You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘recipes’ category.

mYCZwunGTZC0LOTyRSDSIQI have been coddling my starter all week and today, with over two feet of snow on the ground with more on the way, I thought I would use some of it for these muffins bringing a little bit of summer into this winter day. I hate throwing away discard starter and have been looking for ways to use the extra starter without donating it to the septic system (which is fine some of the time). The blueberries come from right across the street at Sugar Hill Berry Farm, which will be open to the public for berry picking this summer. We were fortunate to get the opportunity to do some private picking last summer and these huge, sweet berries have been taking up residence in my freezer since then, waiting for a good recipe.

I used this recipe from Turnips 2 Tangerines¬†. This is the second time I’ve made these muffins and they turn out great. I add a little bit of sparkling sugar to the top of each for both looks and an extra bit of sweetness. I love the recipe because it doesn’t require me to use the mixer to blend the batter, elbow grease and a spoon is all that is needed, so it comes together quickly. 30-35 minutes in the oven and you have some delicious muffins. Give it a try and if you’re up this way in the summer, come pick some berries, your winter self will be thanking you. ūüôā



IzTUdKHgTwe%GhBf%w%o4wrZ54chYuQRKsKJQLfEOCYwTried my hand at making homemade hot Italian sausage without the casings. It was a surprisingly easy project. Took my 3 1/2 pound pork butt and cut it up into smaller chunks that could fit through my grinder. Put them in a ziploc bag and froze them for about an hour which amazingly makes the grinding all that easier. Ground the pork on a course grind and then laid it out on cookie sheets and added the spices and seasonings. Kneaded it all together and put it in the fridge for a day to meld all the flavors together. Tonight we tried it, cooking up a couple tablespoons to test for flavor. Delicious. This will be bagged into individual portions that I can use in sauce, stir fries or on pizza.


Not having an oven makes you become a bit more creative, or at the very least, try things that you keep saying you wanted to do, but just haven’t had time to get around to actually doing. I’ve been wanted to do my own english muffins — even having gone so far about a couple years ago to buy english muffin rings from King Arthur (which still remain in the original package – you don’t actually need them for this recipe).¬† You see, without an oven, my poor sourdough starter has stayed in the fridge longer than would normally happen over the winter months. I had a bit of a panic attack recently that the only jar of starter in my fridge might not be as patient as I have been waiting on the oven, so out came the 18-year-old starter and it was fed, fed and fed again until it was nice and happy again. Can’t lose that baby, we have a history together.

Now, what to do with my nice fat, bubbly, happy starter? Sourdough english muffins seemed to be calling my name. I found the¬†recipe¬†I used on Genius Kitchen and substituted Lactaid milk for real or powdered milk to deal with lactose intolerance issues in the family and of course the honey added was our own Heffernan honey. The dough mixed up easily enough, sat overnight as directed and with about 1/2 hours’ worth of work total and an hour additional rise time Saturday morning, we had these babies ready to go into the cast iron frying pan to be cooked.


Into the cast iron pan that was already heated and given a tiny bit of butter and oil to keep things from sticking, they went in about three batches. 4 minutes on each side covered to help them bake properly all the way through and here’s how they looked…t3k7Cj8hRVyI+Frnk0lbRgSQTduk++QfGXDbVCnL%9ywnA6G8zfXRoaaMTgPxmV5%w

After they came out of the pan, I took a fork and fork split each one, simply poking the fork into it around the muffin. Easy enough. Of course, Tom and I had to do a QC testing with the warm muffins while I was finishing up the last of them. So, into the toaster they went….


Out of the toaster, topped with some butter and here’s the final result….a nice sour tang and lots of nooks and crannies.



Bella Pup

I’m sure that they think we are crazy.¬† I’m pretty sure that we are, on more than one level but it is QUIET when they leave. There’s no one sitting in my space on the couch, no one to clean up after, no one to cook for (although my husband would disagree on that one). I think that the emptiness is bad when they leave in August, but it is deafening when they leave in January. Deafening, I tell you. First, you have the chaos that is the holiday season – the social commitments, the catching up with everyone, the exhaustion that comes from trying to make it perfect, or at least perfectly chaotic. Then, when the holidays have passed, the calendar has begun a new year, there is the dreaded “un-decorating”. That in and of itself could be enough to make one go mad. Couple the un-decorating with the gradual disappearance of one… then two…. and now all three and it is just plain quiet, with a capital Q, U are going to lose your mind, I am definitely going to lose my mind, Empty house, Tell me about it! So, what do you do? You’ve prepared for this depressing inevitability of college kid life by getting yourself¬† a puppy.

Not just any puppy, mind you, but a cat/puppy or at least that’s what the puppy thinks she is. With this new addition to the family, it doesn’t take long for you to remember that sleep is really, really important to your physical and mental wellbeing or you will go completely off your rocker; you realize exactly how messy your house really is when the little pup is pulling at and apart every single little thing in the house that she can get her paws, or more likely, her mouth on and lastly you remember how much you actually enjoyed it when it was an empty nest after they left no matter how much it broke your heart to see them go. Too late for regrets though because during all this chaos, sleeplessness and insanity, she’s already melted your heart with that silly “who me?” face that she makes when you scold her and you can’t help laughing when you find that she’s jumped over the couch and is sitting on the window sill pretending she’s a cat, looking outside and completely unable to figure out how to get back over the couch. And the way they act like little boys again when they play with her and fawn over her when they were home…well, yes, we are crazy but it’s completely okay. I’ll take crazy any day.


jpeg-image-6e4dc5a1c5ca-1Tom’s grandmother used to make chocolate pudding for us. I remember the first time I had it, it was different. It had nuts in it. Turns out that it was My-T-Fine pudding with nuts. Tiny little chopped nuts inside chocolate pudding. In the years since, I had found it a few times and made it, bringing back sweet (no pun intended) memories of a special lady. Then we couldn’t find it. I am not even sure that it is even made anymore.

This afternoon, we set about to rectify that and make our own version.

First, I made the chocolate pudding with some delicious dutch process cocoa we nabbed down at the Brattleboro Co-op when we were down there last night for dinner after a closing I had in the area. Then, while the pudding was cooking, I chopped up slivered almonds into tiny pieces and added them to the cooked pudding. jpeg-image-6e4dc5a1c5ca-7

The pudding went into the fridge and we had it for dessert just a little while ago. It was delicious.

Pudding recipe:


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 c. dutch process cocoa
  • 1/4 c. cornstarch
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 T. butter (unsalted)
  • 2 t. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped almonds

Mix the first four ingredients together in a heavy bottomed pot. Add the 4 cups of milk (we used Lactaid skim milk so my husband could enjoy it with any intestinal issues).

Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it comes to a boil. Then stir constantly for two minutes more.

Remove from heat and add 2 T. butter (I used unsalted) and 2 t. vanilla extract.

Then I stirred in the chopped almonds, about 1/2 cup’s worth.

Put them into the fridge for at least two hours to set and form that great chocolate pudding “skin”.

This made six ramekins of pudding.



This weekend’s project (which really did take most of the weekend) was to make tomato ¬†paste. I never tackled this¬†before but seemed like it was a worthwhile project to use the overabundance of ripe Roma tomatoes that had suddenly appeared in the basement.

When they were predicting frost a few weeks back, I picked pretty much every single tomato that was left on the vine, most of them, sadly still green as anything. It always is such a pain to do pulling all the tomatoes, particularly when its usually last minute and freezing out, but it seems so wasteful to let these beautiful summer fruits just freeze on the vines. Hence, my basement is now filled with trays and trays of green tomatoes. The problem is that many of them decided to ripen simultaneously. So what does one do with a bounty of tomatoes? There are many things that you can do and I have done a lot of them, yet the tomatoes continue to ripen and beckon for someone to do something with them. This seemed the next logical step.

What is absolutely amazing to me is how concentrated it becomes. I started out with 10 lbs of Roma tomatoes, which is a lot of tomatoes for this batch of paste. ¬†I then split them in half, taking out the seeds and put them in a pot. Even split and cored, these tomatoes still filled a huge pot. The tomatoes boiled down for about an hour until they were soft. I then allowed them to cool and put them into the fridge overnight, for no other reason but my own schedule which did not permit me the time necessary for the next steps. The following day, I took those tomatoes out, put them through the food mill on a fine setting to get rid of the skins. I still ended up with a sauce pot full of cooked tomatoes. I added a couple teaspoons of kosher salt and allowed this to boil down for another hour or thereabouts until it was reduced by half. This mixtures was then spread onto a silicone sheet on a baking sheet (covering the whole sheet pan) and cooked for several hours — probably about 4-5 total at 200 degrees, stirring every 1/2 hour or so to keep it from burning until it was reduced down to a thick concentrated paste. ¬†This paste amounted to¬†two tiny little jars of paste. But these are not just ordinary jars of paste, no sir, they are tiny little jars of summer. Summer concentrated and squeezed into half pint mason jars covered with a thin layer of olive oil.


They will now reside in my fridge and I will dip into them every time my cooking needs a little taste of summer. Covered with oil and refrigerated, they will last a year. Just in time to do it all again next summer.



Here’s the recipe for bracciole, let me say up front that I cannot take any credit for the recipe, it is my mom’s and my grandma’s recipe. I am merely proud that I am able to continue the tradition.


Makes 6

  • 6 pieces of bracciole meat (for those of you that are local to me Wallingford Locker has great bracciole meat)
  • 12 slices of bacon
  • 1 cup raisins divided into six portions
  • 6 pieces of garlic finely chopped
  • grated cheese of your choice (I use asiago or romano)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • butcher’s twine cut into six pieces each cut about 2 feet in length
  1. Take meat and season with salt and pepper.IMG_5565
  2. Place two slices of bacon on each piece of bracciole
  3. Sprinkle with grated cheese of your choiceIMG_5557
  4. Add one portion of raisins sprinkled on top
  5. Add one chopped clove of garlic to each piece of meat.IMG_5566
  6. Roll each piece up. I find that it is easiest to roll up starting from the smaller or thinner end. If any of the raisins or cheese fall out as you are rolling, just stick them back inside.IMG_5561
  7. When meat is rolled, tie each with a piece of butcher’s twine.
  8. Place in tomato sauce of your choice and cook on low heat for 3-4 hours. You could probably put them into a slow cooker with your sauce and cook for 6-8 hours although I have not tried this myself.
  9. When ready to serve, remove each bracciole packet from sauce, cut the twine off (this is important, no one likes string in their dinner!), slice each with a sharp knife into four pieces and serve.
  10. Enjoy!

img_5143Bagel chips are a popular snack. You can pay about $3.50 or so and grab yourself a bag at the supermarket. But, the next time you buy bagels and have some sticking around, it’s really easy to make them yourself. Usually when I buy bagels, I will buy extra with the thought of bagel chips in mind. When you make bagel chips yourself, you can also season them as you like, either by buying a particular type of bagel (onion, garlic) or season them as you make them. You can also adjust the salt as is best for your dietary preferences.


  • Bagels, thinly sliced
  • Canola oil
  • Salt

Place the sliced bagels on a sheet in your toaster oven. Brush or spray with canola oil to coat and toast for about 4 minutes per batch. Keep an eye on the first batch so you can adjust your toasting time accordingly. I have had some rather crunchy chips that I thought needed a little more time and it turned out, the “little more” was too much. When they are nicely toasted, season with salt to your taste. If you are seasoning them yourself, now would also be a good time to sprinkle your garlic or onion powder or other seasoning.

Toss into a bowl and enjoy. At our house, these don’t last very long at all. If you really wanted to make bagel chips completely¬†homemade, you could also make your own bagels first. Check out this link for that post.



¬†One of my favorite hobbies¬†is to cook, must be part of my¬†Italian background because¬†I love to see people eat. Mangia, Mangia, as my grandmother would say. It was never much of a problem with four men in the house – there was always someone happy to eat. Now, there are two of us in the house and the cooking presents a bit more of challenge, you see I am used to cooking…a lot (again, the Italian coming through). It’s difficult to figure out how to just make dinner for two, day after day.

We have had our share of good meals and our share of popcorn or PBJ for dinner when neither of us could seem to decide what we should do about that meal. I think, however, that I am coming around. Over the weekend, we felt like carrot cake, knowing full well that we couldn’t eat a whole carrot cake even if we spaced it out over days (carrot cake day #1 is great, day #2 is good, day #3 really, carrot cake again?) so I figured out that I would make a small carrot cake. I searched around and I found a recipe for a small carrot cake but it required a 6 inch cake pan. I searched around in the hopes that I could find something that I could use but not 6 inch cake pan or anything close to it. So I figured I would work with what I had, ramekins and make little carrot cakes – two of them.

They came out resembling little muffins, I cut off the raised tops to flatten them to look more like cakes, then cut each cake in half so there were two layers. The recipe called for a maple cream cheese frosting which was spread on top of one “layer” and then iced on the whole cake–it was delicious! Two¬†little individual carrot cakes for dinner earlier this week.

The recipe was adapted from Betty Crocker’s website. I omitted raisins and walnuts which could certainly be added as you desire.

Carrot Cake

1/4    all-purpose flour
 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch salt
Pinch ground ginger
Pinch ground cinnamon
Pinch ground nutmeg
1 egg white
2 tbs packed light brown sugar
2 tbs canola oil
 1 1/2 tps milk
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup packed grated carrot ( 1 carrot)

Maple-Cream Cheese Frosting

2 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tbs unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 tps maple syrup 


  • Preheat oven to¬†350¬įF
  • Spray 2 (6-oz) ramekins with cooking spray.
  • ¬†In small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg; set aside. In medium bowl, beat egg white, brown sugar, oil, milk and vanilla with wire whisk until blended. Stir in flour mixture until combined; stir in carrots.
  • Divide batter evenly between ramekins. Set ramekins on baking sheet and place in oven.¬†¬†Bake 17 ¬†minutes or until cakes are set and spring back when touched lightly in center. Cool in ramekins 5 minutes; remove from ramekins to cooling rack. Cool completely. ¬†Level cake layers with a serrated knife.
  • For frosting, in small bowl, beat together cream cheese and butter until blended. Beat in powdered sugar and maple syrup until smooth.
  • Fill and frost layers with maple-cream cheese frosting.

For those who asked, here is my go-to recipe for the battered onion rings that we put on our salads.

  • 2 parts masa harina (corn flour)
  • 1 part all purpose flour
  • Creole seasoning 1 tbsp
  • Jerk seasoning 1 tbsp
  • Black pepper 1 tsp
  • Salt (when they are cooked to taste)
  • Water (enough to thin batter to desired consistency)
  • 2 medium onions thinly sliced and separated into rings
  • Canola oil for frying

I take two onions and thinly slice and separate into rings. In a small bowl I combine the masa harina (usually 1 cup) with all purpose flour (1/2 cup) and the seasonings. Add enough water to make a batter that is not runny. Add onion rings to batter and mix to coat. Heat canola oil and place onion rings into hot oil. Cook until golden on one side and flip – do the same with the other side. Remove from oil onto tray with paper towel to absorb excess oil. Salt to taste.

Most often, I do more than I need for the salads since many of these guys never make it past the cooling tray. ūüôā


Today was a very un-January-like January day. The weather here has been less than winter-like and reminiscent of spring. Thank you (NOT) El Nino. Winter is supposed to be snowy and cold. Most of the day was rainy and damp with the actual temperatures well into the high 40s. What is left of the snow is either a lot of slush or a sheet of ice, not much in between.

On this lazy Sunday, a gumbo was simmering away on the stove. Tonight we had that gumbo made with North Country andouille sausage, chicken and okra that was flourishing in the garden a few months ago. Served with a loaf of bread, not mine but from the farmers’ market yesterday and some roasted hot peppers.



Last night I undertook a new challenge. I made homemade pierogies. The other night we had chicken and mashed potatoes so I had some leftover mashed potatoes and decided that I should give this a try. I made my own pierogi dough which was amazingly quite simple. Then I took those leftover mashed potatoes, heated them a few minutes in the microwave and stirred in some grated cheddar cheese and seasoned them with salt, pepper and onion powder. I started the whole process at 4:15 and by 6:15 we were eating some pretty decent pierogies. I am sure that mine pale in comparison to those made by those with some Polish blood coursing through their veins but I am pretty satisfied with my first time outcome.








Enhanced by Zemanta

Evilwife on the move

Validated RSS

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 810 other followers

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 810 other followers

Copyright Information

© Happenings on the Hill,
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Evilwife and Happenings on the Hill ( with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Licensing information

There have to be 5 things even on a really bad day.

Translate Me!