14 August 2009


They speak for themselves. Every one a blessing in the belly all summer long. Happy Birthday, Grandma Irena!

27 July 2009

Yet another Tzatziki Recipe!

...I know, there are as many tzatziki recipes - in the kitchen, in your cookbooks, in your family's culinary treasures, online - as you can imagine, yes? And now I offer one more to the mix, Vera's Tzatziki, oh yes...

TzatzĂ­ki (Greek cucumber-yogurt salad)


2 32-oz. containers plain yogurt, strained
1 cucumber, preferably English hothouse (peeled, seeded and cubed to 1/4-inch thickness or grated)
3-4 cloves garlic (peeled and crushed)
2 T. extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 tsp for garnish
salt and pepper to taste
1 oz. fresh dill, finely chopped (optional)


1. If you can’t find strained yogurt at a local grocery or specialty store, line a medium size mesh strainer with cheesecloth (doubled), add yogurt and cover; strain over a larger bowl or pot for at least 3 hours, draining juice if needed to maintain enough space for juices to strain freely. Note: Danon brand plain yogurt is a jewel and available at your local supermarket!

2. Mix all ingredients in a non-reactive medium mixing bowl. Place several layers of paper towel on top. Change paper towels 1-2 times while chilling in refrigerator overnight (at least 6 hours).

Serves 8-12.
Recommended with roasted salads, fried vegetables (e.g. eggplant or zucchini) and warm crusty bread (e.g. baguette, any rustic loaf). Tzatziki is an excellent companion to Moussaka and Spanakopita. Our friend Katie eats it with her chicken salad sandwiches and "Cool Ranch" Doritos, sometimes even just with a spoon...or her fingers! And our habibti Abeer loves it with extra olive oil as a dressing for her monster salads chockfulla greens, cilantro and other colorful fresh veggies, mmm mm good!

24 July 2009

Mama Conners's Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies...with Bacon!

Chocolate chip oatmeal cookie, I love you. I love you so much that I kissed you with bacon and golden raisins. Crunch and Melt in our mouths, Koudou eats at least two, three, sometimes even four cookies every day... the recipe makes several dozen. Mama Conners, mama of my dear friend, Brian, was feeding several children. I believe that they all grew big and strong from these cookies! I dream of making these cookies for my baby/ies someday, too.
Brian and I printed this recipe in a dingy little computer lab at the University of Bonn, Germany, way back in 1994. We longed for these cookies, and his mama emailed us the goods... so now I sit here with this frail little piece of old computer reel paper, folded, oily and having traveled across the big pond with us when we moved back to the States. I cherish you, my dear little note.

And now, to the golden nugget, to be held with love and visited often in your ovens, on your kitchen tables, in the bellies of those you love and those you don't!

4.5 c sifted flour
3 tsp baking soda
3 tsp salt
3 c shortening (2 sticks unsalted butter)
1.5 c refined sugar
2 c brown sugar
6 eggs, unbeaten
1 Tbl hot water
24 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
6 c rolled oats
1 Tbl vanilla extract
1 c (or more) raisins (optional)
1 c chopped nuts (optional)
1 c (approx. 8 pcs.) crumbled bacon of your choice (optional)...Smithfield rocks!

Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit. In mixing bowl, sift flour, add baking soda and salt. Blend thoroughly. In separate bowl, cream fat until fluffy. Add sugar and vanilla extract and cream well. Beat in eggs, add hot water. Fold in sifted (dry) ingedients. Add chocolate chips, rolled oats, raisins and bacon and mix well. Bake 10 to 12 minutes. Allow to cool or not! Enjoy!
Cookies remain crisp in air tight container depending on season. Excellent with a glass of milk or deliciously strong cup of coffee!

Thank you, Mama Conners!

21 February 2009

I love bright yellow cornbread

my very first cornbread...EVER. it was an exercise in connecting with my EasternKentuckySkaggs self, and ohso tasty! valentine's day, last saturday, i decided to "bring Cracker Barrel home" and cooked up a big southern food storm in our kitchen. for koudou, mama and me. i wanted a cornbread that was moist but crisp and crumbly all at once. i had a little baggie of Martha White brand yellow cornmeal mix (hot rize). I looked on the side at her "Tex-Mex Cornbread" recipe and decided I would base my batch on her inspiration...

2 eggs, beaten

2 cups hot rize cornmeal mix

1 15 oz. can creamed corn

1 cup milk (I used buttermilk)

4 T canola oil

1/2 t sugar

1/2 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese

a pinch of salt and smoked spanish paprika

baked her at 425F in mama jo ann's well-greased 9-in. skillet, approximately 30 minutes or so until golden cracked on top. Cooled her down and enjoyed with mama's fried chicken, homesmashed buttermilk taters w/ mushroom brown gravy. fresh cabbage-carrot salad and my slow-cooked shell beans/field peas/yellow squash. damn, that was good!