Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Edible Arrangement

This was my first edible arrangement. If you want to learn how to make this, visit this page.

Orange Rolls


- For the dough
1/2 cup warm water
2 packages dry yeast
2 Tbl. sugar
3 1/2 oz. pkg. vanilla pudding mix
1/2 cup butter (melted)
2 eggs
1 teas. salt
6 cups flour

- For the Filling:
1 1/2 sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
Zest of 2 Oranges
2 sticks soft butter

- For the Orange Glaze:
Orange Juice
3 cups confectioner's sugar


In a bowl combine water, yeast and sugar. Stir until dissolved. Set aside.

In large bowl, take pudding mix and prepare according to package directions. Add margarine, eggs and salt. Mix well. Then add yeast mixture. Blend.

Gradually add flour; knead until smooth. Place in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled. Punch down dough and let rise again. Then roll out on floured board to 34 x 21" size. Take the soft butter and spread over surface.

In bowl, mix the sugars and orange zest. Sprinkle over top. Roll up very tightly. With knife, put a notch every 2". Cut with thread or knife. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet 2" apart. Take hand and lightly press down on each roll.

Cover and let rise until double again. Bake at 350 15−20 minutes. Remove when they start to turn golden. DON'T OVER BAKE.

Frost warm rolls with Orange Glaze.

(*) To make the glaze, mix all ingredients until smooth.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Simply Vanilla Waffles

Every Saturday or Sunday morning we like to have some especial breakfast treat. This Saturday we decided to dress up those simply vanilla waffles with some pine nuts and fresh strawberries, and this is how we did it:


- For the Vanilla Waffles:

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
3 Tbsp. sugar
2 1/2 tspn. baking powder
3/4 tspn. baking soda
3/4 tspn. salt
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 large egg
3 Tbspn. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tspn. Vanilla extract

- For garnish:

1/2 cup Pine Nuts
2 cups fresh strawberries sliced
Maple syrup (or the kind you normally use for your hot cakes or waffles)
Whipping Cream


Preheat your waffle maker and your stove oven to 200ºF. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl.

In another bowl, whisk the milk, egg, melted butter and vanilla extract to blend. Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients, whisking constantly to prevent lumps.

Ladle about 1/2 cup of the waffle batter onto your waffle maker (this may vary depending on your waffle maker size and shape). Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until your green light is on, or until the waffle is golden and crisp on the outside and cooked through. Transfer the waffles to a baking sheet and keep them warm in the oven while cooking the remaining waffles.

To assemble the plate: Layer one waffle on the bottom, spread some butter, maple syrup, a few pine nuts and few strawberries. Put another waffle on top and repeat the process. Add a dullop of whipping cream and some more maple syrup.

Source: Adapted from "Relaxed cooking with Curtis Stone"

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Bakewell Tart - Daring Bakers' June Challenge

The June Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar. They chose a Traditional (UK) Bakewell Tart... er... pudding that was inspired by a rich baking history dating back to the 1800's in England.

Bakewell tarts…er…puddings combine a number of dessert elements but still let you show off your area’s seasonal fruits.

Like many regional dishes there’s no “one way” to make a Bakewell Tart…er…Pudding, but most of today’s versions fall within one of two types. The first is the “pudding” where a layer of jam is covered by an almondy pastry cream and baked in puff pastry. The second is the “tart” where a rich shortcrust pastry holds jam and an almondy sponge cake-like filling.

The version we’re daring you to make is a combination of the two: a sweet almond-flavoured shortcrust pastry, frangipane and jam.

Bakewell Tart…er…pudding

Makes one 23cm (9” tart)
Prep time: less than 10 minutes (plus time for the individual elements)
Resting time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 30 minutes
Equipment needed: 23cm (9”) tart pan or pie tin (preferably with ridged edges), rolling pin


One quantity sweet shortcrust pastry (recipe follows)
Bench flour
250ml (1cup (8 US fl. oz)) jam or curd, warmed for spreadability
One quantity frangipane (recipe follows)
One handful blanched, flaked almonds


- Assembling the tart:

Place the chilled dough disc on a lightly floured surface. If it's overly cold, you will need to let it become acclimatised for about 15 minutes before you roll it out. Flour the rolling pin and roll the pastry to 5mm (1/4”) thickness, by rolling in one direction only (start from the centre and roll away from you), and turning the disc a quarter turn after each roll. When the pastry is to the desired size and thickness, transfer it to the tart pan, press in and trim the excess dough. Patch any holes, fissures or tears with trimmed bits. Chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200C/400F.

Remove shell from freezer, spread as even a layer as you can of jam(*) onto the pastry base. Top with frangipane, spreading to cover the entire surface of the tart. Smooth the top and pop into the oven for 30 minutes. Five minutes before the tart is done, the top will be poofy and brownish. Remove from oven and strew flaked almonds on top and return to the heat for the last five minutes of baking.

The finished tart will have a golden crust and the frangipane will be tanned, poofy and a bit spongy-looking. Remove from the oven and cool on the counter. Serve warm, with crème fraîche, whipped cream or custard sauce if you wish.

When you slice into the tart, the almond paste will be firm, but slightly squidgy and the crust should be crisp but not tough.

Jasmine’s notes:
• If you cannot have nuts, you can try substituting Victoria sponge for the frangipane. It's a pretty popular popular cake, so you shouldn't have any troubles finding one in one of your cookbooks or through a Google search. That said, our dear Natalie at Gluten a Go Go has sourced some recipes and linked to them in the related alt.db thread.
• You can use whichever jam you wish, but if you choose something with a lot of seeds, such as raspberry or blackberry, you should sieve them out.
• The jam quantity can be anywhere from 60ml (1/4 cup) to 250ml (1cup), depending upon how “damp” and strongly flavoured your preserves are. I made it with the lesser quantity of home made strawberry jam, while Annemarie made it with the greater quantity of cherry jam; we both had fabulous results. If in doubt, just split the difference and spread 150ml (2/3cup) on the crust.
Annemarie’s notes:
• The excess shortcrust can be rolled out and cut into cookie-shapes (heck, it’s pretty darned close to a shortbread dough).

- Sweet shortcrust pastry

Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Resting time: 30 minutes (minimum)
Equipment needed: bowls, box grater, cling film

225g (8oz) all purpose flour
30g (1oz) sugar
2.5ml (½ tsp) salt
110g (4oz) unsalted butter, cold (frozen is better)
2 (2) egg yolks
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract (optional)
15-30ml (1-2 Tbsp) cold water

Sift together flour, sugar and salt. Grate butter into the flour mixture, using the large hole-side of a box grater. Using your finger tips only, and working very quickly, rub the fat into the flour until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Set aside.

Lightly beat the egg yolks with the almond extract (if using) and quickly mix into the flour mixture. Keep mixing while dribbling in the water, only adding enough to form a cohesive and slightly sticky dough.

Form the dough into a disc, wrap in cling and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes

Jasmine’s notes:
• I make this using vanilla salt and vanilla sugar.
• If you wish, you can substitute the seeds of one vanilla bean, one teaspoon of vanilla paste or one teaspoon of vanilla extract for the almond extract

- Frangipane

Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Equipment needed: bowls, hand mixer, rubber spatula

125g (4.5oz) unsalted butter, softened
125g (4.5oz) icing sugar
3 (3) eggs
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract
125g (4.5oz) ground almonds
30g (1oz) all purpose flour

Cream butter and sugar together for about a minute or until the mixture is primrose in colour and very fluffy. Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. The batter may appear to curdle. In the words of Douglas Adams: Don’t panic. Really. It’ll be fine. After all three are in, pour in the almond extract and mix for about another 30 seconds and scrape down the sides again. With the beaters on, spoon in the ground nuts and the flour. Mix well. The mixture will be soft, keep its slightly curdled look (mostly from the almonds) and retain its pallid yellow colour.

(*) The first bakewell tart I used cream of lemon instead of jam and on the second I used Dulce de leche and chocolate chips.

Cream of Lemon: Mix together in one bowl: 1 can sweetened condensed milk, 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice, zest from 2 lemons and 4 egg yolks.

Dulce de Leche: After you get your tart shell out of the freezer, spread 1 can of Dulce de Leche and cover it with semi sweet chocolate chips, then add the frangipane.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Grilled Jerk Pork Tenderloins

I decided to try this recipe from Emeril Lagasse (2007) and we absolutely loved it. (We did a little twist though)


2 cups chopped green onions
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/2 cup diced red onion
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce
4 jalapeno chilies, stemmed and seeded
2 splashes of soy sauce
2 pounds pork tenderloin (usually 2 small tenderloins)


Place all ingredients except the pork into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

Place the pork tenderloins into a resealable plastic bag, add the marinade and seal, making sure that the tenderloins are evenly coated with the marinade. Refrigerate for 4 to 24 hours; the longer the meat marinates the better.

Preheat a grill to high. Remove the pork from the marinade and discard the marinade.

Grill the pork for 5 to 6 minutes on each side, or until slightly charred on the outside and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the thickest part of the meat registers 145 degrees F. Remove the meat from the grill and set aside to rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing. When ready to serve, slice the pork against the grain into thin slices and serve immediately

Source: Adapted from Food Network - Emeril Lagasse

Monday, June 22, 2009

Portobello mushrooms with ricotta, tomatoes and basil

This is a very quick and simple recipe. As Curtis Stone defines it: It's robust enough to serve as an entree, but it also goes very nicely indeed with a few slabs of bacon and a fired or scrambled egg.


3 medium heirloom tomatoes (about 1 pound total), halved and cored. (I used homemade sun-dried tomatoes)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 or 4 fresh thyme sprigs
4 portobello mushrooms, stems removed
4 ounces (about 1/2 cup) fresh ricotta cheese
2 Tbsp. small fresh basil leaves


Position an oven rack about 8 inches below the heating element and preheat the broiler to low heat. Arrange the tomatoes cut side up on a large heavy baking sheet. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over the tomatoes, and sprinkle with salt, pepper and the thyme. Broil the tomatoes fro 5 to 7 minutes.

Arrange the mushrooms, gill side up, on the same baking sheet with the tomatoes, and drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over them. Turn the mushrooms over and brush the tops with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Broil the mushrooms and tomatoes for 5 minutes.

Turn the mushrooms gill side up, and spoon the ricotta onto the mushrooms. Continue broiling for a further 5 minutes, or until the ricotta is heated through and beginning to brown on top. At this point, the mushrooms and tomatoes should be just tender and the tomatoes should be slightly browned on top. Transfer them to a platter, sprinkle with the basil, and serve.

Source: Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone

Thursday, June 18, 2009


This is a very comforting and delicious recipe. I saw this "Meatloaf Throughdown" of Bobby Flay and decided to give it a try. The flavor is really good. I made a little variations for our family. So here is the complete recipe:


Salad oil
1 carrot, small to medium dice
2 stalks celery, small to medium dice
1 medium onion, small to medium dice
1 garlic clove, minced (*)
2 pounds ground turkey (*)
2 eggs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Dash hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco)
Dash Worcestershire sauce
Dash Balsamic Vinegar (*)
3 slices bread
1/2 cup seasoned Italian bread crumbs


Preheat oven at 350 degrees F. (Original recipe calls for 375 degrees F)

In a medium-sized saute pan, put 2 dribbles of salad oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, celery, garlic and onions and saute, about 5 minutes. Put aside and let cool.

In large bowl put the carrot mixture, ground turkey and remaining ingredients, except for the bread, the bread crumbs and ketchup. Soak the bread in cold milk, then squeeze milk out (like a sponge) and drain it. Add to the ground beef and mix. (A stand mixer may help make it easier). Add the bread crumbs and mix. Roll into firm loaf, spread ketchup over the top, and place into preheated oven for approximately 45 to 55 minutes, or until cooked through. Take out and serve hot.

(*) Those ingredients I added to the recipe. I also substituted ground turkey for ground beef.

Source: Food Network --Courtesy of Collucci Bros.

Angel Hair Lo Mein

Simply delicious!


2 tablespoons/30 ml vegetable oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into matchstick-size strips
4 ounces/115 g snow peas, stringed and cut lengthwise into 3 or 4 strips
3 ounces/90 g bean sprouts
1 stalk fresh garlic chives, chopped (about 2 tablespoons/10 g)
1/4 cup/55 ml reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons/35 ml Chinese rice wine (mirin)
1 tablespoon/25 ml oyster sauce
1 tablespoon/20 ml sweet chili sauce
1/2 package Angel Hair pasta
8 ounces/225 g Chinese broccoli stalks, cut crosswise into 2-inch/5-cm pieces
1 stalk fresh Thai basil, leaves chopped (about 2 tablespoons/5 g)
½ bunch green onions, thinly sliced on the bias


Place a pot of salted water over a high heat and bring to a boil. Place a wok over a high heat, and once hot add the oil to the hot wok. Add the onions and garlic to the wok and stir-fry for 2 minutes or until the onions soften slightly.

Add the carrot strips, snow peas, bean sprouts and garlic chives and stir-fry for 2 minutes or until the carrots are crisp-tender. Remove the wok from the heat and add the soy sauce, rice wine, oyster sauce and sweet chili sauce.

Place the noodles and broccoli in the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes or until the broccoli is crisp-tender and the noodles are al dente. Strain the noodles and broccoli, and add them to the vegetables in the wok.

Add the basil and toss to combine and to coat the noodles and vegetables with the sauces. Place the noodle mixture on a large serving platter. Garnish with the green onions and serve.

Source: Adapted from TLC/Chef

Monday, June 15, 2009

Chinese Dumplings / Potstickers - Daring Cooks - June Challenge

This month’s Daring Cooks challenge is Chinese potstickers/dumplings from Jen Yu of Use Real Butter.

It was a very challenge for me, since the shape is still not a hundred percent accomplished. The flavor of this recipe was amazing to us. I challenge you to give this delicious recipe a try!

Chinese Dumplings/Potstickers


- For a Pork Filling:
1 lb ground pork
4 large napa cabbage leaves, minced
3 stalks green onions, minced
7 shitake mushrooms, minced (if dried - rehydrated and rinsed carefully)
1/2 cup bamboo shoots, minced
1/4 cup ginger root, minced
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp corn starch


- For a shrimp filling:
1/2 lb raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, and coarsely chopped
1/2 lb ground pork
3 stalks green onions, minced
1/4 cup ginger root, minced
1 cup water chestnuts, minced
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp corn starch

- For the Dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup warm water
flour for work surface

Note: You will want to double this for the amount of filling listed. A single batch will yield about 40 dumplings depending on size.

- For the dipping sauce:
2 parts soy sauce
1 part vinegar (red wine or black)
a few drops of sesame oil
chili garlic paste (optional)
minced ginger (optional)
minced garlic (optional)
minced green onion (optional)
sugar (optional)


Combine all filling ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly (I mix by clean hand). Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Make the dough, Method 1: Place the flour in the work bowl of a food processor with the dough blade. Run the processor and pour the warm water in until incorporated. Pour the contents into a sturdy bowl or onto a work surface and knead until uniform and smooth. The dough should be firm and silky to the touch and not sticky.[Note: it’s better to have a moist dough and have to incorporate more flour than to have a dry and pilling dough and have to incorporate more water).

Make the dough, Method 2 (my mom’s instructions): In a large bowl mix flour with 1/4 cup of water and stir until water is absorbed. Continue adding water one teaspoon at a time and mixing thoroughly until dough pulls away from sides of bowl. We want a firm dough that is barely sticky to the touch.

Both dough methods: Knead the dough about twenty strokes then cover with a damp towel for 15 minutes. Take the dough and form a flattened dome. Cut into strips about 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide. Shape the strips into rounded long cylinders. On a floured surface, cut the strips into 3/4 inch pieces. Press palm down on each piece to form a flat circle (you can shape the corners in with your fingers). With a rolling pin, roll out a circular wrapper from each flat disc. Take care not to roll out too thin or the dumplings will break during cooking. Leave the centers slightly thicker than the edges. Place a tablespoon of filling in the center of each wrapper and fold the dough in half, pleating the edges along one side (see images above).

To boil: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add dumplings to pot. Boil the dumplings until they float.

To steam: Place dumplings on a single layer of napa cabbage leaves or on a well-greased surface and steam for about 6 minutes.

To pan fry (potstickers): Place dumplings in a frying pan with 2-3 tbsp of vegetable oil. Heat on high and fry for a few minutes until bottoms are golden. Add 1/2 cup water and cover. Cook until the water has boiled away and then uncover and reduce heat to medium or medium low. Let the dumplings cook for another 2 minutes then remove from heat and serve.

To freeze: Assemble dumplings on a baking sheet so they are not touching. Freeze for 20-30 minutes until dumplings are no longer soft. Place in ziploc bag and freeze for up to a couple of months. Prepare per the above instructions, but allow extra time to ensure the filling is thoroughly cooked.

To serve: Serve dumplings or potstickers hot with your choice of dipping sauce combinations.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Essential White Loaf

The other day I was just checking my Facebook when I read that a friend (Kelly M.) was making bread. I asked her which recipe she was using and decided to give it a try... oh my... this is an amazing and delicious one!

So, here we go:

from Nigella Lawson's How to Be a Domestic Goddess


3 1/2 cups white bread flour, plus more for kneading
1 package rapid-rise yeast (2 1/4 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon salt
approx 1 1/3 cups warm tap water
2 tablespoon of unsalted butter
1 baking sheet or 9X5 in loaf pan


Preheat your oven to 200 F degrees and turn it off. Grease a loaf pan or cover a baking sheet with parchment paper (in case you are shaping the bread round)

In the bowl of your stand Mixer put the flour, yeast, and salt and pour in 3/3 cup of the water, mixing as you do so on low speed and using the dough hook. Be prepared to add more water, but bear in mind that you want to end up with a shaggy mess. Add half of the butter, and mix that in for 8 minutes. if the dough seems sticklily wet (it will attach to the sides of the bowl), it means you need to add more flour.

Form the dough into a ball and put into a large oiled or buttered bowl, turning once so the top of the dough is greased. Cover with plastic wrap and put into the warmed oven for 60 to 90 minutes. The dough should be doubled in size. Then punch the dough down and shape it as you want (loaf or round) and let it sit covered with loosely plastic wrap for 30 minutes. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Just before you put it in the oven, remove the plastic wrap, brush it with the rest of the melted butter and dust lightly with flour. Bake for 35 minutes or until cooked through. The internal temperature of the bread should be 200F degrees. Once is ready, remove to a rack and cool.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Fresh Ricotta Pancakes with blueberry compote

I absolutely LOVE this recipe. If you feel tempted, please try it. It is amazing!!!


- For the Blueberry Compote:

18 ounces fresh blueberries
1/4 cup sugar
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves (optional)

- For the Pancakes:

1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
4 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup buttermilk, shaken (you can use regular milk too)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
About 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Butter, for serving


To make the blueberry compote: Combine the blueberries, sugar, lemon zest, and 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice in a medium saucepan over medium heat and cook for 2 minutes, or until the sugar dissolves. (Don't let the berries cook too long or they will become mushy and lose their beautiful shape.) Remove from the heat. Gently stir in the chopped mint if using. Keep warm.

To make the pancakes: Whisk the ricotta and the egg yolks together in a large bowl to combine; then whisk in the buttermilk. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into the ricotta mixture. Stir with a whisk until just combined.

Using an electric mixer, beat the egg beat the egg whites and sugar in a large bowl until stiff peaks form. Using a large rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites through the batter in 2 batches. Gently fold the fresh blueberries into the batter.

Melt some butter on a hot griddle pan over medium-low heat (I used a regular pan). Ladle the batter onto the griddle (you should be able to fit 3 pancakes at a time) and cook for about 3 minutes per side, or until the pancakes are puff, become golden brown, and are just cooked through.

Transfer the pancakes to plates. Spoon the warm blueberry compote over them, and then top with a dollop of butter. Serve immediately.


Source: "Relaxed cooking with Curtis Stone"

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Homemade Crepes with caramelized Apples and Mangoes

This is a delicious recipe, I simply love the flavors of the caramelized fruit and it such a pretty dish that you not only can serve it for breakfast but like a nice summer dessert too.


- For the crepes:

1 cup self-rising flour
1 egg
1 1/2 cold milk (if you want to make them reacher, you can substitute the milk for heavy whip or half- and half)
1/2 Tbsp. oil

- For the Caramelized Apples and Mangoes:

3/4 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise OR 1 Tbsp. Vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 Pink Lady or Fuji Apple (cored and cut into 1-inch-wide wedges)
1 ripe Mango (pealed, cored and cut into 1-inch-wide wedges)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp. Dark Rum or Brandi

- For Garnish:

Mint spring, creme fraiche, whipped cream or ice cream.


Mix all the ingredients in a blender until smooth. Heat a crepe pan or a heavy 8-inch nonstick sauté pan over medium low heat. Spray some vegetable spry and pour about 3 tablespoons of the batter into the center of the pan and swirl to coat the bottom thinly. Cook for 1 1/2 minutes, or until de edges are light brown. Loosen the edges gently with a silicone spatula and carefully turn the crepe over (you can toss them in the air to flip them if you can). Continue cooking for about 1 minute, or until de bottom begins to brown in spots.

Transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining batter.

Combine the sugar and 1/4 cup of water in a large heavy skillet and stir over low heat, occasionally brushing down the sides of the skillet with a wet pastry brush, until the sugar dissolves. Scrape in the seeds from the vanilla bean; then add the bean itself to the sugar mixture. Increase the heat and boil without stirring, occasionally brushing down the sides and swirling the pan, until the syrup is a deep amber color, about 8 minutes. Stir in the butter. Add the apples and mangoes and stir to coat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the apples begin to soften and the sauce thickens slightly. Then stir in the cream and rum and simmer for 2 minutes longer. Discard the vanilla bean. Set aside and keep warm.


Place a crepe on top of a plate. Spoon the caramelized fruit mixture on top and fold like a cone. Set a scoop of ice cream or a dollop of cream and drizzle some more of the sauce on top. Garnish with a mint sprig.

Source: Caramelized Fruit Recipe adapted from Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone.

Grilled Plum Tomato Caprese Salad

This is a very fresh and delicious italian salad. It's a very nice side dish for meats and also as a salad for a casserole pasta dish. Get your grill ready and enjoy this delicatessen!


12 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise, seed (not cores) removed.
1/4 cup good olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 1/2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tspns. sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
16 ounces fresh salted mozzarella
12 fresh basil leaves, julienned


Arrange the tomatoes on a sheet pan, cut sides up, in a single layer. Drizzle with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with the garlic, sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Grill them for 10 to 15 minutes, turning them over once they've been grilling for 7 to 8 minutes. Allow the tomatoes to cool to room temperature.

Cut the mozzarella into slices slightly less than 1/2 inch thick. If the slices of mozzarella are larger than the tomatoes, cut the cheese slices in half. Layer the tomatoes alternately with the mozzarella on a platter and scatter the basil on top. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and drizzle lightly with olive oil.

Serve at room temperature.

***(This recipe has been adapted from the original which calls for oven roasted tomatoes. The flavor is more intense this way but requires more time to bake the tomatoes. Just preheat your oven to 275ºF and bake them for 2 hours until the tomatoes are concentrated and begin to caramelize.)

Source: Back to Basics --Ina Garten

Garlic French/Italian/Ciabatta Bread

This recipe can be used with any of these breads: French, Italian, Ciabatta even rustic bread. It's especially delicious with pasta dishes, or grilled meats.


6 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup fresh parsley
2 Tbsp. fresh oregano leaves
1 tspn. Kosher salt
1/2 tspn. freshly ground balck pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 large bread loaf (of your preference)


Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Place the garlic, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until finely minced.

Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium sauté pan over low heat. Add the garlic and herb mixture and cook for 3 minutes, until de garlic is tender but not browned. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Cut the bread in half horizontally, running a serrated knife parallel to the board. Spoon the mixture over the bread. Wrap the bread in aluminum foil and place on a sheet pan.

Bake the bread for 5 minutes, the unwrap and discard the foil. Bake for another 5 minutes. Slice crosswise and serve warm.

Source: Back to Basics --Ina Garten

Sweet Peach Waffles

I know... it's summer time, which means time for peaches, lots of peaches!

Here is a quick and tasty recipe for your morning delights.


1 cup plus 2 Tbspn. self-rising flour
1 large egg
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tspn. vanilla extract
1 large, ripe peach
1/8 cup melted butter, cooled.


Puree the peach in a food processor. In a mixing bowl combine the flour, egg, milk, sugar and vanilla. Mix well. Stir in the peach puree. Add the melted butter and mix until everything is well combined.

Serve and top it with butter, maple syrup and heavy whip.

Peach cobbler... with a "happy twist"

We had some friends over and wanted to make a special dessert with some fresh ripe peaches I had around the kitchen. The result, a very delicious southern treat with a little twist!


2 generous cups sliced, ripe, fresh peaches
1 Tbsp. Dark Rum
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup self-rising flour
3/4 cup cold milk
1 tspn. vanilla extract


Mix peaches with 1 cup of sugar and the rum. Let soak for a few minutes. Melt butter in the microwave.

Combine remaining sugar, flour, milk and vanilla. Stir in melted butter. Mix well. Pour onto a 2-quart shallow baking dish.

Spoon peaches on top of the batter (juice included). DO NOT STIR.

Bake at 325ºF for 45 minutes. Sprinkle some more sugar on top and let it bake for 15 more minutes or until golden brown.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

French Bread in one day!

This recipe is not as flavorful and with the complexity of a French Bread made with a biga, BUT it is very tasty and easy to make. Ideal for those days when you realized you forgot to make the biga the day before and you only have a few hours before dinner time!


2 1/2 cups warm water
2 pkgs. quick rise yeast (4 1/2 tspn.)
6 1/2 to 7 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. melted margarine (I use butter)

1 egg + 1 Tbsp. water for egg wash before/during baking


Combine water, salt and margarine. Beat in yeast and half of the flour. Add the rest of the flour. Dough will be sticky. Let rise in an oiled, covered pan/bowl for 90 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough in half. Cover and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, lightly grease a baking sheet. Sprinkle with cornmeal.

Roll each portion of the dough into a 15x10-inch rectangle. Roll up, jelly-roll style, starting from a long side; seal well. Pinch ends and pull slightly to taper. Place seam side down on prepared baking sheet. In a small mixing bowl stir together the egg and water. Brush some of it over loaves.

Cover and let rise till nearly double in size (35 to 45 minutes). Using a sharp knife, make 3 or 4 diagonal cuts about 1/4 inch deep across the top of each loaf.

Bake in 375ºF oven for 20 minutes. Brush again with the rest of the egg mixture. Continue baking for 15 to 20 minutes more or till bread sounds hollow h=when you tap the top with your fingers. Immediately remove bread from baking sheet. Cool on wire racks. Makes 2 loaves.

Source: Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook and Cooking with Smitty's Mom