Sunday, June 18, 2017

Dads' Delish Dish: Mid East Chicken Kebabs

The menu for our Fathers Day picnic included Bob's favorite Chicken Kebabs and Homemade Pitas.  Since we were gone most of the day before, I ground the wheat berries and made the bread dough on Friday and placed the dough in the refrigerator for 24 hours.  When I arrived home, I pulled the dough from the refrigerator, divided it into 6 dough balls and let them rest for 30 minutes prior to shaping.  These rise perfectly!

Arab Bread

(6 pitas-12 Servings)

Mix 2 cups flour, sugar and yeast in mixing bowl with dough hook in place.
2 cups whole wheat  flour (ground from hard red spring wheat)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon dry yeast

Add warm water to bowl.  Beat on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping sides of bowl.
2 cup very warm water (125 degrees)

Add remaining whole wheat flour.  Beat on medium speed 2 minutes.
1/2 cup whole wheat flour

Slowly add all purpose flour, beating on low speed and occasionally scraping down sides of bowl.  Knead for about 10 minutes, until dough leaves sides of bowl.
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Place dough in large greased bowl.  Turn to coat with olive oil spray.  Cover and place in the refrigerator (or if baking within a few hours:  let rise at room temperature).

When ready to bake, divide dough into 6 balls and let rest on floured surface for 30 minutes.

Flatten each dough ball into a 6 inch round.  Place on a preheated stone in a 425F oven and bake for 10 minutes.  

The chicken kebabs are delicious hot or cold.

Mid East Chicken Kebabs

(Serves 4)

2 garlic cloves, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon allspice
6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
Mix garlic, lemon juice, cinnamon and allspice in a measuring cup.  Pour over chicken thighs and marinate in the refrigerator.

When ready to bake, place on skewers.  Bake at 450 for 10 minutes.  Lower heat to 325 and bake for an additional 20-30 minutes, until internal temperature of chicken is 165 F.

Almond Yogurt Sauce

(Serves 6)

2 tablespoon almond butter  
Pinch of cumin
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 cucumber, peeled and seeded.
 Blend all ingredients together in mini food processor.

Our picnic today was close to home, in the Rock City section of Coopers Rock (WV) State Park.



Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A Big Hand for Grilled Cheese (Book Review)

It's not my 21st birthday nor my first apartment.  In fact I'm a retired senior in my 30+ year home.  "Grilled Cheese & Beer" by Kevin Vanblarcum and James Edward Davis is an adventure in cheeses, toppings, breads and beverages.  For me, it was a welcome opportunity to try something new.

The book is divided in chapters by skill level. 
  • Basics
  • Advanced
  • Expert
  • Let's Get Crazy
My testings include Johnny Appleseed (pictured above) from Chapter One, topped with thinly sliced apples and caramelized onion which made for a delicious luncheon.
The Big Kahuna is from Chapter Two, a delicious combo of roasted pork, Havarti, and grilled pineapple.

Twilight Provolone from Chapter Three has shaved beef and an egg over easy.  It was a 4 napkin meal without a crumb left on the plate.

The Sweet Treat from Chapter Four has creamy cheese, berries, chocolate and cinnamon.  This was a delicious way for me to start my summery day.

Grilled Cheese & Beer is easy to navigate, with two pages per recipe-one page with pictures and the adjourning page for the recipe and beverage pairing.

Like the variety in ingredients, there are choices for equipment.  Pan, oven, toaster oven and grill are all options.

Toppings include many fruits and vegetables:  avocados,  asparagus, pickled beets, cucumbers and spinach are a few of the choices.  Proteins accompaniments include beef, pork, poultry, tuna and egg.  Garnishes or glazes include honey, balsamic reduction, horseradish, cherry jam, barbecue sauce, pesto, salsa and maple syrup.  Potatoes and soba noodles are in recipes too.

I enjoyed the new combinations for this old favorite.  I was able to use ingredients I have on hand and to try some new.  I made modifications to adjust to smaller servings, less fat and sugar that is my normal routine.  I stopped at our local bakery to try some new breads and rolls.



Holly Grant, Media Relations
Hatherleigh Press, Ltd. 
Phone: 347-627-0083

Grilled Cheese & Beer Cookbook
Perfect for Dads and Grads

May 19, 2017 (New York, NY): GRILLED CHEESE & BEER is spiced with wit and a passion for all things grilled cheese and beer, with easy-to-follow instructions that make it perfect for any skill level. It contains over 50 one-of-a-kind grilled cheese sandwich recipes, perfectly paired with craft beers designed to draw out the full flavor of each ingredient.

GRILLED CHEESE & BEER is the perfect gift for dads especially those who enjoy grilling and drinking some cold brew. It's also ideal for any recent graduates looking for a fun cookbook full of simple, delicious sandwiches. Combining an extensive knowledge of beer making, food, and good humor, authors Kevin VanBlarcum and Eddie Davis have created a very special collection that will thrill sandwich lovers everywhere.

Check out some recipe names from GRILLED CHEESE & BEER: Bacon Me Crazy, Muenster Mash, Dragon Ball Cheese, Hamwise Gamgee, Revenge of the Swiss, Not Your Dad's Fried Bologna, and many, many more!


Kevin VanBlarcum is a brewer at Keegan Ales in Kingston, NY. After graduating from the University at Albany, he began pursuing a career in the brewing industry. Born and raised in the Catskill Mountains, Kevin currently resides in Pine Hill, New York. James Edward "Eddie" Davis has honed his skills as a chef from Brooklyn, NY to the Catskills. Eddie fell in love with the culinary arts and began to hone his skills at a local favorite, The Caboose.

# # #

Written by Kevin VanBlarcum & James Edward Davis
978-1-57826-653-1, $16.95 paperback
978-1-57826-654-8, $12.99 eBook

Published by Hatherleigh Press.
Distributed through Penguin Random House.
Available wherever books are sold.

MEDIA: For review copies or to schedule interviews, please contact Ryan Tumambing at 347-627-0083 or email

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Picnic Spuds

One of my first contributions to the Sunday meal was potato salad.  The cooked potato salad dressing I learned to make in junior high school is the best.  While many versions call for cooking the dressing in a double boiler, I found that it works fine in my non-stick saucepan providing I continuously stir it with a wire whisk.  

Cooked Potato Salad Dressing

(For 2 cups of salad)

Beat egg, sugar, flour, salt and dry mustard in a non-stick saucepan.  Bring to a simmer, stirring continuously with a wire whisk and cook until thick.
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon sugar
3 teaspoon flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

Stir in water and vinegar.  Cook 1 minute longer, stirring constantly with whisk.
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoon vinegar

Remove from burner.  Mix in mayonnaise.
2 tablespoon mayonnaise made with olive oil. 
Our menu today featured meatloaf with a simple sauce of whole grain mustard and one pack of orange marmalade.  For dessert we enjoyed chocolate covered strawberries made by our friend Patty for the local farmers market.

To keep the foods at a safe temperature for transport, we pack surrounded by ice blocks in insulated containers.  The food is contained in shallow layers either in a glass container or ziploc back that transmits the cold temperature quickly.

It was especially gratifying to add the first of our snap peas to the salad and in the garnish.  This was my first experience with growing peas.

We enjoyed watching the pair of Eastern bluebirds gathering the picnic for their children at Stonewall Jackson Resort too.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Ohiopyle in Style

Who wouldn't love a summer afternoon picnic in the forest with only the sound of a rushing creek behind you?  Today's adventure was at Ohiopyle State Park near Farmington, Pennsylvania in the Laurel Highlands.  Our menu featured baked flank steak with mushrooms and Spelt Tabbouleh.  I've learned the cooking method that produces the most tender flank steak is baking in a broth, covered, for 2 hours at 350F.  I baked this one in 1 cup apple juice, 1 cup beef broth and 1/4 cup tomato paste.  The original recipe for the tabbouleh called for farro and tomatoes of which I had neither, so my recipe is an adaptation.  The fresh mint really makes the salad!

Spelt Tabbouleh

(Serves 4)

Cook spelt in water until tender.  (I cooked mine in 2 cups of water in my counter top pressure cooker for 45 minutes.)
1/4 cup spelt

Saute garlic, celery, carrots and squash in olive oil for 5 minutes.
2 tablespoon green garlic, minced
1/4 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup carrots, peeled and diced
1/2 cup yellow squash, diced
1 teaspoon olive oil

Steam broccoli and bok choy in water in microwave for 2 minutes.  Drain and add to sauteed vegetables.
1/2 cup chopped broccoli
1/4 cup chopped bok choy

Stir in drained and cooled spelt, herbs, juice, cucumbers and olive oil.
1 tablespoon parsley, snipped
1 tablespoon fresh mint, snipped
Juice from 1 lemon
1/3 cup cucumber, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil



Saturday, June 3, 2017

Sharing Farmers Market Combos

Customers enjoyed our farm fresh sampling of Thai Beef Salad on Cucumber Slices so much they purchased over 60 pounds of the thin sliced round steak and all of the cucumbers at the market.  It was a good food day and report day with a 100% sanitation inspection score by the county health department. 

I'd never tried the thin sliced steak before and found it very easy to cook.  This salad was good hot and cold.

Our water today was made with pureed pineapple cores and frozen raspberries.  The chilled water was also very good.


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Apple Butter Meatballs

Apple Butter is easy to make in a slow cooker, and local Italian sausage with just a few other ingredients made for an easy meatball.  This was a delicious combo.  The recipe was inspired by Southern Living.

Apple Butter

(4 Servings)

Mix all ingredients in slow cooker.  Cook on low 4-6 hours until reduced by 1/2.  Blend until smooth.
12 apples, peeled and chunked
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice


(2 Servings)

Mix ingredients until binds together.  Form 2 tablespoon size meatballs.  Bake at 325 F. until center reaches 165 F.  Drain fat and cover with heated apple butter.
6 ounce Sweet Italian Sausage
1 egg
1/4 cup grated apple
2 tablespoon onion, diced
2 Tablespoon Parmigiano cheese, grated
2 tablespoon wheat germ