Sunday, December 12, 2010

Spiced Pumpkin And Brown Sugar Granola

Courtesy of O Magazine

I love making my own home-made granola. Makes a nice gift as well.

3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 Tbsp. canola or olive oil
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp kosher salt
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup roughly chopped pecans
1 cup pistachios (optional)
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup dried cranberries (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, sugar, oil vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, cardamom, and salt. Add oats, pecans, and pistachios (if using), and toss to coat. Spread evenly on prepared baking sheet and bake 30 minutes, stirring halfway through. Stir in raisins and cranberries (if using), and continue baking until oats are just crisp, about 15 minutes more. Stir one last time, then set aside to cool completely. When hard, break into chunks and store in a an airtight container.

Makes about 5 cups.
Total time: 45 minutes

Orange-Scented Scottish Shortbread With Dark Chocolate

Courtesy of O Magazine

12 Tbsp. (1 1/2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
6 Tbsp. granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. finely grated orange zest (from about 1 orange)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. fine salt
1 cup dark chocolate chunks
1 Tbsp. raw, granulated, or turbinado sugar (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine butter, sugar, and zest by hand or with an electric mixer. Mix in flour and salt, then add chocolate chunks and mix until combined. Dough will be somewhat loose. Using your hands or a pastry ring, shape into an 8-inch circle about 3/4 of an inch thick; transfer to prepared baking sheet. Decoratively crimp edges, if you like. Using a fork, prick dough to mark 8 or 10 even wedges, pressing the tines through to the bottom.

3. Sprinkle with raw sugar, pressing down gently to ensure it sticks. Bake until golden brown around the edges, about 30 minutes.

Cool completely on the sheet.

Serves 8.
Total time: 45 minutes

Butter Toffee Nuts with Sea Salt

Courtesy of O Magazine.

*Use raw, unsalted nuts in this recipe, since they get plenty of toasting in the skillet.
**You can substitute cashews for any nut.

2 cups sugar
6 Tbsp. Butter
1 1/2 cups pecans
1 1/2 cups walnuts
1 cup peanuts
1 cup pine nuts
1 tbsp. flaky sea salt, plus more to taste
2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

1. Lightly grease a large sheet tray; set aside.

2. In a large, deep skillet, combine 2/3 cup water, sugar, and butter and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until butter is melted, 3-4 minutes. Add pecans, walnuts, peanuts, and pine nuts and cook, stirring gently and frequently, until sugar mixture dries out and begins to look powdery, 12-15 minutes. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until toffee coating is dark golden brown and glossy, about 10 minutes more.

3. Remove skillet from heat and quickly stir in salt and nutmeg. Carefully transfer mixture to prepared sheet tray, spreading evenly. (Be careful-the mixture is very hot!) Sprinkle with more salt and set aside to cool completely.

Makes about 8 cups
Total time: 35 minutes

Friday, December 3, 2010

Make Your Own Eggnog

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg, plus garnish
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream, softly whipped liquor (such as brand, bourbon, whiskey, and rum) or liqueurs.

1. In a heavy saucepan, whisk together eggs and sugar until well blended; whisk in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until mixture thickens and reaches 140 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 5 minutes.

2. Strain into a bowl; stir in nutmeg and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.

3. When ready to serve, fold in whipped cream. Serve in a punch bowl, sprinkled with nutmeg, and with alcohol on the side; each 1/2 cup serving of eggnog gets about 1/2 ounce alcohol, as desired.

Makes 8 servings.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Almond and Chickpea Burgers with Chipotle Mayo

I pulled this recipe out of a Women's Health Magazine. Can't wait to test it out!

Hands-On Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 25 Minutes

2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1/2 cup slivered almonds (2 oz)
1 can (19 oz) Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
Pinch salt
1 large egg
4 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1/2 tsp minced chipotle pepper in adobo, or to taste
2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
1 beefsteak tomato, coarsely chopped
4 whole-wheat pitas (6-inch)


1. In a small pan of boiling water, cook garlic for 3 minutes to soften. When cool enough to handle, peel, transfer to a large bowl, and mash with a fork.

2. Meanwhile, in a skillet, toast almonds for 3 to 5 minutes, until lightly browned and fragrant. Transfer to a food processor or blender. Pulse on and off to grind almonds into a fine meal (be careful not to turn them into a paste).

3. Add chickpeas to garlic; mash with a potato masher or fork until no whole chickpeas remain. Add almond meal, parsley, cumin, coriander, and salt to taste. Stir to blend.

4. Add egg and mix well. Shape the mixture into 4 patties. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add the patties and cook until browned and crisp on the outside and heated through about 5 minutes per side.

5. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, blend mayonnaise and chipotle pepper. Spread each burger with 1 1/2 teaspoons chipotle mayonnaise.

6. Divide half the lettuce and tomato evenly among bottom halves of pitas, add a burger, then top each with remaining lettuce and tomato.

Makes 4 Servings.

Friday, November 26, 2010


I didn't do any cooking for the Thanksgiving holiday this year but my best friend Brook sure did cook up a storm. The food was amazing! I definitely ate my fair share.

- Turkey that soaked in brine then stuffed with rosemary, onions, apples and rubbed with butter.
- Wild rice and goat cheese stuffing - gluten free
- Mashed potatoes with sour cream and Williams Sonoma gravy
- Pancetta brussel sprouts, a personal favorite
- Spicy pumpkin pie with bourbon whipped topping

Good Food, Good Friends, Plenty of Wine and 5 Really Good Puppies...Can't ask for a better holiday.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Horseradish Bacon Dip

My sister-n-law makes this every year around the holidays.

1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup cooked bacon, crumbled
2 tbsp horseradish, I like to add more to taste
2 tbsp. chopped fresh chives

Blend all the above (except chives), pour into a bowl; stir in chives. Refrigerate for 1 hour and server with crackers.

Cheesy Piggies in a Blanket

Throwing a holiday party? Serve these as a quick and easy appetizer.
- recipe came from People Magazine.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 27 minutes
Makes: 8 servings

What You Need
1 pkg. (8oz) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1/4 cup A.1 Original Steak Sauce
2 Kraft Singles, quartered
1 pkg. (16 oz) Oscar Mayer Selects Premium Beef Franks
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. poppy seeds
1/4 cup Bull's-Eye Original Barbecue Sauce
1/4 cup Kraft Real Mayo Mayonnaise
4 tsp. Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard
1 1/2 tsp. yellow mustard

Make It
HEAT oven to 350F. SEPARATE crescent dough into 8 triangles. Brush with steak sauce; top with Singles pieces. Place 1 frank on wide end of each dough triangle; roll up. Place, seam-sides down, on baking sheet. Brush with egg; sprinkle with poppy seed. BAKE 10 to 12 min. or until golden brown. Meanwhile, mix remaining ingredients. SERVE franks with sauce.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Striped Delight

I pulled this out of People magazine. This is similar to a layered dessert my mom used to make. Can't wait to try this version.

Prep Time: 20 minutes + refrigerating
Makes: 24 servings

What you need
39 Oreo Cookies, finely crushed
6 tbsp. butter, melted
1 pkg. (8oz) Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp. cold milk
1 tub (12oz) cool whip whipped topping, thawed and divided
2 pkg. (3.9 oz each) Jell-o Chocolate instant pudding
3 1/4 cups cold milk

Make it
MIX cookie crumbs and butter; press onto bottom of 13x9-inch dish. Refrigerate until ready to use. WHISK next 3 ingredients in medium bowl until blended. Stir in 1 1/4 cups Cool Whip; spread over crust. BEAT pudding mixes and 3 1/4 cups milk with whisk 2 min.; pour over cream cheese layer. Let stand 5 min. or until thickened; top with remaining Cool Whip. REFRIGERATE 4 hours.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pantry Raid - Smoked Salmon Pasta

This pantry raid turned out better than expected. Something I will make again and add too.

Package of Smoked Salmon
8oz. Cream Cheese
1 Can of Evaporated Milk
5 oz block of Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp of butter
Dill to taste
Sea Salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper to taste
2 cups pasta

Wish I had: fresh spinach or peas to add....

1. Chop salmon and mix with cream cheese (I had this already done and left over from a dinner party I threw, had it as a cracker spread).
2. Saute minced garlic in a sauce pan with butter.
3. Add canned milk.
4. Add cream cheese and salmon mixture.
5. Add cheese.
6. Wish I had added fresh spinach or peas.
7. Add salt, pepper and dill to taste
8. Cook pasta al dente.
9. Sauce should be a thick consistent like that of Alfredo sauce.
10. Add pasta to sauce.

Serve warm with a side salad (you have to have something healthy to balance this out).

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Beyond Easy Quiche

12 slices of cooked bacon, chopped
1 cup shredded cheese
1/3 cup onions, diced
2 cups milk
4 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 cup bisquick

Mix eggs, bisquick, milk, salt and pepper, set aside. Place the rest of the ingredients in a lightly greased 9" pan (use the one with high sides). Pour liquid mixture over top. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.

I didn't have bacon or onions so I substituted with sliced cherry tomatoes and fresh garlic. The cheese I used for this one was swiss. So easy to mix it up with different ingredients. You can use spinach and mushrooms etc..

Serve with a simple salad.

Sweet Onion Potatoes Au Gratin

This recipe was in People Magazine this month. I haven't tested it out, but definitely plan too.

Sweet Onion Potatoes Au Gratin
Serves: 4

2 tbsp. butter
1 large or 2 medium sweet onions, such as Vidalia, thinly sliced
Salt and Pepper
1/2 tsp. ground thyme or dried if ground isn't available
1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
2 lbs. baby Yukon Gold Potatoes or fingerling potatoes
1/2 to 2/3 cup cream
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1/2 lb. grated Gruyere or other swiss cheese

1. Heat butter in a skillet over medium heat.
2. Add onions. Season with salt, pepper, thyme and bay leaf. Cook until very soft, sweet and lightly caramelized, about 20 minutes.
3. Remove bay leaf.
4. While onions cook, place potatoes in pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, salt the water, and cook until tender, 12-15 minutes. Drain and return potatoes to pot.
5. Mash the potatoes with cream, season with salt and pepper, and mix in the Parmigiano cheese.
6. Preheat broiler. Arrange the potatoes in individual gratin dishes or a shallow casserole dish. Top with onions and Gruyere cheese.
7. Brown gratin under hot broiler until bubbly, about 2 minutes.

Bourride Setoise

Serves 6

4 pounds whole monkfish, or 1 1/2 pounds boned monkfish tails
3 carrots
1 onion
2 celery stalks
2 small leeks
1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
couple sprigs of thyme
1 large bay leaf
1 strip of orange zest
5 or 6 peppercorns
2 cups white wine
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Aioli (see recipe)
Toasted Bread

If you are getting the whole fish, have the head cut off and peel and trip the tail.

Rinse the monkfish tails and cut into 3 inch pieces. Refrigerate.

Cut 2 carrots into thick slices. Slice the onion and celery stalks. Separate the green from the white part of the leeks; reserve the white part and roughly chop the green.

Add all sliced vegetable to a heavy pot. Add the monkfish head and bones, thyme sprigs, bay leaf, orange zest and peppercorns. Add the wine along with 6 cups of water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the aioli. Cut the remaining carrot into a fine julienne. Cut the white part of the leeks into a fine julienne.

Strain the fish stock trough a fine mesh sieve. Pour 3 cups into a pot and add the julienned vegetables, and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes.

Add the pieces of monkfish to the stock and poach for 8 minutes. Remove the fish with a slotted spoon and keep warm.

Slowly add a ladle of hot broth into about half of the aioli, beating constantly. Return this mixture to the pan and heat gently, stirring all the time, until it thickens slightly. It should be like thin custard. Don't let it boil or it will curdle. Return the monkfish to the pot and simmer for 2 minutes, just to warm.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Portabella and Fresh Spinach Risotto with Goat Cheese Cream

My friend Brook shared this with me, so glad she did. I had a friend in town that is on a Gluten Free diet. This dish was a huge hit. Super yummy!

Portabella and Fresh Spinach Risotto with Goat Cheese Cream
via The Gloriously Gluten-Free Cookbook

6 Tbsp olive oil
4 large portabella mushrooms, diced
1 cup diced yellow onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
5 ups vegetable stock
1 cup grated or crumbled goat cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 pound fresh spinach
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. In a medium saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, onions, and garlic and cook, stirring, until the onions turn translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the rice and remaining 3 tablespoons of oil and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes.

2. Slowly add the stock, 1 cup at a time, and cook, stirring constantly, allowing the liquid to absorb before adding another cup of the stock. Continue until all the stock is added; this should take 12 to 15 minutes in total.

3. Gently stir in both cheeses. Cook, stirring, until the cheese is melted, about 2 minutes. Add the spinach and cook, stirring, until wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste.

4. Allow the risotto to cool for 2 to 3 minutes before serving.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Duck Magrets with Fig Sauce

Another fantastic meal in France. Thanks Anne!

Six Servings

3 duck magrets, about 1 pound each (see note)
2 shallots, minced
1 teaspoon piment d'espelette
1/4 teaspoon 4 epices (this is a mixture of pepper, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg)
12 to 15 fresh black figs
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Score the skin of the duck breasts and season with salt, the 4 espices and piment d'espelette. Coat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 minced shallot. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until ready to cook.

Heat a large saute pan over high heat. Place the breasts, skin side down, in the pan, lower the heat and cook for 10 minutes to 15 minutes, until most of the fat is rendered and the skin is crisp. Carefully remove most of the fat. Turn the breasts and cook another 5 minutes. The breast are best cooked medium rare. Remove from the heat and set aside loosely covered with aluminum foil.

Meanwhile, season the figs with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a skillet and sear the figs for 3 to 5 minutes, gently tossing them around. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the remaining shallot to the pan and cook over medium heat until soft and translucent. Stir in the rosemary and half of the wine. Slowly reduce the wine to a glaze. Stir in the stock and remaining wine. Ass the figs and simmer until wine is reduced by half and the figs are soft. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.

Slide the duck magrets. reheat the sauce and serve.

Note: Magret, the breast of moulard ducks, is available in most upscale supermarkets, or can be purchased online. Each breast weighs about 1 pound and yields two servings. If not available, substitute with regular duck breast, select one per person.

We served the duck with fried potatoes and a nice green salad.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Peach Galette

Serves 4

1 1/4 cup flour
3 tablespoons ground almond or hazelnut
3 teaspoons sugar
pinch of salt
8 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into small slices
3 to 4 tablespoons iced water
3 ripe peaches, peeled and sliced

Armagnac Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon Armagnac

Combine the flour, ground almond or hazelnut, 1 teaspoon of sugar and salt in a mixing bowl. Add 6 tablespoons of the butter and using your finger tips or a pastry cutter, quickly blend until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the water a tablespoon at a time, until the dough just comes together; do not over knead. This can be done in a food processor, using the pulse function. Form the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Whip the cream in an electric mixer, adding the sugar, vanilla and bourbon as it starts to thicken. Continue whipping until soft peaks form, about 4 to 5 minutes. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and lightly butter.

Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Roll out into a circle about 9 inches in diameter. Do not worry if the circle or the edges are not perfect. Place the dough on the prepared cookie sheet. Spread the peaches over the dough, leaving a 2 to 3 inch border. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the sugar over the fruit. Cut the remaining utter into slivers and scatter on top of the fruit. Fold the uncovered border of dough up over the peaches, allowing the dough to pleat as you lift it up and work your way around the galette. Dip a pastry brush in water and lightly coat the edge of the crust, then sprinkle with remaining sugar.

Bake the galette for 35-40 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and crisp. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let the galette rest for 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with the Armagnac whipped cream.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Cream Scones

2 Cups Flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 Tsp salt
1/4 Cup sugar
1/3 Cup butter cut up
1 Cup whipping cream

Combine first 4 ingredients; cut in butter w/pastry blender until crumbly. Add whipping cream, stirring just until moistened.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface; knead. Roll 1/2 inch thickness cut with a 2" round cutter. Place in lightly greased pans. Bake at 375F for 15 minutes.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake

Makes 16 servings

38 Ginger Snaps, finely crushed
1/4 cup finely chopped Pecans
1/4 cup butter, melted
4 pkg. (8 oz. each) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup thawed cool whip whipped topping
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

How to make it...
Heat oven to 325 F. Mix crumbs, nuts and butter, press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of 9-inch spring form pan. Beat cream cheese and sugar with mixer until blended. Add pumpkin, spice and vanilla; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing after each just until blended. Pour into crust. Bake 1 hour 20 min. to 1 hour 30 min. or until center is almost set. Loosen cake from rim of pan; cool before removing rim. Refrigerate 4 hours. Serve with a dollop of Cool Whip and a dusting of nutmeg.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Fresh Goat Cheese with Crunchy Vegetables & Walnut Pesto

Serves 6

1/2 cup shelled walnuts, toasted
1 small garlic clove, crushed
1 cup tightly packed basil leaves
salt to taste
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
8 ounces fresh goat cheese
6 radishes
1/4 cup peeled fava beans, fresh or frozen

Place the walnuts, garlic, basil and a pinch of salt in a food processor, process until the mixture is finely chopped. Add the oil in a slow stream and blend until well combined. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and set aside.

Place the goat cheese on a serving plate and scatter the radishes and fava on top and around. Drizzle with the walnut pesto and serve with toasts.

Friday, October 1, 2010


4 to 6 large fresh garlic cloves, to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon mustard
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 juive of lemon (optional)
1/2 teaspoon piment d'Espelette (optional)

Peel and cut the garlic in half, then remove the green sprout that runs lengthwise through the center of the garlic.

Place the garlic and salt on a chopping board and mince mashed together evenly to form a paste. Transfer to bowl. We used a pesto and mortar for this process as well as for the entire recipe.

Add the egg yolk and stir to thoroughly blend. Add the mustard and blend.

Very slowly whisk in the oils, drop by drop, until the mixture thickens. Gradually, whisk in the remaining oil in a slow, thin stream until the sauce is thickened to a mayonnaise consistency.

Season with lemon juice and piment d'espelette. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

makes about 1 cup

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Artichokes a la Barigoule

This is one of the recipes I learned during French cooking classes given by Anne de Ravel.

Artichokes a la Barigoule
Serves 6

3 bunches purple artichokes (about 15)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 package slab of smoked bacon
3 large garlic cloves, sliced
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
1 large onion, finely diced
sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
3/4 cup white wine
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

To trim and cut the artichokes: fill a bowl with water and stir in 1/4 cup of vinegar or the juice of one lemon. Cut off the stem of one artichoke and bend back the lower, outer leaves until they snap off easily near base. Continue until you reach the tender leaves near the center.

Cut off the top third of artichoke or just below the green tips of the leaves. Pare all remaining dark green areas from bases. Halve the artichoke heart and remove the fuzzy center. Add the artichoke heart to the bowl of water. Continue until all the artichokes are trimmed.

Cut the smoked bacon into small cubes. Heat the olive oil in a shallow pan. Add the diced bacon and saute until lightly brown. Add the onions, carrots and garlic. Lower the heat and saute until the vegetables are soft but not brown.

Drain the artichokes and add them to the pan. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Simmer for 2 minutes. Add enough water to just cover the artichokes along with the bay leaf and thyme. Season with salt, cover and simmer over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Cooking Classes in Southern France

I just returned from a fantastic European trip where I had the opportunity to participate in cooking classes given by Anne de Ravel

There is nothing like heading to the farmers market early in the morning to get fresh produce, bread, spices, olives and meat for an evening meal. From the second we stepped inside the farmers market I was in heaven and could barely put my camera down. Everything was beautifully arranged and so fresh. I walked around just taking it all in. I must have looked like a crazy lady being the only one with large camera around my neck taking pictures of fish, spices, bread and more. At one point in the day a guy at the market told Anne that I was a photographer for a fashion magazine. She got a good laugh out of it and told then that I was with her and not a magazine, but the guy refused to believe her. In a sense I felt like a fashion photographer surrounded by a runway of beautiful food on display making you want to do a double take at every stand you passed by.

The next few recipes to follow are some that I learned from Anne. Enjoy!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Fresh Basil Pesto

An abundance of Basil...Make Pesto!

This recipe from is one of the easiest and one of my favorites.

2 cups fresh Basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese (I use Romano)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts (I use toasted pine nuts from Trader Joes)
3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced - toss in an extra for some more kick
Sea Salt and Ground Black Pepper to taste

Equipment - Food Processor or Powerful Blender (I use my VitaMix)

1. Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.) Add the garlic, pulse a few more times.

2. Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Makes 1 Cup.

Serve with pasta, I use Rotini so it can get between the curves. Add some Kalamata olives, roasted chicken and extra parmesan on top. Yum!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Lime Blueberry Tiramisu

I can't remember where I found this recipe online but it is definitely on my list of desserts to make while blueberries are still in season, so you can add fresh to the top and inside.


  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 pound mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 (3-ounce) packages unfilled ladyfingers
  • 1 (6-ounce) can frozen limeade concentrate, thawed
  • 1 (21-ounce) can blueberry pie filling
  • Fresh mint leaves, optional


In a large bowl, beat cream with an electric mixer at medium speed until thickened. Gradually add confectioners' sugar, beating until soft peaks form. Gently stir in cheese until combined; set aside.

Split ladyfingers in half. Line a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish with ladyfingers, cut side up. Brush ladyfingers with limeade concentrate. Spoon half of cheese mixture over ladyfingers. Top with half of blueberry pie filling. Repeat procedure for the next layer with remaining ladyfingers, limeade, cheese mixture, and pie filling. Cover and chill 8 hours. Cut into squares to serve. Garnish with fresh mint, if desired.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Persian Chicken

I recently visited my friends Tom and Terri in St. Louis. They are friends that I have always had a chance to cook elaborate meals with like the Mushroom Spinach Lasagna I recently posted. So while visiting I treasured all the yummy food we made together. I would love to be able to make different meals like they do everyday but it doesn't make sense. Being single I would have to live off one meal for a week which is no fun. This meal, however, I don't mind living off. It is healthy and really good. In fact, I think it was better the second day.

This recipe was taken from a slow cooker cookbook, name ?

Serves 4
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 8 hours
Slow cooker standard size

4 chicken drumsticks, skinned
4 chicken thighs, skinned
2 tablespoons all-purposed flour
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 cloves
1-inch piece of gingerroot, finely chopped
1 3/4 cups chicken stock
4 oz. baby spinach, well washed, larger leaves torn into pieces
salt and pepper
couscous to serve - I used wheat couscous

1. Slash each piece of chicken 2 or 3 times with a small knife. Mix the flour, turmeric, and paprika on a plate, then use to thinly coat the chicken.

2. Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the chicken, and cook until browned on both sides. Transfer to a plate. Add the onion and garlic, if using, to the pan and fry, stirring, for 5 minutes until lightly browned.

3. Stir in any remaining spiced flour. Add the cloves, ginger, stock, and salt and pepper to taste, and bring to a boil, stirring.

4. Pack the chicken joints into the slow cooker pot and pour in the onion mixture. Cover with the lid and cook for 8 hours until the chicken is tender. Add the spinach and cook for 15 minutes more, then serve the chicken on a bed of couscous.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Wild Mushroom and Spinach Lasagna

This recipe came from

5 pounds fresh spinach, stems removed
1 cup unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 pound ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons course salt (we used half the salt and it still was too much, go light on it)
1 3/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
3 pounds wild mushrooms (chanterelles, oyster and shiitake), trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
3/4 cup Madeira wine
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
4 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese
1 one-pound package fresh spinach lasagna sheets

1. Wash spinach leaves well in three changes of cold water; shake dry. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large pan over medium heat. Add half the garlic; saute until light golden, about 2 minutes. Add half the spinach leaves, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, 4 to 5 minutes. drain spinach in a colander. Repeat with another tablespoon butter and remaining garlic and spinach. When spinach is cool enough to handle, squeeze to rid it of liquid. Roughly chop spinach; place in medium bowl. Add ricotta, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper.

2. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add a third of the mushrooms; season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Saute until mushrooms are softened and browned, about 10 minutes. De-glaze skillet by pouring 1/4 cup Madeira into hot skillet with mushrooms and using a wooden spoon to loosen bits cooked onto skillet. cook mushrooms until liquid has almost evaporated. Transfer cooked mushrooms to medium bowl. Repeat with another 2 tablespoons of butter, another third of the mushrooms, and 1/4 cup Madeira. (Reserve the final third of mushrooms and Madeira for topping.) Add two-thirds of the chopped parsley to bowl with cooked mushrooms; stir.

3. In medium saucepan over medium heat, heat 4 cups milk. Melt 8 tablespoons butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add flour; cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Slowly add warmed milk; cook, whisking constantly, until mixture bubbles and becomes thick. Remove pan from heat. Stir in 2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, the nutmeg, and 1/2 cup grated cheese.

4. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Set aside 1/2 cup sauce. Assemble lasagna: Spread 1/2 cup sauce in bottom of 9x13" baking pan. Place layer of lasagna sheets in pan, trimming to fit; spread 1 cup spinach mixture, 1 cup mushroom mixture, and 1/2 cup sauce on top of lasagna sheets. Repeat layers several times. For last layer, place a layer of lasagna sheets on top; spread 1/2 cup sauce over lasagna sheets. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup grated cheese. Bake lasagna until top is golden brown, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Let stand 20 minutes before serving.

5. Just before serving, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in the skillet over medium heat. Add remaining third of the uncooked mushrooms; season with the remaining teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook until golden and tender, about 10 minutes. De-glaze skillet, with mushrooms in it, with he remaining 1/4 cup Madeira. Stir in the remaining third of fresh parsley.

6. In a small saucepan, combine reserved 1/2 cup sauce with remaining 1/2 cup milk. over medium heat, which until warm and smooth. Spoon cooked mushrooms over each serving, or serve on the side. Serve lasagna with warmed sauce.

Spinach Salad with Warm Maple Dressing

This recipe was found at
Recipe courtesy of

2 tablespoons chopped pecans
1 10 ounce package fresh spinach, torn, or 12 cups baby spinach
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/4 inch slices (we substituted with pear)
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup shredded smoked cheese, such as Gouda or Cheddar (we used Gouda)

Toast pecans in a small dry skillet over low heat, stirring often, until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool.

Toss spinach and cucumber (or pear) in a salad bowl.

Heat oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add vinegar and maple syrup and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper.

Immediately pour the dressing over the spinach and cucumber. Toss well and sprinkle with cheese and toasted pecans.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Warm Vanilla Cake with Raspberry Sauce

If you are spending Valentines Day alone like I did, there is no reason you can't eat cake!

This is one of my favorite cakes that I found in the Pillsbury Fast and Healthy Magazine back in 1997.

Not only is it low fat and delicious, but also super easy and quick to make.

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla (I also add 1 teaspoon of almond flavoring)
1 egg
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup skim milk

1 (10oz) pkg. frozen raspberries in syrup, thawed. (I use fresh to avoid the syrup)
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Heat oven to 350. Spray 8" round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In medium bowl, beat sugar and butter with electric mixer until well blended. Add 2 teaspoons vanilla and egg; beat well.

3. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. Add flour and baking powder to butter mixture; mix at low speed until ingredients are combined. Blend in milk. Pour batter evenly into sprayed pan.

4. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

5. Meanwhile, place all sauce ingredients in blender container or food processor bowl with metal blade; blend until smooth. Strain to remove seeds.

6. So serve, cut warm cake into wedges; place on dessert plates and top each with sauce.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Split Pea Soup - Crock Pot Style

After weeks of endless travel and eating out at bad and good restaurants I craved, yearned and desperately needed a night at home with a good hearty meal that was easy to prepare.

Split Pea Soup

1 container of low sodium chicken broth
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 package of pre-cooked sausage, chopped
Fresh Thyme, remove from stalk
Fresh Rosemary, remove from stalk
Fresh ground sea salt, sprinkled
Cumin, sprinkled
1 package of split green peas, rinsed

Put all the above in a medium size crock pot on high for 3 hours, stir. Turn to low and cook an additional 3 hours, stir and let sit in the crock pot off for about 30 minutes. The consistency should be thick and should smell amazing.

Serve with red wine and a really hearty fresh 7 grain loaf of bread from a local bakery. Delicious and exactly what I needed on a cold wintry night.

My total meal was less than $20.00 including the wine. I love being home!!!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Mushroom Risotto

1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp olive oil
2 tsp butter
1 tbsp chopped onion
3/4 cup mix of sliced mushrooms (shitake, cremini, button, etc)
1/3 cup arborio rice
2 tbsp dry vermouth
1-2 tbsp Parmesan cheese

bring broth to boil in saucepan.
heat olive oil and 1 tsp of butter in sauce pan. saute onion until tender. add mushrooms and cook until softened.
add the remaining butter and stir in the rice. cook and stir for a minute or two. add the vermouth and when most of the liquid has evaporated, ladle in enough warm broth to barely cover the rice. adjust heat so that it simmers briskly. once that is absorbed, replenish with the same amount of broth. continue to stir often, adding broth as needed, until rice is cooked.
remove pan from heat and let rest for five minutes. sprinkle with cheese.
serves 2.

Chicken and Sun Dried Tomatoes

1 tbsp olive oil
3 lbs chicken breasts
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp basil
1/2 sun dried tomatoes, cut into slivers

heat oil in skillet. brown chicken.
transfer to crock pot.
add garlic, wine, broth, and basil to skillet. bring to a boil. scrape up bits from bottom of pan.
pour over chicken. scatter tomatoes on top.
cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours. serves 8.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cheese Tortellini With Basil Cream Sauce

I found this recipe inside the package of basil, from HerbThyme, that I bought. Sounds to yummy not to share.

2 Shallots, minced
2 Cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp flour
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup white wine
1 1/4 cups cream
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 pkg (2/3 oz) Basil, chopped
2 - 9 ounce packages fresh cheese filled tortellini, cooked and drained

In a medium saucepan, saute shallots and garlic in butter until softened. Add flour; cook and stir one minute. Stir in wine; cook one minute more. Slowly add cream, mixing until smooth. Add cheese; cook over medium heat until smooth and thick. Add fresh Basil; mix well and pour over hot, cooked tortellini. Garnish with Fresh Basil leaves. Serves 4-6.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Holiday Leftover's - Make Chowder

Prepping the house and office for 2010 I have been busy and neglected to grocery shop or even leave the house for a few days. So when I opened my pantry there were a few cans of kidney beans, some oatmeal and rice. Open the fridge and it wasn't much better.

What do you do when you have not been to the grocery store since before the holiday and have company in town??? Who knows! Peeking in the fridge I had 4 potatoes, a small piece of cheese (left over from the appetizers at xmas), some Christmas day ham, one stick of butter, skim milk, fresh thyme, rosemary and garlic, ugh!

Well I knew I could roast the garlic and we could spread it on left over crackers and call it a meal, but my guest would have been less than impressed and most likely hungry again within the hour.

So I did roast the garlic while debating how to use it.

Deciding that really my only choice with what I had was to make a chowder and I am happy I did. It turned out to be impressively scrumptious and my guest was happy and full.

1) 5 medium potatoes, washed and cut into small cubes - no need to peel, no time. Add sea salt, pepper, fresh thyme and rosemary.
2) 20 cloves of roasted garlic - heat oven to 375 degrees, coat un-peeled cloves in olive oil, sea salt and pepper, place in glass baking dish, cover in foil and bake for 40 minutes. Once cooled, peel.
3) Chop left over ham into cubes.
4) Boil potatoes with ham until tender.
5) Place 1 stick of butter in a pot and melt.
6) Whisk in 3/4 cup of flour until mixed.
7) Add 24 ounces of milk to the flour and butter mixture, whisk until thick.
8) Add the garlic to the potatoes.
9) Add the mixture to the softened potatoes and stir in thoroughly.
10) Remove from heat
11) Serve topped with grated cheese of choice.