Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Lemon Greek Yogurt Pound Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar, plus ¼ cup for glaze
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla paste
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice for cake, plus1/4 cup for syrup and 2 tablespoon for glaze
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • zest of two lemons
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.


In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.  Butter and flour a 9-inch loaf pan and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and granulated sugar until smooth and light in color.  Add the eggs one and a time followed by the vanilla.

Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until almost combined. Fold in the lemon juice, the zest of one lemon, and the yogurt.  Finish mixing on low until combined.  The batter won't be perfectly smooth.

Pour the batter into the pan, leveling the top.  Bake for 75-90 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.  The top will be dark brown and split open.

For the syrup:
Warm 1/4 cup of lemon juice.  Mix together with 1/4 cup sugar until sugar has dissolved.  Set aside whilst the pound cake is done.

For the glaze:
Measure out two tablespoons of lemon juice.  Gradually add it to the powdered sugar until your desired drizzling consistency is reached.  Add the zest of one lemon and stir thoroughly.

To finish:
Turn the warm cake onto a wire rack and brush all over with the syrup, including the bottom!  Make several passes on all sides to have a good soaking, but do not feel pressed to use all the glaze.  Do this when the cake is still warm! 

Drizzle with the glaze. Serve warm or room temperature.

Myrtle's Note:  This recipe is so good that even when you do not cook it quite long enough, it is still tasty!  Lemon.  Lemon.  LEMON!  The only change I made was to add lemon zest to the glaze, since I had to use four lemons to get all the juice needed.  Why waste lemon zest?  I cooked it for 75 minutes and made the mistake of putting my toothpick in the top of the loaf instead of in the middle.  So, that clean toothpick and the browned top made me think my first loaf was ready.  But cutting into it, I found a close texture and a bit of undercooked at the bottom of the loaf.  Even so, oh my! was this ever tasty.  It is not super sweet, just like a traditional pound cake.  But it is very, very lemony.

Yield: 1 loaf


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Colonial Brown Bread

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons all purpose flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2  teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


Grease and flour a 9-inch pan and set aside.

Stir together the flours, sugar, salt, and soda.  Add the buttermilk.  Stir until all the dry ingredients are incorporated.

Fold into the pan and level out the batter.

Bake for one hour.

Myrtle's Note:  I had to cut the recipe in half and made mistakes on the first three attempts at trying this recipe because baking maths are difficult for me now.  I persevered because it is a favorite of my dear friend Mary.  And I like old recipes!  I used King Arthur White Whole Wheat Bread.  The bread is close-textured, moist, and sort of a nutty sweet flavor.  I slathered it with Pulgra's European butter.  Mighty, mighty tasty!

Yield:  1 loaf


Saturday, September 30, 2017

Peruvian Pork Stew with Chiles, Lime, and Apples

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 pounds trimmed boneless pork shoulder or sirloin roast
  • 2 large yellow or Vidalia onions
  • 4 large apples
  • 3-5 ancho or other mild dried chiles
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon Redman's® Rea Salt, plus more to taste
  • McCormick's® Peppercorn Medley to taste
  • Steamed rice for serving
  • Chopped cilantro for garnish


Zest one lime.  Using a reamer, juice limes until you have at least 1/4 cup and set aside.   Rinse and pat dry pork, cut into 2-inch pieces, and set aside.  Rough chop the onions and set aside.  Remove the stem and seeds from the peppers, straighten them out and cut into squares, and set aside.  Core the apples, cover with a towel, and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a caste iron dutch oven and brown the pork on two sides, working in batches so as not to steam the meat.  Use medium heat, approximately a minute a half per side.  Set the meat aside.  

In the same pot, begin sautéing the onions on low heat.  Add the cloves and the bay leaves.  Quickly peal and rough chop and apples and add to the onions.  Cook until the onions are tender, approximately 10 minutes.

Add the pork, lime juice, lime zest, and stock and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat until so that it simmers.  Cook covered for 30 minutes.  Stir and continue cooking uncovered, until the meat is very tender and just about falling apart, at least an hour.  Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.  When satisfied, turn off the heat. 

Serve over steamed rice, garnished with cilantro.

Myrtle's Note:  I really liked this recipe, though I did make a few tweaks to it.  Most are in how I only used one pot to cook it and the order in which I did the prep so that I could do so and keep the apples from browning.  I didn't want to try and remove the meat to reduce the liquid, so I cooked it half the time uncovered.  And I added salt!  I was so surprised at how the apples disappeared into stew sauce.  Four of them!  The onions, which I normally try to disguise in any way I can, were so soft their texture didn't bother me.  And I enjoyed eating the bits of pepper.  Next time I make this, I plan to increase the peppers to five, which is the number that goes in another pork recipe I have.  I could taste the apples and the lime and the chiles, but I thought it could have used more.  I ended up using 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and probably could have used a bit more.  I put in a shake or two of Ancho chili pepper and some of the peppercorn medley.  Next time, I will add a bit more.  I would really like to see what this tastes like with a layer of mild heat to it.  Also, since I am not a fan of rice, I plan on trying it with crusty bread.  However, I will say that the stew sauce was mighty, mighty tasty on the rice.

Yield:  8 servings


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Julia Child's Provençale Tomato Sauce

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ⅔ cup finely minced yellow onions
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 5 to 6 pounds ripe tomatoes, quartered
  • ⅛ teaspoon sugar, plus more to taste
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced or put through a press
  • A large herb bouquet: 8 sprigs parsley, 1 bay leaf and 4 sprigs thyme, all tied in cheesecloth
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 large dollop Gourmet Gardens® Basil Paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1 bunch fresh oregano
  • 2 stems fresh rosemary
  • Large pinch saffron threads
  • 1 dozen coriander seeds, lightly crushed
  • 1 2-inch piece dried orange peel (or 1/2 teaspoon granules)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons tomato paste (optional)


In a large heavy pot, toast the fennel and coriander and orange peel over medium low heat for a few minutes until fragrant.  Then add the oil and heat it. Add the onions, sprinkle with salt, and cook slowly for about 10 minutes, until tender but not browned. Sprinkle on the flour and cook slowly for three minutes, stirring occasionally; do not brown.

Meanwhile, fit a food processor with the coarse grating blade. Working in batches to avoid overfilling the machine, push the tomatoes through the feed tube to make a coarse purée.

Stir the tomatoes, sugar, garlic, herb bouquet, basil, saffron,  and one teaspoon salt into the pot. Cover and cook slowly for 10 minutes, so the tomatoes will render more of their juice.

Then uncover and simmer for about an hour, until thick. The sauce is done when it tastes thoroughly cooked and is thick enough to form a mass in the spoon.

Remove herb bouquet and taste. Season with salt, pepper, sugar and tomato paste, and simmer two minutes more.

The sauce may be used immediately, refrigerated, or frozen for up to 6 months.

Myrtle's Note:  I adapted the recipe primarily regarding the herbs, by adding more, most particularly the fresh rosemary because I grow it.  I found the recipe easy to follow and tasty in its results.  Since I am growing roma tomatoes, I have been making this a half-batch at a time.  I should note that I have not been able to get saffron yet.  I do plan on using it when I can, which is why I left it in the recipe.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Chicken Tikka Masala


Chicken Marinade:
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup whole milk yogurt
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • Bamboo or wooden skewers

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped finely
  • 2 tablespoons ginger, minced
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric 
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 10 ounces water 
  • 9 ounces cream
Chopped coriander, to garnish
Basmati rice and naan, to serve

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.


Slice the chicken into chunks, then combine the chicken with the rest of the chicken marinade ingredients in a bowl.  Mix until evenly coated, cover with plastic, and then refrigerate for at least 1 hour, but preferably overnight.  Soak bamboo skewers for a half hour.

Skewer the marinated chicken pieces on bamboo skewers, then place them over a baking dish with sides high enough to hold the chicken off the bottom of the pan to help distribute the heat more evenly.  Bake for about 15 minutes until slightly dark brown on the edges and the meat has reached 160 degrees.

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat, then sauté the onions.  Once the onions are translucent, add both the ginger and garlic and continue cooking until fragrant.  Do not let the garlic burn.  Add in the spices for the sauce and cook for a short while to release their aromatics and flavor, stirring constantly.  Then, stir in the tomato paste.  Finally, add the tomato sauce and water, then bring to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes.

Add the cream and stir thoroughly.  Add in the chicken and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Serve with Basmati rice and naan!

Myrtle's Note: Oh, my!  Was this ever a pleasant surprise!!  I was a bit surprised at all the garlic I needed, but it does not overwhelm the dish.  What I like most is the layering of flavors in it between the seasoning of the chicken and the seasoning of the sauce.  A dish that made me think that I was in a restaurant!

Yield:  8 servings

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Chicken Shawarma

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (2 large breasts)
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs (4 large thighs)
  • 6-8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 3/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Nonstick cooking oil spray
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.


Slice the chicken breasts into 5-6 pieces each and the thighs into 3-4 pieces each and set aside.

In a glass bowl large enough to marinate the chicken, whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, the spices, 3/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Then add the chicken pieces and stir until all of them are evenly coated in the marinade. Cover the marinating dish with plastic wrap. Place chicken in the refrigerator and let it marinate at least 1 hour, but preferably overnight.

Line a large baking sheet with foil. Spray the foil with nonstick cooking oil. Place the chicken pieces on the sheet, evenly spaced.  

Place the chicken in the oven. Let it roast for about 15 minutes till cooked through (reaches 160 degrees), turning the chicken pieces once with tongs halfway through the cooking period.

Take chicken out of the oven and let it cool slightly. Use a sharp knife to slice the meat into small, thin shawarma-like pieces.

Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a cast iron skillet on the stovetop over medium. Pour one third to half of the chicken into the skillet and sauté several minutes till the smallest pieces of chicken turn brown and crisp. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste, if desired.  Repeat the process, adding more oil when needed, with the next batch of chicken.  And with the third if you divide it that way.  Whilst working, put the sautéed chicken pieces in foil to keep them warm.
Serve warm with dishes such as chicken tikka masala, baba ganoush, toum, labneh, lemon basil humus, and naan.

Myrtle's Note:  This was part of my 50th birthday celebration meal that I cooked with two of my friends.  True shawarma is made by roasting meat on a spit, but this gives you the feel of the dish in a rather tasty manner.  The recipe author is adamant about using a combination of boneless, skinless chicken breast and boneless chicken thighs instead of just the breast meat to add some fat to the recipe.  I am not a thigh meat gal, but I followed the instructions and all who consumed the meal agreed that this mock shawarma was mighty tasty.  We were so very intent on eating all the tasty food, I forgot to take a photo of just the chicken shawarma.  But we did grab a shot of my friends plate before she started chowing down!

Yield:  8 servings


Wednesday, July 5, 2017


  • 3 1/2 - 4 cups sunflower oil chilled
  • 1/2 cup peeled garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice, divided
  • 1/2 cup ice cold water, divided
  • 1 3/4 tsp salt


Before you begin, place your oil in the freezer or refrigerator so that it is chilled, but still liquid. While the oil chills, remove the ends from your garlic cloves, split them in half and remove any green layers from inside. In a food processor, combine garlic cloves, salt, 1/4 cup of the lemon juice and 1/4 cup of the ice cold water.

Process until smooth, then stop and scrape the sides of the food processor with a spatula.

Turn the food processor back on and drizzle the chilled canola oil through the top as SLOWLY as possible, one cup at a time. If you don't have a steady hand I suggest putting the oil in a squeeze bottle and drizzling it in that way. After each cup of oil, add 1 tbsp each of the lemon juice and cold water.

Scrape down the sides of the food processor as necessary. Be sure that your processor does not get too hot, as this can cause your sauce to separate.

Add oil until you've reached the texture you desire. The final result should resemble a soft mayonnaise. Store toum in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This recipe makes a pretty big batch, but it should keep for up to 4 weeks and it can be used on so many things. You'll be happy you have extra. Enjoy!

Myrtle's Note:  This was exactly like the white garlic sauce that I have had in Lebanese restaurants.  It  did not last very long for me before separating.  I do not know if that is because I didn't emulsify it enough or because this was my first batch.  I mixed up the separated toum again and it tasted just fine.  A lot of folk consider it middle eastern mayonnaise.  It goes so well with meat, but also combined with other middle easter food on pieces of naan, such as chicken shawarmababa ganoush, lemon basil hummus, and labneh.

Yield:  3 cups