Friday, December 28, 2012

Creamy Mushroom Casserole

A Family Favorite every Thanksgiving and Christmas!

A great accompaniment for chicken or turkey.
  • 1/3 cup soft butter or margarine
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon grated onion
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons flour
  • 1 pound washed fresh mushrooms
  • 1 cup heavy cream
Slice the mushrooms, stems on, and place a layer on bottom of a 1-1/2-quart greased casserole. Mix together the butter or margarine, parsley, onion, mustard, salt, pep-per, nutmeg and flour. Dot the first layer of sliced mushrooms with half this mixture. Add a second layer of mushrooms and top with the rest of the butter mixture.
Pour the cream over all, then bake uncovered at 350 degrees F for 1 hour.

~From "The Country Innkeepers' Cookbook." A wonderful cookbook here in Bruce's Kitchen.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Crema di Funghi (Mushroom Cream Sauce) via Arthur Schwartz, "Naples at Table"

My son and I had a terrific meal at Naples 45 in New York City this past Monday.

I had a wonderful wild mushroom sauce with pasta.

Inspired, I decided to make one myself. It was delicious!

Schwartz writes:

"I first encountered this rich and silken sauce at Cumpa Cosimo, Netta Bottone's restaurant in Ravello, but a puree of mushrooms like this has become fashionable in the region. Netta calls her sauce a "cream" sauce even though it has no dairy products, but I've eaten other versions that are, indeed, enriched with a little cream. In either case, it is elegantly smooth and appropriate for a fancy dinner party---or just when you want to pamper yourself with something smooth and lush.......Ditali is a good shape for this sauce......farfalle and gemelli....thin spaghetti would not be out of line, either.


1/4 cup ectra-virgin olive oil
3 large cloves garlic, lightly smashed
1 1/2 pounds white mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced (I used Baby Bella)
3/4 teaspoon salt
Optional: 2 tablespoons Marsala (I used it)
3/4 cup hot pasta cooking water
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Optional: 2--3 tablespoons heavy cream (I used it)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 heaping tablespoon finely cut parsley (I used a wee bit more)
1 pound pasta (I used fettuccine)


1. In a 10-inch skillet, combine the olive oil ad garlic over medium-low heat and, pressing the garlic into the oil a couple of time to release it flavor, cook until the garlic is soft and lightly golden on both sides. Remove and discard the garlic.

2. Increase the heat to medium and add the mushrooms. Cook, tossing almost constantly, until they give off their liquid. Add the salt and Marsala. Raise the heat to high and continue cooking, still mixing almost constantly, until all the liquid has evaporated. Measure out 3/4 cup of the mushrooms and set aside.

3. Place the remaining mushrooms in the jar of a blender. Have the grated cheese, the cream, the pepper, and the parsley ready at hand to finish the sauce.

4. Cook the pasta until al dente in plenty of salted water, and just before draining it, scoop out a cup of the pasta boiling water. Drain the pasta.

5. Pour 3/4 cup of the pasta water in the jar of the blender with the mushrooms and process the mushrooms into a smooth cream. Add the grated cheese. Process another couple of seconds to blend. If the sauce is too think, add a little more pasta cooking water. Finally, whirl in the cream and black pepper. Taste for salt.

6. Toss the pasta with the mushroom cream sauce and the parsley. Garnish each serving with the reserved sliced mushrooms.

7. Serve immediately in heated bowls with extra grated cheese.

Arthur Schwartz

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Fuyu Persimmon Salad

We have had this every night for the past four of five nights:

Last night as a side with salmon:

The night before with ravioli:


  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 Fuyu persimmons
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced tender celery stalks and leaves
  • 1 head radicchio, leaves torn into 2-inch wide ribbons
  • Chunk of Parmesan, for shaving


Make the vinaigrette: put diced shallot in a small bowl with a pinch of salt. Add lemon juice and sherry vinegar and leave to macerate for about 5 minutes. Stir in olive oil. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
With a sharp paring knife, remove and discard the leafy calyx at the top of each persimmon. Peel persimmons and cut in half vertically. Lay persimmons flat side down and cut into 1/2-inch wedges.
Put persimmon wedges and celery slices in a low, wide salad bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Whisk vinaigrette, then pour over persimmon and celery and toss to coat well. Add radicchio and toss lightly.
With a vegetable peeler, shave about 1 ounce of Parmesan in thin strips over salad.
4 to 6 servings 
~from The New York Times

Friday, November 9, 2012

Shrimp and Snow Pea Stir Fry

This is an adaption of a recipe from by Jamie Oliver. Serves 2.
This easy and fast shrimp snow pea recipe is very versatile. I served it over Pedon (Italian Five Grains--bought at Costco).


  • 1 T fresh Ginger, finely diced
  • 2 cloves Garlic, finely diced
  • 1 Jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • Peanut Oil
  • 3/4 lb. Lrg Shrimp, shelled & deveined (lightly salted with Sea Salt)
  • Large handful Snow Peas ( rinsed in water, cut tip of each and pull out the tough string that runs along its side, and cut each snow pea into 1-2 inch pieces)
  • 2 T Soy Sauce
  • juice 1/2 Lemon
  • 1/2 t Honey
  • 1 t Sesame Oil
  • Fresh Cilantro


  1. Heat a pan or wok over high heat. Swirl in some peanut oil and add garlic, ginger, and jalapeno. Saute for a minute or so, then add shrimp and cook for another couple minutes or until shrimp is almost cooked through.
  2. Add sugar snaps, soy sauce, lime juice, honey, and sesame oil.  Saute for a bit until everything is hot--a few minutes at most. Serve over Rice or Pedon. Garnish with chopped Cilantro.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Eggplant, Black Bean Vegetable Chili

Easy to make and so delicious!


1 med. eggplant, peeled & cut into 1/4-inch cubes (I used the last one from my garden!)
1 tbsp. coarse (kosher) salt
1/2 c. olive oil
1 med. yellow onion, chopped
1 celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 cubanelle pepper, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (or green/yellow)
1 jalapeno, minced
3 lg. cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
8 ripe plum tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes (or 1 can diced)
1-2 cups of  vegetable broth or chicken (I used homemade chicken stock)
1 c. chopped Italian parsley
1/2 c. chopped fresh basil leaves
3 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. ground cumin
1 tbsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp. turmeric
Salt to taste
2 c. cooked black beans (or 1 can, rinsed)
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/4 c. lemon juice
Sour cream (garnish)
Monterey Jack cheese, grated (garnish)
I put the first 9 ingredients into a large casserole and cooked for about 20 minutes over medium heat. I then added the tomatoes, broth and seasonings and cooked for another 30 minutes. And then I added the black beans, corn and lemon juice and cooked for another 20 minutes. 

~Based on a recipe from

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Brazilian Shrimp Soup

Made this for "Meatless Monday." YUM!!!

Coconut milk's rich flavor will keep you coming back for more of this substantial soup. A true Brazilian version would include slices of okra, but ours is already so satisfyingly thick that we left it out.


  1. 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  2. 1 onion, chopped
  3. 1 green bell pepper, chopped (I used a Cubanelle & Jalapeno from my garden.)
  4. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  5. 3/4 cup long-grain rice
  6. 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  7. 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  8. 1 3/4 cups canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree (from one 15-ounce can) (I used 3 Beefsteak Tomatoes from my garden, seeded and chopped, plus 2 tablespoons tomato puree.)
  9. 5 cups water (I used homemade chicken stock.)
  10. 1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
  11. 1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, shelled and cut in half horizontally
  12. 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  13. 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  14. 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro  

  1. In a large pot, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the rice, red-pepper flakes, salt, tomatoes, and water to the pot. Bring to a boil and cook until the rice is almost tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. Stir the coconut milk into the soup. Bring back to a simmer and then stir in the shrimp. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are just done, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the black pepper, lemon juice, and parsley.
Notes Variation Instead of the shrimp, use one pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about three), cut crosswise into quarter-inch strips. Cook for the same amount of time.

Suggested Pairing

The sweet elements here call for a somewhat assertive sweetness in the wine as well. A Vouvray demi-sec, from France's Loire Valley, ought to strike just the right balance.

~~Based on a recipe from Food & Wine

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Salmon with Banana--Orange Salsa

Grilled Sockeye Salmon, of course, with this perfect Salsa:

Banana-Orange Salsa

2 ripe bananas, diced
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
2 oranges, peeled, segmented and chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

Monday, September 3, 2012

Linguine with Shrimp, Arugula, and Cherry Tomatoes

This recipe comes to me this week from one of my oldest Internet friends (years known, not age).

Angella Gwinner.

Artist. Writer. Entrepreneur. A person of great love.


8-10 ounces fresh linguine
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic minced
red pepper flakes to taste (I used about 1 heaping teaspoon.)
3/4 pound shrimp (peeled and cleaned)
10-30 Cherry tomatoes
3 handfuls Arugula (I'll used more the next time.)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup pesto (I used my freezer pesto; 3 cubes.)


1. Cook linguine 3--5 minutes. Drain.
2. While linguine cooks, add oil, garlic and red pepper flakes to large frying pan and heat. Add shrimp and cook for about 5 minutes, turning. Add pesto, pasta and arugula and mix thoroughly. Add cherry tomatoes. And serve with Parmesan cheese.

Thank You, Angela. Please join her new project on Facebook.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Corn Salad with Blueberries and Basil

3 cups fresh corn kernels  (from about 6 ears of corn)*
1 medium red onion, peeled and finely chopped
1½ cups fresh blueberries
zest of 1 lime
¼ cup lime juice
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves

Steam the corn with ¼ cup water in a large saucepan over medium heat, covered, until bright yellow, about 4 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to cook the corn, stirring frequently, until the water evaporates, about 3 minutes longer.

Transfer the corn to a large bowl and cool slightly. Mix in the red onion, blueberries, lime zest, lime juice, and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover the bowl and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.

Remove the salad from the refrigerator and mix in the basil with a rubber spatula. Serve immediately.
*I steamed the corn on the cob and then cut the kernels off once cooked.

Recipe by Ashley Gartland.
I served this with Smashed Red Potatoes (cooked with leeks and garlic) and Grilled "Fried" Chicken. based on the recipe "Soul Patrol Buttermilk Fried Chicken" found in the book "Food Trucks" by Heather Shouse.

Friday, August 10, 2012


I was at a friends house this past Saturday and her daughter, Alexa, told me the silliest story.

I'll call it "The Story of the Half Pancake."

She told me about a time she was at a friend's house and the dad gave her a half pancake.

I never heard of a half pancake. Can you imagine instead of saying

"What kind of pancakes would like? Buttermilk? Banana? Apple? Blueberry? Strawberry?"

"Would you like a half pancake?"

I  have had a half of a hamburger or pizza. But meatball? Egg? Pancake?

Inspired, I made pancakes the next morning.


2 eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk (Or milk. If you have Kefir, add 1/4 cup.)
3 tablespoons butter, Melted
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (Or 1 cup plus 1/2 whole wheat)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt


Beat the eggs; add the remaining ingredients and beat until smooth. Add the bananas, apples, or blueberries. Mix in. Grease a heated griddle. Pour batter from a spoon or measuring cup. Turn pancakes when puffed and full of bubbles. Bake the other side until golden brown. Makes about 14 inch pancakes.

Serve whole with maple syrup!

~based on a recipe from "Country Innkeepers' Cookbook."

Friday, July 27, 2012

Grilled Chicken Breasts with Blueberry-Dijon Sauce





  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (about 6 ounces each)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter*
  • 1/2 cup blueberry preserves
  • 1/3 cup raspberry vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • Minced fresh basil or tarragon, optional   ****I used fresh basil...I wouldn't leave it out!!


  • Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Grill for 7 minutes per side or in a large skillet, cook chicken in butter* over medium heat for 6-8 minutes on each side or until a thermometer reads 170°. Remove and keep warm.
  • In sauce pan or the same skillet, combine the preserves, vinegar, blueberries and mustard, stirring to loosen browned bits from pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until thickened. Serve with chicken. Sprinkle with basil if desired. Yield: 4 servings.
Originally published as Blueberry-Dijon Chicken in Taste of Home June/July 2012, p54

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Fast & Easy Red Potato Salad

Combine  about 5 cooked and cut red potatoes with jalapeno peppers, celery, red onion, pickles, cilantro, apple cider vinegar & olive oil--and chocolate mint, if you have it!

Yum. I used 1/3 cup of vinegar which I poured over the hot potatoes and then added everything else.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Bruce's Garden Fresh Grilled Eggplant Parmigiana

Thank You God for this morning's bounty of eggplant from my garden.

Tonight I will be making Bruce's Garden-Fresh Grilled Eggplant Parmigiana which I plan to serve with a small pasta pesto salad and a green salad.


3 peeled eggplants, cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and cut into thin slices
1 red pepper, seeded and cut into thin slices
1 Vidalia onion, sliced
1/4 cup red wine
2-3 cups mozzarella cheese
1 cup Parmesan cheese
A handful of basil
1 tomato
Salt, Pepper, Olive oil


Saute jalapeno peppers, red pepper and Vidalia onion in oil till soft. Add wine and reduce.

Salt and pepper eggplant slices, brush with olive oil and grill (about 3-5 minutes per side):

Top with a bit of the pepper & onion mix:

Then top with a bit of mozzarella:

Add another layer of eggplant:

Top with a bit of pepper & onion mix and some fresh basil:

Add a third layer of eggplant:

Top with remaining pepper & onion mix:

And then add sliced tomato:

Add the mozzarella and Parmesan:

Cook (in the aluminum pan) on covered grill for 5--10 minutes and serve:


*The eggplants, peppers, tomato and basil all fresh from my garden.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Japanese Eggplant & Olive Sauce

Inspired by the Sicilian eggplant appetizer, Caponata---and what is growing in garden!


6 tablespoons olive oil
2 Japanese eggplant, trimmed, pared, sliced into small rounds*
1/2 chopped red onion
1 cubanelle pepper, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and choped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 large red tomato, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup chopped green olives
1 tablespoon rinsed and drained small capers
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
salt and pepper

1. Heat 4 tablespoons of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the eggplant. Saute stirring constantly, until eggplant is tender and browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.

2. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to skillet. Add onion, peppers and celery. Saute, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in eggplant, tomatoes, olives, capers, basil, parsley, vinegar, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer 5 minutes.

3. Toss with cooked hot ravioli (or any pasta) and serve at once.

*You could substitute one small eggplant.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Fast & Easy Corn & Black Bean Salad

Mix together the following:

1 can Goya Black Beans, drained & rinsed
1 stack celery, diced
1 small red onion, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded & diced
1 cubanelle pepper, seeded & diced
2 ears cooked corn, kernels cut off
1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
juice from one lime
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
salt & pepper

Chill. And serve.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Easy Bread & Butter Pickles

  • 1 pound Kirby cucumbers
  • 2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt
  • 3 large sprigs fresh dill
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice berries.


Trim ends from cucumbers and slice into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. In a colander set over a plate, toss them with salt. Refrigerate, uncovered, for 2 hours. Drain and transfer cucumbers and dill to a bowl.
In a small saucepan, combine sugar, vinegar, coriander, peppercorns and allspice. Bring to a boil and cook until sugar dissolves. Pour hot liquid over cucumbers and toss well. Let stand, tossing every 10 minutes, for 30 minutes. Transfer to an airtight jar and refrigerate for up to 1 week.
About 1 quart. 
~From The New York Times. July 4, 2012.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Red Potato Salad with Peas and Chocolate Mint

Ingredients (for two): 

3 or 4 red potatoes, quartered lengthwise and cut crosswise into 3/4" slices
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup of sour cream
1/4 cup of fresh chopped chocolate mint
1 cup thawed frozen peas

1. Steam the red potatoes, covered, for about 10 minutes or until they are just tender.
2. Transfer red potatoes to a bowl, and toss them with the vinegar, and salt to taste.
3. Let the potatoes cool, and chill them, covered for about 1 hour or until they are cold.
4. Remove potatoes from refrigerator, in another bowl combine mayo and sour cream with the mint.
5. Pour the prepared salad dressing from Step 4 over the potatoes, add the peas, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss the potato salad.
6. Serve the salad at room temperature.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Curried Rice Salad with Melon and Raisons

2 cups long-grain rice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
3 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup golden raisins
1 cantaloupe, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup Major Grey's chutney
1/3 cup unsalted roasted peanuts


In a large saucepan bring 4 quarts water to a boil, stir in the rice and the salt, stirring until the water returns to a boil, and boil the rice for 10 minutes. Drain the rice in a large sieve and rinse it. Set the sieve over a large saucepan of simmering water and steam the rice, covered with a folded kitchen towel and the lid, for 15 minutes, or until it is fluffy and dry. Transfer the rice to a very large bowl and let it cool to lukewarm.
 In a small bowl whisk together 1 1/2 teaspoons of the curry powder, the vinegar, the oil, and salt to taste, add the vinaigrette to the rice, and toss the mixture well. Stir in the raisins and the cantaloupe. In a blender blend the yogurt, the chutney, and the remaining 1 teaspoon curry powder until the dressing is smooth, pour the dressing over the rice mixture, and toss the salad well. Chill the salad, covered, for 1 hour. The salad may be made 2 days in advance and kept covered and chilled. Serve the salad sprinkled with the peanuts.
Gourmet, June 1992
Gourmet's Weekend's, 1995

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Southern Living Grilled Boneless Chicken Breasts with Caribbean Spice Rub

Simple. Fast. Delicious.

From Southern Living:

I grilled the chicken breasts for about 7 minutes per side. Served with greens from my garden and homemade apple sauce.

Rub Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons ground allspice
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Spicy Red Salsa

~Based on a recipe from one of my favorite cookbook authors, Diane Rossen Worthington. The salsa was made fresh Father's Day morning by my son, Daryl, in "Bruce's Kitchen."

"This spicy salsa is wonderful to have around for use as a condiment. The hotness may be controlled by the number of chiles included. For a spicier salsa, increase the amount of chiles to 2 tablespoons. Cilantro gives this salsa a delightful contrast in color and taste."


  • 4 large fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped (I did not peel them.)
  • 1 tablespoon seeded, finely chopped fresh jalapeno chiles
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small Vidalia onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 large celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 medium clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt


Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well. Taste for seasoning. Cover and refrigerate.

May be kept up to 3 days in refrigerator. Remove from refrigerator ½ hour before serving.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Linquine Baked in Paper

Simple to prepare. Stunning presentation. Scrumptious!

"The paper packages keep in all the lovely juices and the flavor of the herbs, wine, tomatoes, and garlic, which infuse the pasta during baking. There's no need to removed the paper after cooking, as it add to the stylish presentation."

~From New Vegetarian Kitchen, which I highly recommend to you.


13 1/2 ounces linguine (I used fresh linguine.)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 long red chili, seeded and finely chopped (I used a jalapeno.)
1 cup dry white wine
1 pound cherry tomatoes
3 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese shavings, to serve
*(Be creative and add other vegetables. I added a large handful of chopped asparagus.)


1. Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling water. Drain. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the cooking water.
2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a skillet and fry the garlic and chili 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Add the wine and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat slightly and cook 3 to 5 minutes until the wine reduces by about one-third and the alcohol evaporates.
3. Preheat the oven to 350. Add the tomatoes and capers (and other veggies, i.e. the asparagus) to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes or until slightly soft. Add the pasta, reserved cooking water, and parsley. Remove the pan from the heat and stir until the pasta is coated in the sauce.
4. Put a large sheet of parchment paper in each of four bowls and divide the pasta into them. Gather up the edges of the paper and tie with kitchen string. Put the packages of the paper on a baking sheet and bake 15 minutes. To serve, return the packages to the bowls and open carefully. Sprinkle with Parmesan, season with salt fresh black pepper, and serve.

I served this with  a salad, no-knead bread (dill and scallion) and red wine.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012


My son came home for the summer from graduate school at The University of Texas in Austin a few days ago.

Last night he came over for dinner. I made Picadillo and Susan made Sage Corn Muffins.

From Food & Wine One Dish Meals:

"Our version of this Cuban classic mixes ground beef with a highly seasoned tomato sauce, fried potatoes, raisins, and green olives. Picadillo, which should be only slightly saucy, often fills empanadas or soft tacos. We like it with corn bread or warm flour tortillas."

  1. 1 1/4 pounds ground beef*
  2. 1 large onion, chopped
  3. 1 green bell pepper, chopped (I used an orange pepper.)
  4. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  5. 1/2 cup beer
  6. 1 1/3 cups drained canned chopped tomatoes (one 15-ounce can)
  7. 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  8. 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  9. 1 1/4 teaspoons ground coriander
  10. 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  11. 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  12. 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (I added a bit more.)
  13. 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  14. 1 pound baking potatoes (about 2), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces*
  15. 1/2 cup raisins
  16. 1/2 cup quartered and pitted green olives 

  1. In a large stainless-steel frying pan, cook the ground beef until it is no longer pink. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to soften, about 3 minutes.
  2. Stir in the beer, tomatoes, tomato paste, cumin, coriander, salt, black pepper, and Tabasco sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick frying pan,heat the oil over moderately high heat. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. (See note*)
  4. Add the potatoes, raisins, and olives to the meat mixture. Cook, covered, until the potatoes are just done, about 10 minutes longer.
Suggested Pairing:
Northern Rhône reds need robust culinary foils, and this sturdy picadillo is up to the task. Look for a St-Joseph or Crozes-Hermitage—or, if you want to splurge, a Hermitage or Côte Rôtie. If you don't, a beer will be just fine.

*I added one hot sausage, broken into small pieces, to the ground meat. And I par-boiled the potatoes and then roasted with olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper, red pepper flakes for about one hour in a 400 degree oven; I then cut into small pieces and added to mixture.

 Recipe found in Great Good Food, by Julee Rosso.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Sweet & Spicy Salmon

A favorite recipe from a favorite cookbook!


1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 medium shallots, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
1 pound Sockeye Salmon

1. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute until softened.
2. Add the remaining ingredients except the cilantro until well combined. Remove from heat and add cilantro.
3. Prepare grill.
4. Baste salmon liberally with the sauce on both sides. Baste frequently. Grill for 10-15 minutes.

Recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, The Taste of Summer by Diane Rossen Worthington.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Turkish Lentil Soup

Another great recipe.......

~From One World Vegetarian Cookbook; a great cookbook! Great recipes. Great photos. All printed a beautiful paper stock.

Rich. Filling. Inexpensive. Easy to make.


1 onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 cups red lentils
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
3 cups water
1 bouillon/stock cube
salt and pepper


1. Cook the onion in a little oil in a large pan/pot until soft but not brown.
2. Add the garlic, lentils, tomato paste, cumin and chili. Stir to mix.
3. Dissolve the bouillon in water and add this to the pan. Stir well. (I used 3 1/2 cups of my own stock)
4. Simmer the soup until the lentils are fluffy.

Top with cilantro.

Serves 4.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Latin Lasagna

I saw this Lasagna being made on the Cooking Channel last weekend. I got so excited I ran from the TV room to the Office where Susan was working on the computer to say "I just saw the most amazing dish on Cooking. I got to make it!"

And I did. On Sunday March 4, 2012. Kind of a early birthday celebration with Susan, my daughter and her husband--and their dog, Bella. (My birthday is March 7.)

Here I am getting started (Notice Sock Monkey the Chef in the background; He just refused to face the camera!):


  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (I used homemade.)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups shredded pepper-jack cheese, divided
  • 6 ounces raw Mexican chorizo, casing removed removed, chopped
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 to 6 ripe black-skinned plantains, peeled, halved horizontally and thinly sliced lengthwise
  • Paprika to taste
  • Chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for serving
Here I am whisking the Pepper-Jack White Sauce (I heard Susan in the other room say, "Sounds like you are taking alot of self-portraits!"):


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 13 by 9-inchkaing dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Stir in the flour and cumin and cook for 1 minute to remove the raw starchy taste of the flour. Gradually add the broth, stirring to prevent lumps. Once all of the broth is added, stir in the milk. Continue to stir constantly until the sauce thickens, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Add half of the grated cheese and stir the sauce until the cheese has melted. Turn off the heat and transfer the sauce to a bowl. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the sauce to prevent a skin from forming.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the chorizo. Cook and stir until it starts to brown, about 4 minutes, using a wooden spoon to break up any large pieces while it cooks. Add the turkey and continue to cook until both meats are browned 8 to 10 minutes. Drain out excess oil from the pan, if needed. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, oregano; season with salt and pepper.

Line the bottom of the prepared baking dish with 1 layer of plantains (about 1/3 of the plantain slices), making sure that they don't overlap. Top the plantains with half of the meat mixture, spreading it out into an even layer so it covers the plantains. Top with half of the cheese sauce, spreading evenly with a spatula. Add another single layer of plantain slices side by side and cover with the remaining meat mixture and the remaining sauce. Add the final layer of plantains and sprinkle with the remaining cheese and a dusting of paprika over the top. Bake until the sauce is bubbly, about 45 to 60 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Here is a photo of the Latin Lasagna cooling on our kitchen counter:

 And about 10 minutes later, we're about to eat, but first I have to take one more photograph!

 "Good God. Good Food. Good Gosh. Let's eat!"

Each of us (Except Bella!) had seconds. I highly recommend making this Latin Lasagna. We served it with a fruit salad, which Susan made:

~Recipe courtesy of Ingrid Hoffman.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Black Beans and Butternut Casserole

I do not think our home ever smelled as wonderful as it did the night I made this meal.


2 onions, chopped
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp paprika (I used smoked paprika)
pinch of nutmeg
1/2 tsp thyme
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 pound butternut, cut into bite-sized chunks (or pumpkin)
1 red, green, or orange pepper, chopped
3 tomatoes chopped
2 carrots, sliced
1 can black beans, drained (or black-eyed)


1. In a lightly oiled pan, fry the onions until they soften, and then add the cinnamon, curry powder, paprika, nutmeg, thyme and garlic and fry for about 5 minutes.

2. Then put in the remaining ingredients, except the beans. Pour in about one cup stock, cover, bring to a boil and then reduce heat and cook gently until the butternut and carrots are soft, but not breaking up.

3. Add the beans, season and allow to heat through, uncovered. Serve with rice, couscous, or quinoa.

~Serves 4. From South Africa.
~From One World Vegetarian Cookbook; a great cookbook! Great recipes. Great photos. All printed a beautiful paper stock.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Mustard-Roasted Salmon with Lingonberry Sauce

Another great Salmon dinner. I used Shetland Salmon from Scotland.


  • 1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Maille Whole Grain Mustard
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, divided
  • 2 6-ounce salmon fillets
  • 2 tablespoons chopped shallots
  • 2 tablespoons lingonberry preserves
  • 2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar


Preheat oven to 450°F. Stir 2 tablespoons mustard and 1 tablespoon melted butter in small dish. Oil small rimmed baking sheet and place salmon on sheet, skin side down. Sprinkle salmon with salt. Spread top of salmon with mustard mixture and season generously with pepper. Bake until salmon is cooked through and mustard browns, about 10 minutes. 

Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 tablespoon butter in heavy small skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté 2 minutes. Add preserves and vinegar; stir until preserves melt and mixture is smooth. Bring to simmer. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. 

Spoon sauce over fish and serve.

~Based on a Bon Appetit recipe, March 2004

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Ewa -- bean stew

Easy to prepare. And simply delicious.

From One World Vegetarian Cookbook; a great cookbook! Great recipes. Great photos. All printed a beautiful paper stock.

"A Nigerian dish like this would one cooked all in one pot, using dried, soaked beans -- but you may prefer to use canned beans to shorten the cooking process. You can experiment with different herbs and flavorings."


1 onion, sliced
1 can beans, such as black-eyes beans, drained
4 tomatoes, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped finely (I used an orange pepper.)
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp chili powder (I used 1 tsp.)
1-inch fresh ginger, chopped
1 tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp lime juice
salt and pepper


1. First cook the onions in oil until they are golden.
2. Add the beans, tomatoes, bell pepper, tomato paste, chili powder, ginger, cilantro and seasoning. Stir well.
3. Bring the post to boil and then reduce the heat and let it simmer 15--20 minutes until the flavors have combined. Add lime juice and stir. Serve with rice, sweetcorn or bread.

I served it over couscous.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Creamy Watercress & Artichoke Soup


From Dr. Perricone:

"Superstar detoxifiers Artichoke, Watercress and lemon juice are combined to make this a savory and slimming soup. Serve this with some Wild Alaskan Salmon the night before an event to banish fluid retention and get glowing skin."

  • Two 14-ounce cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup rice
  • One 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, to taste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 4 cups packed (2 bunches or bags) B&W watercress (a few sprigs reserved for garnish, the remainder cut into 2-inch pieces)
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  1. Combine the broth and rice in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the rice is very tender, about 15 minutes.
  2. Place the artichoke hearts, eggs, and lemon juice in a blender and puree. With the machine running, ladle about half of the rice mixture through the opening in the cover, and puree until smooth. (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids.) Return the pureed mixture to the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, until an instant-read thermometer registers 160F, reducing the heat as necessary to prevent the soup from boiling.
  3. Stir in the dill, watercress and pepper. Garnish with the reserved sprigs of watercress.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Our Valentine's Day Dinner

Pineapple and Soy Glazed Salmon
Avocado and Strawberries with Honey Vinaigrette
Spinach with Sesame Dressing (Aona No Goma-Ae)
White Coconut Cake



  • 1 1/4 cup(s) pineapple juice
  • 2 tablespoon(s) low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup(s) dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon(s) light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon(s) miso
  • 4  (6-ounce) skinless salmon fillets (I used Shetland Salmon from Scotland)
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) fresh-ground black pepper

  • Directions

  • Marinate the salmon: In a medium saucepan over high heat, cook the pineapple juice, soy sauce, and sherry for 20 minutes. Stir in the brown sugar and cook for 5 more minutes. Using a whisk, stir in miso. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool. Season the salmon fillets with the pepper and place them in a shallow baking dish. Pour the pineapple glaze over the salmon fillets, turning to coat each side, and chill for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Roast the fillets: Place the salmon on the top shelf of the oven and cook until the flesh turns opaque -- about 7 minutes. Change the oven temperature setting to broil and cook until the glaze begins to brown -- 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately. I served it on a sheet of Nori.

  • Ingredients
    • 2 1/2 tablespoon(s) lemon juice
    • 3 tablespoon(s) honey
    • 3 tablespoon(s) olive oil
    • 1/8  sea salt
    •  teaspoon(s) ground black pepper
    • 2  avocados , peeled, pitted and cut into wedges
    • 8 ounce(s) strawberries, halved
    1. Whisk the lemon juice, honey, olive oil, salt, and pepper together.
    2. Arrange the avocados and strawberries on 6 salad plates.
    3. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the fruit salad. Serve immediately.


    • 3 tablespoons shortening
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/3 teaspoon vanilla
    • 3/4 cup flour
    • a few grains salt
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/4 cup milk
    • 1 egg white
    • 1 & 1/2 tablespoons shredded coconut

    1. Cream the shortening with the sugar and vanilla.
    2. Sift together the dry ingredients and beat in alternately with the milk.
    3. Fold in egg white, whipped stiff.
    4. Transfer to a small oiled loaf pan or a 9-inch layer cake pan. Sprinkle the coconut over the top.
    5. Bake in a moderate oven (350--375 degrees) about 30 minutes.
    ~From "Table for Two" by Ida Bailey Allen (Garden City Publishing Co. Inc., 1947)

    Susan made the cake. I made the other dishes. It was all delicious!!!