Category Archives: kids favorite

Refritos y Tostadas

A Fahy Family recipe since 2001, adapted from The Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen

Refritos (refried beans)

2 cans pinto beans
2-3 T olive oil
2  cups minced onion
6 cloves garlic, pressed
1 small bell pepper, minced
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp. salt
generous pinch black pepper

Heat olive oil in a skillet. Add onions, about half the garlic, cumin and 1/2 tsp. salt. Sautee over medium heat until onions are soft and translucent. Add the green pepper, sautee another five minutes or so, add the rest of the garlic and season with pepper.

Turn the heat to low, add the beans and mix well. Mash with a fork or potato masher. Cook for a few minutes more. Serve right away or store in fridge or freezer until it’s time to reheat – refried beans reheat beautifully.

Serve over plain cooked rice, stuffed into green pepper halves and baked, or in tostadas….


A tostada is an open-faced, multi-layered Mexican sandwich with many layers contrasting layers piled on a crispy corn tortilla. Spread a large table with dishes of tostada ingredients, and let everyone build their own creation, including but not limited to:

Refritos of course!
Hot sauce and or salsa
Deep-fried corn tortillas or tortilla chips – the round flat kind
chopped olives
chopped hard-cooked egg
chopped sweet pickled peppers or pimientos
grated cheese – mild white or cheddar
finely shredded cabbage or lettuce
sliced avocadoes
chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, mushrooms…whatever
sour cream


How to make Real NY Pizza in Maine

Greg switched to this recipe as soon as he read this article in the May – June 2015 issue of ZEST Magazine: How to Make a NEW YORK PIZZA by Bill Gloede, master pizzaiolo. Click through and read the article for more detailed and entertaining instructions on where to find specific ingredients in Maine. What follows is my stripped-down and restructured version.

For the dough
4 cups of either: high-gluten flour; bread flour; or a mix of “00” and all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups bottled water
2 teaspoons instant or active dry yeast (if using active yeast, let it bloom in half the water, heated to 110 degrees, for 10-15 minutes)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar

Put all the ingredients in the mixer bowl and, using the dough hook, ramp the speed up to medium-high and let it beat for at least five minutes but no more than 10, until the dough ball clears the sides of the bowl.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured cutting board, divide it in half, and make two balls by rolling the dough around on the board, carefully sealing up the seams.

Put each dough ball in a lightly oiled bowl big enough to allow it to double in size, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge for 24 hours and up to several days.

For the Sauce
The first thing to know about pizza sauce is that it should not be cooked. It cooks on the pizza. That means you can’t use Grandma’s long-simmered Sunday Gravy on a pizza; it will taste burnt. And jarred sauces don’t work well either. What does work well is a product called 7/11, made by Stanislaus, which is the go-to pizza sauce in most New York joints. You can get it at Micucci Grocery in Portland, but it comes in a No. 10 can, which means you’ll have a lot left over even after your first dozen pizzas. Otherwise I recommend Pomi strained Italian tomatoes, which come in a carton and are available in most supermarkets. While the 7/11 can be used right from the can, I suggest doctoring the Pomi by sautéing two large, finely chopped garlic cloves in extra virgin olive oil for about a minute, then adding about a quarter cup of white wine and continuing the sauté until the alcohol has burned off, about another minute or two. Combine the mixture with the Pomi, add a teaspoon of sugar and maybe a couple of torn-up basil leaves.

2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white wine
1 carton Pomi Italian strained tomatoes
2-3 basil leaves, shredded
1 teaspoon sugar

Sauté finely chopped garlic in oil until translucent, add wine, cook off alcohol. Add to the tomatoes, along with basil and sugar.

Stanislaus-7-11-Ground-Tomatoes (1)

You’ll also need:
1, 16-oz. block whole-milk mozzarella
1, 16-oz. block part-skim mozzarella
Grated Romano cheese
Dried oregano flakes

By all means, if you can get to Micucci in Portland, pick up some Grande 50/50, a mix of shredded part- skim mozzarella and provolone cheeses. While I’m not a big fan of the mozzarella/provolone mix, which is more of a Midwestern thing, it’s ready to put on the pizza as-is, and is sufficiently higher in quality than any other retail cheese to make it worthwhile.

Otherwise, buy a 16-ounce block each of whole-milk and part-skim mozzarella. I get Galbani Sorrento brand at Hannaford and have even found Polly-O, the old standby in New York, at Wal-Mart. Put the cheese through the shredding attachment of your food processor, combine and mix up in a bowl.

Assembling the Pizza
When you are ready to make pizzas, preheat your oven to 500 degrees, with the pizza stone in place on the lowest rack, for about an hour.

Remove the dough balls from the fridge, let them sit out for 15 minutes or so, then get your pizza peel, dust it with a generous amount of semolina, put the dough ball on the peel, sprinkle more semolina over the top, and start pushing into the dough with your fingers, working from the center outward. Press it with the palms of your hands.

When it gets big enough to handle, pick up the dough and throw it back and forth between your hands a few times. Then hold it on your knuckles and begin stretching across between your hands, rotating the dough as you go, all the while letting gravity tug on the bottom of the dough.

When the diameter gets out to about 14 inches, lay the dough down on the peel, making sure there is plenty of semolina to keep it from sticking. To prevent the dough from separating when it hits the oven, pierce the dough liberally with a fork. This is called “docking” the dough, which prevents it from forming bubbles that push the sauce and cheese off to the side. If there’s a lot of humidity in the air, you’ll be glad you did this.

Sauce and Cheeses
Mix up the sauce, then ladle a thin layer onto your dough, working the ladle in a circular motion until you have coated—not loaded—the dough up to about a quarter of an inch from the edge. Now sprinkle some dried oregano over the sauced pizza (don’t overdo it!).

Now, lightly sprinkle some grated Romano cheese over the sauced pizza, then add the mozzarella—in a single layer! Good pizza is a less-is-more proposition. The reason the chains dump loads of cheese and toppings on their pizzas is because their pizzas and their ingredients are not very good.

The Toppings
One topping is good, two is less good but okay, three is pushing it and any more is just bad. Many real pizzaioli won’t put more than three toppings on a pizza—no matter what the customer wants.

The Baking
Hopefully you’ve got enough semolina on the peel so the pizza slides right off, into the oven and onto the stone. Cook until the mozzarella settles down into the sauce and turns a light orange, somewhere around 10 minutes depending on your oven. Pull the pizza out of the oven, put it on your tray, cut it with your pizza wheel—and enjoy!


Dad’s Bread

Long time family staple from the Cabbagetown Cookbook.

3 cups hot water
1/3 cup honey
2 T active dry yeast
4 c whole wheat bread flour
3 T oil
about 2 more cups whole wheat bread flour

One egg
Poppy Seeds or Sesame Seeds

Dissolve the honey the warm water (should feel slightly warm, not hot if dripped on your wrist) in a large bowl. Stir well then sprinkle the yeast in, mix and let stand for about 5 minutes. Yeast should start foaming after 5 minutes.

Gradually add the 4 cups of whole wheat bread flour, and stir until smooth. Set aside to rise in a warm spot for 1-3 hours. Punch it down once or twice if it gets too high.

Add the oil and salt, stir it in then Gradually add more whole wheat flour to the bowl stirring in one direction to work up the gluten. Continue adding flour until the dough holds together. It should still be fairly wet.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured counter and knead for 5 minutes. Don’t overdo it or knead in too much flour. The dough should continue to be sticky and hard to work with, because  a slightly wet dough is best for gluten formation. Dust the counter with flour only as needed. It’s done when you can poke the dough with your thumb and the dough springs back.

Lightly oil the bowl and return the dough to it. Allow the dough to rise in a warm spot for at least one hour, or until it is more than double in bulk. Punch it down and divide into 2 portions. Knead each portion until it holds together in a smooth ball. Put the balls onto a floured surface, drape with a damp towel, and let rise for about 45 minutes, or until doubled in bulk.  Punch them down again, shape each ball into a loaf and place in lightly oiled loaf pans.

Brush with slightly beaten egg.  Sprinkle poppy seeds or sesame seeds on top of the loaves.

Let the loaves rise in a warm spot for 45 min, or until double in bulk. Place the loaves in a preheated 350° F oven. Bake until the loaves are firm and golden brown, and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. About 55 minutes.

10 minutes after removing from the oven, remove the loaves from their pans and cool on a rack.


Adapted from “The Cabbagetown Cafe Cookbook,” by Julie Jordan, page 40

Dad’s Salmon Marinade from Alaska

Cook in oven on broil, on the grill or even over a campfire – just prepare ahead and put the marinade and fish in a ziplock into your cooler.  Serve with “square bread”.


Grandma’s Brownie Recipe

Simply the best brownies ever.  Grandma in this case is Nancy (Tunis) Klein ♥


1 c sugar
2 eggs
2 squares unsweetened baking chocolate*
1/2 c butter
1/2 c flour
1 t. vanilla
1/2 c chopped walnuts (optional)

∞ ∗ ∞ ∗ ∞ ∗ ∞ ∗ ∞ ∗ ∞ ∗

Grease a square baking pan (8x8x2″) and preheat oven to 350º.

Crack eggs into a medium sized bowl and beat with a fork. Add sugar and beat until well blended. Set aside while you melt the chocolate and butter, let cool a little and add them to the egg mixture.  (Melt the chocolate in a double boiler – small pan set in a larger pan of boiling water or in the microwave. If you use the microwave, watch carefully so it doesn’t burn.) Blend in the flour, then add the vanilla. Spread into the greased pan and back for 25-35 minutes, until set in the middle. Let cool before cutting into 9 squares.

* substitute: 1 square baking chocolate = 1 T oil + 3 T unsweetened baking cocoa


George Lapointe’s Authentic Redwall Stew

A Chemo Crew recipe, 2014


Beef, cut small
Potatos (4-5 medium size)
Carrots – lots
Onion – 1 large

To dredge beef

3/4 cup flour
garlic granules, powder or crushed – to taste

red wine – 1 cup
beef stock or bullion
olive oil for browning beef


1) dredge beef in flour and spices, brown pieces
2) chop onions, potato, carrot, and parsley, put in cooking pot
3) add beef to pot
4) use leftover dredging flour to make gravy in browning pan, adding water and bullion
4) add to pot with red wine
5) cover with water as needed.
6) cook until beef and vegetables are tender (1-2 hours on low, 3-5 in a crockpot)
7) thicken as needed to desired consistency


redwall illustration
Image from “Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast” a blog about books

Sausage Gravy over Biscuits

Adapted by William from a recipe on which we can no longer find.

1 lb ground breakfast sausage
1 T olive oil
1⁄2 cup onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 T flour
2 cups half + half or milk
1 t ground black pepper
1/2 t nutmeg
small pinch of cayenne pepper
1 T butter
6 fresh homemade buttermilk biscuits
eggs over easy, one or two for each person

In a large skillet, heat the oil and cook the onion and garlic until softened. Add the sausage and cook over medium-high heat for 8-10 minutes or until it is browned and crumbly.

Stir in flour and cook for 2-3 more minutes, stirring frequently.

Gradually stir in half + half or milk. Add spices and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until gravy is thickened.

Remove from heat and stir in butter until melted.

Serve with biscuits and eggs.