Monday, July 27, 2009

White Velvet Chocolate

Creamy, dreamy and oh so sweet. That's the best way to describe this out-of-the world dessert experience. Garnish with raspberries or strawberries for an even better punch.

8 oz. imported white chocolate, chopped
1 3/4 cups whipping cream
4 tbsp. light corn syrup
3 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped

Mint leaves

Stir white chocolate, 1/4 cup cream and 2 tbsp. syrup in saucepan over very low heat until chocolate is melted and smooth.

Pour into a bowl and allow cooling to lukewarm.

Beat 3/4 cup cream with electric mixer to firm peaks.

Fold cream into the white chocolate mixture in 2 batches.

Divide mousse among 4 custard cups. Cover and refrigerate until firm, about 4 hours. Can be prepared up to 2 days ahead.

Bring remaining 6 tbsp. cream and remaining 2 tbsp. corn syrup to simmer in heavy saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to low, add semi-sweet chocolate and stir until melted and smooth. Cool to room temperature. Spoon enough sauce over each mousse to cover completely.

Garnish with mint leaves, and with a dollop of chocolate whipped cream.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Wild-Mushroom Bread Pudding Recipe

This recipe comes from
Bon Appétit R.S.V.P. December 1997 The Barrington County Bistro, Barrington Hills IL

1½ hours | 30 min prep


* 3 tablespoons olive oil
* 6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps thickly sliced
* 6 ounces oyster mushrooms, thickly sliced
* 6 ounces cremini mushrooms, thickly sliced
* 2 portabella mushrooms, stems and gills removed, caps thickly sliced
* 4 teaspoons chopped garlic
* 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
* 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
* 1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
* 1 teaspoon dried thyme
* 5 large eggs
* 2 cups whipping cream
* 1 cup milk (do not use low-fat or nonfat)
* 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus
* 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
* 6 cups crustless day-old French bread, cut in 1-inch cubes

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Lightly butter 8 x 8 x 2-inch glass baking dish.
3. Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat.
4. Add all mushrooms, garlic, basil, parsley, sage and thyme and sauté until mushrooms are tender and brown, about 15 minutes. Remove pot from heat. Season mixture to taste with salt and pepper.
5. Whisk eggs, cream, milk, 1/4 cup Parmesan, salt and pepper in large bowl to blend.
6. Add bread cubes; toss to coat. Let stand 15 minutes.
7. Stir in mushroom mixture.
8. Transfer to prepared dish. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons cheese over. Bake until pudding is brown and puffed, and set in center, about 1 hour. Serve warm.
9. Serves 6 as a side dish.
10. Make half a recipe or it makes great leftovers-reheating in the microwave works very well.
11. You can more than doubled the proportion of wild mushrooms, using a few ounces of oyster and shiitake, with lots of crimini and portobello. I think you can use any combination of wild mushrooms but it's important not to cut them up too small. You'll think they'll never fit in the baking dish when you start the saute but they cook way down.
13. I prefer the flavor using all fresh herbs, tripled the equivalent amounts, and doubled the garlic. I also added four chopped fat shallots to the saute.
14. I was very liberal with the cheese, this time using both freshly grated romano and asiago in the body of the bread pudding and sprinkled on top. I'll admit to at least three quarters of a cup of each but it could easily have been more.
16. Last, I didn't want to worry about coordinating the baking with the many other dishes I prepared for Christmas, so I baked the bread pudding the day before and reheated it, covered, for maybe forty minutes at 350.
17. This dish now ranks as amazing in my book. It's succulent and earthy with herbs and mushrooms, and the texture is both firm and spongy. It's a great vegetarian, but not vegan, main dish and the flavor just gets deeper and deeper the longer it sits.

In an attempt to make this a little lighter, I've changed my version to 1 cup of whipping cream and 2 cups of milk, and I use 2% milk. I've also used dried herbs if I don't have fresh available. It's still fabulous. Definitely a dinner side dish, not a dessert. NOTE: I just made this again, and this time I used all button mushrooms, and 1 cup half & half and 2 cups skim milk. It definitely tastes better with the wild mushrooms, but it was still good with the regular mushrooms (and was fine with the changes to lighten it up).

Play with this recipe, you'll be glad you did!

Twice Baked Potatoes

Can be made ahead.

2 hours | 30 min prep


* 4 large baking potatoes, baked
* 1/2 cup sour cream
* 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
* 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
* 1/4 cup crumbled bacon (optional)

1. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop potato out of the skins and
into a bowl.
2. Add remaining ingredients to bowl and beat until fluffy.
3. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Erin's Fruit Salsa

Not only is this a fabulous appetizer, it's beautiful. This is my niece, Erin's recipe - and it is WONDERFUL

2 kiwis, peeled and diced
2 Golden Delicious apples - peeled, cored and diced
8 ounces raspberries
1 pound strawberries
2 Tbsp. white sugar
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
3 Tbsp. fruit preserves, any flavor

10 (10 Inch) flour tortillas
butter flavored cooking spray
2 cups cinnamon sugar

In a large bowl, thoroughly mix kiwis, apples, raspberries, strawberries, white sugar, brown sugar and fruit preserves. Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Coat one side of each flour tortilla with butter flavored cooking spray. Cut into wedges and arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle wedges with desired amount of cinnamon sugar. Spray again with cooking spray.

Bake in preheated oven 8 to 10 minutes. Repeat with any remaining tortilla wedges. Allow to cool approximately 15 minutes. Serve with chilled fruit mixture.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

T.G.I. Fridays Jack Daniels Grill Glaze

GREAT BBQ glaze - It doesn't matter if your grilling beef, shrimp, salmon, pork, chicken or just plain hamburgers! It's always awesome.

* 1 head garlic
* 1 teaspoon olive oil
* 2/3 cup water
* 1 cup pineapple juice
* 1/4 cup Kikkoman's teriyaki sauce
* 1 teaspoon soy sauce
* 1 1/3 cups dark brown sugar
* 3 teaspoons lemon juice
* 3 teaspoons minced white onions
* 1 teaspoon Jack Daniels Whiskey
* 1 teaspoon crushed pineapple
* 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

To roast garlic--------------.

Cut about 1/2” off the top of the garlic.

Cut the roots so that the garlic will sit flat.

Remove the papery skin from the garlic, but leave enough so that the cloves
stay together.

Put garlic in a small casserole dish or baking pan, drizzle with olive oil
and cover with a lid or foil.

Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 1 hour.

Remove and let it cool until you can handle it.


Combine water, pineapple juice, teriyaki sauce, soy sauce and brown sugar
n a saucepan over medium high heat.

Stir occasionally until mixture boils, then reduce heat to simmer.

Add remaining ingredients to pan and stir.

Squeeze out 2 t of roasted garlic and whisk to combine with pan mixture.

Let simmer for 35-45 minutes or until sauce has reduced by 1/2 and is
thick and syrupy.

Make sure it doesn’t boil over.

To use, grill meat until almost done, then use the glaze otherwise it will

Chicken Souvlaki


* 2 lbs boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes


* 1/4 cup lemon juice
* 1/4 cup olive oil
* 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper
* 1/4 cup white vinegar
* 1 clove garlic, minced
* 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
* 1/2 teaspoon paprika
* 1/4 teaspoon sage
* 1/4 teaspoon savory
* 1/4 teaspoon thyme

If using bamboo skewers, soak in water for at least 30 minutes before using.

Combine all sauce ingredients in a bowl; mix well.

Stir in chicken cubes; marinade for at least 2 hours before threading
on skewers.

Grill on high heat, lid down.
Grill for about 4 minutes per side (total 8 minutes) or until the
juices run clear.

Serve with tzaziki sauce, pita bread and a crisp, green salad

Tender BBQ Baby Back Ribs

These ribs are falling apart tender and full of flavor. (A recipe adopted from the kitchen of Mean Chef.)


* 1/2 cup new mexico chile powder (not chili powder)
* 2 tablespoons black pepper
* 2 tablespoons celery salt
* 1 tablespoon cumin
* 1 teaspoon allspice
* 1 teaspoon coriander powder
* 4 lbs pork baby back ribs or pork spareribs

Mix rub ingredients together and apply rub to ribs.
Refrigerate in a plastic bag for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Cook ribs in 200 degree oven wrapped in 2 layers of foil for 3 to 4 hrs or
until tender (can be done a day ahead to this point).

Grill about 5 to 7 minutes per side.

Bourbon Steak

* 1/2 cup soy sauce
* 1/4 cup bourbon
* 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
* 1/4 teaspoon grated ginger
* 1/4 cup water
* 1 steak (1/2" thick)

Combine everything in a shallow dish.
Marinate the steaks for at least two hours.
Grill over a charcoal fire.

Spinach Pasta Salad

This is a different spinach salad........

* 1 (12 ounce) package farfalle pasta ( or linguine )- cooked and drained
* 10 ounces baby spinach, rinsed and torn into bite-size piece
* 2 ounces crumbled feta cheese with basil and tomato
* 1 red onion, sliced
* 1 (15 ounce) can black olives, drained and chopped (optional)
* 1 cup Italian-style salad dressing ( Ken's Italian Salad Dressing w/Parmesan)
* 4 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 lemon, juiced
* 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
* 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
(Sun-dried tomatoes would also be GREAT!)

1. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta until al dente, rinse under cold water and drain.
2. In a large bowl, combine the pasta, spinach, cheese, red onion and olives.
3. Whisk together the salad dressing, garlic, lemon juice, garlic salt and pepper. Pour over salad and toss. Refrigerate for 2 hours and serve chilled.

Another Spinach Salad

* 1/4 cup diced red onion
* 2/3 cup white sugar
* 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
* 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
* 1 tablespoon mustard powder
* 1 cup vegetable oil
* 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
* 4 eggs
* 10 ounces fresh spinach - chopped, washed and dried
* 1 head anything but iceberg lettuce - rinsed, dried, and chopped
* 1/2 pound bacon - cooked and crumbled
* 1 1/2 cups crushed croutons
* 1 red onion, sliced in rings
(Feel free to throw in almonds, dried cranberries, cucumbers)

1. Place eggs in a saucepan and cover completely with cold water. Bring water to a boil. Cover, remove from heat, and let eggs stand in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from hot water, cool, peel and chop.
2. In a small saucepan, combine the diced onion, sugar, black pepper, celery salt, mustard, vegetable oil, and vinegar. Whisk over high heat until all ingredients are well mixed and onions are translucent. Remove from heat and refrigerate until cool.
3. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, spinach, iceberg, bacon, croutons and onion rings. Toss together.
4. Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat evenly.

Jan's Fabulous Spinach Salad

This is a different Jan's recipe, not mine......but very good.

2 lbs spinach, stemmed and torn in pieces
1.5 lbs mushrooms, sliced
6 hard cooked eggs, sliced
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (not the canned stuff)
1 lb. bacon, cooked crisp & crumbled
(My Note - sun-dried tomatoes are also great in this )


1 cup mayo
1 small onion, finely grated
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 T sugar
1 T dijon mustard
salt & pepper to taste

Combine salad ingredients in large bowl and toss with dressing just before serving.
Dressing can be made ahead