Thursday, December 25, 2008


The Christmas Eve Dinner Tradition in my family
is homemade manicotti from scratch including the shell.
Before the holidays my husband and I had several
practice runs of manicotti, all of which, I think turned out
good but yet I still was not totally satisfied.
As I was preparing the grocery list for the "big" shop
before the holidays I decided on a little twist for the
manicotti that I just knew would make it GREAT!
For the Meat Manicotti I used chicken, feta sausage
and sundried tomatoes as the base instead of the normal
meatball mixture.
For the cheese I used a three cheese mixuture: parmesean,
ricotta and mozarella but the secret ingredient was goat
In my opinion, this batch of manicotti was the best one!
The cheese ones were so creamy and delicious and the
meat was a little spicy and full of great flavors.
Dinner was great but laughing around the table with my family
was even better!!!
Making Manicotti
The Shell - made one at a time.
The mixture is placed toward the end and then you roll.

A full pan - yum!

The table was set awaiting the family's arrival.

My sister came up with a great idea. Instead of using
the regular place holders we put an object near each
seat representing that person. In the photo above
you can see the small pair of binoculars for my husband
who loves birdwatching. I loved it because it added such
a personal touch to the table.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
to you and your family!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Gingerbread Man Cookies

Run, run, as fast as you can,
You can't catch me,
I'm the gingerbread man
I'm the gingerbread man
and I'm out of the pan!
Gingerbread Man Cookies


3 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter (room temperature)
1/2 cup dark-brown sugar, packed
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
** I did not have molasses so I substituted honey**
Sift together flour, baking soda, and spices. Set aside.
Cream the butter. Add sugar and beat until fluffy.
Mix in eggs and molasses.
Gradually add the flour mixture; combine on low speed.
Divide dough in half and wrap each half in plastic.
Chill for at least 1 hour or overnight.
Before rolling out, let sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes
If at any point the dough becomes sticky add a little flour to the rolling pin.
Heat oven to 350°.
Place a dough on a piece of lightly floured parchment paper or wax paper.
Using a rolling pin, roll dough 1/8 inch thick.
Use either a cookie cutter or place a stencil over the dough and use a knife to cut into desired shapes.

Transfer to ungreased baking sheets.
Bake until crisp but not darkened, 8 to 10 minutes.
Remove from oven.
Let sit a few minutes and then
to transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.
Decorate as desired.

I think they turned out great!
I used a lemon frosting to
balance the gingerbread flavor.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Risotto is a traditional Italian rice dish.
It is rich, creamy and full of flavor.
I don't make it often because it seems like so much work.
Recently, I was inspired by the many
different types of risotto on a menu
at a local restuarant.
I decided to give it a try.

Mushroom Risotto

2 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
4 1/2 cups chicken stock, plus more as needed
1 cup water
8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 yellow onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups Carnaroli rice
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the mushrooms,
1 cup of the stock and the water. Bring to a simmer, then remove from the heat. Let soak for 30 minutes to soften. Drain the mushrooms, reserving the soaking liquid and discarding any sediment that falls to the bottom of the pan. Chop the mushrooms and set aside. In a saucepan over high heat, combine the mushroom soaking liquid and enough stock to total 5 cups. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and keep the liquid hot. Set an electric pressure cooker to brown according to the manufacturers instructions and melt 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) of the butter. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir until each grain is well coated with butter and nearly translucent with a white dot in the center, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the wine and stir until it is completely absorbed. Add the stock mixture, cover and cook on high for about 10- 12 minutes.
This is not the finished product - forgive me but we forgot to take the photo
before sitting down and eating the risotto.
And let me tell you - it was very good!

Spritz Cookies - Cookie Press

When you were little do you remember eating cookies
that were these shapes: flowers, tree, stars?
Both my husband and I can recall these cookies.
Our moms made them around the holidays.
I don't remeber them being full of flavor but they
always manage to disappear.
I saw a cookie press at Linens and Things
the other day - on sale- and I had to buy it.
I spent a little time online looking up recipes for cookie
press cookies. Most people use the " Spritz" cookie
recipe. I am open to other recipes but I imagine
that the recipes for this little machine can't be too
complicated because the dough has to be able to press
through the different shapes.

For this first time using the press I made little flowers.
I put a butterscotch or chocolate chip in the center of each cookie.
Ahhh, Just like I remember.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Spiced Chicken Thighs

I received a sample of Cuisine at Home the other day.
As I glanced through the magazine this recipe sounded very
interesting to me especially the combination of spices.

It takes some time to make the dish because of all
the steps but I think it is very good.

Spiced Chicken Thighs in Chicken Broth
by Cuisine at Home

Combine and Saute
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pinch salt
4 chicken thighs

Add and Saute
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cinnamon stick

Deglaze with
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon tomato paste

Add and simmer
1 cup tomato, chopped
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup canned chick-peas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup kalamata olive, pitted and halved
1 tablespoon honey
1 lemon cut into wedges
1 bay leaf
sauteed chicken thigh

1. Combine spices and salt in a dish, then rub over chicken thighs; let stand about 5 minutes.
2. Heat oil in a skillet over medium; add chicken, skin side down, and saute until browned on both sides, 10 minutes total. Remove chicken.
3. Add onion and saute 3 minutes.
4. Stir in ginger, garlic, pepper flakes and cinnamon stick; cook just until fragrant, about 1 minute.
5. Deglaze with wine and tomato paste, stirring to combine. Simmer until liquid evaporates.
6. Add tomatoes, broth, chickpeas, olives, honey, lemon and bay leaf; stir to combine.
7. Arrange reserved chicken on top cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until chicken is cooked through and sauce is reduced, 20-25 minutes.
8. Finish with parsley and salt just before serving.

Very Good!

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Everything Cookie

Guess what time it is?
Cookie Time

The countdown until the Christmas Holidays has begun
and so has the great cookie baking!
For my first cookie of the season we have -

The Everything Cookie.

There are many different variations to this cookie
so don't be afraid to use what you have in the pantry.

1 cup granola
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup chopped nut of your choice
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a large bowl, toss in granola, raisins, rolled oats, chocolate chips,
peanut butter chips and walnuts; set aside.

In a small bowl, sift flour, baking soda, baking powder,
salt and whisk together.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the granulated
and dark brown sugar. Add a few pieces of butter at
a time and beat until smooth and creamy.
Add vanilla and beat in the eggs, one at time.
Mix in flour mixture until just combined.

Add the granola, raisins and chips and mix well together by hand.
Working with a generous 2 tablespoons of dough each time,
roll the dough into 2-inch balls.

Place the balls onto baking sheets, spacing them at least 2 inches apart.
Bake until the cookie edges turn golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes.

Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 2 -3 minutes .Remove and let cool.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies

MMM, Good!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Corn, Sweet Potato and Ham Chowder

Another wonderful and absolutely gorgeous dish
from Williams -Sonoma's recipes.

Corn with Sweet Potato and Ham Chowder

5 ears of corn, husks and silk removed
3 Tbs. unsalted butter
1/2 cup diced firm, baked smoked ham
2 1/2 cups finely chopped yellow onion
2 red bell peppers, seeded and diced
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 large sweet potato, about 1 lb., peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp. hot-pepper sauce, such as Tabasco
* I added two small jalapeno peppers
* I also roasted all the peppers before dicing them.

Holding 1 of the ears of corn by its pointed end and steadying
its stalk end on a cutting board, cut down along the ear
with a sharp knife to strip off the kernels,
turning the ear with each cut.
Repeat with 2 of the ears of corn.
Put the kernels in a bowl and set aside.
Score the kernels on the remaining 2 ears of corn
by running the tip of a sharp knife
down the length of the ear.
Place each ear in a bowl and, using the back of a knife,
scrape down the length of the ear
to squeeze out the pulp from the scored kernels.
Set the pulp aside.
In a soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter.
Add the ham and cook, stirring once or twice,
until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl.
Add the onion and bell peppers to the pot,
cover and cook, stirring once or twice,
until tender, about 10 minutes.
Add the broth, sweet potato and the 1 tsp. salt.
Reduce the heat to low, partially cover
and simmer for 10 minutes.
Stir in the ham and corn kernels.
Cover and cook until the potato
is just tender, about 10 minutes.
Stir in the corn pulp, cream and hot-pepper sauce.
Cook just until heated through, 3 to 4 minutes.
Taste and adjust the seasonings.

This was a fantastic soup.
It is packed full of wonderful flavors.
We found that the flavors
intensified over time so
it was even better the second day!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Boy's Night In

Boy's Night In

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Big Apple Pancake

Yipee, Sunday morning breakfast
prepared just for me!
My husband made The Big Apple Pancake
by Gale Gand.
It was wonderful!
The apples were sweet and the
topping was baked to perfection.
What a great way to start the day!

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large apples, peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
3 eggs
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
Pinch salt
1/2 cup whole, 2 percent fat, or 1 percent fat milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 lemon wedges
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. In a large ovenproof skillet (preferably with curved sides), melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the apple slices and cook, stirring, until tender, about 10 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar and stir to combine.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, salt, milk, and flour. Pour this batter over the apples in the skillet, transfer to the oven, and bake until puffy, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the cinnamon and remaining 2 tablespoons brown sugar. Cut the remaining tablespoon of butter into pieces. When the pancake puffs, remove from the oven, dot with butter, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, and return to the oven to bake until browned, about 10 minutes more. As the pancake comes out of the oven, squeeze the lemon wedges over the top. Serve in wedges right out of the pan.


Scallops Gratin

The other day I caught the show
"The Perfect Dinner Party" by
the Barefoot Contessa.
I was intrigued when I heard her say
that she cooks simple things for her
dinner parties so that she does not
have to spend time in the kitchen
while her company is at her house.
That is great! I love the idea
of preparing ahead so that you
can enjoy time with company.
So I gave Barefoot Contessa's
Bay Scallop Gratin a test run
to see how easy it would be
to make for a dinner party.

Bay Scallop Gratin
by the Barefoot Contessa

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 large garlic cloves, minced
2 medium shallots, minced
2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto di Parma, minced
4 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, plus extra for garnish
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons Pernod
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons good olive oil
1/2 cup panko
6 tablespoons dry white wine
2 pound fresh bay scallops
Lemon, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Place 6 (6-inch round) gratin dishes on a sheet pan.
To make the topping, place the butter in the bowl
of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment
(you can also use a hand mixer).
With the mixer on low speed, add the garlic, shallot,
prosciutto, parsley, lemon juice, Pernod,
salt, and pepper and mix until combined.
With the mixer still on low, add the olive oil
slowly as though making mayonnaise, until combined.
Fold the panko in with a rubber spatula and set aside.
Preheat the broiler, if it's separate from your oven.

Place 1 tablespoon of the wine in
the bottom of each gratin dish.
With a small sharp knife, remove the white muscle
and membrane from the side of each scallop and discard.
Pat the scallops dry with paper towels and distribute
them among the 3 dishes.
Spoon the garlic butter evenly
over the top of the scallops.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the topping
is golden and sizzling and the scallops
are barely done. If you want the top crustier,
place the dishes under the broiler for 2 minutes,
until browned. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon
juice and a sprinkling of chopped parsley
and serve immediately with crusty French bread.

Here are the steps in pictures:


and I have to admit pretty easy to make!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Chicken Stew in White Wine

Fall is here!
I love so many things about the Fall.
The leaves changing colors, the
weather cooling to 60 - 70 degrees
and the Fall flavors of sweet potatoes,
soups, squash and so many other great

This wonderful meal is from Williams Sonoma.
Chicken Stew in White Wine

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 chicken, 3 to 4 lb., cut into 8 serving pieces
3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
3 bacon slices, chopped
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
8 oz. white button mushrooms, quartered
1 lb. red-skinned potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 garlic cloves, crushed
4 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
3 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups white wine

In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and pepper.

Add the chicken and toss to coat evenly.

In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat,

warm half of the olive oil until just smoking.

Add half of the chicken and brown

on all sides, 3 to 4 minutes total.

Transfer to a slow cooker.

Repeat with the remaining oil and chicken.

Add the bacon, onion, mushrooms, potatoes, garlic,

parsley, thyme, bay leaf and stock to the slow cooker

and stir to combine. Remove the sauté pan from the heat,

pour the wine into the pan and return

to medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer,

stirring to scrape up any

browned bits from the pan bottom.

Add the wine to the slow cooker, cover and cook

on high for 5 hours according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Remove the bay leaf before serving.

Spoon the stew into bowls and serve immediately.

** I made a few changes to this recipe. First, I don't have a
pressure cooker so I used a covered casserole dish.
I added carrots to the dish because I like the
sweetness that they add to stew.

This is an excellent dish!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Baked Apples

Tis the season to bake with apples..... falalla la la la
apple dumplings, apple crisp, apple crumble,
apple strudel, apple sauce......
the list goes on and on of tasty apple treats!
This recipe is for stuffed, baked apples:
4 large baking apples
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
1/4 cup raisins
1 Tbsp butter
3/4 cup boiling water
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Remove seeds and core
to 1/2 inch of the bottom of the apples.
Mix the sugar, cinnamon, raisins and nuts.
Place apples in a 8-inch-by-8-inch square baking pan.
Stuff each apple with this mixture.
Top with a dot of butter (1/4 of the Tbps).
Add boiling water to the baking pan.
Bake 25 minutes / until tender

After baking the apple for about 20 - 25 minutes it becomes
so tender it melts in your mouth.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Pasta Gorgonzola

I know, I know I haven't been blogging lately!
I have been busy: working, looking for gasoline
for my car, hanging out with friends, going out
to eat, attending football games, traveling to
see a baby be christened and napping!
But tonight I have a moment so........
There is a local restaurants that serves
a pasta dish called Chicken Gorgonzola.
I 've tried to create this dish a few times
now but haven't been able to get it exactly
Here is the latest version of the dish
minus the chicken but plus a few healthy
vegetables. But of course keeping the best
part of the dish - gorgonzola cheese!
Pasta Gorgonzola
4 ounces uncooked fusilli
1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup of half-and-half
4-6 tablespoons Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
salt and pepper to taste

kale, chopped and precooked
chopped, cherry tomato
Grated parmesan for the top

This was a great dish.

The sauce is a little heavy but the

veggies add a light touch.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Salmon Cakes

My husband recently went fly fishing

in Michigan. He was able to bring

back some fresh Salmon from his trip

which we have enjoyed the past few weeks.

This week I made Salmon Cakes
2 cups cooked salmon, flaked
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup diced celery
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1tsp. dried dill
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. oil
Lemon Aioli:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp. heavy cream
zest and juice of one lemon
1 tbsp. prpared horseradish
1 tsp. chopped garlic
1 tsp. dried thyme

These Salmon Cakes are very good!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sunday Breakfast

We enjoyed a quiet Sunday morning today.
My husband made a wonderful breakfast.
French Toast with cut strawberries, bacon,
juice and coffee.
It is such a nice day that we were able to
work and read with the windows open
to feel the nice breeze.
Ahhh - Relaxation - just what I need.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

A lot of Guacamole

My brother and a friend came to visit a few weeks ago.
We had a great time hanging out, catching up, playing
Guitar Hero on the Wii, going out to eat and having a
Guacamole Competition!

The Guacamole Competition was that we could use any
ingredients we wanted and we could create two
batches of guacamole to submit to the judges (who were
my husband and my brother's friend - that is fair - right?)

My idea was to create one creamy batch and one spicy
batch of guacamole.

For the Creamy Guacamole I used:
kosher salt
white onion
fresh lime juice
a little bit of cream cheese
chopped tomato added at the very end

For the Spicy Guacamole
kosher salt
white onion
yellow pepper, chopped
red pepper
fresh lime juice

Kev's Guacamole
#1 Fresh and Chunky
kosher salt
white onion
lime juice
*Saved some diced avacado
to add in at the end.

Kev's #2 was similar to number
#1 but I believe his secret ingredient
that was added was a little tabasco
sauce to spice it up a bit.

I don't have any fancy pictures of the guacamole.
I think we were all so hungry once we were done
making the four different kinds that we just put
some chips in a bowl and started eating.
The judges voted for MY spicy one as #1 and
Kev's Fresh and Chuncky as #2.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Lima Bean Dip

So my dear friend C from Mele Cotte is hosting

I know that I have tucked some things in to my
freezer never to be found again but for this
challenge I was willing to dig deep and take a
look at what has been in the freezer for awhile
that I can use to make something yummy.
I found several items that I had frozen
intending to make particular recipes like
bananas, ricotta cheese, and some veggies
but what I came across that I decided to use
are a container of sesame seeds.
I am using a recipe from Cooking Light
with a few substitutions .
Lima Bean Dip
1 pound frozen baby lima beans
3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 garlic clove
Cook the beans in water about 10 minutes
unitl they are very tender.
Drain, reserving a 1/2 cup of the cooking
liquid from the pan.
Toast sesame seeds, the place them in
a blender and process until finely ground.
Add juice and remaining ingredients,
process until blended.
Then add beans and reserved water.
Process this mixture until smooth.
** I added freshly grated parmesan cheese,
ground black pepper and a hint of red pepper.
Serve with vegetables, chips or peta.
Here are the steps:

And there you have it Lima Bean Dip!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Pasta with Cauliflower and Capers

I recently shared with you that I really
enjoy the recipes on the Williams - Sonoma
website. I find that the recipes call for
practical ingredients and turn out very good.
Here is one that I have made twice already
because I think it is very unique and delicious!
Pasta with Cauliflower and Capers
1/2 lb. penne pasta
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 tsp. chili flakes, or to taste
1 head cauliflower, about 3/4 lb., cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Tbs. capers, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.
Add the pasta and cook according to the package
instructions until al dente (tender but firm to the bite).
Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.
Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan over medium heat,
melt the butter until it is just starting to brown.
Add the olive oil, then the onion and garlic.
Cook until the onion is beginning to caramelize,
about 7 minutes. Add the chili flakes and cauliflower
and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
Add 3/4 cup of the reserved cooking water and
cook until the cauliflower is tender, 5 to 7 minutes more,
adding more cooking water if needed.
Add the pasta to the sauté pan and stir in the
capers, cheese, parsley and lemon juice.
Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately

This wonderful dish is being entered in Ruth's Presto Pasta Nights
event which is being hosted by Abby at Eat the Right Stuff.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Caramelized Onion and Potato Quiche

About once every two months my husband and I
get to the end of the week and look in the
refrigerator and think ~ Well, we should go
grocery shopping but .... we still have some food.
And what I mean by some is odds and ends but
not really anything to make great dinners.
Even though we know it might be difficult we don't
shop that week and we call it "inventory reduction"
~ which means there needs to be some creativity
with the odds and ends that are available.
I found some onions, that is a good start.
I have eggs and milk.
And when I looked in the bottom drawer of
the refrigerator I found a few potatoes.
That sounds like Quiche to me!
Caramelized Onion and Potato Quiche
6 tablespoons butter
2 medium onions,
6 medium eggs
1/2 cup milk
3 yellow potatoes
cheese, your choice
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp oregano
1 pie crust

Saute onions in butter on medium-to-low heat
until caramelized (about 30 minutes).
Add potatoes to pan.
Cook and stir until potatoes are tender.
Set aside.
Whisk together eggs, milk, salt, pepper
and oregano until creamy.
Stir in cheese and then the onion/potato mixture.
Pour into pie crust
Bake on cookie sheet for about 30- 40 minutes at 375
Let stand for about 5 minutes before serving.

I really enjoyed this dinner.

The photo shows what happens when you are

so hungry you don't let the quiche cool ~ oops.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Leeks with Dijon Vinaigrette

Let me introduce you to my friend the "leek" .

Leeks with Dijon Vinaigrette

6 medium leeks
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon water
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional for salting water
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 to 2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves,

Make the vinaigrette while the leeks cook.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat, then salt it generously.

Trim the root end of the leeks,
leaving enough to hold the leaves together,
and halves lengthwise.

Rinse very well under running water
to flush out any grit trapped between the leaves.
Add the leeks to the boiling water
and cook until tender, 7 to 10 minutes.
Drain and pat dry and lay them on a serving platter.

Meanwhile, whisk the vinegar, mustard, water,
and the 3/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl.
Gradually whisk in the olive oil,
starting with a few drops and then adding
rest in a steady stream to make a smooth,
slightly thick dressing.
Drizzle the vinaigrette evenly over leeks,
turn them to coat, and scatter the parsley
and the tarragon.

Serve immediately or up to
2 hours later at room temperature.

This delightful side dish is being submitted to Kalyn of

Weekend Herb Blogging Event that is being sponsored

by Srivalli of Cooking 4 all Seasons.

More information about "the leek"

The following information about "leeks" was found on
the University of Wisconsin Urban Horticulture Website

Leeks (allium porrum) sometimes called "the
gourmet's onion" are related to onions and garlic,

but have flat leaves instead of tubular and
relatively little bulb development.

They're easy to grow and delicious,
with a taste all their own, very much like a mild onion.
The thick leaf bases and slightly developed bulb look
like a giant green onion, and are
eaten as a cooked vegetable.

Cooking tips for "the leek"


When cooking leeks as a side dish,

it is important they not be overcooked.

Overcooking will turn them into a slimy,

unappetizing pile of mush.

They should be cooked until tender

but still exert a little resistance when pierced.

The dark green trimmed leaves may be used

to flavor stock or blanched and used as a wrapper

for any variety of fillings.

In general, leeks can be substituted for

onions in most dishes using onions for flavoring.

Unless you use a very mild sweet onion

or perhaps green onions, substituting onions for leeks

will result in a much stronger flavor which

might be detrimental to the intent of the original dish.

** Leeks can be used in so many recipes:

Potato Leek Soup
Caramelized Leeks
Mushroom and Leek Rice
Sweet Potato and Leek Gratin

Friday, August 15, 2008

An Easy Favorite

This week I read through my own blog
to find a few easy recipes I could make
since it was the first week of school and
I just knew I would be tired each night.

I really enjoyed the Greek Stuffed Peppers
I made back in August last year ~

so I tried them again.
I was actually very pleased with them
and their flavors. Especially with the sausage
I found at the market which was Feta and
Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken Sausage.

The mixture for the stuffing is cooked: spinach,

zuchini, onion, orzo, sausage and then feta cheese and

some oregano. ( You can click on the link
above for the whole recipe).

Stuff the peppers with the mixture and then

top with one can diced tomato and a little more feta.

They turned out wonderful

This is a great dish to make ahead of time and then just bake.