Month: April 2020

Welcome to The Big Kitchen Table!

Welcome to The Big Kitchen Table!

When you walk into my kitchen, you are welcomed in by The Big Kitchen Table. My table that seats eight, and is a family heirloom that my Great Aunt – Teta Desanka gifted my husband and I for our wedding. The table was an antique 

Poppy Seed Dressing

Poppy Seed Dressing

I have always enjoyed when someone makes a salad with a good poppy seed dressing. I found this recipe years ago in a Saveur magazine and have kept it in my recipe file for years.The note on the recipe says: Popularized by Texas cookbook author 

Instant Pot Ranchero Beans

Instant Pot Ranchero Beans

After experimenting with several recipes, I have come up with this one on my own. Beans are so easy to make in the Instant Pot, you will never want to open another can of pinto beans for dinner again. You can adapt this recipe and leave out the bacon and you can either mash the beans or leave them whole. 

Below I have also included an alternate recipe that is even less time consuming.


2 strips of bacon, diced
1 Tablespoon of vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 white onion, diced finely 
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
2 1/2 Tablespoons Chicken Bouillon
Kosher Salt or Lawry’s garlic salt
fresh ground pepper
5 cups water
1lb. bag of pinto beans


Rinse and sort the pinto beans to make sure you don’t have any pebbles or shriveled beans. Set the beans aside.

Select Sauté High on your Instant Pot. Add 1tablespoon of oil. Add your diced bacon and render out the fat until the bacon is almost crispy. If the pot seems like it is getting too hot, lower the heat to medium. 

Add the 1/2 finely diced onion to the pot and cook until tender and starting to brown. 

Next add the cloves of garlic and cook until lightly browned. 

Add the dried oregano, beans, water, chicken bouillon and bay leaf. 

Stir the pot to combine all of the ingredients. Attach the lid and select Pressure Cook- High for 40 minutes. When cooking is complete, use the natural release to depressurize. Press Cancel.

Remove the bay leaf. Stir the beans and season with salt and pepper to taste. 

** Mash your beans if you want when the cooking is finished. If you have too much liquid, just simmer the beans with the lid open and the liquid will reduce. 

Alternate Recipe:

If you want to make things even easier on yourself, you can skip sautéing completely, and add in all of the ingredients (excluding the bacon) at the same time. Instead of dicing the onion, put the half of onion in the pot without chopping. When the beans are finished cooking, you can then pull out the onion and bay leaf. Then you can also decide if you want whole beans or mashed. 

CPK Potato Leek Soup

CPK Potato Leek Soup

This is such an easy and flavorful soup. When it was on the menu at CPK, I ordered it all the time. I haven’t made this soup in years, but while on Quarantine Week #3, I decided to revisit some of my old recipes and