Sunday, September 30, 2007


Our weekend began with very dear friends who lived near us in Long Valley, NJ for 20 years. We left first to resettle in New Bern, NC. Six years later, they left Long Valley to resettle in Murrells Inlet (read Myrtle Beach), SC., about 3 - 3-1/4 hours away from us. We see them several times a year, not enough. Poppy and Don arrived Friday afternoon and stayed till Sunday morning. Friday evening's dinner was King Dad Steak, baked potatoes on the grill, Tomatoed Summer Vegetable Medley and Guy's Caesar Salad. In all the excitement, I forgot to take a picture of any of the dishes. Parker's Vegetable Stand provided beautiful summer vegetables for our medley. I didn't have enough fresh tomatoes -- in North Carolina they are scarce if not nonexistent this time of the year. It's still hard for m e to fathom, coming from New Jersey, the Garden State, that they would be out of tomatoes so early. But the pesky insects in the South eat everything up early. We grew our own tomatoes on the patio this year, but the vines died early. We are now planting our second crop to hopefully see us through the winter -- Guy made some plexiglass surrounds for the plants to protect them from the cold weather -- but there are no tomatoes yet. So I combined canned diced tomatoes with the fresh vegetables and herbs for a delicious side dish that we all enjoyed. Here's my recipe:

Tomatoed Summer Vegetable Medley
INGREDIENTS: 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 Tbsp. chopped garlic
2 cups diced or chopped fresh or canned tomatoes with juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 cup sliced zucchini
1 cup sliced yellow squash
1 cup sliced baby eggplant or Japanese eggplant
1 cup chopped red or green pepper
Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS: Saute onion in oil till transparent. Add garlic and saute for another minute or so. Add tomatoes and herbs. Cook down a little (about 10-15 minutes on low-medium heat). Add vegetables and seasonings and cook for about 15-20 minutes on low-medium heat covered.


Guy loves crabs! We had a crab party on the 4th of July and today we had a 2nd crab party. Guy cleans the crabs before steaming them -- it makes them easier to eat. Two tables were set up with newspaper and each person had their own "crab plate" and mallet, designed and made by Guy. These little plates are so cute, but also practical, because they provide a hard surface on which to crack the crabs, instead of tearing the paper table covering up. Guy would like to sell these plates/mallets. If you know of anyone who loves crabs and would like to buy some, please email me. They are handmade of solid wood, and each "plate" is hand drawn and colored with non-toxic permanent paint. 7/19/08 update. There is a new crab plate for sale. See for details.


New Bern is a small coastal North Carolina town with southern charm, a great historic district and, best of all, leaders with a vision for the town's future. When Guy and I moved here 14 years ago, we chose New Bern because it stood out from all the other South and North Carolina coastal towns we visited. We love.... the convenience of being able to travel from one side of town to the other in less than 15 minutes.... the abundance of local artists... seeing the boats docked at the Sheraton... walking into a store and meeting a neighbor or friend...having our own TV station and newspaper...the sense of community and identity that somehow wasn't so strong in New Jersey.

We have a lot to be proud of here in New Bern. But one thing we miss is shopping. That is, of course, our trade-off:   for less traffic and lighter population, we get fewer retail stores. Oh, we have Penney's and Belk's, Lowe's, TJ Max, Wal-Mart and Target. But Sam's Club, Costco, Steinmart, Nordstrom's, Hecht's and Dillards are missing, and there's no Whole Foods, Earth Fare or Trader Joe's.  Retail comes up short in New Bern, but road-side stands with good local produce abound.  Right now peaches are everywhere. Sweet, juicy, fresh peaches. And peach pie has been uppermost in my thoughts this week. The following is my own recipe, and after tasting it, the only thing I would change next time is to increase the cinnamon by 1/2 tsp. The almond liqueur really gave this a nice but subtle flavor, and the fresh peaches were enhanced by it. Here's the recipe:

Almond Liqueur Peach Pie

Pie Crust: Your favorite double-crust pie crust  

6 cups peeled and sliced ripe peaches (approx. 3 lbs.)
3/4 cup sugar
2-1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. cinnamon (Consider increasing this to 1 tsp.)
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ginger
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 cup or more peach juice from drained peaches
1/4 cup almond liqueur

2 Tbsp. milk, cream, half and half, or fat-free half and half
1 Tbsp. sugar

DIRECTIONS: Place sliced peaches in a large colander that sits in a pan or bowl that will catch the juice. Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp. of the sugar and let stand until at least 1/2 cup juice is released. This could take an hour or so.

Adjust oven rack to lowest position and place a pizza stone (or four unglazed quarry tiles) on the rack. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and let the stone (or tiles) heat for at least 30 minutes.

Roll out chilled pie dough to fit the bottom of an 8- or 9-inch pie pan, preferably earthenware or glass, not metal. Press peaches slightly to get as much juice as possible, scraping the bottom of the colander for additional juice. Transfer juice to small saute pan with the butter and bring to a boil. Add 1/4 cup sugar and boil for a few minutes to slightly reduce the liquid. Remove from heat and add the remainder of the sugar with the liqueur and stir to combine.

In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and spices.

Dump the peaches into the bowl that the colander was sitting in and lightly toss with the cornstarch mixture, then with the boiled mixture, till all is combined. Spoon into pie crust. Roll out top crust and cover the pie.

Set an 18-inch square of heavy-duty foil on the pizza stone or tiles. Set pie on foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove pie from oven, brush with a glaze of milk and sugar that have been mixed together in a small bowl. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes longer. Bring foil around pie to loosely cover and to keep pie from getting too brown. Bake until filling bubbles, 15-20 minutes longer. Cool on a wire rack for 2-3 hours before serving.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


I developed this recipe for's Best Cheesecake contest. It didn't win but was ranked as a 5-star dessert. I didn't take a photo, sorry. We had a July 4th party, and I served this as one of the desserts. There wasn't a crumb left and everyone raved over it. It's really very good. It uses chocolate peanut butter which for East Coasters like me, is a fairly new product. I think the West Coasters have had peanut butter concoctions for a while, thanks to PB Loco. When you combine cheesecake, chocolate and peanut butter, it's pretty easy to please just about everyone.

Mocha Peanut Butter Cheesecake

CRUST: 9-10 graham crackers (1 package from a box)
¼ cup sugar
½ stick butter or butter substitute

FIRST LAYER: 1 cup chocolate-covered peanuts
1 Tbsp. milk
2 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. sugar
½ cup commercial or homemade chocolate peanut butter, at room temperature

CHEESE FILLING: 2 Tbsp. coffee liqueur
1 tsp. vanilla
Dash of salt
1 tsp. instant coffee granules
16 oz. Neufchatel or regular cream cheese at room temperature
2 large eggs at room temperature
½ cup sugar

TOPPING: 1 Tbsp. butter
1-1/2 tsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. commercial or homemade chocolate peanut butter at room temperature
½ cup chocolate-covered peanuts

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Fill a 9x12 pan ½ full with hot water and place on bottom rack of oven. Break crackers into 7-cup workbowl of food processor. Pulse several times to make crumbs. Add sugar and butter and pulse till butter disappears. Spread mixture on bottom of 8” springform pan. Coarsely chop 1-1/2 cups chocolate-covered peanuts in food processor. In small glass bowl, microwave 1 Tbsp. milk and 2 Tbsp. butter until butter is melted. Add 1 Tbsp. sugar and ½ cup chocolate peanut butter. Stir with spoon or spatula till combined. Spread over cracker crust. Sprinkle with 1 cup of chopped peanuts. Set remainder of peanuts aside in small dish or bowl. Wipe workbowl and blades with paper towel.

In small cup, mix coffee liqueur, vanilla, salt and coffee powder. Set aside. Blend 8 oz. cheese and 1 egg in workbowl till creamy. Add remaining 8 oz. cheese and 2nd egg and blend till creamy. Stir bottom and sides with spatula. Add sugar and liqueur mixture and blend till creamy and well combined. Pour over peanut butter mixture in pan. Bake for approximately 40-55 minutes, or till center is almost set. Open oven door all the way and leave cheesecake in oven for 1/2 hour. Continue cooling on wire rack for 1 hour, then place pan in refrigerator uncovered for 1 hour, or till completely cooled.

Prepare topping: In small glass bowl, microwave 1 Tbsp. butter till melted. Add the sugar and the chocolate peanut butter. Stir till combined. Microwave again just till slightly syrupy, then immediately Drizzle over top of cooled cheesecake in a crisscross pattern. Sprinkle with the reserved chopped nuts. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Yield: 10 servings. Start to finish time: 3-1/2 hours. Prep time: 45 minutes

COOK’S NOTES: For test purposes, Chocolate Dreams (manufactured by Peanut Butter & Co., available in Wal-Mart stores for about $3.34, and other food stores nationwide and in Canada; also available online) was used for the cocoa-peanut butter blend. (Homemade chocolate peanut butter: 1-1/2 cups creamy peanut butter; ¼ cup butter; ¼ cup 10X sugar; ¼ cup cocoa powder; 1 tsp. vanilla.. Mix all ingredients till well blended.)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


For our weekend company, I planned to make a Limoncello layer cake with lemon curd and mascarpone frosting. I found the recipe on --it was originally published by Bon Appetit, April 2003. The reviews of the recipe were mixed, and many reviewers felt that the cake was bland. There was no lemon zest anywhere in the recipe. I used a different lemon curd recipe (theirs was made on a stovetop and had no lemon zest); used a DH yellow cake mix for the cake part instead of their sponge cake; and substituted Limoncello for the lemon syrup. To decorate the top of the cake, I used a resealable quart-size plastic bag as a pastry bag, cut the bottom corner and inserted a star pastry tip. This recipe can be made in stages: lemon curd one day, cake the next day, and frosting and assembly the next day. The cake is amazing. Lemon flavors come through strong, but the delicate mascarpone and cream soften the lemon and smooth it out. Here's the recipe:

Microwave Lemon Curd:
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup lemon juice
2 Tbsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. orange zest
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
Whisk together the sugar and eggs in a 1-1/2 quart microwaveable bowl. Stir in the juice, zests and melted butter. Cook in microwave on high, stopping and stirring at one-minute intervals until the mixture can coat the back of a metal spoon. (It should take less than 5 minutes. It will bubble up quite a bit.) Cool on counter, whisking occasionally, for about an hour. Finish cooling in fridge.

Lemon Syrup: (make this only if you are not using Limoncello)
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup boiling water
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Mix all ingredients together until sugar dissolves. Set aside to cool. (If you are using Limoncello, you will need about 1/2 cup.)

Cake: Duncan Hines Yellow Cake Mix (not the butter type)
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup water
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup oil
2 Tbsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. orange zest
1 tsp. pure lemon extract
1/4 tsp. pure orange extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease and flour 2 8-inch cake pans. Set aside. Combine all ingredients in large bowl of mixer and follow directions on package for mixing cake.
Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 28-35 minutes, testing for doneness at 28 minutes by first pressing lightly on center of cake with fingertips, then inserting a toothpick in center. Toothpick should have just a slight crumb on it when removed. Cool cakes in pan on counter for 10-15 minutes, then invert and finish cooling on cake rack.

Filling and Frosting: 2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
2/3 cup confectioner's (10X) sugar
16 oz. mascarpone cheese, softened OR
8 oz. mascarpone cheese & 8 oz. cream cheese (I used mascarpone & Neufchatel)
1-1/4 cups lemon curd (homemade or purchased)

Place large mixing bowl and wire whip beaters in freezer for 10 minutes. Remove and whip the cream till stiff. Slowly add the sugar and continue beating till stiff again. In separate smaller bowl, by hand or with electric mixer with wire whip attachment, beat the softened cheese and chilled lemon curd together till well combined. Add the sweetened cream and beat again till everything is well blended.

Assembly: Cut the cooled cake layers in half horizontally to make 4 layers. Place the first layer, cut side up, on serving plate. Using pastry brush, brush 1/4 of Limoncello (or lemon syrup) onto the cake. Top with 3/4 - 1 cup of the frosting. Place next layer cut side down and repeat process. Frost the outside of the cake and the top. If desired, decorate top using a pastry bag (or resealable plastic bag with corner cut and star tip inserted in cut corner) and star tip. If you do not have a star tip, you can decorate top with chopped nuts, chopped crystallized ginger, or thin lemon slices. Yield: 10-12 servings.

The cake should be refrigerated for at least 6 hours before serving. It's really like a Tiramisu and it WILL pick you up! (Tiramisu means literally "pick me up.")

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Overnight company is coming this weekend, so I thought I would make some homemade buns for breakfast. Our friends are very conscious of fat content, so I altered this recipe accordingly. Instead of making a 9x12 pan of rolls, I opted to make two 8" round pans. One pan will be sticky buns, and one pan will be a different filling with no sticky nuts on the bottom. Both are lower-fat versions of the original. I also added some whole-wheat flour to make it more nutritious. This is an easy recipe, especially if you have a KitchenAid mixer with the dough hook or a bread machine to mix the dough and a food processor for the filling. And if you've never tried homemade bread, don't be afraid of it. That's the one thing that you can't overbeat. The more you beat/mix it, the better it gets.

Sweet Roll Dough
INGREDIENTS: 1 cup low-fat milk
1/4 cup Smart Balance buttery spread
1/4 cup water
1/2 package vanilla pudding mix (1/4 cup)
3-1/2 cups bread flour, divided use
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 package Rapid Rise (very active) yeast (2-1/4 tsp.)

DIRECTIONS: In small pot, heat milk with buttery spread, till spread starts to melt (120 degrees F). Remove from heat and add 1/4 cup water. If you don't have a yeast thermometer, stir the milk and put a few drops on your wrist. If it is comfortably warm, it's ok. (If it's too hot, it will kill the yeast, if it's too cool, the yeast won't rise.) In large bowl, mix all dry ingredients, except for 1 cup of flour. Add the liquids and beat till smooth, then for at least two more minutes (I do it for 3 minutes). Add the reserved flour in 1/4 cup increments, beating till smooth after each addition and for 1-2 minutes after. When all flour is incorporated into the dough, and the dough has cleaned the bottom and sides of the bowl, beat or knead for 2-4 more minutes if by machine, 8-10 minutes by hand. Place dough in a large bowl that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray (or greased with oil). Spray top of dough or turn dough in greased bowl so that oil is on top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place (80-90 degrees) till doubled in size, about 1-1/2 hours. (I boiled a quart of water and put it into a 9x12 pan and placed the pan at the bottom of a turned-off oven. I put the bowl of dough above it and closed the door.) While dough is rising, making fillings and prepare baking pans:
Honey Sticky Buns: In small covered microwaveable bowl or cup, heat 2 Tbsp. butter or Smart Balance for about 30 seconds, or till almost melted. Add 1-1/2 tsp. water and 1/2 tsp. orange flavoring and pour into an 8" cake pan. Add 2 Tbsp. sugar and 1/4 cup honey and stir till combined. Set aside. Filling for honey sticky buns: In small bowl, whisk till combined 1/3 cup sugar, 1-1/2 tsp. grated orange zest and 1 tsp. cinnamon. Set aside.

Spiral Sweet Rolls: In work bowl of food processor, mix 1/3 cup orange marmalade, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and 1/2 cup walnuts. Pulse till mixture is consistency of a coarse paste. Set aside.

When dough has risen, punch it down, knead it for a minute on a lightly floured surface to get the bubbles out, then cut the dough in half. Roll each half out to a 12" x 12" square on a floured surface. For sticky buns, spray dough with non-stick cooking spray, then sprinkle filling over surface. For spiral sweet rolls, roll out to 12 x 12 square and spread filling over surface. Roll each square up, then cut each in half, then in half again. Cut each quarter into 3 equal pieces, making 12 rolls for each pan. Place sticky bun dough into prepared pan. Place Spiral Sweet Roll dough into pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Spray tops of rolls with spray, cover with plastic wrap and let rise again till ready to bake. When you can put two fingers into dough and the indentation remains, the dough is ready to bake. It should take about 1/2 hour - 45 minutes for the second rising, depending on the temperature of your kitchen and other variables. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 25-30 minutes, or until rolls are nicely browned. Let cool in pans for a few minutes, then turn out on cooling racks to continue cooling. Yield: 24 buns. (These freeze beautifully.)

Friday, September 21, 2007


I'm on a quest to find the best ginger-spice cookies, and I may have lucked out on my first try. The recipe I used is from Family Circle magazine, 7/20/82, and the article is entitled, "Best Cookies from the Best Bakeries." I have no idea who cousin Helen Heavenrich is, but I assume she could be someone who lived c.1732 or thereabouts. This is supposedly a 250-year-old recipe from Vermont, and Nashotah Ovens Bakery outside of Milwaukee was baking them at the time the article was written. (The only problem I have with the 250-year old concept, is that white flour and white sugar were not "invented" then, and the cookie would have been totally different, but nevermind, it makes a good story if you don't dig too deeply.) I made a few changes to the recipe which I have noted below. One of the changes was to experiment with the flours. I was spurred on by the Jacques Torres Secret Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe wherein they mixed bread flour with pastry flour. So I mixed unbleached all-purpose flour with White Lily AP (which is really a pastry flour that is bleached) and a little bread flour (you can use a plain unbleached all-purpose flour like Pillsbury's if you don't want to mess with 3 flours). Since I have not made the recipe with the all-purpose flour that is called for, I can't compare. But I can say that the texture of the cookies is great. The spices are nice; you can definitely taste the ginger, and the lemon flavor comes through nicely also. By underbaking them just a tad, they are soft and very slightly chewy--just enough to make them interesting, not enough to break your teeth. The cookies are crinkled when done, which is a nice effect, and some of the sugar that you roll them in is visible on the tops. This recipe is a keeper and makes up very quickly. I did chill the dough even though the recipe did not call for it, and it made the rolling a little easier. * also put the dough back in the fridge in between baking sheets. Here's the recipe and don't forget to let me know if you try it and how it turns out for you.

Cousin Helen Heavenrich's Lemon Ginger Cookies, adapted
INGREDIENTS: 2-1/2 cups sifted unbleached all-purpose flour (measure the flour, then sift it) 2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt (I used sea salt)
3 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar (I used white sugar)
1 large egg
1/4 cup unsulphured molasses (I used Grandma's original)
1 Tbsp. lemon zest
1/4 cup sugar

DIRECTIONS: Sift dry ingredients into medium sized bowl and whisk together to combine. Beat butter with sugar and egg in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in molasses and lemon rind until well blended. Stir in dry ingredients, half at a time, blending well after each addition. This will make a soft dough. (At this point, I refrigerated the dough for about 1/2 hour to firm it up, but the recipe does not call for this step.)

When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Roll dough, one level tablespoon at a time, between palms of hands, into balls; roll in granulated sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. (I used a measuring spoon -- tablespoon size -- it's rounded in shape -- see photo above. With my fingers, I leveled the dough, then removed the leveled amount and rolled it in my hands, then in sugar.)

Bake for about 10 minutes. Cookies will be soft in the center. Do not overbake. (I used the toothpick test and took the cookies out when there was just a little piece of dough clinging to the pick -- it was 10 minutes for me.) Let cookies cool in pan for 3-5 minutes, then with spatula place them on a cooling rack to finish cooling. Store in covered containers at room temperature, or freeze. Yield: 4 dozen cookies (I got 53 cookies.)

11/13/07 P. S. Here's an e-mail I received from Hollis Heavenrich-Jones today: "Hello Judy- I stumbled upon your Website through an Internet search I was doing, and was amused by your write up of Helen Heavenrich’s ginger cookies. Helen was indeed a real person, and she actually baked the lemon ginger cookies, although she didn’t live in 1732 – not by a long shot. Helen’s husband Sam was my father’s first cousin. Sam was the oldest of 13 first cousins and my dad was the youngest. Sam and Helen lived a fascinating life traveling all over the world during their younger years. They never really settled in one place, and never stayed in one country/area longer than about five years. But they owned a 200-year-old farmhouse in Vermont, and always made their way back there. The house had been in Helen’s family for generations. When we (my four siblings and I) met Sam and Helen, they were in their late 70’s, and had finally settled in Vermont. (They also lived in Florida during the winter.) Because Sam and Helen had no children of their own, they sort of adopted me and my siblings as their grandchildren. We used to visit them in the summers and they would regale us with stories of their many and interesting adventures. (In 1952, Sam was a judge for the Miss Universe Beauty Pageant.) In addition to the lemon ginger cookies, one of Helen’s favorite recipes was for popovers. She made them every morning for breakfast. Fast forward a few years to when my mom, a cooking instructor in Milwaukee, opened a cookie factory called Jill Heavenrich’s Nashota Ovens Bakery. My mom decided to see if she could adapt Helen’s recipe for mass production, and it was one of their biggest hits. My mom couldn’t have been more surprised when Family Circle called and told her the lemon ginger cookies had been selected as one of their best cookies. Everyone in my family was so sad when Sam Heavenrich died about 10 years ago at the age of 93. Helen followed within about 2 years at the age of 92. They were an amazing couple who left us with a wonderful legacy. Sorry if I’ve prattled on. But stumbling across your site really brought back some memories. Thanks! And best regards, Hollis Heavenrich-Jones"

Thursday, September 20, 2007


One of my sisters (I have two) gave me a cookbook years ago, called "The Romagnolis' Table." It's a collection of Northern Italian recipes. Guy is Sicilian, and his family recipes are different from the ones in this book. Through the years I have enjoyed this cookbook tremendously and have found the recipes to be excellent. On a rainy day in Eastern North Carolina, I started thinking about today's recipe and found that I had all the ingredients to make it. As Guy said after he cleaned his plate, "the sauce is fingerlickin' good." Coming from an Italian, that's a true compliment and testament to the authenticity of the recipe. This is a very easy recipe, so long as you don't mind some chopping. What makes it even easier, if you have some veggies, just throw them in the sauce at the end of the cooking time, like I did with the zucchini in the picture. You don't even have to dirty another pot. If you're not on a low-carb diet, plan on having something to sop up the sauce with: pasta, bread or mashed potatoes. I'm sure you'll be licking your fingers on this one. As always, if you decide to try it, please give me some feedback.

Chicken Steeped in Sauce (Gallina in Umido)

INGREDIENTS: 1 3-lb. frying chicken, or 3 lbs. of your favorite parts
2-3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil (I always get first cold pressed)
1/2 cup dry white wine (I left it out and didn't miss it)
1-1/2 tsp. salt (I always use sea salt -- it has minerals you need)
freshly ground pepper to taste
3 cups peeled plum tomatoes, cut up (I used Furmano's crushed tomatoes--

BATTUTO: 1 medium onion
1 celery stalk
1 carrot
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley (I used 1/4 cup fresh parsley plus 1/4 cup fresh basil)
1 Tbsp. minced garlic (Judy added)

Cut the chicken up into 10 pieces, and remove all the fat you can. Make a battuto of the vegetables and herbs, mincing them almost to a paste. Cover the bottom of a medium-sized stewpot with the olive oil, and add the battuto. Saute everything until golden over medium heat, and then add the chicken pieces and slowly brown them in the flavored oil. Salt and pepper the chicken, add the wine if you are using it, and scrape the sides and bottom of the pot to collect any bits that may have stuck. Add the tomatoes and bring to a slow boil. If the liquids don't quite cover the chicken pieces, add enough warm water to do so and cover the pot. Simmer very very slowly for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, or until the chicken is very tender and the sauce has thickened and has reduced to about half of its original quantity. During the last 5-10 minutes, add any vegetables you want. (I added sliced zucchini.) Yield: 4-6 servings


Searching for a recipe to use up the yogurt cheese I made was a dead end. So I made my own recipe, and it turned out great. These mini chocolate pudding cups will be nice to serve at our next party. I froze them and will let you know if I have any trouble with them after they are thawed, but they should be fine. The crust is very tender. Alone it is nothing special -- there is no sugar in the crust. But put it with the chocolate pudding and it comes alive. The pudding and the crust are perfect marriage partners and are truly synergistic. The Half and Half makes the pudding creamier, but using fat free keeps it low-fat. Try this easy recipe and you won't be disappointed.

Mini-Chocolate Pudding Cups
INGREDIENTS: Crust: 1/2 cup pecans
3/4 cup All-Purpose flour (I used White Lily, which is really a pastry flour)
1/4 cup butter
2 Tbsp. yogurt cheese (or cream cheese)
Filling: 1 small package (3-3/4 oz) instant chocolate pudding mix
1-1/2 cups fat-free half and half
Topping: Redi-Whip canned whipped cream
Shaved chocolate or toasted sliced almonds
DIRECTIONS: Place all crust ingredients in work bowl of food processor. Pulse till combined. Put 1-1/2 tsp. crust mix each into wells of mini-muffin pan that have been lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray first, pressing crust onto bottom and up sides. You should get about 22 crusts. (I think by increasing the flour about 1/4 cup and the cheese by 1 Tbsp., you could get 24.) Bake at 375 degrees F. for 12-13 minutes, or till lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool in pans for 5 minutes before placing crusts on cooling rack to finish cooling. Crusts are very tender, so handle gently. Give them about 1/2 hour to cool, then make filling.

To make filling: Pour cold fat-free H&H into medium sized bowl. Sprinkle pudding mix on top of H&H. With small rotary beater or hand mixer, whip for 2 minutes till pudding starts to thicken. Let it set for a few minutes, then spoon into crust cups, mounding pudding at top. Place in fridge till serving time. To serve, top each pudding cup with Redi-Whip, then with shaved chocolate or toasted sliced almonds. Please let me know if you make this and what you think of it.


There is a healthy alternative to cream cheese: yogurt cheese. It's quite simple to make. You just take a container of yogurt, any kind, and empty it into a strainer that is suspended in a bowl so the liquid will drain into the bowl. For lactose intolerant people, this is a real boon, because the majority of the lactose is in the liquid. As you can see in the photo above, I tried to drain the liquid from the yogurt by merely inverting the container over the strainer. It didn't work. The liquid was held in the container by suction. After I removed the container, the liquid started to drain. The next morning, half the liquid had strained out, but I forgot to take another picture. Sorry. The strainer I used was a fine mesh strainer, and you can see it rested on the lip of the bowl by the front tab and the handle. I didn't need to use cheesecloth or coffee filters because the fine mesh was sufficient to hold the yogurt without its dropping through the holes.

Here is the recipe, if you want to call it that:

Yogurt Cheese
INGREDIENTS: 1 tub, any size, whole-milk, low-fat or non-fat yogurt
1 strainer (if holes are too large, line it with a coffee filter or cheesecloth)
1 bowl to suspend the strainer in
plastic wrap to cover the strainer and bowl

DIRECTIONS: Place the strainer so that it is suspended over the bowl. There should be a tab at the top of the strainer, and a handle. Place them so they rest on the lip of the bowl, tab on one side, handle on the other. Empty yogurt container into strainer. (I would stay away from any yogurt that has fruit bits in it. Any other yogurt is ok -- plain, vanilla, lemon, coffee, etc. so long as it is smooth). Cover everything with plastic wrap and set in fridge overnight. The next day, there should be a considerable amount of liquid in the bowl and the yogurt should be firmer. It will not be as firm as cream cheese, more like a sour cream. It will be very tangy and can be used as a sour cream or cream cheese substitute or mixed with either if flavor is too sharp for your taste. You can put it back in the original container but you will notice that you will only have half as much now. Refrigerate for up to one week.


I found out when I created this cheesecake that some cheesecake lovers are purists. Guy is one of those. He hated this recipe, although everyone else who tasted it raved about it, including me. I love the chocolate-orange flavors and the lighter texture of this New York-style cheesecake. If you like traditional cheesecake, stick to the Best of the Best or the Lindy's recipes. This recipe made an 8" and a 9" cheesecake. The 8" went to the freezer and the 9" made a lot of neighbors happy. Cheesecakes freeze very well (just go look in the frozen food section of your local grocery store) and are great to have on hand for company, or even for yourself. You can cut from a frozen cheesecake and then put the rest back into the freezer. And anything you make is superior to anything you can buy.

Triple Sec-Orange-Chocolate Cheesecake
INGREDIENTS: 2-1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup semi-sweet morsels
2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
2 Tbsp. orange zest
3/4 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
3 8-oz. pkgs. Neufchatel cheese (or cream cheese), room temperature
1 cup sugar
6 eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 pt. (2 cups) lite sour cream
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
3 Tbsp. Triple Sec (I used Bols)
1 Tbsp. orange zest
12 oz. of good quality chocolate (bar or morsels)
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
Chopped toasted walnuts, if desired

DIRECTIONS: Make crust: Place first 5 ingredients in work bowl of food processor and pulse till combined. Spray a 9" and 8" springform pan (or a 10" if you prefer) with non-stick cooking spray on bottom and side. Place pans in center of 12" squares of aluminum foil and press foil up around sides of pans. Press crumb mixture onto bottoms and 3/4 up sides of pans. Chill while making filling.
Make Filling: Wipe work bowl of food processor with damp paper towel. Put 1 pkg. of cheese in bowl. Pulse till smooth. Add sugar. Pulse till smooth. Add remaining cheese, one block at a time, pulsing till smooth after each addition. Repeat with egg yolks, one at a time. Add remaining ingredients (except chocolate bar and cream), pulsing just till combined. In separate large bowl, beat egg whites till stiff. Fold whites into cake batter gently by hand until well blended. Pour into prepared pans. Bake at 350 degrees F (or 325 if you are using dark or coated pans) for 1 hour, 15 minutes or until top is golden; turn off oven heat and allow cakes to cool in oven for 1 hour. Remove cake from oven and allow to cool on wire rack at room temperature.
When cakes are cooled, make topping: Melt chocolate in small saucepan over low to medium heat till melted. Add cream and stir till dissolved. Do not boil. Carefully spread over cakes. Sprinkle with chopped toasted walnuts if desired. Refrigerate overnight before serving. For directions using mixer, see Best of the Best Cheesecakes recipe on this blog.

Additional note: I baked these cakes one at a time, because of the difference in size. The 8" cake did not take 1 hr. 15 minutes to bake. It was more like an hour, but you can never rely on exact times with any baked item; you always have to check it for doneness, even if you have baked it 50 times, because there are just too many variables in the baking process. Remember that baking times are just a guide. Cheesecakes are not that hard to make, so give this recipe a try and let me know how it turns out.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Here's another great cheesecake recipe. It's from a series of recipes called "Best of the Best," but I don't remember the source. It could have been Woman's Day or Family Circle. It's pretty old, maybe from the 70's. I've made this recipe several times and the cheesecake is New York style, but it's lighter because you beat the egg whites separately and add them in at the end. But I do have a problem with the amounts -- if I pour all the batter into a 9" springform pan, it overflows. So I recommend using a 10" pan if you make this, or use a 9" and an 8" because you will have enough for both. I don't have a photo because I haven't made this one in a while, but next time I post I will give you the recipe I came up with based on this recipe, and a photo to go with it. Here's the recipe:

The Best of the Best: No. 5/Cheesecake

INGREDIENTS: 1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon (I took this out, if you like cinnamon, keep it in)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
3 8-oz. pkgs. cream cheese, room temperature
1-1/4 cups sugar (I reduced to 1 cup)
6 eggs, separated, room temperature
1 pint dairy sour cream
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Grated rind of 1 lemon (about 1 Tbsp.)
Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 1 Tbsp.)
1/4 tsp. salt (my addition)

DIRECTIONS: To make crust: Spray a 10-inch springform pan (or a 9" and an 8") with non-stick cooking spray. Place pan in center of a 12-inch square of aluminum foil and press foil up around side of pan. Combine cracker crumbs, sugar (and cinnamon if using) and melted butter in small bowl until well blended. (I put everything in the food processor and pulsed.) Press 3/4 cup of crumb mixture onto bottom and side of pan. Chill prepared pan while making filling. (Reserve remaining crumb mixture for top, if desired.)
To make filling: With electric mixer on low speed or with a wooden spoon, beat cream cheese in a large bowl until soft. Gradually beat in sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks, one at a time, until well blended. Stir in sour cream, flour, vanilla, lemon rind and juice until smooth. In a separate medium sized bowl, beat egg whites until they hold stiff peaks. Fold whites into the cheese mixture, soufle fashion, until well blended. Pour into prepared pan. Bake in moderate oven (350 degrees F) 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until top is golden; turn off oven heat and allow cake to cool in oven for 1 hour. (I baked at 325 degrees F because I was using a dark-coated pan. -- Using a 10-inch pan, you will have to adjust time. If you are unsure about doneness, open oven door, jiggle pan. If it shakes to much in the middle, give it more time. You want the center to be almost set but still a little jiggly when you turn the heat off.) Remove cake from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack at room temperature. If desired, sprinkle remaining crumbs on top. Chill overnight before serving. Yield: 12-16 servings
Please let me know if you make this, and tell me how it turns out.

Monday, September 17, 2007


The past few days have been a disaster in the kitchen. First I tried to make a lower-fat version of a King Arthur recipe that was included in the Nordicware 3-cup bundt pans that I bought. The recipe was for a lemon poundcake. They looked beautiful, but when I cut into them, they were like glue inside (uncooked). Next, I tried to make a lower-fat version of an Italian Creme Cake (recipe from Food Network that got 5-star rave reviews) with similar results. While in the kitchen this afternoon, I heard a noise that sounded like someone rapping on the front door. When I went to answer, no one was there. It was actually the sound of uncovered butter exploding in the microwave. (I was preparing garlic bread for dinner.) That makes three, so hopefully the disasters are over with. Dinner was great. I made my old standby, Tomato-chicken vegetable soup. Yesterday I bought a rotisserie chicken from Harris Teeter, and I used the remaining chicken to make the soup. It's an easy recipe and one that Guy and I both enjoy, especially when the fall weather comes. Because we have an herb garden, I used fresh herbs, but have made it succesffully with dried herbs in the past. The recipe makes about 3 quarts. I am giving one quart to a friend who is taking care of his incapacitated wife (she has a bad back that is acting up). We ate 1 quart for dinner, and there is 1 quart left for a lunch. Here's the recipe:

Tomato-Chicken Vegetable Soup
INGREDIENTS: 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tsp. minced fresh garlic
16-18 oz. crushed canned tomatoes (I used Furmano's this time)
1 quart canned or homemade chicken broth
2 Tbsp. ketchup
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs of your choice (I used basil, parsley & tarragon)
OR 2-1/2 tsp. basil, oregano, thyme mixed accordiing to your taste
2 cups mixed frozen or fresh vegetables of your choice (I used frozen peas,
green beans, corn, but I do it differently each time, according to what I have)
1-1/2 to 2 cups chopped cooked chicken

DIRECTIONS: In a 3-quart pot, saute the onion in oil over medium-low heat for about 3-5 minutes, or till onion is transparent and wilted. Add garlic, stir and saute for another minute or so. Add the tomatoes, broth, ketchup, bay leaf, herbs, salt and pepper and turn the heat up to high until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30-45 minutes.
Add the mixed vegetables and chicken and simmer for another 15-20 minutes, or till vegetables are tender but not overcooked. Serve with garlic bread, grilled cheese sandwiches, or pizza.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

JACQUES TORRES' Secret Chocolate Chip Cookies, Adapted

Jacques Torres is the name of an upscale chocolate shop in Brooklyn, owned by famous chef Jacques Torres.  His cookies are semi-crisp around the edges and soft and tender inside, and they are a sturdier cookie than your normal chocolate chipper. They're definitely good and worth making, but I have a preference for chocolate chip cookies with nuts.  Note:  White Lily is a southern flour, it is called all-purpose but if you check their website, you will find it qualifies as a pastry flour because they use a low-gluten wheat; bread flour is high-gluten and different from all-purpose flour. All-purpose flour is usually a mix of the two wheats.  One more thing: read labels and packages carefully. Do not get self-rising flour.

Jacques Torres' Secret Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Cookie Madness and Martha Stewart
Rating:  9 out of 10

1/4 lb. unsalted butter + 1/4 lb. Smart Balance buttery spread, rm. temp. (or 1/2 lb. butter)
1-1/2 cups sugar + 1 Tbsp. molasses
2 large eggs, rm. temp.
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. instant coffee dissolved in 1 Tbsp. coffee brandy (optional)
1-1/2 cups plus 1 Tbsp. pastry flour (I used White Lily all-purpose; it's low gluten)
1-1/2 cups bread flour (I used Gold Medal) Note: do not try to substitute all-purpose
flour for bread flour -- the protein (gluten) content is different!
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher or sea salt
1 lb. good-quality dark chocolate, chopped coarsely

Don't grease the baking sheet -- it might cause extra spreading. Measure coffee powder and coffee brandy into small measuring cup; add vanilla and eggs; set aside. Whisk flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Add chocolate and stir till combined; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butters, sugar and molasses. Add eggs and flavorings, in two batches, mixing well after each addition. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture including chocolate. Mix till combined well but don't over mix. Refrigerate dough at least 1 hour, or preferably overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats; set aside.
Using a 4-oz. scoop for larger cookies or a 1-oz. scoop for smaller cookies, place cookie dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake till very lightly browned, but still soft, about 20 minutes for larger cookies and about 15 minutes for smaller cookies. Check the cookies at 12 minutes for doneness, as oven temperatures vary greatly. Use a toothpick inserted in center like you would for a cake. If you hit chocolate, pick another spot or another cookie to test. When toothpick comes out clean or almost clean, cookies are done and should be removed from oven to cool slightly on baking sheets before being transferred to a wire rack to cool completely. Yield: 4 doz. 3-inch cookies using a 1-oz. scoop.

Friday, September 14, 2007


Taste of Home had a "Love That Lemon" recipe contest which ends 9/15. The recipe I wanted to submit needed a lemon curd as part of it, but I didn't want to submit anything too involved, so I searched for something quick and easy. Never mind that I don't like using microwaves for anything except boiling water because I think they are much more dangerous to our health than any of us realize and we all tend to overuse them now that they have mass produced them so that we will all put them in our kitchens. I was skeptical that lemon curd made in the microwave would turn out ok and had visions of scrambled lemon eggs. Was I ever amazed! This recipe is so easy and so delicious, it kind of makes you feel like a masochist if you cook it over the stove. (I have to make an exception for microwaved lemon curd because it's just so easy. My compromise will be that I won't eat too much of it.) I halved the recipe, so I only got about 1 cup which is all I needed for my recipe. (The full contest recipe turned out great and I wish I could share it with you, but that's one of the downfalls of entering these contests. If I don't win, you can be sure I'll post it.) The recipe below will yield you 2 cups of lemon curd, but you can halve it if you don't need that much, or make the whole recipe. It will keep up to 3 weeks in the fridge and you can use it for scones, biscuits, toast, crackers, eat it by itself like a soft pudding, or put some on poundcake or even over ice cream (that is if you don't share my aversion to microwaves). My best friend in high school enjoyed lemon curd all the time, as her mother always made it for their Sunday dinner table to accompany roast beef. The British serve lemon curd with clotted cream at high tea with their biscuits and scones. Our local Harris Teeter sells clotted cream. I haven't bought any because I have enough saturated fat in my diet, thank you very much. I know it's good stuff because I had some when we went to England in '88. Any way, here's the recipe:

Microwave Lemon Curd
INGREDIENTS: 1/2 cup white sugar
1-1/2 eggs (I would use 2 medium eggs; if all you have is large eggs, then
break one egg into a measuring cup, mix with fork, measure half)
1/2 cup lemon juice (fresh is best)
4-1/2 tsp. lemon zest
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

DIRECTIONS: In a 1-1/2-quart microwave-safe bowl, whisk together the sugar and eggs until smooth. (The reason you need a large bowl is because the curd will bubble up and increase in volume as it cooks.) Stir in lemon juice, lemon zest and melted butter. Cook in microwave on high for about 1 minute. Whisk. Cook for another minute. Whisk. Repeat till mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. (i.e., take a metal spoon, put it into the curd, let it drip into the bowl and look at the spoon -- is there curd residue left on the spoon or did it all drip off? If the spoon is coated with lemon curd, it is done. Please note that it will look runny, not thick. It will thicken as it cools, but will not be like a stiff pudding. Also note that when I halved the above recipe, it took about 2 minutes total in the microwave-- unbelievable, huh? -- the above recipe will undoubtedly take longer, maybe 3 minutes, maybe 4) Remove from microwave and pour into small sterile jars. (1/2 pint canning jars would be perfect for this) Store for up to 3 weeks in the fridge. Yield: about 2 cups.

Below are two indispensable tools for helping you make the lemon curd. First, the lemon squeezer. If you watch the Food Network, you have seen this little gadget in lemon yellow and lime green. I would gladly pay the $20.00 price tag for these little gadgets if only they weren't powder-coated aluminum. I had a powder-coated aluminum garlic press and it chipped eventually. I refuse to buy anything else powder-coated. So I opted to pay something like $3.00 for a cast-aluminum press at Wal-Mart. It's smaller, so it calls for some improvising. If you have a large lemon, you may have to cut it into smaller pieces, but the gadget works great. I use it so much, it's almost ridiculous to put it away.

The next gadget is the microplane grater. I don't know how I ever lived without one. They have different sizes for different jobs. I have two -- and I use them constantly. Zesting/grating has become so easy with this tool. It's also easier to wash than a regular grater. I think I will sell my old grater at the next garage sale I have because I will never use it again. I paid $15 for this at Bed, Bath and Beyond, but it's worth every penny.
Here is the lemon curd after it came out of the microwave. It's hard for you to see the consistency, but trust me it was runny. After it cooled, though, it was perfect, like a soft pudding.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Todd English is a well known chef and restaurateur who has penned several cookbooks. His cookies are light and tender with crispy edges and a wonderful texture because of the pulverized oats. The flavorings are great. You don't taste the lemon juice; it just enhances the ingredients. Now you may think it's too much work to toast the nuts and pulverize the oats, but those are the things that take a good recipe to the realm of a great recipe. It's definitely worth the extra work.

Todd English Chocolate Chip Cookies 
adapted from Cookie Madness
Rating:  9.5 out of 10

1 cup toasted walnut or pecan pieces
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
4 oz. Smart Balance Buttery Spread, room temperature
1-1/4 cup granulated sugar plus 1 Tbsp. molasses
1-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. lemon juice (or 2 tsp. instant coffee powder dissolved in water or coffee brandy)
1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour plus 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 cup rolled oats, pulverized in food processor (measure 1 cup before pulverizing)
2-1/2 cups any combination of semi-sweet, bittersweet, white and/or milk chunks or chips
2 Tbsp. quick oats not pulverized

DIRECTIONS: Toast the nuts by placing them in a large skillet set over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, for 3-5 minutes or until they become aromatic and start to release their oil. Remove from skillet and allow them to completely cool.

Using an electric mixer, preferably with a paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar and molasses till light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and lemon (or coffee), then the eggs, and beat just till blended into the batter. Do not overbeat after adding the eggs. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt till thoroughly combined. Add the flour mixture to the batter and stir till well blended. Stir in the oats, nuts and chocolate chips/chunks. Chill the dough for at least an hour or up to 3 days -- it really makes a difference in how the cookies set up.

Here's the batter in the mixing bowl, with the chocolate just added.

When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spoon large tablespoonfuls of dough 2-3 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets (I lined the cookie sheet with parchment paper first, and I used my small ice cream scoop which makes a nice 3-inch cookie from the scoop.) Bake one sheet at a time for 13-15 minutes or until cookies are starting to brown around the edges but still soft in the middle. (Mine took about 14 minutes. I used a toothpick inserted in center -- carefully avoiding chocolate -- just like you would for a cake. If it comes out clean or almost clean, they are done, no matter what the outside looks like. If you hit chocolate, try again on another cookie) Let them sit on the cookie sheet out of the oven for 3 minutes, then transfer them to a rack to finish cooling. Here are the cookies ready to go in the oven:

Here they are baking in the oven. See how they puff up? They come back down when they cool. This recipe makes about 4 dozen 3-inch cookies -- you know the yield will vary according to the size of cookie you make. And I hope you also know that chocolate chip cookies just don't keep well. I always freeze them. When you want cookies, just leave them out for about 15 minutes - half hour. You can always nuke them briefly too.

Monday, September 10, 2007


I had fresh coconut and sweetened dried coconut to use up, so I searched for a coconut chocolate chip cookie recipe. After reviewing several, I chose these wonderful coconut-chocolate chip cookies. Since the recipe is listed as a Food and Wine staff favorite, I figured they'd be good, and they are! They are crunchy and chewy yet tender at the same time, and the flavor is excellent.

Coconut-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Yockelson's Large and Luscious Two-Chip Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup + 1 Tbsp. All Purpose Flour
1 Tbsp.cornstarch
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
3 oz. unsalted butter + 3 oz. Smart Balance Buttery Spread (or 6 oz. butter)
1 cup sugar + 1 Tbsp. molasses
1 large egg + 1 large egg white
1-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract, + 1/2 tsp. coconut extract
1-1/2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1-1/2 cups toasted coconut (I used half sweetened, half unsweetened)
1/2 cup toasted broken or chopped walnuts

First, toast the coconut and nuts -- you can put them in the same pan -- in a 9x12 or other suitable baking pan that will allow you to spread everything out in a single layer. Bake them at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, watching them carefully so as not to burn. Stir them after about 8 minutes. They don't need to brown thoroughly. Just release the aromatic oils. When you smell their aroma, you can take them out. If you leave them in too long they will be bitter. Cool on counter while you mix cookie dough.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Beat the butter, sugar and molasses until light and fluffy at medium speed in a large bowl, preferably using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Add the egg, egg white, vanilla and coconut flavorings and beat till combined. At low speed, stir in the dry ingredients, then mix in the oats, chips, coconut and nuts. (If you do not have a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, you will have to mix in the oats, etc., by hand using a strong wooden spoon.) Cover the cookie dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour or up to 3 days.

When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.  Drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto the baking sheets, about 2-3 inches apart. Bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes, until just set. (The actual cooking time will vary according to the size of the dough you use, the actual temperature of your oven, and the cookie sheet you use, so use a toothpick just like you would for testing a cake for doneness. When it comes out clean or almost clean, they are done. If you hit a chocolate chip, you will have to test another part of the cookie until you find a test area without chocolate.) Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet on the counter for 4-5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely. (I used a small ice cream scoop to measure the cookie dough and as photo below shows, I was able to fit 13 on a pan. When one pan was done and removed from the oven, I put the other pan in. When the previous batch was transferred to the rack, the pan was allowed to cool. About 3 minutes before next batch was done baking, I loaded up the cooled pan with cookie dough right on the same parchment paper. This worked well and kept the process going smoothly. Putting two pans in the oven at the same time creates uneven baking and the cookies are not uniformly baked.)

Here are the cookies baking in the oven. You can see that they puff up nicely, but when they come out, they fall.  Not to worry, they are delicious!

Sunday, September 9, 2007


This is an old recipe I think from 1976. Woman's Day Magazine or Family Circle, if my memory is working, had a removable insert entitled "All-American Recipes" or something like that. 1976 was the year of America's bicentennial and magazines were covering homes decorated in red, white and blue and publishing patriotic-type recipes. The parade on July 4, 1976, in our little town of Long Valley, NJ, was memorable, since our friend (who was also the mayor) built a "train" that he could trail on his International Harvester tractor. I made a Colonial dress and hat, made Colonial costumes for my two boys and we rode in the train in the parade. This wonderful recipe is a product of the bicentennial hoopla. You won't be disappointed if you make it -- it always brings rave reviews. My changes are noted below. The recipe, as is, says it yields 6 servings. All I can say is they are very big eaters, those 6. We are little people and we eat smaller portions, I guess, because this recipe is enough for us when we have a crowd. If I make it just for us, I halve it and it lasts us for a week.


INGREDIENTS: 6 medium-size baking potatoes (recipe calls for Maine or Long Island)
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I use Smart Balance)
1/4 cup cider vinegar (don't substitute other vinegars)
1 medium-size onion, chopped
2 tsp. salt (recipe calls for 2-1/2, I reduced it and I use only sea salt)
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley (recipe does not call for parsley)
3/4 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing (I use Smart Balance mayo)
1/4 cup fat-free half and half (recipe calls for light cream)
3 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and diced
1 cup thinly sliced celery

DIRECTIONS: Scrub potatoes and place in large pot with enough water to cover. (I have an electric egg cooker for the eggs, but sometimes I just put the eggs in the
pot with the potatoes --at the top of course, but covered with water-- and
leave the lid off til the water comes to a boil, then set the timer for 7
minutes, scoop the eggs out and put the lid on the potatoes to finish cooking.)
Bring water to a boil, then reduce slightly to maintain a low boil, and cover
potatoes. Check potatoes after 15 minutes by piercing with a fork. When
fork enters potato easily, potato is done. They may not all be done at the
same time, so remove the potatoes as they are done and place on a wire rack
to cool. If you let them stay in too long they could get mushy, so watch them
carefully. While potatoes are cooling, prepare dressing: Combine oil,
vinegar, chopped onion, salt and pepper in a jar with a screw top. Cover
jar and shake to mix. Peel and slice the potatoes into a large bowl when
they have cooled enough to handle -- but don't let them cool completely.
Add the chopped parsley. Pour the dressing over the potatoes and parsley,
toss to blend well, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 3 hours, or
until serving time. I have prepared up to this point the night before.) Just
before serving: whisk mayo with half and half in a small bowl until smooth;
pour over potatoes, and toss to coat. Add peeled diced eggs and celery and
toss lightly. Line a salad bowl with Boston lettuce, if desired, and fill bowl
with salad. Sprinkle top with paprika and serve.

Here's a photo of the halved recipe -- you can see the little jar I used for
the dressing. The dressing has just been poured over the potatoes. I
added the parsley later.

Monday, September 3, 2007


2 tsp. crushed and chopped fresh garlic
1/4 cup lite soy sauce
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 pork tenderloin

DIRECTIONS: Mix all marinade ingredients in small resealable plastic bag. Massage bag to mix ingredients. Remove a few tablespoons for basting the pork while it cooks and put it in a small cup or covered container. Add pork tenderloin to the bag. Massage to distribute marinade around meat, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to a day. When ready to cook the meat, have grill at medium-high temperature (about 400-450 degrees). Turn one burner off and place meat on the turned-off burner, using the grill like an oven. Baste with the reserved marinade occasionally. Cooking time will depend on heat of the grill and thickness of the meat. Use an instant-read thermometer to test for doneness. Remove pork at about 155 degrees and let it rest for about 10-15 minutes to finish cooking and allow juices to settle. Slice like a london broil (at an angle) so you can get larger pieces. Leftover meat makes great sandwiches. (I buy pork tenderloins when they go on sale, and sometimes freeze them in the marinade. The picture below shows about a half of a tenderloin. For just the two of us, this is plenty and we have meat left over for sandwiches.) The marinade is a lick-your-fingers marinade. Really, really good. I've been using this recipe for many years and have never grown tired of it.