Thursday, September 30, 2010


As a kid growing up I remember Mom and Dad roasting and then canning bushels of peppers in late summer and early fall. Some of those peppers were so HOT that their hands would burn from peeling them and tears would flow when eating them. I love roasted peppers but not real hot ones.  I don't can them but roast them year round.  In the summer I do them on the gas grill and in the winter, under the broiler. All you need to do is char them on all sides until they blacken a bit and become blistery.  Let them cool and then peel the skins off,  and then take out the seeds and stems.  I cut them in half and then dress them with red wine vinegar, olive oil, fresh garlic, parsley and salt and pepper. If you like a little tang, roast one hot one to every 8 sweet ones and then finely dice it and add when you dress the peppers. Or you can finely dice a raw jalapeno or serrano.  Pictured are cubanelles but I'm also very fond of red bells done this way.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fish Stew

Many of you know that my family was in the retail fish and seafood business for almost 80 years until we sold in 2007. My dad collected seafood recipes from every source he could find, tested them and made some his signature.  This one, Fish Stew Diane, is one of his favorites.

1 lb. skinned saltwater fish( cod, halibut, snapper, sole) cut in 2 inch chunks
16 medium to large peeled and deveined raw shrimp
16 sea scallops
6 peeled and seeded tomatoes( romas work well here) cut into thin strips
2 or 3 cloves crushed garlic cloves
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup finely shredded fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf Italian parsley
1 cup fish stock, purchased seafood stock, or clam juice
1/2 cup dry white wine

Heat the oil in a 4-6 quart sauce pot. Add the crushed garlic and saute on very low heat for about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, stock , and wine and simmer 5 to 10 minutes.(this can be made up to a day ahead of time if desired) 
Add the fish and seafood and simmer for about 5 minutes until just done(don't overcook!) Stir in the basil and parsley and add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with Crusty Bread!!

Feel free to add any combination of fish and/or seafood you choose..This can be a little pricey but is an impressive company dish

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cheap Eats

This post is really not about a recipe, but more about how inexpensive it was to make.  My daughter, Jessa the newly proclaimed "coupon queen", e-mailed me about a buy 5 get $5.00 off Kraft products coupon. You were allowed to print 2 of these. Meijers was having a sale on Kraft 8 oz. blocks of cheese (3 for $5.00). If you bought 10 and used the 2 coupons you ended up getting the cheese for 67 cents each...But it gets better..By buying 10, the cash register spit out a $5.00 coupon for your next purchase! The cheese ended up costing only 17 cents a block! I had a coupon for $1.00 off 2 Progresso soups. And yes, the soup was already on sale for $1.00 each.
Grilled cheese and tomato soup are favorites on a cold rainy I grated some colby-jack and mozzarella and made grilled cheese on rye. I "doctored" up the soup a bit by adding a little 1/2 and 1/2 for creaminess and fresh basil for flavor.

All in all, I think this meal cost less than $2.00 for both of us.
Thanks for the cheese tip, Jessa!

Monday, September 27, 2010

The All In One Side

Yesterday we had pork chops on the menu and I had a vegetable bin full of odds and ends, so I put them together to make a casserole that would include potatoes for Tom and at the same time help me clear some of those veggies.

4 small redskin potatoes, sliced about 1/4 inch and parboiled
1 small zucchini sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 each green and red bell pepper, diced
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 tbls. olive oil

1 medium seeded and diced tomato
A handful of large croutons
A few black olives
1/2 to 1 cup grated cheese (I had monterey jack)

Saute the zucchini, onion, peppers and garlic in the olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add the parboiled potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Transfer this mixture to a medium baking dish and top with the tomato, olives, croutons, and cheese.  Bake, covered, at 350F for about 20 minutes, then uncover and continue baking 15 - 20 minutes more.

This is really a complete meal with maybe a little more cheese or some beans added to it.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Don't throw away that heel of bread , or for that matter, leftover hamburger and hot dog buns!  Turn them into croutons. Cut the bread or buns in 3/4 to 1 inch cubes, spread them on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, then salt, pepper, garlic powder and even a little finely grated parmesan. Toss on the baking sheet and spread them out evenly.  Bake in a pre-heated 350F oven for about 20 minutes, tossing them around about halfway during the baking process. Let cool and store in a zippered freezer bag.  Not only great for salads but also in a bowl of soup.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Pasta and Veg

I love broccoli sauteed in olive oil, garlic and crushed red pepper...add pasta and cheese and it's a meal!

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3-4 cloves minced garlic
3/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 lb. frozen broccoli florets , thawed
8 oz. linguini (or pasta of your choice) cooked in chicken or vegetable broth
about 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan

In a large saute pan gently saute the garlic and pepper flakes in the olive oil for about a minute or two.  Add the broccoli and saute until warmed through. In the meantime cook the linguini in the chicken broth, saving about 1/2 cup of the broth after draining.  Add the pasta to the broccoli and the pasta broth if the mixture seems a little dry. Top with the grated parmesan and s&p to taste.
( a good size bag of baby spinach substitutes nicely for the broccoli- just barely saute it)

Friday, September 24, 2010


We love lamb chops so when the grocer had them as a "manager's special", I grabbed 6 for dinner last night. We like them grilled "Greek" style so I marinated them for a few hours in lemon juice, olive oil and Cavender's Greek Seasoning, which is pretty much available at large grocery stores and specialty  markets. It's my "go to" seasoning for roast chicken and kebabs too.  It was warm last night so we had a salad of cukes, tomato, chickpeas, black olives, red onion and fresh basil marinated in olive oil, a little lemon juice and salt and pepper. One of my favorite meals....

Thursday, September 23, 2010


A number of years ago I gave my neighbor, Ivana, a few zucchini from our garden.  She brought me a loaf of zucchini bread a few days later along with her family's recipe for it.  Everyone loves this one and I think it's because it doesn't have cinnamon in it.  We've named it "banana bread" for Alyssa since she's not into many veggies yet, although I think you could add bananas to this and it would be great.. In the late fall, when the zucchini is gone, I use green tomatoes in their place(trust me it works --just chop them in the mini processor).  We like ours cold with butter.  The kids like it warmed up a bit first.

Beat  3 eggs until foamy
            add 1 cup vegetable oil
            2 cups sugar
             mix well

Add 1 cup flour
          1 tsp baking soda
          1 tsp salt
           2 cups grated zucchini
           mix well

Add 2 cups flour
          1 Tbl vanilla
           1/2 cup chopped nuts(optional)toasted in the oven for a few minutes

Grease and lightly flour 2  9x5 loaf pans
Bake at 350F for 50 - 60 minutes


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Salmon Again?

My mom made the best stuffed whitefish with crabmeat dressing, but the recipe required a 4-5 lb. fish, too much for the two of us, so over the years when I had a craving for this I made the deconstructed version: the dressing surrounding the fish. The other day salmon was the best option at the market (whitefish fillets were too thin). You certainly can use any fish you like for this.

1 Tbl. olive oil
2 Tbl. butter
1 cup diced onion
2 stalks celery, diced
5-6 fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs made from day old white bread (I use my mini food processor)
6-8 oz. crabmeat
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/3 cup half and half
1/3 cup melted butter
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 - 1-1 1/2 lb. salmon fillet, skinned

Saute the onion, celery and mushrooms in the butter and olive oil until the onion softens. Let the mixture cool a few minutes, then add the crab, breadcrumbs, parsley and half and half.  Season with salt and pepper.
Place the fillet in the center of an oiled baking dish and surround with the dressing. Pour the melted butter mixed with the wine over the fish and dressing (I add a few shakes of sweet paprika to this)
Bake in a pre-heated 400 F oven for 20 minutes.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


I like mayonnaise but it wasn't until recently that I decided that I love it when it's homemade. And so easy to make in a mini food processor....

1 room temperature egg
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dijon mustard
juice of 1/2 of a lemon
3/4 cup neutral oil (vegetable, canola,or light olive)

Put egg, salt, mustard, and lemon juice in the bowl of a mini food processor. With the machine on slowly drizzle the oil through the little hole or holes on the lid until a creamy consistency is obtained.  That's it! Makes about 1 cup and takes about 2 minutes.

Sometimes I add fresh basil or garlic to it for a change. Puree an avocado and blend it in for a great spread on the BLT.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Comfort Cure

 A head or chest cold in our family means chicken soup...and so it was yesterday.  I make many variations, but this is probably the most basic.

2 Tbl. olive oil
1 large onion diced
3 carrots diced
3 stalks celery diced
4 cloves garlic minced
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 tsp. celery seed or salt
9 cups chicken stock or broth, fortified with
   extra chicken base, if desired
 4 cups diced cooked chicken ( I like to use
    leftover roast chicken)
6-8 oz. wide egg noodles
1 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
s & p to taste

Saute onion,carrots , celery and garlic in olive oil until the onion softens a bit.  Add the crushed red pepper and celery seed(salt). Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer about 15 minutes. Add the chicken and bring back to a simmer, then add the noodles and simmer for about
10 more minutes.  Turn off the heat and add parsley and salt and pepper to taste.
( I make this early in the day or the day before serving)

Makes 5 to 6 quarts

Sunday, September 19, 2010


We love growing tomatoes and one meal we make a few times each summer is the BLT with good bacon, garden tomatoes and lettuce, and Zingerman's Rustic Italian Bread

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Salmon Nicoise Salad

My version of Ina Garten's Roasted Salmon Nicoise Platter from the Food Network

I followed the recipe but used baby redskins and kalamata olives instead of yukon golds and green olives...the tomatoes and baby romaine came from my garden.

About me

I  love to cook and try out new recipes, tweek them or just make them up as I go along.  I've only just learned how to post photos, so hopefully you'll get recipes with pics on this blog