Garmer’s Goulash

A hearty stew, just right for supper on a cold winter’s night

RECIPE IDEA: This recipe was a regular in the winter rotation while living in Chicago. Our home was filled with the fragrance of simmering goulash and bread baking. It was a perfect meal for sitting inside looking out at the snow.


Garmer's Goulash Nutrition Label

Garmer’s Goulash Nutrition Label

Serves 6 to 8

2 lb round steak
2 medium onions
Olive oil
1/2 cup of ketchup
3 or 4 potatoes
salt and pepper
2 Tbl cornstarch

Cut the round steak into bite-sized cubes. Chop the onions. Cover the bottom of a heavy pan with a thin layer of olive oil. Brown the steak and onion in the oil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and add the ketchup. Cover and simmer for 2 and 1/2 hours over low heat until meat is tender.

Peel and cut the potatoes into bite-sized pieces. (If you use red potatoes, leave the skins on.) Add to the pot and just enough water to cover the potatoes. Simmer on low heat until the potatoes are cooked.

Remove the potatoes. Mix the cornstarch with a little water from the pot; then add the mixture to the pot. Stir well and cook for 5 or 10 minutes more until the gravy is thickened.

Return the potatoes to the pot to warm them.

For pleasant ambiance, place the pot on the table and let each one ladle the goulash into their own bowl. Serve with dark whole grain bread and butter. Cooked beets make a nice complement to the goulash. Then serve apple slices for dessert.

~ Don

Posted in Beef, Casseroles, Entrees or Main Course, General Info, Hearty food, Kid-friendly foods, My life, Stews, Supper

Quick Dill Sauce

RECIPE IDEA: We often have salmon for supper. This night as I was cooking it I asked Lois if she had a recipe for dill sauce. She said just mix some dill into sour cream and let’s see how that tastes. Opening the fridge I discovered there was no sour cream but I spied the whipped cream cheese and half and half. Voila! A new recipe is born. Tastes great too. Our daughter Roni was over for supper and she said it needed more dill. So experiment until you find the proportions you enjoy.

Serves 6


Dill Sauce Nutrition Label

Dill Sauce Nutrition Label

1/2 C whipped cream cheese
1 T half and half (fat free or regular)
1 T of dried dill
salt and pepper to taste


Mix the cream cheese and half and half until smooth. Add the dill. If you like it to be more dilly, then add dried dill until you are satisfied. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Spread over salmon or other foods. Or serve in small ramekin for dipping.


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Posted in Accompaniments, My life, Sauces, Vegetarian | Tagged , ,

Jalapeño Cornbread

Recipe Idea:

I decided to make cornbread tonight to go with the Roasted Ratatouille for supper. I love cornbread. It is easy to make and takes a mere 15-20 minutes to bake. It’s the perfect side for any Sunday supper. Tonight, since I didn’t have all the ingredients that my normal cornbread recipe calls for, I substituted multiple ingredients. Gluten-free, and it was delicious! I used the cast iron corn pone mold to make it and they were great. I also made mini muffins with the remainder of the batter. Yum!

Jalapeño Cornbread

Jalapeño Cornbread

Jalapeño Cornbread (wheat free)
Serves 4-8


Jalapeño Cornbread Nutrition Label


1-1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup yellow corn flour (maiz)
1/2 cup oat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
3 teaspoon baking powder
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon diced jalapeño


In a large mixing bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients. Melt the butter. Pour the milk and yogurt into the butter to cool it. Add the eggs and jalapeno and mix well. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry mixture and mix well. Pour the batter into the hot cast iron skillet, muffin tins, or a special cast iron cornpone pan and bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes until the bread pulls away from the sides and the top is turning golden brown.

Posted in Breads | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Ratatouille (Vegan)

Recipe Idea:

Surprisingly, until I met Don, I had never even heard of Ratatouille. I love vegetables, but it has taken me a long time to move away from a “meat, potatoes and vegetable” supper. A lot of people in my family are not big vegetable eaters, so serving a vegetarian (especially vegan!) supper to them is not viewed positively. But this is an amazing recipe! Roasting the vegetables in this recipe heightens the flavor and packs in the taste. This is a terrific supper for a cold and rainy night.


Roasted Ratatouille

Ratatouille (Vegan)
Serves 4


Ratatouille Nutrition Label

Ratatouille Nutrition Label

1 large eggplant
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
2 medium yellow onions
1 green pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
salt & pepper
2 cans diced tomatoes
3 garlic cloves
1/4 cup fresh basil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/4 cup red wine


Cut the vegetables (eggplant, zucchini, squash, onions, pepper) in big chunks, drizzle with olive oil, mix to combine. Spread the vegetables on one layer on a baking sheet (I cover mine with aluminum foil for easy clean up), sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake in a 450-degree oven for 40 minutes until the vegetables are starting to turn brown. Turn the veggies over halfway through the baking time.

While the vegetables are roasting, put the tomatoes, garlic, spices and wine in a large pot and bring to a boil. Then turn the temperature to low and simmer until the other vegetables are finished roasting. Add the roasted vegetables to the tomato mixture, stir to combine. Serve hot with Jalapeño Cornbread or Crusty French Bread. Some people like shredded Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese over it. Delicious!


Posted in Entrees or Main Course | Tagged , | 1 Comment

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

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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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