recipe: veal stew

December 21st, 2012 | Posted by admin in Entrées | RECIPES | Soup - (0 Comments)

This is a great one pot meal for winter entertaining.  You’ll want to reheat the leftovers as the next day it’s even better.


• 28-30 cipollini onions
• 4 tablespoons olive oil
• 6 pounds veal stew meat, cut up into 1 inch pieces
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
• 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
• 1-1/2 cups dry white wine
• 6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (homemade is the best!)
• 1 (14-1/2 ounce) can diced San Marzano tomatoes in juice
• 28 small red potatoes, peeled and halved or quartered
• 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
• 2-3 turnips, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


• Peel the onions and cut off the ends.

• Next heat the 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large, heavy pot or casserole over medium-high heat (I use an 8 quart iron pot).

• Sprinkle the veal with salt and pepper.  Toss the veal with the flour in a large bowl to coat.

• Working in 3 batches, add the veal to the pot and cook until browned, adding another tablespoon of oil as needed, about 10 minutes per batch.

• Using a slotted spoon, transfer the browned veal to a bowl.

• Add the garlic and thyme to the same pot and saute over medium heat until tender, about 30 secords.

• Next add the wine and simmer over medium-high heat until reduced by half, stirring to scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pot, about 5 minutes.  Return the veal to the pot.

• Stir in the broth and tomatoes with their juice.  Cover partially and simmer over medium-low heat for 15 minutes.

• Add the onions, potatoes, turnips, and carrots to the stew and simmer uncovered until the veal and vegetables are tender and the juices are thick, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes.

• Stir in the parsley.  Season the stew to taste with salt and pepper.

The stew is ready to serve.  Enjoy!




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recipe: albondigas soup

December 4th, 2012 | Posted by admin in RECIPES | Soup - (0 Comments)

This is a great meal in itself.  I serve it with chopped cilantro, homemade tortilla strips, and a good Mexican beer.  The recipe is from “The Family Chef” by Jewels & Jill Elmore.


Serves 6-8

• A few glugs of olive oil
• ½ large sweet onion, finely diced
• 1 large shallot, finely diced
• 2 handfuls shitake or crimini mushrooms, finely diced
• ½ handful fresh thyme leaves
• Salt & pepper to taste
• 1 clove garlic, finely diced
• ½ bunch parsley (flat-leaf or regular), finely chopped
• 2 pounds ground dark meat turkey (I also like to use 1 ½ pounds ground dark meat turkey and ½ pound ground pork)

• ½ large sweet onion, diced
• 2 stalks celery, diced
• 1 large tomato, diced, or a small can of crushed tomatoes
• 8 cups chicken stock or broth
• 2 pinches Mexican oregano and/or dried cilantro
• Salt to taste


• Prepare the meatball mixture: In a hot skillet add the oil and then sauté the onions, shallot, mushrooms, thyme, salt, and pepper until mushrooms are cooked through and liquid is absorbed.

• Add the garlic and parsley.  Remove from heat and let cool.

• Add all the sautéed ingredients to the meat, season again generously with salt and pepper and mix together lightly by hand.  Be careful not to over mix, which can toughen the meat.

• If you have time, let the meat rest for a few minutes before forming into 1” meatballs.

• In a large-bottomed pot, brown the meatballs in olive oil, turning frequently.  Set aside.

• Prepare the soup: In the pan you used to brown the meatballs, add a touch more oil and sauté the chopped onion and celery until soft and translucent, scraping the bits from the pan to incorporate the flavors.

• Add the fresh tomatoes and the chicken stock, oregano, and cilantro to pot.  Bring to a boil.

• Turn down the heat to medium and simmer for at least 15 minutes or so.

• Add the meatballs to the pot.  Simmer until meatballs are cooked through (about 10 more minutes).

• Add salt to taste.

This soup gets even better the next day!




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recipe: pam’s chili

December 1st, 2012 | Posted by admin in Entrées | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

The hard part for me when cooking is actually writing down the recipe.  Some things like stews, soups, and chili sort of morph as I cook and may change a bit each time… hopefully always improving.  I think I have this recipe down but as I always taste and retaste the amounts of chili powder and ground cumin could change.  Start with what I have written down and I encourage you to add your own twist to this classic comfort food.


• 1-1/2 lb ground skirt steaks
• 1lb sirloin steak cubed (try to cut out fat)
• 1 large can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
• 1 large can peeled San Marzano tomatoes
• 2 large carrots, diced
• 1 small red pepper, diced
• 2 medium onions, diced
• 2 tablespoons of olive oil
• 4 cloves of garlic
• 1 can pinto beans
• 1 can cannellini beans
• 1 can black beans
• 2 cans of red kidney beans
• 3 tablespoons of chili powder
• 2 tablespoons of ground cumin
• Salt & Pepper
• 1 teaspoon red chili flakes (optional)



• Heat the oil in a large heavy deep pan; add onions and chili flakes (optional). 10 minutes approx.

• Next add garlic, red pepper, and carrots.

• Now brown the meat and drain any extra fat and return to pan.

• Add tomatoes, beans, chili powder, cumin, and salt & pepper to taste.

• Cook on low for an additional 20-25 minutes.  Serve with a variety of toppings, onions, cheese, cilantro, avocados, jalapenos… sour cream… oyster crackers.

• I serve this chili with corn cakes… always good!  Enjoy!




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recipe: lemon pie bars

November 9th, 2012 | Posted by admin in Desserts | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

I was looking for a dessert that wasn’t too sweet… although my “too sweet” may be different than most, because I love desserts.  I found this recipe again in the Southern Cookbook “The Back in the Day Bakery”.  I am such a fan of their sweets!  This recipe was very easy and tastes complicated, a perfect combination.  I recommend you use freshly squeezed lemons.



• 3 cups graham cracker crumbs (approximately 24 crackers)
• 12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, melted
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
• 1 cup fresh lemon juice
• 2 – 14oz cans sweetened condensed milk
• 6 large egg yolks
• 1 recipe fresh whipped cream (Recipe below)




• Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350˚F.  Grease a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking pan and line with parchment, allowing the ends of the paper to hang over two opposite edges of the pan.

• To make the crust:  In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, butter, and sugar and blend with a fork until the crumbs are evenly moistened.  Press the graham cracker mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Use a piece of parchment to press on the crust with the palm of your hands to make sure it is completely level.

• Bake the crust for about 8 minutes, until lightly golden.  Let cool completely before adding the filling.  Turn the oven temperature down to 325˚F.

• To make the filling:  In a large bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, sweetened condensed milk, and egg yolks.  Pour the filling over the cooked crust.

• Place the baking pan inside a larger baking pan and pour enough hot water into the larger pan to come halfway up the sides of the smaller pan.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the filling is puffed at the edges and no longer jiggles in the center when the pan is tapped.  Remove the pan from the water bath and set it on a rack to cook for 1 hour, then refrigerate until cold.

• Cut the bars into squares and serve chilled, with the whipped cream.  The bars will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.




RECIPE: Fresh Whipped Cream

• 2 cups heavy cream
• ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar


• Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a large mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer), whip the cream on medium speed until is starts to thicken.  Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until the cream holds nice soft peaks.




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recipe: three mom’s meat loaf

November 9th, 2012 | Posted by admin in Entrées | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

Meatloaf is a memory food for me.  It was served once a week almost when I was growing up, because you can make it ahead of time, beef was not expensive and we had most of the ingredients around the house.  This recipe from “Stonewall Kitchen Favorites” makes it special, mixing the veal, pork & beef and complementing with fresh herbs makes a difference.  I sometimes do not use a whole can of crushed tomatoes but mix some Bennetts chili sauce with a cup of tomatoes and a dash of Worcestershire sauce.  I also make individual small meatloaves to make this dish even more special.  Enjoy and play with your own flavor combinations.


Serves 6 to 8

• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 small onion, chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 pound ground beef chuck*
• 12 ounces ground pork*
• 12 ounces ground veal*
• 2 large eggs
• 1 cup plain bread crumbs
• 1 tablespoon tomato paste
• ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
• 2 teaspoons salt
• Freshly ground black pepper
• One 16-ounce can crushed tomatoes
• 4 ounces thick-sliced bacon (about 4 slices)




• Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 375˚F.

• Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat.  When hot, add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, about 10 minutes.

• In a large bowl, combine the onion mixture, beef, pork, veal, eggs, bread crumbs, tomato paste, parsley, thyme, rosemary, salt, and a generous grinding of pepper, mixing well with your hands or a wooden spoon.

• Turn the meat out onto a rimmed baking sheet, a roasting pan with high edges, or a large 11 X 15-inch or a 9 X 13-inch glass dish and form the meat mixture into a loaf approximately 5 X 8 inches and 3 to 4 inches tall.

• Mix the tomatoes with 1 ½ cups water in a small bowl and pour the sauce over the top of the meat loaf, allowing some of it to fall into the pan.  Drape the bacon strips over the meat loaf widthwise.

• Bake for 30 minutes, basting with the pan juices several times.

• Increase the oven temperature to 400˚F, and bake an additional 30 to 40 minutes, basting every 10 minutes or so, for a total cooking time of 60 to 70 minutes.  The bacon should be cooked through and a thermometer inserted into the center of the meat loaf should measure 165˚F.

• Remove from the oven and let the meat loaf rest for 10 minutes, then cut into slices and serve with the bacon and the tomato juices from the bottom of the pan.


*NOTE:  If you can’t find all three meats (often found premixed with the label “meat loaf mix” in supermarkets), try a mixture of whatever ground red meats you can find, totaling 2 ½ pounds.  For the best flavor, make sure the meat has at least 10 percent fat.  Each meat generally lists the amount of fat on the label.




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recipe: italian wedding soup

November 8th, 2012 | Posted by admin in RECIPES | Soup - (0 Comments)

This recipe is a meal in itself, but it can also be an excellent starter for a special dinner.  There are so many versions of this recipe but I really like Giada’s in her “Giada’s Family Dinners” cookbook.  When you serve this keep a copy of the recipes… you will be asked.  Using homemade chicken broth really makes a difference.  This is a great soup to drop off for a sick friend!  Enjoy!


• 1 small onion, grated
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
• 1 large egg
• 4 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
• 1/4 cup plain dried bread crumbs
• 8 oz lean ground beef (15% fat)
• 8 oz ground pork


• 10 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
• 1 pound escarole, coarsely chopped
• 2 large eggs
• 2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
• salt and freshly ground black pepper


• In a large bowl, stir together the onion, parsley, egg, garlic, salt, and pepper.

• Stir in the cheese and bread crumbs.  Using your hands, mix in the ground beef and pork.

• Shape the mixture into 1-inch meatballs, making approximately 75 balls.  Place on a baking sheet.


• Bring the broth to a boil in a large pot over medium-high heat.

• Add the meatballs and escarole and simmer until the meatballs are cooked through and the escarole is tender, about 10 minutes.

• In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and cheese.

• Add the egg mixture to the soup slowly, stirring with a fork to form thin strands or egg, about 1 minute.

• Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper.

• Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.



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recipe: ice cream sandwiches

November 1st, 2012 | Posted by admin in Desserts | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

This is such an easy dessert and always delicious.  I made chocolate and vanilla swirl cookies.  I purchased a vanilla bean and chocolate fudge swirl ice cream.  I also had mini chocolate chips and Heath bar chocolate chip brittles.  Leave your ice cream out to soften a bit.  Then spread the ice cream on one cookie top it with another cookie and then roll the edges in whatever toppings you choose.  Wrap and put in the fridge and you’ll have these on hand!  I usually hide them because in my house they will be eaten quickly!  You can use any type of cookie and you can vary the size.  I like a smaller cookie so it isn’t such a huge dessert.  Have fun!



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recipe: apple cake with toffee crust

October 31st, 2012 | Posted by admin in Desserts | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

Everything apple is what I want in the fall… apple pie, apple crisp, caramel apples, and this apple cake from “Food & Wine”!  It is an explosion of brown sugar, caramel, and apples.  It’s a special dessert to serve for a fall get-together or even for Thanksgiving.  Enjoy!


• 3 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 ¼ cups vegetable oil
• 2 cups granulated sugar
• 3 large eggs
• 2 large Granny Smith apples—peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice
• 1 stick unsalted butter
• ¼ cup heavy cream
• 1 cup light brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


• 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
• ½ cup water
• 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1 tablespoon brandy


• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
• 3 large Granny Smith apples—peeled, cored and cut into 8 wedges each
• 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
• 2 tablespoons water
• Vanilla ice cream, for serving




• Preheat the oven to 325°. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform tube pan. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the salt and baking soda. In a large bowl, whisk the oil with the granulated sugar. Whisk in the eggs one at a time. Add the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Fold in the diced apples with a rubber spatula. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the lower third of the oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool slightly.

• Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the butter, cream and brown sugar and bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring. Remove the toffee glaze from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

• Place the warm cake (still in its pan) on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour the hot glaze over the cake and let it seep into the cake, poking lightly with a toothpick. Let the cake cool completely, about 2 hours. Invert the cake onto a plate, and invert again onto another plate, right side up.

• In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Using a moistened pastry brush, wash down any sugar crystals on the side of the pan. Cook without stirring until a medium-amber caramel forms, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and quickly but carefully stir in the cream and butter. Simmer the sauce over moderate heat for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and stir in the brandy. Pour the toffee sauce into a pitcher.

• In a large skillet, melt the butter and the brown sugar. Add the apples and cinnamon and cook over moderately high heat, turning the apples once or twice, until they are tender and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add the water to dissolve the caramel in the skillet, then transfer the caramelized apples to a plate.

• Slice the cake and serve with the caramelized apples, toffee sauce and vanilla ice cream.


MAKE AHEAD: The unmolded cake can be stored in an airtight container overnight at room temperature. The toffee sauce can be refrigerated for up to 1 week; reheat gently before serving. The apples can be made up to 2 hours ahead and kept at room temperature.



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recipe: ‘nana cream pie

October 29th, 2012 | Posted by admin in Desserts | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

What could be better for dessert than a delicious homemade Banana Cream Pie?  I have never made this pie before and the banana cream is luscious.  If you love whipped cream, bananas, and old-fashioned vanilla wafers, then you’ll love this pie.  This recipe is from a wonderful dessert cookbook called “Back In The Day Bakery Cookbook”, by Cheryl & Griffith Day.  This is a collection of recipes from as they say “the best little bakery in the south’.  I can’t wait to try the S’More Pie, stay tuned next week!  I need to get a kitchen blowtorch to melt the marshmallows.



• 5 large egg yolks
• 6 tablespoons sugar
• 3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
• ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
• 2 cups half-and-half
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 3 tablespoons banana liqueur, such as crème de banana, or 2 teaspoons banana extract
• 2 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes, at room temperature
• 1 recipe Nilla wafer piecrust, prebaked (Recipe below)
• 3 large bananas, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices, plus more for decorating
• 1 recipe fresh whipped cream (Recipe below)
• Freshly grated nutmeg for garnish
• Nilla wafers for decorating




• In a heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt until thick and pale in color.  Set aside.

• In a medium saucepan, heat the half-and-half to just below a boil.  Whisk about 1 cup of the hot half-and-half into the egg yolk mixture to temper the yolks, so they won’t curdle, then, continuing to whisk, add the remainder of the half-and-half in a steady stream.

• Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water) and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, 5 to 7 minutes.

• Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk in the vanilla and banana liqueur or extract until well combined.  Let the filling mixture sit for 2 to 3 minutes to cool slightly, then whisk in the butter until the custard is smooth and silky.  Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the custard so that a skin does not form and let cool for 30 minutes, or until it reaches room temperature.

• When the filling has cooled, pour half of it into the prepared piecrust.  Add a layer of the sliced bananas, followed by the rest of the filling.  Cover with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator to chill for at least 3 hours, or overnight.

• Pile the whipped cream on top of the pie with a spatula.  Sprinkle with grated nutmeg and decorate with vanilla wafers and banana slices.  The pie is best served the same day, but it can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.

TIP – Here is a great way to prevent bananas from turning brown in your pie.  Using a pastry brush, brush them with lemon or orange juice.  Other liquids you can use are lime juice, pineapple juice, orange soda, or lemon-lime soda.




RECIPE: Fresh Whipped Cream

• 2 cups heavy cream
• ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar


• Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a large mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer), whip the cream on medium speed until is starts to thicken.  Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until the cream holds nice soft peaks.





RECIPE: Nilla Wafer Piecrust

• 3 ½ cups Nilla wafers
• 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• Pinch of fine sea salt
• 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature


• Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

• Put the cookies in a zip-top plastic bag and pound them with a rolling pin until they become coarse crumbs.  Alternatively, pulse the cookies in a food processor.  You should have 2 cups.

• In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer), mix the cookie crumbs, flour, sugar, salt, and butter on low speed until the crumbs and flour are evenly moistened, 3 to 5 minutes.  You may be tempted to add more butter – don’t.

• Press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie dish.  Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, until golden brown.  Let cool completely before filling.



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recipe: monte cristo

October 18th, 2012 | Posted by admin in Entrées | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

This may not be the classic Monte Cristo; it is my version of the sandwich to accompany your tomato soup.  It makes a grilled cheese seem a bit more special.  Really this can be changed up to include turkey or any other favorite sandwich meat.



• 1 Loaf of good bakery butter crust bread
• ¾ lb Black Forest ham, shaved thin
• ½ lb Swiss cheese, thinly sliced
• 6-8 oz Gruyere Cheese, shredded
• Dijon mustard
• 2 eggs
• ½ cup of whole milk
• 2-3 tablespoons butter



• Whisk eggs and milk together in a low wide bowl.

• Assemble sandwich, spreading mustard on one side of each piece of bread.

• Start with two slices of Swiss cheese, then several slices of ham, mound it, next shredded Gruyere, and top with bread.

• Place sandwich in egg bath turning to get both sides.

• Place in a pan or griddle with melted butter.  Cook on each side till very crisp.  (I like to cut off crusts before assembling but it’s not necessary.)



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