Cook the Book: Newfi Bread

Newfi Bread

This recipe is a favorite on many vessels in the windjammer fleet.
2 tablespoons (2 packages) dry yeast
1/2 tablespoon salt
8 cups white all-purpose flour
3 cups warm water
2 tablespoons soft butter
1 cup molasses

Combine the yeast, salt, and flour in a large bowl. Stir in all the remaining ingredients, reserving 1/4 cup water. Add more water if needed. Knead for 10-15 minutes. Oil the bowl and the top of the dough, cover, and place in a warm place to rise for 30-45 minutes, until doubled. Preheat oven to 375°. Grease 3 loaf pans. Punch down the dough, form three loaves and place them in the loaf pans. Cover and allow to rise again until nearly doubled. Place the pans in the oven, throw a cup of water over hot stones set in a pan in the bottom of the oven (or toss 3 to 4 ice cubes into a pan in the bottom of the oven) to generate steam and quickly close the oven door. Bake until deep brown (around 45 minutes).

Cook the Book: Italian Sausage Soup

Italian Sausage Soup

Sometimes I have leftover roasted garlic and I use it in place of the fresh garlic.  If you have an herb garden like I do, then by all means use fresh herbs in place of the dried.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, cut into 1/2-inch slices (or hot if you want a spicier soup)
2 large onions, diced
9 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried marjoram
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 zucchini, quartered and chopped
1 summer squash, quartered and chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup red wine
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
4 to 5 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup cream (optional)
2 cups chopped spinach or kale

Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add the sausage and sauté until brown. Add the onions, garlic, salt, pepper and herbs and continue to cook until the onions are translucent.  Add the zucchini and summer squash and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the potatoes, wine, tomatoes, stock and optional cream; simmer for 45 minutes.  Add more stock if needed.  If you are using spinach, add it and cook another minute or two.  If you are using kale, add it and cook for an additional 15 minutes.

Serves 4-6

Cook the Book: French Toast

French Toast

I will use almost any leftover bread for this recipe.  This is a good example of leftovers being better the second time around.

1 egg per person
1/2 cup milk per person
1 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4  teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4  teaspoon rum – if it’s for grown ups
Butter for the skillet
3 slices day-old Crusty Peasant or French bread per person

Combine all of the ingredients except the butter and bread.  Mix well. Heat the butter on a griddle or skillet over medium heat. While the pan is heating, soak the bread slices in the batter (be sure both sides are coated) and immediately place the slices on the heated skillet. Cook until golden brown on the bottom, flip the bread, and continue to cook until the other side is brown. Set the toast aside on a plate in a warm oven and continue cooking until all the bread is gone.


I often make a special French Toast with cream cheese and jam in the center of two slices of bread.  Here are my favorite combinations

Cranberry Bread


Cream cheese

Pumpkin bread

Cream cheese

French bread

Raspberry jam

Cream cheese

Cook the Book: Cinnamon Roasted Sweet Potato

Cinnamon Roasted Sweet Potato

3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 large sweet potatoes or three small, cut into a total of 6 pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4  teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375°. Melt the butter and the cinnamon. Place the potatoes in a baking pan and toss with the melted butter and cinnamon mixture. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for 1 hour, until the potatoes are tender.

Serves 4 – 6.

Cook the Book: Beef Ragu with Fennel & Orange

Beef Ragu with Fennel and Orange

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds stew beef
¼ cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 large onion, diced
1 cup diced fennel
2 large carrots, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
½ green pepper, diced
6 cloves minced garlic
2 tablespoons fennel seed
½ tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Zest of one orange
2 cups red wine
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes


Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Toss the beef, flour, salt, pepper and paprika in a bowl so the beef is coated with the flour. Place the beef in the pot and cook until browned. Add the onions, fennel, carrots, celery, peppers, garlic, spices, salt and cook for another 10-15 minutes until the onions are translucent. Add the orange zest, red wine and tomatoes.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours or until the meat is tender.

Serve with polenta

Cook the Book: Turnip and Leek Soup

Turnip and Leek Soup  

I created this soup to deal with a mountain of turnips that we received from Agricola Farms.  It reminds me of potato and leek soup – just a tasty twist on a classic.

2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
3 cups cleaned and chopped leeks
6 cups peeled and coarsely chopped turnips
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
1 cup white wine
2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup sour cream for garnish

Melt the butter in a large stockpot over medium-high heat Add everything but the wine, stock, and sour cream and cook until the onions are translucent. Add the wine and stock and simmer for at least 30 minutes. For a more rustic soup, leave it as it is; to fancy it up a bit, whiz everything in the blender.  Garnish with a dollop of sour cream.

Serves 4-6

Cook the Book: Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

From A Taste of the Taber Cookbook

Sour Cream Coffee Cake photo by Frank M. Chillemi

3/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 cup sour cream
2 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease a 9 x 9-inch baking pan. In a large bowl, cream together the shortening and sugar. Sift in the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Stir in the yogurt, sour cream, eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix together the topping ingredients. Pour the batter into the pan and sprinkle with the topping. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a fork inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan and cut into squares.

Makes 9 servings.

Cook the Book: Applesauce Muffins & Spiced Apple Muffins

Applesauce Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2teaspoon baking soda
1/2teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup (1/2stick) butter
1 cup applesauce
1/4 cup milk
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 425° and grease muffin pans. Combine the dry ingredients and raisins together in a mixing bowl. Melt the butter in a small saucepan; cool slightly, then whisk in the applesauce, egg, and milk. Stir the applesauce mixture into the dry ingredients until just blended. Fill the greased muffin cups two-thirds full with the batter. Bake 15-20 minutes.

Makes 1 dozen.

Spiced Apple Muffins

1/4  cup raisins
1/4  cup currants
1/4  cup rum or sherry
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch ground cardamom
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 small apples, peeled, cored, and roughly chopped
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Soak the raisins and currants in the rum at least 1 hour, or as long as overnight. Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease muffin pans. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Add the oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract. Mix until just incorporated into the dry ingredients.  Stir in the apples and walnuts.  Fill muffin cups 2/3 full with the batter. Bake about 25 minutes, until the muffins spring back when lightly pressed. Remove the muffins from the pans to cool.

Makes 1 dozen.

Cook the Book: Roasted Pine Nut & Eggplant Sauce

Roasted Pine Nut and Eggplant Sauce

1 large eggplant, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups diced tomatoes, peeled and seeded (or 2 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes)
3/4 cup red wine
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
1/2 cup pine nuts

Place the eggplant in a strainer and lightly sprinkle with salt.  Set aside to drain excess liquid for up to an hour.  Heat a large pot over medium heat; and add the olive oil and onions and cook until translucent. Add the eggplant, garlic, salt and pepper and brown the eggplant. Add the remaining ingredients except the pine nuts.  Simmer for 30 minutes. While the sauce is simmering place the pine nuts in a sauté pan and roast them over medium heat until they are golden brown, stirring often.  This takes about 5 minutes. When you are ready to serve, either stir in the pine nuts or sprinkle them on top. Serve with your favorite pasta.

Serves 4-6.

Cook the Book – Black Forest Pork Stew

Black Forest Pork Stew

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds pork stew meat
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
3 slices bacon, diced
2 large onions, diced
4 large carrots, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
9 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh minced marjoram
6 ounces tomato paste
1 cup white wine
2 cups beef stock or water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 pound bratwurst, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 8-ounce package mushrooms, washed and quartered

Heat the olive oil in a stockpot over medium-high heat. Toss the pork, flour, salt, pepper and paprika together in a bowl to coat the meat. Add the pork to the pot and cook until lightly browned. Add the bacon and continue cooking until the bacon is done (about 5 minutes). Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic and spices and cook for another 10-15 minutes until the onions are translucent. Add the tomato paste, white wine, stock, salt, pepper and bratwurst.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until the meat is tender (about 2 hours). Add the mushrooms and cook an additional 15 minutes; serve.

Serves 6-8