Belle’s Balls aka Cheese Coins

chhese coins

My sister brought these from San Francisco on a visit and they reminded us of something our mom made.  We called her and she remembered exactly who the recipe came from and had it written down.  My sister said the first time she ever experienced her mouth watering was when she stepped out of the shower and smelled these coins coming out of the oven.

In 1975 my grandmother had a neighbor named Belle.  This is her recipe.

  • 1/2 pound of softened margarine
  • 2 cup grated cheddar Cheese
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper or chili powder
  • 2 cups rice crispies

Mix everything together, chill dough if needed for easier handling, make into small balls and press down with a fork on a cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 for 20-25 mins.

Ideas to add to them, blue cheese, pecans, garlic, cayenne pepper, black pepper, herbs, feta, parmesan etc.  So crunchy and delicious.



Southern Chow Chow w/green tomatoes

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I have had an overabundance of tomatoes this year!  Luckily I have been able to share the bounty with some friends but still….I have made a ton of tomato sauce for the winter.  Growing vegetables has been one of the best things I’ve done.  It’s cut my grocery bill way down and I get to watch things grow. Amazing.  Anyway, now it’s getting to be fall and there are still lots and lots of tomatoes on the plants and I know they won’t have time to ripen. I did an internet search and of course fried green tomatoes came up, which are good, but I wanted something more.

I had heard of Chow Chow but thought it was cabbage based, which it can be. But there is also a green tomato version of this sweetish relish. I had also heard that it is a delicious relish for the usual hamburgers, hot dogs etc but that it is also good on pulled pork sandwiches, good in chili and lots of other things too! I used a recipe from Mommy’s Kitchen and I cut down the sugar by half and used brown sugar instead. I also added about 1/2 tsp of turmeric. Other than that it was as written so thank you!  Now what to do with all the zucchini?

Green Tomato Relish
12 – large green Tomatoes, cored (about 20 small to med size)
4 – green bell peppers, seeded
4 – medium or 1 extra large yellow onion
1 – red bell pepper, seeded
1 – tablespoon + 2 teaspoons yellow mustard seed
1 – tablespoon celery seed
2 – cups apple cider vinegar
1 – cups brown sugar
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons kosher salt
Chop the tomatoes and peppers very finely or if you prefer a chunky relish dice into
chunks. Either by hand or in small batches in a food processor.
Add the chopped vegetables in a large pot (heavy bottom non reactive stock pot) add
the mustard seed, celery seed, vinegar, kosher salt, and sugar.
Stir well and bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer and simmer over medium heat. Cook stirring often and skimming any foam as needed. ( I did not have to skim off anything)

Simmer until the relish/chow chow cooks down and thickens into a relish, about 2 hours. Fill mixture into hot sterilized pint size jars and process in a hot water bath. Process 10 minutes for pint size jars.

Remove jars using canning tongs and place on a counter with a towel. Let jars cool until the lids have popped and sealed.

Recipe Yields: 5 – 6 pint size jars
Recipe Source: The Gift of Southern Cooking

spoon sweets

  • 3 pounds quince
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 Tb lemon juice
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 1 cup thyme honey
  • 1 sprig rose geranium

Peel the quince and cut into pieces, like matchstick potatoes.  Put in pot, cover with 1 1/2 cups water and half the lemon juice and bring to a boil, cover & cook until they start to become tender 20-30 minutes. Add sugar, honey, remaining cold water and continue cooking until tender, about 30 minutes. After about 15 minutes add the rest of the lemon juice and the geranium. Test with sugar thermometer, when 220F remove from heat. Fill clean sterilized jars and cover with lids Store in a cool place.


From a really good Greek cookbook that I have to give back to my sister….

  • 4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup fine semolina
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 pound filo dough
  • 2/3 cup melted butter for brushing on filo


  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 lemon or rosewater to taste

In a heavy pot bring milk to boil Sprinkle in semolina whisking constantly over low heat. Add sugar and simmer for 5-6 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and add butter & eggs one by one, stirring. Add vanilla, stir. The mix will be thick but pourable.

Preheat oven to 375.  Butter a deep 10 inch baking pan and layer 8 sheets of filo dough, brushing butter between each layer. Pour the mixture in and layer and additional 8 sheets, buttering between each sheet. (You can do this outside the pan and then move all of the sheets together onto the top).

with a sharp knife, score the top diagonally. Sprinkle with a little water and bake for 1 hour.

Meanwhile make the syrup and simmer for 1 hour. You can put the whole 1/2 lemon in the syrup and remove at the end.  Pour the syrup over the galaktoboureko the minute you remove from the over.  It will sizzle and pop so be very careful not to get burnt and protect the surrounding area with paper towels.

Let cool and serve.


Lamb and Fennel Sitting in a Tree

Oh I can’t wait to try this. I LOOOOOVE lamb.

Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

Roasted fennel is one of those things that smells so good, and tastes even better. How to make it even more tasty?

Roast it in rendered lamb fat.

Red onion can be substituted for shallots if need be. The leg of lamb can be deboned before roasting to make it easier to slice. If you do, the cooking time will be reduced so, be careful not to dry out the meat.

Roast Lamb with Fennel and Shallot

  • 3-4 lb leg of lamb
  • 4 tbsp fresh rosemary chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic minced to almost a paste
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 fennel bulbs
  • 4 large shallots
  • olive oil

Wash and dry leg of lamb. In a bowl mix three tablespoons rosemary, zest and juice from lemon, sea salt, pepper, and garlic. Add enough olive oil to form mixture into a rough paste. On a…

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Eggplant parmesan


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I recently bought some ricotta cheese for a dish I wanted to make. I bought much more than I needed and wasn’t sure what else to use it in.  Cheesecake?  No!  I had enough sweets over Christmas.  An internet search turned up lots of pasta dishes but that wasn’t it either.  How about eggplant parmesan?  I’ve wanted to make eggplant parmesan for quite some time but I didn’t really want a heavy, greasy dish as it can sometimes be.  I looked around and found a recipe that baked the eggplant first instead of frying it. I didn’t really like anything else about that recipe so I decided to use that idea but make my own sauce, plus there was the ricotta.

I love putanesca sauce so I made something along those lines, you can use any sauce you like of course.  As usual the measurements are not exact, I throw in what I have or what I feel it needs after tasting.

The Sauce

  • 2Tb olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 10 green olives sliced
  • 15 Kalamata olives sliced
  • Can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 small cans tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 4 drops fish oil
  • 1/2 Tb yerma or Schezuan pepper
  • salt/pepper/sugar

Heat the oil over med heat in a pan, add the garlic. Cook a few minutes and add the olives. After they heat a bit add the diced tomatoes and cook together for around 5 minutes.  Add 1 can of tomato sauce, the red wine, fish oil, Schezuan pepper. Taste and add salt/black pepper and about 1 Tb sugar to cut the acidity.  If it looks like you will need more sauce, add the other can of tomato sauce and cook until thickened.

  • 2 Eggplants
  • 2-3 eggs
  • Italian bread crumb mix (bread crumbs, oregano, garlic, pepper & parmesan)


Meanwhile, cut the eggplant into 1/4 inch slices and salt. Let sit while salted about 1/2 hour.  You will see drops of water coming out of the eggplant.  The salt will take some of the bitterness away from the eggplant.  Rinse and pat dry.  Whisk the eggs together and dip the eggplant and then coat in breadcrumbs.  Put on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 10 minutes each side.

  • 1 cup Ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 parmesan cheese
  • 1 TB basil
  • salt/pepper
  • 1 cup or more Grated mozzarella

Mix together the Ricottta, eggs, parmesan, basil and salt/pepper.  Butter a baking dish and layer eggplant, ricotta mixture, sauce and mozzarella cheese, about two layers.  Sprinkle with parmesan and bake at 350 for 35 minutes.



Burgundy Mustard Pork


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So yummy!I got this recipe from a Williams Sonoma catalog of all places. The catalog came into my work and a friend of mine who also likes to cook (as well as fantasize about all the cookware in said catalog) told me that she had made the recipes from the catalog before and that they were pretty good. I decided to give this one a shot and am really glad I did, so is Jason.

It’s been modified a bit, for example the actual recipe uses white wine and Burgundy mustard. I had neither at the time so I used red wine and dijon. It was delicious. So here goes. You will need a dutch oven to make this or some kind of oven proof pan with a lid. I used my cast iron dutch oven and it was perfect as it put a nice sear on the meat.

3/4 cup red wine
1 TB packed brown sugar
2 Tb olive oil
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 Tb rosemary
2 chopped garlic cloves
1 boneless pork loin roast
1/4 cup heavy cream

Whisk together the wine, brown sugar, olive oil, mustard, rosemary & garlic. Brush the pork on all sides with the mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for about an hour. Put the rest of the marinade in a saucepan and reserve.
Preheat the oven to 475 F. Place the pork in a Dutch oven, season with salt and pepper, cover and roast for 20 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 400 and continue roasting with the lid on for about 30-40 minutes. (Meat thermometer should read 145 when done). Remove from the Dutch oven and let sit while you make the sauce.


Pour the marinade into the Dutch oven and add the 1/4 cup cream. Bring to a boil on the stovetop until reduced (about 5 minutes). I’ve made the sauce without adding it to the roasting pan but it’s not as rich and delicous that way. The juices and browned bits from the pork add a depth of flavor, so I highly suggest you try it like that.

I served it with roast squash, I figured since the oven was on for the pork I might as well roast squash. I added the squash when the temperature was turned down to 400 and it took about 40 minutes for it to finish, which was how long the pork needed so that was good.  I served the squash with coconut oil and Fleur de Sel, yummy!