Wednesday, June 30, 2010


As you can see I get excited about a great recipe and everyone who has ever had this sauce says it is great. Summer in Michigan is blueberry time. We have acres and acres of blueberry fields right outside of town and farmer’s at the Farmer’s Market who bring in varieties that aren’t sold commercially that can be big as cherries. I give my grandchildren paper cups of blueberries to eat while they go and do their “thing”. We all love blueberries.

Enjoy the bliss!

This sauce adapted from a recipe in GOURMET is pure bliss on vanilla ice cream but it is also wonderful served as a bowl of fruit, on a piece of cake, on pancakes, on a bowl of peaches, in a trifle, or mixed with yogurt. I like the sauce made with black raspberry jam the best as I feel it adds a real richness to the sauce and I love old-fashioned black raspberries. If you have someone like my Son-in-Law who does not like almond, you can substitute vanilla or brandy extract for the almond. Cousin Joyce, in an emergency, used red raspberry jam and lime juice. The sauce was delightful.  NOTE: This sauce freezes beautifully.


1/3 c black raspberry, apricot or blueberry simply fruit jam, no sugar added jams
2 T water
1 t fresh lemon juice
2 T sugar if the blueberries are very tart, rarely needed
3 c blueberries, divided
¼ t pure almond extract

In a saucepan, bring jam, water, (extra sugar if needed), and lemon juice to a boil, stirring constantly. Add 1 ½ cups blueberries to the jam mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until the berries burst. Add the remaining blueberries and simmer, stirring gently, until just heated. Remove from heat and stir in almond extract. Serve warm or cold.

Bring water, lemon juice and jam to a boil.

Add half the blueberries.

Cook, stirring constantly, until berries burst.

Ready to add the second half of the berries.
Cook just until second half of the berries are heated.  Remove from heat.

Add flavoring of your choice.


Oh,hooray...we can go swimming.

I'll beat you...


Let's get sand on their stuff. People like that.

One last chase.

I'm worn out.  Let's go home.

Monday, June 28, 2010


Herbs in my deck box for Maitre D' Butter.


We were treated to a lovely dinner by oldest Son at the Cooper’s Hawk Restaurant. The restaurant makes their own wine right on the premise. Dinner was delightful. I ordered a Cowboy Steak on Son’s recommendation. It was listed on the menu as a 20 oz. Bone-In Ribeye Steak with Maitre D’ Butter and Fried Onion Strings.

I loved the onion strings but I know I won’t make them unless I have a real change of heart as I don’t really like to fry food. I like to eat it, but not cook it. Of course, I took a great deal of the steak home; therefore, I was free to do my testing for the flavors used to make it so good. The part of the steak that was so delightful is where the Onion Strings had been stacked. That had me thinking that if I put French Fried Onions in a Maître D’ Butter I could duplicate that taste.

A chef would never put canned French fried onions in a Maitre D’ butter. However I am not a chef, I am a researcher so I can do as I please and wanted a fried onion taste in my Maitre D’ butter.

This Maitre D’ butter can be used as a spread on French bread and heated as a change from garlic bread. The butter can be stuffed under the skin of a chicken before baking. Great on vegetables or potatoes, it can also be used as added flavor when sautéing. Kept frozen, it is ready to use at a moments notice.


1 stick butter, softened
6 T crushed, canned French Fried Onions
1 ½ T fresh parsley, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
½ t Dijon mustard
2 t lemon juice
1 T fresh chives, chopped
½ T shallot, minced or onion
¼ t fresh Mexican Mint Marigold or French Tarragon

In a medium sized bowl, combine all the ingredients. On a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap, place the butter mixture toward the top of the paper or plastic in a tube shape. Turn up the paper or plastic edge near the butter mixture and shape it into a roll. Let sit overnight before using. Freezer until needed. Slice into patties to use.

Chop herbs.

Mince shallot or onion.

Juice the lemon and mince the garlic.

Measure out Dijon mustard.

Smash the French Fried Onions before measuring.

Mix all ingredients together.  That is my dog chewed granny fork that I love.  I can't even remember which dog chewed now.

Ingredients mixed together and ready for the parchment paper.

Form a tube on the parchment paper.

Roll up the side nearest butter and shape into a roll.

Butter ready to freeze or refrigerate.

Grill unseasoned steak.  At the restaurant it was ribeye.  We are using a piece of chuck steak.

Grilled steak ready for the butter.  A chef's butter roll would be perfectly round but I am a researched so mine isn't round.

Cut pats of butter and put on steak.  Let melt.

Spread butter over steak.

The finished steak.  The Maitre D' Butter is great melted on French bread too.

Salt and pepper steak to personal taste and enjoy!

Sunday, June 27, 2010


To enlarge a picture, double click on it.

The Gulf oil spill is on everyone's mind.

The latest threat to the Great Lakes is the invasion of the Asian Carp.

In a resort town you see all sorts of characters.

Welcome to Grand Haven where parking and public bathrooms are in short supply.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


The oriental ingredients we have used in the recipes on Michigan Cottage Cook can be found in large supermarkets in the international section.  In West Michigan, the chili garlic sauce and other oriental ingredients can be found at Meijer in the international section.

Friday, June 25, 2010



I promised a cake to use with the Cream Sherry you bought to make P.F.Chang’s Chicken Roll-ups--Not posted on 6/1/10 .  For over forty years this has been my “go to” cake when I need a luscious cake in a hurry that would feed a crowd.  It is an all around favorite as everyone loves it and tries to figure out what is in it to account for the unusual flavor. The vanilla pudding, nutmeg and Cream Sherry blend together to form a delightful almost eggnog taste. The alcohol in the sherry bakes out so the cake is suitable for children as well as adults. I have made this cake for elegant buffets and also to take on family camping trips. It is very moist and is even better if it is made ahead so the flavors can meld. Be sure to use Cream Sherry and not cooking sherry. Cooking sherry is heavily salted. It was originally salted to keep the servants out of the wine. Virginia used only a Duncan Hines cake mix and Almaden cream sherry in this recipe but it does work well with less expensive brands of Cream Sherry.


1 (18.25 oz) box yellow cake mix
1 (3.4 oz) box instant vanilla pudding
1 t nutmeg
4 eggs
3/4 c vegetable oil
3/4 c Cream Sherry
Powdered sugar for dusting, if desired

In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together for 5 minutes with an electric mixer. Bake in a greased and floured 12-cup Bundt pan for 45 to 50 minutes in a preheated 350 oven° F. or until the cake tests done with a toothpick.  Let cool slightly on a wire rack. Turn out on a plate. I like to dust with powdered sugar but it is not necessary.

Spray Bundt pan with Crisco spray with flour.

Sprayed pan.

Put all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl.  Beat for 5 minutes with an electric mixer.

Put batter into prepared pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes in preheated 350° F. oven.

Cake right out of the oven.

Big, beautiful, moist, lucious cake.

If desired, dust with powdered sugar.

Isn't that pretty?