Pecan Pie

Adapted from

Single Pie crust

6 Tbsp. butter
1 1/4 cup brown sugar (lightly packed)
3/4 cup light corn syrup
2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. grated orange zest
1/4 tsp. salt
3 large eggs
2 cups pecan halves

Roll pie crust and put in pie plate, put in fridge for 30 minute or 10 minutes in freezer.

Place a baking sheet in the middle rack of the oven and preheat to 350F.

Make filling:
Melt butter in heavy saucepan over medium heat.
Add brown sugar, whisk until smooth.
Remove from heat and whisk in corn syrup, vanilla, orange zest and salt.

In a separate bowl, lightly beat eggs. Whisk corn syrup mixture into eggs.

With a knife, coarsely chop 1 cup of pecans and put in pie shell.
Add remaining cup of pecan halves.
Pour filling mixture over pecans.

Place in preheated oven on baking pan. Bake until filling is set 50-60 minutes.

Cool completely.

Excellent served with ice cream or whipped cream, if your heart can handle it!


Korean Mung Bean Salad

This is a mix of a couple different recipes that I found on the web. A fairly flexible salad, although my mix may have lost a bit of authenticity.

350g mung bean sprouts (about 3 cups)
6 cups water
1 tsp. fine sea salt

Bring water & salt to a boil. Cook sprouts about 5 minutes. Drain & rinse well with cold water.

Toss with:
2 green onions, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
1-3 tsp. toasted sesame seeds
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 Tbsp. chili flakes (optional)
1 fresh red chili, sliced (optional)

Spicy & Sassy Cornbread

Another favorite of my cousin Joe’s.

1 C butter
1 C sugar
4 eggs
1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies
1 16oz can creamed corn
½ C cheddar cheese (shredded)
1 C Flour
4 Tsp Baking Powder
1 C White Cornmeal

Mix butter and sugar, add eggs, chilies, corn and cheese. Stir in flour, baking powder and cornmeal. Grease butter all over a 9 by 13 inch pan.
Pour in mixture and bake 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Joe Gorski’s Cream Biscuits

My cousin Joe makes these regurlarly and they are spectacular. Stolen straight from the Fannie Farmer cookbook.

2 cups flour
1 tsp. Salt
1 Tbsp. Baking powder
2 Tbsp. Sugar
1-1 1/2 cups heavy cream
6 Tbsp. Melted butter

Preheat oven to 425F

Combine flour, salt, baking powder and sugar in a bowl.

Slowly add 1 cup of heavy cream, stirring constantly. Gather dough together. It should hold together, if shaggy add more ceeam.

Knead 1 minute, roll out into 1/2″ thick, cut into biscuits.

Dip each biscuit into melted butter, place 2 inches apart on baking sheet.

Bake 15 minutes, until golden.

Arugula Pesto

Spring is here and the new planting of arugula is ready!

In the bowl of a food processor put:
±3 cups arugula
3 small garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1-2 Tbsp. Kosciusko mustard (spicy mustard)
2 Tbsp. maple syrup

Pulse until coarsely chopped.
With the motor running add enough olive oil to make a spreadable pesto.

I made an appetizer of grilled zucchini rounds topped with a spoonful of this pesto, a thin slice of filet mignon (leftover) and some diced tomato mixed with balsamic vinegar.

I also added some as a pizza topping.

Baked Sweet Potato Fritters

This is adapted from the blog The Farm Girl Gabs

I did not believe this would work. I started to add some flour to the mixture, then stopped and just followed the recipe. It not only worked but was delicious. Make the dipping sauce first, it needs an hour for the flavors to blend. We ate these with a side of pinto beans and a green salad (with pecans of course).

1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and grated
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup eggs (about 2)
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning

Heat oven to 425F

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, coat lightly with oil (cooking spray).

Mix all ingredients. Place scoops of potato mixture onto the baking sheet. Coat the top of each with oil/spray.

Bake 20-25 minutes until crisp & golden.

Serve with
Smoky Garlic Dipping Sauce
1 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp. scallions, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. salt

Stir together. Refrigerate at least 1 hour for flavors to blend.


For you Larry.

These are the directions from Mom as given to me when I first got married. Copied straight from the stained, wrinkled slips of paper. All of the tomatoes would have been canned from her garden, generously shared with me.

Meat Sauce
2 Quarts of tomatoes (or 2 32 ounce cans)
1 1/2 pounds chop meat

Saute onion and garlic in (olive) oil and butter. Add the meat and sausage and brown. No further directions are listed but… Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper and a generous sprinkle of Italian Seasoning. Simmer about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook 3/4 pound of lasagna noodles in salted water.

Cheese Filling
1 pound mozzarella, grated
2 pounds Ricotta
2 eggs
grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
pepper (that would be black pepper)
onion powder

Although my directions don’t say this, reserve half of the mozzarella. Mix the remaining ingredients in a large bowl.

Lasagna Assembly
Layer in a 9″ X 13″ baking pan:
3-4 noodles, side by side
A little grated mozzarella
A layer of noodles
A lot of gravy

Sprinkle the top with Italian Seasoning.

Bake at 350F about an hour. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.
For the record my directions don’t say how to cook it or how long. You should know.

Fried Dough (Italian Chrusty/Cenci or Polish Chrusciki)

Before my mother suffered any noticeable signs of Alzheimer’s Disease she started typing up recipes to pass along to her grandchildren. Mom was not the most organized person (I think she relied on her intellect and my Dad), eventually she couldn’t remember what she had typed. She decided to discard the original recipes as she went to help keep track. Sigh. Given her limited computer skills, not all her documents were saved. Add her worsening disease and suffice it to say, some things are lost.

Here are three versions rescued by my sister Gail before things really fell apart. Sadly we still have to guess.  If you read each recipe you will see that they contradict each other.  If you make each one please let me know which works well.

Polish Chrusciki
I am sure this is Mom’s recipe because it has an unreasonable amount of egg yolks in it and Mom would never have used rum. Also, Lois’ recipe contains Mace.

6 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon mace
2 to 2 ½ cups sifted flour (approximately)
Shortening for frying
Dust with confectionary sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat egg yolks with salt and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in cream and mace. Add enough flour to make a soft dough. Do not knead dough. Kneading will result in hard, tough cookies. Chill.
In a deep pot, heat shortening to 375F degrees.
Sprinkle confectionary sugar on pastry cloth. Using ¼ of the dough at a time, roll out dough as thin as possible. Cut into strips 1×3 inches. Make a slit down center of each strip (about 1 inch). Turn one end of strip in through slit. Fry a few strips at a time in preheated oil. Turning them at once. They are done when lightly brown on both sides.
Drain on paper towels. When cool dust with confectionary sugar or vanilla sugar.

Polish Chrusciki Version 2

2 cups flour
2 eggs
4 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 jigger rum

Add salt to eggs. Beat ill thick and lemon colored. Add sugar, butter and rum. Continue to beat. Fold in flour and knead on a well floured board until dough blisters.
Cut in half. Roll very thin. Cut in strips about 4” long. Slit each piece in center and pull on end through slit.

Fry in hot fat until lightly browned. Drain on absorbent paper.
Dust with powdered sugar when cool.

Italian Fried Crusty (Cenci)

These should be shaped into bow ties. Those directions are clearly missing below. Maybe one of my sisters will fill me in on how to shape them and I will adjust the recipe. Despite my family reputation as being a master of dough, I have never made Crusciki.

5 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
4 – 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. vanilla
Grated zest of lemon

In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar with a whisk until well blended. Whisk in the lemon zest and vanilla.

Sift the 4 cups of flour and baking powder together, add to egg mixture. Mix with your hands to form a ball of dough. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead it until it is soft, but no longer sticky. Add more flour if necessary.

Cut the dough into 4 pieces. Work with one piece at time, cover remaining pieces with a clean dishtowel.

Roll dough out to 1/4-inch thickness. (A pasta machine set to the finest setting, can also be sued for thinning the dough) Using a pastry wheel or sharp knife, cut into strips 5 1/2-inches long by 2 1/2-inches wide. Make two long slits, side by side, in the center of each strip. Here is where the twisting magic is missing Place on another towel, and continue rolling and cutting remaining pieces of dough.

In a deep pot, heat about 2-inches of vegetable oil to 375F. (Truthfully, you have to make up the temp here, I have two different recipes with 2 different temps.)

Fry the strips a few at a time until golden brown. Drain on paper towel (or brown paper bags, Mom’s favorite.) and let cool. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar and serve.

These do not keep well. Store any leftovers in a tightly covered container. Other recipes on the internet say that they can be re-crisped by warming in the oven.

Graham Cracker Crust

1 1/2 cups ground Graham Crackers
1/3 cup sugar
6 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Crush graham crackers in a plastic bag or in this modern world, blend them in the food processor.
Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl. Press into a pie plate.
For baked pie: Bake 375F for 7-8 min.
For cold filling: Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before filling

Lois’ Banana Cream Pie

A classic from my sister Lois.

1 9″ Graham cracker crust
2 bananas
1 8oz. pkg cream cheese, softened
2 c. milk
1 3 1/2 oz. instant vanilla pudding mix
toasted coconut

1. Slice the bananas into the crust.
2. Gradually add 1/2 cup milk to softened cream cheese, mixing until well blended. This can be done in a mixer on slow speed.
3. Add pudding mix and remaining milk, beat slowly for 1 minute. Pour into crust and chill until firm. Garnish with coconut.