Recipe: Carmel Corn



There is nothing healthy about this snack. Seriously, it is very bad for you. The only non-processed ingredients are butter and brown sugar, and it uses corn syrup, one of the worst fake foods for human metabolism. Expect an increase in personal girth. Lardage is inevitable.

BUT I DON’T CARE. This is an incredibly delicious treat. I cannot descibe how amazing it is. Put it in front of people and they will scarf it down in no time. Teens inhale it. The combination of salty corn, butter and caramel is irresistible.

I make this just once, for Christmas, and I make sure to bring it to events where other people will help me eat it. If this was in the house for just the two of us, we would consume it in a day. This caramel corn is high-calorie sin. Completely indulgent. And I hope you make it.

This isn’t my recipe; it comes from the Old Dutch company, a local snack company. Look for “corn puffs” or “puffed corn” snacks if you can’t find Old Dutch “puff corn” where you live. Don’t substitute a cheesy snack like Cheetos. ‘Puffed corn” is like regular Cheetos, all puffed up, but without the orange cheese coating.


  • 1 large bag of puffed corn
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1.25 cups brown sugar
  • 2/3 cups light corn syrup (yes, I am ashamed)
  • 1 tsp baking soda


  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees
  2. Combine butter, sugar and corn syrup in a saucepan.
  3. Cook on medium heat until everything is dissolved. Stir frequently. It may foam. If it does remove from the heat.
  4. At the last moment, add the  baking soda. Remove from the heat. Stir until the soda is dissolved and the foam subsides
  5. Empty the corn puffs into a large roasting pan with high sides.
  6. Pour the caramel over the corn puffs. Stir until all the puffs are coated with caramel.
  7. Cover a large area on your counter or a table, three foot by two feet with wax paper


Bake it!

  1. Put the pan in the oven.
  2. Cook for 45 minutes.
  3. Stir the corn every 15 minutes, making sure to scrape the caramel off the bottom of the pan.
  4. When the corn is done, stir it one last time.
  5. Spoon the corn puffs onto the wax paper.
  6. Quickly break the corn puffs apart with your fingers. They cool quickly.
  7. Once the puffs are completely cooled, serve or put into a sealed container.

Some notes:

The caramel corn will keep for a week, if it lasts that long.

Do not use margarine or any butter substitute. Butter is the only thing you may use. Margarine is disgusting. Please don’t ever visit my blog again if you use it.


  1. Add toasted pecans to the puff mix prior to pouring the caramel.
  2. Melt some quality semi-sweet chocolate chips in a bowl over boiling water. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the cooled caramel corn.
  3. Use good quality air–popped popcorn as a corn puff substitute.



Recipe: Artichoke Calzones






This is my own creation. Calzones are usually pizzas folded in half, sealed and baked. Mine is open at the top and the sauce is spooned over it when served. This offers a better presentation than normal calzones which look like giant pasties: all dough and little color.

I used to make my calzones when my kids were teenagers. We loved them. Now that they are out of the house and on their own, I seldom make calzones. I posted this recipe for my son Evan to try. I hope he extends it with his own creativity. And I look forward to having him setting one in front of me at his dining table.




  • 1 frozen bread or pizza dough
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 large jar of artichoke hearts, marinated in olive oil
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Marinara sauce, homemade (see below) or from a jar




  1. Allow frozen bread dough to thaw and rise in a greased bowl covered with a damp cloth, about four hours.
  2. Drain artichoke hearts. Chop into small pieces.
  3. Strip rosemary leaves from the stem. Chop fine. Discard stem.
  4. Mix rosemary leaves, pepper flakes and drained artichoke hearts. Set aside.
  5. Separate egg yolk from white. Mix egg yolk in a small cup with milk. Set aside.
  6. After the dough has thawed and risen, punch it down and knead for 1 minute.
  7. Grease a large baking pan.


Some assembly required


  1. Roll out dough on a large wooden cutting board sprinkled with flour or cornmeal. Roll the dough into an oblong shape.
  2. Sprinkle 1/2 shredded cheese in the middle third. Avoid sprinkling cheese near the top and bottom, allowing a one-inch cheese-free border.
  3. Sprinkle the artichoke mixture on top of the cheese.
  4. Cover the artichokes with the rest of the cheese
  5. Make cuts in the long edge of the dough, one inch deep, one inch apart. Make matching cuts along the other side
  6. Fold over the top and bottom edges
  7. Pull a tab from each side and twist together. Move nimbly, working your way up the top, twisting as you go.
  8. Carefully transfer the braided calzone to the baking pan.
  9. Cover the calzone with a damp cloth. Allow to rise for 30 minutes in a warm place.

Cook it!

  1. Preheat oven to 375F 
  2. Uncover the calzone. Use a pastry brush to gently cover the dough along the twisted braids and sides with the egg-milk wash.
  3. Sprinkle with Kosher salt
  4. Put in oven. Bake for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven. Allow to cool for five minutes.
  6. Slice thin. Serve immediately, spooning warm marinara sauce over the slices.




Some notes:

You may substitute traditional pizza toppings like cooked sausage, pepperoni or olives for the artichokes.

Please use quality, marinated artichokes. Frozen and canned artichokes are flavorless. If you do use marinated artichokes, please use the best, those steeped in olive oil and spices. This makes a difference.


John’s Homemade Marinara Sauce

  1. 2 cans tomato sauce
  2. 1 small can tomato paste
  3. 1/2 cup dark red wine
  4. 2 cloves crushed garlic
  5. 1handful of sun-dried tomatoes (optional)
  6. Thyme, to taste
  7. Oregano, to taste
  8. Chopped basil, to taste
  9. Kosher salt, to taste
  10. 1 tablespoon chopped raisins. (Secret ingredient!)
  11. 1 tablespoon olive oil


Heat olive oil in pan. Saute garlic for 1 minute. Add other ingredients. Reduce heat to low. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.





Recipe: Breakfast Pizza




I am the one who gets up early in our marriage, usually hours before my wife. Since I enjoy cooking, it’s become our tradition to make a big deal about Sunday breakfast. I don’t mind the extra time it takes to make a special meal form scratch. I also think the scents of a cooked breakfast lures my wife out of bed.

This is my recipe for breakfast pizza. It fills the kitchen with the aroma of toasted cheese and onions. My wife is never late to breakfast when I pull this out of the oven.



  • 1 pre-made, thin pizza crust
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 3 green onions
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 tsp red pepper or more to taste
  • Cheese: either mozzarella, asiago or a mixture of both
  • 4 eggs
  • 5 strips of cooked bacon
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • Dried pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt



  1. Preheat oven to 450F.
  2. Wash onions. Trim off ends but keep the green stalks. Slice thin.
  3. Slice the red pepper into thin, nearly translucent rings. Pat dry.
  4. Mix olive oil, onion and thyme in a small bowl. Let set for ten minutes.
  5. Crumble bacon. Set aside.
  6. Spread onion-oil mix over the pre-made crust to about 1/2 inch from the edge. Reserve 1/2 tablespoon oil.
  7. Sprinkle with cheese(s).
  8. Arrange the red pepper slices on top of the cheese
  9. Sprinkle bacon atop the pepper slices.
  10. Season with salt and pepper flakes.


Cook it!

  1. Slide the pizza directly onto the oven rack. Don’t use a pan. Set timer for 6 minutes.
  2. Fry the eggs in a preheated skillet to desired doneness.
  3. Remove pizza from the oven when done.
  4. Remove eggs from the skillet. Place atop the hot pizza, one egg per quadrant.
  5. Spoon the remaining onion oil over the eggs
  6. Cut the pizza. Serve right away.


Some Notes:

You can use other pizza toppings like Italian sausage or mushrooms. Less is more with the cheese. Just sprinkle enough to cover the crust.

Timing is everything! Do your best to pull the pizza out of the oven as soon as the eggs are done.

This would be a great brunch or dinner entree.



Recipe: Jamaican Fish in Coconut-Mango Sauce



Tired of fried fish? Don’t want to stink up your house? This easy recipe infuses Jamaican flavors for a tender, poached sea fish. Another one-pan recipe (my favorite kind) that takes just a half hour to prepare.

I adapted this recipe from the one Robin Asbell taught at a cooking class I attended last winter. Credit where it’s due; Ms Asbell is a wonderful teacher.



Coconut milk is the essence of this dish



  • 1 lime
  • 1-2 lbs mahi-mahi or snapper filets
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 fresh jalapeno pepper (optional)
  • 1 small bunch of green onions
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (NOT ‘light’)
  • 2 cups peeled, ripe mango
  • 1 tablespoon chopped thyme
  • salt and pepper




  1. Bring fish to room temperature. Cut into 4-5 pieces.
  2. Juice the lime. Strain juice and set aside.
  3. Rub lime wedges over the fish.
  4. Lightly toast coconut flakes (CAREFUL: it burns easily)
  5. Chop onions into small pieces
  6. Dice jalapeno.
  7. Combine all ingredients into a bowl except for the fish and coconut oil.



The liquids poach the fish


Cook it!

  1. Heat pan on medium-high. Add coconut oil. 
  2. Add the fish to the pan after the coconut oil has melted and started to shimmer.
  3. Sear the fish on one side for ONE MINUTE. Turn over, being careful not to tear the fish.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients into the pan. Cover the fish with the fruit.
  5. Lower the heat to medium. Cover the pan.
  6. Check the fish with a fork or small knife. Poach until the pink color has just left the middle of the pieces, about 7-10 minutes.
  7. Remove the fish pieces to a covered dish.
  8. Remove the pan lid. Boil the fruit, stirring often for another 10-15 minutes until the sauce thickens.
  9. Spoon sauce and fruit over fish. Serve right away.


Some Notes:

The type of fish you choose is important. I prefer thick pieces of mahi-mahi because it will hold its shape but come out tender. Red Snapper is better, but it’s expensive, hard to find and skin. Swordfish and tuna don’t poach well. Salmon’s strong flavor ruins the delicate fruit-coconut sauce.

Papaya and mango are great substitutes for each other. Make sure they are ripe before you cook with them for the best flavor.



At Robin Aspell’s class, 2011-February (Chef’s Gallery, Stillwater, MN)



Recipe: Pan-Seared Sirloin Steak with Tomato-Basil Sauce




In a hurry? Want to make something red, juicy and beefy without firing up the grill? Then try this recipe. It uses an inexpensive steak and makes a restaurant-quality entree in just a few minutes. The trick? A homemade rub, high heat and a same-pan sauce to capture the sizzle.



  • 1 sirloin steak, at least 1 inch thick

  • 1 tsp cumin

  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 gloves garlic
  • 1 fresh tomato
  • 1 handful sun-dried tomatoes

  • Kosher salt and pepper

  • 3 tablesoons olive oil

  • 1 handful basil leaves

  • a bottle of red table wine.



  1. Bring steak to room temperature, sprinkle both sides with kosher salt and pepper. Cover steak and set aside for at least 1/2 hour

  2. Mix cumin and chili powder in a small bowl. Rub on both sides of the steak. Let the steak rest another half hour.
  3. Peel and chop garlic into fine pieces.

  4. Chop tomato into small pieces. Set aside.

  5. Chop the sun-dried tomatoes into small pieces. Set in small bowl. Pour 3/4 cup of hot water over sun-dried tomatoes to reconstitute.

  6. Tear or chop basil leaves into medium sized pieces.



This is a one-pan event!



Sear! Saute!

  1. Heat pan on medium-high. Add olive oil. This may smoke, so turn on your stove fan or open a window.

  2. When the oil starts to shimmer in the pan, toss the steak into it. Cook 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare.

  3. Remove steak from pan into a large dish. Cover. Let the meat rest for ten minutes.

  4. Reduce heat to medium-low.

  5. While the meat is resting, Add garlic to the pan. Stir a few times.

  6. Add a few dashes of red wine to the pan to dissolve the fond.

  7. Add the fresh tomato and the sun-dried tomato, including the liquids.

  8. Stir the tomatoes in the pan every few minutes. Do not cover the pan.
  9. Allow the liquid to reduce, about ten minutes.
  10. Add any juices releasd from the steak back into the pan. Keep stirring until the sauce is thick.

  11. Remove pan from heat. Toss in basil. Stir. Set aside.
  12. Slice steak into thin pieces. Pour sauce onto steak slices. Serve warm.


Some Notes:

Allow the extra time for the salt to rest in the steak. The salt tenderizes the meat.

Don’t stray too far from my cooking times. The best way to make a tough sirloin steak is to cook it too long. 

Please don’t use a no-stick skillet. You want the browned crunchies at the bottom of the pan. This is called ‘fond’ and it is the essence of the sauce. When you add a liquid like wine, it quickly dissolves into a flavorful broth. You won’t get fond with no-stick.

It is VERY IMPORTANT to let the steak sit for a few minutes before slicing it. The juices will ‘set-up’ in the meat this way.

If you don’t have sun-dried tomatoes, you can substitute a tablespoon of tomato paste, water and a dash of steak sauce.


Recipe: Lemon-Thyme Chicken


8-minute risotto, stir-fried vegetables and Lemon-Thyme Chicken. Tangy!


My two adult sons live on their own now. At least once a month I will get a text message from them saying “Can you give me the recipe for <insert meal here>?” Of course, they want it right then because they are in a grocery store and in a hurry. Would I mind texting it to them?

After tapping a roast turkey recipe into a little text box, I promised myself I would never do that again. Emailing them the information isn’t a good solution, either, because they forget and repeat requests. That’s one reason I am recording my recipes on my blog. Now, all I have to tell them in the future is “Look it up in my blog!” It’s becoming my recipe wiki.

Both of therm have asked for this recipe twice now, so it’s time to get it down. And for you, too. Lemon-Thyme Chicken is a cinch to prepare. This is a great meal for your Sunday Roast. Impress your family and friends, and fill your house with the warm, savory kitchen aroma of herbs and chicken. Try it!






  • 1 whole chicken, no more than 5lbs, at room temperature

  • 1 onion

  • 2-3 sprigs of thyme

  • 1 whole lemon

  • Kosher salt and pepper

  • 3 tablesoons butter at room temperature





  1. Wash chicken. Discard gizzards, hearts and any other offal they stuff into the bird. Cut off the tail. Pat dry. Set aside.

  2. Pre-heat the oven to 425 F (218 C).

  3. Peel and slice the onion into rings about a half-inch (1 cm) thick. Set aside.

  4. Press on the lemon and gently roll it across the countertop a few times to soften. Cut the lemon in half.

  5. Grate some lemon rind off one of the halves. Set aside.

  6. Pull the leaves off of two springs of thyme. Add lemon rind. Mix with the butter in a small bowl. Set aside




  1. Place onion slices at the bottom of a small roasting pan.

  2. Using an upside-down teaspoon, loosen the skin above the breast. Work a few thyme sprigs between the skin and the breast meat. Be careful not to tear the skin.

  3. Rub the butter-thyme mix all over the outside of the chicken. Tuck the wing tips behind the back of the bird and rest it on the onion slices.

  4. Squeeze the lemon halves over the skin. Put a lemon half in the body cavity.

  5. Cover the cavity with a small piece of aluminum foil.

  6. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.



  1. Put the chicken in the oven, uncovered, and bake for 1 hr, 15 mins.

  2. Remove the chicken from the pan. Discard lemon and onions. Reserve juices from the pan to make a sauce, if desired (see Notes).

  3. Put chicken upside down in a large bowl and cover with foil. Let it rest for 20 mins to let the juices set.

  4. Carve the chicken. Serve warm


Some Notes:

If you want to make a sauce, strain the juices from the pan into a Pyrex measuring cup. Let it sit for five minutes. Spoon off the fat on top. Put the juices into a small saucepan. Stirring constantly over medium heat, cook the juices down into a thicker sauce.

Thyme is such an all-round garden plant. I grow my own thyme outside my front door as an ornamental. It’s a low, little plant with tiny purple-pink flowers in the summer. Thyme reseeds itself in a non-invasive way, so I am never out of it. I cut bunches in the fall for drying. Fresh thyme is great in homemade pasta sauces, risotto and roasts.


Recipe: Anise Biscotti



This is an easy recipe for delicate, aromatic biscotti. You can make it in an hour with just two bowls and a spoon. No beaters, no rolling  in messy flour and no kneading like other biscotti recipes.

I got the recipe from one of the ladies at the St Mary’s Coptic Church in South Saint Paul, MN. This church holds an annual, two-day festival late each summer. They serve wonderful homemade Egyptian meals. The women also sell traditional desserts including these anise biscotti. I bought a bag and convinced them I could not wait another year for more, so they gave this recipe to me.

The flavor is also very familiar to delicate anisette cookies you would find in any good Italian bakery. My grandmother always had anisette toast (Stella D’Oro) in her pantry. I grew up on these desserts as a kid in New York. Thirty years later I found a way to make them myself in Minnesota!



  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup of canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 4 tsp anise seeds



  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 F
  2. light grease one 10 X 8 inch baking pan



  1. In a medium bowl mix the vanilla, oil, sugar and eggs. Stir until all the oil and eggs have blended.
  2. In another, larger bowl mix the flour, baking soda, salt and anise
  3. Stir in the egg-oil mixture. Mix just enough so all the ingedients are blended. Don’t over-mix.
  4. Pour into the baking pan. Spread the dough evenly to the pan’s edges.



  1. Bake for 27-30 minutes or until golden-brown on color. Leave the oven on. You will have a thin-looking cake.
  2. Gently slide out the cake onto a large cutting board. Let cool for 10 minutes.
  3. Use a serrated bread knife, cut down the center, lengthwise. You will have two long, thinner cakes.
  4. Cut each of the halves into 3/4 X 4 inch pieces.
  5. Arrange the pieces, about 1/2 inch apart on a clean baking sheet.
  6. Toast the pieces for 7-10 minutes until they are golden. Watch to make sure they toast but do not burn
  7. Remove from the oven to cool.
  8. When the biscotti have completely cooled, store them in sealed container.


Some Notes:

These cookies can last several weeks in a closed container. They also freeze very well.

They are delicious dunked in coffee, dipped in Nutella or just eaten plain.



Recipe: Sangría


My grandparents came from Spain to the United States back in the Twenties. They were farmers and fisherman — people of craft — who kept their preference for the simple life after they settled here.  Abuela believed in fresh, wholesome food. Each day she would go to the market to get the freshest meats and vegetables. She rarely bought cake or made dessert, but fresh fruit and nuts were always on the table.

In the summers Abuela would make sangría and set a big pitcher of it under the apple tree. I remember the old people would sit in the shade on a hot day, sipping this wine punch. They always let me have a taste. Grandma used a lot of brandy in her sangría, and so do I. I never got the recipe, but I do know what was in their kitchen and what I saw her tossing in in the pitcher.


My grandmother, Carmen Mayobre de Galiano (La Coruña, Spain)


This is a flavorful, refreshing wine punch. It’s not sweet like what you may get from an American restaurant. Serve it outside on a hot day, under an umbrella. Sip it — it’s strong — and allow the citrus to float across your tongue.






  • 1 bottle (750 ml) of inexpensive red wine
  • 2 quality oranges
  • 1 quality lemon
  • 1 jigger Cointreau or any triple sec orange liqueur
  • 2-3 jiggers of brandy
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Rind of one fresh lemon 
  • Rind of 1/2 fresh orange





  1. Halve and ream the two oranges. Strain the juice into a bowl. Reserve the rind of one of the orange halves.
  2. Halve and ream the lemon. Strain the juice into the orange juice bowl. Reserve the rind.
  3. Cut the orange and lemon rinds into long, inch-wide strips. Save one strip. Discard the rest. 
  4. Carefully remove the white zest from each strip. The strips should be colorful and nearly translucent. Discard the white zest. 



  1. Pour the entire bottle of wine into a pitcher.
  2. Add the strained citrus juices. Make sure there is no pulp.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients to the pitcher.
  4. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  5. Cover the pitcher. Store in the refrigeration at least 24 hours before serving to allow the flavors to build.



Sangría is served cold, over ice, usually in tall glasses with a slice of citrus.




Some Notes:

I pre-chill the glasses in the freezer to make the wine extra cold.

I love limes and use them a lot, but trust me, they do not work in sangría. Spaniards sometimes will add a thinly-sliced canteloupe or peach to the punch. These must be very ripe and juicy.

You might be thinking “Hey, I have some maraschino cherries, I’ll add those, too.” PLEASE STOP RIGHT THERE! Those little red and green knobs have NO business in this sangría. That’s a Paula Deen thing to do. Spaniards would laugh at you — or weep at the desecration you served them. My advice? Throw that pickled, bleached-and-dyed pseudo-fruit in the trash. If you want to add cherries, buy some ripe, red REAL cherries, and use them instead.

More about fruit: the best oranges are dripping with flavorful juice. I have used blood oranges, but any juicy one will do. Please don’t use juice from a concentrate; it won’t be the same. My grandmother always had bags of fragrant, little lemons in her kitchen. I try to use those in this recipe if I can find them.


Recipe: Lemon Rhubarb Cake



There are certain foods that you eat only in season: Apple Pie in fall, Strawberry Shortcake in June, BBQ Ribs and Corn-On-The-Cob in summer, and Roast Turkey in the winter. This adds a rhythm to the year and anticipation for what’s next.

May is when rhubarb is ready to harvest in northern gardens, and that is the time to make rhubarb-y things. I’ll admit I really don’t care for rhubarb desserts. They are too runny, too sweet or too painfully tart… except for this recipe. It merges lemon’s aromatic flavor with the rhubarb’s. Lemon-Rhubarb cake is a fantastic seasonal dessert.

Restaurant columnist Kathie Jenkins of the Pioneer Press posted this recipe last year. She got it from Julie Richardson’s Rustic Fruits Desserts cookbook. It’s not a quick or simple recipe – there are a lot of bowls involved – but it’s one of the best desserts you can ever make. I am not a baker, but I’ll endure the effort to get a few slices of this unusual cake. Besides, it is only once a year.

I hope you give it a go.





  • 2.5 cup sifted flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 and 3/4 cup sugar
  • zest of one fresh lemon
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp lemon extract

  • about four stalks of fresh, spring-harvested rhubarb stalks, washed

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • juice from one lemon, strained
  • 1 tablespoon butter at room temperature 



Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease and flour one Bundt pan.



Wash and clean the rhubarb stalks. Slice thin using a food processor. Put three cups of the sliced rhubarb in a small bowl. Toss with a tablespoon of flour. Set aside.


Sift together flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Set aside

Beat sugar, zest and butter until fluffy in a medium bowl. Add eggs, one at a time. Continue beating. Add lemon extract.


Assemble and Bake

  1. In a large, clean bowl, add 1/3  of the flour mixture, 1/3 of the sugar mixture and 1/3 of the buttermilk. Stir by hand until well mixed.
  2. Repeat step one with the next third of each mixture.
  3. Repeat step one with the final 1/3 of flour, sugar and buttermilk. You should have a thicker than normal cake batter.
  4. Gently fold in the sliced rhubarb, but save a few tablespoons of rhubarb slices.
  5. Spoon the batter into the Bundt pan.
  6. Sprinkle the top of the batter with the extra rhubarb slices you set aside in step 4.
  7. Bake for 1 hour.
  8. Remove from oven. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack.
  9. Remove cooled cake onto a plate





Frost it!

  1. Mix the powdered sugar, tablespoon butter and lemon juice in a small bowl. If it is too thick, add very small amounts of water to thin it enough for the next step
  2. Drizzle the lemon icing onto the top of the cooled cake.
  3. Let the icing set for at least a half hour before serving



Some Notes:

Did you know Rhubarb makes a great ornamental plant?


I’ve positioned mine in the garden for its bold, tropical look. It looks especially attractive as a foliage contrast against fine-textured plants like ornamental grasses. My plant, ‘Shrek,’ is six feet across. In June he sends up five-foot panicles of white astilbe-like flowers. Rhubarb doesn’t like summer’s heat; by the end of July it’s pretty tattered, and in August the plant is mostly gone.

Back to the recipe… I use a convection oven, so I shave five minutes from the cook time and cook it at 325.

If you don’t have lemon extract, just substitute with the juice of half a lemon and use a little less buttermilk.

You cannot freeze rhubarb. Shrek was very productive last year, so I froze extra slices to make the cake in the winter. My frozen rhubarb was a runny, flavorless mess. If you use it, you will wind up with a pink lemon cake.


Recipe: Huevos Rancheros




Here’s a recipe for a satisfying and tasty breakfast. This version of Huevos Rancheros is full of flavor, combining cilantro, toasted corn and the tang of sour cream

I usually make it for Sunday breakfast, but you can make Huevos Rancheros for brunch and it’s a great, quick dinner. This recipe makes four servings.


  • 8 corn tortillas, six-inch size
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • cilantro to taste, chopped. (I use lots, about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 ripe tomatillo, chopped
  • 1/2 fresh tomato, chopped
  • 1/3 cup green taco sauce (don’t use the normal red sauce; its flavor is too sweet)
  • 1 can refried fat-free beans
  • sour cream (low fat)
  • 4 eggs
  • shredded yellow cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the onion, cilantro, tomato, green taco sauce and tomatillo in a small bowl. Set aside.

Toast the corn tortillas. You can do this by placing the corn tortillas, one at a time on hot electrical burners, a stovetop grill or any hot surface. DO NOT put directly on an open flame. Make sure to toast both sides so they are singed, but not burned all the way through. Stack the toasted tortillas on top of each other to keep them warm and soft.

Fry the eggs to desired doneness. Remove from heat and set aside

Assemble and Cook!

  1. Take a toasted tortilla and place two tablespoons of refried beans in the center.
  2. Gently place another tortilla on top and press down on the beans underneath. Use your fingertips to push the beans into an even layer sandwiched between the tortillas.
  3. Spoon another tablespoon of refried beans on top of the second tortilla. Spread evenly.
  4. Add a fried egg on top of the beans.
  5. Top the egg with a dollop of sour cream. Spread.
  6. Top the sour cream with the sauce you made. A good tablespoon is about right. Spread evenly.
  7. Sprinkle the top with shredded cheese.
  8. Place on a greased cookie sheet.
  9. Repeat the above steps for the remaining three servings.
  10. Place the cookie sheet in the hot oven. Cook for five minutes or until the cheese melts.

Some Notes:

If you don’t have refried beans, you can use a can of pinto, kidney or black beans. Just rinse them off, drain and mash them in a small bowl to make a paste.