Monday, December 14, 2020

Baking Class: Mexican Wine Cookies

I first posted this recipe back in December of 2008. My father found it in the Dallas Morning News when I was in high school and suggested we make them together. If you want to read a funny story about that experience you can find it here.

These cookies don't look like much, but they are delicious. They have a delicate texture and the sherry adds a nutty warmth that permeates throughout every bite. Whenever I take them somewhere new they languish on the table while people are busy devouring the brownies, toll house cookies, gingerbread, and other more traditional Christmas goodies. But once the chocolate and cheesecake is gone and people start to nibble on them they discover just how good they are. And by the next year, they are asking for them.

This is my oldest tradition. I may not always do much for the holidays from one year to the next, but I always make a batch of these cookies.

Home Cookin v9.81 Chapter: Baked Goods (Sweet/Savory)
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp salt
4 cup sifted flour
1/4 cup sweet sherry

Cream butter with sugar. Add egg and beat until light and fluffy. Blend in salt and 2 cups flour. Stir in the sherry and mix well.

Add the remaining two cups of flour and mix well. Cover and chill the dough for at least one hour.

Roll the dough into balls and use flatten them with the bottom of a glass or cookie stamps.

Bake at 350° F for eight to ten minutes, until the bottoms have just started to brown. Check after eight minutes.

Makes 8-10 dozen cookies.

from the food section of the Dallas Morning News ca 1972

exported from Home Cookin v9.81

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Baking Class: Sourdough Discard Cheese Crackers

I have been working on this recipe for sourdough discard cheese crackers for a while now and have finally gotten it to where I want it to be. They are flaky and crispy and cheesy, and reminiscent of the cheese crackers you get at the store.

This is the best way I have found to use up my sourdough discard. They don't take too much time, they are easy to make, and I almost always have all of the ingredients on hand.

One note - you may be tempted to substitute oil for the butter. Don't. They taste just as good but they do not stay crispy. I learned that the hard way.

Home Cookin v9.81 Chapter: Baked Goods (Sweet/Savory)
200 g sourdough discard (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup salted or unsalted butter
60-120g (1/2-1 cup) all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground mustard
1/4 tsp salt (1/2 tsp if using unsalted butter)
dash of paprika
56 g (1/2 cup) shredded cheddar cheese

Add the colled melted butter to the starter and mix well. Add the baking soda and 60g (half a cup) of the flour, adding enough to make a stiff dough. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.

Place in a bowl, cover loosely with plastic warp, and let sit for anywhere from an hour to eight hours.

When ready to make the craciers, preheat the oven to 350° F and grease two baking sheets.

Knead the rest of the seasonings into the dough until well incorporated, then add the shredded cheese and continue kneating until everything is evenly distributed.

Divide the dough in half, then roll each half out into a rectangle about 10" x 12" and 1/8" thick. Transfer the dough to the greased baking sheets and cut into rectangles with a pastry cutter.

Bake for 15 minutes, then turn off the oven with the crackers still inside. Leave them in the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes, until they are crispy.

Remove from the oven and let cool completely before serving. Store in an airtight container.

adapted from this recipe found at Curious Cuisiniere

exported from Home Cookin v9.81

Monday, November 09, 2020

Country Style Pork Chop Braised in Beer

This is another meal created from Project Freezer-burn, where I am woking to clean out my freezer. The pork came from one of my favorite local butchers, grocers and purveyors of beer and wine Gene's Sausage Shop & Delicatessen and the recipe was adapted from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook 1996 edition by Marion Cunningham.

I coated the pork in seasoned flour and seared it in my cast iron skillet on all sides, then poured in about half a can (eyeballed) of beer, lowered the heat, covered it and let it cook until it reached an internal temp of 145 deg F.

When the chop was done I took it out of the pan and let the sauce cook down and thicken. The Brussels sprouts also came from the freezer and I basically just let them thaw, seasoned them and poured a little lemon-infused olive oil over the top which is all they needed. Some Yukon Gold potatoes baked with lots of garlic rounded out the meal.

The country style chop was big enough for me to make three meals out of it.

Home Cookin v9.81 Chapter: My Recipes
1 Country Pork Chop, about 1-1/2" thick
2 Tbsp grapeseed oil
2 Tbsp flour
1 tsp salt or to taste
1/2 tsp pepper or to taste
1/4 tsp granulated garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
1 cup of beer

Add the salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and oregano to the flour and mix well. Spread it out onto butcher or parchment paper to the size of the pork chop. I usually use the butcher paper the chop was wrapped in by the butcher.

Heat the oil in a ten-inch skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium high heat.

Lay the chop over the flour mixture and pat it down, then lift it and shake off any extra mixture. Turn and lay the other side down and pat it as well so that both sides are covered in the seasoned flour.

Place the chop in the hot skillet. Sear on both sides until well browned, about three minutes per side.

Pour the beer into the skillet, lower the heat to medium, cover, and cook until the internal temperature has reached 145° F at the thickest part, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from pan and let sit for a few minutes. Meanwhile, raise the heat over the liquid in the pan and let it cook for another five minutes or so until it thickens. Serve the chop with the gravy.

adapted from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook edited by Marion Cunningham (Alfred A. Knopf, 1996)

exported from Home Cookin v9.81

Monday, November 02, 2020

Salmon en Papillote with Brussels Sprouts and Carrots

I am reviving something from my earlier blogging days that I called “Project Freezer Burn.” Now that I have a better idea of what’s in my freezer I am determined to start using it. First up was a packet of ethically caught salmon that had been in there for months, along with a packet of frozen organic Brussels sprouts and another packet of frozen organic carrots. I’ve never made anything en papillote before and this seemed like the perfect time to try it.

I cut four big pieces of parchment paper into giant hearts and layered the carrots, then the sprouts (both still mostly frozen), and finally the salmon over one half, seasoning after each layer.

I poured a bit of olive oil over the top and then finished it up with granulated garlic, paprika and dill.

I folded the other half of the heart over and crimped the edges to seal the packets.  I was just able to get all four of them on the one half baking sheet.

I baked them in a 375° F. oven for ten minutes. The sprouts and carrots had partly thawed and that was just long enough to cook them without turning them to mush and the salmon was not too well done for me. If you like your salmon well done you should probably cook them closer to twelve minutes. This comes together quickly for a weeknight dinner and also offers a wow moment for entertaining.

You can use other fish and other vegetables - whatever you have at hand. Just bear in mind how long each item needs to cook and adjust accordingly.

Home Cooking v9.81 Chapter: Meat Fish and Eggs
4 Salmon fillets
2 Tbsp olive oil (approximately)
1 10-oz package frozen brussels sprouts, thawed enough to slice in half lengthwise
1 10-oz package frozen sliced carrots
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tsp of granulated garlic powder
2 tsp of dill
2 tsp of paprika

Additional items:
4 large sheets parchment paper

Fold the parchment paper in half widthwise and cut out half a heart shape. Combine the spices into a small bowl and mix well.

Preheat the oven to 375° F.

Lay one-fourth of the carrot slices over the bottom of one half of the heart, followed by one-fourth of the Brussels sprouts halves. Season with salt and pepper. Lay one salmon fillet over the center and season with the salt and pepper. Sprinkle a generous teaspoon of the spices over the fish and what vegetables are exposed.

Close the heart and crimp the edges together, making sure the packet is tightly sealed. Carefully place the packet on a half-sheet size baking pan.

Repeat with the remaining three fillets, laying them evenly on the baking sheet without overlapping.

Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove form the oven and place each pouch on a plate. Serve immediately, slitting the pouch open carefully.

adapted from this recipe:

exported from Home Cookin v9.81

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Tunisian Soup with Chard and Egg Noodles

This Tunisian Soup with Chard and Egg Noodles is why I made harissa the other day. The first time I made the soup I did not have any harissa so I just used cayenne powder instead. It was delicious, but it made me wonder how it would taste with the harissa. And when I made the harissa for that potluck I remembered this soup and made it again and it made all the difference in the world. There aren’t a lot of other spices, so it really needs the complexity of the harissa to bring out a lovely depth of flavor.

As a side note, the recipe calls for you to use the chard stems as well as the leaves. This is where I learned to save the stems for most greens and cook them with the aromatics or save them for another dish rather than discarding them. I love it when I learn something that helps me waste less.

[This is part of an ongoing Repost Series where I create new posts with recipes from the past that I have highlighted on Instagram and want to highlight again.]

Home Cookin v9.81 Chapter: Soups and Stews
1 tsp cumin seeds (or ground cumin)
1 lb Swiss chard, stems and center ribs chopped and leaves coarsely chopped (reserve separately)
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
1-2 Tbsp harissa or other hot sauce, or to taste
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 cups cooked chickpeas (or 2 15-oz cans, drained and rinsed)
4 oz fine egg noodles (about 1-1/2 cups)
Salt and pepper to taste

Toast cumin in a very small heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium heat, stirring, until deeply fragrant and dark brown (be careful not to burn). Cool, then grind to a powder in grinder.

Cook chard stems, onion, garlic cumin, salt and pepper in oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, about 12 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, 2 more minutes.

Add stock, harissa, and lemon juice and simmer, covered, 30 minutes.

Add chard leaves, chickpeas, and noodles with more salt to taste and simmer, covered, until tender, about 7 minutes.

adapted from Gourmet Magazine (RIP), February 2009

exported from Home Cookin 9.81

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

DIY Condiments: Harissa

I first posted this recipe back in 2016.  Nothing has changed about it since then but it is so delicious I decided to post it again, since I featured it on Instagram.

Homemade is so much more fresh than what you can buy and tastes so much better.  And it’s so easy to make. I was hankering after a Tunisian soup recipe that calls for it so I decided it was time to make another batch. This will now go into pretty much everything I eat until it’s gone, at which time I will have to make it again.

As I suspect you will, too, if you decide to make it.

Home Cookin v9.81 Chapter: Spices Spreads Dips Sauces
8 dried guajillo chilies, stemmed and seeded (about 2 oz)
16 to 20 chilies japones, or other small hot chilies (about 1 oz)
1 tsp caraway seeds
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp dried mint leaves (optional)
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
1-1/2 tsp kosher salt
5 cloves garlic
Juice of 1 lemon

Put chilies in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Cover and let sit until softened, at least 20 minutes. Heat the caraway, coriander and cumin in a small skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about four minutes. Keep the seeds moving in the skillet the whole time. Remove from the heat and let cool. Place the spices in a grinder with the mint and grind to a fine powder.

Drain the chlies and place them in a food processor. Add the spices, salt, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil and puree until the mixture is smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. This will take 4 to 5 minutes, as you want to make sure there are no large flakes of the dried chilies in the mixture. Store the harissa in a glass jar covered with a layer of olive oil. Refrigerate, and replace the oil after every use. Makes approximately 1 cup.

adapted from recipe found at

exported from Home Cookin v9.81

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Baking Class: Whole Wheat Artisan No Knead Bread

I have tweaked this whole wheat sourdough no knead bread recipe about as much as I can to get it where I want it to be.  I don't always have the time (or the patience, if I am being honest) to let it sit for hours before baking it so right off the bat I increased the percentage of starter to the rest of the ingredients.  This gives me the freedom to let it sit out for just a few hours if I am in a hurry to have it, or I can throw it in the fridge and let it do its thing for up to five days to let the flavors really develop.

And while I appreciate the beauty of a crumb that is filled with those beautiful large holes, I find that the bread goes stale much faster than I can use it so I started adding olive oil, which does give a longer life but softens the crumb so I don't get those lovely holes anymore. If you want the holes and are feeding enough people for leftovers not to be a problem, you can omit the oil.

I thought I would give a little pictorial of how the dough should look at various stages of the process. If you do not want to bother with that you can just scroll down to the where the recipe is at the bottom. I promise I won't be offended.

First I combine all of the ingredients and cover the bowl and let it sit anywhere from a few hours out on a counter up to five or six days in the refrigerator. If I refrigerated it, I take it out and let it sit for about an hour and a half, long enough for it to come to room temperature. I then transfer it to a floured surface and sprinkle both it and my hands with bread flour while I stretch and fold it a couple of times, adding more flour in small amounts as needed.  When I am ready to shape it I start at the top and grab both sides and pull them across each other over the dough and affix them to the opposite sides.  I do the same in the middle, and then the bottom, and then I carefully shape it into a ball.
I then set it on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper, pick it up by the corners, and put it in a small aluminum bowl tand cover it with a towel and let it rise for another hour or so. After about 45 minutes I place my Dutch oven onto the middle rack of a cool oven with the lid on and preheat it to 500° F.  When the oven has come to temperature I pull out the rack with the Dutch oven on it, remove the lid, gently lift up the corners of the parchment paper and use it to carefully remove the dough from the bowl and gently place it in the Dutch oven as quickly as I safely can, then immediately put the cover back on and put it back in the oven.

I bake it covered for 30 minutes and then I lower the temperature to 450° F. and remove the cover and let it bake for another 15 minutes. I remove it from the oven and let it sit for about 5 minutes and then I use the ends of the parchment paper to remove the loaf from the Dutch oven and set it on a cooling rack to let it cool completely.
As I stated up above, this does not have that lovely open-holed crumb of your typical Dutch Oven No-Knead bread. I believe that is mainly due to the fact that i add olive oil to my dough. It may not be open and airy and chewy as the original version, but it stays fresh longer and that is more important to me since I am usually the only one eating it. If you want that open, chewy crumb just leave out the olive oil.

Home Cookin v9.81 Chapter: My Recipes
3/4 cup (145g) active starter
1-1/4 cup (300g) water
1/2 cup (60g) bread flour
1/2 cup (60g) barley flour (optional)
2 cups (240g) whole wheat flour, or 2-1/2 cups (300g) if not using barley flour
2 tsp (12g) salt
2 Tbsp olive oil

Combine the flours in a medium bowl and whisk together.

Dissolve the starter into the water in a large bowl. Add the olive oil and salt and give it a stir, then add the flour mixture and stir to combine. The mixture will be fairly wet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerator for as little as overnight or as long as 5 days.

When ready to bake, take a piece of parchment paper and sprinkle flour lightly over the middle. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let sit for 30 minutes to an hour to bring it to room temperature. Fold the dough 10 to 15 times in the bowl, then transfer to a floured surface. Sprinkle bread flour lightly over the top of the dough and over your hands, then take the top edges on each side of the dough and cross them over each other and press down into the base. Repeat with the middle edges and then the bottom, adding more flour a sprinkle at a time as necessary to keep the dough from sticking.

Gently bring the edges of the dough from the bottom up to make a ball, and then turn it over onto the floured parchment paper. Pat a little more flour onto the sides of the dough closest to the paper, then lift it up by the corners and place it into a medium-sized bowl. Cover with a twel and let rise until it has doubled, an hour to an hour and a half.

After about 45 minutes, place a Dutch oven with the lid on it into a cool oven and preheat it to 500° F. When the dough has risen and you are ready to bake, remove the pot from the oven and lift the dough out of the bowl by the parchment paper and carefully drop the whole thing into the hot pot. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid, lower the heat to 450° and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Let cool completely on rack.

adapted from

Exported from Home Cookin v9.81

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Baking Class: Upside Down Cobbler

Years ago I was visiting my brother in Houston and his girlfriend cooked dinner. I don’t remember much about the meal itself, but for dessert she served an upside down peach cobbler. I’m a fan of neither cobblers nor peaches but it blew me away. Enough for me to ask her for the recipe. She is long out of our lives but the cobbler has remained. You mix the dough and put it into the bottom of the dish and then you pour the fruit on top and the dough bakes up over the fruit. The original recipe uses canned pie filling but over the years I have adapted it for fresh or frozen fruit. It is easy to make and works with just about any fruit, especially blueberries and cherries and as you can see here, plums. A big bonus is that it’s not too sweet.

I originaly posted this recipe in July of 2009 but it is such a lovely dish that I decided to repost it again to give it a chance to get back into rotation. Give it a try. It's delicious!

Home Cookin v9.81 Chapter: My Recipes
2/3 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp grape seed oil
1/2 cup milk
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, sliced strawberries, or chopped plums, rhubarb, peaches or apples
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 300° F

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Add grape seed oil and milk and whisk until smooth. Pour into a 1.5-quart or a 10 x 6-inch greased baking dish.

Place fruit, sugar and butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring to a boil. Let the mixture  boil for about two minutes, then pour over the batter and place in the oven.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the cake is set and browned on the edges.

exported from Home Cookin v9.81

Friday, September 25, 2020

Baking Class: Sourdough Kaiser Rolls

I made these sourdough Kaiser rolls with my virtual bread baking partner (she made some lovely pretzel buns). I converted the recipe from conventional yeast and was quite pleased with the results. They don’t really look like Kaiser rolls to me but I think it’s mainly the shape and I can work on that. The slashing on top is uneven but I can also work on that.

They were crisp on the outside and soft on the inside and I am happy with the crumb. I will definitely make them again.

I remember eating kaiser rolls quite often when I was younger. When I first moved to Chicago I would eat at least once a week in a small diner around the corner from my apartment. I almost always ordered the tuna salad plate. It came with tuna salad, cole slaw, french fries and a kaiser roll. It made the perfect tuna salad sandwich.

I don't see them much anymore. I suppose they have fallen out of favor. I am happy to have discovered this recipe that comes close to what I remember so I can enjoy them again.

Home Cookin v9.81 Chapter: Breads and Muffins
210g (about 1-1/4 cups) active starter
425g (about 1-3/4 cups) water
360g (3 cups) bread flour
240g (2 cups) bread flour, or more as needed
16g salt
24g sugar
1/4 cup oil
1 egg white
1 tsp water
Poppy seeds

Combine the starter and water and mix well. Stir in the salt, sugar and oil and then add the 360g of flour and mix well. Gradually add the rest of the flour, about a half a cup at a time, until a stiff dough forms.

Remove from the bowl and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, then place in a greased bowl, cover, and let stand until doubled, about an hour and a half.

Punch down the dough and divide into 16 even pieces. Shape each piece into a ball by pulling the sides down and pinching the dough together on the bottom. Place the balls two inches apart on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

With floured hands push down gently on the tops of the rolls to flatten them out to about 5 inches wide. Cover again and let rise until almost doubled, 30 to 40 minutes.

After the first 10 or 20 minutes, preheat the oven to 400° F.

Combine the egg white with the water and beat well. Brush the mixture on the tops of the rolls and then sprinkle the poppy seeds generously over the egg brushed egg whites. Make five slashes on the tops of each roll starting from the center out.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until well browned. Cool on wire racks.

adapted from The Wooden Spoon Bread Book: The Secrets of Successful Baking, by Marilyn M. Moore (The Atlantic Monthly Press 1987)

exported from Home Cookin v9.81

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Baking Class: The Chocolate Cake

Desperate times call for desperate measures.  I got home from Wisconsin last weekend with very little food in the kitchen and was craving something sweet. I don’t really eat sweets these days and don’t keep many ingredients around.  What I did have was a container with extremely sour milk along with flour, sugar, butter and cocoa.  And an old family chocolate cake recipe that calls for sour milk (although we usually just make our own by adding vinegar to regular milk).

While it was in the oven I realized I did not have any confectioners sugar or milk to make icing and if I was going to the trouble to make a chocolate cake I wanted something on it. So I whipped up a quick batch of chocolate syrup and poured it over the top like a mirror glaze. It tasted delicious but the sauce gradually seeped deeper into the cake, making it sticky and difficult to eat. But it was just what I needed.

This is what it looks like with the proper icing. The milk for this one was made sour with vinegar as opposed to using sour milk, and you can see the difference in the crumb. Both are delicious, but it is just a touch better with actual sour milk. Enough so that I always let the last bit of milk go sour in my refrigerator just so I have it on hand when I want to make this cake.

You may wonder why it is called The Chocolate Cake. That is how it was always referred to when friends would ask us to make it. You can see the story behind it in this post from 2010.

Home Cookin v9.81 Chapter: Baked Goods (Sweet/Savory)
1-1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup sour milk (add 1 Tbsp vinegar to make it sour)
1/3 cup melted butter
1 tsp vanilla

1/2 stick softened butter
1/4 to 1/2 cup cocoa
1 to 2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla
milk, as needed

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add the milk, melted butter and vanilla and mix until just combined.

Pour into 9-inch round or 8-inch square cake pan. Bake on the middle rack for 20 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

For the Icing:

Combine the butter, 1/4 cup of the cocoa, 1 cup of the confectioners sugar, the vanilla, and about two tablespoons of the milk in a medium size bowl and beat until well blended. Add more cocoa as needed for the flavor and more confectioner's sugar as needed to reach a spreadable consistency.

exported from Home Cookin v9.81

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Ethiopian Style Carrot Ginger Soup

Carrot Soup Ethiopian Style. I usually make it with sweet curry powder and ginger but berbere spice makes for a nice change. The yogurt tames the heat just the right amount.
Home Cookin v9.75 Chapter: My Recipes
2 10-oz packs frozen carrots, or 6 cups cooked sliced carrots
2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 large onion, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp berbere spice mixture
4 cups vegetable stock
juice of 2 large or 3 small blood oranges (approximately 1/4 cup)
salt and pepper to taste
yogurt for garnish

Saute ginger and onion in oil over medium heat. Add the berbere spice mix and cook for about a minute to let the spices bloom.

Add the carrots and stir everything together until the carrots are coated with the spices. Add 1-1/2 cups of the stock. Bring to a boil then lower the heat, cover, and simmer until the carrots and onions are tender.

Remove from the heat and puree either using a hand mixer or a blender. Return to the heat and add the rest of the vegetable stock and the blook orange juice. Add more water as necessary to reach the desired consistency.

Serve garnished with the yogurt.

Adapted from Arielle's Recipe Archive from the newsgroup.

Exported from Home Cookin v9.76

Monday, September 14, 2020

Baking Class: Sourdough Bolillos

When I lived in Texas we would take regular trips down to Mexico, usually Nuevo Laredo but sometimes Monterey or Mexico City. My first stop in whichever city it was would always be to a panaderia for fresh bolillos and a market for avocados and that would be my breakfast pretty much the whole time we were there. Crispy crusty on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside. So yummy!

Unfortunately, these are nothing like the bolillos I remember from those days. They are almost crispy crusty on the outside but although chewy on the inside, they are quite dense. If anyone has a recipe for bolillos like the ones they make in Tamaulipas I would be most grateful.

But in the meantime I can live with these.

I posted a recipe very similar to this back in 2017 but this updated recipe is the one that should be used.

Home Cookin v9.81 Chapter: My Recipes
makes 10 rolls

240 g (2 cups) active starter
460 g (1-1/3 cups) water
720 g (6 cups) all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled
2-3 tsp salt
1/4 cup cold water
1 tsp cornstarch

Add water to starter and mix well. Stir in the melted and cooled butter and the honey and then add about 300g of the flour and the salt. Mix together until a soft dough is formed, gradually adding in as much of the remaining flour as necessary to keep it from sticking.

Form the dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled anywhere form an hour to a couple of hours. Punch it down and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead it briefly and let it sit for 10 minutes.

Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces. Preshape them into balls and let them rest for 20 minutes, then shape into batards about 4 to 5 inches long. Place the rolls on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Slash the rolls and let rise until doubled in size.

Heat the oven to 375°F. Combine the cold water and the cornstarch in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Let it boil for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat.

Just before baking, brush the rolls with the warm cornstarch mixture. Bake until they are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and take the rolls off of the baking sheet and let cool on a wire rack.

adapted from a recipe found at Key Ingredient
Exported from Home Cookin v9.81

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Beet and Fennel Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

I made this beet and fennel salad from PrairiErth Farm beets and fennel and fresh locally grown onions and dressed it with a mustard seed vinaigrette.

I love the combination of beets and fennel. They are just one of those flavor combinations that seem made for each other to me. Just before serving I topped it with toasted walnuts and freshly chopped chives from Smits Farm.

Home Cookin v9.81 Chapter: My Recipes
Mustard Seed Vinaigrette:
1 Tbsp whole grain Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp juice from the supremed orange 1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
salt and pepper to taste

For the salad:
1 bunch (3 large or 4 medium) beets, boiled or roasted and cut into bite-sized pieces
2 large fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
1/2 of one small onion, thinly sliced
1 mineola tangelo or orange, supremed with the juice reserved
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives, for garnish
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, for garnish

Combine the mustards and vinegar in a small bowl. Whisk until they are well incorporated. Add the olive oil gradually, whisking continuously, until you have an emulsion. Add the crushed garlic and salt and pepper to taste. If using right away, set aside. Can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator.

Combine the beets, fennel, onion orange segments and dill in a large bowl and mix well. Add the vinaigrette and mix well.

Let sit for a couple of hours to let the flavors blend before serving. If refrigerated, take out an hour before serving.

Garnish with more dill and the toasted walnuts.

Created August 28, 2020

Exported from Home Cookin v9.81

Friday, September 11, 2020

Baking Class: Skillet Cornbread with Fresh Corn

There are two camps when it comes to cornbread. There is the soft, cake like version of the north that mixes flour with cornmeal and adds sugar, and there is the southern version with no flour and no sugar. One look at these photos should tell you into which camp I fall. While I have had some versions of the northern style that are quite delicious, none come close to this 100% cornmeal no sugar cast iron skillet cornbread.

I found this recipe in a cooking newsgroup that has been around since the early days of the worldwide web and it is a keeper. You put whatever fat you are using into a cast iron skillet and let it heat up in the pre-heating oven. When it is smoking hot you add the batter. That is the secret to getting a nice, crispy crust. And the lack of sugar gives it a more intense corn flavor. The texture is coarse but when done right it is soft and bursting with full corn flavor, especially with the additional fresh Smits Farm corn I added to the batter. You have to look hard to see the kernels in there but every single bite just pops with that sweet corn flavor. I’m enjoying just eating it for breakfast but it is spectacularly good for sopping up a mess of beans.

I use coarse cornmeal for this recipe. I am sure it would be quite lovely with the finer grind as well.

Home Cookin 9.81 Chapter: Breads and Muffins
Makes 6 large or 8 small pieces
1 Tbsp lard, bacon grease or grapeseed oil
2 cups cornmeal (preferably yellow)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup fresh cut or frozen corn kernels
2 cups buttermilk
1 egg, well beaten

Put the fat in the skillet and place the skillet in the middle rack of the cool oven. Turn the oven on to 450° F and let the pan heat up while you mix the rest of the ingredients.

Combine the cornmeal, salt and baking soda in a large bowl and mix well. Beat the egg and add it to the buttermilk.

When the oven is up to temperature add the fresh corn and then the buttermilk and egg mixture to the dry ingredients and mix together quickly. Pull the skillet out of the oven just long enough to quickly pour the batter into it and return it to the middle shelf.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

adapted from a recipe found on the newsgroup (which has deteriorated into a bunch of old posters who constantly argue with and snipe at each other and rarely talk about cooking anymore)

Exported from Home Cookin v9.81

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Two Egg Kale Frittata

I love frittatas but it takes me four days to eat one and now that I am only cooking for myself that’s sometimes more than I want. So I recently made this two-egg version when I wanted it for breakfast one morning but did not want to be eating it for the rest of the week. I had some cooked kale in the fridge so I chopped some onion and cooked it with the kale in my smallest skillet and then poured two beaten eggs over that and cooked it on low for a few minutes then topped it with mozzarella left over from pizza night and some grated Pecorino Romano and finished it under the broiler. Delicious!
Home Cookin v9.81 Chapter: Meat Fish and Eggs
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup cooked kale, leaves and stems
2 eggs
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated cheese (mozzarella, cheddar, gruyere or any other hard cheese)
2 tbsp grated Parmagiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese

Creack the eggs into a small bowl, season with salt and pepper, and beat with a fork until the yolks and whites are well blended.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a small skillet. Add the onion and cook until it is soft, about three minutes. Add the kale and cook long enough to heat it through.

Pour the beaten eggs over the mixture and stir just enough to distribute the eggs over the skillet. Turn the heat to low and cook for about five minutes, until the bottom is set.

Sprinkle the cheeses over the top and place the broiler (wrap the handle in aluminum foil if it is plastic) until the cheese has melted and is golden, about 2 minutes.

Can be served immediately, or at room temperature.

8/25 2020

Exported from Home Cookin v9.81

Friday, September 04, 2020

Baking Class: Sourdough Pizza Crust

I have been enjoying the fresh corn from Smits Farm all summer and have been making all of my favorite corn dishes. One thing I had not made in a while was a corn and zucchini pizza, which is one of my favorite combinations.

I've been working on my sourdough crust and I believe I have found what works best for me. I had originally converted my original conventional yeast recipe into a sourdough recipe without making any other changes with some success, but when I switched to using all 00 flour (which makes the best pizza crust, in my opinion) the dough did not seem to stretch out as far as my earlier white whole wheat/bread flour combination so I tweaked the proportions and came up with this recipe, which is perfect for two large or three smaller pies. If it seems too intimidating to make three pizzas all at the same time, the dough will last up to about six days in the refrigerator and can even be frozen. I am sure this is not going to be my final, final recipe as there is always room for improvement, but I have not felt the need to experiment any further with it which is always a good sign.

Home Cookin v9.81 Chapter: My Recipes
175g (about 1 cup) active starter
360g (about 1-1/2 cups) water
585g (about 4-3/4 cups) 00 flour
3 Tbsp olive oil
12g (1-1/2 tsp) salt
6 (1-1/2 tsp) sugar

Add the water to the starter and mix together well. Add the oil, then stir in the sugar and salt.

Add the flour, a cup at a time, until a soft dough forms. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, adding more flour as necessary to keep it from sticking.

Form dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use, anywhere from one to five days.

When ready to make the pizza remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. Depending on the size of your peel, baking stone and oven separate the dough into two or three balls. Using a little flour if necessary, pat out the dough to your desired thickness and place on the baking sheet or pizza peel. Top as desired and bake in a preheated 450° to 500° oven for 15 to 20 minutes until the top is golden brown and bubbly.

15 February 2020

Exported from Home Cookin v9.81

Monday, August 31, 2020

Corn and Sausage Saute

I got the recipe for this sautéed corn and sausage dish many many years ago from my coworker at The League of Women Voters in Texas. At the time I used Eckrich smoked sausage and canned corn and it was one of my favorite dishes and I made it all the time. Fast forward to today and I use fresh corn cut off the cob and Sausage Konig onion brats and imported Italian tomatoes and it is worlds away from that earlier version. There is something about bringing corn, tomato, sausage and onion together that amounts to sheer perfection. I will admit to using frozen corn (but never canned!) if I am craving this dish out of season but that doesn’t come close to how good it is when the corn is fresh off of the cob.
Home Cookin v9.81 Chapter: My Recipes
1 lb link sausage
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3 cups fresh corn, prefereably cut from the cob, or frozen
1 28-oz can whole or diced tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
Chopped chives or green onions for garnish

Slice the sausage into bite-size pieces. Brown on both sides in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until tender. Reduce the heat and squish the whole tomatoes into the skillet with your hands, then add the liquid (or just add the tomatoes and juice together if using diced tomatoes). Bring to a simmer and cook for twenty minutes.

Add the corn and cook until just heated through. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with chopped chives or green onions just before serving.


Exported from Home Cookin v9.81

Thursday, August 27, 2020

DIY Condiments: Yucatecan Pickled Red Onions

I have had the recipe for these Yucatecan Pickled Red Onions for a while and I couldn’t stop thinking about the pickled red onions that came with the salad at one of my last pre-Covid meals out at Taste of Peru. Once we were in lockdown it seemed like a good time to try it. They are ready in four hours, which is a plus. They have no sugar which is also a plus. 

They are tart and delicious. Serve them as a topping for just about any dish - avocado toast, hummus, eggs, tacos, chicken, salads - they go with everything!

I used the recipe as I found at Saveur online so I will just link to it here.

If you are looking for a new way to spice up your dishes you should give this a try.  It's quick, simple and so so delicious!

Monday, August 24, 2020

Braised Green Beans

I usually do not like my vegetables to be overcooked and mushy but this dish is an exception. These slow-braised green beans are full of flavor and just melt in your moutn. The trick is to cook it over low heat for a few hours. I’ve posted this recipe before but I have made adjustments over the years so I'm posting what I think is the best version here. It tastes delicious and makes an excellent side dish for any meal.
Home Cookin v9.81 Chapter: My Recipes
1 lb green beans, trimmed and snapped into 2-inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 large red onion, diced
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped fine
Juice of half a lemon (more or less to taste)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp dried or 2 Tbsp fresh thyme, dill, or oregano (or a combination of all three)
salt and pepper to taste

Place the beans, garlic, onion, and tomatoes in a Dutch oven. Add the liquids and about a teaspoon of salt and half a teaspoon of the pepper.

Cover and place over medium low heat. Cook for a few hours, until the beans are almost fall-apart tender. Remove the cover and raise the heat to medium to cook off any liquid left in the pot. Remove form the heat and stir in the fresh herbs. Adjust the seasonings to taste.

Can be served hot or at room temperature. Serve with Greek yogurt, if desired.

adapted from

Exported from Home Cookin v9.81

Friday, August 21, 2020

Fresh Corn with Smoked Sweet Paprika

Many years ago I went to one of the first nose-to-tail farm-to-table restaurants in Chicago.  Everything was delicious but the dish that stood out over everything else for me was corn fresh off the cob sautéed oh-so-briefly in butter and sprinkled with sweet smoked paprika. It was so, so delicious.  So I immediately recreated it when I got home and have been making it ever since.  Give it a try. You’ll want to eat it all the time.
Home Cookin v9.81 Chapter: Beans and Vegetables
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
2 cups fresh corn kernels, preferably off the cob
1/4 tsp smoked sweet paprika
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp sweet paprika

Heat the oil and butter in a medium-sized skillet over medium high heat. When the butter has melted and started to sizzle add the corn and cook, stirring often, for two to three minutes, just long enough to thoroughly heat the corn. Add the smoked paprika and mix well.

Remove from the heat and season to taste with the salt and pepper. Sprinkle the sweet paprika over the top to garnish.


Imported from Home Cookin v9.81

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Kale and Sweet Potato Frittata

It’s been a while since I’ve made a frittata and I had a sweet potato that was sprouting and needed to be used pronto so I decided this was the perfect way to get my daily dose of kale as well. I love frittatas because you can put just about anything in them and spice them any way you want. I cook the kale stems before adding the rest of the vegetables since the stems take a while to get tender. I kept it simple with a bit of oregano and topped it off with Parmigiano Regianno that I browned under the broiler.
Home Cookin v9.81 Chapter: My Recipes
2 Tbsp grapeseed or canola oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 cups kales, stems and leaves separated and both diced
1 medium sweet potato, diced
8 large eggs
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp butter
1/4 cup grated sharp Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese

Heat oil in non-stick or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sweet potato and kale stems and saute for 3 to 4 minutes, until they have just started to soften. Lower the heat, cover and let steam for 7 to 10 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are almost tender but not mushy. Add a teaspoon or so of water if necessary. Add the onions, garlic and kale leaves and cook until the onion and garlic are translucent and the kale leaves have wilted.

Crack the eggs into a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste and then add the thyme. Whisk thoroughly. Remove the vegetable mixture from the heat. Add about 1/4 cup of the mixture to the eggs to temper them and stir to mix them in well. Add the rest of the mixture and mix everything together. Set the skillet back over medium high heat and add the butter. When it has melted and is sizzling pour the egg and vegetable mixture into the skillet. Let cook for about 30 seconds and then reduce the heat to low. Cook for about 20 minutes, checking after the first 12 minutes, until the sides are set but the middle is still a bit runny. Sprinkle the grated cheese evenly over the top and put it under the broiler* for a couple of minutes, until the cheese has melted and turned golden brown.

Can be served warm out of the oven or at room temperature.

*If your skillet handle is not oven proof you can wrap it in aluminum foil and that will protect it for the few minutes it is under the broiler.

adapted from James Beard's American Cookery, by James Beard (Little, Brown and Company, 1972)

Imported from Home Cookin' v9.81

Monday, August 17, 2020

Quick and Easy Gazpacho

Summertime is gazpacho time. This is a simple version that is light and refreshing. I got it from a co-worker when I worked at the bookstore who got it from a book called The Ex-Boyfriend Cookbook, by Erin Ergenbright and Thisbee Nissen that was full of recipes that were the only thing left of past relationships. If it were me I would have held on to this boyfriend!

Just throw tomatoes, green pepper, cucumber, onion, garlic, salt, sherry wine vinegar, olive oil and a little water into a blender and puree until you have soup. I fancied it up with garnish for this photo but I usually don’t bother.

Title: Gazpacho Home Cookin Chapter: Soups and Stews
3 to 4 tomatoes, depending on blender capacity
1 cucumber
1/2 bell pepper
3-4 cloves garlic
1/2 small onion
2 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 cup cold water
salt and pepper to taste

Chop 3 of the tomatoes and put in blender. Peel cucumber, cut in chunks and put in blender. Seed pepper, cut in chunks and place in blender. Smash garlic and put in blender. Cut onion into chunks and put in blender. If there is enough room in the blender, chop and add the fourth tomato.

Add liquids, salt and pepper.

Chop in blender to desired consistency.


From The Ex-Boyfriend Cookbook, by Thisbe Nissen and Erin Ergenbright (Collins Living, 2002)

imported from Home Cookin v9.81

Friday, August 14, 2020

Shakshuka with Kale, Mushrooms, Red Pepper and Zucchini

I am a big fan of shakshuka and have made all kinds of variations over the years, mostly consisting of whatever vegetables I have lurking around in the refrigerator that need to be used sooner rather than later. In this case there were mushrooms, red pepper and zucchini that I needed to do something with and I try to eat one serving of greens every day so I decided to make shakshuka with some kale and those vegetables. That combination of ingredients made me think of Mexican spices so that's the direction I went with it. It is an extremely versatile dish and you can easily substitute many other vegetables for any of the ones used here and change up the spice profile to suit your fancy.  Of course at some point it probably should not be called shakshuka anymore, but I'm going with it for now.
Home Cookin v9.81 Chapter: Meat Fish and Eggs
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup kale, leaves removed from the stems, and both chopped separately
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup mushrooms, chopped
1/2 small zucchini, chopped
1 14.5-oz can diced or chopped tomatoes
1 tsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp chili powder
cayenne to taste
salt and pepper to taste
2 large or jumbo eggs

Heat the oil in a medium-size nonstick skillet that has a lid over medium heat. Add the kale stems and cook, stirring frequently, for about five minutes, then add the leaves and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, until the stems have softened and the kale has reduced and softened. Add the onion and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes until the onion is translucent, then add the red pepper and mushrooms and cook for another 2 to 3 minuts. Finally, add the zucchini and cook that for 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, cumin, chili powder, cayene and season to taste with the salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and let it cook for about 10 minutes, until the tomatoes have thickened and the liquid has been cooked out of the mixture.

Make a dent in the middle of the mixture, pushing it up against the sides of the skillet to make a slight barrier for the eggs. Crack the eggs side by side into the middle of the pan and season them with salt and pepper.

Lower the heat and cover the pan. Cook for about 7 or 8 minutes, until the whites have set. Start checking after 6 minutes.


Exported from Home Cookin v9.81

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Scrambled Eggs with Pecorino Romano and Tomatoes

Many years ago I got lazy cooking scrambled eggs and just cracked them into the melted butter in the skillet and loosely scrambled them in the pan. I would keep the yolks intact until the whites were nearly cooked and then break them and let them just barely set. I was recently reminded of that method and that’s how I made these beautiful Vital Farms eggs for yesterday’s breakfast. I browned some green onions in butter then added the eggs. Of course I also added a bunch of grated Pecorino Romano and some home grown cherry tomatoes at the end. So simple and so delicious.
Home Cookin v9.81 Chapter: Meat Fish and Eggs
1 Tbsp butter
4 large eggs
12 cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano Cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat and swirl it around to coat the botto of the skillet. When it is bubbling, crack the eggs into the skillet and scramble around the yolks until the whites are set. Break the yolks and scramble them gently around the whites so they stay somewhat separate. While the yolks are still a little runny before they are set to your liking add the cheese and the tomatoes and gently stir the cheese into the egg mixture.

Remove from the heat and continue stirring for a few minutes to get to your desired consistency. Transfer the eggs to a plate and season to taste.


Exported from Home Cookin v9.81

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Corn Pudding

This corn pudding is one of my favorite dishes and is so delicious with Smits Farms fresh corn. It is an Anglo-cized version of the South American Pastel de Choclo, something I did not know when I first started making it. The base of the dish is fresh corn, butter, yogurt, eggs, cornmeal, cheese and chilies and it is delicious as is, but with summer’s bounty I like to add some vegetables like the onion, red pepper, mushrooms and zucchini I added to this one. And of course it must be topped with fresh homemade salsa picante. Home Cookin v9.81 Chapter: Beans and Vegetables
1/2 cup melted butter
2 cup corn kernels, divided
2 eggs
1 cup yogurt
1/2 cup cornmeal
4 oz can chopped green chilies
1 cup cheese, diced or grated
1-1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sauteed vegetables (optional)

Preheat the ove to 350° F.

Puree the butter, 1 cup of the corn, and the eggs in a blender. Pour into a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients.

Pour into a buttered 3-quart casserole or large cast-iron skillet. Bake for about 40 minutes, until the top has browned and the pudding is set. Start checking after 30 minutes.

Any vegetables can be added to this dish. Be sure not to use too many, though, or it will dry out.

from Robin at the Austin Public Library, 197?

Exported from Home Cookin v9.81 (http:\\

Friday, August 07, 2020


Picadillo is a South American dish usually consisting of ground beef with tomato, olives, raisins and almonds.  I don't know where I first heard of it but I first started making it in my mid twenties and I'm pretty sure I just winged it armed only with the knowledge that it was made with beef and contained olives, raisins and almonds.  I have no idea how close to authentic my recipe is but it's mighty tasty.

If you don't have all of the ingredients on hand you can easily improvise.  I did not have any green pepper as called for in the recipe when I made this pictured version so I substituted red pepper and it worked out fine.  The masa I was going to use for the sopes I planned to serve this with was rancid so I made polenta instead.  Picadillo goes well with refried black beans.
Home Cookin v9.81 Chapter: My Recipes
2 Tbsp grapeseed oil
1 med onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 lb. ground beef
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried chilies, or to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup roughly chopped green olives
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup slivered almonds

Green onions and cilantro for garnish

Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Add onion, season with salt, and cook for two minutes. Add the garlic and green pepper and cook until the onion is translucent, three or four more minutes.

Add the tomato paste and stir to ix it in with the vegetables. Cook for a couple of minutes until the color has deepend. Add the cumin and cook for a minute, stirring constantly.

Add the ground beef, oregano and dried peppers. Season with more salt and brown thoroughly, breaking it up so there are no clumps and it is thoroughly mixed into the vegetable mixture. If the mixture becomes too dry, add water in small amounts at a time.

Once the meat has browned add the olives and raisins and cook until heated through and the raisins have plumped some. Remove from the heat and add the almonds.

Garnish with chopped green onions and cilantro.


Exported from Home Cookin v9.81 (http:\\
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