Saturday, December 19, 2009


This is a fun and easy project to do with kids.

Supplies. This is what you need:

Licorice gumdrops (I used Crows) (for hat)
Fruit Roll-Ups (for scarf)
Non-Pareils (for eyes & buttons)(or you could use licorice laces, snipped into pieces)
Orange jelly beans or candy corn (for nose)
Plastic drinking straws
Toothpick for placing the non-pareils
For wrapping: squares of clear plastic wrap, and tape.

1. poke the straw through a marshmallow and then through another:

2. Push the tip of the straw into the bottom of a black gunmdrop:

3. Using toothpick, prepare holes for non-pareil "eyes" and jellybean "nose":

4. Place non-pariels for eyes:

5. Place orange jellybean nose:

6. Place fruit roll-up "scarf" around neck of snowman:

7. Hello Mr. Snowman:

Monday, December 7, 2009

Tomato Orange Soup

I love the Tomato Orange Soup at Elephant's deli - this is my interpretation.
Theirs probably has butter and cream in it - it tastes great.
This version is healthy.

Tomato Orange Soup

2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T olive oil
pinch cinnamon
1 can tomatoes (the small one, 14.5 oz) (I used "S & W stewed Italian recipe")
1/2 cup orange juice (the juice from one orange)
zest of 1 orange
1/4 tsp. Boyajian Pure Orange Oil
2 cups chicken broth
minced fresh herbs: I used marjoram, thyme, chervil, mint.

Saute the garlic in the olive oil in the soup pot. Add the cinnamon and a little of the marjoram.
Then add the tomatoes, broth, orange juice, zest. Bring to boil then turn down to simmer. You can put a lid on it if you want.
Start the rice ( recipe below).
After it's cooked for 10 - 20 minutes, use a stick blender* to smooth the soup.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with a scoop of yellow rice in the bowl then ladle in the soup and garnish with the fresh herbs.

Yellow Rice
1 cup pearl rice (such as Calrose)
2 cups broth (I used water with 1/2 t. Better Than Boullion)
pinch turmeric

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Vegetarian Dinner

Baked Barley

Pear Grapefruit Slaw

Roasted Delicata Squash Rounds

Continuing along the theme of meals made with lots of vegetables, low-overall fat/ no saturated fat, whole grains, lean protein.

Baked Barley :
8 oz barley
1 -2 T oil
1 small can diced tomatoes (I used no salt organic)
1 carrot, peeled & chopped (I detest the taste of carrot peels!)
chopped garden celery or parsley
1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds
1 tsp Better Than Bouillon mushroom flavor stirred into:
1/2 canful (from the tomatoes) hot water

Roast the sunflower seeds in a 9 x 13" pan or skillet in a 350° oven for 10 -15 minutes.
Put the oil in a casserole dish, stir in the barley, then add the other ingredients.
Cover with lid or foil and bake at 350° for one hour.

Pear Grapefruit Slaw :
matchstick julienned pear, carrots, & winesap apple
grapefruit slices, supremed*
minced garden herbs: lots of spearmint, little bit celery, parsley, chervil, cress
dressing: lemon juice & honey (another nice dressing is equal parts each mayonnaise & orange juice)
on bed of garden lettuces (green leaf, mache, romaine)
garnish small marigold petals (cut off with kitchen scissors)

Roasted Delicata Squash Rounds
slice the squash into rounds, leaving in the seeds
put 1 -2 T oil in a 9 x 13 dish
place the squash rounds in the pan, then turn them over so they are oiled on both sides.
sprinkle with a teeny little bit of garam masala and turmeric
Bake for about 15 - 20 minutes

Monday, November 9, 2009

Lemon Sponge Pudding with Lemon Sauce

Lemon Custard Sponge Pudding
This is between a cake and a pudding. A sponge cake layer rises and forms on the top, with a creamy lemon custard below. The sauce adds another very tart and lemony note.
Serve the Lemon Custard Sponge Pudding in bowls with the Lemon Sauce spooned over. I like it served warm, with warm sauce ladled on top, or it's also lovely chilled on a hot summer day.

2 T butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
3 eggs, separated
zest and juice of 2 lemons (1/4 cup juice and 2 tsp zest)
pinch of salt
1 cup milk
4 T flour

Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry, then set aside. In a separate bowl, beat the yolks with the soft butter until lemon colored, then add the sugar, lemon zest, and salt. Add the milk, lemon juice, and flour alternately. Fold in the egg whites. Butter or spray a small casserole dish and pour in the mixture. Put that in another ovenproof dish (I used a square glass dish), and pour hot water into the surrounding dish. Bake at 350° for one hour.

Lemon Sauce
Juice of 2 lemons (or 1 lemon and one lime)
2 tsp lemon zest
4 tsp cornstarch dissolved into 1 cup cool water
1/4 - 1/3 cup sugar (I like it pretty tart)
1 T. butter
Place all ingredients in a saucepan and stir over medium heat until it starts to boil. Turn the heat down and stir and cook for three - four minutes.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Cutting out da buttah

I'd like to stick around awhile and want to eventually have fun with my grandkids, and I want my grandkids to have great memories of doing fun stuff with Grannie Janni! Given my family history of heart disease, I think it's time to really ream the buttah out of my arteries. So I am going to enjoy butter (and other saturated fats like cheese, cream, fatty meats, bacon, etc.) on holidays and birthdays only. Thank heavens that chocolate is actually healthy (dark chocolate or cocoa - milk chocolate is now in the holiday category) - that will go a long way toward helping me wean off teh buttah. Maybe I'm not having cookies, but I can have a square of dark chocolate!

Here is the latest food I discovered which was a satisfying replacement for the buttered version:


1 lb baby Yukon gold potatoes
2 - 3 T good olive oil
minced fresh herbs - parsley, mint, garden celery, chives, marjoram, thyme
salt and pepper

Boil the potatoes until tender (about 20 minutes)
Drain and break them in half; place them in a serving dish with the cut side up.
Drizzle them with olive oil, then salt and pepper them generously.
Then sprinkle on the minced herbs.
They were so good, I didn't miss the butter.

And here is a hot chocolate that has been getting me through the mornings lately - it is chock-ful (lol) of healthy stuff like antioxidants and calcium and honey.
2 - 4 tsp non-"Dutched" dark unsweetened cocoa (such as Scharffenberger)
2 tsp honey
4 ounces hot water
4 ounces skim or lowfat milk
Mix the cocoa powder with the hot water, stir in the honey until dissolved. Add the milk.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Can one be addicted to umami?

Teriyaki Salmon with Red Onion & Winesap Apple relish

Sauteed Garden Greens

Baby Pumpkin and Squash

Orange Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Blondies

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


small tomatoes, very ripe, halved
tiny baby yellow squash with their blossoms, cut in half lengthwise
greens - mustard greens and tatsoi, torn, large stems removed
mint leaves, no stems
baby red torpedo onion, sliced
garlic, sliced
olive oil

I cut tomatoes and baby squashes in half, and put them in a non-stick skillet with the garlic & onion & olive oil, and layered on the torn greens and mint. Let it cook for about 4 minutes, then stirred it and then served it.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Getting Medieval

Every year in late September, our Farmer Market has a medieval day, when they invite the local SCA chapter, (the medieval re-enactment people), to present demonstrations of Medieval life, including cooking, fighting, arts & crafts, fashion, etc. My daughters and I have been participating in the food demo for a number of years.

This year we made all the food at home the night before. We made:
Oatcakes (unsweetened oat flour flatbread, served with honey).
Apple muse (applesauce made with almond milk and honey).
Hedgehogs (meatballs shaped like little hedgehogs with almond spines and currant noses).
Shrewsbury Cakes (shortbread cookies scented with rosewater and nutmeg).
Greens Tart (a pie made with greens, eggs, cheeses, and nutmeg).
Onion Salad (roasted onions dressed with wine vinegar, cinnamon, olive oil, S & P).
Spiced Cider.

The people who stopped by the food demo were so interested and polite! One englishman came by several times to taste the Shrewsbury Cakes, which he pronounced "Shrawsbry"- -EEEEE!I heart all things British.

A sweet older woman with the most beautiful light green eyes was very interested in the oatcakes and talked to me for some time about them. They were very familiar to her. Her husband was Scottish and she always tried to make his nostalgic foods for him.

She asked if I ever heard of gypsy creams, which she said is an old British favourite cookie. She couldn't find recipe for them. She described them as having flour, oats, golden syrup, and a little bit of cocoa in them, and two cookies sandwiched with chocolate butter cream. I told her I woul look it up. This recipe sounds just like what she described:
Recipe Name Gypsy Creams
Difficulty Level Easy
Traditional food from United Kingdom
Ingredients 3oz margarine
4 level tsp. golden syrup
6oz self raising or plain flour
2oz sugar
1/2 oz cocoa
2oz rolled oats
Preparation Melt the margarine and syrup in a pan, stir in the sifted dry ingredients and the rolled oats.
Place walnut sized pieces on greased baking trays, flattening them with a fork dipped in hot water.
Bake for 20-25 minutes in a gas mark 3 oven, 325 F / 160 C.
Allow to cool before removing from trays and when cold serve plain or sandwiched together with chocolate butter cream.
Makes 16-18.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Homemade Mozzarella!

Actually, Laurel made this cheese last Sunday with a kit from New Seasons.
I have a recipe for it that was on my cooking "To Do" list. Laurel was disappointed with the cheese, and left it at my house in a yogurt tub. The next day I looked at it and it looked pretty good to me! It is very white and softer than store mozzarella. I made this "lasagne-ish dinner with it.I just layered the ingredients in a lasagne pan and baked at 350* until warmed through. The cheese was also good on Bartlett pear slices, sprinkled with a little nutmeg.

TJ's lasagne noodles, partially cooked to al dente
homemade tomato sauce made with dead ripe garden tomatoes, garlic, basil
yellow summer squash
chicken breast poached in broth, then shredded
spoonfuls of homemade mozzarella

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

more cute foods - candy "sushi" birthday cake

Sushi cake - chocolate cake, sushi made with green fruit rollups "seaweed", coconut "rice", orange jellybelly "salmon roe", orange cookie-decoration-sugarball "tobiko", candied ginger "kanpyo", and Swedish gummy fish.

Candy Sushi

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Tomato Mustard Tart

Garden Tomato Tart

~ A perfect use for perfect garden tomatoes!

1 pie crust shell (recipe below)
3 ripe tomatoes
6 oz Gruyere cheese (sharp cheddar or provolone works too), grated
A few fresh marjoram leaves, one green onion, sliced, and some basil leaves (the tiny leaves at the ends)
2 T plus 1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 egg, beaten
3 T creme fraiche (or cream, yogurt or sour cream can work)

pie crust:
6 oz unsalted butter, frozen or very cold, cut or grated into small pieces
1 & 1/4 cups flour
2 - 4 T. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 t. fresh ground black pepper
1/4 t. salt
water as needed (2 - 4 T.)

Mix together the flour, salt, Parmesan, & pepper. Stir in the butter. Drizzle in water 1 T. at a time until it just forms a ball (it will look crumbly but hold together when squeezed.) Pat into a flat ball, and chill 5 - 20 minutes before rolling out. Heat oven to 350°. Roll out the pie crust (between wax paper makes it easy) and line a pie dish (or tart pan). Crimp edges. Prick the crust with a fork in several places. Prebake for 10 - 12 minutes. Remove from the oven.

Slice tomatoes about 1/4" thick, and place them between towels to remove some of the juice (otherwise the tart gets too soggy).

Brush the prebaked crust with 1 T (generous) Dijon mustard. Mix the beaten egg, cream, another 1 tsp Dijon, remaining cheese, salt & pepper, and spread it over the tart. Scatter on the herbs. Arrange the tomato slices on. Put tart in oven, bake 45 minutes.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Cute foods

I just can't help it - I love cute foods!

Cheesey Snowman:
Cheese balls made with shredded white cheddar mixed with cream cheese, a little onion, garlic, a dash of Worchestershire sauce and or Dijon mustard, etc. Let them firm up in the fridge on a wax papered tray, then put them together with bamboo skewers or popsicle sticks inside for stability. Hat: pumpernickel bread circles cut with cookie cutters. Scarf: lettuce. Eyes & buttons: olives. Nose: tiny baby carrot (I mean TINY!)

Hedgehog Cheese Ball

Cheeseball made as above, formed into a teardrop shape, pretzel "spines", almond ears, currant eyes and nose. You can use lowfat or nonfat versions of the cheese.

Marshmallow snowman - connect 2 marshmallows with a toothpick. Licorice hat, fruit rollup scarf, sprinkles for eyes & nose.

Fake Amanitas:

gummy amanitas

tomato & egg amanitas

more tomato & egg amanitas and potato little brown mushrooms

Friday, August 21, 2009

Yellow Summer Squash & Garden Tomatoes

for breakfast? yep! (of course it's delicious for lunch or dinner too!)

1 perfect fat young yellow summer squash, cut lengthwise into paddles
1 perfect fat ripe Roma tomato cut lengthwise into longish slabs
a li'l olive oil
garden garlic
teeeeeeny hint of cinnamon
a li'l bit Romano cheese - grated

Saute the squash, after it gets going add the garlic into the spaces, then the tomato, flip every thing over one by one, sprinkle the tomatoes with basil and teeeeny bit of cinnamon, cheese on all.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Brown Rice & Chicken

For when I feel a need for healthy comfort food. Whole grain, protein, plenty of veggies, lowfat, lots of taste - what's not to love?

2 - 3 pieces frozen boneless skinless chicken breast
1- 2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T olive oil
1 cup short grain brown rice
1 onion, chopped
1 cup broth (if using fresh tomatoes, use another 1/2 cup broth)
1 small can whole tomatoes in juice OR 4 fresh plum tomatoes, chopped
1 t. smoked paprika
1 - 2 yellow summer squash, sliced
(other veggies as you desire: carrots, green beans, winter squash cubes, corn, etc.)
more olive oil or butter
Peccorino Romano cheese (grated)

Defrost the frozen chicken for 5 - 10 minutes by placing it in a plastic bag partially submerged in warm water. (It doesn't need to be completely defrosted.) Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven, and sear the chicken until a little browned on each side. Remove the chicken to a plate (it will only be partially cooked - that is OK).

Cook the garlic, onion, paprika, and brown rice in the Dutch oven and then add the broth and tomatoes. If using canned tomatoes, break them up into pieces. If the broth is not salted, add 1/2 tsp salt. Bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer. Place the chicken on top of the rice, sprinkle with some more paprika. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. Then arrange the squash on top, drizzle on some olive oil or dot with butter. Sprinkle with Romano cheese. Cover and cook 10 more minutes. Turn off heat and let stand 5 more minutes.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

juice from one lemon (approx. 2 T. juice)
2 oranges (I used organic oranges from Trader Joe's)
2 T brown sugar OR 1 T. honey
2 T. mayonnaise
1 T honey mustard*
1 tsp Asian dark sesame oil
1/4 tsp Boyajian Pure Orange Oil**
salt & pepper
2 T. candied ginger, minced (from Trader Joe's)
1 lb carrots, peeled and shredded
2 T sesame toasted seeds

Shred the zest from the oranges with a microplane & set aside.
With a sharp knife, "supreme" one of the oranges into sections, like this:
Toss the orange segments with the shredded carrots and the minced ginger.
Squeeze the juice from the other orange.
Mix the juices with the brown sugar or honey and stir until mixed and dissolved.
In a bowl, mix the mayonnaise, mustard, and sesame oil. Sprinkle in a little salt & pepper.
Slowly add the orange and lemon juice mixture a little at a time, whisking it in with a fork.
Toss with the shredded carrots. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on the top.

Hints & Comments:
*Honey mustards vary a LOT so use one you like. I used Fred Meyer brand.
**{{Secret ingredient: Boyajian Orange Oil 1/4 tsp. This totally kicks up the orange flavor in baked goods and things like this salad. A little goes a long way so be careful. This is available at places like Cost Plus, Whole Foods, Sur La table, Williams Sonoma, or New Seasons.}}
~When you shred the carrots, toss with a little of the orange or lemon juice to keep them from turning brown.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Creamy Orange Vinaigrette

zest and juice of 1 lemon
zest and juice of 1 orange (I used an organic orange)
1/4 tsp. Boyajian orange oil
3 T dark brown sugar
1 T honey mustard (honey mustard brands vary wildly- use one you like -I used Fred Meyer -also many of them contain High Fructose Corn Syrup, a fake ingredient that I refuse to consume)
1 /2 cup mayonnaise (I used Saffola)
salt & pepper

Mix the zests & juices with the mustard and brown sugar, stir until the sugar dissolves.
Place the mayonnaise in a tall container (I used a 1 qt. yogurt tub), and gradually stir in the other mixture one T. at a time with a fork. Season with salt & pepper. I used a stick blender to really mix it well.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

1 can or 2 c. cooked dried beans, drained (white beans, black beans, chick peas, etc.)
1 cup rolled oats
1 egg
2 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
salt & pepper

Mash beans with fork (you can leave them kind of chunky). Mix all ingredients. Form into burger size patties. Pan fry in a little vegetable or olive oil. For cheese burgers, melt slice of cheese on top while cooking the second side. (I used pepper jack today.)

Serve without buns or on buns with lettuce, tomato, condiments.

I bought some "Nova Scotia Fisherman's Beans" at the Hillsboro Farmer Market last season; they are brown beans. I cooked them up and made bean patties out of some of them and froze the patties (uncooked) on a parchment paper lined sheet. When frozen, I put them in a freezer bag. To cook, I placed the patties, still frozen, in a skillet in which I heated a little oil.

Mix above mixture, adding 1 tsp basil & 1 minced garlic clove. Form into 1.5 inch "meatballs" - pan fry in olive oil, brown on all sides. Serve with tomato sauce and spaghetti (or in crusty Italian rolls). Grate on some fresh Parmesan or Romano cheese with a micro plane.

savoy cabbage
green apple
mayo-honey-cider vinegar

2 lbs. Roma tomatoes, sliced
zest and juice of 2 lemons
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 T sugar
1 sweet onion or red onion, sliced
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley, (or basil)
fresh ground pepper

Remove the zest of the lemons with a micro-plane or a zester. Squeeze out the lemon juice and mix it with the sugar, the zest, parsley, olive oil and S & P. Stir in the tomatoes and onion.

Option: I added a few VERY thin slices of lemon.

If you can buy the plum tomatoes ahead of time & leave them out on the counter a day or two it will improve their flavor. But if you're buying them to eat the same day, look for the ripest ones. DO NOT PUT THEM IN THE FRIDGE! Refrigerating tomatoes ruins their texture and flavor.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Buttermilk Lemon Vanilla Sherbert

1 & 1/2 cups of buttermilk (I used plain homemade yogurt)
zest and juice of 1 lemon (1 T zest, 2 T juice)
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Stir the sugar with the lemon zest, juice, and vanilla extract. Let it stand 5 minutes. Then stir to dissolve the sugar - gently; this will tke few minutes. Stir in the buttermilk and then chill for at least an hour.

Process in a one-pint ice cream maker. OR freeze in a flat pan and scrape it once every hour for 4 hours to make it slushy.


1/2 cup sugar (I used a little less)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 T honey
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 t salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup toasted coconut (wide flake)
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 Tab minced candied ginger
1 Tab orange zest
(Next time I will add: crushed pineapple and rolled oats)

Spread into a greased loaf pan (I used a non-stick pan),
bake at 350° for 40 - 50 minutes.
I liked it plain, but you might like it with maple cream cheese frosting.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


We made these on Easter. They actually even tasted pretty good! Quality chocolate helps.
bunny peeps (I suppose you could do it with chicks, but IMHO they would not be as cute)
melted chocolate
bamboo skewers
sprinkles or cookie decorations of choice (chopped nuts, coconut, etc.)
wax paper or parchment
Small flat tray or plate

Push the skewers into the peeps bunnies, then place them onto parchment or wax paper, on the tray or plate. Have your sprinkles/decorations at the ready.

Melt chocolate in a double boiler:
Bring a small amount of water to a boil in the bottom the double boiler.
Turn off the water and place a bowl or the top of the double boiler over the hot water. Let it stand until mostly melted. Stir very gently to complete the melting.

OR, melt chocolate in plastic bag:
place chopped chocolate or chocolate chips in one corner of zip bag.
Close the bag securely. Place the corner of the bag into a cup of hot water (near-boiling). Do not let any water or steam make contact with the chocolate. When chocoalte is melted, snip off the corner of the bag, and pipe out the chocolate. It will be quite runny and you will need to put your finger over the opening to prevent the chocolate from leaking out.

You can apply the chocolate to the peeps either by dipping, spreading with a small spatula, or piping the chocolate. You decide which method(s) you want to do. Do one side, sprinkle the decorations onto the wet chocolate. Put the peeps into the freezer for a few minutes to firm up the chocolate. Then take them out, turn them over, and apply chocolate and decorations to other side. Place in freezer. Once the chocolate is set, you can take them out and serve, or wrap in plastic wrap and return to the freezer.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Millet Tabouli

Millet is the world's most nutritious grain, rich in vitamin A, lutein, minerals, fiber and essential fatty acids.

Millet sustains a third of the world's population! It is used widely in Africa, India, and Western Asia. One of its advantages is that it can be grown in poor soil and in arid conditions. It is one of the oldest foods that humans have cultivated.

Millet is delicious! Millet is a perfect stand-in for cous-cous, rice, grits, or bulghur. I like to cook it and serve it like pasta, with fresh tomato sauce, or a little olive oil, garlic and grated cheese. Millet is gluten-free and a good alternative to wheat. Millet porridge is lovely for breakfast.

You can learn more about millet here:

Millet Tabouli

This recipe is very healthy!
1 cup millet
1 & 1/2 cups broth (I used water plus 1 tsp Better Than Bouillon)
1/2 t. salt (omit if using bouillon or salted broth)
teeny pinch of turmeric
1 T. olive oil
Bring to boil, turn down heat to simmer, cover and cook until liquid is absorbed (20 minutes?). I like to turn it off just before it is done, cover and let stand 10 minutes. I cook it on the stove or I use a rice cooker.

I used fresh herbs from the garden. Garden celery has a much stronger flavor than store bought. Feel free to adjust the amounts to your own tastes.
1/2 cup minced fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup minced parsley
1/2 cup minced celery
2 green onions, sliced
zest of 1 orange (1 T.)
1 apple, 1/2" dice mixed with juice of 1/2 an orange
1/4 cup vinaigrette (I used Pear and Gorgonzola dressing from TJ's)

Stir the herbs and fruit and vinaigrette together, then stir in the millet.
This is the way I made it. I like it on the drier side rather than the soupy side - add more of anything if you wish! Enjoy!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Rice Cooker Yogurt

Making Yogurt in a Rice Cooker

Equipment needed:
A pint size container with lid
(I use a wide mouth canning jar or a plastic yogurt / cottage cheese tub)
Rice cooker
(I have a small Rival rice cooker from Target, it's red like most everything else in my kitchen)
Cooking thermometer
(I have a small one with a stem)

3 T plain yogurt (be sure the package says "live cultures")
I like to use Nancy's Organic NonFat Plain
1 & 3/4 cups milk (I use non-fat or 1%)

First, you need to test your rice cooker's temperature. Put some warm water in the rice cooker, put the lid on and set it at the "Warm" setting and leave it for an hour. Come back and take its temperature. If the water is over 120° you aren't going to be able to make yogurt with your rice cooker. Sorry. But if it is 120° or less, you're in business. My little thermometer's stem fits nicely into the hole in the lid of my rice cooker, which makes it easier to monitor the temp. as I make the yogurt.

Bring the milk to 190° (you can do this in a saucepan on the stove, or in a Pyrex measuring cup in the microwave). Scalding the milk like this denatures the protein and gives a smoother texture to your yogurt. This step is not absolutely necessary, but it really helps when you are a beginner yogurt-maker.

Cool the milk to 110° - 115°. You can do this by placing the saucepan or pyrex measuring cup, that contains the heated milk, into a sink filled with a few inches of cold water - stir the milk until it comes down to 120° - 110°, being careful not get any water in the milk.

In the jar or tub you will be using to incubate your yogurt, mix a tablespoonful of the warm milk with your 3 T. starter yogurt. Gradually add the rest of the milk, stirring to smooth the mixture as you go. Close the lid, and place the jar or tub in the rice cooker. Pour some hot tap water around the outside of the yogurt jar/tub. Be careful not to let any water get near or over the lid. You might want to measure the temperature of your tap water (my tap water is 120°). If your tap water is over 120° put some cooler water in it to bring it down to 110° to 120°. Put the lid on the rice cooker, set the the rice cooker to "warm" and let it stand, undisturbed, for 4-5 hours. If needed, check after 1-2 hours to see that the temperature has not risen above 120°. If the yogurt is thickened after 4-5 hours, remove jar (tub) and chill in fridge. If you prefer a more tart yogurt, you can let it incubate longer.


You can strain the yogurt, after it has been chilled, through a fine mesh sieve or cheese cloth, to make a thick "yogurt cheese" or Greek-style yogurt. Just leave the yogurt overnight in the fridge in the strainer set over a container (I use a plastic yogurt tub). You can mix the thickened yogurt with chives, garlic, herbs, etc., for a spread.

You can add maple syrup, honey, or jam to the yogurt while it is incubating, or you can add them to the finished product.

This recipe may sound complicated, but making yogurt is really very simple!
Once you get the hang of it there are just a few rules you need to remember:

*Temperatures over 120° will kill yogurt.
*Temperatures under 110° will not let the yogurt grow and culture.
(Unless it is a special strain of yogurt such as viili)
*Using canned evaporated milk for part of the milk adds creaminess and smooth texture.
*Yogurt likes to be undisturbed during the "yogging" process.
Resist the urge to open, peek, stir, or move the jar until checking time (4 -5 hrs.)
*You can use some of your homemade yogurt to start new yogurt.
*Yogurt cultures get weaker over time, so buy some fresh starter after 4 or 5 times.

A little live yogurt every day is good for your guts!

Bee Boppa Loo Bop Rhubarb Pie!
(Adapted from James Beard's recipe in American Cookery)

1 stick of cold butter
1 & 1/3 cups flour
1/2 t salt
1/8 cup water

Buzz the flour and salt briefly in a small food processor. Cut the cold butter into 1/2" bits. Place these bits on top of the flour in the food processor, and buzz briefly on the pulse setting. Add the water slowly, and buzz in spurts, just until the mixture starts to come together. Remove onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to be 2" larger than your pie dish. Place the pastry in pie dish.

Mix together:
5 cups diced (1/2") rhubarb
4 T flour
1 & 1/4 cup sugar (This makes a tart pie. If you like it sweeter, add 1/4 cup more sugar)
1 T orange zest
Place in pastry lined pie dish, dot with 2 T butter.

Top with Crumb Topping:
Mix: 2 T butter, 2 T. flour, 2 T brown sugar - place the crumbs in the center of the pie.
Fold the overhanging pastry dough up and onto the top of the pie.
Place the pie on a baking pan with sides to catch any possible drips.
Bake at 450° for 15 minutes, then turn down to 350° and bake for 30 - 35 more minutes.

Serve with Cream Cheese Ice Cream
(Be sure to place cannister of ice cream maker in freezer 24 hours before)
2 egg yolks (strained to remove the stringy parts)
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 pinch seasalt
4 ounces cream cheese (Nancy's Cultured Cream Cheese is good)
4 ounces heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
In a small saucepan, mix the yolks with a small amount of the milk, and gradually add the rest of the milk, the sugar, and the seasalt. Heat over low heat, to barely simmering, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat, and stir in the cream cheese until it melts (it may not all melt, that is OK). Add the remaining ingredients (cream and vanilla). Chill in fridge for at least 8 hours. I used a small Donvier. This makes about 1 pint of ice cream.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Romaine rolls

Romaine Rolls
1 cup calrose rice
water to cook in rice cooker to level "1"
teeny pinch of turmeric
1 tsp "Better Than Bouillion" Mushroom flavor

Green onion omelet:
1 bunch green onions, sliced (about 6 or 7 green onions, to make 3/4 cup sliced)
2 tsp bacon fat or butter
coarse sea salt and fresh black pepper
4 eggs, beaten well
shaved parmesan or Romano cheese

Heat the bacon fat in a 6" skillet, then add the green onions, cook until limp. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the onions. Pour the beaten egg over the cooked onions, turn the heat down, sprinkle on the shaved cheese, and cook until set. If desired, you can put it into a 350° oven and cook until set. Cut into quarters and then into strips.

Zuni Cafe pickled red onions
Trader Joe's Persian cucumbers, sliced length-wise very thinly,
then marinated with a little of the pickled onions & pickled onion juice
romaine leaves

Place a 12" square of plastic wrap on a counter. Place a large romaine leaf on the plastic wrap. Place a spoonful of the cooked rice, some pickled onion, some omelet, and some cucumber on the romaine leaf, then roll up like a burrito. Refrigerate for several hours, to set up.