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Hummus de K’hitam

January 6th, 2015 No comments

This recipe comes originally from our cousin-by-marriage K’hitam.  Hummus is good as a dip with pita chips or vegetables.  Or use it as a sandwich filling. Or just eat it, chilled, by the spoonful.

Start with one cup of cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed.  Add two tablespoons of lemon juice, three tablespoons of water, and two tablespoons of tahini.

Using a food processor or portable processing wand, process the mixture until smooth.  If the mixture is too thin, add a few more cooked chick-peas and process.  Add salt, pepper, and garlic salt to taste.  Serve the hummus as- is, or float extra-virgin olive oil on top.



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Quick “Salsa”

May 27th, 2013 No comments

Combine, as desired:

canned or fresh diced tomatoes
chopped fresh cilantro
finely diced fresh serrano peppers, seeds and membranes removed.

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Quick Seattle Clam Chowder

May 27th, 2013 No comments

1 can diced tomatoes
1/4 bell pepper
bay leaf or thyme
1 can clams, drained,  liquid reserved
diced potatoes, as desired
drained canned corn, as desired

potato water or chicken broth, if desired

Mix together everything except the corn and clams.  Add  reserved clam juice, potato water, or chicken broth to make a thick soup.  Cook over medium heat until the potato pieces are tender.   Add corn as desired.  Add clams.  Heat till ready.  Serves two.


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Chile Relleno Treat, Adapted

May 5th, 2013 No comments

Oven at 350 degrees

1 egg
1 T organic all-purpose flour
1/4 C milk
1/3 C tomato sauce or thinned puree
1 7-oz. can mild green chiles, drained
2 slices non-fat cheese or soy “cheese”
grated cheese for garnish, optional.

Lightly grease two individual baking dishes and line them with the chiles. Make a batter from the first three ingredients and pour that over the chiles. Spoon on the tomato sauce. Add a slice of cheese on each. Bake until lightly brown. Late in the baking, garnish with a little tomato sauce and the grated cheese.  Serves two.

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Freezing Rhubarb

April 26th, 2013 No comments

I use the method described in “Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book,” 1981.

Clean, rinse and drain the rhubarb and slice it into one-inch pieces.  Discard any woody ends and, of course, the leaves.  Blanch the rhubarb by plunging it into rapidly boiling water for 90 seconds.  Immediately plunge it into ice water for one minute.  Drain-dry on paper-towels and pack the rhubarb into bags or freezer containers, leaving head-room. In 2015, I packed the rhubarb in eight-ounce portions, which fit well into Ziplock brand pint freezer bags.

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Big, Easy Dill Pickle Soup

January 2nd, 2013 No comments

Besides being the world headquarters for good food and wonderful music, New Orleans is a city of surpassing oddness.  Eccentricity is welcome here and treated tenderly.  In part that’s why I love New Orleans.  Yes, I know, the city has a hierarchy and code of conduct impenetrable to outsiders.  But alongside that– you have the Duck Lady, “A Confederacy of Dunces,” the effigy of  Ernie K. Doe, some very peculiar masquerade balls, voodoo, and on and on.

Dill Pickle Soup is big, easy and odd and should have been invented in New Orleans.

But it seems to have been invented in my kitchen.  Here is the recipe.

For every two servings, take a can of condensed Cream of Celery soup and dilute it somewhat, but not to the extent suggested on the can.   Keep the soup thick.  Now finely chop some drained dill pickle.  (The fineness of the chop is important).  Add the chopped pickle, to taste, to the soup (Experiment with the amount of pickle.)  Heat and eat. Ummmmmmm.  This recipe works for a crowd– just use a can of the creamed soup for every two servings.










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Cornstalks on the Gate for Halloween

November 16th, 2011 No comments

Here at House of Blues, we have only a few Halloween visitors each year, but it’s always fun for me (Margaret) to dress as the Grim Reaper in a long hooded black coat and hand out candy to any “little monsters” that show up.  Our visitors range in number from zero to 10, and this year they were zero.

We have better luck if we put out a jack-o-lantern and decorate the front gate with lights, but this year we both had the flu and weren’t up to it.

Today I gathered up our old corn stalks and sunflower canes (previously removed from the garden by Mike) and tied them in two mixed bundles using 19-gauge wire.  Fastened on either side of the front gate, these enormous bouquets make a graceful decoration. They would have been fine for Halloween, but now they pay tribute to Thanksgiving and let you know we are here and thinking about this fine old holiday.


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Currant Buns

November 13th, 2011 No comments

My better half remembers currant buns from boyhood.  This recipe– changed somewhat, and adapted for American cooks, originated on  Easy, delicious, and not too rich, it makes a baker’s dozen.

Yeast Mixture

  • 1/4 cup white bread flour
  • 1 cup heated milk (temperature for bread-making; nonfat is fine)
  • 2 envelopes dry yeast ( 1/4 oz. each, regular, not “Rapid”)

Dough Mixture

  • 2 1/2 cups white bread flour
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 4 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1/2 beaten egg (saving the remainder for “egg wash”)


  • Equal parts sugar and water, boiled together.

Beat together the yeast mixture and set it aside a few minutes in a warm place.  It should start to foam up.  While the yeast mixture is proving, combine the ingredients for the dough mixture.  The yeast mixture having foamed up nicely, add it to the dough mixture.  Knead for about five minutes by hand or three minutes with a dough hook.  If the dough is too soft, add more flour, perhaps about 1/4 cup, as you go.  (If using the dough hook, follow up with a minute or so of hand- kneading.)  Place the dough in a bowl with a dampened towel over the top and leave in a warm place to rise until double.  Punch down the dough.

Knead in:

  • 2/3 cup (4 oz.)  currants.

Preheat the oven to375 degrees.  Divide the dough into 12 parts and form into buns.  Place the buns on a greased cookie sheet.  Brush them thoroughly with a “wash” made from the remaining egg, mixed with a little milk.  They may be arranged so they are barely touching.  Let rise again in a warm place, until nearly double.  Bake on the middle rack of the oven, for 12 to 14 minutes.  Brush with the boiled sugar-water glaze.







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Zucchini Primavera

August 25th, 2010 No comments

My mother’s handwriting has become spidery in the old note I find in the recipe scrapbook.  It is dated “7 September,” but what year?  Perhaps in the early eighties, about 25 years ago now.  As usual, she writes simply and elegantly:

“We have had some lovely rain.  Many of my flowers perished in the heat, but I have a row of baby zinnias in the garden, and they are joyous.”

Mother’s note has landed in my recipe scrapbook because it contains the ingredients and proportions for a simple zucchini casserole that is pale green in color, and somehow both delicate and intense in flavor. Simple and elegant.

The color and intensity make you think of spring, though zucchini is an old mainstay of a summer vegetable, ever and always.  Never mind.  Any dish this green, this delicate, and this intense needs to be called “primavera.”

How simple is it?  For every main-dish serving you will need one medium-large zucchini, enough for a cup of drained, grated zucchini; three tablespoons of flour, one well-beaten egg, a pinch of salt, a little bit of cheese, and perhaps a couple of cherry tomatoes or ripe olives.

Mother seems to have made the casserole in amounts sufficient to serve four, but I’ve cut the recipe to a one-serving size as a main dish.

  • one cup grated zucchini, squeezed and drained
  • one well-beaten egg
  • three tablespoons flour
  • a pinch of salt
  • optional toppings, such as grated cheese, drained, sliced ripe olives, sliced cherry tomatoes

To prepare the zucchini, select a medium-large unpeeled zucchini and grate it.  Squeeze the grated pulp by hand until it is nearly dry, saving the juice and any leftover pulp for soup.  Drain the pulp further by leaving it in a sieve for a few minutes, if you wish.  Mix the ingredients together and bake in a small,  greased souffle dish for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.  Reduce the heat to 325 and sprinkle the top with less than an ounce of grated cheese, and a few olive or tomato slices.  Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes.  If you are using the casserole as a side dish, omit the toppings.  The casserole should be slightly puffy and vividly green, with slight browning around the edge.  Serves one as a main, two as a side.

You will probably have enough juice and pulp left to make a delicious bowl of soup.  In a small saucepan over low heat melt a tablespoon of butter and whisk in a tablespoon of flour.  Add your left-over zucchini pulp and juice and half a chicken bullion cube.  Keep stirring as you add about a half-cup of half and half.  Heat to piping, but do not allow to boil.  Add salt to taste.  Or make a healthier version of the soup, without the butter, flour and half and half.  Merely thicken your pulp and juice mixture with some mashed potatoes, add the half bullion cube, and heat while stirring briskly.  Add salt to taste.

The critical question may be: what is a medium-large zucchini?  More on that later.


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Vegetable Fritters

August 19th, 2010 No comments

When you have a vegetable garden, inevitably you will start looking for ways to use up every zucchini, cauliflower head, parsley stem, and armload of Swiss chard stacked up on your kitchen counter.

I thought I had found the perfect solution in a treasure of an old gardening book, “The Green Thumb Book of Fruit and Vegetable Gardening,” by George Abraham.  The recipe is for “Ann Wanda’s Chicken Chard,” and according to the author, this batter-fried treat is “delicious” and “tastes just like chicken.”  (Where have we heard that before?)

The recipe calls for pre-cooking the Swiss chard stems, cutting them in pieces, draining them well, dipping them in batter, and frying them in about an inch of cooking oil.  After three attempts,  I was unable to produce a satisfactory result, but the “chicken chard” did plant the germ of an idea.

I used the leftover batter with sticks of raw zucchini, small florets of raw cauliflower, small early tomatoes, and sprigs of parsley.  We enjoyed munching on these vegetable fritters hot from the fry-pan, while putting together the rest of our evening meal.

The recipe below is adapted from “Anne Wanda’s Chicken Chard.”  For background and tips on vegetable fritters, consult  a standard cookbook such as “The Joy of Cooking.”

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Beat the egg and add the other liquids.  Beat in the flour and salt.  Cover the batter and let rest in the refrigerator two hours at a minimum.  Make sure the vegetables are dry before dipping them in the batter and frying them in about one-inch of vegetable oil.  Drain on paper towels, sprinkle on more salt, and serve immediately.


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