Wednesday, October 14, 2009


This is an entry I have been meaning to do for a long time... ever since Ed and I got back from Kauai on January 21st (2009). This was my first trip to Hawaii, and Ed's first to Kauai (though he had been to other islands on business). He has instrumentation in Kauai but he seldom installs his own stuff, especially in desirable travel locations:-( It was a spur of the moment trip.  We were delightfully tired from a house full of family over the holidays and house bound in sub-zero weather.  Ed discovered we could use miles for tickets to Hawaii and that there was an opening at a bed and breakfast friends of ours enjoy almost every year.  Perfect timing! We were blessed with absolutely awesome weather, Waimea Canyon was not engulfed in fog as it so often is this time of year, and we accomplished all we wanted and more in just a week's time.

The first day I was up early (as most of the trip, never fully leaving mainland time) and treated to spouting whales not far off shore from the beach near our bed and breakfast, Po'ipu Plantation, which was recommended by friends. They suggested we stay in the 4 bedroom "main house" which has a wonderful porch and dining area where an excellent full breakfast with lots of tropical fruit and juice is served every morning. We spent the day hiking the Nu'alalo Trail to Lolo Vista (3.8 miles each way). As with many trails in Waimea Canyon, this trail starts at the top and goes down (1,426 feet) and since it was wet making the red mud very slippery, I could not have done it without my hiking poles. The views of the Na Pali Coast from Lolo Vista are spectacular. Given our late start, we opted to retrace our steps rather than continuing on a considerably longer loop option via the Awaawapuhi Trail. Since the warm winds and sun dried out the mud to some degree and we were going up-hill the return trip was easier. We joined friends for dinner at the Hyatt's Yum Cha! (now closed) which offers a good selection of small and large plate Asian cuisine and local draft beer, both at reasonable prices.

Day 2 began with a drive along the North coast with a stop at Kilauea Lighthouse where we saw lots of white colored shore birds including red-footed boobys. We drove on to Hanalei, getting sushi take-out, at the Dolphin Fish Market on the way into town, which we ate on the shore of the bay. We then drove on to the "end of the road" at Ke'e beach where we watched the exceptionally high waves thunder in. As is not unusual for this time of year, most all of the beaches were closed because of treacherous conditions. A stop at the Wishing Well for shaved ice and a walk down to and along Secret Beach completed our day. We had dinner at Roy's which we thought was over-rated and over-priced and would not recommend.

Day 3 we stayed close to our bed and breakfast hiking along the coast to Mahaulepu beaches (Gillins and Kawailoa Bay). It was windy with a a few isolated showers, but warm enough for us to enjoy a swim at Kawaiola Bay. We saw several whales off-shore.

Day 4 was more ambitious, we returned to Waimea Canyon and hiked the Pihea Trail (1.8 miles each way) to the Alaka'i Swamp Trail (2.0 miles from intersection to the end). The trail was steep, wet and slippery at the beginning, again going down at the start, but as the going becomes muddier, boardwalks appear and the last part of the Pihea Trail and most of the Swamp Trail are on boardwalks. The wire mesh that covers most of the boardwalks has come loose in many places and presents a tripping hazard. The view from the end, Kilohana Look-out, gave us absolutely spectacular views of the north shore and Hanaleli Bay 4, 000 feet below. We were lucky, however, as the view cannot be assumed this time of year as the weather tends to be very foggy in the canyon and on the North Shore. We had dinner at Plantation Gardens, an old manor house with interesting antiques set in beautiful tropical gardens. We had pan seared local fish on a salad bed of arugula, mango and papaya topped with an avocado-cilantro mousse and lilikoi cider vinaigrette - delicious. Some variations have and others will be included in this blog.

Day 5 was another hiking day. We got up early (one drawback of Po'ipu Plantation is that breakfast is not served until 8) to drive to Ke'e Beach at the end of the North Shore to hike the first part of the Kalalau Trail to Hanakapi'ai Beach (2 miles to the beach).   We had a wonderful hike up and down along the coast to the beach which was being pounded by incredibly large waves. After watching one hiker fall in with boots and full gear, we removed our boots and crossed the stream. We started up the 2 mile trail to Hanakapi'ai Falls but after crossing the stream again and then coming to a crossing that was much deeper, we decided there was too much water in the stream to continue. On the way home we stopped at Queen's Bath and at Kiahuna Beach to watch the sunset. Dinner at the Beach House, macadamia crusted fish, was good but not spectacular.

On day 6 we had another awesome trip to a still clear Wiamea Canyon this time taking the Canyon Trail to Waipo'o Falls. Enroute we met an interesting local who pointed out goats along the Canyon walls and told us about hunting pigs with "dog and knife". The falls, a smaller and one larger (800') fall, are visible from the west side of the Canyon but not from the end of the trail (except for the very brave) which ends at the top of the large falls. After our hike we tried to go to Polihale Beach, but as we heard might be the case, the gate was locked due to washed-out roads. We watched the sunset from Salt Pond beach then returned to our favorite restaurant of the trip, Plantation Gardens for dinner.

Our last day started by watching the Obama inauguration before breakfast.  Since the day was hot and sunny we opted to repeat the beach walk we did on our third day, again enjoying the swimming and seeing many whales off-shore and a carefully protected monk seal on the beach.  We shower then head for a last dinner at Yum Cha! and our red-eye home. Awesome trip.

All photos this entry © 2009 Edward C. Kern, Jr.

Reviewed 9/20/2017

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Greek Roasted Potatoes

This side dish was recommended by Ada Graham, Moosilauke Ravine Lodge summer (2009) manager, to compliment the Chicken Italiano she recommended for Alex and Dan's Wedding Weekend Saturday night dinner. Although this recipe appears in Moosewood Cooks for a Crowd as "Greek Roasted Potatoes", it is known around MRL as "Potatoes I Love You!" because when MRL first served these potatoes one of the appreciative diners made this exclamation.

Serves 8ish depending on how much you love the potatoes.

Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.

In shallow baking pan, toss

10 c raw potatoes, cubed


1/2 c lemon juice
2 T olive oil
1 T (or less) salt
1/2 t black pepper
1/2 t oregano, dried
2 cloves garlic [minced - I use more]


2 c hot water.

Bake uncovered at 475 degrees F for 1-1 1/2 hours stirring every 20 minutes. Add more water if needed to prevent sticking - try to let potatoes brown and liquid evaporate in the final few minutes.

Revised 8/24/17

Chicken Italiano

This is the entree recommended by Ada Graham, Moosilauke Ravine Lodge summer (2009) manager for Alex and Dan's Wedding Weekend Saturday night dinner. She said Chicken Italiano paired with Greek Roasted Potatoes is is a MRL favorite for wedding dinners. Coincidentally, the recipe is from the Creme de Colorado Cookbook, which has long graced Moogie's cookbook shelf in Carbondale.

1/2 c fresh ground Parmesan cheese
2 T minced fresh parsley [plus extra whole/coarsely chopped for garnish]
1 t dried oregano [or 1 T fresh, chopped, plus extra whole/coarsely chopped for garnish]
1 glove garlic, minced
1/2 t fresh ground pepper

2 whole chicken breasts boned and skinned in
3 T butter, melted
then in the cheese mixture

Place in shallow baking dish, drizzle remaining butter over chicken.

Bake at 375 degrees F 25 minutes or until tender.

[Serve garnished with coarsely chopped/sprigs of fresh herbs.]

Reviewed 5/13/17

Maple-Pear Grilled Pork Chops

This is my further adaption (adapted in part because I had a several ripe local pears on hand) of Pork Chops with Maple Syrup, Pecans and Dried Cranberries. It is simpler to prepare and uses the grill, instead of the oven.

Serves 2

In a small flat dish (just large enough to hold the pork on one level) combine:

3/8 c maple syrup
1 1/2 t balsamic vinegar
1 T dark brown sugar
1/4 t cinnamon

Mix well and pour most of the mixture into a small sauce pan, leaving just enough liquid (about 2 T to evenly coat pork chops on both sides). Place

2 boneless pork chops (1/4 - 1/3 pound each)

in the flat dish with the remaining syrup mixture and turn chops until both sides are well coated.

Grill chops until cooked through, approximately 6-7 minutes on a side, depending on thickness, coating with any remaining maple syrup mixture. Remove from grill and let sit while making sauce.

SAUCE: Warm the maple syrup mixture that was placed in the saute pan and then add:

1/4 c pecans
1/4 c dried cranberries

cook for 2 minutes and then add:

1 pear, peeled, cored and sliced
several sage leaves, coarsely chopped

and saute just until pear is tender.

Place one chop on each of two plates, top with the sauce and garnish with a few sage leaves.

VARIATION: Use thinly sliced apples instead of pears.

Reviewed 6/13/2017

Pork Chops with Maple Syrup, Pecans and Dried Cranberries

This recipe, an adaptation of "Vermont Pan-seared Pork Medallions with Cranberry-Pecan Sauce" from the cookbook In a Vermont Kitchen by Amy Lyon and Lynne Andreen, was recommended by Ada Graham, the Summer 2009 Manager of Moosilauke Ravine Lodge, for Friday night dinner of Alex and Dan's Wedding Weekend at the Lodge. The MRL adaptions are in brackets.

Makes 4 servings.

Make 8 large Zucchini and Onion Pancakes*  [MRL omits] and keep warm. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (120C)


12 ounces pork tenderloin, cut into 8 equal slices [MRL uses pork chops]

between 2 pieces of waxed paper, and pound to 1/4-inch thickness. [if using pork chops, do not pound]

In a medium bowl, mix together:
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/8 t salt
1/8 t freshly ground black pepper
1/4 c maple sugar or firmly packed light or dark brown sugar [MRL uses 1/2 brown sugar, 1/2 maple syrup]

Coat the pork with the flour mixture, shaking off any excess.

in a large saute pan, over medium heat, heat

1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil

Add the pork slices, making sure they do not touch each other. If needed, saute in batches. Saute 5 minutes; turn, and saute until brown, 3 minutes. Transfer the pork to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while making the sauce. [MRL dips pork chops in mixture then BAKES; about 1/2 through; sauce (see below) is then poured over chops and then chops are baked until done.]

To the same pan, add:

2 shallots, coarsely chopped [MRL uses yellow onions]
1/2 c dried cranberries
1/4 c chopped pecans
1 T maple sugar or firmly packed light or dark brown sugar [MRL uses 1/2 brown sugar, 1/2 maple syrup]

Cook 2 minutes. Stir in:

1/2 cup port wine [MRL uses cooking sherry]

Boil, stirring until reduced by half.  Add:

1/2 cup beef stock [MRL sometimes uses vegetable stock]
1/2 cup cranberry juice

Boil until reduced by half.  Add:

2 T balsamic vinegar
1/2 t salt
1/2 t ground white pepper
3 T chopped fresh sage

Simmer 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to very low. Add:

© 2009 Chris Kern
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, in pieces

Stir until butter is incorporated. Return the pork to the pan, and bring to a boil.

To serve, place 2 pancakes [MRL omits] on each plate and top each with a pork medalion. Spoon 1/4 of the sauce over each medallion and top with 2 tablespoons each of:

1/2 c dried cranberries
1/2 c toasted pecan halves


In a medium bowl mix together:

3 c grated zucchini
1 small onion, grated
1 medium potato, peeled and grated
1 small jalapeño chili, finely minced
1/2 c finely chopped red bell pepper
2 t finely chopped fresh parsley
1 t salt
1 t freshly ground black pepper.

Sprinkle with:

2 T all-purpose flour

Mix to combine then add:

2 eggs, beaten

And mix again to combine. In a large frying pan, heat

2 T canola [I would use peanut/olive] oil over medium heat.

Drop the zucchini mixture by rounded tablespoonfuls into the skillet. Flatten slightly. Fry until golden, about 2 minutes. Turn, and fry on the other side until brown, 2 minutes. Transfer the pancakes to paper towels to absorb the excess oil. Repeat with the remaining zucchini mixture, adding oil as needed.

Reviewed 6/13/2017

Friday, October 9, 2009

Best Rum Cake Ever

This June I met with Moosilauke Ravine Lodge summer manager, Ada Graham, to discuss menus for Alex and Dan's August wedding. One of the recipes Ada recommended for the Friday night dinner was an adaption of "Vermont Pan-Seared Pork Medallions" from In a Vermont Kitchen by Amy Lyon and Lynne Andreen. This recipe sounded interesting so I found the book and tried it (very good!). While perusing the book for other recipes I came across "The Best Rum Cake Ever". My Mom makes a rum cake but her recipe calls for a white box cake and instant pudding so I haven't made it in a long time. Looking over the ingredient list, I thought this recipe might be a good alternative except I could not understand how a serious recipe could involve so much rum .....

"Helen S. Atwood, our formidable neighbor of eighty-something, who has lived here forever and knows everyone, gave us this recipe from her trove. (It's kept her going all of these years.) It's a keeper! SERVES?

1 or 2 quarts rum
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon firmly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups chopped dried fruit
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup sugar .
1 cup chopped nuts

Before starting, sample the rum to check for quality. Good, isn't it? Select a large mixing bowl, measuring cup, etc. Check the rum again. Good, isn't it? (It must be just right.) To be sure that the rum is of the highest quality, pour one level cup of rum into a glass and drink it.
(If the rum quality is not the best, the cake will not be superior!)
With an electric beater, beat the butter into a large fluffy bowl. Add 1 seaspoon of tugar and beat again. Meanwhile make sure the rum is of the finest quality-try another cup. Good, isn't it?
Open a second quart of rum if necessary, add two large leggs, 2 cups of fried druit, and beat until high. If the druit gets stuck in the beaters, just pry it loose with a drews-crivers.
Next, sift 3 cups baking powder, a pinch of rum, a seaspoon of toda, and 1 cup of pepper or salt (it really doesn't mattter which). Sample the rum again. Good, isn't it?
Sift 1 1/2 pint of lemon juice. Fold in butter and strained nuts. Add 1 tablespoon of brown sugar (or whatever color you can find). Mix well. Grease and flour that crazy oven, and crank up that cake pan to 350 greedees. Now, pour the whole mess into the oven. You don't need a pan. Just throw it on in. Now, check the rum again. Good, ain't it? Now, get someone to watch the oven, cause if you feel like I do, you're goin' to bed.

NOTE: I have tried this recipe three times and never did find the cake when I woke up from my nap. All I found was this sticky brown mess all over the kitchen walls and oven, and two empty rum bottles."

I believe all of the other recipes in this cookbook are serious.


Just for the record,  here is my Mom's recipe, which was given to her by a New Mexico family friend, Stella Baker. Stay tuned as sometime I am going to figure out a version without white box cake and instant pudding, meanwhile I prefer the Orange Poppy Seed Bunt Cake

"Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

In the bottom of a non-stick Bundt cake pan spread

1/2 c chopped nuts [pecans]

Mix together:

1 box white cake mix (Betty Crocker)
1 box instant pudding [recall this must be vanilla]
1/2 c light rum
1/2 c vegetable oil
1/2 c water
4 eggs, well beaten
and pour into Bundt pan.

Bake for 55 minutes in preheated 350 degree oven [Mom's notes say 35-45 minutes]

While cake is cooking, make icing by combining in a small sauce pan:

1 cube butter [4 oz?]
1 c sugar
1/2 c light rum
1/4 c water

Cook for 2-3 minutes and pour slowly over the cake as soon as it comes from the oven. Leave in the pan for about one hour.

"Good luck! Stella"

Reviewed 5/11/17

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Moosilauke Ravine Lodge Wedding

© 2009 Julie Ireland
This blog is more than about food, it is in large part about food that is special to our family and that has been and will be shared on special family occasions and holidays - and what could be more special than a wedding - Alexandra Martha Kern to Daniel James White on August 15, 2009 at Moosilauke Ravine Lodge in Warren, NH! While several subsequent entries will offer recipes for the menus given below, chosen with the help of the Lodge's summer 2009 manager Ada Graham, it seemed appropriate to first provide an overview of Moosilauke Ravine Lodge (MRL) and the celebratory weekend.

For a long time Moosilauke has been a special place for the Densmore-Kern Family. Ja and Moogie (Densmore) enjoyed Moosilauke as one of the earliest New England ski areas.  Pris was one of/the first female summer crew members (1962) and Moosilauke was a second home for Ed while he was at Dartmouth. Alexandra and Christopher were introduced to Moosilauke's trails as soon as they were big enough to scramble up the mountain, and Alexandra spent many happy days there while she was at Dartmouth. She lived there the summer of 1999 while working on Dartmouth's "bio crew" and was on the MRL fall crew in 2000. Alex served and Ed still serves on the Moosilauke Advisory Committee.

© 2008 Edward C. Kern, Jr.
Soon after Alex and Dan became engaged in October 2008, Moosilauke Ravine Lodge was added to their short list of potential places to be married. Alex, Dan, Ed and I had a wonderful powder-snow ski into Moosilauke just before Christmas to introduce Dan to the Lodge. After this trip, Alex and Dan decided this is where they would like to be married. We all made an additional trip to Moosilauke in May with Dan's Mom, Leslie, and Dan's Dad and Step-mom, Jim and Paula. The food and weather could not have been better. We were treated to a delicious beet soup along with yummy bread and salad and a vegetable chicken couscous (the large Israeli couscous which was very moist). Dessert was a lemon cake topped with raspberries and a balsamic vinegar reduction - awesome. All this followed by tea on the guest porch (in May!).

© 2009 Chris Kern
The wedding weekend began on Friday afternoon, August 14 when immediate family and close friends of Alex and Dan gathered at the Lodge for cocktails and dinner. We were blessed with perfect weather the entire weekend and on Saturday many guests along with Alex and Dan climbed the mountain before the 4:30 ceremony.

Breakfasts were "typical" MRL breakfasts (if you can call such a breakfast "typical"):Saturday: Orange juice , fresh (the fresh and assorted melon and berries were special for the wedding) fruit, steel-cut oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar, partial whole wheat raspberry pancakes with Canadian bacon and maple syrup.

Sunday: Orange juice , fresh fruit, steel-cut oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar, (heart shaped) lemon scones, scrambled eggs and bacon.


© 2009 Chris Kern

© 2009 Julie Ireland
Friday Reception: Artichoke and spinach hummus with wholegrain chips, artichoke dip with pita chips, assorted cheese and crackers, pistachios.

Saturday Reception: Shrimp cocktail, hummus and veggie tray, and assorted cheese and crackers

Dinners: MRL has a tradition of posting the dinner menu on a blackboard in the dining room. For dinner menus, see photos of this board. For recipes see: Pork Chops with Maple Syrup, Pecans and Dried CranberriesChicken Italiano, and Greek Roasted Potatoes

© 2009 Chris Kern
The wedding cake was made by Umpleby's Bakehouse in Hanover, NH. Charles Umpleby was very accommodating, first hosting me at a tasting and then when I had decided, based on my other tasting, this was the bakery to go with, hosting Alex and Dan along with both sets of parents at another tasting to determine exactly what kind of cake Alex and Dan wanted. The chocolate cake and white butter cream frosting decision went very quickly, but Dan and Alex had much debate about what the fillings should be, finally settling on a layer of chocolate ganache and a layer of raspberry mousse with fresh raspberries for each tier. For decoration they decided the outside edge of each tier would be lined with raspberries and the top of the cake would have a mound of raspberries, later giving Charles the option of adding additional local fruit on the top. Thinking all the decisions had been made, they breathed a sigh of relief only to discover they also had to decide on:

The inside edge of the cake .... they opted for pearl butter cream decorations.
The outside edges... they opted for a clean edge with no butter cream decorations.
The sides of the cake... they opted for a "3 dot" motif of butter cream.

Charles delivered the cake to the MRL on a lovely maple cake board which he gave to Alex and Dan along with an anniversary cake. I recommend this bakery without any qualifications. (Have since had many yummy breakfsts and lunches there!)

Reviewed 9/20/2017

Monday, June 22, 2009

Quinoa-Crusted Scallops

Serves 2

When I was in Portland (OR) in April, Alex and Dan took me to an awesome Peruvian restaurant, Andina. I had what was described in the menu as "Quinoa-crusted diver scallops perched on top of wilted spinach and a potato-parsnip puree, with golden beet and crabmeat 'cannelloni' and a duet of red beet and passion fruit reductions." Really good. The Andina served 3 individial scallops in a line on a long narrow plate, each on a bed of puree, then spinach, then the scallop with the 'cannelloni" looking like an elongated corn chip stuck beside each of the scallops. The reductions were artfully drizzled on the plate. When I returned home I attempted a much simpler rendition for Ed (sans 'cannelloni' and reductions and using a simpler plating mostly because I do not have any long narrow plates).

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Wash and cut into small chunks:

2 medium sized yukon gold potatoes
1 medium parsnip

Put in a saucepan with water and cook until tender approximately 20 minutes (check frequently after 10 minutes and do not overcook!).

While potatoes are cooking wash and dry:

6 large dry (unsoaked in phosphates) sea scallops

Place on a baking sheet and put in oven preheated to 450 degrees. Bake 4-5 minutes, depending on size of scallops. Turn scallops over and top each scallop with 1 T of:

6 T cooked quinoa
tossed with
1 t olive oil

Return scallops to oven and cook additional 4-5 minutes until quinoa is browned (use broil setting the last minute or two if necessary to brown the quinoa); scallops should be opaque and slightly firm with a bit of bounce and resistance when touched, not mushy.

While scallops are cooking sautee:

1 t olive oil (heat first)
~6 ounces of spinach (2 large handfuls)


When potatoes and parsnips are tender, remove from heat and mash well with potato masher or immersion blender

Place half of the mashed potatoes and parsnips on each of two warmed plates, flatten a bit and top with half the spinach then 3 scallops.

Garnish with lemon zest and serve with a lemon wedge.

Reviewed 7/9/2017

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Haiku Turnip Sautee

This recipe comes from Alexandra and from the Portland (OR) Farmer's Market. Alex and Dan belong to a wonderful CSA. When I arrived in Portland in April their fridge was full of delicious veggies from the farm and beautiful flowers from the farm were on their table.

Alex served very yummy sauteed baby turnips with greens. That weekend we found more turnips at the Portland Farmer's Market where they were giving tasting samples of the turnips and turnip greens sauteed with garlic and cippolini onion.

When I got home,I really wanted to serve this to Ed but had to wait about three weeks to find them at Verrill Farm.


1 bunch (about a dozen small turnips) turnips with greens

Cut turnips off the greens, wash and slice in 1/16 to 1/8 inch rings Cut any long stems off the greens and wash greens.


2 t olive oil

Sautee in hot oil:

2 large cloves garlic, finely minced
1-2 cippolini onions, finely chopped

until garlic is golden.

Toss in the turnip greens and stir to coat with oil, when greens are partially wilted, add turnips and stir until greens are wilted and turnips (which can almost be eaten raw) are warmed through.

VARIATION: In lieu of cippolini onions I have used scallions (I especially like the mix of white and purple scallions currently available at Verrill Farm). Slice the white/purple end of the scallion in 1/8" thick rings and add with the garlic. slice the green part of the scallion in 3/4 inch lengths and add with the turnip greens

Reviewed 8/24/2017

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Winter Squash - Sage Risotto

This is inspired by a similar risotto dish Ed and I had in February 2009 at the Center Cafe* in Moab, Utah.

*2010 CENTER CAFE no longer has menu we have enjoyed - serving "gourmet" pizza and salads; 2011 Closed :-(

6 generous servings as a main course (I often halve this recipe).

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Cut in half, peel, and cut in 3/4 inch cubes:

1 butternut squash


2 t olive oil in a baking dish

Add the squash and toss with the oil. Place in preheated 425 degree F oven and roast for approximately 1/2 hour, shaking the pan and/or tossing the squash with the oil every 10 minutes, or until squash is tender.

Wash and chop:

2 T fresh sage

While squash is cooking, in a medium sized heavy sauce pan over medium heat, melt:

2 T butter (I often omit or add additional olive oil in place of some/all butter)
2 T olive oil


4 medium shallots, finely chopped (or 1/3 c onion, finely chopped onion + 1 t garlic, finely chopped)

Cook stirring for about 3 minutes, until the shallots are wilted and semi-transparent. Add:

2 c uncooked Arborio rice

and stir well using a wooden spoon to combine the rice and shallots and coat the rice.

BEGIN to add

6 ½ c chicken or vegetable broth which has been heated to the boiling point

ABOUT ¾ CUP AT A TIME, stirring well after each addition until the broth has been mostly absorbed by the rice. Continue to add broth, stirring, until the rice is tender but firm, al dente, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and add the squash and the sage.

Stir well and serve immediately, Serve immediately on warm plates. Top with

Finely chopped fresh sage

The Center Cafe served this dish on top of fresh asparagus.  However, this is more of a fall dish and asparagus, a spring vegetable.  Need to rethink this approach.  November 2011 : See Mushroom Risotto with Winter Squash and Sage

Reviewed 5/29/2017

Monday, March 30, 2009

Crab Cakes

Most crab cakes have fillers: potatoes, bread crumbs, peppers and or onions, mayonaise - take your pick.** The dungeness crab cakes Ed and I had recently (February 2009) at the Center Cafe* in Moab, UT seemed to be pure crab...well crab plus something to hold the crab together. They were spectacular!

Soon after we returned home, I found dungeness crab on special at Costco and that was enough to inspire me to experiment. After perusing several crab cake recipes, I decided to use egg and a bit of flour as the "binder". Here is the resulting recipe which Ed and I decided comes pretty close to Center Cafe's. The mustard addition is mine; Center Cafe served their crab cakes with tomato coulis and creme fraiche. While the Costo crab (canned and refrigerated) is okay,  I have since decided I much prefer to use fresh crab, either Dungeness or King Crab.

Makes 4 medium size crab cakes - Serves 2 as an entree; 4 as an appetizer.

Pick the meat from:

One dungeness crab (about 2.5 pounds; this should yield a little over half a pound of meat) or ~ 1 1/4 King Crab legs/claws. Alternatively you can buy 8 oz of lump crab.

Mix with:

1 egg, well beaten
1 T flour
1 t Ducktrap River Mustard Dill Sauce (optional)

Shape into 4 cakes, putting cakes on a plate/pan that has been covered with wax paper.

Refrigerate up to several hours. Just before cooking, place crab cakes in the freezer for 5-10 minutes so they become firmer and easier to handle without falling apart. Dip each crab cake in:


to lightly coat each side. Meanwhile heat

2 T olive oil

in a skillet large enough to hold all four cakes. Place the crab cakes in the hot oil and cook 2-3 minutes on each side until the crab is heated through and the surface is browned (if raw crab is used, the cooking time will need to be increased so that the crab is cooked through, 4-5 minutes per side depending on thickness of the cakes).

Serve with:

Lemon wedges
Mustard Dill Sauce

*2010 CENTER CAFE no longer has menu we have enjoyed - serving "gourmet" pizza and salads; 2011 Closed :-(

December 2013:  I was making crab cakes the other night and about to fry then in oil on the stove, when Ed suggested "we keep the galley clean and cook them on the grill like the scallops".  He heated the griddle, added a thin coating of olive oil and when the oil was hot placed the crab cakes on the griddle.  He cooked the crab cakes about 3 minutes on a side until just heated through.  (Photo at left: cooked on grill, very hot griddle placed on stove for serving) Great suggestion!

** July 2017: In fact some are not even made with real crab but with imitation crab, some brands of this product better than others.  Buyer beware!

Reviewed 7/9/2017


Ed and I just got back from a trip to Colorado and Utah which included 3 glorious days in Moab. We had a great hike into Delicate Arch the first afternoon.

A fabulous day in the Island in the Sky section of Canyonlands followed. At Canyonlands we hiked to and around Upheaval Dome and out to Green River Overlook and Grand View Point Overlook which has marvelous views of the Green and Colorado rivers 2000 feet below.

 Finally, the third day we had an awesome hike (not recommended for those with acrophobia) to Devil's Garden and Double Arch via the Primitive Loop Trail.

The first night we had dinner at our favorite Moab restaurant, Center Cafe*.  The dungeness crab cake appetizer and the risotto with sage and butternut squash entrees were so delicious we returned a second night. We had an awesome beet, hazelnut, arugula salad with horseradish panne cotta for an appetizer, crab cakes (because they were I think the best crab cakes we've ever had) as entrees with a side of the risotto since they did not have a different vegetarian offering that evening. Since the chocolate cake we had the previous night was not particularly memorable and they were out of their specialty creme brulee and especially because we were pleasantly full, we skipped dessert.

I think I've nailed the Crab Cakes as well as the Winter Squash Sage Risotto recipes, and finally after a miserable failure, I've finally (2011) come up with a reasonable facsimile of the Beet Salad with Horseradish "Panna Cotta"

*2010 CENTER CAFE no longer has menu we have enjoyed - serving "gourmet" pizza and salads; 2011 Closed :-(

All photos this entry © 2009 Edward C. Kern, Jr.

September 2017:  On our last couple visits to Moab we have stayed at the Sunflower Hill, a bed and breafkast which we enjoyed.  The last time we were there we tried Desert Bistro for dinner. Though I can't recall what we ordered, I do remember the dinner was good, and not as expensive as suggested by the current menu.

April 2018; We visited Moab March 19-21, perhaps a bit later than we usually go in the spring and found it was considerably more crowded.    Probably as a result of this increasing traffic, "The latest plan by the National Park Service is to start requiring reservations to visit Arches by private vehicle from March to October starting next year.We spent an afternoon at Canyonlands, A day at Arches climbing the long and short trails to Delicate Arch, and hiking around the Windows.  Again we stayed at the Sunflower Inn and enjoyed two dinners at Desert Bistro.  The first night we shared a salad and each had an entree.  Along with the excellent bread that starts the meal we both agreed it was too much food.  However, the remaining chicken and bread made excellent sandwiches for the next day.  The second night we shared an appetizer, barely braised tuna (stay tuned for recipe), a salad and an entree. Considering the entree  "Grilled marinated Pork Tenderloin served with apple-chipotle pepper beurre blanc, accompanied by crisp shredded potato & herb gallette and sautéed vegetables" contained  over 8 ounces of pork (the amount of meat I buy when shopping for the two of us), this was plenty for Ed and me.  Wish Desert Distro, like some of our other favorite restaurants, had small plate options. Singha Thai Cuisine located in the same space that previously accomodated the Center Cafe was recommended by Sunflower Hill staff, but we belatedly discovered that it is closed on Tuesday nights. The morning of the 21st we visited the Landscape Arch area before heading for lunch along Route 128 at Fisher Towers on our way back to Carbondale.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

Reviewed 9/20/2017
April 2018 update added

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Ravioli with Carmelized Onions with Pecans, Pears and Cranberries

I have not made ravioli in many years but am occasionally tempted by some of the fresh ravioli at Whole Foods. My favorite is sweet potato and pumpkin/squash with caramelized onion. I serve as follows:

Heat water to boiling and cook:

1 package sweet potato, pumpkin and/or squash ravioli. According to instructions on package [I am careful not to boil ravioli hard as I find this breaks up the pasta and causes the filling escape].

Meanwhile in a large wok heat:

2 t olive oil

When oil is hot add:

1/3 c pecan halves

Saute for 2 minutes, stirring constantly then add:

1 pear, thinly sliced
1/3 c dried cranberries                                                      
3 T maple syrup (or more to taste)

Mix to coat fruit and nuts thoroughly with syrup then simmer until ravioli is cooked. Drain ravioli well, then add to wok. Mix thoroughly but gently being careful not to tear the ravioli. Serve on warm plates making sure that most of the pecans, pears and cranberries are on top of the ravioli.

Reviewed 5/30/2017

Ravioli - Traditional

Ed's introduction to ravioli was Chef-Boyardee from the can when cruising on Alised. My first memorable ravioli came from Biaggi's in Boston's North End. Biaggi's, made plain cheese ravioli and also sold fresh pasta cut to one's preferred width. Biaggi's along with all the cats that used to snooze in the shop window is long gone as is the original Trio's that followed some years later on Hanover Street. All time best ravioli was at a small trattoria in Venice; ravioli with a chestnut filling served in in a light cream sauce with shelled fresh peas. Hmmm think I will try to make something like that soon.... stay tuned.

Back in the 70's, inspired by Betsy who brought homemade ravioli when she and her husband came to sail on our first Condor, I made my own ravioli for a while. For the record, with thanks to Betsy, here is her recipe (serves 6).


Break up and place in a small skillet:

1/2 lb ground beef

Cook and drain [blot off as much fat as possible on paper towel(s) - see Scrambled Hamburg]. Mix with:

1/4 c well-drained chopped cooked spinach
1/4 c Parmesan cheese [grated]
2 T finely chopped parsley
1/3 c fine dry bread crumbs
1/3 finely chopped salami [don't think I've ever added this]
2 eggs slightly beaten
1/4 t salt
Pepper to taste


Sift into mixing bowl

2 c all-purpose flour

Make a well in the center and add:

3 egg yolks
3/4 t salt
3 T lukewarm water (more may be necessary)

Mix to a smooth dough [adding more water if necessary] that can be shaped into a ball. Knead on a well-floured board about 10 minutes. Brush with oil and let stand, covered about 10 minutes. Divide in half. Roll one half until paper thin. Turn dough frequently and gently stretch with fingertips. Cut into strips 2 inches wide. Place 1 tsp ["1 tsp" is what Betsy's notes say, she may mean 1 small teaspoonful; I haven't made this in a while but I think I used more than 1 level t] filling at 2 inch intervals. Brush around filling with beaten egg. Lay a second strip of dough over the filling. Press around the filling to seal. [I use a 2 inch square "ravioli maker/press" I bought in the North End.] Cut between mounds of filling. Cook a few at a time in boiling broth or water for 15 minutes. Repeat with second half of dough.

When ready to serve, heat up the ravioli in hot tomato sauce. In a medium to large pot combine:

1 onion, chopped
Several cloves of garlic that have been previously cooked in 1/2 T olive oil
2 [small] cans tomato paste
5 cans [from the tomato paste] of water
Flour to thicken if necessary
Salt, pepper, oregano and basil to taste

Simmer for 10 - 15 minutes before adding the ravioli.

Betsy adds, "Ravioli can be refrigerated overnight after cooking. Can also be frozen, but they loose a little in translation."

Anyway, I have not made ravioli in many years. I am occasionally tempted by some of the fresh ravioli at Whole Foods. For my current favorite recipe see: Sweet Potato and Pumpkin with Caramelized Onion Ravioli with Pecans, Pears and Cranberries.

Reviewed 5/30/15

Sort of Pears Helene

If you've had this dessert before or seen it on a menu and wondered where the Helene came from, here is the definitive answer compliments of Wikipedia:

"Poire belle Hélène (German: Birne Helene) is a dessert made from pears poached in sugar syrup and served with vanilla ice, chocolate syrup, and crystallized violets. It was created around 1870 by Auguste Escoffier and named after the operetta La belle Hélène by Jacques Offenbach.Simpler versions replace poached pears with canned pears and crystallized violets with sliced almonds."

All news to me. I've always thought of Pears Helene as half a poached pear with vanilla ice cream, raspberries and chocolate sauce on top in that order.... Hmmmm, maybe I'm confusing peach melba. At any rate, here is a dessert I made recently using Stonyfield Farm After Dark Non-fat Chocolate Frozen Yogurt - not as rich as ice cream but the best non-fat yogurt I have found.

Peel, halve and carefully core:

1 fairly hard pear (for each 2 persons to be served)

Place in a sauce pan with water to cover (~1 cup per pear) and add per cup of water:

1 T sugar
1 T lemon juice

Bring to boil then add pear(s) and simmer 2-3 minutes or until pear is easily pierced with a fork. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

When ready to serve, remove pear halves from liquid and place each half center side up on a dessert plate. In a small dish place:

1 T Ghiradelli 60% cacoa bittersweet chocolate chips per pear half

Microwave on high for 30 seconds then stir. Check and  stir at 30 second intervals until chocolate is smooth. Be careful, if a small amount of chocolate, check more often. It will burn!

Top each pear half with:

Scoop of chocolate frozen yogurt
1/2 cup raspberries or marionberries (fresh, or frozen thawed to room temperature)
Hot melted chocolate

Serve immediately.

HINT: If you melt chocolate frequently (as for dipping strawberries when they are in season), or Dark Chocolate Drizzle, of which this dessert is a variation, cover and leave the small bowl used to melt the chocolate with any unused melted chocolate in the refrigerator.

Reviewed 5/17/17