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Showing posts from 2011

Green Olive Tapenade Triangles-New Years Eve Finger Food

These are easy and can be prepared prior and frozen. Thaw before popping into the oven, if you don’t make them fresh. My friends call these, “martinis encroute”.  I just think they’re incredible! Ingredients Puff pastry cut into 3 inch squares 2 cups of Green Olives stuffed with pimentos or not, roughly chopped. 1 Tbsp finely chopped Green Onion 1 tsp Gin 1 tsp Dry Vermouth 1 Egg, beaten Mix the olives, green onion, gin and vermouth together and chill for at least 30 minutes. Roll out the puff pastry until almost 50% larger, then cut into 3 inch squares, take each pastry square and put 2 tsp of olive mixture into the center, and close into a triangle, lightly crimping the edges with a fork. Give each pastry a prick with the fork to release the steam. This will keep them from puffing up too much. When completed, give the top of the triangles a very light egg wash and then in the oven for approx. 25 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown. Timing real

Marinara Sauce with Meatballs

This produces some of the best marinara sauce with meatballs I’ve ever tasted, because the sauce actually cooks the meatballs. That’s right, they’re not browned first,  just dropped into the simmering sauce and cooked until done. It helps to have the sauce at a point where it needs about another hour of cooking. This assures that the meatballs will be cooked through. Ingredients Meatballs  2 lbs. of lean ground Beef 2 tbsp. Breadcrumbs 2 Eggs, well beaten 3 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil 1 Tbsp. Marsala wine, Cream Sherry can be substituted if Marsala isn’t available. 1 large sautéed Onion 2 Tbsp. freshly chopped Parsley 1 tsp. Salt Fresh ground Black Pepper Makes approx. 15 to 20 meatballs depending on the size. After prepping, put them into the refrigerator. Marinara Sauce Ingredients 1 large finely chopped Onion 1 large finely chopped Carrot 2 finely chopped stalks Celery 4 cloves of Gar

Mountain Dew Cake

I can’t imagine something being more Southern than a Mountain Dew cake. By now, I’m sure most people have heard of Mountain Dew soft drink, but there was a time when it was relatively unknown outside of the South. I remember as a child that I loved the glass bottle it came in, because it had an imprint of a hillbilly man drinking a Mountain Dew. I always thought he was funny. That glass bottle is long gone, but this recipe remains and is incredibly moist and good. Ingredients Cake: 1 box of Yellow Cake Mix, my grandmother always used Duncan Hines 1 box of Vanilla or Lemon Instant Pudding 1 cup of Vegetable Oil 4 Eggs 1 10 oz Mountain Dew that has gone flat Icing: 1 large can of crushed Pineapple 3 tsp. Corn Starch 1 cup Sugar 1 stick of Butter 1 cup unsweetened Coconut Preheat the oven to 325F. Mix together all ingredients, making sure that the fizz is gone from the Mountain Dew before mixing it in.  Pour entire mixture into a large greased b

Carne en su jugo - Mexican Beef Soup

One of the wonderful things about living in California is we have fantastic Mexican food. However, while the food in most restaurants is really good, it is not the real home cooking I really enjoy. So, when we went to visit our neighbors, Monica made a completely authentic Mexican soup and it was stunning. It was honestly one the best things I have ever eaten, so I asked Monica to send me the recipe. Here it is and I can promise you, it is just amazing. Enjoy! Ingredients 1/2 lb   Bacon cut into small pieces 2 lbs. Flap/Skirt Steak (ranchera), cut into small strips Garlic Salt (to taste) Black Pepper (to taste) 1 can Pinto Beans, cooked 16 Pearl Onions, boiled Lemon or Lime wedges Sauce: 5 Tomatillos 1/2 a bunch of Cilantro 3 Garlic Cloves 1 Jalapeño or 2 Serrano Chilies 1 tsp. Salt 1 1/2 cups water or chicken broth 2 heaping teaspoons Chicken Bullion In blender, add all the sauce ingredients and blend until liquefied.   (I added 1 cup of water to the ble

Golden Mountain Sauce

I love making Thai food at home, and I've always prided myself on getting that authentic Thai flavor, but if I’m completely honest, I have to admit it always seemed to be missing a little something. Well, I have found out what that little something was. It's called Golden Mountain Sauce and it has been called the "secret of Thai cooking" and has been used in Thailand for over 50 years. Use it as you would soy sauce, but mix it equal parts with fish sauce to get the real Thai flavor. Here is the perfect dish to try it out.   Gai Pad Prik Grapao/Chicken with Hot Chilies and Basil Thais’ love fresh basil, and use many different types. Most of us are familiar with Sweet Basil, and this is easy to find in any market. However, it’s the “Holy Basil”, known as Bai Grapao, which is the most flavorful and authentic. This basil has an anise type of flavor and gives this dish an amazing flavor and dimension that just doesn’t taste the same with sweet basil.

Tandoori Chicken

I always thought that this dish was made with a brightly colored reddish orange paste that stained the fingers and I was surprised to be told by my Indian friends that they do not use any artificial coloring in their food, as they feel it is not healthy. And all this time, I thought it was the spices that gave it that color. This is very simple to prepare and is fantastic when marinated overnight and then cooked on the grill or under a very hot broiler. It will melt in your mouth like butter, and it is a wonderful way to grill most any meat. This can also be used to make the most amazing baby lamp chops. Ingredients 1 lb. boneless Chicken Breast 1 tsp. crushed fresh Ginger 5 tsp crushed Garlic 1 Tbsp of fresh Coriander, chopped Juice of one Lemon 1 tsp Salt 1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper 1 tsp. Turmeric Freshly ground Black Pepper 1 tsp. Dhania Zeera(available at any Indian market) 1 tsp. Garam Masala(available at any Indian market) 2 Tbsp. Heavy Cre

Lemon and Clove Cookies and Peach Cobbler

I thought since the Thanksgiving holiday is almost upon us, some sweet recipes would be in order. Lemon and Clove Cookies I found a version of these cookies in the Chez Panisse Cookbook by Alice Waters. I am always amazed by her ability to take the simplest ingredients and combine them to create something that is a perfect blend of each ingredient.  While they are lovely just as they are, I did add a bit more lemon zest, and I dust them with a little powdered sugar when they are still warm from the oven Ingredients ½ lb of Butter softened 2 Tbsp Lemon zest 1 tsp Vanilla extract ¼ tsp of ground Cloves 2 1/3 cups of AP Flour ¾ cups of White Sugar 1 Egg, beaten Pinch of Salt Powdered Sugar for dusting Sift the dry ingredients together. Cream the butter until whipped and then add the rest of the wet ingredients and then incorporate the dry little by little. Once it forms a dough, remove the dough from the mixer and split into two equal

Arroz con Pollo

This is one of those dishes that’s a perfect example of comfort food. It is almost a national dish and will instantly remind you of sunny Spain. There are so many variations on this dish, each reflecting the unique regional produce of Spain. There are a few ingredients here that I feel are indispensable. One is the smoked sweet paprika and the other is the green olives. Both of these ingredients add something that can’t really be substituted. Ingredients 8 Chicken thighs or one whole roaster cut up 1 link of Chorizo sausage, cut into 1 inch pieces 6 Tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil 2 cloves of Garlic, sliced One Large Onion, chopped One Red Pepper, chopped 2 cups of medium grain Rice, a Spanish arroz or paella rice is perfect as well. 4 cups of Chicken stock, warmed 2 Bay leaves 1 pinch of Saffron 2 Tbsp of smoked sweet Paprika 2 dried whole Chilies, if desired. Juice of one Lemon, ends cut off and reserved ¼ cup of Madeira 1 small

Braciole- Italian Meat Parcels

This is a wonderful Sunday meal and tastes just like your Nonna was cooking all day. These little meat parcels are a common dish in Italy , but often go by other names depending on the specific region. It can be made with pork or beef. As an added benefit, the house smells amazing. Ingredients Parcels 6 pieces of pork or beef pounded flat, like a scaloppini. About 2 lbs. Aged Provolone Cheese Romano Cheese Parsley Garlic, crushed Prosciutto, sliced thin Salt and Pepper Olive Oil Butchers Twine Sauce 1 large Onion, finely chopped ½ cup Carrot, finely chopped ½ cup Celery, finely chopped 3 Tbsp Olive Oil ½ cup Marsala Wine 3 28 oz cans of crushed Tomatoes Salt and Pepper Begin by preparing your sauce. Take a large cast iron or heavy duty pan and heat the olive oil. Then add the onion, carrot, celery and salt and pepper and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes or until translucent. Then add Marsala wine and cook until alcohol is gone. The

Thai Masaman Curry

Thai curries use coconut milk as a base, and while some southern Indian curries also use coconut milk, Thai curries have unique curry paste blends. Thai curries come in different colors and each are unique as to their make up and as to which meats work well with each. Normally the standard curries are red (chicken,beef or seafood), green (chicken with Thai eggplant), yellow,(chicken, beef or seafood)  Penang (beef, chicken or seafood)  and Masaman(beef or chicken). I have arranged them in order of spiciness from hottest to mildest. However, they can be deceiving as all can still be quite spicy, but you can control the heat by cutting down the amount of curry paste or using a milder version. Ingredients 1 lb of Beef or Chicken, cubed in 2 -3 inch pieces. Boneless short ribs or chicken thighs 2- 3 Tbsp Masaman Curry Paste. Maesri, in the can is a good quility brand. 2 14 oz cans of coconut milk 1 large potato peeled and cubed into 1 inch pieces 1 large onion, c

If you want a wonderful Southern cookbook, look no further.

I have been meaning to write about this wonderful women for some time and finally have gotten around to it. She is Martha Hall Foose and her book "Screen Doors and Sweet Tea" is just perfect. As cookbooks go, it's one of the best I've ever seen, with wonderful recipes and even better tips and stories. It makes her book come alive. You can almost smell the dishes she describes. Give it a look and I can promise you won't be disappointed. Here is the link. Enjoy, and she also has just released a new book called, "A Southerly Course" and I can highly recommend it as well.

Coq au Vin (Chicken with Wine) - Pure French comfort food.

This is a staple in bistro menus all around France, and is a favorite winter dish of mine. There are so many complicated ways to make this, but I have discovered that complexity does little to add to the flavor - the key is slow cooking. It’s the subtle blending of the flavors that makes this a classic. I find that this is best if you can take it from stove top to oven, so a cast iron pot like Le Cruset is perfect. If not, it can be done on the stove over very low heat. Ingredients 4 pounds of skinless Chicken thighs, or 4 pounds of skinless Chicken breasts if you prefer, or any combination. ½ pound Bacon, with a soft smoke or unsmoked or salt pork 2 Tbsp. Butter ½ cup Flour, optional 2 tsp. Salt 1 large Onion, finely chopped 1 large Shallot, finely chopped 3 cloves of Garlic, sliced 5 sprigs of fresh Thyme, or 1 tsp of dried thyme 3 Bay Leaves 1 lb. of peeled baby Carrots ½ lb. Mushrooms or any fresh mushroom you desire. Keep them whole if possible.