Thursday, April 30, 2015

Spinach Souffle And Prosciutto Tarts

1/2 cup unsalted butter, diced 
3 oz. cream cheese, diced
1 cup flour

1 T. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped prosciutto
1 pkg. frozen spinach soufflé, slightly thawed

1/2 cup sour cream
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T. minced roasted red pepper

Makes 24.
1. For pastry, place butter, cream cheese, and flour in food processor. Pulse 6 to 8 times to mix together. Turn on machine and run until dough forms a ball. Dough can be refrigerated or frozen at this point.

2. Spray 24 mini muffin cups with nonstick spray. Divide dough into 24 pieces and drop one into each muffin cup. Press into cup to cover bottom and sides.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and prosciutto and sauté for 1 minute or until softened. Stir into spinach soufflé. Spoon soufflé mixture into pastry lined cups and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until filling is puffed and set and pastry is lightly brown around edges. Remove tarts from pans and cool on a rack.

4. Meanwhile, to make sauce, stir together sour cream, garlic and roasted pepper. Chill to blend flavors while tarts cook. Top each cooled tart with a bit of the sauce and serve. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Lebanese Fattah: Chickpeas, pita chips, and labneh with garnishes

Lebanese Fattah:  
Chickpeas, Pita Chips, 
And Labneh With Garnishes

This dish comes together quickly when you have a well-stocked larder with labneh, chickpeas, and pita chips. I like to make these regularly and keep them on hand at all times! You can use peeled chickpeas, my favorite, but from dry or canned will work fine here too. Add fried eggplant, roasted chicken or lamb for extra oomph.

Serves: 2
For the chickpeas:
2 cups chickpeas
½ cup water
Big pinch kosher salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

For the labneh:
1 cup labneh
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Squeeze of lemon juice

For the garnishes:
Pita chips
Scallions, thinly sliced
Radish, grated
Pine nuts, toasted
Fresh mint, finely chopped
Pomegranate seeds 

In a small saucepan, heat the chickpeas with the water and salt until warmed through. Strain the chickpeas and in a small bowl, stir in the olive oil

Mix the labneh with the garlic, salt, and lemon juice.

In two lovely bowls, mound the warm chickpeas in the center. Spoon a big dollop of labneh on top. Surround the chickpeas with the pita chips, scallions and radish, then garnish with pine nuts, fresh mint, and pomegranate seeds. Serve immediately.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Slow Cooker Creamed Corn
(makes 6 servings)
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
3 15oz cans whole kernel corn, drained
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
8oz cream cheese, cubed
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into thin slices

In a large saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon butter on medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook 2-3 minutes until translucent. Transfer the onion to the slow cooker.

Place the corn in the slow cooker over the onion. Stir in the milk, sugar, nutmeg, salt and pepper until well combined. Without stirring, top with butter and cream cheese. Cover and cook on high heat for 2-3 hours.

Uncover and stir until the butter and cream cheese are well combined. Cover and cook on high for an additional 15 minutes. Serve hot.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Avocado And Chicken Flatbread With Bacon, Tomatoes, And Feta Cheese And Cilantro Crema Drizzle

Cilantro Crema:
8 oz. crema agria or sour cream 
1 cup cilantro leaves
12 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper

1 pkg. prepared pizza dough
2 T. olive oil
1 1/2 cups cooked chopped chicken
6 slices thick bacon, chopped, cooked and drained 

1 cup diced seeded plum tomatoes
2 avocados, rinsed and diced
1 1/2 cups crumbed Cotija cheese
2 T. chopped cilantro for garnish

Serves 6 to 8.
1. For Crema, combine crema or sour cream, cilantro, salt and pepper in food processor and puree. Set aside.
2. For flatbread, stretch out the pizza dough onto a silpat-lined baking sheet until it begins to shrink. Let dough rest 15 minutes. Stretch dough again until it forms a rectangle that is 10 by 15 inches. If necessary, let dough rest another 15 minutes and stretch it again.
3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Drizzle dough with olive oil and sprinkle with chicken, bacon, tomatoes and avocado leaving 1 inch clear around the edges to form a nice edge. Sprinkle the cheese over all and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until dough is nicely browned. Remove flatbread to a cutting board and sprinkle with cilantro. Cut down the center lengthwise and then again across into 6 to 8 pieces.
Phillis Careys Recipe of the Week April 7, 2015 1

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Heavenly Healthy Banana Bread

Heavenly Healthy Banana Bread
Who doesn't love banana bread? This moist, tender, richly flavored loaf features whole wheat flour, making this a super (and tasty!) way to increase your family's intake of healthy fiber.
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter
1/2 cup brown sugar, light or dark, firmly packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon banana flavor, optional
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 medium to large bananas, cut into chunks; about 1 pound, before peeling (as weighed at the grocery store)
1/4 cup honey
2 large eggs
2 cups King Arthur Whole Wheat Flour, Premium or 100% white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" or 9" x 5" loaf pan. 

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the vanilla, baking soda, salt, and bananas, beating until well combined. The mixture will be fairly smooth, with some scattered small chunks of banana. 

Beat in the honey and eggs. 

Add the flour, then the walnuts, stirring until smooth. 

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Let it rest at room temperature for 10 minutes. 

Bake the bread for 50 minutes, then gently lay a piece of aluminum foil across the top, to prevent over-browning. Bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, then remove the bread from the oven; a long toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center should come out clean.

Allow the loaf to cool for 10 minutes; then remove it from the pan, and set it on a rack to cool completely.
Yield: 1 loaf, 16 to 18 servings.

Tips from our bakers
For banana-pineapple bread, drain a 20-ounce can of crushed pineapple in juice, saving the juice for another use (or to drink). Place the pineapple in a double layer of paper towels, and wring it until it's as dry as can be. Substitute it for one of the bananas in the recipe; you may need to increase the baking time by 5 to 10 minutes. 

Want to dress up the bread's crust — and add flavor, too? Mix 2 tablespoons granulated sugar + 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon; sprinkle evenly over the top of the bread before baking. 

For banana mini muffins, scoop the batter into a mini-muffin pan (in batches), and bake the muffins in a preheated 325°F oven for 10 minutes, or until they test done. Yield: 32 mini muffins.

Recipe Summary:  Hands on time 15 minutes,  Baking time 1 hr to 1 hr and 5 minutes.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Filet Mignon With Mushroom Port Sauce with Green Onion-Spinach Pesto Swirled Mashed Potatoes

Serves 6.
6 (6 oz.) filet mignon steaks, 1 1/4 inches thick
Salt and pepper to taste
6 T. unsalted butter, divided use
4 fresh large shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps thinly sliced 8 oz. sliced crimini mushrooms

3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups beef broth
3/4 cup Tawny Port
4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce 1 tsp. aged balsamic vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Season filets with salt and pepper. Melt 3 T. butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Sear the filets for about 4 minutes per side and transfer to a baking sheet. Roast filets in oven for 8 to 10 minutes longer for medium rare to medium.
2. Add remaining butter 3 T. butter to skillet and sauté mushrooms with garlic, stirring until liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated. Add both broths, Port and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer sauce until slightly thickened and reduced to about 3/4 cup, about 15 minutes. Stir in vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve sauce and mushrooms spooned over filets.
Phillis Carey’s Recipe of the Week April 23, 2015 page 1
3 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and quartered 4 T. unsalted butter
1/2 to 1 cup half and half, warmed
Salt and pepper to taste

2 cloves garlic, peeled
3 oz. baby spinach leaves
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
6 green onions, chopped
3 T. pine nuts
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Serves 6.
1. Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and add 1 T. salt. Continue to simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and return to hot cooking pot; let air dry 5 minutes. Force potatoes through a ricer into a bowl and stir in butter and enough half and half to make a creamy yet fairly firm mashed potatoes.

2. While potatoes are cooking, make the pesto. Drop the cloves of garlic into a running food processor and process until minced. Stop processor and add the spinach, basil, green onions, pine nuts, Parmesan and salt. Pulse to chop. With machine running, add the olive oil to make a fairly thick paste. Swirl pesto through hot mashed potatoes and serve immediately. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

White Chocolate Craisin Cookies

White Chocolate Craisin Cookies
Yield: approx. 2 dozen
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup dried cranberries
2/3 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350º F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Mix together flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl or mixer, cream together butter and sugars until fluffy and lightened in color. 3-4 minutes.
Beat in egg and vanilla extract, then scrape down sides and beat for another 1 minute.
Gradually mix dry ingredients into the egg mixture and beat until just combined.
Fold white chocolate chips and dried cranberries into dough (it will be thick) and mix until incorporated.

Note: if not making cookies immediately, freeze dough at this stage.
Using a small ice cream scoop or tablespoon, scoop even-sized dough balls and place them on baking sheets.

Place in oven and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until just set. (They will continue to cook and firm up after you take them out of the oven.)
Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Curried Cream of Celery Soup

Curried Cream of Celery Soup
Serves 8
30 minutes or fewer
Curry powder lends a spicy twist to this soothing standby.
¼ cup sliced almonds
2 Tbs. olive oil
6 celery stalks, diced (3½ cups)
1 large leek, white part halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (2 cups)
¾ tsp. salt
2 apples, peeled, cored, and diced (2 cups)
1 Tbs. curry powder, such as Madras
1 14-oz. can light coconut milk
2 Tbs. rice
2½ cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 Tbs. lime juice
¼ cup coarsely chopped celery leaves, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread almonds on baking sheet, and toast 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden. Cool.

Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add celery, leek, and salt; cook 5 minutes, or until vegetables start to soften. Stir in apples and curry powder; cook 2 minutes. Add coconut milk, rice, broth, and 21/2 cups water. Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 15 minutes, or until vegetables are soft when pierced with a fork.

Purée soup in blender until smooth. Return to pot, and stir in lime juice. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Ladle soup into bowls, and sprinkle celery leaves and almonds on top.

Apple Dumplings

Easy Apple Dumplings
2 (8 ounce) cans crescent rolls
2 sticks butter
1½ cups brown sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 ½ cup 7 Up (or other lemon soda)
2 Apples
Butter a 13 x 9 inch baking dish.

Preheat the oven at 350 F.

Peel and core apples, than cut each apple into 8 slices

Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll and place in a buttered dish.

Melt butter, stir in sugar, vanilla and cinnamon, and when it’s thickened, remove from heat and pour over the dumplings.

Pour the soda in the middle and along the edges of a pan(not over the rolls)

Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until they become golden brown.

Serve warm. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Braised Lamb and Mushroom Shepherds Pie


Yield: Serves 4

The bottom layer:

2 cups leftover braised lamb
3/4 cup cooking liquid from leftover braised lamb (or bone broth)

The middle layer
2 cups dried mixed wild mushrooms
2 cups fresh sliced button mushrooms
3-4 tbsp ghee (Ghee is melted butter with the milk solids water and water removed.)
Generous sprinkle of Himalayan salt
Generous sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper

The top layer
1 large head cauliflower, arranged into florets
3 tbsp ghee
1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp tapioca starch
2 tbsp coconut flour

Preheat your oven to 375F.

Rehydrate the dried mushrooms per the instructions on the package and then drain well. 

With your fingers, tear the leftover lamb into bite size chunks and arrange the meat at the bottom of a baking dish. 

Add the cooking liquid and some or all of the vegetables that were at the bottom of the pan to a food processor or blender and process until smooth; pour ¾ cup of that sauce over the meat. If you didn’t have any of that cooking liquid left, you could simply use some bone or meat broth. It won’t be quite as thick, but if you wanted to thicken it up a bit, you could add a couple of tablespoons of tapioca starch. 

Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of ghee to a heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) set over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot enough, add the mushrooms and sauté them until they turn a beautiful golden color, about 5 minutes. 

Arrange the mushrooms on top of the meat. 

Steam the cauliflower until fork tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to the bowl of your food processor or high speed blender , add ghee, salt, pepper, tapioca starch and coconut flour and process, stopping to scrape the sides as needed, until a smooth and silky consistency is achieved.
Pour the cauliflower mash over the mushrooms and delicately spread it all the way to the edge of your dish.

Put your Shepherd’s Pie in the oven and bake for about 35-40 minutes, or until the top turns slightly golden.

Drizzle with additional extra-virgin olive oil and garnish with chopped fresh herbs if desired and serve.

Monday, April 20, 2015

St. James Cake

Tarta de Santiago, or “St. James’ Cake,” is a traditional Spanish almond cake with roots dating back to the Middle Ages.  
Since Medieval times, millions of pilgrims have made their way to the small town of Santiago de Campostela in northern Spain.  At the end of their journey, a special almond cake bearing the cross of Santiago or “St. James” awaits them.  Fortunately, you don’t need to complete the nearly 500 mile pilgrimage to enjoy this simple yet delicious almond cake at home.
St. James cake is the perfect dessert for spring.  Enjoy it on its own or served with seasonal fruit.  But don’t just take my word for it – give the recipe a try and tell me what you think!
Ingredients (serves 8)
1 lb (2 ½ cups) whole blanched almonds, lightly roasted or 2 ½ cups almond meal
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, sifted
⅓ sticks (11 tablespoons) of unsalted butter, softened
1 ¾ cups caster (superfine) sugar
5 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest, finely chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Lightly grease a 9 ½ inch cake pan.  If using whole almonds, finely grind them in a food processor.
Using electric beaters, cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until thick and pale.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Fold in the flour, ground almonds (or almond meal) and lemon zest.  Stir until the ingredients are combined.
Pour the batter in the greased cake pan and bake for forty minutes, or until it feels firm to the touch.  Cool for 5 minutes.  Transfer to a wire cooling rack and brush the top of the cake with lemon juice.
Dust with confectioners’ sugar.  For a traditional Spanish decoration, sprinkle the sugar over a stencil of the cross of St. James, cut out of paper.  Or, to add some seasonal flair, dust the sugar over spring shape stencils.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Pecan Pie Muffins

Pecan Pie Muffins
For the muffins:
1 cup pecans, finely chopped
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup flour
2 large eggs
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
For the streusel:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

If you have a food processor, combine the brown sugar and pecans and grind them together in the food processor. (Otherwise, finely chop the pecans by hand.)

Add the pecans, brown sugar, and flour to a large bowl and make a well in the center of the mixture.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs until foamy and stir in the butter and vanilla. Add the egg mixture to the well in the dry ingredients and stir everything together until combined well.

To make the streusel, put the flour, sugar, cinnamon, butter, and pecans (if desired) into a medium bowl and stir them together with a fork until combined well.

Generously grease your muffin pans and spoon batter into the cups, making sure to only fill each cup 2/3 of the way full.

Sprinkle the pecan streusel on top of each muffin, pressing lightly on each batch of streusel to make sure it sticks to the batter below.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until they pass the toothpick test – place a toothpick into the center of a muffin and if it comes out clean, the muffins are done.

Remove them from oven and take the muffins out of the pan immediately, and place them on wire cooling racks. Serve warm (and consider also serving with cream cheese).

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Maple Shortbread Bars

Maple Shortbread Bars
For The Crust:
2 cups flour
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled

For The Filling:
1 ½ cups packed brown sugar
⅔ cup real maple syrup
2 eggs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon maple extract
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped pecans

Heat oven to 350 degrees. For crust, combine flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Cut butter into slices, and cut in with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture is crumbly. 

Press into bottom and half an inch up the sides of a 9- by 13-inch baking pan. Bake 15 minutes, or until edges begin to brown. Cool on rack.

For filling, combine all ingredients except pecans, and mix until smooth. Pour into cooled crust. Distribute nuts evenly over top. Bake 30 minutes, or until filling is set. Cool on a rack before cutting.

Yield 39 bars 3" X 1"  

Friday, April 17, 2015

Almond Joy Cookies

Almond Joy Cookies
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
4 eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla
4 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
5 cups chocolate chips
2 cups sweetened coconut
2 cups chopped almonds

Pre-heat oven to 375°F Lightly grease cookie sheets.

Combine dry ingredients, set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars together. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, stir in the vanilla. Stir in the dry ingredients until well mixed then stir in the chocolate chips, coconut and almonds. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.  Yield 5 to 6 dozen cookies.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Royal Scotch Shortbread

Royal Scotch Shortbread

2 cups sifted flour
½ cup sifted powdered sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup cool butter, cut into chunks 
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. 

Sift the flour, sugar and salt together. Add the butter and use your hands or a pastry cutter to combine until the mixture is crumbly. Work into a ball and knead briefly. 

Pat into a 1/4-inch sheet on an ungreased cookie sheet. Cut the dough into 2-inch diamonds.

Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven. Immediately recut the cookies. Separate carefully and cool on a rack. 

Cookies can be frozen in an airtight container, with wax paper between each layer for up to 6 months. Defrost 30 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Classic Vanilla Bean Shortbread

Classic Vanilla Bean Shortbread


1 vanilla bean
16 tablespoons butter at room temperature
⅔ cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup finely ground almonds
24 whole almonds


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Scrape the insides from one inch of a vanilla bean into a large mixing bowl. In same bowl, cream butter with sugar and vanilla until smooth.

Add flour and ground almonds and beat until mixture is well combined.
On a floured surface roll out dough to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut into 2-inch rounds and place 1 inch apart on cookie sheet. Press 1 almond into center of each cookie and bake about 20 minutes, or until very lightly colored. Remove to rack and cool.
Yield: 24 cookies

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Soft Vanilla Bean Caramels

Soft Vanilla Bean Caramels
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons and 

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and line it with parchment paper, leaving 1 inch of overhang on each of the long sides.

In a large saucepan, combine the sugar with the cream, corn syrup and vanilla bean and seeds and bring to a boil. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the temperature reaches 233° on a candy thermometer, about 13 minutes. 

Carefully whisk in the butter and salt and cook, stirring constantly, until the caramel is golden and reaches 244° on a candy thermometer, about 7 minutes longer. Carefully pick out and discard the vanilla bean. Immediately pour the hot caramel into the prepared pan and let cool at room temperature until set, at least 4 hours or overnight.

Holding the parchment paper overhang, transfer the cooled caramel to a work surface. Using a sharp knife, cut the firmed-up caramel into squares. Wrap each caramel in a square of parchment paper or a candy wrapper and twist the ends to seal. Serve, store or gift the caramels. Make ahead. 

The caramels can be stored in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 1 week.  Makes about 2 lbs.

Monday, April 13, 2015

100,023 Views Today

100,023 Views Today
I have often shared that a counter is attached to my blog, "Dine With Donna".  Today I have achieved 100,023 visits to my blog.  Although it does not allow me to know who has visited my site, it can provide information on the number of visits for the day, week, month, year, and all time.  It can also tell me the most frequented visits in each category of Audience and Recipes.  While I appreciate every visitor to my blog and sharing my e-intelligence, it is disappointing that more visitors do not feel a sense of appreciation enough to leave a comment.

The option "Audience" tells me from where the view is happening.  Yesterday i had the following visits:
Russia  42
United States  15
Canada  5
Germany 3
France  1
Singapore  1

My audience is always welcomed.  I ponder the visits from Russia.  We hear in our news of the number of hackers coming from Russia.  I only hope the intentions are honest.  Since comments are not posted, it is difficult to determine the purpose of the visit.

I will speak later today with my daughter who is in Singapore and I also know she generally visits the blog to keep up with her mother.  I am certain she is creating that number.

The ten all time most visited recipes are:

Tony Roma's Cole Slaw  posted 6/28/08  with 4264 visits

Kale Salad   posted 11/30/2010  with 3434 visits

White Chocolate Cranberry Tart with Pistachios  posted 11/17/2007  with 2125 visits

Raclette Party  posted 2/19/2009  with 1380 visits

Lazarus Chicken Salad  posted 5/29/2007  with 1210 visits

Stracciatella Semifredo  posted 11/18/2010  with 877 visits

Martha Stewart's Lemon Meringue Pie  posted 2/24/2009  with 749 visits

Tuscan Soup  poste 10/16/2013  with 680 visits

The Huntington Japanese Garden  posted 11/19/2009  with 673 visits

Homemade Nutella  posted 7/5/2010  with 594 visits

Thank you for stopping by,  Donna

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Classic Strawberry Shortcakes

Classic Strawberry Shortcakes
These big, pillowy shortcakes are tender and slightly sweet. Split in half and filled with juicy strawberries, they are topped with softly whipped cream for a gorgeous dessert. Ripe, flavorful strawberries are essential for this dessert, as is sugaring them beforehand to let the natural juices come out.
Serves: Makes 8 shortcakes

½ cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
¾ cup milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ cup plus 5 tablespoons sugar
2½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
6 cups (2½ pounds) fresh ripe strawberries
1½ cups heavy whipping cream
Cut the cold butter into small cubes and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Put the milk in a cup, add 1 tablespoon of vanilla to it, and refrigerate it as well. 

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Put the flour, ¼ cup sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and whisk until blended. Scatter the cold butter pieces over the dry ingredients and toss them with your hands until they are coated. With a pastry blender, cut the butter into smaller and smaller pieces. If chunks of cold butter get stuck in the wires of the pastry blender, use a table knife to push them off, then continue cutting. You are done when the biggest butter pieces are not larger than green peas. Some will be much smaller, and that's fine.

Pour the chilled vanilla milk into the flour and butter, then stir with the fork 12 to 15 times, until it holds together in big, shaggy clumps. Sprinkle your work surface with a little flour. Turn the clumpy mass out onto the floury surface and knead it gently 4 to 8 times, until it comes together into a dough. Don't knead too long or the shortbread will be tough.

Pat the dough into an 8 by 4-inch rectangle. Be sure it is the same thickness everywhere. Cut the rectangle in half lengthwise, and then into quarters crosswise. You should have 8 pieces, each about 2 inches square. Brush off any extra flour from the top and bottom of the shortcakes and place them several inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Just after you slip the shortcakes into the refrigerator, position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 425°F.

Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, until golden brown on top and firm to the touch. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack. Let the shortcakes cool completely.

Place the berries in a sieve or colander under cool running water. Look through them and discard any moldy berries. Drain well and pat dry with paper towels. Remove the leafy green tops from the strawberries. Cut the strawberries into ¼-inch-thick slices. Put the berries in a medium bowl, sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of sugar, and toss. Stir every few minutes. As the berries sit, the sugar will draw out some of their juices and make a tasty syrup in the bottom of the bowl.

Put the cream, the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, and the remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla in a medium bowl. Whip the cream until it holds medium-firm peaks when the whisk or beaters are lifted. It should look silky. If you whip the cream too long and it looks grainy, lumpy, or curdled, pour in 3 or 4 more tablespoons cream and stir in gently (no more whipping). It should smooth out nicely. Cover until needed.

Cut each shortcake in half. Put one of the bottoms, cut side up, on each plate. Spoon the strawberries and syrup over the bottoms, dividing evenly. Place a large spoonful of whipped cream on top of each mound of strawberries. Set the biscuit tops, cut sides down, on the cream. Serve right away.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Muffins By The Pailful

Muffins By The Pailful
This is a recipe a friend shared with me in the early 1970's.  I would keep the batter in the refrigerator in a sealed container and bake the muffins fresh each morning.  They are very tasty.
4 cups All Bran
2 cups 100% Bran  May substitute Bran Buds
1 teaspoon salt

Stir in:
2 cups boiling water
1 quart buttermilk   Cool to lukewarm

3 cups sugar
1 cup shortening
4 eggs. one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Stir into bran mixture.

5 cups presifted flour
5 teaspoons baking soda
Add flour and soda mixture to bran mixture and stir just enough to dampen dry ingredients.  Bake at 375 degrees, 20 to 25 minutes.  Fill prepared muffin pans lined with paper liners 2/3 full.  

Batter can be store for up to six weeks.

Friday, April 10, 2015

MorningLaurie Muffins

MorningLaurie Muffins
This is a recipe that I have used since 1987.  The "carrot cake like" muffins were sold at a restaurant on Cape Cod and enjoyed by our daughters Mary and Barbara.  I later acquired the recipe through Gourmet magazine.
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped pitted dates
4 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
4 teaspoons baking soda
4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt 
4 teaspoons vanilla
4 cups carrots, peeled and grated
2 large green tart apples, cored and grated
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
6 large eggs
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
In a small bowl, let the raisins and dates soak in hot water to cover for 30 minutes.  

Into a large bowl, sift the flour, sugar, and baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and the salt.  

Drain the raisins and dates thoroughly and stir them into the flour mixture with the carrots, apples, almonds and the coconut.  

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, the oil, the vanilla, and the zest; stir the mixture into the flour mixture until the batter is just combined.  

Line 30 1/2 cup muffin tins with muffin papers and divide the batter among them, filling 2/3 full.  

Bake the muffins in the middle of the oven, 350 degrees, for 20 to 20 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.  Cool on racks. Serve at room temp.  
Yield 30 muffins. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015


Lasagna~Penzy's Recipe 

This sauce recipe makes a 13 X 9 pan or cut the recipe in half to make a 9 X 9 pan.
For the sauce: 

16 oz. crushed tomatoes, 
16 oz. tomato sauce or puree,
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef, 
2 T olive oil,
1 large chopped onion,
1 t. dehydrated minced garlic,
2T. Turkish oregano,
1 t. rosemary,
1/2 T thyme leaves,
1/2 t. crushed California red peppers (this really adds to the sauce),
1 t. sugar,
1 t. salt,
2 t. French basil.

1 lb. lasagna noodles,
15 oz. ricotta cheese (I use cottage cheese, we like it better),
2 c. grated mozzarella,
1 T. olive oil.
Fry the meat in a separate pan so you can drain the drippings.

Cook the onion, add the garlic, then the sauce, tomatoes and all spices excluding the basil. Simmer for 1-2 hours, adding the basil the final 10 minutes.

Cook the lasagna noodles, grease a pan. Put down a layer of noodles, cover with some sauce, dot on half of the ricotta or cottage cheese, then repeat. Put a third layer of noodles down, cover with sauce and then with the mozzarella cheese.

Bake at 325 for an hour, let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Ricotta with Black Pepper Gnudi

Ricotta And Black Pepper Gnudi 
With Brown Butter Sage Sauce
copied from Serious Eats
Yield 24 Gnudi
For the Gnudi:
16 ounces best quality fresh sheep or cow's milk ricotta
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups semolina flour
For Finishing
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
12 to 15 fresh sage leaves

Step 1: Start With Good Ricotta and Drain it Well

As with my quick and easy ricotta gnocchi, I’ve found that the quality of the ricotta is of utmost importance to the success of this recipe. There’s really not much more to it. Not all ricotta is created equal. In fact, of commonly available supermarket ingredients, I’d say it’s the one product that shows the most variation between low and high quality. The good stuff can be heavenly, while the bad stuff? Gritty, watery, bland, sour-tasting dreck that’s not worth the cost of the plastic tub it comes packaged in.

Low-quality mass-market brands will have various gums and stabilizers listed as ingredients, included to bypass costly and time-consuming draining steps. You’re essentially buying water that’s been stabilized artificially to thicken up with the milk solids in the tub. Higher quality ricotta should list milk, salt, and, at the very most, either an acid or a natural culture. These are the only ones you should be buying. If you can find freshly made sheep’s milk ricotta at a specialty market or a farmer’s market, even better. It has a nice grassiness and sharp acidity that plays nicely with the rich butter sauce.

To drain the ricotta, I use my patented rapid-drain technique: just spread the ricotta out on a triple layer of paper towels or a clean kitchen towel, and press it down with more clean towels.
Lift off the towels (they should peel right off), and dump the ricotta into a bowl, leaving the excess moisture behind.

Step 2: Season and Mix

Once the ricotta is drained, I weigh out exactly 12 ounces of it to which I add two ounces of grated Parmesan cheese, along with a ton of black pepper. The gnudi at the ‘Pig have no pepper, but to me, ricotta without black pepper is like MacGyver without a pocket knife. It just doesn’t get the job done quite as well.
I fold all of this together with a rubber spatula.
At this point, in the original recipe, you’d transfer the soft mixture to a piping bag and pipe it out onto a bed of semolina flour in long logs that then get cut up with scissors into individual gnudi. I always found this process a little trying. Here’s what I do instead:

Step 3: Spread and Freeze

To get the mixture to firm up, I spread it out on a plate and transfer it to the freezer for about 15 minutes, just until it starts to harden. I then transfer it back to the bowl and work it with a spatula until no big chunks of frozen ricotta remain.

Step 4: Scoop and Coat

With the ricotta chilled and firm, it’s now pretty easy to scoop it out with a small cookie scoop. 

…and dump the balls into a bowl of semolina flour.
I use my fingers to scoop excess flour on top of the ricotta balls to coat them.

Step 5: Ball, Nest, Repeat

Once the ricotta is coated on all sides with semolina, I pick it up and very gently roll it into a clean sphere in my fingertips, making sure not to fold it or to scrape off any of the semolina.

Next I give the ball a little nest inside a baking dish with another layer of semolina flour. The idea is that this baking dish is going to become the ricotta ball’s home for the next 1 to 3 days as a shell slowly forms around it.

Once all the ricotta balls are in place, I dump any remaining semolina over the top then cover the dish and let it rest in the fridge, turning the gnudi over a couple times a day as they rest. I find that about 18 hours is the minimum you need to form gnudi that have a thick enough shell not to completely burst as you cook them. Mush longer than 3 days and the gnudi start to get dry inside as the pasta layer slowly absorbs interior moisture.
As soon as the gnudi feel relatively firm and dry to the tough, they’re ready to go.

Step 6: Make Sage Brown Butter

The saucing is entirely up to you. Even a good red sauce  would be great with these, but I’m partial to the way April does it at the Spotted Pig. The duo of butter sauces really brings out the sweet, fresh dairy flavor of the gnudi.
Start by gently browning butter in a skillet.

Next add fresh sage leaves and fry them, turning, until they’re completely crisp. This will take a couple minutes. You will be hungry the entire time.

Transfer the fried sage leaves to a paper towel and immediately season them with salt. I eat two or three right off the bat. I just can’t help myself. I’m amazed that nobody has sold packages of fried sage leaves yet. I’d eat them as a snack.

Step 7: Boil the Gnudi

To cook the gnudi, I gently drop them into a large pot of boiling salted water. They are far more delicate than your average pasta, but not quite the tender, timid beasts that many folks make them out to be. I’ve never had any that have broken on me during cooking, though you do have to make sure to stir gently with a wooden spoon at the very start to ensure they aren’t sticking to the bottom of the pot. Just two to three minutes and they’re hot and ready. Rather than draining in a colander (which can cause the gnudi to crush each other), I use a slotted spoon to lift them out and transfer them to a skillet that’s already waiting for them with a few tablespoons of fresh butter.

Step 8: Make the Second Butter Sauce

The second sauce is just a simple emulsified butter sauce. At the Spotted Pig, you get a super luscious, creamy, perfectly emulsified beurre monté, which is relatively easy to make when you do it by the pound in a restaurant setting (or have the benefit of an industrial burner that will rapidly boil and emulsify butter and water), but tends to be a little more difficult to do at home in small batches. Never you fear, we’ll get there, and it’s much easier than you think once you learn to accept that you’re cheating just a little bit.
The key is to use plenty of pasta water. These gnudi shed semolina like a dog sheds hair in the summer, so your pasta water should be packed with it. When you combine some of this pasta water in a skillet with a few more tablespoons of butter, the starch granules from the flour swell up and burst, thickening the water and making it far easier to emulsify with the butter.
Just a vigorous boil on the stovetop with the gnocchi already inside will transform your butter and pasta water into a creamy, gnocchi-coating sauce.

Step 9: Plate Them Up!

And we’re done! All that’s left to do is plating, and that’s an easy one. Transfer the gnocchi and whatever sauce clings to them from the pan to a serving platter, top with fried sage leaves, drizzle with browned butter, and you’re good to go. Just make sure your guests are ready and waiting because these gnudi are at their best just out of the kitchen and, as we all know, ricotta waits for no man.

Step 10: Open Wide


Step 11: CHOMP.

Pro-tip: do NOT do what I did and bite off half of a gnudi. This is one of those cases where you wanna get the whole thing in your mouth in one go so that you can experience the pleasure of the dairy burst.
And there you’ve got it. My own take on my favorite dish in the world (made by one of my favorite chefs in the world), in your own kitchen.