Articles by Sandy Oliver


Beans swaggon unbelievably economical, nutritious

By Sandy Oliver on Jan. 10, 2012, at 5:16 p.m.
We need a beans swaggon revival. What a warm and comforting, richly beany, chowder-like dish. A couple of weeks ago Bev Bubar wrote to say that she remembered her grandmother cooking swaggon all day on the back of the wood stove. Then, Alan Badine, writing from way out West, asked …

Granola bars both crunchy and chewy

By Sandy Oliver on Jan. 03, 2012, at 1:51 p.m.
Crunchy granola bars or chewy granola bars? That is the question. With the two following recipes you can have it either way. My friend Toby said the crunchy ones had a better texture, but the chewy ones were better flavored. I took some to my good friends Bill and Jean, …

Enjoy Bacon Horseradish Dip on New Year’s Eve

By Sandy Oliver on Dec. 27, 2011, at 5:17 p.m.
Too bad I didn’t get around to digging my horseradish. Toby and I had it on the to-do list this fall before the weather turned cold so we could grate it outside on the back porch. The stuff is so strong that the fumes could peel paint. But with all …
Shortbread cookies.

Shortbread makes good Christmas or New Year’s cookies

By Sandy Oliver on Dec. 20, 2011, at 5:28 p.m.
Of course you need another cookie recipe, don’t you? I’ve used this recipe since 1970 for Christmas cookies because I prefer a buttery shortbread over a plain sugar cookie, and because it is a simple recipe with only three ingredients. If you make the full recipe, you end up with …

Cranberry Orange Scones fitting during summer and winter alike

By Sandy Oliver on Dec. 13, 2011, at 1:14 p.m.
I know its impossibly romantic, but I have to tell you that I don’t think there are many things more civilized and genteel than drinking a cup of tea brewed from actual tea leaves and eating a warm scone with or without butter melting all over it, or maybe spread …
Sandy Oliver

Homemade Cumberland Sauce could go on desserts as easily as meat

By Sandy Oliver on Dec. 06, 2011, at 4:29 p.m.
So suppose you have some boring old thing like a boneless chicken breast or slice of ham or even a venison steak. All you need really is something to jazz it up. Ketchup? Mustard? Steak sauce? Worcestershire Sauce? How about homemade Cumberland Sauce? Wouldn’t it be helpful to have an …

Mincemeat — a vegetarian dish?

By Sandy Oliver on Nov. 29, 2011, at 4:45 p.m.
It has finally happened. Commercial mincemeat officially has no meat in it. I read very carefully the ingredient list on a prominently displayed jar the other day in the grocery store and saw none. It used to be that there was a mere trace of beef in the stuff, then …

Fresh ideas for leftover turkey sandwiches

By Sandy Oliver on Nov. 22, 2011, at 3:50 p.m.
I’ll bet you like your Thanksgiving leftovers. I know I do, and a lot of people I talk to say they do, too. What’s not to love about another slice of pumpkin pie, or mashed potatoes that you can make into patties to fry for breakfast or supper? Then there …

An easy Thanksgiving dish — Cranberry Orange Relish

By Sandy Oliver on Nov. 15, 2011, at 5:51 p.m.
This is the easiest dish you can make for Thanksgiving. All you need is an orange, cranberries and sugar, plus a way to grind them up. I use an old-fashioned, hand-cranked grinder like my mom used, which works even when the power is out. If there are young people around, …

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

By Sandy Oliver on Nov. 08, 2011, at 10:41 a.m.
Where have pumpkin chocolate cookies been all my life? When Ed Denburg emailed asking for a recipe for them, I had never imagined such a thing, and I figured if no one sent a recipe (hah!) I would use a pumpkin butterscotch cookie recipe I had and substitute chocolate for …

Fall means a lack of ice cream stands, so make your own at home

By Sandy Oliver on Nov. 01, 2011, at 2:19 p.m.
One problem with fall in Maine is not that it gets colder, leaves fall off trees and flowers die. It’s that ice cream stands close up. I understand why no one wants to stand in line in, say, 20 degrees above zero with the wind howling, but ice cream tastes …

Vegetarian dish more than a fake meatloaf

By Sandy Oliver on Oct. 25, 2011, at 4:37 p.m.
My niece Sarah Oliver in Belfast reminded me of this old favorite vegetarian dish when she asked for the recipe this past week. It’s from a by-now nearly ancient vegetarian cookbook that I acquired back in the early ’80s written by Nikki and David Goldbeck, called “American Wholefoods Cuisine.” At …

Currants add modest level of flavor to cakes, cookies

By Sandy Oliver on Oct. 18, 2011, at 1:14 p.m.
Dried currants get short shrift these days. A couple hundred years ago they showed up in baked goods at the rate that chocolate chips show up today. Lovely little tea breads and cakes and cookie recipes called for them all during the 1800s and into the 1900s, too. Currants are …

Tarragon Broccoli Salad good warm or cold

By Sandy Oliver on Oct. 11, 2011, at 12:40 p.m.
A burst of broccoli from the garden this past couple of weeks is wrapping up my green vegetable season now that the frost we had killed off the squashes and beans. Sadly enough, I forgot to plant Brussels sprouts in time this summer to have any this fall and winter, …

Chili Sauce blunts disappointment in lack of green tomatoes

By Sandy Oliver on Oct. 04, 2011, at 9:49 a.m.
No green tomatoes? Who ever would have imagined I’d have no green tomatoes unless I picked them on purpose before they ripened? Now that I have an unheated greenhouse, I have lots of peppers, eggplants, red ripe tomatoes and even cantaloupes. What a thrill. And it requires me to rewire …

Chocolate chip cookie preferences

By Sandy Oliver on Sept. 27, 2011, at 5:16 p.m.
Chocolate chip cookie preferences are about as personal as what kind of socks or pajamas you like to wear. The cookies can be chewy, crisp, crunchy, tender, soft, thick, thin, full of chips, moderately chip-full, with nuts, no nuts, etc. Oddly, we’ve never had a chocolate chip recipe in this …

Beets with Orange Vinaigrette

By Sandy Oliver on Sept. 20, 2011, at 3:03 p.m.
Small and tender beets fresh from my garden are a treat. I like to store some away in the cellar for use in winter, but thinning the row to allow other beets to fill out means having beets about 1 inch in diameter to use plentifully. I usually cook them …
Brandied peach jam on toast with peaches.

Brandied Peach Jam perfect for toast

By Sandy Oliver on Sept. 13, 2011, at 5:50 p.m.
I have been in a peach panic this past week. The peach tree, a Reliance, set so much fruit this year that one of the branches broke. The peaches were huge, gorgeously colored, and I stood under it one warm day and inhaled peach aroma. One morning, my friend Toby …

Best-ever cornmeal pancakes

By Sandy Oliver on Sept. 06, 2011, at 2:05 p.m.
“These are the best pancakes I’ve ever eaten,” said my niece Sarah Oliver of Belfast who even called me on purpose to tell me about them. She learned this recipe from her friend, Susan, in Swanville who got it from her mother, Molly Balch. So I tried them and they are good. …

Caponata contributes to treat of an indoor picnic

By Sandy Oliver on Aug. 30, 2011, at 2:14 p.m.
This summer, several of us on Islesboro who produce food managed to gather ourselves under the leadership of our neighbor, Betty Boucher, into a Friday morning farmers market. Eggs, vegetables, pork, lamb, gorgeous pies, coffeecakes, flowers, cinnamon buns, preserves, pickles, handmade napkins, birdhouses and shopping bags made from animal and …