• Ingredients
  • Olive oil
  • 1 small shallot, chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 3/4 tsp. dill weed, or 1 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1# package of “baby” carrots
  • 1-1/2 tsp. white wine vinegar

In a medium skillet, pour a bit of olive oil and stir-fry shallot and garlic until soft. Stir in dill weed and parsley. Stir in carrots until they are well coated with the oil and herb mixture. Cover the skillet and cook over medium heat until the carrots are tender, stirring only occasionally. It’s tasty-good if the carrots turn brown along the bottom. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and a splash of white-wine vinegar before serving. Serves 4 as a side dish.

NOTES: This also works well if you prepare it ahead of time and reheat in the oven until warm. I doubled this recipe and it worked out great, just make sure you use a larger skillet. Herb Garlic Carrots were the hit of our Easter 2022 dinner. As recipes do, this morphed from the awesome Chungah at Damn Delicious. Check it out.

  • Ingredients
  • Cornish game hens, patted dry
  • Olive oil
  • Favorite seasoning or dry rub

Rub hens with olive oil. Sprinkle or rub with seasoning, inside and out. Let stand for one hour. Preheat the smoker to 275 degrees F. Place the hens into the smoker at 275 degrees F until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Remove from heat, cover loosely with foil, and let stand for about thirty minutes. It should take about three hours from sprinkling with seasoning until ready to serve. The smoking part itself takes approximately an hour and a half. These are totally moist and delicious.

Notes: I’m using a pellet smoker (Traeger). This is so simple to do. If the hens are chilled when you place into the smoker, it’s going to take longer. I did this with two hens. If there are more in the smoker, it’s going to take longer.

  • Ingredients
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1 15-oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
  • Pepper to taste

Place all the ingredients in a small food processor. Process until the mixture is a a dip-like paste. If it seems too dry, add more olive oil. Make sure to taste for salt. Serve with your favorite gluten-free chips or crackers or pita wedges or as a condiment for sandwiches. It’s all good.

NOTES: This keeps well under refrigeration for a day or two if you need to make it ahead. Be careful not to overdo the garlic. I used three large cloves last time and, wow, that was really strong! I like this dip because it’s made from ingredients I usually have on-hand, like fresh parsley. Its lack of wheat, rye, dairy, fish, and seafood makes it so everyone in the family can enjoy it. You could try any kind of white bean, instead of cannellini. I happen to like the flavor of the cannellini.

  • Ingredients
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 quart chicken broth, approximate
  • 1 tsp. dried dill weed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 zucchini, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, diced
  • Sour cream topping, optional

In a large cooking pan, stir fry onion and carrot in a bit of olive oil until the onion is translucent. Stir in chicken broth, dill weed, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat. Let it simmer until the carrot is nearly cooked through. Stir in the potatoes and simmer until nearly cooked through. Stir in the zucchini and simmer a couple minutes. Add more broth now if you think it needs more. Stir in the spinach. Simmer for a couple minutes longer. Stir in lemon juice and eggs. Serve with a dollop of sour cream on top. The yield is about 4 servings.

NOTES: I found this recipe at Lavender and Macarons called Green Borscht (Ukranian Spinach Soup). I had never made anything quite like it before. I mean, chopped hard-boiled eggs in the soup?! It is surprisingly very delicious. I didn’t follow their recipe very closely, but oh well. What you see written here is the way that I did it. Two of us ate the whole thing for lunch, so if that’s all you’re making for four people you better double it. It seems to me this would be easy enough to turn vegetarian if you used vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

  • Ingredients
  • 8 oz (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • Optional apx. 1/2 Tbsp. butter

Prepare an 8″ square baking dish with butter or by spraying with non-stick spray. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large bowl, mix together the melted butter, sugar, and honey until well combined. Stir in eggs, one at a time, until well combined. Stir in buttermilk until well combined.

In a separate bowl, stir together dry ingredients. Gently stir the dry ingredients into the butter mixture and stir until most of the lumps are gone. Pour into the prepared baking dish and smooth the top. Let it stand for three minutes. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-35 minutes. It’s done when a cake-tester comes out clean. It will be golden brown across the top. You may brush the optional 1/2 Tbsp. butter across the top of the hot bread. Let stand 5-10 minutes, slice, and serve.

NOTES: This is a SUPER sweet cornbread, but it’s exceedingly delicious and goes great with chili, pulled pork, or soup. YUMMY! The recipe originates with LifeMadeSimpleBakes.

  • Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika, sweet or smoked
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Dash pepper
  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup diced bacon (or pancetta)
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme (or 1 tsp. fresh)
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 2 Tbsp. grainy mustard
  • 2-3 Tbsp. heavy cream

In a large bowl, stir together Dijon mustard, paprika, salt, and pepper. Stir the chicken thighs around in the bowl, so that they are fully covered with marinade. Set aside.

In a skillet, fry the bacon until it starts to brown. Remove it from the pan and set aside. Discard all except about a tablespoon of the bacon fat, or add olive oil if you used pancetta or a dry bacon. Add onion to the skillet and stir-fry until soft. Stir in the thyme and cook for another minute or so. Remove the onion/thyme mixture to the bowl with the bacon.

If the skillet requires more fat, add olive oil. Over medium-high heat, add half the chicken and brown it on both sides. Remove chicken from skillet to a plate and set aside. To the skillet, add more olive oil if necessary, and add the second batch of chicken to brown on both sides. Remove from skillet and set aside.

Add the wine to the hot skillet. Stir and scrape up as many brown bits as you can. Add the chicken, bacon, and onions to the skillet with the wine. Cover the skillet and cook for about fifteen minutes, turning the chicken every once in awhile. Check the chicken for doneness and cook until it’s cooked through.

Remove the chicken to a serving platter. Stir grainy mustard and cream into the sauce in the pan. Heat through. If it’s too thick, add a little warm water. Spoon the sauce over the chicken.

NOTES: I don’t know what it is about this recipe, probably the bacon, but it is super yummy! The recipe originates with Jennifer at Seasons and Supper. She recommends serving with potatoes or pasta. I usually serve this with Twice-baked Cauliflower and a salad. What you see pictured is the recipe using only 6 chicken thighs and, instead of plating it at the end, I put the thighs back into the sauce in my skillet and served it from there. I use Spanish smoked paprika and it’s sublime. I have marinaded the chicken for minutes and for longer than an hour. I’m not sure it makes a difference. There is a lot of fat rendered into the sauce from the chicken. This does not bother me, but it may you.

Several of my family members have been visiting my parents in Nevada. Thor decided it was a good idea to order a pelmeni mold and have it delivered here. It was a good idea. It didn’t arrive until after he had left, so I had carte blanche to give it a try. Pelmeni is a small Russian dumpling that my parents love to eat. They buy bags of the frozen dumplings whenever they can find them. Pelmeni are smaller than Polish pierogi, but the fillings and method are probably similar.

I didn’t really understand how to use the mold, and the packaging is in Cyrillic script (I only know English, so there’s that), so I went to YouTube and found JeffMara Cooking’s video to see how it’s done. The video is awesome and gave me the confidence to proceed. I didn’t use their recipes, just their video how-to guide. For the recipe, I turned to Julia Frey’s Vikalinka. It turned out that her dough to filling ratio was just right. I did my own thing as far as mixing dough and making filling. For this first foray into pelmeni making, I used a meat filling, but we have eaten potato and cheese-filled pelmeni before. Mushroom filling also sounds great. Next time!

  • Dough Ingredients
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 egg
  • Meat Filling Ingredients
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1/2 large onion, grated or run through a food processor
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • Remaining Ingredients
  • Generous amount of flour for rolling and keeping pelmeni separated
  • Large pot of salted water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1-1/2 tsp. dried dill weed
  • Butter and/or sour cream for topping

Other recipes call for making the dough in your food processor, but I don’t have one here, so . . . stir together flour and salt. Whisk the egg into the cup of water. Stir the water mixture into the flour mixture. Stir as best you can until it’s all incorporated. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough has elasticity. Use as little flour as possible for this stage. Place the dough back into the bowl and cover with a damp tea towel. Let stand thirty minutes.

In a large bowl mix together the filling ingredients. Place the filling in the refrigerator as you wait for the dough.

Set up a work station for forming the pelmeni. You’ll need a place to roll the dough (I have a large silicone baking mat), a place to load the mold with filling (we used a highly floured cutting board), a floured place to drop the pelmeni out of the mold (a parchment-paper-covered cookie sheet).

Divide the dough into four sections. Each section will be divided in two, one for the top and one for the bottom. If it’s easier for you to just divide it into eight sections from the start, go for it. Keep the dough you are not working on in the bowl under the damp tea-towel. The pelmeni mold I used is 10″ in diameter. On a floured surface with a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough to 10″ in diameter. Flour the mold as best you can. This will be easier the second batch. Place the 10″ dough circle on the pelmeni mold. With a teaspoon, or your fingers, set about a teaspoon of filling into each indentation. Make sure you have separation between the indents. Since there were two of us making these and we worked quicky, we did not keep the filling refrigerated between batches, but if I were doing it alone I would. As the filling warms it gets a little messy and more difficult to get into the mold without finagling.

Roll out another 10″ piece of dough and place over the top of the mold. Press the top down lightly with your hands. With the floured rolling pin, starting at the center, using a back and forth motion, roll across the top of the mold until you can see the mold itself sticking through. Remove the dough along the edges and set it aside in the dough bowl under the damp cloth. Turn the mold upside down over a highly floured surface. Some pelmeni may drop out, but you’ll have to poke some out with your finger. Take a care not to pierce the dumplings. This will be easier the second time because flour will adhere to the mold better. Place the dumplings onto a highly floured surface until you’re ready to cook or freeze them.

Repeat until all four batches are made. I then used the scraps to make two more batches. That was hard to do. In retrospect I should have added more water to soften the dough scraps and make it easier to roll them out. In any event, we ended up with about 200 pelmeni.

Add bay leaves and dill weed to a pot of salted water and bring it to a boil. We also had one spoonfull of filling left, so we rolled it into a ball and dropped it into the pot for extra flavor. Drop a single layer of pelmeni into the pot. Once it comes back to a boil, let them simmer for ten minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and serve hot, topped with butter and/or sour cream. Yummy!

It seems unlikely that you will use all these pelmeni at a single seating. Mom and Dad say that these do not freeze well after they are cooked and all the recipes I’ve seen call for them to be frozen prior to cooking. You can either set a layer of them into the freezer until frozen and then drop them into bags for long-term freezer storage, or you can roll the fresh pelmeni, a few at a time so they remain separated, in cling wrap and place into a bag and then freeze. To cook, we are going to put them directly into boiling water from frozen, wait for the water to come back to boil, and simmer for ten minutes. That’s the plan anyway.

  • Ingredients *read the method first
  • 4 cups cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
  • 3 Tbsp. red onion, finely diced
  • 1 tomato, finely diced
  • 3 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp. garlic sea salt
  • Juice of one lemon

Method: I ran the ingredients, cabbage through cilantro, through my food processor’s shredding blade instead of dicing and chopping. I started with cabbage and ended with cabbage in order to get all the softer vegetables to go through. Sprinkle with garlic sea salt and lemon juice. Stir. Refrigerate for an hour or so. That’s it. You’re done.

1/31/2022: Three weeks ago I was sitting on a beach in Roatan, Honduras soaking in the rays. I rousted myself up to see what was at the lunch buffet and brought a piece of roasted chicken and coleslaw back to the beach on a paper plate with plastic utensils. It turned out to be the best coleslaw I’ve ever eaten and I don’t think it was just because of the sun and sand atmosphere, although that could have something to do with it. I noticed the slaw was not bound with mayonnaise and it had tomato in it. Today I found a recipe on Pinterest called “Mexican Cabbage Salsa” by VeganBlueberry and decided to try a riff on that. Close. Very, very close. I do not have a green cabbage on hand, so used red instead. I’m amazed at how good this tastes. Yum!

I used to make this often using a different, more time-consuming, method. Since discovering Olive Tomato’s method, I’m back to making Briam again. I do love it.

  • Ingredients (any of the following vegetables — it’s okay if you don’t have them all)
  • Potatoes, 1/2+” slices
  • Tomatoes, any kind, chopped
  • Eggplant, 2″ chopped
  • Zucchini, 1/2+” slices
  • Onion, quartered
  • Bell pepper, sliced
  • Garlic, minced
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • Tomato paste (1-2 Tbsp.)
  • Water
  • Olive oil
  • Feta cheese, crumbled

Prepare a sheet pan or other flat baking pan by rubbing with olive oil or spraying with non-stick. I used a cast-iron 9×13″ pan for what is pictured here. I’ve used two 9×13″ glass pans before. The goal is a single layer of vegetables, but since you will be covering the pan to bake it, a sheet pan may be too difficult. I’ve used the 9×13″ with great success. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Into a very large bowl, place all the vegetables. Stir in the seasonings, a pinch of this and that. Dilute a tablespoon or two of tomato paste with a bit of water. Use your hands to stir it into the vegetables. Swazz olive oil over the mixture and also stir it, again, with your hands works best. Place the mixture into the baking pan, scrape the bowl. Without sprinkling the dish with water, pour in about 1/3 cup water and tip the pan to distribute. Cover and roast at 350 degrees for an hour. The vegetables should be cooked. Remove cover and roast an additional 30-45 minutes to brown them.

Remove from oven and serve warm (or let them cool down and serve at room temperature) sprinkled with Feta cheese. Serve some nice warm bread with this and it is perfection.

NOTES: you can see in the picture that I didn’t have potatoes or tomatoes. Last time I didn’t have eggplant or zucchini. It really doesn’t matter, it’s all good. One last thing, I served it with Savory Spinach and Artichoke Bread Pudding and that was a great accompaniment.

Here is a winter warm-me-up. I don’t measure, so I’ll tell you what’s in it and how you get there, but the amounts are up to you and how many people you’re serving, etc.

  • Ingredients
  • Bacon, chopped
  • Onion, diced
  • Celery, diced
  • Carrot, diced
  • Garlic, minced
  • Tomato paste, 1 Tbsp.
  • Chicken broth
  • Bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper
  • White beans, like navy beans, canned
  • Flour
  • Half-and-half, or milk

Stir fry the bacon, onion, celery, and carrot until the bacon is cooked. Drain off bacon grease, if any has accumulated. Over medium heat, add garlic and stir for about a minute. Stir in the tomato paste. Add chicken broth to cover mixture and a little bit more. Stir in bay leaf, salt and pepper. Simmer, covered, until vegetables are tender. Stir in beans. Add more broth to cover, then let it simmer awhile longer.

In a separate bowl stir together flour and a little half-and-half, or milk. A cup or so should do. Pour the dairy slurry into the soup pot and stir while it comes to a boil and thickens a little bit. You can always add more chicken broth, if needed.

Remove bay leaf and serve.

NOTES: If you want to use dried beans, then you’ll have to start early and rehydrate them according to directions I’m sure you can find elsewhere. I usually make this using one 14 oz. can of beans. I use 2 Tbsp. flour to about a cup of dairy liquid. Sometimes it’s really a thick soup and sometimes not. It’s all good. You could make this gluten-free by using gluten-free flour. You could make this dairy-free by omitting the slurry altogether. That is still a very good Bean with Bacon Soup, I just happen to like it with a bit of dairy.