Virginia Cabbage Bake

This is a comforting and delicious dish. I will definitely make it again!

Virginia Cabbage Bake

(adapted from “Vegetables on the Side”)

3 – 4 slices of bacon cut in 1” pieces

1 head of green cabbage about 2 ¼ pounds, cut in very thin slices or shredded. Steam over boiling water until tender 10- 15 minutes.

2 T. butter

1 T. all-purpose flour

½ c. heavy cream

One 14.oz. can of chicken stock (33% less sodium)

1 medium size onion – diced

2 -3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut in ¾ inch pieces

1 bunch of green onions, white and light green parts thinly sliced

1 cup of diced ham

Salt and pepper

¾ cup of grated cheddar cheese

Grated nutmeg (optional) I like nutmeg on savory foods

¼ cup of dried breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Generously butter a deep ovenproof medium-large casserole.

In a large frying pan cook the bacon until done but not crisp. Remove bacon and drain on a paper towel. Drain the bacon grease and leave about 1 table spoon of the bacon grease, add 1 table spoon of butter. Add the onions and the potatoes. Cook on medium high stirring every once in a while. As the onions and potatoes soften add about 4 ounces of the chicken stock and stir. Lower heat and cover.

Melt the other tablespoon of butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook stirring for 3 minutes with out browning. Pour in the remainder of the stock and the cream, stirring, and cook over low heat until thick, 3-4 minutes. Remove pan from heat.

When the onion and potatoes are soft. Stir in the cabbage (I used tongs to get a good mix) and then the chicken cream sauce.  Add green onions, ham and bacon. Stir well with tongs. Season with salt and pepper and nutmeg. Stir in cheese. Pour into casserole and top with bread crumbs.

Bake for 30 minutes in oven then 5 minutes under the broiler.

Blooms and Bamboo

There is a fabulous exhibition of chrysanthemums and Ikebana Sogetsu artistry at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA. The array of flowers is stunning and the ikebana is equally lovely. There is a bamboo structure that is a tunnel that you can walk through. My friend Bandon Forsht has a ikibana design in the exhibit and in one photo I am standing in front of it. The exhibit ends on November 17, 2019. Longwood Gardens, 1001 Longwood Rd., Kennet Square, PA 19348.

Standing in front of Brandon Forsht’s ikebana design.
One of the Ikebana designs
This is one chrysanthemum plant.

Meyer Lemon Bars

Lemons. I love lemons. I love their bright yellow color, their tart taste. I love tea with lemon, lemon chicken, lemonade, lemon méringue pie and lemon bars!!! Here is my recipe for lemon bars using Meyer lemons!!! If you cannot find Meyer lemons use regular lemons but use only four not five lemons…it will be equally delicious.

Meyer Lemon Bars

For shortbread crust – Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Grease a 9” x 13” pan with butter.
2 cups of flour
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1cup) of unsalted butter. Cut butter into small cubes.

Mix together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the butter to the bowl and cut everything together with a pastry cutter until the mixture resemble fine crumbs. Press the flour mixture into the pan and bake until golden brown around the edges, 20 -25 minutes.

1 ½ cup of white sugar plus 1/8 cup
¼ cup of flour
4 large eggs
Zest and juice from 5 Meyer lemons

For the Meyer lemon filling: Stir together the sugar and the flour. Break in the eggs and whisk to combine then add the Meyer lemon juice and zest. Mix until well combined. Pour over the crust and bake 20 – 25 minutes.

Allow to cool in the refrigerator 2-3 hours. When cool cut into squares and sift powdered sugar over the top.

Phase III Tea Cocktail

I love tea. I not only drink tea but use tea as an ingredient in creating cocktails, mock-tails, and desserts. My tea of choice is from SerendipiTea. This cocktail “Phase III” uses only three ingredients; Fresh Phrase tea from SerendipiTea, Strawberry Moscato, and Lime bitters. It is light, refreshing and good any time of the year. I hope you try it.

Phase III
2 ounces SerendipiTea’s Fresh Phase tea – chilled
3 ounces Strawberry Moscato – chilled
2-3 dashes Lime Bitters

Pour tea, Moscato, and bitters in a glass filled with ice. Garnish with a lime slice (optional)

Brew 2 teaspoons of tea with 6 ounces of 180 degree water for three minutes. Strain. Chill.

Lemon-Orange Sponge Cake


Lemon-Orange Sponge Cake
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 mins
This cake is perfect for an afternoon tea and would go well with a Darjeeling tea.
  • 4 Eggs
  • 3/4 cup Sugar
  • 8 T Unsalted butter melted
  • 1 Grated rind of one lemon
  • 2 tsp. Grated orange rind
  • 1 ½ cups Unbleached flour
  • 2 tsp. Baking powder
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. 

  2. Whisk eggs until frothy, then slowly add sugar, butter and lemon and orange rinds, beating thoroughly after each addition.

  3. Fold in flour and baking powder.

  4. Grease an 8-inch cake pan, pour in the mixture.

  5. Bake for one hour or until the cake is golden brown and well risen; a toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.

  6. When cool, dust with powered sugar.

Strawberry Cream Sparkler

Since we are now in the Dog Days of summer, I wanted to create another cool beverage for this sultry time of year. Strawberries seemed to be the perfect choice.

Strawberry Cream Sparkler

3-4 organic strawberries
3 oz. Strictly Strawberry Tisane from SerendipiTea
2 teaspoons of rich simple syrup
1 – 2 tablespoons of vanilla ice cream
Cold seltzer water

Brew Strickly Strawberry from SerendipiTea double strength, 2 teaspoons of tisane to 6 ounces of water. Steep for 5 minutes. Strain. Chill.

Wash and remove green stems from strawberries and cut into pieces. Put the strawberries in a blender with 2 teaspoons of rich simple syrup and 3 ounces of brewed and chilled Simply Strawberry. Puree until smooth.

Pour strawberry/tisane puree in a tall glass that has several ice cubes. Add the ice cream. Top with 1- 2 ounces of cold seltzer water. Sip slowly and savor.

Rich Simple Syrup – Two parts white granulated sugar to one-part water. Combine in sauce pan over medium/low heat. Sir occasionally until sugar melts. Cool.

Original recipe by Judith Krall-Russo


Brandied Cherries

I enjoy preserving the “fruits” of the season…drying, canning, freezing. My favorite is canning. There is something so special about preparing the fruits and  vegetables, the hot water steaming, filling the jars, and knowing in the middle of winter you have saved some of the summer. Here is a recipe for Brandied Cherries.

4 pounds of dark sweet cherries (about 9 cups after pitting)
2 ¼ cups of sugar
¼ cup of lemon juice
¾ cup of seven year old apple brandy

1. Stem rinse and pit the cherries
2. Combine cherries and their juice with the sugar and lemon juice in a nonreactive large pot. Heat the mixture over medium heat, occasionally stirring until the sugar is dissolved into a smooth syrup and the cherries are hot throughout. Do not boil the mixture. Remove from heat and stir in brandy.
3. Pack cherries in hot sterilized jars with a slotted spoon. Ladle hot syrup over cherries leaving about ¼” headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece cap. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner. Let set 12 hours then check the seal.
4. Cool and label. Store in a cool cupboard for at least 2 weeks before opening.


Adapted from: “Ball Blue Book of Preserving” First published in 1909 and “The Good Stuff Cookbook” by Helen Witty, 1997.




July – Blueberry Season

July is “Blueberry Month” and this is a big deal in New Jersey. This is the time to pick blueberries, eat blueberries, cook with blueberries, bake with blueberries and preserve blueberries for the long winter months. Blueberries can be dried, frozen or made into jams, jellies and conserves. Here are two Blueberry Conserve recipes. Get cooking!

Blueberry Conserve
2 cups of water
4 cups of sugar
½ lemon thinly sliced
½ orange thinly sliced
½ cup of seedless raisins
1 quart of stemmed New Jersey Blueberries

Bring water and sugar to boiling. Add lemon, orange and raisins;
Simmer 5 minutes. Add blueberries and cook rapidly until thick,
about 30 minutes. As mixture thickens, stir frequently to prevent sticking.
Pour, boiling hot, into sterilized Ball jars (sterilize jars for 10 minutes) leaving ¼ inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 15 minutes in hot water bath.
Yield;. About 4 half-pints

Blueberry-Pineapple Conserve

1 quart of stemmed New Jersey Blueberries
2 cups of finely chopped, cored, pared fresh pineapple (one small)
5 cups of sugar.

Combine fruit and sugar; slowly bringing to boiling,
stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves. Cook rapidly until thick,
about 30 minutes. As mixture thickens, stir frequently to prevent sticking. Pour boiling hot, into sterilized Ball jars (sterilize jars for 10 minutes) leaving ¼ inch headspace. Remove air bubbles Adjust two-piece caps. Process 15 minutes in hot water bath. Yield about 4 half pints.

Adapted from Ball Blue Book, 1969.


Unusual Tea Cup #1

Several months ago I was visiting a friend in South Jersey.  We always end up in at least one antique store and that day we discovered a new large store with many vendors – the kind of store you can wander around for hours looking at antiques. As I walked passed a glass showcase I noticed two small pottery tea cups both in the shape of a cow. They were so delicate and unusual….I had to own them!! The signature on the bottom is …eilene’88.   The cups were made by Eileen Sky who makes wonderful whimsical pieces. Unfortunately, I have found very little about her and her work. Maybe I will be lucky enough to find another one of her creations tucked away on some store shelf!


More unusual tea cups or tea pots to be posted!

Farmers’ Museum – Part 2

Part two has me taken longer than I anticipated. I was involved in doing so much research that I had to say to myself, “Stop!”  So I stopped researching and now will tell you about the exhibit at the Farmers’ Museum. The renovated barn houses a changing exhibit on the main floor and a permanent display of historic farm equipment on the second floor.

When Paul and I were in Cooperstown, NY earlier in the summer we had the opportunity to visit the main floor exhibit, “New York’s Good Eats – Our Fabulous Foods”. It is an insightful exhibit showing many of the foods that were developed, grown, harvested or made in New York State.

Since it will be impossible to talk about all the foods that make up the exhibit, I planned a “mini-tour” for my readers. Let’s begin with the Brooklyn Egg Cream. This fountain beverage was created in the late 19th century when soda fountains were popular social centers. Much credit is given to Louis Auster, a candy shop owner from Brooklyn. The beloved beverage is a combination of chocolate syrup, milk, and seltzer…no eggs…no cream!! The question among Egg Cream aficionados is…was the Egg Cream created in Brooklyn or the Lower East Side? Who really knows!!!

Moving on…the Ice Cream Sundae is said to have had its beginning in Ithaca on Sunday, April 3, 1892. After religious service, the Reverend John M. Scott stopped at the Platt and Colt Pharmacy for his usual dish of ice cream.  Mr. Platt added cherry syrup and a dark candied cherry to the dish of ice cream…inventing the Cherry Sundae! It was a smash hit. However, the city of  Two Rivers in Wisconsin claims that the ice cream sundae was invented there…the “fight” continues this day.

Next…in 1891 The Imperial Packing Company in Canajoharie, New York sold Beech-Nut smoked ham and bacon as their main products.  Then, in 1899 the company changed its name to the Beech-Nut Packing Company and expanded their product line to include products such as ketchup, mustard, mints, fruit drops and Beech-Nut Chewing Gum. There were various flavors including spearmint, peppermint, and pepsin. The town of Canajoharie was referred to as “Flavor-Town” in magazine ads for Beech-Nut Gum.

Continuing the tour, Pearle Wait, a carpenter from Le Roy, New York, was known for putting up cough medicines and laxative teas in his home. On day in 1897 he decided to experiment with gelatin and soon developed and patented a fruit flavored dessert.  Wait and his wife, Mary, named the dessert Jell-O.  In 1899 Wait sold his business, including the formula and the name Jell-O to Frank Woodward for $450.  Woodward was not successful in selling the gelatin product and sold the business including the name for $35. In 1900 the Jell-O name was first used in advertising by Genesee Pure Food Company. It became a family favorite dessert and by 1902 the sales were $250, 000.

Our next stop is the Moon Lake House in Saratoga Springswhere in 1853 a chef named George Crumm created the first Potato Chip. Originally the potato dish, known as French-Fried potatoes, was served as thick slices  that were eaten with a folk and knife. One day a customer complained that the potatoes were too thick and soggy.  Crumm, the chef, agitated with the customer cut the potatoes very, very thin then fried them very crispy and showered them with a generous amount of salt. They were an instant success!

There are many more food stories in the exhibit, New York Good Eats but I will stop with celeryyes, Celery.  New York State in the 1800’s was a leading grower of celery. Celery along with other vegetables was grown in the mucklands located in the central part of the state.  Muck is a very dark brown soil which is mostly organic matter; it is very rich in nitrogen and phosphorus, a very fertile soil that promotes high plant yields.

Celery is native to the Mediterranean region. It was usually eaten cooked, not raw as the vegetable was bitter and stringy. By the 19th century a new cultivar was developed with a milder and sweeter taste. Celery was a labor intensive plant to grow. It needed to be covered with soil to keep the plant light green and tender. The soil also needed to be kept damp but too much moisture would destroy the plant. Since celery was so difficult to grow it was regarded as a very expensive delicacy. In the 19thcentury celery was a status symbol on the dinner table. The raw vegetable, leaves and ribs, was put in a beautiful celery vase (see photo below) and then placed in the center of the table to impress guests. Celery vases were produced in blown glass, sandwich glass, crystal and etched glass. As newer and easier to grow varietals became available celery began to loose its status position in society and celery started to be offered on the table on flat plates, the era of the celery vase vanished.

The exhibit, “New York’s Good Eats – Our Fabulous Foods” at the Farmers’ Museum,Cooperstown, NY  closes on October 31, 2012.   The Farmer’s Museum