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, 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.