Category Archives: Recipes

Rhubarb and Black Cherry Crumble

One of the things Alan and I especially appreciate about traveling is the opportunity to experience new dishes and flavor combinations.  On our recent cruise through the Panama Canal, we tried all kinds of good desserts, but our hands-down favorite was a rhubarb crumble that had huge black cherries in it.  I’ve long loved rhubarb-strawberry pie, but this was even more scrumptious, and with a little practice, I think I’ve re-created a worthy facsimile thereof !

Rhubarb and Black Cherry Crumble
(serves 8-12, depending on how much ice cream you add!)

Start with 5  stalks of fresh, bright red rhubarb. Wash them, and cut off the ends. Chop the rhubarb into small pieces and spread them into the bottom of an 9X12″ baking dish.Add 1  15-16-ounce can black cherries with the juice.In a separate dish, thoroughly cream together:
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter (or margarine).
Next, mix in by hand:
1.33 cups flourSpread this mixture evenly over the fruit. It will be a little lumpy, but that’s okay!Bake in the oven at 350°F. for 45 minutes or until bubbly and turning slightly golden brown on top. (Don’t over bake it!)Serve it hot (or at least warm) with a big scoop of ice cream. Even my grand children loved this one, so you know it’s sweet and gooey! 🙂

O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endures for ever.”
1 Chronicles 16:34.



Corned Beef and Cabbage: Traditional St. Patrick’s Day Dinner

Many of us with a little Irish heritage like to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day every March 17th with a special dinner of Corned Beef and Cabbage, which we’ve grown up believing is a very traditional Irish dinner. (However, my daughter-in-law, Gerlinde, who grew up in Germany but with an Irish mother, had never eaten it before I served it the other night, so perhaps it’s not as traditional as I thought! 🙂  )   Nevertheless, it’s become quite traditional in America—from the East Coast to Hawaii—so I thought this might be a good week to publish our home brew in time for St. Patrick’s Day.  Corned beef can be roasted in oven and is great when smothered with caramelized onions.  However, the most common method is to boil it.  Some folks prefer throwing out the salty broth for fear of preservatives  (check with  your local butcher to see how it’s been brined if you’re concerned), but corned beef can be made simply by being heavily salted and isn’t necessarily full of other preservatives.  Personally, the old-fashioned stew is our family favorite:

St. Patrick’s Traditional Corn Beef and Cabbage Stew
(Serves 6-10, depending on how many children or adults you’re serving!)

2.5 to 3 pound corned beef brisket (with a packet of seasonings)  Add the packet of seasonings and  bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 2 hours (or use an instant pot for a much shorter period of time). You can drain the water off at that point and refill the pan until the corned beef is covered again (which I don’t personally do). Either way, the next step is to add veggies:6-10 potatoes
1 pound carrots
3-6 whole onions
1 cabbage chopped into 6-10 chunks
Then, add more seasonings (whether or not you’ve drained the water and refilled the pan):
1 tablespoon crushed garlic
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Lawry Seasoning Salt
1 teaspoon caraway seeds

1 teaspoon parsley
2 bay leaves
(If you drained the water, add another teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon dill seed)
Bring to a boil again and simmer for another hour. If you have some fresh bread and  butter to go along with it, you’ve got a hearty meal fit for any Irish American …or probably anybody else. Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you!  🙂

“For the grave cannot praise thee, death can not celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth. The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day: the father to the children shall make known thy truth” (Isaiah 38:18-19).

Herb Gardens and Succulent Cornish Hens with Rice

Sometimes when March hits, the weather seems like a fickle teenager…not sure whether to grow up and become Summer, or head back to the childhood of Winter. This dinner perfectly reflects that mood: Cornish hens, rice, and blueberry bran muffins hot from the oven, steamed broccolli in the middle, and a fresh veggie salad with strawberries and blueberries edged by honey dew melon. Winter to spring to summer, all on one plate. Are you in?One of the things I’ve done to keep up my spirits in the winter is tend a little herb garden on our (only) sunny window ledge. We have rosemary in an old tea pot (a great way to re-purpose a pot after the lid’s been broken too many times to mend any more), basil, parsley, rosemary, and sometimes chives or other herbs (depending on what I can find at the market), interspersed with various flowers and other greenery. This little kitchen garden also comes in handy when I’m cooking!

Succulent Cornish Hens with Jasmine Rice
(Feeds 4±)

Defrost 2 Cornish hens overnight or in the refrigerator until completely thawed. Pour 1.5  cups of water into the bottom of a roasting pan, and add:
1.25 cups of jasmine rice, making sure the rice is completely wet
Sprinkle over the hens and rice:
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon thyme
2 springs rosemary, somewhat chopped
1 teaspoon sage
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Lawry’s Seasoning salt (or your favorite brand)
1 teaspoon chives
If you have it, cut up several sprigs of fresh thyme and add them on top   Bake covered for 1.75 hours in an oven preheated to 350°F. Check to see if the chicken is completely cooked through. If it’s done but not golden, take off the lid and let it bake for another 10-15 minutes until golden brown on top.   Meanwhile, prepare whatever sides you want, and then serve it all up. This rice is softer than it would be if it were made in a cooker, but it absorbs all the juice from the hens, and I think the savory flavor makes up for the less than perfect consistency. You could also try adding the rice halfway through the roasting if you want it firmer (although I usually pop the whole thing in the oven on occasions when I’m going to be gone for several hours and can’t tend it too closely). Another variation is to add just one cup of water and a can of chunked pineapple with its juice…and/or hot peppers or one cup of salsa. There are lots of variations on this “Sunday dinner” roast, so experiment!

Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly: thou settlest the furrows thereof: thou makest it soft with showers: thou blessest the springing thereof.” (Psalm 65:10)

Joel’s Incredible Indian Curry

I realize that American attempts at foreign dishes usually fall short, and that what we think is wonderful in the U.S. may seem rather dreadful to the originators of various world-famous dishes, but Alan and I actually prefer our son Joel’s chicken curry to any chicken curry we ate in India last fall. Here’s how he does it:

Joel’s Incredible Indian Chicken Curry
(feeds 4-6)

Sauté in a large frying pan:
1/4 cup butter
4 large boneless chicken thighs, cubed  1 chopped onion
1/2  sliced red pepper
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
2 sliced carrots 2 chopped fresh tomatoes
5 cloves of fresh garlic, pressed
1.5 teaspoons salt
1.5 teaspoons garam masala
3/4 teaspoon cumin
1.5 teaspoons crushed mint leaves   When the chicken is cooked and the vegetables are tender, add:
1 can of coconut milk  the juice from one squeezed lemon
1/2 cup yogurt
2 chopped tomatoes
3 teaspoons curry powder (can use all of one type or half red curry and half madras curry, which is what Joel did; the red curry powder is hotter)   Simmer for 10-15 minutes more to let the flavors blend. Can be served immediately or allowed to sit covered for a while, but be sure to turn the heat back on so it’s piping hot when you serve it.  Typically, Joel serves the curry with rice, sour cream, and hot naan bread              and fresh, chopped mango for dessert. Way to go, Joel!!  🙂

Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting. The Lord builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the outcasts of Israel. He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.” (Psalm 147:1-5, ESV)

Prime Rib

Ever since our honeymoon, where I had my first taste of prime rib,
it’s had a special place in my culinary heart.  Prime Rib one of those rare treats reserved for the very best of occasions
and the very finest restaurants.   (How’s this for “fancy” prime rib…at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.)   Every cruise we’ve ever been on serves prime rib at least once, and last week, while celebrating our 45th anniversary, we were back at our all-time favorite  honeymoon spot…eating prime rib again!

It wasn’t until about a year ago it occurred to me that I might be able to afford serving it for something most unusual, like New Year’s Eve, but it turned out so yummy that I think I’ve inadvertently started a new tradition! Although many places advertise “slow roasted,” after experimenting, I think flash roasting first in a super hot oven, then letting it slow roast, and finishing it on the grill works the best!

Truly Prime Rib
(serves 6-8)

Preheat oven to 500°F. while rubbing a
3 pound prime rib with
3 tablespoons Italian dressing
3 tablespoons fresh, crushed garlic
1 teaspoon course-ground pepper
1 teaspoon course-ground salt
1 teaspoon Montreal Steak Seasoning (or your favorite)

Place in a covered roasting pan fat side up and roast in the oven at 500°F. for 20 minutes.
Turn the heat down to 325° and roast another half an hour.
Turn off the oven but let it continue roasting in the oven until you’re ready to serve it. It needs to rest at least 10 minutes before slicing to retain the juices. If you serve it immediately, it should be pink inside. If you want it rare, only roast it for 10 minutes at 500°F. and turn the oven off, letting it continue to roast for up to an hour. Kick up the heat again briefly to 325°F. just before it’s time to serve to make sure it’s hot, then let it rest for 10 minutes with the oven off before slicing.                              This is rare, but for my taste, it’s too rare!  This is our idea of “perfection,” although several of our in-law kids prefer it more done. To make it medium or well…just keep cooking it longer at 325°F. If you’re in a hurry to finish and need several levels of done-ness, you can also finish off a few slices in a frying pan. The more you cook it, however, the tougher it becomes. (Just sayin’) 🙂 If the weather isn’t too miserable, you can also finish off the prime rib on the grill. Super heat it in the oven at 500.°F for 10 minutes. Let it rest in the oven for up to an hour with the heat entirely off. Fire up the grill and give it another 10-15 minutes (depending on how cold it is out; rotate it several times so it doesn’t burn)  just before you’re ready to serve it. However, you still need to let it rest at least 5 minutes for juice retention. This has become our all-time favorite method. Hot. Juicy. Bursting with flavor!

Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?” (Matthew 24:45).

Chilly Chili Crab Cakes with Horseradish Sauce

Having a high tea to break up the winter blahs has been a long-standing tradition for our birthday club, so we’re always looking for new recipes to share.On our last cruise, my favorite appetizer was their Salmon Tartare, but when I discovered that “tartare” refers to raw meat, I decided to use cooked crab meat instead and make up my own recipe, inspired by the ingredients from the menu. Some years we go in for lots of complicated dishes, but Cindi and Rex had just returned (at midnight) the night before from a mission trip, where Rex was doing anesthesiology at a hospital in Honduras and Cindi was helping at the school, so we tried to make things super simple this time.The party still managed to be a great hit (as always), and my new crab creation turned out to have excellent flavor (even if the dull green color disappointed me). (…On the bright side, it might be fun for St. Patrick’s Day!)  🙂   Also, you could fry the cakes in butter for a more traditional crab-cake, golden-brown look,  but if you’d like a chilled dish for a summery occasion, try this:

Chilly Chili Crab Cakes
(makes 12 servings)

Mash one avocado in a bowl. Add:
The juice from one fresh-squeezed lemon (helps preserve the color of the avocado as well as making everything taste better)
1 small can (4 oz) of mild green chiles 1 pound crab meat
2 tablespoons capers (could be left out if you don’t like capers)2 tablespoons pesto (could be replaced with sour cream, but I love pesto, and I was trying to make it dairy free)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon Lawry seasoning salt (or  your favorite)
1/2  teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper. Mix everything thoroughly. You could serve the salad on lettuce leaves (like the turkey wraps above), although this particular time I served them on little beds of shredded red cabbage. Scoop the crab mixture into balls with an ice cream scope, and top them with a tablespoon (each) of horseradish sauce made from equal parts of horse radish and mayonnaiseWe had such a wonderful evening, but I think even if we’d just gotten together with bread and tea, it wouldn’t have made much difference! “God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:9).(Rex is sharing highlights of their trip with Alan and Steve. Working in a remote hospital overseas, as you can imagine, had a lot of frustrating challenges and tense moments, but they also saved some lives!)

Homemade Granola: Healthy, Wholesome, and Really Yummy

I discovered granola one summer when I was working in Edinburgh, Scotland. Actually, it was “Alpen,” a type of granola called “Muesli,” which we didn’t have yet in America, and it was more wonderful than any dry cereal I’d ever tasted!  It was especially amazing because I always ate it drowned in fresh milk, and I mean really fresh! Back in 1971,  the milkman stopped by every morning and would sell me unhomogenized whole milk for two shillings a pint…the neck of the little bottle filled with cream! Sigh! Those were the days! I was working so hard back then that weight didn’t seem to be an issue, but…no more! Still, I’ve always loved granola. Do you? Over the years I’ve developed my own version, mostly to save money, but also for flavor. My kids—and now my grand kids—love it, so maybe it’s time to share the recipe with you!

Healthy Homemade Granola
(Makes about one gallon)

20 oz old-fashioned rolled oats
10 oz. All-bran cereal
8 oz. toasted wheat germ
8 oz. sliced almonds
4 oz. crushed pecans
1/2 cup canola oil (or your favorite liquid oil, although probably not one with strong flavor)
1 cup honey1/2 cup dried, chopped dates
1 cup raisins (if you’re rich, you could substitute dried cherries or cranberries)  Mix together in a really big metal (ovenproof) bowl, stirring until everything is well mixed. Place uncovered in the oven on a middle rack and bake for an hour at 325°F, stirring it up well about every 10 minutes so that it toasts evenly without burning. Leave it all night in the oven to continue drying.  In the morning, it can be ladled into a gallon jar or stored in freezer bags. It will stay fresh for weeks and will freeze just fine for several months, although mine never lasts that long. You can substitute or add any types of dried fruits or nuts according to your preference, or leave them out altogether. Experiment until you find your personal favorite formula. I used to add some brown sugar, but I think it tastes just fine without. Some people even use less honey or skip the oil. The toasted wheat germ adds a nutty flavor, protein and other nutrients, but it’s pricey and not essential. If you like granola but haven’t tried making your own, I hope you have fun developing your own unique “special recipe!”  Of course, if you have any fresh fruit to add when you serve it, like blueberries, strawberries or bananas, so much the better! (Also, I prefer milk, but some of my kids add yogurt instead. Either way tastes great!)  My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste” (Proverbs 24:13).