Friday, October 31, 2014

Banana-Rum Cake

Even though Mom was allergic to bananas, she loved to make banana bread for us and to give to the neighbors. She said the riper the bananas, the better it tasted. She was relying on what others told her since she couldn’t eat it! This recipe is adapted from Mom’s. I was trying to figure out how to use up all the rum flavoring I was given when Kathleen came up with the brilliant idea to add some to my banana cake!
just about ripe enough!
Banana-Rum Cake
1/2 cup (100 g) butter or margarine
1 ¼ cups (250 g) sugar
½ teaspoon rum flavoring
2 eggs
1 cup (2.4 dl) puréed bananas
1 2/3 cups (250 g) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
½ cup (50 g) ground hazelnuts

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, beating well. Add rum flavoring. Add puréed bananas to butter mixture. Mix flour with the next 3 ingredients and mix into batter. Add the hazelnuts. Pour into 2 well-greased and floured 9 inch cake pan. Bake 35 minutes at 350° F (175° C) (or 1 hour in a loaf pan, 20 minutes for cupcakes).

Rum Glaze
1 ½ cups (200 g) powdered sugar
2 tablespoons water
½ teaspoon rum extract

Mix together and pour over cake while still warm.

Cake banane-rhum
100 gr de beurre ou de margarine
250 gr de sucre
½ cuillère à café d’arôme de rhum
2 œufs
2,5 dl de purée de banane
250 gr de farine
1 cuillère à café de poudre à lever
1/2 cuillère à café de bicarbonate
1/4 cuillère à café de sel
50 g de noisettes moulues

Battre ensemble le beurre et le sucre. Ajouter les œufs et battre bien, puis ajouter l’arôme et la purée de banane. Mélanger la farine avec les 3 prochains ingrédients. Incorporer au mélange. Ajouter les noisettes. Verser dans 2 moules ronds de 22 cm bien graissé. Cuire à 175° pendant 35 minutes (ou 1 heure dans un moule à cake, 20 minutes pour des cupcakes).

Glaçage au rhum
200 g de sucre glace
2 cuillères à soupe d’eau
½ cuillère à café d’arôme de rhum

Mélanger tous les ingrédients et en napper le cake pendant qu’il est encore tiède.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


It’s not entirely true that doing simple math is the only thing you need to cook for a crowd. My biggest challenge is getting the ordering right. Our different suppliers for summer camp deliver on different days and carry different items, so it’s no small task. One year I was feeling pretty smug because everything was running so smoothly. I was really on top of things. But pride comes before a fall. Saturday night when I went to the freezer to get the chicken nuggets out for a quick and easy meal the next day, they were nowhere to be found. I had forgotten to order them! There would be no other delivery until Monday. To make matters worse, the village mayor and priest were coming for Sunday lunch! I found enough chicken breasts for about half the camp and a few kilos of smoked salmon. I decided to serve rice with a choice of two different sauces. I made a very rich and creamy sauce with the salmon to stretch that, then chopped up the chicken and made a mushroom sauce with loads of mushrooms. Not only would that make the chicken go farther, but it would also steer those who didn’t like mushrooms to the salmon sauce, which I thought would be less popular. I pulled it off and no one was the wiser except my kitchen crew and some of the staff.
firing on all cylinders
my kitchen crew

Monday, October 27, 2014

Chicken Curry

Last week I cooked for a teen retreat. There were only 35 of us, so it was a piece of cake. Nothing like cooking for 180 at summer camp! I’ve always maintained that if you can multiply, you can cook for a crowd. Need to cook for a group of 35? Multiply your 5-serving recipe by 7. Cooking for 180? Multiply that recipe by 36. The key is to not panic and worry that there won't be enough food. If one recipe feeds 5, 36 will feed 180. It’s simple math.

During the 3-day retreat, I served some of the teens' favorites like chili, pizza, pumpkin soup, and chicken curry. As I've said before, if you have picky eaters, you can cook and purée the vegetables. That way everyone is happy; there are no discernable vegetables, but the flavor is there. Since I knew several would frown upon having fruit in their meat dish, I replaced the apple with 1/2 cup of apple sauce and omitted the chutney.

Chicken Curry
1 pound (500 g) chicken breasts
1 onion
1 bell pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 apple pealed and diced
2 tablespoons mango chutney
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon cloves
½ cup (1.2 dl) cream

Chop the onion and bell pepper and sauté in a skillet in the oil. Cut chicken in small pieces and add to the skillet. When the chicken is done, add the apple and chutney. Dissolve the next 5 ingredients in 1½ cups of water and pour in skillet. When the liquid begins to thicken, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Just before serving, add the cream. (5 servings)
my helpers at a previous retreat
Poulet au curry
500 g de blanc de poulet
1 oignon
1 poivron
2 cuillères à soupe d’huile d’olive
1 pomme pelée et coupée en dès
2 cuillères à soupe de chutney à la mangue
2 cuillères à soupe de maïzena
1 cuillères à soupe de curry
2 cuillères à café de sel
¼ cuillère à café d’ail sec
¼ cuillère à café de clous de girofle moulus
1,2 dl de crème
Hacher l'oignon et le poivron et faire revenir dans une poêle dans l’huile. Couper le poulet en petits morceaux et ajouter à la poêle. Lorsque le poulet est cuit, ajouter la pomme et le chutney. Dissoudre les 5 ingrédients suivants dans 4 dl d'eau et verser dans la poêle. Lorsque le liquide commence à épaissir, baisser le feu et laisser mijoter 30 minutes. Ajouter la crème avant de servir. (5 portions)

Friday, October 24, 2014

Pumpkin Pie

I don’t mind at all that canned pumpkin is expensive and hard to come by in Switzerland. If you ask me, the taste doesn’t compare to fresh pumpkin.

Pumpkin Pie
2 cups (5 dl) pumpkin purée
2 eggs
½ cup (100 g) brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cloves
¼ teaspoon Allspice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2.4 dl) light cream
1 unbaked 9-inch pie crust

Beat eggs until light and fluffy. Stir in pumpkin. Combine the dry ingredients. Add to pumpkin mixture and mix thoroughly. Gradually stir in cream. Pour over crust. Bake at 425° F (220° C) for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350° F (175° C) and continue baking for 40 minutes. Pie is done when knife inserted in center comes out clean. (8 servings)

Tarte à la courge

5 dl de purée de courge

2 œufs

100 g de sucre de canne

1 cuillère à café de cannelle

½ cuillère à café gingembre

½ cuillère à café noix de muscade

¼ cuillère à café clous de girofle

1 cuillère à soupe de maïzena

½ cuillère à café de sel

2,4 dl de crème

1 pâte à gâteau dans un moule de 24 cm

Battre les œufs jusqu'à ce qu’ils moussent. Incorporer la courge. Mélanger les ingrédients secs. Ajouter à la mixture et bien mélanger. Incorporer la crème. Verser dans le moule. Cuire au four à 220° C pendant 15 minutes, puis réduire la température à 175° C et cuire encore 40 minutes. La tarte est cuite lorsque qu'un couteau inséré au centre en ressorte propre. (8 portions)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pumpkin Soup

I cup up a 18-pound pumpkin, cooked the pieces for a few minutes in the pressure cooker. I strained the pumpkin, then puréed it in the blender (reserving the liquid for soup). I ended up with 5 quarts of purée. I froze most of it in 1-quart ziplock bags for later use.

The temperature has turned cold, so soup is on the menu. Nothing adds flavor to homemade soup like a little bacon grease! My grandmother always had a jar of it sitting on her kitchen windowsill and so did Mom. I keep mine in a little cream pitcher in the fridge!

Pumpkin Soup
1 quart (1 liter) pumpkin purée
1 10-g vegetable bouillon cube
1 teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 cup (1 dl) cream

Mix the pumpkin with 2 to 3 cups water (depending on desired thickness) in a pot and bring to a boil on the stove. Add the bouillon cube, onion powder and nutmeg. Turn off the heat. Add the cream. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with bacon bits.

Soupe à la courge

1 liter de purée de courge 
1 cube de bouillon
1 cuillère à café de poudre d’oignon 
 ¼ cuillère à café de noix de muscade
1 dl de crème

Dans une casserole, mélanger la courge avec plusieurs décilitres d'eau (selon la consistance désirée) et porter à ébullition. Ajouter le cube de bouillon, la poudre d'oignon et la noix de muscade. Eteignez le feu. Ajouter la crème. Ajouter du et du poivre selon les goûts. Servir avec des morceaux de lard grillé.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

We don’t grow our own pumpkins, although we should as much as we like them. I buy whole pumpkins so that I can roast the seeds. We eat them like popcorn, shells and all.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Separate the seeds from the “goop” as much as possible. In a pot, cover with salty water and boil for 5 minutes. This should clean the seeds. Strain the seeds and spread on a baking sheet. Coat with olive oil and salt. Roast the seed in the oven on broiler setting, stirring every few minutes, until they begin to brown. Watch carefully that they do not burn. Cool and store in an airtight container.

Graines de courge grillées
Nettoyer les graines autant que possible. Dans une casserole, couvrir d'eau salée et faire bouillir pendant 5 minutes. Cela devrait finir de nettoyer les graines. Egoutter les graines et étaler sur une plaque de cuisson. Enduire d'huile d'olive et le sel. Griller les graines dans le four, en remuant toutes les deux minutes et en surveiller attentivement qu'elles ne brûlent pas, jusqu'à ce qu'elles soient dorées. Laisser refroidir et conserver dans un récipient hermétique.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

One essential item we couldn’t find in Switzerland back in the ’70s was peanut butter! Mom would return from a trip to the States with a jar of peanut butter for each of us kids and put our names on them. I would always make my jar last, other siblings went through theirs in record time. Mom also imported loads of Nestlé’s chocolate chips over the years. I prefer chopping up dark chocolate bars for these cookies. 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup (200 g) butter or margarine
1 cups (200 g) peanut butter
1 ½ cup (300 g) sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ½ cups (375 g) flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (160 g) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cream together butter, peanut butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla, beat well. Stir in flour, soda and salt. Add chocolate chips, mixing thoroughly. Drop by spoonfuls onto baking sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake at 375° F (190° C) for 8 to 10 minutes. Makes 5-6 dozen.

200 g de beurre ou de margarine

200 g de beurre de cacahuètes

300 g de sucre

2 œufs

1 de cuillère à café de vanille

400 gr de farine

1 cuillère à café de bicarbonate

1 pincée de sel

150 g de pépites de chocolat

Bien mélanger le beurre, le beurre de cacahuètes et le sucre. Ajouter les œufs et la vanille. Mélanger le bicarbonate et le sel à la farine puis ajouter à la pâte. Ajouter enfin les pépites de chocolat. Former des boules de la grosseur d’une noix et les disposer sur une plaque à environ 5 cm les unes des autres. Les aplatir légèrement Cuire à 180° pendant 8 à 10 minutes (selon le four ; cuire moins longtemps si l’on veut qu’ils restent tendres à l’intérieur !).

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Butterscotch Cookies

When my family arrived in Switzerland in 1969, there were all kinds American food items we couldn’t find here. Every time we came back from a trip to the States we would fill our suitcases with the goodies we missed. There were still quite a few hard-to-come-by products when I moved back to Lausanne with Brady in 1985, but now we can find most everything we crave. A few exceptions are Root Beer, Cheetos, and butterscotch chips. You can substitute caramel squares for butterscotch chips, but they are not quite the same.

These are Martina’s favorite cookies.

Butterscotch Cookies
1 cup (200 g) butter or margarine
1 ½ cup (300 g) sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (300 g) flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups (200 g) oatmeal
1 cup (160 g) butterscotch chips

Cream butter and sugar. Add molasses and eggs, beat well. Stir in flour, soda and salt. Add oatmeal and butterscotch, mixing thoroughly. Drop by spoonfuls on baking sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake at 375° F (190° C) for 8 to 10 minutes. Makes 5-6 dozen.

Cookies au butterscotch

200 g de beurre ou de margarine

300 g de sucre

2 cuillères à soupe de mélasse

2 œufs

1 de cuillère à café de vanille

300 g de farine

1 cuillère à café de bicarbonate

1/2 cuillère à café de sel

200 g de flocons d’avoine

150 g de pépites de butterscotch (petits morceaux de caramels mous)

Bien mélanger le beurre, le sucre et la mélasse. Ajouter les œufs et la vanille. Mélanger le bicarbonate et le sel à la farine puis ajouter à la pâte. Ajouter enfin les flocons d’avoine et les pépites de butterscotch. Former des boules de la grosseur d’une noix et les disposer sur une plaque à environ 5 cm les unes des autres. Cuire à 180° pendant 8 à 10 minutes (selon le four).

Monday, October 13, 2014


Did I mention that I love the fall? The cooler weather means most days my oven is on for hours at a time. I spent a whole afternoon baking three kinds of cookies last week. First I made gingersnaps. Some people say I’m OCD about my cookies in general, and my gingersnaps in particular. I admit that I have trouble watching on when someone helps me make cookies and they don’t get them all the same size and perfectly aligned on the cookie sheet. But I'm learning to let go.
like little soldiers in perfect formation, the gingersnaps prepared to march into the oven
family members get the cookies that aren't perfectly round. I couldn't possibly serve them to guests!

I bake as many as 40 dozen of these cookies in December to give to friends and neighbors, as well as to enjoy at home. A few years ago, one batch tasted a bit different, but I couldn’t put my finger on what was wrong until I realized I had mistaken curry powder (unlabeled) for ginger! We still laugh about the currysnaps!

3/4 cup (150 g) butter or margarine
1 cup (200 g) sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 dl) molasses
1 egg
2 cups (300 g) flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cream butter and sugar. Add molasses and egg, beat well. Sift the flour with remaining ingredients. Add to butter mixture, mix thoroughly. Roll into small balls (if dough is too sticky, add a bit more flour) and dip into additional granulated sugar or leave plain. Place 2 inches apart on greased baking sheet. Bake at 375° F (190° C) for 10 to 12 minutes. Makes 6-7 dozen.

Biscuits au gingembre
150 g de beurre ou de margarine
200 g de sucre
½ dl de mélasse
1 œuf
300 g de farine
1 ½ cuillères à café de bicarbonate
1 cuillère à café de cannelle
1 cuillère à café de gingembre moulu
1 cuillère à café de clous de girofle moulus
1 pincée de sel

Bien mélanger le beurre et le sucre. Ajouter la mélasse et l’œuf et bien mélanger. Ajouter les autres ingrédients et mélanger. Si la pâte est encore très collante, rajouter un peu de farine. Former des petites boules de 2 cm de diamètre (on peut aussi les rouler dans du sucre) et les disposer sur une plaque à environ 5 cm les unes des autres (elles s’étalent beaucoup). Cuire à 180° pendant 10 minutes.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Chili and Cornbread

I love the autumn; I enjoy the cool temperature and the fall colors. It’s also fun to cook with all kinds of fall fruits and vegetables, and to prepare your favorite stews and soups again. Last night was the perfect weather for chili and cornbread, so that’s what I fixed for the Pepperdine students. I multiplied these recipes by 3.
When Justin was little, he was capable of picking out the minutest pieces of onion or bell pepper from his food. I would sauté then purée the vegetables before adding them.

2 pounds (1 kg) ground beef
1 large onion
1 bell pepper
2 cloves garlic
4 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 large can (800gr) diced tomatoes
1 cup (2.4 dl) water
salt to taste
2 cups (5 dl) cooked kidney beans

Chop onion and bell pepper and press garlic. Sauté in a large skillet. Add meat and brown. Dissolve the flour, chili powder and cumin in water and pour over meat with pressed garlic. Add tomatoes and beans and simmer at least 30 min. Stir occasionally. Serve with grated cheese. (8 servings)
corn shaped cornbread made in Mama Denny's cast iron pan

1 cup (150 g) flour
1 cup (150 g) corn meal (or fine polenta)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup (50g) butter
1 cup (2.4 dl) milk
1 egg

Combine dry ingredients in mixing bowl. Mix in butter, then add milk and egg and beat. Pour into greased 8-inch (20 cm) square pan. Bake at 350° F (175° C) for 20-25 minutes. 8 servings.


1 kg viande hachée

1 oignon

1 poivron

2 gousses d’ail

40 g de farine

3 cuillères à soupe d’épices mexicaines

1 cuillère à café de cumin moulu


800 g tomates concassées

2,4 dl d’eau

800 g de haricots rouges cuits

Hacher l’oignon et le poivron et cuire à la poêle. Ajouter la viande hachée et cuire. Dissoudre la farine et les épices dans l’eau et verser sur la viande avec l’ail pressé. Ajouter les tomates et les haricots et laisser mijoter au moins 30 minutes. Remuer de temps en temps. Servir avec du fromage râpé. (8 portions)

Pain de maïs

150 g de farine

150 g de polenta (fin)

1 c à soupe de poudre à lever

1 c à soupe de sucre

1 c à café de sel

50 gr de beurre

2,4 dl de lait

1 œuf

Mélanger les 5 premiers ingrédients. Ajouter le beurre et bien mélanger. Ajouter le lait et l’œuf et battre avec un fouet. Verser dans un moule carré beurré (20x20cm) et cuire à 180°C pendant 20-25 min. (8 portions)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Is everyone tired of leftovers at your house, or is there simply not enough of one dish to go around? Don't feel like going to the store? You can turn your hodgepodge ingredients into a meal if you have rice, some meat (a bit of ham, chicken, shrimp), and a few random vegetables (the more colorful the better; a bell pepper; an onion, a couple of carrots, some cabbage, a handful of mushrooms). You're ready to make stir-fry.

Have pie or cobbler for dessert and you’ll go a long way toward your five daily servings of fruits and vegetables.

2-3 eggs
6 or 7 colorful vegetables
4-8 ounces cooked meat
2-3 cups cooked rice
olive oil
soy sauce

Put some olive oil in a wok and turn on medium high. Beat the eggs and fry in the wok, turning over once. Set aside. Add more oil to the wok. Chop up the vegetables and throw them in the wok as you go, stirring frequently. Start with the hardest vegetables and end with the softest, that way all the vegetables will be done at the same time. Add soy sauce to taste. Chop up the meat and add to the wok. Add the rice. Stir till well heated. Last, add the eggs sliced in strips. 

Sauté de légumes

2-3 œufs
6 ou 7 légumes de toutes les couleurs
100-200 g de viande cuite
100 g de riz
huile d'olive
sauce soja

Cuire le riz. Verser un peu d'huile d'olive dans le wok et régler sur moyen-fort. Battre les œufs et les cuire dans le wok comme une omelette, en retournant une fois. Mettre de côté. Ajouter un peu plus d'huile dans le wok. Découper les légumes et les mettre dans le wok au fur et à mesure, en remuant fréquemment. Commencez par les légumes les plus durs et terminer par le plus mous, de cette façon tous les légumes seront cuits en même temps. Ajouter la sauce soja selon votre goût. Découper la viande et ajouter au wok. Ajouter le riz. Remuer jusqu'à ce que le tout soit bien chauffé. Enfin, ajouter les œufs coupés en lamelles.