Sunday, December 30, 2012

Morning Read

I spent the morning catching up on reading some of my favorite cooking many good recipes and articles taking me to faraway places!  Bacon candy, porchetta, two potato gratin...all sorts of things I need to try in the new year.  If you haven't already, pick up a couple of these and let your mind (and taste buds) wander around the world!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Creamy Mushroom and Swiss Soup

Food52 is having their "Your Best Beer Recipe" contest this week and I entered a "grown up" version of my favorite canned soup growing up as a kid.  I would add half a can of milk and half a can of water and then melt a slice of American cheese into it. Heaven!!  But this one's even better ...dried Porcini mushrooms re-hydrated in water, chicken broth, beer, fresh Shitake mushrooms, Gruyere cheese and a little heavy cream bring it all together.

See the full version here: 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Chicken and Fennel Stew

No, I didn't win the Vegetable Gratin Contest, but thank you to all who took the time to vote.  I certainly appreciate your support.

The other night I took a couple of pounds of boneless chicken thighs and a couple of bulbs of fresh fennel and made this comforting winter stew.  The garlicky sauce, called rouille, is adapted from a Jacques Pepin technique adding potatoes to the sauce.

Makes about 6 servings

For the stew:
3 Tbl olive oil
1 large leek (white and light green only) sliced lengthwise and the crosswise into 1/4 inch half moons
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed a bit
2 bulbs fresh fennel (save a few fronds for garnish) sliced
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of any excess fat and then cut into 1 to 2 inch pieces
1  14-15 ounce can of plum tomatoes
1/2 cup dry white wine
2  1/2 cups chicken broth
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 to 2 inch pieces
Salt and pepper to taste

In a soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil and add the leek and garlic.  Saute for a few minutes to soften the leek.  Add the crushed fennel seed and chicken pieces and continue to saute for about 5 more minutes.
Add the fennel slices and give everything a stir.  Crushing the tomatoes with your clean hands, add them to the pot along with the wine.
Bring the pot up to a boil and then add the chicken broth.  Simmer all for about 10 minutes.
Add the potatoes and continue to simmer until the potatoes become fork tender.  Season the stew to taste with salt and pepper.

For the rouille:
2 pieces of the cooked potato from the stew
3 to 4 Tbl of the stew's broth
2 cloves minced garlic
1/8 tsp cayenne (optional)
1/2 cup mayo

Place the potatoes, broth and garlic into the bowl of a mini food processor and process until very smooth, remove to a bowl and stir in the mayo and cayenne.

To serve the stew: Ladle the stew into serving bowls, place a couple of spoonfuls of the rouille over and garnish with a few of those saved fennel fronds.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Vegetable Gratin Finalist!

My recipe for Celery and Fennel Gratin is a finalist in the Whole Foods Market Cooking Contest for Your Best Vegetable Gratin!  I'm thrilled and excited and humbly ask you to go here and vote: 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Lamb and Cabbage Stew

Use my recipe for Spinach and Lamb Stew and transform it into one with cabbage.  Just substitute 1/2 head of a medium cabbage, chopped, for the spinach and once it's in the stew, just simmer a little longer. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Warm Roasted Cauliflower Salad

I came upon this beautiful head of cauliflower the other day and decided to try roasting it and then dress it with an aioli like mayo.  It was a great alternative to a warm potato salad without all those carbs.

For the roasted cauliflower:
1 nice size head of cauliflower, broken into 1 to 2 inch florets
5 to 6 Tbl olive oil
Salt and pepper

Spread the cauliflower florets on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with the oil and lightly salt and pepper. Toss everything together, spread the florets in an even layer and then roast in a pre heated 425F oven for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring them around at about the 15 minute mark.

While the cauliflower is roasting, make the dressing:

1/2 cup mayo
1 large clove garlic, crushed in a garlic press or finely minced
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp anchovy paste
2 Tbl olive oil
Whisk all the ingredients together until well incorporated.

Once the cauliflower is done, combine it with the dressing and stir in about 1/4 cup chopped parsley.  Serve warm

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Rum Pudding with Pomegranate Raspberry Compote

This week at Food52, the contest theme is "Your Best Pomegranates".  I entered this rum pudding and certainly hope it makes the grade.  If not, I can still say it is yummy!
See the recipe here: 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Food52 Cookbook Vol. 2 is here!!

Remember way back when, when I won my first contest with Food52 for Best Soda Fountain Recipe? I made a homemade version of a Vernor's Float and titled it "A Tribute to Woody".  Well, my recipe is now published and appears in The Food52 Cookbook Volume 2.  I'm so excited, thankful  and grateful to Food52.  The book is beautiful and has some wonderful recipes from around the world.

See the recipe here:

And if you're interested, the book is available on

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Matt's been in town this week for the Thanksgiving holiday and we've been enjoying many of his favorite dishes...seafood stew, pork chops, lamb chops....and some fried calamari which is totally a family favorite.  No real recipe for this...just pick up some cleaned squid, slice the tubes into rings and place them in a plastic bag along with flour, salt and pepper and shake, shake, shake.  Heat up some vegetable oil in a large frying pan and fry the rings quickly in batches if necessary.  Season with salt and lemon juice and serve with your favorite cocktail sauce.  Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!


                            Wishing you all a happy and safe Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Pudding (with Bakon?!?!)

Last week Food52 linked to an article entitled "Mushrooms Turn Bacon: A Vegan's Delight" and I was fascinated.  Mushrooms that taste like bacon?...That can't be!  I did some research and found a video that used Shitake mushrooms in place of the hard to find Trumpets that the article referred to.  I made them and found them pretty satisfying and so added them to this bread pudding.

Serves 6 to 8

For the Bakon?!?! 

8 ounces Shitake mushrooms
3 Tbl extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt
Remove the stems from the mushrooms and discard or reserve for stock
Slice the caps in about 1/3 inch slices
Place the mushroom slices in a bowl, add the oil and salt and toss thoroughly.  Place on a baking sheet and roast in a 350F oven for 30 to 40 minutes, turning every 10 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

For the pudding:

6 cups cubed bread cut from a stale baguette (approximately 18" long)
1 large sweet onion, peeled, halved and then thinly sliced
5 Tbl butter, divided
8 ounces sliced mixed mushrooms (I used Baby Bella, Shitake and Oyster)
1 clove minced garlic
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
4 eggs
2 cups half and half
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
The previously made Bakon?!?! pieces torn up a little
2 cups shredded Fontina cheese (about 6 ounces) divided
A very well buttered 9x13 inch baking dish

In a large saute pan, melt 2 Tbl of the butter, add the sliced onions and cook over medium heat until lightly caramelized.  This will take about 15 minutes.  Place in a small bowl to cool.
In the same pan, melt the remaining 3 Tbl butter, add the sliced mushrooms, garlic and thyme and over high heat saute until the mushrooms brown up.
Whisk the eggs, half and half and black pepper together and add to the bread cubes. Stir in the onions, mushrooms, 1 cup of the fontina and the Bakon?!?!.
Pour the mixture into the well buttered baking dish, top with the remaining Fontina and cover and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours.
Bake the pudding in a pre heated 350F oven for 40 to 45 minutes.  Let rest for about 10 minutes before cutting.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Oyster and Spinach Chowder

This is a riff on a spinach and oyster soup that my dad used to make for himself on Friday night after a 12 hour day at our market.  He'd always bring in any leftovers for my brother and I to share the next day.  I added potatoes to make it a little heartier and swapped baby spinach leaves for the regular spinach he would use.

Makes 4 servings
2  1/2 dozen freshly shucked oysters and their liquor
1  1/2 cups clam juice
1/2 cup water
1 Tbl butter
1 Tbl extra virgin olive oil
1 cup diced onion or 1 medium leek, whit and light green part only, thinly sliced
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 cups diced potatoes (small dice)  I used Yukon Gold
1  1/2 cups heavy cream
6 ounces baby spinach leaves, thick stems discarded
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine the oyster liquor, clam juice and water and set aside.
In a medium soup pot over medium heat, saute the onion or leek in the butter and olive oil until soft.  Add the garlic and saute about 30 seconds more.
Add the reserved broth and potatoes to the pot.  Bring up to a boil and then simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
Add the cream, bring back up to a simmer and stir in the spinach.  Cook the spinach until it barely wilts and then add the oysters and any accumulated juices. Bring back up to the simmer and simmer for about 3 or 4 minutes until the oysters are just done.  season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Fall Harvest Tomato Galettes

I'd been looking at a bowl of semi-ripe, almost ripe and green tomatoes sitting on the table on my deck for the past couple of days wondering what to do with them.  I knew I;d use some of the green ones to replace zucchini in bread and some could go in a paper bag and sit in the garage until ripe.  But I wanted to try to use a mix in a pie or tart or some such thing.  I also have a great love of  hardlikearmour's (from Food52) pasty crust from her Collards and Cheese Pasties recipe and came upon the idea of flavoring that crust for the base of these galettes.  These are reminiscent of little pizzas and make for a nice lunch or snack. And again, thanks HLA for a great pasty crust!

Makes 2 galettes

For the crust:
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter
1  1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp granulated garlic

In a small sauce pan bring the water to a boil and add the butter in pieces to melt.
While waiting on the butter to melt, whisk the remaining ingredients together in a small bowl.
Stir the dry ingredients into the wet and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

For the galettes:

1 cup thinly sliced shallots
1 Tbl butter
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup plus 2 tsp finely grated parmesan
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
3 or 4 small tomatoes at various stages of ripeness (I used green, orange and a pink)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
The previously made crust

In a small saute pan, melt the butter and then saute the shallots, garlic, oregano and salt gently until the shallots soften.  Cool completely and then stir in the 1/4 cup parmesan and the panko.  Set aside.
Slice the tomatoes about 1/4 inch thick, set in a colander to drain for about 30 minutes and then pat dry with paper toweling.
Pull the dough out of the fridge and knead it a bit to incorporate ant lumps of butter that may have formed.  Divide the dough in half and then roll each half into a 10 inch round and place on a parchments lined baking sheet(s).
Spread half of the shallot mixture on each round leaving a one inch border.  Place the sliced tomatoes over.
Now you have two options: 1( You can place half of the mozzarella and a teaspoon of parmesan over the tomatoes now if you want a "crusty" cheese topping or 2) You can wait about 20 minutes into the baking time to add the cheese if you want a "gooier" topping.
Fold the edges up to form a border around the galettes whether with the cheese or without.  Bake 40 to 45 minutes at 375F.  Serve slightly warm.

Friday, October 26, 2012

OMG!! "No Time" Bread

Big pot of chicken soup for dinner tonight but no good bread in the house.  I didn't want to go out nor spend a lot of time baking.  After a little research, I found this recipe on The Kitchn website.  It literally took an hour and a half from start to finish! The only thing I did differently was to make it completely by hand since I don't have a fancy stand mixer.  So initially I just stirred with a wooden spoon for about ten minutes (with Tom's help) and then hand kneaded.  Pretty darn good bread in less than two hours!
Find the recipe from The Kitchn here: 

Note:  I made basically the same compound butter that I made for the Turkey Kiev with a teaspoon less of dill to serve this with.  Absolutely delicious!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Turkey Kiev

Whenever mom made Chicken Kiev when I was a kid, it was always such a treat.  Who could resist a lovely chicken breast filled with herbs and butter?  I've updated her version using turkey breast cutlets and replacing cracker meal with panko crumbs.  A couple of tricks from Michael Symon for keeping those little  Kievs together and from The Guardian for a super crunchy crust make for a terrific company dish or if you have time, a great weeknight meal.

Makes 6 to 7 Kievs depending on your package

For the compound butter
4 ounces (1 stick) salted butter, softened
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
2 tsp minced fresh dill
2 tsp finely sliced green onions
2 cloves garlic smashed in a garlic press or hand smashed

Combine all ingredients and shape into a log about 6 inches long.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. (You can certainly do this the day before)

For the Kievs
6 or 7 slices fresh turkey breast slices from a 17.6 ounce package (some packs have 7 slices)
The compound butter cut into 6 or 7 pieces
A little salt and pepper to season the turkey
1 cup all purpose flour
3 eggs beaten with 1/4 cup water
3 cups panko bread crumbs
Enough vegetable oil for frying (enough to fill a large skillet with about 3/4 inch oil)

Place each cutlet on a piece of plastic wrap and season the top side with a little salt and pepper.  Cover with another piece of plastic wrap and gently pound the cutlet just a bit.
Place a piece of the compound butter toward the bottom third of the cutlet and roll up, tucking in the sides as you go.  Wrap in plastic wrap, twisting the ends to make a tight package.  Repeat with the remaining cutlets and refrigerate for a few hours.
Set up a breading station with the flour, egg wash and panko.  
Unwrap each Kiev and bread in the flour, then the egg wash, then the panko. Now back in the egg wash and again in the panko for a double coating.
Refrigerate the breaded rolls uncovered, for at least an hour.
Heat the oil until very, very hot in a large skillet.  Brown each roll on all sides until golden. Place on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 400F oven for 10 to 12 minutes.  Serve over some buttered parslied egg noodles if you like.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sweet and Spicy Turkey Loaf

Sweet Thai chili sauce and a little sambal oelek (very spicy chili sauce) turn bland turkey into a loaf to remember!  The chili sauces are available in the Asian section of most grocery stores or your favorite Asian mart.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

2 slices bacon
2 green onions, thinly sliced
3/4 cup diced celery (small dice)
2 cloves minced garlic
2 pounds ground turkey (85/15)
1 egg
1  1/2 cups panko crumbs
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbl sweet Thai chili sauce
1 Tbl sambal oelek
1 Tbl soy sauce
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup minced parsley

In a saute pan, cook the bacon until crisp.  remove and crumble.  Leaving the drippings in the pan, saute the onion, celery and garlic until softened and fragrant.
In a large mixing bowl combine the turkey, bacon, sauteed vegetables, egg panko crumbs, 1/4 cup sweet chili sauce, sambal oelek, soy, salt, pepper and parsley.
Shape the mixture into a 9x5 inch loaf and place on a parchment lined baking sheet or place in an oiled 9x5 inch loaf pan. I use one with that wonderful insert for easy removal.
Brush the top of the loaf with the remaining 2 Tbl of sweet chili sauce and bake in a pre heated 350F oven for 60 to 80 minutes or until the internal temp of the loaf reaches 160F.
NOTE:  Serve with more sweet chili sauce if you like.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Steak, Mushroom and Oyster Pie

I set out to make a steak and mushroom pie with a puff pastry top but when I saw big plump oysters at the grocer's for only 39 cents each, I just had to add them!

Makes 4 healthy servings

5 ounces pearl onions (20 to 25)
2 slices bacon, chopped
2 Tbl butter, divided
2 pounds boneless beef ribeye, cut into one inch cubes
Instant flour (Wondra) for dusting the beef and more for thickening later
1 minced garlic clove
8 ounces beef stock
8 ounces brown ale
1 bay leaf
8 ounces brown or white button mushrooms, halved if large
1 dozen freshly shucked oysters
Salt and pepper for seasoning
1 sheet puff pastry from a 17.3 ounce package
1 beaten egg

Prep the pearl onions by cutting off the root end of each and then placing them in a pan of boiling water for about 30 seconds.  Drain and when cool enough to handle, slip off the skins and set aside.
In a 4 to 5 quart Dutch oven, cook the bacon in 1 Tbl of the butter until relatively crisp.  Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to paper toweling, leaving the rendered bacon fat in the Dutch oven.
Season the beef cubes with salt and pepper and then dust them with some instant flour.  Brown the cubes, in batches, in the bacon fat until well browned.  remove each batch to a bowl.
Add the second Tbl of butter to the pot along with the minced garlic and saute for about 30 seconds.
Pour the beef stock and ale into the pot, add the bay leaf and simmer for about 5 minutes while scraping up the browned bits up from the bottom of the pot.
Return the beef, along with any accumulated juices, and the bacon to the pot.  Bring up to the boil and then down to a simmer.  Simmer, covered for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
After 30 minutes, add the mushrooms and pearl onions.  Stir and simmer 5 more minutes. taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.
Using a large slotted spoon, lift the meat, mushrooms and onions out of the pot and transfer to a 2.5 - 3 quart baking dish.  Fish out the bay leaf.  Reheat the gravy and thicken with more instant flour.
Pour the gravy over the meat mixture, let cool for a few minutes, and then scatter the oysters over the top. Push the oysters down into the casserole and then to be safe, sprinkle in a little more instant flour.
Prep the puff pastry by rolling it long enough to cover the baking dish.  You can either just cover the dish with the pastry and crimp around the edges or cut into strips and create a lattice patter as I did.  If you just cover, be sure to vent the pastry.
Brush the pastry with a little beaten egg and then bake in a pre heated 400F oven for 40 to 50 minutes until the top is golden and the stew is bubbly.  Let rest about 10 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Make Your Own Avocado Caesar

Thank you all!!! I was the winner in the Whole Foods Wild Rice Contest for my "Wild" Truffled Risotto.  Your votes mean a lot to me and I really appreciate your taking the time.

Here's a recipe for a take on Caesar Salad with both avocados in the dressing as well as the salad. It was named a Community Pick in Food52's Your Best Lettuce Recipe and was re photographed by the super talented photographers at Food52. My brother is in town this week and this salad is definitely on the menu!

Go here to get the recipe and see Food52's great pic: 


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Wild Rice Contest Finalist!

No I didn't win the Whole Foods Green Bean Contest, but I am a finalist in the Best Wild Rice Contest for my "Wild" Truffled Risotto recipe!  If you're so inclined, I'd appreciate your vote.  Go here, take a look, sign up if you're not already and vote.  Thanks!!

Baked Rigatoni with Chicken and Mushrooms

I just love baked pasta dishes and armed with leftover roast chicken, decided to make a version with mushrooms.  I started with my riff on Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter and went from there.

Tomato sauce:
2 to 3 pounds tomatoes, peeled and chopped
5 Tbl butter
1 medium onion, cut in quarters
2 large cloves garlic

Place everything in a medium sauce pan and simmer for 45 minutes. Take an immersion blender to the mix and blend until smooth.  Or place in an upright blender and puree.  Set aside.

For the pasta:
12 ounces brown or white mushrooms, sliced
1 Tbl butter
2 Tbl olive oil
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 cups diced cooked chicken
1 cup grated provolone (or cut in a 1/4 inch dice)
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 pound dry rigatoni
The tomato sauce

In a large skillet start sauteing the mushrooms in the butter and oil.  When they're almost browned, add the garlic, basil, oregano, salt and pepper.
Once nice and brown, add the mushrooms to the tomato sauce and stir in the chicken broth.
Add the chicken and cheese.
Cook the pasta about 2 minutes short of the package directions.  Drain and stir into the sauce.
Pour everything into an appropriate size baking dish.
Bake in a pre heated 375F oven for 30 to 45 minutes or until nice and bubbly around the edges. Let stand about 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
Serves 4 to 6

Friday, September 28, 2012

Old Fashioned Mushroom Barley Soup

During my college years I worked part time at the local Kroger as a cashier.  This particular store anchored a large strip mall which included a Woolworths, a JC Penney and much to every one's satisfaction a Sanders store.  Sanders was famous for their ice cream, sundaes, shakes and cakes and back then had a lunch counter that served fabulous food.  When I worked on Saturdays all day I would go to Sanders for their fabulous vanilla milk shake and for their mushroom barley soup.  I just loved the soup and here have tried to re-create it in all its simplicity.

Makes about 4 quarts

3 Tbl olive oil, divided
12 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
12 ounces boneless beef chuck cut into a small dice
2 cloves minced garlic
1 large onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced small
1 carrot, diced small
1/4 tsp dried thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 cups beef broth
8 cups chicken broth
1 cup quick cooking pearl barley
2 Tbl Worcestershire sauce

In a large skillet heat 2 Tbl of the olive oil and then add the sliced mushrooms and saute until browned.  Set aside.
In a large soup pot heat the remaining Tbl of olive oil and add the diced beef.  Cook until nice and brown.
Add the onion, carrot, celery, thyme leaves, bay leaf, salt and pepper and continue to cook until the onion softens.
Add the beef and chicken broth, bring up to a boil and then simmer for 45 to 50 minutes, adding the mushrooms at about the 20 minute mark.  Add the barley and simmer another 10 to 15 minutes.
Turn off the heat and stir in the Worcestershire sauce. Re- season with salt and pepper if need be.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pasties: A UP Classic

We love pasties around here...those pies filled with meat, potatoes, carrots, onions and sometimes rutabaga.  My mother- in -law who was from the UP made them frequently and I always watched and tried to make them, but I could never get the crust right.  Finally a few weeks ago, fellow Food52er Sara, who goes by hardlikearmour on the site, posted a recipe for Collards and Cheese Pasties.  The crust sounded wonderful and so I decided to give it a try for traditional pasty.  Absolute perfection!  This crust is so easy to make and so buttery that it almost melts in your mouth!  And so with Sara's permission, I'm offering up my pasty with her crust. Go here to see the Collards and Cheese Pasties recipe and hit the link to hardlikearmour's profile page.  She's a veterinarian living in the Pacific Northwest who has a passion for cake decorating and who has won many contests.

Thanks so much Sara!!

Sara's Crust:
1 cup water
1 cup unsalted butter
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp fine sea salt or table salt

In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil.  Remove from the heat and add the butter.  While the butter is melting, whisk dry ingredients together to blend in a separate bowl.  Once butter is thoroughly melted, stir the dry ingredients into the wet until well blended.  Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

Filling:  (enough to make 4 large pasties)
1 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
2 cups diced potatoes(small dice)
2 medium carrots grated on the large holes of a box grater
1 cup diced onion
1 Tbl salt
1 Tbl black pepper
(Note: If you like, sub half of the potato with diced rutabaga)

Combine all the ingredients together until well mixed.
Take the crust out of the fridge and knead it a few times to blend in any pockets of butter that may have formed.  Divide the dough into 4 equal parts and roll each piece to form a 9 to 10 inch circle. Place 1/4 of the filling on the top third of the circle and fold the dough over the circle.  Fold the edges to seal. With a small knife cut a few air vents on top.
In a pre heated 375F oven bake the pasties on parchment lined baking sheets for 40 to 45 minutes, turning the sheets about halfway through.

Now go and enjoy with some gravy or ketchup or just as is!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Julie's Deviled Seafood

This seafood casserole was one my mom would make for Christmas, as part of a buffet and for company during the year.  It's very, very rich and very retro but oh so good!  Mom used lobster meat in this but feel free to use more reasonably priced langoustines in its place.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

1 cup finely chopped celery
1 medium green bell pepper, finely minced
1 cup finely sliced green onion
16 ounces king or lump crab meat, well picked over
16 ounces cooked lobster meat or langoustines, chopped
16 ounces cooked shrimp(preferably wild Gulf), chopped
2  1/2 cups coarsely crushed saltines
1 tsp salt
1  1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
Tabasco sauce to taste

Combine all the ingredients and pour them into a lightly buttered 2 quart baking dish.  bake in a pre heated 350F oven for 25 to 30 minutes.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Dressed Up Lettuce Sandwich

Have you ever made yourself a lettuce sandwich....lettuce and mayo or butter sandwiched between two pieces of bread?  Sort of bland but supposedly great if you suffer from insomnia and eaten about a half hour before bed, or so they say.  I like them but to add a little pizazz I make them with a pimiento cheese mayo.

Makes almost as many sandwiches as you like.

Pimiento Cheese Mayo:
8 ounces medium cheddar, very finely grated
1 cup mayo
4 ounce jar diced pimientos, liquid included
1 Tbl prepared horseradish
1/4 tsp cayenne

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to let the flavors mingle.

For each sandwich:
2 slices sandwich bread of your choice, toasted or not
About one cup shredded sturdy lettuce such as Romaine or iceberg
A few spoonfuls of the Pimiento Cheese Mayo

Spread one side of each slice of bread with as much of the prepared mayo as you like. Top one side with the lettuce and place the other slice, mayo side down over the top.
Slice in half for easy eating. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Buy This Baking Dish!

If ever you're in the market for a new baking dish, consider this one from's clay and goes in the oven, in the microwave and even on top of the stove.  I know you've seen it on some of my posts...I just love it!

It's worth the $30 or $40  you'll spend!  See it here:

"Wild" Truffled Risotto

A basic risotto "dressed" up with wild rice and a bit of white truffle oil.

5 to 6 servings

3/4 cup rinsed and drained wild rice
2  1/2 cups water
3 cups chicken broth
3 Tbl butter
2 cloves minced garlic
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup half and half
1 tsp minced summer savory
3 Tbl minced fresh flat leaf parsley
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 to 2 Tbl white truffle oil
Salt and pepper to taste

In a small sauce pan, bring the water to the boil, stir in the wild rice and simmer for 35 to 40 minutes.  drain and set aside.
In another pan, bring the chicken broth up to a simmer and keep warm.
Melt the butter in about a 4 quart sauce pan or pot and gently saute the garlic for about a minute or until fragrant.  Add the arborio rice and stir until all the grains are completely coated with the butter.  Add the wine and over medium heat and while stirring pretty constantly, cook until the wine is almost evaporated.
Start adding the chicken broth, a ladle at a time, stirring all the while.  As the broth is absorbed in the rice, keep adding a little more broth until you've used it all.  This should take 20 to 30 minutes.
Add the half and half and continue stirring another few minutes until everything becomes nice and creamy. Stir in the wild rice, savory and parsley and then off the heat, stir in the parmesan and one tablespoon of the truffle oil.  If you like, add another tablespoon of the truffle oil, season with a bit of salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Braised Romaine and White Beans

I've always loved greens and beans and with a vegetable crisper filled with romaine, I thought I'd give it a try with lettuce.  I really like the warm bitter bite of the romaine.

2 Tbl extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 romaine lettuce hearts, chopped
1 tsp ground fennel seed
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
3/4 cups chicken broth
1  1/2 cups cooked white beans (Great Northern or Canellini) divided
3 or 4 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
Parmesan shavings for serving

In a medium size sauce pan, gently saute the garlic in the olive oil for a minute or two until fragrant.  Add the chopped romaine and give everything a stir.
Add the salt, pepper, ground fennel and chicken broth and simmer everything for about a 10 minutes.
Mash 1/2 cup of the beans with the back of a fork and add then to the pot.  Continue to simmer another 3 or 4 minutes.
Add the remaining cup of beans, stir and heat until everything is nice and warm.  Stir in the basil.  Serve garnished with the Parmesan shavings.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Eating Your Way Healthy

I've recently met a woman named Jillian on the internet who describes herself as a yoga enthusiast and cancer advocate.  She works for and writes articles on  the importance of diet when dealing with cancer. She has asked me to post an article she has written on the topic.  Here it is:

Jillian also writes a number of blogs.  You can see her profile and connect to those blogs here:

Many of you may have or have a family member struggling with cancer.  Hopefully Jillian's articles will be of some help.

Thanks Jillian!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Italian Grilled Pork Chops

Marinate those pork shops in a little olive oil and Italian seasonings, throw them on the grill and enjoy!  Don't over cook them....pork shouldn't be dried out.  Buy chops with a little fat around the edges.

4 rib pork chops, about 3/4 inch thick
2 Tbl olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp fennel seed
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced

Combine the seasonings, garlic and oil and rub all over the chops.  Place them in a freezer bag or container large enough to hold and marinate them in the fridge for a few hours, turning or shaking them once in a while.
Grill them outdoors or on a grill pan to your desired doneness. Heck you can even fry these if you like!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Roasted Fig, Feta and Pecan Salad

A great salad for lunch celebrating figs with a honey-lemon vinaigrette and a Spring mix of lettuces.

Serves 2 for lunch

Honey-Lemon Vinaigrette

4 Tbl fresh lemon juice
4 Tbl honey
2 Tbl extra virgin olive oil
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper

Place all ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake, shake shake!  Set aside.

For the salad:

1/2 cup pecan halves
5 fresh figs (I used Brown Turkey)
1 tsp honey
A few grains of sea salt
3 to 4 handfuls of mixed lettuces (Spring mix)
1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese, preferably Bulgarian
The vinaigrette

Pre heat the oven to 350F.  Place the pecans on a small baking sheet and bake them for 5 to 7 minutes.  Set aside.
Raise the oven temp to 375F.  Stem and cut the figs in half and place cut side up on a baking sheet.  Drizzle the teaspoon of honey over the figs and then place a few grains of the sea salt over.  Roast for 15 to 20 minutes and then set aside to cool.
Toss the mixed greens with 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette and then scatter them over a plate or platter.  Arrange the figs, pecans and Feta over and drizzle with more of the vinaigrette.  Enjoy.