This is inspired by a recipe found in my new cookbook Carpathia by Irina Georgescu (Interlink Books, 2020). Completely delicious! I served my little salads with roasted salmon and mustard-dill sauce along with Irina’s Cauliflower au Gratin. It was a meal fit for kings and queens.

  • Ingredients
  • 3/4 tsp. prepared horseradish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 very large, or 2 small, beets, cooked*
  • Fresh dill, optional garnish

In a medium bowl, stir together horseradish sauce, honey, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Slice the beets into little sticks. Gently stir the beets into the horseradish mixture until the beets are thoroughly coated. Distribute into two serving dishes and garnish with fresh dill. Serves 2.

*Find out how to cook beets here.

  • Ingredients
  • 2 cups fresh pineapple chunks
  • 1/2 bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce, divided
  • 2 chicken quarters
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Prepare a 9×13″ baking dish by spraying with non-stick spray.

Layer the pineapple, bell pepper, and onion in the baking dish. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup barbecue sauce (SBJ Barbecue Sauce is great for this). Season the chicken with salt and pepper (I used a ground sea-salt garlic combo) and place on top of the barbecue sauce.

Bake, uncovered, at 425 degrees F for thirty minutes. Dollop the remaining barbecue sauce over the chicken and bake another thirty minutes. Remove from heat and serve. Serves 2

A couple weeks ago I had leftover lamb souvlaki and leftover lamb chops, about three of each, that I threw into the freezer because I was tired of eating lamb. Today I pulled it out, deboned the chops, and had about 2 cups of cooked lamb. What to do, what to do. Here is what I came up with. It turned out delicious. I prepared the vegetables the same way that I do to make briam, right or wrong, whatever, it worked very well.

  • Ingredients: all approximate
  • Olive oil
  • 3 cups 1″ diced eggplant
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped bell or sweet pepper
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Dash red pepper flakes
  • 1 14-oz can tomatoes, pureed
  • 2-3 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sprinkle of oregano
  • 2 cups cooked lamb, chopped
  • 2 large potatoes, sliced
  • Feta crumbles, optional

In a large saute pan over medium heat, add a couple tablespoons of olive oil and stir fry the eggplant until it’s slightly brown. Remove to large bowl and set aside. To the saute pan, with more olive oil as needed, add onion and pepper. Stir fry until onion is transparent. Remove to the large bowl with the eggplant. With more olive oil as needed, stir fry the zucchini until slightly brown. Remove to the large bowl.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In the saute pan, with a little more olive oil, stir the garlic and red pepper flakes for half a minute. Stir in the pureed tomatoes and tomato paste and wine. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and oregano. Stir over heat until it’s well incorporated. Stir in lamb and large bowl of vegetables.

Pour the mixture into a baking dish. Arrange sliced potatoes over the top, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and a little olive oil. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for an hour to an hour and a half, depending upon the thickness of your potatoes. Serve warm sprinkled with feta crumbles, if desired. Serves 4.

Notes: I used my oven-safe skillet with high sides to bake it in, but I think a 9×9″ square baking dish is the right size. If you didn’t have the exact vegetables stated in the recipe, substitutions should be okay. This was me emptying my refrigerator/freezer. I’m thinking fresh green beans would be a wonderful addition. Remember that the vegetables will add their water to the dish as they cook down, make sure the sauce isn’t too runny at the beginning. I used three orange mini sweet peppers, sliced into rings.

For such a fancy dessert, this is incredibly easy to make. Yes, you should use a kitchen blowtorch. Raiza Costa has a way to get that sugary, crackly topping by using a hot spoon, but I don’t know about that. Alternatively, you could broil them. I was gifted a kitchen blowtorch long ago, thank you very much. This recipe is based upon one found at foodnetwork. It’s an Ina Garten recipe from Barefoot in Paris, 2004. I first made it in 2010.

  • Ingredients
  • 4 extra-large egg yolks
  • 1 extra-large egg
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus more to sprinkle on each serving
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract or paste
  • 1 Tbsp. Grand Marnier

You will need 6 6-oz custard cups (or equivalent); a baking pan to place the custard cups in (mine is 10×15″); a tea towel; boiling water for the bain-marie; a kitchen blowtorch.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Mix egg yolks, egg, and sugar together until just combined. Scald cream in a saucepan until it’s very hot to the touch, but not boiling. Slowly add the cream to the egg mixture, stirring well. Add the vanilla and Grand Marnier. Pour into the custard cups.

Prepare a bain marie by placing a tea towel on the bottom of your baking pan and setting the custard cups on top of the towel. Pour boiling water into the baking pan until it comes about half way up the sides of the custard cups. Carefully move the baking pan into the oven.

Bake at 300 degrees F for 35-40 minutes, until the custard is set when gently shaken. Remove the cups from the water, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until firm.

Prior to serving, sprinkle sugar across the top of each custard and heat with a kitchen blowtorch until the sugar caramelizes. Allow to sit at room temperature for a minute until the caramelized sugar hardens. Serves 6.

Notes: I use vanilla paste instead of extract and that’s why you see tiny black specks. I have eaten this warm, without the sugar topping, and it’s wonderful. I’ve used a combination of 4-oz custard cups and soup mugs and other assorted sizes of dishes — just remove the smaller ones from the bain marie first, then remove the others as they set.

This is our all-time favorite pie. The recipe ingredients are found in 1961’s Out of Alaska’s Kitchens. I marked my copy with the notation that I first made this on March 19, 1989. The secret ingredient is the orange juice. It’s amazing how well rhubarb pairs with oranges.

  • Ingredients
  • 4-5 cups sliced rhubarb
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup Minute (quick) tapioca
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1-1/2 cups sliced strawberries
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 9″ double-crust pie shell

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Yes, very hot!

In a large bowl, stir together rhubarb and sugar. Stir in nutmeg and tapioca. Stir in orange juice. Stir in strawberries. Let stand 10 minutes.

Pour mixture into 9″ pie shell. Dot with butter. Cut slits into the top crust and then place it atop the filling. Seal the edges.

Place into a 450 degree oven for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees F and bake for another 40-50 minutes. You will know it is finished when the bubbles, seen through the slits, burst slowly.

Remove from oven and cool. May be served warm or at room temperature.

Enjoy!

Batter breads are made from a very soft yeast dough, thus the term “batter” bread. When coffee cans were readily available, people would pour their batter into a coffee can, let it rise, and then bake it in the can, too. It would come out with a nice mushroom top. When was the last time you saw a coffee can? This recipe comes from Sunset Breads (Lane Publishing Co, Menlo Park, CA 1984). Unlike most batter breads, it requires two rises.

  • Ingredients
  • 1 can (13 oz) evaporated milk or 1-1/2 cups fresh milk
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. butter, cut in pieces
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. caraway seed
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • 1-1/2 cups (about 6 oz.) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 pkg. active dry yeast
  • ¼ cup warm water (about 110 degrees F)
  • 3-3/4 cups flour
  • 2 eggs

In a pan, combine milk, sugar, butter, salt, caraway seeds, garlic powder, and cheese. Over medium heat, stir and heat to about 110 degrees F (butter and cheese need not melt completely).

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add milk mixture; beat in 1-1/2 cups flour. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition; gradually beat in remaining 2-1/4 cup flour until batter is smooth. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled (about 45 minutes).

Stir batter down and spoon into a generously greased 10” tube pan or two 4-1/2” x 8-1/4” loaf pans. Cover and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled (about 45 minutes).

Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven (325 degrees F for glass pans) for about 55 minutes if using the tube pan or 45 minutes if using the loaf pans, or until browned. Let cool in pan on rack five minutes; then turn out onto rack to cool completely. Yield: 1 large loaf or 2 small loaves.

Notes: I used an envelope of brewer’s yeast instead of active dry. It took twice as long to rise, but that could be because my kitchen was on the cool side. It’s been a rainy cool summer here so far. I realized while writing this down that I shorted the flour about ¾ cup in the batch I just made. Ouch. It came out just fine, but that’s a significant amount of flour. We had Bigos for dinner and this bread was a great accompaniment.

Bigos is a Polish hunter’s stew. In Alaska where I live, a hunter’s stew would be moose, caribou, bison, musk ox, deer, or the like. You would not see pork. All the meat in this recipe is pork. If you eat a lot of pork, then you might actually have a lot of this in your freezer like I do. I’m going to give you the recipe the way I made it. It serves 4 people. The base recipe feeds a ton of people and can be found at simply recipes. I make mine with prunes and beer, but simply recipes gives you an alternate to use tomato. There are also a lot of mushrooms in this. Lastly, the recipe’s original author says it’s meant to be a dry stew and I have done it that way in the past, but I like it better with more liquid. I’m telling you how to do this the way I like it.

  • Ingredients:
  • 1/2 oz. dried mushrooms (porcini would be best, but I’ve never used it)
  • 1 T. bacon fat or cooking oil
  • 1 lb. pork shoulder (1-2 country-style pork ribs will do), cut into 2″ pieces
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 head green cabbage, chopped
  • Salt
  • 3/4 lb. fresh mushrooms, large chop (I used button and oyster)
  • 12 oz. bottle beer
  • 1/2 lb. kielbasa, cut into 1″ slices
  • 1/2 smoked ham hock (I sliced a good portion of meat off the bone to use for a different purpose. You’ll want to use the part with the bone here.)
  • 1/2 lb. fresh Polish sausage (I used 2 uncooked bratwurst), cut into 1″ slices
  • 1 lb. fresh salt-cured sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 Tbsp. ground pepper
  • 1/2 Tbsp. caraway seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 10 prunes, sliced in half
  • 1 Tbsp. horseradish (optional for a little kick)

Break the dried mushrooms into bite-size pieces and submerge in hot tap water for about 30 minutes.

In the meantime, heat bacon fat or oil in a very large saucepan. Brown the pork shoulder pieces. Remove to a large bowl. In the same saucepan over medium heat, stir in onion and cabbage. Stir frequently. When it begins softening, sprinkle with salt. Once the veges are soft, remove to the bowl with the pork. Stir fresh mushrooms into the saucepan and stir over medium heat. Sprinkle with salt. Once the mushrooms are slightly browned add the beer and stir up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Strain the dried mushrooms from the soaking water and retain the water. Stir the soaked mushrooms into the saucepan. Add the remaining ingredients, except the prunes and the horseradish.

Bring to a boil. If it looks too dry, add a little of the water from the soaked dried mushrooms. Cover, reduce heat, and let simmer a couple hours. Add mushroom water as necessary. Remove pork hock and let it cool until you can remove the meat from the bone. Return the meat to the saucepan and discard the pork hock bone and fat. Stir in the prunes and let simmer another thirty minutes or so.

Just prior to serving, stir in the optional horseradish. Serve with a crusty or savory bread.

Serves 4. Tastes even better as leftovers. I haven’t tried to freeze it, but I think it would freeze well. Enjoy!

I made this once and it was perfect. Another time it never did set and made a splendid pancake syrup.

  • 3 cups kumquats
  • 3 cups water
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 1 envelope Certo Liquid Fruit Pectin

Put kumquats through food processor until chopped fine. Combine fruit with water and let stand overnight. In a large saucepan bring to a boil and let simmer for half hour. Add sugar and bring to a full rolling boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add Certo. Stir and skim off foam. Ladle into jars. (Sorry I didn’t note on my recipe card the yield. Use your own best guess.)

Wipe the rims of the jars and screw on the lids. Turn the jars upside down for at least thirty minutes (or as long as hours and hours–doesn’t matter). If the fruit is floating, give the jars a shake every once in awhile. Turn the jars right side up and let cool completely before marking and storing.

Many times it can take more than a day for the jam to set. Try not to worry. If it really does not set, then you have a nice batch of syrup or you can try to process it again. I have never done that, I just go the syrup route. C’est la vie.

I usually, not always, use Certo Liquid Fruit Pectin for my jam. The recipe booklet that I use is from 1975 when the liquid pectin came in bottles. Now the pectin comes in sealed envelopes and each envelope is equivalent to one half-bottle. As you can see, my recipe booklet is falling apart. The new recipe sheet that comes inside the packages now isn’t as comprehensive as the old one. I do not water-bath can my jam. There is enough sugar in it to act as a preservative. Using canning lids keeps air from getting in. When I was a child, my mother only used paraffin to cover the jam and many people still do it that way.

  • This is how I prep for a jam-making session
  • Set out enough sanitized jars and rings to match the yield of the recipe, either pints, cups, or half-cups.
  • Put the appropriate number of lids into a small saucepan of water over low heat.
  • Set out my canning funnel, a ladle, metal serving spoon, and small dish.
  • Cut open the envelope of Certo and set it in the small dish.
  • [The small dish is for the foam (which is just as delicious as the jam, only foamy)]

There is nothing better than orange marmalade on a toasted English muffin to start a wintry morning.

  • Orange Marmalade
  • Yield: 5-1/2 cups (3-1/2 lb.)
  • 4-1/2 cups prepared fruit (3 medium-size oranges, 2 medium-size lemons)
  • 1/8 tsp. baking soda
  • 5 cups (2-1/4 lb.) sugar
  • 1 envelope Certo Liquid Fruit Pectin

First, prepare fruit. Remove skins in quarters from oranges and lemons. Lay quarters flat; shave off and discard about half of the white part. With a sharp knife or scissors, slice remaining rind very thin, or chop or grind. Add 1-1/2 cups water and baking soda to rind; bring the mixture to a boil and simmer, covered, 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Section or chop the peeled fruit; discard the seeds. Add this pulp and juice to the undrained cooked rind. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes longer. Measure 3 cups fruit mixture into a very LARGE saucepan. Stir in sugar and mix well.

Place over high heat, bring to a full rolling boil and boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; at once stir in Certo. Skim off foam with a metal spoon. Ladle into jars, leaving 1/2″ headspace.

Wipe the rims of the jars and screw on the lids. Turn the jars upside down for at least thirty minutes (or as long as hours and hours–doesn’t matter). If the fruit is floating, give the jars a shake every once in awhile. Turn the jars right side up and let cool completely before marking and storing.

Notes: I usually, not always, use Certo Liquid Fruit Pectin for my jam. The recipe booklet that I use is from 1975 when the liquid pectin came in bottles. Now the pectin comes in sealed envelopes and each envelope is equivalent to one half-bottle. As you can see, my recipe booklet is falling apart. The new recipe sheet that comes inside the packages now isn’t as comprehensive as the old one. I do not water-bath can my jam. There is enough sugar in it to act as a preservative. Using canning lids keeps air from getting in. When I was a child, my mother only used paraffin to cover the jam and many people still do it that way.

  • This is how I prep for a jam-making session
  • Set out enough sanitized jars and rings to match the yield of the recipe, either pints, cups, or half-cups.
  • Put the appropriate number of lids into a small saucepan of water over low heat.
  • Set out my canning funnel, a ladle, metal serving spoon, and small dish.
  • Cut open the envelope of Certo and set it in the small dish.
  • [The small dish is for the foam (which is just as delicious as the jam, only foamy)]

This makes a massive quantity, but it’s a good way to use all parts of the apple. And nothing smells better than Apple Butter cooking on the stove.

  • Apple Jelly and Butter or Crab Apple Jelly and Butter
  • Yield: 8 cups (6 lb.) jelly and 9-1/2 cups (6 lb.) butter
  • 4 lb. fully ripe apples
  • 6-1/2 lb. sugar
  • 2 Envelopes Certo Liquid Fruit Pectin
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice

First, prepare fruit. Remove blossom and stem ends from about 4 pounds fully ripe apples; cut in small pieces. Do not peel or core. (With soft, very sweet apples, add 2 Tablespoons lemon juice.) Add 6-1/2 cups water; bring to a boil and simmer, covered 10 minutes. Crush with a masher and simmer, covered, 5 minutes longer. Place in a large sieve lined with a double thickness of cheesecloth. Drain. Use 5 cups juice to make the jelly and use the fruit pulp in the sieve to make the butter.

  • Apple or Crab Apple Jelly
  • Yield: 8 cups (6 lb.) jelly
  • 5 cups juice (as prepared above)
  • 7-1/2 cups (3-1/4 lb.) sugar
  • 1 envelope Certo Liquid Fruit Pectin

Mix juice and sugar in very LARGE saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. At once stir in Certo. Then bring to a full rolling boil and boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, skim off foam with metal spoon, and pour quickly into jars, leaving 1/2″ headspace.

Wipe the rims of the jars and screw on the lids. Turn the jars upside down for at least thirty minutes (or as long as hours and hours–doesn’t matter). Turn the jars right side up and let cool completely before marking and storing.

  • Apple or Crab Apple Butter
  • Yield: 9-1/2 cups (6 lb.) butter
  • 5 cups fruit pulp (as prepared above)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 7-1/2 cups (3-1/4 lb.) sugar
  • 1 envelope Certo Liquid Fruit Pectin

Put fruit pulp through sieve. Measure 5 cups into very LARGE saucepan. Add spices. Stir in sugar and mix well.

Place over high heat, bring to a full rolling boil and boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; at once stir in Certo. Skim off foam with a metal spoon. Ladle into jars, leaving 1/2″ headspace.

Wipe the rims of the jars and screw on the lids. Turn the jars upside down for at least thirty minutes (or as long as hours and hours–doesn’t matter). If the fruit is floating, give the jars a shake every once in awhile. Turn the jars right side up and let cool completely before marking and storing.