Summer Fruit Crisp with Creme Fraiche Filling

Serves 6-8

3 cups fresh blueberries

6 peaches, pitted and cut into 2-inch pieces (the recipe says to peel them, but I didn’t bother)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 cup creme fraiche

1 cup white-whole wheat flour

6 tbsp. packed dark brown sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 375 and butter a 9 x 12 baking dish. In a large bowl, mix the fruit the all-purpose flour and the granulated sugar together until the fruit is well coated. Transfer the mixture to the baking dish.

Spread the creme fraiche evenly over the fruit mixture.

In a medium bowl, combine the white-whole wheat flour, brown sugar, salt and lemon zest. Add the vanilla and melted butter and stir to make a soft dough. Crumble the mixture evenly over the top of the fruit and creme fraiche.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the fruit is cooked through. Serve warm.


Gimlet jelly shots

Gimlet Jelly Shots

2/3 cup lime syrup (see recipe below) or Rose’s lime juice

2/3 cup water

2 envelopes Knox unflavored gelatin

2/3 cup gin

green food coloring

lime zest for garnish

Combine the lime syrup (or Rose’s) and water in a medium saucepan and sprinkle with the gelatin. Allow the gelatin to soak for a minute or two. Heat over very low heat, stirring constantly, until gelatin is fully dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the gin.

Pour half the mixture into a metal loaf pan and place in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes to quick-set. Check often to avoid freezing. Pour the rest of the gelatin into a glass measuring cup and set aside.

When set, remove the pan from the freezer and rack the gelatin with a fork until small, uniform globules form. Use the fork to distribute the globules evenly in the pan.

Pour 2/3 of the gelatin mixture in the measuring cup over the raked gelatin. Add a drop or two of green food coloring to the remaining gelatin. Use a teaspoon to drop spoonfuls of the tinted gelatin into the pan at regular intervals.

Transfer the pan to the refrigerator to chill until set, 2 to 3 hours. Cut into desired shapes with a knife or cookie cutter.

Lime Syrup

1 ½ cups water

1 cup granulated sugar

4 medium limes, each cut into 8 wedges

¼ cup Rose’s lime juice

Combine water, sugar and limes in a medium saucepan. Muddle the limes. Bring to a rolling boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain immediately. Stir in the Rose’s lime juice. Allow to cool to room temperature.


Soft Shell Crabs with brown butter and capers

Ted’s Soft Shell Crabs

Serves 4

8 soft shell crabs, cleaned

1/2 cup all-purpose flour (more if needed)

salt and pepper

2 cloves garlic, peeled

4 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup dry white wine

Juice of 1 lemon

4 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoon capers

Place the flour in a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper. Dredge the crabs in the seasoned flour, gently shaking off the excess, and transfer them to a wire rack.

Heat one large or two small cast-iron skillets over medium-high heat. Chop the garlic roughly. Add the olive oil and garlic to the pan or pans and saute briefly until garlic softens. Add the crabs, shell side down, and cook for about 5 minutes, until they start to turn red, then turn them over and saute for 2-3 minutes on the other side. Add the wine and the lemon juice and allow to simmer for another minute or so.

Remove the crabs to a wire rack. Turn the heat to low and add the butter and capers, stirring until the butter is slightly browned.

Serve 2 crabs per person with the sauce poured over the top.


Ted’s Maui Shrimp with Coconut Rice

Ted’s Maui Shrimp with Coconut Rice

2  1/2 lbs. raw jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/2 cup shoyu or low-sodium soy sauce

1/3 cup rice wine vinegar

1/8 cup light olive oil

Juice of 1 lime

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

2 cups rice

1 can unsweetened coconut milk (NOT cream of coconut)



3 scallions, white and half of green, chopped

Combine shoyu or soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, olive oil, lime juice and ginger in glass or ceramic bowl or dish. Add shrimp, stirring to mix well, cover and put in the refrigerator to marinate for 1-2 hours.

Before you cook the shrimp, make the rice. Mix the coconut milk with enough water to make 4 cups of liquid. Pour into a medium saucepan with the rice and 1/2-1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, then cover and cook over low heat for 20-25 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork.

Drain the shrimp, reserving 1/4 cup marinade. Heat a small amount of olive oil in a large saute pan. Add the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes. Stir and add the marinade, continuing to cook for about 2 minutes more, stirring, until shrimp are just pink. Be careful not to overcook them.

Spoon rice onto a serving platter. Top with shrimp and chopped scallions. Serve immediately.


Maui Coconut Cake


3 cups cake flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

2 sticks unsalted butter

2 cups sugar

4 eggs, separated

2 tsp. vanilla

1 cup canned coconut milk (not cream of coconut)

1 cup fresh coconut, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.

Using an electric mixer (standing or hand-held) beat the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, blending well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla.

Add the flour mixture alternately with the coconut milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.

In a separate, large bowl with clean, dry beaters, beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold gently into the batter until completely incorporated. Fold in the coconut.

Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until top of cakes spring back when touched and/or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool in pans on a rack for 15 minutes; remove cakes from pan and allow to cool completely before filling and icing with the glaze


1 cup sugar

1/2 cup coconut milk

1 1/2 cups fresh coconut, finely chopped

1 tsp. vanilla

2 tsp. butter

In a heavy medium saucepan, combine the sugar and coconut milk; bring to a boil. Add coconut and cook for a few minutes until thickened to the consistency of heavy syrup. Remove from the heat, stir in the butter and vanilla. Let cool completely.

To finish the cake: place one layer on a serving plate. Spread about 1/3 of the glaze over top. Top with the second layer and spread/pour the glaze over, allowing to drip over the sides.


Fresh flounder sandwich

Mama Joan’s Fish Sandwich

Makes 4 sandwiches

About 1 1/2 – 2 lbs fresh flounder or fluke (1 large piece per sandwich)

2 cloves fresh garlic, sliced, (adjust the amount to your taste)

olive oil

salt and pepper

half a lemon

4 fresh hard rolls (for those who do not live on the East Coast, this is a kaiser roll)

ripe tomatoes

leaf lettuce like Boston or red bibb

tartar sauce

Sprinkle both sides of the fish fillets with salt and pepper. In a cast iron skillet or other heavy saute pan, heat olive oil and add the garlic. Just before the garlic starts to brown add fish. Cook over medium-high heat without moving the fish for 3-4 minutes until it starts to brown. Turn the fish over, squeeze juice of half a lemon over it and and cook on the other side until it starts to flake apart.

Serve the fish on the hard rolls with tomato slices, lettuce and plenty of tartar sauce. Don’t forget the pieces of browned garlic!

Courtesy of Joan G. Axelrod


Chocolate Angel Pie

Chocolate Angel Pie

2 egg whites

1/8 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. cream of tartar

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (I much prefer pecans)

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 4-oz package sweet baking chocolate (my mom always uses Bakers brand)

3 tbsp. water

1 cup whipping cream

Preheat oven to 300.

Combine egg whites, salt and cream of tartar in a mixing bowl. Beat until foamy throughout. Add sugar, 2 tbsp. at a time, beating after each addition until blended. Then continue beating until mixture will stand in very stiff peaks. Fold in nuts and 1/2 tsp. vanilla.

Spoon mixture into lightly greased 8-inch glass or ceramic pie pan and make a nest-like shell, building up the sides about 1/2 inch above the rim of the dish.

Bake for 50-55 minutes until firm but not browned. Cool.

For filling: Place chocolate and water in a saucepan over low heat. Stir until chocolate is melted. Cool until thickened, then add 1 tsp. vanilla. Whip cream until stiff peaks form; fold in chocolate mixture. Pile into the cooled shell and chill about 2 hours before serving.

Courtesy of Leigh D. Sherrill


Hot Cross Muffins

1/2 cup orange juice

3/4 cup currants

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup white whole wheat flour (you can use 2 cups all-purpose as in the original recipe, but I wanted to add a little more nutrition)

2/3 cup sugar

1 tbsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. each ground cloves and allspice

1/2 cup milk (low-fat is fine)

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla

zest of 1/2 orange and 1/2 lemon

Heat the orange juice in a small saucepan until just boiling; remove from heat, add the currants and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper cups or coat with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, salt and spices. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, oil, vanilla and zests until well combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry with the orange juice/currant mixture; blend until just combined. As with all muffins – do not over-mix or they will be tough.

Divide the batter between the 12 muffin cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool for a few minutes in the muffin tin, then remove to a wire rack.

For the icing:

1 cup powdered sugar mixed with 1 tbsp. lemon juice

When cool, ice the muffins in a cross pattern.

Recipe adapted from the Associated  Press


2 cups frozen peas
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 cooked bacon strips, chopped
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. lime juice
2 garlic cloves
1 to 2 tsp. minced chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1/4 tsp. black pepper
In a small saucepan, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add peas; cover and cook for 1 minute. Drain and rinse the peas with cold water. Pat dry.
Place peas in a food processor; add the cheese, bacon, sour cream, oil, lime juice, sour cream, chipotle pepper and black pepper. Process until smooth.
Let stand for at least 1/2 hour to blend flavors. Can be made up to one day in advance – let come to room temperature before serving.
From Healthy Cooking magazine, April/May 2011

3 cloves garlic
1 square-inch cube of fresh ginger root, peeled
1 cup loosely packed, coarsely chopped cilantro
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1/4 tsp. olive oil
20-25 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
In a food processor, puree garlic, ginger and cilantro. Add lemon juice, soy sauce and olive oil and blend until combined. In a small bowl, toss marinade with the shrimp and refrigerate for for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
Heat a grill pan or non-stick saute pan over high heat. Cook shrimp for 2 minutes on each side. Serve warm or at room temperature.
From New York magazine, October 1994
A whole, bone-in leg of lamb, butterflied, either by you or the butcher – save the bone.

Be sure to “trim out” the lamb so you have it uniform in thickness and in final shape.  Save the scraps for kabobs or stew.

Note: All amounts of the following ingredients are approximate.  Adjust according to taste, and size of leg of lamb.

1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped

1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil, coarsely chopped

3 tbsp. toasted pine nuts

3 tbsp. fresh rosemary

Place butterflied lamb fat-side down on work surface. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Distribute olives, cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and pine nuts as evenly as possible over the meat, then add 2 tbsp. rosemary.

Starting at a short side, roll as tightly as possible and tie in several places with butcher’s twine.  Be sure to finish with the fat side exposed so that the juice from the fat will drip during cooking. Sprinkle the top with salt and pepper.

Lightly oil a roasting pan and place the tied lamb in the pan, with the saved bone(s) alongside, but not touching. Roast at 375 for about 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 hours, or until a meat thermometer reads 130-135. Let rest 10 minutes while you make a sauce.

Sauce with leg of lamb
Remove the roasted bones and the stuffed leg of lamb from the roasting pan.
Deglaze the pan over a medium heat with 1/2 cup of red wine, and 1/2 cup of chicken stock
Add one large sprig of rosemary along with 2 Tablespoons finely chopped shallots.
Add one healthy squeeze of lemon juice
Strain liquid through fine strainer to remove shallots and rosemary.
Serve on the side.

Pecan Snowballs

Reprinted with permission from “You Can Trust A Skinny Cook”

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Makes 16 servings

Serving size: 3 cookies

These cookies are tender like shortbread, with a gentle, rich pecan flavor. Though I call these little guys Pecan Snowballs, you may know them as Mexican wedding cookies or Russian tea cookies. Call them what you like; a cookie by any other name would taste as sweet.

6 tbsp. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon

Pinch of kosher salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the butter and  1/4 cup of the sugar. Using an electric beater at medium speed, beat until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat to combine.

3. Put the pecans and 1 tbsp. sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Chop until nuts are very fine, about 30 seconds. Add the flour, cinnamon, and salt and pulse to combine.

4. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Using electric beaters at low speed, beat until combined. The dough will be crumbly.

5. To form cookies, press the dough into the bowl of a teaspoon, packing it firmly. To get the dough out of the spoon, tap the spoon on the baking sheet. Place the shaped dough on the prepared sheets, flat side down, at 1-inch intervals. Bake until golden on the bottom, about 15 minutes.

6. Place the remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a shallow bowl. Toss the warm cookies with the sugar, no more than 5 cookies at a time. Remove the coated cookies to a plate and let cool.

Nutrition information (per serving): Calories 107, Carbs 13g, Fiber 0g, Protein 1g, Total Fat 6g, Saturated Fat 3g


Le pain retrouve ala Jacques Bergier

Le Pain Retrouve

8-10 slices of round Italian bread (Jacques uses Panella), cut in half

1 cup golden raisins (or any dried fruit – Jacques especially like prunes, but they take a longer soaking time – about an hour)

1/4 cup whiskey or dark rum (if you use prunes, cognac is recommended, and the first time we had this, Jacques had made it with mamajuana, a intense, spice and bark-infused spirit from the Dominican Republic)

whole milk

3 eggs


1 cup heavy cream

Pour enough hot water over the the raisins to cover them, then add the whiskey or rum. Set aside to soak for a few minutes. Place the bread slices in a bowl. Pour milk over them and turn them to soak them thoroughly but not allow them to break apart.

Place a layer of the bread slices on the bottom of your baking dish, using small pieces to cover it completely. Drain the raisins, reserving the liquid, and scatter evenly over the bread. Evenly pour in half the liquid from the raisins. Top with another layer of milk-soaked bread slices. Make sure that the fruit is completely covered by the bread so it doesn’t burn or get dry. Press down slightly to help the bread absorb the liquid.

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk until they are well combined. Add the same volume of sugar as the eggs (I know, this seems tricky, but just eyeball it, you can’t really go wrong) and whisk until sugar is somewhat dissolved. Add the cream and whisk again to combine well. Pour this mixture over the bread in the baking dish, pressing down to soak the bread.

Bake at 400 for 45 minutes, then remove from the oven and sprinkle the top liberally with sugar. Reduce heat to 375 and return to the oven for 45 minutes.

Jacques Bergier’s instructions: “To check the cooking, simply tap on the middle of the dish, if it feels still liquid, cook more, when it gets firmer in the middle you are done. Also, really the trick with this bread pudding is the timing and this is why it works well for dinner parties: stick in the oven a little before you sit at the table: you want it to be cooked just right a few minutes before serving, still warm. If too early, simply shut the over off and leave the door closed till serving.”

Recipe courtesy of Jacques Bergier


Meyer Lemon-Cranberry Muffins

Makes 12

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided

3/4 cup  low-fat vanilla Greek yogurt

1/3 cup canola oil

freshly grated zest of 1 Meyer lemon

2 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice

1 1/2 cups white whole-wheat flour

1/2 cup stone-ground cornmeal

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen, coarsely chopped (Best way to do this is in the food processor, using the “pulse” button. If you’ve ever tried to chop cranberries by hand you know that they skitter all over the place.)

Preheat the oven to 400. Coat a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray or line with paper liners. Mix 1 teaspoon lemon zest and 2 tablespoons sugar in a small bowl and set aside.

Whisk 1/2 cup sugar, yogurt, oil, egg, remaining lemon zest and lemon juice in a medium bowl until well combined.

Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add the yogurt mixture and fold until almost blended. Gently fold in the cranberries. Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Sprinkle the lemon zest/sugar mixture evenly over the tops of the muffins.

Bake until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack and let cool 5 more minutes before serving.

Recipe adapted from Eating Well magazine, February 2011


Breakfast Buttercups

Makes 10

10 medium eggs (this is important – large eggs are too big)

10 slices hearty white sandwich bread (don’t try to use “better” bread, the Arnold white bread labeled “hearty white” is what’s called for here)

1 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

10 thin slices deli Swiss or cheddar cheese – about 5 ounces

5 thin slices deli Black Forest ham – about 5 ounces – halved crosswise

salt and pepper

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Place eggs in large bowl and cover with very hot tap water. Let sit 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, roll bread slices as thin as possible with rolling pin and press into 10 perimeter cups of 12-cup muffin tip, leaving 2 center cups empty. Brush bread cups with melted butter and bake until light golden brown, 5-7 minutes.

Top each cheese slice with a ham slice. Make cut from center to 1 side of each stack and fold to make a cone. Press into toasted bread cup. Crack 1 egg into each cup and season with salt and pepper.

Return muffin tin to oven and bake until whites are barely set and still appear slightly moist, 14-18 minutes. Remove pan from oven and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Let sit for 5 minutes (the eggs will continue to cook). Serve immediately.

Of course, if you don’t want to make as many as 10 eggs, you can reduce the number to prepare as many as you wish. Just be sure to use the perimeter cups of your muffin tin; the testers found that eggs baked in the center cups did not cook thoroughly.

Recipe from Cook’s Country, March 2011


King Cake

Makes 2 cakes

1-16 oz. container sour cream

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1 teas. salt

2 envelopes dry yeast (I use rapid-rise because I am usually impatient!)

1/2 cup warm water

1 tbsp. sugar

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

6 to 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsalted butter, very soft

1/2 cup sugar mixed with 1 1/2 teas. cinnamon

Glaze (recipe follows)

purple, green and gold sugar for sprinkling

Place first four ingredients in a saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring often, until butter melts. Set aside and cool until mixture is 100-110 degrees.

In a glass measuring cup, combine warm water, 1 tbsp. sugar and yeast. Let stand for five minutes – it should puff up as the yeast is activated.

Scrape the sour cream mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add yeast mixture, eggs and 2 cups flour; beat at medium speed until smooth. Reduce speed to low and gradually add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough.

Turn dough out onto a floured board and knead until smooth and elastic – adding more flour if necessary (This will take 5-10 mins., depending on your kneading skill). Grease a bowl generously with butter, place the dough in the bowl, turning to coat it, cover the bowl with a dishtowel and place in a warm spot for 45 mins. to an hour or until it has doubled in bulk. (Tip: I use my oven for this, I turn it on to 200 for a few minutes while I’m kneading the dough, then turn it off before I put the dough in.)

Punch the dough down and divide in half. Roll one piece into a rectangle, 22 x 12; spread with half the softened butter and sprinkle with half the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Starting at a long side, roll the dough, jelly-roll style and form into an oval shape, pinching to seal the ends. Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet and cover with a clean dishtowel while you repeat this process with the other half of the dough.

Let the cakes rise again in a warm place for 20 mins., or until doubled in bulk.

Preheat the oven to 375 and bake the cakes, switching shelf positions if necessary, for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown (be careful not to over-bake them).

Let the cakes cool on the pans for 10 minutes before removing them carefully to a wire rack. Ice immediately with the glaze and sprinkle with the sugars in alternating, wide bands of the three colors. Let cool before slicing (always the hard part!)

Glaze: (make this while the cakes are baking)

3 cups powdered sugar

3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1/4 teas. vanilla

2-4 tbsp. milk

Combine first 4 ingredients and 2 tbsp. milk, mix until smooth. Add additional milk a little at a time until the glaze is a spreading consistency.

Recipe adapted from Southern Living magazine.


Pear Pandowdy

Serves 6

4 Bartlett pears (our market didn’t have them so I used a combination of Anjou and Bosc)

2 Golden Delicious apples (I used Granny Smiths)

3 tablespoons soft unsalted butter

1/4 cup sugar, plus 1/2 teaspoon for sprinkling

finely grated zest of 1 lemon

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

pinch of salt

7 tablespoons very cold butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (Nigella’s recipe calls for 5 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, but I don’t keep Crisco in the house so used all butter.)

1/2 cup cold whole milk

Preheat the oven to 400.

Peel the pears and apples, then quarter them, slice out the cores, and cut into 3/4-inch pieces, dropping them into a bowl as you go.

Using a cast-iron skillet or other frying pan that can go into the oven later, melt the 3 tablespoons soft butter over medium heat, then add the fruit, sugar and lemon zest and cook over a lowish heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, by which time some of the fruit will have begun to caramelize gently. Take off the heat while you get on with the pastry.

Put the flour and salt into the bowl of a freestanding mixer fitted with the flat paddle; add the very cold cubed butter and slowly mix to cut the flat into the flour. Still with the motor running and the paddle running slowly, add the milk a little at a time, just so that the dough binds, then remove from the bowl, squish it together with your hands, and drop it into a lightly floured surface ready to roll out.

Bring the pan of cooked fruit nearby (but not so near as to warm the dough), and roll out the dough until you have a rough circle about the diameter of the skillet. Drape the dough circle on top of the fruit, tucking in the edges a bit, and remember that the ramshackle look of this is the whole point. Make 3 slashes with the tip of a sharp knife, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon sugar and bake for 25 minutes – until the crust turns a pale golden color.

Remember that the handle will be searingly hot when you take it out of the oven. This can be reheated nicely – we put it in the warm but turned-off  oven after the lasagna came out.

Adapted from Nigella Kitchen.


SPAM Musubi

Sato-Shoyu SPAM Musubi

Makes 8 pieces

Slice SPAM into 8 pieces, lengthwise.

Cook rice. The cookbook says that an average musubi will take about 1 cup of cooked rice, but this seemed like a lot to us. I would make about 2 cups of cooked rice for the whole can of SPAM. Sprinkle the hot rice with a little rice wine vinegar and toss to combine. Let cool to room temperature.

Mix ¼ cup each soy sauce and sugar; add a little water and whisk until sugar is dissolved.

Place the SPAM slices in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the sauce and cook until SPAM is heated through and caramelized with the sauce. Remove the slices to a plate.

Shape the rice using a sushi press or by hand into rectangles about 1 inch high and the width and length of the SPAM slices. Place a slice of SPAM on top of each rice rectangle and wrap with a strip of nori. Some recipes call for a larger piece of nori, but we like the way it looks with just a strip.

From the 2nd Hawaii SPAM Cookbook by Ann Kondo Corum.


SPAM-Spinach Balls

SPAM-Spinach Balls (aka Power Balls

Serves 6 as an appetizer

1 small onion, finely chopped

½ can SPAM, finely chopped

6 tablespoons butter

1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

1 cup cornbread stuffing mix

½ cup grated Swiss cheese

2 eggs

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

Saute onion and SPAM in butter until onion is soft and SPAM is just beginning to brown. Add spinach. Combine SPAM-spinach mixture with remaining ingredients in food processor or large bowl.

Shape into 1-inch balls and bake on an ungreased sheet pan in a 350-degree oven until slightly crispy outside and heated through (15-20 minutes).

Serve with sauce made of ½ cup mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon horseradish.

From the 2nd Hawaii SPAM Cookbook by Ann Kondo Corum.


Ramen-SPAM Salad

Ramen-SPAM Salad

Serves 6

1 small head cabbage, finely shredded

2 stalks green onion, chopped

2 carrots, shredded

½ cup sliced radishes

1 can SPAM, sliced and fried until crisp on the edges

1 (3-ounce) packaged ramen (Oriental flavor)

1 cup unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Chopped cilantro (the recipe says optional, but as a lover of cilantro I think it’s a must)


½ packet ramen seasoning

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

6 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

½ cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon sesame oil

Shred and chop all vegetables and place in large bowl. Cut fried SPAM into logs and toss together with vegetables. Mix dressing ingredients in a jar or whisk in a bowl. Crush ramen, using rolling pin or bottom of pan. Add to SPAM-vegetable mixture and toss with dressing. Garnish with peanuts and cilantro.

From the 2nd Hawaii SPAM Cookbook by Ann Kondo Corum.


Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cake (Photo by Susan)

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cake

Makes a 9X13-inch cake

1 1/3 cups semisweet chocolate chips

½ teaspoon bourbon, Scotch or favorite liquor (I used bourbon; you could substitute vanilla extract)

1 ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup rolled oats (use the old-fashioned kind for best texture)

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes, at room temperature

2 eggs, slightly beaten

¾ cups granulated sugar

1 ¼ cups firmly packed dark brown sugar (I used light; dark will give you a more molasses-y flavor)

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375 and position a rack in the center. Butter (I use Baker’s Joy) the sides and bottom  of a 9X13 glass or light-colored metal baking pan. Heat 1 ¼ cups water to boiling.

Place the chocolate chips in a small bowl and toss them with the bourbon until covered. Sprinkle the 2 tablespoons flour over the chips and toss again until covered. This will keep them from settling at the bottom of the cake during baking. Set aside.

Place the oats and cubed butter in a large bowl. Pour the boiling water over the oat mixture, wait 30 seconds, and stir to moisten all the oats and melt the butter. Set the mixture aside for 30 minutes.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, both sugars, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon until well combined. Fold in the cooled oatmeal and stir until well combined. Gently fold in the remaining flour and then the chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the cake for 40-45 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before cutting. (I waited about 10!)

The Baked boys’ recipe includes an optional cream cheese frosting. I don’t want to cheat you, so if you want more sweetness (and calories!) here it is:

Beat 5 tablespoons unsalted, softened butter with a mixer until creamy. Add 5 ½ ounces softened cream cheese and beat until smooth. Add 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted and ¾ teaspoon vanilla, beat until well combined. Spread over the top of cooled cake.

Recipe from “Baked Explorations” by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2010)


Chocolate, Coconut and Almond Snowdrops

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/8 teaspoon salt

4 egg whites

3/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup each toasted coconut, toasted sliced almonds and semisweet chocolate mini chips ( I had larger, bittersweet Ghirardelli chips, so just chopped those up a bit.

Preheat oven to 275 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats.

Place the first three ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on high speed until foamy.  With the mixer still on high speed, add sugar one tablespoon at at time and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Do not underbeat.

Fold almonds, coconut and chocolate into meringue mixture, combining well.

Drop mixture by spoonfuls onto prepared sheets or, as I did, scoop it into a pastry bag without a tip and pipe it out for more of a meringue “kiss” look.

Place one pan on bottom shelf and one pan on middle shelf and bake for 30 minutes. Rotate pans and bake for another 30 minutes or until meringues are dry. Cool on wire racks.

Makes 4 dozen.

Recipe from Cooking Light magazine.


Lamb Ragout with Chestnuts and Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Ragout of Lamb Chops with Chestnuts

10-12 lamb chops (2 per person) cut from the shoulder, fat removed

Salt and fresh ground pepper


2 onions cut in thin slices

6 tablespoons butter

2 cups peeled chestnuts (canned whole chestnuts may be used

1 1/2 to 2 cups liquid (broth or half broth and half wine or water)

Chopped parsley

Butter a rather deep baking dish or casserole equipped with a cover. In it arrange half of the chops. Salt and pepper them and add a touch of thyme. Add a layer of half of the onion rings and dot with butter. Add a layer of half of the chestnuts, a layer of chops, a layer of onions and finally, a layer of chestnuts. Add broth to barely cover the dish. Dot with butter and season with salt, pepper and thyme. Cover and baked at 350 degrees for an hour. Test the chops for doneness by cutting a slit near the bone. If not done, return to the oven for 15-20 minutes. Served with braised Brussels sprouts. Garnish with chopped parsley. Note: The addition of a couple of cloves of garlic to the recipe enhances it considerably.

That is typical of Beard – the garlic note at the end! For two of us, I used four chops with the outside fat trimmed off, 1 small onion and 2 small cloves of garlic, which I smashed and chopped roughly.  My grocery store was out of jarred chestnuts, but we had some fresh ones, which we roasted and peeled – some went into the pot whole, some in pieces. The liquid was a combination of chicken broth and white wine. The chops were about 3/4 inch thick, so they were easily done in an hour. I roasted the Brussels sprouts instead of braising them.

Recipe from James Beard American Cookery, 2010 edition


Photo by Susan

New-Fangled Turkey Tetrazzini

Serves 3-4

2 tbsp. butter

3 scallions, sliced

1/2 red pepper, diced

2 tbsp. flour

1.2 cup dried mushrooms, reconstituted in hot water (you could certainly use fresh, I just didn’t have them)

2 cups milk

1/2 pkg. Boursin cheese (this is really optional, but if you don’t use it, you might want to add a little chopped garlic to the sauteed scallions and red pepper)

salt and pepper to taste

1/3 lb. spaghetti or linguini

1 cup broccoli florets

1 1/2 cups cubed cooked turkey

grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375. Put a pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta.

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add scallions and red pepper, saute until slightly softened. Add flour and stir well.

Drain dried mushrooms, reserving liquid, and roughly chop. Add mushrooms to the skillet along with about 1/4 cup of the liquid. Add milk, stirring well to combine. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer until slightly thickened. Stir in Boursin cheese until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile cook the pasta until al dente, adding broccoli to the water for the last minute or so to cook until just tender. Drain pasta and broccoli in colander.

Stir pasta, broccoli and turkey into sauce, mixing well.

Transfer mixture to a glass baking dish and top with grated Parmesan. Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned on top.


Cyril Renaud’s Citrus Gravlax

2 cups salt (I used kosher salt)

2 cups sugar

Grated zest of 2 lemons, 2 limes, 2 oranges and 2 grapefruits

2 tablespoons juniper berries

1 tablespoon cracked coriander seeds (I cracked them with a mortar and pestle)

1 bunch dill, stems and all, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons gin

1 2-to-3 lb. fillet of salmon, skin on, pin bones removed

Mix together all ingredients (except for the salmon!) being sure to combine them well.

Place salmon, skin-side down, on a large sheet of plastic wrap (I lay sheets of plastic wrap in a glass baking dish, letting a generous amount of the wrap hang over the sides.) Cover the flesh side of the salmon with the salt and sugar mixture, making sure to coat it completely and evenly. Wrap the fish well and refrigerate for 12-24 hours.

Unwrap the salmon and rinse off the cure. Dry, then slice on the bias. Serve plain or with lemon wedges, creme fraiche or sour cream.

We’re not showing you the finished product, but will when we get it ready to serve on Thanksgiving morning. From the Times: “it is worth noting that the timing for gravlax is imprecise; the longer it sits, the drier and stronger flavored it will become.” Our plan is to leave the cure on for 48 hours, then rinse it off, dry the salmon, wrap it and refrigerate it until Thanksgiving day. It will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days after you are finished curing it.

Recipe from The New York Times


Soup supper: Paprika and Red Pepper Soup with cheese toasts and salad. (photo by Susan)

Paprika and Red Pepper Soup

Serves 4

2 tbsp. canola oil

1 small onion, diced

2 large red peppers, halved lengthwise, stemmed, seeded and diced

1-2 fresh green Thai or Serrano chiles, stemmed and coarsely chopped (He used some of the last hot peppers from our garden – I can’t remember what variety they were – this is where you can adjust the heat by using milder chiles or omitting the seeds.)

2 tsp. sweet Hungarian paprika (This is key; if you use regular paprika the soup will not have the same flavor.)

1 tsp. kosher or sea salt

1/2 tsp. ground cardamom

1/2 cup unsalted shelled pistachios

2 cups vegetable broth or water

1 cup nonfat buttermilk

2 tbsp. whipping cream

1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro or basil

Heat oil in large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell peppers and chilies. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables release some of their juices and the onion is lightly brown around the edges, 3-5 minutes. Sprinkle the vegetables with the paprika, salt and cardamom and cook, stirring, until the spices are very fragrant, 1-2 minutes.

Add pistachios and broth or water. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until the peppers are fork tender, 20-25 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes.

Transfer the soup to a blender (in batches if necessary) and puree until smooth. Return the soup to the pan.

Whisk buttermilk and cream together in a bowl; stir into the soup. Gently warm over low heat. Serve sprinkled with cilantro or basil.

Recipe from Eating Well, December 2010


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 lb. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

3 cups sugar

2 cups pumpkin (I use 1-15 0z. can – make sure it is just pumpkin, not “pie filling,” which has other stuff in it)

2 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla

5 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. cinnamon

2 tsp. nutmeg

2/3 tsp. salt

1 bag chocol

ate chips

Preheat the oven to 375.

Cream bu

tter and sugar until completely blended. Add eggs, pumpkin and vanilla, mix until well combined.  In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Add dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture, mixing thoroughly. Mix in chocolate chips.

Drop by teaspoonfuls on a greased baking sheet (I use Silpats). Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges just begin to brown and cookies are just firm. These have a cake-like texture; if you over-bake them they will turn into hockey pucks!


Frosted Banana Bars

1 stick butter, softened

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

1 1/2 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3)

1 tsp. vanilla

2 cups flour

1 tsp. baking soda

pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 15 x 10 jelly roll pan. Cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, bananas and vanilla. Combine and add the flour, baking soda and salt; mix well. Spread in the pan and bake for 20 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Frost when completely cool.

Peanut Butter Frosting

1/2 stick butter

4 oz. cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup peanut butter

3 to 3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

2 tsp. vanilla

Cream the butter, cream cheese and peanut butter until well blended. Add sugar and mix well. Beat in the vanilla. Frost and cut into squares or bars. Now, here’s an important tip: the bars are soft and can squish easily as you frost them, so don’t dump all the frosting down in the middle of the pan and try to spread it out. Instead, place it on in 8-12 dollops, then spread those gently and evenly to cover the whole pan.

Recipe from Cook & Tell


Two of America’s favorite snack foods in one – Buffalo chicken pizza

The Kid’s Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Prepare pizza crust or use a pre-made one. Place on a baking sheet and drizzle the crust with olive oil.

In a small saute pan heat 1/2 cup Frank’s Hot Sauce with 1/2 stick butter until butter is melted and mixture is combined and hot. (Use more or less hot sauce to taste.) Add 1 cup cooked chicken, stir well.

Top crust with a layer of sliced or shredded fresh mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle on grated Parmesan cheese.

Cover the cheeses with the chicken in hot sauce. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.

Bake 10-15 minutes or until toppings are bubbly and cheese is lightly browned.

Drizzle chunky blue cheese dressing over the top of the pizza before serving. Note: we used fresh crumbled blue cheese for the pizza pictured above, but he says he prefers the dressing.


Apricot Oatmeal Scones (photo by Susan)

Apricot and Oat Scones

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 plus 1/8 tsp. baking soda

1/2 plus 1/8 tsp. salt

1/2 cup minced dried apricots

10 tbsp. cold butter, cut into bits

1/3 cup low-fat buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 400. Butter a baking sheet or use a Silpat or parchment paper.

Place all of the dry ingredients and the apricots in a large bowl and mix well to combine. Using a pastry blender or your fingers (my preferred method) cut in the butter until it is evenly distributed in tiny pieces.

Add the buttermilk and mix until the dough just comes together in a ball. Pat out onto a floured surface into a circle 6 inches in diameter and 1 1/2 inches thick. Cut into 8 triangles and place on baking sheet. Sprinkle the top with a little coarse sugar and bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned and firm. Remove to a cooling rack.

Recipe from “The Earth Bound Cookbook” by Myra Goodman


A perfect roast chicken (if I do say so myself!)

Susan’s Roast Chicken

First, it’s important to start with a quality chicken.  In the supermarket, I always choose kosher chickens, generally Murray’s; if you can’t locate a kosher chicken buy the best, free-range, vegetarian-fed bird you can find. Since these tend to be smaller than the big, weirdly yellow “oven-stuffer roasters,” you may want to roast two chickens to feed more than 2-3 people and have leftovers.

Take the package of giblets out of the cavity; rinse the chicken and dry it with paper towels. Place it in a roasting pan big enough to hold it with a little extra room so you can get in there and baste it with the juices that will accumulate.

Preheat your oven to 400. If you have convection, use it. Squeeze a half a lemon over the chicken, then stuff it into the cavity. Sprinkle the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper. Now for the herbs; if I have fresh herbs I use them, if not, dried are fine. I like a mixture of thyme, rosemary and tarragon – distributed in generous amounts inside of the chicken and out. Place 1 tbsp. of butter inside the chicken, distribute another 2 tbsp. cut in bits tucked into the crevices of the bird and strewn over the skin.  Finally, pour about a 1/2 inch of dry white wine into the bottom of the roasting pan.

Roast the chicken for 15 minutes without opening the oven door. Take the pan out, turn the oven down to 350 and baste the chicken with the juices, tilting the pan if needed. Put the chicken back into the oven and roast – basting about every 15 minutes – until an instant-read thermometer registers 165 when stuck into the thickest part of the thigh.

I can’t tell you exactly how long your chicken will take, but in my oven, with the convection on, a 3-4 lb. chicken roasted this way is done in a total of about 1  1/2 hours.

Serve with mashed potatoes – pass the chicken juices in a gravy boat if you wish – and your favorite vegetables and you have the perfect Sunday dinner.


Blueberry Gingerbread

1 cup fresh or frozen wild blueberries

2 cups plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ginger

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup sugar

7 tbsp. butter, melted

3 tbsp. molasses

1 egg

1 cup buttermilk or regular milk

Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8 x 11 pan (9 x13 will work too if you want a thinner cake). Combine blueberries and 2 tbsp. flour, tossing gently to coat. Combine remaining flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt in a medium bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer, place sugar, butter, molasses and egg; beat at medium speed until well combined. Add dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk or milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Gently fold in blueberries. Spread evenly in pan and bake for 45 minutes to an hour (less for larger pan) until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.


Photo by Susan, not Ted

Crumb-Topped Apple-Bacon Muffins

6 strips bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled, 2 tbsp. bacon fat reserved (If you cook your bacon in the microwave, see note on butter, below.)

2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour (Or use unbleached white flour; regular whole wheat flour is not recommended – the muffins will be heavy.)

1 tbsp. baking powder

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. salt

1 large egg

1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar

1 1/4 cups milk (I used reduced-fat because it’s what I had)

2 tbsp. butter, melted (4 tbsp. if not using bacon fat)

1 large tart apple, peeled, cored and chopped

Oat and Brown Sugar Crumb Topping (recipe follows)

Butter 12-15 muffin cups. Preheat oven to 400.

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. Whisk the egg with the sugar and add milk.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in all the wet ingredients, including the butter/bacon fat.

Stir until almost blended, then fold in apple and bacon.

Fill muffin cups to nearly full, then cover each muffin with an equal amount of the crumb topping (use it all). Bake for 22-25 minutes until lightly browned. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes before taking out.

Oat and Brown Sugar Crumb Topping

1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (see note on flour in above recipe)

1/3 cup old-fashioned oatmeal

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

pinch of salt

1/2 stick (1/4 cup) cold butter, cut into small pieces

Mix all ingredients except butter in a small bowl. Add butter pieces and mix with your hands until you have uniform crumbs.


Lamb curry and rice

Peter’s Lamb Curry

Adapted from “The Naked Chef Takes Off” by Jamie Oliver

Serves 8

Dry spices

2 tbsp. fennel seeds

2 tbsp. cumin seeds (I used ground cumin)

2 tbsp. coriander seeds

1/2 tbsp. fenugreek seeds (This I did not have, so I have no idea how the flavor of the curry would have been affected.)

1/2 tbsp. black peppercorns

1 clove

1/2 a cinnamon stick

2 cardamom pods


Lightly toast all ingredients in a pan over a gentle heat. Crush into a fine powder. ( I got out the mortar and pestle, thinking this would be and ideal time to put it to use, but found that crushing the mixture that way would have taken a half a day. So, I cleaned out my coffee grinder and gave it a whir in there – perfect!)

Curry paste

2 inches of fresh ginger, peeled

1 large red onion, peeled

10 cloves garlic, peeled

2 fresh red chilies, with seeds (I used chilies from our garden and because I had no idea how hot they were, took out the seeds. Next time I’d leave ‘em in for a little more heat.)

1 bunch fresh cilantro

Chop all the above ingredients roughly and put in a food processor with the dry spice powder. Process until well pureed.

The rest of the process

2 tbsp. butter

1- 28 oz. can chopped tomatoes with juice

1 cup stock or water

3 1/2 lbs. lamb meat, cut in cubes (see note above about leftovers lamb)

1 handful each chopped mint and cilantro

1 cup plain yogurt

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 325. In a large casserole, fry the curry paste mixture in butter until it goes golden (mine never did “go golden” – it ended up kind of a gray-brown after about 10 minutes on medium-high heat. Keep stirring so it doesn’t stick.

Add the tomatoes and the stock or water. Bring to a boil, cover with foil and put in the oven for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the foil and continue to simmer on the stove until it thickens.

If using fresh meat, brown in olive oil and add to sauce. Simmer for about an hour or until tender. If using leftovers, stir in and heat until hot. Stir in the yogurt and serve sprinkled with cilantro and mint. Jamie also recommends a squeeze of lime juice.

Jamie also suggests adding any of the following: Swiss chard, spinach, peas, cauliflower, fried eggplant, okra, boiled potatoes, chickpeas, lentils.


Italian plum torte

LBK’s Fruit Torte

Note from Spoon & Shutter: this is one of those recipes that assumes a basic baking knowledge. If you need assistance with it, please email us!

Cream 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup butter

Add: 1 cup flour, sifted; 1 tsp. baking powder, pinch of salt and 2 eggs

Place in 9-inch springform pan.

Add to top and cover entire surface with one of the following or a combination of: 1 pint blueberries; 24 halves pitted Italian plums (skin-side up); sliced apples; sliced peaches

Sprinkle top with: sugar; lemon juice; flour (if fruit is very juicy); cinnamon (use a heavy hand)

Bake at 350 for one hour. Delicious when served with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Best served slightly warm. Refresh in oven if desired.

Orange Yogurt Cake

Orange Yogurt Cake

Unsalted butter, softened, for the pan

1 cup sifted flour

1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/8 tsp. baking soda

pinch of salt

1/2 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (I used non-fat)

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp. grated orange zest

1 tbsp. fresh orange juice

1 egg

1/2 tsp. vanilla

Confectioners sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350. Butter an 8″ round cake pan. Stir all the ingredients together in a bowl, making sure the batter is mixed well. Pour into the pan and bake about 25 mins., until a tester comes out clean. Cool in the pan for a few minutes before inverting onto a rack. When thoroughly cool, dust with powdered sugar.

Recipe from Cook & Tell


Peach and Plum Crisp

Peach and Plum Crisp with Oatmeal Streusel


1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 tbsp. whole wheat flour

1/4 tsp. each cinnamon and nutmeg

finely grated zest of 1/2 a lemon

2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

2 tbsp. fresh orange juice

3 ripe peaches, cut into 1/2-inch wedges

3 ripe plums, cut into 1/2-inch wedges


1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

3 tbsp. all-purpose flour

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

3 tbsp. cold butter (F&W’s recipe specified butter-oil blend, but I’m not going there.)

Preheat the oven to 350. Stir together the filling ingredients – sugars, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon zest and juices. Fold in the fruit. Scrape into an 8″ square glass baking pan (0r deep-dish pie plate, which is what I used). Cover with foil and baking for 15 minutes.

For the streusel: combine the oats, flours, sugar, lemon zest and cinnamon. Work in the butter. Press the streusel into clumps and sprinkle over the fruit. Bake the crisp for 30 minutes, until fruit is tender and the topping golden. Let cool for 20 minutes before serving, topped with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream if you wish!

Adapted from a recipe published in Food & Wine


The finished cake

June Elderkin’s Blueberry Cake

1/2 cup butter, melted (June’s recipe says “oleo” but I think you have to use butter!)

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

3/4 tsp. lemon extract (I never have lemon extract, so I use the zest and juice of half a lemon)

Cream the above ingredients together.

Add 1/3 cup milk

Sift together (or just mix, as I do) and add:

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp. baking powder

pinch salt.

Fold in 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries (preferably the tiny wild Maine kind)

Scrape batter into a greased 8″ square pan and sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on top

Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.

If you double the recipe – I nearly always do – it fills a 9 x 13 inch pan nicely.


My new favorite summer pasta

Capellini with Fresh Ricotta, Roasted Garlic, Corn and Herbs

1 large head of garlic, 1/2 inch cut off

6 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided

4 ears of fresh corn, in the husks (I did snip off the excess silk protruding from the top)

6 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

grated zest of 1/2 lemon

8 oz. capellini, broken in half (I used thin spaghetti, but I wouldn’t try anything more substantial in the way of pasta)

2 cups (loosely packed) mixed greens

2 cups torn radicchio leaves

1 cup fresh ricotta (I used regular supermarket ricotta, which was fine, but a bit thicker than the fresh variety – next time I’d try to find the fresh stuff)

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus shaved Parmesan for garnish

1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley

1/3 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup each chopped fresh dill and chives

Preheat oven to 400. Place head of garlic on sheet of foil. Drizzle with 2 tbsp. olive oil, wrap foil around garlic and pinch to seal tightly. Place on baking sheet with corn. Roast until corn is tender and garlic soft – 25 mins for corn and 40 for garlic. Cool slightly.

Squeeze garlic out of skins into large bowl. (This is so much fun and the garlic is now gloriously caramelized). Add any leftover oil from the foil. Add lemon juice, zest, and 3 tbsp. olive oil, mash garlic and whisk together. Shuck corn kernels from cobs and add to bowl with garlic.

Meanwhile, cook capellini in large pot of salted water until al dente. Drain and add to bowl along with 1 tbsp. olive oil. Add greens, radicchio, ricotta, grated Parmesan and herbs, mix well (I got frustrated trying to use a wooden spoon and tongs, so resorted to mixing with my hands). Season with salt and pepper to taste and served topped with shredded Parmesan.

Adapted from a recipe published in Bon Appetit


Simple Summer Fruit Cake – made with plums

Simple Summer Cake with Fruit

1 ¼ cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 tsp. baking powder

Pinch salt

1 stick butter (8 tbsp.)

10 tbsp. sugar

1 large egg

½ tsp. vanilla or almond extract

3 ripe, black plums, pitted and quartered, each quarter cut into three slices (or use peaches or apples)

1 tsp. lemon juice

Ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan. In a small bowl mix together flour, baking powder and salt.

In a medium saucepan, melt 6 tbsp. of the butter. Stir in 6 tbsp. sugar and let cool 10 mins. Add egg and vanilla or almond extract and stir well. Stir in flour mixture. Spread dough evenly in pan. Arrange fruit in a circle pattern on top, skin side up, pressing lightly into the dough. Drizzle fruit with lemon juice and sprinkle with remaining 4 tbsp. sugar. Sprinkle with cinnamon and dot with remaining 2 tbsp. butter. Bake 25-30 mins. Or until cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Adapted from a recipe published in O Magazine


Chocolate Creme

1 package vanilla custard dessert mix (I used Jello custard-flavor pudding)

2 1/4 cups milk

1/2 cup chocolate chips

3/4 cup heavy cream, whipped until stiff

4 tbsp. light rum

Combine custard mix, milk and chocolate chips. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Transfer to a bowl and chill in refrigerator until set. Whisk until smooth, then fold in whipped cream and rum. Spoon into demitasse cups and chill thoroughly. Top with shaved chocolate before serving.


Peas Vinaigrette

Peas Vinaigrette

2 10-oz. packages frozen petite peas, defrosted

1/2 cup salad oil

3 tbsp. vinegar (I used cider vinegar)

2 tbsp. finely chopped scallions

2 tbsp. finely chopped sweet pickles

1 tbsp. minced parsley

1 tbsp. diced pimento

1 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Run hot water over peas and drain well. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over peas. Let stand in refrigerator for 2 hours before serving. (I served this right away and the flavors were fine.)


Baked seafood casserole and peas vinaigrette

Baked Seafood Casserole

1 lb. crabmeat

1 lb. lobster meat

1 lb. small cooked shrimp

1 cup mayonnaise

3/4 cup chopped green pepper

1/2 cup minced onion

1 3/4 cups finely chopped celery

3/4 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. Worchestershire sauce

2 cups crushed potato chips

paprika (which I did not have)

Mix ingredients together as if making a seafood salad. Fill shallow baking pan with mixture and completely cover with crushed potato chips. Sprinkle with paprika and bake at 400 for 25 minutes. (A note about serving size – the recipe says “serves 12-15″ so I cut it in half, which was enough for six small portions – plenty after we filled up on the cheese and ham puffs. But bear in mind people ate less in the 50s!)


Cheese Puffs with Ham

1 1/2 cups water

3/4 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 cups flour

6 eggs

1 1/2 cups grated Swiss cheese

1/3 lb. ham, finely diced

2 tbsp. mustard (I used Dijon)

Boil water and butter together. Add flour, stirring constantly until mixture forms a ball. Put this in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat in eggs one at a time, then beat on high speed another 5 minutes. Fold in 1 cup of the cheese. Transfer mixture to a pastry bag and pipe 24 mounds of the dough – 12 on each of two cookie sheets. (Our relatively well-equipped cottage kitchen does not have a pastry bag, so I just used a spoon and while I did not grease the cookie sheets, I would next time.) Combine ham and mustard. Make an impression in each mound, fill with ham and sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake at 375 for 30 mins. (These are great reheated!)


Lee Bailey’s Blondies (a la Susan)

Lee Bailey’s Blondies

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup firmly packed light-brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 cup cake flour (not self-rising)

1/4 tsp. salt

1/3 cup coarsely chopped pecans

3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan.

Cream the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Add the flour and salt and beat until well mixed. Fold in the pecans and then the chocolate pieces. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a knife stuck into the middle comes out clean. Cool in the pan before cutting.


The cherry clafouti


3 cups pitted black cherries, any juice drained

1 1/4 cups whole milk

1/3 cup granulated sugar

3 eggs

1 tbsp. vanilla extract (not a misprint!)

1/8 tsp. salt

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350. Butter a 7-8 cup fireproof baking dish or Pyrex pie plate about 1 1/2 inches deep.

Place the ingredients in a blender jar in the order in which they are listed. Cover and blend at top speed for 1 minute.

Pour a 1/4 inch layer of batter on the bottom of the baking dish and set over moderate heat for a minute or two until a film of batter has formed. Remove from heat and spread the cherries evenly over the batter and sprinkle 1/3 cup sugar over them. Pour on the rest of the batter and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon.

Bake for about an hour, until clafouti has puffed and browned and a knife stuck into its center comes out clean. Allow to cool before serving warm or at room temperature; sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

Recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck


Sour Cherry Pie

Pie dough for a double crust in a 9-inch, deep-dish pie plate  (I confess I used Pillsbury unroll-and-bake, which to my mind, is perfectly fine in a pinch, good, even!)

6 cups pitted sour cherries

2 cups sugar

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. almond extract

1 large egg white, lightly beaten with 1 tbsp. water

Combine the cherries, sugar, flour and almond extract in a large saucepan. Stir well and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 1 minute, stirring to keep mixture from sticking. Remove from heat, and cool to room temperature. (I hurried this process along by pouring the filling into a Pyrex bowl and putting in the fridge for about 15 mins.)

Preheat the oven to 400. Line the pie plate with the bottom crust. Brush with some of the egg white mixture to prevent sogginess, then spoon the filling into the shell. Cover with top crust, fold edges under and pinch to seal. Cut decorative designs or simple slits into the top to let steam escape. Bake on the middle rack of the oven until the filling is bubbly and the crust is golden brown – about 45 minutes. Let cool before serving warm or at room temperature.


Italian Hazelnut Cake with Whipped Cream and Nutella

Alexandra Berlingeri’s Hazelnut Cake

1 1/3 cup hazelnuts

1 1/3 cup of flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

Pinch of salt

1 1/3  cup of sugar

3 eggs

7 tbsp. butter, softened

1/2 cup milk

1 tsp. cocoa powder

2-3 tsp. rum

1 sachet of vanilla sugar (available in the baking aisle of most supermarkets)

Spread out the hazelnuts on a sheet pan and turn the oven to 400. Put the nuts in the oven until slightly toasted. When cool, chop finely in a food processor.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Butter and flour a 9-inch cake pan.

Sift the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In an electric mixer, using the whisk attachment, mix the eggs and sugar at high speed until very thick and light. Add the butter a bit at a time and mix well until completely incorporated. On a slower speed, add the flour a little at a time, then mix in the milk, rum, vanilla sugar, cocoa powder and hazelnuts.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Level the top of the batter and bake the cake at 350 for a little less than an hour. Let cool before removing from pan and serving.


Fabulous, fresh, fish tacos!

Fish Tacos with Black Bean Salsa (serves 4)

One 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained

3/4 cup olive oil

1 jalapeno, minced (and seeded, if you prefer, for a milder salsa)

1 tbsp. lime juice

1 tsp. minced garlic

1 1/2 tsp. salt

2 lbs. skinless firm fish fillets, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup cornmeal

8  6-inch flour tortillas

shredded romaine lettuce

cilantro leaves

lime wedges

sour cream

In a medium bowl, combine the black beans, 1/4 cup olive oil, jalapeno, lime juice, garlic and 1/2 tsp. of the salt. Set aside.

Season the fish evenly with the remaining 1 tsp. salt and black pepper. Dredge quickly in the cornmeal, shaking to remove any excess, and set aside.

Heat a 12-inch saute pan over high heat. Toast each of the tortillas for 30 seconds on one side in the hot pan. Transfer to a plate and cover loosely with a kitchen towel to keep warm.

In the same pan, heat the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil over medium-high heat. Add half of the fish and saute on both sides until just cooked through – about 2 minutes per side. Transfer them to paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining fish.

To assemble the tacos, place 2 tortillas on each plate and divide the shredded lettuce among them. Spoon the black been mixture onto the lettuce and divide the fish among the tortillas. Top with the cilantro. Squeeze lime over the tacos and dollop with sour cream. (I leave everything separate and let everyone make their own tacos. The addition of fresh tomato salsa is nice too.)


Rhubarb, Apple and Pomegranate Crumble

4 cups fresh rhubarb, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces (if fresh rhubarb is not available, thawed, frozen rhubarb works just fine)

4 cups tart apples, thinly sliced

1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or unbleached white flour)

3/4 cup old-fashioned oatmeal

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into small pieces

1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 cup granulated sugar

finely grated zest of 1 orange

1/3 cup POM Wonderful 100% pomegranate juice

2 tbsp. cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 350.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, oatmeal, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or your fingers (my preferred method). Add the pecans and egg and mixed until well-combined.

Combine the rhubarb and apple slices, granulated sugar and orange zest in a 3-qt. baking dish. In a small bowl, stir the pomegranate juice into the cornstarch, blending well, then add to the fruit mixture, tossing thoroughly to coat.

Distribute the crumb topping evenly over the fruit. Bake in the center of the oven until golden and bubbling, approx. 1 hour. Allow to cool slightly before serving –  with vanilla ice cream or heavy cream, or just plain is delicious too! I scooped up a spoonful as I was running out the door to work, and it was exactly what I had in mind: sweet and tart, a good blend of all three fruit flavors, with a crunchy, buttery crumb.


Killer Coconut Cake


3 sticks unsalted butter, softened

2 cups sugar

5 extra-large eggs, room temperature

1 1/2 tsp. each almond and vanilla extracts

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1 cup milk

1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut, plus more for filling and covering finished cake (I used an entire bag).

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease and flour 2, 9-inch cake pans.

Cream the butter and sugar in an electric mixer on medium-high speed for 3-5 minutes, until light yellow and fluffy. Crack the eggs into a bowl. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl down once during mixing. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With the mixer set on low speed, add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk in 3 parts, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Fold in the coconut with a rubber spatula.

Pour the batter evenly into the two pans and bake for 45-55 minutes until the tops are browned and a tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes before turning out onto a rack to cool completely.

Recipe from Barefoot Contessa at Home.

7-Minute Frosting:

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 tbsp. light corn syrup

1/8 tsp. salt

1/3 cup water

2 egg whites

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Place all ingredients except for vanilla in the top of a double boiler (or a makeshift one, like I used, with a Pyrex bowl over a pot with about an inch of boiling water in it) Beat with an electric hand mixer for one minute. Place over boiling water and beat constantly on high speed for 7 minutes, making sure the water does not touch the bottom of the top pan. Remove top pan from over the hot water and beat in vanilla. (This frosting, while a little bit of an effort to make – my arm got tired holding the mixer for 7 minutes – really does work beautifully!)

Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Spread with about a cup of frosting and a layer of coconut. Top with second layer; cover sides and top of cake with frosting. Press a generous amount of coconut on to sides and top of cake.

Frosting recipe from Paula Deen.


Shrimp and Bay Scallop Ceviche (a little different from other ceviche recipes in that you slightly cook the seafood.)

4 cups fish stock or clam juice

1 lb. small shrimp, shell on

1/2 lb. bay scallops

1 small red onion, finely diced

1-2 serrano chiles, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped

2 bunches cilantro, stems trimmed and roughly chopped

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tsp. salt

Bring the stock or clam juice to a boil in a large pot. Add shrimp and scallops, cook 1 minute. Strain, reserving the liquid, and spread seafood on a baking sheet to cool. When cool enough to handle, peel the shrimp. Combine all of the remaining ingredients with the seafood and 1 cup of the cooking liquid in a bowl and mix well. Cover with plastic and chill thoroughly before serving.

Recipe adapted from Mesa Mexicano, by Mary Sue Millken and Susan Feniger.


Carnitas Tacos

Makes about 3 cups or 12 tacos

Don’t be turned off by the lard – during the long, slow cooking process it pulls the fat out of the pork, resulting in soft, tender meat that gets a flavor kick from the salsa.

2 lbs. lard

2 1/2 lbs. pork butt, trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes (you want 2 1/2 lbs. after the bone has been removed)

2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 cup chile de arbol salsa (recipe follows)

Melt the lard in a large, deep saucepan over moderate heat. Add the pork, salt and pepper and simmer until tender, being careful not to crisp the meat, about 1 hour and 10 mins. Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool.

When cool enough to handle, shred the meat by hand or with a fork. Remove and discard any remaining fat. Transfer to a medium saucepan, add the arbol salsa and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, 5 -8 minutes.

Serve with warm corn tortillas, fresh salsa, chopped cilantro and avocado.

Chile de Arbol Salsa

Makes 2 1/2 cups

1/2 lb. plum tomatoes

3/4 lb. tomatillos, husked and washed

1 cup (30-40) arbol chiles (I can usually only find these dried – they are very spicy so don’t overdo it!)

1/2 bunch cilantro, leaves only, roughly chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, crushed

2 cups water

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the broiler. Place the tomatoes and tomatillos on a baking sheet and broil, turning occasionally, until charred all over – about 10-12 mins. Transfer to a saucepan with all the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and cook until the onions are soft – about 12-15 mins. Transfer to a food processor or blender; puree and then strain.

Recipes from Mesa Mexicano by Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger



Cucumber Cosmopolitan

In a cocktail shaker 3/4 filled with ice, pour

3 oz. Hendrick’s Gin

1 1/2 oz Cointreau

Fill with white cranberry juice and top with juice of 1/2 lime

Shake well and strain into martini glasses. Garnish with a slice of cucumber. (None of the little groceries open at this time of year on LBI had cucumbers, so we used lime!)


Ted’s Seared Sea Scallops

Serves 4

1 3/4 lbs. fresh sea scallops

2 large cloves garlic, sliced

juice of one lemon

1/4 cup white wine (optional)

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Season scallops on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat some olive oil in a cast-iron skillet or other heavy pan until quite hot. Add scallops and garlic; saute until scallops browned on one side (just a few minutes, be careful not to overcook them) then turn them over and saute on the other side, stirring the garlic at the same time to make sure it doesn’t burn. Just before scallops are done, add lemon juice and stir to combine flavors. (Add white wine if you want more of a sauce.) Remove from heat and serve on top of risotto, drizzled with a little of the juices in the bottom of the pan.


Wild Mushroom Risotto (adapted from a recipe by our friend Fortunato Nicotra, chef at Felidia in Manhattan)

Serves 4

3 tbsp. olive oil

1 cup sliced onion or leek

2 cups Canaroli or Arborio rice

6 cups hot chicken stock

1 oz. dried porcini or mixed dried mushrooms, soaked in hot water to cover (I do this in a 1 cup glass measuring cup, filling the cup with the hot water)

1/2 tsp. salt

4 tbs. butter, cut into pieces

1 tsp. espresso coffee

2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat olive oil in a heavy pot (Le Cruset or similar pot is idea).  Add onions or leeks and saute until softened and just beginning to caramelize. Add rice and stir to coat with oil. Add 1/2 the stock and cook for about 5 mins, stirring constantly, until all liquid has been absorbed. Remove the mushrooms from the water and chop, add them and the water to the pot, along with the rest of the stock. Cover the pan and cook over low until until liquid is almost completely absorbed. Stir in butter and cheese. Serve topped with scallops.


Wild-mushroom papparadelle with chicken sausage, mushrooms and spinach

Wild-mushroom papparadelle with chicken sausage, mushrooms and spinach

(Serves 4)

1 pkg. fresh, wild mushroom papparadelle (of course you can substitute another kind of pasta – if you’re using dried, about 2/3 lb.)

extra virgin olive oil

2 chicken sausages, sliced (any of the “flavors” are good – I used sundried tomato/basil)

2 cups sliced Baby Bella mushrooms

1/2 cup slivered sundried tomatoes (the oil-packed kind)

1 can cannellini beans, rinsed

1  5 oz. package baby spinach

chicken broth as needed

salt and pepper to taste

grated Parmesan cheese

Put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Add sausage slices and saute over medium-high heat until browned on both sides. Remove from pan and set aside. Add sliced mushrooms to the pan and saute until they have released their juices and are softened. Add sundried tomatoes and cannellini beans, cook for about another minute, adding a bit of chicken broth if the mixture is too dry. Add spinach and stir until wilted. There should be a few tablespoons of liquid in the bottom of the pan at this point – if not, add a little chicken broth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

When water is boiling, add pasta and cook until done. (If you are using the fresh papparadelle – or any fresh pasta – be sure to stir it as it cooks so that the noodles don’t stick together.) Drain the pasta, return to the pot and toss with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Divide the pasta between four bowls or plates, top with the vegetable mixture, then the crispy sausage slices. Drizzle each portion with a little more olive oil and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately!


Espresso and Mascarpone Icebox Cake

Espresso and Mascarpone Icebox Cake

3 cups chilled heavy cream

1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp. sugar

1 cup mascarpone cheese (about 9 oz.)

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 box chocolate wafers (Nabisco’s Famous)

1 tbsp. instant-espresso powder

Beat 2 cups of cream with 6 tbsp. sugar until it just holds soft peaks. Reduce heat to low; add mascarpone and vanilla and mix until combined. Spread 1 1/4 cups of the mixture evenly over the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan. Top with a layer of chocolate wafers (about 14). Spread with another 1 1/4 cups of cream mixture; top with another layer of cookies. Spread the remaining cream on top, smoothing the surface. Cover the pan with foil and place in the freezer for 1 hour. Transfer from freezer to the refrigerator and chill until a sharp knife inserted into the center cuts easily through the softened wafers, about 8 hours.

Beat remaining cup of cream with remaining 3 tbsp. sugar and espresso powder until it hold stiff peaks. Pulse remaining chocolate wafers in a food processor until crumbled. (I did this the old-fashioned way – put the cookies between sheets of waxed paper and crushed them with a rolling pin!) Run a sharp knife around edge of the pan remove sides. Frost the top and sides of cake with espresso cream and sprinkle crushed cookies around the top edge. Keep chilled until ready to serve.

Recipe adapted from the late, great Gourmet.


Dr. Weil’s Banana Bread

Dr. Weil’s Banana Bread (with a few tweaks from the Spoon)

3 ripe bananas, mashed

1/2 cup organic honey

3 tbsp. canola oil (I used blended oil, 75% canola, 25% extra-virgin olive – it’s our basic cooking oil)

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (We actually had this in the cupboard, but you could use regular whole wheat flour, the bread will just be heavier)

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. sea salt

3/4 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans, but walnuts are good too)

1 tbsp. flax seeds

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a loaf pan. Combine bananas, honey, oil and vanilla, mix well. Combine dry ingredients, add these to the banana mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in the nuts.  (Do all this mixing by hand; the texture won’t be right if you use an electric mixer – plus it’s more satisfying to use a wooden spoon, don’t you think?) Scrape batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the top with flax seeds. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for at least 1/2 before removing the loaf. Dr. Weil would suggest that you enjoy this bread with green tea!


Spaghetti with Shrimp, Pesto and Tomatoes (no photo)

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise

1 /2 lb. large shrimp, deveined and sliced in half lengthwise

1  6 oz. container fresh prepared pesto (if you’re one of those people who has homemade pesto on hand, you probably don’t need this recipe)

3/4 lb. thin spaghetti

grated Parmesan cheese

This is one of those make-the-sauce-while-you-boil-the-water pasta recipes.The trick is, don’t overcook the shrimp!

Put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan. Add the tomatoes and smush them lightly to release their juices. Cook over low heat for 5-8 minutes until softened. When the water boils, add the pasta. Add pesto and 1/2-3/4 cup hot pasta water to the tomatoes, cook and stir over medium-high heat for a few minutes until bubbling and well combined. Right before the pasta is done, add the shrimp to the pesto-tomato mixture and cook just until shrimp turns pink – being careful not to overcook. Drain pasta and toss with the sauce. Serve immediately, topped with Parmesan cheese.


Edemame and avocado guacamole

Edamame Guacamole

1 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed (note to self – be sure to buy the shelled edamame, shelling them is a pain in the %&$!)

1 small ripe avocado, peeled and pitted

1 chipotle pepper in adobo, finely chopped (you can leave this out if you wish, but it adds some nice smoky heat)

1/3 bunch cilantro

3 scallions, white and tender green parts, coarsely chopped

juice of 2 limes

2-3 tbsp. water

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Put all ingredients except for salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse until almost smooth. Add enough water to make a creamy consistency and pulse again. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to bowl and serve. Note – if not serving right away, stick the pit of the avocado into the middle of the guacamole to prevent browning.

Recipe adapted from Whole Foods


Divine Lime Pie

Butter to grease pie plate

4 large eggs, room temperature

1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

1 1/2 cup sugar

2-3 large, juicy limes

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup cold heavy cream

Preheat oven to 275. Butter deep, 9-inch pie plate generously. Separate eggs, placing egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer. Add cream of tartar and beat at high speed until foamy. Add 1 cup sugar a little at a time, continuing to beat on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form when beaters are lifted. Pile meringue mixture into pie plate and using a rubber spatula, create a pie shell shape by smoothing meringue evenly over bottom and up sides. Bake 50-60 minutes until meringue is firm and creamy white. Turn off oven and let meringue stay in oven with door closed for 1 hour. Remove and cool completely on cooling rack.

Meanwhile, make the lime curd. Grate one lime and set zest aside. Squeeze limes to make 1/3 cup juice. In a heavy medium saucepan, place egg yolks and whisk until light and lemon-colored. Stir in 1/2 cup sugar, salt and lime juice, cook over medium heat until mixture thickens – do not allow to boil. Stir in lime zest and let cool completely.

Two hours before serving, whip cream until stiff yet billowy peaks form. Stir a spoonful of cream into lime curd, then gently fold in the rest of the cream. Pile filling into meringue shell and spread evenly to fill. Chill at least two hours. If you wish, garnish with more whipped cream and  lime slices. I like to serve this pie with sliced strawberries.


Lemon Meringue Cake

Lemon Meringue Cake

1 stick plus 1 tbsp. very soft butter

4 eggs, separated

1 1/2 cups plus 1 tsp. sugar

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 tbsp. cornstarch

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

zest of 1 lemon

4 tsp. fresh lemon juice

2 tsp. milk

1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

2/3 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. lemon curd

Preheat the oven to 400. Line two 8-inch cake pans (I used 9-inch) with parchment paper and butter the paper.

In a food processor, mix the butter, egg yolks, 1/2 cup sugar, flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and lemon zest. Process until smooth, then add lemon juice and milk and process again to blend. Spread batter evenly in the prepared pans.

In an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and the cream of tartar until peaks form, then slowly add 1 cup sugar, beating until mixture stands in peaks when beaters are lifted. Spread meringue evenly on top of batter in pans – smooth one flat and use a spatula or the back of a spoon to create little peaks on the other one. Sprinkle the peaked meringue with the 1 tsp. sugar.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until meringue is golden brown. Remove cakes to a wire rack and let cool completely in pans.

Up to an hour before serving, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Place layer with the flat top meringue-side down on serving plate. Spread with lemon curd, then cream. Top with second layer, cake-side down. Keep in a cool place, but do not refrigerate, before serving.

Adapted from “Feast”, by Nigella Lawson


Ted Axelrod’s Stuffed Leg of Lamb

A whole (4-5 lb), bone-in leg of lamb, butterflied, either by you or the butcher – save the bone (you can use a boneless leg, but these are usually smaller)

1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil, coarsely chopped

3 tbsp. toasted pine nuts

3 tbsp. fresh rosemary

Place butterflied lamb fat-side down on work surface. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Distribute olives, cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and pine nuts as evenly as possible over the meat, then add 2 tbsp. rosemary.

Starting at a short side, roll as tightly as possible and tie in several places with butcher’s twine. Sprinkle the top with salt, pepper and additional rosemary.

Lightly oil a roasting pan and place the tied lamb in the pan, with the saved bone alongside, but not touching. Roast at 375 for about 1 1/2 hours, or until a meat thermometer reads 130-135. Let rest 10 minutes while you make a sauce. Remove bone from pan and discard. Set over medium heat; stir in 1/4 – 1/2 cup water and 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, cook and stir until slightly thickened. Stir in 1 tbsp. butter and remove from heat. Slice lamb and serve with sauce.


Grasshopper Pie

1 pkg. chocolate wafter cookies

6 tbsp. butter, melted

1 cup hot milk

25 large marshmallows

1/4 cup creme de menthe

2 tbsp. white creme de cacao

1 cup whipping cream

green food coloring if desired

Preheat oven to 425. Put cookies in the bowl of a food processor and process until they are fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and process for a minute or two until combined. Press the crumb mixture evenly into a 9-inch glass or ceramic pie plate. Set aside to cool while you make the filling. In a medium heavy saucepan, heat the milk (do not allow to boil) and stir in the marshmallows until completely melted. Remove from heat and stir in creme de menthe and creme de cacao. Cool until room temperature. Whip cream until stiff and fold into marshmallow mixture. If filling is not green enough, add some food coloring. Spread filling in crust and freeze for 3-4 hours before serving.


Seafood Pasta Provencal

Serves 6

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp. chopped fresh garlic

5 -6 anchovies, finely chopped ( I can’t stand anchovies, when I can detect them … here they melt into the sauce and add a layer of salty richness that you will miss if you don’t use them!)

5 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced

1 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup each capers and chopped pitted gaeta olives

3 doz. little neck clams, shells scrubbed

3/4 lb. sea scallops, cut in half

1/2 lb. each salmon and cod filet, cut in cubes

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Salt and pepper to taste

1 1/2 lbs. linguini or spaghetti

Heat the olive oil in a large heavy skillet or pot.  Add garlic and anchovies and saute until garlic is softened but not brown, pressing on the anchovies so they melt into the oil. Add tomatoes and saute 5 minutes until beginning to break down. Add white wine, capers, olives and all seafood, stirring gently to coat fish with the sauce without breaking it apart. Cover the pan and simmer over medium heat for 5-8 minutes or until clams open.

Meanwhile, cook pasta, drain, and return to the pot, coated with olive oil to keep the pasta from sticking together.

Just before serving, stir the basil into the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle sauce over the pasta, distributing the fish and shellfish evenly among the plates.


Birthday Cake ala Ted (Yellow Cake with Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting)


3 cups all-purpose flour (or cake flour, if you want a finer crumb)

1 tbsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

2 sticks butter, softened

2 cups superfine sugar

4 large eggs

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 and grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt, set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until pale yellow, add sugar gradually until it is well incorporated. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add vanilla.  With the beater on medium-low, add flour mixture alternately with the milk – the flour 4 times and the milk 3 times, mixing just until combined each time. Scrape sides of the bowl and make sure batter is completely smooth. Divide batter evenly among the two pans and bake in the middle of the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, or until cake is golden brown and pulls away from the sides of the pan. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.


1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter

4 1/2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped

3 cups powdered sugar

3 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

3/4 cup sour cream

In a heavy saucepan, melt butter and chocolate over low heat until completely melted and smooth. Scrape into a medium bowl. Whisk in 1 cup powdered sugar and half of sour cream. Stir until smooth. Add remaining 2 cups of powdered sugar and enough sour cream to make the frosting spreadable and glossy.


Lamb chops with fruited Israeli cous-cous and mint chimichurri

Prepare Israeli cous-cous (sometimes called “toasted cous-cous”) according to package directions. Season with salt and pepper and stir in 1/4 cup each dried cranberries and minced dried apricots. Set aside.

Season lamb chops with salt and pepper. Grill until cooked to your liking.

Mint chimichurri:

1/4 cup each finely chopped flat-leaf parsley and mint

1 small garlic clove, minced

2 tbsp. minced shallots

1 tsp. dried hot pepper flakes

1/4 tsp. salt

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and let sit at least 15 minutes to let the flavors combine.

Now I have a confession to make. I could not find fresh mint at two grocery stores, so used 1/2 cup parsley and replaced the lemon juice with Crosse & Blackwell mint sauce. It was just as delicious!

To serve: place a serving of cous-cous on each plate. Arrange lamb chops around and top with chimichurri sauce.


Apple Popover Pancake

Serves 2 hungry people

Preheat oven to 400

1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tart apple, grated

2 large eggs, separated

2 tbsp. sugar

3 tbsp. milk

3 tbsp. whole wheat flour

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. cinnamon

pinch salt

2 tbsp. butter

2 tsp. lemon juice

1 tbsp. powdered sugar

In a small bowl, sprinkle the 1 tsp. lemon juice over the grated apple and stir to combine. Set aside.

Beat the egg yolks until light in color (I just do this with a whisk, saving the mixer for the egg whites), then whisk in milk, flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir in the grated apple.

Melt the butter in a 10-inch, cast-iron skillet, tilting to coat the sides.

Whip the egg whites until foamy, then add the sugar and continue to beat until soft peaks form. Fold into the egg yolk mixture.

Pour and spread the batter into the skillet and bake for 15 minutes, until puffed and light brown.

Sprinkle with 2 tsp. lemon juice and sprinkle with confectioners sugar. Return to the oven for 5 minutes or so until glazed.

Cut into wedges to serve.


Chocolate pudding cake, or cake pudding!

Serves 4-6

Preheat the oven to 350

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup milk

2 tbsp. vegetable or canola oil

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 cup chocolate chips

Combine dry ingredients with a wooden spoon in a medium bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, oil and vanilla. Mix until smooth.

Once mixture is well-combined, spread in a greased, 8 x 8 baking pan – preferably glass or ceramic. Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the top.

In a small bowl, combine 3/4 cup light brown sugar and 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the batter in the pan.

Pour 1 3/4 cup boiling water over the whole thing – this is where it starts to look like a mistake, but don’t worry – and bake for 30 mins. or until top is firm (it may crack slightly).

Cool for a few minutes before serving with whipped cream or ice cream.


Cranberry-Cornmeal Soda Bread

Makes 2 loaves

1 1/2 cup cranberries, coarsely chopped

1/3 cup sugar

finely grated zest of one orange

2 cups unbleached flour

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal, preferably stone-ground

1 teas. baking soda

1/2 teas. salt

1/2 teas. ground nutmeg

5 tbls. cold, unsalted butter cut into bits

1/2 cup sour cream, yogurt or buttermilk (I used sour cream, but I love this flexibility!)

1/2 cup milk

a little extra milk and sugar for the top

Combine the cranberries, orange zest and sugar in a small bowl and set aside for 15 mins. Preheat the oven to 400 and lightly grease a baking sheet. (I used a Silpat.)

Mix the flour, cornmeal, baking soda, salt and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Add the butter and cut it in until it is broken into fine pieces. (I always use my fingers for this.) Combine the sour cream and milk, then make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the liquid all at once. Stir until the dough starts to come together, then stir in the cranberry mixture. When you have a cohesive ball of dough, turn it out onto a floured surface and divide in half. (Work the dough as little as possible, however, or the bread will not be as tender and flaky.)

Briefly knead each half of the dough into a ball, then place on the baking sheet, allowing ample space between them. Brush the tops of the balls with a little milk and sprinkle them with several big pinches of sugar. Bake for 40-45 mins, until the tops are a rich golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.