11 June 2020

Moussaka for Two



Moussaka ! Ground lamb, eggplant, onions, oregano, mint, tomato sauce, and a Bechamel sauce and cheese topping. Oh my ! This is a bit labor intensive during prep, but the payoff is oh, so good. It's prepared in three separate steps and then assembled and finished in the oven to a gooey, bubbling finish. Enjoy !

25 May 2020

Mom's Banana Bread



It's humble. It's a modest housewife's sweet response to the ethos of Mom's Depression Era generation - 'waste not, want not'. It's one of the first baked quick breads that Mom showed me how to make. Granted, Mom came from the generation of bottled lemon juice and walnuts only at Thanksgiving time or for very special baking holidays. She came around in later years ... and now, her legacy lives on and continues to grow in her kids and grands, and great-grands.

18 May 2020

Two Words



First Harvest

11 May 2020

Honey Soy Chicken Thighs - Instant Pot !

We pulled out the Instant Pot this week to make an easy and really tasty fast chicken thigh recipe. Put some steamed rice and extra sauce on the side with a vegetable and the plate was a great dinner. The whole deal came together within 45 minutes.


30 April 2020

Sour Dough Boule

Today's project was trying out the sour dough starter that I've been cultivating for a week.  Each morning over the past week, I've been mixing 1/3 c. of water, 1/3 c. flour blend (rye and all purpose white), and 1/3 c. of the slurry from the day before. That slurry has become increasingly bubbly with yeast and increasingly tangy smelling. Today, day seven, the slurry was super bubbly and thickened, so I used the cast off from my early morning replenishing of the starter mix to do a 'float test'. A teaspoonful of the starter dropped into a glass of water stayed formed and floated atop the water with no sinking whatsoever. Ah ha ! 


14 April 2020

Vietnamese Pork Noodle Bowl



Quarantine cooking has brought home the real need to use everything up in your fridge before heading out to a market for new supplies. That being said, there is some good food being passed around the Internet these days and this is one of the noodle bowls that I saw recently.

28 March 2020

Blueberry Blintzes

So, these little pillows of lemon infused ricotta cheese wrapped in crêpes happened last evening for our 'Breakfast For Dinner'. A bit of work, spread out over the week, made for happy folk in the grey cottage. It all started earlier in the week when ...



There were some blueberries sitting in the fridge that needed using. "What better than a blueberry compote ? ", I asked myself.  Domestics and wild Gap Mountain blueberries got combined to make a lemony, sweet compote. Popped back in the fridge for use with waffles, it surfaced last evening when I got a yen for blueberry blintzes.




Making blintzes is simple, but has a few steps. Batter is made and set aside for an hour or so to develop. I made the batter in the blender and then used the blender container to just pour off 1/4 cup or so, at a time, to make the crêpes.




The batter makes 8 to 10 crêpes, depending on the size of your crêpe pan/frying pan. I made eight crêpes and that was more than enough for our appetites. The batter made crêpes that are silky smooth and airy and light.




While the batter sat and cured, I made the blintz cheese filling - a combination of ricotta, cream cheese, egg, lemon zest, and a bit of confectioner's sugar. Everything gets whipped together and chilled. When the crepes have been cooked, they are wrapped burrito style with about 1/3 cup of filling. Then, they get put in a buttered frypan and browned on both sides, placed gently into a long casserole and finished for 10 minutes in the oven. This cooks the inner filling (it's got that egg in it, remember).




Cool blueberry compote, a couple blintzes, another little drizzle of compote, and a sprinkle of confectioner's sugar. Ahhhh ... breakfast for dinner ! Here's how I did things.

Blueberry Compote

3 c. fresh blueberries, picked over and little stems removed, washed, drained and left damp
1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
1/4 c. sugar
pinch salt
3 tbsp. water
2 tsp. cornstarch

Place the first four ingredients in a heavy saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sauces are deep blue and beginning to bubble. The longer you cook the blueberries, the softer they will get. We like ours with a bit of a bite still in the skins, so I taste as I go. Mix the cornstarch and water and add, stirring to thicken. Remove from the heat, place the compote in a covered container and refrigerate. Keeps for a week in the fridge. Freeze, if you'd like to keep it longer. 

Ricotta Cheese Blintz Filling

1 1/2 c. ricotta cheese (I used whole milk ricotta)
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
zest of 1 lemon
1 egg
4 tbsp. confectioner's sugar

Place the ingredients in a mixing bowl and whip until smooth. Cover and chill until ready to construct the blintzes.

Crêpe Batter

1. whole milk 
1/4 c. water
2 eggs
1 c. flour
a generous pinch salt
1 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. melted butter
a tiny dash vanilla extract

Place the first six ingredients into a blender container and blitz to a smooth consistency. Drizzle in the melted butter and vanilla extract while the blender is running until the batter is smooth and shiny. Cover the container and chill for one hour.

Heat a crêpe pan over medium heat, brush with butter, pour in 1/4 c. batter and tilt the pan to cover the bottom in a nice, thin circle of batter. Brown on one side til golden brown. Flip the crêpe. I use two spatulas to flip the crêpe when it is golden brown. Brown the other side, then slide the crêpe to a platter and repeat until all the batter is used. The crépes don't stick together, so no worries.

To make a blintz, spoon about 1/3 c. ricotta filling onto the bottom third of a crêpe, spread it in a log like shape across the crêpe. Gather up the bottom edge and gently fold it over the ricotta 'log'. Bring both sides of the crêpe inward over that initial fold and then roll the crêpe closed upward to the top rounded edge of the crêpe. Be gentle so you don't pierce the crêpe ! Transfer to a hot pan, seam side down, to brown the crêpe on both sides - directions below.

Swap out your pan for a larger non-stick fry pan. Brush with butter and brown the filled crêpes on two sides.

Gently place the blintzes into a warm casserole pan and place in a 400 degree F oven for ten minutes.

Drizzle some blueberry compote on a serving plate. Place a couple blintzes atop, drizzle just a bit more over top, and sprinkle with confectioner's sugar. Serve immediately while the filling is warm and gooey and the crêpes are hot. Voila !







21 March 2020

English Muffin Cheese Toasties



One of the most addicting and delicious lunches on the face of the Earth is a grilled cheese sandwich, but these little toasts make a grilled cheese a bit fancier. I thought of them when I went to the market and saw a 'buy one-get two free' promotion for Thomas's English Muffins.