Bluegills and “Krabby Patties”

Jeff has been fishing in our pond – sometimes with Toben and once in a while with Fiona as well.  They have been pretty good a catching bluegills, by the bucket full.  One afternoon of fishing usually yields 4 lbs of fish fillets.

Since the grandchildren are not too keen on fried fish, Jeff has been experimenting with making fish cakes.  He told Toben that they are “Krabby-Patties” and ever since then, Toben likes to eat them.

Here is Jeff’s Fish-Cake recipe:

  • 1 lb cooked fish fillets (fried lightly in butter, in a skillet until a fork can pull the fish apart)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons “Old Bay” seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard (we used “French’s”)
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped parsley
  • 1/3 cup mayo (we used “Hellman’s light”)
  • 1/3 cup bread-crumbs
Mix all ingredients, except fish, together.  Then carefully fold in the fish, cool for at least one hour in refrigerator, or over-night.  Form into paddies, and fry in medium hot skillet until done.

Blackberry Vinaigrette

So, what can one do with dozens of bottles of blackberry wine – well, one thing is to make some quick and delicious salad dressing:

Blackberry Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup seedless tart blackberry jam
  • 1/4 cup apple vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup blackberry wine – until it tastes good 🙂
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients well, and serve with choice of mixed greens & veggie salad.

Sweet German Breakfast Bread

Here is another favorite bread recipe – for Easter morning, we braid it in a circle and put colored eggs in the center, for everyday, just simply shape the dough into braid and glaze after baking.  The same dough can also be used for wonderful cinnamon rolls. 


  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup cold milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup butter, cut into slices
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 and 3/4 cup bread flour
  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoons bread machine yeast

Place ingredients into bread machine, in the order given above.  Then use the dough cycle, which takes about 1.5 hours.  When the cycle is done, and the dough has risen nicely, punch the dough down, and divide into 3 equal pieces.  With each piece of dough, form a long roll – getting rid of all air bubbles in this process.  Shape into a braid, place on cookie sheet and let rise another half hour.  Preheat oven to 375 degree F, and bake for about 25-30 minutes.
While the bread is still hot, cover with a simple icing (melted butter, some milk, vanilla flavoring and powdered sugar)

For Cinnamon Rolls:
Divide dough into half, roll each half into a rectangle, cover with melted butter and sprinkle generously with a sugar/cinnamon mixture.  Then roll up from the long side, slice into 2 inch sections, stand sections on end in a 13×9 inch pan and bake at 375 for about 20 minutes.  Spread icing generously over the rolls after baking.

Brewer’s Grain Bread

Anna, Duff and Leif visited us for the long 4th of July weekend and Duff decided to brew a batch of beer from scratch (as he often does when he comes to our house for a few days).  He bought several types of malted grains, which he mixed according to his own recipe.   After the grains were steeped, Duff offered me a taste, and it was delicious.  I had read about “spent grain” bread recipes, but I had also tasted spent grains and was skeptical as to their usefulness. Spent grains obviously lack all the malt sugar, which is still part of the steeped grains. 

Duff offered me a cup to use for bread making and I modified a “spent grain” recipe for the basic ingredients and used the steeped malted grain mixture.  Honestly, this turned out to be one of the best loaves of bread I made recently – very similar to the coarser, multi grain breads that you find in northern Germany, and obviously very rich in fiber (brewers grains are NOT hulled).

Here is my “Brewer’s Grain Bread” recipe that works even if you don’t have a home-brewer in your family.   Although you will need to find a homebrew store to purchase your malted grain and to have the grains ground/crushed – usually the homebrew stores will have a grinder available for their customers.

Brewer’s Grain Bread (makes 2 loaves)


  • 3/4 cup steeped Dark Munich Malt (or other malt variety) – see instructions below
  • 1¼- 1½ cups water
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
  • 3 tablespoons sugar or honey
  • optional – 1 ½  tablespoons of balsamic vinegar (gives a sour dough type bread taste)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 ½  cups bread flour*
  • 1 ½ cup whole wheat flour*
  • 1 cup of rye flour*
  • 2¼ teaspoons instant yeast
* amount of flour varies a lot depending on how wet the grains are.  I started off using ½  cup less of each of the flours mentioned above, but my dough was so sticky that I had to knead at least 1 ½  cups of additional flour into it after the dough cycle was finished in my bread machine.  Remember that it is always possible to add flour before the second rising of the dough, so better to err on the side of less flour than more.
Instructions for bread machine mixing:
  1. To make the steeped grains, cover 3/4 cups of malted grains with ½ cup of water, heat to 150 degree F, remove from burner, cover and let sit for about 30 minutes.  The sweetness in the grain will develop as it steeps (first step of beer-making)
  2. Follow instructions of your bread machine for the order of ingredients – mine starts with the wet ingredients:  add water, butter, sugar, salt and steeped grains into bread machine
  3. Add the three types of flour on top of the other ingredients
  4. Make a small indentation in the flour and add the yeast
  5. Start the “dough” cycle of your machine
  6. When finished, remove the dough – you can feel if it is too wet.  Ideal bread dough resembles a pie crust dough ready to be rolled out.  If the dough is too wet, add more flour and knead it manually until well mixed
  7. Shape the bread into two equal sized loaves (either standard oval shapes, or baguette style shapes), place next to each other on baking sheet and let rise for about 30 minutes
  8. Adjust oven racks to have one at the very bottom of the oven, and the second rack in the middle, place an empty metal baking pan on the bottom rack
  9. Pre-heat oven to 410 degree F
  10. When bread is ready, place in oven and immediately pour a cup of cold water into the empty pan – being very careful not to get cold water onto any glass of the oven door or the heating elements.  Quickly close the door.  This “steam treatment” creates a nice crust, like you would want for a baguette.
  11. Bake for 40-45 minutes (depending on the size of your loaves)
  12. Bread should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom
The bread keeps well for several days, perfect for sandwiches as well as jam.  We eat it toasted as well as plain.

Strawberries and Cupcakes

We spent a lot of time over the last week freezing strawberries.  We bought close to 200 pounds of late berries at the fruit auction and cleaned, chopped  and then froze them.  (They just would not have fit into our freezer space without pureeing them).  We will make jam and wine with these, once we have some extra time. 

Fortunately, we also got the best strawberry cupcake recipe from a friend this week –  just in time for the 4th of July holiday – and we had all the ingredients:


  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup finely chopped or pureed strawberries

Preheat oven to 350 degree F.

Mix flour, baking soda and salt, set aside.
Mix buttermilk, oil and vanilla extract, set aside.
In a large bowl beat sugar and butter at medium speed for about 3 minutes, until light and fluffy.   Add the eggs, one at a time and reduce the speed to low.  Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk mixture, mixing until just combined.  Gently fold strawberries into batter.  Do not overmix!  Spoon mixture into 24 paper-lined muffin cups and make 22-24 minutes.  Cool on wire rack. 

Strawberry Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 3 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup pureed strawberries
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat all ingredients with mixer at low speed until combined, then increase speed to medium and beat for 3 minutes, until frosting is smooth and creamy.  Spread on cooled cupcakes and enjoy!

Alternatively, you can bake them as mini-cupcakes.  Reduce the baking time to 15-18 minutes, depending on your oven.