GC 54 – Homemade Tonic Water Concentrate


2 oz. cinchona powder (quinine)
1/2 cup lemongrass (or 3/4 cup fresh)
1/2 cup or less citric acid
1 tsp allspice berries
1 tsp cubeb pepper
zest and juice from 1 orange, lemon and lime.
4 cups water
3 cups cane sugar (use 2)

  1. Add all ingredients except the citric acid and sugar to the water and bring to a boil, then simmer for 25 minutes.
  2. Cool slightly and strain through a sieve and then through several layers of cheese cloth.
  3. Add sugar and citric acid to taste.
  4. Refrigerate.
  5. Use 1-2 tbsp concentrate (I use 3), add gin and soda water.  Stir.

You can find these ingredients online or you can buy a convenient kit with everything you need (except the fresh fruit, water and sugar) from Oaktownspiceshop.com.

This is a real quinine tonic drink!

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GC 53 – Beef Bone Broth



Everyone is talking about Bone Broth.  I found a terrific recipe that I want to pass on.  It is originally from: Beef Bone Broth Epicurious



  • 4 pounds beef bones, preferably a mix of marrow bones and bones with a little meat on them, such as oxtail, short ribs, or knuckle bones (cut in half by a butcher)
  • 2 medium unpeeled carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium leek, end trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 1 garlic head, halved crosswise
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Place beef bones, carrots, leek, onion, and garlic on a roasting
    Bone Broth Ingredients ready for roasting

    Bone Broth Ingredients ready for roasting

    pan or rimmed baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes. Toss the contents of the pan and continue to roast until deeply browned, about 20 minutes more.

  2. Fill a large (at least 6-quart) stockpot with 12 cups of water (preferably filtered) . Add celery, bay leaves, peppercorns, and vinegar. Scrape the roasted bones and vegetables into the pot along with any juices. Add more water if necessary to cover bones and vegetables.

    Roasted Bone Broth Ingredients

    Roasted Bone Broth Ingredients

  3. Cover the pot and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to a very low simmer and cook with lid slightly ajar, skimming foam and excess fat occasionally, for at least 8 but up to 24 hours on the stovetop. The longer you simmer it, the better your broth will be. Add more water if necessary to ensure bones and vegetables are fully submerged. Alternately, you can cook the broth in a slow cooker on low for the same amount of time.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat and let cool slightly. Strain broth using a fine-mesh sieve and discard bones and vegetables. Let continue to cool until barely warm, then refrigerate in smaller containers overnight. Remove solidified fat from the top of the chilled broth.

I cooked mine for about 16 hours, and it was fantastic.  But watch your water levels!

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GC #52 – Posole and Lunch Time Strategies

Green Chile Packaged

Green Chile Packaged

You can turn out ten great frozen lunches by stewing up a stew every two weeks. Make a big pot of food on the weekend and freeze individual portions to eat during the week. The fresh, enticing flavors of your pure, homemade food will shock your colleagues as they contrast them with the slightly chemical, off smell scents of so called diet or supermarket frozen food.

White Bean Ragout

White Bean Ragout

My beans and greens (Blog #3 – White Bean Stew) are a great candidate for freezing.

Another great choice, New Mexican Posole. Dozens of great and equally authentic

Posole Finished

Posole Finished

looking Posole recipes are on the Internet. My version uses chicos, New Mexican green chiles (smoked and peeled), pork loin and chicken stock.


I get frozen Green Sandia Chiles (available from New Mexican Connection tab@newmexicanconnection.com). I got my Chicos there as well.

You can also make posole with hominy, which is much cheaper and easier to find. Hominy are corn kernels that have been “nixtamalized”, either traditionally by soaking in lye-water or commercially today in a calcium product. Nixtamalization strips away the corn’s outer skin, and it’s bran and germ. I buy prepared Hominy from Rancho Gordo.

Packages of dried Chicos and Hominy

Packages of dried Chicos and Hominy


Chicos are a whole grain product made by smoking whole ears of corn in their husks and then drying them. The kernels are then pried out by hand, a tedious process. Chicos have a delightful smoky flavor unlike that of any other corn product.

Ingredient for Posole

  • 1 lb dried chicos (soaked overnight in water).
  • 1 lb frozen Green Sandia Chiles (thawed to room temperature)
  • 1 large onion (coarsely shopped)
  • 1 head of garlic (peeled and chopped)
  • ½ to 1 lb of pork loin (cut into small pieces) I like to use 1/2 lb, but the dish can take
    Green Chile Ingredients

    Green Chile Ingredients

    more meat for a heartier dinner.

  • 6 to 8 cups of chicken stock
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 bunch of cilantro (Chopped and optional)



Preparation of PosoleGreen Chile Peeled and Skins

  • Chile preparation:
    • The chiles look like a mess. Start with peeling off the roasted skins and lining them up on a plate.
    • Green Chile Peeled and Seeded

      Green Chile Peeled and Seeded

    • Once the skins are all off, take the plate to a sink and strip off the seeds with your fingers. Avoid the temptation is using running water, because you’ll be losing flavor.
    • Coarsely chop up the chiles
  • Saute the onions and garlic in a large, heavy saucepan.
  • When the onion are getting transparent, add the pork and cook briefly.
  • Add the soaked chicos and reserve the soaking water.
  • Add the chopped green chiles and cilantro.
  • Cover with chicken stock and bring to a simmer.
  • Season with salk and pepper.
  • Simmer gently until the meat is very done. (this is a dish that is hard to overcook and that holds its essential character after being frozen).

I divided the stew into nine individual containers.  I could easily have used ten.  I like the glass pyrex dishes. They avoid freezing and heating food in plastic.

Posole for freezing




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GC #51 – Dutch Common Sense

Tesla Taxi AmsterdamI was in Amsterdam riding in a new Tesla Taxicab. My driver told me his company had just bought 167 of the expensive, fully electric cars as part of a sustainability project with the airport. Elegant, comfortable and responsible, reminding me of the incredible common sense of the Dutch.

It was News Years Eve. For the past three days, the Dutch had been buying fireworks, which are illegal the rest of the year. From dark till dawn people in city squares, along narrow streets and on boats in the canals, shot off fireworks. There were no policemen; no yellow tapes holding people back. The packed streets were good natured and friendly.

 It is the epitome of the Dutch approach to sinful and excessive behavior. Don’t forbid it. Contain it. People are always going to buy sex so make it legal and keep it in one small part of town. People are always going to look for natural and synthetic ways to get high, so make the safest of them legal but contain them sharply. (No drugs in public places, steep fines for smoking in hotel rooms, can’t smoke and drink in the same place.) Amsterdam WarnimgThe Dutch even try to protect those who break the rules, by posting signs warning tourists to avoid heroin being sold as cocaine.

 Common sense is, unfortunately, rare and it makes Dutch common sense stand out. After World War II the Dutch were determined to prevent the conditions that created the great depression of the 1930’s and the war that followed. After five years of intense negotiations, labor, management and the government agreed to a governing structure that essentially requires the consent of all three groups on major national decisions.

The Social-Economic Council (SER) has three main goals: balanced and sustainable growth; full employment (unemployment is only 4.4% at the moment); and a fair income for everyone (minimum wage is the equivalent of US $19 and hour)!

You rarely hear about this side of Europe in the American press. Our headlines proclaim that austerity and social benefits are being drastically cut, as Europe rushes to embrace American capitalism. Maybe in Greece. In the Netherlands, their austerity talks are about nibbling at the margins, increasing the retirement age from 65 to 67 over eight years for example.

Not on the table are current unemployment benefits of 70% of your last-earned salary for up to three years; a state pension for every citizen over 65 roughly equality to a full-time minimum wage salary ($19.00 an hour) (compare that to social security); generous support for the arts; strong commitment to public transportation and a sustainable future, universal free health care and education.   The poor American public has no idea. No wonder 75% of the Dutch turn out to vote. They know they are all in it together. It’s just common sense.

Merry Christmas from Paris!  They aren’t all broke yet.Paris Christmas

Final Thoughts.  What if the United States had ended up as a Dutch colony? New Amsterdam Map 1739They settled here in 1613 and eventually claimed territory from just south of Cap Cod to well into Delaware and Pennsylvania. This was the Dutch Golden Age when their empire was already known for their multiculturalism and religious tolerance. Accepting refugees from all over Europe. Native Americans, French Huguenots. Scandinavians, Germans, English and African slaves all lived together. Even with slavery, the Dutch were more lenient than most. African slaves could testify in court, sign legal documents and bring civil actions against whites if they thought they were being mistreated. Some slaves worked after hours and made as much as white co-workers.

Paris Montemartre

Woops, I didn’t mention food!  Most of it was great!


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GC #50 – Decorating cookies

Cookies on PlatesLike everything else in life, doing a good job on decorating cookies requires good ingredients and tools. The artistic side is easy!

Decorating BrushesTools

Brushes for covering a whole cookie (one for each color and a couple of extra)

Brushes for highlights

Wooden skewers for highlights

IngredientsDecorating Icing

Here’s an absurd collection of decorating balls, stars, bursts and colored sugars. Sugar is great preservative, so this stuff lasts forever. Get high quality. Small amounts go a long way on cookies.

High quality color dies can cost $5 and $6 for a tiny bottle, but (if you can keep them from drying out) they last forever, and you can get beautiful colors.

Fondant & IcingPowdered sugar is okay as a base, but more Meringue Powderhighly refined powdered sugars are even better and make a smooth, shinny finish.



Traditionally, highlights would be done with a pastry nags and decorative tips, but its not easy and it wastes a lot of icing. Today, you can Cookies in Boxesbuy small tubes of highlight colors and squeeze them out. Works like a charm.

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GC #49 – Turkey

turkeyA half-pound per person, they say. 

I order a natural turkey as fresh as possible, preferably killed only a couple of days before delivery and raised naturally on a free range local farm. These turkeys cook in about ten minute a pound, instead of the 20 minutes a pound for a frozen turkey with a pop stick thermometer in it.

I bake the turkey for thirty to forty minutes at 450 degrees, then cut back too 350 for the remaining time. As soon as the skin browns nicely, I cover it loosely with a piece of alumni foil to prevent over-browning. The turkey is done at an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Check the temperature between the thigh and breast at its most interior point.


Turkey, of course, is simply a convenient vehicle for stuffing. At least for the meat eating crowd.  Trust me, you never have too much stuffing. This recipe is enough to stuff a 16 pound bird with a generous pan of leftovers.

Stuffing Ingredients

2 to 2 1/2 pounds of home style, loose sausage
1 medium sized head of celery, with thew leaves, chopped.
2 large onions diced.
1/2 pound white mushrooms, minced. They make the stuffing light.
1 loaf of multigrain, sliced bread, partially stale.
Liver if any and/or oysters (optional)
Chicken stock to moisten the stuffing
1/4 cup chopped fresh sage if you can find it. Use dried otherwise.
Salt and pepper to taste

Stuffing Preparation           

  1. Saute´the sausage until all the water has been cooked out, breaking it into small pieces in the process. Then remove the sausage, leaving the fat.
  2. Saute´the onions and celery in the sausage fat until tender and almost translucent.
  3. Add the mushrooms, sage, thyme, salt and pepper. Use more seasoning than you normally would. Cook until tender. Remove from the heat.
  4. While the vegetables are cooking, pull the bread into small pieces, ½ to 1 inch in size.
  5. Add the sausage to the torn bread and mix thoroughly. Then add the vegetable mixture and stir thoroughly. Taste for seasoning.
  6. The key part is the moisture. Too much stock, and the stuffing is heavy and soggy. Too little stock, and the stuffing is dry and mealy. The exact amount of stock depends on the bread and how dry it is. The stuffing should be moist but not soaked.
  7. Stuff both the neck and body cavity and close the flaps with small skewers and bake the stuffing with the turkey. The leftover in the dish should be baked for about an hour at 350, toward the end of the turkey baking time.


I use an Italian trick for the gravy and roasted several heads of garlic in the pan with the turkey and then squeeze the pulp into the gravy.  Keep a little water in the bottom of the roasting pan at all times will to avoid burning the juices.table fixed

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GC #48 Christmas Cookies

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Photo by Georgia Koch

I confess, Christmas cookies always make me nervous. I’m generally a calm cook, able to improvise and turn out consistently tasty meals, but when it comes to Christmas cookies, which I make once a year, I get the willies. Is the dough too moist? Too dry? Did I cook them too long? Not long enough? Fortunately, the results are consistently pretty good.

I make a lot of cookies. We give them away in small boxes as Christmas gifts for friends and family. They are mostly from one cook book that is essential for any home baker, The Fannie Farmer Baking Book, published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1990.

I’ve increased the quantities considerably in some cases and I’ve modified some of the instructions. By all means go back to original book for the simplest version.



Pinwheels (Fannie Farmer p. 254) X 3. These are a good, tough cookies for putting toward the bottom of boxes and bags. This recipe makes about 120 cookies.
• 3 oz unsweetened chocolate (melted)
• 3 sticks of butter at room temperature
• 2 1/4 cups of sugar
• 3 eggs at room temperature
• 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
• 3 3/4 cups of flour
• 3/4 tsp salt
• 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
• 1 tsp instant coffee

  • Melt the chocolate in a small dish over hot water and set aside.
    Note: using an electric mixer is a big help for this recipe.
  • Cream the butter and sugar, add the eggs one at time and beat until light and fluffy.
  • Mix the dry ingredients (except the coffee) and blend into the butter and eggs.
  • Note: measuring accurately is a great help. Divide the dough in half. I weigh each half to make sure they are the same.
  • Put half the dough back into the mixer and add the chocolate and powdered coffee.
  • Divide each half into three equal sized balls and shape into 5 X 3 inch rectangles. You should have three vanilla and three chocolate. Chill thoroughly (probably about an hour)
  • Note: use a ruler to get the rectangles the correct size. Remove the dough and working one at a time, place each 5 X 3 rectangle between two sheets of wax paper and then roll them into six rectangles exactly 12 X 7 inches. The dough is very soft. Cut off the excess from the edges and use it to fill in the corners. The dough will bunch up under the wax paper, so turn it over frequently and pull the wax paper loose to avoid deep creases in the dough. As you complete each rectangle, put it back in the refrigerator on a cookie sheet. You can pile one on top of the other.
  • When the dough has stiffened, remove one chocolate and one vanilla rectangle. Remove the top piece of wax paper from each, and put them together. Roll up the long way like a rug, being careful avoid any air pockets. Wrap up and chill each roll.
  • Cooking these is easy. You simply slice each roll into ¼ to 1/3 inch slices and bake on a well buttered cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes, until just turning brown around the edges.
  • Cool on a rack.


Pfeffernuse (Fannie Farmer p. 267) (Makes about 60 cookies). This is a traditional German cookie that is also very tough, so good for the bottom of bags and boxes. It is best made over a couple of days, giving the dough time to dry out before baking and before packing up.
• 2 eggs
• 1 ¼ cup sugar
• 2 tsp grated lemon zest
• 2 cups flour
• ½ tsp baking powder
• ½ tsp salt
• 1 tbls cinnamon
• 2 tsp ground cardamon
• ¾ tsp ground cloves
• ½ tsp nutmeg
• ¼ tsp ground black pepper
• ½ cup finely chopped candied citron.
• 1 tbls aniseed lightly crushed.
• Glaze with ¾ cup powdered sugar and about 3 tbls of cold water

  • In an electric mix, blend the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the lemon zest.
  • Mix the dry ingredients together and add to the eggs and sugar mix. Add the citron and aniseed at the end.
    Roll dough into balls about ¾ of an inch in diameter, dip into the glaze and place an inch apart on the cookie sheet. Let the unbaked cookies stand uncovered overnight, at room temperature, to dry out.
  • Bake in a preheated 350 degrees over on greased cookie sheets for 12 to 15 minutes.
  • Let sit on cooling racks overnight again before storing. These cookies may keep for years! They are hard and dry with a strong peppery taste. Very distinctive.

Nut BallsNut Butter Balls (Fannie Farmer p. 270) X 4 [Makes about 110 balls] Not quite as durable as Pinwheels are Pfeffernuse, but these snowy balls, similar to Mexican Wedding cookies, are a great favorite, easy to make and they last a long time.

• 8 sticks butter softened (2 lbs)
• 8 cups confectioner sugar (save ½ for dusting)
• 4 tsp vanilla extract
• 9 cups of flour
• 1 tsp. salt
• 3 cups chopped walnuts

  • Mix together in an electric mixer. Note: I could just get the dough in the mixer and added the nuts by hand in a separate bowl.
  • Roll dough between your hands into bite sized balls about 1 inch in diameter. Place an inch apart and bake for 10 to 12 minutes until bottoms are light brown and tops are pale yellow.
  • Roll in confectioners sugar while still warm and again after they have cooled.

Florentines (Fannie Farmer p 241) (Makes about 60 cookies). I ended up making two batches of these cookies, but I think it’s best to do them separately. The first time I made these cookies, I found them challenging. An accurate thermometer, to get the soft ball stage of cooking exactly right, helps.

• ½ cup sugar
• ½ cup honey
• 1/3 cup heavy cream
• 2 tbls butter

• ¼ cup flour
• 1 ½ cups finely chopped almonds (blanched or not)
• 1/3 cup finely chopped candied orange peel
• grated rind of 2 large oranges.

• 1 ½ oz semisweet chocolate
• 2 oz unsweetened chocolate
• 1 tbls butter

  • Combine sugar, honey, cream and butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan, heat until mixture boils and sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. Then stop stirring, lower heat, and cook until soft ball stage (240 degrees). This takes a while. Fifteen to twenty minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the flour, almonds, orange peel and orange zest. Refrigerate for up to two weeks. Bring to room temperature before baking.
  • Place scant rounded teaspoon 3 inches apart and flatten with a fork dipped in cold water. They will spread out to about 2 ½ inches when baked. Bake about 5 minutes, until slightly golden, remove and let cool slightly until they can be peeled off easily. (This is the tricky part, but there’s a moment when it works best).
  • Melt glaze in a double boiler, remove from heat, stir in butter, and using a knife spread on one side of one end of the cookie. Store in an airtight container with sheets of waxed paper between.

Cookies BakedHoliday Cutout Cookies (Holiday Baking p. 61 X 2 (Makes 100 – 120 cookies).

• 2 cups unsalted butter at room temperature
• 1 ½ cups sugar
• 6 egg yolks
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 5 cups all purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 teaspoon salt

Cream the butter and sugar until light yellow in an electric mixer. Add eggs one at a time Cookie Bakingmixing thoroughly after each egg. Add vanilla.

Sift and mix all the dry ingredients. Turn mixer to low setting and add flour mixture gradually.

Divide into 4 equal balls, put each between saran wrap or wax paper, and press into a round disk. Chill thoroughly.

Roll out on a well-floured pastry cloth and cloth covered rolling pin to about ¼ of an inch.

Cut into shapes and bake at 350.

Linzer Heart Cookies

Raspberry Linzer Heart Cookies (Holiday Baking p. 66. (Makes 48 cookies) These can be difficult, but what a payoff!
• 2 cups walnuts, toasted and cooled
• 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
• 1 cup butter
• 1 cup powdered sugar
• 2 egg yolks
• ½ cup cornstarch
• raspberry jam

How to do it

  • Process the walnuts and 1 cup of the flour until fine, but don’t overdo. Set aside.
  • Beat together the butter and 1 cup of sugar until fluffy, add egg yolks one at a time.
  • Slow speed and add the walnut mixture, the rest of the flour and the cornstarch until blended.
  • Divide into four equal balls, flatten into disks and refrigerate overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 325. Butter two cookie sheets. Roll dough to ¼ inch. Roll out equal numbers of hearts and heart frames.
  • Bake until just golden, about 15 minutres for bottoms and 12 minutes for tops.
  • Let cool on racks.
  • Dust the heart frames with the remaining powdered sugar.
  • Spread heart bottoms with raspberry jam.

Pine Nut Bars
1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup pine nuts
2 inches of vanilla bean
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the Topping
6 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter
4 1/2 ox European white chocolate
24 pine nuts
Lemon zest curls

How to do it
Preheat oven to 350
Butter a 7 X 11 inch baking [an
In  heavy saucepan melt the butter over medium heat, add the pine nuts, vanilla bean and orange zest and cook until the pine nuts turn golden. Remove and set aside
Remove seeds from the vanilla bean and add to saucepan. Stir in the brown sugar.  When cool enough whisk in the eggs and stir in the baking soda, salt and finally the flour.
Pour into the prepared pan and cook for about 20 minutes until a toothpick comes out lean.
Transfer to rack to cool.  Press down edges if necessary to create a smooth top.
Combine cream and butter and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and whisk in the white chocolate. Return to low heat and cook until chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth (about 30 seconds).
Pour over the cooled uncut bars in the pan. Refrigerate until almost firm (about 8 minutes). Score topping into 24 equal bars.  After the topping is completely firm, but into bars and store.

Gingerbread Persons

  • ½ cut butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 2 ½ cups of flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon powdered ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice

How do do it

  • Cream together butter and sugar, then beat in molasses and egg.
  • Stir together flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice.
  • Dd dry ingredients to butter and sugar and stir until comleted blended. Chill for about an hour.
  • Prehat over to 350 and bake on greased cookie sheet for about 7 minutes.
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GC #47 – Roasting


Roasted Broccoli

Roasted Broccoli

Roasting is an easy way to cook healthy, delicious meals with a minimum of effort. I’m not thinking of Thanksgiving turkey or Christmas roast beef, but the ordinary vegetables, meat and potatoes we eat every day. In fact, roasting creates such rich tasting vegetable and potatoes that meat and fish can be kept to a minimum or avoided entirely.

Roast a complete meal, timing the vegetables, potatoes and fish or meat all to be done at the same time. Prep is easy.  Roasting requires little work after the vegetables are cut up. Best of all, it’s almost fool proof!

1/2 size sheet pans

1/2 size sheet pans

Here are few keys to good roasting.

They begin with good roasting pans, which must be large enough. Roasted vegetables and potatoes taste so good because the crisp parts have begun to caramelize, bringing out richer flavors. The pieces need to be far enough apart to caramelize quickly.

You want what restaurants call “sheet pans.” Full sheet pans (18” X 26”) are too large for most home ovens, but ½ size sheet pans (18” X 13”) fit perfectly and ¼ size sheet pans (9” X 13”) are useful for smaller quantities. They come in stainless steel, aluminum and anodized aluminum, which is the least likely to bleed dangerous elements into your food. They can be purchased on line for anywhere from $10 to $15 for the ½ pan sheet size.

Vegetables appropriate for roasting. Root crops come to life with roasting, which Cauliflower in roasting panBroccoli in Roasting Panbrings out their flavors and sweetness and they are available in winter when (outside of California) most other vegetables must be transported from far away. Broccoli heads and cauliflower are wonderful as well. You may even get your kids to eat them!


Potatoes in Roasting Pan 2


Tips for Roasting

  1. Preheat the oven to between 375° and 425°. Experiment and find out what’s best for you. 375° you don’t have to watch as carefully, but it takes longer. At 425° they brown faster but may not be quite as soft and tender and the can quickly burn.
  2. Use vegetables that cook in the same time on the same sheet pan, then stagger the times you put the sheet pans into the oven.
  3. Cut the vegetables into roughly the same size pieces, about an inch to an inch and half for broccoli.
  4. Chop roughly and add several cloves of garlic (I use five or six large cloves for each sheet pan).
  5. Put the cutup vegetables in a bowl and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Add any other spices such as red pepper flakes and curry or chili powder.
  6. Put the vegetable pieces on a sheet pan with plenty of room between each piece.
  7. Check them in about 20 minutes. When they begin to brown, turn them over to brown them evenly on all sides.
  8. They are done when they are light brown and tender.Cauliflower Roasted
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GC #46 – Whole Wheat Flat Bread

 Carbohydrates have a bad name but I like wheat breads. The problem is, being the only one in my family who now eats bread, I have a dilemma. A whole loaf goes dry in a few of days and I end up with jars of breadcrumbs. I could make smaller loaves and freeze them, but there are times when there’s nothing in cupboard and biscuits are too rich.P1030078


Grown and stone-milled by Next Step Produce, Newburg, Maryland

Flat breads are the answer. I use high quality whole-wheat flour from a local grower and olive oil, water, salt and onions for flavor. That’s it. They taste delicious and are easy to make. Mark Bittman, my favorite food writer, suggested them in an article in The New York Times a few weeks ago. I’ve simplified his recipe and made a few changes. It varies from Mark’ Bittman’s recipe mainly because I bake the flat bread much thinner, until it is almost crisp.

Check out Mark Bittman’s original recipe at http://markbittman.com/recipe/easy-whole-grain-flatbread/

Incidentally, Next Step Produce has some of the best market crops at the Dupont Circle Farmers’ Market in Washington, DC.  Check out http://nextstepproduce.com.


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil (probably could use less)
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh herb leaves (optional)

Preparation of Whole Wheat Flat Bread

  • Put the flour into a bowl; add salt; then slowly add 1 1/2 cups water, whisking to eliminate lumps. Cover with a towel, and let sit while oven heats, or as long as 12 hours. The batter should be about the consistency of thin pancake batter.
  • When ready to bake, heat the oven to 450°F.
  • P1030056Put the oil in a ¼ baking sheet (that’s 14 X 9) along with the onion and rosemary if you’re using them and put into the heated oven.
  • Wait a couple of minutes for the oil to get hot, but not smoking. Remove the pan, give the onions a stir, then pour in the batter and return to the oven.
  • P1030061Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until the flatbread is well browned and crisp around the edges.


Cut into squares and serve.


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GC #45 – Biscuits

Americans have been eating biscuits since our early pioneer days, probably because biscuits are useful when yeast isn’t available or when you need a quick bread.  Made with flour, shortening and milk or water, they are fairly rich and should be eaten hot, but they are also adaptable to a huge variety of healthy additions.

This recipe comes from the 24th printing of the 1931 edition of Irma Rombauer’s Joy of Cooking.   P1030074A newer edition of this classic is now available, but I prefer this battered copy.  It was my mother’s and still has her notes in margins.  I think of her and I smell the warm flavors of my youth every time I open it.  Where else can you find a recipe for Salami of Wildfowl or roasted snipes and woodcock, let alone preparing roe for caviar, preserving eggs or instructions on

Joy of Cooking Plan for herb garden

Joy of Cooking Plan for herb garden

cultivating herbs (complete with a suggested garden planting) all in the same book.

Ingredients for Rolled Biscuits

  • 1 3/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons chilled butter or shortening, or a combination of both
  • 3/4 cup of milk


Preparation of Rolled Biscuits

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  • Sift the dry ingredients together into a large bowl.
  • Cut the shortening into the dry ingredients using a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture is the consistency of coarse cornmeal.  Don’t get neurotic about this; some bigger lumps won’t matter.
  • Make a well in the center of these ingredients and pour in the milk all at once.
  • Immediately stir the ingredients together, talking no more than 30 seconds.
  • Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead together quickly (again, no more then 30 seconds).
  • Use you hands to shape in a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick.
  • Cut with a round biscuit cutter or simply into 1 1/2 inch rectangles.
  • Brush the  tops with milk or melted butter.
  • Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake until lightly browned, about 12 to 15 minutes

Tips for Biscuits

As a rule of thumb, breads made with baking powder should be handled as briefly and gently as possible while in most cases breads made with yeast can be kneaded and handled as much as possible.

Additions to Biscuits

  • Dust the tops with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar before baking.
  • Just before they brown, sprinkle the tops with grated parmesan and paprika.
  • Or incorporate any of the following into the dough:
    • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, chives or sage.
    • 1/3rd cup crumbled roquerfort or cheddar cheese.
    • 2 or 3 slices of cooked and crumbled bacon.
    • 3 tablespoons chopped ham
    • 4 tablespoons sauteed onions.

P1030024My daughter Georgia prepared these biscuits as the basis for a lunch.  She broke the biscuits in half, inserted a fried egg, cheese and and handful of lettuce, and served them with small bowl of asparagus soup.

Next blog I’ll have a few of the many variations of biscuits.

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