Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Kumama's Bread Pudding

Hello again!
The presidential debate is just finishing up-I change my mind everyday as to my vote.
Gas prices are down- but for how long ????
Today I’ll give you a few simple ideas for saving on groceries, the most important of which is- DO NOT WASTE ANYTHING! Think if ways to be creative with leftovers is an easy way to start. But first you have to purchase your groceries.
Do not shop without a list. I do not mean a list you write while in the grocery parking lot. Take inventory of what you have on hand; make a menu and construct you list from what you need to get through the week. Go over the ads in the newspapers a clip. Alter your list as needed to take advantage of the sales Pull the appropriate coupons and clip to your list. If at all possible shop alone! Kids and spouses slow down the process- and any added time in the store usually translates into more “stuff” or junk foods in the cart. I do not believe in going from store-to store unless there is a remarkable bargain that will result in a big saving on products that I need or will need in the near future. For example I was in a local Shoppers market to make a deposit at the bank inside the store. I noticed they had tomatoes in 29 ounce cans on sale for a dollar (89cent savings per can) .There were manufacturers coupons at the display .$1.00 off if you bought 3 cans. I bought 6 cans. When I checked out –the coupons were DOUBLED- 6 large cans of tomatoes for $2.00!!! I went to the service desk and asked if it was OK if I purchased more-“absolutely” was the reply. I bought an additional 18 cans for $6.00. So for a total of $8.00 I have enough tomatoes to last me well into spring and saved $37.36!
We need to think about how we spend, how we shop and how and where we eat.

I noticed tonight that there are a few slices bread leftover from last evening’s meal. It’s a bit dry- I could just toss it out to the birds .I could put it in the food processor to make bread crumbs for a casserole topping (store in freezer if you choose to do this) , or I can make dessert for dinner tomorrow. I choose the latter.

Kumama’s Bread Pudding

Serves 4-6

2 cups bread cubes- Any type- Italian, regular white, whole wheat or a mixture – Use the heels of the bread that always seen to go wanting in the bottom of the bread wrapper

½ cup raisins or other dried fruit or mixture .Cut up an apple if that is what you have
2 large eggs
¼ cup sugar (or Splenda that measures like sugar)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla or the flavor you like
1½ cups milk – whole, low fat, skim. If you use reconstituted powdered milk- that is also OK. Have chocolate milk that needs to be used up-give that a try !
Cut or tear bread into 1-inch pieces and place in a 1 ½ quart baking dish .Add raisins and mix . In another bowl, beat the eggs with a fork. Add milk, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla to the eggs. Mix well. Pour the mixture over the bread. Allow mixture to soak for 10-15 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a knife in the middle- it is done when the knife comes out clean. Serve warm or cold.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Kumama’s Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

Kumama has been on a lazy streak!! I apologize for not being more faithful to this blog!

My husband and I had the pleasure of our wonderful family and friends joining us at our home to celebrate 40 years of marriage. What a wonderful day! My family surprised me with a 5 month old Yorkie puppy. She was at my daughter’s home for a few days before the party – where she got the name Millie – perfect for her. What a joy!!

The economy crisis is impacting all of us! I will be concentrating on recipes that are economical but in cost and in preparation time. Many are having to work more hours at alternate jobs to make ends meet. I will try to also keep the recipes healthy.

The one below is for chicken cacciatore in a slow cooker. It is not particularly unique but it is a recipe you can play with. Don’t have mushrooms- leave them out. Add more onions to stretch a little if needed. If you have the red, orange or yellow peppers in the fridge – use some of those. Green peppers are usually the least expensive. Small to medium sized pepper will do, but often green peppers are sold by the pepper rather than by the pound. If this is the case- go for the largest pepper in the rack- use it all in the dish to stretch the dish or save some for another use. Thighs and drumsticks are often on sale. Today I bought a tray of 14 nice sized chicken thighs for a little over $5.00 at Wegmans! (99 cents a pound). Feel free to add herbs - fresh or dried such as parsley and thyme. Have some left over red wine- throw in a splash

Just for the record ,the more traditional Chicken Cacciatore or Hunters stew has a brown sauce- not the red sauce listed here. .

Kumama’s Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

Serves 6 hungry people- with leftovers

1 Large package of chicken drumsticks and/or thighs (10-12 pieces) – skin removed
1 large onion sliced
1 8-ounce can of tomato sauce
1 8 ounce canned sliced mushrooms – drained (OK to use stems and pieces or fresh)
1 large can of diced tomatoes – seasoned or plain
1 sliced green pepper
2 cloves of garlic minced (or1 teaspoon garlic powder)
Salt and pepper to taste
½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce (optional)

Cooked pasta noodles or rice – use any pasta that you have on hand – the long skinny ones like spaghetti seem to work best . Whole wheat pasta and brown rice are the healthier choices.

Remove skin from chicken and discard. Put onions and peppers in the slow cooker; add chicken, mushrooms. Add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Add Tabasco sauce if using. Cook on low for 7-9 hours or 3-4 hours on high. Serve it over either rice or linguine noodles.
Tastes even better the second day.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Kumama's Super-charged Oatmeal Cookies

Yesterday, true to my word I did very little. I even PURCHASED ready made oatmeal cookies for 2 of my precious grandsons. I ask you, what kind of grandmother does that? Well this “Kumama” did. Sam (who named me Kumama) and his brother Noah seemed to very much like the store-made oatmeal cookies purchased at Shoppers in Eldersburg Maryland. Sam 5, and Noah 3, are both autistic. They both have limitations in the foods they will eat and /or foods they can tolerate. The oatmeal cookies were a hit. Kumama has been thinking of things that can be added to oatmeal cookies to boost their nutritional impact. Today I will start with a basic oatmeal cookie recipe and give a list fruits and or veggies that might also be added. – but, not more than one or two in a batch though.
I’m certainly not recommending parents look to cookies to nourish their children but there are circumstances where some extra nutrition can and should be packed into a treat.

Kumama’s Super-charged Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup butter (or solid margarine without Trans fat)
1 cup brown sugar firmly packed
½ cup granulated sugar
2 extra large eggs
2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
1 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt (can be omitted if needed)
3 cups un-cooked oatmeal (old fashioned or quick oats)
1 ½ cups raisins, dark or golden
½ cup chopped walnuts (optional) (or chopped pecans)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Beat butter (margarine) and sugars together until very creamy. Beat in eggs, one at a time and vanilla .Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add to sugar mixture, mixing well. Stir in oatmeal, raisins and walnuts until well distributed in batter.
Place dough on un-greased cookie sheet in rounded tablespoon amounts. Bake 10-13 minuets or until golden brown. Cool about 5 minutes then transfer to cooling rack until completely cool. Store in airtight container. Makes about 40-48 cookies.

“Add ins”-
½ cup finely shredded zucchini- squeeze dry in paper towel before adding to batter.
½ cup finely shredded carrots
½ cup finely chopped dried apricots, OR dried pears, OR dried apples OR dried peaches. - I would soak these in warm water a few minutes after chopping. Drain before adding to batter
½ cup cooked fresh or frozen(not canned) finely chopped spinach - squeeze dry in paper towel before adding to batter.(I know what this sounds like but if finely chopped it goes un-noticed)
½ cup powdered milk (the dry powder) add with the other dry ingredients.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Kumama's Vegan Cherry Cobbler

Hope you are enjoying the weekend
Kumama is taking a break today and hope you will as well. The weather is so gorgeous - I want to cook everything and nothing at all!!
My son Bruce is going to visit today and I'm planning in my head what to serve. We may just order pizza or Chinese but I will make a a very simple cherry cobbler . This hardly qualifies as cooking. Put it on your list of vegan desserts - Bisquick has no animal products unless you add them . Keep Bisquick (or it's generic equivalent) on hand . You will find a million uses for it!!
If you use dairy by all means use regular milk instead if the soy, if you wish.

Kumama's Vegan Cherry Cobbler
1 (21 oz.) can cherry pie filling
½ teaspoon almond extract
1 cup Bisquick (regular or lower fat)
¼ cup soy milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon softened stick margarine

Mix pie filling with extract in an ungreased 1 ½ quart casserole. Place in 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes ,until cherry mixture is hot. Meanwhile mix the baking mix, sugar, margarine and milk with a fork until it makes a dough. Beat vigorously for about 15-25 strokes- do not over mix or cobbler will be tough. Drop this mixture by spoonfuls onto the hot cherry mix and bake until topping is golden brown which should take about 20 to 25 minutes. It is best served while it is warm If desired serve with non-dairy topping or sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
Makes 6 servings.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Kumama's Peach Pie

Good morning!
You are either a pie maker or you are not. Anyone can make the filling – the crust is the needed skill. Kumama is not a pie crust maker. When I make a quiche- I purchase the “already in the pie pan” frozen pie crusts; for the other pies I purchase the one in rolls in the dairy case. The most basic necessity for making a terrific flaky pie crust is having a mother that made a terrific pie crust. My mother could make beautifully delicious yeast breads but no pie crust. My late sister-in-law, Loie Godfrey was a terrific pie and pie crust maker and so is her beautiful and talented daughter Elizabeth. I have their recipe but I just can’t make it happen. I’ll share that recipe at a later time.
Peaches are still in season and I strongly recommend you take the time and make the effort to make a peach pie this weekend. You won’t regret it. So we have established you are a pie crust maker or you are not- you’ll need a double crust (top and bottom) for this pie- use what you like best! The daring can even make a lattice crust (but not Kumama).
This pie goes especially well with a good quality vanilla ice cream!!

Kumama’s Peach Pie

Unbaked crust for top and bottom of pie
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons corn starch
6 cups ripe, peeled, pitted and sliced peaches (about 6-8 large peaches)
*(2 -16 ounce bags of frozen, unsweetened peaches, thawed, may be used if fresh not available)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract OR ½ teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon melted butter (not margarine)
2 teaspoons additional sugar

Save yourself some work- place pie on baking sheet covered with foil – it catches the drips and saves an oven cleaning
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine sugar and cornstarch in large bowl .Add peaches, lemon and vanilla (or almond extract). Toss all to combine. Pour peach mixture into the prepared bottom crust. Cover with top crust and crimp edges of pie crust together. Brush top crust with melted butter . Cut several slits in pie top to allow steam to escape while baking. Sprinkle top crust with remaining 2 teaspoons sugar. Cover edges of pie crust with strips of aluminum foil . Bake 35 minutes and then remove foil. Continue baking an additional 20-25 min or until crust golden and juice begins to bubble.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Kumama's Split Pea Soup

Good morning ,
QVC is selling autumn wreathes and the magazines I purchased today have pumpkins on them.
This has made me start thinking about SOUP. When looking for economical and healthy food in the same dish- check out the soups first- homemade that is. Soups are easy to make- requiring minimal kitchen skills and often use inexpensive and/or leftover foods. I keep a covered plastic container in my freezer for left over bits of cooked veggies meats and gravies (I do not put seafood in this mix) for that nice big pot vegetable soup.
Split pea is the all time winner for economy. A bag of split peas costs around a dollar. The ham, if used, is already hanging around in the fridge begging to be used up. A few veggies added to the mix and you have a pot of soup that will feed 4 hungry people at least twice probably more. It is very high in fiber, you can control the salt, freezes well and without the ham costs about $4.00 for the whole pot. AND IT TASTES GREAT!

Kumama’s Split Pea Soup

10 cups water (may need to add more as soup cooks and thickens)
1 pound dried split peas (about 2 ¼ cups)
1 meaty ham bone (optional)
1 large onion diced
3 large potatoes peeled and diced
1 teaspoon salt (optional – if using ham – taste soup before adding salt)
1 teaspoon coarse ground pepper
3 carrots chopped
3 stalks celery chopped
2-3 dashes Tabasco sauce – optional

Heat water, peas and ham (if using) to boiling. Boil about 45 min; remove ham and cut meat from bone. Discard bone. Add the meat back to pot and add vegetables, and seasonings. Cover and simmer until peas are tender, about 1 hour more on low heat. The soup freezes very well.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Kumama's Jewish Apple Cake

Good Morning!
It is beginning to feel like autumn is certainly on the way. My small (ultra-small) vegetable garden is beginning to look old despite watering and feeding. My grandson Nolan’s other grandmother has already purchased a Halloween costume for him to wear- but actually that probably has more to do with her better organizational skills and less to do with season changes.
I have been looking through my favorite dessert recipes to find some that are easy to make and can be made ahead in preparation for our 40th wedding anniversary party that is rapidly approaching!
Let’s see- needs to be easy, make ahead (meaning freezes well), versatile, tasty, not too horrible for dieters (slices easily into thin slices), – only one answer Kumama’s Jewish Apple Cake. It also is economical(no frosting,no butter) and feeds a large number of people.

Kumama’s Jewish Apple Cake

4 or 5 large apples (Granny Smith's are good)
6 teaspoons cinnamon
½ cup sugar
3 cup flour
2 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup oil
4 extra large eggs
½ cup orange juice
Zest of one orange or lemon (optional)
1 tablespoon good quality vanilla extract

Peel, core and slice apples; mix cinnamon and 1/2 cup sugar together; add sliced apples and let sit. Combine all other ingredients in another bowl and beat to make a smooth batter (about 3 to 4 minutes). Pour half the batter into a large greased tube pan (10 inch is best); layer half the apple slices on the batter; add remaining batter, then top with the rest of the apples. Pour any remaining sugar and cinnamon mixture on top. Bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until tester comes out clean.
*Note -- Jewish apple cakes are made with oil - no dairy- thus it can be served with a meat meal except during Passover.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Kumama's Mongolian Beef

Hello from Kumama's Kitchen,
Meals are a challenge these days. We need to conserve energy, save money, be time efficient, serve healthy meals, and take care of ourselves. The list goes on. One of my favorite Asian meals is Mongolian beef. From the restaurant it can be pricy to feed a family .
The recipe below will easily feed 4-6 using the economical round steak. Only a pound ( you could use less- and fill in with some additional veggies) . Round steak is a leaner thus often tougher cut of meat. It is however tasty, and leaner means healthier. Make sure you trim any fat from the meat. If you find a larger than one pound piece have the butcher cut it in one pound pieces and freeze the other portions for the next time. White rice can be replaced with brown rice to increase the fiber. Since it takes longer to cook brown rice, cook a double batch and freeze leftovers on zip-closure bags for the next time you need cooked rice. There are many types of soy sauce- choose one that meets your nutritional needs. More garlic and ginger can make up for less soy if needed.

Kumama’s Mongolian Beef
1 pound round steak
1 medium onion sliced in strips (not rounds)
4 tablespoons soy sauce (lower sodium)
1 tablespoons white sugar2 tablespoons canola oil
1-2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger 2 cloves garlic, minced finely or crushed
4 green onions sliced on the diagonal in 1 inch pieces include the green
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted lightly (heat slowly in small dry frying pan- keep the pan moving they toast quickly and burn quickly – do not leave the pan) (you can also buy them already toasted)

Cooked rice or cooked Asian noodles
1. Mix soy sauce, sugar, oil, ginger, garlic, and onions in a large Ziploc bag. Set aside.
2. Cut steak into thin strips (It helps to put meat in freezer for about 20 min to firm it up- much easier to slice) and add zip closure bag. Zip and refrigerate at least 30 minutes but may be marinated overnight.
3. Cook in wok or frying pan about 5 minutes or until meat cooked through. Add sesame seeds and cook for additional 1 minute. Serve with cooked rice or Asian noodles
Serves 4-6 generously

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Kumama's Curried Fruit

We have been talking about saving money on veggies this week. We need to also talk about fruit. All of the same principals apply –using canned, frozen, farmers markets and so on. Keep in mind that many fruits such as apples and pears have “good staying power”. Properly stored they can keep for months. Have you ever considered drying fruits in a dehydrator ?. While we are in tough economic times I do not recommend a large investment in such and item, but I see them frequently at garage sales for under $5.00. It is also a way to preserve fresh herbs if they cannot be uses in a timely fashion.
Canned fruits are usually packed in sugar syrup; so look for juice packed or water packed if you are monitoring your carbs. You can also drain the syrupy fruit to cut down on the carbs.
Keep in mind the “old reliable” fruits , apples, pears, oranges and bananas pack a big nutritional punch, pack easily in lunches and usually will curb any sweet craving.
Here is a recipe for curried fruit- keep it in mind for the cooler days or when company’s coming and you don’t feel like fussing too much

Curried Fruit
1 can peaches, drained
1 can apricots, drained
1 can pears, drained
1 large can pineapple chunks, un-drained *
1 can black cherries, drained
½ cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons curry powder (not hot curry powder )
3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
2 tablespoons butter (margarine OK but butter better )

Combine fruit. Place in slow-cooker .* NOTE do not drain pineapple *. Add rest of ingredients except butter . Cook in slow cooker on Low for 6-8 hours. Add butter in last hour of cooking and stir well. This will feed a large crowd, sit on a buffet well and tastes even better the next day . It can be served with ice cream or whipped cream if desired.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Kumama's Eggplant Sandwiches

Hello again!
Earlier this week we talked about some ways to stretch our food dollar with vegetables. I stopped by a vegetable stand here in Carroll County, Maryland near Westminster
Here are some of my bargains:
3 large beautiful ripe red tomatoes (almost 2 pounds) -$1.00
3 large orange tomatoes $1.00
3 pounds cherry tomatoes $3.00
3 large cucumbers (but not overly large) $1.00
2 eggplants about one pound each $1.00
8 medium zucchini 25cents each- $2.00
10 pounds small new potatoes $4.00
2 small cantaloupes 1.25 pounds each- 50 cents each - $1.00
All vegetables were grown on that farm. All except potatoes were picked this morning.
We will eat healthy dishes all week (and then some) from this bag of beautiful fresh vegetables.
I did not buy fruit as our blackberry bushes are still producing and the pears trees will soon be challenging me for ideas to properly utilize the bounty.
Any of you out there that have excess fruit and vegetable from your gardens and do not want it to be wasted- call your local shelters, missions, food banks or meals-on wheels programs and ask if you can drop it off. Fresh foods are often in short supply at these organizations- all contributions are appreciated!

Think I’ll make eggplant sandwiches this week!

Eggplant Sandwiches

Serves 4
2 One pound eggplants
2 cups seasoned commercial bread crumbs (or make your own)
¾ cup good quality grated Parmesan cheese
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons water
Olive oil greasing pan (may use olive oil flavored cooking spray such as Pam)
4 large crusty rolls – split
1 16 ounce jar spaghetti sauce – any red one will do – Pizza sauce also works if that’s what you have on hand
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

· Cut eggplant in slices – about ¼ inch thick (if your rolls are oblong slice the long way- if your rolls are round- slice in rounds)
· Whisk eggs in bowl with water
· Mix Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs.
· Dip eggplant into egg mixture then into bread crumb mixture.
· Put eggplant on greased (sprayed) baking sheet and broil about 12 inches from heat- about 5 minutes on each side. ( OR- sauté in olive oil on grill pan or frying pan until slightly crisp. But since you need to heat the oven to melt the cheese why dirty another pan)
· Top rolls with eggplant then spaghetti sauce then mozzarella. Broil additional 3-5 min until sauce is hot and cheese melts and bubbles.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Kumama Talks Saving on Veggies

Kumama has been inundated with questions lately on how to reduce the food bill without compromising health or taste.
We all agree that food is getting too expensive. Choosing canned and frozen instead of fresh can be a money saver .Also most of us eat far too much fat and protein. So here goes.
Let’s talk today about vegetables.
Utilize your local farmers markets for fresh and in season fruits and veggies as much as possible. The prices are usually better and certainly promise to be fresher.

Corn, broccoli , green beans peppers, peas, cauliflower, asparagus, carrots , okra and spinach are all very good frozen and much less expensive. They have the advantage of keeping longer than fresh and usually have no additives.
Canned veggies are often not given the credit they deserve. Corn, beets, green beans, mushrooms, pumpkin, and of course the wide selection of tomatoes and sauces are often placed on sale. Do not forget the ethnic food isle- things like salsa, water chestnuts. Be mindful of salt content of canned veggies and choose salt free when possible. Salt can always be added - very difficult (impossible?) to remove. If purchasing canned vegetables with salt they can be drained and rinsed to reduce the salt content.

Use the fresh vegetables where you want them to “star” and the canned in a more “supporting role”
The following recipe is that of my sister MaryBelle. It utilizes canned veggies and a few fresh.
It is a tasty ,economical and high fiber salad The sugar may be replaced with *Splenda- use the kind that comes in a box and is pours like sugar- not the kind that comes in small yellow packages .

MaryBelle’s Salad

1 cup sugar (*Splenda)
½ cup cider vinegar
½ cup canola oil
Salt and pepper to taste

1- 15 ounce can French style green beans –drained
1- 15 ounce can white corn, drained
1- 15 ounce can peas (small peas if you can find them) drained
1- 15 ounce can bean sprouts drained and rinsed
1 small jar pimentos –drained and chopped (may use ½ cup diced fresh green or red bell peppers)
1 cup celery diced
1 medium onion finely diced
Mix sugar, vinegar and oil in sauce pan and bring to a boil. Allow to cool. Add salt and pepper if desired Drain and mix all vegetables together. Pour liquid over veggies. Refrigerate in sealed container such as Lock & Lock or Tupperware. Best if made day before serving.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Kumama's Super Coconut Cake

Today has been a lazy day for me- even more than usual. Much of the day was spent talking with beloved friends and family and obsessing on sweets. Coconut, coconut, coconut!! I have been searching my files for a recipe for a very simple coconut cake I made years ago. It is very sweet with lots of coconut. It is special as it can be made in advance, and travels well. Disappears rapidly! Fortunately I found the recipe!
I can only make this when I am taking it to a party or if guests are coming- as a diabetic and coconut lover supremo – I cannot be left alone with this cake. Enjoy!!

Kumama’s Super Coconut Cake

1 box yellow cake mix or white cake mix and the
ingredients to make cake, as listed on cake mix box
1 8 ounce can Cream of coconut- divided
1 large tub of Cool Whip (generic may be used)
1 can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
1 cup Pecans, chopped (walnuts are also good)
1 cup shredded coconut

Prepare a 9x13 inch pan –grease and flour. Mix and bake cake according to package directions.
When cake tests done and while still hot, poke holes in it with a fork.
Mix together sweetened condensed milk and 4 ounces cream of coconut and slowly pour over cake, filling holes. Let cake cool slightly.
Blend the cool whip and remaining cream of coconut and spread over the cake. Top with pecans and coconut. Cover and refrigerate.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Kumama's Crab Cakes

July in Maryland-you must have crab cakes, corn on the cob and sliced tomatoes for dinner!! Yummmm!!!
I grew up in Annapolis, Maryland. When I was about eight years old there was a crab house next door. It was started by one of the first African-American business women in town.
The Crab house steamed the crabs that were sold. There was a special blend of spices that were cooked with the crabs-I can still remember the aroma!! The women would pick the crabs, fingers flying to obtain the luscious crab meat. Crabs by the dozen or bushel, crab cakes and deviled crabs were sold. Deviled crabs were made with same the crab cake mixture –but much spicier, stuffed in a crab shell and then baked. The women welcomed me in to watch, teaching me much. There was much joy in Miss Gray’s crab house.
My crab cakes are good but I will never be able to equal the ones I ate as a child in that crab house while watching the women picking crab meat.

Kumama’s Crab Cakes

1 pound fresh lump crab meat
1/2 cup cracker crumbs or bread crumbs
1 egg- slightly beaten
1/4 cup mayonnaise (more if needed)
2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning (or your favorite seafood seasoning)
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, if desired
Canola oil for pan frying

Carefully remove all cartilage and any pieces of shell from crabmeat. In a bowl, mix together egg, mayonnaise, Old Bay seasoning, white pepper, Worcestershire sauce and dry mustard. Add crabmeat and cracker crumbs; mix evenly and gently. Shape into 6 cakes. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for at least one hour. This may be done several hours in advance or even over night. Sauté crab cakes in a frying pan until deep golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels. Crab cakes may also be broiled on greased sheet pan or cake pan until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Make sure there is Old Bay seasoning on the table for those who want more spice.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Kumama's Chicken Santa Fe

Good morning!!!
Today my husband and I put the invitations to our 40th Anniversary party in the mail. It’s not until September so there is still time to plan. It will be a very informal gathering – A crab feast- always a favorite here in Maryland. We hope many of our friends and family will be able to attend.
The week is winding down- time to use the Crock Pot for a simple meal that will “cook itself” so to speak. This meal is so easy! Leftovers freeze well but it is unlikely there will be any left!! It can be served over cooked rice or noodles. Corn chips are also a nice addition. Vary the type of beans if you like, and different cheeses also work. The hot pepper cheese from the deli counter adds a nice kick. For economy, boneless skinless chicken thighs may be used

Kumama’s Chicken Santa Fe

2 cans (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans (15 oz) whole kernel corn, drained
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon black pepper *
2 cups bottled thick and chunky- salsa mild, medium or hot- your choice (if you don’t like chunky- puree in blender first) –
8 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 2 pounds)
1½ cups shredded Cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro to garnish

Cut each breast half in 2-3 pieces depending on the size of the chicken breasts. In a slow cooker, mix together the beans, corn, onion, cumin, pepper and ½ of the salsa. Top with the chicken breast pieces. Pour the remaining 1/2 of the salsa over the chicken. Cover and cook on high setting for 2 ½- to 3 hours, (or 4-6 hours on low) or until the chicken is tender and white throughout. Do not over cook or the chicken will toughen. Sprinkle cheese on top, cover, and cook until the cheese melts, about 5 minutes. Serve and sprinkle with cilantro.
Serves 8 generously .
*Note- there is no salt added in this recipe- salt is in salsa, beans, corn and cheese. If you need more salt- add if you like.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Kumama's Old Fashioned Blackberry Pie

Hello again!
Was outside picking blackberries today. Only a handful were ripe but they were oh so sweet!! I am so lucky to have a husband that planted blackberry bushes for me a few years back – they are now starting to produce. May have enough this year to make a pie (Recipe to follow). I’m not a great pie crust maker so I strongly advocate the use of the refrigerated pie crusts or the frozen ones already in the pie pan!! This pie is so very simple and so very good. Make a trip to the farmers market this week and find some blackberries to make this old fashioned pie.

Kumama’s Old Fashioned Blackberry Pie

1 quart fresh sweet blackberries, washed & drained
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Crust for pie- top and bottom- store bought just fine
1 tablespoon butter (not margarine)

Mix sugar, salt, and flour. Mix flour combo with berries. Fill pastry lined pie pan with berry mixture. Dot with butter. Place top crust place carefully over filling and seal edges . Cut 3 or 4 small holes/slits in the top of pie crust to allow steam to escape. Bake in a preheated 450° oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° and bake 25 minutes longer or until crust golden brown and berry filling bubbling around the slits and edges.
Serves 6 to 8.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Lime Marinated Fish Fillets

Good morning from Kumama's Kitchen. Here in the east (Maryland) we are having another one of our tropical days- Think I was cooler in the rain forest of Costa Rico!!
Thought a quick and easy to prepare fish dish would be in order for today . This lime marinated fish can be made in the broiler or out side on the grill- use what ever fish is on sale and looks good at the market . This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled Stay cool and drink lots of water!!

Lime Marinated Fish Fillets
by Kumama

1 pound fish fillets (cod, halibut, flounder, tilapia are good)
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 teaspoon dried dill or 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped (more or less to taste)
Salt and Pepper to taste

For marinade, combine water, lime juice, honey, oil and dill zip top bag. Mix well. Add fish filets. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours. Turn bag once or twice to make sure all portions of fish are exposed to marinade.

Remove fish, discard marinade. Place fish on the greased broiler pan /tray, tucking under any thin edges so fish will cook evenly.

Cook fish under medium grill until fish flakes. Turn halfway through cooking and
baste the fish with juices in pan. Remember fish cooks quickly- do not over cook. Sprinkle with lime juice just before serving. Serves 2-4 depending on appetite size!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Kumama's Learning Curve

Kumama has been slow to get her blog "going" . My son ,who posts on has been patiently teaching me the "how to's" of blogging. He has shone great patience!

Today I will give you a recipe for Kumama's Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches . They may be marinated over night -or not. . baked, grilled or broiled. A good item any day of the week!! Serve with a salad. Great in this summer weather. This is a super easy recipe!!!

Kumama’s Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 (2 ounce) bottle hot pepper sauce - such as Tabasco red
1 (5 ounce) bottle jalapeno hot pepper sauce -
2 teaspoons paprika, divided
1 large or 2 small red onions, sliced in rings
4 slices tomato
4 leaves lettuce
4 thick slices French baguette, halved- toasted in oven if desired
Blue cheese dressing – optional

Preheat oven to 350 (or to broil if desired)
Place chicken in a foil-lined broiling pan. Pour hot pepper sauce and green hot pepper sauce over chicken, then, sprinkle with paprika. Top with half of the onion slices. (may be marinated over night in a zip-top bag).
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes(may also be broiled for about 15 min.), or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear. OK to grill as well. Slice chicken in moderately thin slices. Place chicken on bottom half of sliced baguette; top with tomato, lettuce, raw onion and top half of baguette to serve. Serve blue cheese dressing to the side if desired. If grilled- serve with extra hot sauce. Serves 4.

Monday, April 28, 2008


Welcome to Kumama's Kitchen!!

My name Kumama was given to me by my grandson Sam. He is 5 years old- very bright. I am the only one in the family that he has given an original name and I just love it!!!

Cooking has been a joy for me most of my life. I still remember my first attempt at baking a cake. There was a recipe for making an orange chiffon cake in some magazine given out at school. I was about 8 years old. My elderly Aunt Eva was staying with me after school while my mother and older sister were shopping. The recipe called for shortening- I did not know what that was- Aunt Eva said" that's the grease Babe" and I set about making a cake with bacon grease. that was the day I learned that no matter how much sugar you put in a cake that has bacon grease, it will not help. This was many decades ago and now hundreds of cakes later ,I now know what shortening is (and is not). Still finding cake recipes in magazines !!!