Friday, July 31, 2020

Fennel Frond Pesto

The fennel bulbs I get from a local farm usually have a massive amount of fronds on them.  I usually will use the few on the trimmed store-bought ones for garnish but there was so much on these that I knew there must be something I could do with them.  A quick online search led me to fennel frond pesto.  I had all of the ingredients - the fronds, pumpkin seeds, lemon, garlic, salt and pepper and olive oil - so I whipped up a batch.

The result is grassy and fragrant and you can taste the green with just a hint of that lovely licorice flavor.  It goes well with pasta, vegetables, meat and fish, and pretty much anything else you can think of using.
Home Cookin v9.81 Chapter: Appetizers Spreads Dips Sauces
4 packed cups chopped fennel fronds (from two bulbs)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, or more as needed
salt and pepper to taste
juice of 1 lemon

Place all the ingredients except the olive oil in a food processor. Process everything together into a rough paste, then with the blade running drizzle in the olive oil until you it has reached the desired consistency.

Adjust the seasoning as desired.

Adapted from recipe found at

Exported from Home Cookin v9.81 (

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Eggs in a Basket

This dish has many names; I grew up calling it Eggs in a Basket. You cut a circle in a slice of bread and cook an egg in it. I never particularly cared for the idea of it until I tried it with focaccia. The thickness and sturdiness of it made it a great vehicle for a fried egg.

The finished dish is a cross between french toast, grilled cheese, and a fried egg sandwich.  The best of all three worlds.  It starts with the focaccia browning in a skillet and once the eggs have been added it is finished under the broiler.  It does not take long to put together and the result makes it so worthwhile.

The trick is to cook the egg until the top has just begun to set, then add the cheeses and put them under the broiler.  That is the way to get that nice runny yolk most of us love.

But if you don't like a runny yolk you can just leave it under the broiler until they have set completely before you add the cheese.

It is delicious either way.

Home Cookin v9.81 Chapter: Meat Fish and Eggs
1 Tbsp butter or olive oil
2 slices stale focaccia
2 large eggs
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup shredded gruyere or cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Cut slightly oval circles in the focaccia with a sharp knife. Save the cut out portions.

Melt the butter or olive oil over medium high heat in a large cast iron or nonstick skillet. Add the focaccia and the cut out ovals, top side down, and cook until they are brown and toasty. Turn everything over. Add more butter or oil inside the holes in the focaccia if necessary.

Crack an egg into each oval and turn the heat down to medium low. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for two to three minutes, until the bottoms of the eggs have set.

Turn on the broiler and set it to low if you have that option. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Move the egg-filled pieces to the baking sheet and place them under the broiler. Keep an eye on oval pieces still in the skillet and remove them when they are nice and browned on the bottoms.

Cook the eggs until the tops have just set but are still slightly wobbly. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and spread half of the gruyere or cheddar over each piece, followed by the Parmigiano Reggiano. Place it back under the broiler until the cheese has melted and is nice and bubbly.


Exported from Home Cookin v9.81 (

Monday, July 27, 2020

Corn and Black Bean Salad

It's not summer for me until I have made my first corn and black bean salad using farm fresh corn and tomatoes.  I cook the beans from dried organic sprouted but you can use canned if you prefer.  It takes just a few minutes to put it all together and it tastes so fresh and summery.

I generally just eyeball the ingredients so please feel free to adjust any of the amounts as you wish.  It will be just as delicious!  You might be tempted to put more herbs or spices in there but the lime juice, olive oil, cilantro, salt and pepper are all you really need to make the corn and black beans shine.
Home Cookin v9.81 Chapter: Beans and Vegetables
3 cups black beans, cooked and drained (or 2 14.5-oz cans, rinsed and drained)
3 cups sweet corn (fresh is best but can use frozen or canned)
1/4 of red onion (1/4 to 1/2 cup, depending on taste), diced
1 fresh serrano pepper, finely chopped (and deseeded if you want less heat)
2 cloves garlic, crushed or grated
3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, or to taste
salt and pepper to taste

Combine the beans, corn, onion, pepper, garlic and tomatoes in a large bowl and stir to combine. Add the lime and olive oil and mix well. Stir in the cilantro then season to taste with the salt and pepper.


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Monday, July 20, 2020

Baking Class: Sourdough Starter Pancakes

I keep my sourdough starter on the small side so I don't have a huge buildup of discard but every few weeks I have enough to make something and I am always looking for ways to use it.  These sourdough starter pancakes were the first thing I ever made with my discard and they are in my regular rotation now.  They work as a savory or sweet dish; here I served them with fried eggs and pure maple syrup and they were delicious.
Home Cookin v9.81 Chapter: Breads and Muffins
180g (app 1 cup) sourdough discard
120g (app 1/2 cup) water
60g (app 1/2 cup) all-purpose flour
1 egg
2 Tbsp sugar (optional, I usually omit it)
2 Tbsp oil, plus more for greasing the griddle/pan
3 + Tbsp buttermilk, milk or other liquid, as needed
1 tsp baking soda

Mix the discard, flour and water and let sit until bubbles form.  Add the egg, oil, and sugar if using and mix together.  Add the buttermilk, milk or other liquid in small increments mixing just enough to incorporate it into the batter, until it is just think enough to pour easily without spreading too mucy.  The amount needed will vary depending on the thickness of your starter.

Preheat the oven to the lowest temperature and put an oven-proof plate on the middle rack.  Heat a griddle over medium heat. Pour in about a teaspoon of oil and spread it over the surface.   Once the griddle is hot (you can test it by sprinkling a drop of water onto the surface.  If it sizzles and burns away quickly the griddle is hot).  Pour the batter in 1/4-cup increments and cook until bubbles have formed on the surface and the edges look dry, two to three minutes.  Flip and cook until golden on the bottom, 30 seconds to one minute more.

As the pancakes are done store them on the warm plate in the oven until ready to serve.  If you are not serving them right away remove them from the oven when they are all made and cover with a towel to keep them warm.

adapted from recipe found at

Exported from Home Cookin v9.81 (

Monday, July 13, 2020

DIY Condiments: Make Your Own Peanut Butter

Here is the recipe for making your own peanut butter.  Pay attention as it is incredibly complicated and you are liable to make many mistakes.

Place a pound of peeled roasted peanuts into the bowl of your food processor.*
Process for about four to five minutes until you have peanut butter.  If you are adding salt, start with 1/4 teaspoon and add it while the peanuts are processing after about three minutes.

*If you want to make chunky peanut butter, remove 1/4 cup of the peanuts and chop them to your desired consistency and then add them in at the end.

That's it.  Don't screw it up!

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Pimento Cheese Spread

I have always loved pimento cheese spread but the store-bought version always had a sickly sweet aftertaste that got more pronounced for me as I ate less and less processed foods.  And then I tasted a friend's home made version and it was pure cheesy pimento goodness without that residual sweetness. I have made it myself ever since.  It is ridiculously easy.  You can even buy the cheeses already shredded.

These days I also make my own mayonnaise, but that does not mean that you have to do the same.
Home Cookin v9.80 Chapter: My Recipes
4 oz shredded Cheddar cheese
4 oz shredded Gruyere cheese
2 oz jar pimentos, with juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
dash of cayenne
1/4 cup mayonnaise, less or more to taste

Mix the cheeses, pimento, Dijon mustard and cayenne together. Add about half of the mayonnaise and stir to combine, then add more as needed to reach desired consistency.

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Monday, July 06, 2020

Pinto Beans Rancheros

I have been making this dish for years now.  It is simple and quick and hearty and delicious.  I use dried beans but canned beans work just as well.  It goes well with plain brown or white rice, cilantro lime rice, polenta, and tacos or burritos.  Fry up some eggs on top of it and you even have a Mexican style shakshuka.
Home Cookin v9.80 Chapter: Beans and Vegetables
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 large yellow onion, diced
4 - 5 cloves garlic, minced
1 pickled jalapeno, or to taste
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp dried leaf oregano
3 cups cooked pinto beans, from dried or canned (rinsed and drained)
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
3/4 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnishing
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a four-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook for a minute, then add the minced garlic and jalapeno. Saute until the onions are translucent, about five minutes. Add the cumin and stir it in for a minute to let it bloom.

Add the beans, tomatoes, and cilantro. Crush the oregano between your fingers and sprinkle it over the mixture. Season to taste with the salt and pepper and mix everything together.

Bring to a simmer then cover and lower the heat. Cook for 30 minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro.

Can be served over Cilantro Lime Rice, Polenta, or sopes.

Exported from Home Cookin 9.80 (
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