Breakfast · Recipes

Grandmother’s masher and strawberry jam

I’ve got a lot of kitchen gadgets.  I get pretty excited when I find a recipe that REQUIRES a special tool that I don’t already have.  I don’t care if I only use it once a year.  I’ve gotta have it.  I like purses too, and shoes…but they come with some guilt, unlike the kitchen tools.  I’m sure it’s because I tell myself the kitchen gadgets are really for everyone I cook for, the end result always is anyway!  The shoes and purses are just for me.

My favorite gadget by far is something my Dad gave me.  It’s my Grandmother’s masher.  It makes me smile every time I use it.  It’s old, the paint is coming off, and it didn’t come from Williams-Sonoma.  It’s just extra special because it was my Grandmother’s.  She was an amazing cook.  I’m hoping some of her special cooking love rubs off on me.

I invited some friends over for brunch last weekend.  I pulled the blintzes out of the freezer, the ones I traded Veronica for scones.  Veronica told me Joey likes the blintzes best served with homemade strawberry jam.  I just happened have picked up some beautiful fresh strawberries at the new Grower’s Direct up the street, so I made some jam.  It turned out pretty good!

Strawberry Jam

  • 2 pounds fresh strawberries, hulled
  • 2 cups sugar
  • juice of a lemon

In a heavy bottom medium pot, combine strawberries, sugar and lemon juice.  Using a potato masher, crush and mix fruit with sugar.

Bring mixture to a boil, and cook, skimming foam and stirring frequently for 10 minutes.  Lower heat to maintain a gentle boil and continue to cook for another 20 minutes.    Remove pot from heat and let cool to room temperature.  If jam is too runny, return pot to heat and continue to cook.

It’s a gorgeous day.  Miss Molly is enjoying a little sunshine and the cool grass.

Chocolate · Dessert · Recipes

Jaime’s delicious vegan chocolate chip cookies

Jaime brought these in to work yesterday.  Vegan chocolate chip cookies?  Vegan???  Seriously?  They shouldn’t be so good, but they are!  They’re delicious!!!   Jaime’s boyfriend is vegan and a junk food lover.  He always begs her to make these for him.  Now I know why.  She found the recipe on the Choose Veg website.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup Earth Balance, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • egg replacer for 2 eggs, such as ENER-G
  • 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 375°.  Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl.  Cream butter, sugars and vanilla in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, or mix by hand in a bowl with a wooden spoon.  Add egg replacer, beating well after each addition, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl to incorporate.  Add flour mixture and combine.  Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded tablespoon onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.  Let stand for 2 minutes, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Thank you Jaime!

Main Dish · Recipes

steak in a bag

Steak in a bag…It’s delicious.  Veronica gave me this recipe about 25 years ago.  I wrote the recipe on an index card.  I’m sure it made sense to me at the time, but not so much anymore.  Here is the adjusted version.  I hope it makes sense 25 years from now.  The original recipe calls for top sirloin.  I made this for Sunshine’s Mom when Sunshine lived at the beach.  The oven was old, and never really got up to temperature.  It cooked low and slow.  No knife needed when it finally came out.

steak in a bag

  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons season salt
  • 1 tablespoon season pepper
  • 2 cups fresh egg bread crumbs
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded jack cheese
  • 2-3 pound top sirloin steak (I used tenderloin of beef)

Combine garlic, olive oil, season salt and pepper.  Rub onto meat.

Schmear it.

Combine bread crumbs and cheese and pack it onto the meat.

Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 375º.  Place in a paper bag on a sheet pan and bring to room temperature.  Bake until desired doneness.  Check internal temperature by using an instant read thermometer: approximately 125º  for medium rare.

Let meat rest for 30 minutes before serving.  Check out the article on Serious Eats – The Food Lab on the importance of resting meat.

And this is from one of the top chefs in the country – Thomas Keller:

Tempering and resting:

“Two of the most important parts of cooking are “tempering” meats and fish that have come out of the refrigerator (letting them come to room temperature) and resting meats and fish after you remove them from heat.  Tempering happens on the countertop away from the stove, and resting takes place in a warm spot such as the top of your stove.  They should both be considered critical parts of the cooking process.

If you put a piece of meat, poultry, or fish straight from the refrigerator into a hot pan or oven, it can’t possibly cook evenly.  To ensure even cooking, you must allow it to come to room temperature.
The bigger the item, the more necessary this is.  A whole chicken or prime rib should sit a room temperature for at least a hour, even longer for a large roast.  But smaller cuts benefit from being allowed to come to room temperature before going into the heat.

Equally significant is the resting period after the food has been removed from the heat.  Everything continues to cook once it’s out of the heat, an effect called carry over cooking.  But, even more important, as meat rests, the juices can redistribute throughout the meat.  The meat fibers also firm up a little as the rest and are able to hold more juices.  Allow a good long rest for big roasts, 30 minutes or so and for whole birds, at least 20 minutes.  Don’t worry about food getting cold, the dense flesh stays hot for a long time.  The smaller the item, the less time it needs to rest.  The only items you should not let rest are thin fish fillets, which lose moisture easily and can dry out.”

I’m getting rid of the clutter.  It’s a beginning-of-the-year thing.  Cecilia turned me on to a great little book: Clearing your Clutter with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston, so now I’m on a mission!

I just got a new rotisserie (Thom and Laura got the old one) and needed space for the new one in my kitchen.

So…the cappuccino maker needs to go.  I like it, I just don’t use it very often.  It needs a loving home.

Who wants it?

Bacon · Main Dish · Pizza · Recipes

New Year’s Eve Pizza Party!!

Happy New Year!!!!  We had a great time making pizza with our friends on New Year’s Eve.  And when I say we had a great time, I mean we had A GREAT TIME!!!!   I’m still in my pj’s.  It’s January 2nd.

Laura had the genius idea to spread a little bit of her bacon jam on her pizza.  It was delicious!  Luckily I have another jar.  I think I’ll try a little bacon jam and blue cheese the next time I make pizza.  Here is her recipe:

Laura’s Slow-Cooker Bacon Jam

  • 1 1/2 pounds sliced bacon
  • 2 medium yellow onions, small dice
  • 5 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup brewed coffee

Cook bacon until lightly browned.  Remove bacon and  drain fat.  Add onions and garlic.  Cook until onions are translucent.  Add vinegar, brown sugar, maple syrup and coffee and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from the skillet.  Add bacon and stir to combine.  Transfer mixture to a 6 quart slow cooker .  Cook on high, uncovered, until liquid is syrupy, about 3 1/2 to 4 hours.  Transfer to a foood processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.  Let cook, then refrigerate.

Nice dough ball.  Making your own dough is worth the effort.  Check out the recipe on my other pizza party post.


Laura’s pie!  Yummy….I see the bacon jam!

Fully loaded!!

Tawny and Shawn’s pizza!

Have a slice!

Veronica’s pizza…


A little bubbly.

Happy New Year!!!

Oh Sunshine, you are so funny!

Good night Thom.

Good night Laura.

A little slide show…I told you we had fun:)