Sunday, April 12, 2009

Susan Ziegler’s Lemon Squares

I don't know Susan Ziegler but Michael Ruhlman does and this recipe comes from his blog, check him out... you'll love him and his recipes.

I like recipes that have names tied to them......... long after someone has left this good earth, their recipes continue to nourish people and bring pleasure. My grandmothers' recipes wouldn't be half as fun to make if they didn't remind me of them.

Michael Ruhlman would probably cringe to know that I too have reached for that box of lemon squares when I'm in a hurry......... and he's right, they are not as good and really are no quicker than making them from scratch. I here by resolve never to buy another box for I am now a fan of Susan Ziegler's Lemon Squares.

The Crust

4 ounces butter, melted

1 cup flour

¼ cup confectioners sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for dusting

The Curd

2 eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

½ teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoons salt

5 tablespoons lemon juice (one lemon)

Heat your oven to 350 degrees.

For the crust, combine all ingredients till well mixed and press into an 8X8 or 9x6 baking dish. Bake 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned.

Combine all the ingredients for the lemon curd, mix well and pour over crust. Bake 20 minutes. When it's completely cool, put a spoonful of confectioners sugar in a fine mesh strainer and dust the top.

Auntie's Raspberry Pie

Surely, each of us must have had a great aunt who made fabulous desserts such as this pie!

1 baked pie shell

1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

1/3 cup lemon juice

2 cups red raspberries

Refrigerate can of condensed milk overnight. Remove from refrigerator, pour into a bowl and add lemon juice. Place bowl back in refrigerator for an hour while the mixture thickens. Gently fold in the raspberries and pour into the pie shell. Refrigerate until served.

This recipe comes from Marion, Ohio and belonged to Frances Mantey's great aunt, Lutilla

Blackberry Cobbler

When I think of old-fashioned desserts, I think of blackberry cobbler. Simple pleasures really are the best, aren't they?


3 cups blackberries

11/2 cups sugar

1 stick margarine

3/4 cup flour

3/4 cup milk

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together blackberries and 3/4 cup sugar and set aside. Melt 1 stick margarine in a 2 quart baking dish. Combine 3/4 cup sugar, flour, milk, baking powder and salt. Pour batter mixture into baking dish on top of melted margarine. Pour berry mixture on top of batter. Bake 60 minutes. Batter will come to top as it bakes.

Baked Apples with Cinnamon Honey Yogurt Topping

Recipe created by Chef Michael Bussinger of San Francisco
on behalf of 3-A-Day™ of Dairy

4 Granny Smith or Gala apples
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup unsweetened apple juice (or apple cider)

For topping
2 ½ (8 ounce) containers low-fat plain yogurt
2 tablespoons honey
¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8x8-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

Core and thinly slice apples. Place apples in a medium bowl and toss with apple juice. Mix brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together in a small bowl. Sprinkle over apples and stir gently until apples are coated.

Pour apples into prepared baking dish. Bake 40 minutes or until apples are slightly browned at edges and sauce is bubbling.

For the cinnamon yogurt topping:
Line a colander with several paper towels and place over a bowl to catch drips. Pour yogurt into colander and allow to drain about 30 minutes. Spoon yogurt into a small bowl and stir in honey and cinnamon.

Serve apples warm and top each serving with 1/4 of the yogurt topping.

Nutritional Facts per ¼ of pan serving: 330 calories, 2 g total fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 15 mg cholesterol, 270 mg sodium, 30 percent daily value of calcium, 7 g protein, 72 g carbohydrates, 3 g dietary fiber.

Oh So Easy Peach Dumplings

4 large ripe peaches
2 cans crescent rolls
1 cup sugar
1 stick butter, melted
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 can (12 ounces) Mountain Dew

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Stir together sugar, cinnamon and melted butter. Set aside.

Peel and cut peaches into quarters. Wrap each piece of peach in a crescent roll and place in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

If peaches are small use 2 pieces per roll. Spoon sugar mixture over rolls. Pour Mountain Dew over rolls. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm with ice cream or milk.

Makes approximately 8 servings.

Caramel Apple Pie on a Stick

1 (14-ounce) package caramels, unwrapped
3 apples
3 cinnamon sticks
30 vanilla wafer cookies
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Heat a small saucepan over high heat. Add 3 tablespoons water and the caramels and reduce the heat to low. Stir the caramels frequently until they are completely melted. Be careful not to burn the caramel.

While the caramels are melting, pull the stems out of the apples and cut a thin slice from the bottoms so they have a flat surface to stand on. Insert a cinnamon stick into the top of each apple.

Put the vanilla wafers into a plastic bag and coarsely crush them. Put the crumbs into a bowl and mix in the cinnamon.

Dip each apple into the melted caramel, making sure to get it completely coated. Put the coated apples onto a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper. Refrigerate the caramel apples for 1 to 2 minutes to harden up the caramel. Roll them in the cinnamon-crumb mixture and enjoy!


Grilled Chicken Calzones

By Chef Pierre Wolfe

1 pound pizza dough

Extra virgin olive oil

3 six-ounce chicken breasts grilled, cooled and sliced into strips

1 medium red pepper

6 ounces Gouda cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the pizza dough into four pieces and roll into balls. Flour a clean table surface. With a rolling pin, roll out dough into disks, about eight inches in diameter. Evenly spread extra virgin olive oil over the surface of the dough. Take the basil, chicken, red peppers and Gouda and separate it amongst the four disks of pizza dough. Make sure to concentrate it in the middle of the dough.

Fold the dough over the mixture and seal the calzone closed by pressing the edge of a fork over the entire length of the seam. Also, poke the dough with the fork to create steam holes. Before putting the calzone into the oven, take a marinade brush and spread some egg wash over the dough. This will make the dough turn a nice golden brown and will indicate when it is done.

Place the calzones on a floured sheet tray and bake for 25 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown.

Pomegranate Smoothie

Recipe created by 3-A-Day™ of Dairy

Makes 4 servings (1 cup per serving)

1 banana
2 cups (16 ounces) fat-free vanilla yogurt
1 cup pomegranate juice
1 tablespoon coarse sugar (optional)
Pomegranate seeds (optional)

Wrap peeled banana in plastic wrap and freeze 3 hours or until frozen.
Unwrap banana, break into chunks and place in a blender with the yogurt and juice. Cover and blend until smooth; pour into 4 glasses to serve. Top with pomegranate seeds if desired.

Serving tip: Before serving, wet edge of glass and dip into coarse sugar for decorative edge.

Nutrition information: 170 calories, 0 fat, 0 cholesterol, 85 mg sodium, 20 percent daily value of calcium, 6 g protein, 36 g carbohydrates, 1 g dietary fiber.


Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, melons, bananas and peaches are all excellent fruits to freeze ahead for use in smoothies. According to the Colorado State University Extension Service, to freeze fruit, first wash it and cut it into cubes, slices or chunks. Sprinkle light colored fruit, like bananas, with lemon juice to help prevent them from darkening. Place the fruit in a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze until firm. Once frozen, pop the fruit into self-sealing plastic bags and store in the freezer. You can also puree fresh fruit, freeze it in ice cube trays and then store it in freezer bags.

These recipes are from The National Bone Health Campaign from

Carla's Berry Patch Smoothie:
1. Blend 1 cup of your favorite fruit juice with added calcium.
2. Add 1 cup of your favorite fruit (try frozen berries).
3. Toss in some ice cubes to make it extra thick.

Banana Blast Smoothie:
1. Blend 1 cup of rice beverage or soy beverage with added calcium, one banana, a cup of your favorite fruit, 1 teaspoon of vanilla flavoring and a dash of honey.
2. Toss in some ice cubes to make it extra thick.

Sunshine Smoothie:
Blend 1 cup orange juice with added calcium, fat-free or low-fat milk or soy beverage with added calcium, ice cubes and a handful of fruit.

Very Berry Smoothie:
1. Blend 1 cup fat-free or low-fat milk, a handful of fresh or frozen blueberries, and a dash of honey.
2. Toss in some ice cubes to make it extra thick.

Fruit Smash Smoothie:
1. Blend 1 cup of fat-free or low-fat milk, a bunch of frozen strawberries, apricots, bananas and fresh raspberries.
2. Toss in some ice cubes to make it extra thick.

Vanilla Smoothie:
Blend 1 cup orange juice with added calcium, a handful of strawberries, a banana, and 1 8-ounce container of fat-free or low-fat vanilla yogurt.

Tomato, Red Pepper, Basil and Feta Dip

Recipe courtesy Woodhaven Farm

3 garlic cloves
1 jar, about 7 to 8 ounces, roasted red peppers, drained
1 cup rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes
¼ cup pepperoncini, stemmed and seeded
1 ½ cups feta cheese, crumbled
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
¼ teaspoon soy sauce
¼ cup olive oil
1 cup fresh basil
1 cup flat leaf parsley

Blend garlic, peppers, tomatoes and pepperoncini in a food processor until finely chopped. Add the cheese, soy sauce and adjust seasoning. Blend until smooth and while the motor is running, gradually add the oil.

Add the basil and parsley and pulse until finely chopped.

Makes about 4 cups. Serve with pita chips, cucumber or radish slices and celery.

Provence Twist Bread

½ loaf frozen bread dough, thawed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon herbes de Provence
¼ teaspoon sesame seeds
¼ cup grated fresh parmesan-reggiano

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Thaw loaf until able to work with the dough. Cut bread dough in half. Spray jelly roll pan with nonstick cooking spray. Press half of the dough as flat as you can into a rectangle on the jelly roll pan. Lightly brush dough with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Evenly sprinkle herbes de Provence and cheese within 1 inch of all the edges. Roll up tightly, jelly roll style, starting with a long side.

With a serrated knife, cut down the length of the roll to expose the herbs and cheese. Keeping the cut side turned up, fold the dough in half to begin twisting. Carefully twist the two sides together, keeping the cut side visible. Pinch ends together. Brush top with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Place on greased cookie sheet. Cover with plastic wrap. Repeat with other half of the thawed bread dough. Allow dough to rise until slightly less than double in size. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Quick and Easy Pizza Bread for Kids

tomato or pizza sauce
shredded mozzarella cheese
pepperoni (optional)
any other toppings
bagels or bread

Spread sauce on bagel or bread. Sprinkle cheese on top. Add pepperoni or any of your other favorite toppings. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Add more time if needed.

Cheesy Herb Bread

1 pound loaf frozen bread dough

2 tablespoons parsley flakes

2 tablespoons dried onion

4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning

1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter

Thaw bread dough according to package directions. Meanwhile, combine parsley, dried onion, three tablespoons of Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, pepper and Italian herb seasoning. On a floured board, roll out dough into a 7-by-18 inch rectangle. Brush with 1 ½ tablespoons melted butter, sprinkle with cheese and herb mixture. Starting at the narrow end, roll dough up tightly and pinch seam to seal. Place dough, seam side down, in a greased 8 ½-by-4 ½ inch loaf pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place until just level with the top of the pan, about 45 minutes. Brush top lightly with melted butter. Sprinkle with one tablespoon Parmesan cheese. Bake at 375 degrees until browned, about 25 to 30 minutes. Turn out onto a rack. Serve warm, cooled or toasted.

Boneless Pork Loin Roast with Herbed Pepper Rub

This recipe comes from the Ohio Pork Producers Council so you know it's got to be good!

1 3-pound boneless pork loin roast

Herbed Pepper Rub:
2 tablespoons cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Pat pork dry with paper towel. In small bowl, combine all rub ingredients well and apply to all surfaces of the pork roast. Place roast in a shallow pan and roast in a 350 degree oven for 1-1 1/4 hours (18 to 20 minutes per pound), until internal temperature, measured with a meat thermometer, registers 155 degrees. Remove roast from oven and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing to serve. Serves 6-8, with leftovers.
Recipe courtesy Ohio Pork Producers Council

Chipotle Meatballs

Recipe courtesy Woodhaven Farm

1 ½ pounds ground pork
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 small zucchini, grated and drained well
1 large egg
1/3 cup bread crumbs
½ teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons fresh oregano
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
1 or 2 chipotle peppers in adobo

Cooked white rice and cilantro for garnish

Combine the pork, onion, zucchini, egg, cumin, oregano, 1 to 2 teaspoons salt and some pepper. Form into about 16 to 18 balls and brown on all sides in a skillet.

Combine the tomatoes and chiles in a blender and process until smooth.
Adjust seasoning. Add the sauce to the meatball skillet and simmer for about 30 minutes until sauce is thickened.

Serve with rice and cilantro. A sliced pepper would be good, too.

Balsamic Pork Chops

I can tell it's spring, all the recipes I'm thinking about seem to be grilled!

8 boneless pork chops, about 3/4 inch thick
12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) balsamic vinaigrette dressing

Place chops in a large resealable bag; pour vinaigrette dressing over chops. Seal bag and refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours.

Prepare medium-hot grill. Remove chops from marinade and pat dry. Discard remaining marinade.

Grill chops directly over heat for about 8 to 10 minutes, turning once. Serve desired number of chops; wrap and refrigerate remaning chops for up to three days.

Melt-in-your-Mouth Zucchini

5 to 7 small zucchini (2 1/2 to 3 cups of 1/8-inch sliced zucchini)

3 to 4 slices bacon

1 cup chopped onion

Salt and pepper to taste

Use small, fresh zucchini that are no more than 1- to 1 1/2-inch in diameter. Wash and dry the zucchini. Slice 1/8-inch thick.

Slice the bacon into 1/2-inch pieces. Cook in a skillet over medium heat until the bacon is crisp. Pour off the excess fat except for 1 1/2 tablespoons. Sauté the chopped onion on low heat until it is translucent. Add the zucchini and stir with the bacon and onion. Cover the skillet and cook 7 minutes over medium low heat until the zucchini is tender. Add salt and pepper as desired. Serve immediately.

Variations include adding chopped banana pepper to cook with the onion or adding 1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese over the cooked zucchini before serving.

Veggies on the Fire

3 cups yellow squash, sliced
3 cups zucchini, sliced
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Crazy Salt

Place veggies on heavy-duty aluminum foil. Sprinkle with olive oil and Crazy Salt. Wrap and place on the fire. Cook approximately 5 to 7 minutes on each side.

Grilled Vegetables

grilled veggies

2 red peppers
2 green peppers
2 yellow peppers
6 cubanel peppers
2 zucchini
2 yellow squash
1 bunch broccoli
1 bunch cauliflower
olive oil
garlic salt

Clean and cut each vegetable into fourths. Broccoli and cauliflower should be cut and leave some stem with florets. Place the vegetables into zipper plastic baggies. Pour enough olive oil into each baggie to coat the vegetables. Season to your liking with garlic salt, parsley, pepper and salt. Shake baggies until olive oil mixture coats the vegetables. Lay the baggies flat to marinate for one hour before grilling. Remove from baggies and place in a grill basket- over a cookie sheet to allow excess oil to drip off. Cook slowly over medium heat until vegetables are cooked.

Fast and Easy Grilled Potatoes and Onions

5-6 unpeeled red potatoes sliced thin
1-2 Vidalia onions sliced thin
1 tablespoon butter per packet
salt and pepper to taste

Place potatoes and onions on heavy-duty aluminum foil. Divide into several individual packets and add 1 tablespoon butter per packet, salt and pepper. Seal packets tightly and place on fire for 15 minutes or until tender. If placing on grill, allow 25 -30 minutes.

Creamy Crockpot Ranch Potatoes

2 pounds small red potatoes, quartered

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 envelope buttermilk ranch dressing mix

1 can cream of potato soup

1/2 cup milk

Place potatoes in crockpot. Combine cream cheese and dressing mix; add soup and blend well. Pour mixture over potatoes and mix completely. Cook on low for 7 to 9 hours or on high for 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Cheeeesy Lasagna Soup

Serves 6
  1. Cook, beef, onion and garlic in dutch oven over medium heat until beef is browned and onion is tender.
  2. Drain.
  3. Stir in water, diced tomatoes and tomato paste until blended.
  4. Stir in remaining ingredients except croutons and cheese.
  5. Heat to boiling then reduce heat.
  6. Cover and simmer about 10 minutes until pasta is tender.
  7. Set oven to broil.
  8. Pour hot soup into 6 oven-proof soup bowls or casseroles.
  9. Top each with 1/4 cup croutons.
  10. Sprinkle with cheese.
  11. Broil soup with tops 3 to 4 inches from heat 1-2 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Strawberry Lasagna

This is a great dessert to serve at a dinner party. It makes approximately 4-5 individual servings.

Do not use Cool Whip for this recipe. It is important that you use real whipped cream! Ricotta cheese is available in a low-fat version, but it does not have the same taste as regular ricotta cheese. Enjoy a real dessert and don't fret about the calories!

Moderately Easy
Combine strawberries with 2 tablespoons of sugar, orange juice and orange zest in a medium sized bowl.

In a second bowl, blend together ricotta cheese, whipped cream and 1 tablespoon of sugar.

Slice pound cake into slices, about 1" thick and place each slice on a separate plate.

Layer as if you are making a regular lasagne: ricotta mixture, strawberries, ricotta, slice of pound cake.

Make two more layers the same way.

Place final piece of cake on top and add some strawberries to top it off.

Lasagna Soup

This wonderful recipe comes from Alison Lewis and is on her web site Ingredients, Inc. I love her web site and I suggest you check her out!

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 30 minutes

Yield: 8 cups

1 pound mild Italian sausage

1 cup diced onion

1 cup diced carrots

1 (8-ounce) package sliced fresh mushrooms

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 cups low-salt, fat-free chicken broth

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes with basil and oregano

1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce

1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

1 cup mini farfalle pasta (piccolini) “Barilla” makes it

2 cups fresh spinach

2 cups freshly grated Asiago cheese

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Fresh basil, (optional)

1. Brown sausage in a large Dutch over medium-high heat. Add onions and carrots; sauté 3 minutes. Stir in mushrooms and garlic; saute 3 minutes more.

2. Add chicken broth, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and Italian seasoning; bring to a boil. Add pasta and simmer until cooked, about 10 minutes, or according to package directions. Stir in spinach and cook until wilted.

3. Place 1/4 cup Asiago cheese into each bowl; pour soup on top garnish with Parmesan cheese. Garnish with basil, if desired.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Round Barn Sangria

Make this early in the day for the flavors to meld.
8 ozs lemon juice
8 ozs Apricot Dessert Wine
1 bottle of Round Barn Winery Peach Demi Sec
1 bottle of Round Barn Winery Red Demi Sec
1 pint of Raspberries for garnish
Sparkling soda water for topping off glasses of sangria at the table.
Combine in a large pitcher and chill sangria several hours. Pour into glasses adding a few fresh raspberries in each glass. Top the glasses with a splash of soda water and serve.

Grilled Brats

How can these be anything but wonderful when they are cooked in wine or beer?

A new twist on a summer favorite!
Onions, sliced
variety of peppers, sliced
Round Barn Riesling or Kölsh Style Beer

Sear brats on grill until marked on all sides. Place brats in a grill friendly pan with 1 Cup of either Round Barn Riesling or Kölsh Style Beer. Add onions and peppers and cook until wine or beer is reduced, glazing the brats and veggies and the brats are cooked through. Serve with remaining beer or wine.

Baby Back Pork Ribs

This recipe comes from the Round Barn Winery in Baroda, Michigan. Check them out, they also make beer and vodka and teach lessons in winemaking!

This recipe is for 3 racks of baby back pork ribs.

Dry Rub
1 box dark brown sugar
2 oz cinnamon
1 oz cumin
1 oz paprika
2 oz chili powder
1 oz cayenne pepper
1 oz dried thyme
1 oz Old Bay
1 oz onion powder
1 oz garlic powder
1 oz dried mustard
pinch kosher salt
fresh black pepper
Mix all ingredients for dry rub together. Rub onto ribs, generously. Squeeze a generous amount or commercial sauce onto ribs and cover with foil, marinate 24 hrs.

Take ribs out of frig and let stand 1 hour. Cook ribs for 3 1/2 hours at 225 degrees. Remove from oven and let cool.

1 bottle Round Barn Cocoa Stout
dash cider vinegar
pinch mustard seed
remaining dry rub from ribs
1 bottle of your favorite commercial BBQ sauce
1 pound of smoked bacon
Pour beer, vinegar, and mustard seed into a sauce pan and reduce for 30 minutes. Add the remaining dry rub from the ribs and caramelize. Add one bottle of the BBQ sauce to the mixture and simmer for 1 hour. Add 1 pound of pureed, cooked bacon to the sauce and remove from heat, let stand overnite.

Grilling Instructions: Add and generous amount of BBQ sauce to each rack of ribs and grill until the sauce caramelizes and becomes crispy on the outside of the ribs. Cut and serv

Beer & Cheese Fondue

This recipe comes from the Round Barn Winery in Baroda, Michigan.

1 8oz. block of cream cheese (softened)
1 jar of Kraft Old English cheese (you might have to ask for this one)
Garlic Powder to taste

Whip in a food processor or blender and add up to 1/4 cup of Moersch Amber Ale until you reach desired consistency. (This is one of their beers).

Serve with cubed bread, sliced apples or pears.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Potato Lovers - Check this out

This recipe is from a wonderful food blog - Serious Eats and I highly recommend you visit the site (see a picture of this recipe) - sign up for his newsletter and get the cookbook! I would not steer you wrong.

Click here to be transported there!

Potatoes Girarrosto-Style

- serves 4 to 6 -

Adapted from Urban Italian by Andrew Carmellini and Gwen Hyman


4 Idaho potatoes
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, cut in half and sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
1 heaping tablespoon fresh thyme leave
1/4 teaspoon coarse-ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley


1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. (Use a convection oven if you've got one; it'll cook the potatoes faster and crispier.)

2. Prick the potatoes with a fork (so they don't blow up), place them on a baking tray, and bake them on the middle rack until a fork goes in easily, about 1 hour. Remove the potatoes from the oven and let them rest on the countertop until they're cool enough to work with.

3. When the potatoes are cool, roughly cut them into large chunks with a small knife.

4. Bring the oven back up to 425°F. Pour the olive oil into the bottom of a large roasting pan. (Pick the one that's safe to use on the stovetop too.) Scatter the onions in the pan and layer the potato chunks on top. Bake uncovered on the middle rack for about 15 minutes, turning the contents every 5 minutes, until the onions begin to soften and caramelize.

5. Remove the pan from the oven (leaving the oven on) and cook over high heat on the stovetop for 2 minutes to caramelize the potatoes and onions, being sure to shake the pan or stir the contents every 30 seconds or so to avoid burning.

6. Return the pan to the oven and continue baking for another 5 to 10 minutes, pulling the pan out periodically to shake the potatoes around with a spoon. Bits of potato on the bottom of the pan will brown up so they look almost like hash browns. Scrape these little flavor-and-crispiness bombs off the bottom and mix them in with the rest of the potatoes. When the potatoes are finished baking, they will be golden and crispy, with lots of brown bits.

7. Remove the pan from the oven and return it to the stove over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, butter, red pepper flakes, rosemary, and thyme. Stir, and season very liberally with salt and pepper. The potatoes should be crispy and crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside—think Italian hash browns. Cook for a few more minutes so the flavors meld. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chopped parsley. Serve immediately.

Drunken Steak on the Grill

1 lb. Flank Steak


4 TBSP vegetable oil

1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce

3 TBSP soy sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Pinch of salt

4 TBSP Whiskey

Mix together all of the marinade ingredients in a shallow dish or large plastic zip-lock bag. Add the steak, either flipping and coating it in the dish or immersing it in the bag. Marinate at least 4 hours or all day.

To Grill – Remove from marinade and grill over med heat - after it’s cooked, leave meat on platter for about 8 minutes to allow juices to return to the meat. To serve - cut against the grain into thin slices.

Italian Pesto with Cheese

2 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

3 TBSP pine nuts

2 garlic cloves, chopped fine before going in the processor


1/3 cup freshly grated Pamigiano-Reggiano cheese

2 TBSP freshly grated Romano cheese

3 TBSP butter, softened to room temperature

1.5 pounds Pasta

Briefly soak and wash the basil in cold water, and gently pat it thoroughly dry with paper towels.

Put the basil, olive oil, pine nuts, chopped garlic, and an ample pinch of salt in the processor bowl, and process to a uniform, creamy consistency.

Transfer to a bowl, and mix in the two grated cheeses by hand. (It is worth the slight effort to do it by hand to obtain the notably superior texture it produces.)

When the cheese has been evenly amalgamated with the other ingredients, mix in the softened butter, distributing it uniformly into the sauce.

When spooning the pesto over pasta, dilute it slightly with a tablespoon or two of the hot water in which the pasta was cooked.

To freeze pesto, make the sauce through to the end of Step 2, and freeze it without cheese and butter in it. Add the cheese and butter when it is thawed, just before serving

Salami Sandwich with Feta Cheese, Arugula & Roasted Red Peppers

Serves 4

5 oz. fresh feta cheese

2 Tbsp. minced fresh chives

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 clove garlic, minced

4 sandwich rolls, each about 5 inches long, split

2 roasted red bell peppers, seeded and cut lengthwise into narrow strips

slices hard salami or any other salami

~ Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

1 small handful arugula leaves or spinach

In a small bowl, stir the feta cheese briefly to smooth it out. Add the chives, parsley, and garlic, and mix well.

Spread the feta cheese mixture on half of each roll. Top with the peppers and then the salami. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on the other half of each roll, then top with some arugula leaves. Salt and Pepper to taste.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Grilling - White Varietals

Of course these are just suggestions.....

Chardonnay I don't care for this one any way, shape or form.... when you read that it works best with butter and corn........... I suppose it would be good with grilled corn on the cob but I'm sticking with my own tastes in wine and Chardonnay is not an option at any time.

Riesling the perfect varietal for grilled brats, shrimp, barbecue chicken, grilled pineapple and a variety of grilled veggies.

Riesling wines originated in Germany’s Rhein and Mosel river valleys, it was here that this white grape gained its foothold in today’s modern white wine market. A riesling can span a broad range of styles, being produced in both dry and sweet variations.

Some to try -
Owen Roe DuBrul Vineyard Riesling
Covey Run Riesling
Dr. Konstantin Frank Riesling from NY
Fritz Windisch Alsheimer Riesling
& VonHovel
Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling Eroica Columbia Valley

Sauvignon Blanc has a herbaceous quality that supports marinades and sauces with similar attributes. For example, grilled chicken that has been doused in Italian dressing or a citrus marinade will be unbeatable with a Sauvignon Blanc. Likewise, roasted peppers, veggies in fresh herbs, grilled fish with dill and lemon will all be highlighted in tandem with a Sauvignon Blanc.

Gewurztraminer often offers a balance to spice with its slightly to moderately sweet character. This varietal would be a great choice to go with blackened Mahi Mahi, or grilled Cajun chicken with fresh mango salsa.

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to pairing wines with your grilled foods, just generalities that can get you going. Ultimately it is your palate that your seeking to please by the wine pairing.

Grilling Out - Temperature - The Basics

Spring is here and thoughts turn to grilling for those of us who have not been doing so very often through the winter.

This is a reminder about temperatures. So many people think you turn it up HIGH and grill. NO! NO! NO!

Let's discuss is the range of cooking temperatures. There are really only three major ones -

1) HOT!- This is above 400 degrees. You are not going to use this much. Sometimes you will so that you can have those nice grill marks on them, but then almost immediately you will take the meat to the medium or lower side to finish off what you are doing.

2) MEDIUM - 300 to 400 degrees F. This is the temperature where you will grill most items.

3) LOW - Below 300 degrees F. Your low temperatures are where we BBQ large cuts of meat like roasts, tri-tip, prime rib, etc. This is especially important where the meat has a large amount of fat.

Texas-Style Pan Fried Sirloin with Gravy

If you look around at recipes for Chicken Fried Steak, then you will notice they all say to cook it in a pan. Yet in a restaurant, you almost never get a pan-fried steak. The recipe below is pretty standard. The main difference for my version is that I use breadcrumbs instead of just flour or cracker crumbs. I like all the versions, but to give a broader appeal, I am going with a very classic breading technique with the addition of a little buttermilk. Using the Top Sirloin steak makes a big difference in the texture. Choose a steak that is absent of large fatty areas, but that does have good marbling of fat.
  • 2 Top Sirloin Steaks about ¼ inch thick and as big as you like them
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Fresh Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Granulated Garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Good Quality Chili Powder (optional)
  • 1 cup Bread Crumbs
  • 1 cup Buttermilk
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Large Cast Iron Skillet
  • 1 Cup (more or less) Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Meat Tenderizing Hammer
Mix together the salt, pepper, garlic, and chili powder. Season the steaks on both sides liberally. Using the hammer with the coarse spike side, pound the seasoned steaks to tenderize and work the seasoning into the meat. Be careful not to pound too thin, but you have to use enough force to actually start breaking down the fibers a little bit. Just putting a nice hammer mark on the steak wont do much. You want to make the steak a little thinner and a little larger to accomplish the tenderization process.

Set up your breading station with a bowl of the flour, a bowl with the buttermilk mixed with the egg, and a bowl of breadcrumbs. Dredge the steak in the flour, coating evenly. Shake off the excess and dredge into the buttermilk/egg mixture. Now dredge the steaks in the breadcrumbs. You want to make sure the steaks are coated evenly. Set aside on a plate; you can layer between wax paper.

At this point you want to have your potatoes cooking or finished, and your vegetables ready to go. See recipes below.

In your cast iron skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add your steaks. If you skillet is too small, you can cook in batches. You want to have enough oil in the pan to come a little more than half way up the side of the steaks when they are cooking. You do not want to submerge the steaks in oil. The temperature should be around 300F. It will vary during the cooking process, but you want to maintain a temp above 250F and no more than about 350F. Adjust the heat as necessary while you cook. You will know if your pan is too hot if your steak starts to get too dark. You want a nice simmer happening in the pan. When you start to see juices bleeding through the top crust of the steak, its time to turn it. About 5 minutes per side. You are looking for a nice brown color on the crust, like the color of dark wood, but not the color of chocolate. You should turn your steaks only once. When both sides are done, remove from the pan and drain on a brown paper bag or towel. Keep them in a warm oven until the gravy and everything else is ready to go.

Creamy Pan Gravy

There is a term in classic French cooking called "fond." This term describes the browned caramelized concentrated residue that remains in the pan after something has been cooked. The fond is what you are after when you "deglaze" a pan. Its what adds richness to any pan sauce. And fond is whats missing in most restaurant versions of cream gravy. This version is a little different in that it also has chicken stock, and a little wine.

  • 2 tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 tablespoons reserved oil from pan
  • 1 cup Chicken Stock
  • 1 cup Half-and-Half
  • ¼ cup White Wine
  • 1 teaspoon Coarse Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
Using the pan you just fried your steaks in, drain off all the oil into a container and measure out 2 tablespoons of the oil, returning it to the pan. Turn up the heat a little to medium-high. Add the flour and cook for a few moments until a paste is formed, making sure there are no lumps in the flour.

Add the wine and the chicken stock. Use a whisk to quickly incorporate the flour mixture into the liquid, ensuring there are no lumps. Bring up to a simmer. The gravy will get very thick at this point. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to get all the fond incorporated into the gravy. Add the Half-and-Half a little at a time, until the desired consistency is achieved. You want a thick sauce, but not a paste. Finish with the salt and the black pepper, adjusting seasoning to taste.

Dont be shy with the gravy when you serve the steak. You want enough to get a good amount with every bite. Make a "gravy well" in the potatoes, and have any leftover gravy available on the side in a gravy boat.

Horseradish Mashed Trio of Potatoes

The combination of potatoes in this dish adds dimensions of texture and flavor. Dont be afraid of the horseradish. Start with a little and add more to your liking.

  • 1 large Idaho Potato
  • 2 medium Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • 2 medium Red Potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons Butter
  • 1 tablespoon prepared Horseradish
  • ¼ cup Half-and-Half
  • 2 tablespoons Sour Cream
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Peel the Idaho and leave the skins on the other potatoes. Cut into large chunks and boil in water until tender. Check with a fork. Drain well and add the remaining ingredients, holding off on the half-and-half. Mash with a hand masher until nice and smooth. Adjust consistency with the half-and-half. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. You can make these potatoes ahead and hold them in a covered ovenproof container in a warm oven while you fry your steaks and make the vegetables.

Summer Squash Vegetable Medley

This is a quick and very flavorful vegetable medley to compliment your meal. Fresh vegetables make you feel a little better about eating this kind of main dish, so you might as well have a good tasting vegetable. This recipe makes about four servings so you will have leftovers that reheat in the microwave nicely.

  • ½ medium Red Onion, sliced thin
  • 1 Zucchini, sliced ¼ in thick
  • 1 Yellow Squash sliced ¼ in thick
  • 2 Roma Tomatoes, halved and sliced
  • 4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a saut pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saut for a few minutes. Add the mushrooms and saut until the onions are soft, and the mushrooms shrink a little. Add the remaining ingredients and saut until the squash is tender-crisp. Check seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. You can make this while your gravy is simmering.

Thats it. The only thing missing is a heap of buttermilk biscuits or skillet cornbread to go with it all. Once you try the real thing, you will never look at the other version the same way again.

Chicken Fried Steak

This is also known as country fried steak and is simply a piece of steak - most often round steak or tenderized cube steak that is coated with seasoned flour and pan-fried. It is associated with down-home southern cooking and hospitality.

For me - I usually use round steak but you can also use a pork chop -

1.5# Round Steak - 1/2" thick and tenderized
1 Beaten Egg
1 TBSP milk
1 Cup fine cracker crumbs
1/4 cup cooking oil
Salt, Pepper and garlic powder to season

Cut tenderized round steak into serving pieces. Mix egg and milk. Dip meat in egg mixture and then into crumbs that have the seasoning mixed in. Brown meat in hot oil, turning once.

Cover and cook over heat 45 - 60 minutes or until tender.

Serves 4 - 6

Mapled Nut Butter Tart

This recipe comes from The Mapled Nut Company - please visit their web site which also mentions an option to private label their wonderful product.

This recipe took first place at the 2003 Vermont Maple Festival and has been featured on the Food Networks "All American Festivals".

Please enjoy!

1/3 cup butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup pure Vermont maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
4-ounce bag (1 cup) maple sugar coated pecans or walnuts,
coarsely chopped (recommended: Mapled Nut Co. brand)
1 unbaked 11"tart shell or 9" pie shell

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine butter, egg, milk, maple syrup and vanilla. Add chopped nuts and gently pour into tart shell. Garnish with extra nuts if you like.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until top of tart is puffed and bubbly and crust is starting to brown. Cool for 20 minutes before removing from tart pan.

Can be served warm or at room temperature. Add a dollop of whipped cream for an extra special treat.

Chocolate Cherry No Bake Granola Cookies

These will cure your chocolate craving and quickly, too!

2 c. white sugar
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. peanut butter
3 c. Woodstock Cherry & Ginger Almond Crunch Granola

In a saucepan over medium heat combine the sugar, cocoa, milk, and butter. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, salt, peanut butter and granola. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto waxed paper. Allow cookies to cool for at least 1 hour. Store in an airtight container.

Cabot Cheese and Wine

What can I say about Cabot cheese, other than I like them and their web site!

Today, I found a nice plug on their web site for wine and cheese! Not only does this web site pair wine and cheese, it talks about the 4 essential wine glasses that wine enthusiasts should own. As we all know,not just any wine glass will do.... unless of course, you only have one type and in that case, uncork the wine and enjoy!

Crazy Bobs from Cabot Cheese

This recipe comes from Cabot Cheese - I think it is a wonderful garnish and a wonderful way to get kids to eat their veggies and is a nice appetizer... especially the crazy bobs with fruit and cheese.

Cabot Cheese has a ton of recipes on their site and they offer a newsletter - I highly recommend you visit their site.

Thread skewers with alternating chunks of Cabot Cheddar Cheese and fruits like whole strawberries and grapes or chunks of pineapple or banana; for a veggie version, use red and yellow cherry tomatoes and sugar snap peas.

Easy Cheesy SpicyTortilla Rolls

Makes 2 servings

3 tablespoons fat-free cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons tomato salsa
1 (10-inch) flour tortilla
1/3 cup grated Jalapeno Cheddar Cheese
1 tablespoon minced green onion, green part only

1. In small bowl, stir together cream cheese and salsa. Spread cream cheese mixture over tortilla.

2. Sprinkle evenly with cheese, green onions and cilantro. Roll up tightly. Slice in half diagonally.

If you have left over chicken or taco meat, add it.

Nutrition Analysis
Calories 178 , Total Fat 5g , Saturated Fat 2g , Sodium 469mg , Carbohydrates 23g , Dietary Fiber 2g , Protein 11g , Calcium 170mg

Chicken Hmmm

This reminds me of Chicken Kiev and is one of my son, Nick's, favorite recipes

4 half boneless and skinless chicken breasts
4 tsp parsley flakes
garlic salt to taste
1/4 butter, melted
1 cub herb stuffing mix
grated Romano cheese (this makes it!)

Dip chicken breast in melted butter... sprinkle with parsley and a generous amount of garlic salt. Roll in stuffing mix, then roll up and secure with a toothpick. ( many times I don't roll it)

Place is a greased baking dish. Sprinkle remaining crumbs on top, moisten lightly with water.

Bake at 325 for 35 minutes - then add the Romano cheese and bake an additional 5 minutes.

Note- I also will make this and add a layer of chopped broccoli on the bottom

Dip chicken breast in melted butter, then sprinkle parsley and a generous amount of garlic salt. Roll up and secure with a toothpick.

She Loves Wine Chicken Broccoli Casserole

This is my version of Cindy's Chicken Broccoli Casserole.

2 10 oz pkg frozen broccoli - cooked and drained

1 chicken cooked and cut up ( I now buy the rotisserie chicken cooked and de-bone it)

Melt together -
2 cups cheese
2 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk
2 shakes Worcestershire sauce
1 TBSP lemon juice
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 small onion, grated

Topping -
2 additional cups grated cheddar cheese - for topping (optional)
1 can onion rings

To assemble -
Put cooked broccoli on bottom of casserole dish.
Top with 1/2 of the cheese sauce
top with cut up cooked chicken
add the rest of the cheese sauce

If desired, top with additional grated cheese and a can of onion rings
Crunch up 1 can onion rings and top casserole with this.

Bake at 350 for 40 - 50 minutes.

Cindy's Chicken Broccoli Casserole

1 10 oz pkg frozen broccoli spears
1 can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
Dash Worcestershire sauce
Dash lemon juice
Dash pepper
1/2 - 1 # grated cheddar cheese
2 cans chicken (white meat) of 2 cups of cooked chicken, chopped
1 can onion rings

Put broccoli on bottom of casserole dish.
Mix soup with other spices and pour half of this on top of the broccoli

Next, drain the canned chicken and layer it on top of the broccoli - top with the remaining soup and cheese.

Crunch up 1 can onion rings and top casserole with this.

Bake at 350 for 40 - 50 minutes.

Liver and Onions

I will confess that I absolutely HATE liver and onions but I've cooked it a lot over the years as my ex loved this recipe.

1 medium onion, sliced thin
2 TBSP Butter
In a 10' skillet, cook onion in butter until tender but not browned. Remove onions and set aside.

1 pound sliced beef liver, cut into 4 slices, to the skillet.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Cook over medium heat for THREE minutes
Turn , return onion to skillet on top of liver and cook 2 - 3 minutes longer.

Remove liver and onions to a platter, cover to keep warm.

Into the pan drippings stir:

2 tsp water
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp Worchestershire sauce
heat through and pour over the liver and onions.

Serves 4