August 29, 2011

Pineapple sage pound cake

I don't really know where this recipe originated, but it is all over the web as one of the most popular recipes to make with the herb pineapple sage (along with this smoothie). I had made this cake a few years ago when I had my first pineapple sage plant and I remembered liking it. So, when I wanted to make a cake for my husband's birthday I decided to give this one a try again because we have a pineapple sage plant again this year. Food is one of the greatest ways to show someone that you care about them. I really wanted to make my husband a cake that was special and a bit out of the ordinary to celebrate his day.

I think this cake is pretty interesting and it is one of those things that gets better after a couple of days as the herbs have more time to permeate the cake. It doesn't have an overwhelming pineapple flavor, but it has a subtle pineapple and light herb flavor. If you make this cake, try to get the smallest and freshest leaves off your plant because they have the most pineapple flavor. The original recipe says you can add some of the red flowers to the cake, but I've never had my plant flower. If you are lucky enough to have some of the flowers, add a couple chopped tablespoons to the batter when you add the leaves for a more colorful cake. Below is my slightly modified version of the recipe.

August 20, 2011


Galumpkis (sometimes called "pigs in a blanket") are a stuffed cabbage roll that I remember eating as a kid. I had not eaten galumpkis in many years, but was inspired to cook up a batch recently when I bought a large head of cabbage at the farmer's market along with some grass-fed organic ground beef. I remember them being rather simple in taste - beef, onions, rice, cabbage, tomatoes... I don't remember much spice or herbs in these rolls, but I remember they were always a hit. As I picked up a couple old cookbooks I have to see what I could find, I found a piece of paper in one that had a galumpki recipe hand-written on it by my husband's grandfather - I mean, I turned right to it. The recipe wasn't very detailed, but I used it as a reference for the one below. Of course, I added more flavorings to my version and they were delicious as I remembered.

I wanted to make enough for two meals for us (one dinner and then leftovers for lunches), so I used only one pound of ground beef and the mixture stuffed six large cabbage leaves. I'll say that this recipe will make about six to eight rolls, depending on your cabbage leaves. I did not parboil my cabbage leaves because they were really fresh and tender. However, if your cabbage leaves seem to be tough, it would be a good idea to parboil the leaves and let them cool and dry before stuffing them.

August 13, 2011

Honey dew-cucumber-basil coolers

I made this drink during the heat wave we had a couple of weeks ago. We were enjoying a lot of fruit drinks and smoothies during that time to help combat the heat. It has been a lot more pleasant in terms of temperature recently; however, this drink is something you can enjoy all summer no matter how hot it is. I didn't strain this drink, but rather left it "pulpy" because that is how my husband prefers his juices. I am not a big fan of pulp, so if you are like me, you can pour the drink through a fine sieve, pushing it down with a wooden spoon to get out all the juices (making it more like this agua fresca). Either way, the combination of refreshing cucumber and sweet honey dew is delicious, and it's made even more interesting by the addition of fresh basil. This recipe will make two servings. 

August 7, 2011

Stewed okra and tomatoes with andouille sausage

I found the cutest fresh, young okra at the farmer's market last week and I just couldn't resist buying up a pint. They were so tender and probably the best okra I've ever had. I combined the okra with fresh tomatoes from our plant to make this spicy and easy dinner. Some people find okra to be slimy, which it certainly can be. I did some research and found a lot of recipes that say if you fry okra first, it reduces the slime. I tried it in this recipe, and it worked - there was no slime.

I had some andouille sausage in the freezer that was made at a local shop. Sausage is not something we eat often, but when we do we ensure that it is high quality. Andouille is a smoked Cajun sausage that you've probably eaten if you've ever had gumbo. The amount of spice and heat in the andouille provide almost all the flavoring you need for this dish. My husband loved this dinner and quickly grabbed up the leftovers for his lunch the next day. I hadn't planned on taking a photo and posting this dish, but he insisted (so the photos aren't that great - that's his lunch dish for the next day). This will make enough for about four servings when paired with rice (which you will want to counterbalance the spicy sausage).