Saturday, July 8, 2017

Banana Bread with Bourbon Lemon Browned Butter Glaze



I  used to write deep theological treatises – like No Such Thing as Too Much Grace.

Now I just cook. 


Lately, I try to eat a banana every day.  I think it’s good for me.  But I can’t always keep up with them and I don’t like a brown mushy banana.  So, time for banana bread.  I went a little crazy today with a Bourbon Lemon Brown Butter Glaze over it.

Tip- I never buy buttermilk.  



Don’t use it enough to make it worth it.  You know if you put a TBL of vinegar or lemon juice in a cup of milk it makes buttermilk, right?  That’s what I do.

If I was making this only for me, I'd stick some pecans on the top but my son likes banana bread without nuts and I'm sharing with him so no nuts.  But you could do it if you wanted. 

Spray a regular loaf pan.  My trick—instead of flouring your pan, dump about ¼ cup sugar in the pan after you spray and coat it with sugar.  It doesn’t stick and it tastes better than flour.

The bread:


  • Three or 4 overripe bananas
  • 1 stick soft or partially melted butter. (this isn’t like cookies so it can be melted)
  • ¼ Cup Buttermilk
  • ¾ Cup Brown Sugar
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • A little cinnamon
  • 1 tsp bourbon
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt


Mash up the banana.  Add sugar and mix with a mixer.  Then add buttermilk, cinnamon bourbon & vanilla and mix that.  

Beat eggs well in another bowl.  Then add to the mix and mix that all up.  Then add dry ingredients and mix that with a spoon until well mixed.  Don’t overmix.

Pour it into a pan.  I sprinkle a little white decorative sugar on the top.  Because you can never have too much sugar. Well, you can.  But I’m not saying you should eat this every day.

Now for the glaze:


  • 1 half stick butter
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 shot bourbon
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • A little milk to thin it – you just eyeball this
  • 1 ½ cup powdered sugar
  • A little salt 


Melt a half stick of butter in a pan and then keep cooking it on medium-low heat until it’s a golden-brown color.  

Turn heat way down and add the brown sugar, lemon and salt and whisk that up.  

It will get a little grainy, don’t worry about it.  Add the bourbon and about ¾ cup powdered sugar.  Wisk that until it’s well mixed.  Add the rest of the powdered sugar and add milk to get the consistency you want.  

This is not science.  


Adjust milk and sugar to get the taste and consistency you want.   There’s no right way other than the way you like it. But you want it on the thin side because it’s a glaze, not a frosting.   


Pour over your bread while it’s still warm. Good huh?



Thursday, July 6, 2017

Sangria

So I went to Spain at the end of April and walked the last part of the Camino from Sarria to Santiago de Compestella.  I'll write about that one of these days. (In the meantime you can see my photos)

I had a lot of good cheap wine.  And Sangria.  I used to think Sangria was like punch and sweet wine that I hate.  Oh no.  Real Sangria is really good.  So I made my own when I came back.  With stuff I like.

Note.  I do not add soda water or soda pop to my Sangria.  They don't do that in Spain either.  Nor do I put soda in my Bourbon Old Fashioned.  If I wanted pop I would order pop.  


Red Wine Sangria





1 orange, sliced
1 lime, sliced
1/2 apple, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
1 TBL sugar
2 shots Bourbon
1 shot raspberry liqueur 
1 bottle Merlot
Couple shakes of Orange Bitters


Citrus Tequila Sangria




Juice of 1 half pink grapefruit
Juice of 2 limes
juice of 1 lemon
juice of  1 orange
2 slices pink grapefruit
1/2 orange sliced
2 limes, sliced
1/2 lemon sliced
1/2 cup simple syrup
2 TBL sugar
2 shots tequila
1 bottle Moscato
couple shakes Orange Bitters

Let these soak up the fruit flavors in the fridge for a few hours before serving.

Server over ice.   I'm a red wine person but that Citrus Sangria with the grapefruit is really good too.  Packs a punch. 

Friday, February 24, 2017

Some Unsolicited Advice for Republican Congress Reps Facing Hostile Crowds



I sent this email to Joni Ernst but it's good advice for all Republican Congress people facing hostile crowds:



Dear Senator Ernst
I understand you have had some frustrating experiences at your meetings with the public. I am sure it is unpleasant and a little disconcerting to meet with unruly crowds who are shouting things at you.
I wish people at these meetings would settle down and speak to you calmly. 
I read an article where you said they were not interested in listening to you.

(Ernst: Protesters 'not really there to listen')



That's true, people don't come to these meetings to listen to you.  
You have many opportunities to get your message out to the public and have them listen to you. 

These meetings are for YOU to listen to them.


I am a pastor and I have run into hostile angry people. In many ways, my position is similar to yours in that those of us that represent the church take the hostility that people have for the whole church, especially when the church as hurt them. 

In many ways, you are taking the brunt of the anger people have toward all of what they see the government doing to them since President Trump has been elected.


This is what I have found in 30 years of serving the church to be helpful. It may seem counter-intuitive, but avoiding people only makes it worse. 

If you can just keep showing up, let them shout and when you can get a word in don't tell them to listen, Say "I want to listen but I can't when you all talk at once" (Yes just like grade school) I think eventually they will calm down and tell you what they want you to know. 

But you have to listen.


I notice your colleague Senator Grassley has had better experiences at his meetings. People are still angry. They are going to be angry. Because they don't like what you are doing. But they are calmer because he listens.

Also, nobody is paying these people. 


These are not outside agitators. People in Iowa like the ACA. People in Iowa are happy with Planned Parenthood providing health care for women. People in Iowa think our public schools are pretty good. And they are.

I think if Republicans continue to tell themselves these people are not serious, you are going to be in for a surprise at midterms.

Also, I have to say I always enjoy speaking to your assistants when I call. Which is often. Because I don't like what's going on either. But as a fellow woman in the public, I thought I'd share this advice. For what it's worth.


Saturday, February 4, 2017

Texas Style Chili



I don’t like beans so I never put beans in my chili.  But I do usually use tomato sauce.  Here’s a link to my usual chili recipe

Today I decided to go all Texas.  Just beef and chilies.  And beer. 

Marinade for chuck roast:

  • ½ Cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup lime juic2
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp ancho chili powder
  • ¼ tsp green chili powder
  • ½ tsp Mexican oregano
  • ¼ tsp coriander

 For the Chili:

  • 1 lb. stewing beef, or chuck roast, cut up into small pieces
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 5 dried New Mexico Chilies
  • 4 dried guajillo chilies
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 1 12 oz. bottle dark beer
  • 1 Tbl Sorghum (Or molasses)
  • ¼ Cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tb cumin
  • 1 tsp Mexican oregano
  • 1 TB chili powder
  • 1 tsp hot Hungarian paprika
  • 1 Tbl Chipotle powder
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 TB salt
  • 2 Tbl cocoa powder
  • ¼ Cup Masa Harina (corn flour found with Mexican food in grocery store – do not substitute corn meal)



The Night before: 

 Salt and pepper the chuck stewing beef and toss with marinade.  Put in a plastic ziplock bag in the fridge and let it marinade over night.

The Next morning:

Cook some bacon for breakfast.  Leave the bacon fat in the pan.  Add a tbsp of butter and sauté onions, bell peppers and jalapeno pepper in that until it is soft and caramelized.  I like to season every layer of flavor so add a little salt and ancho chili powder to this so it turns a nice red color.  Remove from pan and set aside.

Cut off the stems of the dried chilies, cut open and dump out seeds.  Heat them in a dry pan for a few minutes, just to give some color, do not burn or char.  Add about a half a cup of water and bring to a boil, then turn off heat and let steep in water for about 5 minutes.  



Cut the chilies into smaller pieces.  I do this with scissors and just leave them in the water.  Blend the water and chilies until pureed.  Set aside.

Brown the chuck roast in the same pan you cooked the onions and peppers.  Cook on high heat to brown the edges.  Remove from pan. 

Brown the hamburger.  Add salt pepper and chili powder.  When hamburger is brown, add the onions and bell peppers and stir.  Add the chuck and the pureed peppers.  Add all the spices but the cocoa.  Add the brown sugar. 

Stir and bring to a boil.  Turn heat down and let it simmer about 15 minutes. Add a little beer if it gets too thick.

After 15 minutes, dump it all in a slow cooker plus the rest of the beer.  Cook about 3-4  hours, until chuck is very tender.  (Slow cookers vary as to how long it takes).

Add cocoa powder after an hour of cooking. 


When the chuck is tender, add Masa to about ¼ cup water and mix, then mix that into chili to thicken it.  Serve with cheese and sour cream. 



Sunday, December 11, 2016

Allspice Liquer



I was watching the Kitchen on the Food Channel and I was intrigued by one of the ingredients for a cocktail - AllSpice Liquor.


Turns out this is a Jamaican thing.  


Not real easy to find around here but pretty easy to make.
You need whole allspice berries.  Crushed into big pieces but not ground fine.  I put mine in the coffee grinder because I don't mind a little allspice in my coffee.


  • 1 Cup Rum
  • 1/4 cup crushed allspice berries
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • 1 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar simple syrup  (Boil 1 1/2 Cup water & 1 1/2 Cup brown sugar until it dissolves - about 10 minutes)


Pour rum over crushed allspice berries in a mason jar with a tight lid.  Shake well and leave for five days, shaking every day.  On the fifth day, break up the cinnamon stick and add it. Keep shaking mixture every day.

After two weeks or so, strain the mixture through a fine mesh, then strain again through coffee filter. Add the brown sugar syrup.  Shake and let that sit a couple days. 

Then what to do with it?

Well there's my Snowy Day Warm Spicey Bourbon Cocktail:





  • 1 oz bourbon 
  • 1 oz Allspice Liquor 
  • 1/2 Cup Boiling Water with 1 Tbl brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp molasses 
  • Dash of apple pie spice
  • Dash orange bitters




Friday, November 25, 2016

The Best Pumpkin Pie


I like to give pumpkin a hard time.  


Because compared to sweet potatoes or squash, pumpkin isn’t really that good.  It’s not bad.  It’s just kinda meh.  What makes pumpkin pumpkin is the spices.




But I make a really good pumpkin pie.  


The secret is the sweetened condensed milk.  It gives it a real nice creaminess.  And easy because you can skip a few steps. Oh, yea.  And the bourbon.  Bourbon makes everything better.

Also use good quality spices.  I like Penzey’s and they make pumpkin pie spice which is a combination of cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and ginger.  But because the spice is what makes pumpkin pie good, you need to use quality spices.


So here’s my recipe:


  • 1 15 oz can pureed pumpkin
  • 1 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tbs Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp Penzey’s pumpkin pie
  • ½ tsp. Penzey’s Vietnamese Cinnamon
  • 2 Tbl REAL Maple Syrup
  • 2 Tbl  Bourbon
  • 1 Tsp salt (this is more than usual but because of the extra brown sugar and maple syrup a little more salt helps cut the sweetness.  TRUST ME!)

Preheat oven to 425.  Beat all the ingredients together.  Pour into unbaked 9-inch pie crust.  Good for you if you made it yourself.  I buy the pre-made crust that’s already rolled and cut and I think it tastes fine. 


Bake 15 minutes then turn the oven down to 350 and bake another 45-50 minutes.



Don’t ruin this pie by putting Cool Whip on it!


Take a cup of real whipping cream, add a tbs or more of sugar, and a capful each of vanilla extract and bourbon and whip that sucker up.  It hardly takes any time at all and it is sooooo good.


Friday, October 14, 2016

Say the Words



Something happened while Pastor Anne Edison-Albright was preaching at our Synod Fall Theological Conference I haven’t really been able to talk about.  

It was a Spirit moment that is hard to explain. 


But Anne and I realized that Spirit moments are not given to us to keep to ourselves.  We have the story of God’s work among her people because people did not keep spirit moments to themselves.


This is mostly Anne’s story.  So here’s what she says:

In Michele Obama’s speech on Tuesday, she talked about the real, visceral power of words, particularly violent language used against women. “It’s cruel. It’s frightening. And the truth is, it hurts.” 

When I was preparing to preach at the northeastern Iowa synod fall theological conference on Tuesday, focusing on the parable of the persistent widow and the unjust judge (Luke 18:1-8), I knew I wanted to communicate a couple things.  

I wanted my sermon to be more than a motivational poster/pep talk about prayer, rejecting the narrative of “Just keep praying; God’ll get around to you eventually.”


I wanted to emphasize that God is NOT an unjust judge. God is with the widow. 

The parable isn’t about my admiration for the widow or sympathy for her. It’s about God’s empathy and God’s love for and shared experience with her. 

Based on what we know about power and authority, it’s easy to imagine God as an unjust or absent judge. But that’s not who God is. 

To get more into who God is, I decided to spend a little time describing who the widow is, and that’s where I got into trouble.

 I noted that you might call her persistent, strong, courageous. And that she’s also called shrill, annoying and abrasive.

 “And,” I wrote in my notes for the day, “there are other words, words specifically used to demean women.”

And that’s where I stopped and wasn’t sure how to continue. 


Everyone would know what words I meant. I didn’t necessary need or want to give those words any more air time than they’ve already had during this election cycle. (“Oh, that’s a good line,” I thought, and wrote that in and continued my sermon.)


The truth is, it hurts. 


It hurts to hear those words, to say those words, to even write and think about saying those words. 

So the day of the sermon came and I stood in front if my new colleagues and started preaching, still not entirely sure what I was going to do when I came to that part of my notes. I got there, and I looked up and said, “And here’s the part of the sermon where I wasn’t sure if I should say the words or not.”

Pastor Joelle Colville-Hanson said, “Say the words, Annie.” 


Typed words can’t convey the gentleness of her encouragement or the compassion and presence of the Spirit in her voice. 

“But it feels like violence,” I said, and the tears started, which I had not expected at all. Michelle Obama spoke of being shaken to her core, in a way she did not expect.

 Shaken and shaking, I said the words. 


“They call her a bitch,” I said. “They call her c***.”

I put myself back together, thanked Joelle, and continued with the sermon I’d prepared. When I sat down, I was greeted hugs and tears. Empathy. 

The truth is, it hurts. The good news is, God doesn’t meet our hurt with pep talks, platitudes, suspicion, denials, diminishments or blame. God meets our hurt with empathy. 


God gets it. 

I’ll never forget what happened during that sermon, especially that Spirit-filled communication between Joelle and me. I’m grateful to God for being present to us, and through us, in that holy moment. 

Now me:


 I did not plan to speak out during Pastor Anne’s sermon. But she looked at me and faltered.  

And I knew she had to say the words.  


She had to say those awful cruel violent words in that sacred space.  We were studying John and John is all about how the light has to shine to expose the ugly things that hide in the dark. 

The words had to be spoken to exorcise the power they have to define and demean and marginalize us.


We were both looking at each other.  

I learned to preach in a congregation with many African American members and I have appreciated and missed the way the congregation will pray and encourage the pastor when they falter.  

So I just held her gaze and prayed her into saying the words. 

And she said them.  And nothing bad happened.  

Maybe some were shocked or offended.  Or just confused. That’s okay.  It was a Spirit moment.  The Holy Spirit is shocking and offensive and confusing.

What I take away from that moment is the responsibility we crones have to lift up and support the younger women.  


Not complain that we had it harder.  Not whine that they don’t do feminism the way we do. Not resent the opportunities they have that we didn’t.  Just support them. 


 I am a crone.   


I can dye my hair and put on the night repair I fool myself is erasing those hard earned lines on my face.  But I am a crone.  


Being a crone is hard earned, important role.  


We need the crones.

We women, of all colors, of all ages, are always in danger--no matter how privileged we are—we are always in danger of being pushed back to the margins. (#repealthe19th anyone?) 

So we need to support one another.  And say the words. 

*The Rev. Anne Edison-Albright is a pastor at Luther College in Decorah, IA. 




Monday, October 3, 2016

Margarita Rice


This is how you want the cilantro lime rice you order in the restaurant to taste, but it never does.


So I was thinking tequila would be good, but alas!  I had no tequila!  But in the back of the fridge, a summer left over a bottle of that stuff that is sort of margarita-ish.  It has tequila and lime in it.  I think this is what made it really good.  So get that stuff.

1 small white onion, diced
1 jalapeno, diced (take out the seeds if it’s too hot
Juice and zest of ½ lime
¼ Cup margarita mix (with the tequila)
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup rice
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
Handful of roughly chopped or torn cilantro

Heat a skillet then add a tbs of olive oil, and add 1 tbs of butter.  Remember – hot pan, cold oil – food won’t stick!  

Add the onions and sauté for about 5 minutes and then add the pepper and cook another few minutes.  Add the rice and stir around so rice is coated in the oil.  Add the lemon zest and juice.  Stir and add a little salt and pepper. 

Add the margarita mix and chicken stock.  Bring to a boil,  turn heat to low, cover and cook about 15 minutes.  You’ll need to watch it to make sure it doesn’t burn.  You may need to add a little more liquid. 

Preheat oven to 350.  Add the cheese on top and put the skillet (if you have a cast iron pan you can do this, I don’t know about anything else) in the oven and bake about 5-6 minutes, just enough to melt cheese and get it a little crusty around the edge. Sprinkle cilantro on top.




Once you have had this, no other cilantro lime rice will do.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Chicken & Sweet Potato Stew



This may seem like a strange combination of ingredients but it is delicious.



  • 2 Chicken thighs, cooked, shredded off the bone
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
  • 1 Sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with green chili
  • 1 TBL tomato paste
  • 2 TBL peanut butter
  • 1 Cup red wine
  • 2 Cups Chicken stock
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp Hungarian paprika
  • 1 TBL brown sugar


Sauté onions and peppers and garlic in olive oil until transparent and caramelized about 10 minutes.  Add tomato paste and stir.  Add peanut butter and stir. Add wine, diced tomatoes, sweet potato and carrots, spices and sugar.  Simmer for 10 minutes.   



Add to crockpot with chicken and chicken stock.  After an hour add about a TBL of flour to thicken it up. Cook for about 3 hours.

Serve with yogurt and lime juice.  

Monday, August 1, 2016

Buffalo Chicken & Ranch Pasta Salad



I got this idea from Damaris Philips of the Food Network.  Of course, I had to put my own spin on it.

Here is her version:  Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad

She makes a buffalo blue cheese from mayo.  I also like ranch with buffalo wings so I went with ranch.  And I just bought a bottle of Hidden Valley dressing.

Warning:  These measurements are not exact.  I eyeball everything.  You should learn to do that.  Except for baking.  You need to be more exact for baking.


Dressing



  • 1 1/2 Ranch dressing
  • 1/4 cup buffalo sauce
  • 2 Tbl Honey
  • 2 tBL Louisiana hot sauce
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper



Marinade for Chicken





  • 1 Cup greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbl buffalo sauce
  • 1/8 tsp salt 
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Chicken




  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut up, soaked in yogurt marinade over night
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs mixed with 1/4 cup corn meal
  • 3 eggs, beaten



Put the flour in one bowl, eggs in another and breadcrumb cornmeal in another

I learned this trick from Rachel Ray.  Add a little salt to every stage of the dredge mix.  It doesn't have to be a lot, just a pinch or so but it really does season the chicken well.  I also add quite a bit of pepper to the flour

Heat frying pan.  Remember, cold oil, hot pan, food won't stick. Add a little less than an inch of vegetable oil.  Keep on medium heat.




Dredge the chicken first in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs and fry in oil.  Move the chicken around from hottest to less hot parts of the pan (or move pan around) to cook well but keep from burning.  You just get a feel for how long this takes. About 6-8 minutes.  Cut the chicken open to make sure it's cooked.  You'll want to slice it for the salad anyway.  I've had salmonella twice.  You don't want that.

Cool the chicken.





Veggies:



  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 6-7 green onions, chopped
  • 8 small sweet peppers, sliced


Cook about two cups of your favorite pasta.  I used Rigatoni.  This is my way of cooking pasta that works every time.  Bring about 4 cups of salted water to a boil.  Add the pasta.  Bring to a boil, then turn down fire and simmer for 8 minutes.  


Drain and cool the pasta.  I add salt and pepper.  Pour the dressing over it, then add veggies.  I store the chicken separately and only add it to pasta when I'm ready to serve it. 

You could add crumbled blue cheese to this and it would be really awesome. 

PS.  You could eat this with lettuce and skip the pasta and it's be pretty good.


Monday, July 25, 2016

Flan



I'm not much of a custard lover myself but I had yen for flan.


 My sister, Cathy, really liked flan. 


If a Mexican Restuarant didn't serve flan for dessert, she didn't think it was a real Mexican restaurant.    


I dedicate this post to my sister.


While looking for a recipe on  the internet I found a LOT of variations.  Heavy cream, half and half, condensed milk, 3 eggs, 5 eggs.  

Below is the recipe I settled on and I like it.  I like creaminess that sweetened condensed milk adds.  I always make my pumpkin pie with sweetened condensed milk.




 I also thought it would be fun to use a real vanilla bean.  What a messy pain that is.  Good vanilla extract is fine.


Preheat oven to 325


Start with the top, or the bottom.  This is the best part of flan - the caramel on top.


Watch this video to learn how to cook it.









This works perfectly.  I used a glass pie tin and melted the sugar right it.

DO NOT stir the sugar before it melts, it will just get hard



When it begins to melt, stir it in a circular motion, just like the video.  I found it worked better to let it cool and thicken and then move the pan around to coat the sides.

While it's cooling, mix the custard.


  • 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 12 oz can evaporated milk
  • 1 Tbl vanilla extract



Put the pan in the pan you are going to bake it in.  BEFORE you put the custard in it.  I learned that trick the hard way. 
Pour boiling water to fill the pan halfway.  






I spilled some custard in the water while moving it to the oven but I don't think that hurt anything.  Back 50-60 minutes until the center is still soft but not runny




After it cools what you are supposed to do is run a knife around it and turn it upside down on a plate.  That didn't go so well for me.  Oh well.  It's not the prettiest flan anyone ever made.  But it does taste pretty good.




Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Tomato Jam & Feta Cheese Spread Crostinis






We have this weird tradition in the Northeastern Iowa Synod Office.   You get a birthday card when you bring treats for everyone.

Well, we have staff that are gluten free and diabetic, so cake and ice cream doesn't really work.  I saw some sample cheese boards on Pinterest and thought "Ah cheese!"

There's a whole thing about cheese boards.  And the things that go with it.  Like nuts and fruit and olives.  Which I don't like, but it sounded like a fun treat to bring.



So I brought a cheese board to the office today.  Well, no actual boards were involved.  

On the menu


  • Sugared pecans
  • Grapes
  • A nice hard salami
  • Marinated mushrooms & artichoke hearts (instead of olives)


And the nice cheese monger at the Hy-Vee helped me pick some good cheeses


  • A VERY sharp Cheddar from Wisconsin
  • An Iowa Cheddar
  • Wisconsin Havarti
  • Smoked Gouda 
  • A soft mild Blue Cheese

It may not jive exactly with the ideal variety of cheeses for a traditional cheese board but they went over very well.


And a delicious tomato jam that paired really well with a feta spread.  Here's the recipe for that:

Tomato jam





  • 1 16 oz container cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • 3/4-1 cup sugar (depends on taste)
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 4 or 5 leaves basil
  • tsp lemon juice
  • pinch of salt
  • Pinch red pepper flakes




Cook the tomatoes & garlic on low in tomato sauce until they break down.  You want there to be small, soft pieces, but not mush.  This takes about 10 minutes.  Add sugar.  



Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute.  Turn heat down, add salt, pepper flakes, basil and lemon juice and simmer until it is a thick consistency.  This takes about 10 minutes.  Let it cool.  It may get thicker in time.

Feta with Cream Cheese Spread


16 oz cream cheese, room temp
16 oz crumbled feta
1 clove garlic, chopped fine
1 Tbl Italian herbs
pinch of salt
2 Tbl olive oil

Mix all this in a bowl.  If you have a small food processor you can do that, but it's easy to mix and I didn't think it was worth dirtying my processor.


Put the cheese spread on a cracker or crostini.  Put a little tomato jam on that.  If you really want to go crazy, top that with shaved parmesan.