Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Chicken with sauce

Some of the best recipes I have are given to me from my family. This delicious dish was given to me from my mother in law. It is very easy to make and it goes very well with rice pilaf.

4 whole chicken legs
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 carrots cut lengthwise
2 celery cut lengthwise
1 can 12 onz tomato sauce
2 garlic
1 teaspoon oregano
salt and pepper

In a heavy sautee pan brown chicken in olive oil about four minutes each side add the garlic, carrots and celery. Sautee for another 2 minutes. Pour in the tomato sauce, 1/2 glass of water, oregano, salt and pepper. Stir together.

Preheat oven to 350
Place chicken with sauce into a baking dish. Cover with foil. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil bake for another 15 minutes.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


This Lasagna recipe I have been making for years its my favorite!

1/3 cup olive oil
1 pound ground beef
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper, plus extra for coating beef
1 medium onion, chopped small
1 red pepper, chopped small
1 green pepper, chopped small
6 cloves garlic, minced
5 leaves basil, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano leaves
1 (14-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 small can tomato paste
2 teaspoon salt
1 box no boil lasagna noodles
1 pint ricotta
1 cup grated Parmesan, plus extra for garnish
1 large ball fresh mozzarella, grated or sliced thinly
1 rustic loaf bread
1 tablespoon butter

Heat the oil in a large pot on high heat. Add the beef and coat it with pepper. Cook through, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the beef from the pot and add in the onions, peppers, 1/2 of the garlic, and herbs. Turn the heat to medium and cook the vegetables until soft. Add in the tomato sauce and paste. Season with salt and pepper and let simmer for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a bowl, mix the ricotta and Parmesan well. In a 9 by 12-inch baking dish, begin laying down the pasta. Smooth on a layer of the cheese mixture and spoon on meat sauce. Add another layer of pasta and repeat this process until you reach the top of the dish. The final layer should be cheese mixture and fresh mozzarella.

Cover with foil and place in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and let brown for 15 more minutes.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Cheddar Omelette with Home Fries

This omelette is a favorite of mine, especially on Sunday mornings.

2 eggs
2 teaspoons butter or margarine
2 slices Cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Beat eggs in small bowl with fork or wire whisk until yolks and whites are well mixed.

Heat butter in 8-inch skillet over medium-high heat until butter is hot and sizzling. As butter melts, tilt skillet to coat bottom with butter.

Quickly pour eggs into skillet. While rapidly sliding skillet back and forth over heat, quickly stir eggs with a fork to spread them over the bottom of the skillet as they thicken. When they are thickened, let stand over heat a few seconds to lightly brown bottom of omelet. Do not overcook... the omelet will continue to cook after being folded. Place cheese.

Tilt skillet and run a spatula under edge of omelet, then jerk skillet sharply to loosen omelet from bottom of skillet. Fold omelet from both sides towards center. Turn omelet onto warm plate, flipping folded portion of omelet over so far side is on bottom. Tuck sides of omelet under if desired. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Home Fries

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon paprika
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Heat oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute until soft. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add paprika and cook for 1 minute. Add potatoes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook until almost cooked through. Remove cover and continue cooking for 5 to 10 minutes until golden brown.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Bread Pudding with Rum Raisins

This bread pudding recipe is one of my old time favorites its simple and comes out perfect every time!

1 cup raisins
1/2 cup rum
1 pound challah bread, crust trimmed, cut into 1-inch cubes about 10 cups
4 cups whole milk
15 large eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh nutmeg

In a small bowl, combine raisins in rum and soak for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly coat a 10 by 3-inch round baking dish or 2-quart souffle dish with vegetable cooking spray. Add the bread cubes to the dish and sprinkle the raisin/rum mixture on top.

In a large bowl, combine the milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir the egg mixture into the bread and raisin mixture. Cover with foil. Place the baking dish in a larger, high-sided roasting pan. Add boiling water into the roasting pan around the baking dish to a depth of 2 inches. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil. Continue baking, uncovered for about 5 more minutes until top is golden and the mixture is slightly puffed or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Banana Muffins with Mascarpone Cream Frosting

I made these muffins the other day after I had seen it on the show Everyday Italian about a month ago. They came out really good! The frosting is very creamy and delicious, nice combination with the cream cheese and the mascarpone cheese. The only thing I substituted were the walnuts. I used macadamian nuts instead. This is yummy!

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 ripe bananas, peeled and coarsely mashed

3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese, room temperature
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

Line 18 muffin cups with paper liners. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl to blend. Beat the sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl to blend. Stir in the banana. Add the dry ingredients and stir just until blended.

Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups. Bake the muffins on the middle rack until the tops are golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out with no crumbs attached, about 25 minutes. Transfer the muffins to a rack and cool slightly. The muffins may be eaten warm or cooled completely and frosted.

To frost the cupcakes: Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the mascarpone cheese and then beat in the honey. Spread the frosting over the muffins. Sprinkle with the walnuts.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Zucchini Gratin

Zucchini is my favorite vegetable. This dish adapted from the TV show Barefoot Contessa is easy and simply delicious.

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, plus extra for topping

1 pound yellow onions, cut in 1/2 and sliced (3 large)
2 pounds zucchini, sliced 1/4-inch thick (4 zucchini)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup hot milk
3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
3/4 cup grated Gruyere
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a very large (12-inch) saute pan and cook the onions over low heat for 20 minutes, or until tender but not browned. Add the zucchini and cook, covered, for 10 minutes, or until tender. Add the salt, pepper, and nutmeg and cook uncovered for 5 more minutes. Stir in the flour. Add the hot milk and cook over low heat for a few minutes, until it makes a sauce. Pour the mixture into an 8 by 10-inch baking dish.

Combine the bread crumbs and Gruyere and sprinkle on top of the zucchini mixture. Dot with 1 tablespoon of butter cut into small bits and bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbly and browned.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Greek Cookies (Kourabiedes)

One thing I really like about kourabiedes is they taste even better two to three days later. These popular Greek cookies will melt in your mouth. They are served on festive occasions such as christenings, weddings, holiday celebrations, and even valentines day. They're buttery-rich and can contain nuts, but are always rolled in confectioners' sugar after baking. Kourabiedes come in various forms from balls to ovals to S-shapes.

2c Butter, unsalted
1 c Sugar, powdered
3 Egg yolks
3 tb Brandy
2 ts Vanilla extract
6 c Flour
1/2 c Almonds blanched and chopped
1 lb Sugar, powdered-(one package)
Beat the butter with the sugar until it becomes fluffy.
Add the egg yolks one by one, beating continuously.
Add the brandy and vanilla.

Blend in the almonds and the flour, a cup at a time.
Use enough flour to get a firm dough (it may take a
bit more or less than the amount mentioned in the
ingredients list). Use your hands to do the mixing, as
an electric mixer will be useless after the first two
or three cups of flour have been added. Place the
dough in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

Shape the dough into ovals, about one inch in, flatten
them and place on greased cookie sheets.
Bake at 350 degrees F. for 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven. Roll each cookie (while it is
still hot) in the powdered sugar and put it back on
the cookie sheet. Repeat this step once more, so that
you get a thicker coating.

Place the coated cookies on a platter, liberally
sprinkling each layer and the bottom of the platter
with powdered sugar. Let cool.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Spaghetti with Chicken Ragu

This recipe adapted from Everyday Italian is very easy and delicious. The only thing I altered in the recipe is I used spagetti instead of linguine. I like linguine, but I didn't have any in my kitchen so spaghetti it was.

2 tablespoons olive oil
6 boneless skinless chicken thighs, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2/3 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
4 cups Marinara Sauce, recipe follows
1 pound linguine or spaghetti
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the juices evaporate and the chicken is golden, about 10 minutes. Add the shallots and garlic and saute until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and stir to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the skillet. Add the rosemary and mix well. Add the marinara sauce and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently until the flavors blend, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the linguine and cook until al dente, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of cooking liquid. Add the linguine to the ragu and toss to coat, adding some reserved cooking liquid to moisten. Transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve.

Marinara Sauce:
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
2 dried bay leaves

In a large casserole pot, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper, to taste. (The sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, then cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium heat before using.)
Yield: 2 quarts

Monday, January 08, 2007

Peach Cream Tart

As if the many cookbooks that I own are not enough, I also have been watching the Food Network every day for new recipes and ideas on cooking. This is the Peach Cream Tart recipe I saw on the Paula Dean Show a couple of weeks ago. I made this dessert twice already and both times it came out perfect. The first time I made it for our New Years Day party and it was a big hit, everyone loved it. Not bad on the first try!

Peach Cream Tart


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

2 tablespoons sour cream


About 6 medium peaches, peeled and sliced*, or 1 (28-ounce) can and 1 (16-ounce) can sliced peaches in light syrup, well drained

3 large egg yolks

3/4 cup sour cream

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour


1/2 cup peach preserves or jelly, warmed1 tablespoon frozen lemonade concentrate

Preheat the oven the 375 degrees F.

To make the crust, place the flour, butter, and sour cream in food processor and pulse to combine. When the dough has formed a ball, pat with lightly floured hands into the bottom and sides of an ungreased 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom and 1/2-inch sides, or a round au gratin dish. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the crust is set but not browned. Let cool while preparing the filling. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

To make the filling, if using fresh peaches, peel and thickly slice the peaches. Arrange the fresh or canned peach slices in overlapping circles on top of the crust, until it's completely covered. Overfill the crust, as peaches will draw up during cooking.

Combine the egg yolks, sour cream, sugar, and flour and beat until smooth. Pour the mixture over the peaches. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake for about 1 hour, until the custard sets and is pale golden in color. Cover with an aluminum foil tent if the crust gets too dark.Transfer the tart pan to a wire rack to cool. When cool, remove the side wall of the pan. To make the glaze, combine the preserves or jelly and lemonade. Spread with a pastry brush over the top of the warm tart. Serve the tart warm, at room temperature, or chilled.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year!
New Years Greek Bread (Vasilopita)

I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year!

The traditional cutting of the Vasilopita is to celebrate the coming of the New Year in the Greek tradition. On New Year's Day families cut the Vassilopita to bless the house and bring good luck for the new year. A coin is hidden in the bread by slipping it into the bottom before serving. A piece of cake is sliced for each member of the family and any visitors present at the time, in order of age. Pieces are also sliced for the Church, and your house.

This year I received the piece with the coin!

2 pkg. active dry yeast

1/2 cup warm water

2 tsp. sugar

5 T. flour

1/2 cup milk

1 1/2 cup sugar

1/4 lb. butter 1 T. Crisco

1/3 cup orange juice

3 eggs (beaten)

2 to 2 1/2 lbs. flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 to 3/4 tsp. masticha ( found in Mediteranean Markets)

1 egg sesame seeds

In a small bowl dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm (105 to 115 degrees) water . Add 2 tsp. sugar and 5 to 6 T. flour to make a thick mixture. Stir until smooth. Cover and put aside in a warm place for about 10 minutes. It will foam and rise.

Heat milk to warm. Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Add butter and Crisco and stir until they melt. Take off heat, let it cool a bit. Add orange juice and beaten eggs.

Put about 1 1/2 lbs of the flour in a large bowl. Add salt and masticha. Make a well in the center and pour the above liquid into hole. Mix either by hand or in electric mixer. Add the yeast mixture and mix. Put dough hook onto your mixer if you have one or else by hand continue mixing and kneading, adding the remaining flour. Add enough flour to make a moderately, but not too stiff dough.

Grease or oil a clean bowl. Put dough in bowl, cover with waxed paper and a clean towel. Put it in a draft free warm place and let it rise until it doubles in size - about 2 to 3 hours.

Punch down and knead a few minutes. Cover dough and let rest for 10 minutes. Form into one large round loaf and put into an 11 or 12-inch round greased pan or separate into two loaves and put into two 9 or 10-inch round greased pans. Make sure you spread the dough so that it touches the edge of the pan. Cover and let it rise again until almost doubled - about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Beat one egg and brush the top. (You may, with some reserved dough, write the year on top.) Sprinkle top with sesame seeds.

Place in lower part of oven and bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes depending on size.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Very Peachy Cake
This cake is adapted from Baking from my home to yours by Dorie Greenspan, is very easy to make. The brown sugar coffee cake is flavored with grated lemon zest with a pinch of cardamom. In this recipe it calls for plums and orange zest, but I used peaches and lemon zest instead. The peach halves bake into the batter and has a jammy and dimple appearance on the top of the cake along with a beautiful honey brown color.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Scant 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon (optional)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup flavoeless oil, such as canola or safflower
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
8 purple or red plums ( in the fall, use Italian prune plums), halved and pitted

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan, dust the inside with flour, tap out the excess and put the pan on a baking sheet.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom, If you are using it, together.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed until soft and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar and beat for another 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for a minute after each addition. On medium speed, beat in the oil, lemon zest and vanilla. The batter will look very light and smooth, almost satiny. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated.
Run a spatula around the bowl and under the batter, just to make sure there are no dry spots, then scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Arrange the peaches cut side up in the batter-jiggling the peaches a tad just so they settle comfortably into the batter.
Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the top is honey brown and puffed around the plums and a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool for 15 minutes-during which time the peaches juice will return to the fruit-then run a knife around the sides of the pan and unmold the cake. Invert and cool right side up.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Braised Brussels Sprouts

I finally became brave once again and tried Brussels Sprouts. About ten years ago while on vacation in the Bahamas was the very first time I tried Brussels Sprouts and thought they were the tastiest things I ever had. When I came back home I went to the market to buy them and try them on my own, the outcome was very disapointing. They tasted nothing like what I tried while on vacation and never tried them again. After many years I came across them in the market and thought I would try them again. This time while searching many cookbooks getting ideas on how to cook them I finnaly realized that the first time I made them I probably over cooked them.
This recipe is very simple it does not have the different ingredients that could be added to Brussels Sprouts like cream, almonds, and nutmeg. I chose a more simple version just to see how they tasted without to much fuss. The outcome was very tasty!

1lb Brussels sprouts
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh ground pepper to taste

Cut of the base of the Brussels Sprout. Peel off any yellow or bruised leaves. Wash the Brussels Sprouts. Fill a large pot with water just enough to cover the sprouts, cover and bring to a boil add salt, add the Brussels Sprouts and boil for about 6 to 8 minutes. Test for doneness by sticking a fork on the base of the head with gentle pressure. Drain, toss with butter, lemon, and fresh ground pepper.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Spinach and Ricotta Dumplings
I have to admit spinach was not one of my favorite foods when I was little, however my taste for it has changed and now it seems most recipes I look for have spinach in them. These dumplings are perfect if you like spinach, they are light and very cheesy.
2 bunches (10 to 12 ounces each ) spinach or two packages (10 ounces each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 container (8 ounces) ricotta cheese
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons margarine or butter
2 cups milk

If using fresh spinach, remove tough stems; wash spinach well. In 5 quart Dutch oven, cook spinach with water clinging to leaves over high heat, stirring, until wilted. Drain. Squeeze dry; coarsely chop. Prepare dumplings: In large bowl, mix spinach, ricotta, eggs, pepper, salt, 1/2 cup Parmesan, and 1/2 cup flour. With floured hands, shape spinach mixture into 2" by 1" ovals.

Meanwhile, fill 5-quart sausepot half-full with water. Heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to medium. Add dumplings, half at a time.

Prepare white sauces: In 2-quart saucepan, melt margarine over medium heat. Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons flour; cook 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk and cook, whisking constantly, until sauce thickens slightly and boils. Remove saucepan from heat; stir 1/4 cup Parmesan. Place dumplings in single layer in shallow 2-quart casserole; spoon sauce over. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan over top. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until sauce is hot and bubbly.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Chocolate Madeleines

According to Wikipedia, a madeleine or petite madeleine is a customary sweet from Commercy, a town of the Meuse département in northeastern France. Madeleines are known by their attractive shell-like shape, which is obtained from being baked in special pans with shell-shaped depressions. Madeleines are cake-like and quite small. The taste is comparable to, but a bit lighter than, pound cake, with distinct butter-and-lemon taste. The Madeleine’s can be made in different flavors including vanilla, lemon, orange, and chocolate. Madeleine pans can be found, even in many places in the United States. Specialty and gourmet cooking stores are all but certain to carry them. If not, there are many websites through which they can be purchased

For my very first time making madeleines, I have to admit they came out pretty good and very easy to make. This recipe was adapted from the cookbook The seven sins of chocolate.

Makes approximately 30 madeleines
1 cup+2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons wildflower honey
1/3 cup milk
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled to tepid

Prepare the madeleine batter 24 hours in advance
Heat butter in a pan until it turns a light nut-brown color.
Set aside to cool to lukewarm. Beat the eggs, sugar, honey, and milk with an electric mixer until well combined. Sift together the flour, cocoa, and baking powder. Add to the egg mixture and stir well. Mix in the warm butter and melted chocolate. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
The next day, preheat the oven to 425F. Lightly butter and flour the madeleine molds (unless they are the nonstick variety). Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the batter into each mold. Bake until the madeleines have formed their distinctive hump and are lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Unmold onto a wire cake rack and cool completely.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

I had no time yesterday to cook it looked like it was going to be a pizza night, but when I came home and opened my refrigerator I found all the things I needed for this recipe. It worked out well because I had to use the chicken, I didn't want it sitting in the refrigerator any longer. This meal was perfect over rice and it was done in no time.

2 tablespoon oil
1 pound of boneless chicken breast , cut into pieces
1/2 cup onion chopped
1/2 cup chopped green pepper or red pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chili sauce
1/4 cup water
1 (14 1/2 oz) can tomatoes, chopped with juice
8 ounces polish or italian sausage, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon oregano
pepper to taste
dash cayenne pepper

Heat oil, saute chicken and sausage for 5 minutes, add onion, green pepper or red pepper and garlic. Saute for a few minutes longer, then add remaining ingredients. Cover, stir, and simmer about 30 minutes. Serve over cooked rice.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Macaroni and Cheese Au Gratin

This version of Macaroni and Cheese adapted from my mother in law is my favorite, its a little different from the regular mac and cheese in texture. I use a cheese called Kasher imported from Turkey which can be found in a Mediteranean market. If you can't find this cheese you can use provolone.

1lb of ziti
1 stick butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
3 eggs
1 lb ricotta cheese
1 lb feta cheese crumbled
1/2 cup shredded provolone or Turkish kasher cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Boil the macaroni drain and set aside. Melt the butter in a sucepan. Add the flour stir until smooth. Reduce to simmer and stir in the milk. Add the eggs one at a time stirring without stopping until the eggs are all added to the mixture, remove from heat and set aside. In a bowl mix together ricotta cheese, crumbled feta cheese and half of the shredded kasher cheese. Stir in the cheese mixture to the cream mixture.
Butter a 9x12 pan and about 4 inches high.
Mix half of the cheese mixture with the pasta. Add the remaing half of the cheese mixture on top of the pasta. Add the parmesan cheese and than the remaining shredded kasher cheese.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Baba au Rhum
Many years ago a European Baker gave me the recipe for Baba au Rhum which I made all the time and each and every time I made the recipe it would come out perfect. As the years went by I lost the recipe, I tried to find it by looking in many cookbooks and the recipes I would find were just not like the one the Baker gave me. Recently, as I was searching the net I came across my lost recipe on Emerill Lagasse from the Food Network. The trick to this recipe is heating the milk to the correct temperature of 110F, mixing in the yeast, and leting it rise until double its size. If the yeast does not rise to double its size the rest of the recipe will not come out as it should.
Baba Rhum is a sponge like cake topped with rum syrup sauce. I thought I would try it in a 9in bundt cake mold, but it can also be made in different size muffin pans depending on how big you want them. The whipped cream compliments this dessert very well because of the very moist consistancy of the cake.
1/2 cup milk
4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1/2-ounce)
2 cups bread flour
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons sugar
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 unsalted stick butter, melted but not hot
Rum Soaking Syrup, recipe follows
1/4 cup dark rum
Sweetened Whipped Cream

In a small saucepan, scald the milk over medium heat. Remove from the heat and cool to lukewarm (110 degrees F).
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the milk, yeast and 1/2 cup of the flour and let sit until foamy. Stir to form a sponge and let rise until doubled, about 20 minutes.
Beating with the paddle attachments, add the eggs 1 at a time, followed by the remaining 1 1/2 cups of bread flour, the sugar, salt, and zests. When a soft dough forms, slowly beat in the butter to make a smooth dough. Let rest for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter and flour a large baba mold or 9-inch bundt cake pan.
Place the dough in the prepared pan, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until it has nearly reached the top of the mold, about 40 minutes.
Place on a sheet pan and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 30 minutes, or until the top of the baba is golden brown and the sides have begun to pull away from the pan slightly.
Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Set the wire rack over a sheet pan. Using a toothpick or skewer, poke holes all over the top. Pour the warm syrup over the warm cake and let sit until the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes.
Turn the baba out onto the wire rack and let drain over the sheet pan for 30 minutes. Slowly drizzle the rum over the top in 2 additions.
Transfer to a cake platter or stand.

Rum Soaking Syrup:
3 3/4 cups water
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 teaspoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons orange zest
1 vanilla bean, split in
1/2 lengthwise and seeds scraped
10 tablespoons dark rum
In a medium saucepan, combine all of the ingredients except the rum. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and let stand for 30 minutes. Add the rum.
Strain through a fine mesh strainer and discard the solids. Cover to keep warm for soaking the baba.
Yield: 4 cups

Sweetened Whipped Cream:
2 cups heavy (whipping) cream
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon dark rum

In a large bowl, beat the cream with an electric mixer at medium speed until frothy. Add the sugar and rum and beat until the cream holds soft peaks, being careful not to over beat.
Cover with plastic and refrigerate for up to 1 hour before serving.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Greek Tiropita (Puff Pastry with Feta Cheese)

If you ever been to Greece than you probably tasted the Tiropitas. These puff pastry delights, come in a warm buttery flaky pastry filled with feta cheese and are sold everywhere. Last summer while visiting Greece I couldn't help myself but have tiropitas almost everyday. They are usually eaten, for breakfast, and in the afternoon with tea. Tiropitas are best when eaten warm.

2 sheets puff pastry
1 lb feta cheese
2 eggs
pinch of dill or parsley (optional)
1 egg for egg wash

In a bowl crumble feta cheese, eggs and mix well. Cut pastry dough into 4 inches by 4 inches squares. Place one tablespoon of filling in center of each square. Fold into a triangle. Use a fork to to seal and decorate edges. Beat one egg with two tablespoons water, this is for the egg wash to be brushed on the surface of the pastry dough. Place tiropitas in a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350F for 30-40 minutes.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Lentil Soup

Here in Massachusetts the weather is starting to get cold. One of my favorite soups for this time of the year is Lentil soup. I grew up with this soup, my mother would make it all the time. Retreiving the recipe from her though was quite a task since she does not measure the ingredients, I guess when you are cooking for a long time you don't need to. By watching her cook I have finally learned to figure out how much of each ingredient she uses.

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
1 cup tomatoes chopped
1 1/4 cup lentils

2 cloves garlic
6 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 4-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté onion, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 6 minutes. Add carrots, celery, garlic, and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add lentils, tomatoes, water, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to moderate and cook, covered, until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Marble Cake

If you like the taste of Grand Marnier than you will like this cake. I have to admit I don't like all the recipes I try, I thought this was too overpowering with the Grand Marinier (I guess I can use less next time) and kind of heavy for a marble cake, but my husband thought it was perfect and he ate the whole thing. This recipe is from The seven sins of Chocolate by Laurent Schott, the cookbook has many different chocolate cakes, chocolate jams, berry chocolate tart, and this are just a few of the recipes which I have to try. For a perfectly smooth batter, all the ingredients have to be taken out of the refrigerator a few hours before making this cake. Instead of the 6 cup fluted pan, I used a loaf pan.

1/2 cup candied oranges, or orange peel, diced
1/4 cup Grand Marnier
1 1/2 cups all- purpose flour
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter and flour a 6 cup fluted-tube pan.
Place the pieces of candied orange in a bowl and pour in 2 tablespoons of the Grand Marnier. Set aside and soak.
Mix the flour, butter, sugar, eggs, and baking powder in a heavy-duty electric mixer on medium speed until very smooth, about 3 minutes.
Add the soaked oranges and mix for another 5 seconds. Divide the batter in half add the cocoa to one half, and mix well.
Drop alternate, irregular portions of the two cake mixtures into the pan to create a marbled effect.
Bake for 45-50 minutes. Check that the cake is done by inserting a wooden toothpick into the center. When it comes out dry, remove the cake from the oven.
Turn out onto a wire rack, and drizzle the cake with the remaining 2 tablespoons of Grand Marnier. Cool completely.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Braised Meat With Onions (Greek Stifatho)

This famous Greek dish, also translated as stifatho, is a braised beef with onions. Every family makes it a little differently and it is so typical of rustic Greek mountain cooking. My recipe is adapted from my mother who makes the best styfatho I have tried thus far. This dish is not only very tasty it is very easy to make. While cooking the longer it simmers the more flavorful it becomes.

2 pounds boneless beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 pounds small pearl white onions, peeled and ends cut
4 garlic cloves
1/2 cup dry red wine
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 bayleaves
2 tablespoons tomato paste

Add all ingredients meat, white onions, garlic, wine, vinegar, olive oil, bayleaves, and tomato paste in a deep pot. Add enough water to cover all the ingrediants and stir. Bring to a boil then immediatley reduce to simmer for 2-3 hours. Stir occasionally adding water as it evaporates when the stifatho is done cooking there should be little sauce left.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Greek Bean Salad (Piazi)

This bean salad is one of my favorites. It's also very versatile so you can add different beans as the mood strikes! Can be served immediately or refrigerated overnight to allow flavors to combine and marinate in the liquid. In my family gatherings this dish is always present on the table from parties to holidays. When I don't have time to cook I make this dish with a side of rice, its easy, fast, and nutritious. Any leftovers can be regrigerated and it tastes even better the next day.

1 can white kidney beans drained
2 cucumbers, halved lengthwise and sliced
2 tomatoes diced
1 red onion, chopped
4 green onions chopped
kalamata black olives for garnish
1 ounce crumbled feta cheese (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
oil and vinegar
Combine the beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, green onions, salt and pepper. Toss together add oil and vinegar according to taste.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Ah...yes! Profiteroles are one of my favorite desserts. Unlike the draditional Profiteroles filled with pastry creme, instead this is filled with Ice Cream and topped with home made Chocolate Sauce. Here is a little secret, don't forget to serve a little extra chocolote sauce to allow for that extra indulgence. I will take mine with extra chocolate sauce please! Enjoy!

Choux Pastry
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
8 tablespoons (1 stick butter,
cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
5 large eggs, 1 beaten

Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Bring the milk, water, butter, sugar, and salt to a boil in saucepan. Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon for 1 minute.
Remove from the heat and add the 4 eggs one at a time, stirring each one well in.
Using a pastry bag with a 1/2-inch tip, pipe small balls of choux pastry (about the size of a walnut) onto a baking sheet.
Lightly brush the balls with beaten egg.
Bake for 20-50 minutes, until puffed and crisp. Cool completely.

Chocolate Sauce
4 oz bittersweet dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl.
Bring the milk, cream, and sugar to a boil in a saucepan. Pour onto the chopped chocolate and let stand to melt the chocolate. Add the butter and whisk until smooth.

To Assemble The Profiteroles
Cut each profiterole in half. Fill the bottom half with small scoop of vanilla ice cream and cover with the top half. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.
Quickly arrange the profiteroles in individual dishes or on a serving dish, drizzle with hot chocolate sauce, and serve immediately.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Green Curry Shrimp with Noodles

This dish is fast, easy, and has all the exciting flavors of Southeast Asia. The curry paste has lemongrass in it, so if you can't find fresh it will still taste good without it.

1 cup chopped shallots (about 4)
2 fresh lemongrass stalks (optional), 1 or 2 outer leaves discarded and lower 6 inches of stalks thinly sliced
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro stems
1 to 2 tablespoons bottled Asian green curry paste
11/2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 (13- to 14-oz) can unsweetened coconut milk (not low-fat)
13/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
(14 fl oz) 3/4 lb dried flat 3/8-inch-wide rice noodles or 1/2 lb dried flat 1/8-inch-wide stir-fry rice noodles
11/2 lb peeled and deveined large shrimp (21 to 25 per lb)
2 to 3 teaspoons Asian fish sauce, or to taste
Purée shallots, lemongrass, garlic, ginger, and cilantro stems in a blender with curry paste, sugar, salt, turmeric, and water until as smooth as possible, about 1 minute.
Heat oil in a 4-quart wide heavy pot over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook curry paste mixture, stirring frequently, until it just begins to stick to bottom of pot, 8 to 10 minutes. Add coconut milk and broth and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until reduced to about 3 2/3 cups, 8 to 10 minutes.
While sauce simmers, cook noodles in a 6-quart pot of boiling salted water, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water. Drain noodles well and divide among 4 large bowls.
Add shrimp to sauce and simmer, stirring, until just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in fish sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Ladle shrimp and sauce over noodles.
From Gourmet

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Most Expensive Steaks
It's a steak with the consistency of foie gras, and it derives from cattle that, according to legend, are fed beer and massaged by human hands. In its uncooked state, the meat is pale--almost white--packed with what Chef de Cuisine David Varley of Las Vegas' Bradley Ogden restaurant calls "an ungodly amount of fat."This marbled delicacy is the produce of Japanese beef cattle, or "Wagyu," raised both in and outside of Japan, and it takes over high-end steak menus internationally. Forbes Traveler spoke with chefs and managers at fine steakhouses worldwide, as well as beef producers, butchers and meat experts, to compile their list of the world's most expensive steaks. Wagyu entrees account for all of our top ten. Read More