Baked Cheese Grits

Posted on 15 December 2012 | No responses

Colleen is not a big fan of plain grits but, when made with bacon and cheese, everyone loves grits! This is a fairly easy recipe to make and serves about 6. It’s great for taking to a holiday dinner and is easy to double.

To double, I suggest making up a batch of grits the previous day. After Sabina and I each have a breakfast bowl full, refrigerate the leftovers then, when making this recipe, mix with the hot grits to warm up.

I’ve also found that sprinkling and dusting the casserole dish with bread crumbs (after greasing) gives the grits a subtle crunch around the edges after baking.

Baked Cheese Grits
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup bacon grease
4 cups water
1 cup grits
1 egg
1/3 cup heavy cream
4 slices bacon — cooked crispy, and crumbled
1 cup grated Gruyere or Asiago cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup cheddar cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350 °. Grease a 2-quart casserole with 2 tbsp butter.
  2. Combine bacon grease and water in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. When mixture comes to a simmer, add grits and stir until thoroughly combined. Continue cooking grits until thickened, stirring frequently. About 15-20 minutes.
  3. While grits are cooking, whisk together egg and cream.
  4. Stir egg mixture into cooked grits along with bacon crumbles, Gruyere, and Parmesan cheese. Pour mixture into prepared casserole. Sprinkle top with cheddar cheese.
  5. Bake for until set, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand (at least) 5 minutes before serving.

Pound Cake

Posted on 9 December 2012 | No responses

There’s a stack of recipes sitting in a pile, waiting to be written down and/or updated. I tend to print them off and then keep writing notes all over the pages. This means everything is covered in scribbles and all manner of cooking ingredients splattered liquids. Someday — somehow — I’d love to figure out a way to organize things.

I’ve had this recipe for awhile and it has always been a favorite. Through experience I’ve found a few things out: all-purpose flour and cake flour are not interchangeable in this recipe; make sure you sift the flour, and; this tastes amazing toasted.

Let me repeat that last point: this tastes great toasted. Cut-off a thin slice and toaste until lightly browned, spread with butter while warm, and enjoy!

Pound Cake
4 cups confectioner’s sugar
3 sticks (softened) butter or margarine
6 large eggs
3 cups cake flour
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk
  1. Pre-heat oven to 325°. Grease and flour bundt pan.
  2. In large, deep-sided bowl, cream butter and sugar.
  3. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
  4. Sift flour into mix, adding 1/3 at a time, alternating with 1/3 of milk. End with flour.
  5. Bake for 1 hour and 25 minutes. After baking DO NOT OPEN OVEN for at least 1 hour!

This variation came about when Colleen had 4 egg yolks leftover (she baked another cake which needed the whites). This version is a bit denser and won’t rise as much but it’s still tasty. Baking in the loaf pan slices of this cake relatively easy to toast.

2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 1/2 sticks (softened) butter or margarine
4 egg yellows
2 whole eggs
1 1/2 cup cake flour
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk
  1. Pre-heat oven to 325°. Grease and flour loaf pan.
  2. Follow directions (above) for mixing ingredients.
  3. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Again, after baking DO NOT OPEN OVEN for at least 1 hour!

Final note: I’ve tried doing variations using lemon juice and lemon extract (replacing the vanilla and/or milk) but they haven’t quite worked out. I may do some more tinkering but, right now, this recipe is a favorite without any tweaks. Enjoy!

Arroz con Pollo

Posted on 1 November 2011 | No responses

This recipe has evolved from my mother’s easy-to-follow (and wonderfully yummy) original. This is based on the original recipe my mother sent me in college. I’ve carried the it around with me for years and, stapled to it, a recipe from my Aunt Argie. I’ve run out of room for more notes on the worn and creased original print-out from 1996 or so.

As always, suggestions and other arroz recipes are welcome in the comments below.

Arroz con pollo
4 tbsp olive oil
2 lb (boneless) chicken thighs
1 lb (boneless) chicken breast
1 large onion, diced
1 satchet Sazón Goya (Sazón with Coriander and Annatto)
3/4 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp black pepper
3/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp epazote
2 cans diced tomatoes, drained (2 x 14.5 oz)
1 can chicken broth (14.5 oz)
1 lb white rice (2 cups)
1 jar pimento-stuffed olives, drained (4-5 oz)
1 jar capers, drained
  1. Cut-up chicken into large cubes, removing bones if necessary.
  2. In 10-12 qt pot or Dutch oven, heat 4 tbsp olive oil over medium heat for 3 mins. Add chicken and onions and cook until chicken is lightly browned and onions are translucent.
  3. Add Sazón Goya, garlic powder, black pepper, turmeric, and epazote. Stir well and increase heat to high.
  4. Over hight heat, add tomatoes and chicken broth, and heat to boiling.
  5. Stop, take a breather, and kibitz for a bit.
  6. When boiling, reduce to low; cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Add rice and bring back to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low; cover and simmer for 20 minutes (or until rice is just shy of al dente).
  8. Stir in olives and capers (smart people would never have drained the olives or capers!) and heat through.
  9. Serve with a hoppy beer like Terrapin Rye Pale ale, Ellicottville Pale Ale, or Ithaca Cascazilla.
Kidney Beans
1 tsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 can red kidney beans (16 oz)
  1. In small stock pot, cook onion and bell pepper in oil until onion is translucent.
  2. Add beans and warm through.
  3. Serve alongside rice.

I hope that you enjoy eating this as much as I enjoy cooking it!

Local Farmers’ Markets

Posted on 8 June 2011 | No responses

Being the food geek that I am, I’ve been wanting to know when and where the local Farmers’ Markets are. This list is for the Rochester area and includes Ontario, (mostly eastern) Monroe, Seneca, and Wayne counties. This list is not exhaustive and I did not include farm markets or fruit stands. For more information on other local markets, please see the list of links at the bottom of this post.

If there’s anything I’ve missed, please let me know. Thank you to everyone who helped me find this information!


East Rochester
Techniplex lot (Commercial St.)

Brighton High School lot (1150 Winton Rd. S)


Rochester Public Market
280 N. Union St. Off East Main St.

3750 Monroe Ave.

VA Farmers Market
VA Medical Center (400 Fort Hill Ave., Canandaigua)

Village Park (Rt. 31 & Rt. 21)

Rochester/Westside Farmers Market
St. Monica Church (831 Genesee St.)


Seneca Falls
People’s Park (Water St. by canal)

Rochester/Foodlink Farmers Market
Washington Square Park, (Clinton Ave. & Woodbury St.)

58 W. Main St. (parking lot behind church)

Village Hall Parking Lot (60 East Main St.)

32 Main St.

Rochester/Monroe Village Farmers Market
Blessed Sacrament Church lot (700 Monroe Ave.)


Rochester Public Market
280 N. Union St. Off East Main St.

Minicipal parking lot (Exchange St.)

Greece Ridge Mall
Ridge & Long Pond Rds., at Sears Parking Lot

Village offices lot (south side of W. Main St.)

Central Park (Church St. & S. Main St.)

Village Park

Town Hall (1280 Titus Ave.)

Rochester/South Wedge Farmers Market
100 Alexander St. lot, at S. Clinton Ave.


Sauders Farmers Market
2146 River Rd. (1/4 mi. west of Seneca Falls)

Clifton Springs
The Old Fire House (15 Railroad Ave.)

Seneca Falls/Montezuma Winery Farmers Market
Montezuma Winery (2981 Auburn Rd.)


Rochester Public Market
280 N. Union St. Off East Main St.

58 S. Main St. (parking lot behind Bank of America)

Wayne County Courthouse

Webster Joe Obbie Farmers Market
Village parking lot (Rt 250 & Main St.)

3750 Monroe Ave.

Mills & Bemon Sts. (East side of Main St.)

Greece Ridge Mall
Ridge & Long Pond Rds., at Sears Parking Lot

The Coffee Pot Project

Posted on 7 March 2011 | 1 response

Last year I read the article, “How to brew beer in a coffee maker, using only materials commonly found on a modestly sized oceanographic research vessel” and, although it sounded interesting, I didn’t really give it too much thought.

Well, fast-forward a year and I stumbled across the article again and, this time, I wondered if I could do something similar but, instead of using whatever I can find at-hand, I’d actually try to brew an all-grain batch of beer. I’ve got plenty of base malt and some specialty malts, some hops, and a couple spare growlers so why not give it a shot? All I really needed to buy was a new coffee maker (since I don’t want to ruin the one we use for coffee each morning!).

So here’s the first recipe I brewed-up:

Coffee Pot Project: Mild
BJCP Category: 11A (Mild)
7 3/4 oz Maris Otter
1/4 oz Roasted Barley
1 oz White Table Sugar (sucrose)
1/8 oz Brambling Cross (30)
1 tsp Fleischmann’s Dry Yeast
1 Gallon zip-top plastic bag
Grain bag
Meat tenderizer or rolling pin
Standard basket-type, 12-cup Coffee Maker (I found one for $10 at Target)
1 regular coffee filter
Saucepan (2-4 quarts)
Small funnel
No. 6 1/2 drilled stopper
3 x 12oz bottles and caps (for bottling)

I filled the coffee maker with water up to the 6 cup mark.

 Coffee Pot Project - Step 1: Mash Grains Once I’d measured out the grains, I placed them in the zip-top bag and then crushed them with the meat tenderizer; just crack the grain husks — don’t pulverize them. Once crushed, I poured the grains into the grain bag, loosely knotted the top, and then put the grain bag into the carafe with the knot hanging out the top. Then I ran the water through the coffee maker so that the carafe was full and, once full, I pulled the carafe out to dunk the grain bag up and down a few times to make sure all of the grains were saturated with the hot water.

With the coffee maker’s heating element still on, I let the grains steep for 30 minutes (let’s call this the “mash” cycle).

 Coffee Pot Project - Step 2: Sparge After the grains had steeped/mashed, I removed the grain bag from the the carafe and poured the liquid into the saucepan. I then put the coffee filter into the coffee maker’s basket and dumped the grains out into the basket/filter. I filled the coffee maker up to the 10 cup mark and then ran the water through to “sparge” the grains.

Once sparging had finished, I combined it with the mash water in the boil pot and boiled for 30 minutes, adding the hops at the start of the boil and the table sugar at 10 minutes.

Following the boil, I poured the wort into a sanitized growler (using the funnel), capped, and placed in the refrigerator to cool a bit before pitching the yeast. After pitching the yeast, I topped-off the growler with the stopper and airlock and set aside for a week before bottling.

While I was at it, I decided to go ahead and try brewing up another beer, as well:

 Coffee Pot Project - Step 3: Boil Coffee Pot Project: Stout/Porter
BJCP Category: I’m not so sure this one hit a specific category…
6 1/2 oz Maris Otter
1/2 oz Chocolate Malt
1/2 oz Roasted Barley
1 oz Brown Sugar
1/8 oz Brambling Cross (30)
1 tsp Fleischmann’s Dry Yeast

 Coffee Pot Project - Step 4: Fermentation I followed the same process as with the first beer but this time I remembered to take gravity readings. According to BeerTools Pro my Original Gravity should have been 1.040 but I over-shot that by a bit winding-up with an O.G. of 1.048. A week later, my final gravity was 1.006 (for an ABV of about 5.43%).

When it came time to bottle, I decanted each beer into a sanitized, 8 cup measuring cup (thanks to my wife, we actually have something like this in our house!). I then primed each of the sanitized bottles with 1 tsp of white table sugar and slowly funnelled the beer into each bottle, winding up with about 36 oz of beer total.

All-in-all, the Coffee Pot Project beers are a far cry from full 5 or 6 gallon batches but, as a fun experiment, they’re something I’ll definitely be repeating again. Initial taste tests of the Stout/Porter indicate that I probably used too much of the specialty grains so I’ll be dialing them back in my next attempt.

 Coffee Pot Project - Step 5: Bottle And, compared to a full 5 or 6 gallon batch, we’re not talking about a full “Brew Day” but more like an hour or two, from start to finish and including clean-up. The toughest part of the whole process is crushing the grains by hand and, even then, that’s not too bad. Cheers!

UPDATE: I wound-up with 3 bottles from each batch that I brewed. These beers were definitely ROUGH around the edges and need some work. The stout was “drinkable” but neither were something I’d share with others.

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