Easy Italian Bread


(serves 8)

  •  2 c hot water (tap hot, not boiling)

  • 2 ts bread yeast

  • 2 ts salt

  • 4 cups flour

  • 1 tbls olive oil

  • French baguette pan

 This is the easiest, most delicious bread recipe I have ever made and I rarely make anything else – it’s just that good.

 Pour the hot water into a large mixing bowl and sprinkle the yeast over it. Stir in gently and then add the salt. Stir in 2 cups of the flour into well blended and then the final 2 cups. The mixture should be wet with no flour remaining and no dry patches. If you make bread often you won’t recognize this at all. You’re aiming for something about the consistency of guacamole.  Cover and let rise in a warm place for about an hour or until double in size (or more, it’s a very forgiving recipe!)

 Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F and have your pan handy.  Pour the olive oil over the dough (I never measure but it’s about a tablespoon)  dip your hands in it so that your fingers and palms are oily and then scoop your fingers down the side of the bowl, all around to separate it from the edge. Then scoop down and lift up with half of the dough. Gently pull it into a sausage about a foot long and place it in the pan (you don’t need to grease the pan). Repeat with the second half. The idea here is to handle the dough as little as possible so don’t worry about perfection.   Set aside until the oven is hot. When the oven hits 500 reduce it to 400 and put the bread pan in.   Bake for 20 to 30 minutes until the crust is crunchy brown. Leave in the pan until cool enough to handle and then rock it gently to one side until it comes out.  Slice or tear the bread, serve with oil and balsamic or goat cheese or however you like it. It’s an incredibly versatile bread that is a favorite for potlucks as well.

 A note on the baguette pan. It’s critical to success here – these are the pans that are W in profile and have hundreds of tiny holes everywhere. This is what gives the even, crunchy crust all around. The more you use it the easier the bread will come out so don’t give up too quickly.


Lavender Ice Cream


(makes about 1 quart)

  •  4 large eggs, separated

  • 2 cups heavy cream

  • 1 cup milk (or almond milk)

  • ¼ ts salt

  • ¾ c sugar

  • A small handful (about ¼ c) lavender leaves washed – you can leave them on the stalk if you’d like

 This is a no-holds barred version – you can find lower fat, more standard ice-cream recipes online and just substitute in the lavender steps if you’d like.

 Combine the milk, cream, and sugar in a large pan. Add the lavender leaves and heat gently over low heat. The idea here is not only to heat the milk but to give the lavender time to infuse flavor so keep it low enough to do some other tasks and not have to stir constantly – that part comes later.

 Separate the eggs and set the whites aside for something else.  Beat the salt into the egg yolks. When the milk mixture is hot – steaming but not simmering, temper the eggs (add some hot milk to the egg yolks stirring constantly and then stir the egg mixture into the milk pan also stirring constantly.)

 Stir everything over low heat until thickened with no taste of raw egg and the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and pour through a strainer into a large bowl. This removes the lavender and any accidental lumps. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Assemble your ice-cream maker and pour the mixture in as you would any other. Sample frequently and often 😊

Plum Coffee Cake

plum coffee cake

(generously serves 12)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

½ c butter

1 c sugar

2 large eggs

1 ts vanilla

½ c milk

2 c flour

3 ts baking powder

½ ts salt

12 – 24 Italian plums



1/3 c flour

½ c sugar

½ ts cinnamon

¼ c butter


For the cake, blend the butter and sugar together until creamy in a mixer or by hand. Add the eggs and vanilla and incorporate. Stir in the milk and then add the dry ingredients; flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat until the batter is smooth.


This is a farm house version so I’m usually trying to use up plums and therefore go with a larger surface area (2 9 inch cake pans) but the original recipe called for a 8 x 12 baking pan.   Either way, pour the batter into a greased pan.  Halve the plums, removing the pit, and place skin side up in the batter. Since I’m trying to use up the fruit I put them as close together as possible but if you don’t have that luxury then try for two plum halves per serving arranged evenly.

For the topping: stir the dry ingredients together: flour, sugar, cinnamon. Gently mix in the butter with your fingers until just incorporated and the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle over the batter. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes until a knife comes out clean from the middle.


A note on plums:  Italian plums work for this because they are meatier and don’t have as much liquid (they’re the long, purple ones).  Juicy plums probably won’t work very well.

French Breakfast Radish Toast

Radish Toast

Radish Toast

This might not even count as a recipe but I get enough flack in my family for it that I decided it does – mostly so I can build my tribe of people who also love it!

Serves 2

  • 2 slices of whole wheat bread – the grainier/nuttier the better

  • Butter or olive oil

  • Fresh French breakfast radishes

 Toast the bread – like you normally make toast and spread generously with butter or olive oil.  Slice the radishes about 1/8 inch thick lengthwise and arrange over the toast covering as completely as possible.  That’s it.  Radish toast makes a fabulous breakfast with cottage cheese and of course, dark coffee!

Let me know what you think in the comments (and don’t forget to tell your Mom you ate a vegetable for breakfast!)

Breakfast of many names - my Baby Dutchem recipe

A caldera of yumminess…

A caldera of yumminess…

Baby Dutchem

(serves 1)

For unknown reasons this breakfast confection has always been known in my family as a Baby Dutchem – the rest of the world calls it either a Dutch Baby or Pannekoeken. It is a close relative to, but not the same thing as, a Yorkshire pudding…  To avoid confusion with any other heritage recipes I’ll continue with my name for it.

  • 2 large eggs

  • ½ c milk

  • ¼ ts salt

  • ½ c all-purpose flour

  • 1 tbls butter

  •  Lemon juice and powdered sugar to taste

Preheat the oven to 500 F. In a small mixing bowl beat the eggs lightly, then stir in the milk.  Add the flour and salt and whisk until there are no lumps.  Set aside.

When the oven is hot put the butter in a 9 inch pie plate or cake pan (either will work)  and place in the oven. Remove it when the butter is completely melted – browned is good but burned is bad, so keep an eye on it.

Pour the batter into the pan now sizzling with butter. Place back in the oven and bake about 20 minutes or until the edges are brown and crispy. (do not open the oven door to check prematurely as this can cause it to fall like a souffle).   Remove the dutchem from the pan and place on a large plate. You may need a spatula to assist with this part. Add lemon juice and powdered sugar to your taste.  Enjoy!

 A few notes on ingredients: For optimal results use 2% milk. You can easily make this with almond or soy milk instead but the edges won’t rise as high. Just as tasty though!  You can reduce the amount of butter by about half if watching calories but the dutchem may stick to the pan more. I have a reduced calorie version as well. (link coming later)

Troubleshooting: Is yours flat as a pancake?  It happens – sometimes it’s the weather and sometimes there is too much flour/ not enough liquid.

If you make this let me know in the comments how it went!