Lib's Book of Culinary Wonders All

Young coconut cake


1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 young coconut, milk & meat

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and grease a 9x5 pan or a muffin tin.
Open the coconut, making sure to save at least 1/2 cup of the liquids. Using a spoon, scoop out the meat of the coconut.

In a food processor, add the coconut meat, butter and sugar. (make sure to soften the butter slightly first). Combine thoroughly.
Add eggs & vanilla, and pulse a few times.
Add the flour and baking powder, and combine thoroughly.
Add 1/2c of the coconut milk, and once again combine thoroughly.
Pour your batter into the greased pan, and bake for 30-40 minutes. 20-30 minutes if you're making cupcakes.

Mulberry Cream Pie (Dessert)(permalink)

3c Mulberries
1c sugar
1c evaporated milk
2tbsp flour
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1tsp vanilla
pie crust
1-2 bananas

Preheat your oven to 425.

Run the mulberries through a food mill to remove stems and seeds. This should make about 1-2 cups of liquid.

In a bowl, mix flour and sugar. Slowly stir in evaporated milk until smooth.
Whisk in eggs and vanilla until blended
fold in 1c of the mulberry liquid.

Slice the bananas into thin rounds to cover the bottom of the pie, pour custard mixture over top. Bananas will float to the surface.

Bake @ 425 for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 and bake for an additional 40 minutes or until custard has set. Let cool completely before cutting.

Optimally served cold, topped with fresh whipped cream.

Country-Style Potato-Leek Soup (Soup)(permalink)

Leeks differ. If yours have large desirable white and light green sections, use 4 pounds of leeks; if they're short on these parts, go with 5 pounds.

Makes about 11 cups, serving 6 to 8
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 - 5 pounds leeks (see note above)
1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
5 1/4 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 3/4 pounds medium red potatoes (about 5), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch dice
Table salt and ground black pepper

1. Cut off roots and tough dark green portion of leeks, leaving white portion and about 3 inches of light green. Slice in half lengthwise and chop into 1-inch sections. (You should have about 11 cups).

2. Heat butter in Dutch oven over medium-low heat until foaming; stir in leeks, increase heat to medium, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks are tender but not mushy, 15 to 20 minutes; do not brown. Sprinkle flour over leeks and stir to coat evenly ; cook until flour dissolves, about 2 minutes. Increase heat to high; whisking constantly, gradually add stock. Add bay leaf and potatoes; cover and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until potatoes are almost tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove pot from heat and let stand until potatoes are tender and flavors meld, 10 to 15 minutes. Discard bay leaf, season with salt and pepper; serve immediately.

Bad For You Broiled Haddock (MainDish)(permalink)

2 haddock or other whitefish filets, about 1lb total.
1/4 cup butter
1 cup (approx) Vermont Common Crackers, crushed to fine crumbs
1/3-1/4 cup grated hard cheese (Parmesan, Romano, Asiago - use less for a stronger cheese)
Salt and ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degF, setting one rack up for the broiler and another midway down. If you have a seperate broiler or second oven (lucky!), use it.
  2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.
  3. Brush some of the melted butter into a broiler-safe baking dish big enough for your filets. Lay the filets skin-side down, then brush the tops with butter.
  4. Combine the cracker crumbs, grated cheese, salt and pepper to taste, and then add to the melted butter and toss to coat evenly.
  5. Spoon the crumbs over the filets, trying to get as even a layer as possible. With a fork or small spatula, pack down the crumb mixture over the fish.
  6. Switch the oven to broil, or preheat your broiler.
  7. Place under broiler for 4-5 minutes or until the crumbs are browned. Watch it carefully - greasy crumbs can burn quickly.
  8. Switch oven back to Bake @450 degF and move the dish to the center rack. (Or move from broiler to oven)
  9. Bake another 5-10 minutes or until the fish is cooked through (flakes easily with a fork.)

Adapted from a recipe found in a tin of Vermont Common Crackers

Guinness Ice Cream


1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup guinness stout
2 tbsp plus 2 tsp molasses
4 egg yolks
1/3 c sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract


1. In a medium saucepan, scrape in the vanilla bean seeds. Add the pod, milk and cream. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn of fthe heat, cover the pan, and let the flavors infuse for 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk together the stout and molasses. Bring to a boil and turn off heat.

3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the yolks, sugar and vanilla extract. Whisk in a few tbsp of the hot cream mixture, then slowly whisk in another 1/4 cup of the cream. Add the remaining cream in a steady stream, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan.

4. Stir the beer mixture into the cream mixture. Cook the custard oer medium heat, stirring often with a wooden spoon, for 6 to 8 minutes or until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon.

5. Strain the mixture into a bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Process the custard in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Makes 1 quart.

This recipe comes from Matt Watkins

Melon Salad with Lime & Rum (Side)(permalink)

1/8 watermelon
1 Honey Dew
1 Cantaloupe
1 c blueberries
1 tsp Lime Zest
6 Tbsp Lime Juice
2/3 c sugar
1/3c water
1/2 c white rum

Mix Water and sugar, bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Add lime zest when the syrup is HOT
Let cool; when it is fully cooled, add the rum and teh lime juice.
Use a melon baller to scoop the melons. Mix all fruit with the syrup, and refrigerate for 1 day before serving.

This comes from Matt Watkins, and is a delicioius, refreshing, lightly alcoholic side dish that is great at parties. Sweet and tangy.

Asparagus Salad

2lb fresh slender asparagus (about 2 cups cut up)
1 tbsp salad oil

1-1/2 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp sesame-seed oil

To Prepare:
1. Buy slender asparagus. Break off and discard white part. Remove small scale-like triangles with paring knife. Wash clean in cold water. Cut spears diagonally into 1-inch lengths.
2. Have ready a large bowl of cold water with a few ice cubes
3. Put ingredients (A) into a large mixing bowl. Mix to dissolve sugar.

To Cook:
1. Drop asparagus into boiling water in large pot. Let come back to a quick boil (about 1 minute) and drain in colander immediately. Asparagus should be tender and yet crisp (if a few pieces are not quite done, let asparagus remain in colander for a few minutes before next step)
2. Pour asparagus into large bowl of cold water with ice.
3. After 2 minutes, drain in colander and put in a bowl. Line colander with double thickness of paper towels and put asparagus back in. Shake colander to dry all pieces.
4. Add asparagus to bowl with ingredients (A). Mix and then add 1 tbsp salad oil. Chill in refrigerator before serving.

From the same cookbook as the Ginger Chicken. I have not cooked this yet, but it looks tasty. Cook at your own peril!

Chicken with Ginger

5 large chicken thighs (about 4oz each)
1 tbsp white wine
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1-1/2 tsp cornstarch

15 to 20 slices fresh ginger roots [young roots preferred]
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt
Cooking oil
1 tbsp honey

To Prepare:
1. Debone chicken (partially frozen for easier cutting) and cut into about 25 equal pieces. Mix chicken with ingredients (A) and set aside for about 15 minutes.
2. Scrape skin off ginger. With a sharp knife, cut 15 to 20 paper-thin slices
3. Crush and chop 2 cloves garlic finely

To Cook:
1. Saute ginger slices in 10-inch frying pan without oil over medium heat for about 1 minute. Season with 1/2 tsp salt and mix. Remove ginger to a plate.
2. Heat 3 tbsp oil in the pan until very hot, brown garlic for a few seconds. Add chicken immediately and saute over high heat for about 2 minutes until chicken is just cooked.
3. Add ginger and 1 tbsp honey to chicken and mix well. Serve hot.

From a very old beat-up chinese cookbook. This dish was a staple growing up, and still one of my favorites today, though I usually cheat nowadays and use powdered ginger.

Cranberry Meatballs

Ingredients: (A)
2 lb. lean ground beef (85%)
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c applesauce
1 medium onion, chopped finely or grated
1/2 c seasoned bread crumbs
1 tbsp dried parsley flakes
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

1 can (16oz) whole cranberry sauce
1 jar (12oz) chili sauce
2 tbsp lemon juice

Mix ingredients (A) in a large bowl. Form into meatballs: small for appetizer, medium for main course. Place in large casserole or baking pan. These may be layered but don't crowd.

Mix ingredients (B) and pour over meatballs. Shake pan gently but don't stir, because meatballs are fragile at this point. Bake, uncovered, in a 325 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours. The mixture may be gently stirred after the first hour of baking.

This recipe comes from the kitchen of Libby's Mom

Braised Chestnuts with Madeira Cream Sauce

To prepare fresh chestnuts, with a sharp knife, score a shallow X across the flat side of each chestnut, cutting all the way through to the meat. Soak in cold water to cover for 15 minutes, drain and spread out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast in a preheated 400°F oven, stirring once or twice, until the peels have curled open along the cut marks and the nuts give slightly when pressed, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool slightly, then remove the outer and inner peels.


8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/2 lb shiitake mushrooms, brushed clean, stems removed and caps quartered
1/2 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
1 lb. carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into 1 inch pieces
1/3 c minced shallot (approx. 2 shallots)
1 1/4 cups chicken stock or low-sodium canned chicken broth
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. medium-dry Madeira wine
4 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2lb. fresh chestnuts, roasted and peeled, or 3 cups purchased steamed chestnuts
Freshly ground pepper, to taste


In a large fry pan over medium high heat, melt 4 Tbs. of the butter. Add the mushrooms and the 1/2tsp salt, cover and cook, stirring once or twice, until the mushrooms are tender and lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Return the fry pan to medium heat and melt the remaining 4 Tbs. butter. Add the carrots, cover and cook, stirring once or twice, for 15 minutes; do not let the butter brown. Add the shallot, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add the stock, the 3/4 cup Madeira and the mushrooms. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, stirring once or twice, until the carrots are almost tender, about 12 minutes.

In a small bowl, stir the 2 Tbs. Madeira into the cornstarch to make a slurry. Add the slurry and the cream to the fry pan. Scatter the chestnuts over the mushrooms and carrots. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes. Season generously with pepper. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt.

Fold the chestnuts into the sauce, breaking them up as little as possible. Transfer to a warmed bowl and serve immediately.

Serves 8 to 10.
This recipe is from an online site, perhaps - I couldn't find the recipe again to credit. This dish is incredibly rich and makes an impressive looking side dish.

Chicken with Shallots and Garlic

4-5 chicken breasts
10 shallots
10 cloves garlic
1/4c olive oil

Coat chicken breasts in salt and pepper.
Brown chicken breasts on both sides in olive oil

In an oven-safe dish, put the chicken breasts, 1/4c olive oil, shallots, garlic and herbs. Fresh herbs are best, but dried will do in a pinch.

Bake covered at 350°F for 1 1/2 hours.

For sauce:
After the chicken is done, remove all from the dish and deglace with white wine. Thoroughly mix flour or corn starch with cold water and add to the dish. Simmer until sauce is desired thickness, adding more of the thickening agent if necessary.

This recipe is from my brother

Libby's Burrito Filling (MainDish)(permalink)

Beef of some sort
crushed tomato
canned beans, like white or kidney
oil of some sort
Taco seasonings

If the beef isn't of the ground variety, put it in the food processor and make it into small chunks. Like, real small.
sautee the onions and garlic in the oil until translucent. Add the beef and brown it.
Add a bunch of taco seasoning, to taste really. Add some crushed tomato, just enough to cover the beef. Add the canned beans, sans whatever moisture they come packed with.
Let it simmer for a few minutes, then add more taco seasoning if you think its needed. Then, eat.
Serving suggestion: Eat on a burrito shell!
Other serving suggestion: Eat with a spoon!
This is excellent with cheese and salsa.

Chocolate Stout Cake (Dessert)(permalink)
2c stout (such as Guinness)
2c (4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2c unsweetened cocoa powder, preferrably Dutch-process

4c all purpose flour
4c sugar
1tbsp baking soda
1 1/2tsp salt
4 large eggs
1 1/3c sour cream

2c whipping cream
1lb bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans with 2-inch-high sides. Line with parchment paper. Butter paper. Bring 2 cups stout and 2 cups butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer cakes to rack; cool 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto rack and cool completely.

Bring cream to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chopped chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Refrigerate until icing is spreadable, stirring frequently, about 2 hours.

Place 1 cake layer on plate. Spread 2/3 cup icing over. Top with second cake layer. Spread 2/3 cup icing over. Top with third cake layer. Spread remaining icing over top and sides of cake.

Makes 12 servings

This recipe was taken from
I also really like this cake done black forest cake style, i.e. with homemade whipped cream on the outside and cherry pie filling (or other cherry sauce) on the inside.

Greek Beef Thing (MainDish)(permalink)
This has been described by Jameel as a degenerate Moussaka. I concurr.


1 cup yoghurt
1/2 cucumber, julienned
1/2tsp mint
1/2tsp basil
1/4tsp garlic powder

Mix ingredeints and stir well. Let sit in the refrigerator for about a half hour for flavors to develop, while you make:
The Beef thing

1/2lb ground beef
2tbsp pignola (pine) nuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 - 2 cloves garlic, diced
1tbsp olive oil
3oz feta cheese, cubed
1/2tsp mint
1tsp basil

Heat oil in a medium skillet. Add onions and garlic and saute until translucent. Add the beef, mint, basil, and salt and pepper to taste, and brown the meat..
Once the meat is completely browned, add the feta cheese and pine nuts. Stir until the cheese has melted enough to coat the beef, leaving a few large chunks of cheese.

Remove yoghurt sauce from the fridge and salt to taste. Serve on the side.
This goes very well with pita bread

Cranberry Sauce (Side)(permalink)
1 bag cranberries
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup Cranberry juice, unsweetened
1 cup sugar

Mix the water, cranberry juice, and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved.

Once the mixture begins to boil, add the cranberries. Return to a boil, and then lower the heat and allow the sauce to gently boil, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.

For a smooth sauce, strain through a wire mesh strainer, mashing the berries through it to get all the flesh, leaving the skins.

Remove from the heat and allow to sit until the sauce reaches room temperature. Then place in the refrigerator.

This is one of the best cranberry sauces I've ever had - its rich, very sweet, and was a hit this Thanksgiving.

Apricot Pecan Balls (Dessert)(permalink)


1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

l egg white
chopped pecans

apricot jam

Cream butter and sugar. Stir egg and vanilla into mixture. Mix flour and salt in. Blend well. Shape into 3 dozen small balls. Dip into unbeaten egg white and roll into chopped pecans. Place 2" apart on lightly greased baking sheet. Make a deep dent in the center of each ball, and place a small amount of apricot jam inside.

Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes, or until lightly browned.

These are my favorite cookie. I definitely recommend doubling this one!

From the kitchen of Libby's Mom

Variable Stir Fry Sauce (Sauce)(permalink)

black pepper
red pepper flakes
garlic (fresh minced/crushed preferred, powdered okay too)

Soy Sauce
Peanut oil
Orange Juice
Lemon Juice

Other Flavors: Peanut Butter
Miso Paste
Hoisin Sauce

Pick a flavor you want - sweet, salty, savory, and go with it. Don't use all of these at once - mix and match! I'd say, generally you want to use all of the spices, always soy sauce, always just a little bit of the peanut oil for flavor. Don't mix the peanut butter with the miso paste, or with the OJ or lemon juice. The miso paste is really good with citrusy juices, though.
Once you've got something, stick your finger in and taste it!! If it is horrible, throw it out and try again. Once you've done it a few times, you'll get a feel for what is good and what isn't, and it will become simple.

Use this sauce as a marinade for whatever meat you are stir frying. Then, add it to the meats and veggies and cook it in. Make sure you heat it thoroughly after adding, to kill any germs or bacteria from having soaked the meat in it!!!

For a thick sauce, add corn starch. If you have already been cooking the sauce a bit and it is warm, mix the corn starch with cold water before adding so it doesn't make lumps.

The Best Corned Beef Ever. (MainDish)(permalink)

1 corned beef, straight cut
1 tsp garlic, minced.
2 cans Guinness
1 head cabbage
red or white potatoes

When you are buying your beef, look for a piece that is straight cut - in other words, look for one that has clearly defined muscle fibers that run along the length of the meat. This will ensure a tender dish, because when you slice it, the fibers will be very short, and the meat will fall apart in your mouth.
To start, rinse the corned beef in water to reduce the amount of salt it has.
Place it in a slow cooker, with the fatty side down. Take a small knife and make little punctures all over the surface of the meat. Cut open the small package of spices that comes with the meat, and rub it all over the top and sides, making sure to poke some of it into the little cuts you made so the flavor gets inside the meat. Then take your minced garlic (I buy mine minced in jars) and rub that all over the meat as well, again making sure to poke it into the cuts. Don't bother to rub any of this on the bottom fatty side.. you won't be eating the fat anyways.

Pour the two cans of Guinness into the slow cooker, put on the lid, and turn it on low for 8 hours or on high for 6.
After 8 hours (or 6 for a higher heat), it is time to prepare your vegetables. Remove the outer leaves and cut the cabbage into quarters, or smaller if you prefer - you will probably need smaller pieces to make them fit into the pot! If you are using small potatoes, you can just wash them and place them whole into the slow cooker. If you are using larger potatoes, quarter them before adding them. Add the potatoes and cabbage to the slow cooker and cook for another two hours on whatever heat you are using.

After the cooking is done, remove everything from the liquid and dispose of the liquid. Cut the meat against the grain to serve.

Total cooking time: 8-10 hours
Libby rating: extremely easy
Serves 6

Zucchini Fruit Loaf (Bread)(permalink)

3 eggs, well beaten
l cup oil
2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup applesauce
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
l cup nuts, chopped (I like walnuts or pecans)
l cup raisins

Combine eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla and beat until frothy. Add zucchini and applesauce and mix well. Mix dry ingredients, add to mixture and combine well. Add nuts and raisins. Before putting in oven, top with additional chopped nuts and sugar. Bake in 2 loaf pans at 350 degrees for about 1 hour.
Recipe from the kitchen of Carolyn Sonnekalb

Edith's Rice Pilaf (Side)(permalink)


1 stick butter
1 cup chopped onions
l cup egg noodles, crushed
l cup rice
1/2 cup orzo pasta (optional)
2 l/2 cups chicken broth
generous dash of garlic powder

In large frying pan, melt butter. Saute'onions over med/low heat until translucent. Add noodles and cook until lightly browned. Add rice and orzo and brown. Have ready the chicken broth, boiling hot. Pour Boiling broth on mixture and stir, adding garlic powder at same time. Cover tightly, reduce heat to very low, and simmer for about 30 minutes. Fluff with fork before serving.

Serves 4-6. Recipe can be doubled easily.

From the kitchen of Libby's Grandma Edith