Crispy Corn and Bean Salad

5 ears of fresh corn - steamed
½ red sweet pepper - chopped
1 lg. Vidalia onion - chopped
4-6 lg. cloves garlic - minced
2 cans beans - drained and rinsed
¼c sun-dried tomatoes - minced
2T lemon or lime juice
⅔c mild-medium salsa
⅓c regular or spicy mayonnaise 

After steaming the corn and cutting off the kernels - don't just throw those cobs away!!  If there's any chance of soup in your future, strain the water left from steaming the corn, then scrape the cut cobs and put all the 'corn cream' into the water.  This will make a great thickening soup base!  If there's no soup in your future, you can combine the water with your dog's dry food, which they love.  Then, salt the cobs and chew on those!  You'll be amazed at how good all the left-behind-corn tastes and how much there actually is!  Today, corn-cobs with half a tomato and a cucumber will be Lunch!

Break up the corn and combine with the remaining ingredients in a medium-large bowl.  Chill a couple hours to blend all the flavors before serving.

This is great as a salad, or side dish with grilled chicken, fish, a perfectly cooked burger or steak, mac-'n-cheese. . .or just about anything.  You could also add some crumbled feta cheese for flavor and texture. . .Lin

Tuesday Morning Bread Pudding

5 slices of whole wheat bread
5 slices of artisan white bread

4 jumbo eggs
1c half and half
½c white sugar
½t nutmeg
½t salt
1t pumpkin pie spice
1c golden raisins
1c chopped almonds

½c butter
¼-½c coconut spread
½c dark brown sugar

Dry the bread overnight then cut into cubes.  In a large bowl, whisk together the next group of ingredients.  Over medium heat, melt the butter, coconut spread and brown sugar together, then add to the bowl.  Using a wooden spoon, mix these well, then add the bread cubes.

Pour everything into a well-buttered 9"x13" glass pan.  Sprinkle the top with turbinado sugar and bake for 30-40 minutes.  Serve warm with tea or coffee. . .Lin 

International Potato Corn Pepper Chowder

3 big cobs of cooked frozen multi-colored corn - from Vietnam
4 BEAUTIFUL small red potatoes - from Wisconsin
1 lg. green pepper - from Super One Foods in Duluth, MN
1 perfect onion - from Vadalia, Georgia
1 HUGE carrot - from Bolthouse Farms - Bakersfield, CA
2c frozen skinny green beans - from Aldi Grocery Store - Superior, WI
Ajvar - YUMMY eggplant, pepper, vegetable base - from Bulgaria
1-2c really good dry white wine
13 gorgeous garlic cloves - from somewhere in the Midwest
2T instant chicken soup base - from Orrington Farms in St. Louis, MO

This cooked, frozen, Vietnamese corn, known as Indian Corn here, is very starchy and not as flavorful or tender as what we 'ugly' Americans are used to in this country.  I've decided to use it and create a recipe around it anyway, for the learning and cultural experience of it.  😉

Cut the corn off the cobs, break them in half and put the cobs into a 5qt. pot.  Add just enough water to barely cover all of them.  Simmer on a low-medium bubble for an hour or so, then remove from the heat to cool.

Sauté the cut-off corn with the chopped potatoes, green pepper, onion and carrot together in a big non-stick pan with some flavored olive oil and butter.  Try to get a bit of a browning and char on everything.  Add a little white wine, then toss in the chopped green beans.  Combine the corn cob water and 10oz. of the Ajvar and mix with the simmering vegetables.  Simmer everything together another half hour, adding more oil, butter or wine as needed.  Scrape the corn cobs, removing all the creamy corn germ, and add it to the pot.  This will thicken the soup.  Add this and the finely chopped garlic to the chowder.  Simmer awhile again, then check the seasonings, adding a couple tablespoons of instant chicken soup base, more water or white wine.  Simmer another 20 minutes or so.

I had more fun making this big pot of soup than anything I can remember in ages!! 😃 Except for those great Smoked Goat Chops!!  

Sometimes it's just a really Great Cooking Adventure to take the time to work with some different ingredients and see what evolves!  Today, I'm really glad I did! Mmmmm this is really good soup! . . . Lin

Rhubarb - A Wonderful Fruit

Rhubarb is something I've learned to 'harvest as it grows.'  If I were to wait 'till the end of the season, it would be really big, tough and not nearly as flavorful.

Every couple weeks, I go out, pull the biggest stalks, wash them well, chop and freeze the fruit.  I get between 4-5 cups of chopped rhubarb each time from this tiny little clump of mine.  

It's so good as a sauce, coffee cake, desserts of all kinds.  I recently made a rhubarb dessert with a ginger snap—lemon shortbread crust that turned out so well!  An old friend of mine recently posted on his Facebook page that he'd just discovered Rhubarb Lemonade!!  Now doesn't THAT sound awesome!!

If you can develop the ability to Think Outside The Norm, it's amazing how much interesting stuff you can create.  Currently, I have an idea rolling around my mind regarding Rhubarb Frozen Yogurt! - Don't Just Think It - Do It!!  😊 . . . Lin

Another Great Big Salad - And Sautéed For Breakfast

2 romaine hearts quartered lengthwise - chopped
1 med. Vidalia onion - halved and sliced
⅓ sm. head green cabbage - sliced
⅓ sm. head purple cabbage - sliced

1 med. mini English cucumber
½ med. tomato - chopped
½ avocado - chopped
½ can drained-rinsed black beans
your favorite dressing and croutons

This make one very big salad or 2-3 side salads.  Start with your ingredients for a good, hearty, lettuce mix.  Lately Romaine is my go-to lettuce base to mix with the heartier cabbages.  Onion also adds such a nice flavor when combined with the greens.  I store this in the spinner bowl, in the refrigerator after it's all put together.  This has worked so well for me.  It keeps the mix fresh for at least 5 days, sometimes 7.

This morning I decided to steam, then sauté some of the lettuce mix in a little butter, to go with a couple eggs for breakfast.  I hope it's clear to each of you that I feel 'thinking outside the box' is ALWAYS a good thing when it comes to food choices.  Most people would pair eggs with toast, potatoes, bacon or sausage.  While those can be good options, eating a bit lighter, with different ingredients, can really be a nice change.   

Smoked Goat Chops. . .Oh My. . .These Were AWESOME

3-4# smoked goat chops, trimmed
LOTS of garlic - finely chopped
1c dry white wine
2-3T butter
a few red potatoes - chopped
1 med. sweet potato - scrubbed, sliced and chopped
1 lg. onion - chopped
water and butter for sautéing

I tilted the pan and covered it with a paper towel to absorb the grease.  I really like the taste of 'gamey' meat.  Lamb, Venison, Elk and now also Goat.  These goat chops were just extraordinary.  They were still a bit on the tough side, even after cooking long and slow, but the flavor was The Best!!

I sautéed the goat chops in butter and garlic, which was just on the top, not touching the pan at this point.  I added a little water early on and then the white wine.  Covered it all and simmered for over an hour.  At the end I added some beef soup base then thickened the gravy with flour and water.

I'm amazed at how well all this turned out.

Goat Meat Rocks!!

Be Bold - Be Creative. . .

Try New Things!!! . . . Lin

Chili-Tomato Chicken and Pasta

Every so often I find I'm really craving pasta.  Last year I found a wonderful specialty pasta that has the best flavor.  It's called Chili-Tomato little hats pasta - but - I only bought one package 😒

I'm usually pretty good at tracking down such things online, but when the only option was to order this from a company in Germany, it seemed a bit laborious.  So, I'm going to use the last little bit of it to create something yummy and just hope to find this particular brand of pasta again someday.

I'm still deciding on the ingredients, but so far I'm thinking chicken with a tomato and sour cream base, kalamata olives, green garlic-stuffed olives, garlic, onion. . .and we'll see what else emerges. . . Hmmm, maybe artichokes. . .although those are usually better in a pasta salad recipe using Italian dressing.  Lots of options though.

1¼# chicken breast meat
½c dry white wine
¼c Tuscan Herb flavored olive oil
¼c minced garlic in olive oil
⅓ lg. onion - finely chopped
6oz. chopped roasted red peppers
4oz. sun dried tomatoes - chopped
3oz. GOYA Sofrito tomato base

Combine these ingredients in a 5qt. pot and bring to a quick simmer.  Turn of the heat and let everything marinate an hour or so.  After an hour, add the following ingredients:

a few leaves of dark green 'bubble' kale - chopped
14oz. petite diced tomatoes
2 sm.-med. zucchini - chopped
1 yellow pepper - chopped
⅔ lg. onion - chopped
1½c sliced kalamata olives
al dente cooked sm.-med. pasta
1c sour cream

This turned out amazing.  It was just what I was craving.

I omitted the artichokes and green olives, but I'll be doing something with those in the not too distant future.  A variation on one of my many Mediterranean Pasta Salads sounds like a good idea. . .Lin

Asparagus (Broccoli-Carrot-Spinach) Soup

1 big bunch of fresh asparagus
6oz. fresh mushrooms - sliced
2 big carrots - grated
a bunch of green onions - sliced
10oz. fresh spinach - chopped
12oz. frozen chopped broccoli
½ a bunch of cilantro - chopped
6 lg. cloves garlic - minced
2t-2T powdered chicken soup base
2c water
2-3c half and half

Snap off the bottoms from each spear of asparagus, chop and boil them in a couple cups of water.  If they're tender enough to use in the soup, keep them separate for now, adding them at the end.  If not, mix them with your dog's food.  (S)he'll probably love them as much as my dogs do.

Slice the asparagus very thin into a big pot.  Add the rest of the ingredients except the half and half.  Simmer 30-45 minutes.  Decide if you want to keep the soup as is, or blend it smooth.  Check the flavors.  You might want to add a little nutmeg or pumpkin pie spice to bring out some interesting flavors.  Pepper, red and black or lemon pepper would also be nice.  Blend, or keep it chunky, add the half and half.  Serve with sunflower seeds, croutons and sour cream. . .Lin

Boneless Barbecued Pork Ribs and Some Amazing Vegetables

My grocery store has a little area for meat that's approaching it's 'expiration' date.  I know that probably sounds gross to many of you, but I've found such great things in this chilly little bin!!  Lamb chops, frozen chicken livers, some nice meaty pork neck bones, side pork - which looks like bacon. . .

Today I'm cooking up 3# of very well seasoned BBQ Boneless Pork Ribs I bought for just over $7.00.  Ribs are always sort of a mystery to me, as to how to keep them meaty and tender.  

Instead of grilling them, which is no longer an option for me since moving and leaving my grill behind, I just put them in my big, old, dark blue speckled turkey roaster, added a little water and am simmering them for a very long time.  To go with them, I  have tiny red potatoes, 5 garlic cloves, some pea and tiny red bean sprouts and a few spears of asparagus.  A little butter, water, salt and pepper and those will simmer-steam quite nicely.

I love dinners like this!  Totally spontaneous, no real plan and if it works, great, if not, well, I'll just not cook this ever again!  I think this will be a really good dinner though.  😉  (It was fabulous!!!)

Be Bold. . .Be Creative. . .Happy Cooking!!. . .Lin

Another Great Tuna Steak Dinner

This time it was just seared in a frying pan
and combined with another assortment of really good vegetables.
Steamed carrot, potato and pea sprouts.
The sauce was Thai Mayonnaise with Cilantro Chutney.

Another Power Salad

1c pea sprouts
1c Northern Waters Kimchi
½c small red bean sprouts
½ med. tomato
½ avocado
3 sliced radishes
1 mini English cucumber
a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Combine everything in a big bowl.  Makes 2-3 small salads or one really big one.  Today, this is Breakfast! . .😊. . Lin

For The Love Of Kimchi!!! - A Scandinavian Woman's Kimchi Adventure!!!

3# mixed cabbage - Purple, Napa and Green
¾c sea salt or Kosher salt
Cut the cabbage into quarters then slice.  Sprinkle with salt and work it in with your hands in a LARGE plastic or glass bowl.  Let this stand an hour or two before adding water.  Cover with 8-12c of water for 12-24 hours, weighing down the vegetables - to keep them submerged - with a heavy plate.

2 lg. carrots - julienne sliced
8oz. daicon radish - julienne sliced
1 bunch green onions - diagonally sliced
1 lg. leak cut into cross-sections and rings
½ Anaheim pepper - sliced

¼-½c finely chopped fresh ginger
½c finely minced fresh garlic
¼c fish sauce
2T finely crushed red pepper
2t granulated sugar

You can do this second batch of vegetables the same day, or wait till the next day.  I opted for the same day and to let them all 'marinate' together in a plastic bag in the 'fridge.  😊  Be forewarned however, the Anaheim peppers can be quite hot on your hands!  I've had problems with this in the past with some really aggressive Banana Peppers I grew years ago.  The pain of the heat lasted for days!  I didn't think Anaheim's were strong enough to cause discomfort, but I was wrong. . . 😡  When you chop peppers, it's always best to put liquid soap on your hands afterward.  Don't dilute it at all, just rub it in.  It has an emulsifying effect on the pepper oils that doesn't happen when you add water.  Work it in well, then rinse with warm water.  That should take care of the problem.  (do as I say, not as I do 😊 - profit from my bad experiences 😉) 

After 24 hours, rinse and drain the cabbage mixture very well.  Repeating several times.  Combine both bowls of vegetables and fill your jars.  This only made 3 quarts of Kimchi.  It needs to be tamped - packed down very well into the jars.  I bought special lids that let the gasses out as the Kimchi is fermenting.  There are ways around this, but I didn't want to hear glass jars breaking at 2 in the morning, so I went the easy route.

Leave the jars sealed for 24 hours in a cool dry place.  Then open to be sure the gas is escaping, recap and refrigerate for at least 48 hours.  The Kimchi will be more flavorful if it's allowed to ferment in the refrigerator a week or so.  Have fun with this!!!  This recipe is so inclusive of all the things I like in Kimchi, that I'm pretty sure it won't change much.  Possibly the amounts of garlic, ginger and red pepper will be adjusted a little, but that's about it.  I love the mix of vegetables I used for this. . .Lin 

Steamed And Raw Vegetable Salad

1 lg. carrot - sliced
4 lg. but tender asparagus spears
¼ head of red cabbage

½ lg. Vidalia onion - sliced
1 lg. mini English cucumber -  julienne sliced
½ med. on the vine tomato - chopped

Peggy's Salad Dressing *

croutons and cheese

Steam the first group of vegetables lightly, drain and shock in cold water.  Drain again then put in a large bowl for tossing.  Add the remaining vegetables, dressing and ingredients.  Toss and serve with nuts or seeds as a main dish or keep it simpler as a side salad.  Makes one very large salad or 2-3 smaller side salads. . .Lin

So. . . . .Hello...Radish...Greens!!!

A bunch of radish greens!!!
sunflower seeds
a little water and a little butter
salt and pepper

parmesan or feta cheese


Just the other day, someone mentioned eating steamed radish greens.


You know those spikey-pickey-icky looking greens you can't wait to lop off the top of those awesomely-beautiful pink, concentric circular, red, purple and white root vegetables you get at Farmer's Market???  

You eat them raw as well as steamed with pearl onions and Brussels sprouts (since you discovered that great recipe of mine, right? 😊)  Well, guess what??  Those goofy greens steam up wonderfully and taste great!  Steam them with all the ingredients except the cheese, for about 5 minutes.  Drain, add the cheese, and Feast Away!!

Again. . . . .who knew!!  But now that I do, you can bet I'll be eating them all the time!  Now I wish I could remember who told me about these!

Thank you Mystery Radish-Greens-Eating Person! . . . Lin

Lemon-Ginger Rhubarb Dessert

1c crushed gingersnaps
1¼c lemon shortbread cookies
⅔ stick melted butter
½c sugar

5c rhubarb
2c sugar
1t lemon extract
2T flour
a pinch of salt
½t pumpkin pie spice

3 eggs
½c half and half

Crush the cookies and combine with butter and sugar.  Keep aside a couple tablespoons of this to sprinkle on top before baking.  Press into a 9x9" baking dish.

Combine the rhubarb, and that group of ingredients, in a heavy pot.  Heat until the rhubarb starts juicing and the sugar melts.  As this happens, the flour will begin to thicken it.  When it does, remove from the heat and allow to cool.  Once you're sure the mixture isn't too hot (so as not to curdle it) temper the egg mixture with a little of the warm rhubarb, then stir the beaten eggs and half and half into the rhubarb mixture. 

Once combined, pour this filling into the pan with the crust.  Bake at 350° for 30-40 minutes.  Serve with a scoop of really good vanilla ice cream, berry ice cream, lemon sorbet, or fresh vanilla whipped cream 😋 This is not a bar dessert, but one that you scoop out into a bowl.  I wasn't sure how the texture would turn out, but the flavor is oh, so good!!

Normally I don't bake.  For a couple reasons.  It doesn't come naturally to me.  Since I don't understand leavening agents very well, I'm never quite sure which to use to create the desired effect.    So baking, for me is far less certain than cooking.  More science involved.  Cooking is blissful, freeform art!!  It the kitchen I'm far more an Artist than a Scientist.  Many months ago, I bought a container of amazing lemon shortbread cookies.  Immediately my mind began concocting a crust recipe, using them to go with the 5c of rhubarb I got from my little plant last year, that was now in my freezer.  Those cookies never appeared again, but I did find these and decided that since they didn't have quite the flavor I wanted, I'd combine them with Gingersnaps!  It worked!!  The other reason I don't bake a lot.  I have zero willpower!  If I bake something that turns out well, the whole pan could be gone in 24 hours!  And I live alone!!   If I make this again - (which I probably will 😉) - I'll add 1c crushed soda crackers, increase the butter to 1 stick and the sugar to ¾c.  It turned out so well the way it is, but this would have added a bit more crust and made it a little less caramel-y.  I once ran out of graham crackers while making a graham cracker crust.  I ended up using ⅔ the amount of graham crackers needed and filled in the rest with ⅓ of the amount being soda crackers.  I've never gone back to the original way of making graham cracker crusts since then!  It's a great balance with the little bit of neutrality the soda crackers provide, as well as the addition of that little bit of salt.  Try it!  You too may never make graham cracker crusts the same way again!

As always:  Be Bold - Be Creative - And I Wish You Much Time Spent Happily Cooking. . . Lin