Sunday, July 29, 2007

Spaghetti With Summer Squash and Tomatoes ..... Enjoy your bounty of fresh vegetables.

Spaghetti With Summer Squash and Tomatoes
Eat healthy and enjoy the fresh vegetables with too short of season.
Ingredients:
1 zucchini, thinly sliced
1 Summer squash, thinly sliced
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly Ground pepper
1 pound spaghetti
Handful of arugula leaves
3/4 cup freshly ground Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving at the table
***
Directions:
Bring a 6 quart pot of water to a boil for spaghetti. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine zucchini, summer squash, tomatoes, onion, garlic, and oregano in a bowl. Add oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss. Place mixture on a baking sheet and roast 10 to 12 minutes, until squash is caramelized. Scape into a large bowl; cover to keep warm. Cook pasta 8 to 9 minutes, until al dente (still a bit firm). Reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water and stir it into bowl of vegetables. Add pasta water and stir it into bowl of vegetables. Add pasta, arugula (salad green with a slightly peppery taste), cheese and more pepper to bowl; toss and serve. 20 minutes and serves 4

Saturday, July 28, 2007

ULTIMATE BROWNIES ..... Personalize these brownies to honor a special accomplishment.

Ultimate Brownies
This recipe is from the 7/07 issue of Better Homes & Gardens and is a keeper!
Ingredients:
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
(Stir ins)
1 cup dark chocolate pieces
1/2 cup chopped nuts (Optional)
1 recipe chocolate drizzle (optional)
***
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coarsely chop unsweetened chocolate. In saucepan melt butter and chocolate over low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and cool.
***
Line 8x8x2 inch baking pan with foil. Spray non stick cooking spray, set aside. Stir sugar into melted chocolate mixture until sugar is dissolved. Add eggs one at a time, beating with wooden spoon just until combined. Stir in vanilla.
***
In bowl stir together flour and baking soda. Add stir ins (listed below). Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture; stir just until combined. Stir in dark chocolate pieces and nuts. Spread batter in baking pan.
***
Bake 35 minutes or until edges are set and begin to pull away from sides of pan. Cool in the pan on wire rack. Spoon Chocolate Drizzle across top. Cut into bars. Makes 16 brownies.
***
Sweet Stir-ins:
Add 1/2 cup dried fruit soaked in sparkling wine for 30 minutes, drained, and chopped; or 3/4 cup candy coated chocolate pieces to batter.
***
Spice stir-ins:
Add 1 teaspoon cinnamon or ground ancho chili powder; 2 teaspoon grated orange peel; or 1 Tablespoon espresso powder to flour mixture.
***
Chocolate Drizzle:
In bowl stir together 1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar, 1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, 1 1/2 teaspoon milk. Stir in additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time until icing is drizzling consistency.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Impossible Quiche ..... Flashback Friday ..... A recipe from my husband's Great Aunt Martha and a favorite of many years of the family.

Impossible Quiche
I believe this is called impossible because it is impossible to have a failure. This quiche can be reheated in the microwave if you have leftovers. Our daughter-in-law requested the recipe be posted on the Blog.
Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 eggs
1 cup Bisquick mix
1 cup grated Swiss cheese
1/2 cup diced bacon, fried crisp
1 Tablespoon chopped onion
2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
2 dashes Tabasco sauce
***
Directions:
Prepare quiche dish with film of butter. Saute the bacon crisp; drain on a paper towel. Saute the onion in bacon drippings. Melt the butter and cool slightly. Beat eggs, add milk, melted butter and Tabasco sauce. Stir in Bisquick, mix well.
***
Spread layer of bacon then add sauteed onion and layer Swiss cheese. Pour mixture over bacon, onion and cheese. Garnish top with chopped parsley. Bake at 350 for approximately 45 minutes or until golden brown.
***
TIP: I use one onion diced with this recipe since we like that flavor and I usually add more bacon than what the recipe calls for. This is a very versatile recipe. You may choose other ingredients to add or delete. You just really need the Bisquick, milk, eggs, butter, cheese and Tabasco sauce. As I said it is impossible to have a failure!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Custard Bread Pudding

Custard Bread Pudding
I was raised in the "waste nothing" generation by a mother who was a wonderful cook. We would beg mom to "please make bread pudding". It was a great way to use the bread crusts that none of us children liked to eat.
Ingredients:
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups milk
1 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
10 slices day old (or more) bread
*optional 1 cup raisins
*optional 1 cup chopped nuts
***
Sauce:
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup water
7 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
***
Directions:
Bread Pudding
In a large bowl combine eggs, milk, sugar, butter, (use some to also butter baking dish), cinnamon and vanilla. Add the bread cubes and optional ingredients; mix well. Pour into a buttered 11 x 7 x 2" baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.
***
Sauce
In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, flour, and water until smooth. Add butter. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for two minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla. Serve warm or cold over pudding. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream if desired.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Blackberry and Nectarine Cobbler

Blackberry and Nectarine Cobbler
Yesterday while taking a walk I found a patch of ripe wild blackberries. I could just taste this cobbler. This recipe is a favorite.
Ingredients:
3 cups fresh blackberries
2 1/4 pounds nectarines (about 7 medium nectarines)
1 1/4 cup sugar plus 1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter cut into 1/2" chunks
3/4 cup whole milk
***
shallow 2 1/2 quart baking dish
***
Directions:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Whisk together 1 1/4 cups sugar and cornstarch in a large bowl, then add blackberries and nectarines and toss to combine well. Transferred to a buttered baking dish and bake in middle of oven 10 to 15 minutes until hot.
While fruit bakes, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt, then blend in butter with your finger tips until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add milk and stir just until a dough forms. Drop dough on top of hot fruit in six mounds. Sprinkle tops of dough with 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Bake another 25 to35 minutes.
***
TIP Any combination of fruit suitable for a pie will work with this recipe.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Oyster Sauce For Salmon .....

Oyster Sauce For Salmon
This recipe was shared by our daughter-in-law's sister Karen who is one of the best cooks I know! We loved it and I know you will too!
Ingredients:
Fillet of Salmon
Butter
***
Sauce:
bottled oyster sauce
olive oil
thinly sliced green onions
garlic
peeled and grated fresh ginger
***
Directions:
Pour melted butter over salmon fillet and grill or bake.
***
Although the sauce does not have specific amounts, I will share what I use to prepare a full fillet of salmon, that being one side of the fish. You can increase the amounts of a flavor or decrease according to your tastes. The sauce is high in sodium and I use it sparingly or more like you might use tartar sauce.
***
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1/4 cup water
slight amount of olive oil
1 or so Tablespoons sliced green onions
1 clove garlic crushed
2 teaspoons to 1 Tablespoon ginger.
***
Bring oyster sauce and water to a boil to reduce thickened state and salty flavor. Use a one to one formula for the water and oyster sauce.
***
In a small skillet saute the thinly sliced green onions in olive oil. When transparent add crushed garlic and stir briefly. Add reduced oyster sauce and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add ginger. Allow to set and steep for a few minutes. If necessary reheat before serving. When the salmon is cooked, pour a glaze of the Oyster Sauce over the salmon.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Bananas Foster ..... The Dessert that Brennon's Restaurant made famous.

Bananas Foster
This recipe was my choice of dessert when I visited Brennon's Restaurant.
Ingredients:
4 ripe bananas
1/3 cup butter
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon corn syrup
1/2 cup dark rum
1/2 cup banana liqueur
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
Vanilla ice cream
***
Directions:
Peel and slice bananas lengthwise into halves.
***
Melt butter, brown sugar and corn syrup and boil 1 minute. Add dark rum and banana liqueur and boil 2 more minutes. Add cinnamon and bananas and cook another 2 minutes or until bananas are heated through.
***
Place a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream in bowl and serve bananas with syrup over ice cream.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Banana Bread ..... This is it, the last recipe you will ever try for a great tasting banana bread!

Banana Bread
This recipe was shared by Larry a neighbor to our daughter Barbara. This is the only recipe I have used since I received it several years ago.
Ingredients:
3 bananas
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup chopped walnuts
***
Directions:
Mash the bananas and allow to set at room temp for 45 minutes.
***
Cream the butter and sugar; add eggs beating well after each addition. Add the mashed bananas, vanilla,and buttermilk and beat until smooth. Sift together the flour and baking soda and add to mixture, stir in chopped walnuts. Pour into prepared loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until toothpick comes out clean.
***
This bread is great toasted.  Note to Donna:  Use Pampered Chef Stone loaf baking dish.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Green Beans With Roasted Onion Vinaigrette ..... A great summer dish!

Green Beans With Roasted Onion Vinaigrette .....
Are you looking for a new twist on the "bean dish" for a picnic or pot-luck or just a family meal?
Ingredients:
2 red (spanish) onions, about 1 pound
4 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 Tablespoon chopped dill
3 Tablespoons champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon stone ground mustard
***
2 pounds green beans, trimmed, steamed, and chilled
***
Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Trim onions of dried skin and roots. Slice onions vertically, place a thyme sprig on a half and top with other half and wrap in foil. Bake one hour at 400 degrees. Cool to room temperature. Unwrap onion and discard the thyme sprig. Chop onions.
***
Whisk together: 3 teaspoons olive oil, chopped dill, vinegar, and mustard: add chopped onion.
***
Pour vinaigrette over green beans which have been trimmed, steamed, and cooled to room temperature.
***
TIP: Beans will have better flavor if allowed to marinate briefly before serving.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Eggnog Pie ..... Flashback Friday to the days of a new bride and family get-togethers. The pie Aunt Deal (Odelia) made famous at family gatherings.

Eggnog Pie
This is the original recipe of an aunt who just celebrated her 90TH birthday and still remains high on the list of great cooks.
***
Ingredients: 
1 teaspoon Knox gelatin 
1 tablespoon cold water 
1 cup milk 
1/2 cup sugar 
2 tablespoons cornstarch 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
6 egg yolks beaten 
1 tablespoon butter 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla 
1 teaspoon rum flavoring 
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
***
1 baked pie crust
***
Directions:
Dissolve gelatin in cold water and set aside. Combine cornstarch, salt and milk in a double boiler. Cook until thick. Beat egg yolks. Add cooked mixture to egg yolks a spoon at a time mixing well after each addition. Return to double boiler and continue to cook until yolks are cooked, just a few minutes more. Add gelatin, butter and flavorings; mix well and allow to cool completely. When cool, fold in whipped cream. Pour into a baked pie crust and sprinkle top with freshly grated nutmeg. Refrigerate until firm.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Chicken On A Bed of Sauteed Leeks and Vegetables ..... An all in one dish.

Chicken On A Bed of Sauteed Leeks and Vegetables
An all-in-one dish with the chicken baking on top of the vegetables. If you want a green vegetable try using green beans or half-runner beans.
Ingredients:
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons paprika
4 boneless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
2 sweet potatoes cut in 1 inch chunks
2 leeks sliced, white and light green parts only
1 cup chicken stock
2 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
***
Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
***
Combine 1 Tablespoon olive oil with thyme, mustard, fresh lemon zest and paprika. Reserve 1 tablespoon of mixture. Spread remainder on chicken breasts, season with salt and pepper.
***
Heat remaining 1 Tablespoon olive oil in oven proof skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken breasts and cook 2 minutes on each side until browned. Remove chicken breasts from skillet and toss in sweet potatoes, saute for one minute. Add leeks and saute for two minutes. Add stock, reserved mustard mustard mixture and balsamic mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add chicken breasts and place over vegetables. Cover skillet.
***
Place in oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until chicken breast juices run clear. Slice chicken breasts and serve over vegetables. Drizzle with pan juices. Serves 4

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Beef With Cabernet Sauce ..... A Great Make Ahead Dish For Entertaining

Beef With Cabernet Sauce
By using cubes of sirloin quick sauteed ahead of time until rare and then reheating them in a make ahead Cabernet sauce at dinner, you serve a serve a spectacular main dish and have time with your guests.
Ingredients:
Red Wine Sauce
1/2 cup dried mushrooms
1 cup boiling water
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 Tablespoon chopped garlic
2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
3 cups beef stock
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
2 stalks parsley
***
Beef:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 1/2 pounds sirloin, cut into uniform 2 inch cubes
salt and pepper
1 pound button mushrooms
1 cup red wine
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Parsley stalks
***
Garnish:
3 Tablespoons chopped parsley
***
Directions:
Soak mushrooms in boiling water for 20 minutes or until soft. Set aside and reserve.
***
Heat oil in pot and add onions, carrots, and celery and saute for about 5 minutes or until brown around the edges. Add garlic and saute 1 minute more.
Stir in flour until well blended with vegetables. Cook until flour has rich brown color about 3 minutes. Add stock, tomato paste, thyme, bay leaf , parsley stalks, mushrooms (dried) and the soaking liquid. Bring to a boil stirring occasionally and cook for about 45 minutes until strongly flavored and slightly thickened. Strain sauce pressing down on solids. Reserve.
***
Heat oil in a large saute pan and add beef in batches . Brown beef over high heat about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Beef should only be browned and rare as it will cook again in the sauce. Reserve beef and any juices in skillet. Add more oil as needed and brown mushrooms until they are softened. Reserve with beef.
***
Add wine and balsamic vinegar to skillet and scrape up bits at bottom of pan. (If bottom of pan is burned, wash pan before adding wine.) Bring to a boil until wine is reduced by half. Add to reserved sauce.
***
When ready to serve add sauce to skillet over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and add beef, mushrooms and any juices to sauce. Simmer together until meat is heated through and still pink in the center. Remove meat to serving platter and continue heating sauce until sauce is thick and rich tasting, about 4 minutes. Pour over meat and scatter with chopped parsley. Serves 6

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Grilled Shrimp Caesar Salad ..... A low calorie dressing without sacrificing flavor.

Grilled Shrimp Caesar Salad
This Caesar dressing has all of the flavor but about a quarter of the calories. It is a dressing that you will make again and again.
Dressing Ingredients:
1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1/4 cup 1% low fat cottage cheese
2 anchovies, chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 Tablespoon grated Parmesan Cheese
Freshly ground pepper
***
12 fresh shrimp
1 head Romaine lettuce, washed
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
***
Directions:
Puree in blender, mayonnaise, cottage cheese, anchovies, fresh lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, chopped garlic and olive oil. Stir in freshly grated Parmesan cheese and ground black pepper. If dressing is too thick, thin down with a little warm water.
***
Use 1/4 cup dressing to marinade the shrimp for at least 30 minutes. Drain shrimp and grill or broil about 1 1/2 minutes per side, just until the shrimp slightly curl and start to turn pink.
***
Tear Romaine lettuce into small pieces and divide among four plates. Add the shrimp and dressing, garnish with parsley. Serves 4

Monday, July 16, 2007

Crab Louis Salad ..... Add shrimp and or salmon to make it Seafood Louie

Crab Louis Salad
Our daughter Anne has perfected this salad which we have enjoyed at our Easter Brunch as tradition. I thank God for a family that shares my love for wholesome food and the willingness to prepare it!
Ingredients:
Dressing:
1 1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 Tablespoon fresh chives, chopped
1 1/2 Tablespoon parsley, chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
***
Directions:
Place ingredients in bowl and stir to mix well. Can be made 24 hours in advance.
***
Salad Ingredients:
12 cups lightly packed bite size pieces of Romaine lettuce.
1 pound asparagus trimmed to 5" lengths
1 pound lump back fin crab meat
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in halves
2 hard boiled eggs, cut in wedges
lemon wedges.
***
Directions:
Blanche the fresh asparagus for three minutes in boiling water. Remove to ice water to cool. Allow to drain before using. Pat dry with paper towels.
***
Toss Romaine lettuce with dressing; mound the greens on plates. Garnish salads with asparagus, cherry tomatoes, crab meat, lump crab and lemon wedges. Serves 4 to 6
***
TIP: We had dinner in San Francisco last week and the Restaurant offered a Seafood Louis Salad. It offered shrimp, crab meat and salmon in the salad.
***
Also I use the frozen asparagus when asparagus is out of season. I thaw the asparagus on a cooling rack where it can drain as it thaws. Not as great as fresh asparagus but it will work.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Madeleines ..... Satisfy your sweet tooth with a low calorie treat.

Madeleines
Ingredients:
6 Tablespoons butter plus 1 teaspoon
1 3/4 cup cake flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
finely grated zest of 2 lemons
pinch of salt
4 beaten eggs
2 teaspoons butter for molds
***
Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
***
Grease two Madeleine pans containing 3" long molds with 2 teaspoons butter. Melt 6 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon butter over medium low heat and let cool 10 minutes.
***
Whisk together 1 3/4 cups cake flour, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, finely grated zest of 2 lemons. and a pinch of salt in a bowl; fold in 4 beaten eggs until smooth. Add butter; fold just until mixed. Divide batter between molds, filling each about three-fourths full. Bake rotating once until golden brown 15 - 20 minutes. Remove cookies from molds; let cool slightly. Makes 2 dozen.
***
I like to sift confectioners sugar over the cookies just enough to dust them. This gives the cookies a "finished" look.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Marinated Flank Steak ..... aka London Broil The more economical but tasty steak to grill.

Marinated Flank Steak ... aka London Broil
Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon black peppercorns
1 Tablespoon coriander seeds
1 Tablespoons fennel seeds
2 broken dried chiles de arbol
2 fresh bay leaves
1/2 cup red wine
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons worcestershire sauce
4 crushed garlic cloves
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1/2 cup olive oil
***
Directions:
Place the black peppercorns, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, dried chiles, and fresh bay leaves in a hot skillet to toast, stirring occasionally until fragrant, 2 - 3 minutes. Transfer aromatics to a hard surface and lightly crush with the bottom of a skillet; then transfer to a 9 x 13 baking dish. Add red wine, worcestershire sauce, crushed garlic cloves, fresh rosemary and olive oil; whisk to combine. Poke one flank steak with a fork. Cover and refrigerate, turning occasionally, for 12 to 24 hours.
***
One hour before grilling, transfer steak to a plate; set aside to room temperature.
***
Sauce:
Transfer marinade to a small pot and bring just to a boil; set aside.
***
Grill meat over medium hot heat, turning only once, and using a brush, basting with reserved marinade occasionally until browned and medium rare, 7 to 8 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest for 10 minutes. Carve steak into thin slices on the bias and serve with accumulated juices. Serves 4
***
TIP* I use a zip lock freezer bag to marinate my meat. I zip it closed about 7/8 of the way and release any air remaining in the bag. I then finishing sealing the bag. This holds the marinade on the meat and is so easy to flip over. I place the bag in the baking pan just in case there is a leak. That is a good precaution.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Chocolate Cookie Cake ..... Flashback Friday ... This recipe was the cake the children liked and I also liked because it was quick and easy!

Chocolate Cookie Cake
Sift together:
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
***
Place in a saucepan:
3 1/2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
1 stick margarine
1 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
***
Bring to a full rolling boil. Stir and let boil for 1 minute. Cool, and mix with dry ingredients. Mix well. If liquid is too warm, the mixture will be lumpy.
***
Add:
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten
1 Tablespoon vanilla
***
Directions:
Beat well and pour into a prepared jelly roll pan. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes.
***
ICING:
Melt but do not cook:
1/2 cup butter
3 1/2 Tablespoons chocolate syrup
1/3 cup milk
***
Remove from heat and add:
1 cup chopped nuts
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 pound powdered sugar
*coconut (optional)
Pour over WARM cake. If the cake is too hot, the icing is absorbed into the cake.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Filets Mignons With Mushroom Sauce ..... This lucious sauce adds complex flavor to filet mignon, a rather mild tasting cut.

Filets Mignons With Mushroom Sauce
Ingredients:
6 Tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
3 Tablespoons olive oil
4 8oz. filets mignons
Salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 pound cremini mushrooms
1 cup red wine
1 cup chicken stock
2 teaspoons cornstarch, mixed with 1 Tablespoon water
2 Tablespoons mixed chopped chives and parsley
2 Tablespoons sherry
***
Directions:
Heat oven to 500 degrees. Heat 1 Tablespoon butter and 1Tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Season filets with salt and pepper; sear, flipping once, until browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer filets to baking sheet; roast in oven until med-rare 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer filets to a plate.
***
Return skillet to high heat. Add 1 Tablespoon butter, remaining oil and shallots; cool for 5 minutes. Add red wine; bring to a boil. Reduce to medium heat; cook until syrupy, 8 to 10 minutes. Whisk in cornstarch mixture; bring to a boil. Add sherry; cook until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in remaining butter, herbs, and salt and pepper.
***
Serve filets with mushroom sauce. Serves 4.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Pesto And Aoili ..... Two Sauces To Enhance The Flavors Of The Foods You Prepare!

Pesto
Mary and I made this sauce with fresh basil left over from the dinner party of Saturday night. Nothing is better than fresh pesto, what a flavor!
Ingredients:
3 cups fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves
3/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt (more or less)
***
Directions:
Place basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, salt and about 1/4 cup olive oil in food processor. Process with pulses being careful not to over process. Add remaining olive oil slowly to make a nice sauce. You want the ingredients well mixed with very tiny pieces of the basil leaves appearing as specks in the sauce. The ingredients should not be macerated.
***
Pesto can be stored in a glass jar in the refrigerator but should have a thin layer of olive oil covering the level surface which will prevent discoloration.
***
How to use Pesto:
Cook pasta in salted water and when cooked al dente, drain, and toss with Pesto. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
***
We like the pesto on sliced tomatoes with sliced fresh mozzarella cheese.
*****
Aioli
Ingredients:
1 teaspoon sea salt
8 to 12 garlic cloves, halved lengthwise
1 slice white bread, wet with water and squeezed dry
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups olive oil, room temperature
juice of freshly squeezed lemon
about 1 tablespoon boiling water
***
Directions:
Make paste of salt and garlic with pestle and mortar. Add softened bread and pound to amalgamate. Now add yolks continue pounding to get a thick golden paste. Transfer to food processor. With motor running, drizzle in half of olive oil. Add the lemon juice and continue processing until all the olive oil has been added and the Aioli is dense, glutenous, and glossy. Finally add the boiling water.
***
Uses: Many European cooks serve Aioli with meat, pasta, and crudities. These two sauces, Pesto and Aioli, are the primary sauces in an European kitchen and are frequently found in the recipes.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Porcini Risotto ..... This Northern Italian favorite was served by Mary Saturday night at our dinner party and absolutely delicious!

Porcini Risotto
Mary served this dish also on Saturday evening at the dinner party. It was an instant hit with the group!
Ingredients:
olive oil
Rice, aborio, or best choice is canaroli
porcini mushrooms
chicken stock
salt to taste
grated Parmesan cheese
***
Directions:
If you are using dried porcini mushrooms, they must be reconstituted by soaking first in water. If you choose reconstituted mushrooms, drain the excess water.
***
Saute the mushrooms in olive oil which have been sliced thin and the dried reconstituted mushrooms which have been chopped.
***
Choose your rice. The aborio rice has a higher starch content and can become "gummy" if over cooked. The canaroli rice cooks up with a lighter consistency and is slightly more palliative. Follow package amounts for your crowd.
***
When the porcini mushrooms have been sauteed, add the raw rice. Slightly saute the rice kernels in the mushroom and olive oil mixture before adding the chicken stock. Add small amounts of chicken stock at a time allowing the liquid to be absorbed before the next addition. This dish must be stirred very frequently with a close eye. Requires about 20 minutes cooking time.
***
Serve immediately and pass the Parmesan cheese

Monday, July 9, 2007

Mary's "Seafood Fettuccini" ..... Straight from the center of the City of Milano.

Our entire family gathered together Saturday evening for a dinner party with a total of sixteen family and friends. Daughter Mary who lives in Milan, Italy was our guest chef! (by command) It was a true command performance of excellence! I will share Mary's recipe for Seafood Fettuccine. You understand that Italian cooks keep a tasting spoon nearby and use it as they cook.
Mary's Seafood Fettuccine
Ingredients:
Vine ripened tomatoes
salt
olive oil
red pepper flakes
cooked shrimp
whipping cream
***
Fettuccine which is cooked al dente.
***
Directions:
For six servings:
Allow 2 vine ripened tomatoes per serving. Chop and place in blender or food processor and puree. Season with salt and add 1 teaspoon olive oil per serving (6 x 1 tsp.=2 Tablespoons). Cook over low heat for approximately one hour to reduce the sauce.
***
When sauce is reduced, season with red pepper flakes which is individual taste. Add shrimp to sauce and only heat through. Add 8 oz. whipping cream per six servings and do not bring to a boil again but only to heat through.
***
Toss sauce with cooked fettuccine and serve.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Cousin Jane's "Wild Rice Salad" ..... This salad was served at a family reunion and all wanted the recipe. It is worth the effort and ingredients!

Cousin Jane's "Wild Rice Salad"
Dressing:
3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1Tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup olive oil
***
Place ingredients in cruet and shake well to mix. Let flavors mellow.
***
Salad:
1 cup wild rice
1/2 cups thinly sliced celery
1/2 cup diced red pepper
1/2 cup diced yellow pepper
1/2 cup toasted pecans
3/4 cup dried cranberries
salt and pepper
***
Directions:
Cook the wild rice in 3 cups water until tender. Add salt when the water begins to boil. When the rice is tender, drain any excess water and cool. Add the vegetables, pecans, and dried cranberries. Toss with dressing and refrigerate to develop flavors. Serve.
Note! If you try only one recipe from this blog, make this recipe the one you try! You will try others!!!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Pear and Hazelnut Frangipane Tart ..... This dessert is a reminder of those fabulous European sweets.

Pear and Hazelnut Frangipane Tart
Ingredients:
Crust:
1 3/4 cup flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter cut into 8 pieces
3 - 5 Tablespoons ice water
***
In a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, salt and butter until it resembles corn meal. Add ice water only until a small handful squeezed holds together. Pat into a 10 inch tart pan. I use the bowl of a serving spoon to even and smooth the bottom.
***
Frangipane:
Ingredients:
1 cup hazelnuts, skins rubbed off and cooled
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
***
3 firm ripe Bosc pears
1/4 cup apricot preserves, heated and strained
***
Directions:
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place hazelnuts on a baking sheet in a single layer and heat in oven for 12 to 15 minutes. The skins will crack and loosen. Remove from oven and place in a towel and roll up to allow steam to loosen skins more. When cool rub between layers of the towel to remove the loosened skins.
***
Place the cool hazelnits and 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup flour in a food processor and pulse to chop the hazelnuts.
***
In a mixer bowl add the butter and 1/4 cup sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs and extract flavorings and fold in the nut mixture. Spread on the crust.
***
Peel the 3 Bosc pears. Cut each pear in half and slice lengthwise in 1/4" strips being careful not to cut all of the way through at the blossom end. This will allow you to fan out the pears. Arrange the blossom end of pear to the center of the tart. I have already sliced the pears and arranged the slices in a decorative design of the tart.
***
Bake 30 to 40 minutes at 350 degrees. Heat and strain the apricot preserves. When the tart has cooled spread the strained preserves on the pears only.
***

Friday, July 6, 2007

Butterscotch Refrigerator Cookies ..... Flashback Friday from my childhood. I remember my mother baking these cookies to satisfy our pleas!

Butterscotch Refrigerator Cookies
Ingredients:
1 cup butter, room temperature
3 cups packed brown sugar
4 eggs, separated
5 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
***
Directions:
In a large mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg yolks one at a time beating well after each addition. Combine the flour, cream of tartar, and the baking soda. Gradually add to the creamed mixture. Gradually stir in the nuts.
***
In a small mixing bowl beat the egg whites to form stiff peaks. Fold into dough mixture.
***
Divide the dough into four portions and form into logs. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Slice into 1/4" slices. Place 1" apart on an prepared baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees 10 to 12 minutes until edges are golden brown. Cool on wire racks.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Romesco Sauce .... Dress up those grilled vegetables with this sauce or serve it with fish!

Romesco Sauce
Ingredients:
1/3 cup toasted almonds
1 slice white bread, torn in pieces
2 gloves garlic
4 grilled Roma tomatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 Tablespoons sherry wine vinegar
***
Directions:
In the bowl of a food processor, add almonds, bread, and garlic. Process until nuts are ground. Add the four grilled tomatoes, olive oil, salt, pepper, and the vinegar. Process until the consistency of a paste. Cover sauce and chill.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Provencal Tomatoes ..... Try a traditional sliced tomato with a new twist sauteed or grilled!

Provencal Tomatoes
Ingredients:
6 medium ripe flavorful tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
8 black peppercorns
1/4 nutmeg, freshly grated
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 Tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed or chopped
a handful of chopped mixed herbs,
i.e. chives, parsley, tarragon, borage,
oregano, and sage or 2 teaspoons of
Provencal mixed dried herbs
(if fresh are not available).
3 to 4 Tablespoons water, stock, or white wine
3 Tablespoons breadcrumbs, pan-sizzled
in 1 tablespoon olive oil
***
Directions:
Slice the tomatoes in half horizontally. Scoop out the seeds and juice.
***
Using a pestle and mortar, grind together the salt, sugar, and black pepper. Stir in the nutmeg. Sprinkle the tomatoes with this mixture. Put some shallots in each half.
***
Pour the olive oil in a large wide skillet and heat for two minutes. Add the tomatoes in a single layer hollow side up. Scatter in the garlic and half of the herbs, the cook for 2 minutes on a fairly high heat.
***
Now add 2 Tablespoons of the water, stock, or wine. Cover the skillet,reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cook for 10 minutes more.
***
Using a spoon an a pallet knife to turn the tomatoes, being careful to keep neat shapes. If the liquid is evaporated, add 2 more tablespoons of the water, stock, or wine. Cover the skillet again and continue cooking for 10 minutes more. Tomatoes should be sticky, nearly collapsed, and very fragrant.
***
Serve the Right side up and sprinkle with remaining herbs and a few toasted bread crumbs. Enjoy hot, warm or cool.
***
To Grill:
Place on a vegetable rack. To cook place a disposable aluminum pan over tomatoes. Adjust temperatures as needed.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Stuffed Salmon en Croute ..... An easy fix for a tasty dish!

Stuffed Salmon en Croute
Ingredients:
1 pkg. frozen puff pastry, thawed
2 Tablespoons flour
1 Salmon fillet
1 large egg
2 Tablespoons water
lemon slices
*Salmon seasonings
***
Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut each sheet in half.
Place each salmon fillet seasoned side down in the center of 1 piece of dough. Wrap dough over fish, trim any excess dough and press edges together to seal. Place seam side down on a cookie sheet.
Beat egg with water and brush evenly over pastry. Bake until golden brown 25 to 30 minutes, or according to package directions. Serve with lemon wedges.
***
*Optional seasonings for Salmon: I like to use a combination of softened butter, chopped fresh parsley, dill, salt and pepper and whatever other flavors you want to add. I never use the same amounts and I never measure.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Spiced Pecan-Apple Salad ..... Trimming calories or keeping the kitchen cool, this salad is the ticket!

Spiced Pecan-Apple Salad
Ingredients:
1 2/3 cups pecan pieces
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
***
1/2 cup olive oil or salad oil
2 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
***
1 large Red Delicious apple
2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 head red leaf lettuce torn into bite size pieces
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
Butterhead lettuce (Bibb or Boston) leaves
***
Directions:
Pecans: Line a 15 x 10 x 1 inch baking pan with foil. Spread pecans in an even layer. In a small sauce pan heat and stir butter cinnamon, salt and cayenne pepper over low heat until melted. Drizzle butter mixture over pecans; stir gently to coat the nuts. Bake in a 350 oven for 10 to 125 minutes or until the pecans are golden and aromatic.. Cool in pan on wire rack.
***
Vinaigrette: In a screw top jar, combine oil, vinegar and mustard. Cover and shake well; set aside.
***
Salad: Core and chop the apple; place in a large bowl. Sprinkle lemon juice over apple; stir to gently coat the pieces. Add leaf lettuce and feta cheese to apple in bowl; toss to combine. Shake vinaigrette; drizzle vinaigrette over salad. Toss to coat. Line bowls with butterhead lettuce leaves. Top the lettuce with the salad mixture. Top with spiced pecans and sprinkle with cracked pepper, if you like. Serve the salad. Makes 8 to 10 servings.