Sunday, April 19, 2020

Pandemic Cooking: Cook With the Ingredients You Have on Hand

I just came across a site called Fridge to Table ( that lets you search recipes by ingredient and type of diet (vegan, vegetarian, none, etc). This seems like a pretty handy approach at this time in our history, when we are avoiding grocery shopping as much as possible and cooking with pantry ingredients that we have on hand.

Of course we have always been able to find recipes online by searching an ingredient or two, but I found myself with a cup of freshly squeezed lime juice and when I searched for recipes just by googling "cup of lime juice" I found a variety of limeade recipes, but not much else.

Using the Fridge to Table site, "lime juice" as an ingredient gave me lots of recipes for ceviche, guacamole, fajitas, chicken, salmon, quinoa, shrimp, etc. The recipe results could then be sorted by course (breakfast, lunch, etc.), source (where the recipes came from), number of ingredients, and cook time--plus giving me the option to exclude certain ingredients or tailor the dish to a particular diet.

Perhaps I'll be making some Honey Lime Turkey Fajitas, which will leave me with just another 3/4 cup of lime juice to use in newly found recipes.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Roasted Grapes

We are staying at home because of the coronavirus outbreak. Since we are depending on a younger family member for grocery shopping we don't want to waste any food.

Because tired old grapes can't be fed to dogs, cats, or chickens, I googled "what to do with shriveled grapes" and found recipes for roasted grapes. They are delicious, as you can see from the crowd that gathered while I tried them for the first time. (Of course, dogs and cats may NOT eat grapes, but they wanted to convince me otherwise).

No more wasted grapes! 


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Wash and dry grapes; remove all stems. Toss them with some olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place on a foil-lined cookie sheet.

Roast for 35 minutes or so, stirring two or three times.

Cool and serve. I had mine on toast that was spread with cream cheese. Next time I might try peanut butter, which is also recommended.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Butterscotch Sauce

For the original version and photos, see Here are my pared down directions.

4 tbl. butter
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup heavy cream

1 tsp. vanilla

Melt butter in saucepan. Add sugar, salt, and cream, stir well to mix. Bring to a boil and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, add vanilla. Will thicken more as it cools. Store in a covered jar in the refrigerator.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Hot Fudge Sauce

I found this recipe on a blog called Creations by Kara at For a more detailed and beautiful recipe presentation with lots of pictures, please visit that blog.

Here is my pared down version.

1 - 1/2 cups sugar
6 to 8 tbl. cocoa
Dash of salt
12 oz. can evaporated milk

1/4 cup butter
2 tsp. vanilla

Mix sugar, cocoa, and salt in a saucepan. Gradually add the milk while continuing to stir. Bring to a boil, simmer for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add butter and vanilla. Stir until butter is dissolved. Cool slightly and pour into a covered jar. Keep refrigerated. Will thicken more when chilled.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Vanilla Ice Cream

Soft serve stage

After being frozen for several hours

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt

Mix well until sugar is dissolved. Freeze in an electric ice cream maker, following manufacturer's directions. My freezer takes 30 minutes.

This results in a soft serve-type ice cream. For traditionally-textured ice cream, transfer to covered bowl and freeze for several hours.


When our kids were small, we used an old-fashioned hand cranked White Mountain ice cream freezer. They sat on the front porch to turn the crank and there was always someone to take over when the cranker got tired or impatient.

Now I use a Cuisinart electric ice cream maker. It's loud but simple to use. The directions say to freeze the bowl of the ice cream maker for 12 hours or so before using it. I just keep the clean bowl in my big freezer all summer so it is ready to make ice cream at any time.


Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Recipes from Three Pines, Quebec

image from eBay

With her Chief Inspector Gamache series, author Louise Penny has created a tucked-away world in the fictitious village of Three Pines, Quebec. While solving crimes and discussing life, her characters have lovely meals in their own homes and in Olivier's Bistro.

During this blazing New Mexican summer, I was dreaming of snowfall on the Three Pines village green, blazing fires in the snug bistro, and tables laid with plates of Shepherd's Pie. I searched around for recipes from Three Pines and this is what I found.

You can download a pdf file of Louise Penny's cookbook, The Nature of the Feast, which contains the recipes from the Gamache series in the section below, plus a few more:

Here are some of the recipes from the series website at

Apple and Avocado Salsa with Honey-Lime Dressing

Cheese and Leek Dish with a Crunchy Crumble Top:

Chocolate and Raspberry Mousse

Duck, Brie, and Fig Confit Sandwich

French Onion Soup

Grilled Garlic Shrimp and a Quinoa-Mango Salad

Homemade Lemonade

Pain Doré

Roast Turkey and Chestnut Stuffing

Steak Frites with Mayonnaise

Sugar Pie


So far, so good. Thinking of the many other culinary experiences in the books, I was lucky enough to come across a website done by a book discussion group that took each dish and figured out how to cook it. The site is called The Night is a Strawberry; Cooking Our Way to Three Pines. Here you will find Parsnip and Apple Soup, Shepherd's Pie, Clotted Cream, Hot Chocolate, many more recipes and a bonus: In Search of a Licorice Pipe.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Watermelon Strawberry Caprese Salad

Serves 6.

3 cups watermelon balls
2 cups halved small strawberries
1 pint cherry tomatoes
8 oz. fresh water packed mozzarella balls, cherry sized
salt and pepper
basil leaves for garnish

Basil Vinaigrette:
1 small shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tbl. white wine vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1/3 tsp. black pepper
Mix all in blender or food processor until smooth

Monday, July 15, 2019

Best Pumpkin Bread Ever

From the files of my sister, Auntie Bucksnort. There is a copy at


  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 7x3 inch loaf pans.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.
  3. Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Even better the second day.

Auntie Bucksnort's Spicy Peanut Noodles

In her own words:

Very simple & quick - it's my go-to-must-have-carbs-right-this-instant dish.

Wide rice noodles (boil 12 minutes, then rinse really well with hot water). 

In a big microwave proof bowl: a bunch of Mae Ploy sauce (cheapest at the cheapy groovy food supply store*) w/ a great big glop of smooth cheapy peanut butter. (Might be even better w/ chunky p.b.) Heat that for 3 minutes, whisk in rice wine vinegar and a whole bunch of lime juice

Toss in noodles. I like to add a bunch of sliced hearts of palm from the cheapy groovy food supply store if I have them. And I like eating it hot or cold. Might be good as a base for pad thai. Cheapest to order the noodles if you can bear dealing with the great big footprint of all that prime packaging.

My note:

*The cheapy groovy food supply store: We never can remember the name of this place since it seems to change hands before we can get used to what it's called. Right now it is Shamrock Foods and is located at 2489 N Main St, Las Cruces, NM 88001.

I always find it by searching online for "Las Cruces restaurant supply" since it has restaurant-style bowls, utensils, and pans in addition to lots of interesting foods.