05/27/23 - Pineapple Upside Down Cake

These are surprisingly easy to make and surprisingly delicious if you avoid the usual recipes. We've made rather awful ones with whole wheat flower and sugar concoctions that stuck to the pan. We just use Edna Lewis's caramel cake recipe, butter, brown sugar, maraschino cherries and canned pineapple. We use an 11"x11" cake pan and melt a couple of tablespoons of butter to line the bottom. Then we sprinkle a few tablespoons of brown sugar. Then come the pineapple rings and maraschino cherries. We fill in the gaps with bits of pineapple - the recipe takes about a can and a half. Then, we pour on the cake batter - see recipe below - and bake for about 20-25 minutes at 350F. We let it cool for a bit. When the pan is still warm but cool enough to touch, we just flip out our cake upside down.
Edna Lewis Caramel Cake Batter

  • 5 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • juice of 1/2 lemon (1 tsp officially)
  • 1) Cream the butter.
  • 2) Cream in the sugar & salt, until fluffy.
  • 3) Mix in one egg counterclockwise; mix in the other egg clockwise.
  • 4) Add 1 cup flour, partially mix; leave some dry flour.
  • 5) Add 1/3 cup milk, partially mix.
  • 6) Add 1/2 cup (roughly) of flour, partially mix.
  • 7) Mix in vanilla & lemon juice.
  • 8) Add 1/3 cup milk, partially mix.
  • 9) Add final 1/2 cup flour, baking powder, mix until smooth.

Keywords: recipes

04/26/16 - Shrimp with Chervil Butter

One of our favorite dishes is Jasper White’s lobster with chervil butter. We enjoyed it at his restaurant back when we lived in the Boston area, and we, now and then, order a lobster and follow the recipe in his cookbook. Of course, it is easier to order lobster online than chervil.

We recently had some success with our chervil crop. OK, it was one plant, but it was fairly big. We didn’t want to bother ordering a lobster, so we decided to make a version of the dish using shrimp instead. It turned out wonderfully, so we’ll offer a recipe here for anyone who might want to try it.


  • 2 lbs large shrimp
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 2-3 ounces of chervil
  • about the same amount of chives
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • salt & pepper
  1. Peel and clean the shrimp.
  2. Heat a cast iron or other heavy pan on the stove. Use the highest stove setting. The goal is to cook the shrimp using as hot a pan as possible.
  3. Put 2 tbsp butter into the pan. If you are worried about burning the butter, use peanut oil or olive oil, but we just went for it.
  4. Add the shrimp and cook them for 5-10 minutes. The goal is to sear them if possible. We finished the job with a blowtorch equipped with a diffuser. Alternately, you might simply broil the shrimp in a metal pan.
  5. Turn off the stove. Pour in the bourbon. Stand back and light it. Swirl the pan a bit as the bourbon burns.
  6. When the flames go out, add the white wine. Turn the burner back high on and cook it down for a few minutes.
  7. Turn down the heat to low. Add 4 tbsp of butter and toss together with the shrimp until it melts.
  8. Add the chervil and chives. Toss a bit to mix. Turn of the burner and serve.

Keywords: recipes

06/24/14 - Port Angeles Farmers' Market Update

The farmers' market is in full swing. There are all sorts of greens. The Family Farm even has new potatoes. We made one of our favorite dishes. We boiled up some new potatoes until they were tender, but not mushy. Then we shelled a scad of English peas. While the potatoes were still warm we cut them up and stirred in the peas, some cream and some chopped mint. It's an old southern classic spring dish, and it's best with farmers' market vegetables.

Johnston Farm green beans, English peas, mixed green salads, scallions

Family Farm green beans and potatoes

Spring Rain Farm turnip greens and garlic scapes, among other things

Keywords: farmers' market, johnston farm, food, recipes, spring rain

04/22/13 - Winter Crespeou

A crespeou is a multi-layered omelet with each layer being a small, two egg omelet, with suitable accompaniments, in its own right. We usually associate this dish with the late summer or early autumn when we can find all sorts of fresh vegetables, but last year was disappointing, and this winter has dragged on long enough, so we were craving one. So, we made a winter crespeou using what ingredients we could find in all too early spring.

Our crespeou had five layers, from bottom up:

  1. some baby potatoes, sauteed in olive oil until tender.
  2. some dandelion greens and parsley from our garden, sauteed in olive oil with dry cured black olives
  3. diced roasted red pepper with pine nuts
  4. diced raddicio, sauteed in olive oil, with anchovies
  5. diced tomatoes with mint This dish takes some preparation, slicing, roasting and dicing the various ingredients, but it doesn't require much of each. We cooked each layer separately in a crepe pan, and then stacked them to make a lovely five layer crespeou. Knock wood, that will hold us until late summer, or maybe not.

The finished crespeou

Some of our ingredients

The potato layer

Greens from our garden, such as they are

The greens layer of our crespeou

Roasted red pepper and pine nuts

and another layer

Radiccio in the pan

and in a crespeou layer

We added the diced tomato raw, so it was only lightly cooked.

The cross sectional view

Keywords: food, recipes

03/08/13 - Memelas of March

We made up a batch of memelas. These are basically little Mexican pizzas. We made ours from scratch, so we make our own corn chips from masa harina, water and salt and fry them in a hot pan. Then we made the tomato sauce and topped the chips with sauce and queso fresco. Unlike a pizza which is baked in the oven, we just used the broiler to melt the cheese.

Memelas are little Mexican pizzas

The Corn Chips

  • 2 cups masa harina
  • 1 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Just mix everything together until it forms a nice dough. You do have to work it a little, but you don't have to knead it as you would pizza dough.

Heat up a frying pan (or even better, a cast iron skillet). Wait until the pan is nice and hot before cooking the chips or they'll stick.

Cut the blob of dough into 16 roughly equal pieces. Press each piece of dough in a tortilla press using wax paper or parchment to keep it from sticking. Cook three or four chips at a time, until each side is golden brown. This takes us about 2 minutes per side, but keep an eye on them so they don't burn.

The Sauce

  • 1 lb tomatoes
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, 2 serrano peppers or 2 tbsp nacho sliced jalapenos
  • 1 small onion, or 1/2 a larger one, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup fresh coriander, chopped
Cut the tomatoes in half and cut out their cores. Put them skin side up on a pizza tray and put them close to a hot broiler until the skins char.

Toss the tomato skins and put the tomatoes, the jalapenos, the onion and salt in a food processor and puree everything.

Heat up a pan and add the olive oil. When it is very hot, add the puree slowly, a bit at a time so that the sauce is boiling furiously. Cook the sauce, stiring now and then, until it thickens, for maybe 3-5 minutes.

Turn off the heat and add the coriander and stir it in so it cooks.


Lay out the chips on a pizza tray and put some of the sauce on each. Crumble the queso fresco and put some of the cheese on each. It's just like making pizza now.

Put the tray under a broiler (or in a hot oven) to melt the cheese.

Serve as they are, or you can add jalapenos or fresh chopped sweet onion or ....


Keywords: recipes, food