Wednesday, April 28, 2010

O is for Orbs of Chocolate!

i'm kinda cheating
i am so busy this week
making sweets for a charity event
as luck would have it
the menu includes
Orbs of Chocolate

every surface of my kitchen
is topped with trays
filled with deep dark
waiting for a home
in someone
French Chocolate
(printable recipe)
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
pinch kosher salt
9 oz bittersweet (60% minimum) chocolate chips
1 Tbs unsalted butter
1 generous Tbs cognac
To Coat:
4 oz bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
On the stove top, over medium heat, bring the cream and salt to a simmer.  Turn off heat and dump in the 9 oz of chocolate, butter, vanilla and cognac.  Let sit for a minute or two, then stir to combine.  Place in a shallow pan or bowl, cover and place in the refrigerator to set.  When it is firm, using a melon scoop, small ice cream scoop, or spoon to form balls. Place in the refrigerator if they start to get too soft.  Meanwhile, melt 4 oz chocolate over a double boiler or in 30 second increments in the microwave. You do not want to overheat this...just get it melted.  Put the cocoa in a shallow bowl.  Dip each truffle into the melted chocolate, then roll in cocoa.  Place on a sheetpan to harden.  Keep in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.  You should allow to come to room temperature for eating.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Tuesday Night Supper Club: Pork and Beans--Reimagined

i know
i am supposed to be
 a "foodie"
and eat only 
food items
mention the word
and suddenly
i have cravings
pieces of hot dog
floating in
baked beans

just writing this
is giving me a hankering


i couldn't well imagine
that you would need that recipe
so i give you
a mature adult version
you can eat on your patio
while enjoying 
the blaze
of the 
setting sun

Pork and Beans
(printable recipe)
1 Tbs olive oil
2 rashers bacon--chopped
2 cups finely sliced leeks (crosswise)
2 garlic cloves--finely minced
1 tsp fresh rosemary--finely minced
1/2 red bell pepper--in small dice
1/2 lightly packed cup sundried tomato--chopped (tomato should be packed in oil or reconstituted before using)
1 bottle beer
3 cups cooked cannellini beans--drained (drained if using canned)
salt and pepper
4 italian sausage (or any dinner sausage you like)
aged or reduced balsamic vinegar (optional)
Heat stockpot over medium heat.  Cook bacon in olive oil until it is cooked, but has not crisped.  Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat.  Toss in leeks and cook until they are soft and creamy.  Add garlic and continue to cook until the garlic just begins to soften.  Add tomatoes, rosemary and red peppers. Cook for about 5 minutes, then pour in beer and beans. Cook for about 15-20 minutes on low (can go longer if you like). Meanwhile, cook sausage in a heavy pan or on the grill. Test beans for seasoning and add salt and pepper as desired (i add about 1 tsp pepper and just a pinch of salt).  Spoon beans onto serving plate. Top with a sausage (or two) and drizzle with balsamic vinegar (if using).

monday morning blues


on monday mornings
i move slowly
we have been working hard
on our garden
so today 
when the morning sun 
poked its head
i hid mine
and then 
i remembered
i needed to make coffee cake
for a late morning meeting
it is a recipe you have seen before
there is nothin' better
monday morning blues

Big Ginormous Coffee Cake
(adapted from Nancy Silverton's La Brea Bakery Cookbook)
1  cup toasted walnuts
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup softened butter
Sprinkling Sugar Layer
1 Tbs granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup toasted walnuts
8 oz unsalted butter--room temperature
1 3/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp kosher salt
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 extra-large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
4 cups flour
2 cups sour cream
For the struesel:  Mix in a bowl all ingredients except the nuts. Mix until it becomes a bit lumpy then toss together with nuts. Set aside
For the Batter:  Cream the butter, baking soda, baking powder and salt on low until softened and mixed together. Add sugar and mix until light and fluffy.  Mix together the eggs and vanilla in a bowl.  Alternately add to the sugar and butter the eggs and the flour, beginning and ending with the flour.  Stir until just incorporated, do not over-beat.  Stir in the sour cream.
Line the bottom of a tube pan with baking paper, spray with pan spray being sure to hit the inner tube well.  Spoon half of the batter in the pan and spread to create an even layer.  Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mix over on top of the batter.  Drop the nuts on top and press a bit to get them into the batter. Spread remaining batter evenly on top and then cover with the streusel mixture.
Bake in a preheated 350 oven until firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
It will take more than an hour.
ps. this time i made the cake in a 10x10x3 pan and doubled the streusel

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

N is for Nun's Sighs

you may have noticed a bit of a spanish theme this week
my guest blogger for tuesday night supper club
gave us a recipe for spanish tortilla
and i am providing dessert!
these little puffs of deliciousness
were the pride of the spanish convents
and envy of lay people everywhere

the dough is much like what is used to make eclairs and cream puffs,
but is a bit looser
 these are fried, not baked.

my version adds a little it is "n" week afterall!
Nun's Sighs
(printable recipe)
3 1/4 oz unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
zest from 1 lemon
1 cup water
pinch kosher salt
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (if not freshly grated, use slightly less)
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup powdered sugar + pinch nutmeg for dusting
oil for frying

Place butter, sugar, lemon zest, salt and water in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil and toss in flour and nutmeg. Stir vigorously until the flour pulls away from the sides, then cook on low for a few minutes more, stirring. The intent is to dry it out a bit, but do not scorch or brown.  Transfer to a mixing bowl and let cool for about 5 minutes.  It should still be warm but not hot when you begin to add the eggs.  Add eggs one at a time, incorporating fully before adding the next egg. Mix in vanilla.  At this point, if the mixture is too soft to work with, pop it in the fridge for about 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, heat 3" of oil in a deep pan for frying.  When the oil is hot (about 350), drop dough by spoonfuls or use a pastry bag for a decorative effect.  Fry until golden brown.  Remove from oil and drain on kitchen paper. Dust with powdered sugar/nutmeg mixture to serve.  These really should be eaten directly after making.  You can keep the dough in the fridge for a couple of days for that last minute nun's sigh jonesin' moment.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Tuesday Night Supper Club--Tortilla Española

Guest Blogger Alert!
We once again have a guest blogger for our Tuesday Night Supper Club.  I am so excited to introduce you to Lois. Lois and I "met" on  She is a fabulous and inventive cook, who has wonderful stories to go with her recipes.  I have made many of her recipes and have loved them all.  Tortilla Espanola is a favorite of mine as well. I never thought to make it a "cocktail appetizer" before, but I am definitely going to now.  Another simple and easy dinner solution for the busy family.
If you want to see more of her recipes and learn more about her exciting life, please visit Lois at Food is My Love Language

My husband was stationed in Spain during our Air Force days, and we fell in love with Spanish food.  I would often order tortilla when dining out.  It's a staple on Spanish menus. 
We were served a small bite of tortilla with roasted green pepper at a tasca in Segovia.  The combination of flavors is fantastic and one we've continued to put together!

I was thrilled to find a recipe and learn the proper technique for making tortilla when we returned to the states.  This Spanish favorite, a potato and onion omelet bares no similarity to Mexican tortillas, except that they are both round and somewhat flat.

I usually serve it in wedges for dinner (or breakfast) or 1-inch squares for an appetizer. Serve with roasted peppers or salsa. The simple ingredients make this the perfect dish to prepare when the cupboard is bare.

Adapted from The Foods & Wines of Spain

1 c. olive oil
4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8 inch slices
coarse salt
1 large onion, thinly sliced
6 - 8 large eggs


This technique takes some practice, be sure to read through it before beginning.

Heat the oil in a skillet, add the potato slices one at a time. Alternate layers of potato with layers of onion, salt the layers lightly. Cook over medium heat, turning to potatoes frequently, until tender but not brown.

While the potatoes are cooking, beat 6 eggs in a large bowl, salt lightly. Remove potatoes from the oil and drain. (Keep the oil, you'll need 3 T. for remainder of this recipe; it picks up a great flavor from the potatoes and onion so you may want the rest for future use.)

Add the potato mixture to the beaten eggs, pressing them down so they are completely covered in egg. Add additional beaten eggs if necessary. Let the mixture sit 15 minutes

Wash the skillet, it's imperative that the pan be spotless (and dry) before the next step.

Heat 2 T. of the reserved oil in the skillet over high heat until very hot. Add the potato and egg mixture, spreading it evenly in the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium-high and shake the pan to prevent sticking. When the mixture begins to brown, invert a plate of the same size (or slightly larger) over the skillet. Holding the plate in place, flip the skillet and the plate, putting the tortilla onto the plate; add 1 T. of reserved oil to the pan, slide the tortilla back into the skillet to brown the other side. (If the pan wasn't hot enough, some pieces may have stuck to the bottom. Scrap them off and fit them back into place. They'll reattach as you continue to flip the tortilla.)

Lower the heat to medium. Flip the tortilla 4 or 5 more times (this helps with the shape), cooking for a bit on each side, 8 - 10 minutes in total. Spaniards like their tortilla to be a little juicy inside; I prefer my eggs cooked all the way through. Adjust cooking time accordingly. Transfer to a platter and serve hot or at room temperature.
I am always looking for guest bloggers. Please email me at christy@luciagrace(dot)net
Be sure and let us know if you try this recipe! You can find Lois at

Friday, April 16, 2010

Mock Banana Pudding

i am not advocating
that we all make fun of 
banana pudding

but i AM
in favor

playing around a bit

i love pudding
but summer is coming
and to eat pudding is a good thing
to appear you are filled with pudding
is not

just for clarification
this does not taste like pudding
but it is creamy
and can be as sweet as you like
and has the requisite
nilla wafers
and chunks of bananas
and is really quite good 
for breakfast
or dessert
mock banana pudding
(printable recipe)
 17 oz tub non-fat or 2% FAGE greek style plain yogurt
(you can use any thick plain yogurt you like, but this is really delish)
1/2 vanilla bean
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp honey
2 bananas
20 miniature nilla wafers
split the vanilla bean in half and scrape out the seeds. drop into the yogurt. add the vanilla and honey. stir to combine.  slice or cut the bananas in chunks.  layer with the yogurt and nilla wafers in a parfait glass.

enjoy without guilt
you can thank me later

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mushroom Soup

i am one of those people
you know,
the kind who order french onion soup
and ask
if they can "hold" the cheese
i know, i know
who does that?
i do
i like the broth
i love the onions
i even like the soggy bread bits
but because
it really isn't the healthy option
i don't ever make it at home
but i do make something
sorta similar
that you can eat
relatively guilt free
Mushroom Soup
(printable recipe)
olive oil
1 medium onion--thinly sliced
2 Tbs marsala wine or sherry or water (whichever you like)
2 Tbs finely chopped shallot
1 large garlic clove--finely chopped
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 cup red wine
12 oz chopped/sliced mushrooms (i use crimini, shitake and oyster)
3 cups broth--chicken or vegetable
 generous dash of worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbs finely chopped parsley
 finely grated bellavitano black pepper cheese (this is from sartori cheese and is awesome, but you can substitute your favorite melty cheese)
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp dried thyme
For the "crouton"
4 pieces filo dough
2 Tbs unsalted butter-melted
For the soup:
Heat a stockpot and add olive oil.  Toss in onions and then lower heat and allow to cook until soft and beginning to brown.  If they start to burn, put in a bit of the marsala or liquid of choice to slow cooking.  Toss in shallot and garlic. Do not let the shallot and garlic burn.  When they are softened, add remaining marsala (or liquid of choice).  Drop in the mushrooms and stir to coat. Let cook down about 15 minutes. Increase the heat to medium and add red wine and let simmer another 10 minutes.  Drop in thyme, and salt and pepper to taste.  Hit with a dash of worcestershire sauce. Add  the broth.  Let simmer for about 30 minutes, until all the flavors meld together.  Divide soup into bowls, top with a bit of parsley and a bit of grated cheese (as much as you want!).
Meanwhile, make the crouton
lay a piece of filo on a cookie sheet lined with parchment.  Paint on a bit of butter and place the next layer on top. Continue with all 4 pieces.  Grate the cheese on the top to make a thin layer. Cut into large squares. Place in 400 degree oven until it is nicely browned.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Tuesday Night Supper Club--Orange Marinated Pork Tenderloin

Tonight we have another guest host! Anne of anniebakes is sharing a delicious and easy recipe with us.  I just love how tasty it looks...and I know hubster will love this rice!  Annie has some really great recipes and if any of you are midwesterners, she has a delicious crappie recipe on her site.  
As always, if you decide to try this recipe, please let us know how you like it!

take it away anne
I like to make things that are easy and tasty.  And this is easy and tasty!!  The only thing missing in the photo is the asparagus I added as a side dish.  I also made 2 tenderloins at the same time and we had sandwiches the next day with the second one.  Nothing like double duty.  I hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as we do...

Orange Marinated Pork Tenderloin
1 cup orange juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pound pork tenderloin
In a dish, mix together the orange juice, salt and pepper.  Add the pork and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 3 hours, turning occassionally.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high flame, add tenderloin and brown on all sides.  Roast in the oven for 20 minutes or until the internal temperature is 155 degrees.  Take out of oven and tent with foil for 10 minutes before slicing.  Serve over Parmesan Rice.
Parmesan Rice
To your cooked rice, add 1/2 cup whipping cream and 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese.  Stir and serve with  Makes 4 servings.

**I sometimes also add:  garlic powder, rosemary, pepper or anything else to make it flavorful!
 Eat Up!
Do yourself a favor and go check out Anne at you will be so glad you did!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Attack of the Giant Grapefruit!

it is amazing
what will grow in the desert
with enough water
we were visiting with family
and came across
a group of grapefruit trees
that had the most
monsterous grapefruits
yes...that says 18 inches

when i find myself
with produce girth,
and unlimited potential
i sometimes panic

but today
i am calm

because i have a recipe
for grapefruit curd
which i will pair
with a salty dog
this recipe comes from
Regan Daley's
In The Sweet Kitchen
with a bit of adaptation
by me
Grapefruit Curd
(printable recipe)
6 large egg yolks (room temperature)
1/2 cup minus 2 tsp granulated sugar**
generous pinch kosher salt
1/2 cup fresh grapefruit juice
zest from a large grapefruit
2 tsp fresh lemon juice (do not use meyer lemon)
1/2 cup unsalted butter--cut into small pieces
whisk egg yolks, sugar, and salt until the eggs are lemon yellow and thick.  Whisk in zest and juices. Prepare a bain marie or double boiler.  Place eggs mixure in a bowl over double boiler. Cook while constantly stirring being careful not to overcook.  The curd should be thickened and coat the spoon. It will continue to thicken up as it cools. Pass through a sieve into a clean bowl. While it is still warm, stir in the butter pieces and stir until it is completely melted and incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing down on top to avoid a skin forming. Refrigerate until ready to use.  The curd will firm up in the fridge, but it is a soft curd, that is best used as a spread or a sauce.
**the sweetness of your curd depends on the sweetness of the grapefruit. If you find your grapefruit to be really sweet, adjust the sugar level, if you find it really sour or bitter, adjust accordingly as well.
for a decadent morning treat
toast a piece of angel food cake
spoon a bit of curd on top
strategically place a few pieces of grapefruit
sprinkled with a bit of sugar 
and hit it with the torch
for some caramelized goodness

Thursday, April 8, 2010

L is for Lemon Bars

as spring begins to peek about
i long for a day in the garden
eating lemon bars
and sipping tea
Mim's Lemon Bars
(printable recipe)
(these were originally passed on to me from the mother of my good friend--i play around with the recipe a bit)
2 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp ground cardamom (optional)
1 cup unsalted butter--melted
6 large eggs
2 3/4 cups sugar
1 tsp baking powder
6 Tbs flour
2 tsp grated lemon peel
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
pinch salt
For Crust:  prepare an 8x8 pan by lining with aluminum foil allowing the foil to come up the sides and extend at least an inch.  lightly spray with pan spray.  mix all crust ingredients together and press into pan.  Bake at 350 until just starting to brown.  
For Filling:  In a mixing bowl, with the whisk attachment, beat all ingredients until pale and fluffy.  Pour over hot crust and bake about 20-25 minutes. Cool in pan and refrigerate at least 4 hours before cutting.  Sift powdered sugar over the top and serve chilled.
Variation:  Make 1 1/2 times the crust recipe and use 2/3 for the bottom of the bars.  To the remaining, add additional generous pinch of cardamom and 1/4 cup sweetened coconut.  After 15 minutes of baking, lightly sprinkle the topping onto the bars and cook until golden brown.

Hey! you know what else starts with the letter L? Limoncello
I did this post a long time ago...but think it is worth sharing, since we are celebrating
all things lemon. aren't we?
I am participating in alphabe-thursday over at 

you should go check it out
and see what all the fun is about
this week
sponsored by the letter L

Monday, April 5, 2010

Tuesday Night Supper Club--Chicken Enchiladas

Tonight we are so lucky to have a guest hostess for Tuesday Night Supper Club
Her name is Christine and she is a working mom, talented crafter and good cook. She is sharing with us what can be a really easy go to dish that i think everyone in the family will love! I think it is great that she is "sneaking in" whole wheat tortillas for smart.
I encourage you to take a look at Christine's blog...she has a give-a-way going..which you will want to enter!
take it away Christine....

With a family on the run, I often struggle with finding fast easy meals that can be prepared ahead and ready to serve when they walk in from school, and I am still at work. Since Mexican is one of our favorites, I came up with this quick and oh so simple recipe that even if you don't know a thing about cooking you could do.

Give it a try on your family and just maybe they will love it too!
Easy Chicken Enchiladas
Whole Rotisserie Chicken
Whole Wheat Tortillas – Large Burrito size
15oz can of Enchilada sauce
Jar of Picante sauce
Small Yellow onion
1 tablespoon of Olive oil
Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Fresh Cilantro

I start with a store bought Rotisserie Chicken. Remove skin and chop into small pieces.

Next, I chop a small yellow onion and sauté in about a tablespoon of Olive Oil.

Once onions soft, I add the chopped chicken and about ½ jar of Picante sauce. Mix and cook for just few minutes. Remember the chicken is already cooked, so I am just getting the onions and the Picante sauce to marry flavors.

Next, in a baking dish, I pour a little Enchilada sauce over the bottom of the dish, stuff the large tortillas with the chicken mix and roll up and place in the dish. Pour the rest of the Enchilada sauce over the Enchilada. Spread with Shredded Cheddar cheese, garnish with fresh cilantro and store until you are ready to heat and serve.
Heat oven to 325 degrees and cook for 30 minutes.

if you want to guest host, drop me an email or jot it in a comment.  don't forget to visit Christine at

Thursday, April 1, 2010

matzo sweet matzo

i know i am not the only gentile
that looks forward to 

when i was a kid
my dad used to bring home
a box
and we would
schmear it with margarine
and savor it
like it was the finest caviar

this time of year
you can get it in bulk
(5 boxes at a time)

these days,
i schmear it with butter
top it with a sprinkle of kosher salt 
so simple
and so good

one day
in culinary school
my friend rose, brought a treat to share
and it was
with toffee and chocolate
can you imagine?
here is my best shot at this sweet treat
6-7 matzo crackers
2 cups brown sugar
2 Tbs honey
1/2 cup butter--cut into pieces
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
toppings (optional)
preheat oven to 350. line 2 cookie sheets with foil--bottom and sides.  place a piece of parchment or a silpat on top of the foil.  tightly lay the matzo crackers, placing them as closely as possible. set aside.  in a heavy bottomed pot, place the brown sugar,honey, butter and salt.  cook on low until the sugar is completely melted, but not boiling. it will be the consistency of frosting. spread evenly on top of the matzo crackers.  place the matzo in the oven and bake until it is bubbly and caramelizing, but not burning...keep an eye on it, it can happen fast. check after 10 minutes....and every 5 minutes or so after that. when done, remove from the oven, wait a few minutes, then sprinkle the chocolate chips on top.  let them melt, then spread to coat the crackers.  at this point you can top with toasted nuts, toffee bits, coconut, cocoa nibs or anything else you can think of.  let cool at room temperature until the pans are no longer hot. you can finish in the fridge or let sit on the counter.  break into pieces like you would toffee.  store in airtight container.


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