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Anything is good, in moderation. I cook because I love to and because I can share with those around me. I crochet for the same reason.

Do what you want to do, enjoy what you do and use it to touch those around you.

Aug 28, 2014

Cream Cheese

Yesterday, I whetted your appetite for homemade cream cheese, didn't I?  It is easy to make, as long as you have patience, and tastes WONDERFUL.  I learned how to make this at the Kitchen Shoppe in Carlisle.  If possible, used non ultra pasteurized products.

Make a 10% bleach solution and sanitize all tools to be used.  Air Dry.

1 Quart Half and Half
1 Cup Whipping Cream
1/4 Tsp Calcium Chloride
1 Tbl Non Chlorinated Water
1/4 Tsp Mesophilic Aroma B Culture
1/8 Tsp Rennet
1/4 Cup Non Chlorinated Water

Pour the half and half and whipping cream into a sanitized pot on the stove.  Turn on the burner to a very low heat and begin bringing the temperature up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

While it is coming to temperature, mix calcium Chloride and 1 tablespoon water, add to pot and stir up and down for 20 strokes.

Sprinkle Calcium Chloride on top of milk, allow to hydrate for a couple of minutes.  Stir another 20 strokes, top to bottom.

When 90 degrees, turn off heat and stir.  Add Rennet to 1/4 cup water and add to pot.  Stir for NO MORE THAN one minute.  Place pot in a warm area where it will not drop below 79 degrees and allow it to sit until liquid whey appears - 12 to 24 hours.

Prepare to drain cheese in a Cuispro Yogurt Cheese drainer OR by lining a colander with cheesecloth or muslin and placing over a pot.  Spoon curd into bottom of the container and allow to sit at 65 to 80 degrees for 24 hours.  Remove it to a storage container.  Enjoy.

Aug 27, 2014

Orange Cream Cheese Pound Cake

After learning how to make Creme Fraiche, I learned how to make Cream Cheese.  It makes over one pound, more than I can eat on English muffins, so I make other things too.  This pound cake, made for my father in law's birthday, is made with orange extract, but you can use any flavor you like.  I use a wooden skewer to test the cake.

1 1/2 Cup Butter
8 Ounces Cream Cheese
3 Cups Sugar
6 Large Eggs
1 1/2 Tsp Orange Extract
3 Cups Cake Flour
1/8 Tsp Salt

Heat oven to 300 Degrees.  Add an oven proof pan filled with two cups hot water.  Grease and flour an angel food cake tube pan.

At medium speed, beat together softened butter and softened cream cheese until creamy.  Gradually add sugar and beat 7 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating until yellow disappears after each one.  Add orange extract and salt, mix well. Add flour and beat on low speed, just until combined.  Pour into pan and place into oven.  Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cool on a rack for 15 minutes then remove from pan and cool completely.

Aug 26, 2014

Spiced Plum Jam

This has become Hubby's favorite jam.  This is the first time I have made a jam two years in a row at HIS request.

5 Cups Purple Plums - prepared as below
1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
1/4 Cup Water
7 Cups Sugar
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp Nutmeg
1 Pouch Liquid Pectin

Wash, pit and cube plums.

Put into a blender and chop.

When you have 5 cups, add water and juice. Pulse to mix.  Pour into a pan and bring to a low boil.

Add sugar and spices.

Bring to a rolling boil.  Add Pectin, return to a rolling boil, boil for 1 minute.

Put into prepared jelly jars.  Process in a water bath for 10 minutes.

Aug 25, 2014


My niece said she wanted to learn how to make marinara sauce.  What goes better with homemade sauce than homemade pasta, so we made that, too.  This is what I did (at least, that day).

4 Cups Flour
4 Large Eggs
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1 Tbl Italian Seasoning
1/2 Tbl Oregano

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl with a large fork until crumbly.  If too dry, add a little water.  Turn onto a floured surface and knead for 15 to 20 minutes until well formed.  Shape into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and allow to sit at room temperature for at least 20 minutes.  Run through a pasta machine to desired thickness and shape. 

Add to salted boiling water and cook 4 to 5 minutes until done.

Aug 20, 2014

Chipotle Pork Chops

These pork chops are very juicy because of the nice crust afforded by the spices.  If you don't have demerara sugar, use light brown.  Goes GREAT with grilled peaches.

8 Ounces Crushed Pineapple in Juice
2 Tbl Demerara Sugar
1 Garlic Clove
2 Tbl Chipotle and Roasted Garlic Seasoning
1 1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
4 Pork Chops

Heat grill to 400 degrees.

In a blender, combine pineapple, demerara and garlic.

Blend until smooth.

Pour half the glaze into a small bowl.  Reserve the remaining sauce.

In a large bag, combine seasoning and cinnamon.

Add pork chops and shake.

Place pork on grill.

Brush top with reserved sauce.

Cook 4 minutes.  Turn, brush with sauce.  Cook to 155 degrees.

Serve with reserved glaze.

Aug 19, 2014

Tomato Pie

Lots of ripe tomatoes?  Make a pie.  A wonderful cross between a pizza and bruschetta - can be enjoyed as a main dish or a side dish.  If you don't have pie weights, use dried beans.  Enjoy!

1 Refrigerated Pie Crust
1 Head Garlic
1 Tsp Olive Oil
1/3 Cup Chiffinod Basil
8 Ounces Fontina Cheese
3 to 4 Ripe Tomatoes
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat oven to 450 degrees.  Place pie crust into a tart pan.  Place pie weights in bottom of crust.

Cut top off of garlic, drizzle with olive oil, wrap in foil.  Place both in oven.  Bake crust 8 to 10 minutes until browned.

Keep garlic in oven for another 10 minutes.  Reduce oven heat to 350.

While crust and garlic bake, slice tomatoes.  Place on a triple layer of paper towels and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Let sit until ready to put in pan.

Cut basil and shred cheese.

When soft, squeeze garlic out of garlic head onto baked pie crust.

Spread garlic over crust.

Add 1/3 of cheese to the cooked crust.

Top with basil.

Layer tomatoes over basil and top with remaining cheese.

Bake for about 40 minutes or until lightly browned.

Aug 17, 2014

Veggies with Pesto

This is a fresh side dish that goes well with fish.

1 Tbl Oil
2 Tbl Minced Onions
2 Cups Grean beans, cut into 1/2 inch pieces, steamed
1 1/2 Cup Corn, cooked
1/4 Cup Pesto

In a large pot, heat oil and cook onion 1 to 2 minutes.  Add beans and corn and make sure they are heated.  Remove from heat, stir in Pesto, enjoy.

Aug 14, 2014

Spiced Citrus Steak

Citric acid marinade to break down the steak, rub on spices, grill.  Delicious.

1 Orange
1 Lime
1 Tbl Olive Oil
2 Garlic Cloves
1 Lb London Broil
Jerk Seasoning

Juice and zest the orange and lime.  Whisk in olive oil and add minced garlic.  Pour into a large resealable bag.  Add steak, seal bag, turn to coat and refrigerate for 8 hours.

Heat grill to 400 degrees.  Remove steak from marinade.  Coat with Jerk spice mix.  Grill 6 minutes per side or until meat is 150 degrees.  Remove and let stand for 5 minutes.

Aug 13, 2014

Peach Barbecue Sauce

Yes, yesterday's recipe referenced peach barbecue sauce.  No, it is not something you will find easily. HOWEVER, it is something you can make easily.  I like the Ball Peach Barbecue Sauce Recipe - onion and all (although I do mince the onion very small).  The recipe is below and came from their website.


  • 6 cups finely chopped pitted peeled peaches (about 3 lb or 9 medium)
  • 1 cup finely chopped seeded red bell pepper (about 1 large)
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion (about 1 large)
  • 3 Tbsp finely chopped garlic (about 14 cloves)
  • 1-1/4 cups honey
  • 3/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp hot pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 8 (8 oz) half pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands


  1. PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.
  2. COMBINE all ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens to the consistency of a thin commercial barbeque sauce, about 25 minutes.
  3. LADLE hot sauce into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Center hot lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.
  4. PROCESS in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.

Aug 12, 2014

Peachy Chicken

Last year, I made peach barbecue sauce and canned it.  To finish out the year, I used it to coat this chicken.  Went well stirred into the coconut rice, too.

1 lb chicken
1/4 Tsp Salt
1/4 Tsp Pepper
3/4 Cup Tortilla Chips
1/4 Cup Lime Juice
1/2 Cup Peach Salsa

Pound chicken out to an even thickness, not too thin.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Crush tortilla chips as fine as you can get them, put them into a bowl.  In another bowl, whisk together juice and salsa.

Dip chicken in salsa mixture, then into tortilla chips.

Heat oil in a large skillet and cook chicken to 165 degrees.


Aug 11, 2014

Coconut Rice and Beans

Don't knock this until you try it.  Unless you add coconut, you won't really taste the coconut.  It adds a nice undertone and compliments the beans and rice nicely.

13.5 Ounces Unsweetened Coconut Milk
1 Tsp Salt
1 Cup Long Grain Brown Rice
15.5 Ounces Black Beans, Drained and Rinsed
1 Chopped Red Bell Pepper
2 Tbl Minced Onion
2 Tbl Dried Cilantro

Bring Coconut Milk and Salt to a boil over medium heat.  Stir in rice, cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes.

When done, fluff, stir in remaining ingredients.

Aug 6, 2014

What is Creme Fraiche?

If you read recent posts, you will see a lot of creme fraiche.  You may have wondered what, exactly, is creme fraiche?  Simply put - it is essentially sour cream, just not as sour.  Anyplace you use sour cream, you can use creme fraiche.  Why do I use it so much?  Hubby doesn't like sour cream, but he likes creme fraiche.  Unfortunately, when you put a fancy name on a food, you put a fancy price tag, too.  You can find creme fraiche in the store, but you pay a premium for it.  Luckily, we just took a cheese making class and learned how to make it.  It is VERY easy.  From that class, at the Kitchen Shoppe in Carlisle, as developed by Chef Jim Lupia, this is the recipe.  You will need a food thermometer and heavy pot.

1 Pint Heavy Whipping Cream (not ultrapasturized, if you can find it) - Room Temperature
1/4 tsp Mesophilic Aroma B Culture
1/4 Cup Water

Sterilize your pot, spoons, 1 quart jar and a 1 cup measuring cup.

Put water in measuring cup, add Mesophilic Aroma B Culture.  Set aside.

Pour the cream into the pot and heat gently to 86 degrees.  Remove from heat, add the Aroma B solution and stir thoroughly.  Pour into a 1 quart jar.  Cover jar loosely.  Place in a warm place (approximately 72 degrees).  Let stand 12 hours.  Gently stir - it will be the thickness of very creamy yogurt.  You can use it right away or refrigerate and it will thicken slightly.  Keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

Aug 5, 2014

Coconut Cream Cake

Take one white cake mix, doctor it up, voila - perfect cake for sharing!

For The Cake:
1 White Cake Mix
3 Large Eggs
4 T Powdered Buttermilk
1 Cup Water
1/4 Cup Coco Loco
1 Cup Flaked Coconut
2/3 Cup Chopped Pecans

For the Frosting:
8 Ounces Cream Cheese
1/2 Cup Butter
3 Cups Powdered Sugar
2 Tsp Vanilla
1 Cup Coconut
1 Cup Pecan Halves

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and Flour Cake Pans (Either 2 9 x 3 Cake Pans OR 3 9 x 2 Cake Pans).

Put the coconut and pecans in a shallow baking pan.  Put in the oven and toast.

Beat Cake Mix, Eggs, Buttermilk, Water and Coco Loco for 3 minutes.

Stir in Toasted Coconut and Pecans.

Divide between pans.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes for 2 inch pans OR 25 to 30 Minutes for 3 inch pans.

Remove from oven.  Let sit for 10 minutes.  Remove to rack and cool completely.

When cakes are cool, beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Gradually add powdered sugar, beat until light and fluffy.  Beat in vanilla.

Place one layer on a cake plate.  Put frosting on top.  Top with other cake.  Frost top and sides.  Gently press coconut on sides and top.  Put a ring of pecan halves around the top edge.

Aug 4, 2014

Buttermilk - There are options?

I sometimes make recipes what call for buttermilk.  Unlike my parents, I cannot just add pepper and drink any leftovers.  So, when I have a recipe that calls for buttermilk, I have to make lots, make a couple of recipes OR make my own buttermilk.  Not always options that I prefer.  Recently, I found another wonderful option:  Powdered Buttermilk.

It is wonderful - instructions on the container let you make 1/3 cup or 1 cup, so options of measurement are easily calculated.  It is shelf stable until opened, then it needs refrigerated.  This container is good until 2018.  Fabulous.  I was not paid to write this, I just think it is a wonderful option for those of us who do not prefer buttermilk.  Of course, there are those like my niece whose son recently learned how to make butter by shaking cream in a jar.  She will have LOTS of buttermilk (if she lets him make butter as often as he wants to).

Aug 3, 2014

Spinach Salad

This salad is great for reunions.  Put the fruit, seeds and spinach in one bowl and the dressing ingredients in a thermos.  When you are ready to eat, shake the thermos and pour over the salad.  Toss.

12 to 16 Ounces Spinach
1 Quart Berries of Your Choice - I used Strawberries and Blueberries
1/2 Cup Sunflower Seed Kernels
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Canola Oil
1/4 Cup Rice Vinegar
1/4 Tsp Paprika

Put the spinach in a large bowl, top with berries and sunflower seeds.

In a container with a tight lid, put dressing ingredients.

Shake to mix well.  Pour over the Salad.

Aug 1, 2014

Summer Salad

Lots of vegetables from the CSA - most can be chopped up and added to this salad.  For this week:

1 Small Head Broccoli
1 Small Head Cauliflower
1 Medium Bell Pepper
1 Small Head Cabbage
6 Tbl Rice Wine Vinegar
4.5 Tbl Mayonnaise
1.5 Tbl Olive Oil
1.5 Tbl Soy Sauce
1 Tbl Chili Garlic Sauce

Chop Vegetables into small pieces.  Put into large bowl.

Combine Dressing ingredients.  Pour over vegetables.  Shake or stir - let sit at least 1 hour before serving.