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Recipe: Radish and Goat-Cheese Sandwich

Radishes can be quite spicy. What better way to have them for lunch than as an open-faced sandwich? The smoothness of the goat cheese tempers the spicy radishes.

1 slice whole grain bread
3-4 radishes (different colors, if preferred)
2-3 leaves lettuce/greens
3 tablespoons herbed goat cheese
mayonnaise, if desired
parsley or alfalfa sprouts, for garnish

Wash and thinly slice the radishes. Spread a little mayonnaise on the slice of bread if desired. Place the lettuce leaves on the bread. Spread the radishes, and top with the goat cheese. Garnish with parsley or sprouts. Enjoy!

Copyright (c) 2009 V P Lawrence-Williams

Recipe: Zesty Radish Relish

More radishes available from the garden, or fresh from your local farmer's market! This relish is citrusy, sharp and peppery, with a beautiful pink color. Goes well with fish, beef, lamb, bread and cheese, and even nacho-chips!

2 cups shredded or julienned radishes
1/2 lemon (zest and juice)
1/2 orange (zest and juice)
2 tablespoons table (white) sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
salt/pepper to taste
water to cover

In a wide shallow skillet, place all ingredients with enough water to almost cover ingredients. Turn to medium and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent burning or sticking, until all water has reduced to just a few tablespoons of buttery syrup. The radishes will be very tender. Serve warm. Refrigerate leftovers and gently reheat on stove (not in microwave).

I suppose this could be canned but it never lasts long enough in this house, and is just as easy to make fresh from dehydrated radish slices.

Suggestion: Try serving this with your next potluck or big family dinner, and see what kind of reactions you get! I'd love to hear about them.

Alternate: If you have dehydrated radishes into slices, they work well here. Rehydrate for 20-30 minutes in water, drain excess water, and continue as above. Fresh summer taste in the cold in winter.

Copyright (c) 2009 V P Lawrence-Williams

Recipe: Spicey Radish Sauce

Did you read our post on how to dehydrate radish slices? ( Here's the recipe to use the dried mature hot radish slices to make a kind of creamy "horseradish" sauce:

1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons dried hot radish powder (to taste)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
a drop or two of tobasco hot sauce (to taste)

Mix well. Add more or less hot radish powder to taste. Sometimes I like a bit more mayonnaise, and sometimes I like to add a tablespoon or two of chopped parsley.

Serve as if it was a creamy horseradish sauce: liven up dark game meats, beef, sausage, chops, catfish, shrimp and deli sandwiches.

Copyright (c) 2009 V P Lawrence-Williams

Preserving Radishes by Dehydrating

We're about to harvest our first radishes of the year, and I'm so excited. They are almost always our first crop, along with lettuces/greens.

We had lots of radishes in our garden last year... so many that I got tired of looking at them. They are one of the quickest crops to grow, and pretty much just "pop" out of the soil when they are ready. We mostly grow Pink Beauty radishes with a few red Cherry Belle and White Icicle thrown in. Sometimes, when we forget to harvest them, the Pink Beauty grow very big, tough, and very hot, almost like a horseradish. Hubby popped a 2-incher in his mouth at our Harvest Party last year, and his face turned so red from the heat I thought I'd have to throw him in the duck's swimming pool!

But that gave us a thought: What if we let them get big on purpose, then dehydrate them. Could we powder the dried radishes and use them like horseradish? Let me tell you ... it works! If you want to use mature (and therefore, hot) radishes to make a spicey-radish sauce for your Winter meals, here's how:

  • Harvest radishes about 2 weeks after you normally would. They will be bigger, tougher, and hotter. You could go even longer if you'd like.

  • Wash off the dirt. Do NOT cut off the stems yet but do cut off a bit of the bottom/root end and any bad parts.

  • Holding the stem, slice the radish into thin slices. Throw out the radish stems.

  • Arrange on a dehydrator tray, just barely not touching. When the tray is full, set up to dehydrate.

  • Dehydrate between 108 and 115 degrees F. until slices are very crisp.

Store in a tightly-sealed container (we use small jam canning jars - unprocessed). We tape thick construction paper around the jar, labeled with contents and date. Store in a cool dark place. When ready to use as a powdered hot "spice", take out a couple dried slices, grind into a powder with mortar/pestle or spice grinder, and make "horseradish sauce" as usual. Maybe we should call it "spicey radish sauce". Hmmm.... unusual and delicious!

The spicey radish sauce recipe will post tomorrow.

Recipe: Pasta with Artichokes and Feta

This is another simple dish. Hubby loves artichokes, and we use goat or sheep feta because his tummy doesn't like cow's milk products. Our garden produces the fresh parsley, and to change it up, sometimes I add fresh bunching onions (scallions) also from our garden.

1 package of pasta, your choice
1 can or jar of artichoke hearts, drained
1/2 cup feta cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsalmic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Boil the pasta. In a large mixing bowl (that you can serve in), combine vinegar, oil, parsley and salt/pepper. When pasta is ready, drain, add to the bowl and toss. Add artichoke hearts and feta, toss and serve.

Copyright (c) 2009 V P Lawrence-Williams

Preserving Asparagus by Canning

It's almost too late to can your asparagus, but if you still have some growing, or find some on sale at the local farmer's market, go for it!

I don't can much because I prefer to dehydrate, but some friends swear by doing it this way:

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  1. Wash the asparagus (green or white). Only use perfect asparagus, with no blemishes.

  2. Cut off the tough ends.

  3. White asparagus should normally be peeled before canning.

  4. Blanch, if desired, for 3 minutes to help retain color.

  5. Can using the hot pack method, with 1-inch of headspace.

  6. Pour lemon juice and salt over the stalks.

  7. Pour hot water over the stalks, keeping that 1-inch of headspace.

  8. Process in a pressure canner for 30 minutes for pints, or 40 minutes for quarts, at 11 pounds or 10 pounds for a weighted gauge.

  9. For elevations above 1,000 feet above sea level, adjust. Click here.

  10. After processing, remove from boiling water. Place jars on a towel, keeping at least 1-inches in between to allow air flow. Cool.

  11. Label with contents and date.

  12. Store in a cool dark place.
Calculations for Pint Jars:

asparagus (approx)... 1 3/4 pounds
boiling water... as needed
lemon juice... 1/2 tablespoon
canning salt... 1/2 teaspoon
pressure canning processing... 30 minutes

Calculations for Quart Jars:

asparagus (approx)... 3 1/2 pounds
boiling water... as needed
lemon juice... 1 tablespoon
canning salt... 1 teaspoon
pressure canning processing... 40 minutes

Copyright (c) 2009 V P Lawrence-Williams

Preserving Asparagus by Dehydrating

Whether you have grown asparagus in your garden and can't eat them all, or you find them on sale, now is the time to preserve the taste and vitamins for Winter use.

You Need:

Wash asparagus, cut off the tough ends, and cut into 1 inch pieces. Add them to a large pot of boiling water and boil for two minutes. While that's going on, prepare a large bowl of ice water. When the two minutes is up, drain the asparagus and immediately place them in the ice water to stop the cooking process and to cool. Place the pieces on dehydrator trays, with just a little space in between (the pieces will shrink). Dehydrate. May take from 12 to 16 hours to dry at 115 degrees F. Store dried asparagus in a cool dark moisture-proof area (I store dried foods in mason jars, covered with a construction-paper label of contents and date).

Use to create cream of asparagus soup, or to add to soups and stews.

Copyright (c) 2009 V P Lawrence-Williams

Recipe: Creamy Asparagus Soup

It's asparagus time! Time to clip them out of your garden, or get them from your local farmer's market, all fresh and ready for your palate. This is a simple soup, using some pantry items in addition to the asparagus.

1 cup diced asparagus
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 soup-can of milk (reconstituted powdered is fine)
2 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

Cook asparagus in a small amount of boiling, salted water until tender, then drain well. In the same medium saucepan, add the cream of chicken soup, milk, butter, and salt and pepper to taste. Heat. Use an immersion blender to puree. Pour into bowls and drizzle with olive oil. Garnish with steamed asparagus tips, if desired.

Copyright (c) 2009 V P Lawrence-Williams

Recipe: Rhubarb Strawberry Freezer Jam

Here's another recipe for jam using your garden's rhubarb and strawberries. This one will last quite a while in the freezer. Your guests will delight in figuring out the special ingredient.

5 cups diced rhubarb
3 cups sugar
1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple, with juice
1 cup diced fresh strawberries
1 6-ounce package strawberry gelatin

Boil slowly the rhubarb, sugar, strawberries and pineapple in a medium saucepan for 20 minutes. Stir every few minutes to prevent sticking and burning. Remove from heat and add gelatin, stirring until completely dissolved. Quickly spoon into small jam jars, wipe edges, and seal. Screw on the sterilized lids and bands on the sterilized jars and tighten. As the jam cools, the lids will pop. Leave out until it's cooled to room temperature. Carefully wash and dry the outside of the jars. Store in freezer. Defrost to serve.

Copyright (c) 2009 V P Lawrence-Williams

Recipe: Pasta with Black Olives

This is a really simple dish, especially if you have an herb garden. While I do give measurements, don't feel like you have to stick with them because I make it a little different every time, according to taste. Experiment with what YOU like!

1 package of pasta, any kind
1 can whole black olives, pitted, drained
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced or crushed
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta. While cooking, in a large mixing bowl, combine the vinegar, oil, garlic and oregano. Add olives. Drain pasta and add. Toss and serve.

Copyright (c) 2009 V P Lawrence-Williams

Recipe: Refrigerator Rhubarb Jam

I've mentioned before I don't much care for rhubarb, but Hubby does, and we have a huge bush of it in our backyard. So I experimented with this recipe, and wow ... wonderful! I even liked it a little. Does well in the refrigerator for a few weeks.

5 cups diced rhubarb stalks
2 cups sugar
1 package strawberry gelatin

Wash the rhubarb stalks thoroughly, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces (actually, I like smaller dices). Put into a sealable bowl. Pour the sugar over the rhubarb, cover and refrigerate overnight. (The sugar draws out water from the rhubarb.) In the morning, pour the mixture into a medium-large saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook for 10 minutes or until the rhubarb is tender. Remove from heat. Add the strawberry gelatin, stirring until granules are dissolved. Pour into small jam jars (or other small coverable containers) and refrigerate.

Note: To make fresh in the Winter, place 5 cups of diced rhubarb stalks in a freezer baggie, label with contents, amount and date, and freeze. When ready to use, take out of freezer, add the sugar, reseal, and place in the refrigerator overnight. Ready to proceed the next morning!

Copyright (c) 2009 V P Lawrence-Williams

Altitude and Elevation Adjustments for Canning

We live near Denver, Colorado at the elevation of 5,280 (the "mile-high" city!), so when canning, we definitely have to adjust for the elevation. Here's a bit of info to help you.

Water boils when its vapor pressure exceeds the atmospheric pressure, which reduces as the altitude increases. Water will boil and maintain a lower temperature at higher altitudes than at sea level. These lower boiling point temperatures increase the cooking times for any food, they increase the processing time for canning in a water bath and they increase the pressure required to process in a pressure canner.The temperatures and processing times that we publish are from sea level up to an elevation of 1,000 feet. The charts below indicate the adjustments that should be made for each processing method at different elevations.


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If you don't know your elevation, call your County Extension office. They should be able to tell you.

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Adjustments for Boiling Water Bath Canner:

Altitude in Feet = Increase processing time
1001-3000 = 5 minutes
3001-6000 = 10 minutes
6001-8000 = 15 minutes
8001-10,000 = 20 minutes

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Adjustment for Pressure Canner:

Altitude in feet = Dial Gauge Canner (PSI) = Weighted Gauge Canner
0-1000 = 10 = 10
1001-2000 = 11 = 15
2001-4000 = 12 = 15
4001-6000 = 13 = 15
6001-8000 = 14 = 15
8001-10,000 = 15 = 15

p.s. Sorry - I haven't figured out how to do charts here!

Recipe: Toffee Chocolate CupCakes

I love toffee, don't you? The benefits and taste of caramel, without it getting stuck in my teeth. Yum. So these delicious cupcakes are fantastic for me, and use ingredients already in my pantry! Beautiful to serve for an impromptu dessert, and fancy enough for a special occasion.

1 box chocolate cake mix
1/2 cup nuts, chopped fine (pecans are tasty)
1 6-ounce jar caramel topping
3 (1.4 ounce) bars chocolate-covered toffee, crushed
powdered sugar

Preheat oven to temperature on cake mix box. Prepare cake mix (adding chopped nuts) according to box directions for cupcakes, line cupcake tin with liners, and bake. Cool cupcakes on wire rack for 5 minutes. While they are cooling, heat a saucepan of water, and place opened jar (don't get water in the jar) in the water to heat caramel. When liquidy, carefully take jar out of saucepan (turn off the heat!). Make a few slits in each cupcake, making sure to NOT go all the way to the bottom. Using a spoon, drizzle a little caramel onto each cupcake. Sprinkle the crushed chocolate toffee bars across each cupcake while still warm. Let them cool completely, then using a shaker, shake powdered sugar on each.

Copyright (c) 2009 V P Lawrence-Williams

Preserving Rhubarb from the Garden

I'm sure you've heard of strawberry-rhubarb pie, and putting up strawberry-rhubarb jam, but in this house, it won't work.

Hubby is really the only one of us that likes rhubarb. I'd offer some to my mother-in-law, but she is the one who gave us the plant because hers spread so much. Our little plant that gave us about 4 little stalks last year is huge this Spring, with about 20-25 stalks ready for stripping.

On Thursday, when the weather is cooler, I'll cut about half of them off. I'll bring them in, wash them, cut into 1-inch pieces, and place them on the dehydrator sheets. They will dry until as crunchy as possible.

They can be stored two ways:

  1. Place the 1-inch dried pieces of rhubarb in a mason jar, add an oxygen absorber if necessary, and screw lid on tightly. I have my VHTS decorate a dark piece of construction paper with a picture of rhubarb on it, mark on the date, and cover well. Store in a cool dark place, like the basement or root cellar. Use when making a winter's strawberry-rhubarb pie.

  2. Pulverize the dried rhubarb until it's a fine powder. Store as above, but noting on the label (construction paper) that it's the powder. Add to strawberry jam on biscuits, or when you want to kick-up the taste of an apple pie. Yum!
Rhubarb is a really healthy plant, providing lots of vitamins and minerals. You shouldn't count it out just because you don't like it. So... don't let rhubarb scare you. If you don't like the taste, then drying and powdering is the way to go. You could even add it to dough when mixing bread. Enjoy!

Recipe: Gluten-Free Sorghum Coconut Pancakes

We're on a health kick, right? Eliminating all processed foods, going for as organic as possible?

I bought a bunch of gluten-free flours this week because of our new diet. They will store well, unopened for about a year, longer if frozen unopened. Among these are sorghum flour, coconut flour and brown rice flour. I even found gluten-free chocolate chips and organic butter.

Because we usually have chocolate pancakes Saturday mornings, I came up with this gluten-free recipe for this morning. Sorry... they were all gone before I remembered the camera! (Pic to the right is are regular pancakes).

1 cup sorghum flour
1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon xanthum gum
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 packets stevia sweetener
3 cups water

Additions: chocolate chips, sliced bananas, or blueberries

In a mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients and mix well. Add water 1/2 cup at a time until a little bit thicker than pancake consistency. Add your "additions" if desired and gently mix in. Spray or oil skillet or griddle. Spoon on batter when cooking surface is hot - not too thick though - I spread it around a little bit with my spoon. Cook as regular pancakes. (We drizzle with honey instead of sugar.)

The texture is just a little bit different, but very delicious. Even Hubby liked them!

You will just barely taste the coconut, and the fiber from the coconut and sorghum flours will help you, well, you know!

Copyright (c) 2009 V P Lawrence-Williams

Recipe: Sweet Beans

We're working on eliminating ALL processed foods from our diet to help us figure out Tween's food triggers, so chances are, some of the recipes I experiment with will end up here. We have beans almost every night (no meat protein except eggs every once in a while), and lots of grains.

This is what I fixed tonight, in an effort to avoid hearing "not beans again" from said Tween!

1 cup great northern white beans
1 cup water
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon onion powder

Soak the beans overnight. Drain in when ready to cook. Add beans, bayleaf and water to a small to medium saucepan and cook for 1 hour, covered. Check and stir periodically, adding more water as necessary. When tender, add the garlic, onion and honey, and cook for another 30 minutes (adding water as necessary).

Served with organic raw broccoli and carrots, and brown rice.

Surprisingly, Tween liked these beans!

Copyright (c) 2009 V P Lawrence-Williams

Recipe: Minty Fruit Cocktail

My garden isn't producing fruit yet, so we're either buying fresh shipped-in produce at King Soopers, or we can use some of our canned stock. Luckily, our mint plant inside under our grow lights is doing fantastically, so here's a quick way to dress up yet another boring can of fruit cocktail:

canned fruit cocktail
sprigs of mint, half of it chopped

Empty the fruit cocktail into a small mixing bowl. Add the chopped mint, 2 tablespoons of honey, and combine. Spoon into very fancy-looking dishes or goblets. Drizzle with a bit more honey and top with a small sprig of mint.

Copyright (c) 2009 V P Lawrence-Williams

Recipe: Yogurt, Raspberry and Honey

Sometimes I find yogurt on sale at King Soopers, with an orange sticker, marked down 50% and sometimes more. With coupons, there are times when I can get ready-to-be-expired yogurt for practically nothing!

I noticed that raspberries are on sale this week at King Soopers, buy one get one free, save $4.99 so basically 2 clamshells is $5.00, or $2.50 each. You're only using about 1/4 of a clamshell, so...

yogurt (vanilla preferred)
raspberries (or berries of choice)

Dish out the yogurt, using a pretty little teacup with saucer. Carefully wash the raspberries, and add 4-5 to the teacup, and a couple on the saucer. Drizzle a little honey all over.

Or you could serve as in the picture above.

Simple, healthy, cheap, and delicious.

Copyright (c) 2009 V P Lawrence-Williams

Recipe: Poached Pears with Apricot Syrup

Here's a little something I experimented with for a simple dessert.

1 can pear halves in syrup
2 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons apricot jam
2 pats butter

Add butter to skillet set on low-medium. As it melts, add pear halves (with juice/syrup). Mix the apricot jam/preserves with honey and add to the skillet. Let cook (poach) for 10 minutes, stirring to make sure the syrup doesn't burn. Turn the pears over to cook on the other side... for another 5 minutes or so.

Serve one pear half, scooped-side up, on a pretty little plate, with a small dollop of sour cream (or cream cheese) on top, and drizzled with the apricot/pear/honey syrup. Sprinkle with chopped nuts if desired. Delicious!

Copyright (c) 2009 V P Lawrence-Williams

Recipe: Easy Taco Meat

We have about 30 pounds of ground beef from last week's $1.00 per pound sale. Here's another recipe that I've already cooked twice since the sale!

2 pounds ground beef
1 16-ounce jar picante sauce or salsa (I prefer mild or medium)
1/2 cup dried onion dices

Brown ground beef and drain. Add jar of salsa and dried onion dices. Heat through.

I like to serve this on shredded lettuce, crushed tortilla chips and cheddar cheese, then top with sour cream and diced tomatoes fresh from my garden.

Copyright (c) 2009 V P Lawrence-Williams

Recipe: Beef-N-Noodle Cassarole

When ground beef went on sale last week for $1.00 a pound, we stocked up! Here's a recipe that uses some of it.

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 small chopped onion
32 ounce jar spaghetti sauce
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
8 ounce package egg noodles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Brown ground beef and drain. Add onion and cook till translucent. Add jar of spaghetti sauce. Cook noodles as directed, then drain. In a 13 x 9 inch sprayed dish, layer the noodles, spaghetti sauce mixture with meat, and top with the cheese. Bake until bubbly or about 45 minutes.

Note: I like adding extra dried garlic granules and/or a small can of mushrooms too.

Copyright (c) 2009 V P Lawrence-Williams

Recipe: Easy Banana-Rum Pudding

This is such an easy recipe! If you are serving this to children, soak the dried banana chips in water or even apple juice.

instant vanilla pudding
graham crackers or vanilla wafers
dried banana slices

In a large shallow bowl, soak 2 cups of dried banana slices in 1 cup of rum and set aside for 15 minutes. Crush the crackers or vanilla wafers. Make the pudding according to package directions. Drain rum from banana chips (reserving the rum in case you need to soak more). In individual serving dishes or a big serving bowl, start layering: bananas, cracker/wafer crumbs, pudding, and back again. End with pudding and a few more cracker/wafer crumbs. Refrigerate overnight.

Copyright (c) V P Lawrence-Williams

Recipe: Henry Bain Sauce and Jezebel Sauce

This is a Louisville Kentucky tradition: "Henry Bain Sauce". It was named after its creator, who was the head waiter at the men-only Louisville's Pendennis Club. Bain made the sauce in 1881 as an accompaniment to wild game, and it's been a Louisville tradition ever since. A sweet, tangy, spicy concoction, this sauce is best served with beef tenderloin at your Derby party!

2/3 cup ketchup
1/2 cup chutney
1/3 cup bottled chili sauce
1/4 cup steak sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce

Combine well and chill until serving. Best with hot or cold roast beef. Spread on beef sandwiches, serve with pot roast, etc.

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Sometimes it is mixed up with Jezebel Sauce - as follows:

1 18-ounce jar peach preserves
1 18-ounce jar orange marmalade
1 18-ounce jar apple preserves
1 18-ounce jar pineapple preserves
5/8 cup ground dry mustard
1 4-ounce jar prepared horseradish

Combine all ingredients. Chill before serving over cream cheese and crackers.

Recipe: Kentucky Hot Brown Open-Faced Sandwich

There's a hotel in Louisville, Kentucky where it is said this open-faced sandwich was created on the spur-of-the-moment. Here's the tale:

Chef Fred K. Schmidt at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, created The Hot Brown sandwich in 1926. In the 1920s, the Brown Hotel drew over 1,200 guests each evening for its dinner dance. The band would play until late, and when the band took bread, around midnight; people would retire to the restaurant for a bite to eat. Bored with the traditional ham and eggs, Chef Schmidt, delighted his guests by creating the Hot Brown.

I've only been in the Brown Hotel once, and tasted their original, and no duplication comes exact, but this is pretty close! This is a great way to use Thanksgiving leftovers, but is almost a requirement at a Kentucky Derby party!

8 slices of bacon
4 slices of turkey breast
4 slices of toast
4 slices of ripe red beefsteak or slicer tomato
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese

Cook the bacon until crisp but not burnt at all. Make the sauce in a medium saucepan: melt the butter and add flour to make a paste, and cook until the raw flour taste is gone. Add milk and stir constantly over medium high heat until sauce thickens. Add cheese and stir until well blended.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place the top rack at it's highest setting. Place the 4 pieces of toast on a sprayed cookie baking sheet. Add the turkey to each piece of toast. Pour the cheese sauce over turkey and place a tomato slice in the center of each. Place under the broiler until the cheese starts to bubble and turns slightly brown. Add two pieces of bacon on each, making an "X". Serve hot. Makes 4.

Note: I've seen recipes with parmesan, parsley, pepper, onion, and other things thrown in. Personally, I prefer this plain and delicious delight!

Copyright (c) 2009 V P Lawrence-Williams