Sunday, December 30, 2007

Dinner at Dave and Francisca's

Chili Night

Francisca and Dave had a dinner party on Friday and as usual everything was wonderful. They fixed 3 different types of chili, black bean and lamb chili, a traditional American chili, and a delicious spicy beanless chili with pork and lots of different chili peppers. For side dishes they had collard greens with garlic and pork shank, and also skillet cornbread. I was in charge of dessert and brought a yummy apple galette.
The evening was nice and mellow, with lots of good company and excellent food. My personal favorite chili was the beanless chili, as it had a rich smoky flavor. Dessert was a big hit and we ended the evening with singing around the piano. The only thing I would do differently next time would be to bring an extra stomach, I couldn’t get enough!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Pasta Salad

Pasta salad is one of my favorite things to eat. It is such an easy side dish to make and who doesn’t love pasta salad? I made this for Christmas, although it seemed strange eating pasta salad during winter, everyone absolutely loved it, I finished the rest for lunch today.

Pasta Salad

1-16 Ounce Bag Shell Pasta, cooked and cooled
2 Pounds Purple Grapes, cleaned and cut in half
6 Stalks Celery, sliced thin
½ Purple Onion, minced
2 Carrots, peeled and julienned
1 Cup Sliced Almonds


1 ½ Cups Mayonnaise
½ Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
6 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
¼-½ Cups Sugar, Depends on how sweet you like your dressing
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Pepper

Make dressing by whisking all ingredients until well combined. Mix all ingredients and pour dressing over top, adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. You can add a shredded rotisserie chicken if desired.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Pictures

Wendy and Me wearing our Christmas Antlers
Muppet Sporting his Christmas Bow
The Turkey....Yummy!
Mary serving communion!

So Christmas was an absolute blast. We had lot's of food, and champagne, and ton's of fun. We played the piano, watched Christmas movies, and ended the night with guitar hero, haa haa. I thought I would post a few pictures for everyone.

Clam Chowder

I was a little nervous making clam chowder for Christmas, as I have never made it before, but it turned out really yummy. I pretty much made my potato leek soup, and doctored it up a bit and added some clams, and voila, it was perfect. I would have used fresh clams, but they were extremely expensive, so I opted for the canned version. I don't like how a roux makes soups pasty, so I pureed 1/3 of the soup to make it thick, and a little yellow because there were carrots in there. If you want a true white clam chowder, I would add a roux, or some corn starch mixed with a bit of milk.
Clam Chowder

½ Stick Butter
3 Leeks (white and light green parts), cleaned and chopped
6 Stalks Celery, chopped
6 Carrots, Peeled, cleaned and diced
8 Medium Russet Potatoes, peeled and diced
2 Teaspoons fresh Thyme Leaves, chopped, plus more for garnish
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Pepper
1 Jar Clam Juice, 8 ounce
1 Quart Chicken Stock, 4 cups
4 Cans Chopped Clams, 6 ounces
3 Cups half & half

Melt butter in large stock pot. Add leeks and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until tender. Add the celery, carrots, potatoes, thyme, salt, and pepper and sauté for 10 more minutes. Add the clam juice and chicken stock, bring to a boil, and simmer, uncovered, until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
Puree 1/3 of the mixture with an immersion blender, or food processor and add back to the pot. Add the clams, with juice, and half &half and heat gently. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste, serve with fresh thyme.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!!!

Merry Christmas!!!

I have been really busy getting everything ready for Christmas. I am hosting an “Orphan Christmas” this year as I can’t make it to Idaho to see my family with my work schedule. I am making lots of yummy food for everyone that drops by during the day. We are starting with Crab Cakes and Strata for breakfast, then moving on to Clam Chowder for lunch. For Dinner I am doing a Herb Roasted Turkey with Stuffing, Pasta Salad, Mixed Greens, and then my famous Chocolate Cake for dessert.
Oh, I almost forgot the best part, Cocktails! We are having Peach Bellini’s, Balthazar French Martini’s and also Pear Martini’s.
Cheers to a very Merry Christmas, and I will be posting all these delicious recipes over the next couple weeks!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Herb Crusted Pork Chops

I am a huge fan of pork, but only like it when it has a lot of flavor. In this dish I use herbs de province, one of my favorite seasonings, to bring out all the delicious flavors. The key to really good pork chops is not over cooking them, there is nothing worse than a tough dried-out pork chop! You can also substitute chicken if you are not a huge pork fan. I usually serve a simple mashed potato or mixed green salad with balsamic dressing to make a quick and easy meal.

Herb Crusted Pork Chops

4 Boneless Center Cut Pork Chops, 3/4-1 inch thick
Kosher Salt
Coarse Ground Black Pepper
Herbs de Provence
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper, next coat generously with Herbs de Provence. Heat Olive Oil in pan over medium-high heat in heavy bottomed skillet, add pork chops. Fry for about 5 minutes on each side, or until dark golden brown, and an instant read thermometer reads 150 degrees. Let rest covered for a few minutes to re-absorb juices and serve.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Bok Choy

I love how easy this side dish is, and it has a ton of flavor. I serve this with any type of meat, or even on its own for a light healthy lunch. What I love about bok choy is that it is packed with flavor, cooks quickly, and does not get soggy like spinach does.

Bok Choy

2 Bok Choy
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons Butter
½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
½ Teaspoon Coarse Ground Black Pepper

Cut bottom ½ inch from bok choy and rinse stalks under cold water until completely clean, dry on paper towels.
Heat butter in sauté pan over medium high heat until melted, add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add bok choy, salt and pepper and continue to sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Pot Roast & Gravy

Pot roast is one of my favorite meals; I make this year-round, as I can’t stand to only eat it in the winter. I usually serve an extra large portion of my delicious sour cream mashed potatoes and my brussels sprouts with browned butter as sides. By using the vegetable puree and red wine the gravy takes on an extraordinarily flavor that you would never expect. I have been known to completely drown my plate in this delicious gravy because it is so delicious. I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I do.

Pot Roast & Gravy

5 Pound Beef Roast
2 Yellow Onions, peeled and quartered
4 Carrots, Cleaned and cut into 2 inch pieces
4 Celery Stalks, cleaned and cut into 2 inch pieces
4 Potatoes, scrubbed clean and quartered
1/2 Bottle Dry Red Wine, about 2 cups (I like to use Chianti)
2 Quarts Beef Stock
4 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
1 Bunch Flat Leaf Parsley, stalks and leaves separated
Kosher Salt & Pepper
Vegetable Oil

Generously season roast with salt and pepper on all sides. Heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oil over medium high heat in 6-7 quart cast-iron dutch oven until smoking, add roast and sear all sides, about 3 minutes per side until completely browned, remove meat from pan. Add onions, celery, and carrots to pan and cook until onions start to get tender, about 5 minutes. Next add red wine and deglaze pan, while scraping up browned bits from bottom of the pan. Tie thyme and parsley stalks together with kitchen twine, place in pan. Next add roast back to pan, along with potatoes, add enough beef stock to just cover meat, cover with lid. Place in pre-heated 350 degree oven and bake for 3-4 hours or until beef is very tender. Remove beef from stock, cover with foil and let rest for 15 minutes, then slice and serve with gravy.


Strain out all vegetables and discard thyme/parsley bundle. Reduce stock by half by boiling over high heat on stove-top for about 10 minutes. Take half the cooked vegetables and puree in food processor, add to beef stock. Mix ¼ cup flour with ½ cup milk with whisk until well combined, slowly pour, while constantly whisking into stock, bring to boil and continue to whisk until thickened, season to taste with salt and pepper.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Lumpia (Filipino Egg Rolls)

This recipe is from my friend Taven’s mom, a native of Hawaii. She is an amazing cook and I am so blessed to have been shown this recipe. My amounts are what I remember, as she doesn’t really measure anything. What I love about egg rolls is you can really improvise and change up any of the ingredients with things that you love. I made over one hundred of these for my Christmas party a couple weeks ago and they were a huge hit! Please enjoy this yummy treat.

Lumpia (Filipino Egg Rolls)

1 Pound Ground Beef
1 Pound Ground Pork
1 Bunch Scallions (Green Onions), cleaned and chopped into 1/8 inch slices
4 Stalks Celery, cut in half lengthwise and then into ¼ inch slices
2 Carrots, peeled and shredded
1 Pound French Cut Green Beans, frozen
1 Pound Bean Sprouts
1 16 ounce can Bamboo Shoots, julienned
1 16 Ounce Can Water Chestnuts, drained and chopped
1 Tablespoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Pepper
1 Package Frozen Lumpia Wrappers (I like to use Menlo Brand)
Vegetable Oil

In large frying pan brown beef and pork, drain off grease and place in large mixing bowl. Add 2 tablespoons oil to pan and sauté scallions, celery, and carrots until tender, about 5 minutes, remove add to bowl with meat. Add 2 more tablespoons oil to pan and sauté green beans until tender, about 6-8 minutes, add bean sprouts and cook an additional 5 minutes, or until tender. Add water chestnuts, and bamboo shoots, continue to cook an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add to meat mixture, sprinkle with salt and pepper, mix well, and place in refrigerator until cool, about 1 hour.
Beat 1 egg with 2 tablespoons water in small bowl. Brush lumpia wrapper with egg wash, place 3 tablespoons meat mixture into wrapper, and wrap tightly (follow directions on inside of package). Continue rolling lumpia until all filling is gone.
Heat 2 inches of oil to 375 degrees in large heavy pot. Working in batches add a few lumpia to the oil at a time and fry until dark golden brown, about 5 minutes, drain on paper towels or wire rack, serve with soy sauce.
Lumpia can be cooled in refrigerator and re-heated in 375 degree oven for 10-12, minutes or until crispy.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Chocolate Truffles

I’m so happy to be feeling better, my hand is healing very nicely and I am getting back in the kitchen!
I am going to a Christmas party tonight, and decided to make these delicious chocolate truffles, one of my favorite sweet indulgences. They always look tough to make, but are super easy, so go ahead and try them out! You can use dark, or milk chocolate if you prefer, or mix to your liking. I like the semi-sweet because dark chocolate is just a little too rich for me and milk chocolate is too sweet. These are also delicious with a little almond or hazelnut extract, or you can use any flavoring you like.

Chocolate Truffles

2 Pounds Semi-Sweet Chocolate, cut into small chunks (I used Ghirardelli)
2 Cups Heavy Cream
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
2 Tablespoons Brewed Coffee
1 Cup Chocolate Baking Powder
1 Cup Nuts, chopped (I used hazelnuts)

Heat cream in medium sized sauce pan over medium heat until bubbles start forming around the edge, remove from heat. Add chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Next add vanilla extract and coffee. Place into large shallow dish and refrigerate until cold and set up, about 3 hours.
Scoop teaspoonful sized balls out, or use small melon baller and then roll with hands until ball form is shaped. Next roll truffles in powdered baking chocolate or nuts to coat. Keep chilled until ready to serve.
Makes about 60 truffles, recipe can be divided in half.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


So I had an incident with my new Shun knife this last week :( Unfortunately I can't type very easily, so I will not be posting as many recipes as I normally do. I am recovering this week and may have to have some reconstructive surgery next week, I will keep you all posted. I will try to get a few recipes typed up that I have pictures for so you have something new to try out. Cheers to a quick recovery!


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.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Travel Size Champagne!

Sofia Blanc de Blanc

My friend Angie introduced me to this delicious drink in a can, Sofia Sparkling Wine (champagne). If you love champagne as much as I do then you will absolutely love this. It’s a 6 ounce can of sparkling deliciousness that is a single serving. There is nothing worse than cracking open a bottle of champagne and feeling the need to drink the entire bottle because you know it won’t be good the next day. I think this is the perfect solution. These are also great to take on a walk, or if you just have a sudden craving for a glass of bubbly. The flavor reminds me of a brut champagne, it’s not overly sweet, and has a surprisingly great flavor. Thanks for the intro Angie!

Chicken and Tomatillo Casserole

This is what a tomatillo looks like, kind of strange huh?
This is another yummy recipe from my new cook book. Once again these recipes are a bit time consuming, but the result is a delicious meal. Next time I make this I am going to increase the tomatillo's to 2 pounds for a little extra sauce.

Chicken and Tomatillo Casserole

1 ½ Pounds Tomatillos
1 Medium Spanish Onion, cut into 1 inch chunks
¼ Cup (loosely packed) Mint Leaves
1 Bunch Cilantro, stems and all, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
1 Jalapeno, cored and seeded
4 Cloves Garlic

3 Cups Chicken, cooked and shredded
2 Teaspoons Salt
Vegetable Oil
10 6-inch Tortillas, cut into 2-inch-wide strips
1 Cup Monterey Jack Cheese, grated
1 Cup Parmesan Cheese, grated

Remove the papery covering from the tomatillos. Wash and cut into quarters.
Blend the tomatillos in food processor or blender until liquidy. Add the onion and blend until smooth. Add the mint and cilantro, and blend until the herbs are finely chopped. Add the jalapeno and garlic, and blend until smooth. Pour the liquid into a medium, heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, and then adjust the heat so that the sauce is simmering. Cook until the sauce ahs thickened slightly, about 20 minutes. Set aside ½ cup of sauce.
Stir the shredded chicken into the remaining sauce. Stir in the salt.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Pour about ¼ inch of oil into a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Dip a corner of one of the tortilla strips into the oil; when it gives off a lively sizzle, the oil is ready. Add to the pan as many tortilla strips as will fit without overlapping. Fry the tortillas, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, about 4 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining tortilla strips.
Butter a 9 x 11 inch casserole or baking dish that is at least 2 ½ inches deep. Place a layer of the fried tortilla strips on the bottom. Spoon half of the sauce and chicken over the tortillas. Top with 1/3 cup each of the Monterey Jack and Parmesan cheese. Make another layer of the tortillas, sauce and cheeses. Top with another layer of tortillas and spread with the remaining sauce. Top with remaining cheeses.
Bake until the edges of the casserole are bubbling and the top layer of cheese is golden brown, about 35 minutes. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe from “Daisy Cooks!” by Daisy Martinez

Monday, October 29, 2007

Pork Braised in Chile Sauce

Wow, this meal was super delicious! I love pork in any form and with this mixture of chilies, and charred vegetables, it was simply amazing. I was actually surprised that it wasn't that spicy, next time I make it I will add a fresh jalapeno pepper with the seeds to give it a little kick. This is great meat for a rice dish, tacos, or in a burrito.
Pork Braised in Chile Sauce

4 Pounds Boneless Pork Shoulder or Butt, cut into 2-inch cubes
2 Tablespoons Salt
1 Bay Leaf
10 Dried Ancho Chile Peppers
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Large Spanish Onion, peeled and cut in half through the middle
3 Plum Tomatoes, cut in half
¼ Cup Oil
2 Tablespoons All Purpose Flour

Put the pork in a heavy Dutch oven large enough to fit it comfortably. Pour in enough old water to cover the meat by 2 inches. Add the salt and bay leaf. Bring the liquid to a boil and simmer for 1 hour. Skim off the foam from the surface as necessary.
Meanwhile, remove the stems from the chilies and tap out the seeds. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add half of the chilies and toast them, turning with tongs until they start to change color and crisp up a bit, about 4 minutes. Heat them gently so they don’t burn. Lift them out and place in a bowl. Repeat with the remaining chilies. Pour enough boiling water over the toasted chilies to cover them. Soak until completely softened, about 20 minutes. Drain well.
While the chilies are soaking, wipe out the skillet with paper towels. Place the onion and tomatoes, cut sides down, in the skillet. Cook turning the vegetables as often as necessary, until the tomatoes are blackened on all sides and the onions are blackened on both flat sides.
After the pork has been cooking for 1 hour, remove 2 cups of the cooking liquid and pour it into a blender jar. Add the onions and tomatoes, and puree until smooth. Add the chilies and blend until smooth. Remove another 2 cups of the cooking liquid and set aside. Drain the pork, discarding the remaining liquid, and wipe out the pot. Set the pot over medium-low heat and add the canola oil. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes. Pour the chili sauce into the pot slowly. As it comes to a boil, it will thicken. Stir well, especially in the corners, to prevent the sauce from sticking and scorching as it thickens.
Add the pork and return the liquid to a simmer, cover the pot and cook until tender, about 1 hour. While the pork is cooking, there should be enough sauce to keep it moistened. If not, add the reserved pork cooking liquid as needed.
Serve over rice, or in a tortilla with shredded cabbage and sour cream for a delicious taco.

Recipe From “Daisy Cooks” by Daisy Martinez

Sunday, October 28, 2007

New Cook Book!

Daisy Cooks!

I bought a new cook book, “Daisy Cooks”, when I was in Delaware and cooked a couple of new recipes with my friend Doug. This is a great cook book, with excellent instruction on how to prepare everything. It also has pictures of all the recipes, which I love. The recipes are a little time consuming, but if you enjoy being in the kitchen like I do, then you will really enjoy this book. The food looks, smells, and taste’s delicious. I will share some recipes as I get them typed up. You can also watch Daisy on public television; she is really lively and fun to watch.