A Taste of Kentucky Cookbook: Behind the Scenes
A Taste of Kentucky Cookbook: Behind the Scenes

Last week, I began the testing phase of recipes for my next cookbook A Taste of Kentucky: Favorite Recipes from The Bluegrass State (Farcountry Press 2016). For this project I have the good fortune of collaborating with a talented Kentucky photographer named Sarah Jane. Our Tuesday session was great fun. I cooked, while she chased the light around my house and photographed the finished dishes.

The photographed pancakes are Buttermilk Pancakes with Whipped Bourbon Vanilla Butter from The Red River Rockhouse in Campton, KY. This is one example of a recipe we worked on last week. While shooting this particular photo, Sarah Jane instructed me to pour a thin stream of syrup onto the pancakes. While I poured, she took pictures of the syrup stream flowing onto the pancakes. It was a beautiful shot. Just for fun, she also shot this picture of the resulting puddle of syrup around the pancakes. I call this Buttermilk Pancakes en Dolce Brodo (in sweet broth).

A Taste of Kentucky should be a beautiful and delicious cookbook with close to 100 recipes from the best chefs, restaurants, inns, food producers, and writers across Kentucky. While you wait for this book, I share a pancake recipe from The Kentucky Fresh Cookbook. Try to control yourself with the syrup.

Mile-High Buttermilk Pancakes
Makes about eighteen 4-inch pancakes

Not made from a mix, these pancakes are a soft, fluffy, rather tall pancake. Vary the size if desired. For a 6-inch pancake use 1/2 cup of batter, for a 5-inch pancake use 1/3 cup batter, and for a 4-inch pancake use 1/4 cup batter, and for silver dollar pancakes, or pancakes the tiny size of a silver dollar coin, use a tablespoon to portion out the batter.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted 

In a large bowl stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, mix together the eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter. Make a hole in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the buttermilk mixture. Mix the dry ingredients together until the ingredients are blended, but not smooth. Let stand for 5 minutes. Heat griddle over medium-high heat until water flicked on the surface beads up and dances around. Use a 1/4-cup measure to scoop the batter onto the griddle. Cook about 3 minutes or until bubbles form on the surface of the batter, the edges look dry, and the bottom of the pancake is lightly browned. Turn the pancake and continue to cook until the other side of the pancake is browned, about 2 more minutes. Serve immediately or keep warm in the oven with warm maple syrup.…

Deep Dish Bourbon Brown Sugar Apple Pie
Deep Dish Bourbon Brown Sugar Apple Pie

When the weather turns cool during the fall here in Kentucky we head back indoors for most of our meals. The oven is lit and the warmth of the kitchen is a welcome relief from the air-conditioned air. If I’m lucky I can open the windows in the house during the day to let in the crisp fall breeze. October is a beautiful month to have a few friends over for dinner. When I host a dinner party it’s never very fancy, just a spread of freshly prepared food with delicious side dishes and a simple, seasonal dessert.

Deep Dish Bourbon Brown Sugar Apple Pie

From The Kentucky Fresh Cookbook
Makes one 9-inch deep dish pie 

A show-stopping dessert with a single butter crust covering the dark, spiced apple filling. Bourbon adds unique flavor and character to the apples but, vanilla extract can be substituted for the bourbon if desired.

6 medium apples, peeled and sliced (about 6 cups)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons Kentucky bourbon
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 refrigerated pie crust
1 large egg, beaten
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 400°F. For the filling toss together the apples, lemon juice, walnuts, raisins, brown sugar, flour, bourbon, butter, allspice, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt. Pour the apples into a 9-inch deep dish pie plate. Roll out the pie dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Lift and lay it over the filling. Trim the pastry to overlap the dish’s rim by about one inch. Work around the dish rolling the pastry under itself to form a thick rim on the edge of the dish. Press the pastry to the dish’s edge to seal. Brush the dough with the egg, and sprinkle with the sugar. With a small knife, cut a v-shaped vents in the crust. Set on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the juices bubble. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Oven-Baked Chex Mix Recipe
Oven-Baked Chex Mix Recipe

I find it necessary to post this recipe. It was and is the reason for several thousand visits to my blog. When I make Oven-Baked Chex Mix I know it’s the holiday season. I often switch out the bagel chips, this time for my beloved Cheeze-its. Let the Christmas season begin.

Makes about 12 cups

What’s your favorite tidbit to pick out of the Chex Mix?

It’s a good thing I clipped this recipe from the cereal box a few years ago. I noticed this year (and maybe this was true in recent years too) the recipe for Chex Mix included only a set of microwave directions. I’m a little funny about using the microwave to “bake” something. I’ve never tried making this in the microwave, but knowing what I know about roasting or baking I predict Chex Mix baked in an oven tastes better than Chex Mix stirred in the microwave. It does take a little longer, but that’s a wash in my opinion, because either way you have to cool the mix before eating. If you want microwave instructions just look on the back of a Chex cereal box. By the way, this recipe works perfectly fine with a store-brand Chex-type cereal if you so desire.

6 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
3 cups Corn Chex cereal
3 cups Rice Chex cereal
3 cups Wheat Chex cereal
1 cup mixed nuts
1 cup bite-size pretzels
1 cup bagel chips

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. In an ungreased large roasting pan, melt butter in the oven. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, seasoned salt, garlic powder, and onion powder. Stir in chex cereals, mixed nuts, pretzels, and bagel chips until coated. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread on paper towels until cooled. Store in an airtight container.

Cookbook author, editor, and Culinary Dietitian Maggie Green, RDN, LD coaches first-time cookbook authors during the pre-publication phase of writing a cookbook. 

Would you like to write a cookbook, but feel alone in the pre-publication phase of writing?

Are you stuck thinking about your cookbook idea or has you project fizzled?

Do you feel overwhelmed with publishing options and the recipes, photography, and publishing process?

I’ve been there. I know first-hand that there’s not a lot of support for first-time cookbook authors who don’t have an agent or a publisher yet.  That’s why I started my work as a cookbook writing coach.

Here are a few resources for you as you venture into the world of cookbook writing: 

An 11-point checklist that helps you answer the question, “Am I Ready to Write a Cookbook?”

Cookbook Writing Workbook

What Is A Cookbook Coach? 

10 Reasons to Hire A Cookbook Coach



Garlic Scape Pesto Recipe
Garlic Scape Pesto Recipe

After a few iterations I’ve settled on a recipe for garlic scape pesto from the garlic scapes I harvested in my garden. The only problem with any garlic scape pesto, is well, the flavor is quite garlicky. I was tempted to pick some basil from my doorstep herb garden to add to the pesto but then it wouldn’t be pure garlic scape pesto so I avoided the temptation.

In an effort to mellow the scapes I used only 1/2 cup scapes and an equivalent amount of walnuts and parmesan cheese. It’s really quite good, don’t get me wrong, but think condiment such as spooned over a bowl of black beans and rice, or as a spread for hearty bread, or a small amount stirred with some hot pasta.

Makes about 1 cup

1/2 cup chopped garlic scapes
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place all ingredients in a blender or small food processor. Blend until creamy, scraping down the side of the blender jar or bowl once or twice. Store refrigerated.…

Fresh Blackberry Cake
Fresh Blackberry Cake

Makes one 10-inch tube or Bundt cake

This dark, spicy cake is adapted from a Kentucky Proud recipe. For a sweeter taste, and a  moister, pudding-like cake, add 1/2 cup sugar to the blackberries and let them stand 30 minutes before adding to the batter. I’ve baked this recipe with both walnuts and pecans, but I’m quite confident black walnuts would boost the flavor profile.

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 cups fresh blackberries
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 cup raisins – optional

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube or Bundt pan. In a bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and allspice. In another bowl cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add the flour mixture and beat just to combine.  Fold in the undrained blackberries, pecans or walnuts, and raisins. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Run a thin knife around the edges of the cake to loosen from the pan. Place a plate, or cooling rack, over the cake and carefully turn to cake over and onto the plate or rack.  Let cool completely. If desired, frost with caramel icing, a powdered sugar glaze, or simply sprinkle with powdered sugar.…

Oatmeal Walnut Cookies
Oatmeal Walnut Cookies
Makes about 24 cookies

Any cookie I can mix in one bowl is a quick and easy favorite. The dough is stiff, but the cookies are not-too-sweet delicious and they don’t spread much on the cookie sheet. I also think there’s a good argument these cookies are appropriate for breakfast – they’re not loaded with sugar, you can’t beat the nuts, oat, fruit, and fiber.

1/2 cup canola oil
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups old-fashioned oats
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup raisins or dried cranberries
1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, stir together the oil, sugar, egg and vanilla. In another bowl whisk together the oats, flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir the oat and flour mixture into the oil mixture. Add the raisins or dried cranberries, and chopped walnuts. Using a tablespoon portion out the dough onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until lightly browned on the bottom. If desired, you can flatten the cookies when they come out of the oven by gently pressing on the top of the cookies with your fingertips or the bottom of a small glass.…
Hummus Recipe - Plain and Simple
Hummus Recipe - Plain and Simple

Blog stats reveal many of you ate up the recipe for Guacamole – Plain and Simple. Who doesn’t like plain and simple anything, afterall. For example, I love M & M’s, plain and simple, but I digress.

Guacamole and hummus, to me anyway, are just about the best dips or spreads I can make in my kitchen. Serve them plain and simple, and they’re delicious. Doctor either of these spreads up with basil, tomatoes, red onion, green onion, or roasted red pepper and they’re even more tasty. Last time I made hummus I was out of tahini so I substituted walnuts for the tahini. It was so good, and perhaps I even liked it a little better than with tahini – plus I reaped the benefits of the omega-3 fatty acids and the MUFA’s in the walnuts. MUFA’s (or monounsaturated fatty acids) are good for your heart, your brain, and despite the fact that they are “fat”, MUFA’s don’t contribute to “belly” fat or, as I like to say, a “muffin top” (if you know what I mean.)

Makes about 1  3/4 cups

One (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained (about 1  1/2 cups)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste) or 1/2 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons water
Juice of one lemon
1 or 2 cloves garlic, depending on your GT*
1 teaspoon salt
Cayenne pepper or paprika for garnish
More olive oil for drizzling on top

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processsor fitted with a metal blade. Process until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the work bowl and continue processing until even smoother. To serve in a more attractive way, spread the hummus in a shallow dish or pie pan. Sprinkle lightly with cayenne pepper or paprika. Drizzle with olive oil. Serve with pita chips, fresh sliced vegetables, or small pretzel rods.

GT = garlic tolerance. The best male cook I know and I have a different garlic tolerance. You know how much you can stand, or can’t stand, so add the quantity of garlic which best suits your taste.…

Mary's Bluegrass Pie
Mary's Bluegrass Pie

I haven’t slept well for the past several nights for two reasons. First, my 84-year-old aunt Mary, and the author of this recipe, is in the hospital. She is pretty sick with a bout of pneumonia and could potentially be in the hospital during what was always one of her favorite days to celebrate, The Kentucky Derby. It’s sad to see someone I care about weaken and grow sick, especially someone who gave of herself tirelessly for her family and in her work as an RN. Let’s hope she recovers and can return home.

I also haven’t slept because in my previous post I told you I was going to bake some pies to take to a Derby party and then I carelessly left you hanging – no recipe for the pies. So, in Mary’s honor, and in order that you have a recipe for pie, I give you this family recipe for “Mary’s Bluegrass Pie”. (I could get into a legal battle if I called this by it’s real name.) My sister in Baltimore swears by this recipe when she hosts her Derby parties.

If you want to get a little more fussy you can make small tartlets (or as Mary would say – piettes.) Press a small ball of unbaked pie dough into the cups of mini-muffin pans to form a crust. Then spoon a small amount of the filling into the mini-crusts. By that method the yield is about 48 piettes. Or you can make two 9-inch pies as described below.

Makes two 9-inch pies

Two 9-inch pie crusts, unbaked
1 stick butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons flour
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup light corn syrup
pinch of salt
1/4 cup Kentucky bourbon
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 cup chocolate morsels (gotta love the old recipes and their wording. This means chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two 9-inch pie pans with the prepared pie dough. Mix all remaining ingredients in a large bowl, stirring to blend well. Be sure your butter is sufficiently cooled so it doesn’t melt the chocolate morsels. Pour into the crusts. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the pies are set in the middle and the crust is golden brown. (The smaller piettes bake for about 20 minutes.)…

Kentucky-style Slow-Cooker Pork Barbecue
Kentucky-style Slow-Cooker Pork Barbecue

The best male cook I know is, bar none, the finest barbecue chef in Kentucky. (I know these are probably fightin’ words, but I stand by what I say.) Give him a few slabs of ribs, a beef brisket, or a pork shoulder, and in about 12 smoky, albeit labor-intensive hours, we’re eating fall-off-the-bone-tender barbecued meat. The secret is his patience and willingness to coax the meat into a moist, succulent state. I love him for this skill and have his late father Henry to thank for the many smoker-side cooking lessons. I’ve said it many times, and I’ll say it again, any lesson in a life skill, such as barbecuing (or how to iron a shirt), is a gift that keeps on giving.

Knowing this background you can then understand why a slow-cooker pork barbecue recipe was met with a bit of resistance.  The best male cook I know couldn’t imagine eating pork shoulder that hadn’t spent the latter part of its adult life simmering above hot coals. Despite his protests I persisted with my recipe. The resulting meat was tender, but admittedly not full of smoky flavor. It’s desirable, none the less, for feeding a crowd, or a hungry family, when you’re not able to hang out by the grill or in the dead of winter when it’s just too darn cold to tend the smoke-box. And, trust me, it beats in flavor, cost, and texture the tubs of pork barbecue you buy at the supermarket. So, if for no reason other than these, tuck this recipe in your recipe box.

Just like a true, wood-fired smoking process, low and slow is still the rule. For best results, start either early in the morning or let the pork slow-cook overnight. In my (oblong) slow-cooker, set on low, the pork takes about 11 hours to reach a fork-tender state. The first time you try this recipe I suggest checking the tenderness of the meat after about 10 hours to gauge how quickly, or slowly, your slow cooker cooks the pork. If needed, cover the pork and continue to cook for up to 2 more hours.

The jury’s out on how to eat pulled pork: We’re a sauce-it-when-we-eat-it family. Some like to mix sauce into the whole batch of pork before serving. Some like to sauce the whole batch, and then add more sauce on the top. Because of this, I try to offer a few options on when to sauce the meat.

Summer’s on its way. When you can’t take the time to tend a fire, but want tender, homemade pork barbecue, give your slow-cooker a try. Nothing holds a candle to home-smoked meat, but this works in a pinch, a large pinch of meat piled high on a bun that is.

Kentucky-style Slow-Cooker Pork Barbecue
Makes about 12 servings

Here I use Kentucky’s own soft drink – Ale-8 One®. This spicy soda, unique to Kentucky and bottled in Winchester since 1926, is available in supermarkets and convenience stores …

Kentucky Burgoo Recipe
Kentucky Burgoo Recipe

Makes about 12 servings

It’s that time of year. It’s Burgoo time. What I mean is: Keeneland is open. Keeneland serves Burgoo. It’s almost Derby Week. Everyone who celebrates Kentucky’s national holiday (the Kentucky Derby, the first Saturday in May) think s Burgoo. (And mint juleps, but that’s another story.) I created this recipe on a snowy day in March. It’s not a quick recipe, but one where you first make a broth using beef, lamb, and dark-meat chicken pieces. Then you cook the vegetables in the broth and add the cooked meat. The two-step process ensures tender meat and nicely cooked vegetables. It’s even better reheated, so feel free to make this recipe ahead, and reheat before serving. Incidentally, if you’ve ever wanted to attend a Burgoo Festival, make plans for September 2009.

1 pound beef shank
1 pound boneless leg of lamb
3 to 3 1/2 pounds chicken legs or thighs
1 tablespoon salt
3 quarts water
2 cups finely chopped onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups frozen mixed vegetables, or 2 (15-ounce) cans mixed vegetables, drained
One 15-ounce can butter beans, drained
8 ounces frozen sliced okra
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Generous pinch red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chopped fresh parsley 

Trim excess fat from beef shank and lamb. Place the beef, lamb, and chicken pieces in a 6-quart Dutch oven. Add salt and water. Bring to a boil over high heat, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface. Reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove the chicken pieces to a plate. Partially cover again, and contine to cook over low heat until the beef and lamb are fork-tender, about 1  1/2 more hours. Remove the beef and lamb to the plate with the chicken. Let the broth cool slightly. Strain and measure the broth. Add water if necessary to make 6 cups. Wipe the sides of the oven with a paper towel to remove any remaining skum or foam reside. It’s not pretty to get this stuff in your stew. So wipe it off and save yourself from having to use another pot, or wash this one.

Pour the 6 cups of broth (and perhaps the broth/water mixture) back into the Dutch oven. Stir in the onion, garlic, mixed vegetables, butter beans, okra, Worcestershire sauce, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, remove the chicken meat from the bones and set aside. Cut the beef and lamb into 1-inch pieces and set aside with the chicken, and if necessary refrigerating the meat until the vegetables have cooked for 1  hour. After 1 hour of cooking the vegetables,  stir the chicken and meat pieces into the cooked vegetables. Simmer until heated through. Stir in the parsley, and season to taste with salt and pepper.…

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

Yield about 12 servings

Very easy and quite delicious, this versatile salsa is quick to put together. The chipotle pepper adds a smoky flavor, but if chipotle-seasoned tomatoes are not available, use plain petit diced tomatoes and add either chopped chipotle or jalapeno pepper, to taste. Save some salsa to serve with burritos or on a grilled piece of chicken or fish. Fresh or frozen corn can be substituted for the canned corn.

One (15-ounce) can black beans, drained (about 1 ½ cups)
One (15-ounce) can corn kernels, drained (about 1 ½ cups)
One (14-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes with chipotle
¼ cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons finely chopped red or green onion
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt to taste

Place all ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir well to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Serve with corn chips or pita toasts.…

Whole Wheat Banana Bread

Makes one 9 x 5-inch loaf 

As part of my ongoing efforts to keep you in the kitchen, I offer this recipe for banana bread.  I can’t shed too much new light on banana bread except to say this recipe combines the whole-grain goodness of whole wheat flour with some all-purpose flour. This flour combination keeps the bread from becoming too heavy and dense. If desired, 1/2 cup golden raisins can be substituted for the nuts, and if you don’t want any white flour you can always experiment and use all whole wheat flour.

2 cups whole wheat flour or white whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray. Place flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and whisk together to blend ingredients. In another bowl mix together the eggs, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, mashed bananas, and walnuts. Make a hole in the middle of the flour mixture and pour in the liquid mixture. Stir to blend ingredients well. Pour into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes until the crust is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool on a rack.…

Red Beans and Rice with Chili Vinaigrette

Serves 6 to 8

Judging from the popularity of Winter Wheat Berry Salad, I am offering a recipe for another whole-grain salad. This delicious dish has been part of my repertoire for over 20 years and I’ve made it many, many times. It travels well to a potluck and tastes best served at room temperature – and that’s a bonus if the weather is warm.

3 cups cooked brown rice

1  1/2 cups cooked light red kidney beans, or one 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed

1  1/2 cups cooked dark red kidney beans, or one 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed

1  1/2 cups frozen or canned corn kernels

1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped

1/2 cup chopped green onion, mostly green part

1/3 cup canola oil

1  1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon packed brown sugar

1  1/2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste


In a large bowl combine the rice, beans, corn, red bell pepper and green onion. Toss to mix. In a small bowl combine the oil, vinegar, brown sugar, chili powder, cumin and salt. Whisk until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is well blended. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Let stand at room temperature, tossing occasionally for up to 4 hours before serving, or cover and refrigerate up to 3 days.

Chile Cheddar Cornbread
Makes one 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan

A moist cornbread studded with chilies, cheese, and corn. Two cups fresh or frozen corn kernels can be substituted for the creamed corn, if desired. If you want extra-spicy cornbread, substitute pepper-jack cheese for the cheddar.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
One 15-ounce can creamed corn
Two 4-ounce cans diced or chopped green chile peppers, drained
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a 13 x 9 x 2-inch metal baking or cake pan with non-stick cooking spray. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, and salt. In another bowl whisk together the milk, oil, and eggs. Stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture just until combined. Fold in the corn, chilies, and cheese. Spread the batter in the prepared pan and bake for about 35 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the edges of the cornbread are golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.…

Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes - Again
Let’s try again. The paragraphs in the original post were out of order. It’s funny, but when I formatted the recipe the first time I kept having trouble with the breaks between the ingredients and the instructions. I guess a few other important things got messed up as well. My astute readers Sharie and Frances were paying attention. Away we go with the new and reorganized recipe. I promise these will taste better if you cook the potatoes before you mash them!

We eat these potatoes quite a bit, but I have yet to take a picture. During the winter it’s dark here when we eat dinner and the food photos don’t turn out well at all. Tonight the time changes, so we’re headed into evenings with more light! Now about the recipe – the fresh garlic mellows and tastes sweet when boiled with the potatoes. This is a dairy-free recipe where the simplicity of the potatoes shines through. Choose a thin-skinned gold-fleshed potato for the best results. I would imagine that a red-skin or new potato would work just as well. I typically don’t use russets or Idaho potatoes for this recipe.

Serves 6 

2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, or other thin-skinned potato
6 large cloves garlic, peeled
1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Scrub potatoes but do not peel. Cut potatoes into large chunks. Place potatoes and garlic in a 2 1/2-quart sauce pan and cover the potato with cold water. Bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat and cook for about 25 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. 

Use a measuring cup to dip out and set aside about 3/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Drain the remaining liquid off the potatoes. Add the olive oil, salt, pepper, and reserved cooking liquid to the cooked potatoes Using a hand-held potato masher or large fork, mash the potatoes to the desired consistency. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if desired.

Winter Wheat Berry Salad - Part Deux

For anyone who’s interested I posted the nutrition analysis for the Winter Wheat Berry Salad per Vicki’s request. Click on this link and look in the comments section of the recipe for the numbers.  As I suspected, this tasty salad is full of fiber. The sodium content could be lowered a bit by using low-sodium soy sauce.  Makes me want to head to the kitchen because I love this salad.…

Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting
Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting

Don’t stress out if your cream cheese and butter aren’t at room temperature. All is not lost. It’s a little easier to make this frosting with softened cream cheese and butter but if you forgot to soften them, go ahead and proceed, just beat a little longer to achieve a smooth consistency before adding the confectioners’ sugar. One more word of caution: Be sure not to add to much milk. It’s much easier to make this frosting thinner by adding a titch more milk, but if you add too much milk then it takes a lot of sugar to thicken the frosting back up, not to mention how the excess sugar deadens the flavor of the cream cheese. OK, finally, the split vanilla bean is completely optional. I like to add the vanilla bean flecks when I have one on hand to make the frosting look like fresh vanilla bean ice cream.

One 8-ounce package regular or low-fat cream cheese, room temperature
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, room temperature
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise, optional
about 2 tablespoons milk

Place cream cheese and butter in a mixing bowl. Beat about 3 minutes with an electric mixer until fluffy. Stop the mixer and pour in the sugar and vanilla. If using, scrape the vanilla specks out of the bean with the edge of a small paring knife and add to the cream cheese and butter, too. On low speed, beat in the sugar and vanilla. Turn mixer to medium-high and continue to beat until smooth. With the mixer running, gradually add 1 tablespoon of milk and beat well. If too thick to spread, gradually add more milk as needed until soft and more spreadable. The test for frosting is it shouldn’t pull the top layer off the cake when spreading. That’s a total bummer.

Makes enough for one 13 x 9-inch cake…

Moist Carrot Cake
Moist Carrot Cake


Make one 13 x 9 x 2-inch cake

Carrot cake conjures up images of a small restaurant with mismatched chairs, rickety tables, and thick white coffee mugs. (Sounds like my kitchen table, now that I think about it. One of my sisters describes this as the “beat all to hell” -style of decorating. I digress.)

This cake is so homey. moist, and earthy. I just love it, so let’s have a group hug. My recipe uses golden raisins and applesauce. If desired you can substitute 1 cup of coconut for the raisins, and 1 cup drained, crushed pineapple for the applesauce.

2 cups all-purpose flour or 2 cups white whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups canola oil
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 carrots, peeled and grated (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup unsweetened applesauce

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan with non-stick cooking spray with flour, or grease and flour the pan.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl stir together the sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Stir in the carrots, nuts, raisins, and applesauce. Fold in the flour mixture until well combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and using the back of a large spoon or rubber spatula spread evenly. Bake for about 50 minutes until the center of the cake springs back slightly when pressed in the center with two fingertips. Cool completely in the pan. Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting. ( OK, one more group hug.)…

Meet Brownie's Sister Blondie

I’m proud to present, for the very first time, One Pan Blondie. This nutty companion to our brunette favorite – One Pan Brownies –  is the perfect accompaniment to an afternoon cup of tea.

Makes one 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1  1/2 sticks) butter
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Place flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Whisk to blend well and set aside. 

Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Remove pan from the heat and whisk in the brown sugar until well combined. Let cool to the touch. Stir in the eggs, milk, and vanilla until well blended. Using a rubber spatula fold in the flour mixture, chocolate chips, and nuts. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Be sure not to overbake. Cool on a rack. Have one or two before they’re gone. Just like the brownies, these don’t last long at my house.…

Chocolate-Chip Cherry Scones

One of my favorite things to do is bake on a weekend morning. I went on a scone kick last winter when a neighbor told me she wanted to start baking Raspberry White Chocolate Scones instead of paying $1.89 a piece for scone at a local specialty market. Her favorite variety was Raspberry White Chocolate, so I baked many variations and shared the goods with her. In addition to gaining a few pounds we realized the market was using a thaw and bake dough from Pillsbury. Because we don’t have access to commercial bakery ingredients my scones never tasted exactly the same, but we did pretty good.

This thick and hearty scone is quite tasty and even contains the whole-grain goodness of oatmeal. I have a thing for oats, but that’s a story for another day. Take some time early on a weekend morning to bake. If you don’t feel like scones try this yummy coffeecake. Your family will thank you. If you live alone, or somehow sense that your family can’t eat 16 scones, freeze the remaining scones in a heavy-duty zip-top bag or better yet – share the scones with your neighbors. It’s sort of like the new-fangled way to pass a cake over the back fence. Nothing says friendship like delivering a home-baked good to someone’s door.

Note: Dried cranberries can be substituted for the cherries, if desired. For Apricot White Chocolate scones substitute 1 cup chopped dried apricots for the cherries and white chocolate chips for the semi-sweet chips.

Makes 16 scones

3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/2 cups oats
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1 tablespoon cream or milk
2 tablespoons coarse sugar

Preheat oven to 375 °F. Have ready two large baking sheets covered with parchment paper or lightly greased. Combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and oats in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or whisk the ingredients together in a large bowl. Add chopped butter, and mix on medium-low speed until the mixture resembles coarse meal. If not using a mixer, use two knives or a pastry blender to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the butter is the size of small pebbles. Stir in the chocolate chips and dried cherries. Mix together the buttermilk and egg. Add to the flour mixture and mix just until combined to create a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface that has been dusted with flour. With lightly floured hands, pat mixture into a large circle that is about 1-inch thick all around. Cut into 16 wedges. Carefully transfer wedges to the baking sheets. Brush scones with the cream or milk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until light golden brown about 25 to …