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!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Chocolate Shortcake with Huckleberries

Every summer, my family and I go to Island Park Reservoir in Idaho. One of our favorite treats to get while we're there is anything with fresh huckleberries. I've not yet found a place you can buy huckleberries except in Idaho. Huckleberries are sweet and have no seeds, which makes them the ideal berry in my opinion. This recipe is a wonderful summer treat. See the original here.


  • 1.5 pints fresh blackberries, rinsed and drained (or raspberries)
  • 1.5 pint huckleberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup cold milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Powdered sugar


In a large bowl combine the fruit, sugar and gin. Marinate at room temperature for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Into a large bowl, sift the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the butter to the dry ingredients, and mix well with fingertips or a pastry blender to incorporate and the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the egg and milk, and mix just until the mixture comes together to form a sticky dough. Cooks note: I do this entire step in a food processor.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drop the batter onto the sheet in 1/4-cup dollops, leaving 2 inches of space between each, and gently smooth with the back of a spoon. Bake until a tester inserted into the middle comes out clean, 12 to 15 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whip the cream to soft peaks. Add the sugar and whip until stiff peaks form. Keep cold until ready to use.

Transfer the cakes to wire racks to cool. Carefully split the shortcakes horizontally and place the bottom half on each of 6 dessert plates. Top with a heaping tablespoon of berries and cream, then top with the remaining shortcake halves. Top with the remaining berries and cream, and garnish by sifting powdered sugar over each serving. Serve immediately.

Honey Orange BBQ Chicken

The Neelys on the Food Network are one of my new favorite sources for recipes. This is my absolute favorite BBQ chicken recipe. Make a LOT and then use the leftover on salads! See the original recipe here.



  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 1 (4 pound chicken) cut into 10 pieces, patted dry with paper towels


  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange Juice
  • 1/4 cup Neely's BBQ sauce
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice


Mix the orange juice, olive oil, hot sauce, mustard, and orange zest together in a large bowl. Add the chicken and toss to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate for at least 1 hour and up to overnight in the refrigerator.

Prepare the grill to medium direct heat. Let chicken come to room temperature before grilling.

Drain the chicken from the marinade and pat dry. Grill on each side for 5 minutes, then turn the heat to medium-low and cover the lid of the grill. Continue cooking the chicken until it's cooked through, about 25 minutes more.

While the chicken is grilling, melt the butter in a small saucepan on the grill. Whisk in the honey, orange juice, BBQ sauce, zest, mustard and allspice. Reserve some of the glaze in a small ramekin for serving.

Brush the chicken pieces with glaze, then flip the chicken, glaze side down, and cook for 2 minutes. Brush second side of the chicken with glaze and flip again. Continue cooking for 3 more minutes. Remove the chicken from grill to a platter and serve with reserved glaze.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Father's Day Recipe Ideas!

We had Father's Day a week early with, celebrating with a fabulous BBQ. Here are the recipes that were a huge hit:
Honey Glazed Grilled Pineapple (wow)
Grilled Chicken with a Balsamic BBQ Sauce (awesome standard for BBQs)
Fruit Dip (I've tried several recipes and this is by far the best)
Sage and Applesauce Pork (none left. a divine experience)

Honey Glazed Grilled Pineapple:


  • 1/4 cup honey
  • Juice of 2 limes (depending on how juicy the limes are)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 pineapple, cut into 3/4-inch thick rings, core removed


In a baking dish, mix together the honey, lime juice, and cinnamon. Place the pineapple slices in the glaze and let marinate 2 hours, turning occasionally.

Place the pineapple slices on the preheated grill. Grill on both sides until the glaze caramelizes and grill marks form, about 2 minutes per side.

Chicken or Steak with a Balsamic BBQ Sauce:


For the Balsamic BBQ sauce:

  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the chicken or steak:

  • 4 pieces chicken (any combination of breast or leg-and-thigh pieces) or 4 pieces of New York strip or Club strip steak
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

For the BBQ sauce:


Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and stir until all the ingredients are incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Simmer over medium heat until reduced by 1/3, about 15 to 20 minutes.

For the chicken or steak:

Place a  grill pan over medium heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Lightly coat with some of the BBQ sauce using a pastry brush. Place the meat on the grill. Place the remaining BBQ sauce, still in the small saucepan, over low heat or on the edge of a gas or charcoal grill and allow to gently simmer while the meat cooks.

Cook the chicken about 8 minutes per side. Cook the steaks starting at about 4 minutes per side until a meat thermometer reads the desired temperature, 120 degrees F for medium rare, 135 degrees F for medium (about 6 minutes per side), 155 degrees F for well done (about 9 minutes per side). Continually brush the meat with BBQ sauce every few minutes. Remove the meat from the grill and let rest for at least 5 minutes. Serve with the heated BBQ sauce alongside.

Alternately, the chicken can be baked in the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the chicken skin side up in a baking dish and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the baking dish from the oven and spoon the BBQ sauce all over the top of the chicken. Return the baking dish to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes.

Fruit Dip:


  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • Pineapple juice


Soften cream cheese and then whip with powdered sugar. Whip cream and sugar together until it forms soft peaks. Combine beaten cream cheese, whipped cream, lemon juice and zest; continue to beat, adding just enough pineapple juice to achieve desired consistency. Serve with fresh fruit tray or fruit salad.

Applesauce and Sage Pork


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 1/2 to 3 pound boneless pork loin, tied at 1/2-inch intervals
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon Essence, recipe follows
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups small diced parsnips (I substituted carrots)
  • 1 1/2 cups small diced turnips
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger


Set a 12-inch saute pan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Season the pork with 2 teaspoons of the salt, the Essence and 1 teaspoon of the black pepper. Sear the pork in the hot pan for 2 minutes on each of the four sides, and on the two ends as well. Place the pork in a slow cooker and add the chicken stock to the pot. Lay the parsnips and turnips around the pork, salt them with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and place the lid over the crock pot. Turn the heat up to high and cook the roast for 3 hours.
While the roast is cooking, combine the applesauce, sugar, vinegar, sage, rosemary and ginger in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and stir. Cook until the applesauce is thickened, about 10 minutes. After the roast has cooked for 3 hours, pour the glaze over the top and replace the lid. Continue to cook for 1 hour longer, until very tender. Serve with the pan juices.

Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Roasting the Perfect Turkey

I'll just come out and say it: I've never cooked a turkey before. I'm a little embarrassed since I supposedly like to cook :). So I found this recipe on the Food Network with high ratings. I had to google "how to prepare a turkey" since I didn't have any clue.

So, for those of you who haven't cooked a turkey before, the only thing you have to do is remove the innards from the rear of the turkey (but they are packed in paper so they aren't too gross) AND remove the neck from the front of the turkey. The turkey also must be completely thawed.

The brine gave the turkey a wonderful flavor. Also, the cooking times listed below are right on, creating just the right amount of moisture in the meat (meaning, it's not too dry!). This recipe is completely delicious.


1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey

For the brine:

1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable stock (you can make this homemade or use vegetable broth if you don't have time)
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries (whole allspice)
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
1 gallon heavily iced water
For the aromatics:

1 red apple, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup water
4 sprigs rosemary
6 leaves sage

Canola oil


2 to 3 days before roasting:

Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F. (OR just buy a fresh one!)

Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.

The day you'd like to eat the turkey:
Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.

Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.

Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey's cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil.

Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F. Cover breast of turkey with foil. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 3 hours of roasting. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.

Cinnamon Apple Cranberry Sauce

This sauce MADE my first turkey dinner. It's like candy and blends perfectly with a traditional turkey dinner. Find the original recipe here--I made some alterations to thicken the sauce.


2 cups apple juice
1 (6-ounce) bag sweetened dried cranberries
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
1 cup sugar
2 Gala apples, peeled, cored and diced
4 teaspoons corn starch


In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the apple juice, cranberries, cinnamon and sugar. Bring to a boil and let cook for 5 minutes. Add the apples and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries have softened and apples are tender, about 5 minutes.

Remove 8 ounces of the liquid to a small bowl and whisk in the cornstarch. Slowly add the cornstarch-juice mixture (slurry) to the cranberry mixture, stirring constantly. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and pour into a serving bowl. Refrigerate until thickened, about one hour. Remove the cinnamon sticks and serve.

Coconut Bundt Cake with Pineapple Glaze

I was thinking of My Big Fat Greek Wedding when I saw this recipe (you know when the guy's family brings the bundt cake and the Greek mom puts a plant in the middle since it has a hole in it?) So I thought I'd give it a whirl and wow! This cake is amazing. I had to make some alterations to the cooking time and to the glaze, but it turned out oh so delicious. My mother-in-law and my husband had two servings (that never happens). The original recipe is on the food network here.


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/2 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup flaked coconut
Pineapple Glaze, recipe follows
1/2 cup flaked coconut


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a Bundt pan with nonstick baking spray (or butter thoroughly) and dust with flour.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder.

In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time. Once incorporated, add the extracts. Stir in the coconut milk and beat until combined. Add 1/2 cup flaked coconut. Slowly beat in the dry ingredients until the mixture is smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 50 minutes-1 hour. Cool cake 5 minutes before turning it out onto a rack. Let cool completely on the rack.

Once the cake has cooled, ladle the glaze over the cake, and top with flaked coconut. Let glaze set before serving.

Pineapple Glaze:

3 cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons pineapple juice

In a mixing bowl, whisk the powdered sugar and the pineapple juice together until smooth.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Five Layer Bars

This is a quick, easy recipe. It literally takes five minutes to throw together. For a fun comfort-food! I got it from the Food Network, with some alterations.

1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional--I didn't use them, but I think nuts corrupt chocolate)
1 cup butterscotch morsels
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Press into bottom of a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle remaining ingredients of mix over crumb mixture. Pour sweetened condensed milk over the layers. Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool and cut into bars.

Stuffed Chicken Divan with a Sherry Dijon Sauce

I got this recipe from the Food Network and though the users don't rate it highly, with my adjustments, this is a killer dish! I served it with rice, the guacamole salad below and rolls.


Cooking spray
2 cups (4 ounces) fresh broccoli florets
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Gruyere cheese
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
4 (6 to 8-ounce) boneless skinless chicken breast halves
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup low-fat evaporated milk
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup dry sherry (or white grape juice)
3 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard


Preheat the broiler. Mist a shallow rectangular baking dish with cooking spray. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli and cook until bright green and crisp tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well and run under cold water until cold. Drain well again and squeeze dry in paper towels.

Chop the broccoli and toss in a bowl with the Gruyere and garlic. Pound chicken to an inch thick. Insert a paring knife into the thickest part of each chicken breast to make a 3-inch deep pocket. Stuff each chicken breast with equal amounts of the broccoli mixture. Rub both sides of the chicken breasts with oil and thyme and season with salt and pepper.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until very hot, about 5 minutes. Put the chicken in the pan and cook until golden brown and just cooked through, about 6 minutes per side. If the chicken begins to brown too quickly, turn the heat down to medium to finish cooking through. Transfer to the baking dish.
Meanwhile, combine the milk and stock in a small pot, season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir the sherry and cornstarch until smooth and pour, whisking constantly, into the sauce. Cook until just thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan. Top each chicken breast with 2 tablespoons of sauce and place under the broiler. Broil until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes.
Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes and then cut each breast in half on an angle. Whisk the mustard into the remaining sauce and spread a few tablespoons on each plate. Top with a halved chicken breast.

Guacamole Salad

I'm not an avacado fan myself, but this salad is healthy and delicious with a little kick. I got it from the Barefoot Contessa here.


1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and 1/2-inch diced
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup small diced red onion
2 tablespoons minced jalapeno peppers, seeded (2 peppers)
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (2 limes)
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 ripe Hass avocados, seeded, peeled, and 1/2-inch diced


Place the tomatoes, yellow pepper, black beans, red onion, jalapeno peppers, and lime zest in a large bowl. Whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, salt, black pepper, garlic, and cayenne pepper and pour over the vegetables. Toss well.

Just before you're ready to serve the salad, fold the avocados into the salad. Check the seasoning and serve at room temperature.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Brie with Strawberries on Brioche Crostini

I brought this to my writer's group last night and it was a big hit! The combination of flavors is wonderful. If you need an easy, unique appetizer to bring to a meal, look no further! The recipe title looks fancy, but it's easy to make and you can impress your guests just by saying it's name. I found this recipe here on the Food Network.


6 slices brioche bread sliced 1/4-inch thick (I used a baguette loaf)
3 ounces whipped cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon chopped chives (or green onion)
3 good strawberries
1/2 small (about 2 inches diameter) Brie wheel
6 sprigs parsley


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Bring the cream cheese to room temperature then whip in a mixer. Add chives or green onion.
Using a 1 1/2-inch diameter biscuit cutter, cut the sliced bread into 6 circles and put on a baking sheet. (Or if you're me, you just slice the baguette). Toast the brioche circles in the oven for 3 to 5 minutes, until golden brown. Places the cream cheese mixture in a small pastry bag with star tip. Pipe out about 1/2-ounce of cream cheese and chive mixture onto each toasted brioche circle. Cut off top of strawberry, slice in half lengthwise, then cut each half into 3 wedges. Cut the 1/2 wheel of Brie into 6 triangle wedges. Place 1 wedge of strawberry and 1 wedge of Brie standing up on the cream cheese. Place 1 parsley sprig on top of each.

The Search for a Chocolate Chip Recipe is Over!

My husband's favorite cookies are chocolate chip so I've tried MANY recipes over the years, some with ordinary ingredients, some with something a little different, like cinnamon. But this is the BEST recipe I've ever tried, hands down. I'll never make anything else! This comes courtesy of Alton Brown of the Food Network.


2 sticks unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips


Ice cream scooper (#20 disher, to be exact)
Parchment paper
Baking sheets


Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan over low heat. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.

Pour the melted butter in the mixer's work bowl. Add the sugar and brown sugar. Cream the butter and sugars on medium speed. Add the egg, yolk, 2 tablespoons milk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Chill the dough, then scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets, 6 cookies per sheet. Bake for 14 minutes or until golden brown, checking the cookies after 5 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet for even browning. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Key Lime Pie with Huckleberry Compote and Passion Fruit Colis

This recipe is a unique combination of flavors that even kids like! I combined several recipes to get the perfect crust, filling and topping. I used frozen huckleberries that I bought in Idaho this last summer and they were amazing!
1.5 cups crushed graham crackers
2 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup butter

16 ounces fresh wild huckleberries or wild Maine blueberries or one 15- to 16-ounce package frozen wild blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

3/4 cup frozen passion fruit puree,* thawed OR 1 cup passion fruit juice w/ 1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

2 (14-ounce) cans condensed milk

1 cup key lime or regular lime juice
2 whole eggs

Make crust by combining graham crackers and sugar, then adding melted butter. Cook at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Set out to cool.

Make filling by combining condensed milk and eggs. Add lime juice. Pour into cooled shell. Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes. Cool and then refrigerate at least 2 hours.
Combine huckleberries and sugar in medium saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Bring to simmer over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Simmer until reduced to 1 1/4 cups, about 15 minutes. Refrigerate until cold. Cover and refrigerate. Discard vanilla bean before serving.
Combine passion fruit puree and sugar in heavy small saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Simmer until mixture is reduced to 1/2 cup, stirring frequently, about 6 minutes. Transfer coulis to bowl and refrigerate until cold. Cover and keep refrigerated. Discard vanilla bean before using.

Spread Coulis on plate, then add a slice of pie. Pour on compote.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Korean-Style Fire Beef in Lettuce Cups

This comes from the Nordstrom Friends and Family Cookbook (my new favorite cookbook). This recipe is simple and tastes a lot like the lettuce wraps from P.F. Changs.

1 pound beef sirloin, sliced across the grain, about 1/8 inch thick
1 tablespoon sugar
2.5 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1.5 teaspoons peeled and minced fresh ginger
1/4 cup chopped green onion, white and light green parts only
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 head iceberg lettuce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Place the beef in a large, shallow baking dish. Sprinkle them with the sugar. Set aside at room temperature while preparing the marinade.

In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, green onion, sesame seeds, water and pepper. Whisk together and pour over the beef, making sure the beef is completely immersed in the marinade. Cover and marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

Core the head of lettuce and then peel off whole leaves from it. You will need 12 cup-shaped leaves. Rinse the leaves well under cool water and drain upside down on a rimmed baking sheet lined with a double thickness of paper towels. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Reserve the remaining lettuce for another use.

To cook the beef, remove it from the marinade. Heat a well-seasoned, large cast-iron skillet over medium0high heat. Add the vegetable oil and swirl to coast the bottom of the pan. Add the beef, working in batches if necessary to avoid crowding, and saute, turning and moving th eslices as they cook, until cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.

For each serving, arrange some of the beef on one side of a warmed dinner plate and place a lettuce cup on the other side. Pass the extra beef and lettuce cups separately. Show your family and friendshow to fill the lettuce cups with the beef and eat out of hand.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fruit and Yogurt Parfaits

This recipe present beautifully. It's a good way to get kids to eat something healthy! I served it at my daughter's seventh birthday party--a dress up tea party. It comes from Rachel Ray: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/yogurt-and-fruit-parfaits-recipe/index.html


3 cups vanilla nonfat yogurt
1 cup fresh or defrosted frozen strawberries in juice
1 pint fresh blackberries, raspberries or blueberries
1 cup good quality granola


Layer 1/3 cup vanilla yogurt into the bottom each of 4 tall glasses. Combine defrosted strawberries and juice with fresh berries. Alternate layers of fruit and granola with yogurt until glasses are filled to the top. Serve parfaits immediately to keep granola crunchy.

Gourmet Apple Pie

This recipe includes my famous, homemade pie crust dough. It's flaky and amazing! This pie recipe is unique because of the carmelized filling (you thicken the apple's natural juices).


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


2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 pounds baking apples (I prefer Honeycrisp)
2/3 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling on the pie
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Generous pinch of ground nutmeg
1 large egg, lightly beaten


Make the dough by hand. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Using your fingers, work the butter and shortening into the dry ingredients until it resembles corn meal. Add the vinegar and water and stir the dough together with a fork or by hand in the bowl. Form into two balls, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. Allow dough to stand 15 minutes before using. Roll one disc of dough out  in between plastic wrap and place in bottom of pie pan.
Make the filling. Put the lemon juice in a medium bowl. Peel, halve, and core the apples. Cut each half into 4 wedges. Toss the apple with the lemon juice. Add the sugar and toss to combine evenly.
In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the apples, and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to simmer, about 2 minutes. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until the apples soften and release most of their juices, about 7 minutes.

Strain the apples in a colander over a medium bowl to catch all the juice. Shake the colander to get as much liquid as possible. Return the juices to the skillet, and simmer over medium heat until thickened and lightly caramelized, about 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, toss the apples with the reduced juice and spices. Set aside to cool completely. (This filling can be made up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated or frozen for up to 6 months.)

Place a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Put the apple filling in the pan and mound it slightly in the center. Brush the top edges of the dough with the egg. Place the second disc of dough over the top. Fold the top layer of dough under the edge of the bottom layer and press the edges together to form a seal. Flute the edge as desired. Brush the surface of the dough with egg and then sprinkle with sugar. Pierce the top of the dough in several places to allow steam to escape while baking. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
Bake the pie on a baking sheet until the crust is golden, about 50 minutes. Cool on a rack before serving. The pie keeps well at room temperature (covered) for 24 hours, or refrigerated for up to 4 days.
Cook's Note: You may freeze the uncooked pie, but don't brush it with egg or dust it with sugar beforehand. Place the pie in the freezer for 30 minutes, to harden it slightly, and then double wrap it with plastic wrap. Freeze for up to 6 months. When ready to bake, unwrap the pie and brush it with egg and sprinkle with sugar. Bake, from the frozen state, until golden brown, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Bistro French Onion Soup

This recipe comes from my favorite new cookbook, "Nordstrom Friends and Family". You'll need soup tureens to make this look good. This recipe serves a LOT, so I would half it if you're expecting less than ten people. Also, Gruyere cheese is insanely expensive, but it's worth it for this delicious soup. It's the best French Onion Soup I've ever tasted.


3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 yellow onions, halved crosswise and thinly sliced
1 leek, white and light green part only, thinly sliced
8 cups canned low-sodium beef broth
1/8 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
12 baguette slices, each 1/2 inch thick, toasted
4 cups (1 pound) shredded Gruyere cheese
1 teaspoon snipped fresh chives

In 1 6-8 quart saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the garlic and saute, stirring frequently, until tan, about 1 minute. Add the onions and leek and cook, stirring frequently, until very soft and lightly carmelized, about 30 minutes. Add the broth, bring to a summer, and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the Tabasco sauce and Worcestershire sauce and season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes longer.

While the soup is simmering, position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees.

Ladle the soup into individual overnproof crocks. Place 2 baguette slices on top of the soup in each crock. Mound the cheese evenly among the crocks, covering the bread slices completely. Place the crocks on a sturdy, rimmed baking sheet. Bake the soups until the cheese is lightly browned, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Carefully remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow the crocks to cool for a few minutes before serving. Garnish each serving with chives.