Monday, September 13, 2010

Baked Kibbee, Tahini & Tabouleh

I am so grateful that I found a man who likes to eat different things.  I was one of those people who would eat the basic foods.  After I met Steve I started to eat different foods, well it took a while to muster up the courage but I did it. 

One day he brought me to a restaurant (hole in the wall type) to get something to eat.  I ordered a sandwich with fries.  Steve ordered a Lebanese plate.  I looked at him with that expression on my face as "what the heck is that?"  I did try it but wasn't too keen on it at first.  Years later I tried it again and loved it. 

One day I decided to make my own Kibbee at home.  It came out bland and a bit dry.  I said I would leave it up the real cooks to make it. 

Well this past weekend I decided to make it again (don't know what made me do it but I did).  I found a recipe on-line and gave it a go.  My local grocery store did not have ground lamb so I used all beef.  The kibbee came out moist and tasty.  I was so happy. 

A little note:  Note sure if this helped with the moistness of the kibbee, but I used some of the bulgar that I had soaking in water for the tabouleh.

Baked Lebanese Kibbee

1 pound (500 g) lean ground beef or lamb
1/2 cup fine- to medium-grade bulgar (crushed wheat)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts
2 tablespoons dried parsley
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1/2 teaspoon dried mint
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine the meat, bulgar, onion, water, parsley, mint, allspice,
pepper, and cinnamon in a food processor. Process until doughy.

Preheat oven to 350F (175C). Lightly oil an 8 inch square baking
dish or a 9 inch round baking dish. Pat half of the meat mixture
into the pan. Sprinkle the nuts over the top. Then cover with the
remaining meat. While still in the pan, cut the kibbe into 1 1/2
inch square or diamond shapes. Brush the peanut oil over the top.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until firm and browned well. Serve
the kibbe from the pan or invert it onto a platter.


I did make the Tahini & Tabouleh.  I used the recipe for Tahini from a previous post.  I love making Tahini.

I have made Tabouleh in the past and it was okay.  This time I really enjoyed it. 



•2 bunches of fresh parsley (1 1/2 cup chopped, with stems discarded)
•2 tablespoons of fresh mint, chopped
•I medium onion, finely chopped
•6 medium tomatoes, diced
•1 tablespoon salt
•1/2 teaspoon black pepper
•1/2 cup bulghur, medium grade
•6 tablespoons lemon juice
•6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


Soak bulghur in cold water for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until soft.

Squeeze out excess water from bulghur using hands or paper towel.

Combine all ingredients, except for salt, pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil.

Line serving bowl with grape leaves or romaine lettuce, and add salad.

Sprinkle olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper on top.

Serve immediately or chill in refrigerator for 2 hours before serving.

Chicken Cordon Blue Bread Bowl

I found this recipe in a Cuisine At Home magazine.  Unfortunately I do not have this magazine right now to post the recipe (I lent it to my sister-in-law).

It was a tasty recipe but there was something that was off.  It could have been our taste buds but not really sure.  I loved the idea of making a bread bowl for dinner (my boys love the ones from Dominos Pizza).

I will post the recipe as soon as I get the magazine back.  In the meantime you can stare at the picture I took of it... lol...

Kathleen King's Double Chocolate Almond Cookies

I love chocolate cookies, especially if there are chocolate chips in there...  I was watching an episode of Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network and she had a guest on by the name of Kathleen King. 

I knew I had to make these cookies!!!

Kathleen King's Double Chocolate Almond Cookies


2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) salted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed dark or light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup almonds, chopped


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream the butter and sugars. Add the egg and vanilla and mix together. Add the flour mixture and continue mixing until just combined.

Add the chocolates and almonds and mix until combined. Using two tablespoons or a small ice cream scoop, drop the dough two inches apart on sheet pans lined with parchment. Bake for 15 minutes.

Cool the cookies on the cookie sheets. The cookies should be very soft when they are removed from the oven. They will firm up as they cool.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tuna Steaks with Olive-Caper Sauce

This is another recipe from my Cuisine at Home magazine.  I wanted to try some different recipes with ingredients I have never used before.  This recipe calls for Farro.  What the heck is Farro I asked myself and will my local grocery store have it???  Sure enough they did.

This recipe was super super easy to make.  It was tasty.  My local fishmonger did not have tuna so I went with swordfish steaks.  I chose not to buy frozen tuna since the last time I bought some I did not like the frozen taste.

Tuna Steaks with Olive-Caper Sauce

For the sauce:
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup capers
1/4 cup pitted and sliced kalamata olives
2 Tbsp. minced shallots
2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

For the Tuna:
4 fresh tuna steaks
olive oil, salt and black pepper

Preheat grill to medium-high.

Heat 1/2 cup evoo in a saucepan over medium-low heat until it shimmers.  Add capers, olives and shallots; simmer 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Stir in parsley and lemon juice just before serving.

Rub tuna lightly with oil and season with salt & black pepper.  Grill tuna, covered, 3 minutes per side for medium-rare steaks.  Remove from the grill, tent with foil and rest 3 minutes.  Serve steak with sauce and lemon wedges.

Farro Salad with Tomatoes & Feta

1 cup dry pearled or semi-pearled farro
1 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
minced zest of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
salt & pepper to taste

Cook farro in a saucepan of boiling salted water according to package directions; or until tender 15-20 minutes; drain and set aside.

Combine tomatoes, feta and parsley in a medium bowl.  Stir in farrow, zest and lemon juice.  Season with salt & pepper.

Margherita Pasta with Grilled Chicken

This is a very simple and fast recipe I found in my Cuisine At Home magazine (August 2010).

For the pasta:
8 oz dry spaghetti
3 cups halved grape or cherry tomatoes (12 oz)
2 cups diced fresh mozzarella (8 oz)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste
toasted pine nuts

For the chicken:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (4-5 oz each)
evoo, dried oregano, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes

Preheat grill to medium-high.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the spaghetti.

Cook spaghetti according to package directions; drain and set aside.

Combine tomatoes and mozzarella for the pasta in a bowl; set aside.

Coat chicken with oil, oregano, salt, pepper and pepper flakes.  Grill, covered until cooked through, about 4 minutes per side.  Remove chicken from grill and tent with foil; rest 3-4 minutes.  Slice each breast into strips.

Heat 1/4 cup oil in a skillet over medium-low heat.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Toss tomato and cheese mixture with the garlic-infused oil and pasta.  Stir in basil; season with salt, pepper and pepper flakes.

To serve, divide pasta mixture among 4 bowls, and top with sliced chicken and pine nuts.

Penne Alla Vodka

This was an easy recipe to make.  I was a little concerned about igniting the vodka.  When I did it I was excited but standing there saying holey moley that flame is pretty high.  I tried taking a picture of the flame but realized I had the flash on.. Oh well maybe next time.

Penne Alla Vodka

3 Tbs butter
1 Tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 small onion, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup chopped prosciutto
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup of vodka
1/2 cup whipping (heavy) cream
1/2 cup sliced imported Italian black olives
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 package (16 ounces) penne or mostaccioli
2 Tbs freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat butter and oil in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat.  Saute garlic and onion in butter mixture.  Stir in prosciutto and chicken.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is brown.  Stir in vodka.  Heat over high heat until hot.

Carefully ignite.  Stir in whipping cream, olives parsley and pepper when flame dies out.  Heat to boiling; reduce heat.  Simmer uncovered 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until thickened.

Cook penne as directed on package.  Mix penne and cream mixture; top with cheese.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Homemade Limoncello

This past May my sister-in-law Kathy and her husband Bob went to Italy for a week.  After they got back we went over to see them.  They were so kind to bring me back a dish towel that had some lemons on it and the recipe for Limoncello (in Italian & English).  Thanks Kathy & Bob.  They also brought back some Italian Limoncello.  Mmmmm... Is all I had to say. 

Since I liked the what I had at their house I thought I would give the homemade version of it a try. 

First you will need an air tight container.  A bottle of vodka (I used 80 proof).  The peels of 8 lemons.  I used a vegetable peeler.  Make sure you do not get any of the white pith. 

In your jar, place the lemon peels and vodka then put the cover on. 

Let the lemon peels and vodka sit for seven days.  I sloshed mine around everyday.  After 7 days your lemon peels will look somewhat pale. 

Now strain the vodka from the peels and set aside. 

Meanwhile, mix 5 cups of water and 3 cups of sugar together in a sauce pan.  Let it cool to room temp.  Next pour the vodka mixture into the water.  You will notice a slight cloudiness.  This is normal. 

After mixing the water with the vodka pour into bottles that can be sealed.  I used a variety of bottles.  One of my best friends Melissa told me to use the small wine bottles, so of course I had to go buy some and drink them.  lol...  I don't know why I didn't keep the vodka bottles that I emptied for the recipe.  I guess just dumb thinking on my part.

I thought it came out pretty darn tasty.  One night we had about twenty people over to the house and I took out one of the larger bottles for everyone to try.  It was a hit especially with one neice's husband who doesn't like lemon.  Another night we took a large bottle over to a brother-in-law's cookout and it was a hit there.  Actually someone put an order in for Labor Day weekend.. 

I will be making this over and over...

P.S. Don't forget to make homemade lemonade with all those naked lemons.  I had doubled the limoncello recipe so I have alot of naked lemons. 

Friday, July 23, 2010

Citrus Marinated Jerk Chicken with Mango Salsa

Lately it seems all the cooking shows have been showing similar recipes.  A couple of days ago Sunny Anderson from Cooking for Real was making Caribbean Jerk Chicken.  It looked great.  I haven't had Jerk chicken in years. 

I made another trip to the grocery store this week for the ingredients I didn't have.  Yes, that does happen once, twice maybe even three times a week especially if I didn't make a menu for that week. 

I found a recipe that uses a Jerk rub instead of a sauce.  I love putting all the herbs together for rubs.  The smells are wonderful.

I made the Jerk Chicken with the Mango salsa and some rice. 

This recipe came from Tasty Kitchen.

Citrus Marinated Jerk Chicken with Mango Salsa


•2 pounds Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast Cutlets
•1 whole Orange, Juiced
•1 whole Lemon, Juiced
•2 whole Limes, Juiced
•2 Tablespoons Canola Oil

•For The Spice Mixture

•2 Tablespoons Paprika
•1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
•1 Tablespoon Granulated Garlic Powder
•1 Tablespoon Granulated Onion Powder
•1 teaspoon Rubbed Sage
•1 teaspoon Allspice
•1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
•1 teaspoon Chili Powder
•1 teaspoon Sweet Basil
•1 teaspoon Black Pepper
•1 teaspoon Dried Thyme
•½ teaspoons Cayenne Pepper


•2 whole Naval Oranges, Peeled And Diced
•2 whole Ripe Mangos, Peeled And Diced
•1-½ cup Fresh Pineapple, Peeled, Cored, And Diced
•1 whole Small Red Pepper, Seeded And Diced
•1 bunch Fresh Cilantro, Chopped
•3 Tablespoons Fresh Chives, Finely Chopped
•1 Tablespoon Fresh Or Bottled Lime Juice
•1 Tablespoon Honey
•1 pinch Salt

Preparation Instructions

1) Place marinade ingredients in a gallon zip bag. Add chicken and marinate for 30 minutes to one hour. Discard marinade.

2) In a small bowl with tight fitting lid, mix all spice ingredients, set aside.

3) In a medium size bowl, mix all salsa ingredients together and refrigerate until ready to serve.

4) Preheat gas grill for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, season each piece of chicken with spice mixture. Label and store any leftover spice mix in a cool, dry storage.

3) Grill chicken on medium high heat for 6-8 minutes or until juices run clear.

Iced Chai

I have to admit I don't think I have ever had an Iced Chai before this week.  I received my latest Cuisine At Home magazine last week.  I have looked through it several times and the one recipe that stood out was the Iced Chai.  I was intrigued by the ingredients.

I finally made it.  The house had a wonderful aroma from the spices.  I had to substitute some anise extract for the whole star anise.

After the Chai was done cooling I decided to try it out.  Wow, what flavor this drink has.  The one thing I noticed was after you finished your sip there was a "dance" of flavors on my tongue.  I know.  I know sounds strange.  I guess I can not explain it much more than that. 

This drink may very well become my afternoon drink instead of coffee.

Iced Chai

2 1/2 cups water
3 green cardamom pods, crushed
1 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
1 piece fresh ginger, cut into 1-inch coins
5 star anise, whole
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
4 looseblack tea leaves or tea bags
2 cups milk, reduced fat (skim, 1% or 2%)
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
ice cubes

1 Place water in saucepan over medium heat. 2 Add crushed cardamom pods and peppercorns. 3 Add ginger, star anise and cinnamon; bring to a boil for 1 minute. 4 Add black tea, simmer 5 minutes. 5 Stir in milk; return to simmer. Sweeten with turbanado sugar to taste; remove tea from heat. 6 Cool chai to room temperature. Once cool, pour through a fine mesh sieve into a pitcher. Discard solids. 7 Refrigerate chai up to one week. 8 To serve, fill glasses with ice; pour chai over ice.
** I'm sorry for the horrible photo


What child doesn't like a cold sno-cone on a hot summer day????  Let me tell you these past 2-3 weeks here in New England have been hot and humid.  Did I ever tell you I don't care for summer with this amount of humidity??

I try to watch the Food Network everyday to get some ideas of what to cook for the coming week.  I was watching Cooking for Real with Sunny Anderson one day and she happened to be making some Kiwi Sno Cones.  Man, did those look yummy.  One thing she used was her food processor to shave the ice down to "snow".  The first thought that went through my mind was, do I dare use my 16 year old food processor???  Yes, this is the same one I got as a wedding gift.  The reason I asked myself that question was, it is not in that great of shape (ie I can not grate cheese in it since the post to hold the grater broke.  another reason I see a spark when I push the button to use it).  I am eyeing a couple different new food processors but still need to convince my husband I need one. 

Anyway, getting back to the Sno Cones.   I got the stuff out and made them for the family the other night.  Let's just say it hit the spot.  The first night I made Black Cherry.  The second night I made Lemon for the boys and Margarita ones for me and my husband.  The rita's ended up being in between a frozen rita and on the rocks, but boy were they yummy.

Summertime Sno-Cones
Snow Cone Syrup


2 cups sugar
3/4 cup water
1 package unsweetened Kool-Aid, any flavor


Place the sugar and water in a medium pan and bring to a full boil. Remove from heat and stir in the Kool-Aid. Cool to room temperature, then place in the refrigerator until chilled. Pour over crushed iced.

***  Recently I bought some of those squeeze bottles for when you make chocolate molds.   I put the syrup in the squeeze bottles and pour over the ice...

Heirloom Tomatoes - Brandywine

In the last couple of years I have heard all about Heirloom Tomatoes.  I remember watching the Martha Stewart Show sometime ago and was intrigued by these funky shaped but beautiful tomatoes.  I kinda put them at the back of my head until my friend Jen told me about the plant she bought.  I could just imagine my ears perking up when she told me where to get them.  The next day I drove to the nursery and bought myself a plant.  The plant was 4 feet tall and had several green globes on them.  I only paid $15 for the plant.  I have had several tomatoes off of the plant.  Boy they are juicy, sweet and delicious.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Mini Meatball Subs

Every week I make a dinner menu for that week.  Last week The Pioneer Women had a recipe for mini meatball subs on her webpage.  When I saw the picture I knew that would go on the menu.  I did not use her recipe just the idea. 

I actually just threw some ingredients (normal ones for meatballs) into the bowl, formed them and started to brown them up.  They ended up to be about 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter.

The sauce I had made and had in the freezer.  So I just dumped that into the pan to warm up with the meatballs. 

To top the sandwiches off I slice some fresh mozzarella ontop of the hot sauce and meatballs.  Man were they messy.

Spicy Italian Pork Cutlets

I am a big fan of pork roast.  I tend to make them the same way lately and wanted to try something different.  I sat down at the computer and searched for recipes.  After a while I decided on a few different ones and printed them.  Luckily I had all the ingredients for the different recipes. 

I picked a Spicy Pork Roast recipe since I had some tomatoes I needed to use.  As I was prepping the ingredients I was thinking this recipe sounded familiar.  After looking at the ingredients closer I realized it is almost the same as my Ravioli Pomodaro recipe.  I will say the pork wasn't nearly as spicy as the ravioli recipe. 

We all liked this recipe and I would definitely make it again.  It was such an easy recipe to make.

Spicy Italian Pork Cutlets


1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
4 boneless pork chops, pounded to 1/4 inch thick
salt and pepper to taste
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 large tomato, diced
1/3 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes


1.Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper, and quickly sear on both sides. Remove from heat, and set aside.

2.Heat the remaining olive oil in the skillet over medium-high heat, and saute the garlic about 30 seconds. Mix in the tomato, chicken broth, wine, parsley, and red pepper flakes. Cook and stir until thickened, about 2 minutes.

3.Return the pork chops to the skillet, and continue cooking 5 to 10 minutes, to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F (70 degrees C). Serve pork with the tomato and broth mixture from the skillet.

Cream Cheese and Pecan Stuffed Berries

I love watching the Food Network, if you haven't already figured that out.  I happened to have caught Paula Deen cooking with her son Jamie on tv one day.  One particular recipe jumped out at me ~ Cream Cheese Filled Berries.  They looked absolutely delicious.  I did make one change to the recipe, I used Marscapone cheese instead of the cream cheese.  Oh I lied, I didn't have any pecans so I used walnuts.

The night I made these little gems we had my sister in law Kathy and her husband over for dinner & a dip in the pool.  Everyone thought the were delicious and could not guess what the filling was. 

Cream Cheese and Pecan Stuffed Berries


20 whole large strawberries, hulled
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup confectioners' powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
2/3 cup chopped pecans


Cut a thin slice from the bottom of each strawberry so the berries stand upright. Place berries, cut side down, on a serving platter. Carefully cut the berries into 4 wedges, cutting almost to, but not through, the bottoms with a criss-cross cut. Fan wedges just slightly, taking care not to break them. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until combined but still stiff. Using a teaspoon or pastry bag with decorative tip, fill the strawberries with the cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle chopped pecans on top of the stuffed strawberries. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Fresh Lettuce

As you may know I have a small raised garden bed in my backyard.  This year we thought we would try some "fancy" lettuce blend.  I really don't know what type of lettuce are in bunches but they sure are pretty. 

Yesterday I cut some of the lettuce back to have for a salad with tonight's dinner.  While rinsing the lettuce I decided to try a piece of each kind.  There was one that I liked and the other two were on the bitter side.  I'm sure with all the other fixin's I will not taste the bitterness as much as by itselft. 

I'm really excited that the garden is starting to show some flowers and growth.  I was starting to wonder if any of the plants would survive the cold snap we had a few weeks ago.  While I was looking around the garden I noticed my broc had some florets showing.  I can not wait for that.

Barefoot Bloggers - Grilled Herbed Shrimp

For our second recipe of May 2010, Penny of Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen picked a wonderful Grilled Herbed Shrimp recipe. 

I hardly ever cook shrimp since the boys aren't big fans of it.  My husband and I really liked this recipe.  I thought the shrimp were nicely marinated.  The pain of the whole recipe was peeling the shrimp.  For this recipe I served it over a nice fresh garden salad. 

I will make this recipe again but cut it in half.  Thank you Penny for a wonderful choice.

Grilled Herbed Shrimp


2 pounds large shrimp (16 to 20 per pound), peeled and deveined (see note)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, small-diced
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1/4 cup minced fresh basil
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 lemon, juiced


Combine all the ingredients and allow them to marinate for 1 hour at room temperature or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Skewer the shrimp. I use 3 or 4 shrimp on a 12-inch skewer for dinner. Heat a grill with coals and brush the grill with oil to prevent the shrimp from sticking. Grill the shrimp for only 1 1/2 minutes on each side.

Note: I leave the tails on when I'm peeling the shrimp.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Barefoot Bloggers - Spring Green Risotto

I have to say I have grown to love risotto.  I love the creaminess of it.  I like the idea of all the different ingredients you can put in it.  I enjoy making risotto even though you have to stand there and babysit it.  My boys don't really care for risotto.  One will eat it one way and the other one definitely doesn't like lemon.

Spring Green Risotto by Ina Garten 


1 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
1 cup chopped fennel
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
2/3 cup dry white wine
4 to 5 cups simmering chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 pound thin asparagus
10 ounces frozen peas, defrosted, or 1 1/2 cups shelled fresh peas
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese, preferably Italian
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
3 tablespoons minced fresh chives, plus extra for serving


Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and fennel and saute for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender. Add the rice and stir for a minute to coat with the vegetables, oil, and butter. Add the white wine and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until most of the wine has been absorbed. Add the chicken stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring almost constantly and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more. This process should take 25 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the asparagus diagonally in 1 1/2-inch lengths and discard the tough ends. Blanch in boiling salted water for 4 to 5 minutes, until al dente. Drain and cool immediately in ice water. (If using fresh peas, blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes until the starchiness is gone.)

When the risotto has been cooking for 15 minutes, drain the asparagus and add it to the risotto with the peas, lemon zest, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Continue cooking and adding stock, stirring almost constantly, until the rice is tender but still firm.

Whisk the lemon juice and mascarpone together in a small bowl. When the risotto is done, turn off the heat and stir in the mascarpone mixture plus the Parmesan cheese and chives. Set aside, off the heat, for a few minutes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve hot with a sprinkling of chives and more Parmesan cheese.

Bobby Flay Flank Steak

Last week my husband happen to be home while I was watching Bobbie Flay - Grill It.  Bobbie & his wife Stephanie were cooking flank steaks with a Mexican twist.  We thought the steaks looked great.  We planned to make this while our boys were at Boy Scout Camp. 

Before dropping the boys off, my husband and I preppred/cooked what needed to be cooked. 

I did not make the chimichurri sauce, instead I had made the tomatillo sauce.  I do have to say I love the tomatillo sauce over salsa.

It was a perfect evening grilling with my husband, having margaritas and sitting by the fire pit. 

Don't you just love the fancy plates... lol

Flank Steak Crostini by Bobby Flay



2 cups red wine
1 cup cassis
1/4 cup canola oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
1 (2 to 3-pound) flank steak
Kosher salt

Chimichurri Sauce:

1 cup cilantro leaves
1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2 cup mint leaves
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
3/4 to 1 cup olive oil
1/4 to 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Vidalia Relish:

3 Vidalia or other sweet onions, skin on, sliced 1/4-inch thick
Canola oil
1 tablespoon Bobby Flay Poultry Rub
Kosher salt and black pepper
4 green onions, sliced
1 serrano chile, minced with the seeds
2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 to 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

To serve:

1 baguette
Olive or canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper



Mix the wine, cassis, oil and black pepper in a nonreactive dish. Add the steak, turn to coat, and marinate at room temperature 1 hour.


Pulse the herbs and garlic in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Add 3/4 cup oil, 1/4 cup vinegar and salt and pepper, to taste, and pulse to make a soupy vinaigrette — it will look a bit creamy until it settles. Add more oil and/or vinegar if too thick. Set aside.

Preheat the grill to high. Remove the steak from the marinade and season with salt and more pepper. Grill, covered, until nicely charred and medium rare, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove from the grill and rest 5 to 10 minutes before slicing across the grain.


Brush the onions with some canola oil and season with rub, salt and pepper. Grill the onions, turning, until charred and soft. Remove from the grill and chop coarsely. Chop again with the green onions and then stir them together with the chile, oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper.

Slice the baguette on a diagonal 1/4-inch thick. Brush with oil, season with salt and pepper and grill briefly, until just starting to crisp. Top each piece with some sauce, a slice or 2 of steak, more sauce and some relish.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Southwest Breakfast

My husband and I recently went out for breakfast.  That morning he had a Southwest omellette.  I thought I could make something like that.  So the next week I gave it a try.  I wanted something other than the hash browns so I cut up some tortillas and fried them in some oil. 

After I was done with the chips I got started on the eggs.  I made the normal omellette but added some peppers, cheese and onions.  When the eggs were done I topped it with more cheese to melt. 

I placed some chips down and placed the eggs on top.  Then I added some salsa topped witha  chip.  

We thought it was pretty tasty.

Garden 2010

This year I finally got my two raised veggie beds.  We ran to Home Depot to get the 2x4x8 (12) pieces of wood.  Do not use pressure treated. 

Our boys are in Boy Scouts and they are working on their Carpentry Merit Badges.  One of the requirements is to make a piece of furniture or something to use around the house (something like that).  They managed to make then in one afternoon with little assistance from my husband.  A couple days later we moved them to the spots, layed weedblock and shoveled in the compost.  Once the compost was in, I planted all the veggies (still need to buy the tomatoes).

Hopefully this year we will be having fresh lettuce, snow peas, sugar peas, brocolli, cauliflower, celery, eggplant, peppers and two different types of cucumbers. 

Here are my photos of the semi-finished garden.

I am still working on my herb garden.  I have added garlic, chives and tarragon this year.

Tomatillo Sauce

My husband and I went out for dinner at a favorite Mexican restaurant Casa Blanca.  As with most Mexican Restaurants they bring out salsa and chips, well last time we were there they had brought out something that looked like cole slaw with the chips/salsa.  I didn't care for it.  This time they brought out the salsa, chips and a green semi watery concoction.  I was hesitant on trying it.  Once I did I loved it.  I rattled off to my husband what I thought was in it.  Then I asked the waiter the ingredients.  He said exactly what I thought and a couple more. 

Tomatillo Sauce

lime juice

I couldn't tell you how much I used since I was winging it.  I did boil the tomatillos for about 5 minutes, chopped and tossed into the blender with the rest of the ingredients.  I used a whole avocado which made the dip/sauce more creamier than what the restaurant served.

I will be making this more often...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Lemon Meringue Cupcake

A friend of mine had posted a blog that featured a cupcake challenge based on the Martha Stewart Cupcake Cookbook.  Each month there is one cupcake featured and you are to bake that cupcake.  I have not personally signed up for this challenge, especially since I do not own the cookbook.  I do want try the recipes so I looked at the Martha Stewart website and found some of the featured cupcakes.

I decided I would give the Lemon Meringue Cupcakes a whirl.  I am so glad I did.  I love the tartness of the lemons.  This just hit the right button...

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes
by Martha Stewart


Makes 24

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
Finely grated zest of 3 lemons (about 3 tablespoons), plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk


1.Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

2.With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is until incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in zest and vanilla. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk and lemon juice, and beating until just combined after each.

3.Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

4.To finish, spread 1 tablespoon lemon curd onto middle of each cupcake. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large open-star tip (Ateco #828 or Wilton #8B) with frosting. Pipe frosting onto each cupcake, swirling tip slightly and releasing as you pull up to form a peak. Hold a small kitchen torch 3 to 4 inches from surface of frosting, and wave it back and forth until frosting is lightly browned all over. Serve immediately.

Lemon Curd:
8 large egg yolks
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
1 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces


1.Combine yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar in a heavy-bottom saucepan; whisk to combine. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon (be sure to scrape the sides of the pan), until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, 8 to 10 minutes, and registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.

2.Remove saucepan from heat. Add salt and butter, one piece at a time, stirring until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve into a medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled and set, at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.

Seven-Minute Frosting:
Makes about 8 cups

1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2/3 cup water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
6 large egg whites, room temperature


1.Combine 1 1/2 cups sugar with the water and corn syrup in a small saucepan; clip a candy thermometer to side of pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Continue boiling, without stirring, until syrup reaches 230 degrees.

2.Meanwhile, in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. With mixer running, add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, beating to combine.

3.As soon as sugar syrup reaches 230 degrees, remove from heat. With mixer on medium-low speed, pour syrup down side of bowl in a slow, steady stream. Raise speed to medium-high; whisk until mixture is completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl) and stiff (but not dry) peaks form, about 7 minutes. Use immediately.

Spicy Tuscan Soup

It was really could this past weekend.  I'm not kidding like 0 degrees at night.  BRRR...  It was definitely a weekend to stay inside and keep warm.  While staying warm I decided to work on my weekly menu, yes I'm back to making them.  I wanted to have atleast a soup and sandwich night. 

As I was looking around the internet I found myself on the Pioneer Women's website.  Then I meandered over to the Tasty Kitchen section.  One of the featured recipes caught my eye.  It was a Spicy Tuscan Soup.  Oh yum that sounded great.

I made it this past Monday night for dinner and had a sandwich with it. 

Spicy Tuscan Soup
by iamcaressa
via Tasty Kitchen

•1 pound Spicy Breakfast Sausage
•1 whole Medium Red Onion, Diced
•2 slices Bacon, Diced
•3 cloves Garlic, Minced
•3 whole Medium Potatoes
•1 quart Water
•3 cubes Chicken Bouillon
•¼ bunches Kale, Roughly Chopped
•½ cups Heavy Cream
•Salt And Pepper, to taste
Crumble sausage into a dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat until cooked through. Drain and set aside.

Chop onions and dice bacon; add to the dutch oven. Reduce heat to medium and cook until onions are clear. Add minced garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Slice potatoes in half lengthwise and cut into 1/4″ slices. Add warm water, bouillon cubes and potatoes and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until potatoes are almost done.

Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 5 more minutes. Let cool and serve with warm garlic breadsticks.

Beef & Veggie Pot Pies

Who doesn't like a decent pot pie once in a while, especially during these New England winters.  I usually make chicken pot pies but really wasn't in the mood for them.  I had some beef stew meat and didn't want stew again (had it a couple weeks ago).  So I sat down at the computer and looked up a recipe for Beef Pot Pies. 

The one that interested me the most was by Ina Garten.  Her recipe called for saffron and Pernod.  When I read the recipe I was like what the Hey is Pernod???  I opted to leave out the saffron and Pernod. 

Vegetable Pot Pie
by Ina Garten

12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
2 cups sliced yellow onions (2 onions)
1 fennel bulb, top and core removed, thinly sliced crosswise
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups good chicken stock
1 tablespoon Pernod  (omitted)
Pinch saffron threads (omitted)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 1/2 cups large-diced potatoes (1/2 pound)
1 1/2 cups asparagus tips
1 1/2 cups peeled, 3/4-inch-diced carrots (4 carrots)
1 1/2 cups peeled, 3/4-inch-diced butternut squash (omitted)
1 1/2 cups frozen small whole onions (1/2 pound) (omitted)
1/2 cup minced flat-leaf parsley

For the pastry: (I used premade pastry dough)

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 to 2/3 cup ice water
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
Flaked sea salt and cracked black pepper


Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and fennel and saute until translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the flour, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Slowly add the stock, Pernod, saffron, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the heavy cream and season to taste. The sauce should be highly seasoned.

Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 10 minutes. Lift out with a sieve. Add the asparagus, carrots, and squash to the pot and cook in the boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain well. Add the potatoes, mixed vegetables, onions, and parsley to the sauce and mix well.

For the pastry, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the shortening and butter and mix quickly with your fingers until each piece is coated with flour. Pulse 10 times, or until the fat is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water; process only enough to moisten the dough and have it just come together. Dump the dough out onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Divide the filling equally among 4 ovenproof bowls. Divide the dough into quarters and roll each piece into an 8-inch circle. Brush the outside edges of each bowl with the egg wash, then place the dough on top. Trim the circle to 1/2-inch larger than the top of the bowl. Crimp the dough to fold over the sides, pressing it to make it stick. Brush the dough with egg wash and make 3 slits in the top. Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Barefoot Bloggers - Shrimp Bisque

Jennifer of Our Blessed Home has chosen Ina's Shrimp Bisque recipe for our last recipe of January 2010.

Please do not laugh when I tell you all this.  I have NEVER had Shrimp or Lobster Bisque before.  I don't really like seafood chowder.  BUT, I really enjoyed the Shrimp Bisque.  I was so proud of myself for making it. 

Shrimp Bisque


1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined, shells reserved
4 cups seafood stock
3 tablespoons good olive oil
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (3 leeks)
1 tablespoon chopped garlic (3 cloves)
Pinch cayenne pepper
1/4 cup Cognac or brandy
1/4 cup dry sherry
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups half-and-half
1/3 cup tomato paste
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Place the shrimp shells and seafood stock in a saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain and reserve the stock. Add enough water to make 3 3/4 cups.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the leeks and cook them for 10 minutes over medium-low heat, or until the leeks are tender but not browned. Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute. Add the cayenne pepper and shrimp and cook over medium to low heat for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the Cognac and cook for 1 minute, then the sherry and cook for 3 minutes longer. Transfer the shrimp and leeks to a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until coarsely pureed.

In the same pot, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook over medium-low heat for 1 minute, stirring with a wooden spoon. Add the half-and-half and cook, stirring with a whisk, until thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the pureed shrimp, the stock, tomato paste, salt, and pepper and heat gently until hot but not boiling. Season, to taste, and serve hot.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Barefoot Bloggers Challenge - Indonesian Ginger Chicken

Todd of A Cooking Dad has chosen Indonesian Ginger Chicken, which can be found in The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook on page 125, for our first recipe of January 2010. 

When I was putting the marinade ingredients together my husband was like "that is an awful lot of soy sauce.  It's going to be salty."  I told him I would hope a cook/chef wouldn't have you cook with that much if it was going to make your food taste salty.  Remember they are trained professionals, dear heart.  I realized I only bought one cut up chicken instead two, oops. Next time I will have to make two since my oldest son had three pieces of chicken. 

I thought the recipe was very good.  It had a light fresh taste. I served the chicken with a ginger rice.

Indonesian Ginger Chicken
Ina Garten


1 cup honey
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup minced garlic (8 to 12 cloves)
1/2 cup peeled and grated fresh ginger root
2 (3 1/2 pound) chickens, quartered, with backs removed


Cook the honey, soy sauce, garlic, and ginger root in a small saucepan over low heat until the honey is melted. Arrange the chicken in 1 layer in a shallow baking pan, skin side down, and pour on the sauce. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil. Marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the baking pan in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover the pan, turn the chicken skin side up, and raise the temperature to 375 degrees F. Continue baking for 30 minutes or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh and the sauce is a rich, dark brown.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Barefoot Bloggers Challenge - Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

Again I didn't make both recipes for the month of December 2009.  I actually had two sick kids and I was sick for over a week.

Michelle of Welcome to the Club picked the second recipe for the Barefoot Bloggers challenge group.

I thought this was a tasty and savory snack.  I also thought were a little heavy on my stomache but that could be from not being 100% well.

I would make these for an appetizer by using the smaller mushrooms.

Sorry I forgot to photograph them.

Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms


16 extra-large white mushrooms
5 tablespoons good olive oil, divided
2 1/2 tablespoons Marsala wine or medium sherry
3/4 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from the casings
6 scallions, white and green parts, minced
2 garlic cloves minced
2/3 cup panko crumbs
5 ounces mascarpone cheese, preferably from Italy
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Remove the stems from the mushrooms and chop them finely. Set aside. Place the mushroom caps in a shallow bowl and toss with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and Marsala. Set aside.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage, crumbling it with the back of a wooden spoon. Cook the sausage for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until it's completely browned. Add the chopped mushroom stems and cook for 3 more minutes. Stir in the scallions and garlic and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the panko crumbs, stirring to combine evenly with all the other ingredients. Finally, swirl in the mascarpone and continue cooking until the mascarpone has melted and made the sausage mixture creamy. Off the heat, stir in the Parmesan, parsley, and season with salt and pepper, to taste, Cool slightly.

Fill each mushroom generously with the sausage mixture. Arrange the mushrooms in a baking dish large enough to hold all the mushrooms in a snug single layer. Bake until the stuffing for 50 minutes, until the stuffing is browned and crusty.

Barefoot Bloggers Challenge - Company Pot Roast

I feel I haven't blogged or participated in any of the challenges lately.  It has been crazy around here for the past couple of months and I failed to complete both recipes for November & December.

One of November 2009's recipe was Company Pot Roast by Ina Garten.  This recipe was brought to us by Lisa of Lime in the Coconut.

We really enjoyed this flavorful dish.  I will definitely be making again soon.
Company Pot Roast


1 (4 to 5-pound) prime boneless beef chuck roast, tied
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
All-purpose flour
Good olive oil
2 cups chopped carrots (4 carrots)
2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
2 cups chopped celery (4 stalks)
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 to 4 leeks)
5 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 cups good red wine, such as Burgundy
2 tablespoons Cognac or brandy
1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes in puree
1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 chicken bouillon cube
3 branches fresh thyme
2 branches fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Pat the beef dry with a paper towel. Season the roast all over with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Dredge the whole roast in flour, including the ends. In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the roast and sear for 4 to 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Turn and sear the other side and then turn and sear the ends. This should take 4 to 5 minutes for each side. Remove the roast to a large plate.

Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the Dutch oven. Add the carrots, onions, celery, leeks, garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper and cook over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned. Add the wine and Cognac and bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, bouillon cube, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Tie the thyme and rosemary together with kitchen string and add to the pot. Put the roast back into the pot, bring to a boil, and cover. Place in the oven for 2 1/2 hours, until the meat is fork tender or about 160 degrees F internally. Turn the heat down to 250 degrees F after about an hour to keep the sauce at a simmer.

Remove the roast to a cutting board. Remove the herb bundle and discard. Skim off as much fat as possible from the sauce. Transfer half the sauce and vegetables to a blender or a food processor fitted with the steel blade and puree until smooth. Pour the puree back into the pot, place on the stovetop over low heat, and return the sauce to a simmer. Place 2 tablespoons flour and the butter in a small bowl and mash them together with a fork. Stir into the sauce and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring until thickened. Taste for seasonings. Remove the strings from the roast, and slice the meat. Serve warm with the sauce spooned over it.