Green Goddess Pasta Salad

1. Cook 1 lb of shaped pasta and set aside (elbows, shells, rotini etc.)

2. Mash the avocado and with the other sauce ingredients until well blended

1 ripe avocado
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
pinch salt
freshly ground black pepper

3. Add the herbs and vegetables, mix gently to combine and serve.

up to 1 cup parsley leaves and stems, chopped
chives, chopped
1/2 cup basil leaves, chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
Add fresh peas, baby spinach, zucchini ribbons, and/or mini fresh mozzarella balls; chop and add celery, peppers, and/or mushrooms.


Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake

Very rich – I made this for the end of year REM Delta Prime Robotics BBQ at the Hodgkins’ July 8, 2017


Potato Cheese Perogies

I tried a couple recipes in the 1990s trying to recreate the delicious perogies we had in bar mlecznys or milk bars in Poland.  This recipe via a Pittsburgh Post Gazette food blog seems close (with adaptations). NOTE – stewed onions are essential and the longer you cook them the better. Start them early!

Stewed Onions

2 T butter
2 large onions halved lengthwise and thinly sliced into crescents
1/4 c chicken, beef or vegetable broth

Melt butter in medium skillet over low heat. Stir in onion and cook until starting to soften, about 10 minutes. Add ¼ cup broth and bring to simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are very soft and deeply browned, about 1½ to 2 hours. If onions start to burn before they’re fully caramelized, add 1 to 2 tablespoons additional broth as needed.

Basic Pierogi Dough

1 large egg, beaten
1/2 c sour cream
4 T butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/2 t salt
2 c  unbleached flour

Whisk egg, sour cream or yogurt, butter and salt in bowl. Add flour to large bowl. Gently stir wet ingredients into flour. The dough will initially be very dry and shaggy, seeming as if it will never come together, but have no fear: Keep stirring and it will pull itself into shape.

Once dough starts to come together, press and smash it against the sides of bowl with your palms, picking up dough bits and essentially kneading it within bowl until it forms a ball.

Tip dough and any remaining shaggy flakes out onto a clean work surface. Knead until smooth, about 1 minute. Cover dough with bowl and let rest 15 minutes.

Potato and Cheddar Pierogi Filling *classic*

Don’t use too much flour when rolling out the dough, or the pierogies will be chewy and leaden (but probably still delicious). Boil then pan-fried the dumplings in butter. Yum. 

1/2 lb potatoes (about 1 medium or 2 small), cut into 2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 c finely shredded cheddar cheese
2 T heavy cream or whole milk

Place potatoes in medium saucepan. Add water to cover by 2 inches. Stir in 1 tablespoon salt. Cover and bring to boil over medium heat. Uncover and cook until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain potatoes and bring back to pan. Place over low heat and stir for about 30 seconds to remove excess moisture. Run potatoes through a ricer or food mill fitted with fine disk into bowl. Stir in remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, cheese and 1 tablespoon cream; consistency should be firm enough to roll into a ball. If filling is too dry, stir in additional 1 tablespoon cream.

To make pierogies: Line a rimmed baking sheet with waxed or parchment paper.

Divide rested dough into 4 equal pieces with a bench scraper or knife. Set aside 3 dough pieces and cover with mixing bowl. Roll remaining dough as thinly as possible into a rough 8-by-12-inch rectangle.

Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut out 6 rounds of dough. Resist the temptation to re-roll dough scraps for additional rounds. It seems wasteful but dough won’t be as tender the second time around. Makes 24 pierogies.

Spoon filling into center of dough rounds.

Using your finger, swipe a scant amount of egg wash — just a light touch — around the dough edge.

Fold into a half-moon shape: Either fold dough over the filling on work surface or gently cup the pierogi in your hand in a U shape and fill.

Gently but firmly seal pierogi by pinching and squeezing edges together with your thumb and pointer finger. Start with 1 pinch at the top, then move to the “corner” of the pierogi and pinch along the edge back to the top. Repeat on opposite side to finish sealing pierogi.

Transfer to baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough rounds and filling.

To cook, pierogies can either be boiled  (2 to 3 minutes for fresh, 4 to 5 minutes for frozen), pan-fried in oil or butter (2 minutes per side), or deep-fried in at least 2 inches of 350-degree vegetable oil (3 minutes for fresh and 5 minutes for frozen).

Deep-fry, boil and/or pan fry pierogies as directed. Serve immediately with onions, sauerkraut and/or sour cream.

Sauerkraut (optional) and sour cream (essential) for serving.


“Pierogi Love: New Takes on an Old-World Comfort Food” by Casey barber (Gibbs Smith, July 2015, $19.99)

Vegetable Lo Mein

 We first made this in the summer of 1998 – adapted from The Cabbagetown Cafe Cookbook.

A very flavorful dish is made with pasta  and vegetables tossed with a garlic sauce. Any vegetables you have on hand are good–these are just suggestions.

Sesame Garlic Sauce

8 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or crushed
1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped
1/2 cup peanut butter (the natural kind)
1 T dark sesame oil
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar or juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
1/4 tsp cayenne

Lo Mein

1/2 pound whole wheat spaghetti or linguini
1 cake extra firm tofu cut into bite-size cubes
1 head broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces (6 cups)
1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces (4 cups)
1 medium zucchini or yellow summer squash, cut into bite-size pieces
2 carrots, grated
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives or scallions
1 cup Tamari Roasted Almonds

Tamari Roasted Almonds

1 1/2 c almonds
2 T tamari or soy sauce

Toast the almonds on a baking sheet in a 350º oven for 25 minutes, until lightly browned.  Leave oven on. Remove the nuts from pan and mix them with the soy sauce. Spread them out on the pan again and bake for 5 minutes more. Watch! They’ll burn fast!

1. Prepare the sauce. Mix together the garlic, ginger, peanut butter, sesame oil, vinegar, tamari and cayenne. Set aside.
2. Cook the spaghetti until al dente.
3. Prepare vegetables, either by steaming, blanching, or sauteeing. Mix cooked vegtables together with grated carrots.
4. Mix together all ingredients in a large pot, and reheat for a few minutes, until piping hot.
5. Serve sprinkled with almonds.

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 Sauce

Greg’s famous spaghetti sauce. Recipe makes 12-16 servings and freezes well.

1/2 c olive oil
2 teaspoons basil
2 teaspoons oregano
2 bay leaves
1 bulb garlic
1 large onion
1 green pepper
12 oz mushrooms
8 oz kalamata pitted olives
1/2 c red wine
1 small can tomato paste
3 28 oz cans diced tomatoes
Parmesan or Romano rind

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium low heat. Add onion and cook until softened. Add garlic, basil and oregano and cook for a few minutes more. Add peppers and cook, stirring often for another 5 minutes or so. Than so the same with the mushrooms, followed by the olives.  Add the wine and let it cook down a bit, then stir in the tomato paste and blend well, stirring constantly. Add the diced tomatoes and raise the heat until the sauce starts to bubble. Toss in the Parmesan rind then lower heat and simmer, stirring occasionally for three hours. Remove any rind that has not dissolved before serving.

Connor’s Bolognese

3 carrots

3 celery sticks

1 onion

3 cloves garlic

1 bunch fresh thyme

3 bay leaves

3 cups red cooking wine

12 oz tomato paste

3 lb ground beef


olive oil


Step 1: Put garlic, onion, carrot, and celery in the food processor. Grind until nice and pasty, then put in pot with some oil with about a TBSP of salt. Cook on medium high until the water is mostly gone and the veggies are browning. (15-20 min)

Step 1.5(Optional): For a more wholesome, traditional taste, add a small carton of chopped mushrooms and a chopped bell pepper. Cook until the peppers are soft. If you forget this step until later, its probably best not to add the peppers.

Step 2: Add the beef. Cook on high until the beef is fairly browned throughout. (15-20 min) Pour off some of the excess fat.

Step 3: Add the tomato paste. Cook about 5 minutes.

Step 4: Add the wine. Cook another 5 minutes.

Step 5: Add the thyme stems, bay leaves, and a few cups of water. Cook on low for a few hours, stirring occasionally.

Step 6: Boil off some water if the sauce isn’t quite thick. Salt to taste. Remove thyme and bay leaves if possible. Serve with pasta.


Variation: For a quicker sauce with more zesty surface flavor, brown the beef first in the main pot.  Pour off fat, then add veggies and olive oil. (Don’t use the mushrooms or peppers, they can’t cook enough with this method) Cook veggies for only about 10 minutes. Do step 3 and 4. In step 5, skip the bay leaves and shave the thyme leaves off of the stems into the pot instead of just putting the stems in. Cook on low for about 20 minutes, then go to step 6.

Based on: Pasta Bolognese by Anne Burrill