This Dame Cooks A Collection of Recipes from Alaska to the South Pacific and Caribbean

Sourdough Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

02.28.2013 · Posted in Pies, Cakes & Cookies, Recipes

DSCF0793Sourdough always makes me think of San Francisco or Anchorage.  After all it was the gold prospectors of the early 1900′s who made sourdough a staple of the last frontiers of our nation.  Often times the miners kept a ball of sourdough in their pocket so they’d always have the yeast to make a batch of bread or biscuits.

Not only is sourdough bread one of my true eating pleasures but growing my own sourdough starter and making other sourdough goodies is right up there on the accomplishment scale.    I love sourdough biscuits, pancakes, crepes, pizza crusts, sourdough spice cake and this basic sourdough cookie recipe.   It’s perfect for making oatmeal raisin cookies with crisp outsides and soft insides.  There’s just a tad of tang that plays nicely with the blue berry raisins and a hint of brown sugar that caramelizes on the outside.  The pecans add a bit of crunch.

The first thing you’ll need is a sourdough starter.  If you have one already, take it out of the refrigerator and feed it at least 2 times over the next 24 hours.  You know the drill, stir 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of warm water into the starter, cover and let ferment in a warm place.  Be sure to refrigerate the left over starter…or make a batch of bread.  If you don’t have a starter, make one…easy peasy recipes are all over the web or use my sourdough starter recipe.

Ingredients for 3 dozen cookies:

  • 1/2 cup sourdough starter
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar (or dark brown sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups quick oats
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup dried fruit and nuts of choice
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda


  1.  Stir the sourdough starter until it is smooth then measure 1/2 cup and place in a medium sized bowl.  Melt the butter in the microwave for 30 seconds.  Whisk the eggs and butter into the sourdough starter.  Cover and let set for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Whisk the sugar and vanilla into the sourdough batter until the sugar dissolves.  Add the oats, flour, cinnamon, and salt and stir.
  4. Toss the fruit and nuts with the baking soda then fold into the sourdough batter.
  5. Drop batter by teaspoon onto prepared cookie sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes or until bottoms and edges of cookies are golden brown.
  6. Remove from baking sheet to a cooling rack.  Store cooled cookies in an airtight container.

Cherry and Almond Loaf

01.28.2013 · Posted in Breads, Pies, Cakes & Cookies, Recipes

Cherry and Almond Loaf

This was a spur-of-the-moment quick bread made with leftover frozen cherries and toasted almonds.  It turned out so moist and flavorful with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg along with the crunch of the almonds and sweetness of the cherries.  This recipe is adapted from a Hawaiian Mango Bread recipe I picked up a zillion years ago while traveling through Honolulu.  Just add chopped mango, coconut and macadamia nuts in place of the cherries and almonds and you’ll have Hawaiian Mango Bread.  Actually, you can use any fruit and nut you desire and come up with your own version.  Be sure to use the yogurt as it activates the baking soda and baking powder giving you a super light crumb instead of a dense and heavy mass.

Do try this recipe.  It is great toasted or just warm from the oven with butter if you dare.  Let a few slices dry out and make French toast with it.  Its absolutely the bomb with flambeed fruit and ice cream or warm homemade fruit syrup.

The recipe given is for a standard 9X5-inch loaf pan, or 12 cupcake size muffins, 6 Texas size muffins or 4 mini loaves.  Add this recipe to your Christmas baking – great gifts from your kitchen.


  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 cups cherries, halved (fresh, frozen or dried)
  • 1 cup toasted almonds, roughly chopped (or almonds of your choice…slivered, sliced etc.)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil of choice
  • 1 cup sugar of choice (light brown sugar or raw sugar adds that molasses tone)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or 1/2 tsp each vanilla and almond extract
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.  Grease and flour a loaf pan or muffin tin.
  2. In a medium sized bowl mix all dry ingredients with a whisk.  Toss dry mix with fruit and 1/2 cup of nuts.
  3. In a separate bowl beat the oil with the sugar until creamy and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time beating after each addition.  Add the vanilla and yogurt.
  4. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until all flour is moistened, about 10 or 12 strokes with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.
  5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.  Sprinkle with remaining chopped nuts.
  6. Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove to a cooling rack, let set 5 minutes before turning out loaf.
  7. Allow to cool another 10 minutes or more before slicing.

Homemade Dijon Mustard

After much research I found a recipe for homemade German mustard and just had to tweak it for my version of a Dijon mustard.  Dijon is the mustard most often used in gourmet recipes and making it at home will save money and guarantee quality plus you’ll always know what is in it.  Making your own condiments just couldn’t be easier when you start with a tried and true recipe.  There’s lots of room to adapt this recipe to your particular tastes, so play around with it and make it your own.   You might like to try tarragon vinegar or regular granulated white sugar, maybe some onion juice or garlic powder.  I like to use this mustard in my homemade mayonnaise for some real zip.


  • 1/4 cup white wine (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp yellow mustard seeds (optional)
  • 1/4 cup apple-cider vinegar (or vinegar of your choice)
  • 1/2 cup water (filtered or un-chlorinated water)
  • 6  Tbsp mustard powder of your choice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp raw sugar (or light brown sugar)
  • 1 tsp Wondra Flour (or all-purpose flour)


  1. Soak mustard seeds in white wine over night.  Strain and add seeds to a small sauce pan.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients to the sauce pan and whisk thoroughly to eliminate lumps and make it smooth.
  3. Over medium heat, stir with a wooden spoon and cook until it begins to bubble.  Lower heat and continue to cook until it thickens and starts to mound on the spoon.
  4. Remove from heat and spoon into a clean jar.  It will thicken more as it cools.  Cover with a lid and refrigerate.  It will keep for months.


  1. If it doesn’t seem to be thickening after 3 or 4 minutes of cooking, add 1 Tbsp more of powdered mustard and whisk vigorously to combine.
  2. Add Homemade Dijon Mustard to your list of gourmet gift items.

How to Make Sauerkraut in a Jar

01.18.2013 · Posted in Preserves & Condiments

I have a new batch of sauerkraut that will be ready next week, probably Thursday.  Easy Peasy method:  just shred cabbage on a mandolin, add salt (3 Tbsp per 5 pounds of cabbage), bruise the salted cabbage with your hands and pack it really, really tight into a jar. You want the juice to float above the cabbage at least 1 inch.   Place another jar inside to hold the cabbage under the juice…or use giant glass marbles (sterilized of-course).  Set it on your counter on a plate with a tea-towel covering.  Wait 10 or 12 days and voila, old world “sauerkraut”!  Refrigerate to stop fermenting.  Will keep in frig up to a month or longer.
You can add Juniper berries to the fermenting cabbage for a real old-world flavor. Once the sauerkraut is ready, cook up some sauerbraten and add to a pot of hot sauerkraut cooked with chunks of apple and a teaspoon of caraway or fennel seeds.  Serve with mashed potatoes and homemade Dijon mustard.
To store long-term, heat sauerkraut and its juice in a stainless steel pot just to a boil, pack into hot sterilized jars, seal with lids and rings, water bath in boiling water for 15 minutes.  Remove to a draft free area and let cool.  Check seal on lids, store in a dry, cool pantry or cupboard for 1 year or longer.  Refrigerate any jars that did not seal properly.
If you have questions please enter them in the comment section below.  Next up:  Homemade Dijon Mustard

Homemade Papaya Jam Over Fluffy Pancakes

Papaya is available nearly year round here in Puerto Rico.  Unlike Hawaiian varieties, Caribbean papaya tend to be large…2 pounds or more is not uncommon. It’s a versatile fruit that can be used in all its stages of ripeness.

Drizzle lime juice over slices of fresh ripe papaya for a cool and refreshing breakfast…so good and loaded with vitamins and minerals.  Over fluffy pancakes papaya jam is to die for.  Green papaya makes a terrific chutney as piquant as you dare and even a pickled salad Filipino style.  A popular dish in the Polynesian South Pacific is lo’i lesi.  Its a papaya filled with coconut milk, a little cinnamon and raw sugar. Then it is wrapped in banana leaves and baked in an umu (underground oven). What a treat! Like pudding.  Polynesians also use shredded green papaya to tenderize lamb, beef, giant clams, octopus and conch.

This jam is even better with a few of the seeds thrown in.  The seeds become tender and have a slight peppery flavor when cooked.  They add a little more character to the jam, at least in appearance.

Papaya doesn’t have alot of pectin and needs acid inorder to jell.  Lime juice goes very nicely with sweet ripe papaya.  You can cook it for a long time to get it to jell but you lose so much flavor and compromise the bright colors.  Again, if you’ve read my other tropical jam posts, tropical fruits are delicate in flavor so over cooking is definitely a no, no.

Papaya is available in major stateside supermarkets so do try this jam.  Don’t forget to make a few jars for gift baskets.


  • 4 cups of ripe papaya flesh
  • 1 Tbsp papaya seeds
  • juice of 2 large limes (about 1/4 cup and reserve the juiced peels)
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 pouch Certo Liquid Pectin


  • Wash jars in hot soapy water, rinse well, sterilize in boiling water for 10 minutes and keep jars warm until ready to fill.
  • Juice the limes.  Slice, chop or grind the lime peels with the pips and pith, place in a small sauce pan with 1 cup water.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat, strain, pushing against the pulp to extract the pectin.  Cool the natural pectin and add to the lime juice.
  • Wash papaya thoroughly.  Slice off blossom end and stem end and slice down middle of fruit.  Remove the seeds and stringy flesh with a spoon, reserve one tablespoon of seeds.  Remove the flesh with a spoon and coursely chop or mash until you have 4 cups. You want some texture.
  • In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan place papaya flesh, lime juice mixture and sugar .
  • Stirring constantly to dissolve sugar, bring to a boil, add the reserved seeds and cook 15 minutes over medium high heat.  Raise the heat and bring to a full-roiling boil (a boil that cannot be stirred down).
  • Remove from heat and stir in Certo liquid pectin.  Return to high heat and bring back to a roiling boil for 1 minute.  Remove and let set for 3-5 minutes.  If a skin forms and wrinkles when pushed it has reached the jell stage.  If no skin forms return to heat and cook another 5 minutes.  Repeat jell test.
  • Drain warm jars, fill to within 1/4-inch of rim, wipe rims and seal.  Bring water-bath to a full boil.  Water should be 1-inch or more above jars.  Process jars for 10 minutes.  Remove jars to a draft-free area and cool.  Check seals.  Store in a cool, dark, damp-free pantry.  Refrigerate once opened.