recipe: rhubarb crisps

March 29th, 2013 | Posted by admin in Desserts | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

It’s spring I think!  It’s lighter out longer, the sun seems to be shining a bit more, and temps are in the 40’s… so I’m thinking it’s spring.  When I think of Spring I think of Rhubarb in any dessert.  I saw the gorgeous red stalks and I had to make something.  So I decided to clean it and slice it, toss sugar, flour, and cinnamon on it, then fill some ramekins.  I was out of oatmeal in bulk but I did have packs of instant oatmeal so I used the 3 maple flavored oatmeal packs, ¼ stick of butter, ¾ cup of flour, and 1/3 cup of brown sugar to make my crisp.  I mixed those ingredients together and pressed them on top of the rhubarb.  I baked them for ½ hour at 350º (remember to preheat your oven).   Place them on a lined cookie sheet as the delicious fruit does boil over.  I would add rhubarb to bread or just sauté it and use over ice cream or yogurt.

If you see it at the store pick some up and get creative.



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recipe: crepes

March 28th, 2013 | Posted by admin in Desserts | Entrées | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

I’m a crepe fan… if you are from Chicago and remember the restaurant “Magic Pan”; it was one of my favorites.  I used to meet my husband there once a week for a savory crepe, but really always wanting the sweet dessert crepes.  I haven’t made crepes in a along time maybe because its not easy forming those perfect crepes in my own magic pan.  I found this “White Toque” brand Organic Crepes already made and decided to revisit an old favorite.

They are delicious and easy, I suggest you try them and have fun making up your own filling!



• 1 lb sliced mushrooms white or cremini
• ½ lb sliced shiitake mushrooms
• 2 tablespoons of butter
• 2 cloves of garlic, minced
• 2 shallots, minced
• Kosher salt & pepper
• ½ cup white wine
• ½ cup heavy whipping cream

• Melt butter in a heavy sauté pan add mushrooms, garlic, and shallots. Sauté till mushrooms are cooked. Add Salt & pepper to taste.

• Add wine and sauté for another 2-3 minutes to reduce, then add cream and heat through.  Your filling is ready, set aside and make crepes filling with mixture and spoon on top.


This brand “white toque authentic organic French crepes” is a great choice if you don’t have time to make your own.  They’re easy and delicious.

I also add sautéed chicken or beef to the mushroom mixture for a heartier meal. Dessert crepes are another option just adding fresh berries and a dusting of powdered sugar!




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recipe: egg salad

February 25th, 2013 | Posted by admin in Meals | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

My husband loves egg salad and always has a bowl of hard boiled eggs in the fridge. So this recipe is his favorite.


• 8-10 hard boiled eggs
• ¾ cup of Hellmann’s mayonnaise
• 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
• 1 tablespoon of yellow mustard
• 1-½ tsp of Worcestershire sauce
• 1/3 cup of mini pickles (cornichons), chopped fine
• Salt & pepper to taste


• Chop eggs and put into a large bowl.

• Mix the rest of the ingredients together, then mix in with the eggs.

• This is great on a sandwich, with crackers, or just scooped onto a mixed green salad.




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recipe: chocolate dipped brickle cookies

February 22nd, 2013 | Posted by admin in Desserts - (0 Comments)

Here is the recipe for the  cookies I made on the trip up north with the girls.  They travel well and are delicious!


• 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1 cup packed light brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 3 eggs
• 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons baking soda
• 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
• 1-1/3 cups (8-oz. pkg.) Heath® Bits ‘O Brickle™ Toffee Bits
• 1-½ cups Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Mini Kisses
• 2 Tablespoons Shortening


• Heat oven to 350˚F.  Lightly grease cookie sheet.

• Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in large bowl until blended.  Add eggs; beat well.  Stir together flour, baking soda and cream or tartar; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until blended.  Stir in toffee bits.

• Drop by heaping teaspoons onto prepared cookie sheet.  Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned.  Cool slightly; remove to wire rack.  Cool completely.

• Put the Mini Kisses and shortening into a bowl and microwave for 1 minute or until melted.

• Mix well and dip 1/3 of each cooked cookie in the chocolate mixture.

• Place on parchment lined cookie sheet and put in fridge so chocolate hardens.

• Store in cool airtight container.  Enjoy!



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I have made these luscious brownie bite cookies without filling and cut out in many different shapes.  The recipe was from the blog cookbook by Deb Perlman “The Smitten Kitchen”.  Since Valentines Day is approaching I cut out hearts.  Then I noticed the cover of Martha Stewart magazine covered in a variety of colorful sandwich cookies.  I took the brownie cookie recipe and filled them with Martha’s cream filling.  It’s a wonderful treat to make for family or to drop off for friends.  Enjoy!


• 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for counter
• 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
• ¾ teaspoon table salt
• ½ teaspoon baking powder
• 16 tablespoons butter, softened
• 1 ½ cups sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 1 teaspoon vanilla


• Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Whisk the flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder together in a bowl, and set aside.

• Beat butter and sugar with electric mixer until fluffy.

• Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down bowl.  Mix in vanilla.  Gradually mix in the dry ingredients.

• Wrap in plastic, and chill for at least 1 hour.

• Roll out the cookie dough on a floured counter.  Cut into desires shapes, brushing extra deposits of flour off the top.  (It does disappear once baked, though; so don’t overly fret if they go into the oven looking white.)


• Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 8 to 11 minutes (the former for 1/8-inch thick cookies, the latter for 1/4-inch cookies), until the edges are firm and the centers are slightly soft and puffed.

• Transfer to a wire rack to cool.


• ½ stick unsalted butter, softened
• 1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
• ¼ cup granulated sugar
• 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
• 1 to 2 tablespoons whole milk, if needed


• Beat butter with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

• Reduce speed to low, and gradually add sugars, beating until thoroughly combined.

• Beat in vanilla.

• If filling is too thick to spread, beat in milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until spreadable.

• Build the sandwiches with one cookie on bottom, cream filling in the middle, and another cookie on top.


NOTE: You can sprinkle powdered sugar on cookies or just leave them as is.  If you make a big batch you can always wrap a few up for gifts!



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This is a recipe from Smitten Kitchen’s new cookbook.  I found the dough a bit thick but the flavors excellent.  The next time I make this I may try using the “DuFour” puff pastry dough instead.  This is a perfect winter lunch, appetizer or dinner!  Enjoy!


• 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into
¼ cup sour cream
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
¼ cup ice water

• 1 small butternut squash (about one pound)
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 to 2 tablespoons butter (if you have only non-stick, the smaller amount will do)
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced in half-moons
• 1 teaspoon salt
Pinch of sugar
¼ teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
¾ cup fontina cheese (about 2 1/2 ounces), grated or cut into small bits
1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves



• Make pastry: In a bowl, combine the flour and salt. Place the butter in another bowl. Place both bowls in the freezer for 1 hour. Remove the bowls from the freezer and make a well in the center of the flour. Add the butter to the well and, using a pastry blender, cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Make another well in the center. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and water and add half of this mixture to the well. With your fingertips, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Remove the large lumps and repeat with the remaining liquid and flour-butter mixture. Pat the lumps into a ball; do not overwork the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

• Prepare squash: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Peel squash, then halve and scoop out seeds. Cut into a 1/2-inch dice. Toss pieces with olive oil and a half-teaspoon of the salt and roast on foil lined (for neatness sake) sheet for 30 minutes or until pieces are tender, turning it midway if your oven bakes unevenly. Set aside to cool slightly.

• Caramelize onions: While squash is roasting, melt butter in a heavy skillet and cook onion over low heat with the remaining half-teaspoon of salt and pinch of sugar, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly golden brown, about 20 minutes. Stir in cayenne.

• Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Mix squash, caramelized onions, cheese and herbs together in a bowl.

• Assemble galette: On a floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch round. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet. Spread squash, onions, cheese and herb mixture over the dough, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Fold the border over the squash, onion and cheese mixture, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open.

• Bake until golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, let stand for 5 minutes, then slide the galette onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature. Serves 6.




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recipe: chicken pot pie

January 22nd, 2013 | Posted by admin in Entrées | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

I love pot pies, chicken, beef, and lobster.  This recipe is Ina garten’s but I use Dufour pastry dough for the topping.  It’s the perfect puff pastry and a pantry (freezer) staple in my house.  When it’s cold outside this is a wonderful meal to serve with a great salad and a glass of wine… maybe even in front of a warm fire.  Enjoy!


• 3 whole chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on (split)
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• Kosher salt
• Fresh ground black pepper
• 5 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
• 2 chicken bouillon cubes
• 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 2 cups yellow onions, chopped (2 onions)
• ¾ cup all-purpose flour
• ¼ cup heavy cream
• 2 cups medium-diced carrots, blanched for 2 minutes
• 1 (10 ounce) package frozen peas (2 cups)
• 1 ½ cups frozen small whole onions
• ½ cup minced fresh


• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

• Place the chicken breasts on a baking sheet and rub them with olive oil.

• Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.

• Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cooked through.

• Set aside until cool enough to handle, then remove the meat from the bones and discard the skin.

• Cut the chicken into large dice.

• In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock and dissolve the bouillon cubes in the stock.

• In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and sauté the onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent.

• Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.

• Add the hot chicken stock to the sauce.

• Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, stirring until thick.

• Add 2 teaspoons salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, and heavy cream.

• Add the cubed chicken, carrots, peas, onions and parsley. Mix well.

• Use the Defour Pastry Dough… remember to defrost in the fridge for two to three hours.

• Roll out dough and cut out around your ramekin to fit, making sure it hangs over the edge.

• Use an egg wash to brush on dough. (Egg wash: 1 egg & 1 tablespoon of water whisked).  You can use extra dough to cut out show flakes, leaves or hearts.

• Divide the filling equally among 4-6 ovenproof bowls.

• Brush the outside edges of each bowl with the egg wash, then place the dough on top.

• Trim the circle to 1/2-inch larger than the top of the bowl.

• Crimp the dough to fold over the side, pressing it to make it stick.

• Brush the dough with egg wash and make 3 slits in the top.

• Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper.

• Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot.



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I have made this soup many times this winter, it’s easy and delicious, the perfect combination.  I may add a bit more curry and top the soup off with toasted cashews or leeks… be creative.


• 4 cups cubed butternut squash
• 2 medium sweet onions, chopped/diced
• 4 cloves of garlic, minced
• 3 medium Granny Smith apples, cubed
• 4 tablespoons of good olive oil
• Dash of Kosher salt
• 4-5 cups of chicken stock, preferably homemade
• ½ cup heavy whipping cream
• 1 tsp of curry
• Salt & pepper to taste



• Roast the chopped apples and squash, drizzled with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, in a 400-degree oven for approximately 40 minutes or until they are tender.

• Sauté the onions and 2 tbsp of oil in a large heavy pan, cook until clear, then add garlic and cook for another minute.

• Add the roasted squash and apples with stock and cook for 5 minutes.  Emulsify the soup with an immersion blender.

• When smooth add the cream and curry.  Add more stock if needed and salt & pepper to taste.



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recipe: sugar cookie cut out cookies

January 5th, 2013 | Posted by admin in Desserts | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

This is the cut out cookie recipe I have used for years.  I cannot remember where or when I came across this but it is the best I have found.  I use it for Valentine cookies, Easter, fall leaves, really any holiday or special event cutout cookie.


• 2 sticks unsalted butter
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 egg
• 2 teaspoons vanilla
• 1 tablespoon buttermilk or cream

• 3 cups of flour
• 3/4 tsp of baking powder
• Dash of salt


• Cream the first five ingredients together.

• Add the flour, baking powder and salt and form into two discs.

• Wrap in cellophane and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

• After dough has been chilled, roll out onto a floured surface and place on cookie sheet into a preheated oven of 350 degrees, for 8-10 minutes.

• Let cool and Frost.


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recipe: seafood chowder

January 4th, 2013 | Posted by admin in RECIPES | Soup - (0 Comments)

Seafood chowder was a request from one of my clients for Christmas Eve dinner.  I really have never made my own seafood stock but after talking to my fish expert he said using the shells of the African Lobster tails in the stock would make this recipe magical!  It worked… I can’t explain how delicious this recipe is filled with Little Neck Clams and African Lobster meat.  I took the basic recipe from Ina Garten’s Lobster Chowder and added clams, you could also add shrimp, halibut, whatever you love in a seafood chowder.

Let me know if you like it.


Serves 12

• 3 (1 ½ pound) cooked lobsters, cracked and split OR 6-8 tails
• 24 little neck clams (scrub with brush under cold water to clean)
• 4 ears corn

• 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter
• 2 cup chopped yellow onion
• ½ cup cream sherry
• 1 ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
• 8 cups whole milk
• 4 cups heavy cream
• 1 cup dry white wine

• 2 tablespoon good olive oil
• ½ pound bacon, diced large
• 4 cups large-diced unpeeled Yukon gold potatoes (4 medium)
• 3 cups chopped yellow onions (4 onions)
• 4 cups diced celery (8 stalks)
• 1 tablespoon kosher salt
• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 4 teaspoons chopped fresh chives
• ½ cup cream sherry


• Remove the meat from the shells of the lobsters.

• Cut the meat into large cubes and place them in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Reserve the shells and all the juices that collect.

• Cut the corn kernels from the cobs and set aside, reserving the cobs separately.

• For the stock, melt the butter in a stockpot or Dutch oven large enough to hold all the lobster shells and corncobs.

• Add the onion and cook over medium-low heat for 7 minutes, until translucent but not browned, stirring occasionally.

• Add the sherry and paprika and cook for 1 minute.

• Add the milk, cream, wine, lobster shells and their juices, and corn cobs and bring to a simmer. Partially cover the pot and simmer the stock over the lowest heat for 30 minutes. (I move the pot halfway off the heat.)

• Meanwhile, in another stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the oil and cook the bacon for 4 to 5 minutes over medium-low heat, until browned and crisp.  Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve.

• Add the potatoes, onions, celery, corn kernels, salt, and pepper to the same pot and sauté for 5 minutes.

• When the stock is ready, remove the largest pieces of lobster shell and the corn cobs with tongs and discard.

• Place a strainer over the soup pot and carefully pour the stock into the pot with the potatoes and corn.

• Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.

• Add the cooked lobster, the chives and the sherry and season to taste.

• Heat gently and serve hot with a garnish of crisp bacon.



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