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Hash and Eggs
Kitty vs. Lobster

Now here's a hashtag for you!


Kitty vs. Lobster

Collard Greens

Summer Collard Greens

Cutting Salmon Steaks

Halloween Traditions

Halloween is also known as All Hallows Eve in the Christian Religion, based off Pagan "rituals."  It is quite often celebrated in the Celtic cultures- especially in Ireland.  It is led by the druids in honor of the pagan saint of the underworld Samhain.  November 1st is All Hallow's Day, sometimes called All Saint's Day.

     All Hallows Eve is a festival of the dead; A symbol of the end of autumn.  It is a harvest festival.  It is said this is the only one day that the dead could rise and celebrate with their living family to honor them.  The word hallow can mean to make holy, or to separate out by holiness.

     The jack-o'-lantern was used by travelers to guide them in the right direction; the scary face was to ward them away from evil temptation.  At houses, it was used to keep away evil spirits.  Originally, gourds were used; the pumpkin is an American tradition.  It probably originated in Scotland, or Ireland.

     Another Halloween tradition is bobbing for apples.  The legend is that the first person to get the apple without their hands will be the first to get married. 

      Trick or treating came about from strong Celtic traditions, particularly Scottish.  The dressing up in costumes was mainly done by adults; so therefore once deceased, they could pass unrecognized between the worlds. The treat was usually a spirit (the alcohol type.)

     People ate traditional foods including cabbages, apples, potatoes, nuts, and oats back then to celebrate- very traditional foods in that part of the world. Games, bonfires, fortunetelling, disguises, and tricks are all part of Halloween celebrations in most of England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

     The Catholic Church celebrates All Saint's Day, sometimes referred to as All Hollow's Day, November 1st.  Some people also celebrate All Soul's Day November 2nd to honor family members who have passed away.

      Today Halloween combines the ancient histories of past cultures with the cultures of America.  Halloween was brought to America by the Irish Immigrants who were fleeing the Potato Famine in the 1800s.


© 2011 Chef Jennifer M. Denlinger       All rights reserved

cite me:  Denlinger, J.  (2011, October 31).  Halloween Traditions.  Retrieved from:

Homemade Lemon Angelfood Cake with Blueberry Sauce

Florida Blueberry Picking. Homemade Lemon Angelfood cake with blueberrysauce

Tropical Fruit and Berries

Tropical Fruit Lecture

Florida Bay Scallops

After a fun day of scalloping

Alas poor Yorik, I knew him well.......

Pork Fabrication

This little piggy went to market........

Homemade Potpie noodles

Homemade Potpie

Periodic Table of Wine
Cinnamon Rolls

At Christmas time, if you're good all year, you get cinnamon rolls.

Charcuterie and Cocktails

Charcuterie for dinner

Bowl of peaches

Summer's Finest Peaches

Happy New Year!!!











10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2 1 Happy New Year.

And with those words, a new year is rung in.  Time for starting over- reaching towards the dreams and hopes that linger in your heart waiting to come to pass, and the memories and thoughts of the year past that frolic in your mind.  Food traditions on New Year’s Day have been around from the beginning of time. There is an Old Southern Saying:



Peas for pennies, greens for dollars, cornbread for gold


Every culture has their food traditions, here are some that are very common, and why they came about!!


New Year’s Food Traditions

Black-eyed peas- shows humility, and lack of vanity and that invites good fortune. Also, since they are commonly dried, and expand greatly when cooked, expanding wealth.


Circular foods- represents things coming “full circle”- so good luck (donuts, bagels).


Coin shaped foods- such as small cookies. 


Cornbread- represents the glory of gold.


Fenugreek- Jewish Talmud to eat on Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish new year) says to eat fenugreek.   Fenugreek means “to increase”  It is also similar in Hebrew to the word meaning black-eyed peas, which may be the where the tradition of Black Eyed Peas comes from. 


Figs-  one of the ancient symbols of fertility.


Grapes- In Spain and Portugal, eating a dozen grapes at midnight is said to be a predictor of the year ahead- each one representing a good month.


Greens- such as collards, kale and other braised greens represent cash.


Herring- silvery scales represent wealth.


Lentils- and other disc-like foods represent coins, in Brazil and Italy.


Pomegranate- In Greece, they smash a whole pomegranate on the floor in front of the door to symbolize prosperity and good fortune.  The more seeds that hit the ground, the more luck.


Pork- rich with fat- symbol of progress- since they root ahead, (as opposed to turkey and chicken which scratch backwards).  Also because they are rich, represents happiness.


Rice, quinoa, or barley- to illustrate abundance.


Round fruits- 12 in the US (13 in the Philippines a lucky number).


Soba noodles- Eat at midnight to symbolize longevity.  The longer the better.  Slurp- don’t chew, since chewing breaks the noodles. (and thus could affect your longevity).


Whole roasted fish-scales resemble coins, they swim forward, representing progress.


Sometimes, a lucky coin is baked in bread, or, in Greece, a lemon cake. 


However, there are several foods that should be avoided.  There are some animals that locomote in a backwards motion.  Chicken and Turkey “scratch” backwards.  Lobsters, as luxurious as they are, swim backwards.  This could signal your progress moving backwards.


Here’s to a healthy and prosperous 2015!!!



“Hope smiles on the threshold of the year to come, whispering that it will be happier”


Lord Alfred Tennyson  1891 The Foresters




Bir, S. (2014, December 30).  The true story of traditions New Year’s  

      lucky foods.  Serious Eats.  Retrieved from:    



Gunnison, L. (2011, December 28).  10 foods that will bring you good

       luck.  Bon Appetiti.  Retrieved from:



Lucky foods for the New Years.  (2014) Martha Stewart.  Retrieved from:


McClelland, P.  (2014, December 30).  New Year’s Day food traditions.  

        Wishtv. Retrieved from:



© 2015 Chef Jennifer M. Denlinger       All rights reserved


Cite me:  Denlinger, J.  (2015 January 1) New Years Day Food.  Retrieved from:



champagne in candlelight

The Legend of St. Valentine’s Day  


      There are many different Legends of the origin of Valentine’s Day.  One of the most common ones is from Ancient Rome.  Valentine, a Roman priest, was martyred for refusing to give up Christianity.  He died on February 14, 269AD.  Coincidently, February 14th was a holiday to honor the queen of the Roman Gods and Goddesses, Juno.  The Romans knew her as the Goddess of women and marriage.  February 14th was also the day that had been devoted to love lotteries.  When Valentine was martyred, he left a note to the jailer’s daughter, whom he befriended.  It was signed “From your Valentine”

      In the United State, Miss Esther Howland is given credit for sending the first Valentine Cards.  Commercial Valentines were introduced in the 1800’s.  Today, Valentine’s Day is a day to show your loved ones how much you care for them.  Flowers, Cards, Chocolates and Candies are common Valentines gifts. 


      Common Aphrodisiacs       












Spices such as aniseed, cardamom, fennel, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves



Raw eggs

Herbs such as sage and rosemary














  Chef Denlinger’s Oysters Rockefeller 


18 oysters on the half shell, loosened from the shell

¼ cup butter

¼ cup small diced onion

1 tsp minced garlic

1 pound fresh spinach stems removed, and chopped

2 heaping tablespoons of all purpose flour

1 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons anisette liquor, such as Pernod

4 strips of bacon, cooked until crispy, and crumbled very fine
¼ cup dry bread crumbs
1 tablespoon melted butter

Kosher salt and ground black pepper, as needed

In a small saucepan, melt butter.  Sauté onions and garlic until tender. Add Spinach, and cook until slightly wilted.  Season with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle in the flour and stir until evenly distributed.  Using a whisk, slowly pour in milk, stirring constantly.  Simmer over low heat until slightly thicker than heavy cream.  Remove from heat and set aside.  Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.  Line oysters on the half shell on a sheet pan.  On top of each oyster, put a drop or so of the anisette liquor. Top each oyster with spinach mixture, about a tablespoon on each.  Sprinkle a little bit of the crumbled bacon on top. Combine bread crumbs and melted butter, then sprinkle crumb mixture over oysters. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Serve immediately.


© 2011 Chef Jennifer M. Denlinger       All rights reserved

 Cite me:  Denlinger, J. (2011, February 14).   Valentine's Day.  Retrieved from:

Cead Mile Failte

One Hundred Thousand Welcomes!!!


Who is St. Patrick, anyway?


    It is said that St. Patrick could raise people from the dead, caused demons to die in the sea and carried a magic staff given to him by Christ in a vision.

    There are so many conflicting stories about St. Patrick that he must have been at least two men, their stories becoming mingled over time, says the Rev. Howard V. Harper in Days and Customs of All Faiths. "Nevertheless," he writes, "it must also be true that there was once in Ireland a commanding figure, so magnificent that all myths and legends gravitated toward him even though they were really about other men."

    St. Patrick might have been born March 17. Then again, he is thought to have died on a March 17. He was born in A.D. 373, 386, 387 or 389, and died in either 461 or 492.  The one thing known for sure about St. Patrick is that he wasn't born in Ireland.

Patrick, who was born in either Kilpatrick, Scotland, or Boulogne, France. He was enslaved by the Gaels at age 16, spending six years tending flocks in Ireland. He escaped, but chose to return to the place of his internment after he had a spiritual awakening. His dreams told him to bring Christianity to Ireland.

He devoted his entire life to that task, and he is credited with bringing the Christian Church to Ireland.

    The massive partying that accompanies St. Patrick's Day in this country is purely an American invention. In Ireland, the day is reserved for religious reflection, starting a three-day period of Christian devotion.

    In 1737, the Charitable Irish Society of Boston is thought to have held the first secular celebration of St. Patrick's Day.



An Irish Blessing


May the Irish Hills caress you.

May her lakes and rivers bless you.

May the Luck of the Irish enfold you.

May the Blessing of Saint Patrick behold you.


History of Food in Ireland 


The rich history of Ireland begins about 9,000 years ago.  The early inhabitants were hunters and gathers.  Their diet included wild pig, fish eel, birds, eggs, and herbs.

    Sometime between 4,000 and 3,000 B.C. agriculture became the predominate way of life.  Animals such as cattle, sheep, goat, and pig became domesticated and such crops as wheat, oat, rye, and barley became the staple crops and diet.  Besides meat, the herded animals were used for milk, hide and to plow the fields.  Butter was made from the milk.  So were cheese curds and soured milk.

    Corn was discovered as the settlers discovered how to use the method of stone crushing grain.  With porridge, the Irish were able to incorporate nutritional value such as milk, butter, and eggs.

     In the area of Dublin, the diet was more extensive, and included berries, orchard fruits, figs, raisins, and walnuts.  After the Norman Invasion the Irish diet had doubled in nutrients.  It grew to include fine foods such as milk butter, cheese, curds, bacon, sausage, sheep meat, corned beef, lamb, salmon, vegetables, porridge, honey, mead, wine, and ale.

    In this time period, the method of brewing ale from barley was discovered.  This became a main item of the diet.

    Meat was an important part of the diet: Fresh and salted pork, beef, mutton, venison, and various varieties of game.  Meat was usually only eaten on holy days- and was served with an inch or two of fat.

    Honey became a valuable source of the diet.  Bees were considered to be a sacred aspect of the culture.  Oats, dairy, and salted meats dominated the Irish diet until the adoption of the potato in the 18th century. 

    In the 12th century, the rabbit was introduced into the diet by the Anglo- Norman.  Wheat, peas, and beans also became strong staples of the diet.  Anglo Norman cookery brought the induction of spices and preservation of food.  The blending of British medieval cooking and traditional Gaelic-Irish food brought new recipes and cooking techniques to Ireland in approximately 1171.  By the 14th Century, the cultures of these two cultures blended.  By the 14th Century, the Black Death swept the countryside and pushed the Irish lifestyle into decline.  The diet became poorer, and poorer.  Around the end of the sixteenth century, the potato became the universal and staple food in the diet.  Milk, meat, and oatmeal slowly became displaced in the Irish diet.  Corn also became a main staple of the diet.

    The Elizabethans and Jacobeans introduce the pheasant, turkey and the potato in the 16th and 17th century.   Even though the diet varied throughout the country, the diet itself had become more sophisticated.  Milk and dairy products had become essential and part of the religious life.

    Social status had a lot to do with the diet.  Foods of the peasants varied greatly from the diets of the wealthy.  The 18th century started the era of refined cuisine.

    The 19th century, the potato had become the staple of the diet.  The overdependence of this item partially caused the devastation of the potato famine of the 1840’s.  The Irish came to rely on the potato.  They were stored over the winter to feed themselves, and livestock, especially the pigs.  The potato provided carbohydrates, protein, and Vitamin C.  The diet and economy was beginning to be based on the potato.

    In 1845, a terrible bight was discovered eating the potato crops in Ireland.  This blight wiped out nearly 90% of the potato crop.  This caused a country wide spread of famine and disease.  Ireland’s population decreased by half.

    After the recovery from the famine, Ireland’s economy became very much commercialized.  They learned how to not become overly dependent on a single food source, such as they had once done on the potato.  The diet changed.  The diet changed to include other such staples as tea, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages, onions, and of course dairy products and eggs

    Recovery after this event brought more commercialized production of goods and shopping in the market became more prevalent.  Trading and bartering at the local market was the economical system of the time period.

    The 20th century came about with the introduction of fruits.  Tea became an unmistakable part of the Irish culture.

    Though the Irish Diet is now more commercialized, the diet still remains somewhat traditional.  Throughout the 1st half of the 20th century, food remained pretty much conservative.  The wide spread famine forced the exploration of foods from the wild.  By the 1960’s, the economy prospered, and allowed more ethnic diversity of the diet.

    Today’s Irish diet is a blend of many Gaelic and British traditions.  Food in Ireland symbolizes the togetherness of the people.


An Irish Food Chronology


7,000 B.C.                      Ireland inhabitant by hunter-gathers.

4,000-3,000 B.C.             Agriculture development and introduction of domestic herds. 

                                     Farming economy established.

2,000 B.C. (Bronze Age)   Introduction of metal.  It is used for making cooking pots.

800 B.C.  (Iron Age)         Emergence of hunting warrior aristocracy.

5th-7th centuries A.D.      Introduction of Christianity and literacy to Ireland. 

                                     Cereals and dairy produce staples of  Irish diet.

12th century A.D.             Anglo Norman conquest of South and East Ireland. Increased 

                                      agriculture, introduction of built up ovens and use of spices in 


13th century A.D.            Growth of towns and overseas trade including importation of


16th and 17th centuries   Tudor and Stuart conquests of Ireland.                 

                                     Introduction of pheasant, turkey and potato.                       

                                     Emergence of Anglo Irish upper class cuisine influenced by 

                                     French and Italian dishes.

18th century                   Era of the ‘Big House’.  Refined cosmopolitan cuisine of gentry

                                     co-exists with peasant diets of oats and diary produce in which 

                                     potato is becoming increasingly dominant.

1845                              One third of potato crop lost.  Great Famine begins.

1846-1847                      Two thirds of entire potato crop fails.  Famine and disease hit  

                                      poorer classes.

1851                              Census shows 1 million died and 2 million emigrated during 


Late 19th century            Rapid commercialization means availability of processed goods 

                                     in rural areas, especially tea, sugar, and white    bread.

1914-1918                      War Tea and white bread staples in many households.

Early 20th century           Restaurants or eating houses on the increase in urban areas.

                                     Reluctance to eat traditional dishes seen as “famine foods”.

1960                              Economic prosperity means package holiday and encounters 

                                     with ethnic foods.

1980s and 90s                Irish supermarkets stock diversity of multicultural foods from  

                                     Mediterranean and the East.

                                     Resurgence of traditional Irish products:  seaweeds, shellfish 

                                      and farmhouse  cheeses.




Allen, Darina. (1995) The complete book of Irish country cooking. Penguin Studio.

Bayles, Tom.  (1995 March 17).  Just who was St. Patrick?. St. Petersburg Times.

Connery, C.  (1995, May/June). Food before famine. Ireland of The Welcomes .      

Reeves, J.   (1995 September/October). A farwell to famine.  Ireland of The Welcomes.


© 2011 Chef Jennifer M. Denlinger       All rights reserved

Cite me:  Denlinger, J. (2011 March 17).  St. Patrick's Day.  Retrieved from:


Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras, which in French translates to Fat Tuesday, is officially the day before Ash Wednesday.  Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent in the Christian faith, which for some can signify a time of abstinence, withholding, or sacrifice. The day is also commonly referred to as Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day and can occur anytime between February 3rd and March 9th, depending on when Easter is held that particular year.  It is a time of festivities, usually associated with parades, parties, costumes, rich food, and over indulgence.  The colors of Mardi Gras include purple, green, and gold.  Purple represents justice, green is symbolic of faith and gold represents power.

The food for Mardi Gras is traditional New Orleans Cajun Creole fare.  The traditional sweet treat of Mardi Gras significant of this celebration is a King Cake.  A traditional King Cake is traditionally an oblong or oval shaped cinnamon rich dough cake, glazed with frosting and sprinkled with colored sugars of purple, green, and gold.

But unlike other ordinary cakes the fun with a King Cake isn’t simply limited to its taste. Hidden on the underside (after baking) of each King Cake is a small plastic figurine in the shape of a baby. Whoever finds the baby is officially the King or Queen of the party and gets the honor of supplying the next King Cake or throwing the next Mardi Gras Party.

Mardi Gras today is about various cultures coming together to celebrate the things that make them unique and uniting under the common theme of being people who like to have fun and enjoy each other and have a great time.

Hence the phrase, Laissez les bons temps rouler-  “Let the Good Times Roll!”

















King Cake Traditional Recipe


½ cup warm water (110 to 115°F)

2 packages active dry yeast

1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar

3½  – 4½ cups AP flour, unsifted

1 teaspoon grated nutmeg

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon lemon zest, this is lemon rind, grated

½ cup warm milk (110 to 115°F)

4 egg yolks

1 stick butter cut into slices and softened, plus 2 tablespoons more softened butter

1 egg slightly beaten with 1 tablespoon milk

1 teaspoon cinnamon

one 1″ plastic baby doll (or a half pecan, or a clean coin)



         Pour the warm water into a small shallow bowl, and sprinkle yeast and 2 teaspoons sugar into it. Allow the yeast and sugar to rest for three minutes then mix thoroughly. Set bowl in a warm place for ten minutes, or until yeast bubbles up and mixture almost doubles in volume. Combine 3 ½ cups of flour, remaining sugar, nutmeg and salt, and sift into a large mixing bowl. Stir in lemon zest. Separate center of mixture to form a hole and pour in yeast mixture and milk. Add egg yolks using a wooden spoon, slowly combine dry ingredients into the yeast/milk mixture. When mixture is smooth, beat in 8 tablespoons butter (1 tablespoon at a time) and continue to beat 2 minutes, or until dough can be formed into a medium-soft ball.  (This can also be done on a mixer with a dough hook.  Beat until it just comes together). 

Place ball of dough on a lightly floured surface and knead like bread. While kneading, sprinkle up to 1 cup more of flour (1 tablespoon at a time) over the dough. When dough is no longer sticky, knead 10 minutes more until shiny and elastic.  (This can also be done on a mixer with a dough hook. Knead on medium speed until it is just smooth and elastic looking).

         Using a pastry brush, coat the inside of a large bowl evenly with one tablespoon softened butter. Place dough ball in the bowl and rotate until the entire surface is buttered. Cover bowl with a moderately thick kitchen towel and place in a draft-free spot for about 1½hours, or until the dough doubles in volume. (hint- turn your oven on to the lowest setting.  When it comes up to temperature- shut off the oven and place the bowl of dough, tightly covered with plastic wrap in there.  Keep in there until the dough has doubled in size).  Using a pastry brush, coat a large baking sheet with one tablespoon of butter and set aside.

        Remove dough from bowl and place on lightly floured surface. Using your fist, punch dough down forcefully. Sprinkle cinnamon over the top, pat and shake dough into a cylinder. Twist dough to form a curled cylinder and loop cylinder onto the buttered baking sheet. Pinch the ends together to complete the circle. Cover dough with towel and set it in draft-free spot for 45 minutes, or until the circle of dough doubles in volume. (Place back into semi-warm oven).   Preheat oven to 375 °F.

        Brush top and sides of cake with egg wash and bake on middle rack of oven for 25 to 35 minutes until golden brown. Place cake on wire rack to cool. If desired, you can hide the plastic baby in the cake at this time.



Colored sugars

Green, purple, & yellow colored sugars


3 cups confectioner’s sugar

1/4 cup lemon juice

3 – 6 tablespoons water


       Combine sugar, lemon juice and 3 tablespoons water until smooth. If icing is too stiff, add more water until spreadable. Spread icing over top of cake. Immediately sprinkle the colored sugars in individual rows consisting of about 2 rows of green, purple and yellow.


Cite me:  Denlinger, J.  (2015 February 17 ) Mardi Gras.  Retrieved from:




King cake and mardi gras decorations
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