Strawberries Romanoff

Berries Romanoff

If you don't like strawberries, you can use any kind of berries you do like in this recipe.

This is a quick dessert that can be prepared ahead to add a delightful finish to an elegant meal. Sometimes I’ll slice the strawberries and use this recipe for strawberry shortcake.

This came from one of those glossy cards some company sent years ago promoting their “recipe of the month” club. The ironic anecdote on the card said that although this is a recipe with Russian origin it is most often served in French restaurants. It was named for the royal family in Imperial Russia at whose court mostly French food was served!

Serves 8

2 pints of red, ripe strawberries
1/3 C granulated sugar
2 tsp powdered sugar
1/3 C Gran Marnier or Cointreau
Zest of one orange
1 C heavy cream

Cut the stems from the strawberries; wash well and dry by blotting with paper towel. Place the strawberries in a bowl. Add the 1/3 C sugar to the Gran Marnier or Cointreau, mix and pour over the strawberries. Sprinkle the orange zest over all and gently toss the strawberries to be sure they have all been coated with the liquid. Refrigerate in a covered bowl until time to serve.

Whip the heavy cream adding the 2 tsp of powdered sugar (and a few drops of vanilla or almond extract if desired) half way through.

Place the strawberries in an appropriate serving dish and serve with the whip cream.

~Don Crawford

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Posted in Desserts, Fruits and Jellies, General Info, Gluten free, My life, Vegetarian

New Social Network for Home Cooks

We have officially started our social network for home cooks. Visit Recipe Idea Shop to become a member, add and find recipes, and converse with other people who like to cook!

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Crab Cakes

I used to think you could only get really good crab cakes at a Baltimore restaurant. Then my friend Harry Cole invited a group of us to spend the weekend at his home on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Harry made the most delicious crab cakes. We all asked Harry for his secret recipe but he declined rather vigorously. Later after several beers we were all feeling mellow, Harry relented and pulled out a can of Old Bay seasoning and pointed to the side of the can, and there was his secret recipe. The recipe is for one pound of crab but Lois and I can’t eat that many crab cakes so I modified the recipe to make four crab cakes. They are terrific as they come out of the pan. Or you can serve them with a lemon wedge and  spritz some fresh lemon juice over them. Occasionally I’ll make some homemade tartar sauce to serve alongside.

photo of crabcake

Old Bay is the secret to a delicious crabcake.

Makes four cakes, enough for two servings at supper.

1 slice of bread with crusts removed cut into very small pieces
1 T mayonnaise
1 T Worchestershire sauce
1 T parsley flakes
2 t baking powder
1 T Old Bay Seasoning
pinch of salt
1 beaten egg
1/2 lb back fin crab meat (fresh is best but I use canned in a pinch)

Pour canola oil into a frying pan until it is about half deep. Heat the oil until a couple drops of water splashed into the oil sizzle.

Mix all the ingredients together. Form into four cakes. Fry in the hot oil until golden then turn over and cook the other side until it is golden, too. Remove to a platter with a paper towel on it to drain for a minute and then serve.


Posted in Entrees or Main Course, fish, My life, Supper | Tagged

Incredible Peach Melba

You should have seen the peaches at the Harrisonburg Farmer’s Market on Saturday. Beautiful rosy-red to almost-yellow skins, firm to the touch and oh the fragrance! So we bought a box.

What to do with this luscious fruit? Paging through Dorie Greenspan’s Around my French Table, I came across a Peach Melba recipe. As you know if you are a frequent visitor, my penchant is taking a recipe idea and adding (or deleting) an ingredient or two and voilá a unique variation of the basic. I hope you like this one.

HINT: To easily peel the peaches, gently place them in boiling water with a slotted spoon for 20 to 30 seconds. Lift them out and let them cool until you can handle them. The skin will then practically fall off as you grab ahold of a loose area and gently tug.

Peach Melba

Peach Melba with Raspberries is beautiful and delicious.

Serves 4

4 ripe but firm peaches
2 C water
3/4 C water (a little more if peaches are tart)
3 fat strips of lemon zest (remove with vegetable peeler)
1 vanilla bean split and scraped to gather the seeds
2 T Creme de Cacao

To Serve:
Vanilla ice cream (I like the Ben and Jerry’s Vanilla)
Whipped cream (lightly sweetened and/or with some almond extract)
Fresh raspberries
Sliced almonds
Raspberry jelly or syrup

Bring the water and sugar to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the lemon zest and vanilla bean seeds. Bring to a boil again, then lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Gently lower the peaches into the simmering liquid and poach for 10 minutes. (If the liquid doesn’t cover the peaches, turn them frequently and baste them in between turnings.
Remove the peaches to a bowl that will hold them and the liquid. Stir the Creme de Cacao into the liquid. (You can experiment with other flavors.) Let the peaches cool in the syrup. They will last about 3 days if you cover them and refrigerate them, assuming you can keep from eating them sooner.

Slice the peaches in half and remove the pit. For an elegant presentation use a parfait or wine glass. For a simple presentation use a bowl. Into the bottom of each glass or bowl spoon some of the liquid. Place a peach half, cut side up in the glass or bowl. Add a scoop of ice cream. Top with the other peach half and a dollop of whipped cream. For elegance add an accent of raspberry jelly which has been thinned to a syrupy consistency or raspberry syrup which has been reduced. (I got lucky we had some low sugar raspberry jelly in the fridge which was the right consistency. Be creative here if you wish.) Add a few fresh raspberries for accent and sprinkle on a few sliced almonds. Bon Appétit!


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Posted in Cooking Tips, Desserts, Fruits and Jellies, General Info, My life, Vegetarian

Eggplant Parmesan for Carnivores

Eggplant parmesan

Eggplant parmesan is terrific with a Caesar salad.

We went to the farmer’s market in  Harrisonburg Saturday and the eggplants at our favorite organic farmer were beautiful so we bought one. I love Eggplant Parmesan. It’s the primary dish I use to evaluate any new Italian restaurant. I always think, “If the Eggplant Parmesan is very good, then most likely all the other dishes are outstanding as well.” This has proven true everytime.

Now about the carnivore part. Lois found tonight’s idea for a recipe in the Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites cookbook. I started with that basic recipe but halved it for the two of us and made a few other variances. It called for Tomato Wine Sauce, another Moosewood recipe, and Lois had made copious quantities of this Red Sauce recently and had frozen some. To some of the sauce she added ground beef (and then, typical of Lois, she forgot the sauce in the freezer contained meat). If you use a vegetarian pasta sauce, this is, of course, a vegetarian meal.

So to keep prep time down I decided to use some of Lois’ frozen sauce. You guessed it: it was a meat sauce. Nevertheless this dish is outstanding combination of tomatoes and eggplant with cheese and spices, and it was delicious with the meat sauce. Try it and comment on your version of this Recipe Idea.

Serves 8

1 eggplant ( about a pound ) cut into 1/2-inch slices
1/2 to 1 cup egg substitute
pinch of salt
1 cup bread crumbs ( whole wheat if you have them otherwise whatever is on hand )
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese ( more or less to your taste )
1 large clove of garlic minced
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 cups Red Pasta Sauce ( homemade or good quality ready-made – see Idea paragraph )
1 cup non-fat or low-fat ricotta cheese
1 cup grated low-fat mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.

Slice the eggplant and set aside. Mix the bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic and basil in a dish suitable for coating the eggplant slices. Pour the egg substitute (which is mostly  egg white) into another dish. Dip the eggplant slices in the egg substitute to coat both sides. Then dip the eggplant into the bread-crumb mixture to cover both sides and place the slices on a lightly oiled baking sheet.

Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes then turn them over and bake for another 20 minutes. When done, the eggplant should be crisp on the outside and easily pierced with a fork. Save the left-over egg substitute and bread crumb mixture.

When the eggplant has finished baking, assemble the meal in a suitable glass or other nonreactive baking dish into which the eggplant slices will fit in two layers. First spread about half the pasta sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. Then layer in half the eggplant. Spread the ricotta cheese thinly (about 1/4 inch) over the eggplant slices. (I blended some of the residual egg substitute with the ricotta to make it more spreadable.) Sprinkle on 1/2 of the mozzarella. Add a second layer of eggplant, the balance of the pasta sauce, sprinkle with some of the bread crumbs then add the balance of the mozzarella on top.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Let cool for a few minutes; then cut into squares and serve with a Caesar salad.

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Posted in Beef, Casseroles, Cooking Tips, Entrees or Main Course, General Info, Hearty food, My life, Supper, Vegetarian

Get fit in 10 minutes a day

10 minutes! I can do that. Can you? Check out this interesting blog post:


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Posted in Health, My life

Easy Way to Plan Your Eating

Here’s a short video that can help you decide how much of which foods to eat to maintain a healthy weight (or lose if you are eating too much!):


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Posted in Diabetic, General Info, Health, My life, Nutrition & Diet

Good Post on The World’s Healthiest Foods (Foods to Lower Cholesterol)

Something You Should Know to Improve Your Health

It’s good to know what foods can help you lower your bad cholesterol. Many of them also work on cancer prevention. This is a really good article called “Elevated Cholesterol 3: What foods and nutrients are good for healthy cholesterol levels?”

Thanks to Maria Hostetter at Rockingham Memorial Hospital Heart Health program for this excellent article.


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Posted in Health, My life, Nutrition & Diet

Italian Chicken

This is one of the simplest, but tastiest, chicken recipes I make. You can grill the chicken indoors on a George Foreman Grill or outdoors on a gas or charcoal grill. We enjoyed this Saturday night with Risotto and Indian Ratatouille.


Italian Chicken is easy and tasty.

Italian Chicken
Serves 2

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1/2 pound each)
1/2 cup Italian Dressing (regular or fat-free)

Put the chicken in a shallow dish and pour the Italian dressing over it. Marinate the chicken in the Italian dressing for at least one hour in the refrigerator. Grill the chicken for about 9 or 10 minutes a side until the chicken is done (when pricked, the juices run clear).


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Posted in Entrees or Main Course, Poultry


Risotto, Indian Ratatouille, Italian Chicken

Risotto is a creamy rice side dish or you can eat is as a main dish. It is made from Arborio rice. I made some on Saturday night to accompany Italian Chicken and Indian Ratatouille.

Serves 6


1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 cups vegetable broth or 3 cups water + 2 vegetable bouillon cubes
2 tablespoons fresh cinnamon basil (or regular fresh basil), chopped (optional)


Saute the onion in the olive oil over medium heat until transparent, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat in the oil; continue cooking for about 2 minutes. Add the basil and then add the broth, one cup at a time, until the liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently.

Idea: Add 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese at the end and stir until melted.

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Posted in My life, Side Dishes, Supper, Uncategorized | Tagged