Friday, May 20, 2022


The Black-Eyed Susan cocktail got its name from the blanket of Black-Eyed Susan flowers that is draped over the winning horse at the Preakness Stakes. The 2000 flowers that make up the blanket are not Black-Eyed Susans but actually mums. Black-eyed Susans do not bloom until summer. This Maryland horse race is held the third Saturday in May at Pimlico Race Course, in Baltimore. There are several recipes for this cocktail but I think this is closer to the official drink. I tweaked it a bit by giving it another ounce of St-Germain (elderflower liqueur) and a little more lime juice. Some recipes call for vodka and bourbon, as well as a sour mix, but I think this is delicious and refreshing and you can actually taste the St-Germain.

1 cup (8 oz) vodka or bourbon
3 oz St Germain Liqueur (elderflower liqueur)
1 cup pineapple juice
2 oz lime juice
3 oz orange juice
8 orange wedges
4 Maraschino cherries, with stems

In a pitcher mix together the vodka or bourbon, St Germain, pineapple juice, lime juice, and orange juice. 

Fill four glasses three-quarters full with crushed ice
Divide mixture between the four glasses.
Put two orange wedges on a cocktail pick and top with a cherry.

Makes 4 drinks


Do you remember the Teen Twist at Hot Shoppes restaurants? I remember how delicious 
they were. 
This is my version on how to put this sandwich together. 
made the twist sandwich rolls but you can use any type of sandwich roll or bun that 
you prefer. It doesn't matter if it's round or long, as long as it taste like the original Teen Twist. 

2 twist sandwich rolls or buns
2 T unsalted butter, softened
4 slices American cheese
8 thin slices ham, Black Forrest is perfect
6 thin slices tomatoes
Shredded lettuce

Secret Sauce
1 t granulated sugar
1 t white vinegar
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 T sweet green pickle relish

In a small bowl, add the sugar and vinegar and stir to let sugar dissolve.
Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and stir to combine.

Spread both sides of each sandwich roll with softened butter.
Place a griddle or skillet over medium-high heat and toast the bottom halves, butter side down until golden.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Remove bottom halves to a baking sheet and add two slices of cheese, 
cover as much of roll as possible.
Add 4 slices of ham on top of cheese, covering as much as possible and fluffing 
to build volume.
Place in oven to warm ham and slightly melt cheese while grilling the top halves.

Grill the top halves until golden brown while bottom halves are warming in the oven.
Remove bottom halves to two plates.
Add 3 slices tomatoes and shredded lettuce to each half.

Spread some Secret Sauce on the top roll and place on top of sandwich.

Serve whole or cut in half diagonally.

Makes 2 sandwiches

Friday, April 22, 2022


To make a Creole or Cajun gumbo, you first have to make a roux. I like to use my well seasoned cast-iron stew pot to make gumbo. I also like to use a little less oil to flour ratio than most gumbos call for. Let your roux come to the color of an old penny before adding the "trinity".

I also added my recipe for Cajun Seasoning. Cajun seasoning does not contain dried oregano and basil. Traditionally Cajun food does not contain tomatoes. This recipe is for the more city-style version.

1 lb medium shrimp, shelled, deveined, and set aside
4 T peanut oil or avocado oil, divided
13.5 oz smoked andouille sausage, cut in half lengthwise, and thinly sliced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 large green bell pepper, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup all-purpose flour
4 (8-oz) bottles clam broth
2 T Creole Seasoning (recipe follows)
1 t smoked paprika
½ t cayenne pepper (optional)
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 (14.5-oz) can fire roasted tomatoes or whole peeled tomatoes
1 bottle Abita beer or other amber beer
2 bay leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chopped okra, fresh or frozen
1 T filé powder (dried and ground leaves of the North American sassafras tree)

1 bunch chopped scallions, for garnish 
Louisiana or Crystal hot sauce, for the table

Place shrimp in a bowl and refrigerate.

In a large cast-iron pot or Dutch oven, fitted with a lid, add 1 tablespoon of the oil and cook the sausage until light brown, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl and set aside.

Stir in the “holy trinity” of onion, bell pepper, and celery.
Cook, stirring often, for about 3 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook another minute.
Spoon into the bowl with the sausage.

To make the roux, add the other 3 tablespoons of oil and whisk the flour into the oil in the pot.
Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. 
Let the roux cook until it’s the color of peanut butter.
Lower heat to medium-low and let roux cook until it’s the color of an old copper penny, about 5 to 6 minutes more.

Add the clam broth, Creole Seasoning, paprika, cayenne, Worcestershire, tomatoes, beer, bay leaves, browned sausage, and "holy trinity".
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Partially cover with a lid and simmer 10 minutes.
Add okra and simmer another 5 minutes.
Add shrimp and simmer for 2 more minutes.
Turn off heat and stir in the filé powder, cover with a lid, and let sit for 5 minutes.

Ladle into bowls, sprinkle with scallions and serve with cooked white rice and French bread.

Serves 4

Creole Seasoning
3 T paprika
2 T sea salt
2 T ground black pepper
2 T garlic powder
2 T cayenne pepper
2 T onion powder
2 T dried thyme
1 T dried oregano
1 T dried basil

Pour above ingredients in a jar fitted with a lid. Shake well and store in a cool dark place for up to one year.

Saturday, March 26, 2022


If it was Friday, we had fish for dinner. My mom always served fish with corn cakes, aka corn hoecakes or johnnycakes. It was a Southern tradition to serve them with fish in case you swallowed a fish bone. There are two types of sole; Dover (caught in the North Atlantic to the Mediterranean) and Pacific (caught from California to Alaska). Pacific Sole does not fall apart as easily as Dover Sole, but they are equally delicious. You can also make this with flounder, cod, halibut, trout, or snapper. My recipe for a salad with Lemon-Vinaigrette follows. You can also make this with flounder or haddock.

6 skinless sole fillets 
½ cup flour
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup avocado oil
4 T unsalted butter
2 t grated lemon zest
Juice of 1 lemon
2 T minced Italian parsley
Lemon wedges, for serving

Preheat oven to 225 degrees F and have a heatproof platter ready.

In a shallow bowl, add the flour and season generously with salt and pepper.

Pat the fish dry with paper towels and dredge in seasoned flour, shaking off excess.

In a large non-stick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.

Fry 2 fillets at a time for about 2 minutes on each side.
Place on a platter and keep warm in the oven while frying the rest of the fillets.

Pour out any oil in the pan and carefully wipe out the pan with a paper towel.
Add the butter and melt over medium-low heat.
Add the lemon zest and lemon juice to the pan and heat through.

Pour over the fish, sprinkle with minced parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve with lemon wedges.

Serves 2 to 4

Monday, March 21, 2022


Benne wafers have been unique to the Lowcountry since Colonial times.  Benne seeds (sesame seeds) were brought to the colonies from Africa by the African enslaved people in the early 1700s.  Sesame seeds are rich in calcium, vitamins B and E, zinc, iron, and protein.

Benne wafers are a special Southern treat.

1 cup sesame seeds, untoasted
¾ cup dark brown sugar
4 T (½ stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg, lightly beaten

½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ t sea salt
¼ t baking powder
1 t fresh squeezed lemon juice
½ t pure vanilla extract

In a large, non-stick skillet, over medium heat, toast the sesame seeds until light golden brown.  Stir constantly with a wooden spoon and don't walk away from stove.

In a mixer with a paddle attachment, or by spoon in a large bowl, beat or mix the brown sugar and butter together until thoroughly combined and smooth.
Beat in the whisked egg.

Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder.
Add these dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and mix well.

Stir in the toasted sesame seeds, lemon juice, and vanilla extract.

Place bowl in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Get out 3 large baking sheets and line with parchment paper.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Drop by the smallest ice cream scoop or by full teaspoons onto prepared baking sheets.  Leave a 2-inch space between cookies, so they can spread without touching another cookie.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned.

Cool for a couple of minutes on baking sheets, then transfer to a baking rack to cool completely.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Tuesday, March 8, 2022


General Tso's Chicken is so popular in North American Chinese restaurants.  General Tso was famous in the Hunan Province of China.  The dish was created in the 1950s by a famous Chinese cook, Peng Chang-kuei, and brought it with him to the states in 1973.  The proper way to pronounce this dish is "General So", the T is silent...just like Tsunami "su-nami" and Tsawwassen "sah-wassen" Ferry terminal near Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup rice vinegar
¼ cup hoisin sauce
½ cup chicken broth or water
1 t sesame oil
1-inch piece of ginger, grated
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 dried chile peppers, left whole or ½ t red pepper flakes
1 T tomato paste
3 T honey
2 T cornstarch

1 lb boneless, skinless breasts or thighs, cut into ½-inch cubes
2 T cornstarch, divided
2 T avocado or coconut oil, divided

1 T toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
2 scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish

To Make the Sauce
In a 2 cup measuring pitcher, add the above sauce ingredients and whisk to combine.
Set aside while cooking chicken.

In a medium bowl, combine the chicken and cornstarch.
Toss to combine and set aside.

Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat half of the oil and add the chicken pieces.
Cook half of chicken for 3 to 4 minutes.  
Flip chicken over and cook an additional 3 to 4 minutes.

Transfer chicken to a bowl and add the remaining oil to skillet or wok and cook the second batch of chicken.
Transfer chicken to the bowl with the rest of the chicken.

Pour sauce into the skillet or wok and and bring to a boil.  
Let simmer about 3 minutes to thicken.
Add the chicken and heat through.

Remove chile peppers, if desired.
Sprinkle with the green scallions and sesame seeds.
Serve with cooked rice.

Serves 4

Wednesday, February 23, 2022


Do you want a quick and delicious appetizer?  If so, this fits the bill and it does not contain bread.

½ cup softened plain cream cheese
Juice and zest of ½ lemon
1 T granulated garlic
1 T dried onion flakes
1 T mixed or plain sesame seeds, toasted
Sea salt
English cucumber, washed and cut into ¼-inch slices
Sprigs of fresh dill
Cold smoked salmon, cut into 1-inch squares

In a small bowl add the cream cheese and mix in the lemon zest and juice.
Add most of the garlic, onion flakes, and sesame seeds, saving some for garnish.
Place the sliced cucumber on a cutting board.  
Spread on a little of the cream cheese mixture (about 1 teaspoon full).
Add a sprig of dill and fold on the salmon.
Sprinkle with the rest of the sesame mixture and add a tiny bit of sea salt and serve.

Makes 8 to 10