Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Miso Soup

Now that I have made miso soup at home,
I might not order it again in a restaurant. It is very easy to make, delicious, healthy, and adaptable to being prepared in different ways. This is how I made Miso Soup I using barley miso:


3 cups water
1/4 cup shiitake mushrooms (if using dried shiitake mushrooms, see step 1 of directions below)
1/4 thinly sliced green onions
2 - 1/4 inch slices of tofu (from short end), cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1 teaspoon hon-dashi (bonito fish soup stock) granules
2 teaspoons sesame oil
3 Tablespoons Miso Master Organic Country Barley Miso paste (sold in refrigerator section)
additional 1/3 cup water

( Note: miso paste is sold in the refrigerator section.)


Step 1: Dried shiitake mushrooms take approximately 25 minutes to rehydrate This must be done before starting the soup, which then comes together very quickly. To do this you rinse the dried mushrooms, then boil for 3 minutes in a small pot, remove from heat and then let stand, covered, for 20 minutes. Finally, rinse again. They are now ready to be thinly sliced and added to the soup below.

Soup: Bring 3 cups water to boil in medium sized saucepan. Add sliced shiitake mushrooms, green onions and tofu; boil for 2 minutes. Add hon-dashi and sesame oil, stir and remove from heat.

In a 1 cup microwavable pyrex measuring cup, heat the additional 1/3 cup water briefly on High, until it feels warm to the touch, about 10-15 seconds. Remove from the microwave, and to it add 2-3 tablespoons of the cooked soup (broth only), stir. To this measuring cup of warm soup/water mixture, add the 3 tablespoons of miso paste, stirring until fully dissolved (Note --
it is important not to boil the miso (due to the enzymes and beneficial bacteria), that is why you add it to the warm liquid before adding it to the hotter soup.) Finally, add the miso mixture in the pyrex cup to the rest of the soup in the pot and stir well. It is now ready to serve.

(serves 4)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Andrew's Birthday Cake

Andrew's birthday cake this year (#12) was requested to be a traditional yellow cake filled and frosted with chocolate buttercream frosting (recipe posted on May 5, 2010):

Cameron's Birthday Cake

Cameron's birthday cake this year (#20) was inspired by a cake he likes from a local bakery, Cakes by Happy Eatery, a Genoise cake filled with Bavarian cream and topped with fresh fruit. This is my version, topped with strawberries, kiwi and raspberries and strawberry glaze:

Monday, September 20, 2010

First Apple Pie of the Season

Made with macintosh and red delicious apples because that's what I had, besides honeycrisp and macoun -- which are both just too good to eat!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Home Grown Tomatoes

It's been a good year despite the extended hot temperatures and efforts of one clever and resourceful chipmunk that climbs up our story high deck stairs to eat some of the smaller tomatoes. In between the tomato plants I have successfully been able to grow some basil transplanted from smaller single stems which were leftover from plants purchased at the grocery store. They are now big, full plants. It takes leaves from at least one whole basil plant to make pesto.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010



3 medium eggplants (firm and heavy for size)
1 green bell pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
3-4 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
freshly ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Serve with whole wheat pita bread


Pierce the eggplants a few times with a fork. Cook over a hot gas or charcoal grill (a few mesquite chips can be added to the grill for a smokier flavor) until the eggplant is tender, turning every few minutes (approximately 20 minutes total cook time). At the same time, roast the green bell pepper over an upper rack on the grill (or under the broiler), turning every 2-3 minutes (approximate cook time 10 minutes total).

When the eggplant and green peppers are done cooking, remove their skins. Remove and discard the seeds from the eggplant. Chop and transfer to a medium bowl. Remove and discard the seeds from the roasted green pepper. Finely chop and transfer to the bowl with the eggplants. Stir with a wooden spoon to mix. Slowly add the olive oil and red wine vinegar, stirring to mix well. Add the garlic, sea salt, freshly ground pepper and parsley, stirring well to mix thoroughly. Chill and serve with whole wheat pitas (cut into wedges, if larger, or whole if mini). Can be made a day ahead.

(makes 6-8 servings, about 2 cups)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting


1-16 oz. package of confectioners sugar (less 6 Tbsp.)
6 Tbsp. Ghirardelli unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2-3 Tbsp. milk (may need to add a bit more, as necessary, for proper spreading consistency)
pinch kosher salt


In a large mixing bowl, with whisk beater attached, beat butter. Then add remaining ingredients and continue beating until well blended, and the frosting is a good spreading consistency. Spread on cooled cakes and cupcakes. (makes enough for 24 cupcakes).

Mango Salsa


1 mango, peeled and diced
1 avocado, peeled and diced
1 tomato, seeded and diced
1/2 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 Tbsp. chopped Vidalia or red onion
2 small cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. olive oil

Place all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Serve fresh at room temperature with chips, tacos, and grilled fish. (serves 4)
(Note: recipe can be doubled.)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mango Chutney

Two summers ago I decided I really liked Major Grey's Mango Chutney, and wanted to try every brand of mango chutney I could find to see what the differences were and which one I would like best. The one I liked best was by Sun Brand; it was very thick and the mango was in large, firm chunks. It also was sweet (but not too sweet) and not hot, but you could taste the ginger. When they stopped carrying Sun Brand Major Grey's Chutney locally, I looked up the Sun Brand ingredients and made up the following recipe that tastes very similar.


2 Mangoes, peeled and cut (into mostly
1 inch pieces)

Fresh ginger, 2”x 1”, peeled and grated or minced very fine

¼ cup raisins

1 Tbsp. red bell pepper, diced

1/2 cup white granulated sugar

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 tsp. salt

Dash cayenne pepper

1 Tbsp. cornstarch, mixed with 1 Tbsp. water


Combine all ingredients, except cornstarch and water, in a 3-4 quart pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want the liquid to thicken and cook down as much as possible without sticking, so you will have to adjust the heat down as time goes on. Then slowly add the cornstarch and water mixture to the mango mixture, stirring constantly – you may not need to add it all, just enough so mixture is totally thickened. Cook for about 5 more minutes while mixture is thickening. Put in a jar or bowl to refrigerate. Serve cold. Goes well with grilled meat, chicken or fish, also with cream cheese and crackers/bagels.

Monday, April 19, 2010



2 lb. container non-fat plain yogurt, drained through cheesecloth (see step 1 under instructions)
1 large English cucumber, grated on medium/large setting, drained (step 2 under instructions)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 Tbsp. fresh mint, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh dill, finely chopped
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, taste


(1) To prepare the yogurt (so it is like Greek-style yogurt), you have to drain as much liquid as possible from the yogurt. To do this you will need: cheesecloth, a colander, a large bowl/pot that the colander will fit into (to catch the liquid), and a small plate and/or bowl to set on top as a press. First, set the colander into the bowl/pot. Then line the colander with the cheesecloth (use a long enough piece of cheesecloth so there is extra on each side -- for folding over the yogurt). Set the yogurt on top of the cheesecloth, and fold the sides of the cheesecloth over the top of the yogurt. Set the plate and/or bowl over the top as a weight (to drain the liquid faster). Cover with plastic wrap and set in the refrigerator at least 4 hours or can be left overnight. Discard the yogurt liquid.

(2) In more cheesecloth, put the grated cucumber, gather excess cloth on top, and with your hands, squeeze out as much of the liquid from the cucumbers as you can.

(3) In a large bowl, add together the drained yogurt and drained, grated cucumber. Mix well. Add the remaining ingredients -- lemon juice, garlic, mint, dill, salt and pepper, to taste. Mix well.

It is ready to be served, with pitas, or alone, as a side dish.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Crepes with Fresh Berries

Crepes with strawberries and raspberries
Like the crepes they made at Restaurant St. Michel....even if these were not on the menu, you could ask and they would make them for you!

To make 6-8 medium size crepes (serves 1-2/person):

Ingredients for Crepes:

 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1 egg, extra-large
1 cup milk
1 Tbsp. butter, melted

Ingredients to assemble the Crepes:

Fresh berries -- raspberries or a mixture of raspberries and sliced strawberries, rinsed and dried

Freshly whipped cream, sweetened with sugar and vanilla extract to taste, and a dash of fresh ground nutmeg.

Powdered confectioner's sugar



In a medium sized bowl, whisk egg until light and frothy, then add milk and beat together. Add flour, sugar and salt and mix well. Add melted butter and mix well. Let set for a few minutes, but whisk again before adding to the pan. The batter should resemble a very thin pancake batter, if not add a little more milk or flour, until it is the right consistency.

Heat a small (about 8") non-stick pan to med-low and brush lightly with vegetable oil. Once the pan is heated, add a scant 1/4 cup of the crepe mixture to it, and tilt pan quickly to swirl mixture around and evenly coat the pan. It should cover most or all of the pan in a fairly thin coating. Let cook until lightly browned (edges will be more browned, but needs to cook enough so it is easier to turn over) and can lift easily from sides to flip. Loosen edges, then flip it like a pancake, only a little more gently, to brown the other side. Remove from pan when done and put on an individual serving plate (or can be gently stacked as you make more on a larger plate). Repeat process, and when all crepes have been cooked, assemble them like this:


On one crepe laid out flat on a plate, add a handful of berries to one side, then fold the other side of the crepe over (or can roll to hide the ends). Top with a dollop of the freshly whipped and sweetened cream, then sprinkle with a good amount of powdered confectioners sugar (use a small sieve for this). Over the powdered sugar, drizzle some honey (a small amount, but enough, and decoratively applied). It is now ready to serve -- 1 or 2 per person. Repeat until all crepes have been assembled that will be served immediately.

Note: Recipe makes 2 crepes per person/ for 4 people and can be doubled.
Bon appetit!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Chocolate Drop Cookies


1 cup packed light brown sugar

3/4 cup unsalted butter (1-1/2 sticks)

9 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa

1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl cream brown sugar and butter thoroughly until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add cocoa, egg and vanilla; mix well. In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt; mix lightly. Add some of the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, mix well and scrape the bowl. Then add some of the milk, mix well and scrape the bowl. Alternately add the dry ingredients with the milk, ending with the dry ingredients. Mix well and scrape the bowl after each addition.

Drop cookies by heaping teaspoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake 12 minutes or until done.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Chocolate Souffle


4 egg yolks (at room temp)
6 egg whites (at room temp)
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips (or other semi-sweet chocolate, chopped)
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar (plus additional to coat souffle dish)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter (plus additional to coat souffle dish)
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour


Butter a 1-1/2 quart large souffle dish and coat with sugar. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl beat egg yolks until well beaten and set aside. In a separate mixing bowl beat egg whites until stiff peaks form, but not dry, and set aside

In a large saucepan heat the 2 Tbsp. butter. Add the flour to make a roux. Add milk, cream and sugar. Stir to boiling with whisk. Boil 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate chips. Add chocolate mixture to beaten egg yolks in the large mixing bowl. Stir in some of the stiffly beaten egg whites to the chocolate/egg yolk batter. Then gently, but thoroughly, fold in the remaining egg whites. Pour into the prepared 1-1/2 quart souffle dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately in individual bowls.

(Note: makes one large souffle to serve 4)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

French Toast

(serves 4-6)


1 loaf challah bread, sliced about 1 inch thick (slices well frozen and can keep frozen until ready to use)
4 eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
pinch fresh ground nutmeg
pinch salt
2-3 tbsp. unsalted butter for cooking
maple syrup


Preheat oven to 300 degrees to keep cooked French toast warm while cooking the entire batch.

In 13x9 inch baking dish, beat eggs well with a fork. Add a little of the heavy cream to the mixture and keep beating to ensure uniform consistency. Add rest of heavy cream, then the rest of the ingredients. Mix well. One by one, dip both sides of challah bread slices in the egg mixture, to coat, and set aside on a separate plate. If there is any egg mixture leftover, re-dip slices until mixture is used up.

Preheat a large electric frying pan to 350 degrees (a non-stick frying pan, or cast iron skillet can be used instead, heat to medium). Add 1 Tbsp. butter to pan, heating until melted (evenly coat the pan with the melted butter). Add 3-4 bread slices to the pan (depending on size). Cook uncovered for 3- 4 minutes until bottom is nicely golden brown and cooked. Turn to cook other side and cover ; cook for another 3- 4 minutes until that side is also golden brown and cooked through.

Transfer cooked slices to a cookie sheet and place in preheated oven while cooking the remainder the same way, until all slices are finished. Serve with maple syrup.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Peas and Dumplings

The dumplings in this recipe are egg dumplings-- smaller and heavier than the dumplings in chicken and dumplings -- more like spaetzle. The broth is lighter and more broth-like, and soupier (like chowder) than the broth in chicken and dumplings. This is an old family recipe from northern New York State, handed down by my mother and grandmother. It is best made when fresh peas are in season, but can be made with frozen peas.

Peas and Dumplings
From the kitchens of Mary Jane Zahn and Elta Zahn
(Makes 4-6 servings)
8 oz. fresh peas, shelled
½ cup water
2 tsp. salt, divided
1 ½ quarts milk (6 cups) -- for broth
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
4 eggs
Extra milk (1/2 eggshell full) – for dumplings
1 cup all-purpose flour, very slightly round, approximately – add more or less, as necessary to achieve correct consistency.
(NOTE: there is no baking powder in this recipe)
Peas and broth:
In a large pot (6-7 quart), bring ½ cup water to boil. Add peas and gently stir, only so they are hot, not cooked. Add milk, butter and 1 tsp. salt. Taste for flavor. Bring to a simmer and drop dumplings when ready.
Mix together the cup of flour with 1 tsp. salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat together the 4 eggs with the ½ eggshell full amount of milk. Add the flour/salt mixture by tablespoonfuls, mixing thoroughly after each addition. The final consistency should be something like cream of wheat, but maybe a little stiffer (when dumpling drops from a spoon, the consistency should not hold it’s shape like a biscuit, but be softer – and should easily drop. Too much flour makes a tougher dumpling; too little flour will cause dumplings to cook into the broth like gravy).
Cooking the dumplings:
Drop by small amounts (about 1/2 tbsp) into the simmering broth. Cook -- simmering and uncovered -- for 15 minutes. After a minute or two, gently stir to make sure they are not sticking to the bottom (may have to scrape them off the bottom) and gently stir from time to time until they are done. Broth should simmer and gently bubble around dumplings. The final consistency of the broth is like chowder. Serve in bowls immediately when ready.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Chicken and Dumplings

(Servings: 6-8)


5-7 lb. Roasting chicken, rinsed inside and out
1 onion, quartered
2 carrots, quartered
1 celery stalk, quartered
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup fresh or frozen peas (optional)

for dumplings:

3 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried savory (not ground)
1-1/3 cups milk
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil (corn or canola)


Early in the day: In a large 7-8 quart pot, place chicken and vegetables. Cover with cold water, adding just enough water to cover, or almost cover, the chicken (about 8-10 cups, depending on size on chicken). Add the 2 tsp. salt (you can adjust later, to taste). Cover pot with lid and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 3 hours. Remove from heat.

Remove the chicken and vegetables from the pot (the chicken should be very tender at this point and most will fall from the bones). Carefully remove the chicken meat (breast, thigh, drumstick and wing) from the bones, discarding the bones. Set aside.

Pour the broth from the pot into another pot that has a colander or strainer set in it to remove any small bones. Then remove the colander or strainer, discarding the contents, as necessary. Pour the strained broth back into the original pot. Bring back to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.

Using 2 forks, or a fork and a knife, pull the chicken apart, breaking into bite-sized pieces. Add the chicken back to the simmering broth. You can also add back some of the cooked carrot bits, chopped, and/or some fresh or frozen peas at this point. Also adjust the salt to taste, if needed now.

Make the dumplings:

In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and dried savory. In a measuring cup, combine milk with vegetable oil; slowly stir into flour mixture, stirring as little as possible, just until a soft dough is formed.

Drop dough by heaping tablespoons onto the chicken meat and simmering broth. There is a lot of dough and the top of the pan will be covered with tablespoons of dough.

Cook dumplings 10 minutes, uncovered; then cover and cook 10 minutes longer. I usually separate the dumplings a little at this point, very gently, so that the broth will thicken a bit and the dumplings will absorb more of the liquid. Cover and cook 5 more minutes or so, until the dumplings are thoroughly cooked, and the broth is somewhat thickened.

Dumplings can be served with a slotted spoon and then the chicken and thickened broth ladled over the dumplings. Serve in a bowl and spoon as it can be somewhat soupy.