red flannel pantry

creative pursuits in the kitchen, garden, library and sewing room

Archive for the category “recipes”

making suet


I’ve been thinking about making suet for a while. I researched it online (lard vs bacon grease?), ripped recipes out of Birds & Blooms and saved plastic suet containers. Then last week out of the blue my friend Sally handed me a suet recipe she had gotten from Roy and Charlotte Lukes, long-time Door County Wisconsin naturalists–it was a sign to get cooking!


Daughter #2 helped me. Photobomber Bud was thinking we were whipping up an afternoon snack for him.

You can find the Lukes’ recipe here. I thought it would be difficult to find lard at the grocery store, but there it was, in the refrigerated section by the hams. I followed the microwave method of melting the lard and peanut butter, and then I dumped the rest of the ingredients on top and stirred to combine. I also added a box of currants that were past their prime.


I scooped the mixture into the 9-oz suet containers I had saved and a couple of grapefruit halves (thanks, Kate and Ken!) and put them in the refrigerator to solidify.

I’ll let you know in a couple of days what the birds have to say about my new avian catering business.

another year older


Yesterday my husband turned another year older. To begin his day on a sweet note, I made cinnamon rolls. The night before, I made the dough, assembled the rolls, covered them in plastic wrap, and stuck them in the frig. Birthday morning I left them (still covered) on the counter for an hour or so to rise, then into the oven they went.

“Better than cake!” he declared.

Happy Thanksgiving


After making turkey rolls last weekend, I decided that what they needed to look more like turkeys (and less like doves or baby seals!) was a wattle. Sliced dried cranberries make good-looking turkey beards.

Happy Thanksgiving!

baby turkey dinner rolls


Daughter #2 and her buddies are having a Friendsgiving dinner tonight, with each girl bringing a dish or two to share. D#2’s contributions: the ubiquitous green bean casserole and dinner rolls. At Easter, we often shape the rolls like baby chicks, so today we thought, why not make baby turkeys?!


We divided the dough into 16 pieces. We rolled each piece into a short rope, made a knot, squeezed the tip of the dough to make a beak, added peppercorns for eyes, and used scissors to cut the dough to make a feathery tail.


In the end, they look more like sweet little doves, but no matter. They will meet the same fate as the turkey: gobbled up!

baked brie pumpkinhead


At book club last night, while we discussed King of the Hill by A.E. Hotchner, we would occasionally sneak peeks at the CardinalRed Sox World Series game–it was painful.

As always, food is a wonderful balm. I made an old stand-by, baked brie. It meets my key criteria for company cooking: it has few ingredients, can be made ahead, and tastes great.


Cut a brie wheel in half crosswise and sprinkle dried fruit bits on the middle.


Flip the other half back in place and spoon apricot preserves on top.


Flip the whole thing onto a thawed and slightly rolled-out sheet of puff pastry and trim the corners.


Wrap the pastry around the brie and turn back over. I then use the scraps to cut out decorations. Given my middling artistic ability, I was able to make an especially creepy pumpkin. In this case, lack of talent was an asset! At Christmastime, I cut out holly leaves and berries.

If you’d like the recipe, you can find it here.

Happy Halloween!

sports nerd food


With the St. Louis Cardinals in the playoffs and football season in full swing, it seems timely to share this simple tailgate snack idea. The credit for this recipe belongs to my friend, Linda, who served it at a recent get-together, saying it was a favorite of her husband, Chris. After eating a half dozen, I understood where Chris was coming from and asked her how to make them.


Here’s what she told me: take a slice of salami (in St. Louis, that means Volpi salami), spread on a layer of Neufchatel cream cheese, and top with a slice of pepperoncini–that’s it. My husband is hooked–he’s made platters to take to tailgate parties and plans to make this his contribution at the next poker party. I like that all the ingredients keep in the frig and that it can be assembled at a moment’s notice.

Thanks to Linda and Chris for sharing!

pucker up, birthday girl


Although the calendar says September, it feels like we are still in the thrall of summer. A friend, whose favorite flavor in the whole world is lemon (as is mine), celebrated a birthday this weekend. To help her extend the celebration, I am going to give her a bottle of limoncello that I brewed this summer (you can read about my brewing and processing of this batch here and here).

I printed a label (2″ x 2 5/8″), stuck it on a shipping tag (4 3/4″ x 2 3/8″), and fastened it with ribbon to the bottle. In the past, I have stuck the labels directly to the bottles, but since the bottles have been in the fridge chilling, the stickers would have puckered and wrinkled if I had put them on the cold, damp glass. I think I prefer this tag-labeling technique, because I can write a personalized message on the tag’s other side.

Happy Birthday, Kathy!

limoncello soon!


Simple syrup is brewing and lemon vodka is being strained. Limoncello tomorrow!

limoncello {in progress}


I came across organic lemons at the grocery store today and they sparked a desire: limoncello! I made it for the first time last year for a friend’s birthday. The hardest part is the waiting.

I follow this recipe. Purists say that you need to use grain alcohol (Everclear), but I had vodka in the cabinet. I use organic lemons and a microplane and am careful to avoid getting pith in the zest, which makes for a bitter result.

In a week or so, I will make the simple syrup and add to the strained infused alcohol. It’ll be a perfect aperitif on a hot August day.

marinated olives


My husband has been on the road all week and returns home tonight. To go with the cold beer I know he’ll grab from the frig, I made one of his favorites: marinated olives. I clipped the recipe from the newspaper years ago. I appreciate its simplicity in assembly, aesthetics and fresh taste. It’s a perfect summertime treat and a great excuse to trim the rosemary by the back door. I use Greek black olives, cracked green olives and kalamata olives.  You can play with the ingredient proportions–you can’t go wrong with lemon, garlic and rosemary. Enjoy and keep cool!

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