Maple Ice Cream

Put 2 cups heavy cream, 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup Grade B maple syrup and a pinch of salt in a sauce pan. Add either 11/2 tsp vanilla extract or 1 whole vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped into mixture. Include the pod in the mixture, too. Heat until steaming, but do not let boil.

In a bowl, combine 41/2 TBL (that’s a generous 1/4 cup) of corn starch and 3/4 cup milk. Stir with fingertips to confirm there are no lumps. Remove vanilla pod from pot. Add cornstarch mixture, cook, stirring until it reaches a boil. Reduce heat to low and let cook for 5 minutes or until thick, stirring so it won’t scorch.

Strain and chill a couple of hours and freeze in ice cream maker.

Cherry Pie

Preheat oven to 425 F. Combine 4+ cups of pitted sour cherries (I prefer the bright red Montmorency cherries), 3 TBL minute tapioca, 3/4 cup sugar and 2 TBL kirsch. Let stand 15 minutes. Meanwhile, roll out pie crust and fit into 9-inch pie plate. Pour filling into crust, dot with 2 TBL butter cut into small pieces, cover with top crust and seal. Brush top with egg white.

Bake 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and continue baking until crust is golden brown, about 35 to 40 minutes more.

Ice-Box Cake

Make whipped cream using 2 cups heavy cream, 2 – 3 TBL confectioners’ sugar and 1 – 2 tsp vanilla. Spread 1/2 TBL whipped cream on each cookie in a box of Famous Chocolate wafers, building up a stack. Arrange two 7-inch stacks next to each other (on their sides) on a plate to form a cake. Cover generously with remaining whipped cream. Refrigerate overnight. Serve, cutting on diagonal.

Cold Borscht (for 40)

The perfect thing for a hot summer night. Normal people will probably want to cut this in half or freeze some of: it freezes really well.

Peel and dice 31/2 lbs of beets (to make 8 cups). Bring to simmer in pot with 8 cups water, 1/2 onion finely grated, 2-3 cloves garlic run through a garlic press and salt. When beets are cooked — not too soft — remove from heat and add sugar (2 TBL) and sour salt (1/2 tsp) to taste. Let cool. Mix with sour cream to serve and garnish with any of the following: diced boiled potatoes, diced cucumber, diced hard-boiled eggs or none of the above.

Grilled Swordfish

Easy as can be. Get a 1-inch thick swordfish steak. Let it come to room temperature and season lightly with olive oil, salt and pepper. Get the grill hot (400 degrees F.), and grill for about 5 to 6 minutes per side. I prefer charcoal but it works just fine on a gas grill.

Corn-Crusted Soft-Shell Crabs

In a pie plate, beat together 1 egg, 1/2 cup milk and some salt. Put some very fine (Indian Head brand) corn meal in another pie plate and mix with some ground pepper. Dip each cleaned soft-shell crab in the egg mixture, let drain a bit and dredge in the corn meal (on both sides). Heat a large frying pan, melt butter and fry crabs 5 to 7 minutes per side. Serve immediately.