Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Grilled Rock Cornish Game Hens

Rock Cornish Game Hens are delicious and a great alternative to other poultry choices.  Although they are small, they are best split in half and baked or grilled. I love them cooked in a variety of ways, but grilled is especially wonderful. Crispy skin when grilled, they taste delicious.  This is one of our favorite ways to prepare them.

2 Rock Cornish Game Hens, split in half (or more depending on family size)
2 Tbls. Blackberry Jam
2 Tbls. Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and Pepper ( I use Himalayan Salt or Sea Salt)

Mix Blackberry Jam and Balsamic Vinegar together in a small bowl; set aside.  Split Rock Cornish Game Hens in half and sprinkle both sides liberally with salt and pepper.  Grill over direct medium low heat, bone side down 10 minutes.  Turn over to breast side down and grill another 10 minutes.  Turn over again and brush liberally with Blackberry Jam/Balsamic Vinegar mixture and continue to cook another 10-15 minutes or until cooked through; brushing more sauce on as it cooks.  Serve brushed with more sauce over top.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Spicy Grilled Pork Chops


These 1" thick center-cut pork chops from our friends at Sunny Cedars Farm have quickly become our all-time favorite cut of pork!  Juicy, moist, tender and delicious.  By far our most favorite way to prepare them is to grill them! "Pork is now marketed as “the other white meat,” because that’s what you get in the grocery store – a nondescript, flavorless white meat that has to be brined or marinated to give it any flavor. At Sunny Cedars, we know how pork is supposed to be — dark rosy pink, perfectly marbled, rich and juicy, and bursting with flavor!"

Recipe Ingredients
2-4 one-inch thick center-cut pork chops
McCormick's Grill-Mates Cowboy Rub (Cowboy Rub is a robust blend with coarsely ground peppers, mustard seed and coffee which gives meat a bold and flavorful crust that seals in natural juices).

Liberally sprinkle pork on both sides with McCormick's Grill-Mates Cowboy Rub, using your fingers to rub it into the meat.  Place pork chops on a cooling rack and let come to room temperature, approx. 30 minutes. Preheat the grill to 350 and using direct-medium heat grill 5-7 minutes per side or until internal temperature is 145 for medium-rare. Remove from grill and let rest 5 minutes before serving (the total cooking time is dependent on thickness of chops). Serve with Baked Potatoes and Grilled Asparagus (oil asparagus lightly and toss with McCormick's Grill-Mates Cowboy Rub and toss on the grill about 5 minutes before the pork is done).

Safe minimum cooking temperatures


Low Country Boil


Low Country Boil, Beaufort Stew or Frogmore Stew, by whatever name you call it, this is a fun, one-pot dish to prepare in the summer, when fresh shrimp are available.

"Similar to the crawfish boils in Louisiana, this “Lowcountry Boil” is best served on a newspaper-covered picnic table, eaten with the fingers and shared with family and friends. Also known as Beaufort Stew, some claim that this one-pot dish (essentially a seasoned mixture of fresh shrimp, newly shucked yellow corn, sausage and potatoes) best represents the essential simplicity of Lowcountry cuisine. According to the South Carolina Encyclopedia, Frogmore Stew originated in the Frogmore community on St. Helena Island near Beaufort, but the truth is that Frogmore Stew exists throughout the coastal regions of the south." (source:

5 lbs. small red potatoes
8 ears fresh corn, broken in half
2 lbs. smoked sausage (or andouille sausage), sliced into one-inch pieces
4 lbs. large shell-on fresh shrimp
4 tbls. Old Bay Seasoning (or to taste)

Fill a large stock pot halfway with water. Add  4 tbls. Old Bay seasoning (or more to taste). When the seasoned water comes to a boil, add potatoes and boil for 20 minutes; then add one-inch slices of smoked sausage and boil for 5-10 minutes. 

Add the corn and boil another 5 minutes. Add the shrimp last and cook or 3 minutes, or until shrimp are pink; remove from heat, drain and serve.  

Tradition calls for it to be poured out onto a large picnic table lined with newspaper.  I poured it into a large roasting pan and served from there. Serve with butter, salt, pepper, sour cream, cocktail sauce and ketchup on the side.

Yield:  8 servings



© Cooking with Mary and Friends. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cooking with Mary and Friends with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Old Fashioned Banana Pudding


I am a huge fan of this old-fashioned delicious treat.  I don't make it very often, but when I do, I'm always in love with the flavors; creamy vanilla pudding, vanilla wafers and banana slices all layered up in this yummy treat. 

I do not make the meringue many times as my family doesn't like it, but rather top mine with whipped cream and sprinkle on some reserved vanilla wafer crumbs. Either way you do it, it's simply heaven!

2/3 cups sugar + 2 tsp. sugar for meringue
4 tbls. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
4 cups milk (I use Organic Valley)
4 farm fresh egg yolks, slightly beaten (reserve egg whites)
4 tbls. butter, softened
4 tsp. real vanilla extract + 1/2 tsp. for whipped cream
1 box organic Vanilla Wafers (reserve a few for cookie crumbs)
3-4 Banana's, sliced
1 pint organic whipping cream (I use Organic Valley)

For the Pudding:
Beat sugar, cornstarch and salt in a large saucepan. Combine milk and egg yolks; gradually stir into sugar mixture.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils.  Boil and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla.  Cool slightly.

In a 13 x 9 - inch pan, line bottom with vanilla wafers. Pour half of the cooled pudding mixture over top of vanilla wafers, spreading with a knife to cover. Top with a layer of sliced bananas. Repeat layers.

Meringue Option:
Beat reserved egg whites with 2 tsp. water and 2 tsp. sugar until soft peaks form. Spread over banana pudding and bake in a 400 degree oven 5 minutes or until slightly browned. Remove from oven and cool completely in your refrigerator

Whipped Cream Option:
Beat whipping cream with 1/2 tsp. vanilla until stiff.  Spread over banana pudding and sprinkle top with reserved cookie crumbs. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Store unused portions in your refrigerator.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Grilled Rack of Lamb


I really like supporting my local farms. You get to know the farmer, it's a superior product, and you are keeping your dollars local when you shop local. To me it's always a "win-win" and you simply can't beat the freshness when you support local.  Think about it for just a moment; the lamb we enjoy came from a "local to me" farm, Old McCaskill's Farm.

When the lamb goes to the processor, it's just a matter of days before it's back to the farmer to sell, which means it's not months old!  In this instance, the lamb was raised on pasture with no antibiotics or hormones, and I will happily support those farms doing it right for you and me.

Tonight we grilled a Rack of Lamb using a blend of our Garlic-Onion Jelly and Apple-Mint Jelly as a basting sauce!  Let me tell you, it was amazing!!!

1 Rack of Lamb (Old McCaskill's Farm)
2 tbls. garlic-onion jelly
2 tbls. apple-mint jelly

In a small bowl, mix garlic-onion and apple-mint jelly until combined.  Place rack of lamb on pre-heated grill over indirect medium heat and brush on jelly mixture.

Grill meat side down 7-10 minutes, turn to rack side down, baste on more jelly mixture and grill 10-15 additional minutes or until the internal temperature is 145 degrees.

Remove from grill, let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Lamb safe cooking temperatures


© Cooking with Mary and Friends. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cooking with Mary and Friends with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Grilled Pork Shanks

Sometimes "branching out" and trying a lessor known cut of meat is a real experience, but 99.9 percent of the time it is totally worth it. Fresh pork shanks are the upper leg, right below the ham. It's the thigh and has nice, red ham-like meat inside.  My friends at Sunny Cedars Farm have the best pastured pork we have access too, and shanks are very economical, nutritious and delicious! Pork Shanks must be cooked long, slow and low in order for them to yield their delicious, tender meat. There are a variety of ways to prepare them from the German Schweinshaxe to a simple braising, all are delicious in their own way. Today my husband and I experimented with grilling them and basting them with his special, homemade barbecue sauce.  Oh my goodness, so good and all the credit goes to my husband for being an awesome "grill master!"

2 fresh pork shanks (or more for larger family)
Fresh cracked pepper
1 cup barbecue sauce 
3/4 cup vinegar
Barbecue sauce (or sauce of your choice)

Mix 1 cup barbecue sauce with 3/4 cup vinegar and pour into bottom of grilling pan.  Cross cut tops of pork shanks and place in grilling pan over sauce mixture. Coat heavily with fresh, cracked pepper. Cover tightly with foil and grill on medium indirect heat for 1 1/2 hours. Remove foil, spoon pan sauce over top to coat, recover and continue to grill 45 minutes.  Take off foil and heavily coat with fresh barbecue sauce.  Cook uncovered (foil removed) for more 45 more minutes on low indirect heat. Remove from grill and serve. 

Total cooking time:  3 hours

More Pork Shank recipes here:

Bavarian Beer Hall Pork Shanks:

Pork Hocks/Shanks and Sauerkraut: 

Osso Bucco:

Braised Pork Shanks:


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Molasses Pork Tenderloin

I just love pork, all kinds of pork!  We've had it prepared in a variety of different ways, with all kinds of cuts of pork; pork scallopines, pork shanks, pork chops, pork roast, tenderloins and more.  Each is very good in its own special way, and it almost always exceeds our expectations as far as taste and flavor.  Of course the BEST pork ever is pastured pork, raised humanely with no antibiotics or hormones from your local farm. This is always the kind of pork we seek out, since there is simply no comparison in the flavor.  Simply put, pastured pork is a superior product from anything purchased in a grocery store. Once you've tried it, I promise you will never look back.

1 small pork tenderloin
1/4 cup molasses
2 tbls. Dijon mustard
1 tbls. Balsamic vinegar
sea salt and pepper to sprinkle on pork

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Lightly oil a baking dish on all sides and bottom to prevent sticking.  Lightly oil pork tenderloin, place in baking dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix molasses, Dijon mustard and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl; spoon 1/2 of the mixture over the pork tenderloin.  Roast pork at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes; reduce heat to 350, baste remaining sauce over pork and continue to roast 15 additional minutes or until internal temperature is 145 degrees.  Remove from oven and let rest 5-10 minutes, covered with foil, before carving to serve.

Be careful not to over-cook.  You want the pork to be slightly pink inside, or medium.  This will insure it's still moist and juicy.


Safe internal temp of pork

Friday, May 16, 2014

Tuna Pasta Salad


This one is so easy it's almost too easy to post!  But, it's also so delicious I really thought I should write it down and share it.  This is a great little Tuna Pasta Salad that's wonderful during the warm summer months when a simple meal is all you need.  Great for lunch or light dinner.

1 cup macaroni noodles
1 - 12 oz. can tuna fish
1 pkg. Italian Dressing Mix
2 slices red onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
8 large black olives, sliced
1/2 cup or slightly more mayonnaise
course-ground black pepper to taste

Cook macaroni according to directions, drain and rinse with cold water. Meanwhile add all other ingredients to a large bowl. Add drained macaroni noodles and stir until well combined. Add more mayonnaise if necessary. Store in a covered container in your refrigerator. Flavors enhance with time, so if you can make this a day ahead, do so.  If not, it can be prepared, chilled and served the same day.  Serve with more black olives and sliced tomatoes if desired.

Yield:  4 large servings or 6 small servings


© Cooking with Mary and Friends. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cooking with Mary and Friends with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Grilled St. Louis Ribs


The BEST pork we've ever had was purchased from our friends at Sunny Cedars Farm. This is pastured pork, raised humanely without antibiotics or hormones.  You can taste the difference in the pork raised this way ... dark rosy pink, perfectly marbled, rich and juicy,bursting with flavor. No wonder these Grilled St. Louis Ribs are off-the-chain tender and delicious.

1 half-rack or full rack St. Louis Ribs
1-2 tbls. Spice Rub of your choice 
(we use Fein Tasting Foods)
Barbecue Sauce (make your own, or favorite brand)

Unwrap ribs and rub liberally with your favorite spice rub. Wrap ribs tightly in foil and grill over indirect low heat for 2 hours. 

Uncover ribs, brush barbecue sauce liberally over all and continue to grill an additional 45 minutes (with foil open) or until meat has pulled away from the bone and is very tender. 

Remove from grill, brush on additional barbecue sauce, cut ribs and serve.


Monday, May 12, 2014

Farm Fresh in the Kitchen

This month's Farm Fresh in the Kitchen Blog is all about TOMATOES!  Juicy, yummy, delicious tomatoes.

Did you know?  One medium tomato (approximately 123 grams) provides 22 calories, 0 grams of fat, 5 grams of carbohydrate (including 1 gram of fiber and 3 grams of sugar) and 1 gram of protein. Tomatoes are a rich source of vitamins A and C and folic acid. Tomatoes contain a wide array of beneficial nutrients and antioxidants, including alpha-lipoic acid, lycopene, choline, folic acid, beta-carotene and lutein. 

Alpha-lipoic acid helps the body to convert glucose into energy. Some evidence suggests that alpha-lipoic acid can aid in blood glucose control, improve vasodilation and protect against retinopathy in diabetic patients and may even help preserve brain and nerve tissue.

Lycopene is the antioxidant that gives tomatoes their rich red color. Tomatoes account for 80 percent of lycopene consumption.
Choline is an important nutrient found in tomatoes that helps with sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory. Choline also helps to maintain the structure of cellular membranes, aids in the transmission of nerve impulses, assists in the absorption of fat and reduces chronic inflammation. (Source: Medical News Today).
Where to buy tomatoes? 
The City of Sumter runs the Downtown Market on Saturdays from May 3 - September 27 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  The event  is on the corner of Liberty Street and Main Street, right beside Centennial Plaza. In addition to fresh produce, we will have music, food demonstrations, arts & crafts and more!

2014 Vendors:
Myra Barton: Quick sketch artist doing on-location portraits
Hugh China: Coffee, breakfast foods
Choosy Design by Chelsea Cataldi: 
Handmade children’s clothing and accessories
Country Bird Soap by Kathy Davis: 
Handmade soaps
Country Cured Meats by Jimmy Long: Meats
The Crochet Shoppe by Lara Oberman: 
Handmade crocheted items
Darin Tibbetts Photo by Darin Tibbetts: Photos

The Farm Store by Mike Dellinger: Produce, jams, breads, ice cream and more
For Belle’s Sake by Shelby Bird: Pet adoption/rescue
For the Birds by Terri Cox: Hand-painted gourds, birdhouses
Green Tree Farms by Patti Welday: Flowers, shrubs, plants, garden supplies
Lake Silver Studios by Karyn Walker: Folk art, collages, “green art”
Larry’s Local Honey by Larry Welle: Honey and beeswax candles
Palmetto Party Faces by Renee Robbins: Children’s face painting
Penelope’s Baskets by Penelope Carter: Pine needle baskets
Taylor Woodworking by Billy Taylor: Furniture and birdhouses

Additionally, the Sumter County Farmer's Market is located in the Agriculture Building adjacent to the Sumter Civic Center at 700 West Liberty Street, Sumter, SC 29153 Phone: (803) 468-1590 

Dorr Farms
Come visit and take a look. Phone to find out about its assortment of crafts, organic food, vegetables, fruits and local specialties. Hours are April-October Monday-Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Takes WIC, SFMNP, SNAP. 

For more local farms and markets, or to find one near you, check out the following links:

What's FRESH and when in South Carolina chart here

Today's recipe! Make your own Tomato Sauce (click for printable version)

3-4 lbs. fresh, ripe tomatoes (the more you have, the more sauce you can make)
Lemon juice or citric acid

Wash tomatoes, remove core and blossom ends.  Cut into quarters (I had a variety of tomatoes, so I quartered the large ones and cut in 1/2 the small Roma tomatoes).  Simmer in large stock pot 2 minutes; stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are soft.  Press tomatoes through a sieve or food mill (I used a food mill); discard peels and seeds.  Return to stove top and cook pulp over med-high heat until sauce thickens, stirring to prevent sticking.  Reduce volume by one-half for a thick sauce.  Add 1 tbls. lemon juice or 1/4 tsp citric acid to each pint jar, 2 tbls. lemon juice or 1/2 tsp citric acid per quart jar.  Ladle hot sauce into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch head-space. Adjust 2-piece caps.  Process pints 35 minutes, quarts 40 minutes, in a boiling water-bath canner.

Yield:  varies

Best variety for canning: Roma Tomatoes - Prized for its use in tomato paste and sauces since its introduction in 1955, Roma Tomatoes produce a large harvest of thick-walled, meaty, bright red, egg-shaped tomatoes about 3 inches long and with few seeds. This tomato is not juicy. This is not a slicing tomato. Instead, the flesh is thick and drier so that it will cook down into a thick sauce. Cooking intensifies flavor, too. If you can tomatoes, make your own spaghetti sauce, or like to chop a tomato into an omelet, this is a great choice. It's not too juicy in the pan compared to slicing tomatoes. The fruit freezes well for later cooking, too.

More tomato recipes:

Until next time,

Farm Fresh in the Kitchen is a feature of

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Strawberry/Blackberry Jello Salad

Strawberry Jello, blackberries, pecans and mini-marshmallows all come together this fun summer "salad."

2 (0.3 oz) pkgs. Strawberry Jello
2 cups boiling water
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups fresh or frozen blackberries
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup mini-marshmallows

Dissolve jello with 2 cups boiling water. Stir in cold water, blackberries, pecans and marshmallows. Pour into 9 x 9-inch square pan (marshmallows will automatically float to the top and stay there making a a nice topping), and chill several hours or until set.  Keep stored in refrigerator.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Brazilian Skirt Steak


Wow doesn't even begin to describe the flavor and taste we've discovered with grass-fed beef from West Ridge Farms - Premium Beef!  It is amazingly delicious, and the flavor of the beef really come through. I've tried their Sirloin Tip Roast, Beef Tenderloin Filets, Skirt Steak, Beef Dogs and more, and all of it is just awesome! 

1 - 3.5 lb. Skirt Steak
1 tbls. chili powder
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. sea salt and course-ground black pepper
1 tbls. red wine vinegar

Mix chili powder, oregano, salt, pepper and red wine vinegar to make a paste. Rub paste all over both sides of the skirt steak.  Grill steak on a sear burner for 1 minute on each side, then on direct high 5 minutes each side for medium rare.  Let sit covered with foil 5 minutes. Slice thinly across the grain and serve.

Beet Greens Salad with Blackberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
2-3 cups fresh beet greens, stemmed and rinsed
2 tbls. blackberry jam
1 tbls. Dijon mustard
1 tbls. balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. course-ground black pepper
1-2 slices red onion, thinly sliced
Rinse beet greens and set aside.  Mix blackberry jam, Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar and pepper until well blended. Toss beet greens with onions and serve with the dressing drizzled over top.


Grilled Chicken with Raspberry Vinaigrette

On a recent farm outing some friends and I visited David and Andrea at Wishbone Heritage Farms in Ridgeville, S.C. While there I purchased a Whole Pekin Duck and a Whole Roasting Chicken. Their products are all raised humanely on pasture, antibiotic and hormone-free.  There are no pesticides used and the chickens forage for food in the pasture or woods  "We believe in local sustainable agriculture and raise animals and produce to the highest standards of health and flavor with absolutely no hormones, medications, antibiotics, or pesticides." A trip to the farm is definitely worth the time and their products are amazingly tasty.

1 whole roasting chicken, split in half (preferably pasture raised) 
Olive oil for rubbing on chicken
Salt and pepper to sprinkle on chicken
1 sprig fresh rosemary (optional)
1 (4 oz.) Raspberry Vinaigrette

Split chicken in half, rub all over with olive oil and liberally salt and pepper both sides.  Place on a grill over indirect medium heat bone side down and grill 15 minutes.  Turn chicken over and grill 15 more minutes, and continue to turn every 15 minutes cooking until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165.  After turning for the 2nd time, put a sprig of fresh rosemary on the chicken halves.
During the last 5 minutes of grilling, brush raspberry vinaigrette over chicken.  Remove from heat, tent with foil and let rest 15 minutes before serving. Serve chicken with additional raspberry vinaigrette drizzled over top.


Wishbone Heritage Farms

Monday, May 5, 2014

Grilled Center Cut Pork Chops


Nothing is better than some Grilled Center Cut Pork Chops, especially when they come from pasture-raised pigs, antibiotic and hormone-free.  Those are the delicious 1" thick center-cut pork chops we buy from Sunny Cedars Farm, our local favorite for pasture raised pork. Amazingly juicy, moist and flavorful. You seriously won't think you're eating pork, it's that darn good.

"Pork is now marketed as “the other white meat,” because that’s what you get in the grocery store – a nondescript, flavorless white/gray meat that has to be brined, or marinated, to give it any flavor. At Sunny Cedars, we know how pork is supposed to be — dark rosy pink, perfectly marbled, rich and juicy, and bursting with flavor!"

Sunny Cedars Farm pasture raised pork chops


1" thick center-cut pork chops (preferably pasture raised)
seasonings/rub of your choice (we use Fein Tasting Foods rubs)

Sprinkle pork on both sides with your favorite rubs or grilling spices, using your fingers to rub it into the meat.

Place pork chops on a cooling rack and let come to room temperature, approx. 30 minutes.

Preheat the grill to 350 and using direct-medium heat grill 5-7 minutes per side or until internal temperature is 145 for medium-rare. Remove from grill and let rest 5 minutes before serving (the total cooking time is dependent on thickness of chops).

Safe minimum cooking temperatures


© Cooking with Mary and Friends. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cooking with Mary and Friends with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Honey-Mustard Pork Scallopine's

Dipped in honey-mustard and breaded with Panko crumbs, these pork scallopine's come together in less than 45 minutes.  Perfect for a weeknight meal.

4-6 pork scallopine's (thinly cut pork cutlets available at most grocery stores)
4 tbls. real honey
2 tlbs. grainy mustard
1 1/2 cups Panko crumbs
4 tbls. oil for cooking

Mix honey and grainy mustard together in a shallow bowl.  Put the Panko crumbs in another shallow bowl. Dredge scallopine's in the honey-mustard and then in the Panko crumbs.  Place on a cooling rack placed on top of some paper towels and allow to sit at least 30 minutes (this will help the breading stick well to the pork). Heat oil in a cover frying pan (I use an electric fry pan) and cook, covered 2-3 minutes; remove lid, turn scallopine's and cook an additional 2-3 minutes or until pork is cooked through.  Remove scallopine's from oil and drain on paper towels.  Serve with additional honey-mustard drizzled over top.


Blackberry Coffee Cake with Streusel Topping


Lovely little coffee cake chock-full of blackberries.  Perfect for a quiet weekend morning with a cup of coffee.
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup milk
1 1/2 cup frozen blackberries (or use fresh)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter an 8-inch square pan or round pan; set aside.

For the topping, in a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon. Using a pastry cutter or your finger, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Refrigerate until ready to use. 

For the cake; in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, ginger and salt. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer on medium speed. 

Add the sugar; beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Alternately beat in the flour mixture and the milk until just combined.

Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Scatter the blackberries over the batter. Sprinkle with the streusel topping. 

Bake for 45 to 60 minuets or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. 

Transfer to wire rack to cool slightly before serving.


Saturday, May 3, 2014

Doner Kebabs


So what exactly is a Doner Kebab? The döner kebab, one of Turkey's national dishes, has been around for over 250 years – and it in recent years, it has become the one of the most popular fast food staples in Germany.Introduced to Berlin in the 1970s by Turkish immigrants, one of the city’s largest minority groups, you’ll find döner kebab in every German town today; but Döner capital is still Berlin, proud home to more than 1300 Doener stands (more than Istanbul), and the Turkish fare is an essential part of Berlin’s culinary scene.Traditional Döner means lamb, but you’ll also find chicken or veal meat, carved thin from a rotating spit, packed in toasted Turkish bread and topped with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and a sauce of your choice yogurt, spicy, and garlic. (source here)

When we lived in Berlin, Germany years ago, the Doner Kebab quickly became a great treat to buy at a Doner stand once in awhile.  

On a quest to recreate one, I sought out the advice of a few foodie friends, Donika, from Mom! What's for Dinner and Shabnam, from FlavorNSpice.  I knew the ones we had in Berlin were made with roasted lamb, and the sauce we always chose was a white garlic sauce ... thanks to suggestions from them both, I had a yogurt/garlic white sauce I could make!!! YAY!!!!

Pita Bread
Lamb from roasted lamb, shaved thinly
1/2 head of lettuce, shaved thinly
1 medium onion, shaved thinly
1 small container plain yogurt
1 large clove garlic, roasted
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt and pepper
sliced cucumbers and tomatoes (optional)

Several hours ahead of when you'll be serving the Doner Kebabs, place whole garlic in oven-safe ramekin, drizzle with olive oil, cover tightly with foil and bake in a 375 oven for 25-30 minutes. 

Remove from oven, uncover and let garlic cool about 10 minutes. Remove cooked garlic cloves and mix with yogurt, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Put in a covered container and refrigerate.

When ready to assemble Doner Kebabs, heat shaved lamb pieces and Pita bread until warm. Spread Yogurt-Garlic Sauce over each pita bread, top with warmed lamb and shaved onions and lettuce. Add more sauce if desired. Delicious!