Gooseberry sorbet

gooseberry sorbet

I love this recipe because I don’t have to top and tail the berries. I make a juice, then a syrup, then a sorbet.


  • quart of gooseberries
  • enough water to cover berries

In a heavy bottomed pan bring it to a boil on Magic Chef setting 6. Gently boil until berries burst. put mixture into a sieve lined with cheese cloth to drain for 24 hours in refrigertator.

Makes about 1 1/2c juice


  • 1 1/2 c gooseberry juice
  • 3.6 oz sugar (approximately)
  • lemon juice
  • 1 tsp cassis liqueur

Squeeze as much juice from cheesecloth then heat it gently. Add sugar to taste. It should be sweeter than you’d like for a juice, but not insanely sweet. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and the cassis liqueur. Refrigerate until cool. Put into the ice cream machine and churn according to maker’s instructions. When done put it into a container, place a piece of plastic wrap snugly on top of the sorbet then put the top of the container on to keep it from absorbing freezer smells. Freeze for 2-3 hours prior to eating.

Foraging for weeds of choice: lambs quarters

My first year living in the country, I viciously tore out the prolific lambs quarters that invaded my garden thinking they were annoying horrible useless weeds. Now, I respect them as one of the greatest and most excellent tasting green leafy vegetables available. If I am lucky enough to get them super young as in the picture above I will:

  • In a large sautee pan, heat 2T olive oil over medium  (#5 on the Magic Chef) add a few crushed/minced garlic cloves to gently cook for a minute then add the greens.
  • Pile them into the pan, heaping! With tongs gently turn them in the oil and heat until they are wilted.
  • Add a very conservative amount of soy sauce.
  • Add salt to taste.


Asparagus and mushrooms with pasta

I have transitioned into thinking of my pasta as an accompaniment to my vegetables. It does not always end up that way, but that is how I start thinking of my meal. I do this with risotto as well. So I will see the asparagus and mushrooms together and decide to make the vegetable dish a heftier meal by adding a little pasta — which also means adding Parmigiano and you have “Yum” to put it in Dean’s words.


  • 1/4 c chicken stock or water
  • 6 cremini mushrooms or a handful of whatever kind you have laying around sliced or roughly chopped
  • 10 asparagus washed, tough ends removed and cut into 1 1/2″ sections
  • salt/pepper
  • creme fraiche (optional)
  • olive oil
  • Pasta of choice, shorter the better for this dish
  • Parmigiano
  • lemon wedge


Put water on to boil. Add salt and pasta and cook until al dente.

1-2 T olive oil into skillet set on medium (Magic chef #5). Saute mushrooms until they release their water approximately 3 minutes, add the asparagus and chicken stock and gently simmer until asparagus is tender, approximately 7 minutes. Salt and pepper. Add a few tablespoons  creme fraiche if desired, make sure it distributes well. There will be a light liquid sauce.

Reserve a little water from pasta in case you need some extra liquid. Drain pasta, add to saute pan with vegetables and toss. Toss with a drizzle of olive oil and a 1/8 Parmigiano. Serve in warmed bowls. Make sure there is extra Parm on the table, good salt, fresh pepper and lemon wedges.

Good marinade for pork ribs

I had practiced what I preach: take something out of the freezer in advance to thaw and then you are obligated to cook it. Problem was, I didn’t have the time to slow cook the pork ribs which is the preferred method. So instead, I made up this marinade, let the ribs sit in it for a while, then grilled them.

Dean was skeptical, he thought they’d be tough. I basted the daylights out of them while they were on the grill, God forbid I feed Dean tough ribs and get ridiculed indefinitely for it.  I reduced the remainder of the marinade on the stove top so it was good and cooked through and a nice sauce….

While consuming these tasty ribs, Dean said,  “This marinade is something my Dad would like.” I thought that was a good thing. You don’t know Dean’s dad, but trust me, that is a good thing.


  • 1/4 c. soy sauce
  • 1/4 c vermouth or dry sherry
  • 1/2 c oyster sauce
  • 1/3 c sugar or less if you use honey
  • small knob grated ginger
  • 1-3 Tbs Chinese Garlic Hot Sauce to taste


  • Mix it all together combine it with ribs in plastic ziplock and let marinate for 2-8 hours.
  • Cook on the grill turning several times and basting for 8-12 minutes depending on size and your fearlessness of rare pork.

Eat. They are surprisingly tender and delicious.

So refreshing, so cuke!

When it is hot, I like the cool and refreshing cucumber salad that is so super fast, it faster than fast.  Except for the chilling time. Which you probably could skip if you were in a pinch, but they do taste better if they are allowed to chill in their vinegar-mix for a little while.


  • 1 Cucumber washed, peeled either entirely or in fancy stripe mode as in the above picture.
  • Slice as thinly as possible.
  • Put into a bowl, cover add 1/4 c rice vinegar and cold water to cover
  • Add some salt
  • Refrigerate for about an hour if you have the time. These keep well for a day or so.
  • I added chopped garlic chives, you can also add slice white onion that has been rinsed. A little fresh ground white pepper is good too.

Here is a picture of it with my Squash, Ham, Onion, Parmegiano Quiche that we had for lunch today.

Flavored yogurt

So why don’t people just make their own flavored yogurt when it tastes better that way? Maybe if you like weird flavors like coffee  yogurt you should just not read this because you’re not the audience. But those who like vanilla or maple or assorted fruit flavors, I mean, why not just buy plain yogurt and add your own maple syrup or vanilla? Crush up some strawberries, macerate them in some sugar or honey or syrup. Is it laziness? I mean if you’re at the store buying the yogurt, why not just pick up the berries to go into it? Buy the big tub of yogurt and make more than one serving then you have it for the next morning.

It is good and good for you. You can judge for yourself how sweet you want it.

My tasty little tortilla

Spanish Tortilla

I had potatoes, leeks and green onions that needed to be used up so I thought soup or tortilla? Dean needs a little fattening up, so I opted for the tortilla. They take a little practice with the flipping part of the creation but worth creating a messy one anyway because it still tastes really good.

I use a 10″ iron skillet because I destroyed my nonstick and then decided to never replace it. Using a nonstick will make this a little easier.

  • 2 large leeks washed, green top cut off and sliced  1/4″
  • 1 large green onions, tops cut off and sliced  1/4″
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion sliced super thin
  • 6 medium Yukon Gold potatoes peeled and sliced  1/8″
    (a mandolin is very useful here)
  • 4 duck eggs
  • 2 chicken eggs
  • 1/2 c grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 c olive oil
  • salt


  • Heat the oil in skillet. On medium (#4 on the Magic Chef)
  • When  heated, add a layer of potatoes, salt, followed by a layer of the onions, followed by a layer of potatoes, salt, followed by a layer of leeks/green onions, followed by layer of potatoes, salt, followed by a layer of leeks/green onions followed by potatoes until it is all in the pan.
  • Put a lid on and cook for 5 min. then gently slide a spatula under the mass and shift it around. Put lid back on and cook another 5 min. then do the same shifting around. The point is to not let the stuff on the bottom brown, especially the leeks. Cook another 5 minutes without the lid. Poke a thicker piece of potato with spatula and if it breaks apart then remove it from the heat. If it does not break apart then cook for another 3 minutes.
  • Put a colander into a large bowl and drain the mixture.
  • Crack eggs into a large bowl and beat with a fork 36 times. Add salt. Add the potato mixture to the egg bowl making sure it is all covered by eggs and let it sit for 15 minutes.
  • Heat 2 T oil in cleaned out skillet over medium high heat (#7 on Magic Chef)
  • When the oil is just smoking, slide the mixture into the skillet. Adjust the heat down to medium. Jiggle the pan to prevent sticking. Cook for about 6-7 minutes.You should see that the eggs are cooking there will be little bubbles of air coming through the middle of the tortilla. You want to see that the mass is starting to hold together prior to the first flip.
  • Place a large plate on top of the skillet and VERY CAREFULLY flip the tortilla onto it. Then add 1 T oil to the skillet, slide the tortilla back into the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes. Flip another time to help its shape and then pick the side you like facing up and make your final flip.

Let cool to room temperature and consume.

Hard to beat a slow roasted beet

The first weekend in April and it is 70ºF in upstate NY. It means we start slow roasting foods outside. Beets cooked at low temperatures for a long time are so sweet and full of flavor, I love them. I won’t fire up the coals just for this dish, but we had a pork shoulder cooking for many hours so I stuck a couple of foil packets in with it and let them roast. You can do these in the oven too.

Rosemary-Slow Roasted Beets

  • 2 bunches medium sized beets
  • pepper & salt
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar or squeeze of lemon


  • Wash the beets
  • Put 3 beets onto heavy duty foil with sprig of rosemary
  • Tightly seal
  • Cook with indirect heat on grill at 225º for several hours
  • Let cool slightly and peel then slice
  • Salt and pepper them, drizzle olive oil and little balsamic

A date with my bipolar friend, the date

My father-in-law said, “Ugly was a beautiful dog.” Ugly was the female English bulldog he had in his pre-married life.

Simon Armitage has a poem, You’re Beautiful, I’m Ugly. This could be about a date.

For a while I ordered the Barhi, Honey Dates, and Golden Princess online. Then I got tired of paying shipping on those so I tried the Medjools at Adams Fairacre Farm in Poughkeepsie and discovered they carry a damn fine date.

I eat them plain. I eat them with cheese, I eat them with nuts. Last night I served them to my guests with salted pecans. Heaven. The left overs were for breakfast this morning which is when I shot the picture above.

Medjool Dates stuffed with Salted Pecans

  • Turn oven to 350.
  • Liberally smear butter on a baking sheet
  • Put a single layer of pecans on top
  • Liberally salt with a good sea salt (Maldon is good because of the big flat crystals that are easy to crumble and sprinkle at the same time)
  • Cook for 10 minutes, stir and check and toss some more salt on if you like. Cook until ligthly toasty brown. Check often so they don’t burn.
  • Let cool.
  • Slice dates, remove pit, stuff pecan into date and eat.