Saturday, July 29, 2017


I still have fond memories of my mom's Sunday picnic potato salad. She always put it in large Mason jars and packed it in ice in the cooler. We would drive to the country and have a picnic with some of our country relatives. Mom would tie on her pretty apron, put a couple of tablecloths on the picnic tables and set up her food. Her potato salad always contained chopped eggs. I buy eggs from local farms where they have a stand set up outside their entrances. You put the money in a tin box and take the eggs; all based on the honor system. Their hens are allowed to roam free and eat a variety of left-over veggies from kitchen scraps. When I was a little girl, my Aunt Stella would give me a basket and let me go into the hen house and collect a few eggs. She showed me how to gently cup the hen's head with one hand and slip out an egg from under her with my other hand. They never saw me take the eggs. Poor little hens; they just sat there as if they still had an egg under them. 

Left to right - my dad, Uncle Julian & Aunt Dorothy, Grand Uncle Edward & my mom, Izetta
My Aunt Hattie probably took the photo. I was off playing somewhere.

2 lbs Yukon Gold or yellow potatoes, peeled & cut in half

½ cup mayonnaise (I use mayo made with avocado oil)
¼ cup sour cream or ¼ cup crème fraîche
1 T prepared yellow mustard
1 T dill pickle juice or apple cider vinegar
½ cup diced dill pickle
½ medium sweet or white onion, finely diced
3 stalks celery, finely diced
½ t celery salt
½ t garlic powder
3 T finely minced parsley

2 hard-boiled eggs
Sea salt and fine ground black pepper
Paprika, for sprinkling
Minced parsley, for sprinkling

Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water to 2 inches and bring to a boil.
Lower heat slightly and cook potatoes for 15 to 20 minutes, or until fork tender.
Drain potatoes through a colander and let cool completely.
Dice potatoes and transfer to a large serving bowl.
Dice eggs and add to bowl with potatoes.

In a small bowl, mix together the mayo, sour cream or crème fraîche, mustard, pickle juice or vinegar, dill pickle, onion, celery, celery salt, garlic powder, and parsley. 

Spoon the mayo mixture, into the bowl with the diced potatoes and eggs.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir gently to combine.

Spoon into a covered container and sprinkle with paprika and minced parsley.

Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour for flavors to combine.

Serves 6 to 8

* You can substitute the dill pickles for sweet pickles, if you desire.

Thursday, July 27, 2017


This is one of the easiest desserts to make. 

½ cup granulated sugar
½ t fresh lemon juice
3 T water

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Place 6 heavy coffee cups (I use diner cups, not mugs) or custard cups in a roasting pan.  
Spread sugar in a medium-size cast-iron skillet.
Add the lemon juice and water and bring to a boil.
Cook until amber-colored caramel forms.
Remove from heat and pour the caramel into the coffee cups.

3 cups whole milk
½ cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 t pure vanilla extract

Pour milk into a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, watching carefully so it does not boil over. Remove from heat. 

In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and eggs.  
Use a metal measuring cup, pour in a half cup of hot milk, while constantly whisking to temper the eggs. 
Slowly whisk in the rest of the hot milk, then whisk in vanilla.  
Strain through a mesh strainer into a large heatproof pitcher.  
Place a kettle of water on the stove to boil.
Pour custard into cups. 
Place roasting pan with cups on middle rack in the oven and then pour enough hot water to reach halfway up sides of cups.

Bake for 50 minutes.

Remove cups from hot water and cool to room temperature.  
Cover and chill until cold, at least 4 hours.  
Place bottom of cups, one at a time, in hot water for 30 seconds to help with unmolding.
Run a table knife around the edges of the cups.
Place a dessert plate on top and carefully flip over.
Let cups sit a minute and then gently tilt cups to let custard unmold.

Serves 6

Tuesday, July 25, 2017


I remember long ago having an open-faced tuna melt sandwich at Woodward & Lothrop Tea Room with my mom. This is one of my husband's favorite sandwiches.

1 (5-oz) can of your favorite tuna in water or oil
2 T minced red onion
1 celery stalk, minced
½ cup mayonnaise
1 T lemon juice
½ t seasoned salt
½ t lemon pepper
¼ t celery seeds
2 slices sourdough or whole grain bread, toasted
Butter, to spread on toast
4 slices Swiss cheese
2 large tomato slices

Drain water from can of tuna and spoon tuna into a medium-size bowl.
Break up the tuna with a fork and add the red onion, celery, mayonnaise, lemon juice, seasoned salt, lemon pepper, and celery seeds.
Mix until well combined.

Spread a little butter on each slice of toasted bread.
Spoon on some tuna, top with a slice of cheese.
Add a slice of tomato and another slice of cheese.

Place under the broiler for about 3 minutes, or until cheese is nicely melted.

Cut each in half and serve with some potato chips and a pickle slice.

Serves 2


In the summer, my mom would bring back baskets of tomatoes from her Uncle John and Aunt Hessie's farm in Evergreen Mills, Virginia. I updated the salad by using extra-virgin olive oil instead of vegetable oil, 3 different varieties of tomatoes, and red onion. This salad brings back memories of my childhood and summertime.

1 English cucumber, cut in half lengthwise and sliced
4 medium assorted tomatoes, cut into wedges
½ small red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced


¼ cup apple cider vinegar
3 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 t granulated sugar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a salad bowl, add the sliced cucumber, tomatoes, and red onion.

In a small bowl, whisk together the cider vinegar, olive oil, and sugar.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Pour salad dressing over salad and gently toss to combine.
Cover and let sit on the counter for about 15 minutes for flavors to develop.
Gently toss again before serving.

Serves 4

Monday, July 24, 2017


These oatmeal cookies are soft, moist, and not overly sweet. I added coconut and dried cranberries for additional flavor. You can certainly omit the coconut and cranberries, just add another ½ cup of oats.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 t pure vanilla extract

2 cups cake flour or all-purpose flour
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t ground cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
½ t sea salt
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup finely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, mix butter and sugars until smooth. 
Mix in the eggs and vanilla.

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, oats, salt, and coconut.
Slowly mix flour mixture into the butter mixture.
Remove bowl from mixer and stir in the dried cranberries and pecans.

Drop by a level medium size ice cream scoop onto 2 baking sheets.

Flatten lightly with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar.
Bake for 12 to 13 minutes.

  • Cookies can be frozen after they are dropped on the baking sheet until hard and then placed in a resealable bag.
  • Before baking, let cookies thaw then slightly flatten with a sugared glass.

Sunday, July 23, 2017


Chile Colorado is a traditional beef dish stewed in a red chile sauce. Colorado translates to "colored red" in Spanish. 

6 whole dried Guajillo chiles, broken into pieces, stems and seeds removed
2 cups boiling-hot water
2 T avocado oil, divided
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 poblano, pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 T oregano leaves
1 3 to 4 lb beef chuck roast, trimmed of fat and cut into large chunks
1 28-oz can red chile sauce or 3 10-oz cans enchilada sauce
2 cups beef broth
1 T chile powder
1 T ancho chile powder
1 T ground cumin
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place dried chiles in a large heat-proof bowl and add the boiling water.
Let sit in water for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a Dutch oven over medium heat and add one tablespoon of the oil.
Sauté the onion, poblano, jalapeño, garlic, and oregano in oil for 10 minutes.

Spoon into a blender and add the soaked Guajillo chiles along with the soaking water.
Blend mixture until smooth.

In the same Dutch oven brown the meat in batches. 
Transfer browned meat to a platter while browning the rest.
Return all the meat to the Dutch oven and add the pureed mixture from the blender.
Add the red chile sauce or enchilada sauce, beef broth, chile powders, and cumin.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Place in a 300 degree F oven for 4 hours.

Serve with black beans and Mexican rice.

Serves 6