Thursday, November 29, 2007


I love gumbo and this version captures all those yummy southern flavors. This would be a perfect dish to serve for a dinner party or on a cold winter night. This is a pretty time consuming recipe, it took about 3 hours, so make sure to plan ahead when serving this dish. I like gumbo served on its own, but you could always serve it over rice, which is the most popular way to serve this dish. This makes about 6 quarts of gumbo, so please use a large enough dutch oven!


3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 pound spicy Italian sausage
1/2 cup flour
6 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic minced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 stalks celery chopped
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 bunch flat leaf parsley, stems and leaves, coarsely chopped, plus chopped leaves for garnish 4 cups beef stock
1 (14-ounce can) stewed tomatoes with juice
2 cups frozen sliced okra
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken until browned on both sides and remove. Add the sausage and cook until browned, then remove. Sprinkle the flour over the oil, add 2 tablespoons of margarine and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until brown, about 10 minutes. Let the roux cool.
Return the Dutch oven to low heat and melt the remaining 3 tablespoons margarine. Add the onion, garlic, green pepper and celery and cook for 10 minutes, the roux will become quite thick, add more butter if necessary. Add Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, to taste and the 1/4 bunch parsley. Cook, while stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. Add beef stock, whisking constantly. Add the chicken and sausage. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes. Add tomatoes and okra. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Just before serving add the shrimp, cook until shrimp just turn pink and are cooked through, garnish with chopped parsley.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

This recipe is from my friend Doug, and he always makes these when I visit. I'm still not sure why they are called pies, but then who really cares if they taste really good, right?.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

2 1/2 cups brown sugar
1cup vegetable oil
1 small can pumpkin
2 eggs
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat all ingredients except flour. Add flour one cup at a time. Drop with spoon onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

2 egg whites
4 teaspoons flour
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 box confectioners sugar (or 1/2 bag)
2 Tablespoons milk
1 ½ cups shortening

Mix ingredients well. Once pies have cooled frost 1/2 of them and create sandwiches. Wrap individual whoopie pies in plastic wrap.

This recipe is a traditional Amish recipe from Doug's hometown, Pennsylvania

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Apple Crisp

This is my friend Doug’s recipe. I love his apple crisp because there is a ton of topping, which of course is my favorite part. He always serves this with a really good vanilla bean ice cream.

Apple Crisp

10 Granny Smith Apples
2 Cups Flour
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Cup Brown Sugar
½ Cup Oats
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Stick Butter Chilled, plus 4 Tablespoons

Peel, core and slice apples ¼ inch thick and place in 9x12” baking pan.
For topping, combine dry ingredients in large bowl. Cut stick of butter into cubes and mix into dry ingredients with fork or hands until dough forms into pea sized pieces. Spread topping over apples, and dot top with reserved 4 Tablespoons butter.
Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes, or until apples are cooked and topping is golden.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Blueberry Scones

My friend Doug and I made these for breakfast when I was back east, and they were delicious! These are a little fluffier than a traditional scone, but have a nice texture and flavor.

Blueberry Scones

4 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup cold heavy cream
3/4 cup blueberries
1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water or milk, for egg wash

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine 4 cups of flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt. Blend in the cold butter at the lowest speed and mix until the butter is in pea-sized pieces. Combine the eggs and heavy cream and quickly add them to the flour and butter mixture. Combine until just blended. Toss the blueberries with 1 tablespoon of flour, add them to the dough, and mix quickly. The dough may be a bit sticky.

Dump the dough out onto a well-floured surface and be sure it is well combined. Flour your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough 3/4-inch thick. You should see lumps of butter in the dough. Cut into squares with a 4-inch plain or fluted cutter, and then cut them in half diagonally to make triangles. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Brush the tops with egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the outsides are crisp and the insides are fully baked.

Recipe by Ina Garten, Food Network

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Seafood Paella

I don’t make this dish often but should because it is so delicious! I love all the different flavors and the mixture of all the different meats that you put in. It is a little expensive to buy all the ingredients, but well worth it. This would also be a great dish to make for holidays as an alternative to ham or turkey. This recipe serves 6, but you can add more rice if you want to stretch it out a bit more.

Seafood Paella

1 pound shrimp
2 pounds chicken breast, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 pound chorizo or spicy sausage sliced into ¼ inch thick slices
1 pound mussels
1 pound clams
1 teaspoon saffron (combined with 2 Tablespoons boiling water)
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
4 bay leaves
3 roma tomatoes, minced
1 pound frozen peas
3 cups medium grained rice
6-8 cups chicken stock
1 Bunch Parsley, chopped
1 Lemon, cut into wedges

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. In 16” paella pan (I use my Le Creuset 5 1/2 quart briaser pan) heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil over medium high heat, add shrimp and cook until just pink, remove from pan. Add 2 more tablespoons vegetable oil, add chicken and cook until lightly browned and cooked through (no pink in the middle), remove from pan. Add chorizo to pan and cook until golden brown, do not drain grease. Add onion, garlic and bay leaves, and cook until translucent and slightly golden, then add peas. Next, add tomatoes and cook until soft, add rice and cook until all oil/liquid is absorbed. Turn heat down to medium, add 4 cups chicken stock, and saffron mixture, cook while stirring occasionally until all liquid is absorbed. Add 1 cup of stock at a time and cook until rice is al dente. (this should take about 20 minutes and mixture should never boil rapidly, but instead simmer slightly, or your liquids will evaporate too quickly). Turn off heat and stir in shrimp and chicken. Next add mussels and clams hinge side down and place in oven. Cook uncovered for 15-20 minutes until mussels and clams open and cooked through (discard any that do not open). Cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes. Serve sprinkled with parsley and a lemon wedge.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Pumpkin Cheesecake

This is a cheesecake recipe that I created and really enjoy. I took Doug’s NY Cheesecake Recipe and tweaked it a bit to make it this delightful Pumpkin Cheesecake. I also took this to work and everyone went crazy because it was so delicious. This is the perfect fall dessert that everyone will enjoy.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

1 Cup Graham Cracker Crumbs (one package of graham crackers crushed)
3 Tablespoons Sugar
4 Tablespoons Butter, melted
5-8 Ounce Packages Cream Cheese
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
¼ Cup Brown Sugar
3 Tablespoons Flour
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
3 Teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice (or 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, 1 teaspoon allspice)
1-15 Ounce Can Pumpkin
3 Large Eggs
3/4 Cup Sour Cream

Mix crumbs, 3 Tbsp sugar and butter; press onto bottom of 9 inch spring-form pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
Mix cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, brown sugar, flour and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add pumpkin pie spice and canned pumpkin, mix until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition, just until blended. Blend in sour cream. Pour over crust.
Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 25 minutes or until center is almost set. Run knife or metal spatula around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing rim of pan. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Brussels Sprouts with Browned Butter and Garlic

I love brussels sprouts and this is an easy way to cook them and make them look a little gourmet. Browned butter adds a ton of flavor to any dish, and is a perfect match with the garlic and brussels sprouts. I have made this a few times for dinner parties and even people that don’t usually enjoy the delectable baby cabbages liked this dish. This would also make the perfect side dish for Thanksgiving and it doesn't take up any room in the oven.

Brussels Sprouts with Browned Butter and Garlic

1 Stick Unsalted Butter
2 Pounds Brussels Sprouts
3 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Pepper

Wash and trim brussels sprout. Place slicing blade in your food processor and process all brussels sprouts to create thing disks. Heat large sauté pan over medium high heat, add butter and let cook until foam subsides and butter turns golden brown. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 20 seconds, then add brussels sprouts, salt and pepper. Continue cooking until brussels sprouts are tender and turn golden brown on the edges.

Monday, November 12, 2007

New York Cheesecake

Why does everyone say that cheesecake is so hard to make? This is a super easy recipe that doesn’t even require a water bath. This makes a giant cheesecake too, so it would be great for a large dinner party.
I got this recipe from my friend Doug. Thanks for making this and letting me post it!

New York Cheesecake

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp butter or margarine, melted
5 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp vanilla
3 eggs
1 cup sour cream

Mix crumbs, 3 Tbsp sugar and butter; press onto bottom of 9 or 10-inch springformpan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
Mix cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, flour and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition, just until blended. Blend in sour cream. Pour over crust.
Bake 1 hour and 5 minutes to 1 hour and 10 minutes or until center is almost set. Run knife or metal spatula around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing rim of pan. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
Top with pie filling and garnish, if desired.
Makes 12 servings

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Black Beans & Rice

I have never made black beans before, which is really funny considering how easy they are to make. I had a few people over for dinner this week and made black beans and rice and served it with my pork braised in chili sauce. Everything turned out super yummy. I also made fresh salsa and a pumpkin cheesecake which I will share the recipe to later on. Please enjoy!

Black Beans

1 Pound Bag Dried Black Beans
1 Smoked Ham Hock
1 Medium Yellow Onion, diced
1 Jalapeno Pepper, stem removed, chopped very fine, with seeds
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
3 Bay Leaves
1 Quart Chicken Stock
1 Teaspoon Salt
2 Teaspoons Cumin
3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Heat olive oil in 4 quart pan over medium heat, add onion and simmer until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Next add jalapeno pepper, garlic, and bay leaves, fry until fragrant, about 2 more minutes. Add all remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and continue to cook for about 3 hours or until beans are tender, while adding water to keep liquid level ½ inch above beans at all times. Do not add any liquid the last 30 minutes and let all moisture soak into beans to create a thick consistency. Remove ham hock and serve immediately.


4 Cups Long Grain White Rice
½ Cup Vegetable Oil
2 Tablespoons Salt
3-4 Cups Water

Combine rice, salt, and vegetable oil in a 4 quart pan over medium high heat, sauté until rice is chalky. Next add enough water to cover rice by 1 inch, about 3-4 cups. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to lowest setting, cover with lid and let cook for 20 minutes without stirring or removing lid. Fluff with fork and serve.


I know this is a food blog, but I couldn't resist posting this picture of my cat. He is so stinking cute I can't even stand it. I took several pictures of him sleeping the other day, this is definitely the best one, enjoy!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Pumpkin Cake

I got this recipe out of my Bon Appetit magazine, but changed a few things in the recipe. I hate to be a snob but my cake looked much prettier than the one that they showed in the magazine! This is a really REALLY yummy cake and will be the perfect complement to any fall meal.

Pumpkin Cake

3 Cups Flour
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon
2 Teaspoons Ground Ginger
2 Teaspoons Ground Allspice
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 ½ Cups Sugar
1 Cup Dark Brown Sugar, packed
1 Cup Vegetable Oil
4 Eggs
1 15 Ounce Can Pure Pumpkin
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
¾ Cup Raisins
¾ Cup Sweetened Flaked Coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour three 8 inch cake pans, or two 9 inch cake pans. Sift together flour and next 6 ingredients into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat both sugars and oil in large bowl until combined (mixture will look grainy). Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Add pumpkin and vanilla; beat until well blended. Add flour mixture; beat just until incorporated. Stir in raisins and coconut. Divide batter between prepared pans. Smooth tops.
Bake Cakes until tester toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about1 hour. Cool cakes completely in pans on rack. Run knife around cakes and loosen. Invert cakes onto racks.
Frost with cream cheese frosting.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Smoked Salmon Frittata

This is an amazing recipe and very full of flavor. This would be a show stopper at brunch! Also this would be delicious served room temperature at a picnic. Enjoy!

Smoked Salmon Frittata

1 medium onion, diced

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

12 extra-large eggs

1 cup heavy cream

4 ounces fresh goat cheese, such as Montrachet, crumbled

1/2 pound smoked salmon, chopped

3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Saute the onion and butter in a 10-inch oven-proof omelet pan over medium-low heat until golden and carmelized, about 15 minutes.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the heavy cream, goat cheese, smoked salmon, chives, dill, salt, and pepper and combine. Pour the mixture over the onions and place the omelet pan in the center of the oven. Bake the frittata for about 50 minutes, until it puffs and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Serve hot directly from the pan.

Recipe by: Ina Garten, from the Food Network

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Chocolate Gnache

I don’t think there is anything better than chocolate cake with a warm chocolate gnache over the top for dessert. This recipe is a sure way to impress your guests and look like a gourmet chef; they don’t have to know how easy it really is. I serve this with my delicious chocolate cake deluxe recipe, but if you are in a hurry you could whip up a brownie mix or cake mix and use this to make it your own. This is also a great topping for ice cream, or cooled as a filling for chocolate truffles.

Chocolate Gnache

1 Bag Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, I like to use Ghirardelli brand
1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
1 Tablespoon Butter

Heat butter and heavy whipping cream in top of double boiler until hot and butter is melted. Add chocolate chips and whisk until smooth and all chocolate is melted.
Drizzle large spoonful over cake and serve with a dollop of whipped cream.