The China Bayles' Kitchen

Susan's Personal Favorites

Fannie Farmer's Squash Biscuits (1896)

½ cup squash (steamed and put through a sieve)
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup scalded milk
¼ yeast cake dissolved in ¼ cup lukewarm water
¼ cup butter
2½ cups flour

Add squash, sugar, salt, and butter to milk; when lukewarm, add dissolved yeast cake and flour; cover, and let rise over night. In morning shape into biscuits, let rise, and bake.

Yvonne Tremblay's Watermelon Jam

4 cups seedless watermelon puree (pureed in batches in a food processor, then pushed through fine-mesh sieve)
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 package powdered pectin (1.75 oz)
5 ½ cups granulated sugar

In a large, deep, heavy-bottomed pot, combine watermelon puree and lemon juice. Stir in pectin until dissolved. Bring to a full boil over high heat, stirring constantly.

Add sugar in a steady stream, stirring constantly. Return to a full boil, stirring constantly to dissolve sugar. Boil hard for 1 minute.

Remove from heat and skim off any foam.

Ladle into sterilized jars to within ¼ inch of rim; wipe rims. Apply prepared lids and rings; tighten rings just until fingertip-tight.

Process jars in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes. Transfer jars to a towel-lined surface and let rest at room temperature until set. Check seals; refrigerate any unsealed jars for up to 3 weeks. Makes about five 8-ounce jars.

(Reprinted with permission)

Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Cheese

2 pounds potatoes
salt to taste
12 cloves garlic, peeled
8 ounces Mozzarella or Monterey Jack cheese, grated
chopped chives
chopped parsley

Peel the potatoes if necessary, or scrub unpeeled potatoes. Cut into 1-inch cubes. Cover with water and boil until they are quite tender and beginning to fall apart, about 15 minutes. In a separate pot, cook the garlic over medium-high heat with just enough water to cover. As soon as the garlic is tender, transfer it with its cooking liquid to a blender and purée until very smooth. Drain the potatoes. Mash. Stir in the garlic purée, whipping until smooth and creamy. Stir in the grated cheese until it forms strands that stretch away from the spoon as you stir. Serve hot with a topping of chopped chives and parsley.

Pickled Egyptian Onions

1 cup Egyptian onion bulblets
2/3 cup vinegar
1 tsp. pickling spices

Separate bulblets, trim ends, peel, rinse, and drain. In a 1 to 2 quart pan, combine bulblets, vinegar, and spices. Bring to a boil over high heat; boil, uncovered, for 1 minute. Pour into a wide-mouthed jar; cover. Cool, and chill at least 1 day. Keeps for about a month in the refrigerator.

Oatmeal-Applesauce Muffins with Cinnamon Topping

1 cup old-fashioned or quick-cook (not instant) rolled oats
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
½ cup sugar
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
1 egg
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ cup raisins or nuts (optional)

1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon and ½ tsp. nutmeg, or 1½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Soak the oats in milk for about one hour. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spray muffin pan with cooking spray or use paper muffin cups. Combine the oat-milk mixture with the applesauce and egg and mix until combined. Blend the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until just combined. Gently fold in raisins or nuts. Spoon into muffin cups, filling 2/3 full. Combine the cinnamon, sugar, and nutmeg and sprinkle over the top of each muffin. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until done.

Apple-Sage Stuffing

6 slices bacon, diced
2 tblsp margarine
2 cups peeled, diced apples (Granny Smith or other tart apple)
¼ cup finely chopped onion
¼ cup finely chopped celery
3 tblsp chopped parsley
1½ tsp salt
2 tsp dried sage leaves, crumbled
1 tsp finely chopped rosemary leaves
1 tsp thyme
4 cups coarse bread crumbs

Sauté bacon in margarine over medium heat. Add apples, onion, and celery. Cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients.

Makes enough stuffing for a small turkey or a large roasting chicken.

Mesquite Cornmeal Muffins

½ cup mesquite meal
¾ cup flour
¾ cup yellow corn meal
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
¼ cup olive oil, extra virgin
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 green chile, diced
½ onion, medium, diced

Blend mesquite meal, flour, corn meal, baking powder, salt, cumin, garlic powder and chili powder in large bowl. In a separate bowl blend olive oil, eggs, and milk. Stir wet ingredients into dry, mixing until just wet. (Do not overmix.) Lightly stir in chiles and onions. Fill greased muffin tins about two-thirds full and bake about 20 minutes in 400° oven.

Lemon-Mint Snow Peas with Pine Nuts

2 Tbsp olive oil
½ pound snow peas, tips and strings removed
¼ cup pine nuts
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp lemon juice
10-12 mint leaves, minced

Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the snow peas, garlic, and pine nuts. Stir to coat with the oil. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring. Do not overcook. Remove from heat. Stir in the lemon juice and mint. Serve immediately.

How Root Beer Was Made

(Reprinted from Excellent Recipes for Baking Raised Bread, from the Fleishman Company,1912)

1 cake compressed yeast
5 pounds, sugar
2 ounces sassafras root
1 ounce hops or ginger root
2 ounces juniper berries
4 gallons water
1 ounce dandelion root
2 ounces wintergreen

Wash roots well in cold water. Add juniper berries (crushed) and hops. Pour 8 quarts boiling water over root mixture and boil slowly 20 minutes. Strain through flannel bag. Add sugar and remaining 8 quarts water. Allow to stand until lukewarm. Dissolve yeast in a little cool water. Add to root liquid. Stir well. Let settle then strain again and bottle. Cork tightly. Keep in a warm room 5 to 6 hours, then store in a cool place. Put on ice as required for use.

Or you can make it an easier way, using bottled root beer extract and dry ice.

Make-It-Yourself Gourmet Mustard

1 cup of Dijon-style mustard
¼ cup dried herbs (or about one-half cup finely-chopped fresh herbs)
1½ tablespoons dry white wine

Combine all ingredients in a lidded jar and refrigerate for a week before using, so that the flavors mellow and mingle. Keep for up to three months (although it certainly won't last that long). Some zesty herbal combinations:

  • Minced thyme, parsley, and marjoram, with one clove garlic
  • Minced tarragon with basil and thyme
  • 1-2 tablespoons prepared or freshly grated horseradish, one clove garlic, ¼ cup grated fresh ginger root, 2 tablespoons honey
  • Substitute red wine for white, with basil, chives, and a clove of garlic.

Fresh Sorrel Pie

This version is made with a strong sorrel tea, and the egg whites are folded into the filling. Other recipes use the cooked sorrel leaves, mixed into the custard-like egg filling, with the egg whites beaten into a meringue to cover the pie.

1 quart sheep sorrel leaves, washed and chopped
2 cups water
6 large egg yolks
¾ cup granulated sugar
6 large egg whites
Unbaked pie shell
1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar for dusting (optional)

In a heavy sauce pan bring the water to a boil and drop the leaves in. Boil three minutes. Remove from heat and let steep for about 30 minutes, to make a strong tea. Strain the leaves, reserving ½ cup of tea. Beat the egg yolk until light. Pour ¾ cup of sugar into the egg yolks, continuing to beat. Beat until thick. Stir in ½ cup reserved sheep sorrel tea and mix well to blend.

Pour the egg yolk mixture into a small stainless steel pan. Cook over a low heat stirring constantly, until the mixture lightly coats the back of a spoon. (Don't allow to boil or the egg will coagulate.) Remove from heat and cool slightly. Beat the egg whites in a small bowl until frothy. Pour the remaining ¼ cup of sugar into the egg whites and beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Gently fold by thirds into the cooled, cooked mixture. Pour into prepared filling. Bake at 375° until filling is firm and lightly browned. Cool before serving. If desired, dust with confectioners sugar.

Yogurt Cooler

1 cup yogurt or buttermilk
½ cup water
12 mint leaves, chopped
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
8 ice cubes

In a blender, blend together all the ingredients except the ice cubes until smooth. Add the ice cubes and blend another 20 to 30 seconds. Pour into two glasses and enjoy!

Rosemary Bagels

Bagels are wonderful yeast breads that are boiled first, before they are baked. These are easy to make, but do give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the process.

4 cups unbleached flour
2 teaspoons instant (Rapid-Rise) yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1½ teaspoons salt
¼ cup fresh rosemary leaves, lightly chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1½ cups water
1/8 to ¼ cup unbleached flour, if necessary

Mixing and rising: Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in the water and oil. (If it's humid, water should be cool; if it's dry, lukewarm. When the humidity is low, moisture is drawn from the dough, causing it to cool and inhibiting rising.) Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 to 7 minutes, using additional flour as needed to create a smooth, pliable dough that is slightly sticky. Cover with a clean cloth and allow it to rest for 10 to 15 minutes.Then divide into 8 equal pieces. Shape each into a ball and allow to rest for about 5 minutes.

Shaping and rising: Roll each piece of dough into an 8-9" strand. Form a circle by overlapping the ends and seal. Alternatively, form each piece into a ball, flatten slightly, and poke your thumb through the middle to create a hole. Place the bagels 2" apart on a cornmeal-covered surface and allow to rest 40-60 minutes, uncovered, until you can pick them up without stretching them out of shape.

Boiling: Select a pan large enough to hold four bagels. Fill nearly to the top and bring to a slow boil. When the bagels have risen, place them gently in the water and boil for 4 minutes. Place on a rack to dry for a few minutes. Repeat with remaining bagels.

Baking: Place each bagel in a plate of cornmeal to coat the bottom. Arrange on a greased baking sheet and bake at 425°F for 20 minutes, flipping the bagels halfway through. Cool slightly, then slice.

Orange-Spice Bay Vinegar

3 cups white wine or cider vinegar
peel of 1 small orange with inner white pith scraped off
5-6 dried bay leaves
3 cloves

Heat vinegar to boiling in a non-reactive pan. Put peel, bay leaves, and cloves into a clean, sterilized jar. Add vinegar. Seal. Place on a dark shelf for 2-3 weeks, shaking occasionally. Strain into a clean, sterilized bottle or jar. Seal and store. Lively addition to fruit salad.

Lemon-Mint Lamb

4 loin lamb chops
2 Tbs vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbs lemon juice
½ cup water
½ tsp ground black pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh mint leaves

Broil or grill the chops. While they're cooking, make the sauce. Saute the garlic in oil, add the remaining ingredients, and simmer gently for 8-10 minutes. Serve chops with sauce.

Oatmeal Apple Pecan Muffins (sweetened with stevia)

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
3 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. cinnamon
1½ tsp. finely powdered stevia
¾ cup pecans
1 egg
¾ cup milk
¼ cup oil (or ¼ cup applesauce)
1 medium apple, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven 400°. Mix first seven ingredients thoroughly. In separate bowl mix remaining ingredients. In 3 additions, mix dry ingredients into moist ingredients. Spoon into 12 greased muffin tins. Bake 15 to 20 minutes.

Redbud Relish

1½ cups water
4 cups redbud flowers
¾ cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp. coriander seeds
1 tsp. fennel seeds
¼ tsp. ground allspice
¼ tsp. ginger
4 bay leaves

Bring water to a boil and steam the flowers for 15 minutes. Tie herbs into a cheesecloth bundle. Place flowers in a lidded jar. Combine vinegar with water used for steaming, add herb bundle, and heat just to boiling. Pour over flowers in a lidded jar. Add herb bundle. Let sit for at least 24 hours before serving. Keeps in refrigerator for up to 3 months. Use as a garnish with meat, vegetables.

Soup Seasonings

1 tsp. peppercorns
2 tsp. dried basil
3 tsp. dried thyme
6 tsp. marjoram
6 tsp dried parsley
1 Tblsp. dried summer savory
4 Tblsp. dried celery leaves
6 bay leaves

Mix together and divide among 6 cheesecloth bags, with one bay leaf per bag. Add a bag to a pot of homemade vegetable soup.

Ruby's Hot Lips Chocolate Cupcakes

2½ cups flour
1¼ cups cocoa powder
2 cups granulated sugar
3½ teaspoons baking soda
1¼ teaspoons baking powder
1¼ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon habanero powder or to taste
3 eggs
1¾ cups milk
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1¼ cups warm water

1 pound semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 tablespoons cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons boiling water
1½ cups unsalted butter
½ cup confectioners' sugar
Pinch of salt

Makes 24 cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 muffin tins with paper liners. In a bowl, combine flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and habanero powderl. Beat eggs, milk, oil, vanilla and water into flour mixture until fully combined. Pour batter into prepared muffin tins and bake 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

To make frosting, heat chocolate over a double boiler until fully melted. Set aside to cool slightly. Meanwhile, stir together cocoa powder, baking soda, and boiling water. In a separate bowl, beat butter with sugar and salt until fluffy. Beat in melted chocolate and cocoa mixture until fully combined. Spread frosting onto cooled cupcakes.

Pease Porridge

Pease porridge hot, Pease porridge cold,
Pease porridge in the pot, nine days old.
Some like it hot, some like it cold,
Some like it in the pot, nine days old.

—Traditional nursery rhyme

When food was cooked in an open fireplace instead of on a kitchen range, a large pot always hung over the fire, filled with a thick soup of peas and other vegetables. In the morning, before the fire was lit, any porridge left from the previous meal was eaten cold, for breakfast. During the day, more peas and vegetables were added and the porridge was eaten hot. It would be no surprise to learn that some of the ingredients were actually nine days old. Pease porridge is traditionally served with sausage or boiled bacon or spread on thick slices of bread-and-butter.

1 pound split peas
salt and pepper
1 medium onion, quartered
bay leaf, 2 sprigs parsley, 2 sprigs thyme

Cover the soaked peas with water in a large pan. Add the salt, pepper, and onions. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 2½ hours, adding more water if necessary. In the last 15 minutes, add herbs. Remove and discard the herbs and onion. Serve this thick soup with slices of hot bread.

Charles Dickens' Holiday Punch (from an 1847 letter)

Peel into a very common basin (which may be broken in case of accident, without damage to the owner's peace or pocket) the rinds of three lemons, cut very thin and with as little as possible of the white coating between the peel and the fruit, attached. Add a double handful of lump sugar (good measure), a pint of good old rum, and a large wine-glass of good old brandy—if it be not a large claret glass, say two. Set this on fire, by filling a warm silver spoon with the spirit, lighting the contents at a wax taper, and pouring them gently in. Let it burn three or four minutes at least, stirring it from time to time. Then extinguish it by covering the basin with a tray, which will immediately put out the flame. Then squeeze in the juice of the three lemons, and add a quart of boiling water. Stir the whole well, cover it up for five minutes, and stir again.

Susan's favorite additions: Hot punch poured over 2-3 small chunks of candied ginger in the bottom of each cup, served with a cinnamon stick for stirring.

Slow-Cooked Beef and Chipotle Burritos

These delicious burritos are made with four members of the nightshade family: tomatoes, chile peppers, potatoes, and tomatillos.

  • 1½ pounds boneless beef round steak, ¾ inches thick
  • 1 14½ ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1-2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup cooked diced potatoes
  • 6 large flour tortillas, warmed
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups salsa

Trim fat from meat and cut meat into quarters. Place meat, undrained tomatoes, onion, peppers, oregano, cumin, and garlic into a slow cooker. Cover; cook for 8-10 hours on low setting or 4-5 hours on high. Remove meat from cooker and shred, using 2 forks. Return to cooker, add diced potatoes, and stir to mix. Spoon one-sixth of this mixture onto each warm tortilla just below the center. Top with cheese and roll. Serve hot with salsa. May be chilled or frozen for later serving.

Italian Sausage Soup
  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ medium onion, chopped
  • 2 (14 ounce) cans beef broth
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 2 small zucchini, cubed
  • ¾ cup small uncooked shell pasta
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves, rinsed, torn, packed

In a stockpot or Dutch oven, brown sausage with garlic and onion. Stir in broth, tomatoes and carrots, and season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 15 minutes. Stir in zucchini, pasta, and herbs. Cover and simmer another 15 minutes. Remove from heat and add spinach. Cover and allow the heat from the soup to cook the spinach. Soup is ready to serve after 5 minutes.

Susan's Easy Slow-Cooker Herb Bread

Baked in your slow-cooker, this crisp-crust oat-and-wheat herb bread is moist and good-tasting. Great for summertime cooking or anytime you don't want to heat the oven. This recipe makes one small loaf.

  • 1 tblsp yeast
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • ½ cup warm milk
  • 1/3 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1½ tblsp olive oil
  • 1½ tblsp honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 cup wheat germ
  • 2 tsp fresh or dried minced rosemary
  • 2 tsp minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp salt (optional)
  • 2 cups wheat flour, plus up to additional 1/3 cup

Turn on the slow cooker to high. Place a trivet (try a couple of fruit-jar rings or crumpled aluminum foil) in the bottom. Add 1 cup water.

Grease a deep bowl or other container that will fit your cooker. I use one of those 9"x5" disposable aluminum foil bread pans.

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Combine with warm milk, oats, oil, honey, egg, wheat germ, herbs, and salt (if desired). Stir in 2 cups flour, a cup at a time. Turn the soft dough out onto a floured board and knead, adding more flour as necessary, until the dough is soft and elastic. Shape to fit your cooking container.

The herbs are a suggestion; use your own favorite savory combinations.

Place dough in the cooking container and arrange on the trivet. Make a tent of aluminum foil and place loosely over the dough (this keeps moisture from dripping off the lid and into the dough). Bake on high for 3½ hours (no peeking until the end!), or until a toothpick tester inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

see just this recipe

Cinnamon-Chocolate Mashed Potato Cake with Mocha Frosting
  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 cup butter, margarine, or shortening
  • 1¾ cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup mashed potatoes
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Melt chocolate with the vanilla, cool slightly. Sift together the flour, baking powder, soda, salt, and cinnamon. Cream the butter and sugar, add eggs, beating after each addition. Stir in the chocolate and mashed potatoes. Beat in the dry ingredients alternatively with the buttermilk. Pour into a greased 13x9" pan and bake in a preheated 350° oven for approximately 40 minutes. Cool before frosting.

Mocha Frosting

  • 1 tsp. instant coffee
  • ¼ cup milk or cream
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 3 cups confectioners sugar
  • 6 tbs. butter
  • 1½ tsp. vanilla

Blend ingredients together until smooth and spreadable. Makes enough for a 13x9 cake.

Ginger Syrup

(Contributed by Susan Belsinger) This makes wonderful homemade ginger ale. Just fill a glass partway with ice, then add ginger syrup to halfway and top off the other half with sparkling water, stir and enjoy. If you add a shot of dark rum and a wedge of lime, you’ll have a delightful libation that I call a humdinger rum zinger!

Makes about 4 cups

  • 4 cups water
  • 7 to 8-inch piece gingerroot, peeled and cut into 'coins' (about 2 cups)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • ½ lemon or lime, sliced

To make this herb syrup, the gingerroot must be decocted first. Put the water in a small saucepan, place over moderate heat and bring to a boil. Add the ginger coins and vanilla bean, reduce heat, and simmer gently for about 20 minutes. Stir the sugar into to dissolve it, add the lemon or lime, cover and let stand for least 30 minutes, or until room temperature.

Once cooled to room temperature, strain, and refrigerate. (If you are in a hurry, sit the hot pan of syrup in an ice bath to cool it quickly). This syrup can be made ahead and kept in the refrigerator for a week to 10 days. Be sure to label, because all of the syrups sort of look alike. Store for up to a year in the freezer.

—used with permission of Susan Belsinger

Zippy Potato Salad
  • ½ C. horseradish mayonnaise (recipe below)
  • ¼ C. sour cream
  • 2 tsp. cider vinegar
  • 1 to 2 tsp. spicy brown mustard
  • ½ to 1 tsp. additional horseradish, if desired
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 C. chopped celery
  • 6 medium red potatoes, unpeeled
  • lettuce leaves
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped green onions

Horseradish Mayonnaise:

  • 1 Tbsp. horseradish
  • 1 tsp. lime or lemon juice
  • ½ C. mayonnaise

Wash, trim and dice the potatoes into large cubes. Place in a 4-quart saucepan and add enough water to cover. Cook for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. In a large bowl, mix together horseradish mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, mustard, additional horseradish, if used, salt, black pepper, and celery. Drain potatoes and add to the mayonnaise mixture. Toss gently to coat. Chill. Line a bowl or plate with lettuce leaves. Spoon the potato salad on top. Garnish with chopped onions and serve.

Potato Salad with Fresh Herb Dressing
  • 6 medium to large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 garlic clove, minced


  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 cup fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup green onion tops, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped red and/or yellow bell peppers
  • 3 tablespoons fresh oregano, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped salt and pepper to taste

Place potatoes in a sauce pan and cover with water. Add salt, pepper, rosemary, and garlic. Cover and boil until just fork tender. Remove the garlic and rosemary. Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl.

Mix together oil, lemon juice, onion tops, bell peppers, oregano, and mint. Pour over potatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate. Serve at room temperature.

Spicy Nightshade Salsa
  • 1 lb japanese (slender) eggplant, cut into ¼inch cubes
  • olive oil spray
  • ¼c rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 firm Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 450F. Mist a baking sheet with cooking oil. Spread the eggplant cubes on the baking sheet and roast until soft, about 10 to 15 minutes, cool. Combine vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, sauce, and sugar in a large bowl. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the roasted eggplant, bell pepper, tomato, onion, jalapeno, and lemon zest. Toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

Nopales Salad (featured in Spanish Dagger)
  • 2 pounds nopales (cactus pads), spines removed
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup sweet corn, drained
  • 1 cup black beans, drained
  • 2-3 Serrano or jalapeño peppers, chopped
  • 2-3 sprigs cilantro, minced
  • 1 cup shredded yellow cheese
  • dressing

Bring water to a boil in a large pan. Add chopped nopales and simmer for 20 minutes. Drain, rinse, and chill. Place in salad bowl with chopped onion, tomatoes, corn, beans, peppers, and cilantro. Toss with dressing and cheese.

Dressing: Mix ½ cup red wine vinegar, ½ cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon oregano, and salt and pepper to taste.

Ruby Wilcox's Hot Lips Cookie Crisps
  • 1 cup soft shortening
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1½ cup finely chopped cashews
  • 1½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1½ cups unbleached flour
  • ½ tsp soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp habanero powder

Preheat oven to 325F. Cream butter and sugar. Add the vanilla and eggs and mix well. Mix the dry ingredients together with the nuts, and stir into the creamed mixture. Chill. Shape into a log about 2" in diameter, slice, and bake until golden.

The Edmond Family's Favorite Tomato Pie
(from Bloodroot)
  • 2 cups fine bread crumbs (5 slices of day-old bread, crumbed in a blender)
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • 6 large tomatoes, sliced thin and drained on paper toweling
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  • ¼ cup chopped green onions
  • 2 cups grated Cheddar or Swiss cheese, or a combination of both
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 5 slices lean bacon, diced (pre-cook for two minutes to remove fat, if you like)

Preheat oven to 325°. Mix the bread crumbs with the dried herbs and press half of the mixture on the bottom of a buttered 9" pie plate. Arrange half the drained tomato slices, overlapping them. Top with half of the fresh basil and green onions and half of the cheese. Repeat for a second layer. Drizzle the eggs over this layer and add the remaining bread crumbs. Mix nutmeg and parmesan and sprinkle over bread crumbs. Top with diced bacon. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until bacon bits are crisp. Cool 15 minutes, slice and serve.

Yucca Soup
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp green pepper, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups yucca flowers, centers removed
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, minced
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • ½ cup peas
  • 1 Tbsp cider vinegar

Combine the soup stock, tomatoes, onion, celery, green pepper, garlic, salt and pepper. Simmer 30 minutes. Add yucca, sugar, peas, and vinegar. simmer another 10 minutes. Serve.

Caution: Yucca (Yucca sp.) is often confused with the cassava or manioc (Manihot esculenta), widely used in South American cookery. Cassava (the source of tapioca) is sometimes called yuca or yucca.

Baked Applesauce-Cinnamon Doughnuts
  • 2 packages dry yeast
  • ¼ cup warm water (105-115°)
  • 5¾ cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1¼ cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup margarine, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt

To coat before baking:

  • 2 tablespoons melted margarine

To coat after baking:

  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons melted margarine

Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Add 3 cups flour, applesauce, margarine, eggs, spices, and salt; beat at low speed with electric mixer until moistened. Beat at medium speed for an additional 2 minutes. Stir in 2 cups of flour, ½ cup at a time, to form a soft dough. Turn out onto a well-floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes); add enough remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands. Place dough in a bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in bulk. Punch dough down, and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll dough to ½ inch thickness; cut with a lightly floured 2½ inch doughnut cutter. Combine doughnut holes and any remaining scraps of dough; reroll to ½ inch thickness and cut as before.

Place doughnuts on baking sheets coated with cooking spray; brush 2 tablespoons melted margarine over doughnuts. Let rise, uncovered, in a warm, draft-free place for 40 minutes.

Combine sugar and cinnamon in a large zip-top heavy-duty plastic bag, and set aside. Bake doughnuts at 425° for 8 minutes or until golden. Immediately brush remaining 2 tablespoons melted margarine over baked doughnuts; add doughnuts to plastic bag. Seal the bag and shake to coat. Yield: 3 dozen doughnuts.

China's Jalapeno Cornbread
  • 1½ c. cornmeal
  • 1½ c. sifted flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • ½ tbsp. baking powder
  • 2½ c. milk
  • ½ c. canola oil
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 onion, grated
  • 1 c. cream style canned corn
  • ½ c. chopped jalapeno peppers, fresh or canned
  • 2 tablespoons chopped canned pimentos
  • 1½ c. sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Mix dry ingredients. Add milk, oil, and eggs. Beat well. Add other ingredients. Pour into greased muffin tins, cornbread pan, or greased cast-iron skillet. Bake at 425° about 25 minutes. Serves 8-10.

Pecans, Slowcooked 'N' Spicy
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. ginger
  • ¼ tsp. dried mustard
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 cups pecan halves

Melt butter in a 3-4 quart slow cooker, add Worcestershire sauce and spices, mix well. Stir in pecans and mix very well. Cover and cook on low for 2 hours. Stir. Cover again and cook on high for 30 minutes. Remove from slow cooker and cool. Store in airtight container in a cool, dark place.

Cinnamon Basil Honey
  • 1 cup honey
  • 2" cinnamon stick, broken into several pieces
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
  • 3 sprigs cinnamon basil

In a saucepan, gently heat together honey, spices and brandy. Put the basil sprigs into a sterilized jar and pour the hot honey mixture over it. Cover and allow the flavor to mellow for about a week. Tasty on French toast, pancakes, and waffles. —from Indigo Dying, by Susan Wittig Albert

Peach Ginger Salsa

This great salsa recipe comes from Jim Long's book, Sensational Salsas from Apple to Zucchini, where you'll find a bushel of other super salsas.

  • 1 cup fresh peaches, diced (or you can use frozen)
  • 1 cup ripe tomato, seeded and diced
  • 3 green onions, diced
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger root, minced or diced fine [I keep mine in the freezer and grate it, frozen—Susan]
  • salt and pepper to taste, optional

Combine ingredients and chill before serving.

Creamy Basil Lasagna
  • 12 oz lasagna noodles
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • salt, pepper
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 2 cups warm milk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, finely chopped
  • ½ cup ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
  • ½ tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 400°F. Cook the lasagna noodles in boiling salted water, a few at a time, until al dente. Remove carefully and drain between clean towels. Melt butter in a saucepan and stir in flour to make a roux. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste and cook over a gentle heat until flour begins to brown. Gradually stir in warm milk until sauce is smooth and thickened. Remove from heat and stir in 1 tablespoon basil, the ricotta, and half the Parmesan. In a greased baking dish, place layer of noodles, followed by a thin layer of sauce. Sprinkle this with some Parmesan and basil, thyme, and parsley, mixed. Continue to layer, topping with the sauce and a sprinkle of Parmesan. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve hot.

Gingery Daylily Buds with Rice
  • 2 cups daylily buds
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 shallots, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 cups cooked rice (a mix of wild and brown rice is nice)
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds
Steam buds until tender (10-15 minutes). In heavy skillet, heat the oil. Add shallots and sauté for about a minute. Add ginger and parsley and cook, stirring, 1 to 2 minutes more. Add vinegar, tamari, and water. Stir to mix. Toss in daylily buds. Serve over hot rice, topped with slivered almonds. Serves 4.

Potato Leek Soup
  • 3-4 leeks
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup half-and-half (you can substitute milk)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh minced thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chopped parsley and chives for garnish
Slice the root ends from the leeks, and remove the fibrous dark green tops (save for vegetable stock). Slice lengthwise, wash, and chop the leeks. Heat the butter or olive oil in a medium-size stock pot. Add leeks and onion. Cover and cook over low heat until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add potatoes. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until the potatoes are thoroughly cooked, about 20 minutes. Add thyme in the last 10 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat. Lightly mash the potatoes in the stock, using a masher or spoon. Stir in milk, and add salt and pepper to taste. Reheat before serving. Garnish with chopped parsley and chives.

Easy Parsley Sauce
  • 1 c. chopped parsley
  • ¼ c. chopped green onion
  • 2 tbsp. capers
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2/3 c. mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • ½ tsp. prepared mustard
Put the first four ingredients into a blender. Blend until well mixed. Add the remaining ingredients, blend until thoroughly mixed, and chill. Makes about 1¼ cups sauce. Serve with cold shellfish, as a dip for veggies, and over potatoes. Also nice with Eggs Benedict as a change from the usual Hollandaise sauce.

Linguine and Chicken in Lemon Parsley Sauce
  • 8 oz. linguine
  • 1 tblsp. olive oil in a skillet, and add
  • Zest of 1 lemon, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped candied ginger
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 c. chicken broth
  • 2 tblsp. olive oil
  • 2 chicken breasts, skinned, boned & cut in cubes
  • 2 finely chopped green onions
  • 2 c. stemmed parsley, finely minced
Cook linguine in 3 quarts boiling water. In a skillet, heat olive oil. Sauté lemon zest for 2-3 minutes, then add ginger and sugar and cook, stirring another 2-minutes. Do not scorch. Pour in chicken broth. Bring it to a quick boil and boil until it is reduced by half. In another, larger skillet, heat 2 tblsp olive oil. Sauté cubed chicken and green onions until chicken is lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Then stir in the lemon sauce and minced parsley and cook 3-4 minutes longer. Drain the cooked pasta, toss with the sauce and chicken, and place in a casserole. Let stand about 5 minutes before serving, to let the flavors blend.

Parsley Potatoes a la Microwave
  • 4 medium red potatoes, unpeeled, scrubbed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ c. minced parsley
  • 1 tblsp. vegetable oil
  • ¼ c. water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Slice potatoes ¼inch thick. In microwave safe dish, combine onion, garlic, and oil. Microwave at high 2 to 3 minutes. Stir. Add potatoes and half the parsley and stir to coat. Spread evenly in microwavable serving dish, and add water. Cover with plastic wrap. Microwave 5-6 minutes. Add remaining parsley and stir. Microwave another 5-6 minutes, until tender.

  • 3 tblsp. finely chopped fresh flat-leafed parsley leaves
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic (about 1 large clove)
  • 1 tsp. freshly grated lemon zest
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

If you're tired of just plain parsley garnish, try this zesty Italian variation. It goes beautifully with fish, soup, potatoes, scrambled eggs—almost anything!

Stir all ingredients together and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Savory Herb Fritters
  • 1 package yeast
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 3 - 4 tbsp finely chopped mixed green herbs (parsley, dill, green onions, minced garlic)
  • ¼ tsp salt, 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • oil for frying
In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast in ¼ cup warm water. Mix in flour, 1 cup water, finely chopped herbs, salt, pepper Cover and set in a warm, draft-free place for about an hour. Heat oil in large heavy skillet, about 1" deep. Drop batter by the spoonful into hot oil and fry, turning, until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Drizzle with Sour Cream Sauce and serve in place of bread. Or serve as an appetizer, with sauce for dipping.
Sour Cream Sauce
  • 2 tblsp. butter
  • 1/8 cup finely minced onions
  • 1 tsp. cider vinegar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • ¼ c. sour cream
  • ½ tsp flour, made into a paste by adding a few drops water
  • 1 tblsp lemon juice
Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Saute the chopped onions. Add salt, pepper, and vinegar. Cook for 3-4 minutes over low heat. Mix flour paste and sour cream. Add to sauted mixture. Cook and stir until it thickens. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Drizzle over fritters.

This recipe comes from Susan Belsinger, author of the book, Not Just Desserts: Sweet Herbal Recipes.

Rich, dark, and smooth this hot chocolate is subtly uplifted with a hint of vanilla and the spice of ground chile. (Do not use chili powder—the mix of spices with cumin and oregano. Use pure ground red chile pepper like the rich pasilla, chile negro, or ancho.) The word chocolate comes from the Aztec and Mayan 'xocoatl' which translates as bitter drink. These Indians who believed it gave them power and energy mixed it with chiles, vanilla and spices. In the cafés in Europe, hot chocolate is usually prepared with melted chocolate rather than cocoa, and served with a dollop of whipped cream on top. Here, experience the best of both worlds. Try just 1/8 teaspoon of chile and then taste—and add more if desired—I like it with about ¼ to ½ teaspoon (depending on the heat of the chiles) so it warms the tongue.

Serves 2.

  • 2 cups half-and-half cream or 1 cup whipping cream and 1 cup milk
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 ounces semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate, cut into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large pinch mace
  • 1/8 to ½ teaspoon pasilla or ancho chile powder
In a heavy-bottomed non-reactive saucepan, combine the cream, sugar, chocolate pieces, and cocoa powder. Place over medium heat and stir with a whisk. Keep stirring with a whisk until the sugar is dissolved and the chocolate is melted; do not allow the hot chocolate to boil.

Turn the heat to low and whisk so there is some froth on top. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, mace, and ground chile powder, let sit a minute or two. Whisk, taste for chile seasoning; adjust to taste. Serve hot with whipped cream if desired.

The chocolate can be cooled and refrigerated and reheated the next day.

Rhubarb Streusel Pie
  • 1 unbaked pie shell
  • 1 ½ cup frozen rhubarb, diced
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons margarine
Mix rhubarb, granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, and egg. Pour into pie shell. Mix brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, spices, and margarine, and sprinkle it over the top. Bake at 425F for 15 minutes, then at 350F for 30 minutes longer. Serve warm, with ice cream or whipped cream.

Carolee's Cranberry Cordial
  • 1 lb cranberries
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 cups light rum
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 2-3 rose-geranium leaves
Combine 1 pound cranberries, coarsely chopped with 3 cups sugar. Let sit for 1 hour and then add 3 cups light rum. Place in a jar with 2 sprigs rosemary and 2-3 rose-geranium leaves. Put on lid and shake, and then place in a cool, dark place. Shake the jar every couple of days. After 4-6 weeks, strain the liquid into a pretty bottle. Serve, or place in refrigerator for long-term storage. The cranberries make a great addition to nut breads, cookies, compotes, chicken salad, or over ice cream.

A Proper Pecan Pie
  • 10" unbaked pie shell
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • dash salt
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 1 cup Karo syrup (light)
  • 2 cups pecans, coarsely chopped
Beat eggs, add sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add melted butter, syrup, and pecans. Stir until blended and pour into pie shell. Bake at 350° for about 40-45 minutes, just until center is set. (Pie will continue to "cook" as it cools.) Tip: if you microwave the butter in a heatproof measuring cup and use the same cup to measure the Karo, the syrup will come out of the cup without sticking.