Sunday, October 13, 2013

Spiedini Hoagies with Caprese Relish Recipe

Leave it  to Bobby Flay to make another delicious recipe.  My husband and I were watching Bobby Flay's Barbecue Addiction one morning and I was ready to make these sandwiches.  

Spiedini Hoagies with Caprese Relish 


12 oz hot Italian sausage
12 oz sweet Italian sausage
canola oil
salt and black pepper
1 pint yellow and red cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 pint bocconcini, or 1 pound fresh mozzarella cut into 1/2" dice
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon capers, drained
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/4 cup evoo, plus more for bread
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
French baguette or soft hoagie rolls
2 cloves garlic, halved
12 inch metal skewers


Heat the grill for high direct grilling.  Skewer a few sausages onto each skewer, brush with canola oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Grill the sausages until golden brown and slightly charred on both sides, about 5 minutes per side.  Remove the sausages to a platter and let rest 5 minutes before removing to a plate.

Toss the tomatoes with the bocconcini, basil, parsley, capers, onions, olive oil and red wine vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine.

Slice the bread open and put on the grill, cut-side down, and grill until lightly golden brown.  Remove and rub the surface with the garlic cloves, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Put a whole sausage on each roll and top with the caprese relish.  Alternatively, cut the sausage into 2 inch chunks before putting on the rolls.

Short Rib Wellington Pot Pie

One of my favorite cut of meat are short ribs.  I was looking around the internet for new recipes for the short ribs.  I came across a recipe from Williams Sonoma for Short Rib Wellington Pot Pie.

All I have to say is that this meal is well worth the energy and time it takes to put it together.  My mouth is watering just thinking of it.  The whole family loved them.

Short Rib Wellington Pot Pie


  • 2 1/4 lb. boneless beef short ribs, cut into 1-inch dice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/4 lb. prosciutto, cut into 1/4-inch squares
  • 3/4 lb. cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. beef demi-glace
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 cups pearl onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 sheet puff pastry, 10 to 11 inches square
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tsp. water


Preheat an oven to 325°F.

Season the beef with salt and pepper. In a 3 1/2-quart wide Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Working in batches, brown the beef on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes per batch. Transfer to a bowl.

Reduce the heat to medium. Add the prosciutto and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Add to the bowl with the beef. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 8 minutes. Add to the bowl with the beef.

Pour off the excess fat in the pot. Return the pot to medium heat and melt the butter. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in the wine and demi-glace and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the stock and bring to a simmer. Add the thyme, bay leaf, pearl onions, beef, prosciutto and mushrooms. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Cover the pot, transfer to the oven and cook until the beef is fork-tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Discard the bay leaf and spoon the excess fat off the cooking liquid. Stir in the parsley.

Increase the oven temperature to 400°F.

Place the puff pastry sheet on a lightly floured work surface. Using a sharp knife, score the pastry with diagonal lines about 2 inches apart, forming a diamond pattern. Brush the edge of the pot with water, then brush the pastry with the egg mixture. Place the pastry, egg wash side up, over the pot and press the edges to seal. Trim the overhanging pastry to 1 inch.

Transfer the pot to the oven and bake until the pastry is puffed and golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Serves 6 to 8.

Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.

Homemade Pizza Sauce

Homemade Pizza Sauce

1 15 oz. Can Tomato Sauce
1/2 Cup Finely Diced Onion
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Tablespoon Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 Teaspoon Dried Parsley
1/4 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
1/4 Teaspoon Basil
1/4 Teaspoon Onion Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
3/4 Teaspoon Granulated Sugar
Salt & Pepper, to taste

In a small saucepan on medium high heat add your butter with your olive oil. Once the butter has melted into the olive oil, add your onions and season with salt & pepper. Cook until the onions start to turn very light golden brown, about 3-4 minutes.

Turn the heat down to medium and add your tomato sauce, all of the seasonings/herbs, and the parmesan cheese. Mix everything well, cover and let simmer for 10 minutes.

Use right away or let cool and store in a air-tight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Foccacia Bread

Herbed and Parmesan Focaccia Bread


1 1/2 cups warm water (between 110 - 115 degrees)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 ounce (1 package) yeast
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt, plus more for seasoning
2 tablespoons mixed chopped herbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper


In a small bowl, dissolve the sugar in warm water.  Sprinkle the yeast over the mixture and let stand for 10 minutes, to bloom (it should begin to foam).

In  the mixer bowl with a dough hook attached, add 3 cups of  flour, salt, and yeast mixture.  Slowly turn it on and work the dough together.  Turn it up to medium and mix for 5 minutes. If the dough is sticky, continue mixing and gradually add the remaining flour.

Place this smooth ball of dough into an oiled bowl, cover, and set aside to rise for 3 hours.

Preheat over to 350 degrees.  Spread the dough out on baking dish/sheet and press "dimples" into it with your fingertips.  Drizzle with the oil, herbs, cheese and seasonings.  Bake until browned and cooked through.  let cool.

Birthday Surprise

My husband knows me so well.  he knows not to buy my jewelry, shoes or clothes.  So what did he buy me last year for my birthday, date night cooking class.

He kept hearing an ad on the radio for this place Create a Cook and thought that is what I am getting her. So he finally made the reservations and I am so glad he did.  It is a cooking class for 8 people.  The chef shows and tells us what we are making for dinner and explains everything step by step.   That night we made grilled homemade Cannelloni (which we brought home for another meal), chicken piccata (was dinner at class), Winter caprese salad, Herbed garlic bread, and for dessert Cannoli.

Taking this class with my husband was so much fun.  It made him realize what I do everyday is not easy.

Homemade Baked Beans

As I get older I look back and cherish the things I have of my grandmothers.  My grandmother and I didn't live close to one another when I was growing up, but I do remember cooking with her on our visits to her house.

Several years ago my parents moved from CT and when they did, my mom gave me my grandmothers bean pot.  I have only used it a handful of times.

Boston Baked Beans


2 cups navy beans
1/2 pound bacon
1 onion, finely diced
3 tablespoons molasses
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar


Soak beans overnight in cold water.  Simmer the beans in the same water until tender, approximately 1 to 2 hours.  Drain and reserve the liquid.

Preheat over to 325 degrees F.

Arrange the beans in 2 quart bean pot or casserole dish by placing a portion of the beans in the bottom of dish, and layering them with bacon and onion.

In a saucepan, combine molasses, salt, pepper, dry mustard, ketchup, worcestershire sauce and brown sugar.  Bring the mixture to a boil and pour over beans.  Pour in just enough of the reserved bean water to cover the beans.  cover the dish with a lid or aluminum foil.

Bake for 3-4 hours in preheated oven, until beans are tender.  Remove the lid about half way through cooking, and add more liquid if necessary to prevent the beans from getting too dry.

Mushroom Filled Phyllo Cups

Mushroom Filled Phyllo cups


4 sheets phyllo dough pastry
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
4 cups Shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon thyme, chopped
salt to taste
freshly cracked black peppercorns
2 tablespoons white wine
4 thyme sprigs
shaved parmesan


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Brush 4 muffin cups with melted butter.

** Thaw the phyllo dough if frozen on the counter at room temperature. To prevent the dough from drying out, take only what you will use immediately and cover the remaining dough with a towel.

Place one sheet of phyllo on a flat work surface, and using a pastry brush, lightly brush the dough with melted butter; crumple the sheet loosely into a 4-inch round shape and gently press into a muffin cup. Repeat this process with 3 more sheets of phyllo, brushing with melted butter, crumpling and fitting into muffin tin cups. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes, or until lightly brown.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet; add crushed garlic, sliced mushrooms and thyme. Stir over medium high heat for 4 minutes or until mushrooms are browned and liquid disappears. Remove from heat, stir in brandy, salt and pepper; cool slightly. Fill baked phyllo cups with mushroom mixture, garnish with shaved parmesan and sprig of thyme. Then serve.

** for the class we used the pre-formed phyllo cups that you can buy of the grocery store.  

Also pictured are the Southwest chicken CupsI

Appetizer Class

Last year I had signed up for an Appetizer and Dessert Class at a near by school through their adult ed department.

I didn't really know what to expect from the class.  I know what I wanted from the class - skills, knowledge of making mass amounts of appetizers and meeting new people.  The class didn't fail to full fill my expectations and more.

Over the three weeks we made so many recipes.


Roast Red Potatoes with Beef and sour cream
Apple Fennel Tart
Spring Rolls
Chocolate Mousse
Bread Pudding
Strawberry Shortcake
*Spicy BBQ wings
*Proscutto with melon
*Salad Nicoise
Cold Strawberry Soup
Seafood Casino in Fillo Cups
Mushroom Fillo cups
Caribbean Chicken Fillo cups

Unfortunately, I missed one night of class due to being sick.  The items with an * are the one I missed.

As I was typing the recipes to share, I realized the recipes didn't make a whole lot of sense.  Yes, I was instructed by a Chef.  He did say it was his first class to teach and he was so use to throwing things together.

So I will be remaking these appetizers in order to have the proper measurements.

The Best Cupcake I have ever made

Who would have thought stout beer in a chocolate cupcake would be a good combination?  Certainly not me.

I am "game" for any recipe.  I was intrigued by the beer in a dessert. Let me just say, the stout and chocolate plays off of each so well.  I found this recipe on this website.

Guinness Cupcakes


For the Cupcakes

1 (12-ounce) bottle Guinness Stout
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (I used Scharffen Berger Cocoa)
2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

For the Vanilla Bean Buttercream

1 stick salted butter – room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter – room temperature
1/2 cup shortening
1 tablespoon Clear Vanilla extract
1 1/2 pounds confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar, 10x)
4 tablespoons very cold milk


For the Cupcakes

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the Guinness, milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Mix in the sour cream.
3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, flour, and baking soda. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet Guinness mixture.
4. Butter 24 muffin tins and divide the batter among the muffin tins.
5. Bake 25 minutes, until risen and set in the middle but still soft and tender. Cool before turning out of the tins.

For the Vanilla Bean Buttercream

1. Cream the butter and shortening in the bowl of an electric or stand mixer.
2. Add the clear vanilla extract and combine well. Begin adding in the sugar and mixing thoroughly after each addition.
3. After all of the sugar has been added and mixed thoroughly, begin adding the very cold milk one tablespoon at a time, combining very well after each addition (mixer on medium-high to high speed) until you reach the desired consistency.

The Crazies of Life

This past year I have gone back to work.  A friend of mine called to see if I would be interested in working as a childcare provider for a  Home for Teen moms.  I was skeptical at first, but once there I just loved being around little ones again.

Since my last post I have done so much cooking, not that I get a chance to post since school is back in session and the boys hog the computer.  I know still no excuse of posting.  

I truly love cooking and have attended a couple of classes.  I vow to get back to blogging and hope to reach out to more people.