Tired of endlessly flipping through cookbooks and websites for recipes?

I'm here for you! I try out recipes and post the successes, so you don't have to waste time on failures. I only post the VERY BEST recipes I try out. You can be confident that if you plan to serve any of these, they will be a success! Don't substitute or you will not get the same result!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Orange Sweet Rolls

I've tried a lot of orange rolls. The ones you buy in the freezer section. Some at the grocery store. Even ones from bakeries. I never really liked them. But these are incredible. I found this recipe here from allrecipes.com. If you plan on making for a crowd, I would double the recipe. This only makes about a dozen rolls as it stands.

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (105 degrees to 115 degrees)
1 cup warm milk (110 to 115 degrees F)
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 tablespoons grated orange peel

GLAZE: (If you like a lot of glaze, double this)
1 cup confectioners' sugar
4 teaspoons butter or margarine, softened
4 teaspoons milk
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract (I used orange)

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water. In a large mixing bowl, mix milk, shortening, sugar, salt and egg. Add yeast mixture and blend. Stir in enough flour to form a soft dough. Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour (or more if you can). Punch dough down; divide in half. Roll each half into a 15-in. x 10-in. rectangle. Mix filling ingredients until smooth. Spread half the filling on each rectangle. Roll up, jelly-roll style, starting with a long end. Cut each into 15 rolls. Place in two greased 11-in x 7-in. x 2-in. baking pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about an hour. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Mix glaze ingredients; spread over warm rolls.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Sweet Potato Streusel

I got this recipe here. These were a HUGE hit at Thanskgiving. The streusel topping is the perfect finish.
3 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 large), peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup half and half
2 eggs
1/3 cup chopped crystallized ginger (about 1 1/2 ounces)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping 1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1 cup chopped pecans (I left these out)
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut



Butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Cook sweet potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain; return to same pot. Stir potatoes over medium-high heat until excess liquid evaporates. Remove from heat. Add butter and sugar and mash potatoes until almost smooth. Mix in half and half, eggs, ginger and vanilla. Season with salt. Spread in prepared dish (filling will be about 1 inch thick).


Rub together sugar, flour and butter in medium bowl until moist crumbs form. Mix in pecans and coconut. (Filling and topping can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover separately and refrigerate.)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Sprinkle topping over filling. Bake until filling is set and topping is brown, about 60 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.

Thyme & Brie Potatoes

My good friend and outstanding cook gave me this recipe. It was, no lie, my favorite part about Thanksgiving. I doubled the recipe, since we had 13 people. Awesome.

1.5 lbs (approx.) Yukon Gold Potatoes - no need to peel
1/3 cup milk or cream
2 Tb butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
2-3 oz brie, rind removed, cubed
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme


Boil taters till soft. drain and mash, tossing in the ingredients as you go. Add more cream/milk if too thick.

Try this Pumpkin Pie!

I'm not a big pumpkin pie fan. I think the ones you buy in store bakeries are almost rubbery. So I decided to attempt making one with a different flavor and texture, one that I could polish right off. I searched and found the following recipe from the Food Network. I doubled the spices and oh man! My husband doesn't like pumpkin pie, neither does my brother-in-law, but they both ate two pieces of this pie.

1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
2 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1 1/2 tablespoons mild-flavored (light) molasses
1 9-inch unbaked homemade or purchased pie crust

Mix first 6 ingredients in large bowl to blend. Add pumpkin, eggs, cream, milk, and molasses; whisk filling to blend.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour filling into crust. Bake pie until set in center and slightly puffed around edges, about 1 hour 5 minutes. Cool pie on rack. Serve with freshly whipped cream.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Steak with Parmesan Butter

This recipe literally takes under a half hour to make. I loved the Parmesan Butter! If you're looking for a quick dinner, try this with a green salad and Krusteaz Honey Cornbread mix. I took the recipe from here, but omitted the balsamic glaze (which was overpowering).

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese plus Parmesan cheese shavings
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 12-ounce rib-eye steak (or whatever steak you'd like)
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 large lemon wedges

Mix grated cheese and butter in small bowl. Season generously with salt and pepper; set aside. Sprinkle steak generously with salt and pepper. Heat oil in medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add steak; cook to desired doneness, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to plate. Squeeze lemon over. Slice steak. Top steak with Parmesan butter.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Easy, Fancy Crepes

Let me just tell you what a cool friend I have. She called me and invited our family over on a Monday night for dinner--they were serving crepes. I'm not that into crepes, but when I got there, she handed me a printed menu! She and her husband had two fancy crepe pans out and told us to place our order! I had FOUR. I ate them all. So tonight I borrowed her pans and made crepes for my in-laws, my mom and my family. Now they want to buy crepe pans and make them too! These are a complete meal and relatively easy to make. I just placed all the ingredients in glass bowls in front of the crepe station and made them as demanded.

This is only enough for 2 people. I had to quadruple it for our family.

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
2 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons melted butter, cooled slightly
1/4 teaspoon salt
Place all ingredients in a mixer and mix until blended, scraping down sides. Let stand an hour before serving.

Swirl 1/2 cup batter on crepe pan. Smooth with wooden crepe spreader. After about 30 seconds, flip. Spread filling--don't overdue it! A little bit of filling goes a long way. Fold into thirds and serve.

Savory Fillings

Sweet Basil & Tomato:
Basil, tomatoes, mozzarella, balsamic vinaigrette

Three Amigos:
Taco meat, black beans, corn, cilantro, sour cream

Sweet Italian sausage, sharp cheddar, green onions

The Italian Job: (my personal favorite)
Genoa salami, Boursin cheese, arugula, tomatoes

Cheddar & mozzarella

Sweet Fillings
Just Peachy:
Peaches, cinnamon, lemon zest, whip cream and powdered sugar

Butter, syrup and powdered sugar

Triple Chocolate:
Nutella, choc chips, white choc chips, powdered sugar

Apple Pie:
Apple pie filling, cinnamon, whip cream

Make up your own! My friend had raspberry creme, pumpkin spice and many others.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Best Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting Ever!

You want a fancy, easy to make cake? You have to try this one! I've had some from local bakeries (ie Kneaders, Flour Girls & Dough Boys) and this cake could rival or beat theirs any day! I got the recipe from epicurious.com here. It's best when first assembled.

3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 3/4 teaspoons ground allspice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1 cup canola oil
4 large eggs
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
3/4 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut plus additional for garnish


1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon dark rum
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar (measured, then sifted)

For cake:

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper; dust pans with flour. Sift 3 cups flour and next 7 ingredients into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat both sugars and oil in large bowl until combined (mixture will look grainy). Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Add pumpkin, vanilla, and orange peel; beat until well blended. Add flour mixture; beat just until incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips and 3/4 cup coconut. Divide batter between prepared pans. Smooth tops.

Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool cakes completely in pans on rack. Run knife around cakes to loosen. Invert cakes onto racks; remove parchment paper. Turn cakes over, rounded side up. Using serrated knife, trim rounded tops of cakes to level.

For frosting:

Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until smooth. Beat in dark rum and vanilla. Add powdered sugar in 3 additions, beating just until frosting is smooth after each addition (do not overbeat or frosting may become too soft to spread). Place 1 pumpkin cake layer, flat side down, on platter. Spread half of cream cheese frosting over top of cake to edges. Top with second cake layer, trimmed side down. Spread remaining frosting over top (not sides) of cake. Sprinkle additional coconut over. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.

Parmesan Crusted Chicken Breasts with Tomato and Basil and Potatoes with Peppers and Onions

This is my first Rachel Ray recipe and I absolutely loved it! It was simple, yet had savory, fresh ingredients and took hardly any time to make! If you need a quick dinner, try out this one. Thanks to the food network, you can see their recipe here. I made a few changes to the original.


1 1/2 to 2 pounds fingerling potatoes or red skin baby potatoes, sliced very thin
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
1 Italian mild green pepper, cubanelle, seeded and thinly sliced
1 medium yellow skinned onion, thinly sliced
4 large cloves garlic, cracked away from skin
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Coarse salt and pepper
2 cups shredded Parmesan, available in tubs near deli -- make sure to get shredded cheese, not grated
4 (6 to 8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 plum Roma tomatoes or small, vine ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
15 to 20 leaves fresh basil, pile leaves, roll then thinly slice -- chiffonade


Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
Cover a large cookie sheet with foil, and brush foil with olive oil. Place thinly sliced potatoes on cookie sheet. Combine with peppers and onions, garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. You may need two cookie sheets. Coat the potatoes, peppers and onions with extra-virgin olive oil just enough to coat vegetables in a thin layer, 2 to 3 tablespoons. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Place potatoes in the oven and roast 20 to 22 minutes, until potatoes are just tender and peppers and onions are crisp at edges. Toss mixture with tongs, turning the potatoes after 15 minutes. When the potatoes are cooked, transfer them to a serving dish and peel the foil off the cookie sheet and discard for super-quick clean up!

While potatoes cook, prepare chicken. Roll out a 2-foot piece of waxed paper or foil near the stove top. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat -- your pan must be very hot when the chicken is added. Pile the shredded cheese on the work surface created with the waxed paper or foil. Season your chicken breasts with black pepper but no salt; the cheese will add enough salt to the taste of the dish. Press the breasts firmly into the cheese. Coat both sides of breasts with as much cheese as possible. Add 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil to the skillet, 1 turn of the pan. Set breasts into the skillet and cook 7 minutes on each side, until cheese forms an even, golden casing around the tender chicken breasts.

While chicken cooks, combine chopped tomatoes with basil in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to your taste.

Drain off any excess oil from chicken as you remove it from the skillet. Top chicken with big spoonfuls of raw sauce and serve with potatoes, peppers and onions.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sweet Salsa

This is my new favorite salsa recipe! I canned four batches this year. My girls will eat it for a meal. It's a little sweet and has a tiny bit of a kick. Measure out the 6 pounds of tomatoes EXACTLY in order to maximize taste.

Canning tip: Wear onion goggles when chopping them. I just quarter everything and toss it into the food processor. It cuts down on the length time it takes to make this!


1 red onion, chopped
1 white onion, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
6 pounds fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 banana peppers, chopped
3 green bell peppers, chopped
3 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
8 pint canning jars with lids and rings


1. Steam the tomatoes, slide off the skins, and puree them.

2. Combine red onion, white onion, yellow onion, tomatoes, banana peppers, green chile peppers, tomato paste, white vinegar, garlic powder, salt, cayenne pepper, cumin, brown sugar, and white sugar in a large pot. Simmer until thick, about 2-3 hours.

3.Sterilize the jars and lids in boiling water for at least 5 minutes. Pack the salsa into the hot, sterilized jars, filling the jars to within 1/4 inch of the top. Run a knife or a thin spatula around the insides of the jars after they have been filled to remove any air bubbles. Wipe the rims of the jars with a moist paper towel to remove any food residue. Top with lids, and screw on rings.

4. Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot and fill halfway with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then carefully lower the jars into the pot using a holder. Leave a 2 inch space between the jars. Pour in more boiling water if necessary until the water level is at least 1 inch above the tops of the jars. Bring the water to a full boil, cover the pot, and process for 10 to 15 minutes.

5. Remove the jars from the stockpot and place onto a cloth-covered or wood surface, several inches apart, until cool. Once cool, press the top of each lid with a finger, ensuring that the seal is tight (lid does not move up or down at all). Refrigerate after opening.

Piled High Peach Pie

This recipe comes from epicurious.com, with a few additions. Do NOT use a premade or frozen pie crust. Use the recipe below. It makes a huge difference! And don't use canned peaches, use fresh! Or, if you must, frozen peaches.

2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
6 tablespoons (about) ice water

5 pounds medium peaches, peeled, pitted, sliced
3/4 cup sugar
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Vanilla ice cream


Combine flour, sugar and salt in large bowl. Add butter and shortening; using fingertips, rub in until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add vinegar. Using fork, mix in enough water to form moist clumps. Gather dough into ball; divide dough into 2 equal portions. Flatten each portion into disk. Wrap each in plastic; chill 45 minutes. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated. Soften slightly at room temperature before rolling out.)

For filling:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine peaches, sugar, flour and spices in large bowl; toss to mix well.

Roll out 1 dough disk on floured surface to 13-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter glass pie plate. Transfer peaches to crust, mounding in center. Roll out second dough disk to 13-inch round. Roll up dough on rolling pin and unroll atop peaches. Trim edges of both crusts to 3/4-inch overhang. Fold edges over; press to seal. Crimp edges. Cut 6 slits in top crust to allow steam to escape.

Bake pie until crust is golden and juices bubble thickly through slits, covering edges of crust with foil if browning too quickly, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Cool pie 3 hours. Serve with ice cream.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Roasted Yellow Pepper Soup and Roasted Tomato Soup with Cream

This is the perfect gourmet soup! It's beautiful to serve and the roasted flavor is wonderful. It takes a little time to prepare, but it's so very worth it. This recipe comes from http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Roasted-Yellow-Pepper-Soup-and-Roasted-Tomato-Soup-with-Serrano-Cream-11554, with some changes (I didn't like the Serrano Cream--way too spicy--the heavy cream is just as pretty and doesn't burn your tongue).

yield: Makes about 3 cups of each soup, serving 6


For the pepper soup:
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallot (or onion)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
6 yellow bell peppers, roasted (procedure follows) and chopped coarse (about 6 cups)
1 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth plus additional to thin the soup
1/2 cup heavy cream
fresh lemon juice to taste

For the tomato soup:
3 pounds plum tomatoes, quartered lengthwise
3 unpeeled large garlic cloves
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth plus additional to thin the soup
1/2 cup heavy cream
fresh lemon juice to taste


To roast peppers:

1. Using a long-handled fork char the peppers over an open flame, turning them, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the skins are blackened. (Or broil the peppers on the rack of a broiler pan under a preheated broiler about 2 inches from the heat, turning them every 5 minutes, for 15 to 25 minutes, or until the skins are blistered and charred.)
2. Transfer the peppers to a bowl and let them steam, covered, until they are cool enough to handle. Keeping the peppers whole, peel them starting at the blossom end, cut off the tops, and discard the seeds and ribs. (Wear rubber gloves when handling chilies.)

Make the pepper soup:

1. In a heavy saucepan cook the shallot, the thyme, and salt and pepper to taste in the butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until the shallot is soft, add the bell peppers and 1 1/2 cups of the broth, and simmer the mixture, covered, for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the peppers are very soft.
2. In a blender purée the soup in batches until it is very smooth, forcing it as it is puréed through a fine sieve set over the pan, cleaned, and whisk in the cream, enough of the additional broth to reach the desired consistency, the lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. The soup may be made 1 day in advance, kept covered and chilled, and reheated.

Make the tomato soup:

1. Spread the tomatoes, skin side down, in one layer in 2 foil-lined jelly-roll pans, add the garlic to 1 of the pans, and bake the tomatoes and the garlic in a preheated 350°F. oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the tomatoes are very soft and their skin is dark brown.
2. Let the tomatoes and the garlic cool in the pans on racks.
3. In a heavy saucepan cook the shallot, the orégano, salt and pepper to taste in the butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until the shallot is soft, add the tomatoes, the garlic (skins discarded), and 1 1/2 cups of the broth, and simmer the mixture, covered, for 15 minutes.
4. In a blender purée the soup in batches until it is very smooth, forcing it as it is puréed through a fine sieve set over the pan, cleaned, and whisk in the cream, the additional broth if necessary (both soups should have the same consistency), the lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. The soup may be made 1 day in advance, kept covered and chilled, and reheated.

To serve the soup:

For each serving ladle 1/2 cup of each soup into 2 glass measuring cups, pour the soups simultaneously into a shallow soup bowl from opposite sides of the bowl, and drizzle some heavy cream over each serving.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Rotisserie Chicken Salad

I wasn't quite sure what to think about making this salad--I've never used Greek yogurt, and tarragon has a very distinct taste. However, I enjoyed the combination of flavors and didn't find them strange at all. The yellow bell pepper is the crowning ingredient for me. This salad hardly takes a half-hour to make! The recipe comes from the Food Network: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/spring-chicken-salad-recipe/index.html.


1/2 pound small red-skinned potatoes, halved
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 romaine hearts, torn
1 rotisserie chicken, skin removed and meat shredded (about 2 cups)
1 Kirby cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced
4 radishes, cut into wedges
1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced


1. Place the potatoes in a small pot and cover with water. Season with salt, cover and boil until fork-tender, about 6 minutes. Drain and cool.

2. Meanwhile, pulse the chives, tarragon, vinegar, yogurt, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste in a food processor. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and pulse to make a thick dressing.

3. Toss the romaine, potatoes, chicken, cucumber, radishes and bell pepper with the dressing in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Not An Ordinary Lemon Meringue Pie

This recipe comes courtesy of Emeril Lagasse (really loving his stuff): http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/lemon-meringue-pie-recipe/index.html. This pie is sweet, creamy and fluffy--amazing. My husband reluctantly agreed to try it then had two pieces. It's not too difficult to make and will surely impress!


1 recipe Sweet Pie Crust, recipe follows
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
5 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup milk
1/2 cup cold water
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 large egg yolks
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
1 1/2 tablespoons limoncello
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
6 tablespoons confectioners' sugar


1. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and on a lightly floured surface, roll out to a 12-inch circle. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie pan, pressing gently to fit, trim the edge to within 1/2-inch of the pan, turn under, and crimp decoratively. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

3. Line the pie shell with parchment paper and fill with pie weights, dry beans, or rice. Bake until the crust is set, about 12 minutes. Remove the parchment paper and weights and bake until lightly colored, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before filling. Combine the granulated sugar, cornstarch, milk, water, and pinch of the salt in a large, non-reactive saucepan, whisk to combine, and bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking occasionally. As the mixture reaches a simmer and begins to thicken and turn clear, 4 to 5 minutes, whisk in the egg yolks, 2 at a time. Slowly add the lemon juice, whisking constantly, and add the zest and limoncello. Add the butter, 1 piece at a time, and whisking constantly, return to a simmer. Remove from the heat and pour immediately into the prepared pie crust.

4. Beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and remaining pinch salt in a large bowl with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Beating constantly, gradually add the confectioners' sugar and beat until glossy stiff peaks form, being careful not to over beat, as this will make the meringue difficult to spread.

5. Transfer the meringue to a pastry bag fitted with a medium star tip. Working 1 row at a time, pipe the meringue across the top of the hot lemon filling in a zigzag pattern, alternating direction with each row. Cover the pie filling completely, going out to the pastry edges, so the meringue does not draw up or weep during baking. (Alternatively, spread the meringue evenly over the pie filling using a rubber spatula, smoothing out to the pastry edges. Make decorative peaks in the meringue using a dull knife or the back of a spoon.)

5. To quickly cook the meringue, preheat the broiler with the rack in the highest position. Place the pie under the broiler and cook until the meringue is set and golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes, watching carefully to avoid burning. (Alternatively, the meringue can be cooked in a preheated 325 degree F oven until set and golden brown, 14 to 16 minutes.)

6. Transfer the pie to a wire rack to cool completely. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Sweet Pie Crust:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening
3 to 4 tablespoons ice water, or as needed

1. Sift the flour, sugar, and salt into a large bowl. With your fingers, work the butter and shortening into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add 3 tablespoons of the ice water and work with your fingers just until the dough comes together, adding more water as needed, 1 teaspoon at a time, to make a smooth dough, being careful not to overwork the dough.

2. Form the dough into a disk shape, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using.
Yield: enough dough for 1 (9 or 10-inch) crust

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Frozen Berries with a White Chocolate Sauce

Another recipe from the Barefoot Contessa: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/frozen-berries-with-hot-white-chocolate-recipe/index.html. Very easy and a wonderful gourmet dessert to serve to your guests (or eat almost all of it by yourself, like I did). You have to have a sweet tooth for this one or you won't appreciate it.

You can half this recipe if you like. Good white baking chocolate is expensive!


1 1/4 pounds good white chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 pounds frozen mixed berries or frozen raspberries (I flash froze the berries: washed them and placed them on a foil-covered cookie sheet--cut the strawberries small! Once frozen, I stored them in a plastic bag)


1. Combine the chocolate, heavy cream, and the vanilla in a heat-proof bowl and set it over a pan of simmering water until the chocolate melts.

2. About 5 minutes before serving, remove the berries from the freezer and place them on individual serving plates. Ladle the warm chocolate sauce over the berries and serve.

Chicken Picatta (or Chicken with a Lemon Sauce)

This recipe comes courtesy of the Barefoot Contessa from the Food Network. I recently purchased one of her cookbooks--I was delighted by how easy her recipes were! Simple, but gourmet enough to be very tasty. This is my favorite recipe by her so far. The sauce is heavenly. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/chicken-piccata-recipe/index.html


2 split (1 whole) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 extra-large egg
1/2 tablespoon water
3/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs (or crushed cornflakes)
Good olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons), lemon halves reserved
1/2 cup dry white wine  (or white grape juice)
Sliced lemon, for serving
Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for serving


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

2. Place each chicken breast between 2 sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap and pound out to 1/4-inch thick. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.

3. Mix the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a shallow plate. In a second plate, beat the egg and 1/2 tablespoon of water together. Place the bread crumbs on a third plate. Dip each chicken breast first in the flour, shake off the excess, and then dip in the egg and bread crumb mixtures.

4. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium to medium-low heat. Add the chicken breasts and cook for 2 minutes on each side, until browned. Place them on the sheet pan and allow them to bake for 5 to 10 minutes while you make the sauce.

5. For the sauce, wipe out the saute pan with a dry paper towel. Over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and then add the lemon juice, wine, the reserved lemon halves, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Boil over high heat until reduced in half, about 2 minutes. Off the heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and swirl to combine. Discard the lemon halves and serve 1 chicken breast on each plate. Spoon on the sauce and serve with a slice of lemon and a sprinkling of fresh parsley.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Grilled Beef Braciole with Grilled Tomato-Basil Relish

This recipe comes courtesy of Bobby Flay and the Food Network: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/grilled-beef-braciole-with-grilled-tomato-basil-relish-recipe/index.html.  It was to-die for! The tomato-basil relish is the perfect topping for this cheese & herb stuffed meat.

For the grilled tomato-basil relish:

8 plum tomatoes (I would double the tomatoes)
5 tablespoons olive oil (you probably don't need quite this much)
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 small red onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley leaves

For the beef:
1 (2-pound) round steak, pounded to 1/4-inch thickness
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano leaves
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
3 (8-inch) pieces butcher's twine, soaked in cold water (or toothpicks, soaked in water)
Fresh basil sprigs, for garnish

For the grilled tomato-basil relish:

1.  Heat the grill to medium-high.
2.  Cut the tomatoes half, then brush with 2 tablespoons of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the tomatoes on all sides until slightly charred and soft. Remove the tomatoes from the grill, chop and place in a bowl. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil, onion, vinegar, basil and parsley and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.

For the beef:

1.  Heat the grill to medium.

2.  Place the steak on a flat surface. Combine the cheese, parsley, oregano and garlic in a small bowl. Brush the steak on the side facing up with 2 tablespoons of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the cheese mixture evenly over the steak, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the sides.

3.  Starting with the long end, tightly roll the meat up like a jelly roll and tightly tie with the butcher's twine on the ends and in the center. Brush the entire outside of the steak with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on the grill, seam-side up and grill until golden brown on all sides, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the grill and let rest 10 minutes before slicing into 1/2-inch thick slices. Serve several slices per person topped with some of the relish.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Key Lime Pie

This recipe comes from Emil Lagasse and the Food Network:  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/key-lime-pie-recipe/index.html. It's perfect. I didn't change a thing. It might seem wierd to add the sour cream, but it was perfect. Once you add the powdered sugar, you couldn't taste it. Even my dad ate two pieces of this pie. Both my picky daughters loved it.

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick butter) melted
2 (14-ounce) cans condensed milk
1 cup key lime or regular lime juice (fresh squeezed preferred)
2 whole eggs
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lime zest


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

2. In a bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter with your hands. Press the mixture firmly into a 9-inch pie pan, and bake until brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature before filling.

3. Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

4. In a separate bowl, combine the condensed milk, lime juice, and eggs. Whisk until well blended and place the filling in the cooled pie shell. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes and allow to chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

5. Once chilled, combine the sour cream and powdered sugar and spread over the top of the pie using a spatula. Sprinkle the lime zest as a garnish on top of the sour cream and serve chilled.

Monday, July 19, 2010

World's Best Lasagna

I got this recipe from www.allrecipes.com, and made some alterations. Every time I've made this, people have gone nuts for it. I'm warning you that it takes a few hours to make (1.5 hrs to simmer the sauce), but it's totally worth it if you want to impress your guests! Even the pickiest eaters have more than one helping.


3/4 pound sweet Italian sausage
3/4 pound lean ground beef
1/2 minced onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
2 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
12 lasagna noodles
16 ounces ricotta cheese (I would actually use a little less--more like 12 oz)
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced (or grated--I prefer to freshly grate the cheese before I add it to a recipe)
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


1. In a Dutch oven (or skillet), cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

4. To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.

5. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tropical Carrot Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

This cake tastes better after it has been refrigerated overnight. I love the tropical spin on the traditional carrot cake. I got this recipe from epicurious.com, and made some alterations.

2 1/3 cups sifted all purpose flour (sifted, then measured)
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup dry-roasted macadamia nuts
3/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger (see note below on how to make this)
3 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups finely grated peeled carrots
2 8-ounce cans crushed pineapple in its own juice, well drained

2 8-ounce packages Philadelphia-brand cream cheese, room temperature
2/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup canned sweetened cream of coconut (such as Coco López, found in the liquor section of store)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon (scant) coconut extract
14 whole dry-roasted macadamia nuts (optional)
2 cups coconut
1 1/2 tablespoons butter

For cake:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter three 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper. Combine 1/3 cup flour and next 3 ingredients in processor. Process until nuts are finely chopped. Whisk remaining 2 cups flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in medium bowl to blend.
Using electric mixer, beat sugar and oil in large bowl to blend. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Beat in flour-spice mixture. Stir in coconut-macadamia mixture, then carrots and crushed pineapple. (Note: if you don't like the texture of pineapple, like me, then add it to the coconut-madamia mixture before blending)

Divide batter among pans. Bake until tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool in pans on racks 1 hour. Run knife around edge of pans to loosen cakes. Turn cakes out onto racks; cool completely.

For frosting:

Toast coconut in melted butter for a few minutes until crispy.

Beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until smooth. Beat in powdered sugar, then cream of coconut and both extracts. Chill until firm enough to spread, about 30 minutes. (don't chill too long!)

Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on platter. Spread 3/4 cup frosting over top of cake. Top with second cake layer, flat side up. Spread 3/4 cup frosting over. Top with third cake layer, rounded side up, pressing slightly to adhere. Spread thin layer of frosting over top and sides of cake. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Arrange coconut and then whole nuts on top of cake. Chill 1 hour. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and chill. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.)

Note:  To make crystallized ginger, thinly slice 1 cup fresh ginger. Boil in 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar for 5 minutes. Then bake in 200 degree oven until rubbery but not dry. Then sprinkle with sugar.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Bacon, Swiss Burgers with Tomato and Avocado

I didn't have time to take a picture of these hamburgers because they were eaten so quickly!
I got part of this recipe from www. epicurious.com--their hamburgers were a bit boring but I added a few ingredients to make a savory flavor.
Tip:  If you're having trouble keeping the patties together, add a beaten egg.

8 slices bacon
1 pound ground beef chuck or sirloin
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 or 2 dashes Tabasco sauce
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Vegetable oil, for grilling
4 slices Swiss cheese
4 hamburger buns, toasted, for serving
Thinly sliced ripe tomato
Thinly sliced red onion
Sliced ripe avocado
Lettuce leaves

1. If you will be grilling the burgers, preheat a barbecue grill to medium-high.

2. While the grill is heating up, cook the bacon on the stovetop in a large skillet over medium-low heat until it is just crisp, 6 to 7 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and set it aside to drain. (If you prefer to panfry the burgers, reserve 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat in the skillet.)
3. Place the beef, Worcestershire, Tabasco, green pepper, onion, garlic, thyme, and salt and pepper in a bowl, and toss lightly with a fork to combine. Form the mixture into 4 patties, each about 3 inches in diameter and 1 inch thick.
4. When you are ready to grill the burgers, oil the grill grate well. Add the burgers and grill for about 3 minutes for rare, 4 minutes for medium-rare meat. Turn them over and grill for another 3 or 4 minutes, topping the burgers with the cheese in the last minute of cooking. (Or panfry the burgers in the hot bacon fat over medium heat for 3 minutes per side for rare meat, adding the cheese as described.)
5. Place the burgers on the toasted buns, and top them with the bacon, tomato, onion, avocado, and lettuce. Cover with the tops of the buns and serve immediately.

Pancake Puffs

You need a pancake puff pan for this, which can be purchased Williams-Sonoma or Bed, Bath and Beyond.  I got this recipe from http://www.heidisfullplate.com/2009/09/pancake-puffs-recipe.html with some alterations. They can be refrigerated and re-heated and taste just as good!  I love Nutella-filled puffs.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
4 eggs, separated
2 cups milk
4 Tablespoons butter, melted, plus more for cooking

Fillings: jam, peanut butter, Nutella, fruit, chocolate chips, lemon curd. . .

powdered sugar

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. In another bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolks, then whisk in the milk and the 4 tablespoons of melted butter. Whisk the yolk mixture into the flour mixture until well combined; the batter will be lumpy.

In another bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff but not dry peaks from, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the whites into the batter in two additions.

Heat the pancake puff pan over medium high heat. With a pastry brush, coat each well of the pan with butter. When the butter bubbles, pour 1/2 tablespoon of batter into each well. Put 1 teaspoon of filling in the center of each pancake and top with 1/2 tablespoon of batter. Cook until the bottoms are golden brown and crispy, 2-4 minutes. Using 2 wooden skewers or 2 mini spatulas, flip the pancakes over and cook until the other side is golden and crispy, about 3 minutes more.

Transfer cooked pancake puffs to a plate. Dust with powdered sugar if desired. Repeat with remaining batter and fillings. Can be served with syrup or whipped cream.

Serve immediately. Makes about 40.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Potato Hobo Packs

The potatoes have a unique flavor, with the garlic and sage. Make sure and buy the center-cut beef (it's a bit expensive). Served with sour cream and fresh chives, this meal is mouth-watering! From http://www.epicurious.com/ with some adjustments.

2 tablespoons black peppercorns (I just buy the spice shaker that has the built-in grinder)
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 (2 1/2-lb) center-cut beef tenderloin roast, trimmed and tied
1 1/2 lb fingerling or baby Yukon Gold potatoes (about 16), halved lengthwise
1/2 lb pearl onions (about 16), blanched in boiling water 1 minute, drained, and peeled (or sliced white onion)
12 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons minced fresh sage
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup sour cream
6 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh chives
Coarsely crack peppercorns.  Stir together pepper and salt in a small bowl, then add oil and stir until combined well. Rub spice mixture all over beef.
Tear off 8 (2-foot-long) sheets of heavy-duty foil and arrange in 2 stacks of 4. Divide potatoes, onions, garlic, and sage between stacks, arranging in 1 layer in center of foil, then drizzle each with 2 tablespoons oil and season with salt and pepper. Working with top sheet of foil, fold each side over potato mixture to enclose, then turn package a quarter turn and repeat folding and turning package with each piece of remaining foil. Make second hobo pack in same manner.

To cook beef and hobo packs using a gas grill:

Preheat all burners on high, covered, 10 minutes. Reduce heat to moderately low on 2 burners if your grill has 3 (or 1 burner if your grill has 2) and cook hobo packs, folded sides down, on grill rack, covered with lid, over moderately low burner(s) 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, sear beef on lightly oiled grill rack over remaining burner on high, covered with lid, turning over occasionally, until well browned, 12 to 15 minutes total. Reduce heat to moderate and cook beef, covered with lid, turning over occasionally, until thermometer inserted diagonally into center registers 120°F for medium-rare, about 10 minutes. Transfer beef to a cutting board and let stand, loosely covered with foil, 15 minutes.


Chop meat and place in hobo packs. Grill together 40 minutes.
Serve beef and hobo packs:

Thinly slice beef, then remove potato mixture from packages and serve with sour cream, bacon, and chives.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Marscapone Cream-Filled Cake with Berries

This cake was marvelous!  Very different flavors--the marscapone cheese (an Italian style cream-cheese, most famous in Tiramisu) created a rich, sweet cheesy taste, with the berries balancing everything. I found this recipe on www.epicurious.com (and made some alterations).

For cake:

2 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
For berries:
1/2 cup Fino (dry) Sherry (can substitute 1/4 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup water and 1 tablespoon sugar)
1/2 cup sugar
4 cups mixed berries, cut if large
For cream:
8 ounces mascarpone (1 cup)
1 cup chilled heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
confectioners sugar
Make cake:

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter 2 9-inch round cake pans (2 inches deep). Line bottom with a round of parchment paper, then butter parchment.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. With mixer at low speed, beat in buttermilk until just combined. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, mixing after each addition until just combined.
Spread batter in cake pans, smoothing top. Rap pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles.

Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 30 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes. Run a knife around edge of cake to loosen, then invert onto a plate. Discard paper and reinvert cake onto rack to cool completely.
Macerate berries:

Bring Sherry and sugar to a boil in a small heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Put berries in a bowl and pour hot syrup over them, gently tossing to coat. Let stand 15 minutes.
Make cream and assemble cake:

Beat mascarpone and cream with sugar in a large bowl using cleaned beaters until mixture just holds stiff peaks (don't beat too long or it gets mushy!).

Put one half on a plate, then spread evenly with all of cream and replace top half. Serve with berries.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Grilled Jerk Pork with Curried Peach Relish

I made this recipe for dinner tonight (from epicurious.com with a few variations) and it was a symphony of flavor! Please note that the relish and pork must be prepared eight hour ahead, so start early!


1 1/2 lb firm-ripe peaches
1/2 lb tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped red onion (1 medium)
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

3 scallions (white and pale green parts only), trimmed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon molasses (not robust or blackstrap)
1 teaspoon Scotch bonnet or habanero hot sauce
2 pork tenderloins (1 3/4 to 2 lb total)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil for basting

Make Relish:
Steam peaches and tomatoes over boiling water until skins split. Transfer peaches and tomatoes with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice and cold water and let stand until cool enough to handle. Peel peaches and tomatoes, then halve peaches lengthwise and pit. Cut peaches into 1-inch pieces. Coarsely chop tomatoes.

Cook onion, ginger, and salt in oil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add curry powder and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Add peaches and tomatoes with any juices, sugar, and lime juice and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thick and peaches are tender but still hold their shape, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cool, uncovered, then chill, covered, at least 8 hours.

Marinate pork:

Combine scallions, thyme, salt, allspice, pepper, lime juice, molasses, and hot sauce in a blender and blend until smooth. Put pork in a nonreactive dish and rub all over with marinade. Marinate, covered and chilled, turning occasionally, 8 hours. Bring to room temperature before grilling.

Grill pork:

Preheat grill.

Discard any marinade remaining in dish, then brush pork lightly with oil and grill on a lightly oiled grill rack, turning occasionally and basting frequently with oil until cooked through.

Transfer pork to a cutting board and let stand 15 minutes. Serve pork with relish.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Baked French Toast

Ooooh, this breakfast is sweet and rich.  If you want the french toast a little more crispy, half the sauce and bake it on a cookie sheet.

1 loaf French bread, cut diagonally in 1-inch slices

8 eggs
2 cups milk
1.5 cups half-and-half cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ cup butter
1 1/3 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
Butter a 9x13 casserole dish. Arrange the slices of bread in the bottom (do not layer!).

In a large bowl, beat together eggs, milk, cream, vanilla and cinnamon. Pour over bread slices, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, preheat oven to 350. In a small saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar and corn syrup; heat until bubbling. Pour over bread and egg mixture.

Bake in a preheated oven, uncovered, for 40 minutes.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Linguine with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Toasted Pignoli Garlic Sauce

My friend Sarah cooked this at our girls' weekend last year.  It's a fancy dish that doesn't require a whole lot of time. And it's to die for!

3 cloves garlic, minced fine
1 tablespoon minced shallots (or minced onion)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup dry white wine (or white grape juice with a dash of apple cider vinegar)
2 cup half-and-half
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil
2 teaspoons instant beef bouillon crystals
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped fine
1/2 cup toasted pignoli nuts (optional)
1 lb fresh linguine (or bow tie pasta)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

Boil water for pasta.  Add pasta and cook to taste.

While pasta is cooking, toast pignoli nuts lightly in oven or nonstick teflon fry pan.

In a large skillet or sauce pot, saute garlic and shallots in olive oil.

Add white wine and cook to reduce by half.

Add half-and-half, then bouillon crystals to sauce and reduce again by half.
Add tomato paste and mix well to blend in sauce. Add the basil.
Add toasted pignoli nuts. Stir to mix.

Add the sun-dried tomatoes and parsley and stir. Let this simmer gently while the pasta cooks.

Put pasta in skillet with sauce and mix well. Empty pasta and sauce into a large serving dish. Sprinkle grated parmesan cheese over the pasta.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Chips

Wow!  This recipe has beautiful presentation and should work for even the pickiest eater.  I took this, again, from http://www.allrecipes.com/, with some of my own variations.

3 kiwis, peeled and diced
1-2 Golden Delicious apples - peeled, cored and diced
8 ounces raspberries
1 pound strawberries
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons fruit preserves, any flavor
10 (10 inch) flour tortillas
butter flavored cooking spray
2 cups cinnamon sugar (I would make this by combining 2 cups sugar with 3 or so tablespoon cinnamon, or to taste)


1.  In a large bowl, thoroughly mix kiwis, Golden Delicious apples, raspberries, strawberries, white sugar, brown sugar and fruit preserves. Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 15 minutes.

2.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

3.  Coat one side of each flour tortilla with butter flavored cooking spray. Cut into wedges and arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle wedges with desired amount of cinnamon sugar. Spray again with cooking spray.

4.  Bake in the preheated oven 8 to 10 minutes. Repeat with any remaining tortilla wedges. Allow to cool approximately 15 minutes. Serve with chilled fruit mixture.

Filet Mignon with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce

My absolute FAVORITE way to eat filet mignon! (except from Ruth's Chris Steakhouse)
This recipe comes from the http://www.allrecipes.com/ website.
Keep in mind that this recipe is only for two people.  Double it for company.


4 cups heavy cream
3 ounces crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 (8 ounce) fillets beef tenderloin
1 pinch lemon pepper
1 pinch garlic powder
1 pinch onion powder
salt and ground black pepper to taste
12 slices thick sliced bacon, chopped
4 green onions, chopped


1.  Pour heavy cream into a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer until the cream has reduced by half, stirring occasionally, about an hour. Remove from heat and whisk in the Gorgonzola cheese and Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and nutmeg, until the cheese has melted.

2.  Season the beef tenderloin with lemon pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Set aside. Place the bacon in a large, deep skillet, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Drain the bacon on a paper towel-lined plate.

3.  Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat, and lightly oil the grate.

4.  Cook the steaks until they start to firm, and are reddish-pink and juicy in the center, 3 to 5 minutes per side. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 130 degrees F (54 degrees C). Remove the steaks from the grill and tent with foil to rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve each steak with the Gorgonzola sauce and top with crumbled bacon and chopped green onion.
Alternative:  Wrap the filets in bacon

Pear & Feta Cheese Salad With Balsamic Vinegrette

A very easy, fancy salad!  Bring it to a 4th of July BBQ this weekend and you'll impress your friends & family!

Salad Ingredients:
1/2 head green leaf lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces

1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 Bosc pear, cored and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 Asian pear, cored and cut into bite-sized pieces

Dressing Ingredients:
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar (I used red because that's what I had on hand)
1 clove crushed or chopped garlic
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1 pinch salt
ground black pepper to taste


1.  Toss together salad ingredients. 

2.  Dressing:  In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, garlic, and mustard powder. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Stir in minced fresh herbs if desired.
3.  Add 1/2 cup dressing (no more!) to salad.  Toss to coat.

Frozen Coconut Caramel Pie

My husband and I LOVE this recipe.  It takes about a half hour to prepare (and a few hours to freeze)--not bad for such a gourmet dessert!

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 cup flaked coconut
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups crushed graham crackers
3 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons sugar
1 (12 ounce) jar caramel ice cream topping


1.  Mix graham crackers, melted butter and sugar.  Place in bottom of pie pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

2.  In a skillet, melt butter; add coconut. Cook and stir over medium heat for 10 minutes or until golden brown and toasted; set aside.

3.  Place whip cream and sugar in mixing bowl.  Mix until stiff peaks form.

4.  In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and milk until smooth. Fold in whipped topping. Pour into crust. Drizzle with caramel topping (as much as you can get on there); sprinkle with coconut mixture. Cover and freeze for 8 hours or overnight or until firm. Remove from the freezer 5 minutes before slicing.