Archive for the ‘Recipies’ Category

Jalapeño Pepper Relish

Monday, November 20th, 2017

One of my favorite restaurants/bars in Saint Petersburg, FL is O’Maddy’s, on the water in Gulf Port.  Just about every time I eat there I get the fish spread appetizer which they serve with a great jalapeño pepper relish.  I decided to try my hand at making my own.  It took a number of trials and modifications but I think I have it down now, see below.   O’Maddy’s relish is not canned or cooked but served fresh.  My recipe is for a preserved relish so the peppers are “cooked” in the preserving process and therefore have a slightly different appearance, but the jalapeño flavor shines through.  It has a kick but is not overpowering.   Of course, the “heat” depends on the batch of peppers you have which can vary greatly.  The relish makes a great topping for dogs, burgers, sandwiches and salads as well as fish.


  • 30 Jalapeño peppers
  • 2 Cups Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 2 Cups sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 Teaspoon ground peppercorns
  • 2 Teaspoons ground cumin seed
  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped parsley

Start by washing and cutting the stems off the peppers, then slice and remove the seeds.   Put the peppers through a food processer to obtain fine pieces.  Put back in the processer in batches that half fill the processer and puree.

Pour the vinegar, water, sugar, salt and spices into a large pot.  Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.  Taste the brine before it gets too hot and adjust the ingredients to your taste.  Add the pureed Jalapeños and return to a boil.  Turn off the heat and allow relish to steep for at least an hour.

Place the canning jars and lids in simmering/boiling water for 5-10 minutes for sterilization then let them cool until ready to fill.  Fill the jars with the jalapeño relish to within 1/4 inch of the top.  I like to leave just a bit of the “broth” on the top.   Put on the lids and screw the tops on just hand tight.  Place the jars in water and bring the water to a simmering boil for ten minutes.  Remove the jars from the boiling water and set on a towel to cool, then tighten the lids.  Make sure you hear a “ping” from each jar assuring a good seal.

Makes about dozen 4oz jars.

RO 11/16

Low Country Boil

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

A “seafood boil” is the generic term for a wide range of social events centered around cooking and consuming shellfish.  Shrimp, crab and crawfish boils are Louisiana Cajun traditions and today are popular not only in Louisiana but all along the Southern USA Coasts. The “crawfish boil” is most closely associated with Louisiana.

Low Country Boil


Frogmore Stew and its History

Frogmore Stew is considered a classic South Carolina Low Country dish. This dish is now more popularly known as Low-Country Boil or Beaufort Stew. The dish gets its original name from a place (town?) that had only a post office on one side of the road and a two-story white country store on the other.

Frogmore Stew is a one-pot wonder created about 1965 by a National Guardsman, Richard Gay, when he needed to cook a meal for about 100 soldiers in Beaufort, SC.  Richard Gay had learned the recipe from his family.  The dish was first called Frogmore Stew by the guardsmen who teased Richard about the town where he was from. The postal service eliminated the postal address, Frogmore, and this popular dish then became Low Country Boil.

This dish is a combination of shellfish, sausage, vegetables, and potatoes.  It’s easy to fix for a crowd.  Having a removable drain basket makes cooking easier and serving on newspaper makes for easy clean up. The rule of thumb is the bigger the crowd, the bigger the pot.  The ingredients below are sized for a turkey fryer and serves 10-12 people.

Low Country Boil 2


  • 2 12oz Cans of beer
  • 2 Heads of garlic, chopped
  • 3 Lemons, quartered
  • 1 Large bag, to taste, of shrimp and crab boil
  • ¼ cup (2 fl oz) Hot pepper sauce or to taste
  • 4 Fresh bay leaves
  • 2 Tbs Sea salt
  • 2 Large Vidalia onions, quartered
  • 2 lbs Spicy smoked link sausage cut in 2” lengths
  • 3 lbs Small new potatoes, halved if large
  • 6 Ears of corn, husked and cut into 3” lengths
  • 2 ½ lbs Littleneck clams
  • 4 lbs Large white shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails intact
  • 2 lbs Crawfish, cleaned, purged in salt and rinsed
  • ¼ cup Old Bay Seasoning or to taste
  • Corn bread or crusty bread
  • ½ lb Melted butter for corn/bread
  • Cocktail sauce

Low Country Boil 3

Fill a large pot (turkey fryer) half full with water and bring to a boil.  Stir in the beer, garlic, lemons, crab boil, hot pepper sauce, bay leaves, salt, and onions.

Add the sausage and potatoes, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook until the potatoes are tender, takes about 10-15 minutes.

Return to a boil and add the corn, cover and cook for 3 minutes.

Add the clams, discarding any that are not closed and cook 5-7 minutes until the clams have opened.

Add the shrimp and crawfish and cook 3-4 minutes until the shrimp have turned light pink.

Total cooking time is less than 30 minutes. Using the sieve drain off the liquid and spill the boil on a table covered with newspaper or restaurant paper. Discard any clams that have not opened.  Sprinkle with Old Bay Seasoning and serve with bread, cornbread and cocktail sauce.


RO 8/22/16

Why Asparagus Causes Pungent Urine Odors

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016


OK I’ll admit it, I really like asparagus.  Have you ever eaten asparagus and noticed that it gives your urine a pungent odor?  Or perhaps you’ve heard about the phenomenon but wondered why it doesn’t seem to affect you.

Observations of how what we eat can affect urine can be traced back through history, from the ancient Greeks.  Asparagus’s potential to affect urine was described in 1735. This seems to coincide with when the British first started using fertilizers containing sulfur on crops, although this could be coincidental.  And as only the Brits could put it one British men’s club is rumored to have put up a sign: “During the asparagus season, members are requested not to relieve themselves in the hat stand.”

The asparagus odiferous urine link seems to all come down to one chemical, asparagusic acid.  Asparagusic acid, as it is cleverly named, seems to only be found in asparagus.


1,2-Dithiolane-4-carboxylic acid


When our bodies digest the vegetable, this chemical is broken down into a group of related sulfur-containing compounds including methanethiol, dimethyl sulfide, dimethyl disulfide, dimethyl sulfoxide and dimethyl sulfone. As with many other substances that include sulfur such as rotten eggs, onions, garlic, and skunk spray these sulfur-containing molecules convey a powerful, typically unpleasant scent.  These molecules are volatile, meaning that they can easily vaporize into a gaseous state at room temperature and can be detected by the human nose at very low concentrations.

Asparagusic acid, on the other hand, isn’t volatile, so asparagus itself doesn’t have the same rotten smell (asparagus probably would not be a popular vegetable if it did). But once your body converts asparagusic acid into these volatile, sulfur-bearing compounds, the distinctive aroma can be generated, and quite quickly… some cases, it’s been detected in the urine of people who ate asparagus just 15-30 minutes earlier.

There have been different theories put forward over the years explaining why only some people notice a smell after eating asparagus.  Perhaps some people’s digestive systems don’t break down asparagusic acid into these pungent chemicals…….or perhaps not everyone can detect these smells at low levels.  Depending on which study you read, between 25% and 50% of people report having pungent urine after eating asparagus.

So the issue might not be whether or not your urine is smelly, it might be whether you’re able to smell it.

Anyway I’ve long wondered about this so I thought I would share it with you.  You are welcome.

Chicken Liver Pate

Friday, May 20th, 2016

Takes less than 30 minutes, makes 2 cups

I have had this recipe typed up for a long time.  I haven’t posted it because it is special to me and I was not sure I wanted to share it…..HA!  Not only is it one of my favorite appetizers, but it dates back to when I was in school and it was given to me by my advisor and his wife.  I know not everyone likes liver and while it’s high in cholesterol, it is also loaded with minerals and protein.  If you like liver this pate is to die for.  Give me a pound of it, crackers, and a football game and I’m all set.  Even if you don’t care for liver you should try this “winner”.


  • 1/2 lb chicken livers
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 hard boiled eggs
  • 1/2 cup finely chipped onions
  • 1 tsp chicken fat or butter
  • Salt & pepper


Simmer the livers in broth until done, takes about 8-10 minutes.  Drain but save the broth.  Grind livers and eggs with some broth in a food chopper or blender.

Saute onions in fat or butter until light brown.  Blend all ingredients into a paste, adding broth until desired consistency is reached.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

That’s it!!!

The pate thickens on standing and refrigeration.  Consistency can be adjusted by adding chicken stock for dipping with crackers, or spreading on thin squares of rye or other bread.

RO 6-15

Make sure your calamari has tentacles on it

Sunday, August 30th, 2015

This will/should really make you think

Recently I was forwarded a link to a radio program and frankly the story line seemed too strange to be true.  But I listened to the first episode, minutes 5-30, and found myself not only absorbed but really surprised yet laughing out loud.

First, a bit about the show. TCalamarihis American Life is a weekly public radio show broadcast on more than 500 stations to about 2.2 million listeners. Each week they choose a theme and put together different kinds of stories on that theme. It is produced in collaboration with Chicago Public Media, and delivered by PRX, the Public Radio Exchange.

The episode here was #484 on WBEX aired January 11, 2013 titled “Dopplegangers” and co-hosted by Fred Armisen and Ira Glass.  A Doppleganger is a look-alike or double or evil twin, sometimes portrayed as a paranormal phenomenon, and sometimes as a harbinger of bad luck. So the story is about a look-alikes but nothing I expected.

The authors got a tip about restaurants serving deep fried pig intestines as fake fried calamari, you can’t make it up….right?  In the meat packing industry pig intestine is called “Pork Bung”…..nice!  But who knows.  We know restaurants often substitute fish with a less expensive fish…..DNA tests have showed that in Miami it’s not the fish advertised 30% of the time, Boston 49%, NYC 39%, LA 55%!!!!!  Rock fish for snapper? whatever for grouper? and who has not received shark passed off as scallops?  By the way processed pork bung costs half of what squid costs.

This is a very nice piece of reporting with the story going from the original tip…. to a hog processing plant rumored to have boxes labeled “Imitation Calamari”….to The USDA… The National Restaurant Association…The National Pork Producer’s Council… Squid Fisherman’s Association… US Export Federation… restaurants… rumors that the pork bung gets shipped to China for processing.  This all sounds very impressive, but in the end all that could be found were strong rumors.  Often the final words were “I never heard of it but it’s not impossible”.

So the author got his sister, who is a chief, to buy pork bung at a Chinese market in New York and they prepared and cooked a batch along side real calamari rings.  You guessed it.  They could not tell which was which.   I’ll leave you to listen to the exchange while they were testing the samples, hilarious.  So you can believe the rumor or not.  For me, all my calamari has to have tentacles from now on, just to be sure. And I’ll close with a quote from Fred Armisen……..”This is for the bung in us all.”

RO 9-15

Fig Jam and Preserves

Thursday, July 31st, 2014
Packaged Fig Jam

Packaged Fig Jam

I have a fairly large fig tree in by back yard in Florida. I don’t know much about figs and I’ve had trouble getting precise information about pruning, harvesting, etc. When I have waited for the figs to turn brown they get very soft, so I have just been eating them fresh (yum!!!) as they turn tan. My niece who went to cooking school in Paris took one look at the tree and pronounced them white figs……I guess they are not supposed to turn dark when they are ripe and turn to mush if you wait too long.

Anyway about a 50-100 figs a day were ripening so I decided to make a batch of fig jam. It’s easy, quick and preserves the fruit. Use the jam on ice cream, cookies, and it’s especially good with cheese or on baked brie.


  • 2½ pounds of white figs
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ cup water (white port can be substituted for all or part of the water)


  • De-stem the figs and cut into ½ inch pieces
  • Add the figs, sugar and water into a large sauce pan
  • Warm slowly, about 15 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved
  • Add the lemon juice and bring to a low boil
  • Simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is soft and the liquid runs off the spoon in thick, heavy drops, takes 30-45 minutes
Prepare the figs for jarring

Prepare the figs for jarring

Spoon the jam into ¼ pint jars leaving ¼–½ inch of space at the top and screw the lid on tight. The jam will keep in a refrigerator for about 3 months. For longer storage submerge the jars in boiling water for ten minutes. Remove the jars and set on a towel to cool making sure you hear a “ping” from each jar assuring a good seal.



Baked Brie…..Always a Hit

Monday, July 14th, 2014

Can be prepared in 30 minutes or less.

Baked Brie

Brie wrapped in pastry and baked until it has thoroughly melted inside is one of the world’s easiest yet tastiest appetizers. The brie is topped with a sweet jam, wrapped with pastry and coated with maple syrup.


  • 1 sheet of puff pastry dough, if frozen let thaw until pliable
  • 1 round of brie cheese
  • ¼ cup of chopped walnuts or other nuts
  • Apricot jam, or other sweet fruit jam
  • Maple syrup
  • Brown sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. The thin top rind of the cheese can be carefully cut off with a sharp knife if desired. The rind is edible so this doesn’t have to be done. The rind helps the crust stay with the cheese when served.
  3. Spread the puff pastry out on a non-stick cookie sheet and center the brie round on top. Spread the jam on the Brie and sprinkle the chopped nuts evenly over the jam.
  4. Pull the dough over the top of the brie, folding the sides. Twist the ends of the dough together. Drizzle maple syrup over the dough and sprinkle brown sugar on top.
  5. Bake at 350º for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Can be served alone or with slices of fruit, and crackers or thin slices of French bread.


Pickled Peppers, Tomatoes, Onions, Mushrooms… I call them Premium Pickled Stuff

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

I started pickling a few years back because so many peppers ripened all at once that I couldn’t keep up with them just through eating…. and I certainly was not going to let them go to waste. Initially I pickled just peppers, all different kinds together, but then I began adding onions. Then I tried small green tomatoes, then mushrooms and who knows what is next on the list. I found that the same basic method worked for just about anything I tried, so I decided to share it with you. By the way I have never pickled cucumbers.


Start by washing and cutting off the stems. You can remove most of the seeds from the peppers but if you want more heat then leave in more seeds. I use a food processor to slice the peppers and onions fairly fine. They make a great topping for sandwiches and salads. For the tomatoes and mushrooms I just cut them into bite size pieces.

Cut Peppers pickled-stuff

The basic recipe for the brine is always the same but I change the spices just about every time; guidelines:

  • 5 Cups white pickling vinegar
  • 1 Cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/3 Cup pickling spice
    4 Teaspoons pickling/canning salt
  • 2 Teaspoons mustard seeds
  • 2 Teaspoons coarse, ground black pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon whole black/white peppercorns
  • 2 Teaspoons turmeric
  • 2 Teaspoons cumin
  • 2 Teaspoons Fresh Dill to taste
  • Cayenne pepper to taste

Bring the mixture to a boil then simmer for 10-15 minutes


Place your canning jars and lids in simmering/boiling water for 5-10 minutes to sterilize them; remove and let cool until ready to fill. Stuff the jars to within ½ inch of the top with the cut up vegetables and press down slightly. Ladle the brine to fill the jar leaving ¼ inch headspace and make sure to get some of the pieces of spice in each jar. Put on the lids and screw the top on hand tight. Submerge the jars in boiling water for ten minutes. Remove the jars and set on a towel to cool making sure you hear a “ping” from each jar assuring a good seal.


Chili – Obie’s Special Recipe

Monday, February 25th, 2013

My special chili recipe. I like it nice and hot!

My special Chili recipe

My special chili recipe


Start with 2 lbs ground beef (or 1.5lb beef, 0.5lb pork)

Brown in small amount of oil with crushed garlic and 4Tbs chili powder, salt & ground pepper


To the beef, add:

  • 2-3 large cans of crushed Tomatoes(or two crushed and one whole, cut in pieces)
  • 2 cans dark kidney beans
  • 2 cans light kidney beans or chick peas
  • 2 onions, cut in lengthwise slices or rings
  • 3 bell peppers cut in lengthwise slices
  • 1 green, 1 red and 1 orange for color
  • 3 Tbs chili powder
  • Oregano, salt, 2tsp sugar, pinch ground cloves


Now for the heat… to your taste:

  • 3-4 large Jalapeño peppers
  • Tabasco, cumin and/or your favorite hot sauce
  • 1-2 habanero peppers, chopped but be careful
  • spices and peppers are to your taste


Simmer all together for at least one hour, preferably two.

I like it Cincinnati style. Obie’s Chili on a bed of angel hair pasta with cheese on top and sour cream on top of that and chopped onions on top of that and… get the idea


Tomato Pie … You will love them!

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

Do you have lots of ripe, juicy tomatoes this time of year?  More than you can possibly eat?  Well here is the recipe for you.  It’s a meal in itself or as a side dish.  We have a tomato pie baking party and really have fun. It’s a tradition.  Sure, you need an excuse for a party every week, don’t you?

Tomato Pie








Ingredients(makes 4 pies) :

  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Onion and garlic
  • 4 pie crusts
  • 32oz Hellman’s Mayo
  • 10 Medium sized Tomatoes or 7 Large Tomatoes
  • 48 oz Mozzarella cheese
  • 16 oz Cheddar cheese
  • 16 oz Fresh Parmesan Cheese



  1. Unroll pie crust and press into pie pan, or use frozen prepared crusts
  2. Using a fork, poke holes in bottom of the crust
  3. Bake crust at 375 degrees, 10-15 minutes, until golden brown
  4. Before crust cools spread thinly sliced onions or chopped garlic on bottom
  5. Spread half cup of shredded mozzarella cheese across the crust bottom
  6. Layer thick slices of tomatoes with salt, pepper and basil leaves
  7. Repeat with layers of mozzarella and tomatoes to fill the pie crust
  8. End with a layer of mozzarella cheese over the top layer of tomatoes
  9. Beat together 1 cup of mayonnaise, 1 cup parmesan cheese, one cup cheddar cheese and garlic powder until smooth
  10. Smooth paste over  the top of the pie
  11. Sprinkle more mozzarella and parmesan over top of paste if desired
  12. Decorate top with sliced cherry tomatoes if desired
  13. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until bubbly


Tomato Pies