Tomaki's Bean Salad

We lived in California from 1981-1986.  During that time we had neighbors that we grew to love.  They were from Japan and had two children.  Tomaki was a fabulous cook.  
She invited our family over and we had them to our house.  For one meal, she brought this salad.  It tasted so fresh and good.  We had it with hamburgers but anything you grill would be great with this salad. - Hawley

Tomaki’s Bean Salad
1 pound beans, fresh, string beans
1 pkg Italian dressing (dry)
1 jar marinated mushrooms, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 can Green Giant niblet corn (must have this kind)
Cucumber (optional) cut into bite-sized pieces
Salt and pepper
Snap beans in half and take of ends. Wash well.  Boil in salted water. (Salt keeps the bright green color) Boil until almost tender about 6-8 minutes. Check to see how long you need to cook them. When done, put immediately into ice water then in the refrigerator.  When beans are cooled, put in bowl. 
Add to the beans the marinated mushrooms, corn and cucumber. 
Sprinkle about 1/3 of the Italian dressing over the top of beans.  Put salt and pepper over top.  Drizzle vinegar over top to taste.  Stir well.  Chill.  Stir again before serving. 

Jenni’s notes:  I made this salad this weekend, only I didn’t have the niblet corn or the jar of mushrooms, but I had them fresh.  I roasted about 4 ears of corn on the grill while the beans were cooling.  I cut the corn off the cob and let it cool.  I sliced up clean, fresh mushrooms (I had button ones on hand) and then lightly sprinkled them with some of the Italian dressing seasoning mix.   This worked fabulous.   So try it either way.  I love them both now!  It’s one of my new favorites.  

Tomaki's Bean Salad Printable Recipe


Flapjack - The UK kind.....

Jane's Flapjack
I mentioned to my son yesterday I was blogging about flapjack, he said, “I thought you just did pancakes?” Here’s my explanation for all of you who read the title and thought the same thing.

We can all surmise that I am not blogging about a professional wrestling throw or the animated series The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack, or even the obscure Balmain bug.  And for my geek readers, this has nothing to do with a programming language. 

Grayingham Lodge
Lincolnshire UK
I discovered flapjack on our recent trip to England.  We stayed in a lovely B&B in north Lincolnshire called Grayingham Lodge.  The proprietor, Jane Summers (who by the way probably goes down as #1 B&B host on my list) had the brilliance of placing these delectable caramel oat treats in a tin in our room.  We would eat them and come back the next day and there were more.

When I arrived back in the states, I quickly searched out a myriad of recipes and attempted to make them.  Those attempts never did turn out quite exactly like Jane’s, although they were still mighty tasty and every bit disappeared.  I decided to go straight back to the source and emailed her for the recipe.  

This recipe is Jane’s.  It’s not mine.  I won’t even attempt to change it up.  I have read over probably more than 100 flapjack recipes in the past month.  This one comes out exact!

Jane's Breakfast Table
1.     Golden Syrup is a sugar-based syrup (some think you can substitute corn syrup, but It does not turn out the same.  Believe me, I tried). You can find Golden Syrup here in the states in your local larger supermarket.  It will be with the pancake syrups, or you can find Golden Syrup online at Amazon.com.  (Click on the link and it will take you right there).  

2.     White sugar.   Use what you have in the cupboard.  I have tried brown sugar, a special brown sugar from a Caribbean island and plain old white sugar just works the best.

3.     Butter makes for a better tasting flapjack and a more caramelized treat than margarine does.  You are using the butter, sugar and syrup to basically create a toffee-caramel around the oats. 

4.     Use an 8 x 8 square pan or a rectangle baking pan similar in size, like this one.    I tried doubling the recipe and using a 9 x 13 cake pan, first aluminum and then glass, but neither worked the way it should.  The “flapjack” size pan makes for the correct thickness of the flapjack and the perfect cooking time to create the carmelization needed to make a good chewy bar.    


9 oz butter
9 oz sugar
9 oz golden syrup
15 oz rolled oats

Melt the butter.  Stir in the sugar and syrup.  (Do NOT cook).  Mix in the rolled oats.  

Line a tin with parchment paper (make sure there is extra hanging over the edges) and spread mixture evenly into pan.  Make sure to press down the mix firmly into the pan. 

Bake 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees, until edges are a dark crispy brown and the center is a golden brown.  

The baking is the important part.  It is very easy to over-bake.  The flapjack will harden as it cools; so don’t be tempted to think its still too undercooked.

Score the flapjack with a knife while still warm.  COOL COMPLETELY!   When cooled, remove the entire mix from the pan by just lifting up the parchment.   Break into bars.  These will keep in an airtight container for a week.  


Blueberries to Archives

photo by TAGilephotos@gmail.com
Featured food of the week is the blueberry!

Blueberries – At 80 fat-free calories a cup, they are an excellent source of vitamin C (25% of our daily requirements), dietary fiber, manganese and contain essential antioxidant properties.

PICK blueberries that are firm, plump, and dry.  Their skin should be smooth and have a silver sheen.   Reddish berries are not ripe.  Avoid soft and shriveled berries.  If you see stains on the container, they are more than likely bruised, so avoid those also. 
STORE your berries in the refrigerator in the plastic pack they came in or a storage contained.  Wash just before using and within 10 days after you buy them. 

FREEZE unwashed berries that are completely dry.  They will freeze individually, so you can use as many or as little as you need!  Throw out any bruised, discolored or shriveled berries before you freeze and keep in a re-sealable plastic freezer bag!  Rinse before using.  
Nutritional Data on the Blueberry

photo by TAGilephotos@gmail.com
Grandma Arlene’s Light-As-Air Pancakes

2 c flour (I use bread flour)
2 T baking powder
½ t salt
½ c of buttermilk
1-1/2 c of whole milk
6 eggs separated, yolk and whites
3 T sugar
2 cups of fresh blueberries

Bowl one:  Combine together the flour, baking powder and salt.   I use a fork or a whisk to thoroughly mix together the dry ingredients. 

Bowl two:  Add egg yolks, buttermilk and whole milk.  Whisk together, until combined. 

Bowl three:  Add egg whites to bowl of mixer.   Begin beating egg whites.  Slowly add sugar to egg whites.  Beat until whites form stiff peaks. 

Combine the wet ingredients (bowl 2) into the dry ingredients (bowl 1).  Stir until completely combined.  Gently fold in egg whites (bowl 3) into the combined mix.  Gently fold in blueberries.    

Scoop pancake batter onto a pre-heated lightly greased medium-high griddle.  Cook until edges turn dry and underneath is golden brown.  Flip.  Cook until golden underneath.

Top with butter and serve with hot syrup or powdered sugar. 

Printable Blueberry Pancake Recipe - Click Here

Hawley's Blueberry Pie

Crumb Crust

1 c flour
1/2 c butter
1/4 c chopped nuts

Cut in butter to rest of ingredients until pea-size. 
Line two 9-inch pie tins with crust mix, pressing the mix firmly down into the pie tins. 

Bake in a 325 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Pie Filling

1 c sugar
2 egg whites
1 T lemon juice
1  (10-12 oz) pkg of blueberries
1/2 pint whipping cream

Beat the egg whites, slowly adding the sugar.  Add 1 T lemon juice.  Then in a separate bowl, whip the whipping cream.  Fold into fruit mixture.  Pour into pie tins and refrigerate.

The Tomatillo

photo:  TAGilephotos@gmail.com
The “What is this?” pick of the week is the tomatillo! Tomatillos and the myriad of pepper varieties are filling markets all across the continent and offering us some delectable choices. 

Origin: 3000 years ago the Aztecs domesticated the tomatillo.    The tomatillo is native to Central and South America and in the US are grown primarily in the southwest.   What is a surprise is that the tomatillo is related to the gooseberry, NOT the tomato!

Nutritional Information: Excellent source of potassium, vitamins A & C and lutein.  
Nutritional Data on the Tomatillo

Selection:  Make sure they are firm (not soft like a tomato) and that they are a bright green color.  (As a tomatillo ages, it pales in color and the husk dries).  Husks should be bright green as well, sticky and encasing the fruit as much as possible.   The tomatillo should fill the husk.  Make sure to open the husk to check the quality of the tomatillo inside.   Tomatillos can be stored with husks on in a paper bag in the fridge or on the counter for about 2 weeks.  With removal of the husks, keep in a sealed plastic bag in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. 

Preparation:  Keep the tomatillo in the husk until it is ready to be used.  Soak the fruit in warm water for better removal of the husk and to clean off the tacky residue.   No need to peel or seed.  

Tomatillos bring a nice tartness and add acidity to a dish. 

Check out this link for more information on growing, selection and care of tomatillos:

Spaetzle - Gadgets to Archives

Spaetzle is a staple in most German households, but in spite of my heavy German heritage, I did not learn to make spaetzle from my mother or grandmother, but from Eugenie Mayer Bolz. Mrs. Bolz was the granddaughter of Oscar Mayer. I was fortunate enough to spend a summer working for her as her live-in companion. I learned a tremendous amount from that amazing woman, not just about food, meats, but about her family, her history and her traditions. I later adapted this recipe, after trying spaetzle from a variety of wonderful cooks. This has become a staple in my home, with my children and I know will be passed on for generations.

In the Madison WI area, Orange Tree Imports carries this product, as does The Kitchen Gallery on Williams St.   Otherwise, there are several varieties on Amazon.com at good prices!

2 cups of flour
4 eggs
2 t salt
8 T sour cream
Whole milk to thin out batter

Sift flour and salt. Lightly beat eggs and add to flour
mixture. Add sour cream and mix until incorporated. Add milk until
batter is the consistency of sticky dough.

Use a spaetzle maker to add to pot of boiling, salted water. Cook until noodles float to top. Drain. Heat nonstick frying pan. Add 2-3 tablespoons of butter. When butter is brown, add cooked/drained spaetzle. Fry until lightly brown, about 2 minutes. Serve immediately.
Can add noodle dough to soups as dumplings as well.

Add your favorite herbs to the batter. Thyme, rosemary, basil, then tossed in olive oil make a wonderful noodle served with lamb. Pesto is another great addition. Experiment! It is a versatile noodle that will inspire your creativity!