No one does a clambake like my cousin Arlene Strauss. Now Arlene will tell you that a lot of people put it together- and that is true. If I name them all I fear I will leave someone out. Let’s just say that the men tending the grilling and outdoor cooking are amazing. Everyone seemed to bring something special and tasty. The star of the night were the clams- done to perfection and the lobsters. Can’t remember when I have had such a great lobster. Oh wait, last year’s clambake!!!! Its the time of year when we are seeing more clambakes and there are different ideas of how to do it- do it the way it makes you happy. For my family the chicken and corn are grilled, not cooked in the pot with the clams. This way everything doesn’t taste like clams. Also helpful for anyone who is allergic.  A mix of Autumn dishes as sides and desserts including a winter squash au gratin made by Arlene’s neighbor, Julie. Perfection. Then there were the desserts. I brought lemon tea bread and pumpkin-shaped sugar cookies with orange frosting and sprinkles. There were lies and cookies, lemon squares and pumpkin bars. I tell you folks- this was a night to remember.

There was the issue of the wind. Arlene and Gary live on the lake- right on the lake. It is so beautiful but on a night like we had the wind was furious. When I went to leave I opened my car door, got in and let go. The door slammed shut on its own. Still, sitting on their glassed-in back porch- shielded from the wind- the view of the lake was majestic and enthralling.  Thanks to all who added to the evening, especially Arlene for putting up wirh us all.

Love and kisses.

Pasta Class

Class tonight at Wildwood in Mentor was so much fun. The ladies were great and real naturals at making fresh pasta and cheese ravioli. We were using egg pasta and vegetable based doughs. We had carrot, beet, broccoli, artichoke, roasted red pepper, spinach, pumpkin and green pea. We then combined these colorful pasta doughs and rolled them out. Beautiful marbles affect. They were then cut into angel hair pasta, linguine and cheese-filled rainbow ravioli. People from all over the building came to see what smelled so good. Thanks again to everyone for working so hard.


Honey to the Rescue

Just found out an interesting new use for honey. When you are melting chocolate it will sometimes seize. This normally happens when liquid gets in the melted chocolate. That’s why you have to be careful when using a double boiler. A few drops of water can spell disaster.  It becomes grainy and hard and usually just gets tossed out. But if you add a little honey to the chocolate and stir it in gently the chocolate softens and can still be used!!!!
If you are looking for great, locally produced honey stop in at Blue Pike Farm on Thursday. Carl’s bees have been hard at work all summer. We only have 3 weeks more of the market- I would love to see you there.
Blue Pike Farm is located at 900 E. 72 Street- just a short bit south of the shoreway. We are open from 4-7 pm.
Note: Due to a scheduling conflict I will NOT be at the market next Thursday (10/20)  so I will only be there 2 more times.
The Honey and Peach preserves have been a big hit and we are almost out. The wine jellies are flying out and I just have a few jars left of both the Strawberry  and vanilla Preserves and Vidalia Onion Relish. They make nice little gifts so stock up for the holidays.


This post is dedicated to my niece Sarah and her role in the creation of the drink, Amethyst. Had a conversation with my dear friend Jim about this at Blue Pike Farm on Thursday. It’s simple really. You’ll need blueberry flavored vodka. The recipe follows. I make it without the sugar. Since blueberries are full of anti-oxidants this is practically medicine. Combine some of the blueberry vodka with dry grape ginger-ale. You will have a light purple-colored drink that goes down really easy. Now it will take a couple of months for the vodka to mature. Still time to make some for the holidays. Frozen blueberries work great, too. If you can’t wait that long- stop on over and I’ll make one for you!

Blueberry Cordial

1 c. sugar, optional

3 c. blueberries

2 c. vodka

Combine all ingredients in jar with tight fitting lid. Let stand in cool, dark place, shaking jar occasionally. Mature 2 months. Strain and filter. Makes 3 cups.

Note: If you make this without sugar it is called an Eau di vie- French for “water of life”. Gotta love the French.


Blue Pike Farm

I’ll be at Blue Pike Farm today for our weekly farm market. There are only a few weeks left so make sure to stop in soon. I’ll have my Strawberry Vanilla Preserves featured this week. They were a big hit in Shaker Heights yesterday. There will also be fresh produce, eggs, honey and really yummy baked goods from both Chef Deb and Kevin. Looking forward to seeing you there.

Blue Pike Farm is located at 900 E. 72nd Street in Cleveland just a short trip south of the shoreway. Market hours are from 4-7 pm. 🙂

Honey Peach Preserves

First let me say that Carl is a real trooper. We had some setbacks tonight in making our peach preserves. All in all though we had a great time. Carl praised me for my patience. I prefer to think I was too tired to care about the cutting board that was on fire. Well, I am exaggerating- it was only smoldering.  Seriously- so tired I hardly felt the hot preserves when they splashed in my eye. Carl got burned, too and hit his head pretty hard. The special result is 30+ jars of peach preserves made with Blue Pike Farm honey. We also added vanilla and cinnamon sticks. I may be tired but my house smells amazing. If Carl can bear to part with them they will be on sale at Blue Pike Farm at the weekly market on Thursday. I have a jar that I have promised to taste on my morning toast. I’ll let you know how they taste. 🙂

Shaker Heights Market

I’ll be at the First Baptist Church for their weekly farm market. I’ll have my herbs, jams, jellies, relishes, books and more. There will, of course, be plenty of fresh produce, too. First Baptist church is at the corner of Fairmount Blvd. and Eaton road. It runs from 4-7 pm. I hope you’ll stop by and say “hello.”

Pesto Potato Salad

I feel like I have more basil than I know what to do with sometimes. The plants have loved this hot summer and have produced an abundant crop. I have tossed it in everything I could think of. I have dried a lot and frozen more and still their bright green foliage grows tall and lush. If you are making potato salad you might really like using pesto as the dressing. Fresh, green and rich in flavor it will make your salad the hit of the cookout.

Pesto Potato Salad

2 lbs.  Boiling potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces

1 c. basil leaves

3 T. pine nuts- or you can use walnuts or pecans

3 T. olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/3 c. Parmesan cheese

Salt to taste

Cook potatoes until tender. Cool. In blender combine remaining ingredients, except 1 tablespoon of the pine nuts. Pour blended mixture over potatoes and sprinkle with the reserved nuts. Chill. Serves 6-8.

Polynesian Cole Slaw

With picnics on the horizon here is a nice twist on an old favorite. This recipe was given to me by my friend Malikah a long time ago. I still make it often. Don’t worry that it seems like too little dressing. The cabbage will provide extra moisture when the salad chills. It is very easy to make and goes with almost anything you may be grilling. Happy Labor Day!!!!

Polynesian Cole Slaw


4 c. shredded cabbage

1 (11 oz.) can mandarin oranges, drained

1 8 oz. can pineapple tidbits, drained reserving 2 T, juice

¼ c. mayo

1/2  t. grated ginger

¼ t. white pepper

¼ t. nutmeg

Combine all ingredients and chill several hours or overnight. Serves 4-6.

Carrot Oat Bran Muffins

Just shared oat bran with a friend who had never tried it before. I love the stuff and have it most mornings for breakfast. Hope you liked it, too, Keith. 🙂

Since Carl has generously given me some of the Blue Pike Farm carrots again I have to do something new with them. Last week made the carrot/zucchini bread and carrot pasta-filled cheese ravioli. Carrot Oat Bran Muffins seem like the right dish. They are really good for you- but aren’t dry or tasteless. I hope you’ll try them, too.

Carrot Oat Bran Muffins


1 c. skim milk or buttermilk

1 c. oat bran

1 egg or 1 egg white

1/3 c. oil

3 T. brown sugar

1 t. vanilla

1 t. orange peel

1 c. shredded carrots

1 c. flour (all purpose or whole wheat pastry flour or spelt flour)

1 t. baking powder

1 t. baking soda

½ t. salt

½ c. raisins

In mixing bowl combine oat bran and milk. Add egg, oil, sugar, vanilla, peel and carrots. Beat well. Combine remaining ingredients in small bowl and mix well. Gently fold into bran mixture. Divide batter in 12 muffin cups that are either greased or lined with paper cups. Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Makes 12.


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