Posts tagged Bits and Bobs

Giving Thanks for Good Harvests

While it is Thanksgiving Day today in the United States,  Canada and other countries around our planet also give thanks for the bounty of a full harvest.  I am very thankful for the people in my life, past, present and future, and for the relative ease in which I can access food, water, and shelter for daily sustenance.  It is easy to take for granted our natural resources, so I would like to propose reflection on just how generous Mother Nature is to us, and to give thanks for all we have been provided with.   As Nature provides for us, we have a duty of care to protect and love her.  Providence.

I wouldn’t be a cookbook author if I didn’t share another great cookbook that I love and feel is completely appropriate for the spirit of giving thanks, written by a woman in the Mennonite community: More With Less by Doris Janzen Longacre.

This book was printed on chlorine-free paper and its production saved the equivalents of roughly 5 tons of trees, 1 swimming pool’s worth of water, 1 garbage truck’s capacity of waste, and the greenhouse gas emissions of one car for an entire year’s usage.  While it seems today many many people have turned away from faith because of human foibles and scandals (which I completely understand) let us remember what faith is in its purest form: a love and respect for those things seen and unseen that manifest in and guide our existence.

It is my sincere wish that people respect one another’s ideologies irrespective of one’s faith, sex, identity, race, or class; each one brings something beautiful to the tapestry we call Life; let us be thankful for the cornucopia of spiritual paths to help us along the way to enlightenment and, ultimately, peace.  Giving thanks for all roads open to us, peace to you and yours.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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On trips to Great Britain I’ve seen advertisements for Fresh Cream Cakes.  They always sound so sinfully delicious to me yet I have not been sufficiently motivated to hunt one down to gobble it up.  Maybe I would just be too embarrassed at the public watching my bulging eyes and greedy mouth devouring the wicked temptation with complete sensuous shamelessness.  Behold!  My whipped cream fairy godmother appeared and presented me with this recipe so you and I can enjoy gluttony in private  😉

Ha ha!  This image is courtesy of and while my waistline might not be so beautiful after the sweet cream indulgence my tastebuds and cute fat cheeks will be!  Maybe freshly whipped cream is fetchingly good to beautify your face…YES? YES!


* 1 3/4 cups cake flour
* 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
* 1 1/3 cups white sugar
* 2 eggs
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease and flour two 8 inch pans. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
2. Using an electric mixer, whip the cream with the sugar until stiff peaks form. Beat in the eggs, then stir in the vanilla. Fold in the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated.
3. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool.


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Lemons and Babies…

Have a look  🙂

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Medieval Munchies

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Our Precious Friends

Considering honey bees pollinate about 1/3 of our food supply, some appreciation might be appropriate.  Just saying.

Someone’s studied honey bees and concluded they have emotions.  You can read more about it here:

This recipe from my cookbook features warm honey, so while you’re dipping your bread into it bee truly amazed at just how precious our little friends are.  Thank you!

1 packet dry active yeast
¼ cup warm water
3 cups flour
1 tsp sea salt
4 large eggs, well-beaten
¾ cup ghee (clarified butter)
melted ghee or butter, for serving
warm honey, for serving

1. Dissolve yeast in the warm water.
2. Into a large mixing bowl sift the flour and salt. Make a well in center of the flour mixture.
3. Pour beaten egg and the yeast mixture into the well in center of the flour mixture. Stir to blend and then knead well.
4. Slowly mix in the ¼ cup warm melted ghee, continuously knead dough throughout this process. Continue kneading until dough is smooth and elastic. If dough seems too dry add a small amount of water at a time.
5. Flour your hands and divide the dough into 16 balls about the size of a large egg.
6. On a lightly floured board place a dough ball and form into a very thin round shape, using the heel of your hand, or a rolling pin.
7. Brush a baking sheet with ghee. Place the completed round on the baking tray and brush well with melted ghee. Shape 7 more rounds. After completing each round place on top of the previous round, press the edges with fingertips and brush well with ghee.
8. Repeat this process with the other 8 rounds. You will have 2 stacks on the baking sheet, be sure to brush the last round with the ghee.
9. Let rest in a warm place for 45 minutes.
10. Bake in a 350°F oven for 25-30 minutes until light golden brown. Tap the base of the tray — there should be a hollow sound to indicate the cakes are done.

Serve hot, either by breaking off pieces or cutting into wedges, with generous amounts of melted butter and warm honey on top.

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History of Cookies


History of Cookies.

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Bird Seed Throwing…

is much better than the rice some of us have thrown at weddings.

Here’s a free rice game that does good!  By just playing this game you generate a free donation of rice.  Easy. Simple. Good!

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Lunch Fit for a President

Ever wonder what heads of state eat?  Up for the challenge of preparing this meal?

Well, here we bring you one inaugural luncheon for a U.S. President. Can you guess which one? Time to eat then digest a bit of history…  😉

First Course, Seafood Stew. Yield: 10 servings

6 (1 Lb) Maine lobsters
20 medium size Sea scallops
36 Large shrimp, peel, cleaned and tail removed, aprox. 2 lbs.
10 (1 oz) pieces of black cod
1/2 cup small dice carrots
1/2 cup small dice celery
1/2 cup small dice leek
1/2 cup small dice Idaho potato
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground white pepper or black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 quart heavy cream
1 cup dry vermouth (can be made without)
10 (5 inch) puff pastry rounds

10 (3 ½ inch) terrines/ramekins or serving dish of your choice

1. Bring 1 gallon of water to a boil; poach lobsters, then shrimp, then black cod and last scallops. After seafood is cooked, remove from water; reserve water and bring to boil.

2. Cook all vegetables in liquid that was used for the seafood, remove vegetables when tender. Allow the liquid to continue to boil until only 1qt of liquid remains. This will be the base for the sauce.

3. Bring seafood liquid back to a boil and add the vermouth and heavy cream and reduce by half, season with salt, white pepper and nutmeg to taste. You have reached your desired thickness when the sauce will cover the back of a wooden spoon. Set aside to cool.

4. Cut Maine lobster, shrimp and scallops into bite size pieces.

5. Pre-heat oven at 400 degrees.

6. Fold seafood and vegetables into cool sauce, being careful not to mix too much as this will break up the seafood. Scoop mixture into terrines or oven proof baking dish of your choice.

7. Cover terrines with puff pastry rounds, brush them with egg wash and bake them until golden brown about 8-10 minutes, allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving. You can cook this 2-3 hours ahead of time and keep warm at 150 F degrees.

*All seafood can be substituted with other favorite options of your choice and availability.

Second Course, Duck Breast with Cherry Chutney, Yield: 10 servings

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion (1 small)
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Scant 1/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coarsely chopped red bell pepper (½ medium)
1 plum tomato, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup dry red wine
1 ½ to 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 can (3 cups) Bing cherries, quartered *Oregon brand
1/2 cup Golden Raisins
10 (6 oz.) boneless duck breasts with skin
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon or chives

Method for chutney and glaze:

1. Heat oil in a 2 to 3 quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook onion, garlic, and shallot, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 7 minutes.

2.Add tomato paste, black pepper, cumin, hot pepper flakes, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Reduce heat to medium and add bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.

3. Stir in wine, vinegar (to taste), and sugar and simmer approx 5 minutes. Stir in mustard, 1 1/2 cups cherries, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and simmer 1 minute.

4. Allow to cool slightly and reserve all but ¼ cup of the mix to the side. Place 1/4 cup mix in a blender and puree until very smooth, about 1 minute (use caution when blending hot liquids). Reserve for glazing duck.

5. To finish the chutney, add the remaining 1 ½ cups of cherries, tarragon, chives and all the golden raisins. Can be prepared one day ahead.

Method for Duck:

1.Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 450°F. Score duck skin in a crosshatch pattern with a small sharp knife and season duck all over with salt and pepper.

2.Heat water in an ovenproof 12-inch heavy skillet over low heat until hot, then add duck, skin side down. Cook duck, uncovered, over low heat, without turning, until most of fat is rendered(melted) and skin is golden brown, about 25 minutes.

3. Transfer duck to a plate and discard all but 1 tablespoon fat from skillet. Brush duck all over with cherry glaze and return to skillet, skin side up.

4. Roast duck in oven until thermometer registers 135°F, about 8 minutes for medium-rare. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

5. Holding a sharp knife at a 45-degree angle, cut duck into slices. Serve with cherry chutney and molasses whipped sweet potato.

Herb Roasted Pheasant with Wild Rice Stuffing, Yield: 10 portions

10 Pheasant breast, boneless, remove tenders and reserve for stuffing, cut small pocket in side of breast for stuffing
1/2 cup Olive oil with chopped rosemary, thyme and sage
1 lb. Wild rice, long grain
2 quarts Chicken stock or canned chicken broth
2 Carrots, diced
1/2 Onion, diced
1/2 cup Dried apricot, small diced
1 Tablespoon Salt and pepper mix
2 Tablespoons Garlic, roasted

1. Boil the rice with the chicken stock, cook until soft and most of the liquid is gone.

2. Add the onion, carrot, garlic and apricot. Cook until the vegetables are soft and all liquid has been absorbed. Refrigerate rice mixture until cold.

3. In a food processor, puree pheasant tenders to a paste consistency to use as a binder for rice mix.

4. When rice is cool, add the pheasant puree to the rice until well mixed. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and return to refrigerator until ready to stuff.

5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

6. Make 10 small football shaped patties of the rice mix, stuff inside the pheasant, being careful not to overstuff the pheasant. Rub herb/oil mixture on top and bottom of the pheasant, season with salt and pepper. Place the pheasant on a heavy gauge roasting pan and then in a preheated oven for approximately 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and cover with lid or foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Serve over sauté of spinach.

*Pheasant can be substituted with chicken.

Molasses Whipped Sweet Potatoes, Yield: 2 quarts

3 large sweet potatoes, about 3 pounds
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 tablespoon of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of molasses
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
2 tablespoons maple syrup

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and roast until easily pierced with a fork, about 1 hour.

3. Peel the skin off of the sweet potatoes while still hot.By hand or mixer, smash potatoes until all large chunks are gone. Combine the potatoes, butter, salt, orange juice, brown sugar, ground cumin, molasses and maple syrup in a large bowl. Continue to mix all together until all lumps are gone. Adjust any of the seasonings to your specific tastes. Can be made the day before.

Winter Vegetables, Yield: 10 servings

2 bunches Asparagus, green, bottom 1/3 of stem removed
2 lbs. Carrots, peeled, cut oblong or large dice
1 lb. Baby Brussel Sprouts, fresh,cleaned or frozen can be used
1 lb. Wax Beans, ends snipped
2 oz Butter
1 each Zest from orange
4 oz. Olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste.

1. Asparagus: preheat grill or large heavy bottom sauté pan. Rub 2 oz of olive oil on asparagus and season with pinch of salt and pepper. Lay flat on grill or sauté pan until lightly browned. Using long fork or tongs, rotate the asparagus to brown other sides. Usually 2 or 3 minutes per side. The asparagus is done when you can use a fork to cut through. Do not overcook, this will cause asparagus to become stringy. Keep warm until ready to serve.

2. Carrots: bring 3 qt salted water to a boil, add carrots to water and cook until fork tender, meaning a fork will easily pass through the carrot. Drain the water from the pot and toss 1 oz butter and zest of orange and mix until carrots are coated. Season with pinch of salt and enjoy. Keep warm until ready to serve.

3.Brussel Sprouts: For Fresh: Bring 3 qt salted water to a boil, cut into the stem of the sprout with a pairing knife to create an X on the bottom, this will allow the stem to cook more evenly. Place sprout in boiling water and allow to cook until bottom of sprout is tender and easily cut with a knife. Preheat a heavy bottom sauté while the sprouts are cooking. Remove sprouts from water and allow all water to drain completely. Add 2 oz oil to sauté pan and add the sprouts, season with salt and pepper while tossing the sprouts around to evenly brown in the pan. If sprouts are too big, you can cut them in half, keep warm until ready to serve. For Frozen: Bring 3 qt salted water to a boil and drop frozen brussel sprouts into water, these are precooked so you are only thawing them out. Remove from water and sauté as above.

4. Yellow Wax beans: bring 3 qt salted water to boil, add snipped wax beans to water and allow to cook until fork tender or to your liking of doneness. Remove from water and toss with 1 oz butter and season with salt and pepper.

Third Course, Cinnamon Apple Sponge Cake, Yield: 10 servings

Apple Filling: 4 lbs Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup apple sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
Grated zest from 1 lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Bread Crust: 14 tablespoons unsalted butter, melt 10 of tablespoons
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
34 slices brioche bread (or white bread)

Equipment: 10 Ceramic baking ramekins or metal molds (3” diameter)

Sauce: 2 cups caramel sauce(store bought)

2 cups granny smith apples, peeled, cored, diced
small Pinch sugar
Pinch cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter

Ice Cream:  1 quart vanilla ice cream

Preparation Filling:

1. Melt butter in 6-quart saucepan over medium-low heat. Add apples and caramelize, add water, cook, stirring occasionally for 15 to 20 minutes, or until apples are completely soft.

2. Remove cover and add sugar, nutmeg and salt. Increase heat to medium-high and continue to cook, stirring apples frequently, until liquid has completely evaporated, about 10 minutes.

3. Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest, apple sauce and vanilla. Set aside to cool while making crust. The filling can be made one day ahead.

Making crust and assembly:

1. Position oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 425°F. Grease 8 ceramic dishes with 1 tablespoon butter. Sprinkle sugar in dish and tilt to coat bottom and sides. Tap out excess sugar and set aside.

2. Using a bread knife, remove crusts from bread. Center the bottom of mold over one of the bread squares. Cut around mold to form circle to use as the top. Make a total of 20 of these round pieces. Ten will be for the bottom and 10 will be used for the top. Dip each one in melted butter and place at the bottom of mold.

3. Cut each of the 15 remaining slices of bread into four rectangular pieces. Dip one side of each strip in the melted butter and arrange strips, upright, around the inside of molds, buttered-sides against mold and overlapping by about 1/2” to completely line mold. Use 6 rectangles to line the mold.

4. Spoon the apple filling into bread-lined molds, mounding it slightly in center.

5. Take the remaining ten rounds of bread and dip pieces of bread into the melted butter and place on top of filling, buttered-sides up. Press down lightly.

6. Bake for 30 minutes, then cover top loosely with aluminum foil. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, until top is deep golden brown and side slices are golden brown (slide a thin-bladed knife between bread and pan to check). Remove from oven, uncover, and let rest for 15 minutes on wire rack. Run thin-bladed knife around edges of molds to be able to flip the mold out onto serving plates.

7. For the apple cinnamon caramel sauce, sauté 1 cup of peeled and diced Granny Smith apples in butter, add a pinch of sugar and cinnamon. Allow to cook until apples are lightly browned and all sugars have dissolved. Remove from heat and add 2 cups caramel sauce to the apples and stir to coat apples.

To Assemble:

Pour caramel apple sauce over warmed apple cakes and serve with your favorite vanilla ice cream.

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Pop Rocks!

One of the candies I ate as a kid.  🍀.

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Can You Say “Small” ?

Seeing Is Believing…

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