Wednesday, November 14, 2012

painted furniture

this nightstand was part of a blond set from the early 1950's purchased new by my parents.  many
family members have used this piece (and painted it!)

when we were setting up the guest room in barby and sean's apartment (which i use four or five days per week), barby thought it would be great to paint it a prominent color of a beautiful quilt displayed on the bed, which had been made by a dear friend of sean's mother for little katie kelly.

i sanded the piece down and then used behr premium plus ultra.  i sprayed a clear finish to give it an "enamel" look.  then i had a piece of glass cut to measure.  i purchased the antique doily at antique marketplace in lemoyne.  (the white corners are safety corners for the baby!)

tina painted dining room chairs a gorgeous silver.  barby had purchased the black italian chairs at a tag
sale in spring lake ~ she is now getting material for the seats and i can't wait to see the finished product!

we are getting the apartment ready for me to move into and i am scouting around for furniture we don't use any more and thinking up colors and finishes so i can revive them.

there is an old dresser that i am thinking of painting silver....tina did such a great job on the chairs, i think
the dresser would look really nifty silver also!

this will be my next project, after thanksgiving!

baby sister's blanket

i just finished baby sister's blanket and i love, love, love this pattern!  it was so easy (so easy i made
quite a few mistakes and had to rip out and re-do!

i got this pattern off the internet under Rare Purls Original Pattern, Blake's Baby Blanket, Copyright 2008 - Kay Mather:

materials:  (3) 100 grams (3.5 oz.) balls Cascade 220 superwash
needle: #8 US
finished blocked measurement: 27" x 30"
gauge - 4- 1/2 stitches = 1 inch, 6 rows = 1 inch

double moss pattern stitch
loosely cast on 120 stitches
row 1 - (K2, P2) repeat these 2 stitches across
row 2 - repeat row 1
row 3 - (P2, K2) repeat these 2 stitches across
row 4 - repeat row 3

work in double moss stitch pattern for approximately 3 inches, ending on row 4
begin broken rib pattern stitch with double moss stitch border

body of blanket (broken rib pattern stitch with double moss stitch border)
set up row - (K2, P2) across 14 stitches, place marker, knit next 92 stitches, place marker,  (P2, K2)
across 14 stitches, ending with P2
the set up row will be your first row 1 of broken rib pattern stitch with double moss stitch border

broken rib pattern stitch with double moss pattern stitch border
row 1 - K2, *(P2, K2) work from *across to marker, slip marker, K  across to marker, slip marker
*(P2, K2) work from *across, ending with P2
row 2 - repeat row 1
row 3 - (P2, K2) across, slipping markers
row 4 - repeat row 3

work broken rib pattern stitch with border for 27 inches, ending on row 4.

for final border, again begin with row 1 of double moss pattern stitch and work in border pattern for approximately 3 inches, ending on row 4.

bind off loosely, continuing P2, K2 stitch pattern across during bind off process.

(i made the blanket a bit larger than the pattern called for; i also used #10 needles and ambiente linea pura
by lana grossa of italy, 85% recycled cotton and 15% recycled cashmere)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Carlyle Hotel ~ it doesn't get any better!

today we had tea at the carlyle hotel in new york city.....madeline's tea, actually.....the walls are
hand painted by ludwig bemelmans, creator of the madeline books.  attending were katie kelly, her
mother and both grandmothers!.....what a divine time!.....the foods, presentation and service were
5 stars,  hands down!....and tina deVaron at the piano was truly amazing.....she played, sang, chatted,
and engaged the children beautifully!
When barby and sean married in 2009 at st. ignatius on park avenue, we all stayed at the carlyle ~
and had a magical experience then as well.  it just doesn't get any better than at the Carlyle!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

fried green tomatoes

our daughter tina and her gary were coming to dinner to celebrate their anniversary
so i thought i would make one of her favorites, fried green tomatoes......i had never
made them before so i turned to simply recipes and here is what i found (and the
tomatoes were great!):

3 medium, firm green tomatoes
1 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. buttermilk
1 egg
1/3 c. cornmeal
1/2 c. fine dry bread crumbs
1/4 c. peanut or vegetable oil

cut unpeeled tomatoes into 1/2 " slices and sprinkle with salt.  let tomato slices stand
for 5 minutes.  meanwhile, organize the separate bowls for the flour, the buttermilk and
egg, and the breadcrumbs with cornmeal.

heat the oil in skillet on medium.  beat the egg and buttermilk together.  dip tomato slices
in the flour, hen the buttermilk/egg mixture, and the cornmeal/breadcrumb mixture.  in the
skillet, fry the tomato slices 3-5 minutes on each side or until a lovely golden brown.  set
the cooked slices on paper towel to absorb the oil and sprinkle lightly with coarse salt.

Jewish Apple Cake

it wouldn't be fall without baking with apples!  jewish apple cake is one of the best
ways to use tart apples, such as mcintosh.  this is a very easy recipe that is modified
from one a catering client gave me many years ago:

6 mcintosh apples
1 T. cinnamon
5 T. sugar

2 -3/4 c. flour, sifted
1 T. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 c. vegetable oil
2 c. sugar
1/4 c. orange juice
2-1/2 t. pure vanilla
4 eggs
1 c. walnuts, chopped (optional)

preheat oven to 350*.   grease a bundt pan.  peel, core and chop apples into chunks.
toss with the cinnamon and sugar and set aside.

stir together the flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.  in a separate bowl,
whisk together the oil, orange juice, sugar and vanilla and then add the eggs, one at a time.
slowly incorporate the dry ingredients, mixing well.

pour half the mixture into the prepared pan and then spread half the apples over.  pour the
remaining batter over the apples and distribute the remaining apples on top.  bake for one hour
30 minutes or til tester comes out clean.

serve with 10-x sugar sprinkled over top or with whipped cream on side.

Saturday, September 8, 2012


eggplants are everywhere at the farmers' market! is the season! can buy
3 for $1.00 right now!  (and in the grocery store they are selling them for $1.99/lb.---
don't know where they even come from!)

since i absolutely adore eggplants, and especially eggplant parmesan, i am frying up
discs of eggplant now to freeze and then enjoy whenever i get the urge for some
wonderful, cheesey, gooey eggplant parmesan this winter!

i always peel the eggplant.....that's just my personal liking.....into rounds, not lengthwise (another
personal likeness)...with so many eggplants, i just load up the peeled sliced discs on a paper
towel lined baking sheet.  then i dip each slice of eggplant into beaten egg and then lightly
coat with italian breadcrumbs.  these i layer on parchment lined baking sheets.  at this point,
if you don't have the time, just saran the baking sheets and get back to them later in the day
to fry them.

i usually don't salt and weight down the eggplant.  i don't find eggplant bitter and love the seeds!

so i don't have a mess in my kitchen with splattered oil, i usually fry up the eggplant in a large
pot filled with about 3 inches of vegetable oil.  once the oil is hot, i put as many slices of eggplant
as will fit and let them cook to a golden brown and then flip each one of the slices over.  (they tend
to really cook up fast)  i lay the cooked slices out on paper towel to drain the excess oil.

this is where i have to control myself ~ hot, crisp eggplant out of the pot is my downfall and i can
easily sample way too many slices!

i layer the cooked, cooled eggplant slices in freezer bags between sheets of parchment and freeze
the bags.

when i am in the mood for eggplant parmesan, i just take out as many slices as i want and then
proceed with the sauce and mozzarella and i am good to go! (with very little fuss or work!)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

genetically altered foods

i am back in riverdale!....katie kelly is now two years old and is so very smart and active!
she will be in a little pre-nursery next door at riverdale presbyterian for three mornings
a week....i will still be driving up early monday mornings and returning to harrisburg
on thursday afternoons........

i am becoming quite concerned regarding our food supply.  it's one thing to stop eating all
the processed foods and return to well prepared, seasonal foods, but if our basic flour has been
altered, our chicken breasts enhanced to be so large, food dyes in even our salad dressings......
all of which, we, in good faith, purchase at the food stores.....where is our control and what
can we do?

i was chatting with my daughter, tina (who has been doing extensive research on this subject!),
and she informed me that nutrition is not being taught in the schools.  children of today
are not being taught why the calcium is necessary for them and what it does to their bodies.
apparently home economics is long-gone!.....there is minor course study in health class but
nothing to be significant.

i applaud jamie oliver in his quest to get all school cafeterias to serve our children nutritious,
freshly made, seasonal foods rather than frozen "bake-off's".

but we need to go further......just because it is cheaper and/or more convenient for the major
food companies to have a flour, that is so enhanced as to cause health problems for the public
down the can that be a good thing?

with food costs rising constantly, we must take action and make the foods we purchase what we want and as healthy for us as can be.....

i was just going to put some paul newman's lite italian dressing on my salad and read the label.....the ingredients are water, red wine vinegar, olive oil, vegetable oil, extra virgin olive oil, salt, onion, spices, distilled vinegar, garlic, lemon juice concentrate, xanthan gum, natural flavor and termeric for color.

i can easily live with all these ingredients.....i like that termeric is there for the color!....indeed this is
natural and i can live with the xanthan gum as well!

i then checked the cupboard and there was another italian dressing - fat free by garden goodness.....
the ingredients were:  water, distilled vinegar, high fructose corn syrup, salt, dried garlic, vegetable oil,
garlic, xanthan gum, dried onion, modified food starch, dried red bell peppers, spice, potassium
sorbate, calcium disodium edta as preservatives, vitamin e acetate, yellow #5 and yellow #6......

gee, which dressing would you choose?

it seems we should all be reading the labels ( i know, it takes a lot of time!) so we are very
informed as to what we are buying and ingesting.....perhaps if we are more aware, we can
make better choices and make changes if necessary.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Photo Book

Click here to view this photo book larger

Turn your favorite photos into a photo book at

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Luncheon Menu

For our Classmate Reunion Luncheon today, we had  bellinis, gazpacho with shrimp, grilled chicken
with grilled peaches and corn caprese salad in frico cup followed by italian plum torte
with freshly whipped cream.  i also served lemon rosemary zucchini bread and rosemary

the recipe for caprese corn salad  is from simply recipes, however, i adapted it and
did not measure anything ....just went by sight:

lovely white corn off the cob from the farmers market
dash kosher salt
about 1 T. finely chopped red onion
about 3 T. small dice of fresh mozzarella
orange grape tomatoes, cut in half
red grape tomatoes, cut in half
chopped parsley
a lot of fresh basil, drizzle of olive oil, drizzle of white balsamic vinegar and let it
 rest to marry the flavors.

Plum Torte

this is a recipe by marian burros that is all over the internet.

i made this for a luncheon today for a reunion of classmates (4 of us!) and served
it with freshly whipped cream.

while i have not frozen this, everyone says it freezes beautifully.  also, it is
said that this recipe can be made with the substitution of apples, cranberries or
pears.  i'll have to remember to try one of those in the near future.

Plum Torte

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c. plus 1 or 2 T. granulated sugar
1 c. unbleached flour, sifted
1 t. baking powder
2 eggs
pinch salt
24 halves pitted Italian plums
1 t. cinnamon, to taste, optional

arrange a rack in the lower third of the oven.  preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
cream the butter and 3/4 c. sugar.  add the flour, baking powder, eggs and salt and beat to mix
well.  spoon the batter into an ungreased 9 inch springform pan.  place the plums on top of the
batter in concentric circle with cut side down.  mix the cinnamon and 1 or 2 T. sugar and sprinkle
over the plums.
bake 40-50 minutes, til a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  remove from oven and

let cool.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Banana Bread

we had my mother's 85th birthday celebration this past weekend and for the sunday brunch i made
banana bread (with no nuts for katie kelly!) and everyone raved and raved about the bread.

here is the recipe:

Banana Bread

3-4 ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 c. melted butter

put the mashed bananas and the melted butter in a bowl and stir well to incorporate.

Mix in:

1 c. granulated sugar
1 egg
1 t. pure vanilla

sprinkle 1 t. baking soda and pinch of salt over mixture and incorporate.

Add 1 ½ c. all purpose flour and mix well.

Pour into buttered 4 x 8 loaf pan.

(sprinkle top with baker’s sugar if desired)

bake one hour at 350*.  (use tester to make sure bread not wet)

(i haven't tried freezing this bread but would think it would do well for a short time) 

peach bread

this is a wonderful recipe i found on the internet and it is so tasty!  i am using all the fresh peaches
from the farmers' market for these breads.  they freeze beautifully as well!  i am going to make small
ones to give as gifts!

2 cups all purpose flour (or substitute white whole wheat flour for 1 cup of the all purpose flour)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 TBSP flaxseed meal (optional)
2 cups very ripe, mashed peaches (about 5 or so medium peaches)
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 TBSP butter or margarine, melted
1/2 cup raisins or nuts (optional)

In a bowl, mix flour, sugars, salt, and baking soda. Put mashed peaches in a large bowl. Add beaten egg, melted butter. Stir in raisins or nuts. Stir in flour mixture. Pour into a 9x5" greased loaf pan. Let stand 20 minutes. Bake at 350 for 45-55 min. Cool bread in pan 15 min; remove from pan and finish cooling on wire rack.

i did not add the flaxseed or the raisins/nuts when i made it and bob really enjoyed it.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


the summer rambos are here!  i bought some at the farmers' market and made the first batch ~
the grandchildren love, love, love the homemade mother has been making
it for them for years.

it is so simple......just cut the apples up into quarters (discard core) and throw in a large pot
with water covering the bottom.  bring to a boil and then turn heat down and let cook til
apples are soft and mushy.  this is when i stir the apples a bit and taste test to see if i need
to add a small amount of sugar.....if you do want to add sugar, now is the time as it will
incorporate well with the hot apples......then i put it all through a colander to strain it (the
apple peel remains behind and is discarded) could also use a food mill but i just
always do the colander since that's how my mother does it.

the applesauce freezes beautifully and the children enjoy it so much all winter!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Summer Pesto

i have been purchasing huge bunches of fresh basil at the farmer's market......each bunch is so big it
yields about 8 cups which is two batches of pesto.  here is the recipe for classic summer pesto, which
freezes beautifully!

4 cups fresh basil (rinse leaves and pat dry)
1/2 c. olive oil
1/3 c. pine nuts (pignoli)
2 cloves garlic

1/2 c. parmesan cheese (finely grated)
1 t. coarse salt

process the basil, olive oil, pine nuts and garlic.  scrape down the sides.  then add the cheese and the
salt and process til incorporated.  scrape into a bowl and float about 1/2 " of olive oil on top.

pesto over grilled chicken and/or some pasta with fresh tomatoes and then fresh peaches = heaven!!!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Stuffed Cabbages

today i am making stuffed cabbages.  we were talking about them recently and i really got into the mood.
i bought nice fresh cabbages at the farmers market.  normally, one would go to steelton, pa. and purchase
heads of cabbage that have been soaked in a brine......however, today i am just using the regular cabbages.

i used to boil the whole heads of cabbage til the leaves were soft and pliable.  then someone told me about
microwaving the outer leaves and smaller heads so that is what i have been doing and i find it makes things
move right along.

after microwaving the leaves, i trim the center rib so it will lay flat and be really pliable.

the filling is seasoned ground beef (salt and pepper) and a small amount of uncooked rice.  to one lb.
of ground beef i use about 1/2 c. of uncooked long grain rice.

laying the cabbage leaf flat on the board, i put a small amount of beef at the top middle of the leaf, about
1/4 cup.  (if the leaf is very large, you might want to put more meat filling in).

then turn the left and right sides in and roll up.  you should have a nice firm little packet.

i take the tough outer leaves of the cabbage head and line my pot. i put a little bit of water over these leaves. then i put some sauerkrout on the bottom of the pan over the leaves.  then i start stacking my packets and putting more sauerkrout on top of each layer of packets.  

then i put some tomato sauce over all the packets and the sauerkrout and bring to a boil.  then i turn the
heat down and cook for several hours.....til the cabbage is nice and soft and the sauerkrout is really cooked.

typically, these cabbages are served with mashed potatoes.  it really is sort of a winter item but, as i said,
after we were talking about them i just had to make them.  i will be putting these in freezer bags and freezing
them for the fall/winter.  all i will have to do is defrost and heat up!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler

this is to die for!  i made this for our luncheon

it is from and is so easy!

fruit mixture:

4 1/2 c. rhubarb stalks cut into 1 inch pieces
1 1/2 c. strawberries, stemmed and sliced
1/2 c. white granulated sugar
2 T. quick cooking tapioca
1 t. grated orange zest, chopped

cobbler crust:

2 T. white granulated sugar
1 c. all purpose flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. milk
1 egg, lightly beaten

preheat oven to 350*.

in bowl, mix the rhubarb and strawberries with the sugar, tapioca and orange zest.
set aside to blend for 30 minutes to an hour.

in bowl, combine 2 T. sugar, flour, baking powder and salt.  cut butter in with fork
or pastry blender til mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  stir in milk and egg til just

pour fruit into 2 quart casserole dish.  drop batter on fruit.  bake in 350* oven for
35 minutes til cobbler crust is browned.

serve with freshly whipped cream.

Friday, June 15, 2012

zucchini fritters

i am preparing zucchini fritters for a luncheon for friends tomorrow.  the recipe i am using is

from simply recipes which i got off the internet:

2 medium zucchini, coarsely grated on box grater
1 t. kosher salt
2 scallions (i used a small amount of finely chopped onion)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 t. baking powder
olive oil to fry

after grating the zucchini and lightly salting it, i let it "rest" and then squeezed the liquid out of it.
i then added the onion, pepper, egg.  then i stirred in the flour mixed with the baking powder.

i put the olive oil in the cast iron frying pan and let it get real hot.  using a large spoon, i dropped
the batter into the pan and lightly spread it with the spoon so as to flatten it.  i used a timer and
did about 3 minutes on each side.  then i drained the fritters on a baking sheet lined with paper towels.

i also lightly salted the fritters as they were draining on the towels.

these are so scrumptious!  i think bob and i ate half of the fritters while i was making them!  it's a
good thing i doubled the amount i was making!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

I have been buying rhubarb in new york city (garden gourmet for 6.99/lb.!!!) and in harrisburg and
making rhubarb sauce, which little katie kelly has always loved! she is pushing the bowl (or
throwing the bowl!) i thought for memorial day weekend i would make a strawberry rhubarb

i got this recipe off the internet from food network....most of the recipes i checked out were very

2 c. all purpose flour, plus additional flour as needed
1/2 c. cake flour
3 t. sifted powdered sugar (10-x)
1/2 c. shortening (crisco)
1/4 c. salted butter
pinch salt
1 egg
2 t. vinegar
1/4 c. ice cold water

using 2 pastry blenders, blend the flours, sugar, shortening, butter and salt.  whisk the egg, vinegar and water in a 2-cup measure and pour over the dry ingredients, incorporating all the liquid without overworking the
dough. toss additional flour over the ball of dough and chill.  divide the dough into 2 disks.  roll out one piece of dough to make a bottom crust.  place into pie dish.  put dish in refrigerator to chill. preheat oven to


2 1/2 c. chopped red rhubarb, fresh (1/2 " slices)
2 1/2 c. de-stemmed,. washed and cut strawberries (in large pieces)
1 1/2 c. sugar ( 1 1/4 c. for high altitude)
2 T. minute tapioca
1 T. all purpose flour
1/2 t. grated lemon zest, chopped
1/2 t. lemon juice
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. vanilla extract
3 T. butter, cubed small
1 egg white beaten with 1 t. water
large granule sugar (bakers' sugar)

mix rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, tapioca, flour, zest and juice of lemon, cinnamon, and vanilla.
mix well in large bowl and poiur out into chilled crust.  dot top with butter.  brush edges of pie crust
with egg white wash. roll out other piece of dough and place over filling.  crimp to seal edges.  brush
with egg white wash and garnish with bakers sugar.  collar with foil and bake at 425 degrees for 15
minutes.  decrease temperature to 375 degrees and bake an additional 45-50 minutes, or til filling
starts bubbling.  let cool before serving.  (filling may bubble out so be sure to place pie pan on baking

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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Easter Meat Pie

Italian Easter (meat) Pie is a tradition my husband grew up with.  The Intrieri family would make the pies
every Good Friday.  Since my husband was best friends with the son, Robert, he was able to partake
of their wonderful cooking!  I will be making these pies this Good Friday in keeping with the tradition.

This is Angie Intrieri's recipe:

Italian Easter Pie, makes 5 pies

 6 cups flour
 1-1/2 cups crisco
 6 eggs, well beaten
 1 t. salt
 water***add enough to make a soft dough (4-5T), roll thin


2 lb. ricotta cheese
8 raw eggs, well beaten
12 hard cooked eggs
2-1/2 lb. cooked ham, diced
1 small mozzarella, diced
1 stick pepperoni, casing removed, diced
chopped parsley
salt and pepper
romano cheese, to taste

1.  put all ingredients in large bowl and mix well.
2.  roll dough thin to line pie pans.
3.  divide filling evenly among pans.
4.  roll dough thin to top pie pans.
5.  brush top doughs with egg yolk glaze (1 egg yolk + 1 T. water)
6.  slit dough for air vents.
7.  bake 350-375* (depending on oven) for about an hour.  should be golden brown.

can eat warm, room temperature or cold

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Cut Out Sugar Cookies for Easter

easter is just a week away!.....the time is surely flying by!
today i am getting a start on cleaning the house so i won't have so much to do at the end of
the week when i will be busy baking.

i am going to be listing several recipes and photos on foods which we prepare for easter.

i am making the dough for the cut out sugar cookies for easter.  this dough must rest in the fridge for
overnight before rolling out cookies.  then the cut cookies must rest in the fridge for several hours.
for this reason i am making the dough today, freezing it and i will take it to new york city with me
and roll and bake there and then bring the cookies home for easter.

i was thinking i might use some of the cookies as name place "cards" for our easter dinner.  (we shall
see how much time i have left at the end of the week!) i will be rolling out bunnies, carrots, eggs and

here is the basic recipe:

2 c. all purpose flour (no need to sift)
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. baking powder
1 stick butter (no salt), at room temperature
1 c. sugar
1 egg, large
1 t. pure vanilla (not imitation)

1.  mix dry ingredients in bowl and set aside.
2.  cream butter, add sugar and then egg and vanilla, mixing well.
3.  slowly add dry ingredients, making sure to incorporate.
4.  wrap dough in saran and chill overnight.
5.  roll dough out and cut into desire shapes and place on parchment lined baking sheets. cover with saran.
6.  chill cut out dough for at least 2 hours before baking.
7.  preheat oven to *350.
8.  sprinkle sanding sugar onto cookies if desired and bake 8 - 12 minutes, depending on oven, til
edges are golden.
9.  cool on rack.  will keep for several days if kept in tight tin.

we got this recipe from martha stewart and therefore always called it "martha dough"....we would use this
same dough for our linzer tarts, which are absolutely delicious!