food and sundries


Pineapple Pie (Grammy B)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For filling, mix:

One 1 lb.-4oz. can of crushed pineapple
1 1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch
3/4 Cup sugar
Dash of salt

For pie crust, either buy one ready-made (like I am wont to do) or:

Sift 2 cups flour with 1 tsp. salt.
Cut in 2/3 cup shortening.

Mix with hands, sprinkling enough water over mixture to make a stiff dough.

Divide dough into two equal portions. Roll one portion on lightly-floured surface into a circle about 1/8 inch thick. Fit into 8″ or 9″ pie pan. Add filling. Roll out second portion for top crust. Make several slits near center and place on pie filling. Seal edges with a flourish.

Bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees; then lower oven heat to 325 degrees and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Remove and cool on rack. Slice and enjoy! (Vanilla ice cream makes a divine accompaniment).

Colorado Cowboy Cookies (Grandma L)

2 sticks butter or margarine (can’t go wrong with that)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 cups quick oats
1-1/2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup nutmeats

Mix ingredients in the order listed. Cover and chill two hours to overnight.

Measure ~ 1/4 cup of dough per cookie onto lightly greased cookie sheets. Flatten by hand to 3-1/2 inch rounds.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-14 minutes, or until browned. Eat to your heart’s content.


Beet Risotto with Greens (D. Madison, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone)

  • 5-1/2 to 6-1/2 cups vegetable stock
    3 Tbs. butter or mix of butter/olive oil
    1/2 cup finely diced onion
    1-1/2 cups Arborio rice
    1/2 cup dry white wine
    2 Tbs. chopped parsley
    2 Tbs. chopped basil (or 1 Tbs. dried)
    2 to 3 medium beets, peeled and grated, about 2 cups
    2 to 3 cups greens (beet, chard, kale, spinach), stems removed and finely chopped
    salt and freshly milled pepper
    grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
    1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

    Simmer stock on stove. Heat butter in wide pot. Add onion and cook over medium heat for three minutes, stirring frequently. Add the rice, stir to coat it well, and cook for one minute. Add wine and simmer until absorbed, then stir in half the parsley and all of the basil, grated beets, and any chard or kale. Add two cups stock, cover, and cook at lively simmer until stock is absorbed. Begin adding remaining stock in 1/2-cup increments, stirring constantly until each additon is absorbed before adding the next. When you have one cup left, add any beet greens or spinach. Taste for salt, season with pepper, then stir in lemon zest and juice to taste. Serve dusted with the cheese and remaining parsley. Enjoy with enthusiasm (but watch your whites)!


    B’Stila (Kitty Morse, Cooking at the Kasbah)

    2 Tbs. vegetable oil
    1 onion, finely chopped
    6 skinned chicken thighs
    3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
    1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
    2 Tbs. minced fresh cilantro
    1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
    8 threads Spanish saffron, toasted and crushed
    1 cup water
    1 tsp. ground ginger
    1 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
    3 eggs, lightly beaten
    1 tsp. salt
    1/2 tsp. pepper
    2/3 cup powdered sugar

      Almond Mixture:

    1/2 cup whole blanched almonds
    1/2 cup powdered sugar
    1 tsp. ground cinnamon

    12 sheets phyllo dough, thawed
    1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
    ground cinnamon and powdered sugar for garnish

    To Make Filling:  In a large enameled saucepan or small Dutch oven over medium heat, heat the oil.  Saute the onion until golden, 6-8 minutes.  Add chicken, parsley, cilantro, turmeric, saffron, water, ginger, and cinnamon.  Cover and cook until chicken in tender, 20-25 minutes.  With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a bowl and set aside to cool.

    Let sauce continue to simmer int he pan and add the beaten eggs, salt, pepper, and sugar.  Stir constantly until the eggs are scrambled.  Bone and shred the chicken and add it to the eggs.  Set aside.

    To Make Almond Mixture:  In blender or food processor, coarsely grind almonds.  Transfer them to a small bowl and mix them with the sugar and cinnamon.  Set aside.

    Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Remove 12 sheets phyllo from package and rewrap remaining phyllo in original plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for another use.

    Stack the 12 sheets on a work surface.  Using a sharp knife, with a 12-inch pizza pan as a template, cut through the stacked phyllo sheets.  Discard scraps.  With a pastry brush, paint the pizza pan with a little melted butter.  Keep the phyllo leaves covered with a damp cloth as you work.

    Layer 3 round phyllo leaves on the pan, lightly brushing each with melted butter.  Sprinkle the third leaf lightly and evenly with the almond mixture.  Layer and butter 3 more leaves.  Spread the chicken mixture evenly over the top, leaving a 1 1/2 inch border of phyllo.  Fold over the edges to partially cover the chicken mixture.  Layer and butter 3 more leaves over the chicken, sprinkling the remaining ground almond mixture evenly over the top.  Layer and butter the last 3 leaves of phyllo over the almond mixture.  Tuck the edges of these last 6 leaves under the b’stila as you would a bed sheeet.

    Make as many as you desire as instructed above.  Bake until golden brown, 20-25 minutes.  Dust with powdered sugar and sprinkle with ground cinnamon.  Serve immediately.

    Note:  Uncooked, they freeze well (up to 2 months).  No need to thaw before baking, but bake for about 10 minutes longer.


    Brennan’s Bananas Foster

    ¼ cup (1/2 stick) butter
    ½ tsp. cinnamon
    ¼ cup white rum
    4 bananas, cut in half lengthwise, then halved
    1 cup brown sugar
    ¼ cup banana liqueur
    4 scoops vanilla ice cream

    Combine butter, sugar and cinnamon in a flambé pan or skillet.  Place the pan over low heat either on an alcohol burner (like we all have those hangin’ around) or on top of the stove, and cook, stirring until the sugar dissolves.  Stir in the banana liqueur, then place the bananas in the pan.  When the banana sections soften and begin to brown, carefully add the rum.  Continue to cook the sauce until the rum is hot, then tip the pan slightly to ignite the rum.  When the flames subside, lift the bananas out of the pan and lace four pieces over each portion of ice cream.  Generously spoon warm sauce over the top of the ice cream and serve immediately.

    Die happy.


    Illegal Gingerbread Cookies

    Preheat oven to 350.

    1 cup sugar
    1 cup shortening
    1 cup molasses
    1 tsp. salt
    2 eggs
    2 tsp. baking powder
    1 tsp. baking soda
    5 cups flour
    2 tsp. ground ginger
    2 tsp. ground cloves
    3 tsp. cinnamon
    1 tsp. ground nutmeg

    Cream sugar and shortening.  Add molasses and salt.  Mix until smooth.  Add egg.  Mix until smooth.  Add spices.  Mix until smooth.  Add sifted flour, soda and powder.  Mix until smooth.  Knead last smidgen of flour in if it will not stir in.  Roll and cut out cookies.  Makes approx. 3 dozen.


    Molasses Cookies (Grammy B’s slight variation on a theme)

    Preheat oven to 375.

    1 cup sugar
    ½ cup molasses
    1 cup butter or shortening
    1 egg
    1 tsp. ground ginger
    ½ cup cold water
    1 tsp. baking soda
    1 tsp. salt
    4 cups all purpose flour

    Cream butter/shortening and sugar.  Drop in egg and beat well.  Stir in molasses.  Add cold water.  Add flour (after sifting it three times with ginger, salt and baking soda).  Mix until it forms a soft dough, kneading as little as possible.  Roll out to ½ inch thickness and cut into rounds for soft cookies (1/4 inch for medium crisp, 1/8 inch for very crisp).  Bake for 10-12 minutes.


    Beef and Snow Peas (A childhood favorite. Thanks, mom. Let’s hope tofu works too.)

    1 ½ lb. flank steak
    4 Tbs. peanut oil
    ½ lb. fresh snow peas or 10 oz. package frozen (thawed and drained)
    2 thin slices of peeled fresh ginger
    5 green onions, sliced

    3 Tbs. soy sauce
    2 Tbs. cornstarch

    1 Tbs. soy sauce
    1 tsp. molasses
    4 Tbs. water

    Cut flank steak lengthwise into 3 inch strips.  Cut across the grain in ¼ inch thick strips.  In shallow dish, mix marinade ingredients.  Toss meat in the marinade to coat.  Marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.

    In a small bowl, combine the sauce ingredients.  Set aside.

    In wok or skillet, heat 2 Tbs. of the oil.  Add snow peas.  Cook, stirring constantly for approx. 1 minute.  Remove peas to serving plate.  Add the two remaining Tbs. of oil to the pan.  Brown the ginger.  Stir in onions and beef.  Cook for approx. 3 minutes.  Return snow peas to the pan.  Pour sauce over the mixture and stir for one additional minute.  Serve over rice.


    Classic Egg White Chocolate Buttercream (Beranbaum, The Cake Bible)

    3 1/3 (3-ounce) bars of bittersweet chocolate (at room temp)
    2 Cups of unsalted butter, softened
    4 large egg whites (at room temp)
    1 Cup sugar

    Break chocolate into squares and place in double boiler over very hot water or low heat.  The water must not exceed 160 degrees Fahrenheit or touch the bottom of the double boiler insert.

    Remove double boiler from heat and stir frequently until chocolate begins to melt.

    Return to the heat if the water cools, but be careful that it does not get too hot.  Stir 8 to 10 minutes or until the chocolate is smooth.  (You can do this in a microwave oven on high if you stir it every 15 seconds and remove it before fully melting, stirring to complete the melting).

    In a mixing bowl beat the butter until smooth and creamy.

    In another mixing bowl beat the egg whites until soft peaks form when the beater is raised.  Gradually beat in the sugar until stiff peaks form when the beater is raised slowly.  Beat in the butter by the tablespoon.  If the mixture looks slightly curdled, increase the speed a little and beat until smooth before continuing to add more butter.  Add the melted and cooled chocolate all at once and beat until smooth and uniform in color. 

    Place in airtight bowl.  Re-beat at room temperature to restore texture.  Can store three days at room temperature, two weeks refrigerated and six months frozen.

    Makes about 4¾ cups (enough to fill and frost two 9-inch by 1½ inch layers).


    Chard and Onion Omelet (Trouchia)
    (With thanks to D. Madison, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone)

    3 Tbs. olive oil
    1 large purple onion, quartered and thinly sliced
    1 bunch o’ chard (leaves only), chopped
    Salt and pepper
    1 garlic clove (or, in my case, 1 tsp. garlic powder)
    6 to 8 eggs, lightly beaten
    2 Tbs. chopped basil (or, in my case, 1 Tbs. dried basil)
    2 tsp. chopped thyme
    1 cup grated cheese of choice (preferably something flavorful like Gruyere. I used a Spanish cheese, the name of which is escaping me)
    2 Tbs. freshly grated parmesan

    Heat 2 Tbs. of the oil in a large pan or skillet.   Add onion and cook over low heat until the onion is softened, but not colored, about 15 minutes.  Add the chard and continue cooking until all moisture has cooked off and chard is tender (about another 15 minutes).  Season with salt and pepper.

    While cooking the chard, mash the garlic and stir it and the herbs into the eggs.  Combine the cooked chard mixture with the eggs.  Stir in your cheese-of-choice and half of the Parmesan.

    Preheat broiler.  Heat remaining oil in a skillet.  When it’s hot, add the eggs.  Leave at medium-high heat for about a minute, then turn to low.  Cook until set, with a little bubbly moisture on top, about 10-15 minutes.

    Add the remaining Parmesan on top and broil 4-6 inches from the heat, until browned.

    Serve and enjoy the triumph as your friends proclaim your genius and discover they actually like chard.


    Easy and Flavorful Vegetarian Paella/Paella Vegetariana (Ballinger, Paella Paella)

    1/4 cup (2 fl. oz.) olive oil
    1 large yellow onion, chopped
    5 cloves garlic, minced
    4 cups (32 fl. oz.) vegetable broth
    2 cups rice
    1 small red bell pepper, cut into strips
    1 small green bell pepper, cut into strips
    1 small yellow bell pepper, cut into strips
    4 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
    1 cup (4 oz.) frozen peas, defrosted
    2 cups (14 oz.) artichoke hearts, tough outer leaves removed, and quartered (Note: canned and marinated will work)
    1 lemon

    Heat oil in a large pan and sauté the onion and garlic until the onion is tender and translucent.  At the same time, heat the broth in a separate saucepan until simmering.

    Pour the rice into the pan and sauté for about 3 minutes.  Add bell peppers and tomatoes and cook for another 3 minutes.   Add the simmering vegetable broth and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes or until almost tender and almost all liquid has been absorbed.  Stir in the peas.

    Sprinkle artichoke hears with a few drops of lemon juice and arrange over the rice in attractive pattern.  Continue cooking until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender.  Garnish with lemon wedges.  Serve and enjoy.


    Autumn Potage

    2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced

    2 medium-sized apples, peeled, cored, and quartered

    1 medium-sized onion, chopped

    2 medium-sized parsnips, peeled and chopped

    4 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)

    1 whole cinnamon stick

    1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

    1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

    1/4 cup maple syrup (or to taste)

    1 cup heavy cream

    salt and pepper to taste

    Place the squash, apple, onion, carrot, and parsnip n a large soup pot, add the stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add the cinnamon stick, ginger, nutmeg, and maple syrup. Simmer covered until the vegetables are tender. Remove the cinnamon stick and puree the mixture in a food processor. Pour the puree into the soup pot, add the cream and salt and pepper, and heat through.