Robert Thresh

Cooking with Robert

Robert lives on an Island in the California Delta. He is a very good cook (according to friends and family). He has been persuaded to share a few recipes with us. He does not like to write down his recipes, but if I chase him around and nag he will stop for a while and list the ingredients and some cooking instructions. Much time passes, but this week I was able to force him to write down a recipe.

Robert's Bread

January 5, 2008 -- Robert makes bread almost every day. Here is his recipe: baked loaf


4 cups unbleached flour

1 tablespoon shortening (Crisco). I used to use lard for better loft

1 tablespoon sugar (food for yeast)

½ tablespoon salt for flavor

Scant tablespoon rapid rise yeast (I now use Bakipan® for good flavor and good price)

1 ¼ cups hot water (plus or minus depending on the weather

* * *

Mix dry ingredients with Crisco in a large bowl

Add hot water and mix thoroughly

Knead for 5 to 7 minutes until smooth and elastic (I use my Kitchen Aid mixer with its dough hook, but I used to use my hands and arms and my back) loaf in pan

Cover the bowl and let it relax for a short while

Grease bread pan

Shape a loaf, kneading and pulling the relaxed dough

Put the loaf shape in the bread pan, cover and let it rise until double in bulk.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F

* * *

covered loaf in pan carved loaf

Use a knife to split the top of the loaf into a nice design

Butter lightly

Put loaf pan in the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 375 degrees F and bake for 35 minutes

Today -- August 16, 2007 -- Robert made some wild blackberry refrigerator jam which we enjoyed warm on homemade bread toast

Robert's Wild Blackberry Jam

wild blackberry jam on toast
Find some wild blackberries in your back yard.
blackberry bushes
Pick them. Rinse off the wildlife.
washed blackberries
  • One pound of pears (more or less)
  • One pound of berries
  • Two cups of sugar Supplies:
  • Large, sturdy cooking pot
  • Candy thermometer (very helpful) Find pears in your refrigerator.
    three pears
    Peel and core pears, then chop them into very small pieces (almost pear sauce) Put in pot.
    chopped pears
    Chop up or break up berries so they are not big clumps Put the berries on top of pears in the pot
    berries on pears in pot
    Pour in two cups of sugar, stir the pot
    pour in two cups of sugar
    Put pot over low to medium flame. Bring to a boil (slowly), stirring once in a while. Low boil, slowly until it cooks down and starts to thicken (20 to 30 minutes).
    watched pot
    If there are large clumps of berries left in pot, whisk with wire whisk until broken up. Test to see if it is jelling. Take a small, cold plate and drop a few drops on the plate. If it is real runny, keep cooking and testing. When it forms a mound on the plate stop cooking. Put jam in two bowls. Let them cool a while.
    jam in bowl
    Cover bowls with saran wrap and secure with a rubber band. Refrigerate jam in bowls. This is refrigerator jam so it will only last a month or so. It is not preserved jam.

    Note: Testing plate needs to be kept clean. After each test lick plate. Wash plate. Cool plate, dry plate, and test again.

    Enjoy to the last bite.

    last bite

    Apricot Crisp

    Apricot Crisp serving

    My mother-in-law, Frances, made this dessert for us in the 1970s. We've been enjoying it ever since (except when our regular supermarkets stopped carrying the Jiffy mix). I found it again at WinCo Foods. Jiffy and apricots

    Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

    Place apricots evenly (cup side up) in the 8" x 8" pan. Include the syrup from the can. Sprinkle the cake mix over the top evenly.

    butter slices on top of cake mix
    Place butter slices evenly on top of the cake mix.

    Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown on top. Cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes.

    Serve warm with or without vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. We think it is good just plain. This recipe will serve six, but the two of us manage to eat the whole thing in two days. Approximately 1800 calories for the entire recipe. It costs about $1.50.

    Graham Cracker Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Graham Chocolate Chip

    This week -- February 12, 2007 -- Robert tried something new for cookies. He decided to skip his tried and true chocolate chip cookie recipe and, instead, made Graham Cracker Chocolate Chip Cookies.

    Preheat your convection oven to 325 degrees

    Cream together

    Add Beat until light

    Mix dry ingredients together in another bowl

    Beat dry mixture into butter mixture. Stir in 1 cup chocolate chips. Place rounded tablespoon portions on cookie trays.

    Bake at 325 degrees in a convection oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool cookies on brown paper bag paper. Makes approximately 30 cookies.

    Yesterday -- February 13, 2003 -- he made some Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies. I thought they were worth sharing.

    Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

    chocolate chocolate chip cookies
    Preheat convection oven to 375° F

    Cream the following ingredients together until light:

    Mix these dry ingredients together in a separate bowl until even in color: Then, beat the combined dry ingredients into the creamed mixture until even in color. Then, stir 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips into mixture

    Today -- February 18, 2003 -- Robert made a wonderful pot of soup for a winter lunch. It was beautiful and delicious.

    Robert's Beet Soup (or Borsch)

    Robert's beet soup
    Ingredients Chop beets into small pieces. Chop celery into similar size pieces to make 3/4 cup. Chop potato into similar size pieces. Mince onion to make 1/4 cup. Slice the carrot into thin slices.

    In a stainless steel pot (that has a cover) saute vegetables in olive oil. Add broth to the pot and enough water to just cover the vegetables. Add 3 tablespoons of chopped parsley. Bring to a boil. Cover pot, turn heat down and simmer for 10 minutes. Taste to check for flavor. Add salt and pepper and all purpose seasoning to your satisfaction. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the vegetables are tender.

    Serve the soup with a big dollop of sour cream on top. Rye bread goes well with this soup.

    You can send e-mail to Robert or, go back to the his KITCHEN

    Created by Christine Thresh: 2/14/03 Updated: 1/6/2008