Sunday, March 27, 2016


My sister, Emilene, made the most delicious deviled eggs. The first known printed mention of 'deviled' as a culinary term appeared in the 18th century. A recipe for deviled eggs from Fanny Farmer's 1896 "Boston Cooking-School Cookbook" called for savory spices and mayonnaise as a binder. My family always had deviled eggs at Easter, along with ham, potatoes au gratin, spring peas, and a carrot cake.

6 large eggs
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 t Dijon mustard
½ t honey Dijon mustard
½ t cider vinegar
3 to 4 splashes of hot sauce (preferably Crystal or Louisiana)
Sea salt and finely ground black pepper
Paprika and fresh sprigs of dill, for garnish

Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan and cover, just over the top, with cold water.
Add ½ teaspoon of baking soda.
Bring just to a boil, then turn off heat and cover with a lid.
Let sit for 15 minutes.

Pour out hot water from pan, leaving eggs inside.

Place lid back on pan and while holding handle of pan and top shake pan vigorously to crack eggs in pan.
Fill pan with ice cold water and let sit for 15 minutes,
then peel off shells.

Gently dry eggs with paper towels and slice in half, lengthwise.

Remove yolks to a bowl.
Place the egg whites on a plate.
Mash the yolks very well with a fork.
Add the mayonnaise, mustards, vinegar, and hot sauce.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Fill the egg whites by spoon or with a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip.

Top with a little sprinkle of paprika and a small sprig of dill.

Makes 12 deviled eggs

Friday, March 25, 2016


George M Markham, Maranda Stone & family. My grandfather, Charles Robert Markham is the boy in the front row on the left. Lee County, Virginia, c1886.

Friday, March 18, 2016


This Saint Patrick's Day cake is rich, dark, and oh so chocolaty! The Guinness keeps the cake moist and gives it a tangy, creaminess. Cut the cake into 9 squares and you will not feel so quilty about having this rich and delicious treat. You can also bake the cake in a 10-inch round springform or regular cake pan. Another version of a Blonde in a Black Dress!

1 cup unsalted butter
2 oz semi-sweet chocolate
1 cup Guinness (dark Irish beer)
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
2 large eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1 T pure vanilla extract
¾ cup buttermilk
¼ t sea salt
2 t baking soda
1 t baking powder

Butter a 10-inch square cake pan and set aside.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a medium saucepan, heat the butter and semi-sweet chocolate over medium heat until melted, stirring a couple of times.
Remove from heat and stir in the Guinness and then whisk in the sifted cocoa powder.

In a large bowl beat together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, buttermilk, and salt using an electric mixer.
Slowly pour in the Guinness mixture and continue to beat.

In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder.
Slowly pour in the flour mixture and beat until well combined.

Using a rubber spatula, transfer the batter into the prepared cake pan.
Bake in oven for 40 minutes.

Let cool before frosting the cake.

Cream Cheese Frosting
6 T unsalted butter, room temperature
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 t vanilla extract

In a bowl using a hand held mixer, cream the butter and cream cheese until combined.  Add the sifted confectioners’ sugar and beat until smooth.
Add the vanilla and beat another few seconds.

Frost the cake and it can be lightly covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated until ready to cut into 9 slices and serve.

Thursday, March 17, 2016


Serving corned beef & cabbage on Saint Patrick's Day in an Irish-North American creation. In Ireland, cows were only killed when they were too old to work or too old to produce milk. The immigrants transformed the religious day to an Irish celebratory feast. Serve this with horseradish mustard, dark bread, Guinness stout, and Chocolate Guinness Cake.

1 (3 lb) brisket of beef, flat cut                                  
½ cup kosher salt                                                       
1 T black peppercorns, cracked                                 
1 T whole coriander seeds                                                                 
1 T whole mustard seeds, cracked
1 T whole allspice, cracked
2 sprigs fresh thyme
½ cup brown sugar

Combine all of the brine mixture in a large bowl or large container fitted with a top. 
Add the brisket and rub the mixture into the meat. 
Pour cold water over until meat is covered. 
Weight the brisket down with a small plate so that it is completely submerged. 
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 to 6 days. 
The longer the brining, the more pickled the meat.                    

Cooking Spices
2 T brown sugar                                                         
2 t prepared horseradish                                
Pinch of dill weed
1 t dry mustard

Rinse the brisket with cold water and pat dry. 
Place in a large Dutch oven and cover water by ½-inch. 
Bring to a boil and skim off any scum that forms on top.
Add the cooking spices, cover with a lid and place in a 300 degree F oven and bake for 2 hours. 

1 small head of cabbage, cut into wedges                   
2 onions, cut into chunks                                          
2 parsnips, cut into chunks                           
2 small rutabagas, cut into chunks
4 medium potatoes, cut into chunks
6 carrots, cut in half, lengthwise

Add the vegetables and place in oven for another hour. 
Transfer meat to large platter and let cool 10 minutes before slicing across the grain. 
Arrange vegetables around meat and spoon some broth over all.

Serves 4

Tuesday, March 1, 2016


My last summer of camp was when I was 12 years old. My mom packed a bag of Fig Newtons in my suitcase. I really didn't like them but I loved the movie "The Parent Trap" with Haley Mills. She shared her Fig Newtons with her fellow campers, so I wanted to be like her character in the movie. This recipe does not taste like the old figs I remember and is a delicious way to serve fresh figs. There are a lot of recipes out there with the combination of figs, honey, and cheese. I infused the honey with thyme leaves and lemon zest. I think you will enjoy this for a healthy light lunch or breakfast.

4 slices whole grain bread
2 t unsalted butter
4 oz Gorgonzola or blue cheese, softened
¼ cup raw unfiltered honey
2 sprigs thyme, leaves removed
Zest of ½ lemon
3 Brown Turkey figs, stems removed and thinly sliced

In a skillet or griddle, melt butter and toast the bread until golden on both sides.
Spread the Gorgonzola cheese evenly on all 4 slices of toasted bread.
Pour honey into a small saucepan or bowl and heat slightly.
Add thyme leaves and lemon zest.
Arrange figs on each slice of bread.

Drizzle with honey and serve.