Thursday, December 24, 2009

Rustic Pizza

Ok, so this picture may not look all that great, I'm not a food photographer :) But this was fantastic.
When I made this pizza, it took no time at all, but I was using leftover veggies and pre-mixed and risen bread dough. So, plan accordingly.

Make my super-favorite of all time bread recipe:
3 Cups lukewarm water (too cold is better than too hot)
1.5 Tbs. salt
1.5 Tbs. yeast
5.5 cups unbleached white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
(I plan on trying this recipe with a larger whole wheat to white ratio but I haven't yet so I can't promise it'll work)

Mix all together, don't knead, just place in warm spot with a lid on it and let rise 2 hours. Then refrigerate until ready to use.
At baking time, preheat oven to 500 degrees with baking stone or cookie sheet in oven. Pull off about a pound of dough and roll out on flour-dusted countertop until about 1/8-1/4 inch thick.
Sprinkle topping on and slide onto sheet in oven, bake for about 8-10 mintues but watch closely as toppings can burn easily at this heat.

I LOVE caramelized onions. I could eat them every day. To make them, slice an onion thinly (red onions work best but any will do) and throw in a frying pan with olive oil. Sautee for quite a while (10-15 mintues?) until onions are translucent, flimsy and start to smell sweet. They taste sweet too :) After that, I often throw in some sliced zucchini or other veggies until soft and brown. Then I spread all these over the dough, added sun-dried tomatoes (from a jar) and sprinkled just a little bit of mozzarella on top (do NOT go overboard with the cheese, it masks the delicate gourmet flavors...this isn't Chucke Cheese people!!)

Voila! Delicious and an easy way to get rid of leftover veggies. I ate this thing cold all week :)

Baked String Beans

Ok, so I used to HATE string beans. We get a bag of them pretty often through the produce co-op and I never did anything with them. Then one day I came across this recipe and now I get so excited when I see them that I nearly wet myself (ok, not really).
Here it is!

Rinse and trim beans. Pour a Tbs. or so of olive oil in a rimmed baking sheet, add beans and roll around to coat with oil. Sprinkle beans liberally with salt and pepper and roll again to coat. Bake at 400 for about 10 minutes or so, checking and stirring often to avoid burning. When they are crispy and browned in spots, they're done.

Now find a corner and eat them all in one sitting. I do. They taste like healthy french fries, I kid you not. SO good!!

Rajma Masala (Spiced Kidney Beans)

I got a great book from the library called "Quick Vegetarian Curries" and what I've tried so far has been really good! And they're not kidding when they say quick, especially if you use canned beans or other ingredients. Coriander, turmeric and other Indian spices may not be a staple for every household but I highly recommend keeping them around. You can make some amazingly authentic tasting curries with them that are healthy, fast and extremely satisfying.

1 onion, chopped
1 inch cube root ginger, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
4 teaspoons oil
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1 tbs. tomato puree (i just used ketchup)
1 lb. canned red kidney beans, drained and rinsed ( I used half kidney and half black beans)
1 tsp. salt
1 cup warm water
3-4 green chilies (I used canned whole chilies)
1/2 tsp. Garam Masala (I used curry powder cause i didn't have any)
2 Tbs. chopped cilantro leaves

Puree onion, ginger and garlic in food processor. In a saucepan heat oil over medium and when hot, add pureed ingredients. Cook, stirring, for 4-5 minutes.
Reduce heat to low, addd cumin, coriander and cook for another 2 minutes. Add turmeric, chili powder and tomato paste and cook for another minute or two.
Add beans and salt, increase heat to medium and cook for one more minute.
Add water and chilies, simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Sprinkle with garam masala and stir in cilantro. Remove from heat and serve with rice, if desired.

Black Bean and Zucchini Chilaquiles

This is a vegetarian recipe I got off my favorite recipe website (epicurious) that was just phenomenal! And super fast to make. I highly recommend :)

1 1/2 tablespoons light or extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 medium green bell pepper, diced (I threw two peppers in cause I had them)
One 28-ounce can crushed or puréed tomatoes
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
One 16- to 20-ounce can black beans or 2 1/2 cups cooked black beans (from about 1 cup dried)
1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced (I used a yellow zucchini)
1 small fresh hot chile pepper, seeded and minced, or one 4-ounce can chopped mild green chilies (I ommitted this cause my kids freak out over anythiung spicy)
12 6-inch corn tortillas, torn or cut into several pieces
8 ounces grated Cheddar cheese or Cheddar-style nondairy cheese (I used minimal cheese, a small handful for each sprinkling and it was still great!)

1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Lightly oil a 9- by 13-inch baking pan or 2-quart round casserole.

2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Sauté the onion until translucent. Add the bell pepper and continue to sauté until it has softened and the onions are golden. Stir in the tomatoes, seasonings, beans, zucchini, and chile pepper. Bring to a simmer, then simmer gently for 5 minutes.

3. Layer as follows in the prepared pan. Half the tortillas, half the tomato black bean mixture, and half the cheese. Repeat. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes, then cut into squares or wedges to serve.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Awesome Vegetarian Chili

I am very picky about my chili, just so you know. It has to be chunky, include a wide variety of ingredients, have a little kick and it has to taste just right. My sister-in-law Hillary brought this to the family dinner the other night and it was fantastic!

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon salt
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 (4 ounce) cans chopped green chile peppers, drained
2 (12 ounce) packages vegetarian burger crumbles
3 (28 ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes, crushed
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can black beans
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion, and season with bay leaves, cumin, oregano, and salt. Cook and stir until onion is tender, then mix in the celery, green bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, garlic, and green chile peppers. When vegetables are heated through, mix in the vegetarian burger crumbles.

Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer 5 minutes.Mix the tomatoes into the pot. Season chili with chili powder and pepper. Stir in the kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and black beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 45 minutes. Stir in the corn, and continue cooking 5 minutes before serving.

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie from Heaven

3/4 C. Brown Sugar
1 env. unflavored gelatin
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ginger
3 Egg yolks
3/4 C. Milk
1 1/4 C. Canned Pumpkin
3 Egg whites
1/3 C. granulated sugar

In saucepan combine brown sugar, gelatin, salt & spices. Combine egg yolks & milk and add to brown sugar mixture. Cook, stirring constantly until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat & stir in pumpkin. Chill until it mounds. Beat egg whites to soft peaks, gradually adding sugar. Once stiff peaks form, fold pumpkin mixture into meringue. Fill baked shell or graham cracker crust. Chill. Garnish with whipped cream, if desired.

My favorite graham cracker pie crust:
9 whole graham crackers
1/4 c. brown sugar
5 Tbs. melted butter
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Combine crackers and sugar together in food processor (or the poor man's way: in gallon ziploc with rolling pin :). Add melted butter and vanilla and pulse until it comes together. Press into pie tin and bake for 10-15 minutes at 350.

Almond Toffee Deliciousness

So, I've been addicted to lately and they're having a holiday dessert bake-off. Say what?? A bake-off?? I'm IN! All the recipes come from food blogs that the magazine staff hand-picked and this was the first thing I made. I took it to a family dinner and we all inhaled it in like 30 seconds. Super easy and way addictive. Don't say i didn't warn you!

1 sleeve of saltine crackers
1 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups chocolate chips (i used bittersweet)
1 cup chopped almonds, toasted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray cookie sheet with non-stick spray. Line crackers on cookie sheet close together. Melt butter and brown sugar in a medium pan on medium-high heat. Stirring often, heat the mixture for about 3-5 minutes until it turns into a nice caramel looking sauce. *note* I have used generic brown sugar without success. Not sure why it does not caramelize, but instead the butter starts to clarify and the brown sugar clumps. I recommend using C & H brown sugar. Pour the sauce over the crackers until they are completely covered. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle chocolate chips over the cookie sheet. The chocolate should start to melt. Spread chocolate over the toffee mixture and top with nuts. Allow to completely cool before breaking toffee up in pieces. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sweet Pork Burritos/Salad

So, I know that Cafe Rio is like the best place ever, yadda yadda. Frankly the only thing I like there is the salad. I found this recipe that's supposed to recreate it and we tried it last week. It was way better than Cafe Rio and Luke and I were in love. We put the meat (with some of its sauce), rice, and lettuce in a tortilla and poured the dressing and cheese over it. Sooooo good!
(We didn't use the beans but they look good, huh?)

4 pounds pork
2-3 cans tomato sauce (8 oz.)
1/4 c. brown sugar (or to taste)
1 tsp fresh garlic
2 tsp. cumin
1 can Coke (optional)
1 can sliced green chilies
1/2 tsp. salt
pepper to taste

Combine everything in crock pot on high for about 6 hours (you can do it on low overnight or all day) or until it shreds easily. Remove pork from crock pot and shred.

CILANTRO-LIME RICE (I would suggest doubling the rice to match the rest of the recipe)
1 1/4 c. uncooked rice
2 Tbs. butter or margarine
juice of 1-2 limes
2 1/4 c. chicken broth
3/4 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
1/4 tsp. cumin
3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro

In a saucepan combine rice, butter until melted. Add rest of ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low 15-20 minutes, until rice is tender. Remove from heat.

2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/3 c. tomato juice
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. fresh chopped cilantro

In a nonstick skillet, cook garlic and cumin in olive oil over medium heat until you can smell it. Add beans, tomato juice, and salt. Continually stir until heated through. Just before serving stir in the cilantro. Can also add a can of corn, drained, to the beans with a dash of cumin and chili powder.

CILANTRO RANCH (can also double if you have a lot of meat)
1 packet Ranch dressing mix
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/2 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. sour cream
2 tomatillos, remove husk, diced (or use a 16 oz. jar of green salsa)
1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic
juice of 1 lime
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 jalapeno (remove the seeds for mild flavor) and/or cayenne pepper
salt and pepper

Puree all ingredients together in the blender.

Devil's Food with Whipped Ganache and Dark Chocolate Glaze

So, I'm on this personal quest to find the best chocolate cake. I made my second great attempt at it yesterday for my father-in-law's birthday. In fact, if you invite me to your party, I'll probably make you one too. So many recipes, so little time. Anyway, this was probably the best I've tasted yet, restaurant cakes included (you know they're always too dry) so it's gonna be hard to beat. Good thing too, it took me all stinking day to make. I'll get around to posting the recipe but I had to throw the picture up on here first. Whatcha think??

P.S. the combination of all the various kinds of chocolate was perfect in the cake itself, but the chocolate ruffle decorations made it too much. Next time I'll just decorate with some fresh strawberries. Or maybe even cinnamon sticks dipped in chocolate since the for the ganache I used cinnamon infused cream. Mmmmmm :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Guess what this is! What? You think it's a "congratulations-on-your-new-boobs" ice cream dessert? Well, you're right! The first of my FOUR friends and family members to get mastectomies in the last year just completed the last of her reconstruction surgeries and this is how we celebrated. A perfect use of the peach ice cream I posted the other day.
Hey, if you can't laugh about breast cancer, what can you laugh about??

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Triple Chocolate Cake from HEAVEN

Hmmm, how many consecutive dessert recipes does this make? And yes, I only post something after I've just made it so I've been eating plenty of dessert lately. I can't help it. Nursing a baby does that to me. And yet I complain about my weight. Duh!
HOWEVER, if you're going to have love handles, get them with this cake. You won't regret it. In fact, there are lots of different things you can do with this basic cake recipe...and all of them delicious. I made this version for my sister-in-law's birthday and mastectomy-coming-out party :)
**Again, use the finest quality chocolate available (Callebaut, Valhrona, Ghirardelli, Scharffen Berger, E. Guittard or Lindt). Try specialty food stores or online.
From Pure Chocolate

12 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
8 large eggs, room temperature, separated
2/3 cups sugar
1 cup cake flour, sifted then measured

12 oz. bittersweet chocolate (preferably 66% cacao), chopped
26 oz. creme fraiche (sort of like sour cream...but French.)
**You can substitute sour cream but it may be too sour. If this is the case, add powdered sugar and cream to achieve desired taste and consistency.

8 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 300 degrees and position rack in middle of oven. Butter 2 round cake pans and line bottom with parchment paper circles.
Heat chocolate in double boiler until nearly melted, remove from heat and stir until smooth. Add softened butter in three parts, stirring until butter is incorporated. Set aside to cool until consistency of soft butter.

Whip egg yolks (use beaters or kitchenaid with whisk) with half the sugar at med-high speed until light and tripled in volume (5-6 min.)

Using rubber spatula, fold chocolate mixture into egg yolks.
Sift measured flour again and set aside.

Use clean bowl and whisk to whip egg whites on med-high speed until frothy. Slowly add remaining sugar and whip until stiff, but not dry, peaks form. Mixture should be creamy and glossy.
Meanwhile, fold flour into chocolate mixture.
Gently fold egg whites into chocolate mixture in three parts, trying not to overmix and lose volume.
Evenly spread mixture into prepared pans and bake for 35-40 minutes (tester inserted in middle should come out with moist crumbs). Allow to cool 10 minutes in pans, then turn out onto plates or cake circles and chill completely.

Melt chocolate in double boiler and then cool to lukewarm. Whip creme fraiche for about 20 seconds (med-high speed) then on low speed, slowly add chocolate.

Place chopped chocolate in metal bowl. Heat cream over med-high heat until boiling. Remove from heat and pour over chocolate in bowl. Let sit for one minute, then slowly and gently stir with rubber spatula from center out until smooth. Try not to incorporate any air as you stir. Let cool at room temperature about 30 minutes (to about 80-85 degrees).

Finishing cake:
Using long, serrated knife, split each cake layer. Place first layer on cardboard cake circle (make one out of an old box. This is the best way to decorate a cake and then move it to a serving plate or stand) and cover with about 1/4 inch filling. Add another cake layer and filling. Repeat with remaining cake layers and then frost entire cake with remaining filling. Refrigerate until set.
Transfer cake to a cooling rack placed over a cookie sheet or wax paper (to catch spills). Begin pouring glaze over top of cake about 1 inch from edge. Let glaze drip down sides, ensuring that glaze covers sides completely. Then pour remaining glaze over center of cake top, using offset spatula to smooth if necessary. Store in fridge and remove 1/2 hour before serving.

Serves about a million people (well, 24) cause all you need is a sliver to induce chocolate ecstasy.

Peach Ice Cream

If you're like me and think you don't like peach ice cream, think again. This was fantastic! And takes only about 20 minutes to whip up. Plus, if you're also like me and can't wait for it to harden in the freezer, it's just like a peach milkshake right out of the machine :)
Courtesy All Recipes

6 eggs, beaten
3 1/2 cups white sugar (I put in about 1/2 cup less, depending on sweetness of peaches)
10 fresh peaches, pitted and chopped
4 cups heavy cream
2 cups half-and-half cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon salt

In large bowl, mix together eggs and sugar until smooth; puree peaches in blender or food processor (i added some of the half and half in the blender to make it puree easier) and stir 5 cups of puree into egg mixture. Stir in cream, half-and-half, vanilla and salt and mix well.
Pour mixture into freezer canister of ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.

A diet-breaker for sure!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Peanut Brittle and Caramel Crunch Ice Cream Pie

I made this pie the other day and ate...well, let's just say more than my share. It was soooo good. I tweaked it from the original recipe a bit and you can too. Just throw in whatever kind of sauce and crunchy topping you like. For my dearest and sweetest little bosom buddy with the deathly peanut allergy, try making the brittle without the nuts. You'd still get the sweet crunchy goodness without all that hassle of anaphylactic shock and premature death.
You'll love it!
**To save time and energy, you can always use store bought caramel, hot fudge and/or peanut brittle...but you know homemade is always better!
**Complete cooking and freezing time is about 7 hours so plan accordingly. Make it during the day and serve that night!

Caramel sauce
3/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup light corn syrup
(this is, by the way, the best homemade caramel sauce ever. The vanilla bean steals the show)

Hot Fudge Sauce (this is my favorite chocolate sauce EVER. Makes even the cheapest ice cream taste divine)
3/4 c. heavy cream
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 c. cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 oz. bittersweet chocolate

Peanut Brittle
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1 cup chopped lightly salted dry-roasted peanuts
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

9 whole graham crackers
1/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, hot
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup salted roasted cocktail peanuts
3 pints premium vanilla ice cream, slightly softened (Haagen Dazs was delicious!)

Caramel sauce
Place cream in small saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Bring just to simmer. Mix in butter and sea salt; set vanilla cream aside.
Stir sugar, 1/3 cup water, and corn syrup in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat; boil without stirring until syrup turns deep amber, brushing down sides with wet pastry brush and swirling pan occasionally, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in vanilla cream (mixture will bubble). Set sauce aside.

Hot fudge
Heat cream and butter over med-high heat until butter is melted and cream just starts to boil. Quickly add sugars and salt and stir until dissolved, remove from heat. Add remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth.

Line large rimmed baking sheet parchment paper. Bring sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water to boil in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil without stirring until syrup is deep amber, swirling pan occasionally, about 10 minutes. Immediately stir in peanuts and all remaining ingredients. Scrape out mixture onto prepared sheet; spread out to about 13x9-inch rectangle. Cool completely. Coarsely chop enough brittle to measure 1 cup and finely chop enough to measure 1/2 cup. DO AHEAD Can be made 3 days ahead. Store in separate airtight containers at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 9-inch-diameter pie dish with foil. Finely grind graham crackers and brown sugar in processor. Add butter and vanilla; blend until moist crumbs form. Add nuts; blend just until finely chopped. Using plastic wrap as aid, press crumbs firmly onto bottom and up sides of foil-lined pie dish. Freeze 15 minutes.

Bake crust until brown, about 15 minutes. Freeze 1 hour. Using foil, lift crust from dish; carefully peel off foil. Return crust to pie dish. Drizzle 1/2 cup caramel sauce over bottom of crust. Freeze 30 minutes. Spoon 1 1/2 pints ice cream into crust; smooth top. Drizzle hot fudge, then more caramel. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup brittle. Freeze 1 hour. Spoon remaining 1 1/2 pints ice cream over; smooth top. Drizzle hot fudge, then caramel. Sprinkle pie with 1/2 cup brittle. Freeze 4 hours.
DO AHEAD Pie can be made 3 days ahead; tent with foil and freeze. Cover and chill remaining sauce.
Cut pie into wedges. Rewarm sauce and pass separately.

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

I know, I know...everyone thinks their recipe is the best. Frankly, i think that the cookies you like best are usually the ones you grew up with. This is as close to my mom's recipe as I've found (if not exactly the same, i can't remember). The keys are real butter, equal amounts granulated and brown sugar, plus blended oats (chewy!), nuts (crunchy!) and lots of chocolate (gooey!). So, if you're not already fanatically loyal to your own recipe, try this one. You'll love it.

(Recipe may be halved...but why would you make 50 when you can have 100??)
2 cups butter
4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups brown sugar
5 cups blended oatmeal (measure oatmeal and blend in blender to a fine powder)
24 oz. chocolate chips (semi-sweet or milk)
1 tsp. salt
1 8 oz. chocolate bar (grated)
4 eggs
2 tsp. baking powder
3 cups chopped nuts (your choice)
2 tsp. vanilla (Mexican, if available)

Cream the butter and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla; mix together with flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder, and soda. Add chocolate chips, chocolate bar and nuts. Roll into balls and place two inches apart on a cookie sheet.
Bake for 8-10 minutes at 375 degrees. Makes 112 cookies..

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Hazelnut Crunch Cake with Mascarpone and Chocolate

Courtesy Giada's Kitchen

When I made this thing, I screwed it up and so the presentation was less than desirable. Luckily I figured out a way to salvage it and it was delicious! Next time it'll be yummy AND pretty! Watch for my notes to save yourself my embarrassment :)

1 boxed chocolate cake mix, plus ingredients needed to make it

1 cup hazelnuts (abotu 4.5 oz.), toasted and skinned (toast by baking in single layer at 350 for 8-10 minutes)
2/3 c. sugar

2 (8oz.) containers mascarpone cheese, room temperature (can substitute all or half for cream cheese if you're cheap or dislike the taste of mascarpone)
1 c. heavy cream
3/4 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

1/4 c. bittersweet chocolate
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. orange zest

Prepare cake as directed on box and bake in 2 round cake pans; let cool.

Crunch: Place toasted nuts in a single layer on parchment-lined baking sheet. Combine the sugar and 1/3 cup water in small saucepan and bring to a boil on med-high heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved and then continue to boil WITHOUT STIRRING (my first mistake) until sugar is light brown, about 8 minutes (just swirl the pan from time to time). Remove from heat, let bubbles subside and then pour over nuts. Place baking sheet in fridge and let cool until hard, about 30 minutes. Once cool, place on cutting board and chop, saving a few larger pices for decoration.

Filling: The directions say to beat mascarpone, cream, sugar and vanilla together until soft peaks form but when i did this the mascarpone curdled. Next time I will beat cream, sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form, beat mascarpone separately until creamy, then combine both mixtures by hand. Then mix in chopped nut crunch.

Topping: Blend or process chocolate (chips or small pieces), sugar and zest until finely ground.

Assembly: Place one layer of cake on plate or stand, spread 1 inch of filling on top, place second layer of cake on top and then frost entire cake with remaining filling. Sprinkle top and sides with ground chocolate topping and add decorative shards of hazelnut crunch.

Penne with Shrimp and Herbed Cream Sauce

Penne and cream sauce...there ain't nothin' better. Or easier, for that matter!

1 lb. penne pasta
1/4 cup olive oil
1 lb. shrimp, deveined and peeled
4 cloves minced garlic
1 (15 oz.) can whole tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (I used a couple tablespoons of dried, instead)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup dry white wine (or cooking wine)
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Cook pasta in large pot of salted boiling water, 8- 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain and set aside.
In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add shrimp, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of each salt and pepper. Cook about 3 minutes, until shrimp are pink. Remove shrimp from pan, set aside.

Add tomatoes, 1/4 cup of each basil and parsley and red pepper flakes to pan, cook for 2 mintues. Add wine and simmer another few minutes. Add cream and bring to a boil, reduce heat to med-low and simmer for 7-8 minutes.

Add half of the parmesan, shrimp, pasta and remaining basil and parsley. Toss together, season with salt and pepper and add remaining cheese before serving.

Layered Brownies with White-Chocolate Caramel and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

This dessert is a bit time consuming...but so stinking delicious that I ate almost the entire pan by myself. Holy cow. Go make it now!
**Best to cool overnight so plan accordingly.

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 cup pecan halves, toasted

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (54% to 60% cacao), chopped
1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon natural unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons water, divided
3/4 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
4 1/2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
6 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
4 ounces high-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Perugina), finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced, room temperature

2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate (54% to 60% cacao), chopped

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Lightly butter baking sheet. Stir sugar and 1/4 cup water in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and boil until sugar syrup is light golden, occasionally brushing down sides of skillet with wet pastry brush, about 8 minutes. Add pecans and stir until syrup coats pecans, about 1 minute. Immediately pour pecans out onto prepared baking sheet; spread in single layer with heatproof spatula. Cool completely. Coarsely chop nuts. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 8x8x2-inch metal baking pan with foil. Butter foil. Combine 1/2 cup butter and bittersweet chocolate in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Whisk cocoa powder, flour, and salt in small bowl. Whisk sugar, eggs, and vanilla in medium bowl to blend. Pour butter mixture into sugar mixture; whisk until blended. Add cocoa mixture; whisk until blended. Transfer brownie batter to prepared baking pan; smooth top (layer will be thin).

Bake brownie until tester inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 18 to 20 minutes. Allow brownie to cool slightly, then gently press down on edges to form flat, even layer. Cool completely in pan on rack.

Spoon 1 tablespoon water into small bowl; sprinkle gelatin over and stir to blend. Let stand until gelatin softens, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine remaining 2 tablespoons water, sugar, and pinch of salt in heavy small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and boil until syrup is deep amber, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with wet pastry brush, about 8 minutes. Slowly add cream (mixture will bubble vigorously). Reduce heat to low. Stir to dissolve any caramel bits. Remove from heat; let cool 5 minutes. Add gelatin mixture; stir until gelatin dissolves. Add white chocolate; whisk until melted and smooth. Whisk in butter. Pour caramel atop cooled brownie; spread evenly to cover completely. Chill uncovered until caramel firms slightly, at least 8 hours or overnight.

Bring cream to simmer in small saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chocolate; whisk until melted and smooth. Cool until mixture is slightly thickened but still pourable, about 15 minutes. Pour ganache atop caramel on brownie; spread just to edges. Sprinkle chopped candied pecans evenly over. Chill uncovered until ganache is firm enough to cut, about 4 hours. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and keep chilled.
Using foil as aid, lift brownie out of pan; place on work surface. Fold foil sides down. Using sharp knife, trim off about 1/4 inch of brownie on all sides. Cut brownie into eight 3 1/2-inch-long, 1 3/4-inch-wide bars. Top each brownie bar with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream (Haagen Dazs is great with this, or make your own!).

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Melon Granita with Chantilly Cream

This is a great solution for overripe melons. Cold, refreshing, low-cal and super yummy! I highly recommend using the mint.

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated
orange peel
3 cups chilled 1-inch cubes peeled seeded
canteloupe or other melon
1 cup chilled
whipping cream
2 tablespoons
powdered sugar
mint sprigs (optional)

Place sugar, 1/2 cup water, and orange peel in small saucepan. Bring to simmer over high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to medium
. Simmer 1 minute. Pour into 8x8x2-inch metal pan and cool.
Puree melon in processor until smooth but some texture remains. Measure scant 2 cups melon puree and add to syrup in pan. Whisk to blend. Freeze mixture until thoroughly frozen, about 4 hours, stirring with fork every 1 1/2 hours. Cover and keep frozen. (Or, once slushy, you can also just dump mixture in a gallon ziploc. Then take it out of the freezer and smash up with rolling pin every hour or so).
Using electric mixer, beat cream and sugar in medium bowl until peaks form. Using fork, scrape granita into icy flakes. Spoon 2 rounded tablespoons granita into each of 6 glasses. Top granita with 1 rounded tablespoon whipped cream. Repeat layering with granita and whipped cream. Garnish with mint sprigs, if desired, and serve immediately.
**I tried another variation which was also DELICIOUS. Instead of canteloupe, use watermelon and strawberries. After pureeing, you may want to add sugar to taste.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Pizza roll

Ok, here's a super easy lunch/dinner/appetizer that I guarantee your kid will eat and you will enjoy. And it takes like 5 minutes to make.

1 purchased pizza dough (in a can like pillsbury rolls)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
7 oz. prosciutto, sliced (or other yummy sliced deli meat)
1 cup chopped fresh spinach
1 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper

Roll out dough, sprinkle half of cheese over dough. Add prosciutto in a single layer, spinach and remainder of cheese. Roll up dough tightly and tuck ends under. Brush with olive oil and add salt and pepper. Place on parchment paper on cookie sheet and bake at 425 F for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Delish!

Brie and Chocolate Panini

I have a confession to make. I cheated on Luke today. Think of me what you will but if this sandwich and Luke were both drowning in the ocean, I can't promise I wouldn't save this sandwich first.
Take two slices of sourdough bread, brush with olive oil and toast lightly (in panini maker or frying pan, whatev). Top the bread with a couple good slices of Brie cheese and about 1/3 cup good semi-sweet chocolate. And I mean GOOD. If you put Nestle or Hershey's chocolate on this thing I will come over there and smack you. Think Valhrona, Ghirardelli, Lindt, etc. If you're a gourmet chocolate virgin, run on over to Whole Foods or Trader Joes for a good selection. Giada adds fresh basil leaves to her sandwich but I didn't. Throw the other piece of bread on top and toast until chocolate is melted.

You're welcome. You have my permission to name your firstborn after me. Or after this sandwich. Hmmm, Brie Chocolate Wiscombe. Has a nice ring to it.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Pumpkin Cake Mix Dessert

This is my all-time favorite pumpkin dessert. Makes pumpkin pie seem boring and predictable!

1 (29 oz.) can pumpkin
1 lg. can evaporated milk
3 eggs
1 c. sugar
3-4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves)

Whisk together and pour into greased 13x9 inch pan.

Yellow or spice cake mix
1 1/2 cups walnuts or pecans
1 cup melted butter or margarine

Dump the entire box of cake mix (DRY, just the mix itself) on top of pumpkin mixture. Sprinkle with nuts and pour butter on top of it all. Bake at 350 F for 50-60 minutes (until browned) and then let cool for about 30 minutes (or not...I burn my tongue on this stuff every time cause i just can't wait!).
Serve with vanilla ice cream or (spiced!) whipped cream.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Strawberry Spinach Salad

This is such a refreshing and delicious salad. Courtesy Triple M.

1 package of fresh spinach
1 1/2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
1 package of sliced fresh strawberries
cooked bacon, crumbled
Candied walnuts/pecans

Assemble salad, pour dressing just a couple minutes before serving.

Poppyseed Dressing:

1 C sugar
1/2 C apple cider vinegar
1 C salad oil
1 Tbsp poppy seeds
1 tsp dry mustard
1 garlic clove


Stuffed Mushrooms

My friend Maggie brought these over for a meal for us...along with so much other yummy stuff it would make your head spin. I'm not even gonna list everything she made for us because it would just make you feel bad about yourself. She's amazing...and so are these mushrooms!

1 8oz package cream cheese
2 slices muenster cheese
2 slices provolone cheese
1/2 large zucchini
1/2 C shredded parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove pressed
2 tsp. Pampered Chef dill seasoning ***
1/2 3oz jar of Hormel Real Bacon Bits
Plain Bread Crumbs
Mushrooms (about a pound)
Let cream cheese soften in a bowl. Shred muenster, provolone and zucchini in Pampered Chef cheese shredder using the smallest barrel. Add remaining ingredients except bread crumbs and mix. Add bread crumbs to desired consistency. You want it to easy form with your hands, not too dry but thick. Wash mushrooms & break out the stem. Roll filling into balls and stuff inside (you can use the Easy Accent Decorator to fill with a pretty design). Bake on 350 until the mushrooms have released their own juices (about ½ hour to 1 hour).

*This would probably be good shaped in a ball and rolled in walnuts or pecans to be served as a cheese ball.

**If you make this ahead of time & refrigerate the seasonings get more pungent giving it a stronger flavor. Sometimes I’ll make it and leave it out on the counter if it’s only a few hours till I cook it!

***You must use the Pampered Chef dill seasoning because it is better than store bought.

Rosemary Dijon Chicken

Another baby meal, courtesy of Mia.

Chicken Thighs (I use boneless, Skinless from costco but breasts will work too)
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
2-3 tbsp honey mustard
1 tbsp dijon mustard
about 1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tsp tarragon vinegar
garlic salt to sprinkle on
salt and pepper

place chicken in baking dish or pan and preheat oven to 350
mix in bowl both mustards, wine, vinegar, and a dash of pepper and garlic salt (maybe 1/2 tsp of garlic salt and another 1/2 tsp of pepper?)
whisk together.
then take rosemary and take all the little leaves off. Throw the stems away and mince all the sprigs very finely. Add them to mixture and whisk together.
Pour over chicken.
Shake more salt and pepper on top of chicken, and then sprinkle garlic salt on top of chicken too.
Bake at 350 for 1 hour and a half. Two hours is even better.

This makes a ton of gravy/sauce which we ate over some yummy mashed potatoes. Awesome!

Super Enchiladas

I LOVE it when people bring me meals after a baby...and not just because i don't have to cook. I love trying other people's favorite recipes and then adding them to my collection. Here's one from Julie, a friend in my mom's group. It was so good!

Buy a rotisserie chicken and pull all the chicken off of it. Put all the chicken in a big bowl, then add 1 drained can of black beans, 1 1/2 cup of sour cream, 1 cup of salsa (she uses 1/2 salsa verde and 1/2 505 organic salsa from Sprouts). Mix.
Drizzle salsa verde at the bottom of the baking pan, then put chicken mixture in whole wheat Tortillas, sprinkle Cheddar cheese in them and then roll up and place in pan. Top them with more salsa and cheddar.
Bake at 375 for 35 min. It makes a ton.

She brought it over with a Mexican green salad (with peppers and avocado, tomatoes, etc). and salsa + sour cream dressing plus some Mexican-style rice. It was SUPERB!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Cream Cheese Cupcakes

Here's one of my childhood faves. I requested these instead of cake for just about every birthday. Well, these and permission to eat the batter from an entire cake all by myself :)

Chocolate cake mix (plus the ingredients listed on box)
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Chocolate chips

Mix up cake mix as directed on box. Fill up each lined cupcake mold about 2/3 full. Beat cream cheese, egg, sugar and vanilla until combined. Mix in as many chocolate chips as desired (about one package is what i use). Drop a teaspoon of cream cheese mixture in center of each partially filled cupcake. Bake as directed for cupcakes on cake mix box. Dust with powdered sugar if desired. Enjoy hot with a glass of milk! yum!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Chocolate Caramel Toffee Bars

These are some amazing bar cookies courtesy of my good friend Sarah Porter. Sarah is one of the healthiest eaters I know but when she cheats, this is the amazing dessert she makes!

1 yellow cake mix
1/3 c. oil
2 eggs
1 (12 oz.) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 c. white chocolate chips
3 (1.4 oz.) Heath or Skor bars, broken into pieces
1/2 c. butter or margarine
32 caramels, unwrapped
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 13" x 9" pan. Combine cake mix, oil and eggs; blend well. Stir in all chips and candy pieces (you can get creative and use other stuff too!). Press half of the mixture into pan and bake for 10 minutes. (It helps to press batter into pan using saran wrap to keep it from sticking to fingers).
Meanwhile combine butter, caramels and sweetened condensed milk in a saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat until smooth and melted. Slowly pour caramel mixture over partially baked crust, top with remaining cake mix mixture. Return to oven and bake an additional 25-30 minutes or until brown. Cool 20 minutes in pan. Run knife around sides of pan to loosen bars. Cool 40 minutes and refrigerate 1 hour. Store in refrigerator, makes 24 bars.

**Try making two batches, one with a yellow cake mix on bottom and a chocolate one on top and the other vice versa. Bon apetit!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

GOOD wheat bread!

My favorite food and recipe junkie friend, Heidi, sent me this great bread recipe, I think it's from the Everyday Food Storage blog (which is fabulous, i might add). Seeing how I've never made an edible loaf of wheat bread in my life, i decided to try this recipe only using my brand new fancy dancy wheat grinder. Yes, it's freaking expensive and now I can't buy another kitchen appliance until 2014 but man is it great!! And, guess what? The bread turned out great!! I made it a bit too doughy because I didn't add enough flour (you may have to add more than the recipe says to get a good consistency) but it was still delectable. I can't wait to use my new grinder on some healthy cinnamon rolls! When I unearth my friend's award-winning recipe, I'll post it.

Wheat Bread recipe

1 1/4 cup warm water
1 Tblsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup honey or 1/3 cup brown sugar
2 3/4 cups whole wheat flour (or whatever combination white/wheat you like..I use 100% hard white wheat.)
1/4 cup wheat gluten
1 tsp salt
2 Tblsp nonfat non instant dry milk (if you don’t have this use milk instead of half or all of the water.)
1 Tblsp butter/margarine/oil
1 Tblsp vinegar
1/4 cup potato flakes (NOT potato pearls)

Mix ingredients in order listed in mixing bowl of mixer with dough hook attachment (like kitchen-aid) for 12-15 minutes. Let rise until double, 1- 1 1/2 hours. Punch down, and shape into loaf or rolls. Let rise again until double and bake 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes until golden brown and sounds hollow when lightly tapped.

White Bread

1 1/8 cups warm water
1 3/4 - 2 tsp active dry yeast
2 Tblsp sugar (I use 3 Tbs. of sugar and 1 Tbs. honey, SO GOOD)
3 cups flour
1 Tblsp vital wheat gluten (remember you don’t need as much gluten if you’re not using whole wheat flour)
1 tsp salt
2 Tblsp nonfat dry milk (I used Malted Milk Powder, ‘cause I had it! But you can substitute milk for the water up above.)
1 1/2 Tblsp butter/margarine or oil
1/4 cup potato flakes

Add the ingredients in the order listed into a mixer bowl (like a kitchen-aid) with a dough hook attachment and mix on low for 10-12 minutes. Or mix it on the dough cycle in your bread machine.
After all the mixing is complete, if the dough still seems too gooey and you are unable to handle it, add 1 Tblsp flour at a time, and mix after each addition until the dough is manageable with your hands. Let rise until doubled, punch down and roll out into a rectangle, the short end of which should be the length of your bread pan. Roll up the dough, seal the edges and place in a greased loaf pan, let rise in a warm place 45 min -1 hour and bake 375 degrees for 25 minutes until golden brown and sounds hollow when lightly tapped.

Penne with Spicy Vodka Tomato Cream Sauce

My sister made this fabulous pasta tonight and it was great. But then again, can you really ever go wrong with a cream sauce?? We used shell pasta instead of penne because we had it and cooking white wine instead of vodka and it tasted wonderful. Enjoy!


1 pound uncooked penne pasta
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vodka
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 (3.5 ounce) links sweet Italian sausage

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
In large skillet, heat oil over moderate heat. Remove casing from sausage and add to skillet. Cook, breaking up the meat, until brown. Add garlic and red pepper and cook, stirring until garlic is golden brown.
Add tomatoes and salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.
Add vodka and cream and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and add pasta, toss for 1 minute. Stir in fresh parsley and serve!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Easiest Bread EVER!

My latest acquisition in the cookbook department is this one..."Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. First of all, let me point out that if one of the authors is French and the other is Jewish, you know it's gonna be good! This is by far the most fool-proof and simple way to make bread and every time i make it, everyone raves. The basic premise is that you mix the dough (nothing but flour, yeast, salt and water), let it rise, then refrigerate for up to 2 weeks, pulling off a some dough and baking a loaf as desired. That's it. No kneading, proofing, thumping, beating with a stick, etc. It's fantastic and has changed the way i make bread forever...specifically, now i make bread and before i didn't. It's that good.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Toffee Bars

Another no-fail dessert recipe rom the college days. We made these so much, I think the cookbook just naturally fell open to this page every time. Guaranteed to make any break-up or failed mid-term a thing of the past :)
(courtesy an old Better Homes and Gardens cookbook)

Toffee Bars
1/2 C butter
1/2 C granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
1 C flour

1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 Tbsp butter
2 tsp vanilla

1 oz unsweetened chocolate
2 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 C sifted powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

1. In a medium mixing bowl, beat the 1/2 C butter, granulated sugar, and salt with an electric mixer on medium to high speed till combined. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour. Press into the bottom of an ungreased 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven about 15 minutes or till the edges are lightly browned.

2. Meanwhile, in a heavy medium saucepan heat the sweetened condensed milk and 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat till bubbly, stirring constantly. Cook and stir for 5 minutes more. (Mixture will thicken and become smooth.) Stir in 2 teaspoons vanilla. Spread over baked layer. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or till golden.

3. For fudge icing*, in a small saucepan melt chocolate and 2 tablespoons butter over low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in the powdered sugar and the 1 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in enough hot water (1 to 2 tablespoons) to make an icing that is easy to pour. Spread the icing evenly over the warm cookie. Immediately cut into bars. Cool on a wire rack. Makes 36 bars.
*Instead of topping these bars with fudge icing, you can sprinkle one 6-oz package (1 cup) semisweet chocolate pieces over the cookie immediately after removing it from the oven. Let pieces stand 2 to 3 minutes or till softened; spread evenly. Cool, then chill for 5 to 10 minutes or until the chocolate is set. Cut into bars.

Rustic Bean Stew with Bacon and Caramelized Onions

This is the first main dish recipe I tried from The Improvistional Cook book. I absolutely LOVED it. Served with crusty toasted french bread, a spinach salad and homemade canned peaches, our table was the picture of health and perfection! Definitely a new fave.

You can use canned beans for this, but I think making them from scratch adds a little something, i mean other than hours of cookin time :) If you're like me and never remember to soak them overnight before cooking, here's a cheat: rinse beans, cover with cool water in saucepan, bring to a boil and then lower heat, simmer for 10 minutes. Then turn off heat and cover, let soak for an hour. Rinse several times and cover with water again, simmer for 1 1/2 to 3 hours (add onion and bay leaf during this part).

4 oz. thick-sliced bacon
1 pound yellow onions, sliced or diced
4 cups cooked, drained darkish beans (such as red beans, Roman, black-eyed peas, etc.)
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 c. low sodium cicken broth
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
freshly ground pepper

Cook bacon until crisp, remove bacon from pan, pour off all but about 1 tbs. fat.

Caramelize onions by cooking in bacon fat unil wilted and have released juices, about 5 minutes.
add about 1/2 tsp. salt and saute until onions are golden brown, about 20 minutes longer.

Add beans to pan along with crumbled bacon, bay leaves, broth, vinegar and sugar. Bring to a smmer, reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until liquid has reduced considerably and it looks like a stew, about 20 mintes. Adjust seasonsing, pepper generously. I mashed up about half of the beans at the end to make it more like a stew.
Enjoy gourmet eating!


I don't really know when my love affair with the reuben andwich began. I think i've always enjoyed them, but after a mission to Russia (where i learned to make costco-sized portions of sauerkraut out of a big laundry lie) and a refining of my palette later in life, I'm really hooked. I've found some great recipes and decided to just post one here. There are lots of variations, so play with it depending on your tastes. (But don't leave out the sauerkraut!)

Reuben Sandwich (courtesy Simply Recipes)
2 Tbsp butter, softened
8 slices rye bread
8 slices Swiss cheese (or provolone, gruyere, etc)
3/4 lb corned beef brisket, thinly sliced (i've also used pastrami or other yummy deli meats)
1/2 lb sauerkraut
1/4 cup Russian Dressing

Russian Dressing:
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 Tbsp ketchup
1 1/2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 Butter one side of four slices of bread, and place the slices buttered-side down on a large piece of wax paper on a flat surface. Top each with a slice of Swiss cheese, and then divide half of the corned beef among them.
2 Using paper towels, squeeze out excess moisture from the sauerkraut. Divide the sauerkraut among the sandwiches, and top each with one tablespoon of Russian dressing. Add another layer of corned beef and a second slice of Swiss cheese to each sandwich. Top with the remaining bread slices; butter the side facing out.
3 Preheat a griddle or frying pan to medium heat. Cook the sandwiches on one side until the bread is golden brown. Use a spatula to carefully flip the sandwiches over and finish cooking on the second side. Cut the sandwiches in half before serving.

Dip in remaining Russian dressing!
Makes 4 sandwiches

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Once again...

Never renew your resolution to cook healthier for your family right before the holidays. I can't even count the number of times we had pizza in the last 6 weeks!
Now that life is back to normal, i got a chance to try yet another outstanding cookbook from Amazon. This one is not necessarily geared towards the healthy lifestyle but all of her recipes are so simple and create outstanding taste combinations that I had to ty them. Frankly, the more gourmet recipes I try, the more I realize that beginning a meal with whole foods is almost always better for you, even if it does include some heavy cream or other such indulgences! I've tried two of her recipes and am very impressed. She starts off each section with a simple recipe and then explains why it works and ncludes other spinoffs using the same idea. It has actually helped me understand how flavors work together so that I can be more of an imporvisational cook myself! Recipes forthcoming...