Monday, October 1, 2012


-->2-3 avocados, peeled, remove seed
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 TLBS chopped green pepper
3 TBLS fresh lime (or bottled) juice
a few dashes of Tabasco or other hot sauce
3 TLBS sour cream
salt and pepper to taste

Combine avocado meat, garlic clove, green pepper
lime juice, hot sauce, and sour cream .
Blend in food processor until smooth.
Serve with Mexican Fare, Tacos and Burritos,
or as a dip for Tortilla chips.

©Wilma Carolyn Johnson Short

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Potato Salad

Serves 4-6

8 -10 small to medium, unpeeled Red Bliss Potatoes, cleaned and cubed.
¼ C chopped sweet onion (Vidalia, Purple onion work well)
¼ C diced celery
¼ C diced green pepper (optional)
½ C Italian Salad Dressing
½ C green olives (optional)

Boil cubed potatoes in salted water until tender. Drain in a colander.
Place potatoes immediately in large bowl.
Add chopped vegetables.
Add salad dressing, as the warm potatoes will soak up more of the oil and vinegar flavors.
Mix in the green olives or save them for later (place them around the edge as a garnish).

This is a wonderful salad to bring to a potluck picnic. It is just unusual enough to make a “stand-out” statement, while fitting in well with the Americana summer potluck theme. Pack in the cooler with plenty of ice packs. The colder this is when served, the better.

GARNISHES: This potato salad is great surrounded or topped with rings of red pepper, radishes, cooked snap peas (cooled), carrot slices or curls, sliced cucumber, cherry tomatoes, or whatever vegetable sounds or looks good. Even deviled eggs would be a nice addition placed around the potato salad. There are no limits of embellishments.

HELPFUL HINT: When cooling the potato salad spread the salad to the top edge of the bowl so that the the thickness is evenly dispersed. Cover with plastic wrap. Fill a zip lock back with ice cubes in and place in the center. Place bowl in refrigerator. It will cool down more quickly than leaving the salad in a thick layer in the bowl. There is nothing like a really cold potato salad for a summer picnic.

NOTES: I first made this potato salad when I was on vacation in New Hampshire. I cannot honestly remember if I'd run out of mayonnaise, or if I just felt like doing potato salad a different way. I do remember that I thought I had added way too much oil and vinegar, but the response I received from my family was across the board positive. All my aunts are wonderful cooks. I knew it was a success when one of them raved about this salad.

One of the nicest features of the potato salad is that the potatoes are continually soaking up a marinade – no chance of mayonnaise or eggs growing little microscopic green things that could put one or more picnickers in the hospital. I have become ultra-aware of how very easy it is to get food poisoning. All it takes is one bite of something that has been out in the warm weather a little too long, or perhaps never got the chance to cool down in the center.

On a happier note, this salad will not only keep for a few days, it will taste even better as the ingredients soak up more of the marinade.

Humble Hummus

1 15 - 16 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 TLBS Sesame Tahini, stirred thoroughly until smooth
1 tsp garlic powder or 2-3 cloves, crushed
¼ tsp white pepper
1 TLBS olive oil
¼ C lemon juice
2 -3 TLBS soy sauce (to taste)
approximately ¼ C water

Optional: One of the following -12 oz jar marinated artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, or marinated red peppers, drained and chopped into chunks

In a food processor mix chickpeas until broken. Add sesame tahini and garlic powder or crushed garlic cloves. Mix thoroughly. Pour in olive oil, lemon juice, soy sauce while pulse-mixing the food processor. Add enough water until desired consistency is obtained.

Transfer into a plastic container. Stir in by hand chunks of chopped artichoke hearts, cut up sun-dried tomatoes, or marinated red pepper. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours before serving. Flavors meld together if left overnight in refrigerator.

Pita bread – torn in pieces for dipping.
Triscuts or other favorite crackers.
Cut up raw vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, carrot and celery sticks.

FOODNOTES: Hummus is a high protein food since it is made with chickpeas (garbanzo beans) which are a legume. These are low in saturated fats, sodium and cholesterol. Chickpeas are a good source of fiber.

Eating food just from the earth can be a humbling experience if we stop to think about it. A simple dish of beans, some flavorings, oil, other vegetables – so simple, yet so delicious. These elements somehow bring me closer to nature and to the earth's gardens. I love to think about where my foods come from. I like to be comfortable with my food's origins. I always have a good feeling about these earthy kinds of foods, both physically and spiritually.

Apple Chai

2 quarts unsweetened apple juice (no sugar added)

meat of 2 shelled cardamom seeds, crushed into a powder in a mortar and pestal preferably by some very handsome, muscular, blond-haired, blue-eyed Swede, just come in from the field on a tractor (it's fine if he's a Norwegian)

¼ tsp each of the following:

powdered cinnamon

powdered Allspice

powdered ginger

powdered nutmeg

powdered cloves

scant amount of lemon pepper

½ TLBS Vanilla Extract

Heat apple juice over medium heat in large pot, stirring occasionally. Do not boil as this kills vitamin C. Add dry ingredients while stirring. Lastly, add Vanilla extract.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS: This is a good beverage any time of year when it's a bit cool out, especially on a winter evening by the fireplace. Great with “Spicy Ginger Cookies”.

FOODNOTES: I discovered this drink quite by accident when I intended to make Chai Tea and did not have powdered tea, so I used apple juice instead and was rather pleased with the results. It was a rather cold and brooding day in early June in the year 2012. After having spent a contented winter in the tropics we returned to a typically unpredictable summer lead-in back north. The temperature sank to an all-time low with a penetrating dampness that was enough to make one feel like the frozen subject of a still-life painting. It was this warm, “spicy” drink that brought me back into the motion picture of real life on that unseasonably cold June day.

Sweet and Savory Pumpkin Soup


In a large soup kettle
Bring ½ C water to a boil
1 celery stick, trimmed and quartered
Allow to cook until celery is tender.
Remove and discard celery.

Add to celery broth over low heat:

6 C chicken broth
4 C plain pumpkin, pureed or canned, mix in thoroughly

Puree in food processor or chop finely and stir into soup base:
½ C sweet onion, cubed
1 ripe peach or cooking apple, seeded or cored, peeled, cut into small pieces

Add to this:

1 TLBS fresh ginger powder

Stir in ¼ tsp each of the following:
powdered -
smoked sweet paprika
Beau Monde

1 TLBS parsley
1 TLBS molasses
1/3 C sugar or 1/4 C pure maple syrup

Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally for approximately 1 to 1 ½ hours. The apple and onion need time to cook and the spices need time to meld together with the pumpkin.

Serving suggestions:

Serve hot in soup bowls with a dollop of sour cream.

Optional - top with one of the following:
1 tsp. chopped scallions
a few small sprigs of dill weed
a few mint leaves
a tsp of roasted sunflower seeds
for a subtle effect a sprinkle of finely ground cardamom seed

Serving Suggestions:
Serve as an appetizer with hot buttered corn muffins and a glass of chilled Pinot Grigio or other favorite white wine.

Turn this into a light main course by serving it with sharp cheddar cheese on warm Ciabatta bread. And don't forget the white wine.

FOODNOTES: Years ago I learned how to make southern chicken with peaches from a former beau's mother who hailed from Georgia. She made this incredible roast chicken stuffed with peaches. The combination was delicious. When I made it there were plenty of leftovers. I have always enjoyed making soups, so I set to work with the leftovers, making a winter squash soup using a chicken-peach broth with a lot of cut up pieces of chicken. I ground up the peaches, added a few spices. Though I don't recall what spices I used then, it was one of the most memorable soups I've ever made.

I made the above recipes with canned chicken broth and canned puree pumpkin. I read several pumpkin soup recipes, some of which use typical pumpkin pie spices, treating pumpkin more as a fruit. Other recipes treat the soup as a vegetable incorporating more herbal and savory spices. I decided a combination of both would be good, but I conservatively added only a tiny bit of the diverse array of seasonings, with the hopes that the flavorings would be subtle.

I have also seen recipes that call for pears for the fruity element of this soup. Something about adding a little bit of a creamy topping with a sprig of green or one of the other spices really sets this off, both taste-wise and visually. My guest opted for scallions, dill, sunflower seeds and cardamom on top of the sour cream.

Baked Savory Acorn Squash

one acorn squash serves 2

Clean outside of one squash, halve from stem to bottom tip, scoop out seeds.

1 tsp freshly chopped or group ginger
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp brown sugar
1 TLBS finely chopped shallots
¼ cooking apple chopped
1 TLBS pure maple syrup
¼ C apple juice
dash of celery salt
freshly ground black pepper

Mix ingredients in a bowl. Divide evenly and place into the openings of each squash half. Dot with butter. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes or until tender. Test by pricking with a fork – should be soft. Loosen some of the squash with a spoon and stir ingredients into the squash. Serve hot.

FOODNOTES: I was visiting my very good friend Carol on Maury Island in Puget Sound and we were cooking dinner together one evening. I volunteered to do the vegetable. We had bought shallots for another dish and there were plenty, so I used some to flavor this baked acorn squash dish. The apple juice, I believe, kept the squash from drying out. The fresh ginger is what really gave this dish its zing. The ginger is subtle enough that you don't actually taste it, but a pungent fragrance lingers that is so pleasing. Again, it is one of those savory, yet sweet vegetables that goes particularly well with chicken or turkey. I think it would be a great compliment to roast lamb. I think of acorn squash as a cool weather dish when a whole bunch of foods can go in the oven at one time, such as cornbread, baked beans,rice pudding, a chicken roast, followed by a apple crisp. Carol and I made this meal in April and it was cool in Seattle.

Happy eating!

U.P. Michigan Pasties

In a large skillet sauté
1 large onion, chopped
with ½ C cooking oil

Remove from heat, mix in
1 large peeled and diced potato
1 peeled and diced carrot
1 very small peeled and diced turnip

Mix all ingredients until thoroughly blended.

Add the above vegetables to the onions in the skilled. Sauté until vegetables are cooked.
Add: 1 lb lean ground beef. Mix in until all ingredients are thoroughly blended.

Two ready made or your favorite pie crust dough.
Place ingredients into pie crust. Cover pie with second pie crust, by placing it up-side-down, pinching edges of both pie shells together to form a seal. Using the prongs of a fork, prick a few air holes in top pie crust. Bake in a 350F oven for 45 minutes to an hour until crust is golden brown.

FOODNOTES: While visiting one of my college roommates who hailed from Ishpeming, Michigan, I had the privilege of sampling the local food. Ruthie made “Pasties” for dinner one evening. She told me how these pies were made to fit in the pockets of the miners' shirts to stay warm until lunchtime. She further explained to me how her father, from a mining family in Cornwall, England, emigrated to this country, settling in another (iron) mining mecca in Negaunee, Michigan. Interestingly, the mining is done above ground. Every day at exactly noon, a warning siren sounds so all the workers will know to clear the area. Then the dynamite planted in the rocky terrain can be heard for miles around as it breaks up the earth. The iron is is melted and made into tiny pellets which can be found all around the area, especially on nearby train tracks. This is where Ruthie grew up with her parents and brother Roger, aka RD. I cherish my visit to the U.P. Peace be to the memory of my wonderful friend, Ruth Helgren Erickson, 1954-2003.

Killer Kielbasa

1 lb Kielbasa, cut into bite size pieces
1 C ketchup
1 C soy sauce
¼ C molasses
¼ C sugar
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1medium onion, chopped

In a medium size cooking pot mix the ketchup, soy sauce, molasses, sugar, garlic and onions. Stir while bringing to a boil. Reduce heat. Add cut up pieces of Kielbasa. Set heat on low. Stir occasionally. Allow to simmer for 45 minutes to an hour over low heat.

Serve in a bowl or transfer to a Crockpot. This is a great party dish. It is something I learned to make years ago and I have been bringing it to parties ever since. People love its bold spiciness. One of my friends coined it “Wilma's Killer Kielbasa” and that's what its been known as ever since.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Veggie Burgers

serves 6 -8

Blend in food processor or mash with large fork:

8 oz. soft tofu
8 oz. black beans

Mix together: 1/3 C equal parts of two or more of the following and add to above:
textured vegetable protein
sunflower seeds
hulled hemp seeds
wheat germ

Stir into mixture:
1 TLBS soy sauce
½ carrot, grated
½ zucchini squash, grated
1 C uncooked whole edamame
½ tsp black pepper
Form into at least one inch thick patties – 3-4 inches in diameter
Coat patties with an equal mixture of:
sesame seed
sunflower seeds
dried onions

Heat iron frying pan.
Add enough cooking oil to coat bottom of pan (optional: plus tsp sesame seed oil).
Lower heat as coating will easily burn. Place veggie burgers in pan. Fry for about 8 - 10 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

Serving Suggestions: Serve on buttered grilled whole wheat bulkie rolls with tomato, avocado and red onion slices, red leaf lettuce, dill pickles, sautéed mushroom and green olives.

Serve with green salad.
Other condiments: Tahini sauce; brown mustard and piccalilli OR homemade sauce consisting of half C mayonnaise, half C sour cream (lite or regular) with 1 TLBS garlic powder stirred in. Refrigerate for several hours. Spread on veggie burger.

FOODNOTES: The best Veggie Burger I've ever eaten was in a small Manhattan restaurant. I met an old friend there thirty-something years since we had last seen each other - wonderful reunion. He order a steak on a roll, while I took a chance with the Veggie Burger. This is where I discovered how delicious a veggie burger could be mixed with nutty grains, fresh vegetables and whole edamame bulging out of the sides.

The above recipe, committed to paper, is my tribute to the happy memories I have of my friend Peter, a lifetime ago, and to the fact that I love NY! This recipe; the results of my impression of the veggie burger, came out even better than what I remembered eating in that little restaurant.

The nice part is that this can make this with some very basic ingredients, adding more or less grains and seeds to it as or it can be made with just the tofu and beans. It is delicious made just with the black beans.

I began adding new and interesting grains to my pantry as I learned how to use them in vegetarian cooking. I learned that the important thing is to feel physically satisfied with what I eat and to gain a connection with mother earth when I prepare foods, by using grains like teff that are quite delicious, versatile, and a major food source in Africa.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tangy Coleslaw

Cut into several manageable sections and grate in food processor:

1 small to medium head cabbage, core stem and trim off outer leaves
2 trimmed and peeled carrots

Transfer above to large mixing bowl and add:
½ cup raisins

optional: one cooking (tart) apple with peel, such as Grannie Smith, Cortland or MacIntosh,
cored and cut into small pieces


½ C vegetable oil
¼ C red wine vinegar
1 TLBS sugar or 2 packets Splenda
2 tsp horseradish (4 tsp if you want to really taste the horseradish)
1 tsp brown mustard
1/8 tsp celery salt
salt and pepper

In a medium bowl stir all ingredients with a wisp until thoroughly mixed. Add to coleslaw ingredients. Stir together until coleslaw ingredients are saturated with dressing. Chill in refrigerator for about an hour before serving.

Serving suggestions: This is a great side dish to seafood and perhaps a baked potato.. It adds contrast - acidity, sweetness, and crunchiness to the unique flavors and soft textures of fish or other seafood.

FOODNOTES: Coleslaw is one of those things that most of us are willing to purchase in the deli section of the grocery store rather than go to the bother and mess of making it at home. My husband had asked me many times over the years to make coleslaw from scratch. I insisted that it was too much work and not worth the effort. One morning when I was feeling inspired to make up a bunch of salads and other dishes that we could eat that day, with enough for a couple meals during the week or food we could freeze and heat up later, I decided to buy a head of cabbage for homemade coleslaw. From other dishes, such as potato salad, I knew that oil and vinegar could replace the cholesterol laden, creamy mayonnaise dressing that is most common to pre-made coleslaws, so I made an oil and vinegar based dressing with the flavors that I thought were basic to coleslaw and that would enhance a plain head of cabbage.

This did take a little time to prepare and I did have shreds of cabbage and carrot peels to clean up, but it was fun and exciting to see how this would end up and it was definitely worth the effort. I was amazed at how the cabbage, when shredded in the food processor, seemed to shrink down to a very small amount of coleslaw, even with the added ingredients. After sampling a heaping tablespoon full once it was prepared I then proceeded to eat (I don't want to admit how much), let's just a lot more of it before it found its way to the refrigerator. We did enjoy it during the week. In fact, the very last serving was consumed ten days later, still as crisp and delicious as that first spoonful.

I estimated the total time it took to make the coleslaw was about a half hour. For the amount it made, which is a lot more than I would ever purchase, this saved me approximately 75% of the cost of purchasing ready-made coleslaw and it tastes so much better than the bought kind. Compared to the heavy mayonnaise-based coleslaws this recipe possesses a light, more delicate flavor due to the simple oil and vinegar dressing. There is always such a sense of satisfaction in making my own and this sense is heightened when it is shared with others who appreciate my efforts and tell me what they think about it. If you decide to make this I'm certain your experience will be similar to mine. I, at least, hope so!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Mexican Buffet

Ingredients: Shopping/garden list

3-4 scallions (green onion)

1 fresh sweet pepper, seeded

1 small hot pepper (optional)

2-3 tomatoes

½ head (Boston red leaf) lettuce

Guacamole – see recipe

4-6 oz. sour cream

4-6 oz. shredded cheddar cheese

or tofu “cheese”

½ can black olives, whole or sliced (pitted)

black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can refried beans

hot sauce

6 -8 oz canned or fresh corn (optional)

optional: white chicken meat,

lean ground beef,

or soy protein crumbles,

such as “Smart Ground”

(soy will require a TLBS cooking oil)

taco seasoning

Taco Shells


Coarsely chop scallions, peppers, and tomatoes. Tear lettuce into bite-size pieces. Refrigerate in zip lock baggies, plastic storage containers, or in small, covered serving dishes. Prepare salsa and guacamole according to recipe.

When ready to serve prepare meat or soy protein by cooking in skillet with cooking oil. If using ground beef add taco seasoning according to directions on packet. I have not tried adding taco seasoning to chicken or crumbled tofu.

Place each ingredient; guacamole, sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese or tofu “cheese”, pitted black olives, black beans, heated refried beans, and corn into small serving containers. Heat refried beans, covered, in microwave for a couple of minutes and don't forget the hot sauce. I serve it in the bottle.

My experience eating Mexican food such as this has been that the meat or protein portion goes on the taco or burrito first, followed by vegetables, then topped with guacamole, salsa, sour cream and finally shredded cheese, but I don't thing there is really a wrong way to layer the food. It is probably layered this way for easier handling. It all tastes great.

Serving Suggestions: Serve buffet style with Citrus Fruit Punch (see recipe) or Dos Equis. This is a simple enough meal, but it does take time to prepare, however, it can serve a lot of people by increasing the amounts, and it makes great leftovers for another evening meal. For dessert, try cut up“ papaya, mango, banana and pineapple OR “Flan” really rounds out an evening of Mexican fare.

FOODNOTES: I find it fun to make when a few friends come over and pitch in to help cut up vegees or open cans of olives and corn niblets. I use small pudding bowls, soup bowls and an old Lady Susan that has three curved serving containers with room for a small bowl in the middle. I serve the cut-up vegetables in one of the curved dishes and fill the other two with olives and cheese, etc.

I think this makes a great summer evening meal to share with family or friends. There is something for everyone. The list of suggested ingredients serves mainly as a reference for shopping for Mexican foods. There are so many variations and choices and I seem to forget something unless I have my list with me at the grocery store. I hope my list helps anyone who loves Mexican food. I love having a full array of choices and toppings when making Tacos. Enjoy!

©Wilma Carolyn Johnson Short

Orzo Picnic Salad

Serves 15 – 20 as a side dish

1 lb Orzo Pasta

3 quarts boiling water

2 tsp Adobe salt or regular salt

In a large pot boil water. Add salt and pasta. Reduce heat to medium. Cover and allow to boil for 10 minutes. Rinse and drain in colander. Place Pasta in a mixing bowl.

1/3 C vegetable oil

3 TBLS red wine vinegar

1 TLBS parsley flakes

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp freshly ground pepper

Mix together. Stir into pasta while it is still warm. It will absorb the flavors more thoroughly before it has cooled.

1 small jar artichoke hearts, drained and cut into small pieces

½ medium red onion, chopped

1 small green pepper, chopped

5-6 slices roasted red pepper, cut into small pieces

½ can pitted whole or sliced black olives, drained

½ jar green olives with pimento, drained

1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 15 oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 C grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

approximately 2 dozen cherry tomatoes, halved

Add artichokes, onion, peppers, olives, beans and grated cheese to the Orzo/oil and vinegar mixture. Toss. Gently stir in halved tomatoes. Cover and cool a few hours or overnight in refrigerator before serving. This allows the salad to marinate in the dressing. Serve cold.

FOODNOTES: I saw a ready-made orzo salad several years ago in a grocery store deli. The price per pound made me think I could make it for much less. I know it had vegetables in it, although I don't remember exactly what. I thought of what ingredients would go well in an orzo salad. The above is merely a suggestion. I've also had it with eggplant, spinach leaves and feta cheese. Certainly, there are many wonderful ingredients that could be substituted; asparagus, snap peas, radishes, celery, corn, grated carrots, zucchini or summer squash. The ingredients in this recipe represent all six food groups: protein, starch, vegetable, fruit (tomato is technically in the fruit family), dairy, and fats (a scant amount, at that).

I first made this salad, as above, with the dressing, but with only vegetables. Later, the addition of beans and shredded cheese sounded yummy to me. I got daring and made this for my church's Rally Day, which takes place in early September each year. The children register for Sunday School and then the entire congregation has a picnic out behind the church.

One year, before we had picnic there was an activity for the children, They dipped their hands in fabric paint, then made hand prints on a large white cloth (they washed their hands before the picnic!). This colorful cloth then became a part of our sanctuary, adorning the alter in the front of the church as lovely reminder that children are a special part of God's family. I love to see the little ones taking an important part like this and growing up feeling a special place in our church family, just as I did.

I have fond memories of church school picnics from my childhood. These memories play a big part in how I view summer picnics and potluck suppers. I like to think BIG when I plan for a get together with friends or family.

Many of us bring salads to the Rally Day picnic. Hot dogs and hamburgers sizzle on the grill. It is a fun time for both young and old. It's that time of year when the shadows are noticeably longer midday and the days begin to grow shorter. Sometimes there is a hint of cool fall breezes, but other days are tinged with a hot summer sun beating down on our heads. Children have just returned to school. Many of us have recently left leisurely summer beach days, sailing, or vacations in the coolness of the mountains to return to our former lives, the routines that help define who we are. It is this time of year that I know I will see more of my friends. We will share many good times together over food and drink. I can't think of a better way to start the new season than with an all-church family picnic.

As I write this I am reflecting on the wedding I attended today, June 26, 2011. I also made this salad for this wedding reception. It was a congregational event:. A wedding reception potluck dinner! and it was a first for me. The food was simply wonderful, made up of homemade dishes, of course. It lent an air of nostalgia - an old-fashioned summer wedding, eons before there were caterers. Life was simpler then. It was refreshing to go to a wedding where everyone had a special role in the food preparation. It was downright down home. I would love to see more wedding receptions take place in the church parlor “catered” by friends and family who lovingly prepare one of their tried and true favorite family dishes for the wedding feast. Food certainly has a way of uniting people.

©Wilma Carolyn Johnson Short

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Salmon Croquettes

serves 4

1 can salmon – drain, remove any residual skin and bones

½ C bread crumbs or 2 slices bread, crumbled

½ stalk celery, finely chopped

1 medium thick slice from a large Vidalia or sweet onion, finely chopped

1 egg (with or without yolk), beaten

¼ tsp freshly ground pepper

1 tsp freshly chopped parsley

1-2 TLBS cooking oil

Break up and mash the salmon with fork. Add bread crumbs, celery, onion, egg, pepper and parsley.

using a fork. Let sit covered in refrigerator for about 20 minutes (makes handling easier).

Heat iron skillet over high heat. Roll mixture into 2-inch balls or hand press into 3 or 4 inch patties. Add cooking oil to hot skillet. Reduce heat to medium-high. Place croquettes in pan. Cover with spatter guard. Lower heat slightly if necessary. High heat allows croquettes to brown up which gives them a crunchy texture. Turn salmon balls so they brown on all sides or turn patties over and brown on other side. Approximately 10 minutes on each side. Drain on several layers of paper towels. Sprinkle lightly with a flavored salt, such a celery salt, onion salt, or Adobo salt.

Serve hot with fresh lemon quarters, tartar sauce, or a favorite hot sauce.

FOODNOTES: I first made this while “camping” in Hew Hampshire when my brother was up to visit. It was a complete experiment, but it was a success. My brother went gaga over the croquettes and wanted the recipe. Finally, I have organized it into something easy to follow and make. This makes an impressive main dish or it can be served in the 2 inch ball size as an appetizer.

©Wilma Carolyn Johnson Short

Marinated Slow-baked Chicken Legs

3 lb chicken legs, skinned
½ - ¾ C olive oil (enough to coat chicken
Juice of 4 lemons
4-5 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp rosemary, broken in small pieces
1 tsp fresh ground pepper

Mix olive oil, lemon juice, crushed garlic cloves and spices in a bowl. Add chicken legs. Turn each leg so that it is covered with on all sides with mixture. Place in a baking pan. Pour any remaining mixture over the chicken legs. Cover. Bake at 275 for 4 to 5 hours.

FOODNOTES: I have had this served as part of a dinner with friends in Chicago, but I have found this to be a real party pleaser. Chicken legs have a lot of meat on them and are much easier to handle than chicken wings. They are a wonderful compliment to a buffet with salads, pasta, and the like. I prefer baking them in the oven than to using a crock pot because the meat tends to stay on the bone and the “dry” baking enhances their texture and taste, whereas in a crock pot the liquid tends to become watery from the chicken juices as it combines with the oil and lemon. The ingredients and spices are baked into them when slow-baked in the oven.

These make great leftovers for a hot summer evening when no one feels like turning the oven on. As a dinner they are good with rice and a toss salad.

©Wilma Carolyn Johnson Short

Monday, May 9, 2011

Spicy Ginger Cookies

Dedicated to Blythe Walker
wonderful friend - outstanding soprano

1 1/2 C unsweetened butter, softened

2 C sugar

1 tsp baking soda

2 T Lbs ground cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp cloves

4 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp red pepper

1 tsp salt

2 eggs

½ C dark molasses

4 C unbleached white flour

Optional: a half cup of coarse (colored) sugar for coating the cookies.

In an electric mixer, mix butter and sugar until blended. Add baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, red pepper, and salt. Mix until blended. In a separate bowl, beat eggs until smooth. Add and mix the molasses into the eggs. Add egg and molasses to the mixer. Beat until smooth. Slowly beat in the flour. When cookie dough is smooth and consistently blended, cover with wax paper or plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for several hours. Dough must be hard and firm in order to roll into balls.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. If coating with sugar, place the coarse sugar in a bowl. Shape dough into 1” balls. Roll dough balls in sugar. Place each ball at least 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake in preheated oven about 8 - 10 minutes or until tops are crackled and cookies are slightly browned. Using a metal spatula place cookies on cooling rack. Yields approximately 100 cookies.

FOODNOTES: I first made this batch of spicy gingersnaps for my friend's nephew and family as a housewarming gift commissioned by Blythe. They recently moved into my neighborhood. Based on the Swedish recipe for Pepparkorker which literally means Pepper Cookie, I thought why not add a scant amount of red pepper to the recipe. I also believe that ginger should stand out since they are Ginger Cookies. This recipe calls for molasses and sugar, which is less expensive than brown sugar.

I recently read a humorous book wherein one of the characters states that she has made diet cookies that do not have butter, sugar, eggs, or flour. I would not like to taste one of those. I've had sugarless cookies and was not impressed. I've had flourless cookies made with some kind of substitute – that made me think I was munching shredded paper, and I've had cookies without eggs. Lace cookies call for only butter, sugar and flour. If cookies are made without butter, certainly they must have cooking oil in them. I don't believe in substituting the basic good ingredients that make cookies cookies.

Welcome to the neighborhood – Jeff, Alicia, Lauren, Max, Will, Franny, Alec, and Harry! Your Aunt Blythe sure does love you.

©Wilma Carolyn Johnson Short