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Thursday, 28 February 2013


To Nicole’s and Maybelle's delighted surprise, James arrived ahead of schedule.  When I tried to take Maybelle for her walk, she was so reluctant to leave James that she walked for several blocks with her head turned longingly backwards. 


            My contribution to supper tonight will be homemade hamburger buns and a Jellied Waldorf salad from Knox On-Camera Recipes.  Nicole is doubly intrigued  -- a retro recipe AND it’s jellied!  

            The pecans for the salad come from a tree in Nicole’s backyard. 

Maybelle loves pecans, too.  

When James tires her out, playing with her Wubbly, she scrounges around under the tree for a treat which she expertly shells herself.


Moment of Truth:   The salad was pretty weird!    2 Thumbs Down, 1 Up (mine)

The hamburger buns were good, however. 

¾ cup warm water
1 tbsp sugar
2 ¼ tsp yeast
2 tbsp softened butter
1 egg
1 ½ tsp salt
2 ½ cups flour
Sesame seeds

·        Dissolve sugar in warm water.  Sprinkle with yeast and let sit for 5 mins.
·        Rub butter into flour.
·        Beat egg. 
·        Add egg, salt, and bubbly yeast to the flour.  Knead until smooth.
·        Let rise in a warm place for 1 ½ hours.
·        Punch down and divide dough into 6 to 8 pieces.
·        Pat pieces into circles and place on well-greased sheet.
·        Let rise for 30 minutes.
·        Preheat oven to 375 while letting buns rise 15 more minutes.
·        Brush buns with milk and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
·        Bake for 20 minutes.

 Nicole filled them with spicy turkey patties, baby spinach, mayo, and an egg!  Yum.


Wednesday, 27 February 2013

WAITING for KEPLER . . . and Polish Pea-Bacon-Potato- Ricotta Pierogi

39 ½ weeks or 40 ½ weeks:  Nicole says, “Hurry up, buddy.”

Nicole asked me to make perogies using a recipe from

As usual, I used Mom’s recipe for the dough because it’s the BEST and  I made a few changes to the Filling for:

Polish Bacon-Pea-Potato-Ricotta Pierogi
11 ounces potatoes
8 ounces bacon strips
1 large onion
1 cup frozen baby peas
15 ounces (425 g) ricotta
¾ tsp pepper
1 ½ tsp sea salt

1.      Boil the potatoes in salted water and rice or mash them in a large bowl.
2.     Finely chop the onion in a food processor.
3.     Cut the bacon into two inch pieces and fry until well-browned but not totally crisp.  (If it gets too hard, these bits will poke into the dough.)
4.     Pour out the bacon fat but return two tablespoons to the pan.  Add the onions and sauté until tender over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes.
5.     Chop the bacon into tiny pieces.   (If the food processor will do it, use it.)
6.     Put peas into boiling water and cook for 3 to 5 minutes.  Drain and mash or chop in the food processor.  (If you leave them whole, they will poke through the dough.)
7.     Add the onions, peas, bacon, ricotta, salt, and pepper to the potatoes and mash together.  (Do not use the food processor or you’ll have glue.)  

Now for making the dough using my mother’s recipe and following her method for cooking the perogies:    

And if you want to serve these Polish pierogi with Polish style sautéed onions use this recipe:

But they will be delicious if you simply boil them and serve them with sour cream.  

Monday, 25 February 2013

Happy Birthday, Shawna!

Shawna of the Snows

We're all so proud of you for doing well in academics and sports at your high school!

Something sweet for your seventeenth birthday:


          from The Magic of Jello:  100 New and Favorite Recipes Celebrating 100 Years of Fun with Jello

1 cup milk
½ cup Smooth Peanut Butter
1 pkg (4 serving size) Jello Vanilla Instant Pudding
2 ½ cups Cool Whip
1 pkg (4 serving size) Jello Grape Gelatin
1 cup boiling water
1 cup ice cubes topped up with cold water

Graham wafer pie crust

1.        Preheat oven to 350.
2.     Prepare pie crust (see Graham wafer crumb box)
3.     Bake crust 8 min and cool.

4.      Stir milk gradually into peanut butter in medium bowl until smooth.

5.     Beat in pudding mix: about 2 minutes until smooth and thick.
6.     Whisk in 1 cup Cool Whip.
7.     Put pudding mixture into pie plate and chill.

8.     In a bowl, dissolve Grape Jello completely in boiling water.
9.     Place bowl over ice cubes and add cold water and ice to the jello.   Stir until ice is dissolved.  Refrigerate for 5 minutes until slightly thickened.
10.  Whisk the thickened jello and then whisk in the rest of the Cool Whip.
11.    Set in fridge for 15 to 20 minutes until slightly thickened.
12.  Spread on top of the peanut butter pudding mixture and chill until firm.

Nicole says this is "ridiculously amazing".  :)

Sunday, 24 February 2013


My major for my first degree actually was in English literature, and then I lived in   London, England for two amazing years.  

Recently, I picked up The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women in a Thrift Store and I just have to share some interesting stuff I learned.
We all know about the witch hunts between the 14th and 17th centuries but did you know that the number of women tortured and killed may be in the millions! 
I also was amazed to learn that, back in the 1400s, a French woman, Christine de Pisan, dreamed and wrote of a “City of Ladies” where women could prove their worth.  In the 1500s, Aemilia Lanyer argued that it was men who crucified Christ and that that was far worse than Eve’s action in the Garden of Eden. 

Honestly, I just felt like saluting these early feminists.  J


To accompany my English literature “share”, I’m giving you a recipe from BRITISH COOKERYA Complete Guide to Culinary Practice in the British Isles.  I marked it as excellent on Sunday, April 23,1989.   Elizabeth Boyd, the editor, says it was a “popular dish in the 17th and 18th centuries and traditional at Whitsun, with small new potatoes and fresh garden peas and mint”. 

1 duckling
1 oz seasoned flour
2 cups stock
Salt & pepper
1 lb peas
1 lettuce
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2-3 ounces whipping cream

1.   Preheat oven to 350.
2.  Joint the duckling.
3.  Dust the pieces with flour.
4.   Roast in oven for 30 minutes.
5.  Pour off the fat, add stock, salt & pepper.
6.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
7.  Add the peas and lettuce.
8.  Cover and simmer for one hour until the duck is tender.
9.   Chop enough mint for garnish.
10.              Remove the duck pieces and keep warm in a low oven.
11.              Blend the cooking liquid.  Add nutmeg and cream.
12.              Heat slowly to thicken, but do not boil.
13.              Check seasoning.  Pour over the duck. 
14.              Garnish with mint and serve.

One of the worst and most wasteful recipes I ever made was from this cookbook, too.  Two pounds of pork simmered until tender and delicious, then minced and mixed with oatmeal to make Scrapple.  This disgusting loaf became crisp and brown on the outside, when sliced and fried in hot fat,  . . . but the inside remained gray and mushy.  In a brilliant old comic strip, the Wizard of Id says he has “a great new product made entirely of sawdust . . . Scrapple Helper”.  J

Thursday, 21 February 2013


 Nicole, 37 ½ weeks

Bryan was not enthusiastic when I announced that I was going to read Ami McKay’s The Birth House aloud to him on one of our recent trips to Laredo.  By the end of Chapter 1, however, we were both hooked by the style of the writing and the story of how Dora is taught to be a midwife by Miss Babineau, a wonderful old Acadian woman who is suspected of witchcraft by the people she helps in a tiny, isolated Nova Scotian village.

Miss Babineau claimed, “The scent of a good groanin’ cake, a cuppa hot Mother’s tea and time.  Most times that’s all a mama needs on the day her baby comes.” 

In addition to Miss B's weird and interesting folk remedies given at the end of the book, there’s a recipe for the Groaning Cake. 

Nicole did not like the book as much as Bryan and I, and she was not at all impressed when I offered to make the cake.       

Tuesday, 19 February 2013


Nannetta, on right, and her dad, Matthew

Nannetta and her daughter, Madison


You know it’s a special day, and worth getting up early, if there’s pudding for breakfast.



1 cup large tapioca
3 cups milk

1 cup milk
¾ cup sugar
½ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs

1.      If you want to cook the tapioca for breakfast, cover the tapioca with water and leave overnight.
If you want to serve the tapioca for afternoon or evening dessert, just soak the tapioca for about 6 hours.
2.     Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
3.     Drain the water that has not been absorbed.
4.     Mix the tapioca with 3 cups milk and cook for an hourUse a stainless steel casserole for cooking because you’ll be pouring in more cold milk later.
5.      Take out casserole and turn heat up to 375 degrees.
6.     Stir in another cup of milk, salt, sugar, and vanilla. 
7.     Beat 3 eggs slightly and stir into the casserole.
8.     Bake one hour or until custard is set.  (Test by inserting knife in centre.  It should come out moist but clean.)
9.     Serve hot with milk.  (Growing up, we ate it with cream, of course, but it’s still really good with milk.)


Nannetta, age 5 ½

Madison, about the same age

Thursday, 14 February 2013


A family favourite for my nephew’s birthday!

School photo of my nephew Doug

   in the 1980s

Doug and Sherri

Their children


BREAKFAST PIE : from Farm Journal’s Complete PIE Cookbook, c1965.

Pastry for a 2 crust pie
6 slices bacon
6 to 8 eggs
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp chopped chives or green onion tops
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup

1.      Line a 9 inch pie plate with crust.
2.     Cook the bacon:  not too crisp.
3.     Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
4.     Put the bacon into the pie plate. 
5.     Crack eggs and add on top of the bacon.
6.     Sprinkle with salt, pepper, parsley, and chives.
7.     Spoon ½ cup of condensed soup on top of the eggs in small dollops.
8.     Cover with crust.  Be sure to put in steam vents.
9.     Brush crust lightly with milk.
10.                          Bake 30 minutes.
11.                          Make mushroom sauce by heating the rest of soup with 3 tbsp of milk.

Serve the pie with the sauce and a salad or just tomato slices.

*The first time I made this was in August, 1993, and I marked it as EXCELLENT – a rating I give very few recipes.  

P.S.   We had it again just this past Christmas because Nicole requested it.  

Sunday, 10 February 2013


Off to Laredo

I thought I was supposed to help Nicole out.  Instead she’s spoiling me.  

First dinner: Curried Chickpea Calzone with Collard Greens 

Taho for breakfast (consists of Boba, which is Vietnamese tapioca, and tofu)

Back home, Bryan is making dinner for our other daughter.  She says he kicked things off nicely.

Bryan wrote:  I survived my first dinner.  

We had a lovely evening. I served pork chops (cooked in red wine) and 
mashed potatoes with garlic and green onions. The endive with sundried 
tomatoes turned out surprisingly well. Every plate was cleaned. I served 
a sidecar as a cocktails and, damn, it was good!

I’ll be in Laredo for a while so I'll get be taking a few turns at cooking, too, but Elif Batuman has equipped me with the perfect excuse for any cooking disasters.

In her book, The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People who Read Them, there’s a story about a baker who was imported by the emir of Bukhara to bake the famous bread of Samarkand which is called lepyoshka in Russian or Obi non in Uzbek.

Unfortunately, the bread did not come up to expectations and the baker was about to executed.  “But there isn’t any Samarkand air here,” he pleaded, in his own defense, “to leaven the bread.”  And his life was spared.


And no, I will not be trying to make lepyoshka.  It’s a circular flat-bread, thicker than naan, which is baked in a tandyr oven.  Another blogger attempted it and commented that her bread got too hard by the time it was browned.  My first thought was “Try a hotter oven.”   But my next was “Better still – visit Samarkand.”


     Marilyn has just come back from the States and she says: 

"I had read blogs on flour and how Canadians who live in the States stock up on Canadian flour and I thought, "Nonsense!  Flour is flour!”  Until I was using what they said was the closest to our flour, Kings.  I did do pizza crust and cinnamon buns; they were okay but the texture was not as nice!"