Category Archives: Site News

Sourdough Simplified!

Sourdough Bread with Kalamata Olives and Italian Seasoning

Back when the pandemic started and people were talking about sourdough, I decided to give it a go. How hard could it be? Kajsa and I did a sourdough course a few years ago and it seemed quite doable.

I read up on it and got my starter going. I followed the instructions from King Arthur Flour to the letter and was really bothered by the waste in throwing our half of the starter every day, feeding it, then doing the same thing and wasting so much again the next day for a full week. Once the starter was ready and I’d played with the method, I came up with a simplified strategy with NO WASTE!

Sourdough Starter

In order to “wake” up your starter after bringing it to room temperature out of the fridge, increase the volume of the starter, or to replace what you’ve used, the formula is simple: 2 parts flour to 1 part lukewarm water. A trick that I use is that I mix it separately (it will be very thick and hard to incorporate all the flour) and then add it to whatever starter you have. Leave it out at room temperature until it is bubbling and vibrant again, then cover it and put it back in the fridge until you’re ready for it again. I just added flour and water to my starter which had been in the fridge for over three weeks, untouched, and it came back to life right away. No need to throw out “discard” as the experts tell you to keep the starter alive.

Sourdough Bread

The basic recipe, which makes a beautiful large Dutch oven (mine is an antique No. 8 cast iron) round loaf is as follows:

In a large mixing bowl, add 5 cups flour (you can use half whole wheat or other flour if you wish) and one heaping tbsp. of salt (I prefer sea salt, but kosher salt can be used as well).

Here’s where it gets creative. At this point, you can add flavorings and added ingredients like:

-Cheddar cheese with or without pickled jalapeños

-Cinnamon and raisins

-Walnut and cranberry

-Roasted garlic cloves with Italian seasoning

-Chopped olives (Kalamatas are great for this but any olive is fine) with or without any type of cubed cheese and/or Italian or Greek spices

-Sunflower or pepita seeds

The sky’s the limit – have fun.

Plain Sourdough Bread

Add the extra ingredients to the flour and salt and mix well. In a 2-cup measuring cup or equivalent, measure 1 ½ cups of the starter. Add lukewarm water to the 2-cup measure and stir to mix well. Add this to your flour mixture. The dough will be very dry yet but add approximately 1 additional cup of warm water (add in small increments and combine until you have a loaf that holds together – you’ll have to use your hand to mix at some point). Get all the flour and dough from the sides and bottom of the bowl, form a perfect round loaf shape and let rise, covered with a lid, plastic wrap or, better yet, a shower cap (thanks, Denise!) for 2 to 3 hours or until the loaf has risen to 1 ½ times its original size.

After the first rise, fold the loaf over itself several times so that all the loaf has been “punched down”. Form another perfect loaf, cover and let rise for another 2 to 3 hours or until the loaf has risen to 1 ½ times its original size.

After the second rise, repeat the fold procedure, cover and put in the refrigerator to “proof” overnight. Instead of leaving it in the mixing bowl, I now put it in the cast iron pot I will be cooking it in which has been lined with parchment paper. Cover and it’s ready to take out, warm up and bake the next day without having to handle the dough again.

The next day, take your bread out of the refrigerator and let it warm up and rise again which will take 2 to 3 hours. When the loaf has risen and you’re ready to bake (you’ve got the loaf in the Dutch oven lined with parchment paper), preheat over to 450F. I like to brush olive oil on top and, if it’s a savory loaf, I sprinkle with “Everything But The Bagel” seasoning or sesame seeds. For raisin bread I sprinkle cinnamon, etc. Again, use your imagination!

Cinnamon Raisin Sourdough Bread

Bake the covered loaf for ~40 minutes, then remove the lid and let it brown for another 13 to 15 minutes. Voila!

We learned that you absolutely have to cut two opposing crusts off to fit it in a large Zip-Lock bag, so the best time to do that is when the bread comes out fresh from the oven and slathered with butter or dipped in great olive oil!

Another trick we’ve learned is to cover the bread in the Dutch oven overnight and slice it in the morning. The crust is really difficult to cut when fresh and the moisture in the pot overnight makes it a breeze to cut the next day. We put half in the fridge and the other half in the freezer and take it out as needed. Cut the loaf in half, put the cut half on the cutting board, then slice with a bread knife into whatever thickness of slice you like.

I tried making a half-batch of whole wheat at Mom’s when I first got there and baked it in a loaf pan for a reduced amount of time. It turned out just fine.

Sourdough Ideas

A fabulous website for recipes and ideas is and some of the things we’ve tried and really enjoyed are Classic Sourdough Pancakes and Waffles, Sourdough Pizza Crust, Cinnamon Raisin Sourdough Bread, Sourdough Crumpets, Sourdough English Muffins, Sourdough Focaccia, Sourdough Hamburger Buns, High-Fiber Sourdough Waffles, and Sourdough Crackers.

Sourdough Hamburger Buns

Contact Information

Feel free to contact me (760.880.0067 or [email protected]) if you have any questions. I hope you have as much fun baking bread for yourselves and others as I have and that you’ll share your starter with others as well. This method is SO much easier than others I’ve read about – I hope you enjoy the shortcuts!

My Two Cents Worth

I observed the most interesting thing the other week. I was waiting to meet someone at the neighbourhood grocery store, King Kullens, here in Hampton Bays, and I watched two gentlemen walking all over the parking lot looking very closely on the ground for something. They walked back and forth, crossing over the areas that the other man had travelled, and kept on with great determination and concentration.

Curiosity finally got the best of me and, when I had finished my business with the person I was meeting, I asked what they were looking for and if I could help. They very politely declined my assistance and explained that they were retired fraternal twins who have lived in this area all their lives and that they walked every morning looking for pennies. They couldn’t go home until they each found one, preferably heads up for good luck, and this hunt became their daily exercise. Both of them had already walked over six miles that morning and there was no end in sight as neither had found their penny yet. What a great tradition they share and a fun way to challenge one another and get exercise at the same time. On my way home, I saw them again at the Carvel ice cream store parking lot – still looking for their day’s pennies.

Pennies are foreign to me now as Canada took them out of circulation in 2013 end everything is rounded to the nearest nickel. An astrologist once told me that whenever I found money on the ground, it was my deceased Dad sending me a message. I always smile when I find a coin, of whatever denomination, as I do think of my precious Dad every time.

I walk past the grocery store parking lot often on my long walks and, I have to admit, that I’m often littering as I walk – giving my two cents’ worth to the twins or whoever else might find them.

Everything Old is New Again!

Driving back from Southampton to Hampton Bays a few years ago, Ron and I came across an elderly gentleman who had some old treasures for sale beside the highway. He had an old and very rusted cast iron Griswold No. 8 Tite-Top Dutch Oven for sale. I hummed and hawed and we finally decided to buy it for $55 (that was before cast iron became incredibly popular, especially for an antique piece). I was just learning about the magic of cooking with cast iron at that time and wasn’t sure how I would clean it up, what I would cook in it, never mind how we would transport this heavy piece back to Cabo from New York. At the time, I also mistakenly thought that I’d paid too much for this old rusted pot.

I wasn’t in New York with Ron last summer, so I decided to take on the task of rejuvenating this old piece this year if I possibly could. I googled to find if there was any information on how to clean rusty cast iron and there was a great deal of resource material available, thank heavens. I chose one that looked simple and used natural cleaning ingredients. Here’s what it looked like when I started:

I made a paste of baking soda and water and spread it over the entire pot; bottom, lid and insert.

The next step was to pour white vinegar over each component separately and start scrubbing with a Brillo pad until the rust was lifted. It took lots of elbow grease, but when I rinsed everything off, the results were amazing!

I find the best thing to season (to seal the surface and give your cast iron a beautiful black patina) and maintain (apply after every use) my cast iron with is ghee (clarified butter) as it has a high smoke point and keeps the rust away. Here is the finished product:

I was thrilled with how it turned out! I wonder who owned it before and what delicious food was cooked in it. I love that the pot has some history! It was definitely worth the money we paid and I’m very excited to bake some sourdough bread in it very soon!

A COVID Inspiration!

A COVID Inspiration!

I love to connect people, whether it’s through technology, introductions within my network, or with the greatest human connector of all – FOOD! I’m excited to announce that my three national best-selling cookbooks and the complete trilogy are now available on Amazon as Kindle books!

I had decided some time ago that I didn’t want to reprint the books when I ran out of inventory and it was a COVID inspiration that set things in motion to put them online. Although I wrote the books years ago, the recipes are as relevant today as they were then and I still love “cooking with fire”, “food with attitude, and sharing flavorful food with friends and family. Because I was working in the petroleum industry, all of my vacation and free time was spent doing writing, testing, research, marketing, promotion, media interviews (over 400 world-wide), radio (over 100) and television (over 50) appearances, book signings and demos (over 100) throughout North America and the globe.

I attribute our successful promotional exposure to my publicist and dear friend, Debbie Black, who did a brilliant job of constant promotion for the company, the books, and my product line.

It was a hectic time in my life, but I am extremely grateful for the experience and knowledge I gained, the people I had the pleasure of meeting, the places I was able to visit, but most of all, for gifting me with a love of entrepreneurship and risk-taking. Had I just stayed doing the Joint Venture work I love in Petroleum, my world would be much smaller and I never would have stretched myself as I did through my books and my business. I am truly grateful.

Here is the Amazon link to my books:

The Miracle of Baby Turtles

The Miracle of Baby Turtles

Ron and I had the most amazing experience the other week! I mentioned to our dear friend, Gabriela, that we had never witnessed the release of baby turtles here in Baja. She cleared her calendar and took us out to San Cristobal Ranch in the late afternoon to ensure that situation was remedied and that we had a hands-on education as to the work they are doing on their property.

Her husband, Rene, owns the land and is the President of a non-profit organization called Asupmatoma, which started their environmental protection back in the early 1990’s. The organization was formalized as a marine turtle center in 1995 and they focus their efforts on protection and conservation of marine turtles.

In addition to the protection and conservation aspects of the work that Asupmatoma is doing, their vision is to promote and increase the active participation and technical training for the local and foreign communities. They have one full-time biologist on staff, and dedicated volunteers come to work on the project from Mexico and far beyond.

Meet the biologist for the project, Fernando.

The Sea of Cortez and Baja California are home to five species of sea turtles (there are only eight in the world!): Hawksbill, Loggerhead, Leatherback, Green and Olive Ridley – all of which are endangered. It is believed that each mother turtle returns to lay her eggs on the same beach where, at least a decade before, she was born. The males, on the contrary, never set foot on land again and live their entire lives in the ocean.

Under the cover of night, the females leave the sea and search for a place on the beach where they were born (an absolute miracle they are able to find their birthplace!) to lay their eggs. With their powerful fins, they dig holes in the sand and make a nest into which they lay up to 150 eggs, one by one. Once the eggs are deposited, the turtles cover their nests with sand, erasing their trace, and return to the sea.

The team at Asupmatoma patrol the miles of beach to spot the mothers or find their tracks to the nests where they lay their eggs. The eggs are moved to incubation areas to protect them from man, predatory animals, and natural phenomena (Rene and Gabriela recounted moving the incubation nests during one hurricane to protect the turtle eggs!). Each new nest is carefully marked to show the species, when the eggs were laid, how many eggs were moved, etc. which makes it almost appear like a little cemetery and not a birthplace.

After 45 days or so, depending on the species, the baby turtles begin their difficult struggle for life. Still in the nest, buried a foot to two feet under the surface of the sand, they emerge from their shells one by one. Then, they crawl to the surface and begin their trek to the sea to begin the next phase of their lives.

We got to be part of the “cleaning” of the nests the day we visited. The vast majority of the babies made their way to the surface and had been released earlier in the day, but some did not. Our job was to carefully dig out the nests and find any babies that were still alive, and clean out the broken eggs and dead turtles that didn’t make it. I can’t tell you how exciting it is to find a baby and feel it wiggling in your hand! With a “Hi guy, welcome to the world!”, I found fifteen in my nest and Ron found three.

Because these little fellows hadn’t crawled up to the surface themselves, it was important to let them move around in the plastic container we put them in to get them strong and to “imprint” them as to their surroundings so the females could find their way back to lay their eggs in a decade or so (amazing!).

After a half-hour or so, we took the babies we’d found to the shore and released them so that they could hurry to the sea to begin their new life.

It’s a miracle that they’ve made it this far, but even more incredible to realize that of one thousand baby turtles, probabilities predict that only one will reach adulthood. Good luck and God speed, little ones! You are truly a miracle and we feel honored to have witnessed a small part of it.

To learn more about Asupmatoma, how you can participate or to donate to the important work they are doing, please contact [email protected] or visit their website at