Articles by Sandy Oliver


Two for Troops and Travelers: Part One, Snickerdoodles

on May 06, 2014, at 9:50 a.m.
The questions was, “What can we bake to send abroad that won’t turn into rancid crumbs?” A couple of weeks ago, Kendra Newcombe in Searsport wrote, “My mission group has been asked to bake goodies to send to Kuwait. Any suggestions for good travelers that will stand up to the …

Cauliflower patties, Italian style

on April 29, 2014, at 10:07 a.m.
  Last week’s recipe prompted cauliflower memories from senior senior (93!) Lee Sirabella of Brewer. He wrote, “My mother and father came from an island but on the other side of the Atlantic, off Naples, Italy, the Isles of Ischia. My mother was a great cook. The trouble is I …

Cauliflower Steak for Dinner

on April 22, 2014, at 9:14 a.m.
The hardest part of cooking is figuring out what to fix. We all get into ruts with a regular routine of about twenty or so favorites that we rerun. I rely a great deal on taking a cue from the supply at hand—the freezer inventory, what’s in the vegetable drawer …

What to do with leftover Easter dinner: Ham and lamb

on April 15, 2014, at 10:25 a.m.
There is a lot of ham in the meat departments this week looking for an Easter Dinner invitation. Lamb is the roast of choice for many other households. With any luck, there will be leftovers to inspire suppers next week, or to freeze against a busy day in the next …

Spaghetti Pie

on April 08, 2014, at 10:15 a.m.
There was leftover spaghetti, leftover tomato sauce, and a small piece of meatloaf in the fridge. I thought seriously about chopping up the meatloaf and chucking it into the tomato sauce, which also had some meat in it, reheating the pasta, and putting it altogether the standard way, add a …

A Sunny Dish of Red Lentil Dal

on April 01, 2014, at 10:12 a.m.
The lentils were probably an impulse buy at the co-op. They looked so pretty in a pinky orange sort of way. I brought them home, and was stumped for a while about what to do with them. Every once in a while, weary of the kitchen rut I get into …

Roasting Vegetables

on March 25, 2014, at 9:37 a.m.
When I was growing up, my mom boiled vegetables. Or perhaps I should say, she reheated canned vegetables like corn, green beans, asparagus, limas, peas, spinach, carrots, stewed tomatoes. It seems I remember the occasional fresh butternut squash cut up and boiled, and potatoes, of course. After all, we had …

Leftover St. Patrick’s Day dinner, plus the Porridge Papers continue

on March 18, 2014, at 10:16 a.m.
Continued cold weather means we are still grateful for warming winter food like corned beef hash and another steaming bowl of oatmeal. I know the Equinox is this week, but I don’t see many signs of spring around this house, and I’ll bet you don’t either. I have been struck …

Two Paths to Oatmeal Porridge

on March 10, 2014, at 1:45 p.m.
Good news. Oatmeal does not have to be like glue! A little while ago, elsewhere in a piece on comfort food, I mentioned my household’s divergent porridge propensities. I was so surprised to hear hot oatmeal opinions and questions from several people, many of the “I hate sticky oatmeal” sort. …

Busy Morning Pudding

on March 03, 2014, at 2:46 p.m.
Busy Morning Pudding fresh from the oven. Now here is a charming, simple, and quick-to-make dessert for a sweet-toothed family. Helen Bartlett in Newburgh sent this one to me–oh, dear, was it three years ago already?—in 2011. I hardly ever throw away any letters or recipes that you all send …

Butterscotch Brownies without Baking Powder

on Feb. 24, 2014, at 12:58 p.m.
Roberta Tarquinio wrote me a few weeks ago, putting in a request for “Butterscotch brownies, moist and dense, with “cracked” tops and no baking powder,” underlined. As you may recall, I asked the question here, and two of you responded. Ruth Thurston in Machias sent along a favorite, delicious-sounding, recipe …

Buckwheat crepes with apple, bacon, and cheese or whatever else you like

on Feb. 18, 2014, at 9:33 a.m.
An unexplained craving for crepes hit me a few days ago. Particularly, I wanted to eat them with sautéed apples, bacon, and sharp cheddar cheese inside, and a dribble of maple syrup on the outside. This rose out of a recollection of a winter trip to freezing cold Quebec City …

Old-fashioned chocolate cornstarch pudding

on Feb. 09, 2014, at 12:40 p.m.
If you have loved-ones , what sweeter, homey way to show them your affection than to make this comforting, old-fashioned chocolate pudding on Valentine’s or any other day. We are temped left and right to go the high end chocolate route, make an elegant mousse, or flour-less chocolate cake, or …

Like Potatoes, Only Different: Pumpkin or Squash Gratin

on Feb. 04, 2014, at 9:27 a.m.
Ruth Thurston in Machias has a huge collection of recipes, and a big bunch of them are for pumpkins. She is the source of this week’s answer to my question, “Whatever will I do with all the pumpkins I still have in storage?” That is, what besides pie, bread, soup, …

The little pot roast that could

on Jan. 27, 2014, at 11:24 a.m.
What a good little pot roast. It only weighed four pounds, but it kept saying, “I think I can,” and it went on forever, and gave us several meals. We had a nice supper out of it when I first cooked it, and it produced lovely gravy. I merely filled …

Dumplings: Take Two

on Jan. 21, 2014, at 9:51 a.m.
In the mood for warm, comfort food recently, we made dumplings at our house, and I ended up offering you all the recipe. Janet Varnum in Bar Harbor gave them a try, and though she has found lots of other useful recipes here, she candidly wrote, “Sorry, but we did …

Cracked coriandered potatoes

on Jan. 14, 2014, at 9:50 a.m.
It’s helpful once in a while to have another way to prepare potatoes. Potatoes are a pretty versatile ingredient, and we can always boil, mash, bake, fry, scallop, gratinee, and roast. And probably some other things I haven’t thought of plus using them with other ingredients to make stews, soups, …


on Jan. 06, 2014, at 11:21 a.m.
It has been so cold that all I have wanted to do is stand by my stove and cook. I heat my house with wood, so the wood-burning kitchen cook stove is going anyway, and the stove’s heat feels fabulous on my face and hands, and, for a little while, …

Spreading Squash

on Dec. 31, 2013, at 9:51 a.m.
Happy New Year. May yours be full of peace, prosperity, and more winter squash. All the squash I grew this summer resides in the cool, dry, and dimmer corners of my house, which includes my bedroom, so when I wake up in the morning I see the array of Delicatas, …

Have Yourself a Stove Top Little Christmas

on Dec. 26, 2013, at 9:59 p.m.
It is Christmas Eve, and here at my house the power is out. While I am lucky enough to have an old Dual Atlantic wood and gas cook stove, the oven has some pretty significant limitations. Like it doesn’t work with gas, and the poor old dear seldom can get …
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