Fresh Currant Yogurt Cakes

A scattering of fresh red currants adds a pop of bright colour and tartness to classic French yogurt cake.

Prep Time: 10 mins
 Cook Time: 30 mins


  • 1/2 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup fresh red currants


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease and flour the cups of a muffin tin.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together yogurt, sugar, eggs and canola oil until smooth and well blended.
  3. Add flour, baking powder, salt and lemon zest, and stir until the batter is smooth and silky. Pour into the prepared tin, dividing evenly between the cups. Scatter berries on top of the batter.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the edges are pale gold and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of one loaf. You may need to add another 5 minutes of cooking time.
  5. Let cool on a rack for 20 minutes in the pan, then turn out and let cool completely before serving.


Full of heat, flavor and savory goodness. Can substitute chicken for shrimp, or leave both out. But the andouillle sausage is quite necessary.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 6 ounces andouille sausage, sliced
  • 1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can no salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp (optional, but good)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion, chopped bell pepper, minced garlic, and sausage; sauté 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Add rice and the next 7 ingredients (through bay leaf); cook 2 minutes.

Add broth, water, tomato paste, hot pepper sauce, and diced tomatoes; bring to a boil.

Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.

Add shrimp; cook 5 minutes.

Let stand 5 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Stir in parsley.

Simple Crusty Bread

Makes 4 loaves
Prep Time: 45 min, needs to rise for 2-5 hrs


1 ½ tablespoons yeast
1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
6 ½ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, more for dusting dough
cornmeal for bottom

For 1 loaf:
1/3 Tbsp yeast
1/3 Tbsp kosher salt
1 5/8 cups unbleached all purpose flour

For 2 loaves:
3/4 Tbsp yeast
3/4 Tbsp kosher salt
3 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour


In a large bowl or plastic container, mix yeast and salt into 3 cups lukewarm water (about 100 degrees). Stir in flour, mixing until there are no dry patches. Dough will be quite loose. Cover, but not with an airtight lid. Let dough rise at room temperature 2 hours (or up to 5 hours).

Bake at this point or refrigerate, covered, for as long as two weeks. When ready to bake, sprinkle a little flour on dough and cut off a grapefruit-size piece with serrated knife. Turn dough in hands to lightly stretch surface, creating a rounded top and a lumpy bottom. Put dough on pizza stone and sprinkled with cornmeal; let rest 40 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough or refrigerate it.

Place broiler pan on bottom of oven. Place baking stone on middle rack and turn oven to 450 degrees; heat stone at that temperature for 20 minutes.

Dust dough with flour, slash top with serrated or very sharp knife three times. Slide onto stone. Pour one cup hot water into broiler pan and shut oven quickly to trap steam. Bake until well browned, about 30 minutes. Cool completely.

White Bean and Kale Soup

My wife and I made love this bright, comforting soup.


1/2 onion
1/2 leek
3 carrots
2 stalks celery

8x leaves kale, stalks removed, sliced
1 15 oz can white beans
1 quart vegetable broth

Garlic powder
Black pepper
Lemon Juice


1) Chop veggies fine and throw into a pot and sweat
in extra-vergin olive oil.

2) Add beans, kale, and broth and cover until boiling.

3) Season with garlic powder, black pepper, lemon juice,
and a dash of turmeric.

Tomato Sauce

I think I got this recipe from Alton Brown, but I’m not sure. I’ve had it for a long time. It’s the perfect home-made pasta sauce.


2x – 28 oz cans peeled whole tomatoes
1/4 – cup sherry or wine vinegar
1/4 – cup sugar
1 tsp – red pepper flakes
1 tsp – dry oregano
1 tsp – dry basil

2 tbsp – capers, rinsed and drained
1/4-1/2 cup – white wine

“Mire poix”

1 – lg carrot, chopped
1 – lg onion, chopped
1 – celery stalk, chopped
4 – gloves of garlic


1) Strain the tomatoes and save the juice in a saucepan.

2) Seed the tomatoes, split open and dump out seeds.

3) Reduce the saved juice in a saucepan on the burner.
Add sherry/wine vinegar, sugar, red pepper flakes,
dry oregano, and dry basil.
Reduce down into a thick glaze at high heat,
until the bubbles stack on each other.

4) Add chopped carrot covered in olive oil to a broil pan,
then add onion, celery, and garlic to sweat the mire poix mixture
on low heat on the stove top to allow flavors to mingle.

5) After mire poix has sweated, add tomatoes and capers to pan
and stir.

6) Check the reduction and if finished, take off the heat.

7) Broil the pan mixture for 15-20 minutes, stirring every 4-5 min.

8) After broiling, add 1/4-1/2 cup white wine to the broiled mixture,
and deglaze the pan.

9) Dump the solid mixutre into a large pot, and add the tomato glaze to
the mixture. Add fresh-ground black pepper.
Mash the mixture for pasta sauce. Blend it for pizza sauce.

Spiced Apple Cider

My mom gave me this recipe for spiced apple cider. It’s the perfect companion on cold days. It goes great with bourbon too!


1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Gallon Apple Cider

3 Tsp whole cloves
2 Tsp whole allspice
4 sticks whole cinnamon
Orange slices

Simmer for 2-8 hours.

Pickled Beets


3 large beets
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 red onion (diced)
1 clove garlic (minced)
1 Tbsp flour
1 cup broth
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar


Boil beets, simmer, drain when cooked.

Cool, (peel if desired, I don’t), dice

In large skillet, heat oil, med heat,
add onion, saute with garlic,
Stir in flour and blend with oil,
Add broth, sugar, and vinegar.
Add beets and boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Mediterranean Toast

This is a strange recipe I concocted while I was in graduate school. It’s basically a savory version of french toast, with a greek-middle-eastern twist.

Ingredients (per serving):

2x -  slices of bread
1x  - large egg
1 tbsp - milk (or corresponding nut-juice)
1 tbsp - olive oil 
2 tbsp  - hummus (flavored works well, red pepper, olive, etc.) 
2 tbsp - diced tomatoes
1/2 cup - shredded spinach (or other dark greens or lettuce)
2 tbsp - diced olives (any variety works)


Heat up some olive oil onto a non-stick frying pan on Medium heat.

Mix the milk and eggs into a mixing bowl, add salt and pepper and herbs. Whisk until thoroughly combined.

Dip the bread into the mixture (as you would for French toast). Let it soak real good. Then drain a moment and throw onto the hot, oiled pan. Flip the toast when each side begins to brown.

After the toast is ready, place one piece on a plate. Spread the hummus on it thickly.

Throw the second piece of toast on top. Top the stack with the diced tomatoes, shredded spinach, and diced olives.

Drizzle some olive oil and fresh parsley on top.

Salmon Soup (Lohikeitto)

This is based on a Finnish recipe given to me by a colleague. It is the perfect creamy, smoothing soup to dunk some french bread into on a cold winter day.


2 tbsp butter
2 leeks (chopped)
6 cups fish stock
2 lb potatoes (cubbed)
2 medium carrots (chopped)
2 bay leaves
2 lb fresh salmon (cut into big bite-sized chunks)
2 cups heavy cream
3 tbsp lightly chopped fresh dill

Salt and Pepper to taste


Using a big pot melt the butter at medium low heat.
Add the leeks and stir-fry for about 8 minutes until it turns translucent and golden in color.
Add the stock, water, potatoes and carrots.
Add a dash of salt and pepper to taste.
Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are cooked.
Add the salmon chunks, cook for about 5 minutes until the salmon is cooked through.
Pour the heavy cream, and let it cook for about 2 more minutes just until it’s heated through.
Add the fresh dill right before serving.

Cuban-style Pulled Pork

This is my absolute favorite pork recipe. I could eat this carnitas-like pulled pork every day. I modified this from some recipe I found online, but can no longer remember where.



1 (8-10 pound) - bone-in Pork Shoulder, make sure it fits into your slow-cooker. Cut to fit if necessary.
1 cup - fresh orange juice
1/3 cup - lime juice (fresh is best)
2 tbsp - olive oil
8x - whole  peeled cloves fresh garlic (or 1 Tablespoon granulated dried garlic)
2 tbsp - ground cumin
2 tbsp - dry oregano leaves
2 tbsp - fresh ground pepper
2 tsp - kosher or sea salt
2 tsp - crushed red pepper flakes
throw some fresh cilantro stems on top (save the tops for the tacos)

Reduction Sauce:

Cooking juices from slow-cooked pork shoulder 
2 tbsp - lime juice
2 tbsp - cider vinegar
1 Tbsp - garlic granules
1 Tbsp - crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp - dried mustard powder
1 Tbsp - dried cumin


Drizzle the olive oil in the slow-cooker bowl.

Place untrimmed pork, fat side down in the bowl then flip fat side up to coast in the olive oil.

Toss garlic cloves in around the roast (or sprinkle with the garlic granules) and sprinkle with salt, pepper, cumin, oregano and crushed red pepper flakes.

Pour over the orange juice and lime juice around the edges of the roast, toss on cilantro stems.

Cover the slow-cooker, and turn cooker to HIGH.

Allow to cook for 1 hour, turn the heat to LOW and continue cooking for another 6-8 hours or until meat falls apart when prodded with a fork. (This might take more or less time. Feel free to leave your cooker on HIGH for a longer period to reduce overall cooking time.

When the meat is tender, turn off slow cooker. Pull out the pork shoulder and throw it on a cutting board (mine has a juice-catching groove). Try to let the juices drain down into the cooker (we’ll need that later).

Remove the congealed fat around the pork and discard (or use it somewhere else).

Let the meat sit while attending to the pan juices. Pour the cooking juices that surrounded the pork through a fine mesh strainer positioned over a saucepan. Remove and discard any solids left in the strainer.

Add the lime juice, vinegar, garlic, red pepper flakes, and dried mustard powder to the cooking juices.

Whisk until evenly combined and bring to a boil over medium high heat.

Allow to boil until reduced to about one-quarter of the starting volume. You want it to be a somewhat thick BBQ-like sauce when it cools. Set sauce aside.

While the sauce is reducing, shred the pork shoulder. Take as much of the fat out as you can without wasting the delicious meat. Shred the meat into small pieces, it helps to use a fork or two.

Once all the meat is shredded, pour over the reduction sauce, the meat should absorb the sticky sauce easily. Mix the sauce into the meat. Now feast!

This pork is great on tacos and burritos. For a crispier carnitas, throw the shredded pork into a hot cast-iron skillet until browned on the edges.