[recipe difficulty=”easy”]

 I often bring this appetizer to “dish to pass” occasions.  This layer bean dip is pretty routine but I add a few touches to make it special.  It is always a crowd pleaser.  I like to serve it with the Tortilla Lime chips.







  • 2 -16-oz. can refried beans (spicy or regular)
  • 1 ½  cups sour cream
  • ½ -1/4 oz. pkg. taco seasoning mix
  • 2 avocados, pitted, peeled and mashed
  • 2 TBS salsa
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar or Mexican blend  cheese
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup black olives, sliced
  • 1 tomato, diced or ½ can petite diced tomatoes (thoroughly drained of liquid)
  • tortilla chips




1.     Spread beans in the bottom of a 13"x9"  (or similar sized oblong) clear glass dish, add  ½ cup of shredded cheese and cook in microwave just until  cheese is melted, then stir in the cheese and set aside.

2.    .Mix avocados, lime  juice, salsa, garlic, and salt to taste; layer over beans

3.     Combine sour cream and seasoning mix; spread over avocado.

4.     Sprinkle with cheese; top with onions, olives and tomato.

5.    Serve with tortilla chips.





[recipe difficulty=”easy”]

 Eggplant with Plum Sauce

 eggplant in basket


  1. Slice small (3 inches or less) eggplant in half lengthwise, spread with olive oil and salt and grill over barbecue until browned on both sides and barely cooked. Salt and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile make the sauce: Mix together

          ¼ of plum jam,

           3-4 skinned plums if you have nice fresh, ripe plum

            2-3 Tbs. soy sauce

            I Tbs. grated fresh ginger

            !-2 Tbs. minced garlic

            1 tsp Asian chili garlic sauce (optional)

      ¼ cup Iron Chef Sesame Garlic Sauce : NOTE: I have to defend using a ready  made sauce but I have to say it really kicks it up significantly. This sauce is all natural with no preservatives and not particularly high in sodium.

3. Boil these ingredients together for 5 minutes until the flavors meld and it is slightly  


  1. Put the cooked eggplant in an oven or grill proof dish and cover with the sauce. I add more garlic since I love garlic. Cover and cook for 5-10 minutes in hot covered grill (300°-400°). It should be boiling hard so that the sauce thickens.   But check to make sure it is not burning.  






Corn and Cucumbers.  Both ready for harvest and both are the main ingredients for these two great soups.  The hot chowder is great as the main meal with only a salad and crusty bread to complete the feast.  And the cold green gazpacho is a an usual combination of ingredients that is much more than the sum of it’s parts.  No one has yet guessed the two mystery ingredients to this refreshing soup.



[recipe difficulty=”easy”]

Green Gazpacho


For this soup you will need a really strong blender such as a vita-mix.  The quantities are just approximate.  This is a “taste and adjust” recipe since there are many factors at play.  You will need to let it rest in the fridge for a day and then taste and further adjust the vinegar, salt and olive oil.


2 cups (about a pound) cucumbers (which only need peeling if the peels are thick and  only needs seeding if the seeds are big)

1 cup,(about ½ pound)  seedless grapes green or red

1 cup raw almonds

1 shallot

1 medium garlic clove or more to taste

1 TBS chopped dill

1 cup water

1 TBS sherry vinegar (or other wine vinegar)

¼  buttery olive oil

salt and pepper to taste


Blend together in vita-mix or other very strong blender until totally smooth.  Taste and adjust for seasoning and then refrigerate overnight and taste and adjust seasoning before serving.  Serve with a swirl of olive oil and a little chopped dill in each bowl.




[recipe difficulty=”easy”]

Thai Corn and Crawfish Chowder


4 ears corn shucked

1 TBS butter

Olive oil

1 large onion, chopped into small cubes

4 cups chicken broth, seafood broth or lobster broth

1 can coconut milk (14 ounce)

1 TBS Thai red curry paste

1 pound cooked crawfish tail meat (comes frozen) or shrimp, crab or lobster

Salt to taste


1.       Fry the corn kernels over high heat in a frying pan with no oil and after 3 minutes add butter and when melted continue to cook for another 2 minutes of high heat before setting the corn aside.

2.      Fry the onions in olive oil until soft and beginning to caramelize and then set aside

3.      Defrost the crawfish and fry over high heat with some butter and olive oil in two batches for 5-6 minutes each and set aside.  IF using other seafood skip this step if the seafood is already cooked.

4.      Place the shucked corn cobs in the broth and boil together for 20 minutes to infuse the broth with the corn flavor.  Then remove the cobs and discard.

5.      Mix the red curry with 1 TBS of the coconut milk until thoroughly combined.  Then add to broth along with the rest of the coconut milk and bring to simmer.  Add the onion, corn and crawfish and bring to simmer again.  Simmer for 10 minutes and taste for seasoning.

This chowder can be eaten immediately or refrigerated for the next day.  If using lobster or shrimp do not add the seafood until right before serving and then add it to the simmering broth and simmer until warmed through.  It is important not to overcook the seafood.








                                                                                      strawberry rhubarb tapioca pudding



[recipe difficulty=”easy”]

 This is a quick and easy way to enjoy strawberries and rhubarb without having the fuss of making a pie. 

1 quart strawberries cut in half or quarters

1 lb. Rhubarb cut into 1/2 inch slices

1/4 cup small pearl tapioca

1 cup apple juice or other juice

3/4 -1 cup sugar depending on how sweet you like it

1.  Mix the tapioca and 1/2 cup juice in fridge and leave overnight

2. Add 1/2 cup juice, put the tapioca and juice in saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally so the tapioca doesn't stick to bottom of pan. Add more juice or water if the mixture gets too thick.

3. After 15 minutes of gentle boiling add the rhubarb and sugar.  Cook together uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb has broken down and is no longer distinct pieces:  about 15 minutes.

4.  Add strawberries, stir them in and bring to boil.  Then turn off the heat.  This keeps the strawberries bright red and in distinct pieces.  Serve warm or cool to a thicker consistency.  This is wonderful served with vanilla ice-cream.



[recipe difficulty=”moderate”]







Years ago I entered a recipe contest through Fine Cooking Magazine where we were instructed to use certain ingredients to create our own recipe.  This is what I came up with and though I didn’t win, I did get a phone call from the judges asking for more clarification so that was pretty close to winning, right? 


My concept was to blend the best ingredients of French beef stew with the great Chinese stew ingredients:  wine, garlic, bacon, oyster sauce,  and of course ginger. The other flavor booster I work into this recipe is to layer the ingredients so that you have garlic and ginger cooking slowly and flavoring the broth.  But I also add these ingredients the last minute to enhance the ginger and garlic flavors.This is a recipe I go back to time and again.  My grown up son asked for the recipe and said it came out great.  Feel free to modify as you wish.  For instance, he used regular mushrooms rather than shiitake. If you don’t have the rosemary, don’t worry.  You can add a little thyme, a bay leaf some herbs de province or leave out the spices 


 3 slices bacon

Olive oil as needed

2 lbs stew beef, cut in 2×2 inch pieces (a marbled, fatty cut works best for stew such as chuck.  And if you use organic meat it may take less time since organic meat tends to be less fatty)

Salt and pepper

1 ½ cups shallots, coarsely chopped (about ½ lb)

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbs. fresh ginger, finely minced

¼ cup flour

2 cups dry red wine (such as Shiraz or Merlot)

1 can chicken broth (10.5 oz)

¼ cup oyster sauce

2 Tbs. sugar

1 sprig fresh rosemary

½ lb. shiitake mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed and cut in slices.

2 (more) cloves garlic, finely minced

1 Tbs. (or more) fresh ginger, finely minced

1 tsp. sesame oil

3-4 green onions finely minced


1.  Heat a medium size heavy pot over medium heat and cook bacon until crispy.  Remove and set aside to drain on paper towel.  Chop into small pieces.

2. Season meat with salt and pepper.  Increase heat to high, add oil to bacon fat to coat bottom of pot and when oil shimmers add meat in three batches, browning each batch and setting aside. Add more oil if necessary to coat bottom of pan after each batch.

3. Turn the heat to medium and add shallots, browning while stirring for about 5 minutes.  Add ginger and garlic and cook, stirring for two more minutes or until aromatic.  Add flour and mix together while cooking for another 2 minutes.

4.  Add wine while stirring quickly to mix in the flour.  Add broth, oyster sauce, sugar, rosemary, and reserved bacon and beef. Stir well and heat to simmer.

5. Cook for 30 minutes and remove rosemary.  Continue to cook stew over low heat for 30- 60 minutes more hours stirring every 30 minutes and adding more water or stock if necessary.  Depending on the cut of meat and size of the chunks this may take more or less time.  Take a piece out and see if it is tender.

6.  While the stew is cooking, fry the mushrooms in two batches over medium heat in frying pan coated with oil for 3 minutes or until beginning to brown. Add the mushrooms to the stew for the last 30 minutes of cooking.

7. For best flavor refrigerate the stew overnight and reheat the next day, adjusting seasoning as desired. 

8.  15 minutes before serving add the two cloves of mashed garlic and 1 Tbs. of ginger to the simmering stew.

9. Just before serving, stir in the sesame oil and sprinkle with spring onions.

 Serve over mashed potatoes, with peas on the side.

 Preparation time is 30-45 minutes and cooking time is 2 hours.










Madeleines and Williamsburg Orange Cake


This is probably my most used appliance though my toaster oven may be coming quickly into first place since I have been using my  new Breville Smart oven to bake small pizzas and cakes  It cooks more evenly than my oven, and toasts bread and bagels better than any previous toaster oven.

My food processor is used for bread crumbs, grating cheese, pesto, and many of my cake and cookie batters.  Here are my two new favorite recipes each of which is made entirely in the food processor.





                                      Williamsburg Orange Cake:  Serves: 8


2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 stick softened butter
1 cups sugar (divided)

2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 orange carefully cleaned and organic if possible:  Using a knife cut of the peel and put in food processor with 1/2 cup sugar to chop finely
1 cup buttermilk
3 TBS  cup orange juice mixed with 1/2 cup sugar  (I don't use all of this glaze)


1.   Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2.  Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Stir raisins and nuts and grated orange/sugar mixture into the dry ingredients and set aside.

 3.  In a food processor, cream the butter and blend in 1/2  cup of the sugar.

4. Beat the eggs into the  creamed butter mixture.

5. Add vanilla and buttermilk  and mix well.

6. Add the flour/orange mixture and pulse 3 or 4 times until just mixed.

7.  Pour batter into a greased 9-inch square pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or when a toothpick comes out with dry crumbs..

8. While the cake is baking, combine the orange juice with the remaining cup of sugar.

9. Spread this glaze over the top of the hot cake and immediately return it to the oven for about 5 minutes, until the glaze bubbles and the cake tests done when you insert a toothpick or wooden skewer near the center.

Let the cake cool in the pan before turning it out onto a serving plate.








Madeleines (Makes about 16)


2 large eggs

2/3   cups sugar (divided)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 lemon using only the peel

1 cup all purpose flour

pinch of salt

1 ½ sticks of butter, melted and cooled slightly so as not to cook the eggs

Powdered sugar

1.     Preheat oven to 375°

2.     Use madeleines mold with teflon coating sprayed with oil or greased with butter

3.     In the food process process the peel of one lemon mixed with 1/3 cup of the sugar until lemon peel is finely incorporated into the sugar

4.     Add eggs and the final 1/3 cup sugar and process together along with vanilla.

5.     Add flour and pulse a few times until just blended

6.     Gradually add the cooled butter processing until just blended

7.     Let the batter stand at room temperature for at least two hours or refrigerate overnight or even for a couple of days.

8.     Spoon about 1 TBS into each mold filling about ¾ of the mold

9.     Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are beginning to brown

10.Turn them out while still hot onto a rack. 

11.  Sprinkle the top with powdered sugar.

    12.These are best eaten warm but also keep for a few days in a tin. 






Vita Mix:  Kale Banana Almond Smoothie

Juicer:  Fruit juice mix and Vegi mix

Actifry:  Mini potatoes with onions and sausage

Slow Cooker:  Applesauce and Multigrain cereal with fruit

Panini Maker:  Reuben sandwiches with corned beef or Susie's Seiten

Pressure Cooker:  Bean soup and Wild rice and Barley mushroom casserole

Bread Maker:  Sourdough Rye Bread

Apple Peeler and Dehydrator:  Dried apples and dried bananas

Food Processor and Madeleine mold:  Madeleines and Williamsburg Orange Cake (on next post)


This vacation I've busied myself cooking and baking using my great collection of cool appliances  and gadgets.  I use my  "toys" to concoct the  quickest and tastiest feasts.  Over the past week I've counted a dozen of them that have come out of the closet and into the kitchen to do their magic.  Most of them are listed below with the great foods that were prepared.


Each day starts with the juicer or the vitamix which are both privileged to  live on the counter.  The juicer is a Hamilton Beach, the cheapest juicer on the market and one that works very well and cleans up easily and quickly.  I'll make myself a fruit or vegi juice first thing in the morning or to bring to work for later in the morning.  The juicer gets apples, oranges, pineapple, and pears with a carrot thrown in for good measure and great color.  The vegi juice is  some combination of raw beets, carrots, celery cucumber, ginger, garlic or onion. 

Or I'll make my green slime in my  Vita Mix:  raw kale, almond milk, almond butter, banana and a touch of maple syrup. Ice is thrown in since the colder the better.   The almond milk is made by soaking almonds in water overnight and the next morning mixing it up in the Vita mix.  Slowly the rest of the family has grown to like this drink which tastes particularly good for being so healthy. I was fortunate enough to attend a juicing class iwth Joe Romano at Greenstar, our local organic food coop and also attended a raw foods class with Rebecca Robbins who introduced me to the healthy and delicious world of raw foods.

So that's two appliances. Now, it gets less healthy I'm afraid.   For breakfast I've been trying out my newest gadget:  an Actifry.  It's advertised as a low fat fryer alternative.  So this morning the little pee wee potatoes went in with some sliced onions, whole garlic cloves and a few pieces of sausage.  No more oil since the sausages provide more than enough.  They were cooked in about 20 minutes.   It really is overpriced for what it is.  But I'm still working on some menus ideas.  I tried the chicken wings and drumsticks which both came out great and tend to be more moist than when baked .



APPLESAUCE;  One of my favorite uses for the slow cooker is apple sauce.  The entire house fills up with the wonderful scent  of cooking apples, one of the homiest aroma's I can think of.  Quite simply I add cored whole organic apples or cored and peeled non-organic apples that I've cut into large pieces.  For a large apple cut it into eighths and then each piece cut in half or thirds.  And for smaller apples just quarter them and then cut each quarter in half. You really don't need liquid unless they are really old dried up apples, then add 1/2 cup water or apple cider. I add some honey and some cinnamon and then cook it on low until they are mushy and obviously cooked.  Then put them through a food mill (another indispensible gadget.) Add more honey or cinnamon if you want.

 MULTIGRAIN CEREAL WITH FRUIT  This is adapted from a recently acquired cookbook called, "The Healthy Slow Cooker".  It has plenty of health and cooking tips in the margins.  This adapted recipe was great and kept for several days in the fridge, easily reheated in the microwave.

1/2 cup brown rice

1/2 cup millet

1/2 cup wheat berries

2 medium apples, peeled cored and cubed

1 cup apple juice or cider

3 cups water

Add together into crock pot (slow cooker), add salt to taste and cook on low for 6 hours or until cooked.  Add :

Chopped pitted dates

Sprinkle with wheat germ (optional)

and serve with maple syrup.(optional)



Rye bread, thousand island dressing, saurkraut, swiss cheese and corned beef (or turkey or Susie's portabella mushroom seiten).


BEAN SOUP:  In preparation for the winter storm I made my obligatory soup.  The essential comfort food for cold snowy weather.  I bought the package of Hurst 15 beans, threw out the ham flavor packet and put half of the beans aside in hot water to soak for a few hours.  They then got drained and thrown into my pressure cooker (appliance 5 on this list).  I then added broth, a can of diced tomatoes with the juice and extra water if needed to amply cover the beans.  They were brought up to pressure and cooked for 10 minutes .  After depressurizing I checked  the beans and if the biggest ones were almost done,  I added  diced   onions, cabbage,  celery, carrots, parsnips, leeks, and winter squash (butternut this time) that I had quickly fried over high heat in some olive oil while stirring to lightly brown.  I added  some salt Some browned cubes of boneless beef ribs as well. I then brought it back up to pressure and cooked for 5 more minutes and  again depressurized and checked to see if everything was done.  This soup lasted several days through the snow storm and just gets more flavorful with each reheating.  I serve my bean soups drizzled with great olive oil and good grated parmesan.


1 medium onion, chopped

4 TBS butter

¾cup wild rice

¾cup barlely (not quick cooking)

½cup dry sherry

1 ½ cups stock

1 ¼cups water

8 ounces sliced mushrooms

salt and pepper to taste

1.     Fry one chopped sweet onion in butter until softened and set aside. 


2.      Fry mushrooms and set aside.

3.  In Pressure Cooker add  rice and barley, sherry, broth and water and salt to taste.

4.     Cover pressure cooker, bring to pressure and cook for 20 minutes.

5.      Release pressure and check to make sure the rice and barley are cooked.  The rice should be split open and tender but not mushy.  Cook longer if necessary.

6.    Add mushrooms and onions to rice mixture.

7.    Taste for  salt and pepper..



¾ cup sour dough starter

½ cup water


2 TBS molasses

1 TBS olive oil

1 ½ tsp salt

1 TBS toasted caraway seeds

2 ¼ cups Bread flour

¾ cup rye flour

1 ½tsp yeast

Combine in bread maker and check to make sure the consistency is correct.  If you poke it with your finger you should have a tiny bit of stickiness but mostly it needs to be dry and in a ball. You may need to add more flour or water to adjust.

1.      Let  the bread maker do the kneading and first rise,

2.       Remove the dough and put it into a bowl lined with parchment paper.

3.       Let it rise again until double: one to two hours.

4.       Half an hour before preheat oven to 450° .Place empty large enamel pot  with cover (Le Creuset works great) that will just hold the bread in the oven to heat as well.

5.      Slit the top of the bread and carefully place in the enamel pot.  Don't burn yourself lifting the lid (spoken from multiple experiences).  Cover the pot and cook the bread for 30 minutes.

6.      Remove the pot from the oven.  Carefully remove the bread and unless it is already evenly browned, place it as is, without parchment, in the oven and bake a few more minutes, checking regularly, until uniformly brown and crisp. Remove and cool.  Serve with butter and the bean soup!

DEHYDRATOR AND APPLES PEELER:  Dried apples and Dried bananas.

One of the least known gadgets and a really cheap and helpful one is the apple peeler.  But it doesn't just peel the apples.  It also slices and cores the apple.  So in a few seconds you have an apple ready for your pie or for the dehydrator.  Check out the video which shoes you just how it works.  And it's around $20!    APPLE PEELER VIDEO

The dehydrator I use is the cheap one made by Nesco American Harvester.  You can spend lots of money on these guys but I really don't have any problem with this one except that it is  really noisy.  So you need to put it in another room and not forget it.


The apples get sliced and laid out in the dehydrator and if you want, sprinkled with cinnamon.  Cook it until the apples are to your liking, chewy or crisp.  They do continue to crisp up a bit after  you turn it off.  The a bananas get sliced and same thing,  check after 12 hours and see what you think.


[recipe difficulty=”easy”]



 I got home from work just before 6 tonight.  I took  one pound of  stew beef out of  the freezer and got right to work. 

1. Defrosted the beef in the microwave and cut it up into small chunks. (Beef optional)

2. Fried the beef in olive oil until just browned

3. Peeled and cut up 2 carrots, 2 celery and  1 cleaned leek and threw them into the pressure cooker 

4.  Added the beef and one can of diced tomatoes, a bay leaf, salt, pepper and 36 ounces of chicken or vegetable broth.

5.Cleaned half a pound of lentils and added them to the pot.

6.  Deglazed the frying pan with 1 cup of water and added that to the pressure cooker.

7.  Heated up my stove top pressure cooker to pressure and then cooked for 8 minutes.

8.  Meanwhile chopped up and fried a large sweet onion.

9.  Brought the pressure down in my cooker under cold water, opened it, and added the onions.  Tasted for seasoning and checked how tender the beef was.

10.  Closed up the pot, brought it back to pressure and cooked 3 more minutes.  

AND VOILA,!  An excellent meal with some crusty bread and salad.  And the leftover lentil soup will be even better tomorrow!





Turkey chutney salad

Turkey Barley Congee

Corn Chowder

Crispy Corn Fritters

Fried Rice


Salsa soup with tortilla chips

Leek mushroom bread pudding


I actually love leftovers.  On my way home from work I’ll picture what is in my fridge and then figure out how to combine them and transform them into tonight's feast.  And many of these creations have become favorites.  Some of these recipes don't give exact quantities because that is not the point.  With these dishes you use what you have and use your creativity to make it all work so that often the new leftover creation is even better than the original!



This is what I make with leftover turkey. Of course first on my list is sandwiches:  hot when you still have gravy left and cold when you’ve run out of gravy.  But there are two other dishes I love to make with turkey. 

·         Turkey (smoked or roasted):  Mix mango chutney with some mayonnaise and curry powder and a drop of toasted sesame oil.  Mix with some celery (or other crunchy vegetable) and scallions if you have them.  This is good served for lunch with bread or as a salad course with a some lettuce.

·         Roast turkey (not smoked):  Right after a turkey dinner I jump into action and take all the meat off the bones.  I throw the turkey bones into a big pot and it can be the same pot that I boiled the potatoes in for mashed potatoes.  Add an onion, a carrot, and some celery and plenty of water and boil for an hour until you have a nice broth.  Add as much salt as you like.  Strain out all the solids and put the broth aside.

·         With the broth I make one of my favorite soups and a family favorite as well:  Turkey Barley Congee.

·          Leftover turkey has many tasty reincarnations. Turkey barley congee is one of my favorites that I make every year after Thanksgiving. It starts off by using the turkey carcass to make a rich broth. Congee is a nourishing and healthy one dish meal which I’ve adapted from the recipe of one of my favorite cookbooks: A Spoonful of Ginger: Irresistible, health-giving recipes from Asian kitchen, by Nina Simonds. She references the healthful or medicinal qualities of each recipe so you feel good about what you serve your family and guests.

Adapted from the cookbook, “A Spoonful of Ginger” by Nina Simonds.
For the broth:
1 Turkey carcass from the Thanksgiving dinner
12 cups water
1 peeled onion
1 celery stalk
1 slice ginger
For the marinade:
2 Tbs soy sauce
1 ½ Tbs rice wine
1 tsp sesame oil
For the soup:
1 pound or more leftover turkey meat, cut into bite size pieces or use uncooked turkey meat. if you don't have leftovers.
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
1 cup whole grain or pearl barley, rinsed and drained.  (whole grain barley is healthier)
3 carrots,  peeled and cut into ¼ inch dice
3 stalks celery , cut into ¼ inch dice
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup rice wine (or dry sherry)
1 tsp.-1 Tbs.   grated fresh ginger (depending on how much you like ginger)
8 ounces shitake mushrooms, sliced (fresh) or/and dried shitake:  5-6 reconstituted in water
1-2 cans chicken or turkey broth as needed (optional:  see note).
  1. Combine the broth ingredients and bring to boil in large pot. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for an hour.  Strain and check for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as necessary.
  2. Meanwhile, combine ingredients for the marinade, add turkey and coat with marinade. Refrigerate.
  3. Fry onions in oil or butter until soft and lightly brown and set aside.
  4. Fry mushrooms in butter or olive oil until lightly browned and set aside.
  5. Add barley to the strained broth and cook for 45 minutes. If necessary, add more water or broth.
  6. Add carrots and celery (and turkey meat if it is uncooked) and cook another 15 minutes, checking to make sure there is enough liquid.
  7. Add browned onions, cooked turkey, rice wine, browned mushrooms and grated ginger and cook another 15 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
  8. Taste for seasoning and add more broth if necessary and a little sesame oil to taste.
Note: This is meant to be a thick, porridge like soup. I prefer it a little soupier and so I have some broth set aside to add if necessary.





 I often buy extra corn on purpose and then leave it out (if the house isn’t too hot) because refrigerating it will diminish the sweetness. I then make a great summer soup.


        Take the cooked corn off the cob.  Meanwhile fry a large sweet onion until soft and slightly browned.  Peel a medium potato and cut into small cubes.  Cook them in the broth for 10 minutes until almost cooked.  Add the corn and the onion.  Thicken with a little corn starch,  add ½ cup of  ½ and ½  or milk, adjust for salt and add some cayenne pepper. 







  • Kernals from 2-3 ears of leftover corn (cooked or raw)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup corn meal
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4-1/2 cup water
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  1. Mix everything together and let sit a few minutes.  Add more water if too thick.  It should have a thick pancake batter consistency.  
  2. Heat a frying pan with some vegetable oil.  Fry a sample 1 tablespoon size fritter and taste for seasoning and adjust with more liquid if necessary.  You want to cook them hot and brown them on each side.  They should be nice and crispy.  Make them any size you like but I like them to be around 3 inches in diameter.
  3. Serve for breakfast with maple syrup or as a side dish to your dinner.  These go well with a pork barbecue.



Left over rice from the Asian restaurant? I always bring the rice home.  Day old rice is perfect for fried rice and homemade fried rice is in a class of its own.  This is miles better than restaurant fried rice


Fried rice:

·         Start with one of those little boxes of rice from the restaurant or 2 cups cooked rice.  Sushi rice isn’t so great because it’s a little too sticky.  Anything goes at this point but the very best fried rice needs:  cabbage, zucchini, peas, onions, shrimp and some meat.  Start by frying up some chopped sweet onion until its soft and beginning to brown. Put it aside.  Then cube  one or two smallish zucchini and fry until not quite cooked through. Set aside.  Slice about a cup or so of cabbage finely and fry very hot until browned and set aside.  Chop up a few shrimp if you have some frozen and fry them until cooked through and set aside.  If you have broccoli or another vegetable you’d like to add, be creative. Any meat works:  a little cut up ham, beef, pork, Chinese sausage.  Whatever you add, cut it into small cubes and cook it through.  I usually add leftovers rather than buying something fresh. Meat or shrimp is not necessary.


This is sort of like “stone soup”.  The rice is the stone and then you start adding and the more you add, the greater the dish.  Now add the rice to the frying pan or wok and cook in some oil until the kernels are separated and heated through.  Combine everything with the rice and cook it through.  In a separate bowl mix together some soy sauce and some oyster sauce.  You can buy vegetarian oyster sauce if you’d prefer.  I can’t tell you the quantities since this is all about getting inspired by what is hanging about in your fridge and freezer”. But I would start with ¼ cup of soy and 2 TBS of oyster sauce if you started with a cup or so of rice.  Start easy and add more if you want the flavor to be stronger.  Don’t salt until after you’ve added the soy and oyster sauce.


Heat it all together and add the frozen peas at the last minute and cover for a few minutes until the peas are cooked through.  IF you'd like to scramble an egg seaparately, chop it up and add it to the fried rice, this is delicious and authentic. At the last minute you can also garnish with scallion. This dish is great on its own or as a side dish.  And believe it or not, it tastes even better the next day as a leftover.  My husband likes it with the chili garlic sauce as a condiment.





·         This is my go to meal when I have a little bit of leftover steak or venison or bison.  Next night for dinner or for breakfast you start again with fried chopped onions.  Fry them in olive oil until soft and caramalized.  Set aside.  Peel and chop potatoes or sweet potatoes (or both) into small cubes. Fry them in olive oil over medium to high heat watching closely so they don’t burn.  Once they are beginning to brown I cover them for a few minutes until they are cooked through. This should take 10-15 minutes.  Add the potatoes and onion and meat that you have cut into pieces the same size as the potatoes.  Heat all together and add plenty of pepper and adjust for salt.  Next break an egg per person into the hash and cook them as you like.  This beats any hash you’ll get in a diner.  Guaranteed.












Salsa soup with tortilla chips:

·         So how many times do you find yourself with some salsa that has been  hanging around a while and you want to use it up before opening up a new one?  This soup is a hit with everyone.  Again, no exact quantities and you can spice it up to your liking.  But the basics are tomatoes, salsa, black beans and corn.  I start with about a cup of salsa and throw it in a pot with a can of broth (chicken or vegetable) and then add a can of black beans, and a can of corn or I have  fresh or frozen corn .  A can of small diced tomatoes works or you can use up some whole canned tomatoes that are hanging about the fridge like I did tonight .  Or you cn  use fresh peeled tomatoes.  Just chop whatever you have into small pieces.  Bring it all to a simmer and add some hot sauce if you need it hotter or some chili powder.  I also add some smoked paprika.


            Simmer for 10-15 minutes while until the corn is cooked.  Now this is the fun part.   

            Arrange some garnishes on a side platter for people to add to their soup as the like:   

·         scallions

·         Avocado

·         Sour cream

·         Cilantro

·         Lime

·         and don’t forget tortilla chips to crumble on top the last minute.




      I just found this recipe in the October 2012 issue of the Food Network Magazine and it was an instant hit.  The recipe is also on the Food network website, one of the Contessa's recipes.  I have adjusted it a bit:  No 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream for instance.  The first thing I try to do in any recipe is cut down the fat, sugar and salt.  So here is my version of this recipe but the original you can find as well by clicking on the recipe title.


     I use really good bread that has gotten stale because we didn't eat it fast enough.



Mushroom & Leek Bread Pudding

Adapted from  from Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust. Copyright (c) 2012 by Ina Garten. By Arrangement with Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc. for Food Network Magazine

Serves:   4-6 servings



·       2-3 cups (1/2-inch-diced) bread cubes from a rustic country loaf  

·         1 tablespoons good olive oil

·         1 tablespoons unsalted butter

·         2 ounces deli ham, leftover ham or pancetta small-diced

·         2 cups sliced leeks, white and light green parts (2 medium leeks)

·      1 -8 oz. package crimini, baby bella or white mushrooms, 1/4-inch-sliced

·         1/4 cup medium or dry sherry

·         Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

·      ·         2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

·         2 extra-large eggs

·         ¾ cup milk

·         ½  cup chicken stock

·         1 cup grated Gruyere cheese (3-4 ounces), divided


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spread the bread cubes on a sheet pan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the oil and butter in a large (12-inch) saute pan over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook for 5 minutes, until starting to brown. Stir in the leeks and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until the leeks are tender. Stir in the mushrooms, sherry, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, until most of the liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally.  Off the heat, stir in the parsley.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, chicken stock and ½  cup of the Gruyere. Add the bread cubes and mushroom mixture, stirring well to combine. Set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes or longer  to allow the bread to absorb the liquid. Stir well and pour into a 2 1/2-to-3-quart gratin dish (13 x 9 x 2 inches). Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup Gruyere and bake for about 30 minutes, until the custard is barely set. It should still be very moist but with a crunchy top.  If you need to, put it briefly under the broiler.  Don’t overcook this or it will be dried out. Serve hot.  This is great the next day reheated in the microwave.









Having just returned from 3 days in Manhattan eating at Michelin starred restaurants and being inspired by the great corn we are eating this summer, I decided to put together a meal entirely based on corn.  I had a blast and what transpired was a very unique and surprisingly great meal.  I’ll offer general guidelines for some of the recipes and for others I’ll give you more details.


 The corn maple syrup panna cotta was the most unusual and a real keeper.  The trick for all of these dishes is to find the perfect corn which I am pleased to say can be found in various locations this summer.  I like it, crispy, (not mushy), sweet and packed with corny flavor. 


So here we go, experiment as I did.  Look online for similar recipes and then take off with your ideas.  And be prepared to spend time prepping so that last minute you can finish your dishes quickly.    It helps to have guests who enjoy lending a hand.



August 24th 2012

Celebrating summer and corn




Creamed corn  filo cups with cheese, caramelized onions and shitake mushrooms


Corn vichyssoise with leeks and onions


Arugula and grilled  corn salad with pistachios, and heirloom tomatoes


Tortilla corn and black bean stack with pulled pork


Corn and crab cakes with lemon caper butter sauce (hold the  mayo)


Grilled Kielbasa with corn relish


Savory corn pudding


Corn and maple syrup panna cotta with peaches and strawberries





Creamed Corn Fillo Cups

with Shitake Mushrooms and goat Cheese



5 oz. package sliced shitake mushrooms

1 small sweet onion,  small diced

Olive oil for frying

2 tbs. butter for frying

2 ears of corn cut off the cob

½ cup heavy cream

4 oz. cream cheese

2 oz. goat cheese

1/3 cup shredded swiss cheese

salt and pepper

2 packages mini fillo shells (I like Athens brand that come 15 to a package and is in the freezer section near the pie doughs)


1.      Fry onions in a little olive oil and 1 Tbs. butter until slightly brown and set aside.

2.     Fry mushrooms in a little olive oil with remaining butter and set aside.

3.     Fry the corn kernels briefly in same frying pan over high heat so that it begins to release a great corn fragrance, stirring frequently.

4.     After you begin to smell the corn (about3-5 minutes) add the cream and simmer corn and cream together for another 5-6 minutes.

5.     Meanwhile, in a food process, process cream cheese and goat cheese until well missed. 

6.     Mix everything together and season for salt and pepper.  I like alot of pepper in this dish.

7.     You can prepare this ahead of time and refrigerate for a couple of days.  Right before you serve it, heat it up in the microwave and then fill about 1 Tbs in each cup and sprinkle with the grated swiss cheese.  Bake at 350 ? for about 20-25 minutes or until bubbly and beginning to brown.





3 Tbs. olive oil)

3 medium leeks, trimmed, sliced and washed

2 medium sweet onions, thinly sliced

4-6 ears corn, kernels cut from the cob. Put corn from one ear aside.

32 ounces or 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth

½ cup ½ and ½ (optional)

Salt to taste

Snipped chives for garnish


1.  Using heavy casserole, fry the onions in butter until soft and lightly browned.

2.  Adds sliced leeks and cook slowly with onions for another 10 minutes, stirring


3.  Add chicken or vegetable broth and bring to a simmer.  Simmer gently, covered for

     20 minutes or until leeks are soft.

4. Add corn and cook for another 5 minutes.

5.  When slightly cooled, pureed the mixture in a blender or food process until very

      smooth.  Add ½ and ½ if desired at this point and mix together.

6. Fry the last ear of corn kernels over high heat with a little oil and some salt until beginning to brown.  Set aside to use for garnish. (This step is optional)
7.  Refrigerate 24-48 hours.

7.  Garnish each bowl with chopped chives and corn kernels.




Arugula and grilled corn salad with pistachios, cucumbers and heirloom tomatoes and a preserved lemon dressing


The fusion of lemon, pistacchio and corn creates flavor that is quite extraordinary.




Baby arugula or mixed baby greens

2 ears of corn, grilled until beginning to brown and then kernels removed when cool

¼ cup pistachio nuts

1 cucumber

cherry tomatoes




1 preserved lemon without the peel, chopped finely

1 Tbs. chopped chives

Juice of one meyer lemon

pinch of sugar

1/3 cup olive oil

salt and pepper to taste



1.       For dressing mix everything together, preferably in a small food processor or chopped and add olive oil gradually. Add salt and pepper to taste

2.      Toss with greens

3.      Arrange the lettuce, corn, pistachios, tomatoes and cucumbers attractively on each plate.




Tortilla corn and black bean stack with pulled pork


Pulled Pork


Corn tortillas

Black beans

2 ears of corn

½ cup heavy cream


This is an experiment based on a wonderful dish we had at Café Bolud in NYC during their restaurant week.  This was served with a Southwestern style lamb dish and they were tiny 1 inch squares of layered beans and tortillas.  I thought it would be even better with a layer of corn as well.


Bean layer:  I make my own black beans in a pressure cooker without needing to soak ahead of time.  To half a pound of beans that have been cleaned, I add ½ cup of soy sauce, ¼ cup orange juice, and a cup of water.  I then add salt, a couple of garlic cloves and a little cumin.  I pressure cook for 20 minutes and then reduce pressure and check for doneness.  They take between 20-30 minutes.  I then leave them to cool in their liquid and when you make the puree add only enough liquid to give it a smooth spreadable consistency.  You can also buy canned black beans and puree and season them to your liking or you can do this with refried beans.


Corn layer:  Take kernels off the cobs and fry this in a sauce pan until beginning to smell aromatic but not brown.  Add heavy cream and cook together for 5-6 minutes until the corn is cooked.  Then put in food process or blender and puree until very smooth.  If it’s too thick add some more milk or cream to think it out but you want it spreadable and not runny.


To make the stacks:  Toast the tortillas in a toaster oven until very lightly toasted but not brown.  On a tortilla spread a thin layer of beans, then layer another tortilla and then a layer of corn followed by another layer of tortilla.

Wrap them up and refrigerate them until ready to serve.  Right before serving fry them in a hot frying pan until lightly browned on each side.  


For main course serve one or two per person and for an appetizer serve a quarter of the stack alongside the pulled pork.



Corn and crab cakes with lemon caper butter sauce


There are some people who are mayo-phobes.  They hate anything even remotely associated with jarred mayo including any type of aioli.  I am happy to offer this recipe for a mayo-less crabcake and mayo-less sauce.



You can use you own crab cake recipe and add corn or follow these general instructions:


Crab Cake

8 ounces crab meat (good quality, not canned or imitation)

2 green onions (scallions, finely chopped)

1/3 cup heavy cream

2 ears of corn, kernels removed

1 tsp old bay seasoning

cayenne pepper to taste

1 tsp dry mustard

2 egg yolks

bread crumbs


1.      Cook the corn in the heavy cream until the corn is cooked through but still crunchy (5-6 minutes) cool

2.     Mix egg yolks into corn and cream mixture

3.     Mix everything except bread crumbs together gently so as to keep the chunks of crabmeat intact.

4.     Gently make small (2 inch) patties and coat them with the bread crumbs. This is difficult since they are very crumbly

5.     Refrigerate until they are firm and easy to handle.

6.     Fry in vegetable oil until brown on each side.

7.     Serve with lemon caper sauce


Lemon Caper Sauce (hold the mayo)


Juice of one lemon

1 Tbs. capers

2 Tbs. butter

2 Tbs. white wine or vermouth

1/4 heavy cream


1.     Boil lemon juice and vermouth until reduced to 1-2 Tbs.

2.  Add cream and reduce until thickened.

3.      Wisk in butter a little at a time while stirring. 

4.     Add capers and season with salt

4.     Refrigerate until ready to use.

5.     Heat gently in microwave



Grilled Kielbasa with corn relish


Kielbasa ( I like the small individual smoked Polish Kielbasa from Hilshire Farms)


Corn Relish Recipe



·         1 large cucumbers, peeled, finely chopped

·         2 cups of finely chopped onions 

        1 cup chopped green cabbage


·         2 stalks celery finely chopped (Size of corn kernels)

·         ½ cup chopped pimento

·         4 cups corn kernels (cut from 4-6 ears, depending on how big the ears are)

·         1/2 cup sugar

·         1 ½  Tbsp Kosher salt

·         1/2 teaspoon black pepper

·         1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar (5% acidity)

·         1/2 teaspoon turmeric

·         2 teaspoons mustard seeds

·         1 teaspoon celery salt

·         cayenne pepper to taste


1        Place everything except corn, celery and cucumber and pimento in a medium-sized (4 to 6-quart), thick-bottomed pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.

2        Add celery and cook for another 5 minutes.  Add corn and cook for another 5 minutes.  Then mix in pimento.  Taste for seasoning.

3         Spoon the corn relish into clean jars and seal. Will last for 4-6 weeks refrigerated.

4        This is better made a few days before you serve it.


Yield: Makes 3-4 pints.




Savory corn pudding



FOOD AND WINE magazine has a wonderful corn pudding recipe . I cut down on the butter; actually I just left it out.  And instead of 6 eggs, I used 4 because I wanted more corn flavor.  The corn is so sweet and tasty now…it’s the perfect time to try this recipe.  The cornmeal settles on the bottom so that it serves as a crust.  I loaded up with sweet Mayan onions. If you want a more elegant presentation try using muffin tins or individual pots as pictured above.  Another idea is to use a small cup as a cookie cutter and carved out single portions.  The picture below shows this single portion presentation using chervil as a garnish.






Corn and maple syrup panna cotta with seasonal fruit


This is an incredibly easy dessert to make and quite elegant.  It isn’t quite as smooth as regular panna cotta but my guests liked the texture.  If you want it really smooth you’ll need to put it through a sieve. 


5 ears of corn taken:  kernels taken off the cobs

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup whole milk

1 envelope gelatin

2 Tbs maple syrup


Mint leaves for garnish (optional)


1.      Put the gelatin in a bowl with 2 Tbs water to soften gelatin

2.     Heat the corn kernels up in a heavy skillet for a few minutes so that they become fragrant.  Add the heavy cream and simmer until the corn is cooked: 5-6 minutes.

3.     Add the gelatin and stir together until the gelatin is dissolved

4.     Put gelatin and corn mixture and maple syrup into blender and blend until very smooth. You will need a good blender for this.  I have a Vita Mix which does a good job.  A food processor will not make it smooth enough.  If you want it smoother you will have to put it through a fine sieve after you add the milk. Add milk and pour into individual dishes.  A good amount is about ½ cup per person which will give you  6-7 servings.

5.     Chill in fridge until set.  You can make this the day before.

6.     Garnish with mint and serve with fruit cut into little pieces:  blueberries, nectarines, peaches, kiwis or strawberries.