Instant Pot!

Posted May 15, 2015 by memorystable
Categories: Uncategorized

A few months ago, I got an electric pressure cooker. I researched them like crazy until I found the perfect one for me. Oh My God! Instant Pot! Where have you been all my life! This wonderful cooking appliance is not just a pressure cooker, like the ones they hawk on infomercials. This is also a slow cooker, steamer, rice cooker and yogurt maker! It also has preset pre-programmed buttons that help you cook everything from soups and stews to grains and oatmeal.


The first thing I made was yogurt.  Yogurt making, without a yogurt maker is hit or miss at best. Just follow the directions with Instant pot and you have perfect yogurt.

The next thing I made was elbow macaroni, ground beef and sauce. All you do is just throw it all in the pot – frozen beef patties, mac right out of the box, a jar of sauce and two cups of broth of your choice (I use Knorr Vegetable Cubes), then you just set it and it does all the work.

Tonight was special. My husband is home from 7 weeks in hospital and nursing care. I wanted to make him a special dinner. I made Pot Roast. The Instant Pot has a saute feature that lets you sear the beef before you cook it. So I seasoned up the roast with a bit of Zatarian’s Creole Seasoning, and seared it.

meat1 meat2

Once the beef was seared, I added 3 cups of Knorr vegetarian vegetable bouillon and a cut up onion. Then I put the lid on the pot (Did I tell you it plays a tune when the lid’s on right, so you don’t have to guess) pressed the ‘Meat’ button, set it for an hour and that was the first part. In an hour when the timer rang, I clicked the pressure release open (you have to be careful you dont burn yourself on the steam – I  usually tap it with a wooden spoon. (you can use the natural de-pressure cycle) I tested the roast and it wasn’t done. So I put the lid back on and cooked it for 25 minutes more. Then, when I tested it, it was nearly finished. I put peeled and quartered potatoes and whole baby carrots, into the pot, sealed it up and finished cooking it for 15 minutes.

Dinner was ready! The roast was so tender it fell apart when I lifted it from the pot. – Just like Mom’s did, only my pot roast didn’t take all day in a Dutch Oven.


There it is, all plated. You’ll noticed I didn’t make gravy.  I love gravy, but my hubby has a hard time digesting it. So, I just drizzled some of the pot liquor over it, Gravy would have been delish, but I can live without it. Oh, and all that wopnderful broth in the pot? I will freeze it in ice cube trays for later use.

So that’s my Pot Roast Dinner in my Instant Pot!


Just a thought in passing

Posted April 13, 2015 by memorystable
Categories: Uncategorized


Birthday Cake

Posted January 9, 2015 by memorystable
Categories: Uncategorized

Today is the birthday of my childhood friend, Pattie. In her honor I’m posting our family’s favorite birthday cake recipe. My Mom would bake cakes for everyone’s birthday, friend, neighbor or local kid. I’ve taken up this tradition, too, adding an iced cake to feed musicians during rehearsals and recording sessions. This is the favorite cake

Kate’s Favorite Cake
1-2-3-4 Cake

1 cup of milk
1/2 teasp of salt
2 cups of sugar
2 sticks of margarine or butter
2 teaspoons Vanilla
3 cups of Flour
3 teaspoons of baking powder
4 eggs

Pre heat oven to 375. grease and flour 3 8″ layer pans or 1 13″x9″x2″ pan. Have all ingredients at room temperature.

Cream butter (or margarine) and sugar together until light. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each entry. Sift dry ingredients together and alternate dry ingredients and milk into the butter, sugar and eggs mixture. Add vanilla. Mix until smooth. Pour evenly into pan(s).

Bake 30- 35 minutes until the cake tests done. Cool on wire racks. When cool, frost with ‘Creamy Vanilla Icing’

Creamy Vanilla Icing –

With your electric mixer- beat until light and feathery:
1/2 C granulated sugar, 1/4 C butter or margarine and 1/4 C Crisco (You can use all butter or margarine if you want)

In a small saucepan, cook over medium-low heat until very stiff and mixture follows the spoon:
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup milk
pinch of salt
Cool this mixture to barely warm, then add to the sugar/butter mixture and beat well until blended. Beat in 2 teaspoons vanilla.

Now, blend in 2 cups of powdered sugar and beat until smooth.

And now, a really crappy picture of a very yummy cake!


Sloppy Joes (aka Beef Barbecue)

Posted July 13, 2014 by memorystable
Categories: Uncategorized

One of the summer dinners of my childhood was what my mother called ‘Barbecue’ or Beef Barbecue. It was better known as ‘Sloppy Joes’. It was so popular, that the Hunts Company created a sauce called ‘Manwich’. That sauce never made it from the A&P to my mother’s kitchen. Mom didn’t go for canned when she could make it herself.

This was her version of Sloppy Joes


Barbecue or Sloppy Joes 

1 pound ground beef, sauted with 1/2 tsp onion powder, salt and pepper to taste

15 oz can of Tomato Sauce

1/8 c Brown Sugar

3 tablespoons of commercial BBQ sauce (my favorite brand is STICKY FINGERS – Carolina Sweet.

Hamburger Rolls

Saute the meat until all the red disappears.add the seasonings. Stir in the can of tomato sauce, the brown sugar and the BBQ sauce. Simmer for ten minutes over low heat.

Spoon over the rolls, either on a half roll for a sandwich, or over both sides of the rolls as open faced sandwiches.


Pudding From Scratch

Posted April 18, 2014 by memorystable
Categories: Uncategorized

It’s easy to make pudding. You just buy a box of the stuff at the store, measure the milk and mix in the powdered stuff, right? Ick. Nothing like chemicals for that home made goodness. 

It doesn’t take much time or effort to make pudding from scratch, Milk, sugar, flavoring and cornstarch and that’s it. Just heat the milk, whisk in the rest, bring it to a boil. No magic, just ingredients you won’t find in a laboratory. You have to take care just how you mix things, but once through it, and it will be a regular dessert.

The base recipe is as follows:

2 cups of milk (16 oz)

1/2 cup sugar (or less depending on how sweet you want it)

3 tablespoons of cornstarch (cornflour)

1 teaspoon of vanilla

Measure the cornstarch and sugar into a small bowl, then add 1/3 cup of the milk and the vanilla. Make sure this milk is cold! Whisk together until blended.

Heat the remaining milk in medium saucepan (or zap it until it’s hot in the microwave – that’s what I do) Once the milk is simmering (little bubbles form around the edge you are ready to make the pudding. If you nuked the milk, pour it into the saucepan and turn the heat to Medium-low. If the milk is in the pot on the stove, you’re good to go. Now, whisk in the milk/cornstarch/sugar mixture into the hot milk. Change to a wooden spoon once the mixture  has blended, and start stirring. Stir, stir, stir to keep the pudding moving as it heats. Bring it to a boil and keep cooking (and stirring) for a minute so it doesn’t taste ‘powdery’, and pour into a serving bowl or cups.

That’s the recipe for Vanilla Pudding.


 You can also make Butterscotch pudding, by changing the granulated sugar to dark brown sugar and adding 2 tablespoons of butter.


Chocolate pudding can be made by combining 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder to the cornstarch and sugar (blend!) before adding the cold milk.

I suppose you could sweeten the pudding with lower calorie sweetener if you want, just make sure the sweetener stands up to heat.

 Make sure you chill the pudding well before serving. 

Warming The Heart, Stomach and Soul

Posted January 10, 2014 by memorystable
Categories: Uncategorized

Old-Fashioned Bread Pudding

The only way the fancy people who lived upstairs in grand Victorian houses ate this, was if they ate it as children or if they begged some from the kitchen. It’s Victorian/Edwardian everyday food for the common family. It was thrifty and filled (and warmed) the tummy. Mrs. Beeton, in her book on household management, had at least three recipes for bread pudding so you know it was commonly made in households of that era. This recipe is my take on bread pudding, with a touch of New Orleans, and a touch of Pennsylvania Dutch.

We’ve been in the grip of the polar vortex here. Temperatures in the New York City area has been below zero Fahrenheit, and as low as -20 windchill. So what do New Yorkers do when the weather gets bone chilling cold? They cook. Or at least this New Yorker does. A good soul satisfying dessert is bread pudding. This stuff will really stick to your ribs, your thighs, and  your butt. Oh yeah, let’s talk about carbohydrates and fat up the Ying Yang, but once in a while, say, once every couple years, it warms the soul and takes you back to another time.

Bread Pudding


Preheat the oven to 350°


1/2 cup of raisins

3/4 cup melted butter (and you really should use butter)

1 cup milk

1 cup evaporated milk (this will give the creaminess)

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup packed brown sugar. (You will add this to the remaining butter)

one shot glass of whiskey or bourbon(this is optional to give it to your kids)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

Four cups dry bread


Brush an oblong pan, say, a 9 inch X 12 inch, with butter, reserve what is left.

In a large bowl stir the milk, brown sugar, the extract and salt together until the brown sugar dissolves. Add the raisins. Add the bread and stir well. Let the mixture sit for at least 15 min. Don’t worry if the entire batch turns into one gooey mass. Now pour the bread mixture into the buttered pan. Place the pan into the oven and bake for 35 to 40 min. or until a knife inserted into it will be clean when it is removed from pudding.


Well this makes, but the remaining butter and brown sugar (and whiskey if you’re using it) into a pan. Heat on low to melt the butter and sugar together. Once this is done , set aside. You can either pour this over the finished pudding as a glaze or use as a sauce.

When this is finished, serve warm, or chill and serve cold. It’s good either way.






Lemon Curd

Posted January 2, 2014 by memorystable
Categories: Uncategorized

Of all the recipes I brought back from England, I think the one that everybody likes most is lemon curd. Lemon curd is rather custardy substance that Brits spread on toast. They use it like jam. They also put it tarts. That’s all well and good, but I think the best use for just over poundcake. (No, I’m lying. The best way to use lemon curd is right out of the bowl. Like Peanutbutter only lemony)

Okay so why lemon curd? You can buy store for about six bucks a jar, or online for 8 to 12 bucks a jar. It’s good, if not a little strong. Homemade is best. But, it’s a pain in the butt to make. And if you make it wrong you will end up with sweet, lemony scrambled eggs. Once you learn how to make stuff, you’ll never want to buy in the store again. If you give it as a gift, the giftee will beg for more. They’ll never forget your lemon curd and you will be doomed to making lemon curd for everyone, forever. I honestly think that on my tombstone,  after wife and mother, will be a line that reads  “She made lemon curd”.

And so I will enlighten you on the art and science of making a good jar of lemon curd.

This recipe originally comes from Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management. It was first published in 1858. I have a copy of the first edition. I treasure this book. It has also the wonderful recipes you can  still use today, just to update them.

To start, you need four large lemons, a quarter pound of butter, five eggs. Oh, and 2 cups granulated white sugar. I suggest you have a double boiler, or large pot and a mixing bowl to fit on top of it. You will need a whisk,  a wooden spoon,a small strainer and the grater. You don’t need fresh lemons, you can use frozen lemon juice, but I wouldn’t suggest using reconstituted Lemon Juice such as ‘Real Lemon’. You will also need a bowl to put it in once it’s finished. If you are really brave,  get 8 ounce Mason jars and can it. Unless you are experienced with canning, you will want to try this the first time.

And now the recipe:

In the bottom compartment of the double boiler, or the pot, put some water, enough so it isn’t touching the bottom of the top part of the double boiler or mixing bowl and bring the water to a boil. Lower the heat so it is simmering, and the top part of the double boiler or a mixing bowl,in place. Add the butter, sugar, the juice of the four lemons (strained), and the grated rind three lemons. Stir and blend together as the butter melts. In another bowl, beat the five eggs until well mixed and then slowly, I need very slowly, add the eggs to the melted butter, sugar and lemon mixture, whisking as you Incorporate it. You must pour slowly and whisk continuously so the mixture does not curdle. This is very important. Now, change  to the wooden spoon and begin to stir. Keep stirring as it cooks. It will begin to thicken, just keep stirring until It is thickened and cooked. Pour the cooked mixture into a bowl, let cool and refrigerate. Now provided you follow the instructions you should have a batch of delicious lemon curd.