Friday, December 17, 2010

Springerle 2010!

The Springerle cookies are just out of the oven awaiting their photo op.  Here's a few pics.  (The recipe came from the Joy of Cooking).

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Margaret joins Aurelia!

Margaret (on the right) is a doll with an embroidered face and yarn hair, while Aurelia has a painted face.  I'm learning how to do both and will be making clothes in my next class.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Here she is!  My first rag doll and her name is Aurelia.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Bellevue Avenue Branch Library Ornament

Just out, this lovely ornament is of one of my favorite places in Upper Montclair, NJ  - the Bellevue Avenue Branch Library.  This is one of a series done by the Women's Club of Upper Montclair.  Just gorgeous.   Hurry and get yours before they're sold out forever.  Christmas is coming!

Irish Oatcakes

I had some leftover Irish oatmeal that I thought would make a nice pancake.  So I added a little of this and that and they were delish!  Here's my "put together" recipe.

1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup flour
small handfull of flaxmeal
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup Irish Oatmeal (already made)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 dash lemon juice (from bottle - it's ok here)
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil

Add a little butter, oil or bacon fat to a saute pan and heat to medium.  Mix ingredients together and pour into hot pan.  Listen for the sizzle.  It shouldn't be too much as you don't want to char the pancake.  Wait for the bubbles to appear throughout the cake and flip.  Cook for another minute or so until browned.  Serve with maple syrup.


For the coming winter months I knitted up a Thermi (strange name, pretty scarf).  The scarf is designed by by Kris Knits where you can purchase the pattern.  This is the first project that I completed using the Sheep Shop 3 wool which is a blend of wool and silk.  Lovely to work with, soft on your skin and it imparts a wonderful subtle sheen from the silk. I found some pearl buttons to complete the ensemble.

Balaclavas Scarf

 For my mother I made a Garter Stitch Balaclavas scarf designed by Mary Jane Muckelstone.  The blue yarn is variegated, weaving a subtle, unique pattern throughout.  I placed tassels on the ends to give it some style.  My sister-in-law loved it.  Well Carmen, Christmas is coming!

Sorbet Scarf by Robyn Chachula

My crochet projects included a Sorbet Scarf designed by Robyn Chachula.  I found the patterne in Crocheted Gifts: Irresistible Projects to Make & Give by Kim Werker.  I made one with a pumpkin edging for the fall.

Wool socks for hubby and me!


Over the last few months I've been teaching myself how to knit socks on 2 circular needles.  Actually, I learned over the summer and have been using this knowledge to make additional socks and now, mittens.  It is really easy to do, much better I think than making one sock (or mitten) at a time.  Both come out exactly the same and you are truly finished with your project. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Friday, August 27, 2010

Pumpkin bread with walnuts and raisins

Leftover canned pumpkin, frozen since last winter, works well for this recipe.  I found this one at

I changed it to fit my ingredients at hand:

4 room temperature eggs
3/4 cup mild olive oil
2 cups canned pumpkin
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon each of cinnamon, allspice, ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup grated carrot
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup raisins or 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Beat eggs, add next 3 ingredients.  Combine everything else up to the walnuts and raisins.  Mix well.  Then fold in walnuts and raisins.  At this time I divided the batter into 8 greased, small or individual sized loaf pans plus one 12" one.  The smaller ones were ready after 1/2 hour.  The larger loaf took 45 minutes.  Whatever you use, check with a tester which should come out clean.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A study in pumpkins

New Jersey isn't called the Garden State for nothing.  Here is a picture that my DH took of two "Jack B Little" pumpkins and two "Nest Egg" gourds.  We've heard that the nest egg gourds were placed in non-laying hens nests to encourage egg laying (I don't know if it works).   We have plans for the Jacks to take a  pie vacation...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Fennel and Red Pepper Salad

A Great Salad:

Fennel and Red Pepper Salad


This is one of my favorite salads. I make it for buffets all the time because it never gets soggy — the longer the vegetables marinate, the tastier the salad is.

For the salad:

1 pound trimmed fennel bulbs, quartered and cut into very thin crosswise slices

1 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut in thin 2-inch slices

1 to 2 tablespoons minced parsley

1 tablespoon minced chives

1 ounce shaved Parmesan

For the dressing:

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or champagne vinegar

1 small garlic clove, very finely minced or puréed

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil. Toss with the salad and serve.

Yield: Serves six.

Advance preparation: This is a great keeper. The vegetables marinate in the dressing, and they don’t get soggy, just saturated and extremely tasty.

Nutritional information per serving: 137 calories; 11 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 4 milligrams cholesterol; 8 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams dietary fiber; 128 milligrams sodium (does not include salt added during cooking); 3 grams protein

Martha Rose Shulman can be reached at

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Peach and Blackberry Pie

Southern peaches are starting to appear in the northern markets and that means it's time for peach pie.  I had some blackberries in the freezer that needed to join their peach cousins.  Here is a picture of the marriage.

Recipe as follows:

Butter piecrust:

2 cups AP flour
1 stick plus 4 tablespoons cold butter, cut up
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 - 5 tablespoons icewater

In a food processor, combine the flour, salt and butter.  Process until the butter is the size of peas.  Add icewater, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together.  Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Pie filling:

6 cups of sliced peaches, skins and stones removed
1 cup blackberries
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon butter, cut up
1 egg, divided.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Carefully mix all ingredients (except egg) together.  Take the dough and roll it out to fit a 9" pie plate.  Have a few strips left over to cover the pie or for decoration.  Brush the dough with the egg white as it will help keep the piecrust from becoming soggy. Take a fork and poke a few holes in the bottom and sides of the dough.  Add the fruit mixture and cover with remaining dough. Mix the egg yolk with the remaining egg white and brush over the top crust.  Sprinkle with sparkly sugar if desired.  Bake for 25 minutes in the center of the oven and then lower the temperature to 350 and bake for another 30 minutes.  Let cool and enjoy with ice cream for a nice summer treat!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Honey Challah

I found this wonderful recipe for Honey Challah here:

Honey-Vanilla Challah

Adapted from “The Bread Bible” by Beth Hensperger, “The Good Enough to Eat Breakfast Cookbook” by Carrie Levin, “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” by Peter Reinhart and “The Bread Bible” by Rose Levy Beranbaum, among others.

Makes 1 Loaf

•1 package active dry yeast

•4 tablespoons granulated sugar

•1 teaspoon salt

•4 1/4 to 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

•1 cup of warm milk

•2 eggs + 1 for the glaze

•4 tablespoons of olive oil + 1 teaspoon for greasing the bowl and another for the glaze

•1 tablespoon honey

In a large bowl combine the yeast, sugar, salt and 1 cup of the flour. Give it a stir. Add the warm milk, 2 eggs, 4 tablespoons of olive oil, then the honey.  Beat the ingredients until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl halfway through, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, switching to a dough hook.  Knead the dough in the mixer with the dough hook for 5 minutes or until the sides of the bowl are clean.
Place the dough in a deep container greased with 1 tsp of olive oil. Turn the dough once to coat the top and cover with plastic wrap. Allow it to rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease it with non-stick spray. Gently deflate the dough by pressing your fingers into it, then turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.

With a bench scraper, divide the dough into 3 equal portions, and roll each portion out into a smooth, thick strip about 20 inches long, with the ends slightly thinner than the middle. Lay these ropes side-by-side, not quite touching. Beginning in the middle and working towards you, braid the lower half of the three ropes. To braid, alternately move the outside ropes over the one in the center – left over, right over, left over -until you come to the end. Now go to the other side of your working space and braid the other half, this time moving the outside ropes under the center one. Braid tightly – you don’t want any gaps. When you finish braiding each side crimp the tapered ends together, then tuck them under.

Place the braided dough on your baking sheet, cover loosely witha tea towel and let rise until almost doubled in bulk, about 30 minutes.  At this time preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and whisk together the glaze: 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Brush the dough with a thick layer of it. Place the dough in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the bread is a deep golden brown and sounds hollow when you thump it on the bottom. Transfer to a baking rack to cool. Allow to cool completely.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Puff Pastry Chicken Pot Pie

Nothing excites a dish more than puff pastry.  I almost always have it in my freezer to use when I'm in the mood.  It can turn the simplist dish into something celebratory.  Tonight we dined on an elegantly presented chicken pot pie.

Recipe (serves 2):

1 boneless chicken breast
Chicken stock to cover

2 carrots, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1/3rd of an onion, small dice
1 tablespoon oil
1 clove of garlic, crushed
Parsley, chopped

3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup milk
Pinch of nutmeg
1 tablespoon of sherry (optional)

1/2 sheet of puff pastry
1 egg, beaten

Chives, chive flowers, parsley or other herbs for decorating.

Salt and pepper to taste

1.  Cover chicken breast with stock and bring to a boil.  Lower temperature and simmer for 8-12 minutes.
2.  In a separate pot, saute carrots, celery and onion in oil for 8 minutes or until tender.  (If vegetables get dry, add a little hot chicken stock from the other pot.)  Add garlic and parsley and cook for 1 minute.  Remove from heat and place in a bowl.
3.  In the now empty pot, melt butter and add flour.  Cook on low for 1-2 minutes.  Turn off the heat and whisk in the milk.  Turn on the heat again and cook until it starts to thicken.  Add the nutmeg and vegetables.
4.  Remove the chicken breast and allow to cool until you can cut it safely.  Add to the vegetables and cream sauce.
5.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
6.  Roll out the puff pastry and cut in half (if using two bowls).
7.  Take a small, oven-proof bowls or a larger bowl and brush the beaten egg around the top, outer edge.  Divide the chicken/vegetable mixture in the bowls and cover with the puff pastry.  Brush egg all over the puff pastry, add decorative pieces in a floral or other pattern.  Brush with egg and cut a few holes in the puff pastry.
8.  Place bowls on a foil lined baking sheet.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until browned.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Pumpkin Sour Cream Coffee Cake

I must have made a thousand coffee cakes in my life using the same recipe that I know so well I could recite it in my sleep.  This day, however, I added pumpkin puree to the mix.  My DH loves pumpkin and I don't so the pumpkin desserts are kind of scarce around here.  But I think that we will both be pleased with this recipe:

Pumpkin Sour Cream Coffee Cake

2 sticks of butter, softened
2 cups of sugar (you can use 1 3/4)
4 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sour cream
1 cup pumpkin puree
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt


1/2 cup sugar (I sometimes use vanilla sugar)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Butter a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.  Blend butter and sugar until creamy about 3 minutes on medium mixer speed.  Add eggs, one at a time.  Add sour cream, pumpkin and vanilla to combine.  Slowly add the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and mix for a minute.  Set aside.

Mix topping ingredients together in a separate bowl.

Pour 1/2 of the batter in the baking dish.  Sprinkle half of the topping over the batter.  Add the remaining batter over the topping and finish with the remaining topping, sprinkling it over the entire top.  Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool and enjoy.

Chocolate Brownie Cookies

Yesterday I had a hankering for something sweet.  I also had a few boxes in my pantry that needed to go.  One of them was a box of brownie mix.  I forget which brand.  Well, as much as I love brownies, I was not in the mood for them.  I checked around for a recipe for cookies and there are quite a few of them.  Here's my version:

1/2 box of brownie mix
1/3 cup oil
1 egg, beaten
3 tablespoons water
coconut for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix oil, water and egg together.  Add to dry mix and combine.  Drop by tablespoonsful onto a parchment lined baking sheet.  Sprinkle with sweetened coconut.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until done.  Cool on a rack.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Banana Chocolate Souffle

Banana Chocolate Souffles from Taste of Home.  The recipe can be found here:

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Melt-In-Your-Mouth Pancakes

Melt-In-Your-Mouth Pancakes from the back of the Bisquick box

2 cups Original Bisquick mix

1 cup milk

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 eggs

Stir ingredients until blended. Pour by slightly less than 1/4 cupsful onto hot greased griddle. Cook until edges are dry. Turn, cook until golden. 14 pancakes. Prep time 5 minutes, cook time 3 minutes per batch.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Brunch April 4, 2010

Easter Brunch
Easter Menu


Fruit Salad

Deviled eggs

Asparagus salad

Roasted asparagus

Carrot/raisin salad

Baked French Toast

Egg Strada with Canadian Bacon
English muffins

Rabbit Cake

Lamb Cake

Monday, March 29, 2010

Cranberry Walnut Biscotti

One of my dh favorites!  Cranberry and walnut biscotti.  So easy to make, so delicious.  Here's the recipe:

1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
3 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla (or 2 teaspoons orange flavored liquor)
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, coarsely chopped
3/4 cups chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 325 F.  Combine first seven ingredients.  Whisk eggs and vanilla together.  Add wet to dry and blend until combined.  Fold in cranberries and walnuts.  Divide batter in half.  With wet hands, make a log out of each piece.  It should measure about 14 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide.  I just make them on the cookie sheet (not greased).  Bake for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven, lower oven to 300 F.  Slice on a diagonnal and separate.  Return to oven and bake for another 20 minutes.  If still not dry, turn off oven and let sit for 10 more minutes.  Remove from oven and place on a rack to cool.  Store in a cool dry place.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Birds gathering for a drink - or a discussion!

Maybe they're talking about how late spring is this year.

Can't be too far off now, it's supposed to be 80 degrees later this week - hooray!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Rock Garden Markers for my herbs

It's difficult for me to remember what I planted where so I got this idea (from somewhere...Martha Stewart?) to make it easier to mark my herbs and veggies.  I use most of the herbs in my cooking and this saves time.  Here are the results:

Parsley which is coming back!  Great for so many things.

Lavender is coming back after a long, snowy winter.  Love the scent, I have a jar of it on my counter.  The lavender buds, not the scent...although wouldn't that be nice...

Some of my markers for other plants to be!  Oregano, lettuce, swiss chard, bay leaf and beets.  The sedum is for the rock garden.

Nothing like having an herb garden close to hand.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Braised Corned Beef in Stout

Tonight I made a braised corned beef in honor of St. Patrick's Day (although a day late.)  It is called Stout Braised Corned Beef.  Here is the recipe:

1 3lb corned beef brisket
3 bottles of stout (your choice, I used Oatmeal Stout)
1 spice packet
3 tablespoons sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place corned beef, spice packet and the beer in a dutch oven.  Cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.  When done, remove from oven and place corned beef on a plate.  Cover it with tin foil.  Take the dutch oven and place it on the stove .  Add the sugar to the beer and heat until syrupy.  Add a lump of butter.  Slice corned beef and drizzle sauce over it.  Drink with your favorite beverage!

Irish Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup cooked Irish Oatmeal
1 banana
1 egg
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup all purpose flour
3 tablespoons flax
1/3rd cup raisins and/or chocolate chips
Sugar for sprinkling

Oven preheated to 350 degrees F

With an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter for several minutes until it is a pale yellow color. Add the banana and continue to cream until you reach a smooth consistency. Beat in the egg and the vanilla.

In a separate bowl, gently stir together the oatmeal, flour, baking powder and baking soda, just enough to combine the ingredients.Add this mixture tp the butter mixture to combine.

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto the cookie sheets.  Bake for 12-14 minutes, until the cookies are firm and the edges just beginning to brown. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Shrimp and Lobster Risotto

Seafood Risotto Ingred: Shrimp, Lobster claws, Arborio rice, garlic, basil, shrimp stock or clam juice, sherry or white wine, marscapone cheese, salt and pepper (to taste).

Peel the shrimp but place the shells in water  to cover.  I sometimes add leftover carrot shavings and onion skins that I've saved.  Also, add a tablepoon of oil and boil for about 30 minutes.

Strain the stock and keep simmering.

In a risotto pan, heat 2 tablespoons of of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter.  Add a sprig of basil and heat until you smell the basil, a minute or so.  Add a minced clove of garlic and heat in the oil for another minute.  Add Arborio rice and saute for a few minutes (according to your package's instructions) or until you see a small dot in the center of the rice.  You may add a little wine or sherry at this point.  Then, take a ladle of the stock and add it to your rice.  Stir until the rice has absorbed the stock, add another ladle, stir and wait, add another ladle, etc.  It should take about 18 minutes.  You don't want to add too much stock at a time, just enough to feed the rice.  It should get creamier as it absorbs the stock.  Taste a grain and it is done if it is a little al dente.  Add a dollop of marscapone cheese.  Set aside off flame.

In a separate pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter.  Add chopped lobster and saute for a minute or so or until done.  Remove and add to the risotto.  In the same pan as the lobster, add the shrimp and cook until pink.  Also add to the risotto. Mix in carefully.  Chop some parsley and sprinkle it on top.  Season to taste.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

More Artisan No-Knead Bread

Start the night before.

Recipe for one loaf:

3 cups flour
11/2 cups warm water
1 Tablespoon yeast
1 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a crock or plastic container.  Cover lightly but do not completely close as it will explode over.  Keep on kitchen counter for at least 2 hours.  Put in refrigerator overnight.  The next morning, throw a little flour on the counter.  You don't want to incorporate too much flour into the dough.  Cut off a grapefruit sized piece of dough.  Shape into a ball by stretching the dough to the bottom, turning it by a quarter each time.  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Let rise in a warm place for an hour and a half, turning the oven on to 450 degrees F after an hour.  I place a large cast iron skillet in the oven with a roasting pan underneath it.  The cast iron needs to get hot because you will be placing the dough on it for some great "oven spring."  Before putting the dough in the oven you can brush it with water or sometimes I use oil (flavored with basil leaves) and add some seeds (here I used flax seeds).  With a very sharp scissor or knife, make four 1/4" deep x 3" long cuts in the top of the dough.  Bake for 40 minutes or until done.  Remove the bread from the oven and leave in the cast iron pan to cool.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Veggie(?) Cakelets

These were some of my favorite things to bake.  I used a pan that I bought at Williams Sonoma.  The cakes were from a mix.  As my niece says "FUN!"

Also, take a look at Foodie Friday:

Friday, February 26, 2010

Hot Chocolate for a Snowy Day

After a long walk my dh and I came home to this:

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

A truly special recipe from an old friend, this Sour Cream Coffee Cake has been a standard in my kitchen for over 35 years.  I have made many hundreds of them.  Today I tried to make it by cutting down on the sugar.  It was quite delicious.  Here is the recipe:

2 sticks of butter, softened
1 cup of sugar
1/2 pint sour cream
1 very ripe banana, mashed
4 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup of whole wheat flour
3 cups of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Beat butter and sugar for 2 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time.  Add vanilla and sour cream.  Then add the whole wheat flour.   Add the AP flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Prepare a 13 inch rectangular baking pan with butter.  Pour half the batter into the pan and spread out.  With a teaspoon, sprinkle half the sugar/cinnamon mixture over the top.  Add the remaining batter and smooth over.   Cover the top with the remaining sugar/cinnamon and bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool for 20 minutes before cutting.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Creamed Cod recipe

This recipe was handed down to me by my mother.  We believe that it came from our Norwegian ancestors.

Creamed Cod:
serves 2

1 lb. fresh cod
1 cup milk
1 bay leaf
Pinch nutmeg
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons flour

White wine or fish stock (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Simmer cod in milk and bayleaf for 10 minutes.  Let cool slightly.  Remove cod from milk and break into bite sized pieces.  Set aside.  In another pan, melt butter and add flour.  Cook for 1 minute.  Remove from heat and add milk.  Simmer until thickened.  If it becomes too thick, you could add fish stock or even white wine to dilute. Return cod to sauce.  Season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Serve with mashed potatoes and peas.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Toasted coconut date nut bread perfect after winter sledding

I'm finding out that you really don't need sugar to sweeten a tea bread if you use really ripe bananas.  Today I made a coconut date nut bread with the recipe from Williams Sonoma sprinkled sweetened coconut on top.  No refined sugar (other than the coconut) was used.  It was delicious.  Try it when you're cutting down on sugar. You'll be pleasantly surprised I think.