Perfectly Imperfect, Vintage

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Porcelain Enamel Cast Iron Braiser Pan


I purchased a new pan! I love cooking with cast iron and use my beat-up old black cast a lot. 

I needed something shallow and this is the first enamel one I have. And wow I love it!

I purchased this pan because we have given up sugar and carbohydrates. I needed new recipes and I wanted to make one-pan recipes.  

This pan is expensive locally so I checked  Amazon and found it cheaper and I had rewards so this ended up being a great deal for me. 

So... here is my first meal in this pan. Cheesy Butter-Bean Shakshuka.

Shakshuka is a North African word meaning "mixture."  You can change the components to your taste. 

From stovetop to the oven to the table. 

And here's my recipe: 

It's a screenshot of my online cookbook. I haven't been able to find my password for the recipe card generator. I'll fix this - eventually. 


Thursday, February 24, 2022

Black Moon Cupcakes~ Twins

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Repost from 2018


1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cup whole milk
2 tsp vanilla
4 cups flour
1 ½ tsp. Baking soda
1 cup 'black' cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

1 cup shortening (room temp)
2 cups marshmallow fluff
2 cups sifted confectioners sugar
½ tbs vanilla


Cream powder, shortening, and sugar.
Alternate mixing in 2 cups milk, 2 tsp vanilla, with 4 cups of flour.
Mix in baking powder, baking powder, salt, and cocoa.
Use ice cream scoop and place on parchment paper 2 inches apart.

Mix together shortening and fluff.
Add in vanilla
Slowly add confectioners sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Bake 8-10 minutes


Yields: Depends on how big or small you make them.
The key ingredient is the black cocoa which can be hard to find.
A New England Treat originally made in Lowell Ma. at Stoddards Bakery. 
I have tweaked this recipe over 20 years and this is as close as to original as I remember


Monday, February 21, 2022

Southwestern Vegetable Stew


  • 3 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1 large onion - chopped
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic – fine chopped
  • 4 celery stocks – whole
  • 1 large can red kidney beans
  • 2 lbs frozen veg-all or mixed vegetables
  • 8 oz beef broth
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 large can petite diced tomatoes
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground peppercorns
  • ½ chili powder – or to taste
  • 2 tsp hot sauce – or to taste
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce


  1. In a saute' pan lightly caramelize the chopped onions.
  2. Add in hamburger, salt, and pepper
  3. Drain
  4. Transfer hamburger and onions to a large stock pot or dutch oven.
  5. Add tomato paste, beef broth - stir
  6. Add in 'all' vegetables – except the red kidney beans. Stir Remember to keep the celery stocks whole
  7. Add in chili powder, hot sauce and Worcestershire – stir and taste.
  8. Cover and Simmer until the celery stocks are wilted
  9. Add in kidney beans.
  10. Simmer another 30 minutes
  11. Stew is done when the sauce is a brownish color. The Sauce should be a little thick not watery like a soup. You can add a little flour to thicken if needed.
  12. Serve with French Bread


Monday, January 31, 2022

Cajun Shrimp Gumbo

4 ounces butter - 1 stick

2 TSP Cajun seasoning

½ tsp salt

½ tsp fresh ground pepper

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (cubed)

1 lbs Andouille Sausage (cut into small pieces)

1 lb fresh medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails removed

1 lb fresh linguine

2 cups clam juice

½ fresh green bell pepper – cut into thin strips

½ fresh red bell pepper – cut into thin strips

½ yellow bell pepper – cut into thin strips

1 medium red onion – cut into thin strips

¾ cup fresh tomatoes - diced

1. In a saute' pan or dutch oven Melt butter slowly

2. Add seasoning to pan and stir together

3. Add Sausage saute' and season with 1/2 salt and pepper – cook until ¼ done.

4. Add chicken saute' – add the rest of the salt & pepper cook until both sausage and chicken are about halfway done.

5. Start your pasta in a separate pan – cook al dente (fresh is better but box will

6. Add clam juice, peppers, and onions. Cook until chicken and sausage are almost done

7.Add shrimp. Toss the ingredients together.

8. Add tomatoes – until sausage and chicken are cooked thoroughly.

9. Place pasta in each bowl. Spoon equal portions of the jambalaya mix.
Can be frozen.

Notes: I use Tony Chachere's seasoning.

Andouille Sausage is a french (Cajun) sausage. It's spiced, heavily smoked pork and wine. Substitute if you must.You can omit the Sausage – it just won't have the Cajun flare.Adjust according to your own taste. For added zip splash in hot sauce.


Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Steak and Ale Soup with Mushrooms

Steak and Ale Soup with Mushrooms

  • 2 rib eye steaks (about 1 pound each), trimmed of excess fat and cubed
  • Salt Black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons flour, divided use
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 small white onions, quartered and sliced
  • 16 ounces (1 pound) sliced mushrooms
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup ale
  • 6 cups beef stock, hot
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves


  1. Add the cubed steak to a large bowl, sprinkle with a couple of good pinches of salt and black pepper, as well as 2 tablespoons of the flour, and toss to coat.
  2. Place a large soup pot over medium-high heat, add in the butter and the oil, and once melted together and super hot, add in the steak cubes and brown on all sides, about 3 minutes or so (steak should be rare on the inside, you only want color on the outside); remove from pot and set aside.
  3. Add into the pot a drizzle more oil if needed, and add in the onions and the mushrooms, along with a pinch or two of salt and pepper, and saute those together for about 10-12 minutes or so, until slightly golden. Stir in the garlic, and once aromatic, stir in the Italian seasoning, and add in the cup of ale; allow the ale to simmer vigorously for about 5 minutes or so, until it reduces and thickens slightly. Sprinkle in the remaining 2 tablespoons of the flour and whisk to blend, followed by the hot beef stock; stir together and then bring to a simmer over medium heat, allowing the soup to simmer uncovered for about 20-22 minutes so that it slightly reduces.
  4. Turn off the heat and return the browned steak back into the pot with it’s juices; allow the soup to sit for about 5 minutes or so before serving, just to allow the steak to cook through a bit more in the heat of the soup medium-rare to medium.
  5. Finish with the parsley and the thyme.

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