Thursday, July 2, 2020


I still had a few mangoes in the fridge so decided to make this rich and delicious pie.
I found the recipe online ( and tweaked it just a little bit. I used less sugar in the graham cracker crust, more mango puree in the pie, and less sugar in the whipped cream topping. These mangoes were super ripe so extremely flavorful and sweet.


12 full sheets Graham Crackers
1/4 cup sugar
6 Tbsp. butter

Preparation for the crust:
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Add 6 Tbsp. butter into the 9 inch pie plate you will bake the pie in. Put in the oven while it is heating to melt the butter.

Add the Graham Crackers to a large zip-lock bag. Smash them into fine crumbs using a heavy rolling pin.
That marble rolling pin was my Mom's;
a very special gift from my Dad to her one Christmas.
She cherished it. I do, too.
Add 1/4 cup sugar right into the bag and mix thoroughly. When butter is melted add the crumb/sugar mixture and mix in the pie plate.
Once thoroughly mixed with the butter, firmly press the crumbs into the bottom and sides of the 9 inch pie plate. This made a fairly thick crust so a 10" pie plate would have worked even better. Plus once I made the pie filling I had a little filling left over so next time will use a slightly bigger pie plate. Bake the crust for 8-10 minutes until lightly golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack or can even be made a day or two in advance and kept in refrigerator until ready to fill. Reduce oven temp to 325 degrees.

4 egg yolks
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1 cup mango puree
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
Big pinch of salt (The original recipe did not call for salt, but I figured with all this sweetness we needed a little balance.)

Preparation for the mango pie filling:
To make the mango puree, peel and chop mango and blend in blender, mini-max or use a hand blender until the mango is very creamy with no lumps.

In a large bowl beat egg yolks, using an electric mixer, on high speed until they are thick and a creamy, pale yellow; 3-4 minutes.
This is the color you want the egg yolks to be.
Add sweetened condensed milk and beat an additional 2 minutes. Add mango puree, lime juice and salt and mix until well combined. Pour mango mixture evenly into the fully cooked and cooled Graham Cracker crust.
Pie ready to go into the oven.
Bake 25-30 minutes until center of mango mixture is just set. If the crust begins to get too brown, cover the edges with foil.
I 'tested' the pie to see if a knife came out clean as it would in a custard. It did not, but the pie sets up beautifully as it cools. Place on a rack and cool completely, then cover and put in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

2 cups cold heavy cream
2 Tbsp. sugar

1 cup toasted coconut

Preparation for the topping:
You can toast the coconut several days before serving the pie. Keep in a tightly covered glass container on the counter. TO TOAST THE COCONUT:  I use the oven-top method. Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet to medium high. Add the coconut and let it brown, stirring often until desired toastiness. Coconut catches quickly so watch closely and stir often for 3-5 minutes.
I like to place the bowl and beaters for whipping cream in the freezer before beginning. The cold utensils help the cream whip faster. Place 2 cups cream and sugar and whip at high speed until stiff peaks form. Spread the whipped cream over the pie and top with about a cup of toasted coconut.

My husband, Jerry enjoying a slice of Creamy Mango Pie!
This pie is ridiculously good and fairly easy to make, especially if you do in steps. The mango puree, Graham Cracker crust and toasted coconut can all be made in advance. Once you have topped with whipped cream and toasted coconut, place a few tooth picks into the pie and cover with plastic wrap to store in fridge until ready to serve. That way the plastic wrap does not stick to the topping.
As you may notice, this pie has already been dipped into!


Friday, June 26, 2020


My good friend, Karen Sykes, recently gifted me with some beautiful squash, two of which I had never heard of.

Kabocha is on the left, Delicata in the center
and of course a beautiful Butternut Squash,
which we're all familiar with.
The big, round green squash is KABOCHA, also known as Japanese Pumpkin. It is the sweetest winter squash variety and has a taste and texture somewhere between a pumpkin and a sweet potato. The flesh is a beautiful bright orange and the skin is edible! Filled with lots of fiber, beta carotene, iron and vitamins B and C, it is also good for you. Being in the winter squash family it was a little tricky cutting, but I brought out my big knife to do the job.
I decided to roast the Kabocha with 2 Tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. cinnamon, a drizzle of maple syrup-about 1 Tbsp., and liberal amount of salt. Wash the squash and cut into 2 to 3 inch chunks removing seeds. I used a grapefruit spoon, which works well to remove seeds and stringy pieces. Rinse the seeds and add salt. They can be roasted along with the squash, but won't take as much time. You want them crispy, but not burned. I roasted for about 15 minutes. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare the Kabocha with the olive oil and other ingredients and roast for 30 minutes or until tender.

The pale yellow squash is called DELICATA. It is also known as Peanut Squash, Bohemian Squash and Sweet Potato Squash. Technically a summer squash, however Delicata is classified in the winter squash family because of its hard flesh and late harvest. As with all winter squash it is rich in Vitamins B and C, fiber, potassium and manganese. The creamy flavor and texture is also reminiscent of sweet potato with hints of corn and as with the Kabocha the skin is tender so no peeling necessary. Some varieties are striped in green or orange. This sweet little squash is only about 6 inches long. Since I have not had this squash I decided to keep it really simple so I could taste the true Delicata flavor. Wash the squash and cut off both ends. Cut the squash into rounds and pull out the seeds using a grapefruit spoon. Coat with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes or until tender.

Now that I have experienced both Kabocha and Delicata I look forward to trying some new recipes. The Delicata would be excellent stuffed with ground meat--possibly ground lamb with pine nuts and feta cheese; or sausage with lots of fresh herbs and parmesan. I think the Kabocha would be great roasted and then pureed to use as a spread. They both would make a rich and delicious soup flavored with curry. Thanks again, Karen, for introducing me to 2 delicious winter squashes! My husband wants me to make another Squash Pie with the Butternut Squash. Scroll down to find the recipe.

I served the squash with a ROULADE OF BEEF.
I didn't have any real parmesan,
but this grated cheese worked OK
with all the other luscious flavors!

Using Round Steak, salt/pepper on both sides of the steak, sprinkle with dried tarragon, stuff with cheesy bread crumbs, finely minced garlic, lots of fresh spinach. Roll the steak the long way and wrap with a slice of thick cut bacon. Cook on the grill until bacon is crisp.
The two squash were a perfect complement!


Saturday, June 13, 2020


I like to stuff and roll all kinds of meat and have stuffed pork many times, but this time I wanted to make a very traditional stuffed Italian pork called PORCHETTA. The Italian word for pork is Maiale. When we were in Tuscany a couple years ago I ate maiale nearly every day. Porchetta is traditionally wrapped in pork belly, but unfortunately I could not get my hands on any, so decided to wrap the pork loin in bacon. And just to make sure there was enough pork flavor I chose to stuff with some beautiful Italian salami and provolone cheese. This is not traditional, but as with so many dishes there are regional differences so this is my version from the southwest of Arizona region.
2 lb. pork roast
8 slices good quality salami or enough to fill the pork in one layer with slight overlap
4 slices provolone or enough to fill one layer with a bit of overlap
8 slices (or more) thick-cut bacon

4 fresh sage sprigs and 4 fresh rosemary sprigs for the overnight 'resting'

Ingredients For the Spice Rub:

1 tsp. whole fennel seeds
4 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
2 Tbsp. fresh sage leaves, finely sliced
2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
Lemon zest from 1 lemon
1 tsp. Kosher salt, or more to taste (I used about 1 1/2 tsp.)
1/4 tsp. red pepper flake
1 Tbsp. olive oil or more to make a thick paste

This amount of spice produced a very herbaceous flavor heavy on the pepper. For my husband, Jerry, whose pallet is a bit more delicate than mine it was a bit much, but for myself I thought it was perfect. Adjust spices up or down as you like.

Spice Rub Preparation:
Crush the fennel seeds in a mortar with a pestle until mashed; about 1-2 minutes. Add garlic, sage, black and red peppers, rosemary, salt and lemon zest. Pound into a thick paste. Add olive oil and pound until all ingredients are totally blended.

Cut a slit 3/4 of the way through the center of the pork so the pork opens like a book. Spread about 1/2 of the spice mixture over one side of the pork. Top with salami and cheese. Close the pork and evenly spread the rest of the spice mixture over the top. Wrap the pork loin with thick-cut bacon so bacon ends or seams are on the bottom of the roast. I topped the wrapped pork roast with big long sprigs of fresh sage and rosemary. If you want less of an herby flavor, skip this, but I think this is part of what made this pork loin so delicious! Wrap the pork roast tightly in foil and refrigerate at least overnight. I refrigerated for 2 nights, which enhanced the flavors of the Spice Rub.

Heat a gas grill to 400 degrees. I chose to add a smoker box into the grill to give the roast a little smoky flavor, as over the centuries in Italy they would often roast Porchetta over a wood grill with open flame. Bring the meat to room temperature for about 45 minutes before grilling. Place the roast on the grill and grill on all 4 sides until bacon is nice and crispy.  Lower the heat to 350 on the pork side of the grill (keep the other half of the grill at 400 degrees) and continue cooking until a meat thermometer reads 135 degrees. This cooked very quickly and was up to temp in about 20 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before carving. The meat will continue to cook and final temp will reach about 140-145 degrees.

Tender, juicy, perfectly succulent pork.
I served with lightly steamed broccoli,
and pasta with sauted mushrooms, lots of garlic,
olive oil, coarse salt, and freshly ground black pepper.
Alternatively you could roast this in your oven. Preheat to 450 degrees. Place roast on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast until internal temperature reaches 135 degrees. Follow the steps, as above.

I love cooking outside on the grill, especially when my husband joins me!
Our back yard as night approaches.

Not only is my brother a fantastic cook, but also a great gardener!
At their home on the farm, Eliot, Maine. July 2019

Enjoying an Empress Gin on the back patio at the farm.
June 13, 2020
Me and Skip at the Wells, Maine food-truck rally. July 2019
Skip and his beautiful wife, Esther, Portsmouth, NH August 2017

Thursday, June 4, 2020


No ice cream maker...No problem!

I spend a fair amount of time using the internet to search for new and different recipes. I found this one online. I also have tons of cookbooks and love to pour through them. And, of course, I use my own blog to search for recipes I have made in the past that I have forgotten about.
Thanks again to the generosity of our neighbors, Brian and Lori Itule, we are still eating beautiful mangos. Plus my good friend Leslie Jackson gifted me with a few more. This ice cream is super creamy, easy to scoop and totally delicious. The mango flavor is subtle, but just enough so you know what flavor you're eating, and only 3 ingredients!

2 large ripe mangos (2 1/4 cups mango chunks equal about 2 cups puree)
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups heavy cream, whipped

Dice the flesh of the mango removing both skin and stone. Puree in a blender or food processor then measure out 2 cups mango puree. Pour the puree into a nonstick skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for 8-10 minutes. As it reduces you lose some volume, but that is OK. I ended up with 1 1/2 cups puree. When you are able to drag a wooden spoon across the puree and the path remains clean you are at the right reduction.
Cool the puree.
Combine cooled mango and condensed milk in a bowl. Whisk until well combined. I decided not to strain the mango puree through a fine-mesh sieve as I thought the little pieces of mango would bring extra texture and flavor. They did.
Beat the heavy cream until soft peaks are formed. Take a scoop of mango puree and mix gently, but thoroughly until mostly combined. This will lighten the mango puree before the rest of the cream is added.
Keep adding mango mixture and cream alternately gently folding until both are well combined. Do not beat vigorously or use a mixer as you will take the air our of the whipped cream. It will be quite soft.
Pour the mixture into a glass container and seal with the lid. Place in the freezer and freeze for at least 12 hours.
Let it soften a couple minutes before scooping and serving.
With all these beautiful mangos, the week before I made Mango Sorbet, which has a more mango-y flavor and no heavy cream or evaporated milk so gentler on the waistline. On these hot pre-summer days in southern Arizona they are both a wonderful treat!
Scroll to the end of the blog to get the recipe for Mango Sorbet.
I have just enough mangos left to make a Mango Sponge Cake and will share that with you soon!



Wednesday, May 27, 2020


AKA Braciola or Brazole and pronounced as
such, although the 'Z' has a soft sound.
I am on a real Italian kick! I don't think I've ever made Braciole before so did a lot of looking online for recipes and selected a little of this and a little of that from each recipe and came up with this one, which is not completely traditional, but close. As with so many "classic" dishes there are many variations. Some recipes use prosciutto or salami for stuffing inside, but I chose pancetta in the filling, as I love the fat and beautiful flavor. I also thought the pancetta would lend a juicier final product, and it did. I chose to use Round Steak as it is already cut thin (about 1/8 inch) and is in individual serving sizes. You may also use flank steak for one big roll, sirloin pounded thin, or veal. Some recipes even use pork, but I would think that is more like a Porchetta, which I am making next week! Herbs may also vary, but parsley is essential.
The flour-bin, top right, was my grandmothers.

4 slices Top Round Steak*
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Enough Pancetta to cover the meat slices in one layer
3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup half and half or milk
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup coarsely grated Parmesan
1/2 cup chopped Parsley, chopped; more for garnish
1/2 cup Arugula/Spinach combination, chopped
String for tying

2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp. butter
12 Baby Portabella mushrooms, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. flour
1 cup red wine
1 cup beef broth
2 fat Tbsp. tomato paste

* I should have cut my pieces of steak so they were even rectangles. It would have made the rolling easier and final presentation prettier.
Liberally salt and pepper both sides of the beef. Cover each slice with pancetta. In a medium bowl add bread crumbs, half and half, grated cheese, diced onion, parsley, arugula/spinach, salt and pepper. Stir combining thoroughly to moisten bread crumbs. Spread a thin layer of the stuffing over each piece of beef.
Roll tightly, tucking the stuffing in as you go.
Tie the rolls with kitchen string. Because the beef was unevenly cut and they were so tiny my tying is quite amateurish. I even had to stick in a few toothpicks to keep them together!

Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottom skillet until almost smoking and brown the beef rolls on all sides, about 6 minutes. Toss in the garlic.
Remove the meat from the pan and add 2 Tbsp. butter. Add mushrooms to melted butter. Saute the mushrooms for about 5 minutes to release juices. Add flour to the pan and cook 2 minutes. Whisk wine into the mushroom mixture and make sure you scrape up all the pan drippings. Season with salt and pepper. Then add beef broth and tomato paste. Stir to combine well. Remove the string from the rolls. Add the meat back into the sauce. Reduce heat and cook at barely a simmer for 40-45 minutes spooning sauce over the beef rolls.
I served our Braciole with Portabella mushroom Risotta and smoked asparagus.
Try this recipe and let me know if you like it as much as we did! I could've drank a bowl of that sauce on its own.


Sunday, May 17, 2020


I have blogged this recipe in the past, but here it is again with a twist. Spring Rolls make a fabulous, light simple supper on a warm summer night.


I didn't have all the correct ingredients, but decided to wing it as I was having a serious Spring Roll hankering. I had no rice vermicelli, no basil-Thai or otherwise, no cilantro, but did have enough ingredients on hand to make a tasty roll.
Drop rice wrapper into a bowl of cold water for a few seconds.
Lie flat on a damp dish cloth.
Add filling along edge of the rice wrapper.
Fold in the 2 edges at long side.
Gently roll tucking in ingredients as you go.
If you tear the rice wrapper, simply double wrap with another moistened wrapper.
Place wrapped rolls on a damp dish towel as the rice wrapper dries out very quickly.
In place of the rice vermicelli I used some Jasmine rice that I had cooked the previous night in Asian spices. I added chives both inside the roll and as a garnish and also garnished with sesame seeds. I included avocado slices inside, which added richness. Bottom line: Wrap whatever ingredients you have on hand that have an Asian flair. For the sauce I mixed: Fish sauce, teriyaki, soy sauce, Hoisin, minced garlic, and a little red pepper flake. I served with Edamame beans lightly steamed and then chilled with soy sauce.

Next, on to a surprisingly easy dessert.
Our neighbors, Lori and Brian Itule, have been so generous over the last few weeks of 'Staying at Home' by bringing us lovely fresh produce. Last week they included a huge butternut squash in the mix of fruit and veg. I like to roast butternut squash in the skin as it is so difficult to peel. My husband, Jerry, has a sweet tooth so I was roasting in cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, a little nutmeg, maple syrup and salt, all topped with thick slices of butter. It smelled just like a pumpkin pie so Jerry suggested I turn this into pie rather than a savory (which it really wasn't anyway!) side. I found this recipe online, but changed a couple ingredients. Instead of 3/4 cup white sugar I used a combo of brown sugar and maple syrup. I also increased the quantities of the sweet spices.


1 medium butternut squash or 2 small butternut squash
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup, plus more for baking squash
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon, plus more for baking squash
1/2 tsp. nutmeg, plus more for baking squash
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, plus more...well, you get it!
Salt and butter for baking the squash.

9 inch deep dish pie crust (I cheated again and used a frozen crust.)

All ingredients are in the blender!

As you can see I had a little extra filling.
The Butternut squash 'puddings' will only take
about 30 minutes to bake.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut squash in half and remove the seeds. Cut in even chunks so it all roasts at the same time. Lightly sprinkle with cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Very lightly drizzle some maple syrup over the squash. Top with slices of butter on each piece. Roast in the oven until squash is very tender; about 1 hour. Turn once during the baking. Cool completely and then remove the skin.

Place the cooled squash (a generous 2 cups) in your blender or food processor and add all other ingredients. Blend/process until very smooth.

Pour in prepared pie crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until center is nearly set. It will still be a little wobbly. I covered my crust with foil so it would not get too brown.

Cool on a wire rack.


Keeping JoJo safe!