Pear Pie with Crumb Topping

Prepare a single pastry crust or use a purchased one. Trader Joe’s and other grocery stores carry them in the refrigerator or freezer sections. I use d’Anjou pears and ripen them for a couple of days on the counter top. Select pears that stay firm and are juicy. Other pears that work well are Bosc and Comice. If you use Barlett pears, be sure to use the pears when they are slightly firm to the touch but not soft!

I recently served this pie at a dinner party and it was a hit. I hadn’t made it for a few years and was reminded that even my husband likes pears this way. Serve with ice cream and the pie is a winner!

4 large fresh pears
3 Tablespoons thawed frozen orange juice concentrate
1 unbaked 9-inch pastry shell
½ cup sugar
pinch of salt
3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup butter or margarine
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Peel, core, and slice pears thinly. Toss pears lightly with undiluted orange juice concentrate and arrange in the pastry-lined pie plate. Mix together sugar, salt, flour, butter, and cinnamon. Mix with hands until mixture is moderately crumbly. Sprinkle over the pears. Bake in a hot oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for ~ 40 minutes until the fruit is tender.

Serve with vanilla ice cream if desired.

Makes 6-8 servings

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Egg Salad

We like egg salad sandwiches and prepare the hard boil eggs with many variations. To start, hard boil the eggs according to my recipe posted on April 17, 2011 under “Dairy”. My husband decided to try a method from “The Chew” and the eggs were too soft. My method will give consistently hard eggs with no sulfur ring around the yolk (sign of overcooked eggs).

Boil 6 – 8 eggs per my blog instructions. Peel the eggs and place them in a bowl. Using a pastry blender, chop the eggs to approximately medium size.

Add the following ingredients:

¼ – ½ cup mayonnaise (depending on the egg volume)
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper


½ teaspoon curry powder or
1 Tablespoon chopped pickles or
2 teaspoon chopped green onions or
1 teaspoon chopped chives or
combination of these seasonings

Mix well and place on sandwich bread, crackers, lettuce, or endive etc.

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Laurie’s Roasted Peppers

Laurie introduced this vegetable dish to us. These peppers are delicious. You leave the skins on and cut the peppers into pieces. Use brightly colored ones if you have them available. This will become a family favorite. They are a cinch to make and are healthy with lots of vitamin C.

4 bell peppers (red, yellow, orange, green or colors of your choice)
2 – 3 teaspoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste (~ ½ teaspoon salt and ~ ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper)

Slice the top and bottom off the peppers and remove and seeds. Cut the peppers into 2-3 inch pieces. Place pieces on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Add salt and pepper and mix well. Bake peppers for ~ 20 minutes at 375oF.

Serves ~ 4

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Aunt Audrey’s Broccoli Casserole

This is an old-fashioned recipe that was a family favorite on my husband’s side. Aunt Audrey died last year and in honor of her, I am posting her recipe. She was my favorite aunt in-law. Obviously, make changes to the recipe as you wish.

2 packages (10 oz. each) frozen broccoli spears, cooked and drained; or use fresh broccoli and cook until barely tender
3 hard cooked eggs, sliced
1 can (10 ¾ oz.) condensed cream of celery soup
2/3 cup milk
1 can (3 oz.) Durkee Real French Fried Onions
½ cup – ¾ cup shredded Swiss Cheese (or other equivalent cheese)

Thoroughly combine soup and milk. Arrange the broccoli in an 8 x 12 inch baking dish. Layer eggs, ½ can French fried onions, soup mixture, and cheese over broccoli. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes. Top with remaining onions. Bake 5 minutes longer.

Serves 6 as side dish

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Coleen’s Haricot Verts

Coleen and her husband Bob created this recipe after dining at Campanile in LA and she generously shared it. Haricot Verts (thin French green beans) can be purchased at Trader Joe’s most of the year and at some Farmer’s markets during the summer and autumn.

1 pound haricots verts or small green beans
5-6 shallots, peeled and cut into rings
Olive oil
1-2 Tablespoons sherry wine vinegar
~ ¼ teaspoon salt
Vinaigrette (see below)
1/3 cup roasted and halved hazelnuts

Cook the beans in boiling water until crisp tender, shock them with cold water, and then cut them into whatever size you want for serving. Peel and cut shallots into thin rings and sauté them slowly in just enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of the skillet. When shallots are lightly browned, add 1-2 tablespoons of sherry wine vinegar and a little salt. Cook shallots another couple of minutes until the edges start looking crispy. Reserve.

Make a vinaigrette with 1 part sherry wine vinegar to 3 parts olive oil, salt and pepper: Vinaigrette: Whisk 1 Tablespoon sherry and 3 Tablespoon Olive Oil. Add a pinch salt and pepper. Taste to adjust seasoning.

Toasted hazelnuts: Hazelnuts with husks removed can be found at some grocery stores. All you need to do then is place the 1/3 cup of halved hazelnuts on a baking sheet and roast in the oven at 325 degree Fahrenheit for about 7 – 10 minutes. Watch them carefully as to not over bake.

When ready to serve, toss the beans with half of the vinaigrette. Taste and add more vinaigrette if needed. Warm gently in microwave for a minute and toss again with the shallots. Sprinkle the roasted, halved hazelnuts on top and serve. The hazelnuts are optional but make the dish even more special.

Serves ~ 6

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Family Bread Stuffing

This is our favorite bread stuffing. The recipe can be easily varied. Friends make cornmeal or rice stuffing but bread stuffing still remains our favorite.

The ingredients make enough stuffing for a 10 to 15 lb. turkey with the remaining stuffing going into a casserole dish in the oven. Be sure to rinse your turkey and salt the inside. Place some of the stuffing into the cavity and also the neck just before you start baking or BBQing the turkey.

1 cup of butter
3 medium onions, finely chopped
1 ½ teaspoons poultry season or ground sage
4 celery stalks, chopped OR a small bulb of fennel, chopped
2 cups sliced mushrooms
2 teaspoons salt
3 ½ quarts stale bread cubes
~1 cup chicken stock (or turkey stock made from the giblets)


~ ½ – ¾ lb. sausage (sweet Italian or breakfast), crumbled and sautéed
½ cup chopped pecans
½ cup dried cranberries or raisins
Fresh herbs to taste: approximately ½ teaspoon of rosemary, thyme, and basil (use less if use dried herbs)
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a pan and sauté the onions, celery, and mushrooms until soft and translucent. Add the sautéed vegetables to the bread cubes. Sauté the sausage (optional) until cooked but not browned. Add the cooked sausage to the bread cubes. Add the seasonings and mix well. Add enough stock to slightly moisten the bread cubes. Add the pecans, dried cranberries, salt and pepper to the bread cube mixture and mix.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish.

Place some of the stuffing into the cavity and also the neck of the turkey just before you start baking or Barbequing the turkey. Place the remaining stuffing in the casserole dish. Bake the stuffing uncovered at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 45 minutes.

Serves 8 – 10

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Chocolate Snickerdoodle Cookies

Regular snickerdoodle cookies are delicious. However, I get more requests for this recipe than the original recipe. The chocolate adds a nice twist and the cookies work well for a Christmas cookie assortment.

1 cup butter
2 cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cup all-purpose flour
4 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Beat together butter in a mixer on medium-high speed for about 30 seconds. Add the sugar, baking soda, and cream of tartar and beat until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until well combined. Stir together the flour and cocoa powder. Beat the flour mixture gradually into the butter mixture until combined.

Stir the cinnamon and sugar in a separate bowl. Scoop a teaspoon of the dough and form a ball. Drop the ball into the cinnamon-sugar mixture and coat. Place the cookies about 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 9 – 11 minutes until the edges are firm. Cool on a wire rack.

Makes ~ 60 cookies

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