Sunday, March 21, 2010


The nettles are poking their little heads through the rich, brown earth. Soon it will be time for Nettles Soup, Nettles tea and sauted nettles with garlic that my friend Diana is so fond of. Welcome, Welcome Lady Spring!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Saint Patrick's Stew

This is a dish that my children affectionately refer to as St. Patrick's Stew year round. I make it in the crock pot. It's simple and delicious. The corned beef is from local beef that is brined at the local market with no pink salt, no nitrites and no nitrates. I start it the night before I want to serve it.

Serves Eight

Corned Beef or Beef brisket, 3-4 pounds, bring to room temperature
Carrots, 8, cut in logs and split in half
Potatoes, 8 medium, cut in good size chunks
Cabbage, sliced
Onion, 2 large chopped
Garlic, 8 cloves minced
Peppercorns, 12
Bay Leaves, 3 or 4
Dehydrated onion
Salt and Pepper
Beef broth
Hearty Red Wine (optional)

Place potatoes, onions garlic, thyme, dehydrated onion, carrots, and brisket in crock pot. Cover with beef broth and or water. Add bay leaves and peppercorns. Add salt and pepper to taste. Turn crock pot on low and let cook overnight. Leave on warm setting during the day. Brisket should fall apart. Add cabbage an hour before serving. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Baking Day~Lemon Ginger Muffins

Thursday is baking day in the Morning Garden. We make buns of maple, oat and spelt. In September, I use molasses instead of maple syrup and in the summer, I use honey. Here's a favorite recipe from Annie Somerville's Fields of Greens cookbook. The recipe in Field of Greens is adapted from Marion Cunninham's, The Breakfast Book. They are quick and easy to put together with a scrumptious lemonyness and snap from the ginger. I think they're perfect and make no adaptation to the recipe.

For 8 muffins
Preheat oven 375 degrees F

1 cup unbleached white flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
7 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
zest of 2 lemons, minced

Mix the flour salt and baking soda together.
Cream the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl.
Add the egg to the butter and sugar, beat until smooth.
Add the buttermilk and mix until blended.
Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl.
Add the dry ingredients and mix until smooth.
Stir in the grated ginger and lemon zest.

Spoon the batter into the muffin tins so that each cup is three-quarters full.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the muffins are set inside and turn golden.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Potato Leek Soup with Creme Fraiche

Another cold, rainy, gray day. A snow storm is brewing and headed this way. Fingers crossed for snow, and lots of it. It's a good day for a fire in the grate and something warm and soothing for dinner. Potato leek soup it will be.

Four potatoes, scrubbed (russet or yukon gold)
Four leeks, carefully rinsed
Water to cover the potatoes
a smidge of nutmeg
salt and pepper

Creme fraiche (recipe below)
fresh chervil (or tarragon and parsley)

Cut the potatoes into chunks, slice the leeks into rounds, place in pot.
Cover with water.
Bring to a boil.
Cover and simmer.
Add nutmeg and salt and pepper
When potatoes and leeks are tender, puree soup.
Serve with creme fraiche and herbs.

Creme fraiche:
Two cups heavy cream
Two tablespoons buttermilk
Place in a container with a lid and shake.
Find a warm place to leave it overnight or until it thickens.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Welcome to Scrumptious Smidgeon

I've created Scrumptious Smidgeon as a resource to share some of my favorite delicious delectable recipes and to express for my passion for food. I hope you'll find some beauty and goodess in it as well.

Pasta with Ham, Peas and Cream

When I was a student in Paris, many years ago, I developed an appreciation for simple whole, fresh. local, scrumptious food. The flavor of a fresh egg and good butter. The sweet simplicity of a plate of pasta with creme fraiche and emmentaler. Eggs cooked in butter. Fresh greens, a crisp radish with butter. A boiled egg with mayonnaise. Potato pie with a garlicky vinaigrette on the salad. A baguette fresh from the boulangerie.

Over the years that have passed since those days of sublime subsistence on a student budget, the quality of food available in the US has vastly improved. Small farms are blossoming. I am fortunate to live in a place where much of our food, especially, milk, cheese, eggs, ham, beef and vegetables come from right down the road and is organic.

When the days are cold and long, my body wants something substantial and sumptuous and scrumptious to eat. On those days when I find myself alone at dinner time in winter, I make this pasta with ham and peas:

The sauce can be made while the pasta is cooking. I like to use bow ties or spaghetti for this.

nob of butter ~ unsalted
drizzle of olive oil
garlic, 3 or 4 cloves
onion, 1 medium
black forest ham, a few thin slices chopped up
peas ( I use frozen unless it's spring)
mushrooms (optional)
Parmesan cheese (also good with Emmentaler)

Warm the saute pan, drizzle the olive oil, add butter. When butter is slightly bubbling, add garlic and onions. Saute. Add thyme. Add mushrooms. Saute. Add ham. Add peas. Add cream. When it's warm, serve over pasta and add Parmesan (or Emmentaler) cheese.

Goes well with a plate of fresh greens. And a glass of wine.