Category Archives: Recipe Blog



This great photo of galettes is taken from the batch made by my daughter Liz and her husband Tim











I love the fact that cookies that have been in families for years are getting called ‘heirloom’ cookies. What a riot!

Anyway, this cookie is one that my grandfather’s family on my mother’s side brought with them from Belgium. They called them galettes, and we make them every year at Christmas. They’re made with an iron…we use a pizelle iron, which is sort of the Italian version of a galette.
Here’s the recipe for a half-batch. It’ll make about 8 dozen.
3 sticks margarine
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1/2 t. vanilla
2 1/2 t. baking powder
3 eggs, divided
1/4 t. salt
5 1/2 cups flour
Beat egg whites until stiff. Set aside. Cream butter and sugars. Add remaining ingredients. Add whipped egg whites last. If dough is sticky, add another 1/2 cup flour but DO NOT EXCEED 6 CUPS. If needed, refrigerate until it can be handled.
Heat a pizelle iron. Using a cookie scoop, place a nice size ball of dough on the iron. Close and cook until golden but not brown. (It can be a fine line. The first two cookies won’t take any time at all (<20 seconds) because the iron is so hot. After that, lengthen it to somewhere between 60 to 90 seconds. They look like the above. (special thanks to Liz and Tim for the photo of their cookies.)

Kiss Z Cook Hoisin-Glazed Pork Chops

Last night I received an early birthday present from my wife Debbie — Date Night at Kiss Z Cook, where we (and eight other couples) prepared Asian-influenced dishes under the direction of Chef Sean Bartosiak.  It was a wonderful experience. Debbie and I worked on the Hoisin-Glazed Pork Chops–awesome recipe.  Here’s a photo of Debbie and me with the result.

I’m hopeful there’s no problem with me posting this recipe as long as I attribute it to them. They gave us the recipe at the end of the evening.  We served it over Vegetable Chop Suey, which we also made, but I think it stands on its own.

Ingredients (serves 12)

Hoisin Glaze
1 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons curry powder

2 cups water
2 cups soy sauce
2 cups sugar
5-6 cloves garlic, smashed
1 onion, chopped
3 tablespoons coarse cracked black pepper
4 tablespoons sesame oil
4 to 6 lbs pork loin
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, for garnish.

For the marinade: In a container large enough to hold the marinade and the pork loin, combine the marinade ingredients and add the pork loin. Cover and allow to marinate for 4 hours.

For the glaze: in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the hoisin sauce, honey, vinegar, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, and curry powder. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, and cook over low heat for 2 to 3 minutes to blend the flavors. Remove from heat.

To cook: Grill the pork loin indirectly over medium heat, turning after 5 minutes.  After ten minutes, start basting them with the hoisin glaze until the meat is done. A few minutes before they are finished, sprinkle with sesame seeds. Remove the loin from the grill and slice in the bias. Serve warm, drizzled with additional hoisin glaze.

Taco Soup

I haven’t posted a recipe in a while.  Even though the calendar says it’s spring, it’s gotten really cold here in Indiana (again), so I’m making this for supper. This is an incredibly easy recipe, it makes a bunch, and the leftovers freeze well. Could you ask for more?

Taco Soup

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 can Rotel
2 cans stewed tomatoes
1 can whole kernel corn
1 can pinto beans
1 can Ranch style beans
1 pkg. dry taco seasoning mix
1 pkg. Ranch dressing mix

Directions:  brown ground beef and chopped onion.  Drain fat.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer at least one hour, stirring occasionally.

Seriously, it’s that easy.  Here’s a photo of the simple ingredients and the resulting soup.

A couple of notes: while it’s not really high in calories, you can lighten it up by using a combination of lean ground beef and lean ground turkey (I use 93% lean turkey; it’s cheaper than the 99% lean and adds only a little fat); I posted a ‘hotter’ version of this on Amy Alessio’s website,, back in January to help promote my friend Molly MacRae’s new book Lawn Order. This is a tamer version that I prefer.


Italian Sausage and Peppers

This dish is from my first book, Second Advent.  Nick is of Italian descent (like you wouldn’t know from the Bertetto name) and visiting his father.  He wants to prepare something for him that his mom used to make, since Nick’s mom had passed away a couple of years before the book begins and Nick’s dad doesn’t cook. The recipe can be cut in half (I do that now that my wife and I are empty nesters) but it can also be doubled to feed a lot more. I hope you enjoy it.

Italian Sausage & Peppers


1 T olive oil
4 Italian sausage links (about a pound or more)
1 large bell pepper, cut into thin slices
1 small zucchini or yellow squash, cut into rounds
2 15-oz cans of diced tomatoes with Italian seasoning (I like Red Gold brand)
1 medium onion, cut into rings or half rings
½ cup red wine
Cooked rice

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the sausage and cook on all sides until brown, about 10 minutes or so.  Remove the sausage from the pan.  Add the pepper, the onion, and the zucchini and sauté until done, 5 to 7 minutes.  Place the sausage back in and add the wine and tomatoes.  Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes or so.  Be sure to taste the tomato mixture and adjust the seasoning to your preference.

I like to serve the Italian sausages separately and plate the tomato/vegetable mixture over cooked brown rice.  A salad is all you need to complete the meal.  And wine, of course.  (You did open a bottle of red just for this meal, didn’t you?  Why not drink it, too?)

Here’s a photo of the dish as I plated it.
Plated Sausage & Peppers website

Buon appetito!

Recipe: Tony’s Mostly Whole Grain Bread

I decided to go ahead and blog this since I was making it today. This is the bread recipe I make a lot. It’s mostly, but not fully, whole grain, so it’s got a nice texture and is still good for you.


2 cups unbleached white flour
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup bran (oat or wheat)
2 packages quick rise yeast
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups combination water/milk
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup margarine or butter, cut in pieces
1 egg
1 Tablespoon vital wheat gluten

Instructions: In a mixing bowl, stir together 1 cup white flour, 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1 cup rolled oats, 2 packages quick rise yeast, and 2 teaspoons salt.  Set aside.  To a sauce pan add the 2 cups of liquid (note: I use mostly milk), the honey and the margarine. Using a cooking thermometer, heat the liquid mixture until it is 125 degrees F, stirring constantly (the margarine doesn’t have to melt, but it usually does). Add the warm mixture to the mixing bowl, and use a dough hook to mix the dough together. Add the bran, the egg, and the vital wheat gluten and continue beating. Add the second cup of wheat flour and the second cup of white flour and continue beating. You’ve now added 6 cups of grains. Add the extra 1/2 cup wheat flour. If dough is still sticky, add the 1/2 cup of oats. If your dough is typical of mine, it’s now close to being ready, but not quite. Add 1/4 cup white flour and continue beating. If the dough is no longer sticky and is completely wrapped around the dough hook, it’s ready. If not, add another 1/4 cup white flour and beat once more. Now pull all the dough out of the bowl and off the dough hook, and set on a floured surface. Knead by hand until you have a smooth dough. It should look like what you see below. Then cover it with a towel and let it rest (and raise) for 20 minutes.   During the break, grease two 8 1/2 x 4 inch loaf pans.

Bread dough unraised (bread dough unraised) 

After twenty minutes, divide the dough into half, and roll out one half into a seven inch wide rectangle as shown below.  (The strip will be about a foot long.)  Using the seven-inch side, roll up tightly and pinch the seams together.  Then tuck the two ends under to form the loaf.  Repeat with the second half of the dough to form another loaf.  Then put the unraised loaves in a draft free place to rise.  (I set the oven to 100 degrees F and let them raise in there).  Allow them to raise about 40 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until golden brown.  Pull them out of the loaf pans and allow to cool.  All of this is documented in the photos below.
Bread dough rolled out (bread dough rolled out)  Unraised loaves (unraised loaves)
Raised loaves (raised loaves)  Finished bread (finished bread)
This bread is wonderful served warm with butter, or slice it, freeze it, and make toast with it.  My kids grew up on it, and they never objected to it being ‘good for them’ because it tastes so good.  So try it! 

Pork Chops in Apple Gravy

I decided to post this recipe because I needed a first entry for the blog and since we ate this last night, it was a natural.  What I like about this recipe is that while it’s not particularly difficult, it’s a twist on the basic fried pork chop and so feels kind of special.


4 pork chops
1/2 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon beef bullion granules
1 cup apple cider
1 crisp apple

Melt the butter in a skillet and add the oil.  Peel and slice the onion into half rings.  Add the onion to the skillet and saute until done, about 4 or 5 minutes.  Remove the onion from the pan and add the pork chops.  Brown on both sides, about 4 minutes a side.  Remove pork chops from the pan.  Add the flour and cook for a minute.  The flour should absorb all the liquid in the skillet.  After a minute, add the apple cider, the beef bullion granules.  Turn up the heat and mix well.  Stir until the gravy bubbles and thickens.  Reduce the heat, add the pork chop and the onions, spreading the onions over the chops.  Core the crisp apple and cut thick slices, laying them on top of the pork chops.  Cover and cook over low heat until the pork is done, about 20 minutes.  Serve the gravy on the side.

I like to buy boneless pork loin when it’s on sale and cut it into chops for use in this recipe (and others), but the traditional pork chop with a bone in it works just as well here.  Also, you can substitute apple juice for the cider, but when fresh cider and crisp, tart apples are available at your local orchard–use them.  It really makes a difference.

pork apple gravy small

This is how I served the pork chops last night, with baked sweet potato and vegetables.