Zucchini Cake

The new Funfetti.
Zucchini Cake
Adapted from food.com

1 white cake mix
4 eggs
3/4 cup oil
2 cups shredding zucchini
1 t. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.   Spray two 9-inch cake pan with Pam.

Combine all ingredients until mixed.  Pour into prepared pans.  Bake for 30-33 minutes.  Let cool in pans for 10 min.  Remove cake from pans and let cool on rake or towel until completely cool.  Frost with cream cheese frosting. 

Cream Cheese Frosting
From Kraft
Makes 2 1/2 cups

1/4 cup softened butter
8 oz softened cream cheese
1 t. vanilla
1 pound powered sugar (about 4 cups)
Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla in large bowl with mixer until well blended.
Add sugar gradually, beating after each addition until well blended. 

Spinach Souffle

Spinach Souffle
Serves 4-6

  • 1 bag (16 oz) frozen chopped spinach
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/4 cup flour (all-purpose)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoon very finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg, fresh is best
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Thaw spinach in a colander; squeeze well to get as much moisture as possible out.
Preheat oven to 350°. Butter a 1-quart souffle or casserole dish.
Heat butter in a saucepan over medium low heat. When butter has melted, add flour; stir until smooth and bubbling. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly. When mixture is thick and boiling, remove from heat. Stir in the finely chopped onion, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and the nutmeg.
In a metal or glass mixing bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks have formed. In a separate bowl, beat yolks until frothy and lemon colored.
Stir egg yolks into the sauce mixture; stir in the spinach.
Stir about 1/4 of the beaten egg whites into the spinach mixture, then gently fold in the remaining egg white mixture.
Pour into the prepared souffle dish; set dish in a large pan then add water to a depth of about 1 inch.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes. The top will be lightly browned. Serve immediately.

From Taste of Home:  How Much Spinach
When a recipe calls for cooked fresh spinach, 1 pound of fresh spinach will yield 10-12 cups of torn leaves, which will cook down to about 1 cup. One package (10 ounces) of frozen spinach leaves yields about 1-1/2 cups after cooking. Therefore, you can substitute 1 package (10 ounces) frozen spinach leaves for 1-1/2 pounds of fresh spinach.

I had swiss chard to use up so I substituted it for the spinach.

40 Year Old Rice

It's almost as old as I am.  It smells worse than I do.  Sometimes.  It has a distinct stale starch smell.  That can be fixed of course.  Smother it in sauce.  Sometimes we use the rice instead of sand at playtime.  There is nothing like children that smell of old rice. 
Fried Rice

4 c. cooked rice
1/4 c. oil
Green onion-to taste (I often just throw in dried minced onion)
1 c. cooked diced meat (ham, pork, chicken) 
1/2 pound bacon, cooked and chopped
1/2 c. frozen peas
1/4 c. Yoshida's Sauce
1 egg, lightly beaten

Place frozen peas in a heat proof bowl and pour boiling water over them.  Let stand.  Heat oil in a large fry pan.  Saute onions.  Add rice, stir and heat through.  Add meat.  Drain peas and mix in.  Stir in Yoshida's Sauce.  Add egg and stir until completely cooked. 

Bitter Lettuce Haiku

Bolting lettuce plants
Turning bitter in the heat.
Pasta makes it sweet. 
Lemon Fusilli with Argula
Adapted From Ina Garten
Serves 4-5

1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic (2 cloves)
2 cups heavy cream
3 lemons
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch broccoli ( I leave out)
1 pound dried fusilli pasta ( I used egg pasta noodles)
1/2 pound baby arugula (or 2 bunches of common arugula, leaves cut in thirds) enter bitter lettuce instead
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the garlic, and cook for 60 seconds. Add the cream, the zest from 2 lemons, the juice of 2 lemons, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until it starts to thicken.

Meanwhile, cut the broccoli in florets and discard the stem. Cook the florets in a pot of boiling salted water for 3 to 5 minutes, until tender but still firm. Drain the broccoli and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 1 tablespoon of salt and the pasta, and cook according to the directions on the package, about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain the pasta in a colander and place it back into the pot. Immediately add the cream mixture and cook it over medium-low heat for 3 minutes, until most of the sauce has been absorbed in the pasta. Pour the hot pasta into a large bowl, add the arugula, Parmesan, tomatoes, and cooked broccoli. Cut the last lemon in half lengthwise, slice it 1/4-inch thick crosswise, and add it to the pasta. Toss well, season to taste, and serve hot.

Calories in 1 serving (340 grams) : 960.5

Copycat Claussen Kosher Refrigerator Dill Pickles

I am trying this recipe.
Copycat Claussen Kosher Refrigerator Dill Pickles (Lithuanian Half-Sour)
From foodiewithfamily.com
Yield: 2 gallon of pickles
  • 35 to 40 small to medium pickling cucumbers
  • 1 gallon cold water
  • 1 cup cider vinegar (use white distilled vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoons mixed pickling spices
  • 2/3 c. canning or kosher salt (Do NOT use iodized salt!)
  • 4 cloves garlic or more, to taste
  • 4 fresh dill heads ~or~ 4 tablespoons dried dill seed (not weed!) 

Wash cucumbers but do not scrub them.

Trim 1/8-inch from the blossom end of each cucumber and slice in half lengthwise or into quarters, depending on how large your cucumbers are and how big you want them to be when they're done.
In a gallon jar (or large, wide-mouth, food-safe non-metal container) layer the dill heads or seed, garlic cloves and sliced cucumbers.

In a separate non-metal pitcher or bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients until the salt is dissolved.

Pour the brine over the cucumbers, taking care to make sure all of them are fully submerged. If needed, place a plate or mug or other non-reactive heavy item on the cucumbers to weigh them down and keep them under the brine! (I used a brine filled food grade plastic bag.)

Cover lightly with a lid just perched on top or secure a piece of cheesecloth over the jar with a rubber band to keep fruit flies away.

Leave out of direct sunlight on the counter for two to four days*, or until the cucumbers taste like pickles throughout. (or refrigerate them)

Fix your lid onto your jar or container and chill. These can be stored in the refrigerator for up to six months provided you keep them covered with brine.
*If at any point in the proceedings "fuzz" or "foam" develops on top of the brine, use a spoon to remove it. If there is "fuzz" attached to any of the cucumbers, remove the ones affected and be sure the others are still fully submerged.  

Update:  After making these I thought they were too salty

The blogger's pickling spice is homemade and mainly mustard seed with some whole allspice, black peppercorns, sometimes celery seed, sometimes some broken cinnamon stick (but not much).  Here is her picture of her mix:

I get my pickling spice in bulk at a local Mennonite store.  The stuff in the little red-lidded jars will stand in just fine here...

It's amazing what soup can do.

To old freezer burned deli ham, that is.  I used that instead of pancetta.  Throw in fresh vegetables and they think nothing's wrong.  
Winter Minestrone
From Giada
4-6 servings


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound Swiss chard, stems trimmed, leaves coarsely chopped
1 russet potato, peeled, cubed
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 fresh rosemary sprig
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained, rinsed
2 (14-ounce) cans low-sodium beef broth
1 ounce piece Parmesan cheese rind  ( I didn't have this.  Just sprinkled Parmesan on soup instead)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
Salt and pepper


Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, pancetta, and garlic. Saute until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the Swiss chard and potato; saute for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and rosemary sprig. Simmer until the chard is wilted and the tomatoes break down, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, blend 3/4 cup of the beans with 1/4 cup of the broth in a processor until almost smooth. Add the pureed bean mixture, remaining broth, and Parmesan cheese rind to the vegetable mixture. Simmer until the potato pieces are tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Stir in the whole beans and parsley. Simmer until the beans are heated through and the soup is thick, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Discard Parmesan rind and rosemary sprig (the leaves will have fallen off of the stem.)

Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.

SERVINGS: 4 (MAIN); Calories: 375; Total Fat: 15 grams; Saturated Fat: 4 grams; Protein: 19 grams; Total Carbohydrates: 43 grams; Sugar: 10 grams; Fiber: 10 grams; Cholesterol: 19 milligrams; Sodium: 1,391 milligrams