Three Cheese Spread

4oz. cream cheese
4oz. Swiss cheese
2oz. crumbled gorgonzola
¼t black and cayenne pepper
½t ranch dressing seasoning

Put the cream cheese in a small glass bowl.  Microwave for 15 seconds to soften.  Chop the Swiss cheese as shown then combine everything, mixing well.

This can be used in many ways, as a spread for crackers, biscuits or cornbread.  If you microwave 15 seconds - add a splash of milk and stir well, it can be a vegetable dip.

Here I spread it on a large slice of roasted Curry Chicken, added strips of onion, then rolled and cut it into bite-size pieces. . .Lin

Rhubarb-Orange-Pecan Sour Cream Muffins

A friend sent me a Cinnamon-Rhubarb Muffin recipe. . .
It sounded good as is, but of course, I had to add and subtract. πŸ˜‰ They turned out really well!  Quite different from the original, other than the leveaning agents - I never mess with those.

1⅓c unbleached flour
⅓c hazelnut flour
⅓c coconut flour
2½t baking powder
1T pumpkin pie spice
½t baking powder
½t baking soda

1 stick of butter
1½c finely chopped ruhbarb
3T finely chopped orange peel
½c chopped pecans
1c sour cream
1t real vanilla
2 lg. eggs

Stir the dry ingredients together well, in a large glass bowl.  Melt the butter then add the rhubarb and everything else in that group.  Pour the rhubarb mixture into the bowl with the flour and stir together quickly, just until the flour is absorbed.

Spoon into lined muffin cups, sprinkle with coarse sugar and bake at 375° for 18-20 minutes. . .Lin

Blended Mushroom Asparagus Vegetable Soup

1 bunch fresh asparagus
1# white button mushrooms
2c mixed onions and garlic
3 cloves garlic - minced
6 sm. potatoes - diced
3 stalks celery - diced
2 lg. carrots - diced
¾c chopped celery greens

Chop all the vegetables into a 5 quart pot.  Add 2T butter, ½c white wine or vodka, and 2c water.  Simmer everything, covered, on low heat for about an hour.  Add finely chopped celery tops.

Add seasonings, then blend using an immersion blender.  Stir in alfredo sauce.

Serve with croutons and a garlic chive garnish. . .Lin

Israeli Couscous - Red Bean Tabouli

Israeli couscous mix - cook and cool a bit
½ small red beans - or - a can of beans

zest if 1 large lemon
¼c fresh lemon juice
¼-½ extra virgin olive oil
1 lg. clove of garlic - minced
½ lg. purple onion - diced
1t Rosemary Seasoning *
½t ground black pepper
¼t cayenne pepper

3 Roma tomatoes - diced
3 mini English cucumbers - diced
⅔ bunch of fresh cilantro - sliced
1-2 medium carrots - scrubbed-grated

I've said it before and it's still true.  I've never met a Tabouli I didn't like!  I've used bulgar wheat, the main ingredient in Molly Katzen's Tabouli in The Moosewood Cookbook - my first Tabouli adventure in the '70's!  I've also tried jasmine rice, a hearty wild rice blend, farrow, kamut, but I think Quinoa Tabouli still gets my #1 vote - AND it's gluten-free!  I've also made it with just beans.  Two cans of garbanzos, one chopped, one whole, using no grains.  This Israeli Couscous mix was calling to me though and I like how it turned out.

Combine the lemon zest and the ingredients in that group, in a large glass bowl.  Add the couscous and the drained, well-rinsed beans.  If using canned, rinse and drain well before adding.  Gently stir all this together and let it 'marinate' while you finish chopping and grating.  Add the fresh vegetables, gently mixing well.  If you're not a cilantro fan, use a bunch of fresh parsley, curly or the flat Italian variety.  Serve with crumbled Gorgonzala cheese.  Mmmm - Fresh Tabouli - Tastes like Summer! . .Lin

Smokey-Peppery Parmesan Croutons

3 French baguettes
extra virgin olive oil
grated parmesan cheese
Rosemary Seasoning *
Smoked Garlic Chipotle seasoning

Cut the baguettes into small cubes and put into a large open bowl.  Drizzle with ¼-½c of a good, hearty olive oil then sprinkle on the other seasonings, tossing often to coat and distribute the flavors well.  Put half on each of two parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  Bake at 250* until your whole house is scented!  Probably 20-45 minutes, tossing when you start to smell the seasonings.

Perfect on Creamy Onion Soup!
When the bread is dry and beginning to brown, shut off the oven and leave the croutons to finish drying and cool, for several hours.  Use on salads, in soups and vegetable casseroles. . .Lin

Vegetables and Eggs. . .

Wash then chop the vegetables shown into a medium, non-stick pan.  Add a little water, 1 tablespoon of butter any any seasonings you'd like.  Cover and simmer-steam for 5 minutes - no longer - these will go from perfect to overcooked in a flash!

Add eggs at the very end, or cook them seperately the way you like.  I like mine with broken yolks and just barely set.  No runny ones please!  Mmmm. . .Lin

Spicy-Sweet Cilantro Peanut Sauce

6oz. crunchy peanut butter
8 oz. Asian sweet-chili sauce
2T coriander (cilantro) chutney
2T chopped fresh cilantro

Heat this for 20-30 seconds in the microwave to make it easier to stir together.  Serve with anything that tastes better with a good, spicy-sweet peanut sauce.  Here in Duluth, we have several Asian restaurants as well as a couple grocery stores that create excellent Spring Rolls and some Americanized versions of 'sushi.'  I'll go for a while, then start to crave it!  I just love it.

Ohh, so good.  With a BIG glass of Beet Lemonade πŸ˜‰
Today after church, I went to the one fairly close by, with the intent of just buying that and a couple other things.  My hope was to get in and out of there for under $25.00 πŸ˜„

Well, their produce section sucked me in!  Then other departments followed suit!  I won't tell you what my total bill was.  (have i mentioned how much i love grocery shopping??)

I bought some brat-burgers they make right there.  Cheddar-Wild Rice and Mushroom-Swiss.  Very reasonabley priced!  For two of each, all four were under $5.00 and will be a nice change, and might give me ideas for new recipes.  I found some raw, frozen shrimp for a future Shrimp Scampi, a big pot of Shrimp Gumbo. . .some lamb for Scotch Broth and way too many other things I hadn't intended to get.  Such great finds though!  Expensive, but everything there is always excellent quality, which is important to me.  Happy Sunday Everyone! . . 😊 . . .Lin

A BIG Allium Adventure!!

I didn't know onions were in the Lily family!  They're also known as alliums!
I've become sort of compulsive with certain cooking and kitchen related things in the past few years.  You know how people collect things. . .well, I have quite the collection of Hall's Superior Kitchenware bowls and covered casserole dishes.  They're useful and so beautiful!  More recently, I've been buying onions, a variety of them, different colors and flavors for different recipes.  I finally decided I need to do something with them since I have so many.  Especially since a couple days ago, a friend and I made tacos for 110 people, and we chopped WAY too many onions. 😜 I split them with another kitchen worker, but we still each had 4c of finely chopped Vidalia onions!!  Oh my!

So today's the day!
I was going to make all these ingredients into a nice pot of soup. Well, problem is, I don't have anyone to share this with right now. I chopped and chopped, then mixed them all together, then realized this is WAY too much onion for a little 3 quart pot of soup! Yup, I was right, it's 12 cups of assorted chopped alliums. Garlic, Purple Shallot, Yellow Onion, Purple Onion, and of course, those Vidalias! πŸ˜„

Purple Onion, Vidalias, Shallots, Yellow Onions, Garlic in the center

The greens in the little vase, are mostly for garnish.  Garlic shoots from some cloves I planted, as well as some lovely chives I have in my yard.

I'm using 4 cups of the mixed onions for this recipe, but freezing the remainder in four 2-cup packages for future soups, stews or chili.  

4c mixed, chopped alliums
3-4T butter

2c of filtered, cold water
1t-1T Rosemary Seasoning *
2 sm.-med. new red potatoes
1-2T Chicken Better Than Bouillon

2-4 additional cups of filtered, cold water
½-1c sour cream - optional

'Sweat' the onions and butter over low heat, in a heavy-bottomed, covered pot for about 10 minutes, before adding the next group.  I decided to use a couple scrubbed, finely cubed potatoes to thicken the soup, rather than four, keeping it gluten-free.  Simmer all this together, covered, for another 20 minutes or so, adding more water as needed.

When the potato cubes are soft it's ready to be blended.  An immersion blender is wonderful for this, but you can also use a regular blender.

After blending, check flavors and make any adjustments needed.  Cool for 10 minutes before stirring in the sour cream.  Serve with minced chives, a dab of sour cream and croutons if you want. . .Lin

Beef Barley Soup

1½# lean beef - cubed
¼ lg. onion - chopped
1-2T extra virgin olive oil

Saute' the beef and onion until liquid absorbs and the meat begins to brown in a 4-5 quart pot.  Add a little water and allow to brown again.  Repeat this a couple times until meat is nicely browned.

Chop or slice the vegetables shown into the pot with the browned meat.  Saute for a few minutes, adding a little water if needed.  Add a quart of beef broth, ¾c of long cooking barley, the tomatoes, 1T of sugar and 1-2T of Rosemary Seasoning *

For a simplier, meatier broth, omit the tomatoes.  Simmer on low-medium heat for an hour.  Check the flavor, adding more seasoning or water if necessary.  This makes about 4 quarts of soup. . .Lin

Vegetable Soup

1 med. onion
3 carrots
2 ribs of celery and greens
¼ head of green cabbage
10 Brussels sprouts
1 sm. Poblano pepper
2 sm. zucchinis
salt and pepper

Chop, slice or dice everything into a 3 quart pot.  Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil, stir and let sizzle a while before adding a 14-15 oz. can of petite diced tomatoes.  Rinse the can and add a can full of water to the pot.  Cover and simmer 20 minutes or until the vegetables are done as you like them. . .Lin

Clean GREEN Gazpacho

Today is Saturday. . .It's 4 days out from my colonoscopy on Wednesday.  Ahhh, fun times, right?  I see in looking at the new and improved instructions, since my last one, there are way more dietary restrictions that begin tomorrow.  Mainly, adhering to a low-fiber diet. πŸ˜’ I'm a huge fan of vegetables, which hardly fall into that low-fiber category.  So. . .I decided to do a day-4-and-counting fiber splurge which I'm hoping I won't regret. πŸ₯’ πŸ… 🌱 😐 🌿 πŸ₯¦ πŸ₯•

For this interesting recipe of green gloppiness, which tastes a little like it came from the bottom of a lawnmower. . .combine the following in a blender.

4 leaves of purple cabbage
2 pickling cucumbers
2 celery ribs and tops
1 sm. broccoli crown
a big handful of kale
1 lg. Roma tomato
lots of cilantro
8 oz. water
1-2t Rosemary Seasoning *

- {1 lg. carrot - optional
- {1 lg. garlic clove - optional

Heat just a little, top with croutons, or serve cold. . .Lin

A BIG Pot Of Minestrone

5 ears of fresh corn
1 bunch of asparagus
6-8 oz. kale - chopped
3 carrots - cut in chunks
3 stalks celery - chopped
1 green pepper - chopped
⅓-½ green cabbage - cubed
¼c extra virgin olive oil

1 can black-eyed peas
1 can Great Northern beans
12oz. red pasta sauce
1 28oz can petite diced tomatoes
1c medium pasta cooked al dente'

Cook the corn, or if you'd rather, just leave it raw.  Cut it off the cobs and combine with the rest of the ingredients in the first group.  Saute' until everything's sizzling.  Add water 2 cups at a time.  You'll probably add a total of about 8 cups by the end.  Simmer the vegetables for about a half hour.  Add the drained-rinsed beans, the pasta sauce, tomatoes and another 2-4 cups of water.  Simmer another 15 minutes.  Add 1t sugar, salt, pepper, Italian, Mediterranean or Tuscan seasonings, and a good quality beef soup base with no MSG.  Stir until dissolved.

Check flavors and add anything else you think would go well with the flavor profile you're building.  I made this for a big group of hungry movers the other day.

I think this recipe made about 10 quarts and there was still quite a bit I was able to leave with the new homeowners.

Mmmm, Soup! . . . Lin 

Whole Wheat Black Truffle Ranch Croutons

I was totally impressed by the flavor, crunch and savoriness of my first ever batch of croutons I made recently.  I found a nice loaf of whole wheat French bread the other day, and decided to give it another go!

½c good quality olive oil
1t± packaged ranch seasoning
salt, pepper and garlic seasoning
½-¾c finely grated hard cheese

Mix the oil and seasonings well.  Drizzle over the bread cubes in a really big bowl.  Toss to coat all the cubes, then sprinkle with the cheese and continue to toss.

Pour onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet with sides.  Bake at 375° for 20 minutes tossing the cubes after 10 minutes.  Toss again at the end, shut off the heat and leave in the oven overnight.  Next time I find a good loaf of crusty bread - maybe a sourdough, I think I'll make that recipe with butter instead of olive oil.  A little garlic and herb seasoning, Himalayan pink salt, and a mix of red and black pepper.  Fun stuff! . . . Lin

Lamb and Vegetable Stroganoff

10oz. cooked lamb roast - cubed
1c sliced or chopped onion
2 stalks of celery - diced
1 carrot - diced
2T butter

Penzey's Black and Red Spice
Rosemary Seasoning *
1-2c lamb broth

4-8oz. sour cream
4oz. black truffle Alfredo sauce

Saute' the first group of ingredients until the butter melts and everything's sizzling.  Add the seasonings, a little at a time.  After all the flavors come out and blend, you can add more at the end if needed.  The black and red is a great blend of finely ground black and a little cayenne pepper.  Cover this and turn down the heat.  Let simmer on low about 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, cook up some chunky pasta.  Just before serving, add the sour cream and Alfredo. Stir in some of the starchy pasta water to both thin and thicken it.  (it's magic!)  Check the flavors to see if more seasoning is needed.  As I was serving this, I remembered I have 8oz. of gorgeous mushrooms in the 'fridge - how yummy would those have been in this?  Also some really great frozen peas, which might also have been good.

However, this was beyond delicious!  It'll forever ruin me for regular (beef) stroganoff.

This would be a great recipe to also use with tender bison, elk, venison or goat, which is what the butcher at the European Market told me this roast was.  I love lamb though, so it worked out well.  And. . .I did buy goat chops!!!  So, if you love goat, stay tuned! πŸ˜‰. . . Lin

A Big Vegetable, Cheese, Egg Frittata

5-8oz. kale leaves

Some people I'm close to are sanding the hardwood floors in the home they'll move into soon.  I think bringing them brunch and snacks for later would be appreciated, so. . .It's Frittata Time!  In a small pan, put the torn kale into a small pan containing a little well salted water and steam, covered, 10 minutes or so.  Turn off the heat and let stand a while.  Chop the tomatoes into a small bowl and set aside.

Chop, slice, or cube the vegetables shown, into a big bowl.  Season with salt, pepper and chili-lime seasoning.  Drizzle ½ stick melted butter over all, toss well.  Put the vegetables on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet with sides.  It's better to split this with half on each of two large sheets.  I only used one and the vegetables ended up more steamed than roasted.  Roast until sizzling and cook about them about half way to being done, at 400°.  Put them, and the drained, dried kale and tomatoes, into buttered baking pans.

2T corn flour
1t baking soda
1t baking powder

1 dozen large eggs
1c half and half
1c farmer's cheese*

In a medium, bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together then drizzle in ¼c half and half, whisking quickly to keep lumps from forming.  Beat or whisk the room temperature eggs, remaining half and half and the crumbled farmer's cheese.  *You could use ricotta or small curd cottage cheese if you can't find farmer's cheese.  Pour over the vegetables and top with 1c of a good quality, strong flavored, grated cheese.   Bake at 350° for about a half hour, until the eggs are set. . .Lin

2-Day Scotch Broth with Madagascar Pink Rice


5# lamb-?-goat roast
~ all fat removed - but saved
1T adobo seasoning or
1T Rosemary Seasoning *

I recently went to a European Market in the Chicago area.  I was SO excited to get some smoked goat chops again, like I did 3 years ago at this market.

Well, the butcher gave me a gorgeous 5# roast, but when I got it back home in Minnesota, I realized it was labeled MUTTON - lamb, which I also love, but it's not goat!  If I'm remembering the scent of goat meat, this does seem more like lamb.  The butcher I spoke with a couple days later, to get more 'goat' cut and wrapped up what I'm sure IS goat, but this time the label read COW FEET!  He was a sweet man who spoke broken English, who reminded me of a Spanish Dustin Hoffman!  The goat chops were over $4 a pound, but this whole package cost me a little over $6, rather than the $13-$15 it should have been.  Hmmm, all kinda strange!  "Preferred-customer discount?"

Regardless, put the trimmed roast into an 6-8 quart pot, brown it in the butter.  When both sides are nicely brown and sizzled, remove from the heat a few minutes, then add water to almost cover the roast.   Add the thick outer fat - that you trimmed off - back to the pot.  (I know, counterintuitive, right?  I like doing it this way.  It'll make sense in a bit.)  Cover the pot and simmer 60-90 minutes, turning the meat over several times.  Take the roast out, put it on a dinner plate with raised edges, let cool then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.  Scoop out the big chunks of fat that didn't melt and thrown them away.  Put the fatty broth in the refrigerator until the fat solidifies.  Overnight is best.


12oz. meat cut in small cubes
2t Rosemary Seasoning
2T of the rendered fat
⅔c long cooking rice, barley or sorghum 

This is the fun part.  Somehow I deleted the photo of the fat covered broth when I took the pot out of the 'fridge.  It had a very hard ¼" of yellow-white fat that was easily and cleanly broken away from the broth beneath.  I heated the 5oz. of fat then strained it into the jar shown above at the right in the first little photo.  It solidified quickly.  I then added a little water to the unstrained broth, brought it to a simmer, then strained it.  In the end, I only used the jar on the right, since I have so much meat left, I wanted to keep at least a quart for future recipes.  Put this group of ingredients into the original pot after it's been cleaned.  Saute' and stir until a little  browning begins.  Add 4oz. water and repeat the browning process.  Do this a couple times.  To add a nice richness, use 4oz. of your favorite wine or beer the last time.

Add the vegetables, then pour about a quart of the meat broth you've made, over everything.  Simmer a half hour, covered.  Add any necessary seasonings, more adobo, Rosemary Seasoning, or a couple tablespoons of a good quality beef soup base.  Bring back to a simmer and serve.  This is wonderful soup, just as is, or you could served it with some crusty, buttered ciabatta bread.  Mmmm.  A big bowl of this will cure what ails you.  There have been times I was SO sick and had a bowl of this and I'm pretty sure it brought me back from death's door.
Ahhh. . .Soup. . .It'll heal you. . .heart, soul, mind and body. . .πŸ˜‹. . . Lin

A Mexican Calabacita Adventure

1½-3 calabacita squash
1c chopped celery & tops
¼ lg. white onion with top
1-2t Penzey's Shallot Pepper
1-2T extra virgin olive oil
¼-⅓c dry white wine
½c mild Ajvar
1-2 cans drained corn
rest of the onion - diced
3 lg. cloves garlic - sliced
1 lg. 20 oz. beefsteak tomato

Doya know by now. . .that I love grocery shopping? πŸ˜€ Especially in ethnic markets where there are strange and wonderful vegetables, fruit, beans, meat and even breads that I bring home, then Google for information!  After my recent trip to the Chicago suburbs, I'm really loving all my wonderful finds from one amazing European market in Darien, IL and Farmer's Best Market in Northlake, IL.  These food treasures temporarily give great dimension to my cooking and food choices.  If I discover something I really love, it's often available to purchase and have shipped online! πŸ˜€ This morning I had a Food Adventure Breakfast using wonderful finds from my ethnic market shopping: 1 small, heavy piece of dark Lithuanian Juoda Duona bread, with sunflower seeds.  Spread with a little goose liver pate,' a thin slice of onion, topped with mashed avocado and shallot pepper seasoning πŸ˜‹ Oh my. . .

Ahhh, back to this recipe. . .scrub, then cut the squash lengthwise, into quarters into a big heavy pot.  (calabacita means 'little squash' in Spanish. . .They're grown primarily in the southwest and Mexico and are very similar to zucchini)  Add the celery and a little of the onion, finely chopped with a couple tablespoons of good quality extra virgin olive oil, seasonings and ¼c of dry white wine.  Simmer on med. - high heat for about 15 minutes until the celery and squash are a bit translucent.  Add the remaining ingredients, stir, cover and simmer   Top with grated or cubed Kefalotyri cheese, if you have access to a European market.  This is a hard, Greek cheese usually made from a mix of sheep and goat's milk.  This particular brand, Kalios, uses cow's milk, and it's great.  Not as salty as Italian and French hard cheeses.
Ahhh, fun-adventurous cooking. . .with unusual, found treasures. . .
Definitely My Thing. . .Lin


13oz. crushed tomatoes
~ or 3-4 fresh ripe tomatoes ~
1T coriander (cilantro) chutney
3-4c chopped onion, carrot, celery
1 lg. clove of garlic
1c mild Ajvar sauce
2c diced cucumbers
2T balsamic vinegar
⅓c extra virgin olive oil
½-1t sugar
½t Rosemary Seasoning *
½t Little's Chili Lime Seasoning

I woke up at 4:30 this morning thinking ''Gazpacho!''  Gazpacho is a cold, flavorful raw vegetable soup, indigenous to Spain and Portugal.  The first time I ever tried it was in a tapas restaurant in Madison, Wisconsin.  One of the women I was with immediately pronounced it "bad" and pushed it away.  I thought it was spectacular!  I asked the Chef about ingredients, and he reluctantly filled me in and corrected my wrong guesses.  I was able to duplicate it almost perfectly, but somehow lost my notes.  This turned out different, but I really like it!  I'll need to shop soon, since my fresh vegetables have dwindled to almost nothing, but as a grocery list began to formulate, I realized I had everything I needed for what seemed like an interesting gazpacho recipe.  So here I am at 4:45am, typing it up!

As you chop the ingredients you can put them right into your food processor, then empty it into a big bowl, or assemble everything into that big bowl then blend the ingredients in small batches and transfer to another big bowl or pot to store in the refrigerator.  What you don't eat, or give away, would make a great vegetable soup base, or add some tomato sauce for a spicy interesting pasta sauce.  You could use it for that now, or freeze for another time.

Serve fresh, with a dab of sour cream or plain Greek yogurt and some croutons.

Mmmm!  Today. . .it's Gazpacho For Breakfast πŸ˜ƒ. . .Lin