Wednesday, January 31, 2007


~ Jason's Birdhouse


"Imagine 500 friars eating 500 plates of steaming minestrone every night-that's pollution.

~ Gisberto Martelli

3 pounds sliced sweet Italian sausage

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 large chopped Spanish onions

4 cloves minced garlic

1 head shredded cabbage

8 large diagonally sliced carrots

3 cubed potatoes

1 large coarsely chopped green pepper

1 large coarsely chopped red pepper

3 diced zucchini

1/2 pound diagonally sliced green beans

3 quarts organic chicken broth

2 (28-oz) cans seasoned Italian tomatoes

freshly ground black pepper

1 heaping Tbsp. basil

1 heaping Tbsp. oregano

1 (32-oz) jar spaghetti sauce

2 (28-oz) cans cannellini or garbanzo beans

1 cup Arborio rice

1 (10-oz) package chopped spinach or equivalent fresh

1 cup Parmesan cheese

  1. Brown sausages in large stockpot. Drain grease. Add olive oil to pan and saute onion until soft. Add garlic and cabbage. Saute until cabbage is limp.
  2. Carefully pour in chicken stock. Bring to boil. Add carrots, potatoes, peppers, zucchini, green beans, rice and canned tomatoes. Season with pepper, basil and oregano. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes.
  3. Add beans, spaghetti sauce, spinach and Parmesan cheese. Simmer gently for 10 minutes.
  4. Ladle into shallow bowls and pass a grater and hunk of fresh Parmesan cheese. Serve with a loaf of crusty peasant bread.

Monday, January 29, 2007


~ It's still January and National Soup Month

~ lone daffodil
(a simple taste of asparagus)
2 pounds sliced asparagus (reserve tips)
1 large bunch of leeks
2 quarts organic chicken broth
1 stick sweet butter
coarse salt
freshly ground black pepper
sour cream
  1. Melt butter in large stockpot. Simmer clean chopped leeks until soft, about 20 minutes, stirring often.
  2. Add chicken stock, and sliced aspargus. Bring to boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes or until asparagus is very soft.
  4. Puree stock in blender, a batch at a time. Return to pot and add tips, simmering until tender but still firm, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Ladle in bowl and top with dollap of sour cream and chopped chives.

(In the spring, the soup looks lovely toppped with chive blossoms. When the weather is warm, serve the soup cold blended with 1/2 cup of heavy cream.)

(8 servings)

Sunday, January 28, 2007


~ All in a Row
(Sunday afternoon ice-fishing on Hubbard Lake)
"Beef is the soul of cooking."
~ Marie Antoine Careme
3 pounds beef tenderloin
6 Tbsp. butter
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves finely chopped garlic
1 pound (1/4 inch sliced) fresh mushrooms
3 Tbsp. flour
2 tsp. meat-extract paste
1 Tbsp. ketchup
1/2 tsp. coarse salt
1/2 tsp. fresh cracked pepper
1 can (10 1/2 oz.) organic beef stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 Tbsp. snipped fresh dill ( 1 heaping tsp. dried dill weed)
1 1/2 cup sour cream
2 12-ounce fresh or dried spinach noodles
(or 2 cups cooked wild rice tossed with 4 cups cooked white )
additional fresh snipped dill or parsley

  1. Trim fat from beef. Cut filet crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices. Cut each slice, across grain into 1/2-inch thick strips. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Slowly heat large heavy skillet. Melt 2 Tbsp. butter and just enough beef strips to cover skillet bottom. Over high heat, sear quickly on all sides. Remove with tongs as it browns (should be rare inside) and set aside. Continue until all strips are browned.
  3. In remaining hot butter in same skillet, saute onion, garlic, and mushrooms until onion is golden - about 5 minutes.
  4. Over low heat, add wine, snipped dill, and sour cream, stirring until well combined. Add beef; simmer just until sauce and beef are hot.
  5. Serve Stroganoff with spinach noodles or rice. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp. dill or parsley over top.
~ Uncork a light Merlot or Pinot Noir and enjoy!
Note: "The dish hails from beautiful Saint Petersburg, where a culinary competition was once held in Czarist times, and where, in the 1890s, an intrepid chef concocted a mouth-watering creation of beef, mushrooms and sour cream, and took home the first prize.
The chef was in the employ of a noble family of considerable rank in Russia and named the dish in honor of his patron, Count Pavel Alexandrovich Stroganov. The Stroganov family was rich beyond belief. At one time, they had 155,000 serfs on land that amounted to almost 6.5 million acres. One twist on the story is that the dish was designed specifically for the Count because he had lost his teeth and could no longer chew through a typical steak."

Friday, January 26, 2007


~ lake trout


( good with any mild fish like cod, whitefish, orange-roughy or even trout )

1 1/2 - 2 pounds tilapia filets

1 1/2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

cracked pepper

pinch of coarse salt

1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives

1/2 cup chopped Spanish olives

1 Tbsp. capers

3 tsp. minced garlic

1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup diced tomatoes

1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley

large package baby spinach leaves

lemon juice

Preheat broiler. Mix together olives, capers, garlic, 1 Tbsp. olive oil, balsamic vinegar, tomatoes and parsley. Season with pepper and salt. Let rest.

Coat fillets on both sides with remaining olive oil. Place in broiling pan and broil for approximately 8 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from pan and spoon olive mixture down center on tilapia. Serve on bed of slightly wilted spinach, sauteed in a bit of olive oil, and doused with fresh lemon juice.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Today is the 248th anniversary of Scottish poet Robert Burns' birthday. Sit by the fire after dinner, sip a bit of Scotch whiskey and nibble on Scottish Oatcakes, Stilton cheese and toasted nuts.
Scottish Oatcakes
(All Around the World Cookbook ~ Sheila Lukins)
Process 2 cups rolled oats in food processor until they resemble coarse flour. Transfer to bowl and add 1/2 tsp. baking powder and 1 tsp. salt, mixing well. Add 2 Tbsp. melted butter combining with wooden spoon, adding 1/3 cup water, a bit at a time, until combined.
Scatter 1/4 cup rolled oats on work surface. Gather dough in a ball and roll in oats. Roll dough 1/8 inch thick. Cut into 2 1/2 - inch rounds and bake 15 minutes in 350 degree oven until edges lightly golden. Cool 15 minutes before serving. (20 oatcakes)

A Red, Red Rose
~ Robert Burns

My love is like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June :
My love is like the melody
That’s sweetly played in tune.
As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in love am I :
And I will love thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry.
Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun :
And I will love thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.
And fare thee weel, my only love,
And fare thee weel a while !
And I will come again, my love,
Thou’ it were ten thousand mile.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


(Winter is the perfect time to enjoy foods of fiber, color and flavor.)

~ Snow Angel


1 big fat chopped red onion

3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

3 stalks chopped celery with leaves

4 cloves chopped garlic

1 heaping Tbsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

1 (32-ounce) organic chicken broth

3 chopped carrots

3 (15-ounce) cans undrained back beans

1 (16-ounce) container fresh salsa

1/2 cup fresh lime juice

bunch of fresh chopped cilantro (reserve some for garnish)

sour cream

Brown onion, garlic, celery, cumin and pepper flakes in olive oil over medium heat. Carefully add chicken broth, scraping brown bits from bottom. Bring to boil and add carrots, beans, salsa, and lime juice. Reduce heat and stir in chopped cilantro. Simmer 30 minutes. Ladle soup into big bowls and top with dollop of sour cream, chopped cilantro, and a side of homemade tortilla chips.


1 large (wiped clean) Portobello mushroom* per person

2 slices of hearty bread per person (wheat, sour dough, etc.)

olive oil

cracked pepper

thickly sliced red onion

Provolone cheese

fresh basil or baby spinach leaves

pesto sauce, Dijon mustard or Wasabi mayo

Lightly douse mushrooms with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, coating all sides well. Season with cracked pepper and let rest and marinate. Brush bread with olive oil and cracked pepper. Grill both sides until browned. Next, grill red onions that have been brushed with olive oil and set aside. Grill mushrooms belly-side up on medium-high heat about 5-6 minutes depending on thickness. Flip and grill another 5-6 minutes. Turn back, belly-side up, and top with cheese. Cover until cheese melts.

Assemble: Plop mushrooms, cheese side up, on grilled bread. Top with grilled onion fresh basil or baby spinach leaves. Slather bread with pesto, Dijon mustard or Wasabi mayo. Serve juicy sandwich with lots of paper napkins and a good beer to wash it down.

* Note

"Health Benefits: When it comes to health, edible mushrooms are a right up there with other super-foods green tea and broccoli. After all, the first antibiotics were extracted from fungi. Being 80-90% water, mushrooms are low in calories, while still being high in fiber. They are fat-free, cholesterol-free, and low in sodium (especially good for those on a hypertensive diet). Here are some other reasons to sneak more mushrooms into your cooking:Mushrooms are considered probiotic, meaning that they help the body to strengthen itself and ward off illness. Part of mushrooms' probiotic ability comes from their high percentage of the nutrient riboflavin. Mushrooms are a great source of potassium, a mineral which helps lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke. A medium portobello mushroom has more potassium than a glass of orange juice or a banana.Phytonutrients found in mushrooms have been at the center of anti-cancer research for decades. In many countries, medicinal mushrooms are used as an adjunct to other cancer treatments."

~ quote from "The Mighty Mushroom"

Monday, January 22, 2007

"BLUE MONDAY" ~ designated "The Bleakest Day of the Year"

Hubbard Lake Sunset
(January 20th)

"Next to jazz music, there is nothing that lifts the spirit and strengthens the soul more than
a good bowl of chili."

~ Harry James


6-7 pounds ground beef

3 Tbsp. olive oil

3 large coarsely chopped Spanish onions

6 cloves minced garlic

1 each red, yellow, orange and green chopped pepper

4 (28-ounce) cans chopped tomatoes

1 cup chili powder

1 Tbsp. cracked pepper

coarse salt

1 Tbsp. Lawry's Seasoned Pepper

1 (40-ounce) can spicy hot chili beans

1 (14-ounce) can spicy chili beans

3 (15-ounce) cans whole kernel corn

2 (4-ounce cans) drained sliced black olives

Brown meat, drain excess grease and add olive oil. Brown onions and garlic. Add peppers and saute until soft. Cover with canned tomatoes and their liquid, chili powder, salt and peppers. Bring to boil then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Stir in beans and their liquid, corn with liquid, and olives. Simmer gently for 20 minutes or until heated through. Serve in big bowls topped with shredded cheese, Garden Fresh salsa and a side of kettle style Blue Corn Tortilla chips.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


(30 year old recipe adapted from Bon Appetit)
Whole brisket (8 pounds)

2 large chopped onions

2 cloves crushed garlic

2 packages onion soup mix

1 bottle chili sauce

1 can beer

3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

3 slices rye bread

8-12 large carrots

cracked pepper

chopped parsley

Rub brisket with garlic and place on bed of chopped onion in tight covered roasting pan. In order over brisket sprinkle fresh pepper, Worcesterheshire sauce, soup mix, chili sauce, and beer.Lay carrots around brisket. Tear bread in small pieces and tuck under brisket so liquid is covering bread. Cover and place in oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Reduce oven to 275 degrees and cook for 2 hours and 15 minutes or until done. (Check to see if bread is covered by liquid). Remove and cool. Slice and arrange meat and carrots on oven proof platter. Cover with foil.


Take bread, onions and 2 cups liquid from pan. Place in blender until blended. If too thick, add more liquid. Adjust seasoning. Return to pan and blend with remaining liquid. Abut 1/2 hour before serving, reheat meat and carrots. Arrange on serving platter. Pour part of gravy over sliced meat. Serve remainder separately in sauce boat. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Monday, January 15, 2007


~ Morning Icy Splendor


(adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking)

“Onion soup sustains. The process of making it is somewhat like the process of learning love. It requires commitment, extraordinary effort, time, and will make you cry."
~ Ronni Lundy

6-8 pounds thinly sliced yellow onions
6 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. oil
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
6 heaping Tbsp. flour
3-4 quarts good beef stock
3 cups dry white wine
coarse salt and cracked pepper
few glugs of Kitchen Bouquet
12 Tbsp. Cognac
1 pound Swiss cheese*
1 - 1 1/2 pound assorted shredded cheddar, Colby and Swiss or Parmesan
Cook onions slowly in butter and oil in covered stockpot for 15 minutes. Uncover, raise heat to moderate, and stir in salt and sugar. Cook for 30-40 minutes stirring frequently until onions have turned deep golden brown. (Long slow cooking develops the deep, rich flavor). Sprinkle in flour and stir 3 minutes. Off heat, blend in liquid. Add wine and season to taste. Simmer partially covered for 30-40 minutes, skimming occasionally. Correct seasoning. Add Cognac and set aside until ready to serve. (*the Swiss cheese is a surprise. Place a big hunk in the bottom of the soup before assembling.)
(hard crusts of French bread for topping)
Slice several 3/4 - 1 inch pieces of French bread. Brush tops with cut garlic and drizzle with olive oil. Bake in 325 degree oven about 30 minutes or until crusty brown.
~ Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place hot soup in oven-proof crocks. Slip in hunk of Swiss cheese. Top with croutes and finish with shredded cheese. Bake 20 minutes and finish browning under broiler. (Be careful serving ~ the 'lava soup is very hot)

Sunday, January 14, 2007


~ Bare Arms of Elm
( Hearty and rich Belgian beef stew with sweet caramelized onions and dark beer)
~ The Silver Plate Cookbook
1/4 pound bacon
2 very large yellow onions, 1 1/2 to 2 pounds, peeled and thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 cup unbleached flour
1 Tbsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
3 pounds beef stew meat (chuck is best), cubed
vegetable oil (optional)
2 cups imported dark beer
chopped parsley (garnish)
  1. Coarsely dice the bacon and saute in large skillet until crisp and brown. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve.
  2. Add onions to skillet and cook in rendered bacon fat until tender, about 20 minutes. Uncover skillet, raise heat, and sprinkle onions with sugar. Toss and stir until well browned. Transfer onions to strainer set over a bowl and let stand while you prepare the beef.
  3. Stir flour thyme, salt, and pepper together on plate and roll cubes of meat around in mixture until well coated. Shake off excess and set cubes on another plate.
  4. Press onions gently with back of spoon to exract as much cooking fat as possible. Transfer fat to a kettle. Add in vegetable oil if not enough for proper browning of beef. Be sparing or carbonnade will be greasy.
  5. Set kettle over high heat; when very hot, add 6-8 cubes at a time to brown properly. Turn heat down slightly and cook until browned on all sides. Transfer with slotted spoon to clean plate and proceed with the browning until all meat is done.
  6. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  7. Pour beer into kettle and stir browned bits on bottom with spoon. Return beef cubes to kettle along with bacon and sauteed onions. Bring to simmer on stove. Cover and set on middle rack of oven.
  8. Cook 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally until stew is thick and meat tender.
  9. Taste and correct seasoning. Turn into heated serving dish, garnish with chopped parsley, and serve immediately. (6 portions)

Note: Serve carbonnade egg noodles tossed with butter and poppy seeds, sauteed apples, black breads and good dark beer.

Friday, January 12, 2007


"Fish is held out to be one of the greatest luxuries of the table and not only necessary, but even indispensable at all dinners where there is any pretence to excellence or fashion. "
~ Mrs. Isabella Beeton
(from A Cook's Alphabet of Quotations)
(recipe found on the Internet from Michael & Ms. Weslie's Recipes Online~
excellent for any firm whitefish, grouper, trout, salmon, or tuna)
(for 4 fish)
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon rind
2 Tbsp. horseradish
1 clove garlic, halved
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried basil leaves
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
Combine all above except olive oil. Gradually add oil with whisk or in blender. Pour marinade over fish, turning to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours. Grill as normal, basting with left over marinade (or reduce remaining marinade and serve over fish).
Delicious served with grilled fresh asparagus ( Toss asparagus spears with olive oil and a few splashes of balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper. Grill until slightly caramelized.)

Thursday, January 11, 2007


"Imagine, if you can, what the rest of the evening was like. How they crouched by the fire which blazed and leaped and made much of itself in the little grate. How they removed the covers of the dishes, and found rich, hot savory soup, which was a meal in itself, and sandwiches and toast and muffings enough for both of them."
~ Frances Hodgson Burnett

2 pounds special bean soup mix (e.g. '16' bean assortment --- with large lima, navy, red kidney, baby lima, great northern, speckled lima, black, pinto, cranbery, pink, and black-eyes peas, green and yellow split peas, lentils, etc. )
3 pounds bulk Italian sausage (one plain, one hot or spicy and one fennel )
3 quarts organic chicken broth
1 large chopped Spanish onion
3 large chopped garlic cloves
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 large chopped green pepper
1 large chopped red pepper
1 pound peeled and diagonally sliced carrots
1 can (28-ounce) Italian style diced tomatoes
1 jar (32-ounce) sugar-free pasta sauce
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 cup chili powder
1 Tbsp. oregano
1 Tbsp. basil
1 tsp. marjoram
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. crushed rosemary
2 whole bay leaves
lots of cracked pepper
Lawrey's Seasoned pepper to taste
coarse salt to taste
juice of large lemon
1 heafty cup brandy
Wash and soak beans. Cover with cold water and soak 2 hours or overnight. Drain. In large pot, bring beans to boil in enough cold water to cover and simmer gently about 45 minutes, adding more water if necessary. While beans are cooking, saute sausage in large stockpot, breaking up large pieces. Cook until browned. If too lean, add a bit of olive oil. Drain off excess grease leaving a few scant Tbsp. Saute onion, garlic, and peppers. Carefully pour in chicken broth. Bring to boil. Add parsley, carrots, canned tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, brown sugar and seasonings. Reduce heat. Add drained beans and simmer one hour or until beans are tender. Stir in brandy before serving and adjust seasonings.
This hearty soup is great served with crusty sourdough or heavy multi-grained bread. (don't forget the sweet butter or, better yet, a dish of balsamic infused olive oil topped with crushed red pepper flakes.)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007



~ featured in Diary of a Ho-hum Housewife

(two VERY OLD family recipes)

2 pounds ground beef

1 cup chopped green pepper

1 cup applesauce

1 cup chopped onions

6 slices crumbled bread

1 clove chopped garlic


1 egg


salt and pepper

catsup (or Piquant Sauce recipe below)

Combine meat, onions, bread, pepper, garlic, applesauce, parsley, salt and pepper. Add egg and mix well. Form into loaf and flour well. Oil pan and place beef in. Top with catsup or Piquant Sauce. Bake at 350 degrees for 2 hours. Uncover last 15 minutes.


3 Tbsp. brown sugar

1/4 cup catsup

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. dry mustard

Combine all and spread over meatloaf. (Double recipe if you like it saucy)


2/3 cup dry breadcrumbs

1 cup milk

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

2 beaten eggs

1/4 grated onion

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. sage


(optional: for 2 pounds of meat, use 3-4 slices fresh bread crumbs, 1 heaping tsp. sage, 2 Tbsp. parsley, 2 Tbsp. horseradish, coarse salt and cracked pepper and same amount of milk and eggs.)

Soak crumbs in milk and add remaining ingredients. Plop in pan. Top with Piquant Sauce. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Serve with fat baked potatoes and steamed buttered green beans.

Saturday, January 06, 2007


(perfect for foggy days and rainy nights)
1 juicy ham bone or 8-12 slices chopped sauteed bacon, browned and crisp
1 large chopped Vadalia or Spanish onion
1 bunch chopped leek (white and pale green parts)
2-4 large peeled and chopped carrots
4 minced garlic cloves
4-5 (32-ounce) cans or boxes organic chicken broth
2 cups dry white wine
2 pounds rinsed green split peas
4 whole bay leaves
2-4 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary leaves or 1-2 Tbsp. dried (to taste)
cracked pepper to taste
coarse salt to taste
In large stockpot, saute onion and leeks in reserved 2 Tbsp. bacon grease or add 2 Tbsp. olive oil if using ham bone, cooking until softened. Add garlic and chopped carrots and cook additional few minutes. Carefully add stock, scraping brown bits from bottom of pot. Add peas, white wine, bay leaves, rosemary, pepper and salt. Bring to boil and reduce heat, simmering until peas are tender, stirring occasionally about 1 hour. Taste and adjust seasonings.
(12 servings for light eaters)
~ for a unique flavor, drop in a dollop of fresh horseradish, plenty of cracked pepper and top with seasoned croutons


"If you are careful," Garp wrote, "if you use good ingredients, and you don't take any shortcuts, then you can usually cook something very good. Sometimes it is the only worthwhile product you can salvage from a day: what you make to eat. With writing, I find, you can have all the right ingredients, give plenty of time and care, and still get nothing. Also true of love. Cooking, therefore, can keep a person who tries hard sane." (p. 246)

~ John Irving's The World According to Garp

1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. Cajun or Creole seasoning
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. fresh chopped parsley
1 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 pound uncooked large shrimp, shelled, deveined
lemon wedges
French bread

  • Combine first 7 ingredients in 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Add shrimp and toss to coat. Refrigerate 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bake until shrimp are cooked through, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
  • Garnish with lemon wedges and serve with crisp fresh French bread and favorite tossed salad topped with feta cheese.

Friday, January 05, 2007


~ adapted from Recipe Zaar
3 - 4 pounds fresh salmon
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup dry white wine or vodka
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice and zest
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. fresh chopped thyme (1 heaping tsp. dried)
1/2 tsp. cracked pepper
Prepare gas or charcoal grill. Combine all ingredients except salmon and whisk to blend. Pour over salmon and marinate at room temperature 30 minutes. Grill salmon skin side down. Brush often with glaze while grilling until salmon is opaque but still moist-looking in center, about 7 minutes or depending on outside grilling temperature and thickness of fish. (Don't overcook as it as it will continue to cook when taken from grill.) Delicious with roasted redskin potatoes.
(6-8 servings)

Thursday, January 04, 2007



~ Ojibwe

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Monday, January 01, 2007


"Let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we shall die."
~ Isaiah 22:13