Thursday, December 4, 2014

Leek and Spinach Risotto

We didn't have a normal Thanksgiving this year...I lost my Dad on November 22 and most of the family had out of town guests in for the funeral.  We all split up for the Holiday because of this. Normally we fry two turkeys for dinner and then three more the next day. We did fry a turkey for Marge and her guests and then one for us on Thursday.
And we did manage to fry two more turkeys yesterday to stash in the freezer and also decided to try a couple of small Cornish Game Hens.  They were great!  I made this risotto to serve along side.  

Makes about 4 servings

4 Tbl butter divided 3/1
2 small leeks, white and pale green parts only, diced
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 cups chicken broth
5 ounces chopped baby spinach
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium sauce pan, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter.  Add the diced leeks and sauté until softened.  Add the rice and stir to coat all the grains.
Over medium heat, pour in the wine and stir until most of the liquid is absorbed into the rice.  Now start adding the chicken broth, a little at a time, stirring all the while.  Each time the rice absorbs the liquid, add more broth. Keep doing this until you've added all the broth.  The rice should be creamy.
Stir in the last tablespoon of butter, the spinach and the cheese.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Monday, December 1, 2014


My brother, Tom, caught this of Kerby this morning while for a second he was still.  Normally he's a whirlwind!!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thank You!

Bourbon, Orange and Ginger was the winner in the recent Food52 "Your Best Cocktail" contest.  Thanks to everyone!

Here's my Q&A with Food52:

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Easy Bean and Bacon Soup

It's getting colder and colder so more soups are on the menu.  Here's and easy bean and bacon one...

Makes almost 4 quarts

3/4 pound dry Great Northern white beans
6 slices bacon, diced
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped 
2 cloves garlic
2 Tbl sweet Hungarian paprika
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
7 cups chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste

Soak the beans overnight in water.  Drain and rinse and then cover them in fresh water and simmer them until done, about 45 minutes.
Saute the diced bacon in a Dutch oven or soup pot until the fat is rendered and the bacon just starts to crisp.
Place the onion, carrot, celery and garlic in a food processor and process until everything is finely chopped.
Add the vegetable mixture along with the paprika and crushed red pepper to the pot of bacon and sauté for 5 to 10 minutes.
Add the beans and chicken broth to the pot, bring up to a boil and then simmer for about 15 minutes.
Remove about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of the beans to a shallow bowl and mash them thoroughly with a fork.  Return the mixture to the pot and simmer the soup for about 10 more minutes.  Taste and add salt and pepper if you like.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Bourbon, Orange and Ginger is a Food52 Finalist!!

My Bourbon, Orange and Ginger cocktail if a finalist in Food52's "Your Best Cocktail Contest".  Please take a moment to go to the link below, sign up or log in and vote.  I truly appreciate it!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Cajun Chicken Stew

Not quite gumbo but a nice comforting slightly spicy Cajun stew....

Serves 4

1  1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut in 1 1/2 inch pieces
3 tsps of your favorite Creole/Cajun seasoning(divided)*
2 Tbl vegetable oil
4 ounces andouille sausage cut into a small dice
1 large onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves minced garlic
2 heaping tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded, cored a finely diced
Cooked rice for serving

Season the chicken thigh pieces with 1 tsp of the Creole seasoning.
Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or stew pot and then brown the chicken pieces a bit.Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
Add the diced sausage to the pot and sauté over medium heat.  Once the sausage starts rendering some of it fat, add the onion, green pepper and celery. Saute until softened.  Add the garlic and sauté a minute or two more.
Now stir in two teaspoons  of the creole seasoning along with the flour and sauté for just a couple of minutes.
Stir in the chicken broth and the chicken pieces and bring up to a boil and then down to a simmer.  Simmer, partially covered for 15 minutes. Stir in the green onion, parsley and tomato and simmer five minutes more.  Serve over cooked rice.

Go here for a homemade Creole/Cajun seasoning:

Friday, October 3, 2014

Thick Like Stew Cabbage, Bean and Sausage Soup

It's cool and rainy here, so I thought for dinner, soup would be in order.  Maybe I got carried away, but this one is thick with beans and vegetables, along with a little Italian sausage.  Dinner tonight and lunch for a few days....

Makes about 6 quarts

1 pound white beans, soaked overnight and then simmered for about 45 minutes in plain water until done
1 pound Italian sausage links, baked in a 350F oven for 20 minutes
2 Tbl olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
One very large carrot, sliced into thin rounds
One very large potato, peeled and diced
10 cups chicken broth
1/2 head cabbage, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, warm the olive oil and add the onions and garlic.  Saute until soft.
Slice the baked Italian sausage into rounds, add them to the pot along with the crushed red pepper flakes.  Saute for about 4 to 5 minutes.
Add the sliced carrot and diced potato along with the chicken broth.  Bring up to a boil and then simmer for about 15 minutes.
Add the cooked white beans.
Stir in the chopped cabbage and simmer until wilted.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Meaty Four Cheese Lasagna

My mom made the BEST was meaty and cheesy and was wonderful cold the next day.  I've made a few substitutions and added an extra layer of cheese here, but it's still as I remembered!

Friday, August 22, 2014

What To Do With Huge Zucchini

If you grow zucchini in your summer garden, you know where I'm coming from here.  At least one gets the best of find this HUGE squash hidden under the leaves.  What to do with it?  Stuff it!
This isn't really a recipe but might give you some ideas...I had a zucchini that was fat and about 14 inches long.  I sliced it lengthwise and scooped out the seeds and some of the flesh, brushed the cut sides with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper  Then into the oven to bake and soften that baby up for about 20 minutes. (about 350F)

Then I browned ground beef, onions, green pepper and garlic and added a couple of small diced tomatoes and about a cup of tomato sauce. Season with whatever herbs you like...I added dried basil, oregano, salt, black pepper and some crushed red pepper flakes.  I let the mixture cool a bit and then stirred in some olives and shredded mozzarella.

Pile the zucchini boats with the ground beef mixture and bake, covered, for about 30 minutes.  Uncover and place some provolone slices on top and return to the oven, uncovered, to let the cheese melt.  Dinner's ready!

Pictured is just before going in to the oven.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Sweet Mini Peppers

I bought a 2# bag of sweet mini peppers the other day and took next door neighbor Jim's advice and skewered them with sirloin cubes for beef kebabs.  He was right!..They were sweet and succulent!  Today I'm roasting what's left and turning it into a delicious side:

Makes about 4 side servings or 2 mains

1  1/2 pounds sweet mini peppers, stemmed and sliced vertically
4 Tbl olive oil
1 tsp salt
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp dried oregano
One 2.25 ounce can sliced ripe California olives
1 Tbl capers
About 5 ounces dry pasta (rigatoni or penne)
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine the peppers, oil, salt, garlic, red pepper and organo in a small baking pan and roast at 350F for about 30 minutes until the peppers soften.
Transfer the peppers to a large skillet and add the olives and capers.
Cook the pasta per directions, saving a little pasta cooking liquid.
Heat the vegetables in the skillet and add the drained pasta, adding a little of the cooking liquid if needed.  Salt and pepper if desired.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Hawaiian Kings and Cracked Eggs

Grandson Drew was here for his 10th Birthday yesterday....lunch at a local restaurant...a trip to his favorite magic store.....and of course he and Grandpa's favorite feast:  Spam and pineapple kebabs cooked over a fire and  hard boiled eggs!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The 3 Olive Burger

Remember the Olive Burger (Passion Burger) I wrote about a few years ago?  Well I've refurbished it and give it to you here:

Monday, June 30, 2014

Creamy Cauliflower and Tomato Soup

This one is good warm or chilled.  It's creamy but has no cream!  Great on its own or with a sandwich!

Makes about 2 quarts

1 to 1 1/2 pounds cauliflower florets
3 Tbl olive oil for roasting plus one more for sauteeing the onion and garlic
Salt and pepper
One medium onion, diced
Three cloves garlic, minced
One cup of your favorite tomato sauce (I used Marcella Hazan's)
Seven cups chicken broth

Pre heat the oven to 350F. Place the cauliflower florets on a baking sheet and toss with the 3 Tbl olive oil.  Salt and pepper liberally.  Roast the cauliflower for about 3o minutes or until the edges just start to brown.  Remove from the oven.

In a medium soup pot warm the 1 Tbl olive oil and add the onion and garlic.  Saute until everything softens and becomes fragrant.

Stir in the cauliflower and tomato sauce and bring up to a simmer.  Add the chicken broth, bring up to a simmer and simmer for about 10 minutes. 

Blend the soup in batches in a regular blender or right in the pot if using an immersion blender until smooth. Serve warm or chilled.

Friday, June 27, 2014

A Lovely Squash Find

At Costco the other day, I found a 2 pound bag of baby zucchini and pattypan squash.  I grabbed them and made this twice!

1 pound baby zucchini and pattypan squash, each piece cut in half
3 Tbl butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in a large saute pan and add the minced garlic.  Saute over medium heat for just a minute and then add the zucchini, squash and red pepper flakes.
Saute until edges just start to brown but be careful not to burn the garlic!  Salt and pepper to taste.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Banana Maple Walnut Bread with Maple Walnut Butter

This is an adaptation of my mom's wonderful banana bread that I posted a few years ago. Extra walnuts, maple syrup and walnut oil are the added ingredients.  Serve it with the maple walnut butter!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Take a Look at Kerby!

Thanks to all who voted for my Chickpea Bolognese in the recent Food52 contest.  No ...I didn't win but am honored to have been chosen as a finalist.

No new recipes yet but take a look at how big Kerby is! Probably around 55 pounds and growing.  Jamie caught this pic  while he was on a 3 second break!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Chickpea Bolognese is a Food52 Contest Finalist!

This was entered in Food52's Your Best Chickpea Recipe Contest a while back and lo and behold it was announced as a finalist today.  Please go here to see the recipe and sign in or log in and vote.  And tell your friends!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


It was scallion week at Food52 last week I entered a few recipes....Scallion Bread Soup and Green Onion Focaccia were two of them.  See them here:

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Rhubarb Bean Bake

A little sweet....a little tart, these baked beans are great for Spring grilling!

4 slices bacon
1 cup finely diced onion
1  1/2 cups finely diced rhubarb
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dry mustard powder
1/2 to 3/4 cup light brown sugar (packed)
1 cup ketchup
3 cups cooked cannellini or Great Northern beans ( or 2  14 ounce cans, drained and rinsed)

Cook the bacon in a large skillet until crisp.  Remove the bacon to paper toweling, leaving the drippings in the skillet. Crumble when cooled.
Add the onion and rhubarb to the skillet and sauté until softened. Stir in the ginger, salt and mustard powder and sauté another minute.
Add the brown sugar, ketchup, bacon and beans.
Transfer the mixture to a 10 x 10 inch baking dish (or one similar in size).
Bake, covered in a pre heated 350F oven for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake for 15 minutes more.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Piquant Pantry Pate

Chickpeas, tuna and anchovies make for a zesty spread for crackers, toasted baguette slices or vegetables.  I always have lemon and parsley on hand and with  few pantry items, this can be whipped up in a flash!

Makes about 2 cups

2 cloves garlic, rough chopped
One 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
One 2 ounce tin anchovies
3 Tbl extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp coarse ground pepper
3 Tbl fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

Place all ingredients (including the oil from the tuna and anchovies) except the parsley in the bowl of a food processor an process until smooth.  Stir in the chopped parsley and refrigerate for a couple of hours to let the flavors blend.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Spicy Maple Chicken Kebabs

A little different twist on my Alabama Chicken Kebabs....instead of sugar, substitute about 1/2 cup good maple syrup.  See the original recipe here:

Sorry I haven't posted in such a long time...a lot going on around here.  I'll be back in full swing soon!!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Quick Mustard Pickles

Here's a quick pickle you can make in one day and will be ready to serve. Place a dish on a buffet, use them in sandwiches or serve with a little salmon gravlax.

1 large English cucumber
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup rice vinegar
4 Tbl granulated sugar
1/2tsp fine sea salt
1 Tbl plus 1 tsp yellow (ballpark) prepared mustard
1/4 cup minced fresh dill

Slice the cucumber thinly and place in a medium size bowl.  In a small sauce pan, heat the water, vinegar, salt and sugar until the sugar dissolves.
Off the heat, whisk in the mustard and stir in the dill. Pour the liquid over the cucumber and give everything a stir.
Place everything in a zippered freezer bag or a container with a lid and refrigerate over night. As you pass by the fridge, mix or shake them up a bit.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Italian Snacking Bread

Here's an Italian snacking bread recipe I made last summer.  I recently entered it into Food52's Best Anchovy Recipe Contest and it's being tested this week.  See it here: 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Tomato, Kale and Miso Soup

A twist on Tomato Florentine Soup, I wanted a vegetarian version and so substituted miso paste (Japanese soy and rice fermented seasoning product available at Asian markets and Whole Foods) and water for the traditional chicken broth and kale for spinach.  This makes a small pot but the ingredients can certainly be doubled for more.

Makes about 1  1/2 quarts

2 Tbl extra virgin olive oil
2 minced shallots
3 cloves minced garlic
One 28 ounce can San Marzano tomatoes with the juice
1/2 cup brown rice miso paste
4 cups water (plus more if needed)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp granulated sugar
6 large basil leaves, torn
3 cups finely chopped kale leaves (I used curly kale)
Salt and pepper for re seasoning if needed)

In a medium soup pot heat the olive oil and add the minced shallots and garlic.  Saute over medium heat until the shallot softens and the garlic becomes fragrant but doesn't brown.
Crush the tomatoes with your clean hands and add them along with their juice to the pot.  Bring up to a simmer and stir in the miso paste, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until it dissolves into the tomato mixture. Stir in the pepper, sugar and basil.
Add the water and bring the pot up to a boil and then down to a gentle simmer for 8 to 10 minutes.  Using and immersion blender, blend the soup until very smooth.
Add the chopped kale and simmer for another 10 minutes or so until the kale wilts and becomes tender.  If the soup seems a little thick add a little more water.  Taste and adjust for seasoning if necessary.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Red Bean Turkey Chili with Andouille

A few weeks ago I made a basic chili with ground turkey and red beans but added some andouille, that spicy somewhat garlicky sausage that's so popular in Cajun and Creole cuisine. A little extra spice never hurts in my book!

See the recipe here: 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Braised Green Beans with Bacon

I don't know when this happened, but recently I began liking my green beans more "cooked" than crisp...maybe it's the cold weather or maybe it's my age...but I truly am enjoying them more with a longer cook. This side dish for two or three pairs them with bacon. Double or triple everything up if you need to serve more.

2 strips diced bacon
1 Tbl butter
1 diced shallot (a large one)
1 large clove garlic, minced
12 ounces fresh or frozen green beans(thawed) and cut if very long
1/2 cup water plus more if needed
Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium pan saute the bacon in the butter until the bacon just starts to crisp.  Add the shallot and garlic and saute until they soften.
Add the green beans and water, bring up to a simmer and simmer, partially covered for 20 to 30 minutes.  Add more water if necessary.  The beans are soft and may need some salt and pepper to taste.

Friday, January 31, 2014

One Pot Pastalaya Made the Finals!!!!!

My recipe for One Pot Pastalaya is a Finalist in Food52's recipe contest for Your Best One Pot Meal! I would truly appreciate it if you would follow the link, log in or sign up and vote! And then peruse this wonderful cooking site... 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Quick Spinach Bread

I know I've mentioned this bread before...I make this often as a side for grilled meats but it can also be an appetizer when cut in smaller pieces or a snack or even lunch.

Makes 4 side servings

10 ounces baby spinach leaves (leave the stems on)
1  1/2 cups shredded part skim mozzarella (shred your own)
1/4 cup mayo
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan
2 large garlic cloves put through a garlic press
2 Tbl softened butter
1/4 to 1/2 tsp aleppo pepper (or a dash of cayenne)
One 12 inch baguette

Wilt the spinach leaves in a pan with a couple of tablespoons of water.  Cool and then squeeze as dry as possible.  Chop the leaves and then place them in a medium mixing bowl.
Stir in the cheeses, mayo, garlic, butter and aleppo pepper until everything is thoroughly combined.
Preheat the oven to 400F.  Slice the baguette lengthwise and then cut each half in half again.  Divide the spinach mixture over the cut sides of the bread.  bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until the spinach/cheese mixture looks melted and the edges of the bread are just starting to brown a bit.
NOTE: Cut in smaller pieces if serving as an appetizer. 


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

One Pot Pastalaya

This past week's contest over at Food52 was "your Best One Pot Meal"  so I made a pastalaya which is like jambalaya but uses pasta in place of the rice.  It was spicy, filling and tasty!
See my recipe here: 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014