Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sparkin' Pie

(New England Cookbook, by Eleanor Early, 1954)

“This particular pie was made by a girl who wished to impress a beau who was sparkin’ her. It turned out so good that he popped the question, and they got married and lived happily ever after.”

3 eggs, beaten
1-1/2 c strained applesauce
½ c sugar
1 t cinnamon or ½ t each of cinnamon and nutmeg or mace
1/3 t salt
1-1/2 c milk

Combine everything, then pour mixture into an unbaked pastry shell. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 for about 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of the filling comes out clean.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Turkey Loaf

(based on a recipe from Jane Brody’s Good Food Book)

1 T vegetable oil
2 t minced garlic (2 large cloves)
1 c finely chopped celery (2 large stalks)
1/2 c chopped onion
1 green pepper, chopped
½ lb thinly sliced mushrooms
1-1/4 lb ground turkey
1 egg white or 1 whole egg, lightly beaten
1/2 t salt
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
Dash nutmeg
1/2 c minced fresh parsley or 2 T dried parsley flakes

In a large skillet, heat the oil briefly and saute the garlic, celery, onion, and pepper, stirring the vegetables until they are slightly softened, about 3 - 5 minutes. Do not let them burn. Stir the mushrooms into the vegetable mixture, cover the skillet for a few minutes until the mushrooms start to give up their moisture, then remove the cover and saute the vegetables, stirring them, until all the liquid has evaporated. Remove the vegetables from the heat and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients. Add the vegetables and combine the ingredients well. Put turkey mixture in a lightly greased loaf pan (approximately 8x4 inches) and bake loaf for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let the loaf rest for 15 minutes, then remove it from its pan for slicing. 

Eggplant and Ground Beef Casserole

(based on a recipe at

1 big eggplant, diced
1 lg. onion, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef
2/3 c. tomato paste
2 c. water
1 tsp. salt
Black pepper to taste

Saute chopped onion in butter until golden. Add ground beef and cook, stirring constantly, until it is crumbled and browned. Combine tomato paste with water, add salt and pepper and pour mixture over meat. Add diced eggplant, bring to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes. Put the beef and eggplant mixture in a baking dish and bake, uncovered in a 350 degree oven until eggplant is tender, about 20 minutes.

Carrot and Ground Beef Skillet

(based on a recipe at

2 lbs carrots
1 bunch green onions
2 T olive oil or rendered chicken or pork fat
2 t cumin
½ t cayenne, or to taste
1 t salt
1 lb ground beef
2 T lemon juice or lime juice, or 1 lemon or 1 lime

Peel the carrots and cut them into sticks about 4” long and ½” wide. Slice the green onions, separating the white and green parts.

Heat the oil or fat in a large skillet. Add the carrots and the white part of the onions. Sprinkle with cumin, cayenne and salt; stir well to combine. Cover the skillet but leave the lid slightly ajar and cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring often, until the carrots are tender and most of the liquid has evaporated. Crumbled the ground beef into the skillet and mix it with the carrots. Add the green part of the green onions and cook for another 5 – 10 minutes, stirring often, until the meat is done. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Sprinkle with the lemon or lime juice and serve immediately. If using the whole lime or lemon, serve the beef and carrots and immediately and give each person a quarter of the fruit to squeeze over their own serving.

Watermelon Ice Pops

4 c seeded watermelon chunks
1 T lime juice (bottled is fine, fresh is better)
Sweetener to taste

Start by tasting the watermelon. If it’s really ripe it should be sweet enough that you don’t need any sweetener.

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. (Or put into a deep container and use a stick or immersion blender.) Pour into popsicle sticks or small paper cups, add sticks, and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours. Remove paper cups and serve, outside and/or with plenty of napkins. 

Zucchini and Ground Beef Casserole

(based on a recipe at

1 lb ground beef
1/2 medium onion, chopped (about 1-1/2 oz)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Salt and pepper
1 c salsa with tomatoes, onions and chilis
1 t ground cumin
12 oz zucchini, in 1/4” dice (if seeds are big, remove them before weighing), about 2 medium or 1 large or part of a really big one

Brown ground beef with chopped onion and garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until meat is well done. Add salsa and cumin. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes over low heat. Add the zucchini, cover and cook for about 10 minutes longer. Zucchini should be cooked but not mushy.

Orange Ice Pops or Milk Shakes

(based on a recipe from Summer Desserts Super Value Pack – 450 Recipes for Frozen Desserts Like Ice Cream, Ice Pops, Frozen Yogurt and More, by Pamela Kazmierczak)

1 c orange juice
1 T sugar
1-1/2 c milk
¼ t vanilla extract

Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl. Pour into ice-pop molds. Insert stick and freeze for about 6 hours or until completely firm.


Put all ingredients in blender and process until smooth and frothy.

BZM-MHC Zucchini Meatloaf

(based on a recipe at - which, by the way, includes 50 recipes for using up overgrown zucchini!)

2 slices bread, crusts removed (save crusts to make breadcrumbs)
1/2 c milk
2 lbs ground meat (all ground beef or a mixture of beef, pork, veal, sausage, chicken or turkey)
1 medium onion, minced
2 eggs
1/2 c ketchup (or tomato sauce – it has a lot less sugar than ketchup)
2 T Worcestershire sauce
2 t mustard
1 t salt

Start by getting out the pan you’re going to be using to bake the meatloaf. You can use a small, rimmed (definitely rimmed!) baking sheet, or an 8-cup casserole or a 9x9 baking dish. The reason for getting the pan out first is that your hands are going to be really messy and if you have everything out you don’t have to wash your hands in between steps.

Soak the bread in the milk for a few minutes while you mix up the rest of the ingredients.

In a large bowl, mix the ground meat, onion, eggs, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and BZM. The best way to mix it is to get in there with your (clean!) hands and mix it up good. If you really can’t stand the idea of raw egg and raw meat on your hands, you can wear clean plastic gloves, but bare hands work better. You’re going to give them a really good wash when you’re through, anyway. Crumble the soaked bread on top of the meat mixture, pour any remaining milk over it, and mix it all up together. Form it into a rough loaf on the baking sheet, casserole or baking dish you got out first. Now you’re done mixing things with your hands, so go ahead and wash them. Really well. Including under your fingernails. Bake it at 375 for about two hours.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Cucumber Water

There’s not really a recipe for this. Just combine some thinly sliced cucumber (peeled if it’s from a store), thinly sliced lemon, peeled and thinly sliced fresh ginger, and a few mint leaves in a pitcher and fill it with water. Recipes range from 4 slices of cucumber and lemon in a gallon of water to a whole cucumber and a whole lemon in half a gallon. I usually make it in a 2-quart pitcher and use about 2” of cucumber and half a lemon. I make up a pitcher of it, pour some out into a glass with ice cubes, and put the rest in the fridge until I’m ready for it. I don’t like it if it’s left overnight; something goes off with the flavor. But some recipes say to refrigerate it overnight. 

Cucumber Ice Pop with Lime and Chile


2-4 cucumbers (about 2 pounds), peeled, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon habanero chile powder*
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions: In a food processor, pulse all but 1/2 cup of the cucumber until smooth. Strain into a bowl; you should have about 2 cups juice. Add the rest of the ingredients and pour about 1/3 cup of mixture into each mold. Freeze for at least 2 hours.

*A reviewer suggested using a milder chile powder and/or less of it

Quick Pickles

1/2 c white vinegar
1 T sugar
1 t mustard seed
1 t salt
1 smashed but whole clove garlic
1 t dried dill
1 bay leaf
4 kirby* cucumbers, cut into 1” slices on an angle (a bit less than a pound)

Heat small saucepan over medium high heat. Add vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, salt and garlic to the pan and cook until it begins to simmer and sugar dissolves. Toss the dill, bay leaf and sliced cucumbers together in a heat-proof bowl. Pour the simmering liquid over the cucumbers and stir to evenly coat. Allow to cool to room temperature or chill before serving. The pickles aren't preserved and won't keep long.

*Kirby or pickling cucumbers are best, but you can use "regular" or slicing cucumbers instead. Try to find slender ones. One difference is that the seeds in slicing cucumbers tend to be bigger.

Chilled Cucumber Soup with Mint and Yogurt

1 small English cucumber, washed and seeded
2 T chopped chives (or green onions)
2 T fresh mint, chopped
2 T fresh parsley, washed and chopped (or cilantro)
1 c milk
1/2 c sour cream
1/2 c yogurt
Salt and pepper

Puree the cucumber and herbs with just a bit of milk. Add remaining milk and sour cream and blend until nearly smooth. Or keep it chunkier; it’s up to you. Stir in yogurt and season with salt and pepper. Chill for at least an hour; serve cold.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Cottage Cheese Zucchini Pancakes


1 c drained cottage cheese
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 T flour
Salt and pepper
Tomato sauce or sour cream to serve

Combine BZM, eggs, flour, salt and pepper. Fry heaping spoonfuls in hot vegetable oil until browned on both sides. Drain on paper towels and serve with tomato sauce or sour cream.


Breadcrumbs can be made out of any kind of bread and can be either soft (fresh) or dry. Dry breadcrumbs are used for breading foods and make a crispy coating. Soft breadcrumbs make a softer crust or stuffing.

To make dry breadcrumbs, start with stale bread (it can be very stale) and dry in a slow oven (200 degrees) until very dry. Let cool completely, then process in a blender or food processor, or break into pieces, put in a plastic bag, and crush with a rolling pin. Add seasoning if you like. Some Italian Herbs added to the bread before it’s processed turns plain breadcrumbs into Italian seasoned breadcrumbs.

To make soft breadcrumbs, start with slightly stale bread and dry it just a bit in a 200 degree oven. Process it in a blender or a food processor; a rolling pin won’t work. Season it if desired.

To make fresh breadcrumbs, start with fresh bread and don’t dry it in the oven. Process it in a food processor or blender (a rolling pin won’t work) and season as desired.

It depends on the size of your slices, of course, but figure on about four slices of bread to make one cup of dry bread crumbs or three slices of bread to make a cup of soft breadcrumbs.

You may be able to substitute crushed crackers, pretzels, stuffing mix, cornflakes, etc., depending on the recipe. Old fashioned oatmeal can be used instead of breadcrumbs in meatloaf and similar dishes. If you avoid grains, finely crushed pork rinds work.

Zucchini Parmesan

The flavor of the marinara sauce is critical to this recipe, so either use a good (and therefore more expensive) sauce or doctor up a cheap sauce with an onion and garlic sautéed in oil and added to the sauce. You might need to add some herbs, too - basil, oregano, parsley, or an Italian herb blend.

(adapted from a recipe and reviews at

2 medium zucchini (about 1 lb total)
2 eggs, beaten
Olive oil
2 c dry Italian seasoned BREADCRUMBS
8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 c shredded parmesan cheese (about 2 oz)
3 – 4 cups marinara sauce 

Preheat oven to 425. Grease cookie sheet lightly with olive oil. Dip zucchini slices in the egg, then coat with the breadcrumbs. Put in a single layer on the cookie sheet (it may take more than one) and bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Flip, then continue baking until second side is also golden brown. Reduce heat to 375.

Spread a thin layer of the marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9x9 baking dish. Add a single layer of the zucchini, more sauce, and then some of each of the cheeses. Repeat with the remaining zucchini, sauce and cheeses, making as many layers as the ingredients permit. Finish with sauce and then cheese on top.

Cover with foil and bake about 30 minutes or until the casserole is hot and bubbly and the top layer of cheese is melted.

Zucchini Minestrone

Don't be put off by the long list of ingredients! Most of them are just herbs and take no time at all to add. 

1 c chopped onion
White part of 1 leek, chopped (or another half cup of chopped onion)
2 cloves garlic
2 T olive oil
2 sliced carrots
2 sliced celery ribs
3 c BZM (Basic Zucchini Mixture)
½ bell pepper, diced
1 t dried thyme
1 t dried savory
1 t dried basil
½ t dried rosemary
½ t dried oregano
½ t dried sage
4 chopped canned tomatoes
5 c chicken (or vegetable) broth
1 T wine vinegar
1 T tomato paste
Salt and pepper to taste

½ c Grated parmesan cheese to serve (2 oz)

Basic Zucchini Mixture (BZM)

Make up a big batch and freeze it in 2 or 3 cup packages and use in cakes, breads, soups, meatloaf, etc. See the article cited below for 50 uses for BZM!

1 c finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T butter
1 T oil
5 lb grated zucchini (about 2 great big ones)

Cook the onion and garlic in the butter and oil until soft. Add the grated zucchini and stir for 4 to 5 minutes. Cool and drain. Squeeze through a clean towel to remove most of the moisture before using. Yields about 8 cups of drained BZM. The onion and garlic will not affect the taste of cakes, breads, etc. made with the BZM.

Note - Kayte came up with a wonderful idea! Instead of squeezing the zucchini mixture in a towel, she put it in a salad spinner and spun away. She got about a quart of liquid out of the zucchini which she's going to use a base for making veggie stock. It would be great in any kind of soup.

Grilled Zucchini Pizzas

1 large zucchini
1/2 c butter, melted
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 c shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 of a 14-oz can pizza sauce
other toppings (pepperoni, sausage, green pepper, onion, etc.) - optional

Slice the zucchini into thick rounds. Combine the butter and garlic in a small bowl and set aside. When the coals on your grill are almost burned down, lay the zucchini slices carefully on the grill. (Careful – they’ll try to slip through!) Cook for three minutes then turn over and brush with the butter/garlic mixture. Cook for another three minutes, turn over again, and brush with the butter/garlic mixture. Cover the slices with pizza sauce and cheese and the optional toppings and cook until the sauce is hot and the cheese starts to melt. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Watermelon Pickles

(an old family recipe)

4 to 5 qts watermelon rind
Boiling water
1 T salt
1 qt cider vinegar
6-1/2 qts sugar (26 cups)
28 whole cloves
14 cinnamon sticks

Choose firm fresh melon with thick white rind. Peel and trim away all but faintest pink. Cut as desired – cubes, hearts, shamrocks, etc. (There are old-fashioned cutters designed for this sort of thing. Cookie cutters won't do because they're not deep enough.) The pieces should be about 1". Cover rind with boiling water; add salt. Bring to boil and cook 10 minutes, or until cubes can be pierced easily with a fork. Drain well. Squeeze out extra liquid. Pack in crock or enameled kettle.

Bring vinegar and 6 cups sugar to a boil; pour over rind. Let stand overnight. Each day, drain off syrup and bring the syrup just to a boil, adding more sugar as follows: first day 4 cups, second through fourth days 2 cups each day and fifth to 14th day days 1 cup per day. Skim if needed; pour back over pickles. (It won’t hurt if you skip an occasional day.)

On 14th day, pack the pickles loosely in hot sterilized pint jars. To each jar, add 2 cloves and 1 stick cinnamon. Cover with syrup, leaving 1/2" headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel and put on two piece metal canning lids. Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes. Makes 11 to 14 pints.

A Smaller Version - only about 3 pints

4 to 5 cups watermelon rind
boiling water
3/4 t salt 
1 c cider vinegar
6-1/2 cups sugar
8 whole cloves
4 sticks cinnamon

Choose firm fresh melon with thick white rind. Peel and trim away all but faintest pink. Cut as desired – cubes, hearts, shamrocks, etc. (There are old-fashioned cutters designed for this sort of thing. Cookie cutters won't do because they're not deep enough.) Cover rind with boiling water; add salt. Bring to boil and cook 10 minutes, or until cubes can be pierced easily with a fork. Drain well. Squeeze out extra liquid. Pack in crock or enameled kettle.

Bring vinegar and 1-1/2 cups sugar to a boil; pour over rind. Let stand overnight. Each day, drain off syrup and bring the syrup just to a boil, adding more sugar as follows: first day 1 cup, second through fourth days 1/2 cup each day and fifth to 14th day days 1/4 cup per day. Skim if needed; pour back over pickles. (It won’t hurt if you skip an occasional day.)

On 14th day, pack the pickles in hot sterilized pint jars. To each jar, add 2 cloves and 1 stick cinnamon.  Cover with syrup, leaving 1/2" headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel and put on two piece metal canning lids. Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes. Makes 3 to 4 pints.

Easy Pickled Watermelon Rind

(based on a recipe from

1 qt watermelon rind, cut into pieces about 1” square
1 c vinegar (rice wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or plain white vinegar)
1/2 c water
1 c sugar
2-1/2 t table salt
1 star anise
2” piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped (optional) OR 1/2 t powdered cinnamon

Cut or scoop out the flesh from about half of a seedless watermelon. You can leave about 1/2 inch of red flesh on the rind or cut it off closer. Either way works, but be sure to leave at least a little bit of pink for the color. Cut the rind into 1” strips and then peel each strip, using either a potato peeler or a knife. You want to get rid of all the green skin. Cut the peeled strips into 1” pieces and measure. You should have between four and five cups.

Combine the vinegar, sugar, salt, star and anise and optional ginger or cinnamon in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve the sugar and salt. Once it boils, add the watermelon rind, return to a boil, and simmer for 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and cool for 1 hour.

Transfer watermelon rind to a 1 quart plastic container or canning jar. Don’t leave it in metal; the acid from the vinegar can ruin the metal and/or react with the vinegar to taste bad. Cover with the syrup. Refrigerate overnight and serve chilled.

These pickles must be refrigerated and won’t last more than a week to ten days in the fridge. Do not keep them longer than this.

Corn Cob Jelly


12 large ears of corn
2 quarts water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 package powdered pectin

Cook corn; cut kernels from cobs and store for another use. Measure 2 quarts water into a large pot; add corn cobs.

Bring to a boil; boil hard, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Turn off heat and remove cobs. Strain corn liquid through cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer if you want a perfectly clear jelly. Or don’t strain it if you want – or don’t mind having – some bits of corn in it.

Measure remaining corn liquid. You should get about 3-1/2 cups. Return liquid to the large pot. Stir in lemon juice and pectin and a dab of butter to prevent foaming. Bring to a boil. Add sugar cup per cup to match the measure of your corn liquid. Stir to dissolve sugar. Bring pot to a rolling boil. Boil hard one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Ladle hot corn cob jelly into hot jars. Adjust lids and bands. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Makes about 5 half-pints.

Roasted Watermelon Seeds

(based on a recipe from

1 c raw watermelon seeds (black seeds only, not the small white ones)
1 T salt

Rinse thoroughly to remove any remaining watermelon. Drain, then spread out in a single layer on a cookie sheet to dry. Drying outdoors in direct sunlight is recommended, but not if you have as many birds and critters as I do who would love to help themselves to the seeds! Roast seeds in a 325 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Spray with oil or cooking spray and sprinkle lightly but evenly with salt. Allow to cool completely before eating.

Note – other melon seeds can be used, too, like cantaloupe and honeydew.

Red Hot Cucumbers

7 lbs large cucumbers
1 c pickling line (calcium hydroxide) – not pickling salt
2 t red food coloring
1 t powdered alum
1 c distilled white vinegar
7 c white sugar
2 c distilled white vinegar
2 c water
1 c cinnamon red hot candies (cinnamon imperials)
4 cinnamon sticks

Peel cucumbers. Cut in half cross-wise. Using a knife or spoon, scrape out the seeds, then cut into ¼” slices. They should be in rings. Make sure they’ll fit in your canning jars. If they’re too big, you can cut them into half circles, but the full circles look better. Place the cucumbers in a glass or ceramic crock or big bowl. (Don’t use metal because the vinegar will pit it and the reaction with the metal may make the cucumbers bitter.) Dissolve the pickling lime in about a quart of room temperature water and pour it over the cucumbers. Add enough additional water so that the cucumbers are covered by about 1/2”. Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours.

Drain the cucumbers and rinse well with cold water. Place them into a large stockpot (preferably enameled rather than exposed metal) and cover with cold water. Leave them alone for 3 hours then drain and rinse them again.

Return the cucumbers to the pot and add the red food coloring, the alum, 1 cup of vinegar, and enough water to cover by 1/2” inch. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 2 hours. Drain them, and let them cool just a bit before returning them to the original glass or ceramic crock.

Stir together the sugar, 2 cups vinegar, red hot candies, and cinnamon sticks over medium heat until the sugar and the candies dissolve. Pour over the still warm cucumbers, cover, and leave them overnight.

Pack pickles into pint jars, seal, and process in a hot water bath for 15 to 20 minutes. Refrigerate any jars that don’t seal. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Hummus with Roasted Beets

Hummus is an easy favorite dip made with chickpeas, olive oil, lemon and garlic. If you have it, add some tahini (sesame butter) for extra creaminess and additional nutrition. The roasted beet adds depth of flavor plus vibrant color.

1 can chickpeas
1/3 cup sesame tahini (optional)
juice of one lemon, plus the zest (the bright yellow part of the peel) finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil¼ teaspoon salt (more or less, to taste) 
1 large cooked peeled beet (red or golden) or several small ones.* 
parsley for garnish (optional)

Combine all ingredients except parsley and paprika in food processor until smooth, or mash thoroughly with a fork or potato masher. When serving drizzle extra olive oil over the top and sprinkle with paprika and parsley. Serve with pita, corn chips, crackers or sliced veggies. 

*To roast a beet, just wrap in foil and bake in a 350F oven for 40 minutes or until tender. Hint: they are easier to peel after they are cooked.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Peach Smoothie

1-1/2 c milk
2/3 c sliced peaches
Sweetener to taste (start with about a tablespoon – it depends on how ripe the peaches were when they were picked)
1/4 t almond or vanilla extract (optional)
2 or 3 ice cubes

Put everything in the blender and process until smooth and frothy. Makes one smoothie of a little over two cups.

Zucchini and Tomato Toss

(based on a recipe in Cooking Light, 1990)

2 medium zucchini, cut into julienne strips (10 oz)
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped (8 oz)
1/2 t minced fresh thyme
1/4 t salt

Coat a nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Place over medium heat until hot.  Add zucchini and sauté 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add tomato, thyme and salt and sauté another minute or so or until thoroughly heated.

Herb Roasted Pork Loin

(based on

1-1/2 lbs pork loin
2 cloves garlic
1 t dried basil
1 t dried thyme
1 t dried rosemary
1/2 t coarsely ground pepper
1/2 t salt
2 T olive oil

Preheat the oven to 425. Combine everything but the pork and the olive oil in a small food processor or clean spice grinder. Pulse until the garlic is minced. Or, if you don’t have either of those appliances, mince the garlic by hand and roughly chop the rosemary with a knife, then combine the garlic and seasonings. Add the olive oil and mix well.

Put the pork on a baking sheet covered with foil. (The foil makes it easier to clean up later.) Rub the oil and herb mixture over all sides of the pork roast. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes or until done. Let rest about 10 minutes before slicing. 

Blueberry Salsa

(from a recipe by Molly O’Neill at

2 cups fresh blueberries, cleaned
1/2 medium red onion, peeled and diced small
2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
1 red bell pepper, cored, deribbed and diced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt

To make the salsa, coarsely chop 1 1/2 cups of the blueberries. In a bowl, combine the chopped and whole berries and the remaining salsa ingredients. Let stand for 1 hour.

Grilled Pork Chops with Blueberry Salsa

(Molly O’Neill at

2 cups fresh blueberries, cleaned
1/2 medium red onion, peeled and diced small
2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
1 red bell pepper, cored, deribbed and diced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Pork Chops
4 pork chops, 3/4-inch thick (about 1-1/2 lbs total)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste

To make the salsa, coarsely chop 1 1/2 cups of the blueberries. In a bowl, combine the chopped and whole berries and the remaining salsa ingredients. Let stand for 1 hour.

To make the pork, prepare a charcoal grill. When the coals are hot, grill the chops until just cooked through, about 8 minutes per side. Season with salt and pepper. Divide among 4 plates and top with the salsa. Serve immediately.

Note from Mary Anne – If you don’t have a grill, cook the pork chops on top of the stove or in the oven. It won’t make much difference.

Cuban Pork (Masitas de Puerco)


1 1/2 lbs boneless pork loin - cut into 2 inch cubes
6 garlic cloves - crushed
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 cup sour orange juice or orange juice and lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, chopped (add half to marinade, save half for later)

Mix cubed pork and all other ingredients together in a sealable container. Refrigerate 3 hours to overnight. Remove from marinade and place pork in a shallow baking pan or frying pan. Add remaining chopped onions. You can either use the stove top to simmer off the liquid then let the pork fry in the remaining oil until crispy or you can place the ovenproof pan in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes where it will do the same thing. The meat should be tender and moist inside and crispy outside.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Rose Petal Sandwiches


8 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 Tablespoons rose water
12 thin slices bread
6 unsprayed fragrant roses

Mix cream cheese and rose water. Spread over bread slices. Cover each slice with rose petals. Place slices together to form a sandwich. Refrigerate. Remove and remove crusts, if desired. Cut sandwich into halves then fourths. Serve.

Rose Petal Pesto


2 cups Fresh Basil
1 cup Rose Petals
4 large Garlic Cloves
1 cup Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Rosewater
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Romano Cheese
Salt and freshly ground Pepper to taste

Rinse Rose Petals and Basil thoroughly and pat dry. Cup up Rose Petals with sharp scissors. Peel and chop garlic. Combine the basil, garlic and Pine nuts, chop in either a food processor or blender. While still processing add olive oil and rose water slowly. Add the Parmesan and Romano, salt and pepper, blend lightly.

Rose Water Cookies

(from a recipe at

8 oz. butter, softened
6 Tablespoons confectioners’ (powdered) sugar, sifted – divided
1 large egg, beaten lightly
1/4 cup blanched almonds
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
2 to 3 tablespoons rose water
Whole cloves
Sifted confectioner’s sugar for dusting

Cream the butter and 2 Tablespoons sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time and mix well. In a blender grind the almonds and remaining sugar until very fine. In a bowl, sift the flour and baking powder. Stir in almonds. Add to butter mixture and mix in rose water. Form mixture into a ball and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least one hour. Pinch off small pieces of dough and form into a crescent shape. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet and insert a clove in each cookie. Bake 20 minutes or until lightly golden around the edges. Remove from sheet and place on rack. Dust with remaining confectioners’ sugar.

Honey and Rose Cooler


4 c water
2 c fresh rose petals
2 T honey
½ t rose water
A few petals for garnishing (optional)
A few ice cubes with rose petals frozen inside (optional)

Boil the water in a small pan and add the petals. Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes until the petals discolor. Cool and strain. Combine the cooled water, honey, and rose water in a shaker and shake vigorously. Pour into tall glasses and top with rose ice cubes. Garnish with fresh petals and serve.

Rose ice cubes – Fill ice cube trays half full with water and freeze. Place a clean rose petal on each ice cube and fill with water, leaving the petal in the middle of the cube.

Rose Water


Pick rose petals (from roses that haven’t been sprayed) in the morning when they are freshest and the scent is strongest. Remove the white tip, if any, which may be bitter. Rinse the petals and drain them. Fill a container with petals and pour boiling water over them. Cover with a lid and steep. Strain, then refrigerate for up to several days or freeze. To freeze, pour the rose water into ice cube trays and freeze. Put the frozen ice cubes in a plastic bag and label the bag.

Wild Rose Petal Jelly

(the recipe was copied many years ago from an unknown book)

1 qt (4 cups) rose petals - unsprayed
4 c water
1/2 c strained strawberry juice
3-1/2 lbs sugar (7 and 7/8 c)
1 c liquid pectin

Gather a quart of rose petals. Be sure that they haven’t been sprayed. Wash gently. If there are white tips to the petals, cut them off as they may be bitter. Cover the petals with water, bring to a boil and boil for 15 minutes. Strain through a jelly bag, add strawberry juice, and measure the liquid. Add enough water to make 1 quart. Return liquid to kettle, stir in sugar and bring back to boil. Still stirring, pour in pectin and boil 1 minute. Pour into sterilized jelly glasses and seal.

Note – best with wild rose petals and wild strawberries, but roses and strawberries from your garden will work. Food coloring may be added.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Basil and Tomato Stuffed Chicken

(based on a recipe in Quick ‘N’ Easy Paleo Chicken Recipes, by Marriah Smith)

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 2 lbs)
8 fresh basil leaves
2 finely chopped garlic cloves
2 T olive oil
2 medium tomatoes, thickly sliced (about 3/4 pound)
Salt and pepper to taste

Butterfly the chicken breasts and open them like a book. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper and place on a plate. Add oil and garlic to both sides. Place two basil leaves on the bottom half of each chicken breast and top with the tomato slices. Fold top over the bottom half and secure with toothpicks. Grill chicken for 15 minutes, turning one during cooking. Chicken is done when the middle is no longer pink and the juices run clear. Remove toothpicks before serving.

Garlic Corn on the Cob

(based on a recipe in Healthy Cooking, June/July 2012)

4 garlic cloves, minced
4 t olive oil
4 ears corn on the cob

Remove husks from corn. Combine garlic and oil and brush on corn. Place each ear on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil, about 14”x12”. Fold foil over corn and seal tightly. Grill corn, covered, over medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until tender, turning occasionally. Open foil carefully to allow steam to escape.

Note – If you pull the husks back but don’t pull them completely off, then tie them together at the top of the ear, you can leave them out when you wrap the corn in foil and use the husks as a handle to turn the corn.

Grilled Chicken Banh Mi Salad

(based on a recipe in Sunset Magazine, July 2012)

(bánh mi - a classic Vietnamese sandwich)

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (1-1/2 lb total)
4 T hoisin sauce, divided
½ t Chinese 5-spice powder
1 T reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 T vegetable oil, divided
2 T lime juice
1 T Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce
1 cucumber, seeded and cut into 2” matchsticks
1 medium carrot, cut into thin matchsticks
4 oz jicama, cut into matchsticks (optional – or use daikon or radishes or zucchini)
1 red Fresno or red jalapeno chile, halved lengthwise and sliced
½ head iceberg lettuce, shredded
Cilantro, Thai basil, and mint leaves

Heat grill to medium. With a sharp knife, halve chicken pieces horizontally almost all the way through, then open up like a book. Put chicken in a bowl and add 2 tablespoons hoisin, the five-spice powder, soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon of oil, tossing to coat.

Grill chicken, turning once, until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes, then slice diagonally into wide chunks.

Mix remaining 2 tablespoons hoisin and 1 tablespoon oil, plus the mayo, lime juice and fish sauce in a small bowl. Set aside.

Divide the shredded lettuce among 4 plates. Add cucumber, carrot, jicama and pepper, then with the chicken. Drizzle with the lime dressing and top with the cilantro, basil and mint leaves.

Watermelon Ice Pops

(based on a recipe from Summer Desserts Super Value Pack – 450 Recipes for Frozen Desserts Like Ice Cream, Ice Pops, Frozen Yogurt and More, by Pamela Kazmierczak)

3 c cubed and seeded watermelon
2 – 4 T sugar
Pinch of cinnamon
Mint leaves (optional)

Put everything in a blender and process until smooth. Pour into ice pop molds. Insert popsicle stick and freeze until firm, at least 6 hours. No ice pop molds? No problem. Just use small paper cups instead.

Strawberry & Blueberry Smoothie Deluxe

(based on a recipe in Easy Smoothie Recipes: 100 Recipes for Kids, by Debbie Madson)

1-1/2 c ice
2 c milk
3/4 c blueberries
3 strawberries (about 1.6 oz total or 1/10 of a 1-pound box)
1-1/2 T sugar

Put everything in blender and blend until smooth. Makes 2 servings of about 2 cups each.

Or make ice pops out of the smoothie by pouring it into popsicle molds or small paper cups, adding a popsicle stick, and freezing until firm, at least 6 hours. 

Mint Watermelon Salad

(based on a recipe in Healthy Cooking, June/July 2012)

1 T lemon juice
1 T olive oil
2 t sugar
6 c cubed seedless watermelon
2 T minced fresh mint

Whisk the lemon juice, olive oil and sugar together in a small bowl. Combine the watermelon and mint in a large bowl, then drizzle with the lemon juice/olive oil mixture and toss to coat. 

Chicken Lazone

(based on a recipe in 30-Minute Chicken Recipes: Latest Collection of 30 Top Class, Simple, Easy And Most-Wanted 30-Minute Chicken Recipes For Healthy Life, by William D. Lilly)

1 teaspoon salt
1 1/ 2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/ 2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
4 whole boneless skinless chicken breasts or chicken tenders (about 1-1/2 lbs)
1/ 4 cup butter, divided
1/ 2 cup heavy cream

Combine salt, chili powder, onion powder, and garlic powder and rub over chicken breasts.

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add chicken and cook for about 7 or 8 minutes, or until nearly done. Add cream, reduce heat, and simmer a couple of minutes until the sauce thickens. Add remaining butter and heat until the butter is melted. Serve sauce over chicken.