Showing posts from August, 2010

Raspberry Ricotta Pancakes ... yum.

The first day of school is coming up fast. The pace picks up when busy mornings get even busier for most families. If you think it takes too much time to whip up a special breakfast on harried weekdays, this recipe will change your mind. Hint: Mix batter the night before and refrigerate - an easy timesaver in getting food on the table and everyone out the door on time.

Special thanks to Tinky Weisblat, foodie and blogger extraordinaire, for all her encouragement and caring in pulling together so many of us to celebrate Massachusetts Farmers Market Week last week!

1 cup biscuit mix
2/3 cup low fat milk
1 rounded tablespoon ricotta cheese
1/4 cup egg sustitute (or 1 small egg)
1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries

Using a wooden spoon blend biscuit mix, milk, cheese and egg until smooth. (If making the batter the night before, refrigerate before adding raspberries.) Gently fold in raspberries. Set aside for a few minutes while lightly oiled griddle heats up ove…

Because fresh is best!

Don't let my last name or the fact that I make golumpki and pierogi with my husband fool you. My maternal grandmother, Maria Cavelli, was my first cooking teacher. Lasagna and insalata caprese served with hot crusty bread was the first menu I learned to make. A great meal anytime of year but not as good as what came during harvest season.

Stuffed eggplant dinner was something she made in late summer and early fall when the locally grown eggplants and tomatoes are ripe and fresh. When Tiny Weisblat from In Our Grandmother's Kitchens asked me to participate in the blogathan during Farmers Market Week, I knew this was the recipe to share.

Thanks to Farmer Paul, access to garden fresh (and I mean just picked fresh) fruits and veggies are at my fingertips daily. But not having backyard bounty is no excuse for not making the best of the harvest season. Shop at farmers' markets and roadside stands -- loving local this time of year comes easy.

My grandmother was a fabulous cook…

Spice Islands Supper

Today was not the welcome relief of a crisp sunny day at the end of summer heat. The weather here in western Massachusetts turned raw and rainy. It made me wish for a warm beach and turquoise waters.

Spicy and infused with subtle local flavors like coconut milk, West Indies and other island recipes are fusions of African, Asian, Indian, Spanish, French and Dutch cuisine. In the islands, you're more likely to find a main dish kabob prepared with goat or lamb. I use beef sirloin tip, a tender, flavorful and economical substitute. Spoon whole kernel corn over brown rice for a side and your island style dinner is served.

Add a little spice island style to your life -- I think you'll like it!

1 pound sirloin tip steak, cut into one inch cubes
1 small yellow onion, cut in quarters
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger root
1 teaspoon red chile paste, or 1 finely fresh chopped hot chile pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon groun…

Warm-your-insides Hot Cherry Peppers

On cool weather weekends, a good pot roast with hot cherry peppers on the side is a family favorite around our house. This year the peppers will be from our garden instead of the grocer's shelf.

Preserving food was a fact of life years ago. Today it's an artful craft resurging in popularity. Bringing freshness to the family table from the family garden creates an intimate relationship with our food.  And the taste can't be beat.

It won't be long now!

2 pounds raw hot cherry peppers, mixed green and red
3 cups vinegar
1 cup water
2 cloves garlic, crushed

Leave peppers whole, cutting stems close to the top. Set aside. Combine vinegar, water and garlic in a large saucepan. bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simme five minutes. Strain out garlic. Pack peppers into hot pint jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Ladle hot liquid over peppers leaving the headspace. Press down on the peppers with the back of a spoon to release bubbles. Adjust two piece…

Peaches, peaches everywhere ...

Imagine my surprise to find a 1/2 bushel box of peaches sitting on the picnic table out back. Firm, juicy and ripe and all the way from Maryland. Farmer Paul's fishing buddy Joe dropped them off -- my guess? A peace offering for sweeping said Farmer Paul off to the river for two days.
Good plan, pal, because those peaches kept me busy and happy all day. Can't wait to try this salsa on tomorrow's grilled mahi!

9 large ripe but firm peaches - peeled and diced
1/2 cup white onion - fine grated
3 hot peppers - chopped (I used Portugal peppers, a hot orange pepper but jalapeno work nicely)
1 sweet red pepper - chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro - loosely packed
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
2 cloves garlic - grated
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne

Put all ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Pack into hot jars and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Check altitude directions f…

From the Cabbage Patch

With the tons of tomatoes, peas, pasta and beans my Italian grandmother's minestrone didn't actually taste very cabbagey. Then I married Farmer Paul. If you're part of a Polish family you can't escape cabbage. Sure I like golumpki, I would tell my husband's mother and aunts. But I unwrapped the cabbage rolls and ate the insides before discreetly tossing the actual cabbage part in the disposal.

Sometime in my mid-twenties I decided to give the whole golumpki a try and found I didn't hate cabbage at all. And from then on it was cabbage heaven for me. These days I wait impatiently for our garden to produce. Golumpki, kapusta, cabbage pierogi are standard cooked cabbage fare. Shredded cabbage instead of lettuce on tacos, and summer slaw are two favorite ways to use raw cabbage.

1 medium cabbage, chopped or coarsely grated
2 carrots, peeled and coursely grated
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 te…

Why do you think he grows cabbage?

I married into a Polish family. Try as I might my golumpki never came out right. Tough cabbage, stuffing mix like lead, or worse -- a crumbled heap of meat and rice. I tried adding egg (meatloaf golumpki?), tomato soup, every trick I could find in the cookbooks the church ladies sold after Mass once a year. My husband poured on the Heinz to make them palatable.

After close to twenty years of frustration I threw up my hands and said, "Make them yourself." So he did. But first, he asked the experts for advice. Turned out Farmer Paul is his mother's son, his aunt's nephew and a pretty good Polish cook. It took time, but we've got a system now. He still likes ketchup on them but these Polish yummies don't need a thing beyond a fresh slice of seeded rye bread on the side.

1 medium cabbage, frozen whole at least 24 hours up to 3 weeks
1 cup of cooked River brand rice
1 pound hamburger, 20/80 fat to lean
1 one inch cube salt pork, chopp…