2013 New Recipe Quest


#40, #41, #42 and #43
Cookie Craze
So there is no denying it; I am going to get so fat this holiday season.

Call it beginners luck, or conquering the fear of my electric mixer, but I actually made edible cookies from scratch last week!

And what better way to celebrate than by inviting a bunch of women over to share and exchange the deliciousness?
Well, with wine, of course.

Look at how beautiful our cookies came out!

Just make sure you platter and gift them immediately, unless you intend on eating them all yourself....or risk your three year old son eating the Hershey kisses off the top of all the cookies in reach...

Here are the cookie recipes I conquered:

Melty Coconut Macaroons
(They weren't supposed to be melty, but I did something wrong....regardless, they were delish)
*Ina Garten's Recipe for Coconut Macaroons @ foodnetwork.com

Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies
(Hard as a rock...but my son loved them...)
*Recipe found on the lid of Quaker oatmeal, just substituted dried cranberries in place of raisins

Cornmeal Butter Cookies with Raspberry Jam
(You will notice that these didn't make the platter....ehh hemm....sorry....)
*Recipe found in Cook's magazine

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies with Sea Salt
(Seriously salty addictive)
*Recipe found on foodnetwork.com

So I know that I am not the first person on earth to make cookies, or have a cookie exchange party, but damn it was fun!
I think this has to become an annual event!

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Recipe #39
My husband is a peanut butter fanatic; The more peanut-buttery, the better.
So, for his birthday I wanted to make him a peanut butter something...cake, pie, truffles, candy?!
I had great luck over Thanksgiving making a pumpkin cheesecake (Thank you Paula Deen!), so I thought maybe I could make a peanut butter cheesecake...

Unfortunately, who knew that finding a decent peanut butter cheesecake recipe would be so difficult!?
The reviews read too mild, too strong, too stiff, too soft...

I guess everybody likes their peanut butter in different capacities.

As a reminder, I am not very good at baking.
In fact, I usually fuck it up pretty bad.

So, the thought of recreating a recipe, or adapting a recipe usually scares me...knowing deep down that any type of tinkering usually ends up in a disaster.
But, due to the fact that I couldn't find my vision, I was forced to try and adapt.
So I dove.

What happened?!
Pure brilliance.

I am a kitchen ninja.

The secret is the chocolate graham cracker crust...oh, and the miniature chocolate chips peppered throughout...oh, and the melty peanut butter chocolate topping...
oh, and the......well, you get the idea.
You will think you have gone to chocolate peanut butter heaven.

Makes one badass cake
Preheat oven to 325. 
You will need a spring form pan, parchment paper and a large baking or roasting dish for a waterbath.

For Crust:
One 10 ounce box of chocolate Teddy Grahams (or ten ounces of chocolate graham crackers...but the Teddy Grahams are sadistically fun to crush...)
1 stick of salted butter
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
3 tablespoons of dark brown sugar 

Directions: Cut a piece of parchment to fit the bottom of your springform pan and place into the pan. Crush the graham crackers (I put them in a ziplock and hammer them with a mallot), put them into a bowl with the cinnamon and brown sugar. Melt the butter and mix well. Press into the bottom of your prepared springform pan, coming up the edges ever so slightly.

For Filling:
1 1/4 cup of peanut butter (don't use all natural)
2, 8 ounce packages of cream cheese
1 cup of sugar
3/4 cup of sour cream
3 eggs
2 tsp. of vanilla 
1/2 package of miniature chocolate chips (5 ounces)
1/2 a package of peanut butter chips (5 ounces)

Beat the cream cheese, peanut butter and sugar in a large bowl until fluffy. Beat in the sour cream. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Beat in the vanilla. Stir in the chips. Dump into the crust.

Bake for an hour in 325 degree oven with a waterbath. Check doneness around 45 minutes. The top should look set.

Refrigerate for a minimum of four hours and up to two days.

Remove from pan and top with any or all of the following. 


For Topping:
- Whipped Cream: Heavy Cream + Conf. Sugar + Vanilla extract
- Melted chocolate and/or melted peanut butter chips
- Crushed peanuts
- Miniature chocolate chips

ps. This recipe was so quick and easy = perfect for your next holiday meal or gathering.
You might even impress your mother in law!


Recipe #38
After housing a loaf of bread that didn't mold for six months, I decided that it was time to start my own baking. 
Sadly, I've been trying unsuccessfully for what seems like an eternity.
Too hard. Too dense. Inedible. Burnt.

Well, now I am officially queen of my kitchen....
Okay, perhaps this is a bit of an exaggeration... 
but that is how I feel after making my first official, successful batch.
You can actually eat this bread!

These loaves didn't dent my counter, or break my bread knife when I cut through them....dare I say that they are actually good!?

I feel like I cleared the proverbial bread hurdle.

Call me Martha 

King Arthur's 'Hearth Bread'
Crunchy Crust, Doughy White Center

King Arthur's Half White, Half Wheat

Half White, Half Wheat's Glorious Inside

Funny Looking But Fabulous In My Book!

Carbs for Days

Beware, I may weigh twenty pounds more the next time you see me. 

Both the white bread recipe ("Hearth Bread"), and the wheat bread recipe I used were taken from King Arthur Flour's website. 
Thank you King Arthur, I will be seeing you again soon!

My next feat: Black Russian Bread!
What is your favorite bread recipe!?

Recipe #37
Did you know that Goat is the number one protein consumed world wide?
News flash: A lot of people think the cow is sacred and that we are crazy for eating beef...

It is also lower in fat and higher in protein than beef or pork! 
Or at least that is what I read...
Who knows if it is true, however I can tell you one thing; It is delicious.
I expected it to taste more like beef, but it was actually more like pork. 
Light, yet rich and savory.

Also, the word on the street is that is the new trendy protein to cook, according to yuppy housewives across America. 
Check out the NY Times article:

My good friend Paul actually cooked this dish...but I stood in close proximity so I feel like I played my part....

Serves a generous crowd

One, bone in, hind end/including shank of a Goat (approximately 7 pounds)
Salt and Pepper
1 large onion, roughly chopped
2 handfuls of radishes, cleaned and chopped in half
4 red potatoes, cleaned and chopped in half
3 carrots, cleaned and roughly chopped
2 ribs of celery, cleaned and roughly chopped
thyme, rosemary and/or parsley sprigs

3 cups of red wine

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Place the goat in a large, deep broiling pan. 
Season both sides of the goat well with salt and pepper. Place in the preheated oven for two hours.

Meanwhile, gather and prepare the rest of the ingredients.

After two hours, take out the goat and dump in all of the ingredients. Cover and braise for two more hours.

Remove from the oven, allow to rest for about 10 minutes and pull the meat off of the bone.


*It was difficult to find goat meat; Most markets do not sell it, so you will most likely have to go to a Mediterranean or Middle-Eastern market.
If you are one of my PA people, there is a great market in the same plaza as Olga's Greek Cuisine that sells goat, but they only have it fresh on weekends, so plan ahead. 
The man behind the counter is super nice...even though he looked at me like I had three heads when I asked for goat meat.
Crazy white girl...

Recipe #36
Kale Chips...Recipe!?
I admittedly try to stay away from food trends;
Bacon wrapped scallops.
Eggs on everything. 
Foamed smoke.
Miniature versions of cheeseburgers. 
Fancy tater tots....

 but I always dive in head first at some point or another...and then realize why they became a trend in the first place.

Kale is the perfect example.
Kale salad, kale chips, kale juice....blah blah blah blah blah.....
Who cares, right!?

Well...now I understand.
It is like the snack Gods heard my call (and saw the size of my ass), and sent these to earth to save me from myself.

 Scooch over Frito Lay.

Ingredients and Directions:
2 heaping handfuls of kale, chopped and cleaned
1-2 tablespoons of olive oil 
1 tsp. of kosher salt

Toss to coat with olive oil and salt. Spread kale in a single layer on a parchment lined pan. Bake at 375 until crisp. Dig in.

These will go perfectly with my bacon wrapped scallops...or my smokey crabcakes, topped with foam...or my fancy tots...or my miniature cheeseburgers...
Throw an egg on top!
Oh the possibilities!


Recipe #35
Greek Inspired Orzo with Artichokes
Orzo, check.
Artichokes, check, check.
Cheese, check, check, check!

This is a great side dish, or accompaniment to any grilled protein, however in a giant bowl with seared spicy shrimp makes it a great crowd pleasing main dish.
I adapted this recipe from Mary Hobika, and I admit that hers was better, but this might be a close contender.
Thank you Mary for the inspiration!

Serves a million hungry people

1 box of orzo, cooked al dente
1 cucumber, seeded and chopped (peeled optional)
1 red pepper, seeded and finely chopped and/or two cups of grape tomatoes, quartered (or roasted tomatoes are delightful too)
4 green onions, chopped 
1 cup of chopped dill (or more to liking)
1/2 cup of chopped mint
1/2 cup of chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil to coat
The juice from two lemons + tsp. of lemon zest

2 cups of feta cheese
1 can of artichoke hearts, artichoke hearts quartered

Optional: Grilled shrimp that was tossed with olive oil, salt and crushed red pepper before grilling

Boil water and dump in the orzo. Add a tablespoon of salt. Stir and cook to package directions.
While the orzo is cooking, clean and chop all of your vegetables and your herbs. Juice and zest your lemons.
When the orzo is cooked, toss with olive oil and lemon juice. 
Toss in all of your ingredients. 
Salt and Pepper to taste
Optional: Add grilled shrimp
This recipe is so adaptable. Feel free to adjust the ingredients to your liking. Especially the herbs. If you like dill, add more dill...and on, and on....


Recipe #34

Another beautiful weekend deserves a beautiful, clean start. 

Here is a great, healthy drink to kick it off, before the onslaught of late Autumn wine tours, spiced cider and hot toddies.

Believe me, your belly will rejoice and thank you later!

This is a great green juice recipe that I found and adapted from Gwyneth Paltrow's cookbook 
"It's All Good: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great"

Thank you Gwyneth for the 302 pages of guilt...
I mean, inspiration...


5 large leaves of kale, ribs discarded, leaves torn or roughly chopped
1 lemon, zest and pith removed
1 large apple (I used Honey Crisp), roughly chopped
1, 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, chopped
1 sprig of fresh mint
1/2 cup water

Blend in a powerful blender or push ingredients through a juicer. Press the mixture through a fine mesh sieve and drink! YUM!

Have a great weekend everyone!

I totally ripped off this idea from my two best friends in Old Forge, 
but imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right!?!
Ya, I know it is obnoxious......I apologize...
But what a great idea!

Also, my mother slaved away picking these berries; a mixture of raspberries and blackberries, and is probably balking at the fact that I am making boozy beverages from her labors. 
I'm sorry mom.

So, at the risk of insulting my mother and my two best friends, we are making "Berry Booze"...Adirondack vodka infused with Adirondack berries.

I know who is going to get the first two bottles!

Have a great Friday Everyone! 
(Especially my mom and PKR)

Stay tuned for more images as the vodka steeps!

Recipe #32
Tzatziki with Mint and Honey
We have been experimenting with Greek foods a lot this Fall, and this may be the one simple, successful thing I have made.
I will be tucking this recipe away in my memory bank for years to come.

I know that you can buy tzatziki at any local supermarket, but homemade is truly so much better. 
Not to mention you can control your flavors, and adapt them to your liking.
 I urge you to not skip the mint and/or honey in this recipe. My husband does not care for mint (or so he claims), but he enthusiastically agreed that it balances out the flavors and gives it a fresh kick. 
Try it once, and then omit it the next time if you don't agree.

We served it atop toasted flat bread brushed with olive oil, baked chicken pulled from the bone, and a nice Greek salad. 
This made a simple, clean dinner, but would be perfect for lunch, or served as an appetizer.
I imagine pairing it with all things dip-able 
(I'm thinking toasted pita, raw or roasted veggies, grilled shrimp...)...

How do you eat your tzatziki?!


1 small container of plain Greek yogurt 
1 cup of sour cream
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1 cup of fresh dill, chopped
1 cup of fresh mint, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tsp of cumin
juice from one lemon
2 tablespoons of honey

1. Gather all of your ingredients. Chop your herbs, garlic and cucumber. 
2. Mix them well.
3. Allow the mixture to sit to enhance the flavors, from one hour to overnight. The longer it sits, the more intense the flavors.
4. Enjoy with anything dip-able, or serve with grilled/baked chicken, pork, fish or beef. 


Recipe #31
Mama Moussaka
Okay, so this photo doesn't do the inner gooey-ness of this dish any justice, and I didn't get a chance to take another pic before we wolfed it down, but trust me on this one....
 Man, oh, man....this is some good shit.

I can't believe this dish isn't more common, especially for those trying to reduce carbs. It is like a pasta-less version of eggplant parmesan/lasagna.
Much to my delight I made this recipe in trying to prepare for our annual 'Feast.' 
Our theme is Greek food this year, and if this dish is any indication of what is to come, we hit the nail on the head with this choice.

Serves 6-8

2 lbs ground lamb or beef (I used a beef, veal, pork mixture)
2 medium eggplants, sliced lengthwise (about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large fresh tomato, sliced
2 cups tomato sauce
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 cup parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

1. Slice eggplants, lengthwise about 1/4 inch thick; rinse, drain and pat dry
2. Cook onion until translucent
3. Add meat and cook until brown; drain fat/juices
4. Add sauce to the meat and mix. Adjust flavors with s/p.
5. Create a layer of eggplant in a baking dish trying to not leave any gaps between the eggplants, then top with meat sauce then repeat. Finish with a layer of the fresh, sliced tomatoes.
6. Top with panko and parmesan cheese
7. Bake for 30 minutes until panko is golden brown and you can easily poke through the eggplant. If the panko browns before the eggplant is cooked, top with a loose piece of foil.

Options: Add crushed red pepper to the sauce for extra spice, or use porto mushrooms instead of meat for your protein for a vegetarian version. 

What is your favorite Greek recipe!?
Please share as we prepare for our annual Greek food festival in November!

Recipe #30
Rabbit with Tarragon, Dijon, Garlic and Cream

I can't take full responsibility for this recipe as it was technically Todd's deal, however, I set up all of his mis-en-place so I feel I have partial rights.
This cookbook has never failed to produce the most delicious meals. 
Good ol' trusty LL Bean!

Rabbit Baked in Tarragon, Mustard, Garlic and Cream

Serves 6

2 rabbits, pieced
1 tsp. fresh chopped tarragon
3 tblsp. dijon mustard
2 tblsp. minced garlic
1/3 cup minced parsley
3 tblsp. red wine vinegar
1 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup heavy cream
freshly ground pepper
1-2 tblsp. chopped parsley

*You can substitute chicken if you prefer

Preheat oven to 350

1. Coat the rabbit pieces with mustard. Mix the garlic and parsley together with a little salt and sprinkle half over the rabbit.
2. Combine the vinegar and broth and pour into a baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining garlic/parsley mix and put the rabbit pieces on top.
3. Bring to a boil, then cover the baking dish and bake for about an hour.
4. Check after about 45 minutes to see if tender and turn the pieces of the rabbit. When tender throughout, remove the rabbit and keep warm.
5. Pour the cream into the juices in the casserole dish and boil to reduce the liquid by half or more; it should have the consistency of a light cream sauce.
6. Salt and pepper rabbit and return to casserole. Spoon with sauce and adjust seasoning if necessary. Sprinkle chopped parsley on top and serve.

Hippity Hop!

(This recipe came from the 'LL Bean Game and Fish Cookbook' by Angus Cameron and Judith Jones, Random House; 1983)

Recipe #29
Spicy Pickled Beets
In learning this whole gardening thing, I thought I over-planted my beets; however, once they were cleaned, roasted and pickled, it didn't seem so over the top.
I adapted this pickling recipe from one that I used last year for my green beans; 
I thought that the heat from the peppers would balance the sweetness from the beets, and I believe it was a success. 
Plus, the acid from the lemons added dimension and balanced out the sweetness as well.
I made one batch and it was enough pickling liquid for three jars of roasted beets and one jar of green beans.
Now, we can eat our garden at leisure!
Do you have any good pickling recipes you want to share!? 
Send them our way!

Roasted Beets, Peeled, Cleaned and Ready to Rock
A Season of Snacks
The Magical Fruit

This recipe is for pickling the roasted beets. If you want to adapt it for pickled green beans, simply trim, clean and blanch the green beans and add a 1/4 cup of sugar to the recipe. Also, these should be stored in the refrigerator until they are eaten; if you wish to can them, follow the link provided below.

4 jars with lids
8 cups of beets, cleaned, roasted and peeled; larger beets cut into smaller sections 
Dried Chile Peppers (Such as arbol or thai; 1 per jar)
1 lemon, sliced thin
2 cups apple-cider vinegar
2 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon of multi-colored peppercorns
2 tablespoons of kosher salt

1. Clean four jars well; put cleaned, roasted beets in the jars with lemon slices. Try to put the same amount of lemons in each jar.
2. Bring water, vinegar, sugar (for green beans), salt, chiles, and peppercorns to a boil. As soon as the liquid boils, pour over the beets into the jars, making sure each jar gets a chile pepper, and equal amounts of peppercorns.
3. Seal jars and refrigerate at least overnight and up to a few weeks to let the flavors develop.
4. Enjoy on tiny party forks.

Here is the link if you wish to can:

Tell us, what is your favorite food to pickle!?

Recipe #28
Flourless Espresso Dark-Chocolate Cakelettes
Holy Gluten Free Heavennnnnnn!

Imagine the richest brownie you have ever eaten meets the silkiest fudge you have ever eaten...
this is their love child.

(Plus, the mixture of strawberries, blueberries + fresh whipped cream and powdered sugar makes this a perfect patriotic dessert for the summer holidays:)

3, 10 oz. packs of frozen raspberries in syrup, thawed (I didn't follow this step in this image, but I highly recommend it)

12 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 lb. (4 sticks) unsalted butter, diced
1 cup cold pressed coffee, espresso or 1 tbsp. instant espresso powder in 1 cup of water
1 cup, packed golden brown sugar
8 large eggs, beaten

Additional to serve:
fresh raspberries +/or strawberries
fresh whipped cream
powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Puree raspberries and syrup in batches. Strain. Chill.
3. Line bottom of 9 inch x 2 inch cake pan with parchment. Or set up cup cake pans with liners
4. Set up all of your ingredients; chop chocolate, dice butter and keep chilled, beat eggs, pack brown sugar etc.
5. Bring butter, espresso, and brown sugar to boil in a medium saucepan; stir to dissolve sugar.
6. Add chocolate; whisk until smooth
7. Cool slightly, and whisk in the eggs
8. Pour batter into cake or cupcake pans
9. Set up a water bath and bake cake/cupcakes until they can be pierced with a knife and the knife comes out clean; 45 minutes to one hour.
10. Chill overnight.
11. Serve with raspberry sauce, fresh raspberries/strawberries, fresh whipped cream and powdered sugar.
12. Your welcome!

Happy Fourth of July Everyone! 

Recipe #27
I just bought Martha Stewart's cookbook "Meatless," and there is a reason she has built an entertaining empire. 
I dogeared almost every page... 
Here, I made her 'White - Cheddar Corn Chowder,' but made a few personal adjustments. 
I can't help but tinker.
It is a beautiful, low fat, vegetarian, gluten-free recipe. 
Only 233 calories per serving!
Give it a go, and really try to use fresh sweet corn; I think it made all of the difference.

2 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (I used 1/4 tsp = more heat)
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc. Use what you drink)
3 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces (I only used two potatoes and cut them into tiny 1/4 inch pieces)
2 cups vegetable stock; preferably homemade
1 cup skim milk
3 cups fresh corn kernels (from about 6 ears)
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 ounces sharp white cheddar, grated (about 3/4 cup)

1. Heat olive oil in a medium pot over medium. Cook onion, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add celery and cook, stirring, until tender, about 4 minutes. Add coriander, cumin and cayenne. Raise heat to medium-high, and add wine. Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, 2-3 minutes.
2. Add potatoes, stock and milk, and bring to a boil (skim any foam from the surface). Reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
3. Add corn and cook until tender, 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat. Transfer 2 cups of soup to a blender (I did 1/2 of the batch). Let cool slightly, then puree until smooth. Stir back into into the pan and reheat if needed. Season with salt and pepper. To serve, divide among 6 bowls, top each with cheese, and sprinkle with pepper.
(Chowder can be cooled completely, then refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days; reheat over low)

Here is the link to 'Meatless':

Enjoy Everyone!

(ps. Dear Carnivorous Friends, I think the next time I make this recipe, I will top with fresh crabmeat! Doesn't that sound good!? ;)

Recipe #26
Strawberry-Basil Shortcake with Milk
Okay, I didn't actually make this. I did supervise though, so it counts! Right!?

Strawberry season is here, and what better way to indulge than with a simple, delicious bowl of strawberry shortcake.

My husband grew up having this for dinner, and I thought that was a silly concept.
In my world Strawberry Shortcake was a dessert. 
A mid-day snack.
A treat.

Well, I am converted.

 He made this for dinner, and true to his family's tradition, he used milk instead of whipped cream or ice cream. 
Again, really!? 
Homemade whipped cream is what it is all about. And if not whipped cream, vanilla ice cream is what it is all about.

Well, again, I think I am converted.

The way the milk soaks into the bisquit is texturally addictive, and after my first trial, I switched to 1% to lessen the fat, and the flavor was not compromised at all. 
It was still yummy.

Also, I added a few sprigs of basil (to which my husband balked), and that too added a depth of great flavor, but it is not necessary.

And with great strawberries abundant, you don't even have to mascerate them = less sugar!
Get them while they are fresh!


1 flat of strawberries, halved and cleaned 
milk (whole, 2%, 1% or skim, depending on your diet)
Bisquick* (follow directions and ingredients on box)
Sugar (amount to personal preference; My son and I didn't use any because the berries were so sweet and ripe on their own, my husband sprinkled generously because that is how he rolls)
Optional: Basil

1. Prepare bisquits per the Bisquick directions. Or better yet, use a homemade recipe!! Don't buy the store made angel foodcake or shortcake; you want them out of the oven, warm. This recipe doesn't require any other cooking, so do it right. And when you get down to it, making Bisquick shouldn't put a kink in your side.
2. Slice and clean strawberries. If the strawberries are ripe, leave them be; if they need a little sweetness, add sugar, toss to coat, and allow them to mascerate for about a 1/2 hour or while the bisquits cook.
3. To serve, put the warm bisquit in a bowl, top with strawberries and drizzle with milk. Taste and adjust sugar to diet and liking. Save some for the rest of your family.

Any and all homemade bisquit recipes are welcome;
Please share if you have one that you love and recommend!

Recipe #25
Artichoke and Swiss Stuffed Chicken Breasts
I admit it. 
I love Teresa Giudice's cookbooks.
I know, I know, I know she is a crazed maniac, but her recipes are surprisingly delicious. 
And easy.
A few years back I purchased her first cookbook for my mother as a joke because we both loved the show; and it turned out great.
Then recently, my mother got me her new grilling cookbook as a joke because we loved her first cookbook; and it also turned out great.

Who knew!!?

I have a new respect for this woman. 
Bravo depicts her as trash, but here she is raising four pre-teen girls, supporting her husband, and cooking good meals all the while...all with her hair perfectly straightened!
Good for her. 
Which one of us hasn't wanted to flip a table once or twice!?

She doesn't talk as much trash in the newest cookbook, or throw any of her "good" friends under the bus, but she is still pretty transparent in this version, so it makes for fun reading atop the good recipes. 

This is a take off of Teresa's 'Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Artichokes and Fontina.'
Here, I baked the chicken, instead of grilling it, and I used swiss cheese as opposed to fontina. 
Just personal preferences.
I served it with sauteed spinach with farm fresh butter, and it was fabulicious!

Thank you Teresa for constant entertainment and these yummy recipes.

Recipe (From "Fabulicious! On the Grill):
Makes 6 Servings

Basil-Rosemary Marinade:
1 (6 oz) jar marinated artichoke hearts (here I used a 12 oz jar because I LOVE artichokes. The more the better in my book!)
1/4 cup of dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
1/4 cup evoo
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
2 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Chicken Breasts:
6 Boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1/2 cup shredded fontina cheese (here I substituted swiss, because I don't care for Fontina, and it worked very well)

1. To make the marinade: Drain the artichoke hearts, reserving the marinade from the jar. Set the artichoke hearts aside. Whisk the wine, oil, reserved artichoke marinade, basil, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper together in a medium bowl.
2. To make the chicken: Working with one chicken breast half at a time, use a thin sharp knife to cut horizontally through the center of the chicken, cutting almost, but not quite, to the other side. Transfer chicken to a 1 gallon resealable plastic bag. Add the marinade and close the bag. Refrigerate, occassionally turning the bag, for 1 to 2 hours
3. Coarsely chop the reserved artichoke hearts. Transfer to a bowl and combine with the fontina cheese. Remove the chicken from the marinade, discarding the marinade. Open up a chicken breast half like a book. Place about 1/6 of the artichoke mixture on one side of the chicken, and close to cover with the other half. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts and the artichoke mixture. Let stand at room temperature while prepping the grill. 
4. Preheat the grill for direct cooking over medium heat (400)
*I baked, instead of grilled the chicken, and it worked very well!!!

Don't worry. 
I won't tell anyone you like it too. 
I guess there is a reason she is a 
New York Times Best Seller; 
Somebody besides me must be buying them!
Is it you!?

Here are the links to her grilling cookbook as well as her original cookbook:

Recipe #24

So, my husband declared this week "Meat Week," and since I am trying to reduce my carbohydrate intake, this works to my advantage. 
I can't, however, have steak on the grill every night, so I have to be a little creative.

Here is a quick, easy version of beef carpaccio; 
one of my favorite appetizers at many an Italian restaurant. 
Here, I just used the rarest roast beef I could find instead of slicing it from a raw piece of beef. 
I know that it isn't the "real" thing, but it is still yummy.

My husband called it 'Roast Beef Salad'....but I think Karra-paccio sounds so much nicer.
I am pretty fancy.

Yields One Large Appetizer to Be Shared

1/8 lb. of the rarest roast beef you can find (or slice raw beef from a tenderloin...freeze first so you can slice as thin as possible)

One large handful of washed and spun spring greens or fresh baby spinach

One large roasted red pepper, sliced (or a mix of roasted red peppers and banana peppers, sliced)

3 tablespoons of capers, drained

Olive Oil (+-1 tablespoon)
Truffle Oil (gentle drizzle)
Good Balsamic Vinegar (+- 1 tablespoon)
Shaved Parmesan Cheese
Freshly Ground Pepper + Kosher Salt

On a large plate, 
Lay a bed of greens; top with peppers; top with beef; top with capers and shaved parmesan; Drizzle with olive oil, truffle oil and balsamic vinegar (to taste, but be gentle with the truffle oil); Season with freshly ground pepper and kosher salt.

Share and Enjoy!

Recipe #23

Caesar Pleaser

I don't know if this can technically be considered "vegetarian," since it does contain anchovies, but c'mon...close enough, right!? 
I guess I'd serve it to my non-vegetarian friends without muttering a word, but if somebody shows up with conviction, I guess I would be nice enough to disclose that it does contain fish...
I grilled the romaine, which is unnecessary, but adds a nice depth of flavor. 
Also, I can't take full credit for this recipe; It is adapted from one of our favorite restaurants that used to make it table side, 1980's style.
It is delicious.
I like it. 
Try it on for size and let me know what you think.


1/2 can of anchovy fillets; draining is optional; more flavorful if you don't drain them
1/2 tablespoon of capers
1 garlic clove, minced

1. Mash the above ingredients into a paste (See above image)

Splash of Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
splash of balsamic vinegar
1 egg
1/2 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper

2. Mix all of the above ingredients

Olive Oil (1-2 cups)
Parmesan Cheese/Romano Cheese (3 cups)
3 Heads of Romaine Lettuce, chopped, cleaned and spun ( optional: brush with oil, salt and pepper and grill until wilted and warm)
2 cups of croutons (homemade recommended)

3. Add olive oil in a slow drizzle to the above ingredients, stirring as you add
4. Add Parmesan/Romano Cheese and toss with lettuce and croutons to coat
5. Sprinkle with extra Parmesan/Romano cheese

I apologize that I neglected to take a photo of the finished product; I was too busy chowing down. 
Oh well, I guess I'll have to make it again! 


Recipe #22
Black Bean and Sweet Corn Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Melty Deliciousness
With Toasted Panko for Crunch
With Chopped Cilantro

Yields 4 large or 6 small servings

4 Medium/Large Poblano Peppers or 6 Small, roasted and peeled
16 ounces of canned black beans, drained and rinsed
2 ears of sweet corn, grilled with olive oil, salt and pepper and cut from the stalk
2 green onions, chopped
2 cups of monterey jack cheese
1 cup of chopped fresh cilantro
8 tablespoons of whipped cream cheese
2 cups of panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon of butter

Sour Cream, Hot Sauce and Extra Cilantro for serving

1. Roast and peel poblano peppers. Slit up one side and remove seeds and ribs of peppers. Rinse and pat dry. Set aside.
2. Mix black beans, corn, green onions, monterey jack cheese and 1/2 cup of cilantro.
3. Spread equal amounts of cream cheese inside each pepper
4. Stuff each pepper with the black bean/corn/cheese mixture
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes
6. In a pan, melt butter and toast panko until golden
7. Remove from the oven and top with toasted panko. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with hot sauce and sour cream (or creme fraiche).

This dish was good, but it felt like it was missing something. I served it with quinoa on the side, but I think I may add it to the stuffing mixture in the future. 
Also, instead of serving it with hot sauce, I think I will try to make a spicy red pepper/tomato based sauce and/or a queso fresco...
So many options! 
Try it out and let me know what you think.

Eat Up! 
Cha Cha Cha!

Recipe #21
Artichoke and Poblano Cakes with Asiago Cheese Sauce

We recently went to dinner and they served artichoke cakes with a Cajun remoulade as an appetizer. 
I liked it, but I couldn't help but redesign the recipe just a little in my head as I ate. 
I'm a jerk that way.
I went home and immediately sketched out a plan.
Yes to the concept, no to the cajun sauce. 
Sub panko for traditional breadcrumbs for better texture? Yes.
Poblanos for heat!? Yes.  
More cheese. Yes. 
What kind? Asiago or Pecorino. 
Definitely. More. Cheese. 
What about a cheese sauce on the side too!?! Oooooo...Okay, Yes.
Lemon for brightness!? Yes. 

So since I didn't have a recipe, I created these puppies as I would a crab cake, just subbing in the artichokes for the crab, and adjusting the other ingredients to suite. 
I added roasted Poblano peppers for heat, lemon juice for extra acidity and both Pecorino and Asiago cheese for richness. Plus, I made a cheese sauce on the side for good measure.

They turned out super delicious, and much more affordable than their crabby cousin.
So easy and adaptable. 
I will be making these again.
Give them a go and let me know what you think!

Artichoke Cakes with Asiago Cream Sauce
Sock Monkey Dipping Sauce for the Distinguished House Guest

Yields approximately 6 large cakes or 12 small cakes

1 16 oz. Can of Artichokes Hearts in Brine, drained, rinsed and chopped
2 cups of panko bread crumbs
1 cup of mayonnaise
1/4 cup grated pecorino
1/4 cup shredded Asiago
1 poblano pepper, roasted, peeled and seeded, and chopped
1/4 of red bell pepper, finely chopped
3 green onions, cleaned and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
juice from half of one lemon + lemon slices for serving
vegetable oil for frying (not a lot...you don't want to drown them)

Cream Sauce (below)
Sriracha Sauce

1. Rinse, drain and chop artichokes. Allow to sit in a colander to drain further.
2. Saute red bell pepper, green onions, and garlic in one tablespoon of oil. Salt and Pepper. Saute until bright and slightly tender
3. Mix together the artichoke hearts, panko, mayonnaise, cheeses, poblano pepper, parsley or cilantro, mixture from step two, juice of lemon, and s/p. Add more mayonnaise if the mixture is too dry. Add more panko if it is too wet. 
Stir well to distribute ingredients equally.
4. Form mixture into patties (about a palm full of mixture per patty for 6 cakes)
5. Set on a tray lined with parchment. Sprinkle additional panko on top of each cake.
6. Refrigerate for a minimum of one hour to set
7. Preheat oven to 350
8. Pour approximately 4 tablespoons of oil into a pan. Heat oil in pan until shimmery. Drop cakes into oil and fry until golden on each side. Work in batches if necessary
9. Drain on a paper towel lined plate if you used too much oil
10. Transfer back to the parchment lined pan and place in the oven for 25 minutes until cooked through. 
11. Serve warm with lemon slices, cream sauce and drops of Sriracha sauce (optional)

Asiago-Pecorino Cream Sauce:
2 cups of whole milk
1/2 stick of unsalted butter
3 tablespoons of flour
freshly ground pepper
(kosher salt)
2 cups of Asiago Cheese, shredded
1 cup of Pecorino cheese
**1 cup of chopped, roasted poblanos would be good here too

1. Melt butter
2. Add flour and stir until a foamy paste forms
3. Add pepper 
4. Add milk and stir until the milk is hot but not boiling
5. Slowly add cheeses, stirring all the while until thick. If the sauce is too runny, add more cheese.
6. Taste and adjust. Add a little bit of salt if necessary.

This entire recipe would pair really well with a crisp salad as a main course, or really well as an appetizer if made into smaller cakes.

And as always, let me know what you think! 

Recipe #17, #18, #19 + #20

Few things make me happier than good friends and good food. 
Lots of food. 
It was a little chilly out, but a ton of calories and laughter kept us warm.
Here are a few of the items that filled our bellies.

Candied Bacon with Pecans

Parmesan + Thyme Crisps
Jalapeno + Cheddar Shortbread
Grilled Grapes and Sausages

All of the recipes were taken from Ina Garten's, the 'Barefoot Contessa's' new cookbook "Foolproof." 
Here is the links for Ina's new 'Foolproof' cookbook which includes the full recipes and notes.


Enjoy, and Thank You Ina!

Recipe #16
Strawberry Cupcake Cop-Out

I don't think Betty Crocker's strawberry cake mix counts as a new recipe, does it?!

Well, it is true...this is the first time I've ever made this flavor...

(Work with me, I'm desperate this week)

C'mon....Do you really need the recipe?!

Recipe #15

I feel like I have made a million versions of ratatouille, a million different times in my life, but I had never dubbed it 'ratatouille,' or actually followed a recipe.
Last night, however, after a week of constant nagging from my son, I made an official 'ratatouille.' 
Thank you Pixar.
It was so easy, and so delicious. 
I loosely followed Emeril's ratatouille recipe, and made adjustments according to my vegetable bin, and the images of how Remy the Rat assembled the dish running through my imagination.
I can't wait for our garden to bloom so I can make this with our very own vegetables.
(Start with a layer of olive oil, chopped onions and red peppers, salt, pepper and herbs)

(Assemble by stacking vegetables in a radial fashion)

(Scatter a layer of chopped onions, peppers, olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs...repeat, then bake. See details below)

Bake at 375 until the vegetables are tender and juicy! 

1 Medium Eggplant, sliced thin
1 Medium Zucchini, sliced thin
1 Medium Yellow Squash, sliced thin
1/2 Red Onion, chopped
1/2 Red Pepper, chopped
1 1/2 cups of olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp. chopped herbs (I used thyme and rosemary) 

To assemble:
1. Drizzle bottom of a round baking dish with olive oil. Make a layer of red onion and red pepper. Salt and Pepper.
2. Working radially, stack Eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash around the perimeter of the dish. Drizzle with olive oil. Salt, pepper and herb.
3. Scatter another layer of red onion and red pepper.
4. Repeat step #2
5. End by topping with a scattering of onion, pepper, herbs, salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
6. Cover and bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
7. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Even the French Peasants Cook Better Than Rich Americans!
Bon Appetite!

Recipe #14
Roasted Vegetable Thai Green Curry

I could drink Thai Green Curry for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And dessert.
This recipe was kind of an "empty out the refrigerator and pantry" kind of experiment, so feel free to adapt it to your liking.
I am sure people who really know how to cook Thai food would balk at this attempt, but on an unseasonably cold night, it hit the spot and warmed our bellies.
With Simple Roasted Vegetables

With Crunchy Noodles and Crab Meat

Assorted Vegetables, chopped, tossed in 1/2 olive oil + 1/2 peanut oil, salt and pepper and roasted (I used brussel sprouts, mushrooms, red pepper, broccoli and sugar snap peas) until golden brown

1 jar of Thai Green Curry Blend (store bought)
2 tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
2 green onions, sliced thin (reserve 1/4 to serve on top)
1 can of coconut milk
1 tsp. fish sauce
1 tbsp. fresh lime juice, plus lime slices for serving
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro for serving

Optional: Shrimp, crab, scallops or other seafood/fish, chicken or tofu. 
Crunchy noodles or peanuts to top
Rice noodles or Rice to accompany

1. Prepare all vegetables: Cut, toss with oils, salt and pepper and place on a large pan, lined with parchment in a 350 degree oven to roast. Roast approximately 20 minutes until the vegetables are golden brown and can pierce easily with a fork.
*Another option: Stir-fry vegetables in oils
2. Meanwhile, to prepare the curry: Saute green onion and garlic until fragrant. Add ginger. Add Thai Green curry paste and stir until aromatic. Add coconut milk slowly and stir to incorporate. Add lime juice and fish sauce. Simmer.
3. Optional: prepare rice or rice noodles
4. Taste green curry mixture and adjust taste if necessary. 
5. Plate vegetables (and rice/rice noodles) and smother with curry sauce. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve with lime wedges.

Top with chopped peanuts or crunchy noodles. 
Seer or grill seafood and add to curry. Or add directly to the curry to cook if you plan to simmer it for awhile.

Drink...I mean Eat up!

Recipe #13
Sweet Potato Gratin-ish
So I didn't actually follow a recipe for this dish. 
We recently went to a favorite restaurant down in Naples, Florida and they served this delightful side with a pan roasted fish. 
It was a simple layering of thinly sliced sweet potatoes, and ever-so-thinly sliced cheese.
I usually imagine gratins being super cheesy and creamy, but this wasn't the case. 
It was simple, savory and sweet.
It stole the spotlight, so I thought I would give it a go. 
I need to switch up my cheeses. used what I had in my refrigerator: Swiss, Romano and mozzarella. The flavor was still nice, but the mozzarella made the dish watery and chewy. 
So, when you follow this "recipe" keep in mind that it is a work in progress. Feel free to substitute cheeses and herbs to your liking and let me know what you find!
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced super thin with a mandolin 
1 lb of cheese, sliced very thin
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh thyme 
1/2 cup of Romano cheese

In a medium sized baking dish, begin with a single layer of sweet potatoes. Sprinkle lightly with romano cheese and lay cheese sliced on top of sweet potatoes. Salt, Pepper and Herb. Repeat until the baking dish is full. End with a layer of Cheese on top.
Bake covered at 350 for 45 minutes. For the last 15 minutes uncover until the top cheese is golden and bubbly.

Again, remember this is a work in progress, so be forgiving, experiment, and let me know what you find out and think about this one!

Recipe #12

I don't bake. 
For some reason I just can't do it well, no matter how hard I try. 
I even mess up Betty Crocker. 
And dare I attempt a pastry from scratch?! 
Forget it. 
I think my measuring cups and spoons are at fault, but I can't be sure.
Unfortunately for my husband and son, I keep trying, and I still act disappointed when they don't like my creations, even though I know they are crap.
Here is my most recent attempt, and my new recipe of the week:
"Chocolate Pistachio Truffles"
I had to adapt the coatings because they turned into little balls of super tart lead, and the pistachios wouldn't stick. 
I don't even think you can call them truffles.
I don't know what you would call them... 
Regardless, I encourage you to give them a go. 
Maybe someone can give me some insight on how I buggered this one up?!
Don't Let Their Looks Deceive You

Recipe from Clodagh McKenna's delightful cookbook "Homemade: Irresistible Recipes for Every Occassion"
7 oz. good quality dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids), broken into pieces
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 1/4 cups of finely chopped pistachios

1. Slowly melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl suspended over a saucepan until it is smooth and glossy
2. Gently heat the cream in a heavy-bottomed saucepan until warm
3. Pour the cream onto the melted chocolate and mix well until fully incorporated
4. Mix in 2/3 of the pistachios. Set aside to cool and firm up (you can refrigerate the mixture to speed up the process if desired)
5. Once firm, take teaspoons of the mixture and roll into walnut-sized balls, then leave to set on a tray lined with parchment paper.
6. Once set, roll the truffles in the remaining pistachio nuts to coat

*I rolled 1/3 in the pistachios, 1/3 in powdered sugar and 1/3 in cinnamon sugar to coat because 
I used 85% dark chocolate and I thought it needed a balance of sweet....
Also, I refrigerated them after I rolled them, which might have been my downfall....maybe they will soften before dessert-time?!
Here's hoping because I don't have another dessert!

Recipe #11

We recently ordered peanut noodles from a local Chinese restaurant, but they were so sad. 
I was in love with the idea that they could marry two of my son's favorite things to eat: peanut butter and noodles. 
It sounded like a no-brainer.
Sadly, what we got was a large clump of overcooked noodles with a thick, beige, glue-like substance that tasted more like wax, than peanut butter. Wa.
I figured I could give this concept a go, 
but I took it an extra step by adding Elias' third favorite food, bananas.
I don't want to be one of those mom's who says, "even your child will eat this!"; because truth be told, that would be annoying. 
But, these are so good that even your child will eat them.
I fed him the noodles, with the peanut sauce and bananas, but then I added my own ingredients to make it more adult friendly.
See what you think. 
Bad Picture, But You Catch My Drift

Recipe adapted from Gourmet Magazine, 2002
1 cup of peanut butter
1/4 cup of soy sauce
1/3 cup of warm pasta water
2 tbsp. chopped fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tbsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. rooster sauce
squeeze of lime juice

1 lb. noodles (I used red rice noodles, because they are gluten free, but the recipe calls for soba. Also, whole wheat thin spaghetti would work)
4 scallions, sliced thin
1/2 red pepper, sliced thin
1/2 cucumber, sliced thin
1 cup of sprouts
1 cup cilantro, chopped
toasted sesame seeds

Banana, sliced 
grilled chicken, shrimp....

1. Mix the first 10 ingredients
2. Cook noodles to package directions; or soak rice noodles to package directions
3. For kid's version just toss the noodles and the sauce, and add the sliced banana (optional: toss with sesame seeds)
4. For adult's version, toss the noodles, sauce and remaining ingredients. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. 
Serve with extra chopped cilantro, extra chopped peanuts, rooster sauce, lime slices


Recipe #10

I know this is not an overly exotic menu item, but it was the first time I attempted to make them, and it was worth it.
I am not a huge fan of egg rolls, and I really only made them because I had left over wrappers wearing a hole in my fridge shelf, but, wo-man, these were good!
I don't know why I was surprised. 
Whenever you make something at home, whether it be pure egotism, or the fact that you can control the ingredients, it always tastes better.
And with cole-slaw mix so readily available, these are a cinch to throw together for a last minute lunch, dinner or a quick snack for a crowd.

Cole Slaw Mix (sliced cabbage, carrots and celery)
1 cup fresh sprouts
1 tsp. honey
1/4 cup of soy sauce
1 cup cilantro, chopped
1 tsp fresh chopped ginger
1 clove fresh garlic, chopped
Optional: Crab Meat (Or Shrimp, Chicken, Pork, Beef....)

Egg Roll Wrappers

Egg Wash

Sesame Oil

Peanut Sauce, Sweet and Sour Sauce, Chopped Fresh Cilantro for serving

Mix the first 7-8  ingredients together
Assemble two tablespoons of mixture on top of egg roll wrapper, and fold as per package instructions. Use the egg wash as you fold to hold it together.
Fry egg rolls in oil, turning to brown or bake in the oven until crispy. Or fry, set aside and bake to heat up once your company arrives.
Serve with Peanut Sauce, Sweet and Sour sauce and/or chopped fresh cilantro


Recipe #9
Who knew!? Oxtail is actually the cow's tail?!
Well, in sticking to my New Year's resolution, I tried this seemingly dreadful ingredient in a new recipe last week.
The outcome!?
After I got over the fact that I was eating an animal's tail, it was reminiscent of the most tender pot roast I have ever tried. And when it all comes down, what makes eating a tail more disgusting than eating a cow's shoulder, back or butt?
Not much.

Recipe from "The Union Square Cafe Cookbook":
'Braised Oxtails with Red Wine and Onions'
*Note: I substituted thyme for parsley + it worked very well

6 lbs. oxtails, cut 1 1/2 inches thick
6 cups of red wine
1/2 cup of red wine vinegar
2 cups cipollini onions, peeled
1 1/2 cups sliced celery
2 cups sliced carrots
1 tsp. juniper berries
1/2 tsp. black peppercorns
5 parsley sprigs
4 tsp. kosher salt + freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup tomato paste
2 tbsp. chopped parsley

1. Trim the oxtails of excess fat and place in a large nonreactive bowl. Add wine, vinegar, cipollini onions, celery, carrots, juniper berries, peppercorns and parsley. Marinate, covered, in the refrigerator, overnight.
2. Preheat oven to 375
3. Drain the oxtails, reserving the liquid and vegetables. Dry them on paper towels, season with s/p, and dredge in flour.
4. Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat and brown the oxtails on all sides, 10-15 minutes. Do this in several batches if necessary. Remove oxtails from the pan. Add the vegetables and brown, stirring occasionally, for ten minutes. Transfer the browned vegetables to a bowl and reserve.
5. Return the oxtails to the pan with the marinade, juniper berries, peppercorns and 2 cups of water. Stir in the tomato paste until dissolved. Cover and bake for 2 hours.
6. Add the reserved vegetables to the pot, stir, cover and return to the oven for an additional hour, until tender.
7. Allow the pot to cool for 10-15 minutes. Uncover, tilt the pot slightly, and skim as much fat as possible using a bulb baster or ladle. Return to a simmer over low heat, adjust the seasoning, and serve with chopped parsley.

This is truly a tasty dish. I served it over egg noodles and with grated Grana-Padana cheese. Because, as you know, everything is better with cheese...and if you are grossed out by eating a cow's tail, let's discuss where cheese comes from...

Recipe #8

Vegetable Stir-fry with Red Rice Noodles

This recipe can be adapted to taste, and you can use almost any vegetables you have on hand. The red-rice noodles were something new that I fetched from Wegman's, and we loved them!  If you can not find them at your local store, regular rice noodles work with this recipe as well, however we found that the red rice noodles had more depth of flavor and texture, and add a really delicious earthy quality. Even our little man approved!

Assorted vegetables, cut into a variety of bite sized pieces (I used freshly chopped garlic, quartered mushrooms, sliced red bell pepper, sliced green onions, quartered broccoli crowns, carrot ribbons, and sweet peas). Approximately 3 cups worth.
3 tablespoons of vegetable oil + 3 tablespoons of Sesame Oil
Toasted Sesame Seeds
+- 2 tsp. Crushed red pepper, to preferred spice
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
Red Rice Noodles
3 tablespoons of Peanut Sauce
3 tablespoons of Teriyaki Sauce

1. Boil water
2. Simultaneously cut vegetables into a variety of bite sized shapes
3. Saute vegetables in a hot pan or a wok with oil. Add ginger + toss throughout.
4. Season vegetables with crushed red pepper
5. Soak rice noodles in water, removed from the burner, until tender and drain
6. Toss vegetables, noodles, peanut sauce and teriyaki sauce to coat (add a little more sesame oil if too dry)
7. Serve warm, topped with toasted sesame seeds

Recipe #7
Sweet-Potato + Pineapple Thai Red Curry

This is a recipe I adapted from Nigella Lawson. I love her cooking, but I cannot resist tinkering with recipes. Sometimes I fail miserably, and sometimes I end up creating something yummy. In this case, we were pretty satisfied. You can't beat Thai-styled curry on a cold winter's eve. 
It sure does warm the bones.

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
3 tablespoons of sliced scallions
4 tablespoons of red Thai curry
1 14 ounce can of coconut milk
1 tablespoon of fish sauce
4 tablespoons fresh cilantro
2 cups of roasted, cubed sweet potato
1 cup of cubed pineapple
lime wedges

1. Make sauce by cooking 1/2 scallions in oil until fragrant. Add curry paste and stir. Add coconut milk and fish sauce. Simmer for a few minutes to blend flavors.
2. Add pineapple and roasted sweet potato and toss gently to warm, coat and season.
3. Serve warm, topped with cilantro and lime wedges. 
Optional: Serve over rice or noodles.

Recipe #6
Cauliflower Puree "Pierogies" with Caramelized Onions and Roasted Brussel Sprouts

This was an adventure...
I recently ate at my friend's restaurant and they served the most delicious cauliflower puree. I left pleasantly full and inspired. Also, since I now live in the land of pierogies, and have wanted to try making them for awhile now, I had the novel idea to marry the two concepts. 
On my first attempt I totally messed up the dough (see recipe below), and they turned into a mushy, doughy, disgusting mess. 
It made me realize two things; one, I didn't have time to remake the dough for that night's dinner, and two, I had to add something with texture. 
Luckily, I found a package of wonton wrappers hiding in my bin (problem one solved); then I added the caramelized onions and the roasted brussel sprouts for texture (problem two solved). 
The recipe was good...would I make it again?! Maybe. 
But like Todd said, they would probably be better with a large pork chop....

Cauliflower (4 cups)
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup of milk

One large Onion, sliced + Caramelized (slice, saute in oil until golden brown; season with s/p)
Brussel sprouts, roasted (toss with olive oil, s/p in oven on 375 until browned)

Won-ton wrappers
Egg white
Butter for sauteing pierogies

1. Boil cauliflower until fork tender; blend until smooth with s/p, butter and milk. Adjust seasoning as necessary.
2. Caramelize onions and roast brussel sprouts
3. Assemble pierogies: add a dollop of puree to wonton wrapper. Seal edges with egg white, folding the wrapper over on itself.
*Here is a better recipe for pierogie dough with directions on how to do this the right way....

4. Saute the pierogies in butter, along with the onions until golden brown on both sides
5. Serve warm with brussel sprouts and onions.

Recipe #5
Black Bean + Poblano Soup with a load of sour cream......ahhha!
Black Bean and Poblano Soup
This recipe is adapted from 'The Moosewood' cookbook; one of my favorites from college, and a go-to for anything vegetarian.
I included the link for the recipe, however I tinkered with the ingredients a bit...I encourage you to follow their recipe first, as they do not disappoint, then if you feel like it, follow the minor changes I made.
The only things I did differently are, 1. I used a red bell pepper instead of a green bell pepper (oooo...big change)! and 2. I used poblano peppers instead of chipotle peppers (ooo...another big change)!
I doubt either of these changes altered the flavors much, but my fridge called the shots on this one.

Recipe #4
Coq Au Vin

My husband's favorite meal is a roasted chicken dinner. 
However, in sticking to my New Year's resolution, and only being able to make so many roasted chicken dinners, I decided to channel Julia Child last night and make her recipe for Coq Au Vin. 
Todd agreed to it, somewhat begrudgingly because it was not his requested roasted chicken dinner, but Julia rarely disappoints, so I stayed strong.
I made sure that I served it with copious amounts of red wine, and it seemed to please. 
He might have been being nice, he might have been drunk, or he may have actually liked it...but he said that he loved it. And he said it with enthusiasm!
I thought it was delicious; savory, warm and deep. Surprisingly, I also found that it was less laborious than making an entire roasted chicken dinner.
I forgot that I used my last onion this past weekend, so I used green onions, and added an extra clove of garlic. It seemed to work. 
In addition, I served it over roasted red potatoes, but when I make this dish again, I will serve it with wide, flat noodles to sop up the scrumptious red wine reduction...and because I am a noodle crazed maniac. 
 Oh, and I served it with a big bowl of grated Grana Padana cheese. 
Remember, cheese makes everything better. 

Bon Appetit!

Recipe #3

Tuscan Bean Soup 
with Sage and Seared Mushrooms 

In order to stay true to my New Year's resolution I felt it was necessary to do a truly new recipe before this week's end. The frittata didn't really count, since I had made the ingredients scrambled style before.
This beauty is a recipe from "The Moosewood Restaurant" cookbook, and a new one for me. 
It is a hearty vegetarian soup that leaves even the biggest meat eaters satisfied...or at least last night it did. 
The sage adds the special 'wow' in this dish, but I can see subbing thyme or rosemary if I had it on hand. Also, I love the suggestion of adding cooked grains like wheat-berries, or greens like escarole to add texture and dimension. 
Oh...and it wasn't part of the recipe, but I shaved and served grana padana cheese with the soup. Cheese makes everything better.

2 cups diced onions
1 cup peeled and diced carrots
4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 tablespoon of olive oil
15 large fresh sage leaves
6 cups cooked pinto, Roman, or small red or white beans (3 16-oz cans, undrained)
4 cups vegetable stock
salt/pepper to taste
Optional: Mushrooms

In a soup pot, saute the onions, carrots, and garlic in olive oil on medium - low heat until the onions are translucent and the carrots are tender, about ten minutes. Stack the sage leaves and cut them crosswise into strips. Stir the sage into the vegetables. Add the beans and stock. Cook on medium until the soup is simmering, about 5-10 minutes.
Carefully ladle about 3 cups of the soup into a blender and puree until smooth. Stir the puree back into the soup pot. If you wish, add more stock for a less thick consistency. Salt and Pepper to taste.
Optional: Sear porto mushrooms in a pan and top on soup.

Other: Drizzle with olive oil; top with croutons. Stir in cooked grains such as wheatberries, spelt or cooked greens like escarole or mustard greens.
*Although the recipe doesn't suggest this, I cooked and added small round noodles to this dish the second time around, and it worked well; even my 3 year old son was sold.

Recipe #2:
"Green Eggs and Ham"
I made this delight for the book themed party this past weekend, and I will definitely be making it again, especially if we have a crowd to feed. 

Although I have made what we call in our home "cheesy eggs" a million times, which is essentially the same recipe, just scrambled and cooked in a pan; this was the first time I baked them in the oven "frittata" style. I was a little nervous, and I had to bake them longer than I anticipated, but the results were yummy, and I love the fact that I can assemble them before the party, and bake them while I socialize.
Feel free to adjust the ingredients to taste, or use different vegetables/cheeses. It is a pretty forgiving dish, and I typically use whatever vegetables we have lying around the bin. For example, broccoli, mushrooms, red onion, and monterrey jack or cheddar cheeses are great options. 

Also, I definitely recommend adding the poblano cheese sauce (recipe at the end), but it isn't necessary...unless you love to eat copious amounts of cheese like I do.You can see by this photo that I must have been listening to the angel instead of the devil that day.

12 eggs
1/2 stick of butter
1 cup of whole milk
Handful of fresh baby spinach, chopped
4 green onions, sliced and sauteed in butter; reserve 1/4 for topping
1 roasted poblano pepper, peeled and chopped
1 cup of Canadian bacon, or ham, cubed or sliced
1 lb of cooper cheese, sliced thin
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper

1. Prepare a baking dish by coating the bottom with butter, and preheat the oven sauteed green onions, poblano pepper and canadian bacon into the eggs. *Make sure you reserve some of the green onions for the top of the dish!
5. Layer egg mixture, cheese, egg mixture, cheese, egg mixture, cheese...
6. Sprinkle the remainder of the green onions on top of the eggs.
7. Bake in oven for 35 minutes until eggs are set
8. Let set for 5-10  minutes before serving

Optional: Serve with additional poblano cheese sauce

Poblano-Cheese Sauce

1/2 stick of butter
3 tablespoons of flour
2 cups of milk
1 lb of cooper cheese
1 cup of parmesan cheese
poblano peppers, roasted, peeled and chopped.
1 tablespoon of chopped thyme

1. Make a white sauce by melting butter, adding flour and stirring until incorporated and foamy. Add salt, pepper and thyme.
2. Add milk and cook until hot (do not boil)
3. Add cheeses slowly until melted; stir continuously until creamy and delicious
4. Stir in poblanos 
5. Adjust salt and pepper if necessary
6. Pour over eggs and revel in gluttony.

Enjoy Everyone!

New Recipe #1

Whole Grain Spaghetti and Seared Tilapia 
with Garlic, Spinach, Roasted Red Peppers and Toasted Panko

This was a quick, spur of the moment dinner that came together as a result of me being too lazy to go to the market, and trying to eliminate what we had leftover in the fridge from the holidays. The results were a fresh, surprising delight!

Make sure you don't eliminate the toasted panko at the end. Really! The texture and taste really add that extra special something to both the pasta and the fish. 
(*This is a Mario Batali tip that I have to pass on!)

Also, the pasta is delicious in its own right, so don't feel like you have to add the tilapia, or you could substitute another seafood/shellfish/fish if you prefer a different flavor. I suspect that seared scallops or shrimp would both be great substitutes.

1/2 Box Whole Grain Spaghetti
2 Tilapia Fillets
1 Cup Reserved pasta water
6 Cloves of Garlic, Sliced or Chopped
1/2 Bag of Fresh Baby Spinach
2 Red Peppers, Roasted, Peeled and Sliced (or two jarred roasted red peppers, sliced)
1 Stick of Unsalted Butter, Split in 1/2
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
Kosher Salt + Cracked Black Pepper
2 Cups of Panko 
1/4 Cup White Wine
Romano Cheese

1. Cook pasta in Salted Water until al dente
2. Simultaneously season the Tilapia fillets with Salt and Pepper and Sear them in olive oil. Drizzle with lemon juice.
3. In a separate pan, melt 1/2 a stick of butter, add garlic, salt and pepper and cook until fragrant; make sure not to burn the garlic!
4. Add white wine, the juice of 1/2 lemon to butter/garlic mix. Stir and adjust flavors if needed.
5.. Drain pasta, making sure to reserve one cup of pasta water; Place pasta and starchy water in a large pan
6. Add fresh spinach while the pasta is still hot and toss to wilt
7. Add butter/garlic/white wine/lemon mix and roasted red peppers to the pasta and toss to coat. Add additional olive oil if the pasta seems too dry.
8. In a small pan, melt the second 1/2 stick of butter; add panko and toss to toast
9. Plate pasta and top with seared tilapia
10. Coat both pasta and tilapia with the toasted panko
Serve with additional lemon wedges and Parmesan/Romano Cheese

Enjoy, and let me know what you think!
Bon Appetit!

New Year's Eve Dinner
(* Denotes New Recipes for Me)
PKR Cranberry Vodka on the Rocks and Kettle One Up with a Twist
*Roasted Rabbit Terrine and Truffle White Bean Dip with Crusty Bread and Olives
Baked Shrimp with a duo of dippers:
Raspberry Chipotle Sauce and Lemon Garlic Remoulade
Fried Artichoke Hearts with Seared Lemons, Capers and White Wine over Wilted Spinach
Rainbow Fruit Kabobs for Elias
To Drink: Pouilly Fuisse and Bear Boat Pinot Noir
Cowgirl Steaks with *Gorgonzola, Truffle, and Cracked Black Pepper Butter
Baked Onions
Seared Porto Mushrooms with Balsamic Glaze
*Red Bliss Potatoes Au Gratin with Rosemary
Roasted Brussel Sprouts
*Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter for Elias
To Drink: Brunello
Duo of Miniature Creme Puffs; One Sweet and One Savory
Vanilla Ice Cream with Strawberry, Balsamic Vinegar, and Black Pepper Drizzle
To Drink: Bust out the Single Malt Baby!
Happy New Year!
Stay Tuned For Pictures!

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