the life and times of J T Frey

Dill Pickles

The plain dill pickle. No garlic or spices here, just a plain dill pickle, like what you'd get on a McDonald's hamburger. Heinz used to make these, but no more. Mt. Olive makes them, but few stores carry them. You can find dozens of varieties of kosher dill, but if you want a plain dill it's up to the DIY pickle-maker.

I like to use freshly-sliced onion every now and then: the pickled onion slices taste great on smoked pulled pork sandwiches. That is they in the jar on the right; the jar on the left doesn't have the brine poured over it yet.

Written by Jeff Frey on Saturday July 28, 2018
Permalink -

Dried Toasted Sweet Corn

An ongoing Pennsylvania tradition in my family is the serving of Cope's dried corn. The recipe that's right on the box yields a delicious side dish: sweet, salty, buttery, with the flavor of toasted corn. Since I have a food dehyrator (orignally purchased primarily for fruit leather and jerky) a few years ago at the tail end of summer I bought about 16 ears of Lancaster county sweet corn, cut it off the cob, and dried it. The dehydrator gets just warm enough that as the sugar in the corn concentrates it begins to caramelize gently. Eight ears of corn yields around 7.5 oz of dried corn, which is the amount in a box of Cope's — and thus the amount in this recipe. I think this is very close to what Cope's recommends, but I'm recording it here in case Cope's were to disappear (like so many traditional/small-scale food products).

Written by Jeff Frey on Sunday November 24, 2019
Permalink -

Honey-Nut Banana Muffins

When bananas become overripe they're perfect for a breakfast muffin. I wanted a muffin with a bit more complex flavor: something that reminded me to a bowl of honey nut O-shaped cereal (you know the one) with banana on it.

Written by Jeff Frey on Monday October 8, 2018
Permalink -


Yes, the name of this recipe is very close to something served seasonally by a well-known fast-food restaurant. Why wait all year for a delicious porky patty? On top of that, why eat one that's full of who knows what kinds of preservatives (and "meat") and was formed and frozen who knows when?

Please note that this recipe uses sous vide to cook the formed patty low and slow.

Written by Jeff Frey on Tuesday November 19, 2019
Permalink -

Nan's Hot Fudge Sauce

For as long as I can remember my mom has made a summer dessert called Sundae in a Pan. An Oreo cookie crust, vanilla ice cream, peanuts, whipped cream, and a layer (never thick enough) of fudge sauce. Very much like a classic ice cream cake. The same fudge sauce functions equally well on its own served warm over ice cream.

Written by Jeff Frey on Sunday August 28, 2016
Permalink -

New England-Style Clam Chowder

When I was an undergraduate at Lebanon Valley College I worked for the school's computer services unit. Every now and then the entire group would head to lunch at nearby Harper's Tavern. The lunch special typically consisted of soup or salad and one of their sandwiches. I'll never forget my first visit because of the soup: a clam chowder in the New England style. This wasn't the from-a-can thick and creamy with little clam bits version that I was used to at the time, though. The broth was not as heavy, had a definitive herbal quality that melded perfectly with the briny clam flavor, and had chunks of celery and hard boiled egg amongst the usual potatoes. But of most note, it had clams: I'm talking whole clams, here.

Later in life, on an episode of "Emeril Live!" the noted chef made a true New England version from scratch, stressing (in his usual way) the importance of pork to the recipe. No clam chowder is done right unless it starts with rendered salted pork as the basis for the roux.

These two experiences form the basis for my New England-style clam chowder.

Written by Jeff Frey on Friday January 27, 2017
Permalink -