange bell pepper
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce, or more to taste
1 tablespoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt, use your homemade or favorite store bought
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 to 1 1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese or a combination, optional

Bring the potatoes to a boil in a pan of well-salted water and boil until just tender, 4 to 6 minutes.  Don't overcook!

Warm the butter in a 10-inch ovenproof skillet over medium heat.  Stir in the onion and bell peppers and saute' until just beginning to soften, about 2 minutes.  Stir in the Tabasco, paprika, seasoned salt, and pepper and remove from the heat.  Mix in the potato chunks, coating them well.  Proceed with the baking if you wish or, to allow a fuller blending of flavors, cool briefly, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

If refrigerated, uncover the potatoes and let them stand at room temperature while the oven preheats to 375 degrees F.  Bake the potatoes for 25 to 30 minutes, until richly brown and crunchy in spots.  If you are adding the cheese, scatter it over the top, then return the skillet to the oven for 1 minute.  Serve hot.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sweet Potato Home Fries

Who doesn't love home fries!  But, in my opinion sweet potato home fries are just the ultimate.  If you don't have leftover sweet potatoes or frozen, you can make equally good from scratch.  Starting with raw potatoes means a longer cooking time, but they require little more than an occasional stir.  The instructions below are for raw.  Adjust your cooking time if using leftover or frozen.

Serves 2 generously as a mail dish
4 as a side dish
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2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 to 2 pounds peeled sweet potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary just before serving
Minced chives or parsley, for garnish

Warm the butter in a 10to 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat.  Stir in the potatoes, and when coated with a bit of butter, season them with salt and pepper and cover the skillet.  Cook for 20 minutes, during which you should hear only a faint cooking sound.

Uncover the potatoes and cook for 30 minute longer, turning them at 10-minute intervals and patting them back down.  When you turn them the first time, stir in the onion and bell pepper.  As the potatoes soften, pat them down more lightly, bringing as much of their surface in contact with the skillet as possible without mashing them.

Cook the potatoes for about 20 minutes longer, turning them at 5-minutes intervals.   During the last 10 minutes, bring the heat up to medium and, if you wish, add more salt and pepper and the rosemary.  The home fries are ready when the potatoes cubes are richly browned and clearly crisp with tender, melting centers.  Plate them immediately, scatter with chives or parsley and serve

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Hillbilly Smoothie

Most folks would call this Buttermilk with Crumblin's, but I think Hillbilly Smoothie adds a little something to it.  This had to be one of my dads favorite things.  I can still see him sitting at the kitchen table eating this.  You can have this for breakfast, dinner, snack or supper.   For supper you might want to add fried green tomatoes, and for breakfast a nice slice of cantaloupe.  Don't turn your nose up at this until you try it.  Wonderful!

Serves one
I don't think you need a printed recipe

About 1 1/2 cups ice cold buttermilk in a well chilled tumbler
1 fist size square of cornbread, preferably buttermilk cornbread

Pour the buttermilk into an oversize tumbler.  Crumble the corn bread into the glass and stir with a long-handled iced-tea spoon.  Sip, spoon, and swoon.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Butternut Squash Soup

When Edie was here a few days ago she was talking about butternut squash soup and I knew I had a recipe that I really liked but couldn't find it.  Well in my amazing orderly filing system here it is.  I think this might be an old Southern Living recipe, but I do make some chances.  The one below is the original recipe.

I use fresh squash that has been peeled, cubed, and roasted until tender and I use homemade chicken broth.

8 servings
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6 bacon slices
1 large onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 (12-ounce) packages frozen butternut squash, thawed (or 3 1//2 pounds peeled, cubed and roasted fresh)
1 (32-ounce) container low-sodium fat-free chicken broth (or homemade chicken broth)
1/4 cup whipping cream
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons salt (I use 1)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I used fresh grated)
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
Garnishes:  sour cream, fresh thyme sprigs

1.  Cook bacon slices in a Dutch oven until crisp.  Remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings in Dutch oven.  Crumble bacon.

2/  Saute' onion and carrots in hot drippings in Dutch oven over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until onion is tender.  Add celery and apple, and saute 5 minutes.  Add garlic, and saute' 30 seconds.  Add butternut squash and chicken broth.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until carrots are tender.

3.   Process squash mixture, in batches, in a blender or food processor until smooth.  Return to Dutch oven.  Add whipping cream and next 7 ingredients.  Simmer 10 to 15 minutes or until thickened.  Top each serving with bacon.  Garnish if you wish.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Saint and Scripture Sunday

Every time I read this meditation I think of my niece Angie. She has had so many changes in her life over the past few years. Dealing with constant pain, two surgeries, loss of job, children in college, a new teenager, constant battles with the insurance companies. Her ability to deal with all this simply shows me her strong faith.

The universal human yearning (is) for something permanent, enduring, without shadow of change. - Willa Cather

The spector of change builds dread in most of us. We fear the effects on our personal lives. We lack faith that the impending change will benefit us. Only time can assure us of that. And it will, just as every change we've survived up to now has done.

Changes are gifts, really. They come as hallmarks to our present attainments. They signify successful growth. And they announce our readiness for more growth. How we struggle to understand this, and how quickly we forget it once we have adapted to the change. The struggle is then repeated the next time change visits us.

We long for permanence, believing it guarantees security, not realizing the only real security available to us comes with our trust in God, from whom all change comes as a blessing on the growth we've attained. If we were to experience total lack of change, we'd find death. Life is challenge, continued change, always endurable and growth-enhancing. We can reflect on what's gone before, and trust that which faces us now.

Change means I am progressing, on course.

Easy Brunswick Stew

It has been down right cold here in the mornings.  I guess fall really is here.  Perfect weather for soups and stews.  I make vegetable soup on Saturday and my soon to be sister-in-law made Brunswick Stew.  This is not Edie's recipe, because I couldn't find it, but I have used this old Southern Livings recipe lots.  I've made it with pork or chicken or a combination of the two.  It's always good. 

If you are really in a hurry stop by your local supermarket or barbecue place for shredded pork or chicken.  I use the vegetables I have frozen from the garden, yes even the potatoes.

5 quarts
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3 pounds shredded cooked pork or chicken
4 cups frozen cubed hash browns
3 (14 1/2-ounce) cans diced tomatoes with garlic and onion, undrained
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can cream style corn
2 cups frozen lima beans
1/2 cup good barbecue sauce
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Stir together shredded pork/chicken, 4 cups water, hash browns, and remaining ingredients in a 6-quart stockpot.  Bring stew to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring often, 45 minutes. 

Like most soups and stews this is better made ahead.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Turnip and Potato Soup

David phoned yesterday morning to let me know he had fresh dug Yukon Gold potatoes.  I had a few zillion other errands before I got to him, but when I did he also had fresh pulled turnips.  Turnips are one of those things I can just peel and eat, no cooking necessary.  I found this recipe in one of the cook books Joyce sent.  It is basically a French vegetable cook book with fabulous simple recipes, Vegetables of the Earth.  This is what was for supper last night.  You will love it!  This exemplifies French family cooking at its best.

I think it serves 2 or 3, but I ate it all
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Over very low heat, cook a sliced leek (white part only) in a little butter.  Add a quarter pound of turnips, peeled and sliced thin, and 1 1/4 cups of peeled, cubed potatoes.  Stir with a wooden spoon and add cold water or chicken stock.  Add salt and bring to the boil.  Cook until the potatoes begin to fall apart.  Puree in a blender or food processor.  Bring some milk to the boil with a good chunk of butter and add this to the soup.   Return to the boil; turn off the heat as soon as it boils, season with a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg, and serve.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Baked Apples and Sausage

Apple, apples everywhere. I spent last Saturday canning the most wonderful applesauce. Ten varieties of apples, no sugar. Of course I had apples leftover, I planned it that way. I still had apple cake to make and these wonderful stuffed apples.

I found this recipe at - The Old Farmer's Almanac. So easy and delicious. Sausage and apples, how fall can we get.

6 servings
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1 pound bulk sausage ( I used Jimmy Dean Sage, but anything you like)
6 tart apples (Granny Smith because that's what I had, or other baking apple)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon rind

Brown the sausage in a skillet, drain if necessary. Wash the apples and cut off the tops. Remove the cores and hollow out the apples, leaving just a 1/2-inch thickness. Chop the removed apple flesh and mix with the browned sausage, brown sugar, cinnamon, and lemon rind. Fill the apples with the mixture, place into a baking dish, cover, and bake at 37 degrees F until tender, about 40 minutes.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Creamy Gratin of Turnips and Potatoes

It seems so sad to see some of the garden vegetables no larger baring and being plowed under to await another year. We do have fall crops to be grateful for, potatoes, turnips, cabbage, etc.

My mom made something very much like this, but I doubt she called it a "gratin". If it had turnips in it, I was there. Never met a turnip I didn't love. It's hard to believe that people once viewed turnips as "poor-people's food".

6 servings
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4 firm waxy potatoes, such as red-skinned (about 1 pound)
4 medium white turnips (about 1 pound)
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2-3 ounces Swiss Gruyere cheese, grated
3 tablespoons butter, cut in pieces

Wash, but do not peel, the potatoes and put them into a pan of cold salted water, bring to the boil and cook for 20 minutes. You can also steam them.

Peel the turnips and cook in the same manner, but for 15 minutes; they should be tender but still somewhat firm.

Preheat the oven to 35o degrees F.

Cool the potatoes and turnips in cold water until you are able to handle them. Peel the potatoes and cut both the potatoes and the turnips into 1/8-inch slices.

Pour the cream into a deep skillet or wide casserole; season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and bring slowly to the boil. Add the potatoes and turnips and mix carefully to avoid breaking the slices.

Turn the mixture into a buttered gratin dish or baking dish. Sprinkle with grated cheese and dot with butter. Bake for 20-30 minutes. If the top is not browned by this time, raise the oven heat to 475 degrees, or run under the broiler for a moment.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Kindness of Strangers

Most of us expect kindness from our friends and family. Joyce at October Farm sends me care packages all the time, wonderful care packages. But this is not about Joyce today, she knows how much I love her and she is just like family.

This is about kindness of strangers or people I hardly know. It all started over the weekend with the mushrooms from Tom. Tom lives down the road and is basically a hermit. He is the son of my friend Betty. He started dropping off fresh mushrooms a few years ago and I would drop off homemade bread or jams and jellies to him. Rarely did I see him.

Monday I had to be in Walmart. There are about 6 people who work there that I just adore. Around the holidays I usually make a big box of cookies for them. Nana one of my favorites said, "I'm so happy to see you". I have something for you." She found her mother's old tin cookie cutters and wanted me have them. Can you imagine. I was thrilled!

My favorite stranger is my electric meter reader, Glenn. This is one of the nicest people you would ever want to know. During the summer I leave fresh produce on the porch for him on the day I know he will be coming. During the winter months it's cookies or small cakes. In a few days I'll get a thank you note from his wife. On Monday he knocks on my door and hands me a beautiful box of chocolates and a birthday card. Do you think I care that my birthday was last month! He made my day.

Do something nice for someone today. It's the little things that might just make someone elses day.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hearts of Palm with Ginger

This recipes reminds me of one I made when I lived at Duck Key, Fl. in the late 70's. You are not going to find fresh hearts of palm unless you live in the tropics or Florida. We actually have men that came around selling them off their truck. They are gathered from young sabal palms no taller than about three feet. Fresh hearts of palm, seasoned with nothing more than salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice are heavenly. Most of us use canned hearts of palm; they are not as flavorful, but they taste surprisingly close to the fresh product. If you can buy fresh at our local Asian or Caribbean market, do so by all means, just poach them in salted water before using them in this recipe.

This recipe takes about 15 minutes to prepare with canned hearts of palm.

4 servings
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2 1/4 pounds canned hearts of palm
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander

Drain the hearts of palm, rinse them thoroughly, and dry them with paper towels.

Blend the flour and the ginger and dredge the hearts of palm in this mixture.

Heat the butter in a skillet until it begins to take color, add the hearts of palm, and cook until golden on all sides. Add the soy sauce, and turn the hearts of palm with tongs until evenly glazed with soy sauce.

Arrange on a serving platter and garnish with the coriander.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Vegetable Soup With Fresh Basil

Maybe we should call this "End of the Garden Soup". Because everything you will need is in your garden, or in my case David's garden. The temperature is really dropping this week, perfect soup weather.

The touch of pesto drizzled into each bowl before serving imparts a lovely, color, and flavor. If you choose not to use it, finely chop 12 small leaves of fresh basil and sprinkle some over each bowl.

6 serving
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4 ounces fresh lima beans, or 1/2 cup dried
10 cups water
7 tablespoons olive oil
Salt to taste
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
3 small zucchini, scrubbed, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 medium ribs celery with leaves, thinly sliced
2 large fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 medium onion
4 ounces fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
1 large leek, white part only, cut in half lengthwise, well rinsed, and thinly sliced crosswise
4 ounces dried linguine, broken into 1-inch pieces
2 or 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 teaspoons of your favorite pesto or 12 fresh basil leaves

1. If using fresh lima beans, set them aside; if using dried, pick them over, discarding any storms. Soak overnight in cool water to cover by 2 inches. Drain and combine with 3 cups water in a medium-size saucepan. Brig to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to a very slow but steady simmer and cook, covered, until the beans are almost tender, about 45 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. Bring the 7 cups water, the oil, and a pinch of salt to a boil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes, zucchini, carrots, celery, tomatoes, onion, green beans, peas, leek, and lima beans, fresh or cooked dried, and return the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to a lively simmer and cook, covered, until the vegetables are almost tender, about 25 minutes.

3. Add the pasta pieces and cook until the pasta is al dente, about 10 minutes. Let the soup rest off the heat for 15 minutes or so to gain flavor.

4. To serve, lade into warmed soup bowls, lightly drizzle some extra-virgin olive oil in the shape of your initial over each serving, then top with a teaspoon of pesto and serve.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Saint and Scripture Sunday

What a week! I'm glad that's over. This was a great meditation for me yesterday.

When action grows unprofitable, gather information; when information grows unprofitable, sleep. - Ursula K LeGuin

Sometimes we need to turn away from what's troubling us. Hanging onto a situation for which no solution is immediately apparent, only exaggerates the situation. It is often said the solution to any problem lies within. However, turning the problem over and over in our minds keeps our attention on the outer appearance not the inner solution.

Rest meditation, quiet attention to other matter, other persons, opens the way for God to reveal the solution. Every problem can be resolved. And no answer is ever withheld for long. We need to be open to it, though. We need to step away from our ego, outside of the problem and then listen fully to the words of friend, to the words that rise from our own hearts. Too much thinking, incessant analyzing, will keep any problem a problem.

I will rest from my thoughts. I will give my attention wholly to the present. Therein will come the solution and when least expected.

Have a wonderful week everyone!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Sun-Dried Tomato Butter

There is a good chance I will need to make more sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil before the season is over. I'm using these in everything. Try this soup enhancement with some of your soups, such as lentil soup, or your pasta soups.

makes 8 pats
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1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons finely minced, drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1 fresh or canned plum tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions
1 large clove garlic, minced
Juice of 1/2 lemon (use fresh lemon juice only)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Combine all the ingredients except the salt and pepper in a medium size bowl. Using a hand held electric mixer, beat it thoroughly to blend. Add the salt and pepper, then beat just to mix it in.

2. Spoon the butter onto a sheet of waxed paper and shape it into a cylinder about 8 inches long and 1 inch thick. If the mixture is too soft to shape, refrigerate it until it stiffens somewhat and is easier to roll. After shaping, wrap the roll in the waxed paper and refrigerate for up to several days. Cut into pats to serve.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Bay-Scented Roasted Potatoes

I can not resist the potatoes when I go to David's if I see him bringing them right from the garden. This is a wonderful simple dish that can be served with any meat, poultry or fish. It will be a favorite!

4 servings
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8 medium potatoes, such as red-skinned
12 large fresh bay leaves
3/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup olive oil

Reheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Peel wash, and dry the potatoes. Cut slits into each potato every 3/8 inch; cut nearly all the way through, but be careful to keep the potatoes in one piece. Cut the bay leaves into 1/2-inch strips.

Oil a baking dish just large enough to hold the potatoes; but the potatoes into the pan and slip a piece of bay leaf into each slit. Sprinkle with salt (very little if your chicken stock is already salted). Bring the chicken stock to the boil and pour it over the potatoes; drizzle with the olive oil.

Bake, uncovered, for about 40 minutes. The potatoes should be very tender and nicely browned; no cooking liquid should remain.

Serve in the baking dish.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Zucchini Pound Cake with Pine Nuts

I'm having food preserving withdrawal. There are a few things left to do but nothing like a few weeks ago. This is when I start looking for new things to make. Our church auction is coming up in early October so I'm on the search. There are always so many beautiful pies, cakes, cobbler, jams, jelly, candies, etc. Not to mention all the handmade crafts. It is a day everyone in the area looks forward too. I was reminded on Sunday the auction has been going on since 1954. Good heavens, I was only 9 years old. I can remember going with my dad. If you have never been to a country church auction you are missing one of life's great treats.

This might be up for bid! Delightfully aromatic, it will keep for several days in the refrigerator wrapped in aluminum foil.

1 loaf cake
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10 tablespoons butter
3 small zucchini (10 ounces total)
4 eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2/3 cup pine nuts
A pinch of ground caraway

Melt the butter over low heat. Peel, wash and dry the zucchini and grate them coarsely. I don't peel mine because I like the color in the cake.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

In a food processor blend the eggs, melted butter, sugar, and vanilla.

In a bowl, mix the flour, salt, baking powder, and caraway, then add this to the butter mixture in the food processor. Processor until smooth. Return to the bowl and add the grated zucchini and the pine nuts.

Butter and flour a 6-cup loaf pan and scrape the batter into it. Smooth the top, bake for 10 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for another hour.

Unmold onto a cooling rack.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Green Tomato Jam

Yep! This is what you make in late September when the tomatoes remaining on the vine will never ripen. You can simply spread it on bread, biscuit, or you can make an excellent tart by spreading it on a pate brisee crust. And you thought you didn't have to see another one of my canning recipes. It's not really over until the first hard freeze.

about 6 cups
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4 1/2 pounds large green tomatoes
4 1/2 cups sugar
3 lemons, preferably not sprayed or waxed (if you get supermarket lemons, scrub them well before using)

Wash the tomatoes, cut off the stems, and cut them into 8 to 10 wedges each. In a stainless steel bowl, arrange alternate layers of tomatoes and sugar. Let this macerate in the refrigerator for 20 to 24 hours; stir 2 or 3 times during this period.

The next day, pour the tomatoes into a preserving pan or large stainless steel saucepan. Start cooking the jam over high heat, then reduce the heat to very low as soon as it comes to the boil.

Remove the scrum with a spoon or skimmer.

Do not peel the lemons, but cut them in half lengthwise, then cut each half into 1/8-inch slices. After the jam has cooked for 1 hour, add the lemon slices and cook for an additional hour, still over low heat.

Sterilize 6 half-pint canning jars. Fill the jars with the hot jam, then seal. Process in a hot-water bath for 15 minutes. Remove jars from water and let cool. Check seals and then store.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Potato-Celery Soup

September 11, 2001 will always be one of the worse days I've ever experienced. I remember exactly were I was, Hilton Head, S.C. I remember what I was wearing. And I remember what I cooked that day. As everyone else, I was looking for comfort, and nothing says comfort to be like potato soup. Take a minute today to remember all the people lost that day and all our hero's. Then take time to make a pot of potato soup to make you feel better.

There is a lot of celery here, and peeling it does make a difference. Just scrape along the outside of the stalks with a vegetable peeler to get rid of the strings.

Serves 6
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2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups peeled and diced celery (about 5 stalks)
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2-3 cups milk or I use a mix of milk and cream
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, more if you like

Put the potatoes, onion, and celery in a soup pot. Add 2 to 3 cups cold water, enough to just cover the vegetables, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium heat, cover partway, and reduce to a gentle boil. Cook until the potatoes are tender and beginning to fall apart, 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove from the heat and mash the potatoes in the pot with a hand masher. It's fine to leave the potatoes a bit coarse to give the soup a chunkier texture.

Return the soup to the heat and stir in enough milk/cream to reach a good pourable consistency. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and taste for sale and pepper. Ladle the soup into large soup bowls, and float slivers of butter on top of each serving.

A nice skillet of cornbread goes well with this.

Monday, September 10, 2012


Who doesn't love fried potatoes or a good baked potato! This will give you the best of both worlds. Our grilling season is not over yet, and these are perfect with anything grilled. I guess they are great with just about anything, grilled or not.

Serves 12 - adjust for your needs
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1/4 cup vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 onion, minced
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon dill
6 large baking potatoes, halved lengthwise

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat the bottom of a baking pan with the oil. Sprinkle with the seasonings.

Place the potatoes, cut sides down, in the pan. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes. The surface should be crusty; the inside, soft.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Saint and Scripture Sunday

I have to chuckle a little every time I read this meditation. That was me, Ms. Perfection. But that was also about 20 years ago. Today I try to do a fine job of whatever I get done. So what if all I got done yesterday was a pot of soup and a loaf of bread. It was a wonderful pot of soup and bread.

And it isn't the thing you do, dear, it's the thing you leave undone which gives you a bit of a heartache at the setting of the sun. - Margaret Sanster

A quality we all share, a very human quality, is to expect perfection from ourselves, to expect the impossible in all tasks done. We must rejoice for the good we do. Each time we pat ourselves on the back for a job well done, our confidence grows a little bit more.

We need to recognize and celebrate our strong points, and need to practice prayer and listening to guidance first to develop our ties to God, but more importantly to be able to acknowledge when help is at hand. We can do all we need to do with God's help.

Having goals but keeping them realistic, for the day or the year, is a sign of emotional health. Not dwelling on those that can't be accomplished, at the moment, is another sign. A change of attitude is all most of us need to move from where we are to a better place emotionally.

There's never a better time than right now for rejoicing over what I've done.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Autumn Soup

Every time I make this I change the name of it, plus I change the ingredients. The recipe that follows is the original recipe and is wonderful. Feel free to do whatever you like. Today I doubled the recipe and used a quart of my home canned tomatoes with garlic and basil and 3 of my homemade tomato paste cubes and some dried tomato powder, instead of the tomato sauce. I also added a tub of Knorr Beef Stock.

Makes 5-6 servings
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1 pound lean ground beef
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
3 cups hot water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 cup sliced carrots
1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon basil
1 envelope of onion soup
8 ounce can tomato sauce
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup macaroni, cooked and drained

Crumble beef into slow cooker. I brown mine first. Add pepper, oregano, basil, salt and dry onion soup mix. Stir in water, tomato sauce and soy sauce. Then add celery and carrots. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Turn control to high and add cooked macaroni and cheese. Cover and cook on high for 10-15 minutes.

Friday, September 7, 2012

California Ginger Bread

Don't confuse this with your grandmothers ginger bread with the whipped cream on top. This is an actual loaf of bread. Perfect out of the oven or toasted for breakfast with honey butter (butter at room temperature, mixed with an equal amount of honey) or marmalade butter (the same procedure but with an equal amount of marmalade.

California Ginger Bread
1 loaf
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1 cup buttermilk
3-4 tablespoons peeled, grated fresh ginger root
1/2 cup peanut or vegetable oil
1 egg
grated rind of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups -all purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cloves

Combine the buttermilk, grated ginger, oil, egg, lemon rind, and salt. Mix lightly until blended

Sift the remaining dry ingredients into a bowl. Make a well in the center of this mixture. Pour buttermilk mixture into the well. Stir all together until you have a smooth mixture. Do not over mix.

Grease and flour a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan. Place the dough in the pan and bake at 350 degrees F. for one hour and 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes and remove from pan.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Spicy Cabbage and Sparerib Soup

It might still be 90 degrees outside but I'm ready for soup. A nice warm comforting fall soup. I found this recipe in one of the zillion cookbooks that Joyce sent, with the unusual name of Italian Soup Cook Book by Joe Famularo. Lovely recipes.

David's fall cabbage crop includes savoy cabbage that are not quite ready yet, but I took 2 anyway.

Good homemade bread is essential for mopping up the broth in the bottom of the bowl.

Serves 6
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2 tablespoons olive oil
6 pork spareribs (about 1 1/2 pounds) cut into individual ribs
2 large cloves of garlic minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 medium head savoy cabbage, trimmed, cored, and cut into 8 wedges
1 1/2 cups water
6 cups chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium canned
Salt to taste
3/4 cup freshly grated pecorino cheese, such as Romano

1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the spareribs and saute' until they are lightly browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Turn the ribs 2 or 3 times to cook all sides. Add the garlic and saute 1 minute, then stir in the red pepper flakes.

2. Add the cabbage wedges and water to the pot and bring to a boil, partially covered, over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the cabbage is limp and bright green, about 15 minutes.

3. Add the broth and raise the heat to return to a boil. Reduce the heat again and cook, still partially covered, until the ribs are tender, about 30 minutes. Season with salt.

4. To serve, place a rib and some cabbage into each warmed bowl, then ladle in the broth. Sprinkle some grated cheese on top of each serving and serve the remainder alongside.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Pasta and Salmon and Peas

Just had to post this wonderful salmon recipe for my blogging friend Ina in Alaska. I don't make this often because my salmon is not exactly fresh caught like Ina's. It works well with frozen, and I have used a 10 ounce package of frozen peas instead of fresh. Ina if you make this think of me while you are enjoying all this goodness.

Serves 6
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1/4 pound unsalted butter
1 clove garlic
1 pound salmon steak, skinned, boned, and cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt to taste
1 pound fresh peas, shelled and cooked
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1 pound pasta shells, ziti, or penne
Freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the garlic and the salmon. Stir gently. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until just done. Add the salt, peas, and parsley. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute

Cook the pasta until it is al dente according to package directions. Drain. Add to the salmon mixture. Add the pepper and lemon juice. Serve hot.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Red Pepper Chutney

My do nothing Labor Day just didn't happen, well not until about 3:00 in the afternoon. There is always something to do this time of year. I'll rest in the winter when it's too cold to be out.

I know I've been on a chutney kick, but this is sooo good and so easy a monkey could make it. This is what I'm making today. I would eat this on anything, plus what a beautiful hostess gift.

Makes 3 pints
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12 sweet red peppers, seeded
1 tablespoon salt
1 pint cider vinegar
2 3/4 cup sugar

In a meat grinder, or food processor, grind the peppers. Add the salt, and let stand for 3 hours. Drain, and rinse with boiling water.

In a large saucepan, heat the vinegar and sugar. Add the peppers, and cook for at least 1 hour, or until the mixture is thick. Place in hot sterilized jars. Process in hot water canner for 10 minutes.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Happy Labor Day!

Hope everyone is having a wonderful long weekend. I basically did nothing on Sunday and am planning the same for today. I have canned, frozen or dehydrated something every day since the middle of May. Excluding Sundays of course. There is a reason it's called Labor Day, and it isn't to labor in the kitchen all day. Keep it simple, burgers, ribs, or hot dogs.

If you live in my area you will not have to worry about rain. They have been saying major rain for days. To my knowledge I believe it's been about 15 drops.

If you are looking for a killer potato recipe check out Joyce's Potatoes With Celery Sauce. This is the best thing I've had in a long time.

Hopefully by tomorrow I'll be back in the mood for my "labor of love" canning. If not I have plenty for the neighborhood already.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Saint and Scriptures Sunday

I'm still working on my post on "Recharging Our Spiritual Batteries". Maybe I'll have it done in the next few weeks. Where does the time go!

You will be well on your way by reading some of the things Jesus spoke about in Matthew 6.

This is a meditation that I have always enjoyed.

The more we are in concert with God,, the greater will be our pleasures sin life. Recognizing our partnership with Him makes every decision easier, facilitates the completion of every task, and removes all uncertainty about our value to this world, particularly to those persons around us.

Knowledge that we are never alone, that in every circumstance our best interests are being cared for, softens whatever blow we encounter. The blows teach us, they are the lessons the inner self has requested, and let us never forget we have a ready tutor to see us through every assignment.

The more we rely on God to see us through the mundane activities as well as the troubling experiences, the greater will be our certainty that all is well, our lives are on course, and a plan is unfolding, little by little that has our best interests at its center.

Have a wonderful week!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Cold Fettucine with Tuna

This is just a simple old pasta dish that I've made for 20 years or more. Perfect for this long Labor Day weekend. It goes with everything.

Serves 4
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1 pound fettucine
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 ounces pine nuts
1 cup peeled, seeded, and chopped tomatoes
1 cup canned tuna, in chunks and drained
1/2 red sweet pepper, cut into thin strips
6 black olives, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Parsley for garnish

Cook the fettucine until it is al dente according to package directions. Drain

In a skillet, heat the oil, and saute' the garlic and pine nuts over low heat for about 5 minutes, or until the garlic is translucent and the nuts are golden. Add the tomatoes, and cook for a few seconds. Transfer to a large bowl. Cool.

Add the pasta to the pine nut mixture, and toss gently to coat. Add the tuna chunks, sweet red pepper, olives, parsley, and vinegar. Blend. Season with salt and plenty of fresh ground pepper. Garnish with additional parsley. Serve at room temperature.