The Dirty Page

food therapy | the dirty page

Exciting news! I have been asked to do  “Chef Gretchen’s Therapy” podcast as part of the Rehoboth Social Podcast network and launched my first one this week with Eric Wahl a landscape architect who has designed the sharing garden and also a baker in the process of writing his first cookbook, “The Dirty Page,” about family recipes handed down through the generations. Those favorites are always marked by the dirtiest page, right?

You can listen to the first podcast “Food Therapy on the Dirty Page” here:

I also was a guest twice in the last few months on #RehobothSocial and if you missed those episodes you can listen here:




Following are the recipes we talked about and the food we ate:

Apple Bread

1 cup oil
3 large eggs
2 cups sugar
tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
tsp baking soda
tsp salt
tsp cinnamon
pinch ground nutmeg
pinch ground cloves
3 cups diced/peeled apples and pears

Optional 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 300. Beat first 4 ingredients until sugar is dissolved. Sift the dry ingredients and add to wet in batches. Add the apples and nuts (if using) and mix well. Spread in 2 well-greased loaf pans and bake for 90 minutes. Let sit in pan for 10 minutes, then remove and powder with powdered sugar. wrap in aluminum foil and let cool completely. (This will allow the powdered sugar to form a crust on the bread.)

Peanut Butter Pie Recipe

1-1/2 cups crushed nutter butter cookies
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup melted butter

Combine and press into bottom and up sides of pie plate. Bake for about 8-10 minutes in a 325 degree oven.

Chocolate base:
8 oz chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp instant coffee

Heat heavy cream in microwave until hot, pour over chocolate chips and mix in instant coffee. Stir until chips are melted and ganache is smooth. Pour into cooled crust, on bottom only.

8 oz cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1-1/2 cups heavy cream whipped with 1/4 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla

In stand mixer, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Beat in peanut butter until combined. Start mixing in small amount of whipped cream to make mixture lighter. Then fold in rest of whipped cream until combined. Pour on top of chocolate in pie crust. Top with chocolate shavings or salted peanuts.


Hatch Tomatillo Salsa


2  lbs Tomatillos, husked and cleaned

1/2  lb roasted Hatch chilies

1/3  cup peeled Garlic cloves

1/2 yellow onion

1 bunch cilantro, thoroughly cleaned but using stems and leaves

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp (plus more to taste) chile lime salt or sea salt flakes

2 tsp Hatch Green Chile powder


Preheat oven to 425 degrees, Roast tomatillos, in very hot oven until beginning to char and tomatillos pop. Finish under low broiler, stirring frequently until they are blackened and charred. Put garlic cloves in heavy pot over medium heat and cover halfway with oil. Cook until the color of caramel. Put diced onion in pan and cook with remaining olive oil until darkened and charred. Puree all ingredients together. Add more salt as needed.

Pumpkin Pie Soup

2 large-ish sweet potatoes

1 small butter nut squash

2 ripe Bartlett pears

2 cans coconut milk

1 tsp Himalayan pink salt

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp roasted cinnamon

1/3 tsp cloves

1/2 tsp cayenne

3 TB maple syrup

3 cups + vegetable stock

Preheat oven to 350. Wrap sweet potatoes in foil and lightly oil skin on squash. Roast until your thumb can indent flesh to 1/2 inch. Set aside and let cool. Seed pears and dice you do not need to peel. Put in pot with coconut milk and vegetable stock. Peel sweet potatoes and squash, remove seeds and add to pot. Add vegetable stock just to cover and spices. Let simmer till pears are softened. Puree with an immersion blender or vitamix. Correct spices.

PS: I put the seasonings on the low end in this recipe.

Eric Wahl is a landscape architect with Element Design Group. He teaches Landscape Design at the Georgetown campus of Delaware Technical and Community College. Writes a monthly article entitled “The Real Dirt” in Camp Rehoboth’s magazine, “Letters, ” and is the current President of the Delaware Native Plant Society.


You can follow Eric at 

You can follow Chef Gretchen @ where you will receive a free e-book entitled “The Fifty Best Recipes of Hobos Restaurant and Bar” or @chefgretchenh on twitter or @chefgretchen on instagram

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