Sunday, November 9, 2014

Pear, Spinach and Gorgonzola with Pecans......

The pears have been looking exceptionally lovely these days at the store. I bought a bag and I decided to try something I had seen on.......can you guess.....PINTEREST.  I didn't check out the recipe but just looked at the photo and did my own thing.  I will definitely make this again but with arugula instead of the spinach.  The peppery taste of the arugula will be a nice compliment to the sweetness of the pear and the creamy tang of the Gorgonzola. Simply cut the pear in thirds, stuff in the spinach, cheese and pecans. I mixed a little honey with cranberry and pear white balsamic vinegar and poured it over the top.  Delicious!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Giada's Chicken Marsala Meatballs......

One word...... delicious.
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons milk, room temperature
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon Marsala wine
1 pound ground white meat chicken
1/4 cup grated pecorino, plus extra for serving
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 large shallot, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons flour
1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

Preheat the broiler to high.
In a large bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, milk and 1 tablespoon Marsala. Leave to soak for 5 minutes. Add the chicken, pecorino, egg, parsley, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper. With your hands, gently mix together the ingredients until just combined. Form the mixture into tablespoon-size balls and place on an oiled baking sheet. Broil for 5 minutes, or until the meatballs are beginning to brown and are just barely cooked through. Remove from the oven and set aside.

In a straight-sided skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the mushrooms are brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add the shallots and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook for another 2 minutes. Lower the heat to medium and stir in the flour and the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the 1/3 cup Marsala and stir until the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the chicken broth and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer for an additional 5 minutes to let the flavors blend. Serve hot, garnished with grated pecorino.

Great meal with mashed potatoes, pasta or polenta,  Thanks Giada, this recipe is a keeper.

Monday, August 25, 2014


What's not to love about the beautiful state of Maine. Lighthouses, beaches, scenic marsh land  and of course lobster. I love everything about Maine. It's easy to see why I think Portland Head Lighthouse is one of the most charming New England destination you can visit.  This is why every summer while visiting my good friend Mary, I make sure we have a visit.  I feel so fortunate to have Mary from Ocean Breezes  and her husband Ron in charge of the sightseeing.  They could have jobs as Maine tour guides.  They know the history of almost every nook and cranny.
An  interesting fact about Portland Head Lighthouse is that it is the most visited, most painted and most photographed of all  lighthouses in New England. Looking at the photo I believe you can see why. I myself take dozen of photos every time I visit.
The very first time I visited the lighthouse it was high tide and the waves were crashing against the rocks.  A heavy fog began rolling in from the open sea and then as though on cue the resonant sound of the fog horn started to blow.  I was in awe.  It is a memory that I remember vividly and treasure still.  Thank you Mary and Ron for another memorable visit to what is now one of my favorite destinations

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Condiment Trio.......

I won the condiment lottery with this trio. All made without chemicals, preservatives, food coloring, pesticides, synthetics or GMO's.  Healthy and natural,  just the way I like it!.

Ketchup recipe from Country living.  Mustard and relish from Better Home and Gardens.
Here are the recipes starting with the ketchup.
  • 1 28 oz. can of organic crushed tomatoes
  • 1 med. onion, sliced
  • 1 tbsp. capers, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 orange, juiced 
  • 1/2 grapefruit, juiced
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 1.2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground pepper
  1. Puree tomatoes in a blender.  Transfer to a saucepan and set aside.  Saute onion, let cool.
  2. In blender, puree onion and capers.  Add sugar and blend until smooth.  Add the rest of the ingredients, blend.
  3. Transfer onion mix into the saucepan and stir.  Simmer over low heat until thick, about 1 hour.  Using a funnel, pour into bottles.  Refrigerate.
Here's the relish recipe
  • 6 cups pickling cucumbers, seeded and finely chopped
  • 3 cups finely chopped onions
  • 3 cups red sweet peppers, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup pickling salt
  • cold water
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp. celery seeds
  • 1/2 ground tumeric

Wash cucumbers and peppers. Chop, discarding pepper stems and seeds; seed cucumbers, if desired. Measure 6 cups of cucumber and 3 cups of peppers. Peel and chop onions; measure 3 cups. Combine vegetables in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt; add cold water to cover. Let stand, covered, at room temperature for 2 hours.
Pour vegetable mixture into colander set in sink. Rinse with fresh water and drain well.
In a 4-quart Dutch oven or kettle combine sugar, vinegar, celery seed, mustard seed, and turmeric. Heat to boiling. Add drained vegetables; return to boiling. Cook over medium-high heat, uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes or until most of the excess liquid has evaporated.
Ladle relish into hot, clean half-pint canning jars, leaving 1/2-inch head space. Wipe the jar rims; adjust lids. Process filled jars in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes. Remove the jars, cool jars on racks.

Last but not least, the mustard recipe:

1/4 cup each of brown and yellow mustard seeds
2/3 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
3 tbsp. honey
2 cloves garlic minced

Place seeds, vinegar and spices in a small bowl and let stand 24 hours.
Pour the seeds which have absorbed all the vinegar along with the honey and minced garlic into a food processor
Processor for one to two minutes. Scrape down sides a few times.  The mustard will not be smooth.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Culinary Institute of America.......

How do I begin to describe how thrilling it was to take a cooking class at the esteemed CIA in Hyde Park New York this past spring?  There really are no words.  The class was titled Spring in the Hudson Valley with Chef Martin Matysik. The menu was extensive and varied and cooked by the students. Here is the menu from my dream come true weekend.
  • Watermelon and Feta Salad
  • Spring Salad of Asparagus, Ramps and Peas, with Poached Egg and Lemon Zest Vinaigrette
  • Grilled Trout with Lemon Crust and Wild Garlic Sauce
  • Pan- Fried Wild Striped Bass with Bacon and Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
  • Grilled Cornish Hen Breast with Dandelion Greens and Mustard herb Vinaigrette
  • Grilled Duck Breast with Pickled Watermelon
  • Roasted Rack of Lamb Persille, Fresh Spring Pea Puree with Mint and Roasted Garlic
  • Grilled Rib Eye Steak, Asparagus with Wasabi Hollandaise Sauce, Sauteed Foie Gras with Caramelized Pearl Onions
  • Chilled Wild Blueberry Soup with Poached Pears
  • Warm Chocolate Fondant with Rum Marinated Berries
  • Hudson Valley Cheese Platter with Truffle Honey
This is one of the many kitchens inside the CIA.  A classroom to learn, create and master your craft. Thank you Mary and Rick for inviting me to participate in something I derive so much joy from.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Portuguese Style Stuffed Chicken........

Hello out there. It appears that I have been on another vacation from blogging. I have missed posting on a regular schedule but especially missed reading everyone's blogs. I hope to get my blogging mojo back with this post.  This recipe is based on Emeril's mothers stuffed chicken.

Ingredients and directions. 
1 roasting chicken weighing about 7 pounds, with livers and giblets
1 large garlic clove, smashed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup dry white wine

For the Stuffing

2 cups chopped onions
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
Giblets and liver from the chicken
1 link hot chorizo
1/2 pound ground lean pork
4 cups bread crumbs
4 hard cooked eggs, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup chopped green olives
1 tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/4 cup port wine
1/2 cup chicken broth

In a bowl combine the garlic, kosher salt, 1 tablespoon of the paprika, and 1 tablespoon of the oil. Beat together until smooth. Rub this mixture all over the chicken, inside and out. Place the chicken in a shallow bowl, cover , and refrigerate overnight. For the stuffing: In a skillet heat olive oil, add onions and garlic and saute for 5 minutes. Then add chorizo, the pork, breaking up the pieces as it cooks. Meanwhile, in a bowl toss together the bread crumbs, eggs, olives, paprika, parsley, mix well. Add the sausage mixture into the bowl. Pour in the port and chicken stock to moisten the stuffing. It should be moist, not soggy. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Fill the cavity of the chicken with the stuffing.. Don't pack it in. Rub the outside of the chicken with the olive oil, and place it in a roasting pan. Roast uncovered for 20 minutes. Lower the heat to 350 degrees, brush the chicken again with the olive oil and the pour the white wine over the chicken. Continue to roast for  2 hours or until juices run clear.

The chicken turned out moist and delicious. The stuffing, savory with just enough spiciness from the chorizo. I will make this again for sure.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Hedgehog Cookies......Gluten Free

You have to make these.  I got the recipe from my sister Mary who makes them for her daughters all the time.  Only five ingredients and your ready to make these little jewels.   I'm embarrassed to say I was a glutton for these gluten free cookies.  Here's the recipe courtesy of my sister and Taste of Home.
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup flaked coconut, divided
  • 1 egg

  1. In a large bowl, combine the walnuts, dates and brown sugar.  Add 1/2 cup coconut and egg, mix well.  shape into 1 in. balls and roll in remaining coconut. (I used my food processor to chop everything individually and then mixed it all in a bowl.)  
  2. place on greased baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 13 minutes or until lightly brown.  Cool on wire racks.  makes about 1 1/2 dozens cookies.   Enjoy!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Simple Pleasures.. Simply Delicious..Let's Share

Another one of my simple pleasures or perhaps I should say treasures.  Moro oranges, gorgeous, delicious, juicy and good for you.

I would enjoy and genuinely appreciate if you would graciously share one of your simple pleasures.  It might not involve simple foods like my simple pleasures do but might include knitting, reading, gardening or hiking. Whatever makes you content, satisfied, pleased, gratified, fulfilled or just plain happy,  I'm interested Please share one with me.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Have Some Honey.......

Stocking up for the winter on my local cranberry bog honey is a must for me. I LOVE IT.   It not only tastes delicious, it's beneficial to your health.  A tasty health gift so to speak.  Local honey has made a substantial difference in my seasonal allergy symptoms.  The health advantages are tremendous.  Besides helping with allergies it reduces cough and throat irritations, has anti-bacterial and anti fungal properties and is a probiotic.

My favorite way of eating honey is with yogurt, fruit and nuts.  This afternoon though, I had it in tea with cinnamon and lemon.
“The keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.” 
― Henry David Thoreau

Monday, February 17, 2014

White Mountain Weekend..........

My sister Mary and my brother- in- law Rick invited us up to their home in the mountains.  Sparked by the frigid weather and the snow falling wildly on the mountains we partook of a delicious lunch enjoyed leisurely and interrupted only by the stunning view.  We had our choice of a hearty beef stew or a cream of roasted butternut squash soup.  Both were served up in large dark brown earthenware mugs which seemed to echo the whole rustic elegance of both their home and the view.

Because we were in the heart of the mountains our appetites seemed almost as expansive as the view through the windows.  We ate more than usual and savored every bite. Having supporting roles to the stew and soup but just as enjoyable was the cured hard Italian sausage and local aged sharp cheddar cheese.

Next up,  Castelvetano olives and imported cornichons from France.  The vinegary tartness of both the olives and pickles were perfect accompaniments to the sharp cheese and sausage.  A choice of red or white wine smoothed and mellowed out the lunch.
This is the view from the living room. Isn't it beautiful. I wish you could actually see how tall the mountains are from my photos. To gain some perspective, the little specks on the mountains are the skiers.  The gray hue of the photos is from the snow that fell most of the weekend.  Thank you Mary and Rick it was a lovely weekend and just what we needed.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Kale and White Bean Soup with Chorizo

Like everyone else these days, I am in love with kale and eat it when ever I can.  This soup has just the right amount of spice from the garlic, heat from the chorizo and creaminess from the white beans.  Delicious!
  • 1lb. chopped kale, large stems removed
  • 3/4 lb. chorizo, casing removed ( its usually 2 links)
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 carrots diced
  • 2 medium red potatoes, diced
  • 32 oz. low sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 14.5 oz. diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp. chicken base
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cans cannellini beans rinsed and drained
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot with 2 tbsp. of olive oil in the bottom saute the chorizo, onion, garlic, kale, carrots, bay leaves and red unpeeled potatoes.  Keep stirring everything around until the chorizo is nicely brown and the onion is cooked.
Add the chicken broth, water, tomatoes, chicken base, drained beans and simmer for 45 minutes. It's ready that quick.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Simple Pleasures.....Simply Delicious

I don't know where I first saw these.  It could have been Pinterest, a blog or maybe someone just told me about them.  At this point I don't really care because they are delicious.   Stuff a white chocolate chip inside a fresh raspberry and that is it.  Simple pleasures.........

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

More Snow......

We had quite a snow storm today. When it winds down later this evening the storm will have dropped  a foot of snow.  Usually a storm this big  means a snow day.  So.....this afternoon dressed for the weather, I decided it was a good day to use my  new snowshoes. It was cold, snowy and a lot of fun.  You can feel you muscles working almost immediately and I loved it.  Snowshoeing is a great cold weather activity.  I wish I had tried it years ago.  Here is some information on the benefits of snowshoeing from the Tubbs brand snowshoe website.
Snowshoeing improves your coordination, balance and endurance, so you’ll become a more fit walker. Here are the benefits of snowshoeing for walkers:
• Enhanced total body strength, which boosts energy and endurance
• Tone hip flexors, thigh muscles, and butt, due to the lifting motion involved in every step forward
• Improved arm strength as a result of the swaying you’ll do to propel yourself forward, with or without snowshoe poles
My hips are hurting already! 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Heart Broken........

I have been absent from blogging for sometime now.  I didn't have the time to devote to blogging. The decision to take care of my mother was an easy one. Plain and simple, she would have done it for me or any one of my brothers or sisters.   My mother started to feel tired in June and it continued all summer. She just never got better.  My beloved mother passed away the Saturday before Thanksgiving. I take comfort in knowing she is with my dad in Heaven and they are together again.  Smiling and loving each other as they did their whole lives.
I always had a good time with my mom and we shared so many laughs, so much of our precious lives together as mother and daughter. It seems that my mother is a part of  my very being.  My mother taught me so much and I really never knew I was learning a life lesson.  I learned how to cook my family's favorite foods, learned my love for Christmas, and learned not to talk about anyone's children.  She use to say, "Never say my child would never do that because as soon as you say it, your child will."  I have followed that advice my whole life. She also taught me that it is more important to be kind than right.  I like to think I do that too. My mother had a wonderful life.  She loved her family, the beach, raking, gardening, knitting, sewing and dessert.  She had good health, good kids and a great husband.  She was blessed and so are we.
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